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EDITORIAL: Boats – Big ones, small ones, and a legend called Osmond

Okay.  Stick another log on the fire and settle in.

You’ve got some reading to do this month, just in time for these blowy February days.

In this issue you will find our annual Year of New Boats review, sponsored by Furuno.  This special 16-page supplement is a recap of 2017 new boat launches from the pages of Commercial Fisheries News.

And what a year it was.  More new boats hit the water than in any recent year and they came in all shapes and sizes.

Brian Robbins, our go-to guy for all things boats, had this to say:

“We certainly don’t get ‘em all, but I like to think our coverage represents a good overall view of the trends.

“You can scan this year’s supplement and see the trend in hull sizes and hp: 42’ and up for the most part — with 44’–46’ as kind of a sweet spot, I think.

“Horsepower-wise, the 750 Deere was basically the low end for the majority of the boats we covered … and I probably wrote about more engines over 1000 horses than I ever have in a single year.”

But, as Brian went on to say, there really was something for everyone in this year’s mix.

“We had some neat smaller boats, as well – I especially loved the 31-footer wooden Emma G built by Buxton Boats — and I’m wondering if we won’t see a few more in the mid-30’ range in the coming year.

“Matt Finn’s Cinnamon Girl wins ‘Best Of Both Worlds’ honors in my book: a Mussel Ridge 42 with a 405-horse
QSL9 Cummins.  Burns about as much fuel in a day as
some people do in an hour’s cruising.”

While you’re leafing through the pages of this year’s new boats review, do a mental word search for “Osmond.”  It shows up a lot.

Which leads us to this issue’s sit down with the legendary boat designer and builder Osmond Beal.

Brian visited with Osmond recently and his feature piece lets you sit in as the two of them talk about a career that can only be described as remarkable – and that doesn’t even begin to do Osmond justice.

And he did it all without blueprints – but you’ll need to read the feature beginning on page 10 to get the rest of that story.

This issue marks an anniversary of note.  It was 30 years ago this month that Brian Robbins first came aboard and, as he puts it, “It wasn’t long after that I started the outboard thang.”

By that, he means getting up close and personal – and frequently wet – covering the boats and the folks who build and fish them, up and down the coast.  See this month’s Bearin’s on page 37 for his thoughts on the subject (and a great old photo from the archives).

Lastly, we remind you all once again:  If you have a boat project in the works, we’d like to hear about it.  Call our offices on the “800” number in the masthead, or go straight to Brian.  Phone him at (207) 624-2764 or drop him an e-mail at <brobbins@fish-news.com>.

In the meantime, enjoy this special issue of CFN; we had fun bringing to you.  /cfn/