Nick picks his top five most iconic boats of all time.

For his month-long MBY piece, Nick Burnham reveals the five boats that have made him be awestruck by yachting…

I’ve been watching Jeremy Clarkson since his journalistic career started in the 1980s, with his column within Performance Car magazine.

I still recall his witty account of wiring a “Revenger” (a tension-reducing box that you attached to the dashboard of your car which generated explosion or machine gun sounds when you hit on the controls) to a speaker behind the grille on the Honda CRX.


His distinctive prose has inspired me to pick the plunge into writing. The book that he wrote in 1997 titled 

It was not just about the fastest or most powerful it also showcased the most iconic. Amongst the Bentleys and Lamborghinis are a Matra Murena, a Peugeot 504 Estate and a Monteverdi.

It made me think what boats I’d choose to include in the same top 100. In contrast to Clarkson the book I’m writing about my lucrative deal is still not yet in place and, in the meantime, I’ve put together my top five famous boats of the past…

Fletcher 147 GTO

It was as cheap as the Ford Escort and you could even tow it behind a. There was enough room for four passengers in the back seat and it was quick and fun, as well as capable of towing the water skier.

However, what was notable in this sub-15ft sportboat was its incredible seakeeping ability – it handled the chop better than most vessels twice its size.

Aquajeep 430

Nowadays, small sport utility vessels like the Axopar are very common. In the 1980s, in the 1980s, if you wanted a tiny speedy boat, you would buy either a speedboat or a dory.

The Aquajeep 430 was perhaps the first attempt to make a connection with speedy and efficient boat.

It featured a catamaran-style design hull, flat front and a stubby deck foredeck. It was finished in vibrant colors like bright red and yellow.

The result was a lot of space that offered utility and sport.


Sunseeker Tomahawk 37

Created developed by Don Shead, it had an amazing hull, inspired by a race boat and 50 knot performance, if you had Mercruiser 5002 Magnum, 420hp diesel engines.

However, the main reason this boat is chosen is its appearance simple, functional and stunning It’s a product of an era where Sunseeker was a Porsche in Fairline’s BMW as well as Fairline’s Mercedes.

Princess 45

It looked amazing when it first launched in 1982, and it performed flawlessly! Two diesel shaft-drive engines weighing 255hp each allowed the boat to cruise at 26 knots.

Later, larger-engined versions could reach mid 30 knots! This was the very first boat built especially to be used by Princess Yachts by Bernard Olesinski and the largest private GRP leisure boat constructed in the UK in the era of its creation.

David King, founder of Princess Yachts, said at the time that he could not envision the firm ever creating anything larger…

Avon Searider

In the 1970s Avon Inflatables tried adding a deep-vee fibreglass vessel to the base of its 4m model.

The model was dubbed the Searider with bucket seats or back-to-back like a speedboat. It could also handle 50hp.

While also it being an outstanding leisure boat idea professional organizations like H.M. Coastguard quickly adopted this bizarre hybrid and, just like that this RIB was born.

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