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Posted by on Mar 3, 2009 in Boat Show, News and Events, US |

Big Ski Boat or Small, Fast Cruiser?

When does a tow boat become a yacht? MasterCraft pushes the edge of the envelope this winter with the release of their new 300.

MasterCraft's largest model yet, the 300.

MasterCraft's largest model yet, the 300.

MasterCraft’s new 300 debuted at the Miami Boat Show last month and although I missed the event, I receive both before (below) and after (above and below left) photos of the unique twin-tipped design. The boat’s actually over 33 feet long and because of the bow design it has room for a reasonable size athwartships bed, forward in the cabin.

Visitors and journalists troop aboard the new 300 at the 2009 Miami International Boat Show.

Visitors and journalists troop aboard the new 300 at the 2009 Miami International Boat Show.

The Tennessee company that made it’s name in wakeboarding is shifting gears from tow boats only to an expanded model line including higher-end cruisers. Pretty ambitious considering they already build more than three dozen models.

Here’s an interesting quote from the president and CEO, John Dorton:

“It has always been a part of our legendary DNA to dream of ways to revolutionize the industry. It wasn’t that long ago we saw opportunity in a little known sport called wakeboarding – our response was decisive and as a result we created a new niche with the first full line of wakeboard boats.

The view of the MasterCraft 300's bows in the slings reveals a fairly deep V and lots of volume that may chatter in a chop.

The view of the MasterCraft 300's bows in the slings reveals a fairly deep V and a tri-hull shape that rapidly becomes a single, powerful bow.

“Now, 10 years later, every manufacturer is in that game. It is much the same with the 300 – we see an opportunity in a segment of the industry desperate for new ideas and approaches and in due time, people will not be able to remember a time MasterCraft was not a player in the big boat market.”

Looking around, I also found a couple of blog posts, one from wakeboard rider, Derek Grasman, who rides for Mastercraft. He’s still getting used to the fact that his company is now building “yachts.”

And here’s someone who calls himself Poweryacht, who captured some images and impressions of the boat from Miami. I also read a few skeptical comments here and there from those who felt the boat, at over $300,000, was overpriced. Only time will tell whether this segment of the big-boat market that Dorton refers to has some real gold in it for MasterCraft.

The company also recently announced what they call FanFare 2009, a spring event that potential buyers can get an invite to from their local dealer. Here’s the blurb about it from the factory, along with contact details if you’d like to test drive or get pulled behind any boat, and take a factory tour. The event runs three days a week, from March 16th to May 1st.

Speaking of big yachts, our Yacht Insider columnist Kim Kavin offers us a new story today on the Hargraves Custom Yachts 100-footer she toured in Miami last month. There’s an interesting story behind its name, King Baby, as well as a luxurious charter opportunity. The boat is brand new and ready to take you to the Bahamas, with no delivery fee required.

(If I don’t log in for the rest of the week, you’ll know I’m enjoying the hot tub on the other side of the Gulf Stream…well, in my dreams.)

John Burnham

When it's below freezing outside, the hot tub in the Bahamas looks even better.

When it's below freezing outside, a hot tub in the Bahamas looks even better.