Need a Winter Getaway? The New England Boat Show Has Plenty of Picks

The New England Boat Show, which runs until February 22, offers visitors a chance to fantasize about a tropical getaway.
The New England Boat Show, which runs until February 22, offers visitors a chance to fantasize about a tropical getaway. –Ryan Breslin/

We’ve had enough of this winter, New England.

Between the frigid temperatures, non-stop snowstorms, crazy tall snow banks, and outbreaks of “snow rage,’’ we’re thinking it’s time to get out of here for a while.

Fortunately, the New England Boat Show kicked off on February 14 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The show offers an opportunity for winter-weary New Englanders to plan – or at least fantasize about – a getaway, preferably to somewhere warm and tropical.

Don’t think of the New England Boat Show as a boat show. Instead, think of it as an escape pod show. In other words, it’s a chance to find a sea-worthy vessel that you can stand to live aboard when visiting warmer, tropical waters while winter plays out back home.


In an interview with on Wednesday, show director Joe O’Neal said plenty of visitors stop by the show with a similar mindset.

“For boating enthusiasts this is their right of passage,’’ said O’Neal. “It’s warm here, it’s nice…this is basically the kick-off to the summer boating season.’’

According to O’Neal, boating is not a hobby reserved exclusively for the wealthy. There are plenty of boating options that range from affordable to luxurious on display at the Boat Show.

“Lots of people perceive boating as expensive,’’ O’Neal said. “We have small dinghies and sailboats that go from $1,000 to $2 million and everything in between.’’

So what boat options are there for someone who wants to leave the snowy shores of Boston behind and live at sea long-term, (known in nautical circles as a “liveaboard’’?) Turns out there are plenty , but it helps to have money if want to live comfortably.

For the sake of our New England escape fantasy, let us pretend that money is no object and set out to find the right boat for an extended vacation at sea.

Hanse 455

Robert “Bump’’ Wilcox, owner of New Wave Yachts, gave us a tour of a Hanse 455, one of several boats offered by his dealership. The yacht measures 45 feet long with three cabins, a 53 horsepower engine, and a price tag of $450,000.


“To me, this boat represents the latest in design technology,’’ said Wilcox. “The hull’s volume has gotten bigger, systems are smoother to navigate, and the sail controls have gotten easier.’’

“There’s also tremendous room for a 45-foot boat,’’ Wilcox continued. “There’s modern light, electricity, and easy sail handling.’’

The Hanse comes with a sail that can be operated by the push of a button instead of the old-fashioned way – you know, by hand, and a self-tacking gib system that automatically adjusts to a change in direction. Other features include a dual wheel steering system with a navigation screen, radar, and auto pilot.

“With boats like this you can spend time swimming, having a drink, or enjoying sandy beaches,’’ said Wilcox. “There are plenty of wonderful places to relax.’’

Nordic Tug 39

A few feet away from the Hanse sits a very different style boat, a Nordic Tug 39. As its name suggests, it follows a tugboat design. Owner Bill Michalson said he and his wife chose the boat because it provides both coziness and a gentle ride.

“We wanted comfort while we are aboard and a cruise that didn’t react to every wave,’’ said Michalson. “When we tested it out, the waves gave us nothing more than a gentle push.’’

A boat like this, which costs between $650,000 and $750,000, can make life at sea very pleasant, said Michalson.

“This boat is geared toward a liveaboard lifestyle,’’ said Michalson. “You won’t feel wanting for creature comforts like a standing shower, a sink, or a washer/dryer.’’


The Tug 39 is 40 feet long and comes with a 370 horsepower Volvo engine. Beautiful African Mahogany woodwork can be found all over the boat’s interior.

“It’s very livable,’’ said Michalson. “You could spend weeks between port stops on this vessel if you have the proper provision.’’

Azimut 45 Fly

But if you’re looking to get out of New England in something even more luxurious, the Boat Show has you covered. Next stop on our journey was the 2014 Azimut 45 Fly, a yacht priced at roughly $899,000. We may as well look while money isn’t an object, right?

Larry Russo, Sr., president and CEO of Russo Marine in Medford, called the Azimut the “ideal’’ boat for the liveaboard lifestyle.

“A boat like this does everything for you,’’ said Russo. “An ordinary boat is like a small studio apartment. This model has two separate state rooms, so a couple that spends a lot of time on the boat doesn’t have to be on top of each other all the time.’’

Inside, the Azimut features a host of luxury comforts, including three flatscreen TVs in different rooms, teakwood paneling all over the cabin, and a dining table with a built-in grill. The yacht also comes with its own silverware and china, and it has cabinets that can hold both securely while on the open sea.

Russo said many couples that can afford a boat like this prefer to use it year-round.

“When it’s fall, they take the boat down the coast themselves or charter a captain to bring it to places like Florida,’’ he said. “When you have a $1 million boat you want to capitalize on it. Moving it around is the right way to enjoy your investment.’’

To quote Eminem, snap back to reality.

While it was fun to get up close and personal with these nautical beauties, the sad reality is money really is an object, and there is no way many of us can afford a boat, even a cheap one.

Looks like we’re stuck waiting out this winter with everyone else. It was a fun fantasy while it lasted.

The New England Boat Show runs until February 22.

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