powerboat of the year 2023

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2023 Motor Boat Awards winners: Best motorboats of the year revealed

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It has taken months of testing, weeks of analysing and days of deliberating amongst our judges but the 2023 Motor Boat Awards winners can now be revealed....

As always, we have chosen a winner in each of our ten categories based on how well the boat performed during our rigorous sea trials but also how well it meets the requirements of its target market in relation to its size, style and price.

In some categories, we have also awarded a Highly Commended, not because it’s the nearest runner-up but because the judges feel it has some exceptional talent or innovation that is worthy of recognition.

Last but not least, we’d like to thank Sleipner for once again partnering with us as the headline sponsor of the 2023 Motor Boat Awards and our category sponsors Garmin and The Moorings .

2023 Motor Boat Awards winners revealed

Customer service award.

Sponsored by Garmin

Approved Boats, Boats.co.uk, Gibbs Quay Boat Sales, Haven Knox-Johnston

Winner – Gibbs Quay Boat Sales

Gibbs-boat-sales-2023-motor-boat-awards-customer-service-finalist

This is the only award that is open to nominations from members of the public. However, the judges base their decision not just on the number of nominations each company gets (as this would always favour bigger companies with more customers) but also on the quality of service provided to these customers.

This year, we had more nominations than ever before, with several previous winners making it through to our shortlist of finalists, proving that good customer service isn’t just a passing phase but permanently ingrained in the culture of the best companies.

This year’s winner also enjoys a long track record of looking after its customers and particularly of helping new buyers take their first tentative steps into boating – a daunting prospect for many. This is what a few of their recent customers had to say about them:

“The after-sales experience has totally matched the pre-sales experience, dealing with minor niggles and providing us with unlimited technical advice.” “They made us feel welcome from day one and had the patience of a saint as we chose our new boat. They are a credit to the marine industry.” “Excellent after-sales service, prompt and professional boat service and good advice given at all times.”

Sportsboats up to 30ft

Aquaspirit 585 ,  Iron Boats 827 ,  Quarken 27 T-Top ,  Ryck 280 ,  X Shore Eelex 8000

Winner – Quarken 27 T-Top

Quarken’s 27 T-Top is an object lesson in practical dayboat design. Proudly built in Finland, it uses a single Yamaha F300 outboard motor for a 43-knot top end and cruising efficiency only a shade over 1.5 litres per nautical mile.

It’s fun to drive, with a novice-friendly hull and an effective helm position with direct access to a ‘skipper’s cleat’ for single-handed work. And it looks cool too, with its sleek stepped hull, flared bow and contrasting tinted panels.

There’s also masses of storage on board and all of it is useable, thanks to sensible proportions, proper linings, dual access points and quick-lift one-handed cushions. But it’s the ease of movement that really hits home.

quarken-27-t-top-test-drive-review-video-credit-paul-wyeth

Even if you reverse the helm seats to integrate with the diners at the aft bench, you can still pass them freely on the starboard side. And when you reach the bow, whether the forward seats are rigged for dining or sunbathing, the step-through forepeak with offset anchor means you can still disembark without obstruction.

There’s no wet bar and the heads is an open-plan affair but if you want a proper open dayboat with a serviceable cuddy at a sensible price, this is a superb debut from Quarken.

Highly commended – Iron Boats 827

Fast, agile and well-priced, with a brilliant Mannerfelt hull and a cool military aesthetic, the Iron Boats 827 is one of the most entertaining boats you will ever drive.

Weekenders over 30ft

Aquila 32 ,  Duchy Sport ,  De Antonio D36 ,  Galeon 325 GTO ,  Jeanneau Cap Camarat 12.5 ,  Rand Escape 30

Winner – De Antonio D36

De Antonio has become well-known for its unique take on the outboard-powered weekender and its new D36 is a fine exponent of that approach. It uses a raised sunbed to cover its motors, with a clever transverse tender slot and a full inboard-style swim platform.

It counteracts that extra aft weight with a pair of hull extensions for extra buoyancy – and when you get the boat under way, that translates into the kind of flat-running 50-knot performance that thoroughly validates De Antonio’s way of doing things.

Further forward, there’s a central dining zone opposite a big transverse galley, with a pull-out cushion-topped coolbox that turns it into a dining station for ten. The bow adds another generous sunpad and yet, when you step down below, the calibre of the cabins is way beyond expectations for an open weekender.

de-antonio-d36-test-drive-review-video

There’s a central lounge, a starboard bathroom, a forward double berth with push-button convertibility and a huge full-beam mid-cabin that can be converted from a saloon to a second double in a matter of seconds.

With masses of user-friendly day space, versatile four-berth accommodation and whippet-like performance, this is a truly brilliant family weekender.

Highly commended – Jeanneau Cap Camarat 12.5

The imposing new 12.5 features a deepset cockpit, an expandable port terrace, twin or triple outboards for 45 knots and convertible sleeping for up to five.

Adventure Boats

Axopar 45 Cross Cabin ,  Viggo C8 ,  Wellcraft 355 ,  XO DFNDR 9

Winner – XO DFNDR 9

Very few boats under 30ft offer anything like as much all-round ability as the XO DFNDR 9. Slender and soft-riding, with raised hull sides and a lofty but deepset pilothouse, there is virtually no cruising ground where its practical but innovative walkaround layout wouldn’t excel.

You can slide it onto the beach for a party. You can spend the night in the comfy forward cabin. You can open up the aft end of the pilothouse and enjoy a relaxed sunbathe or a six-man lunch – and you can achieve precisely that same feat up in the bow.

Back in the pilothouse, the helm is superb, there’s ample standing headroom and visibility is also first class. But if you slide those vast glass side panels aft, you can also enjoy the DFNDR 9 in much the same way as an authentic open boat.

xo-dfndr-9-yacht-tour-video

Having taken it across the Baltic, we can vouch for its performance too. With twin 225s on the transom, it’s fast, frugal and beautifully balanced.

The fact that it’s built like a tank and looks like a film star is just the crowning glory for an all-action adventure boat that proves just how much can be achieved when intelligent design, quality build and rigorous development come together.

Highly commended – Axopar 45 Cross Cabin

With its stepped hull, sliding wet bar, vast sunroofs, two-part side doors and fold-down bulwarks, this is a fast, versatile adventure boat.

Sportscruisers up to 45ft

Bavaria SR36 ,  Dale Classic 37 ,  Jeanneau DB43 ,  Marex 330 Scandinavia

Winner – Marex 330 Scandinavia

The Marex 330 is full of ideas that directly upgrade your life on the water. There’s a fold-down bench at the aft swim platform and hidden fender slots beneath the side decks. There are aft and side doors, plus a mix of sunroofs and sunshades, so you can tweak the conditions to your needs.

In fact, with an aft curtain that wraps around the cockpit, you could easily use this boat as a four-season cruising machine. But it doesn’t stop there. The cockpit is deep and sociable for large dayboating parties and the saloon dinette uses a pop-out stool and reversing co-pilot bench to make best use of the space.

But the fore and aft dining zones also convert into double berths. And that means you can add another two beds to the forward double and the low-slung mid-cabin and sleep up to eight at a time.

marex-330-scandinavia-test-drive-review-video

Under way, the 330 makes a mockery of its restrained looks with plenty of poke, outstanding poise and pinpoint handling. You can spec it with single or twin V-drives or sterndrives.

And a beautiful helm position with multiple adjustment points, a wide overhead sunroof, a skipper’s side door and the option of joystick control makes single-handed helming an absolute breeze.

Highly commended – Dale Classic 37

Designed by celebrated Dale stalwart, Arthur Mursell, the new four-berth Classic 37 is built like a tank, styled like a work of art and equipped with a delightfully soft-riding semi-displacement hull.

Sportscruisers over 45ft

Fairline Phantom 65 ,  Pardo 60 Endurance ,  Riva 68 Diable ,  Sunseeker Predator 65

Winner – Fairline Phantom 65

This may be Fairline’s first attempt at a sportsfly design but you’d never guess it from the way it looks, performs and feels. With those sleek, flowing lines, it strikes the perfect balance between elegance and sportiness, yet somehow still manages to pack in up to four cabins below deck and masses of sociable living space inside and out.

Even the flybridge itself, while compact by Squadron standards, has plenty of secure seating, sunpads and a proper wet bar, as well as a comprehensive outside helm station.

However, all of this would count for little if the driving experience failed to live up to Fairline’s usual high standards. Thankfully, it’s even better than we had anticipated, delivering effortless acceleration up to a top speed of 38 knots, responsive handling and the kind of refined, long-legged cruising that feels perfectly in keeping with that other legendary Phantom built by Rolls-Royce motor cars.

Fairline-Phantom-65-test-drive-review-video

Last but by no means least, those impressive dynamic characteristics are backed up by sound practical thinking, a beautifully finished interior and reassuringly solid build quality.

As we said in our original test, the Phantom 65 really does feel like it offers the best of both worlds with the looks and driving characteristics of a traditional sportscruiser but also the comfort and practicality of a flybridge.

Flybridges up to 60ft

Absolute 56 ,  Beneteau Swift Trawler 48 ,  Galeon 500 Fly ,  Leopard 46 Powercat ,  Prestige M48

Winner – Galeon 500 Fly

The Galeon 500 Fly is a supremely innovative boat. Up at the helm, push-button windows aid ventilation and a rotating seat integrates the driver with the starboard bench and the rest of the upper saloon guests.

There’s a pleasantly sociable helm on the flybridge too, with forward sunbeds and a wraparound lounge, plus a port wet bar and a huge dining space aft.

And back down on the bow, a big triangular dining area with comfy backrests provides all kinds of convertibility, including incline control for the sunlounger and sliding forward benches for a larger party.

galeon-500-fly-test-drive-review-video

Down below, there’s masses of natural light from oversized windows and skylights. But it’s the aft part of the main deck that really stands out. The port balcony folds down so you can perch on a stool and take advantage of the galley’s inside-outside bar.

On the other side, the saloon opens up, enabling the settee to reverse and face out over its own terrace. And in the aft cockpit, a spinning carousel enables you to face in whichever direction you choose.

In short, with its combination of rotating seats, twin terraces and inside-outside zones, the 500 Fly is more rewarding than any other boat in its sector.

Highly commended – Prestige M48

In addition to three double cabins, each with its own bathroom and staircase, the Prestige M48 provides a stupendous amount of day space and a drive as novice-friendly as any you will see.

Flybridges over 60ft

Absolute 60 Fly ,  Azimut 68 ,  Numarine 22 XP ,  Sirena 68 ,  Sirena 78

Winner – Sirena 68

It’s hard to believe that Sirena Yachts has only been making motor boats under its own name for a little over five years but with plenty of prior experience building high-quality motor yachts for Azimut, and the talents of world-renowned yacht designers German Frers and Cor D. Rover to assist them, it has gone from zero to hero in record time.

We tested two new models in 2022 alone, both of which made it through to our shortlist. But it’s the 68 which we feel is the more rounded package, offering the perfect balance of size, style, ability and price.

That starts with a modern yet elegant design that manages to pack a high-quality, high-volume interior into a surprisingly sleek exterior.

sirena-68-review

Then there’s the robust semi-displacement hull with its category A RCD rating that is just as happy batting aside heavy seas at displacement speeds as it is hoovering up the miles at 25 knots.

That low-speed comfort and stability also plays into the current trend for fuel efficient passage-making, giving a safe cruising range of almost 1,000nm at 9 knots. The result is a wonderfully capable all-rounder that is perfectly in tune with today’s needs at a price that belies its quality.

Highly commended – Absolute 60 Fly

With its versatile deck spaces, vast windows, innovative layout and refined IPS performance, Absolute’s latest flybridge is as comfortable as it is stylish.

Custom Yachts

Sponsored by The Moorings

Azimut Grande 26M ,  Grand Banks 85 ,  Pearl 95 ,  Sunseeker 90 Ocean

Winner – Sunseeker 90 Ocean

We don’t mind admitting that this was the hardest of all the categories to pick a winner in. We could make a case for any one of these finalists winning. However, after much debate we decided to give it to the one we felt was most in tune with what today’s buyers are looking for.

The Sunseeker Ocean 90 has it all: acres of versatile deck spaces packed with innovative solutions like the X-TEND seating; an intimate connection with the sea thanks to the vast sea-level beach club, glass transoms and bulwarks; masses of storage space for tenders, water toys and cruising gear; a wonderfully luxurious interior that makes full use of the unusually wide beam; and a hull that feels very nearly as agile and sea-kindly as some of its overtly sportier siblings.

sunseeker-90-ocean-review-MBY275.cy_sunseeker_ocean90.90ocn_060a0707_rt

The fact that this all fits comfortably into a craft with an LOA of 89ft is all the more remarkable, enabling it to offer the same space and luxury as much longer boats but without the associated running costs.

However, the biggest achievement of all is that despite its extra beam and volume and a brand-new hull shape, it still manages to look, feel and drive like a true Sunseeker.

Highly commended – Grand Banks 85

With its slippery hull shape, carbon fibre superstructure and IPS drives, the new GB85 is exceptionally fuel efficient but still just as seaworthy, stylish and beautifully built as its much heavier predecessors.

Judges’ Special Award

Sponsored by Sleipner

Winner – Pearl Yachts

From its humble beginnings in 1998, when a former yacht captain teamed up with a local businessman to launch a stylish new range of aft cabin craft, Pearl Yachts has never shied away from doing things differently.

In the face of vastly bigger, better resourced competition, it has consistently managed to defy the odds, building spacious, cleverly packaged craft with the style and quality to match.

While many of its competitors have been bought, sold or even fallen by the wayside over the intervening years, Pearl Yachts’ small but enthusiastic management team, led by its founder and managing director Iain Smallridge with the backing of its owners Tony and Margaret Whittaker, steered Pearl Yachts through the tough times and continued to invest in new product.

The introduction of world-class designers, Bill Dixon and Kelly Hoppen, in 2012 has ensured that its latest range of yachts are as fresh and innovative as ever, while maintaining the quality-to-price ratio for which they are renowned.

Now boasting a thoroughly modern range of stylish flybridge cruisers from 62ft to 95ft, including a brand new 72ft model and an 82ft project currently in development, Pearl Yachts enters its 25th year in business looking stronger and fitter than ever.

Brabus 1200 Sun Top: A high-end space accented with exclusives

Glacier 48: wide walkaround design equipped for temperature extremes, italia yachts 43 veloce: a walkaround boat with a med-fit wet bar, latest videos, bluegame bgm75 sea trial: the €6.8m powercat that thinks its a monohull, cormate chase 32 tour: fast, stylish and practical weekender, axopar 29 sea trial: sun top vs cross cabin – which is best, sunseeker ocean 182 – see how this compact superyacht copes in a wet and windy sea trial.

