On any given summer day on the placid waters of Lake George, you’ll catch boats of all shapes and sizes, zooming hither and yon enjoying the sun on this “Queen of American Lakes.” Most blur into a parade of white-plastic look-a-likes—production pieces targeted at the everyman. Every once in a while though, a real eye-catcher will dart past, one that was clearly the brainchild of a master builder and didn’t sport a “preowned” sticker in the offseason. No, these beauties are the type that, to paraphrase The Beach Boys, purr like kittens ’til the lake nights roar. Feast your eyes on the wares of these five upper-crust boat makers.
With a rich, 146-year history of boat building, Chris-Craft has maintained a reputation for producing solid, beautiful, timeless designs. Its current lineup offers a cutting-edge approach to modern boating, while paying homage to its classic years that will forever be defined by the “classic runabout” (i.e. cockpit-style seating and a below-deck engine). Chris-Craft’s newest model, the Launch 31 GT, debuted just this past November at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The 31 GT adds plenty of classic mahogany, teak and stainless-steel accents to a modern launch-style dayboat. It features a walkthrough transom, a side-boarding door and multizone LED lighting to create unique onboard ambiance after dark.
Italian yacht builder Riva produces everything from dayboats to superyachts. The modern masterpiece manufacturer draws inspiration from the lines of classic cars, which give its yachts an elegant, timeless aesthetic. Both inside and out, you’ll find warm exotic woods and supple leathers. While the average boater sees a
Riva as a work of art to be admired both inside and out, experts look beyond simple aesthetics to the engine room. The engineering, performance and handling of Riva Yachts are what make them sensational seaworthy statements.
Searching for a yacht that’s both classic boat-inspired and -designed? Look no further than Hacker-Craft. And you won’t have to go too far to find one, as Hacker-Craft, the largest builder of classic mahogany boats in the world, is headquartered on the northern end of Lake George. But prepare to queue up for the experience: Hacker-Craft produces only a small number of boats per year, each one a bespoke, handcrafted showpiece that demands thousands of hours of attention to build. From iconic gentlemen’s racers to classic runabouts, these boats are built to last—and show off.
If you’ve ever spent an early summer morning breaking the glass of Saratoga Lake with a slalom ski, then you probably know the name MasterCraft. The company’s revolutionary designs have always been focused on creating the perfect wake for watersport enthusiasts. MasterCraft just redesigned its X26 towboat to combine luxury and performance for all-day cruising and watersports fun. The redesigned X26 features leading performance designs such as MasterCraft’s Gen 2 Surf System. The new X26 also brings luxury features and finishes to a towboat that’s just as enjoyable to cruise around the lake in as it is to “hang 10” on wake waves. If you’re trying to track down a premium watersports boat with the features of a day cruiser—that doesn’t sacrifice performance—let’s just say you’ve found the new objects of your desire in MasterCraft’s numerous designs.
Hinckley Yachts may be the quintessential definition of Downeast yacht design. Its motoryachts, picnic boats and runabouts grew out of the lobstering traditions of Maine, where form followed function. Hinckley yachts are known for their low profiles, sweeping lines and quality craftsmanship—as well as their cutting-edge technology. There’s no better example of where classic design meets brilliant tech than Hinckley’s luxury, all-electric Dasher 2.0 Launch. Powered by two BMW i3 lithium ion batteries, Hinckley’s silent Whisper Drive propulsion will have you gliding through the water in stunning silence.
Buy your next boat at one of these great local dealerships (OK, so a few of them are a haul, but we know you’ll go the extra mile for a lazy summer day on the lake):
Boats by George
18 State RT 9 149, Lake George, NY
133 New York Avenue, Huntington, NY (closest retailer)
8 Delaware Avenue, Silver Bay, NY
2546 Route 9L, Queensbury, NY
Hinckley Yacht Services
2 Selleck Street, Stamford, CT (closest retailer)