Authors Posts by Stephanie McMillan

Stephanie McMillan


Sargo 31

sargo 31 Explorer

The Sargo line of sterndrive family cruisers is designed for comfort and performance throughout the year. The Sargo 31 is no exception.

Remember those weekends, particularly during the early or late weeks of the typical prime boating season, when you canceled your boating plans because the weather forecast was less than pleasant for one of the two (or three) days? An all-season design like the Sargo 31 has the features to help optimize your comfort and protection for that forecast, and the performance gives you a wide range of options for fuel efficiency and schedule-keeping speed.

Keep on Keepin’ On

The idea that the Sargo line of family cruisers might add weeks or even months of on-the-water good times makes great sense for your return on investment and especially for your ability to spend the maximum amount of time together on the water with friends and family.

Sargo boats are created by the Sarin family, three generations of boat builders in the industry since 1967. From its factory on the western shore of Finland, the company has produced three distinct ranges of boats, including a line of vessels for professional government, law enforcement, and life-saving users. The Sargo line and its related Sargo Explorer line are well known to European boat owners ranging from Greenland to Italy, and the company has been active in the U.S. market since 2008. Suffice it to say, Sargo boats are meant for use in some of the more extreme, short-season climates around the globe.

Interior of the Sargo 31
The interior of the Sargo 31 is surprisingly spacious.

There’s nothing even remotely Eurostyle about the Sargo 31. Its design lines flow from Scandinavian workboat traditions, with bows well flared for good buoyancy and lift in a seaway as well as for a drier ride. The sheer springs higher from about amidships and the stem is sharp and shaped for speed. The angled-forward pilothouse reduces glare looking forward, and the wide side decks connect the fore and aft decks on a single level. Bulwarks are high and handrails are plentiful. For those times when a little family fishing is planned, safety is a given.

There’s a built-in bench on the forward edge of the coach roof, and a very handy split bow pulpit can be equipped with a ladder for beach boarding. Large cleats are positioned atop the bulwarks, and the amidships cleats make it easy to get a line on the dock when you’re single-handing.

Upgrades Available

The model I reviewed was a 31 Explorer Aft Door, and it included an appearance package upcharge ($11,000) that packaged a gray hull, black powder-coated rails and on-deck hardware (even the antenna) for a very contemporary look. Walnut graces the interior of the salon in this package, a nice change from the standard teak panels and furniture, and you have to see the brushed aluminum, leather-covered handrails used throughout to appreciate what they add to the clean, stylish Scandinavian interior design.

Helm of the Sargo 31
For foul weather cruising, the Sargo 31 provides shelter and ample space for a family.

The aft door option ($14,168) opens from the salon directly to the aft deck. All of the Sargo models I’ve inspected have standard sliding forward doors for access to the side decks, but the aft door is a convenience all will appreciate. The typical Sargo 31 layout includes a U-shaped dinette across the back of the salon and a mini-galley forward and to port, but the optional aft door layout features a C-shaped dinette to port (with electrically adjustable hi-low dining table and a forward convertible seat back that shifts aft to create forward facing passenger seating) and a very well-equipped galley (three-burner gas stove, gas oven, fridge, and large sink) abaft the helm. A pair of fold-down wood countertops hide the range and sink when not in use for a clean, contemporary look, and there’s plenty of storage beneath the sink, under the cabin sole, and inside the dinette settee.

The salon is blessed with an abundance of windows for near 360-degree visibility. This includes a swing-up window opening on the aft deck. A wide, manual sliding sunroof locks open in two different positions to flood the salon with natural light and ventilation. One option includes three clear panels set into the sunroof for excellent light, even when it is closed on rainy days.

Baby, it’s Wet Outside

When conditions outside are less than hospitable, Sargo offers Webasto heating and air conditioning (12,000 BTU) options to keep the climate in the salon family friendly. The Webasto units get power from either an optional Fisher Panda genset at anchor or an inverter drawing down the house batteries while underway. A 4kW diesel-fired heater is available for those who do their cruising in more northern climes.

Forward, down near-centerline stairs, accommodations include a V-berth cabin in the bow (each side measures six feet, six inches long, and a filler cushion converts the berth into a double), a wet head to starboard, and a storage cabinet to port. The amidships cabin is located under the salon sole and dinette and is accessible through a lifting hatch in the dinette bench. You’ll find storage in the forward cabin is beneath the berth. However, some room is lost to the bow thruster and battery. There is space under the deck, and storage in the amidships cabin includes two big storage lockers with shelves. Natural ventilation forward is well thought out with two portholes and an overhead hatch. All of the openable windows have mosquito screens, even in the head.

Choose your own propulsion adventure

Propulsion choices include three single-engine and two twin-engine Volvo Penta installations with Duoprop sterndrives. Single-engine power is based on the D6 engine with outputs of 330, 370 or 400 horsepower and top speeds of approximately 32, 35 and 37 mph respectively. Twin-engine power is based on the D4 engine with total outputs of 450 and 600 horsepower. Top speeds, in this case, are 38 and 42 mph. Twin engine installations are available with larger fuel tankage, 154 gallons versus 110 gallons.