Candela C-8 wins European Powerboat of the Year 2023

Powerboat of the year featured image

We are proud to announce that the Candela C-8 has been named the European Powerboat of the Year 2023.

This prestigious award ceremony, also known as “The Oscars of the Boat Industry”, was first launched in 2005 and has been held annually ever since. On January 21, 2023 – After two years of virtually held ceremonies- the presentation of the awards was finally back on site at Boot Düsseldorf.

This year a new category called “Electric” was introduced due to the increase in the manufacture of electric boats. The 5 candidates for this category (including the Candela C-8) are all among the best-selling powerboats in Europe.

The jury of the European Powerboat Award are expert test riders and editors-in-chief of the European powerboat media and regarding the “Electric” category, they judged the nominees specifically based on design, safety, and a good quality-price ratio. Another important factor for them while selecting the winner was the execution of innovative ideas. They also considered important quality features such as speed and handling.

Thanks to its unique industry-first hydrofoil technology features, which allow it to fly silently over the waves, the Candela C-8 was the winner of the “Electric” category by the jury.

“We’re committed to revolutionizing the boating industry by creating electric boats that are not only more sustainable and environmentally friendly, but also outperform traditional fossil fuel-powered boats. Therefore, winning the European Powerboat of the Year 2023 award is an important recognition for our work. Mikael Mahlberg, Head of PR & Communications

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powerboat of the year 2023

  • BOOT PORTAL /

European Yacht and Powerboat of the Year 2023

A stage is set for the “oscars of the boating industry”.

Copyright © L.Fruchaud

The presentation of the awards "European Yacht of the Year" for sailing yachts and "Powerboat of the Year" for motor yachts is a major highlight every year at the boot Düsseldorf and an event that gets the hearts of many watersports fans pumping. This year's winners were selected on 21 January 2023.

Awards Ceremony 2023

At the traditional FLAGSHIP NIGHT, the major industry get-together of Delius Klasing Verlag and boot, the prestigious awards are presented in a festive act - after two years of virtual awards, finally on site again in Düsseldorf.

European Yacht of the Year: tests sailings of the nominated sailing yachts

For the 20th time, the jury members from the twelve sailing magazines from Norway (Seilmagasinet), Sweden (Båtägande), the United Kingdom (Yachting World), the Netherlands, (Zeilen), Switzerland (marina.ch), France (Voiles et Voiliers), Spain (Náutica y Yates), Denmark (Bådmagasinet), Austria (Yachtrevue), Italy (Vela e Motore), Finland (Vene) and Germany (YACHT) selected the best from the 2023 boatbuilding vintage from among 50 to 70 new or significantly reworked models. The sea trials lasting several days and setting the competition apart from all others, first took the jury to La Rochelle in autumn 2022, before the second, even more extensive test off Port Ginesta, near Barcelona, followed shortly afterwards.

These are the best sailing boats of 2023

Copyright © L.Fruchaud

Winner Family Cruiser

Copyright © A.Sutej

Winner Performance Cruiser

Copyright © A.Lindlahr

Winner Luxury Cruiser

Copyright © PR Werft

Winner Multihulls

Copyright © A.Lindlahr

Special Mentioning Sustainability

European powerboat of the year: winner voting with points system.

Experts from the powerboat media outlet s had a difficult job selecting 28 nominees  across six categories from over 250 new boat models for the European Powerboat Award  2023. This year, organisers have introduced a separate category in response to an  increasing number of catamarans and electric boats. Besides the usual quality features of  a powerboat, such as workmanship and handling properties, the jury particularly focused  on the candidates’ layouts, safety and value for money. Ultimately, the implementation  of innovative ideas and concepts can also be a decisive factor.

These are the best powerboats of 2023

Copyright © Werft

Winner Sports boats up to 8 metres

Copyright © Werft

Winner Powerboats up to 10 metres

Copyright © Werft

Winner Motorboats up to 14 metres

Copyright © Werft

Winner Motoryachts up to 20 metres

Copyright © Werft

Winner Displacement class

Copyright © Werft

Winner Electric motorboats

Seamaster-award.

This year, the SEAMASTER Award was once again presented. With this honour, the two partners pay tribute to a personality who has made a special contribution to watersports. It was last awarded in 2020, with the exceptional German sailor and Vendée Globe finalist Boris Herrmann named as the recipient. In 2023, the award for outstanding and sustainable commitment goes to Ukrainian Opti coach Pavlo Dontsov for mentoring his young people in times of war. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Pavlo was in Valencia training a group of young Ukrainian Opti sailors. After he learned that war had broken out, he kept the group of children and young people together and set about caring for them simply as a matter of course – an act that reflected an international commitment to help. The jury saw this as “an example of cohesion in sport and a sign of hope in bleak times”.

powerboat of the year 2023

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powerboat of the year 2023

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powerboat of the year 2023

  • January 23, 2023

De Antonio Yachts wins the European Powerboat of the Year 2023 award with the D36 Open

The D36 Open beats its competitors and wins the “Oscar” of boating, assigned by a jury made up of members of the international press, in an event that took place during a gala evening at the opening of the Boot in Dusseldorf, the largest boat show in Europe.

The D36 Open, by winning the prize, confirms itself as the only Spanish shipyard to have won this recognition. The European Power Boat of the Year award was already won in 2019 by the Catalan shipyard with the D46 Cruiser model. The two awards join the nominations obtained in 2018 with the D28 Open and in 2020 with the D42 Open.

powerboat of the year 2023

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powerboat of the year 2023

De Antonio Yachts joins the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team that will participate in the 37th Edition of the America’s Cup in Barcelona.

powerboat of the year 2023

DE ANTONIO YACHTS E23, THE OFFICIAL ELECTRIC BOAT OF THE 37TH EDITION OF THEAMERICA’S CUP

powerboat of the year 2023

De Antonio Yachts presents the D32 Open

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  • The M48 Wins Recognition

Launched few months ago in an early première presentation at the Cannes Boat Show, followed by the fall boat shows,  the M48 has been very well received on the powercat market.  This new model has won an award and is nominated for two European prizes.

The M48 Receives the Design Innovation Award 2022

powerboat of the year 2023

Awarded each year by an international jury, the " Design Innovation Award " recognizes new models presented at the Genoa International Boat Show.  This prize, created by the Italian Marine Industry Association and by the company, I Saloni Nautici , supports and encourages innovation in the world of nautical design.

This year, the M48 has won the prize in the multihull category.

Nominated for European Powerboat of the Year  2023

The M48 is also nominated for the prestigious title of " European Powerboat of the Year 2023," which is awarded each year by the German Magazine, Boote , recognizing outstanding new boat models on the European market.

Results are expected to be announced at the Dusseldorf Boat Show in January of 2023.

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Related news, presenting the m48, the m48, prestige heritage in a catamaran, the new m48: an efficient design, a gentle art de vivre.

European Powerboat Of The Year : These are the powerboats of the year

Boote Redaktion

 ·  21.01.2023

Winner of the category motorboats up to 8 metres: Askeladden C 78 Cruiser/Parker 780 Escape

  • Winner of the category motorboats up to 8 metres
  • Winner of the category motorboats up to 10 metres
  • Winner of the category motorboats up to 14 metres
  • Winner of the category motorboats up to 20 metres
  • Winner of the displacer category
  • Winner of the Electric category

Out of the quiet room and into the big ballroom. After a two-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the "leading lights" of the international water sports industry came together for the Flagship Night, the award ceremony for the European Powerboat Award 2023, in the main hall of the Düsseldorf boat show. Around 500 invited guests accepted the invitation from Delius Klasing Verlag and boot boss Petros Michelidakis to celebrate the lucky winners of the coveted prizes. As is so often the case, it was a bit like Hollywood, with the only difference being that the presenter was not slapped in the face by any angry guests that evening.

There were more than 200 new models to choose from for Motorboat of the Year. It was no easy task to make a selection and ultimately choose a handful of winners. After many meetings and sometimes heated discussions, the jury of editors-in-chief and chief testers from Europe's biggest motorboat magazines agreed on the winners.

  • These were the nominated boats for the Powerboat Award

These magazines are included:

  • Batmagasinet (Norway)
  • BoatMag.it (Italy)
  • BOOTE (Germany)
  • Marina.ch (Switzerland)
  • Nautica y Yates (Spain)
  • Neptune (France)
  • Motorboat (Netherlands)
  • Yachtrevue (Austria)

boot/Cover_Magazine_EPOYBoote2023_bea2f33b1a7d38d0016e655ec321fc83

These were the criteria for the European Powerboat Award

Only boats that had been tested by the jury before the vote were allowed to be chosen. As always, important factors included handling characteristics, workmanship, safety, room layout, value for money and the realisation of innovative ideas. Voting took place in five different categories. For the first time, the "Electricians", whose presence on the market has increased significantly, were also included.

All winners of the Powerboat Award 2023

Motorboats up to 8 m, askeladden c 78 cruiser / parker 780 escape.

boot/upto8m_AskeladdenC78Cruiser_652af7ebb96e5c4c0a33735647de2fbf

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Oscars of the Boating Industry: These Are The Best Powerboats And The Best Sailing Yachts of 2023

European Yacht and Powerboat of the Year 2023 – A stage set for the “Oscars of the boating industry”.

The presentation of the awards “European Yacht of the Year” for sailing yachts and “Powerboat of the Year” for motor yachts is a major highlight every year at the boot Düsseldorf and an event that gets the hearts of many watersports fans pumping. This year’s winners were selected on 21 January 2023.

powerboat of the year 2023

Winner Family Cruiser: @Linjett 39; © L.Fruchaud

Awards Ceremony 2023

At the traditional FLAGSHIP NIGHT, the major industry get-together of Delius Klasing Verlag and 2023boot, the prestigious awards are presented in a festive act – after two years of virtual awards, finally on site again in Düsseldorf.

European Yacht of the Year: tests sailings of the nominated sailing yachts

For the 20th time, the jury members from the twelve sailing magazines from Norway (Seilmagasinet), Sweden (Båtägande), the United Kingdom (Yachting World), the Netherlands, (Zeilen), Switzerland (marina.ch), France (Voiles et Voiliers), Spain (Náutica y Yates), Denmark (Bådmagasinet), Austria (Yachtrevue), Italy (Vela e Motore), Finland (Vene) and Germany (YACHT) selected the best from the 2023 boatbuilding vintage from among 50 to 70 new or significantly reworked models.

The sea trials lasting several days and setting the competition apart from all others, first took the jury to La Rochelle in autumn 2022, before the second, even more extensive test off Port Ginesta, near Barcelona, followed shortly afterwards.

powerboat of the year 2023

Winner Luxury Cruiser: @Oyster 495; Copyright © A.Lindlahr

These are the best sailing boats of 2023:

  • Winner Family Cruiser: Linjett 39 Modern cruising yacht with excellent processing quality
  • Winner Performance Cruiser: First 36 Convincing with contemporary design and impressive performance potential
  • Winner Luxury Cruiser: Oyster 495 Superyacht in compact format with stylish flush deck and flat cabin superstructure
  • Winner Multihulls: Nautitech 44 Open Excellent sailing characteristics paired with a lot of comfort and thoughtful details

powerboat of the year 2023

Special Mentioning Sustainability: @Ecoracer 25; Copyright © A.Lindlahr

European Powerboat of the Year: Winner voting with points system

Experts from the powerboat media outlets had a difficult job selecting 28 nominees across six categories from over 250 new boat models for the European Powerboat Award 2023. This year, organisers have introduced a separate category in response to an increasing number of catamarans and electric boats. Besides the usual quality features of a powerboat, such as workmanship and handling properties, the jury particularly focused on the candidates’ layouts, safety and value for money. Ultimately, the implementation of innovative ideas and concepts can also be a decisive factor.

powerboat of the year 2023

Winner Motoryachts up to 20 metres: @Prestige M 48 catamaran

These are the best powerboats of 2023

  • Winner Sports boats up to 8 metres: Askeladden C 78 Cruiser / Parker 780 Escape The two identical boats offer the perfect combination of fun, cruising and family boat
  • Winner Powerboats up to 10 metres: Jeanneau Cap Camarat 10.5 CC Plenty of space on and below deck, fast and easy to maneuver
  • Winner Motorboats up to 14 metres: De Antonio D 36 Triple butted hull, concealed outboarders
  • Winner Motoryachts up to 20 metres: Prestige M 48 Catamaran with the well-known advantages such as efficiency, spaciousness and seaworthiness
  • Winner Displacement class: SLX 54 Many innovations, a generous space concept and a design language previously unknown in steel boat building

powerboat of the year 2023

Winner Displacement class: @SLX 54 yacht

SEAMASTER-Award

This year, the SEAMASTER Award was once again presented. With this honour, the two partners pay tribute to a personality who has made a special contribution to watersports. It was last awarded in 2020, with the exceptional German sailor and Vendée Globe finalist Boris Herrmann named as the recipient.

In 2023, the award for outstanding and sustainable commitment goes to Ukrainian Opti coach Pavlo Dontsov for mentoring his young people in times of war. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Pavlo was in Valencia training a group of young Ukrainian Opti sailors. After he learned that war had broken out, he kept the group of children and young people together and set about caring for them simply as a matter of course – an act that reflected an international commitment to help. The jury saw this as “an example of cohesion in sport and a sign of hope in bleak times”.

powerboat of the year 2023

Winner Multihulls: @Nautitech 44 Open

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Winner Powerboats up to 10 metres: @Jeanneau Cap Camarat 10.5 CC

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FJORD 53 XL is a candidate for the European Powerboat of the Year award 2023

*CATEGORY: BOATS UP TO 20 METRES*

During her world premiere at the Cannes Yachting Festival, the FJORD 53 XL was announced as a candidate for the "European Powerboat of the Year" Awards 2023. The industry's most important powerboat award is presented each year by a jury of experts consisting of representatives from eight leading European powerboat magazines according to a sophisticated points system. These include features such as the quality, craftsmanship or handling of the motor yacht. Further criteria are the amount of space, safety, value for money and the implementation of innovations on board. 

The winners of the "Oscars of the boatbuilding industry" will be revealed in January 2023. We are keeping our fingers crossed and eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winners.

Photos © Dans Boat Life, Neptune Yachting Moteur

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D36 Open: Best European Powerboat of the Year

De Antonio Yachts once again wins the most valued award in the yachting industry at an emotional ceremony.

