Quick Look: Stellar 52 Center Cockpit

Best Raised Deck Saloon/Pilothouse

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Billy Black

Of the 29 boats we tested, seven were designed with a cabinhouse that’s raised to bring light into the main saloon and provide virtually 360-degree visibility from below. Three appear in the category of luxury cruisers. The other four range from $400,000 to $730,000, and from 46 to 52 feet.

The Tayana/Vancouver 460 Pilot is the only pilothouse in the traditional sense of having mechanical steering from the cabin. The Farr 50 Pilot House, designed by Bruce Farr and built in Sweden to specs from Boat Sales International in England, has an autopilot joystick at the nav station below; otherwise, it’s more akin to the boats called "deck saloons" than to traditional pilothouse boats. The North Wind 50 is an ICW-friendly, center-cockpit sloop built by a Barcelona yard that’s been around since 1973. Finally, the Sparkman & Stephens-designed Stellar 52 Center Cockpit was built in Taiwan to specs from Stellar Offshore Yachts in Washington state.

The judges deemed the Stellar 52 the best combination of construction, layout, and value. She’s relatively low in profile with a clean deck layout with separate sheeting bases for the genoa and staysail, and with good forethought to dinghy stowage on the foredeck. Beautifully engineered systems and a lovely interior earned her the prize for Best Deck-Saloon Cruiser. Congratulations to the folks at Sparkman & Stephens in New York and Stellar Offshore Yachts in Kirkland, Washington.