Two well-known names in the marine industry—MarineMax, America’s largest boat and yacht retailer, and MasterCraft, a leading manufacturer of water ski, wakeboard and inboard performance powerboats—recently took out a clean sheet of paper and collaborated on a design that opens a new chapter for both. Responding to market research that showed many boaters are using their vessels for daytime activities rather than overnight cruising, the two companies created Aviara—a luxury dayboat series optimized for entertaining, exploring and watersports. The design brief for the line emphasized contemporary style and all-day comfort.
Aviara is being introduced as a standalone brand, separate from the MasterCraft product line, but prospective owners may be reassured that the boats are being manufactured at MasterCraft’s plant in Vonore, Tennessee. Hulls and decks are built of hand-laid fiberglass, while small parts are resin-infused. You can see the quality in the details: The anchor locker is gelcoated inside, for example, and one of the aft storage compartments holds tubes specially molded to house fenders.
The first model in the series, the Aviara 32, made its debut at the Florida boat shows in 2018. The aggressive angular design of its hardtop and windshield immediately caught my eye on the docks, along with the two rows of aft-facing “stadium style” seats at its transom. This unique arrangement, which incorporates seats with backrests and pop-up bar stools, allows parents to hang out together while watching their kids play in the water or on the beach behind the boat.
“The designers started with photos of people on boats at sandbars and looked at where they were sitting, on the gunwales, etc.,” said Vincent Martone, MarineMax sales consultant, as he showed me around the Aviara 32. He demonstrated how the flexible seating also converts to a huge sunpad. An optional Makefast sunshade extends from the hardtop to cover the area.
Forward, the cockpit houses a large, L-shaped settee with a removable table shaped like a triangle. The mount for the table leg is in the base of the settee rather than the cockpit sole in order to avoid creating a toe-stubber when it’s removed. Opposite is a wet bar with an extra-large sink and wine rack. A slide-out drawer holds one of two drink coolers on board. All the upholstery is CoolFeel vinyl, while the sole is lined in SeaDek shock-absorbent marine flooring. Further comfort is provided by the large private head in the console; headroom inside is around 5 feet, 8 inches. The walk-through windshield leads to a large bow compartment tucked inside the boat’s high gunwales.
The Aviara 32 can be equipped with either Mercury Verado outboards or sterndrives by Ilmor, MasterCraft’s engine supplier; there are four propulsion packages available. The hull, a deep-V with 19-degree deadrise at the transom, is designed to provide a comfortable ride even when the seas get choppy. The boat I toured also was equipped with a Garmin GPSMap XSV and joystick piloting control for its twin Mercury 300-hp Verados. The helm had heated seats and the steering wheel was custom-designed by Italian racecar driver Max Papis.
Rumor has it the next Aviara to launch will be a 36-footer. With MarineMax and MasterCraft behind it, there’s a good bet this new dayboat series is here to stay. —Louisa Beckett
Draft: (outboards up) 1’11”
Displ.: 12,000 lbs.
Fuel: 166 gal.
Water: 21 gal.
Power: 2/300-hp Mercury Verado outboards
Cruise Speed: 28 knots
Top Speed: 44 knots