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Once again, and during the first day of the International Boat Show Boot Düsseldorf, the European nautical press gathered the entire sector in a new edition of the Flagship Night where the gala of the European Powerboat of the Year 2023 awards was held and where four categories classified by length were awarded, in addition to the special award for electric boats.

d36 deantonio 2

De Antonio Yachts emerged as the winner of the night, winning the award for Best European Powerboat of the Year 2023, in the category of up to 14 meters, with its new D36 Open, presented during the Cannes Yachting Festival and launched to mark the brand's tenth anniversary, representing the brand's new generation of boats in terms of both performance and design.

d36 deantonio 3

De Antonio Yachts is making history and demonstrating, once again, its leadership in innovation and design, obtaining for the second time the most prized award for all European shipyards since in 2019 the D46 Cruiser model also received the same award.

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powerboat of the year 2023

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In 2019, at the international boat show in Düsseldorf (Boot Düsseldorf), our model D46 Open was elected best European PowerBoat of the year in the category of boats over 45 feet. By winning this award, we set a major milestone in Spain's history as the first Spanish shipyard that achieved such high recognition.

The D36 Open model has been awarded Best European Powerboat of the Year in the category up to 14 meters during the Boot, International Boat Show in Düsseldorf 2023. De Antonio Yachts is making history and demonstrating, once again, its leadership in innovation and design, obtaining for the second time the most prized award for all European shipyards.

It is not the first time De Antonio Yachts have participated in the awards, as we have been nominees on two other occasions. In 2018, with the D28, in 2020 with the D42.

The European Powerboat of the Year is a yearly award that recognizes the best five boats among all the models sold in Europe. The criteria which the jury bases their evaluation on space between value for money, performance, innovation. The spirit is to award the models that carry on valuable features, regardless of the brand or the market diffusion. That is why there are five categories by length, so the large and famous motor yachts cannot vershadow smaller or less popular boats that still offer peculiar traits.

The winners receive their recognition during an award-giving gala held on the first Saturday of the Düsseldorf Boat Show, one of the main events in the business celebrated in

mid-January every year.

DE ANTONIO YACHTS EUROPEAN BOAT OF THE YEAR NOMINATED 2018

We are very pleased to have won the Bronze Delta Award with our D42 yacht at the prestigious Delta Awards, organized by the Industrial Design Association ADI-FAD. We have been able to compete with companies and designers of the stature of SEAT, gold winner, Nacar Desig and GOFI, among many others.

The Delta Awards are given biennially in recognition of the work of industrial designers and manufacturing companies. Since their first edition in 1961, the Delta Awards have been an important promotional channel for designers and companies in the country and a valuable platform for public recognition.

ADI Premiats ESP_4-01.png

powerboat of the year 2023

Get the latest News, Reviews and Press Releases covering everything you need to know of the world of Quarken.

powerboat of the year 2023

European Powerboat Award Nomination

Quarken 27 t-top nominated.

During the Cannes Yachting Festival in September 2022, Quarken 27 T-Top was nominated for the prestigious European Powerboat of the Year award. This award is considered the boating industry’s Oscar for the best new motorboats of the season.

Quarken 27 T-Top is nominated and one of the five boats selected in the category „Up to 10 meters“. The European Powerboat of the Year Award will be presented in January 2023 and the jury is put together from test riders and editors-in-chief of the leading European motorboat magazines. This makes the “European Powerboat Award” one of the most important awards in the industry worldwide.

powerboat of the year 2023

From powerboat-award.com “Following the nominating-phase, the Jury meets each year again in November, to vote for the final winners. Criteria’s like workmanship, safety, driving behaviour, design, distribution of space and the price-performance ratio are considered and rated and compared on an internal scoring system. The boat that has the most points in its class, will be awarded with the well-earned title: “European Powerboat of the Year. The winners are announced during the Flagship-Night, which takes place during the first night of the BOOT exhibition in Düsseldorf.”

Read more about the award here HERE

powerboat of the year 2023

27 Cabin receives Highly Commended title in the MBY awards

MBY award Düsseldorf, Germany In the 2024 Motor Boat Awards 41 finalists where announced across 9 different categories.

powerboat of the year 2023

Quarken announces new dealership in Finland

Quarken Boats is excited to announce the appointment of a new dealership in its home country Finland. Astrum

powerboat of the year 2023

Quarken 27 Cabin Award finalist in MBY!

MBY award nomination 2024 Motor Boat Awards: 41 finalists finally announced across 9 categories Quarken 27 Cabin has

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Miami 2023: A Tale Of Two Boat Shows

As new model releases go—at least in the high-performance powerboat segment—one word sums up this year’s Miami International Boat Show , which opened yesterday and will close Sunday.

Skinny. Strike that. Anorexic.

There are exceptions, of course, such as the first model in Glasstream Powerboats’ GSX center-console series . The 36-footer is the product of a collaboration between Kruis Retherford, the owner of the Alabama-based boat company, and Glasstream dealer Bill Day of Day’s Boat Sales in Kentucky. A savvy marketer, Retherford turned to Day to help create the look, feel and features of the first GSX offering, a sporty center console dressed in graphics conceived by Stephen Miles Design . (Paul Boyden Customs of Pensacola, Fla., painted the boat.)

powerboat of the year 2023

Mercury Racing ’s in water-demo display at Grove Harbour Marina was the place to be this week during the Miami International Boat Show. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix .

Don’t misunderstand, there was plenty to look at inside the Miami Beach Convention Center. The MTI exhibit included Bill Pyburn’s wicked V 50 center console and a V 42 center console along with a 390X catamaran and MTI’s second production 440X catamaran. Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats displayed a new 400 SS center console—the Fort Myers, Fla.-based company unveiled that model during last year’s show—owned by loyal Nor-Tech clients Jesse and Stephanie Neumann, as well as a 500 Sport center console for fellow Nor-Tech fan Alex Pratt, the founder of the Good Boy Vodka and hard seltzer brands, who is heading into his second Class 1 offshore racing season as a throttleman with driver Miles Jennings and XINSURANCE as the team’s primary backer.

Sandwiched between those brands was Cigarette Racing Team , which had a 515 sportboat, a 42 Auroris center console and a 41 Nighthawk center console—as well an array of Cigarette-branded clothing—on display.

In typically fine Midnight Express Boats fashion, the Miami-based company had a wicked, color-matched boat-car-combo consisting of a new SV 43 Solstice center console and Lamborghini automobile.

Without question, Mercury Racing’s new 400R V-10 outboard stole the show —at least inside the convention center. Not since the introduction of the 1350, the company’s first quad cam four valve twin-turbocharger sterndrive engine, at the 2010 Miami event has the Fond du Lac, Wis., high-performance marine propulsion outfit unveiled such a game-changing platform on which to base an entire engine series. But this time around, it’s all about outboards.

powerboat of the year 2023

Scenes from the Miami Beach Convention Center.

To loosely borrow from the late Sunshine State-born rock-and-roller Tom Petty, the future of V-10 outboard derivatives is wide open, which also happens to be part of Mercury Racing’s “Life At Wide Open” marketing mantra.

Mercury Racing also stole the show outside the show with its extensive demo fleet at Grove Harbour Marina in Coconut Grove, which minus traffic took about 20 minutes to reach from the convention center. (Of course, “minus traffic” and “Miami” should never be used in the same sentence.) The in-water collection included a DCB Performance Boats M37R Widebody catamaran, an MTI V-42 center console, an MTI 390X Mercury Racing-branded catamaran, a Mystic Powerboats M4200 center console, a Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console, an Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats SC 37 catamaran, SV 29 V-bottom and SV 52 V-bottom, and a Sunsation 32 CCX. The trip to Grove Harbour was well worth the effort.

And naturally most of the boats in the mix there were powered by Mercury Racing’s new V-10 outboard.

A five-minute idle was all it took to reach open water. Skippers included DCB’s Jeff Johnston and Tony Chiaramonte, Mercury Marine ’s Mike Griffiths, Shaun Peters of MTI, Jason Taylor of Nor-Tech dealer Midwest Boating Center , Dan Kleitz of Outerlimits, and an entire team from Sunsation Boats . While waiting for their pre-reserved demo rides, participants could learn about the development and nuances from none other than Jeff Broman, Mercury Racing’s director of engineering.

powerboat of the year 2023

Scenes from Grove Harbour Marina.

Short version: For performance-boat buyers who want to see and enjoy high-performance boats on the water —go figure—Grove Harbour was the place to be this week. And it will be again tomorrow, though would-be demo riders will need to contact the manufacturers above to make reservations. (The fleet moves out after Friday’s demo day ends.)

The verdict, as least this reporter’s version of it? The 2023 Miami International Boat Show is a mixed bag. A combination of exorbitant display fees and the general contraction of the high-performance marine category made that segment seem mighty small tucked away in a convention center corner, which in turn made it feel a little sad and underwhelming. New-model releases tend to run in cycles, and so far there aren’t many for the model-year 2023. No one to blame there, but it does make for a less splashy boat show.

On the very positive side, Mercury Racing’s V-10 outboard is a beast that holds nothing but promise for the go-fasting boating world. The company’s Grove Harbour demo days, which you can expect to return in 2024, also proved delightful.

powerboat of the year 2023

The new GSX 36 on display in Miami is one of the first offerings in a new series of sporty center consoles from Glasstream.

Related stories Glasstream Powerboats Launching New GSX Line In Miami Mercury Racing Kicks Off 50th Anniversary Celebration In V-10 Outboard Style Countdown To Miami: Inside The 2023 Miami International Boat Show Mercury Racing And Nor-Tech Power Hurricane Ian Relief Effort To $114,983

powerboat of the year 2023

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powerboat of the year 2023

ATA

2023 boating industry outlook shows a healthy demand

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) shared the latest industry data, and the 2023 outlook shows that coming off a record year of high demand in 2021, new powerboat retail unit sales normalized in 2022, down an estimated 15-18%, to pre-pandemic growth years (2015-2019) with an estimated 250,000 new units sold, 25% above previous averages (2008-2014), according to a recent NMMA press release. Looking ahead to 2023, early indications point to continued healthy demand with new retail unit sales expected to remain on par with 2022.

This momentum comes as marine manufacturers continue strategically managing production and inventory pipelines following two years of supply chain bottlenecks. Segments driving growth in 2022 included entry-level boats such as personal watercraft, freshwater aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats, as well as pontoon boats that are less than 26 feet.

New data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), released in November 2022, shows the outdoor recreation economy has seen record-breaking years, sustaining remarkable growth despite navigating a post-pandemic environment. In 2021, outdoor recreation generated $862 billion in economic output, accounting for 1.9% of U.S. GDP, making it a larger contributor than agriculture, extraction of oil and gas, and mining. Outdoor recreation also supported 4.5 million American jobs, and recreational boating and fishing are the number one contributor to the almost billion dollar outdoor recreation economy, surpassing RVing, hunting and other outdoor activities.

Read the full press release here .

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Free ATA State of the Industry webinar July 24

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NECPA 2025 Expo and Conference date announced

NECPA 2025 Expo and Conference date announced

powerboat of the year 2023

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Boyne Thunder powerboats' roar returns to Northern Michigan waters this weekend

BOYNE CITY — The powerboats of Boyne Thunder are set to roar across Lake Charlevoix this weekend, July 12-13.

This popular event, which attracts thousands of spectators to Northern Michigan, kicks off in Boyne City and spans 150 miles through Charlevoix, Elk Rapids, Northport, Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor.

Hosted by Boyne City Main Street, Boyne Thunder is a powerboat poker run that offers participating enthusiasts a chance to experience the scenery of Northern Michigan and onlookers a chance to watch the colorful vessels fly through the water. In addition to the race, the weekend activities include a Friday Night Street Show in Boyne City.

More: PHOTOS: Boyne Thunder 2023

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With 120 boats signed up this year, the slots for Boyne Thunder always sell out quickly, according to Ingrid Day, director of Boyne City Main Street. The event runs from noon on Friday to noon on Sunday, but boats will begin arriving at Boyne City marinas as early as Wednesday, said Day. They are scheduled to pass through Charlevoix's Round Lake and Pine River Chanel on Saturday morning, July 13.

"It's really wonderful to get caught up in this beautiful event, but I think it's important to remember that it is about the charities," Day said. "We are proud to show off our community and to know that we are making a difference."

Sixty-five percent of the proceeds go to local charities, such as Camp Quality and Challenge Mountain, averaging $150,000 each year. Camp Quality Michigan serves children with cancer and their families by providing year-round programs, experiences and companionship, at no cost. Challenge Mountain connects children, youth and adults living with disabilities to a wide variety of life-enriching recreational, cultural and social opportunities.

Day also emphasized the importance of the event for Boyne City and other Northern Michigan communities, noting its role in bringing in tourists and boosting local businesses.

"We love what this event does for our town and it's a whole lot of fun to watch," she said.

Last year marked the event's 20th anniversary, and Day noted that the group of 11 people who organize the event works even harder for two weeks after Boyne Thunder to ensure the funds are able to be distributed in September.

"We do this for the charities and for Boyne City, but in the end, it really is for Northern Michigan as well," Day said.

For more information, contact Ingrid Day at (231) 582-9009 or visit boynethunder.com.

— Contact reporter Annie Doyle at (231) 675-0099 and [email protected]

This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Boyne Thunder powerboat event returns to Northern Michigan July 12-13

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Powerball jackpot reaches $1.04 billion. Here's how Monday's drawing became the fourth largest.

powerboat of the year 2023

In 2023, lottery jackpots have already surpassed the billion-dollar mark four times, with two instances in Mega Millions and two in Powerball.

The Powerball jackpot has skyrocketed to $1.04 billion after no winners in the $925 million draw on Saturday, a sum once thought unattainable.

The jackpot's cash value of $478.2 million may increase closer to the drawing time, as seen in past multi-state lottery jackpots.

Monday's drawing is the 4th largest in the game's history and 9th largest worldwide. The lump-sum cash value ranks 12th on the all-time lottery jackpot cash value rankings.

The jackpot has been growing since July 22 and has gone through 31 consecutive drawings without a winner.

Edwin Castro, 31, won the largest Powerball jackpot ever in California on Nov. 7, 2022. He chose the $997.6 million cash option and received $628.5 million after taxes.

Castro purchased a $25.5 million home a month after claiming his prize on a Hollywood Hills hillside, living close to Ariana Grande, Dakota Johnson, and Jimmy Kimmel. He also purchased a $4 million Japanese-inspired house in Altadena, CA, his hometown. Castro bought his third house for $47 million from celebrity realtor Mauricio Umansky.

According to the lottery , there wasn't a winner for the jackpot in Saturday night's Powerball drawing. However, seven fortunate players managed to match the first five numbers to win a prize of $1,000,000. Two were from Florida, one from Indiana, one from Maryland, one from Michigan, one from North Carolina, and one from Pennsylvania.