Some boat owners insist on twin engines when headed out into long stretches of open water, and the Sargo 31 has the room for a brace of Volvo Penta in-line D4 diesels in a massive space beneath the aft deck. The lockable, gas strut-supported hatch allows easy access to the main engine(s) and the genset for daily inspection and maintenance. A water-separating diesel fuel filter is standard. There’s a fire extinguisher in the engine room…just in case.

Driving the D6-400 equipped Sargo 31 was a breeze, thanks to the flawless hydraulic steering. The boat is powerful yet agile. With a transom deadrise angle of 19.5 degrees, the deep-V bottom made short work of the heavy wind chop we encountered. At the helm, the leather-covered stainless steering wheel included a knob to make fast directional changes possible, a real convenience when backing a single stern drive. Both the binnacle and the 4-hp bow thruster were within easy reach for minute adjustments in tight quarters. A 12-inch Garmin 7412 chartplotter is standard, although Sargo offers an upgrade to either two 7412s or a larger 16-inch 7416 screen.

Taken all together, all the features and performance of the Sargo 31 Explorer Aft Door make it well suited for a family of four, who doesn’t want to give up their time on the water for a less than sunny forecast.


LOA: 32’7″
Beam: 10’8″
Draft: 3’4″
Displacement: 11,244 lbs. (dry)
Fuel/Water: 110/26 gals.
Power: 1x Volvo Penta D6-400 DP sterndrive (tested)
Cruise/Top Speed: 15-34/37 knots
Range: 225 nm at 26 knots
MSRP (base w/single D6): $276,187


Skarne Marine, LLC
164 Rogers Avenue
Milford, CT 06460
(203) 283-5300

By John Wooldridge, Southern Boating December 2018

Outboard Cruisers Roundup

Hinckley Sport Boat Outboard Cruiser

Outboard Cruisers Roundup

Outboard cruisers are truly the best of both worlds. What are these boats like? It’s like speed and maneuverability met comfort and space to make the most useful of boats.

The first tryst resulted in a goldmine: larger-than-life center consoles. But their second rendezvous created something that seems like it should have been here all along: outboard cruisers. It’s a winning combination.

Outboard cruisers create more interior room and offer plenty of space for the coastal cruising family without sacrificing shoal accessibility or speed. It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that this segment of the market is here. And it’s here to stay.

Whether out for an overnight or a week along the coast, here’s a “baker’s dozen” to consider.

Formula 400 Super Sport Crossover


Regal 33 XO

Cutwater C-242 SE

Sealine S330V

Pursuit OS 385

Back Cove 34O

Jeanneau NC 1095

Sea Ray SLX 400 OB

Monterey 385SE

Boston Whaler 380 Realm

Hinckley Sport Boat 40X

Antares 27 

By Steve Davis, Southern Boating December 2018

Caribbean Regattas

Caribbean Regattas

Caribbean Regattas

No matter how much you love your powerboat, there’s no denying the beauty and draw of sailboats, especially when they’re racing on a clear day, their colorful sails filled with the wind. If you’ve never tried it, participating in a Caribbean sailing regatta is a thrilling experience and one that we highly recommend.

Sailing schools can be found in nearly any coastal city in the U.S. as well as in the Caribbean, and course programs are offered to accommodate all levels of interest. If you’re not ready to fully jump in the deep water but simply want to dip your toe in the shallow end of sailing, a great option is to join one of the many Caribbean regattas in which you pay to play. Based on Antigua, Ondeck Sailing lets guests reserve a spot (for a fee) on one of the yachts in the regattas. (Prices range depending on the event, yacht and other factors.)

Foilers, dinghy sailors, superyacht owners and crew, sport boat enthusiasts, racer-cruisers and race charterers will all find something to love in the Caribbean this month. The fun starts off with Martinique International Sailing Week March 1-5. Hosted by the Nautical Center of Schoelcher, located near the French island’s capital of Fort-de-France, this event features a large European participation with a focus on small boats, such as Optimist, Laser and Sunfish. New this year is the addition of windfoils.

The next weekend, March 8-10, the St. Croix International Regatta takes place in the Buck Island Channel off the northeast shore of this U.S. Virgin Island. There’s a highly competitive Rhodes 19 fleet plus classes for racers and cruisers. The winning skipper earns his or her weight in island-made rum.

Over 60 Optimist dinghies will sail in the shadow of cruise ships on San Juan Bay in Puerto Rico for the Pan Pepin International Regatta March 17-18. This highly competitive event offers a Laser class too.

Yachts at the opposite end of the size spectrum are the focal point of the St. Barths Bucket Regatta March 21-24. Entries include the 220-foot Baltic Yachts-built, Dykstra/Reichel/Pugh-designed Hetairos, the 154-foot Perini Navi Aquarius and the 111-foot Royal Huisman-constructed, Frers-planned, Spiip. The prize-giving Bucket Bash is at the Hotel Collectivité.

Racers, cruisers and beach cats cast off in the St. Thomas International Regatta March 22-24. The one-day warm-up Round the Rocks Race, a circumnavigation around the
neighboring U.S. Virgin Island of St. John, takes place March 21st. Nearly a dozen race charter companies based in Europe and the U.S. are offering yachts for both events.

