2023 Boat of the Year: Meet the Judges

This year’s team of judges put 17 sensational new models through their paces, under multiple points of sail and power, after dockside inspections in Annapolis, Maryland.

Boat of the Year judges
Boat of the Year judges Ed Sherman, Mark Pillsbury and Herb McCormick find the sweet spot aboard the Dufour 37 during a chilly morning sail on the bay. Andrew Parkinson

“We assembled this year’s judging panel based on their complementary backgrounds and skill sets, not to mention decades upon decades of combined experience at the helm. If there were a nit to pick, these experts would be all over it.”

—Andrew Parkinson, CW editor-in-chief

2023 Boat of the Year judge
As a judge, Herb McCormick’s primary focus was on sailing performance, safety, and deck layouts. Andrew Parkinson

Herb McCormick

Over the course of his career as a sailor and yachting journalist, award-winning marine writer Herb McCormick has written hundreds of boat reviews and raced and cruised tens of thousands of miles, including the Newport Bermuda Race, the Sydney-Hobart Race, the Pacific Cup and the Transpac. His offshore resume includes a voyage to Antarctica, a successful transit of the Northwest Passage, and two roundings of Cape Horn. The author of five nautical books, he’s owned and maintained several sailboats, including his current Pearson 365 and Pearson Ensign. As a Boat of the Year judge, he concentrates on sailing performance, safety, and deck layouts.

2023 Boat of the Year judge Mark Pillsbury
As a judge, Mark Pillsbury’s purview was interior plans, systems and build quality. Andrew Parkinson

Mark Pillsbury

Mark Pillsbury is a die-hard sailor who has owned and maintained a number of sailboats, including a Sabre 34, on which he lived aboard for 15 years in various harbors around Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. He has been involved with Cruising World’s Boat of the Year program in various roles for many years and has reviewed scores of new sailboats for the magazine. He is currently a Cruising World editor-at-large. As a judge, his purview is interior plans, systems and build quality.

2023 Boat of the Year judge Ed Sherman
Ed Sherman specialized in judging onboard technical and electrical systems. Andrew Parkinson

Ed Sherman

Longtime CW contributing technical writer Ed Sherman recently retired from full-time service with the American Boat and Yacht Council, where he was the education vice president. During his career, Sherman has written numerous books, including Advanced Marine Electrics and Electronics Troubleshooting, and he has developed courseware for programs at the New England School of Technology and the International Yacht Restoration School, as well as for the US Navy, US Coast Guard and NOAA. As a BOTY judge, he’s frequently spotted, screwdriver in hand, digging deep into electrical panels and engine rooms. 

View all of the winners by category, meet the judges, and more…

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