The two second-prize tickets, purchased in Indiana and North Carolina with the Power Play option, doubled their prizes to $2 million each.

Lottery winners: Virginia man wins lottery 24 times in a row using a consecutive number

On Saturday, 64 tickets won a $50,000 prize by matching four out of the first five numbers plus the Powerball. 9 of those tickets were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $100,000. 10 tickets were sold in California, where the prize awarded is $19,025.

For fast results of tonight's drawing, check the USA Today website. Winning numbers will go up at 11:00 pm EST.

Other jackpots: Mega Millions jackpot reaches $300 million after no winner Friday. See winning numbers.

Top 25 US lottery jackpots of all time

  • Powerball: $2.0401 billion, Nov. 7, 2022 (40 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - California
  • Mega Millions: $1.602 billion, Aug. 8, 2023 (31 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Florida
  • Powerball: $1.5864 billion, Jan. 13, 2016 (19 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California, Florida, Tennessee
  • Mega Millions: $1.537 billion, Oct. 23, 2018 (25 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - South Carolina
  • Mega Millions: $1.348 billion, Jan. 13, 2023 (25 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Maine
  • Mega Millions: $1.337 billion, July 29, 2022 (29 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Illinois
  • Powerball: $1.0798 billion, July 19, 2023 (38 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - California
  • Mega Millions: $1.05 billion, Jan. 22, 2021 (36 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Michigan
  • Powerball: $1.04 billion, Oct. 2, 2023 (31 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  • Powerball: $768.4 million, Mar. 27, 2019 (25 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Wisconsin
  • Powerball: $758.7 million, Aug. 23, 2017 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Massachusetts
  • Powerball: $754.6 million, Feb. 6, 2023 (33 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Washington
  • Powerball: $731.1 million, Jan. 20, 2021 (35 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Maryland
  • Powerball: $699.8 million, Oct. 4, 2021 (40 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - California
  • Powerball: $687.8 million, Oct. 27, 2018 (21 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Iowa, New York
  • Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 (18 rollovers, starting at $12 million) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  • Mega Millions: $648 million, Dec. 17, 2013 (21 rollovers, starting at $12 million) - California, Georgia
  • Powerball: $632.6 million, Jan 5, 2022 (39 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - California, Wisconsin
  • Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 (13 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Florida
  • Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 (15 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Arizona, Missouri
  • Powerball: $564.1 million, Feb. 11, 2015 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  • Powerball: $559.7 million, Jan. 6, 2018 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Hampshire
  • Mega Millions: $543 million, July 24, 2018 (22 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  • Mega Millions: $536 million, July 8, 2016 (34 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Indiana
  • Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 (23 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Jersey

For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 15
  • Mega Millions: 10

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European Powerboat Award

100 Things We Learned in 2023

By mentalfloss .com | jan 6, 2024, 5:09 pm est.

We learned a lot in 2023.

Every year, we collect our favorite stories, fun facts, and innovations from the previous 12 months. In 2023, we learned about some amazing space discoveries, a few hard-working robots, and enough awesome animal news to get you through the winter. Read on for all the fun facts we learned last year, adapted from an episode of the List Show on YouTube.

1. The world’s largest onion was grown in 2023.

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show Opens To The Public

The world’s biggest onion, which was grown and shown in 2023 at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show, weighed just under 20 pounds—imagine making a Bloomin’ Onion out of that.

2. For a few months in 2023, Jupiter held the title for having the most moons in our solar system.

Jupiter

Following the verification of several new Jovian moons in February, astronomers determined that Jupiter had 95 moons. But by May, Saturn had knocked the bigger gas giant off its throne. The International Astronomical Union—the same folks who took Pluto down a peg back in 2006—recognized more than 60 new moons orbiting Saturn, bringing its total to 146. In addition to having the greatest number of moons, Saturn's lunar satellites are some of the most tantalizing to researchers hoping to discover more about Earth’s neighbors. 

3. A huge geyser was spotted on Enceladus. 

Enceladus is covered in ice, and in 2023 we saw new evidence of its liquid interior. The James Webb Space Telescope recorded a geyser of water vapor breaking through the frozen surface and erupting 6000 miles into space. Its height was nearly 20 times greater than the moon’s diameter. The plume was the largest geyser ever spotted on Enceladus, and it gave us a fascinating look at how Saturn’s rings form. It takes the moon 33 hours to orbit the gas giant, and if a geyser is spraying in that period it leaves a trail of vapor that feeds Saturn’s rings. Experts are also hopeful that the plumes contain microscopic lifeforms, but evidence supporting that theory has proven hard to collect.

4. Experts theorized that ‘Oumuamua is a comet.

When ‘Oumuamua suddenly appeared in the inner solar system in 2017, and then left it just as rapidly, astronomers weren’t sure what to make of the cigar-shaped object. It moved a lot faster than a typical asteroid, and it didn’t leave a trail that would suggest it was a comet. Certain Harvard astrophysicists even proposed it could be an alien probe . In March of 2023, however, two ‘Oumuamua experts from Cornell and UC Berkeley said they believe it’s a comet after all —just one without a tail of gas and dust. They theorized that the interstellar visitor is powered by bursts of hydrogen from its icy core, which are released from the ice by the sun’s radiation. The amounts of gas are so small, they don’t show up as a tail, but they can still propel ‘Oumuamua through space.

5. Scientists declared a lake the defining site of the Anthropocene.

A lake in Canada beat out Australian coral reefs, a Polish peat bog, and the Antarctic ice sheet as the defining site of the Anthropocene, according to scientists tasked with pinpointing its start. Crawford Lake near Toronto is small but deep, and the sediment that collects at its bottom stays put. Those layers of mud reveal evidence of the dawn of a new geologic era characterized by human impact—specifically, the sediments trapped fallout from nuclear tests in the 1950s, which the researchers say is the dividing line between the earlier Holocene and the proposed epoch. The lake also shows carbon particles from fossil fuel use and nitrates from agricultural runoff. If Crawford Lake’s nomination is approved by a higher-up group of geologists, it will receive a marker identifying it as ground zero for our brave new world.

6. A 2022 volcanic eruption was found to have produced the most intense lightning ever observed ...

In June 2023, we learned that the 2022 volcanic eruption in Tonga was not only one of the strongest on record, but also produced the most intense lightning ever observed. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption set off a “supercharged” thunderstorm that sparked almost 200,000 lightning flashes within its plume of smoke and ash. At the peak of the storm, there were more than 2600 bolts per minute, and some reached as high as 19 miles into Earth’s atmosphere. 

7. … and that the eruption affected the ozone layer.

If that wasn’t incredible enough, scientists have also suggested that it affected the ozone layer. According to New Scientist , Australian researchers determined that the hole in the ozone layer was bigger in August than it should have been, which they blamed on large amounts of water vapor turning into clouds and providing a surface on which chlorofluorocarbons reacted with ozone. We’re sure to learn even more about this spectacular eruption as researchers continue to analyze data.

8. A new extinct species of penguin was discovered.

Known as “Wilson’s little penguin,” Eudyptula wilsonae was described in a paper published in June. The animal’s modern-day relatives, little penguins/kororā , is an adorable species that lives in New Zealand and other countries. According to Bob Yirka of Phys.org, the newly discovered species is the “oldest-known extinct little penguin.”

9. Hank the Tank was caught.

close up of black bear

Since February 2022, Lake Tahoe, California, has been terrorized by what authorities said was a male black bear responsible for 28 break-ins. They named the bear Hank the Tank. In 2023, though, they discovered that the break-ins had actually been perpetrated by three black bears, with the largest number—21—being attributed to a female officially known as 64F. “Hank,” who pulled off her capers with cubs in tow, was linked to her crimes via DNA. There are plans to relocate her to a sanctuary in Colorado.

10. The first-ever crocodile virgin birth was recorded in 2023.

Parthenogenesis is the ability to reproduce in the absence of sperm. It’s been observed in a handful of species, including some birds and reptiles. But in 2023, the first-ever crocodile virgin birth was recorded . It actually happened back in 2018, when a croc in a Costa Rican zoo delivered 14 eggs despite having not been around other crocs for 16 years. They took seven promising eggs and artificially incubated them, and while none of them hatched, one egg did contain a non-viable fetus, making this the first observable proof the species is capable of an extraordinary evolutionary ability.

11. A 2023 study found that crocs are attracted to babies’ cries.

Speaking of crocs, if your infant falls into a crocodile-occupied river, you better hope they don’t cry. An August 2023 study found that crocodiles are attracted to the cries of human, bonobo, and chimpanzee babies. It’s thought the vocalizations of a helpless infant in distress probably sound like an easy meal. One crocodile did attempt to protect the source of the cries—which, in the study, was a speaker and not an actual helpless child—from other curious crocs.

12. We discovered that humans and horses have a long history. 

Shane Oldfield

According to one March 2023 study, people may have been riding horses 5000 years ago. Horse-drawn chariots, meanwhile, didn’t enter the archaeological record until about 1000 years later. Researchers analyzed human skeletal remains from various sites around southeastern Europe for telltale signs in the legs, pelvis, and backbones—all areas known to show the physical toll of horseback riding.

13. Some of the biggest aquatic attack stories in 2023 involved not sharks, but orcas. 

Orca (Killer whale) spyhopping off Wrangell Island, in...

In 2023 we learned that pods of the black-and-white dolphins got too close for comfort with several boats off the coasts of Spain, Portugal, and France. They mainly swam around the vessels and booped the rudders. But according to records covering the past few years, there have been 250 cases of orcas causing damage to a boat, 60 cases of serious damage, and four sinkings . For now, only the orcas living around the Iberian peninsula have demonstrated this behavior, but scientists still aren’t sure why the animals are so keen on messing up people’s booze cruises.

14. Sea lions got aggressive in 2023.

A California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) opening its...

It’s not just orcas that got combative in 2023: Sea lions in California have also been acting out —but in this case, scientists think they know the reason. In 2023, a harmful algae bloom produced a ton of the potent neurotoxin domoic acid in the waters. Fish ate smaller creatures that consumed the algae, then the sea lions ate the fish. Domoic acid poisoning can make a lot of animals behave unpredictably: A similar algae bloom off California in 1961 is thought to have caused flocks of seabirds to act erratically, which is rumored to have influenced Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds .

15. We learned about a really big fan of the movie Titanic in 2023.

A Florida-based editor named JD has set a goal of collecting 1 million copies of Titanic on VHS, which consisted of two tapes because the movie clocks in at three hours and 15 minutes. JD—who apparently started collecting around a decade ago—has more than 2581 copies as of late 2023.

16. Greta Gerwig made history with Barbie . 

Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie opened with a bang, raking in an impressive $162 million in the U.S. during its opening weekend. The momentum didn’t slow down from there: The Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling-led film has since earned more than $1.4 billion. It has also given Greta Gerwig the title of history’s highest-grossing female director.

17. A funeral home started selling Barbie-themed coffins.

The Alpha and Omega Funeral Home in Ahuachapán, El Salvador, started selling pink Barbie-themed coffins to capitalize on the Barbie craze—and as of early August 2023, 10 people had purchased them to be their future final resting places. 

18. Swifties in Seattle caused seismic activity.

Taylor Swift

How many Swifties does it take to generate the same seismic activity as a 2.3-magnitude earthquake? About 70,000, give or take. That’s what happened at Taylor Swift’s two back-to-back concerts in Seattle over the summer. It wasn’t just the fans’ dancing that caused the ground shakes—the booming sound system itself played a role, too. But still: It’s probably best not to ever underestimate the power of Swifties.

19. A library book was returned 119 years after it was due.

In order for libraries to work, borrowers need to respect the window of time they have to read and return a book. And most do. But every now and again, a title will disappear for 119 years. In 1904, someone checked out An Elementary Treatise on Electricity by James Clerk Maxwell from the New Bedford Free Public Library. It wasn’t returned until 2023, when it surfaced as part of a donation pile at West Virginia University Libraries. No one knows where the book went in the interim, but it’s now back where it belongs.

20. Tons of new words got added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Oxford English Dictionary added hundreds of new entries in 2023. Here are a few of our favorites: Groomzilla is the male counterpart to bridezilla , which made it into the OED back in 2009. And while the meaning of the term comfort-wear is pretty obvious, the OED traces it back to at least 1903 to describe a woman in slippers and a housecoat. The phrases spider sense and spidey sense also made the dictionary. Spidey sense is obviously Spider-Man-related, but spider sense predates our favorite webslinger by nearly 50 years and originally meant “the ability of certain people to sense nearby spiders.”

21. A Tudor-era book was discovered hiding in plain sight.

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell by Hans Holbein the Younger

In 2023, Alison Palmer saw a 16th-century prayer book—a Book of Hours published in 1527—at the University of Cambridge, and it looked very familiar … just like a book featured in a circa 1533 Hans Holbein portrait of Thomas Cromwell, chief advisor to Henry VIII (who sentenced Cromwell to death). A team of experts reviewed the evidence and concluded it was the same book in Cromwell's portrait. It was among the volumes left to Cromwell’s secretary, Ralph Sadleir, and it came to Cambridge through the wife of the secretary’s grandson. According to a press release, the bejeweled tome “is thought to be the only object from any Tudor portrait to survive to this day.” Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn each owned their own edition of the book.

22. A document thought to be a forgery was shown to be the real deal.

Famous documents are occasionally found to be forgeries. In 2023, the opposite occurred. Graduate student and Mental Floss contributor Vanessa Braganza was perusing Harvard University’s Widener Library when she spotted a copy of The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Philip Sidney on the shelf. It was donated to Harvard in 1913 after businessman Harry Elkins Widener died on the Titanic and left behind his personal library. Elizabethan author and Philip Sidney’s sister Mary Sidney Herbert was thought to be the book’s original owner, but in the 1940s, Harvard’s rare books librarian William A. Jackson claimed it was a forgery. Harvard accepted his argument until 2023, when Braganza proved it really was from the 16th century. The university was pleased to hear it had owned an authentic piece of rare literature all along.

23. Conservators found a hidden image under a René Magritte painting.

Rene Magritte and his wife Georgette Berger

René Magritte’s 1943 painting The Fifth Season isn’t among his most lauded paintings, but as we discovered in 2023, it harbored a secret: Under the two men holding frames on a street was the image of a woman—possibly the artist’s wife. It was found by conservators at the Royal Museums of the Fine Arts of Belgium using infrared reflectography. If you look hard enough, you can find evidence of it in the painting.

24. Chipotle is testing a new robot. 

In 2022, Chipotle introduced a chip-making robot named “Chippy,” and last year, we learned Chippy will have a friend: The company announced that they’re currently testing a robot named “Autocado,” which slices, cores, and peels avocados so human employees don’t have to. It could potentially cut the time it takes to make a batch of guacamole in half, so consider this a win for people behind and in front of the counter.