Finally, March Madness Caribbean regattas wrap up with the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival March 25-31 at Nanny Cay Resort & Marina. The Round Tortola Race on March
26th and Scrub Island Invitational on March 27th preface the traditional three-day regatta. Over a dozen bareboat charters from companies such as The Moorings and Sunsail are expected to race in a class of their own. While March is likely to be the busiest month, Caribbean regattas take place every month of the year.

By Carol Bareuther, Southern Boating Boating February 2019

Maritimo X-60

Running shot of Maritimo X-60

Maritimo X-60

The new Maritimo X-60 was inspired by adrenaline-fueled offshore racing, but zen-like spaces foster memorable moments.

You think you know Maritimo until you get to know the Maritimo X-60.

Maritimo, a premier Australian boat manufacturer, is owned by legendary boat builder Bill Barry-Cotter. He started Mariner Cruisers in 1966, founded Riviera Yachts in 1980, sold  Riviera in 2002, created Maritimo in 2003. The first Maritimos were enclosed flybridge cruisers—the M-Series—and the cruising motoryachts that feature signature floating internal stairways with enclosed skylounges and the helm aloft are still in production.

They also offer the S-Series, a line of stylish sedans, but Barry-Cotter and his family don’t just build pleasure boats. They also build world-renowned, international offshore powerboat racers, and it’s through the design, build and racing processes that keep them informed about new technology in engines, equipment, and materials that can transfer to recreational boats.

Maritimo X60
A spacious console with plush seating.

Maritimos are shaft driven with small shaft angles to provide fast, efficient performance. Barry-Cotter’s son, Tom, an accomplished offshore racer, boat builder and designer himself, is an integral part of the Maritimo team. He developed design ideas to showcase Maritimo’s strengths that differ enough from the M and S series boats that they designated a new X-Series. The first of these new models, the X60, debuted at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in Australia this past spring, and U.S. models appeared in the 2018 Newport and Annapolis boat shows as well as the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Welcome to the Beach Club

The X60 Maritimo might look like a highly stylized version of their S-Series sedans, but her sleek exterior belies the extraordinary versatility of her layout and design. I stepped aboard her swim platform with Tom Barry-Cotter, whose concepts and ideas were central to this project. The swim platform is wide with a seemingly standard transom, and twin staircases lead up to the cockpit. Then, with the touch of a button, the entire transom gently lifts and raises like the hatchback of a luxury car. One would expect this to lead to a tender garage (which is an option), but this X60 has an aft “Beach Club.” A stairwell leads down to port for easy access to this aft cabin. Inside along the swim platform is a finished bar area where one can sit and look out at the water with a cocktail.

A full-size head complete with a separate shower is to port, and a large flat-screen TV graces the forward bulkhead above another cabinet complete with a wet bar and fridge. An internal stairway leads up to the main salon with engine room access along the way. This beach club design is impressive and unlike anything I’ve seen previously on a vessel this size. The proximity to the water, access through the transom and the cabin and view astern create a different perspective in this unique social area. Details like pullout bar stools, ample storage, ambient lighting, and an actuator system that lifts and seals the transom doorway round off the cabin.

What makes this boat “Xtra” special is that the beach club is one of three aft cabin options that buyers have on the X60. It can alternatively configure as a stateroom with ensuite head, private internal stairway and the ability to open the hatchback for fresh air and direct access to the water. Picture lying in bed on a temperate night while the waves gently lap, and your view out the open transom is the moonlight’s reflection on the horizon. Spend sunny days in folding lounge chairs on the swim platform outside the stateroom. Lower the hydraulic swim platform slightly into the water to create a wading pool effect. Imagine setting a small table with chairs in the shallow water to have a cocktail, appetizers or a meal while your feet dangle in the water. The possibilities are endless.

Garage Space

Another option utilizes the aft cabin as a tender garage and water toy area. The stairwell and access to the transom remain. The head and shower stay to make a great day head and changing room. When wet guests return from swimming, they enter through the transom, take a warm shower and change privately, then ascend the internal stairway to the salon. A large RIB (3.2 meters) stows concealed to starboard. The remaining cabin area wraps around the tender garage with ample room for SCUBA tanks, compressors, inflatable water toys, bicycles, beach furniture, and more. There’s also room to cradle a PWC on the swim platform.

Maritimos have a reputation for large, uncluttered engine rooms, and the X60 is no exception. Headroom, easy access to both sides of the engines, and other critical functions will satisfy captains and owners. The space is so large, they could build in additional storage for deck furniture and not compromise functionality.

Comfortable Livability

Up the stairs, the main salon is decked out with comfortable seating on both sides and twin helm seats forward to starboard. The X60 has Maritimo’s signature aft galley with a large pop-out pantry, an island and folding doors that join the cockpit. Cockpit seating with a teak table creates an outdoor gathering area protected by an overhang. Additional cockpit amenities include an electric grill, sink, icemaker, and refrigerator. A second seating area with a table adjacent the galley is an option. There is excellent continuity between the salon, galley, and cockpit creating a large entertaining area or segmented gathering spaces.