Summer Guide / Boating

Gulf Gliders

These three slick vessels are ideal for navigating the shallow waters of Southwest Florida.

BY June 1, 2021
The Pardo 43, built by the Italian yacht maker Pardo.(Courtesy Pardo Yachts)

Pardo 43

Clean European lines with ultimate comfort for entertaining

If you want to feel like George Clooney gliding across Lake Como on a summer evening, you might want to look into the sexy walkaround Pardo 43. Built by the Italian yacht maker Pardo, the brand is now available in our area through Germain Yachts.

Available locally through Germain Yachts, this elegant Italian vessel is perfect for cruising, entertaining and overnight adventures; the extendable midship table can seat up to 10.

Though the yacht maker offers other models ranging from 38 to 60 feet in length, the 43-footer (and, in many respects, the 38) can handle our local shallow waters. “What do residents—including myself—really do when boating in Naples? We cruise, we entertain, we enjoy paradise comfortably with our friends and family,” Zach Germain says. “This is why I felt so strongly about bringing this brand to Southwest Florida. Whether it’s a ride to Marco for lunch, buzzing by the pier on a sunset cruise, or running up to Captiva for a night away, this boat is the perfect entertaining vessel for extreme comfort and style.”

Up top, there’s plenty of room to soak up the sun on the deck.

The 43 is the ultimate sunset runner, with a remarkable amount of deck space, lounging and seating areas. The rear sun lounge area can be adjusted in multiple configurations, and has the added benefit of having storage beneath to keep from cluttering the deck. After all, this boat is all about its minimalist design. The built-in midship table can be easily extended from its normal arrangement to double in size to accommodate eight to 10 guests. “And the walkaround design is one of the main advantages of the deck,” Germain says. “It guarantees extra space and facilitates safe access to the bow sundeck.”

The boat’s beautiful lines drop off the further back you go, allowing clear shots all around, so there are no blind spots. Coupled with the Inboard Performance System joystick and bow thruster, docking is a breeze.

Below deck, Italian oak warms up the modern cabin, which houses two sleeping areas and a spacious bath. (Courtesy Pardo Yachts (3))

Below deck is a plush, Italian-designed interior, perfect to escape the sun or for overnights. Awash in Italian oak, it features two areas for sleeping, including an “almost king” mattress up front in the main cabin, and two smaller berths in an expanded nook beneath the helm. Hidden windows keep the space from feeling cramped. A comfortable bathroom is especially nice thanks to a large separate shower, something you don’t always see on boats of this size. Up top, the helm resides under a T-top roof manufactured by Lamborghini for Pardo. Behind that, but ahead of the dining area, is a wet bar and entertaining area with an electric grill, ice maker, fridge and storage.

Aft, a hydraulic platform can be lowered into the water for wet lounging. Of course, the first thing most people will notice is its striking good looks. It looks like a million dollars, which isn’t far off from its price, starting at $900,00. The Pardo 38, which is similarly designed, is available in an outboard configuration reasonably equipped for $700,000.


Nor-Tech 460 Flyer

Spacious interiors with speed-racer abilities

Made in Cape Coral, Nor-Tech’s 460 Flyer is trailerable without an escort vehicle. On the water, the 46-foot boat can cruise at top speeds in the 80s. (Courtesy Nor-Tech Boats (2)

If you want to get where you’re going fast—whether it be a favorite fishing spot or a waterside restaurant—consider the latest model from one of Southwest Florida’s top boat builders. Cape Coral-based Nor-Tech Boats recently debuted its 460 Flyer—a European-style, high-performance boat designed to tame the waves.

From its expansive lounging areas to its spacious cabin, the 460 Flyer is a versatile performer with a sleek silhouette. Its long, low lines make this luxury day yacht the ideal poker run vessel.

Quad Mercury Racing 450 horsepower racing engines get you where you need to go in a hurry, with a top speed in the low 80s. Or, you can upgrade to five motors.

But perhaps the best feature is the hidden retractable top that raises with the push of a button, converting the 46-foot boat from a speedster to a hardtop center console. It’s a floating transformer. The vessel also features a hidden table that rises from the floor between two bench seats, which also converts into a sun bed.

The helm seats three and features a carbon fiber dash housing massive Garmin screens. And there’s a wet bar and sound system to keep the party going. Below, the cabin features sleeping berths and a settee, along with an equipped galley and bathroom with a standup shower, making it an easy overnighter.

Of course, Nor-Tech is fully capable of modifying the boat as a customer sees fit. But why mess with perfection? The customized boat is priced around $1.5 million.


Huckins Hybrid Sportsman 38

Classic styling with state-of-the-art tech

Blending heritage and innovation, this hybrid yacht is well suited for the Gulf. “In general, our hull design is shallower, so we know what we’re dealing with over there. The helm is set up so it is very easy to read the water,” Huckins’ owner Cindy Purcell says. (Courtesy Huckins Yacht Corporation)

If you appreciate the lines of vintage watercraft, but bemoan the ancient mechanics, look to one of Florida’s oldest boatbuilders and its new Hybrid Sportsman 38.

The maker, Jacksonville’s Huckins Yacht Corporation, draws inspiration from its classic 1936 Sportsman, using virtually the same quick-planing Quadraconic hull design it made famous, and incorporating the latest in materials and technology. “It’s not the same boat, but it has the same DNA,” says Cindy Purcell, current owner of the company her grandfather founded 93 years ago.

The boat is outfitted with a propulsion option of dual Cummins diesel engines and dual electric motors. In battery mode, it’s capable of low-speed, silent cruising for up to
2.5 hours. For the new design, Purcell raised the interior height to a generous 6 feet 6 inches, so things feel spacious at the helm and below deck.

It’s a great weekender (or Great Looper) with a fully-equipped modern galley, dining table and a settee that electronically converts to a queen bed. A climate-controlled bridge seats six and features a well-appointed bar. And, for the captain and “crew,” there’s a docking joystick at the helm, Bluetooth control and a pop-up TV, among other comforts. 

Outside, the vessel includes power sunroof panels, a telescoping power sunshade and underwater LED transom lights. The fiberglass composite core hull is strong and light, and the side panels are coated in eight layers of clear coat, making it virtually maintenance-free.

The Sportsman 38 can be ordered with various engine options, including outboards. It starts at $1.17 million, while the base outboard starts at $925,000.

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