25. An iOS update finally got rid of that ducking autocorrect.

We’ve all been there: You’re on your iPhone, typing out a heated text complete with f-bomb, when that f-bomb morphs into the d word: duck . But in fall 2023, Apple finally issued an autocorrect update in iOS17. As Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, put it, “In those moments where you just want to type a ducking word, well, the keyboard will learn it.”

26. We may have gotten a step closer to flying cars in 2023. 

We’ve been hearing about flying cars since well before The Jetsons . But we hopefully got closer to that reality when Alef Aeronautics received permission from the FAA to test its Model A car, which is the first flying automobile that can be parked on the ground in a conventional parking spot. Alef expects it to be available in 2025 for a bargain $300,000. But don’t reserve it just yet: It has a lot of testing to be done.

27. A super-reflective white paint was developed.

In 2023, The New York Times reported that scientists had developed a paint so white and reflective that 98 percent of the sun’s rays bounce right off it . The coating was developed by a team at Purdue University led by mechanical engineering professor Xiulin Ruan. The idea is to use the paint on rooftops, where it would do its ray deflecting thing and keep items cooler inside the buildings. According to the scientists, the paint is as much as 8°F cooler than the air around it during the day; at night, that number drops to as much as 19°F cooler.

28. Wawa debuted its pizza.

A  Wawa convenience store and gas station seen on the day...

This summer, Wawa —the uber-popular convenience store— added a new item to its menu: Pizza. Like the chain’s hoagies, you choose between a couple of sizes and pile on the toppings you prefer. The pizzas are served from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. and are made fresh in dedicated pizza ovens, which means around a 20 minute wait. Don’t even ask what’s in the sauce—that’s proprietary.

29. July 2023 was really, really hot.

According to scientists, July was most likely the hottest month ever recorded in human history—a fact that was declared on July 27th. “We don’t have to wait for the end of the month to know this,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said. “Short of a mini-ice age over the next days, July 2023 will shatter records across the board.” 

30. In 2023, heat waves in Italy got some ominous names. 

In Italy, the founder of a popular weather website has been naming heat waves since 2012. In 2023, he picked names like Cerberus, a.k.a., the dog that guards the underworld in Greek mythology. According to the BBC, temperatures across Italy were well above 100 degrees.

31. Leprosy made headlines in Florida in 2023 ... 

Leprosy (a.k.a.Hansen’s disease) cases have been increasing in the central part of the state, and health experts fear the infectious disease could become endemic to Florida—meaning that it’s permanently established in that area. Previously, most leprosy cases in the U.S. originated through carriers traveling from other parts of the world. 

32. … As did malaria.

Malaria is also on the rise in the Sunshine State, as well as Texas and Maryland. Seven cases were recorded across Florida, and like the recent leprosy outbreak, they were locally acquired rather than imported from overseas.

33. Nintendo closed some of its e-shops. 

In March 2023, Nintendo permanently closed down their 3DS and Wii U e-shops. While this does mean that no new software can be downloaded onto these consoles, both the Wii U and the 3DS are still able to access the internet. 

34. The world’s oldest bodybuilder was crowned.

Age is just a number. For Jim Arrington, it’s 91. That might also be the number of reps he pumps out as part of a bodybuilding regimen. Arrington was actually crowned the world’s oldest bodybuilder by Guinness World Records when he turned 83. Seven years later, he was still getting his swole on, so Guinness declared him the reigning record holder.

35. The most popular wedding songs were revealed.

A group gift platform called Givetastic crunched the numbers on 100,000 wedding-related Spotify playlists to determine the most popular wedding song. Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” took the blue ribbon, followed by “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” also made the list.

36. American Girl’s debuted ‘90s-era historical dolls.

american girl dolls isabel and nicki

In 2023, American Girl debuted two new dolls in its historical collection: Isabel and Nicki Hoffman, fraternal twins growing up in Seattle during the 1990s, making elder Millennials feel very old indeed.

37. Guinness gave out a record for the world’s most expensive ice cream. 

If you want to eat the world’s most expensive ice cream, which Guinness World Records crowned in 2023, you better have some seriously deep pockets. Japanese ice cream company Cellato charges a whopping $6696 for its decadent dessert. Its ingredients include decorative gold-leaf shavings, a rare white truffle, Parmigiano Reggiano, and sake lees.

38. There was an important update to the Henrietta Lacks story in 2023. 

HBO's The HeLa Project Exhibit For "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

Lacks—a Black woman—visited Baltimore’ s Johns Hopkins Hospital in February 1951, where a piece of cancerous tissue was removed from her cervix. Those cancerous cells were cultured and labeled “HeLa”—and, in contrast to the other cells researchers had tried to culture, they didn’ t die. Instead, they divided and divided and divided. These immortal cells were distributed, mass produced, and commercialized, all without the knowledge or permission of Lacks, who had died in October and was buried in her unmarked grave, or her family, who didn’ t learn about the cells until 1973. 

It’s impossible to overstate the impact of Lacks’s immortal cells—as Bettye Kearse wrote in a piece about Henrietta for MentalFloss.com, her cells were “central to the development of vaccines and many medical advances. By 2017, HeLa cells had been studied in 142 countries and had made possible research that led to two Nobel Prizes, 17,000 patents, and 110,000 scientific papers, thereby establishing Henrietta’s role as the mother of modern medicine.” And many people—though not the Lacks family—made money off of those cells. 

Some of Henrietta’s heirs eventually sued Thermo Fisher Scientific, a biotech firm, accusing them of profiting from the HeLa cell line without compensating her family. That lawsuit was settled in 2023; the amount wasn’t disclosed. Afterward, Lacks’s grandson, Alfred Lacks Carter, Jr., said , “It was a long fight—over 70 years—and Henrietta Lacks gets her day.” 

39. Lacks was also honored with a statue.

A statue of Lacks went up in her hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, in October 2023, replacing a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

40. The Food and Drug Administration approved the first new drug in 20 years to treat Alzheimer’s disease. 

Leqembi, its brand name, slowed the progression of the disease by about five months in an 18-month clinical trial, but it comes with high risks for serious side effects, such as brain bleeding and death. It also can’t stop disease progression completely nor repair cognitive function. But it gives hope to Alzheimer’s patients and their families, who still have very few therapeutic options. Dr. Joanne Pike, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, hailed the decision, saying , “This treatment, while not a cure, can give people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s more time to maintain their independence and do the things they love.”

41. The oldest evidence for the parasite Giardia duodenalis was found. 

Archaeologists working in Jerusalem in 2023 pulled 2500-year-old feces out of two ancient toilets and discovered evidence of Giardia duodenalis , a parasite that can cause something akin to dysentery—specifically, according to LiveScience, “a cyst wall protein that is produced and released by G. duodenalis .” It’s the oldest evidence of the protozoan discovered so far.

42. In 2023, we learned about one of the world’s earliest cases of brain surgery. 

Archaeologists working in the ancient site of Tel Megiddo in northern Israel discovered the graves of two high-status brothers who lived during the Late Bronze Age, roughly 1550 to 1450 BCE. The skeletons showed signs of chronic disease—possibly leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease—which given that they lived to their early 20s, alongside other lines of evidence, suggested that the brothers were elite individuals who had access to quality food and medical care during their lives. The skull of the older brother, who was between 20 and 40 when he died, also displayed a hole cut with a human-made beveled instrument . This type of cranial surgery, called trephination, was used in the ancient world to relieve sinus pressure and other ailments, but evidence for it being performed in the Near East is rare.

43. A highly-detailed 3D scan of the wreck of the Titanic was released in 2023. 

The wreck of the Titanic has been disintegrating on the bottom of the North Atlantic for more than a century, and its decay has accelerated in recent years. In May, the underwater mapping company Magellan Ltd. and Atlantic Productions released a stunning “digital twin” of the entire ship and its 15-square-mile debris field to preserve them for all time. The mapping team used robotic submersibles to scan the legendary ocean liner over the course of six weeks with super-high-definition equipment. Then, they knit the images together to create a 3D digital model. It is so detailed that you can even read part of the serial number on one of the ship's three propellers.

44. In August 2023, we learned that a man bitten by a stray cat contracted an unknown infection. 

His arm and fingers became enlarged and swollen, but when doctors analyzed the tissue samples from his wounds, they found an organism they hadn’t seen before. Researchers came in to sequence the bacteria, and found that while it appeared to be a streptococcus-like organism giving the man such a violent reaction, it was actually a never-before-documented globicatella species.

45. We found out that vaccines are beneficial to bee health. 

American foulbrood, a destructive disease that affects honeybees, can now be prevented in the pre-pupal stage with a vaccine created by biotech company Dalan Animal Health. It works by having worker bees ingest dead Paenibacillus larvae cells (the bacterium responsible for American foulbrood), which they then pass on to their queen. While the vaccine is under conditional approval, it’ll hopefully be leagues better for both bees and beekeepers than the previous alternative: burning the infected bees and hives.

46. There were important updates on the sea spider front. 

Did you know that there aren’t just land spiders—there are also sea spiders? And that we recently got our first look at one type of them mating? In 2023, during an expedition by the Ocean Exploration Trust, scientists captured footage of a type of sea spider mating for the first time. The researchers announced in a study released in June 2023 that these particular sea spiders were from the genus Colossendeis , which had a leg span of over a foot; analysis of the footage showed a pair of spiders, one on top of the other. The female used specialized legs to manipulate her eggs. Why is this important? In the words of lead study author Georg Brenneis, University of Vienna zoologist, “This is the first time humans have ever witnessed this behavior ... At this stage, people believed [sea spiders of the Colossendeidae group] may have a completely different reproductive biology to their relatives. But this video unmistakably shows that at least their mating follows typical sea spider fashion.” 

47. One Florida town was overrun by bunnies.

Dozens and dozens of friendly, domesticated bunnies are populating the yards, driveways, and roads of Jenada Isles. It’s a pretty adorable problem to have, but it’s still a problem: The rabbits could dig holes in yards and chew on wires, and the animals—which stem from a group illegally released by a breeder who moved out of the area—could feel the ill effects of Florida’s heat. One resident, Alicia Griggs, has started a GoFundMe to capture and relocate the rabbits.

48. T. Rex might not have had such prominent chompers.

Anyone who’s seen The Land Before Time remembers, Tyrannosaurus rex are known for their sharp teeth. But those fatal pearly whites may not have been as prominently displayed as we thought. New research has suggested T. rex ’s teeth were concealed by a fleshy, lip-like tissue. People tend to depict T. rex in a crocodile-like way; it’s why we popularly imagine them with a mouthful of protruding teeth. A 2023 study, however, showed that T. rex choppers don’t have the kind of outer-tooth erosion crocodile teeth do, suggesting they were likely protected by lips.

49. Props got nabbed from the set of the new Beetlejuice movie.

It seems only fitting for mysterious hijinks to ensue during production of the Beetlejuice sequel. Two props disappeared from set: a lamppost with a pumpkin-shaped top, and a 150-ish-pound abstract sculpture designed by Catherine O’Hara’s character, Delia Deetz, in the original film. 

50. In 2023, fans of Beyoncé and Jay-Z were given the opportunity to live like hip hop royalty. 

Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Jay-Z, Shawn Carter

An architectural salvager auctioned off many items from the superstar couple’s rented home, including their lights, sconces, and French doors. The reseller also offered Jay and Bey’s bidet for an asking price of $2400. Fans didn’t need to travel to a fancy auction house to bid on the pop culture artifacts—they were listed on eBay and sold to the highest bidders.

51. Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers were discontinued.

Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers were all set to celebrate their 100th birthday in 2024: They hit the market way back in 1924. Sadly, the company decided to discontinue them instead. The crispy, slightly bittersweet wafers were the choice cookie for icebox cakes, where they softened to perfection between layers of whipped cream. Bakers have suggested using Oreo Thins, Goya Maria Chocolate Cookies, or Dewey’s Hot Cocoa Cookies as replacements. Or you could skip the cookies altogether and just mainline whipped cream straight into your mouth.

52. The site where Caesar was stabbed opened to the public.

The death of Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate by Vincenzo Camuccini

Rome is packed with ancient historical sites—but due to funding issues, not all of them have been open to the public. Take, for example, the square where Julius Caesar was stabbed . Caesar’s heir, Augustus, declared the square a cursed place after the dictator’s murder. Thousands of years later, the square was discovered after 20th-century Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had parts of Rome razed to search for ancient archaeological sites. The space wasn’t opened to the public until June 2023.

53. Quotes from an interview with Martin Luther King, Jr., seem to have been altered.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcom X didn’t always see eye to eye. MLK had even famously criticized Malcom X to the journalist Alex Haley—or so we thought. But it turns out Haley reportedly fabricated some of the quotes from that famous 1965 Playboy article. A journalist named Jonathan Eig made the discovery after finding what appears to be an unedited transcript during his archival research. Based on what the unedited transcript shows, Haley took some of MLK’s words out of context, and also made up some of the quotes.

54. In 2023, we found out that it’s possible to live in the home of a former Queen of England. 

Anne Of Cleves (1515-1557)

At least it is if you have $2.9 million. In June, the former home of Anne of Cleves —Henry VIII’s fourth wife—went up for sale. Theirs wasn’t exactly a love story for the ages: Henry, having split with one wife, beheaded another, and lost yet another after childbirth, agreed to wed the German-born Anne supposedly after seeing her portrait. When he got a look at her in person, though, he apparently yelled “I see nothing in this woman as men report of her!” Was it because of the portrait? Probably not—the better guess is that it was Henry’s ministers who played up her beauty. He married her anyway, but their union lasted just six months before it was annulled. Anne might not have done it for Henry in the looks department, but they did get along and remained close. He also gifted her a lot of property, including a house called Wings Palace. After she died in 1557, its ownership reverted back to the crown before it became a private residence. The five-bedroom, three-bathroom house’s history dates all the way back to 1095, but it has the most modern amenities, including heated floors and an updated kitchen.

55. Henri Matisse’s home was also for sale in 2023.

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse’s former apartment—a two-bedroom, four-bathroom abode spanning 1700 square feet that sits atop the iconic Régina building on the French Riviera in Nice—hit the market for $2.7 million in May. Matisse, who lived there for about 10 years, also used the apartment as a studio , where he created cutouts after suffering some health issues.

56. We got some insight into minstrel comedy.

We know minstrels had some jokes, but because a lot of their material was passed down via oral tradition, we didn’t really know what their jokes were. That’s changed thanks to a comedy routine found within a 15th-century manuscript in 2023. The minstrel’s comedy routine includes a bunch of acts, including a preacher’s satirical sermon about the virtues of drinking a lot.

57. A plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II was revealed. 

Queen Elizabeth II West Coast Tour of America

In 1983, Queen Elizabeth II visited the U.S. amidst the Troubles, a 30-year-long conflict between Protestants and Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland over whether or not the country would become part of Ireland proper or remain part of the U.K.—and papers released in May 2023 revealed that the FBI and Secret Service uncovered a plot to assassinate the queen while she traveled the country. Apparently, around a month before Liz was due to be in San Francisco, police learned about a man who claimed his daughter had been killed by a rubber bullet in Northern Ireland and that “he was going to attempt to harm Queen Elizabeth and would do this either by dropping some object off the Golden Gate Bridge onto the Royal Yacht Britannia when it sails underneath, or would attempt to kill Queen Elizabeth when she visited Yosemite National Park.” The Secret Service apparently walked the Golden Gate Bridge, but it’s unclear if any other steps were taken to protect the monarch, or if an arrest was made.

58. The official history of Queen Elizabeth I was called into question.

Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland, 1558-1603.

William Camden wrote the official history of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign in the years after she died. His work was a foundational text for historians of the period, but Camden didn’t quite record an unbiased history. New transmitting light technology has revealed the contents of pages full of crossed-out or covered-up text, showing how Camden self-edited his version of history to curry favor with James VI and I—the king who reigned after Elizabeth I. He even included a fabricated bit about how the late queen had declared James her heir before dying.

59. In 2023, we found out what an original Bob Ross painting will cost you.

And it’s not cheap . Most of Ross’s paintings are owned by Bob Ross, Inc., but this one was donated by the artist, who hosted The Joy of Painting on PBS from 1983 to 1994, to the Virginia-based PBS studio where that particular episode had been filmed. A studio volunteer picked up the painting for $100 max at auction and held on to it before selling it to a gallery that sells a lot of Ross paintings. They were asking $9.8 million for it.

60. Beethoven’s hair provided insights into his health. 

Portrait Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa Solemnis', 1820.

No one is totally sure what killed composer Ludwig Van Beethoven at age 56 in 1827, but a new analysis of his hair has provided some answers. A total of around 10 feet of his hair was examined using DNA testing. Researchers found that Beethoven had a genetic predisposition to liver disease and also suffered from hepatitis B. Scientists were also able to determine that he didn’t suffer from lactose intolerance or a gluten allergy despite having stomach ailments. While the cause of death remains ambiguous, it’s pretty amazing what we can learn from his locks nearly 200 years later.

61. A new national monument was designated.

In 2023, President Joe Biden created the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona, which consists of 917,618 acres spread out over three locations around the Grand Canyon that contain sites important to Indigenous tribes in the area, including the Havasupai and the Hopi. The phrase Baaj Nwaavjo translates to “where Indigenous peoples roam” and i’tah kukveni means “our ancestral footprints” in Havasupai and Hopi, respectively. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said that the new monument “makes clear that Native American history is American history. This land is sacred to the many Tribal Nations who have long advocated for its protection, and establishing a national monument demonstrates the importance of recognizing the original stewards of our public lands.”

62. A proclamation was signed assuring Emmett Till will be receiving national recognition. 

FBI Considers Exhuming Emmett Till's Body

The horrific 1955 murder of the 14-year-old shocked communities across the country, and was a major event in the Civil Rights Movement. Now, he and his mother will be recognized at three sites across Mississippi and Illinois as the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument .

63. Part-human kidneys were grown in pigs. 

In 2023, scientists in China grew part-human kidneys in pig embryos. To do it, the scientists switched off the cells that would have made the pig embryos develop their own kidneys, then added modified human stem cells to nearly 200 embryos, which were then implanted into pigs. When they checked in 28 days later, five of the embryos had grown kidneys composed of up to 65 percent human cells. Getting to this point took five years, and there’s still a long way to go—it’s believed that any kidney that would potentially be implanted into a human could not contain any pig cells at all because the organ would then be rejected by the body. And there are plenty of ethical issues, too. 

64. That’s not the only research that took place on the pig/kidney front in 2023. 

On July 14, 2023, surgeons at NYU Langone Health performed a xenotransplant, taking a genetically modified kidney from a pig and transplanting it into a man on a ventilator who had been declared braindead. On August 16—32 days later—the kidney was still working, and the study continued until mid-September 2023. This could have huge implications: According to a press release, there are more than 100,000 people in the U.S. on the transplant list. Dr. Robert Montgomery, chair of the Department of Surgery and director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute, who performed the surgery, said that “There are simply not enough organs available for everyone who needs one …. Too many people are dying because of the lack of available organs, and I strongly believe xenotransplantation is a viable way to change that.”

65. Scientists were able to successfully build new technology that allowed a paralyzed man to walk again. 

The team built a “digital bridge” between the brain and the spinal cord that reestablished the broken communication between the two. The man is now able to walk, climb stairs, and even “traverse complex terrains,” in the words of the researchers.

66. The world’s tallest poison ivy plant was found in Canada.

Paris, Ontario, resident Robert Fedrock was out for a walk on his property when he spotted a towering poison ivy plant that ultimately measured a whopping 68 feet—as tall as two school buses stacked end to end. In June 2023, Guinness World Records named it the world’s tallest poison ivy plant. Fedrock got a case of poison ivy during his investigation, but presumably, it was worth it.

67. Sesame Street debuted the first Filipino American muppet in 2023.

photo of sesame street muppet TJ

TJ is a spirited 4-year-old boy who loves basketball, dancing, and making his baby sister laugh. He’s also learning Tagalog with his grandmother’s help. His family moved to Sesame Street from California.

68. Super Nintendo World opened in Universal Studios Hollywood.

The theme park opened in February. Highlights include dining at Toadstool Cafe, riding in an augmented reality Mario Kart course, and playing challenges to win coins, like Mario Party without the danger of ending friendships. Maybe.

69. The original voice of Mario retired … 

The Super Mario Bros. Movie came out in April 2023 with Chris Pratt as the title character. Charles Martinet, the original voice actor for Mario, made a cameo appearance. However, in August, Martinet announced that he would be retiring from voicing the beloved red plumber.

70. … but took on a special new role.

But Nintendo announced that Martinet would be granted the unique, official title of “Mario Ambassador.” His responsibilities are “traveling around the world sharing the joy of the Mario family and being able to continue meeting with all of you wonderful fans who I absolutely cherish the most.”

71. We found out the best time to go to the bathroom on an airplane …

If you get nervous about going to the bathroom on long flights—with the horror of walking down the cramped aisle and finding the tiny toilet occupied, then forced to stand there awkwardly as flight attendants squeeze by you—we have good news. In 2023, a former flight attendant gave her advice for the ideal times to plan your bathroom trip with no competition. She recommends going right when the pilot turns the seatbelt sign off, or, right before the beverage service starts. According to her, you’ll be in the clear.

72. … And how to avoid awkward odors.

Her second piece of advice? Ask the flight attendants for a packet of coffee grounds. If you hang them up in the bathroom, they will soak up any uncomfortable smells.

73. Research published in 2023 suggests that our brains may perceive silence and sound the same way. 

For the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , researchers adapted common auditory illusions to test how people reacted to stretches of silence. The quiet illusions had the same effect as the noisy ones, which could mean the brain processes a lack of noise as if it were sound.

74. Disposable diapers were used as a building material.

Researchers in Japan have discovered the benefits of using disposable diapers in the construction of concrete houses. Apparently shredded diapers can replace a large chunk of the sand used in concrete construction without reducing its strength. This actually has great implications for the environment, including reducing the waste of non-recyclable diapers and hopefully cutting down on the carbon emissions from concrete construction.

75. A recipe for space yeast was nearly perfected. 

In an attempt to solve the problem of supplying food for long-term space missions, it was found that the secret ingredient for making yeast while in space is … astronaut breath. “Astronaut breath, water, yeast starter, electricity, a rolling pin and we can make it happen,” Stafford Sheehan, a finalist in the NASA-sponsored Deep Space Food Challenge , told NPR. The challenge’s goals were “create novel and game-changing food technologies or systems that require minimal inputs and maximize safe, nutritious, and palatable food outputs for long-duration space missions, and which have potential to benefit people on Earth,” according to its website.

76. We found out what seismic activity sounds like. 

A scientist and a musician teamed up to create music out of Yellowstone’s seismic data, and now you can listen to it. The scientist, Domenico Vicinanza, is a particle physicist who developed a computer program that takes the data from seismic activity generated by the supervolcano and turns it into sheet music, and flutist and musicologist Alyssa Schwartz plays that music. 

77. Ötzi the Iceman may have been bald.

FRA: Otzi The Iceman

Ötzi, a roughly 5300-year-old mummy found in the Ötztal Alps in 1991, may have had more in common with many of today’s middle-aged men than we thought. Researchers recently resequenced the ancient man’s genome and discovered that he carried gene variations for male-pattern baldness. That doesn’t prove that Ötzi actually went bald during his lifetime, but there is some compelling evidence to support the theory: Although his remains were in remarkably good condition when unearthed, there was barely any hair on his head.

78. The face of a passenger who died on the Vasa was reconstructed.

The Swedish warship Vasa would have been one of the most beautifully constructed and powerful royal vessels in history—if it hadn’t sunk before it even left Stockholm Harbor in 1628. About 30 people died in the disaster. But just as the Vasa was raised from the water to become a popular tourist attraction, the face of one of its victims has been recreated by artist Oscar Nilsson. DNA was sequenced from bones recovered from the shipwreck to find clues to the person’s appearance. The facial reconstruction reveals a pale-skinned woman with blue eyes, blonde hair, and a strong jaw. The Vasa museum team nicknamed her Gertrud .

79. In 2023, scientists found what may be evidence of ancient cannibalism. 

A 1.45 million-year-old shin bone of a Homo sapiens relative unearthed in northern Kenya had nine cut marks on it that were confirmed to be from a handmade, stone tool. “The information we have tells us that hominins were likely eating other hominins at least 1.45 million years ago,” paleoanthropologist Briana Pobiner said . “There are numerous other examples of species from the human evolutionary tree consuming each other for nutrition, but this fossil suggests that our species’ relatives were eating each other to survive further into the past than we recognized.” According to a press release about the discovery, the cuts alone aren’t enough to unequivocally declare this a case of cannibalism, but the researchers do think that’s the most likely explanation.

Also, it might not technically be cannibalism at all because, as the press release notes, “cannibalism requires that the eater and the eaten hail from the same species” and because the scientists can’t determine which species of hominin this shin bone belongs to, “it is also possible this was a case of one species chowing down on its evolutionary cousin.”

80. A 50-year-old shipwreck was discovered in April 2023 ... 

In October 1973, Blythe Star —a coastal freighter en route to King Island from Hobart, Australia—began taking on water. The crew of 10 abandoned ship and spent more than a week adrift in an inflatable raft before the survivors landed on the Forestier Peninsula in Tasmania. Three of the men wandered around in the jungle until they came across a person who was able to take them to a nearby town. Seven of the crewmembers survived the ordeal, but the Blythe Star was lost without a trace until researchers studying underwater landslides confirmed the location of the wreck off the coast of southwest Tasmania in April 2023 . 

81. … And a much older wreck was found in July.

Just a couple months later, in July, researchers found an Ancient Roman shipwreck near the port of Civitavecchia. The wreck dates back to the 1st or 2nd century BCE and its cargo hold is full of hundreds of sealed amphore. The researchers think the ship might have originated in Spain, in which case those amphore may be full of things like olive and figs. They’re currently making plans to conduct more research.

82. Archaeologists discovered the “Stonehenge of the Netherlands.” 

In June 2023, Dutch archaeologists announced that, over five years of digging in a town called Tiel, they’d discovered what they dubbed “Stonehenge of the Netherlands”: a religious site created 4000 years ago that included three burial mounds, the largest of which measured 65 feet in diameter and served as a burial mound-slash-solar calendar. They also found a single glass bead in one of the graves, which is a big deal—glass wasn’t made there at the time, and further analysis showed that the bead had come all the way from Mesopotamia. According to University of Groningen professor Stijn Arnoldussen, “Things were already being exchanged in those times. The bead may have been above ground for hundreds of years before it reached Tiel.”

83. We may have found the oldest known phallic object. 

We’ve known that the ancient Romans wore phallic objects for good luck, but in 2023 we may have discovered the oldest known phallic object. A 42,000 year old vaguely penis-shaped object was dug up in Mongolia back in 2016, but scientists finally examined it closely in 2023 and noticed specific carvings and grooves that convinced some that it’s supposed to represent a phallus. Others think it’s more of a blob.

84. The grave of one of Maryland’s earliest colonists was opened.

In 2023, archaeologists working in Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland, opened the grave of one of the first Europeans to colonize the future state: a 5-foot-tall boy, probably around 15 years old, with a broken leg. He may have come on the Ark or the Dove , which came to the future Maryland in 1634. Finding the remains was a pretty big deal, according to Travis Parno, director of research and collections, who told The Washington Post that “This is someone who was here in the first years of the settlement, the vanguard of the Colonial invasion … Someone nobody wrote about. It’s a period that we have such little documentation on.”

85. We found out some disturbing information about ticks.

A tick is pictured

Few creepy-crawlies can terrorize people as much as the humble tick, the tiny parasite that can transmit Lyme disease to humans. They can’t jump or fly, so we thought that they were very limited in how they could find prey. But a new study published in Current Biology in July demonstrated that ticks can travel through the air via static electricity, meaning they can latch on without needing to crawl on us first. They can clear under an inch, which for a tick is like several flights of stairs for a human. 

86. Humans aren’t the only animals that like to get dizzy. 

Sydney's Taronga Zoo Welcomes New Baby Chimp

You probably spent time as a kid whirling around and around until you’re too dizzy to walk. Turns out humans aren’t the only ones to chase that head-spinning feeling. Great apes, such as chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, also enjoy a good dizzy spell. It’s thought they could be chasing the high of an altered mental state.

87. Some species of jellyfish can learn. 

A sign of intelligence in animals is being able to learn from past experiences and change behavior. Generally, this requires a brain. Jellyfish with no central brain would seemingly not have this skill, but in 2023, it was discovered that they do, in fact, learn and adapt from past experiences. Caribbean box jellyfish have figured out how to avoid obstacles. Sounds like an iPhone app in the making.

88. Gators who live near golf courses are at a disadvantage.

Jack Maguire

 If you think that alligators who live in and around golf courses are the upper crust of gators, you’re sorely mistaken. A 2023 study from the University of North Florida found that alligators who live on golf courses have very different eating habits than those in natural environments, which can negatively affect them. In addition to the main result, which was that the golf course juvenile gators were eating more insects and arachnids, the gators living near golf courses were found to have ingested things like canned corn and a cheeseburger with fries. All of that, while tasty, is probably not great for gator health. Not to mention, the alligators living near golf courses are likely exposed to way more man-made chemicals. 

89. AI had a big year. 

ChatGPT—which stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformers, by the way—was technically launched in November 2022, but it really took off in 2023. It also accelerated the development of other large language model-based (LLM) AI tools, such as Google’s Bard, Baidu’s Ernie Bot, and Meta’s LLaMA. Whether or not it will replace all workers someday is still up for debate.

90. Researchers made progress in being able to translate brain signals into audible speech. 

Using implants and AI, they were able to predict individual words a person was thinking and wanting to say with near-perfect accuracy. In the future, they hope to be able to predict full sentences and beyond.

91. A new innovation allows AI programs (like those used in robotics, not LLMs) to see in the dark. 

HADAR , or heat-assisted detection and ranging, will allow machines to see even in pitch black conditions. So next time you’re playing hide and seek with a robot, just know that they might be cheating.

92. In 2023 it was found that the Earth tilted 31.5 inches to the east between 1993 and 2010. 

Earth From Apollo 16

Scientists believe the change in tilt was caused by pumping groundwater from the soil. “Earth’s rotational pole actually changes a lot,” Ki-Weon Seo, a geophysicist at Seoul National University and study lead, said in a statement . “Our study shows that among climate-related causes, the redistribution of groundwater actually has the largest impact on the drift of the rotational pole.”

93. Scientists discovered a very specific method of writing with ink in liquid. 

It involves a nearly microscopic bead that manipulates pH levels in order to successfully write or draw in a liquid bath. Scientists really are just doing whatever they want, huh?

94. We found out that participating in genetic studies is a genetic quality. 

According to scientists at Oxford’s Big Data institute, it turns out that being inclined to participate in genetic studies is a genetic quality. This inclination leaves “visible” footprints on the brain which can be passed down, leading to generations of people who are genetically more likely to participate in genetic studies.

95. The island nation in the best position for survival during a nuclear winter is New Zealand. 

Per a recent study , it’s one of just a few island nations that could continue to produce enough food to feed its residents while the sun is blotted out and temperatures creep lower due to nuclear fallout. Honey, we’re moving to Oceania.

96. We now know more about Vlad the Impaler’s health.

Portrait of Vlad Tepes

Vlad III , a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, is often cited as the real-life inspiration for Dracula . New research into Vlad’s letters have revealed what health conditions might have led to his vampire-esque manner, and they did it not by reading the letters but by using special chemicals to isolate proteins and peptides from Vlad’s skin and blood. Analyzing those proteins revealed that he could have been suffering from respiratory conditions and may have had haemolacria, which can make you cry literal tears of blood.

97. Rats were tickled for science in 2023. 

While animal testing often comes off as a pretty unethical practice, one 2023 study showed that it doesn’t always have to be. In order to study the part of the brain responsible for laughter and playfulness, scientists went to rats and tickled them. According to Dr. Michael Brecht, professor of systems neurobiology and neural computation at Berlin’s Humboldt University, “Rats really love to be tickled.”

98. United Airlines is adding Braille signs to their planes. 

United Airlines announced plans to be the first U.S. airline to offer Braille signs in their planes. This will hopefully help visually-impaired travelers find their seats much easier.

99. An unusual world record was set in Georgia in 2023. 

The record for the World’s Largest Skeletal Chicken is held by Fitzgerald, Georgia. The huge metal chicken topiary stands 62 feet tall.

100. Scientists discovered that our elbows and shoulders might have developed as climbing tools for early apes. 

Research into the climbing habits of different primates shows that chimpanzees with similar rounded shoulder joints and shortened elbow bones as us were able to climb down without, you know, falling to death. They climb downwards like a human descends a ladder, with their arm able to fully extend above their head. So now every time you bang your funny bone, you can thank your ape ancestors. 

This story was adapted from an episode of The List Show on YouTube. Make sure to subscribe to Mental Floss on YouTube for new videos every week.

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  • World's Best

Travel + Leisure Readers' 25 Favorite National Parks of 2023

National parks with jaw-dropping scenery and abundant wildlife were the most adored by readers in our annual "World’s Best Awards" survey for 2023

powerboat of the year 2023

How Voting Works

What readers loved.

  • The Full List

A national park adventure is a classic all-American vacation every traveler should experience at least once in their lifetime. After all, spending time amid towering forests, majestic mountain peaks, white sand dunes, and active volcanoes reminds us of all the unique beauty right in our own backyard. And according to Travel + Leisure readers, the best national parks in the United States set themselves apart with tantalizing natural attractions and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. 

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).

U.S. national parks were specifically rated on the criteria below:

  • Natural attractions
  • Accessibility
  • Cleanliness

For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses. 

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Similar to previous years, national parks in the West dominated the list of reader favorites, nabbing more than half of the 25 spots. Denali National Park (No. 8) in Alaska is home to the highest peak in North America, measuring at a whopping 20,310 feet above sea level, while Yosemite National Park (No. 3) in California draws visitors with its gushing waterfalls, ancient sequoias, and world-famous vistas, like Tunnel View and Glacier Point. “Yosemite is one of my favorite places on Earth,” remarked one reader. “The stunning park's views will never cease to amaze me, and there's truly something for everyone here. I'll keep visiting for the rest of my life.”

Voters had plenty of praise for national parks on the East Coast, in the South, and the Midwest, too. In fact, according to one reader, Acadia National Park in Maine (No. 17) is “one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Northeastern U.S. It’s perfect for hiking and taking in the breathtaking scenery, especially the sunrise.” Great Smoky Mountain National Park (No. 7), which straddles the North Carolina/Tennessee border, made the list again this year — no surprise since it has been the most-visited national park in the country for more than a decade. Readers raved about its abundance of wildlife and all-ages appeal. One voter said, “Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a very family-oriented destination where you can feel the real spirit of America. People are friendly, the air is pure, and the views of the mountains and nature are just breathtaking."

Read on to see which other U.S. national parks landed a spot on the list — and what makes this year’s No. 1 pick, Yellowstone National Park, stand out from the rest.

Yellowstone National Park: Wyoming, Idaho, Montana 

Getty Images

Though Yellowstone technically falls within three states, Wyoming encompasses 96 percent of the park’s 2.2 million acres. Home to fewer than 600,000 people, it’s the least populated state in the U.S., leaving ample space for nature's fascinating creations to take center stage. (Montana and Idaho are also in the bottom half of states population-wise.) Abundant wildlife sightings and access to more than half of the world’s active geysers — that’s about 500 of them — have been drawing visitors to the world’s first national park for more than 150 years. T+L readers specifically applauded the National Park Service’s crown jewel for its wildlife, natural attractions, hiking, and accessibility. “Yellowstone is so majestic, so beautiful, and so glorious,” gushed one reader. “We have spent hundreds of hours in this park and still have so much to explore.” 

Yellowstone is so majestic, so beautiful, and so glorious.

The Full List 

1. Yellowstone National Park : Wyoming, Idaho, Montana 

Reader Score: 91.08

2. Grand Teton National Park : Wyoming 

Reader Score: 88.94

3. Yosemite National Park : California 

Reader Score: 88.66

4. Rocky Mountain National Park : Colorado 

Reader Score: 87.17

5. Glacier National Park : Montana 

Reader Score: 86.94

6. Katmai National Park and Preserve : Alaska 

Reader Score: 86.50 

7. Great Smoky Mountains National Park : North Carolina and Tennessee

Reader Score: 85.75

8. Denali National Park : Alaska 

Reader Score: 85.01

9. Zion National Park : Utah

Reader Score: 84.86

10. Grand Canyon National Park : Arizona

Reader Score: 84.44

11. Voyageurs National Park : Minnesota 

Reader Score: 84.30

12. Kenai Fjords National Park : Alaska

Reader Score: 84.01

13. Olympic National Park : Washington 

Reader Score: 83.87

14. Mount Rainier National Park : Washington 

Reader Score: 83.62

15. Redwood National Park : California 

Reader Score: 83.04

16. Glacier Bay National Park : Alaska  

Reader Score: 82.65

17. Acadia National Park : Maine  

Reader Score: 81.70

18. Sequoia National Park : California   

Reader Score: 81.63

19. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve : Alaska    

Reader Score: 81.13

20. Bryce Canyon National Park , Utah     

Reader Score: 81.07

21. North Cascades National Park , Washington      

Reader Score: 80.78

22. Shenandoah National Park : Virginia     

Reader Score: 80.76

23. Everglades National Park : Florida   

Reader Score: 80.30

24. Theodore Roosevelt National Park : North Dakota   

Reader Score: 79.95

25. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park : Hawaii  

Reader Score: 79.40

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Taiwan Int’l Doc Festival 2024: Reuse, Reorient, and Remember

By Sudipto Sanyal

A large, dark theater screening “This Is Not a Film by Deng Nan-guang” with an experimental performance using drums and other instruments on the stage below the screen.

Screening of This Is Not a Film by Deng Nan-guang at TIDF. Courtesy of TIDF.

On a warm May evening, the opening ceremony of the 14th edition of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF) was teeming with euphoria. Founded in 1998, TIDF takes seriously its motif of “re-encountering reality.” After two pandemic-hit iterations with online Q&As, this was the first time in six years that filmmakers and audiences had gathered in Taipei in person for the biennial festival. It was the second iteration to use the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute’s (TFAI) beautiful new home in the Xinzhuang District, west of the Tamsui River, for many of the programmed events. 

The late iconic Taiwanese documentarian and image-maker Chang Chao-Tang made sure our brains emerged twisted and rewired from his two extraordinary opening shorts, which screened in TFAI’s new state-of-the-art cinema. In  Homage to Chen Da   (2000), one of the island’s greatest folk singers is filmed playing the two-stringed yueqin and singing an everyday history of modern, rural, and municipal Taiwan. Chen Da, a wandering bard, accompanies himself inside and outside his village home, by the river, and at the much-lamented Scarecrow Restaurant in Taipei (unaware of its premature demise 45 years ago, I tried to pay my own homage one day and found an ugly office building in its place).  Chen Da has no accompanying dialogue or explanatory text, simply letting the singer unspool his oral histories of Taiwanese life. The sonic and social resonances with Malian guitar music, the Delta blues, and the Baul music from my part of the world provided more than enough context for everyone in the theater.

If  Chen Da  was poignant, gentle, and melancholy, Chang’s second short was nothing less than revelatory; when it was first broadcast on television in 1979,  The Boat Burning Festival   revolutionized Taiwanese documentary. Shot for the Kuomintang-owned China Television Company by Chang and a young Christopher Doyle in Sucuo Village in Tainan, the film documents a biennial Taoist ritual in which villagers decorate a large boat with intricate designs and figures. In a fervid procession of dancing and chanting, they raise the sail and set fire to the boat in a frenzy of religious ecstasy. 

Rarely have I been as conscious of a film as a visceral audiovisual experience. Chang wipes all diegetic sound, scoring the entire film instead to the prog-rock strains of Mike Oldfield’s album  Ommadawn  (1975) .  The split between audio and video jars, but is eerily apt, atomizing the very grain of cinematic expression into its separate components. The soundtrack was originally used without licensing, so this may well have been the film’s first legal theatrical screening in Taiwanese history. The Irish folk instruments (and glockenspiel) that soak  Ommadawn  in its otherworldly sense of new-age whimsy reinforce the crazed visuals of the boat burning ritual, manipulating them into crescendos and tranquilizing them into catharsis. This surreal juxtaposition transforms what might have been the merely anthropologically exotic into a hallucinatory, at times minatory, 22-minute epic—an acid trip without the acid. The lights came on to rapturous applause and we exited in a daze of bliss.

Various stills from “The Boat Burning Festival” highlighting the reactions of attendees to the chaos of the event.

Earlier in the evening, Chang’s son accepted the Outstanding Contribution Award on his late father’s behalf. Chang, a TIDF co-founder who died in April this year, would have been thrilled at the reaction to his maverick avant-gardism—there were three screenings of his double bill at the festival, and they all sold out. At a time when the Great Powers have been attempting to manipulate Taiwanese sovereignty like a pawn on the geopolitical chessboard, TIDF has made an explicit effort to hew to its mandate of artistic autonomy. Four days after the festival, the Chinese military announced “punishment” drills all around the island as a show of force against “separatist acts.”

Festival staff used the awards ceremony to connect political independence to documentary exhibition. “We have a free and democratic society,” TFAI chairperson Arthur Chu said pointedly, “so we can screen all kinds of films.” When “the world is complicated and full of conflict,” program director Wood Lin insisted on the need to preserve cultural memory: “We exist because of those who remember us. That is the power of documentaries.”

To reconfigure our approach to historical memory and the relationships between oikos and polis, TIDF included special sections based, broadly speaking, on archival footage. “Untitled Reel” exhibited amateur and small-gauge films from TFAI holdings—home movies that have traditionally been excluded from film history, such as those by a doctor in pre–World War II Taiwan, or by the local photographer Hsu Tsang-tse in the sixties. There were talks on the history of 9.5- and 8mm reels in Taiwan, and a live cinema event, in which musicians were invited to perform synchronously to a screening of  This Is Not a Film by Deng Nan-guang   (Huang Pang-Chuan and Chunni Lin, 2023), itself stitched together from found small-gauge footage presumably shot by the renowned photographer Deng Nan-guang. 

In a similar vein, the “Appropriate Appropriation: Archive and More” program exhibited widely varying appropriated films that, in the words of TIDF programmer Chen Wanling, “liberate memories.” The standout film in this section was also the winner of the Special Prize in the Asian Vision Competition,  Damnatio Memoriae  (2023), by the oft-banned Thai filmmaker Thunska Pansittivorakul. A 109-minute montage of newsreels and propaganda clips from modern Southeast and East Asian history, the film is a jigsaw of repression and massacre, from the White Terror in post-1949 Taiwan to the execution of the Burmese politician and hip-hop artist Zayar Thaw in 2022. Warbling through the decades is the music and public persona of Teresa Teng, the Eternal Queen of Asian Pop, who in her short life became both a tool of propaganda and a referent for resistance in East and Southeast Asia. 

In the Audience Award–winning  My Stolen Planet   (dir. Farahnaz Sharifi, 2024) ,  private records—old photos and videos of the filmmaker’s own family and friends, as well as 8mm footage shot decades ago by strangers and bought in the video stores of Tehran—are transformed into a mosaic of public memory. This slice of microhistory also won the Next Generation Award, organized in tandem with a local education program and decided by eighteen teenage jurors. The exercise endeavors to train future jurors and let younger people participate in a cultural practice that is too often a prerogative of age and experience. It is TIDF’s clearest expression of the direction it hopes to map for creative freedom in the region: forward. 

That direction is also significant for the Visionary Award, given to films that, as one juror told me, “chart a course forward, taking artistic risks along the way.” Both films chosen— The Clinic (dir. Midi Z, 2023) and  Taman-taman (Park) (dir. So Yo-hen, 2024)—“were remarkable for all the ways they resisted classical interpretation, and instead depicted closed worlds operating under their own idiosyncratic rules.” Winner of the Special Jury Prize in the Visionary category, as well as the Grand Prize in the Taiwan Competition,  Taman-taman is a quiet exercise in metanarrative. Two poets, both Indonesian immigrants, meet in Tainan Park to recite poetry, eavesdrop, invent, digress, and pretend to broadcast the gossip, anecdotes, tidbits, rumors, and short stories of migrant workers in Taiwan. Meditative and experimental and operating in a unique spatiotemporal continuum, the film is both moving and immobile. “It’s been going around in circles,” one of the protagonists complains at one point. “This film is getting more and more unclear.”

On the other side of obscurity often lies epiphany. One evening, at the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab, a former military base that’s been converted into blocks of performance and lecture spaces, I experienced a singularly exhilarating event that converted confusion into fun. In “Jamming with Archive: Re-coding,” five groups of artists were let loose in what used to be an old mess hall for soldiers. With access to TFAI’s collection of 6,000-plus propaganda newsreels from the KMT-era Taiwan Film Culture Company, the artists performed acts of what the film scholar Jaimie Baron calls “archival ventriloquism”—reusing, misusing, and deconstructing these clips in real time to spark new sensations and discombobulate the spectatorial gaze.

Using multiple sound consoles, open-source software, machine learning, and on-site sensing, and forcing the audience to keep changing places by turning toward different screens, erstwhile political assets were transformed into audiovisual art. “As the archives become digitized,” Wood Lin told me in the rapturous darkness, as windows of text vibrated into reels of political rallies to pulsing electronica, “propaganda becomes code.” For the finale, the artist duo YouNuts flashed black-and-white newsreels and released white balloons into the audience in an echo of the ones that used to be sent toward mainland China decades ago with supplies and propaganda. We started kicking and punching balloons at each other, playing with them like children. Inflating menacingly right in front of the screen, an enormous white balloon itself became a diaphanous, bulbous screen (till it finally exploded, almost perfectly in sync with everything going black). By the end, balloons were popping, and people were squealing with joy.

A dark, crowded room with a screen showing a mans face. There are multiple balloons in front of the screen refracting the man's face. The audience sits and stands around the consoles managing the screening.

The C-Lab, as it’s commonly called, also played host to a masterclass by the Slovakian filmmaker Peter Kerekes, four of whose films were screened out of competition. His latest,  107 Mothers   (2021), falls somewhere between documentary and fiction, “a bastard,” as he described it. The docudrama is populated by a mix of Ukrainian actors and real prisoners of Prison 74 in Odessa, where the children of female convicts are allowed to be with their mothers till their third birthday. Kerekes told me about an “interesting paradox,” wherein the scaffolding of fiction let more reality in: “All the guards tried to make the prison look nicer when we were filming it like a documentary. But ‘fiction’ helped me make a more realistic film about prisons.” 

Kerekes’s sardonic  Cooking History   (2009), an alternate (culinary) history of modern warfare, explores the role of military cooks in various 20th-century European conflicts. Rolling out to its logical extreme the old adage about an army marching on its stomach, the film poses an intriguing question to people who do not think of themselves as killers, from SS line cooks and Tito’s personal chef to the Frenchmen who fed the soldiers who killed Algerian rebels: if army cooks stopped cooking, might war disappear?  

Disappearances of a more historically concrete sort were the subject, in its Asian premiere, of the Grand Prize–winning  The Trial   (dir. Ulises de la Orden, 2023), an archival film that is as relevant today as when the source material was recorded in a Buenos Aires courtroom in 1985. Relatives and compañeros of dozens of those “disappeared” during the Dirty War give chilling testimony against the commanders of the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983. Masterfully edited into a harrowing document of the Trial of the Juntas from over 500 hours of U-matic television footage that was never properly broadcast,  The Trial  made for severely uncomfortable, utterly gripping, and somewhat cathartic viewing. For three hours, I heard everyone around me sobbing. They probably heard me too.

The biological need to remember trauma was a feature of much of the programming. In Sofía Paoli Thorne’s tactually sensuous  Guapo’y   (2023), Celsa Ramirez Rodas, an artist who was imprisoned 40 years ago by the Paraguayan secret police, strews rosemary to remember her cellmates (“They say it’s good for memory”) and puts herb poultices on her body to ease the pain of torture. Like many of the women in  107 Mothers  or  The Trial,  Ramírez Rodas also gave birth in prison, and memories of dictatorships are recalled and relived on the body. There were memories, too, of catastrophe ( Bye Bye Tiberias, dir. Lina Soualem, 2023) and lost childhoods ( Kix, dir. Dávid Mikulán and Bálint Révész, 2024), and remarkable anthropologies of (neo)colonialism ( Canuto’s Transformation,  dir. Ernesto de Carvalho and Ariel Kuaray Ortega, 2023; Crossing Voices,  dir. Raphaël Grisey and Bouba Touré, 2022; Where Zebus Speak French,  dir. Nantenaina Lova, 2023). Some filmmakers answered postscreening questions in keffiyehs. One night, over taro and tapioca balls on shaved ice, folks from the Taipei Documentary Filmmakers’ Union urged festival guests to support unions.

New memories were made in public parks around Linsen North Road, the old dormitory area for colonial-era Japanese soldiers. Near festival venues flanking Taipei’s red-light district, filmmakers would collapse on grassy knolls in 4:00 a.m. conversations with convenience-store cocktails (many mixed admirably by the Armenian filmmaker Silva Khnkanosian, a former bartender whose  Far From Michigan [2023] ,  filmed in bomb shelters in Nagorno-Karabakh, screened in competition). “All things considered,” juror Joost Daamen, senior programmer at IDFA, told me with a wistful smile as he left for the airport, “this comes close to being the perfect festival.”

Sudipto Sanyal is a writer in Bangalore who wants to revive his old pirate radio show, but the cats keep getting in the way.

  • Experimental Docs
  • Archival Storytelling
  • Asian Media
  • Docs about Politics

Politics latest: 'Emergency' prisons plan revealed - as government urged to decriminalise drug possession

The new government is expanding the early release scheme to ease pressure on prisons amid a lack of spaces - amid calls to go further and decriminalise drug posession.

Saturday 13 July 2024 10:22, UK

  • General Election 2024
  • Justice secretary announces 'emergency measures' to tackle prison population 'crisis'
  • Listen to Electoral Dysfunction wherever you get your podcasts
  • New data shows just 708 places left in adult male prison estate last week
  • Decriminalise drug possession, government urged
  • Starmer hits out at 'gross irresponsibility' of previous government
  • Beth Rigby: A whirlwind of international diplomacy for the new PM - but it will only get harder from here
  • Live reporting by Jennifer Scott and (earlier)  Ben Bloch

We are signing off now after a big week in Westminster that saw Labour making its first moves as the new government, and the Conservatives trying to work out what their future in opposition looks like.

But don't worry, we will be back on Sunday morning to cover all the political news from the weekend and bring you the latest with Trevor Phillips. 

See you then!

Friday marks the end of the first full week for hundreds of new MPs who came to Westminster after the general election.

But for some of the newbies, there was an even bigger task coming their way - being promoted to ministers.

Our political reporter Alix Culbertson takes at look at the new Labour politicians who have already found themselves on Sir Keir Starmer's frontbench.

Jess Phillips says there are "still things that I worry about" after the government confirmed it would be letting prisoners out of jail early to help with overcrowding. 

The Labour MP and now minister in the Home Office tells Sky News' Electoral Dysfunction podcast that "by no means is any of this perfect" and the situation was a "terrible, terrible thing". 

She adds: "It's still not something that you would ever want to be doing. And there are still things that I worry about."

But Ms Phillips defends the decision too, especially around the exclusion of domestic abusers and stalkers from the policy, saying it is "a shift from what it was... when the Tories were doing it".

She says: "You do what you can in the initial hours that you have to do it, and that isn't the end.

"We will now work on exactly how to make sure that as many possible safeguards can be put in place for potential victims whose perpetrators are being released."

The full episode of Electoral Dysfunction will be released here later this evening, so keep an eye on your feeds.

The victims' commissioner for England and Wales has welcomed the government's decision to exclude domestic abusers and stalkers from its new early release scheme for prisoners. 

Baroness Newlove called the move a "welcome and necessary step, reflecting the concerns raised by victims and those who advocate for them".

In a statement, she said there needs to be "clear communication with victims" during the process to ensure the government has their trust, including informing them if release dates are brought forward and allowing them to request protection measures. 

She demanded the probation service is "properly resourced to effectively manage licensing conditions and exclusion zones, which are vital for public safety and victim reassurance".

Baroness Newlove added: "Public safety must remain the top priority as these changes are implemented. 

"We must acknowledge these exclusions have limitations and cannot address every potential risk."

The chief inspector of prisons is warning the move by the government to tackle overcrowding in jails will "inevitably lead to the early release of some risky offenders". 

In a statement, Charlie Taylor welcomed the decision by Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood to release prisoners who had completed 40% of their sentences to free up space, saying the "recognition of the seriousness of the situation, and swift action to manage the prison populations to relieve the immediate strain many jails are under" was positive. 

However, he added: "This latest measure will inevitably lead to the early release of some risky offenders, and will add to the workload of already stretched prison OMUs (offender management units) and probation services.

"How these men are prepared for release and how prisons and probation are supported in managing them will be vital."

Mr Taylor said his organisation will be "watching this very closely - as well as any plans that are developed once the immediate pressure is relieved that seek to make prisons places of genuine purpose, help people to break the cycle of reoffending and protect the public from future harm".

Former home secretary and likely Conservative leadership contender Suella Braverman has blasted the government in a somewhat odd way - namely for "picking up Tory ideas".

As we have just reported, Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood has announced plans to release prisoners who have served 40% of their sentences to help alleviate overcrowding in jails, subject to some exemptions. 

A similar plan was said to have been proposed by the now former justice secretary Alex Chalk last year, but was understood to have been blocked by Number 10 over fears of a backbench rebellion from Tory MPs. 

Tweeting after the government announcement was made, Ms Braverman said: "I opposed this, both inside & outside government.

"With 40 MPs, I tabled amendments to the Sentencing Bill to stop the early release of criminals and put public safety first.

"We managed to stop the government doing it."

She added: "Labour is picking up Tory ideas and putting the public at risk."

Ms Braverman also claimed "everyone and his mother should run to be leader" of her party when the contest kicks off. 

But she said all contenders have "got to start taking responsibility for what we did, and for the things we shamefully left undone - such as not building enough prisons".

The justice secretary has announced that the government will conduct a review into how the "crisis" in prisons was "allowed to happen".

Shabana Mahmood explained: "It will look at how and why necessary decisions were not taken at critical moments. And the lessons that must be learned by future governments, from the failures of the last."

She added: "The legacy of those who last occupied 10 Downing Street is prisons in crisis, moments from catastrophic disaster.

"Our legacy will be different.

"A prisons system brought under control. A probation service that keeps the public safe. Enough prison places to meet our needs. And prisons that break the cycle of reoffending - and create better citizens, not better criminals."

The justice secretary has set out what would happen if the government does not implement these "emergency measures" to reduce the prison population.

Shabana Mahmood said: "Soon, the courts would grind to a halt, unable to hold trials.

"The police would have to stop carrying out arrests. With officers unable to act, criminals could do whatever they want, without consequence.

"We could see looters running amok, smashing in windows, robbing shops and setting neighbourhoods alight.

"In short, if we fail to act now, we face the collapse of the criminal justice system. And a total breakdown of law and order."

She declared this "the legacy of the last Conservative government" and the consequences of their "failure" to address the issue.

The new justice secretary has placed the blame for the "crisis" in prisons firmly at the door of the previous government.

Shabana Mahmood said of the Conservative Party: "Time and again, they ducked the difficult decisions that could have addressed this challenge.

"Instead, they kept the public in the dark about the state they had left this country in. They were too weak to heed the warning signs that were flashing. They chose instead to put the country at risk."

There have been reports that her predecessor, Alex Chalk, tried to implement the emergency measures she is announcing today in order to ease the crisis, but former PM Rishi Sunak blocked it.

"But, instead of taking responsibility, she said, "Rishi Sunak called an election. He tried to hoodwink the electorate. And he was punished at the ballot box."

Echoing language used to describe the people who appeased the Nazis in the 1930s, Ms Mahmood said: "Those responsible – Sunak and his gang in No 10 – should go down in history as the guilty men.

"The guilty men who put their political careers ahead of the safety and security of our country. It was the most disgraceful dereliction of duty I have ever known."

By Mollie Malone, news correspondent

These measures from the justice secretary will be seen among the prison and probation sector as a proper attempt to reset and alleviate the immediate prisons crisis (see previous post).

But it doesn’t solve everything. Far from it.

The justice secretary admits today that the core announcement to lower the automatic release point from 50% to 40% is in itself an emergency measure.

At the moment, we are lurching from one emergency measure to the next.

There are safeguards in place that didn't exist under the previous controversial scheme launched by the Conservative government in October - allowing eligible offenders to be released up to 70 days before the end of their sentence.

Those safeguards might help offset some fears expressed by victims groups.

But it certainly doesn't offer a long term solution.

"Although it will be a law, it still does not resolve how we use prison in the long term," said one prison source.

"If we carry on with court backlogs and send more people to prison, we will be in the same position all over again," they said.

The government are committing to building more prison places.

But their prisons minister James Timpson fundamentally disagrees with that approach and thinks a third of people that are in prison shouldn't be there

There are lots of questions yet to answer about what meaningful reform looks like.

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powerboat of the year 2023

IMAGES

  1. Electric, Foiling Candela C-8 Named European Powerboat of the Year 2023

    powerboat of the year 2023

  2. Super Lauwersmeer SLX54 is Powerboat of the Year 2023

    powerboat of the year 2023

  3. Super Lauwersmeer SLX54 genomineerd voor Powerboat of the Year 2023

    powerboat of the year 2023

  4. European Powerboat of the Year nominated_2023

    powerboat of the year 2023

  5. Winnaars Powerboat of the Year 2023

    powerboat of the year 2023

  6. SLX54 genomineerd voor Powerboat of the Year 2023

    powerboat of the year 2023

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    On a warm May evening, the opening ceremony of the 14th edition of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF) was teeming with euphoria. Founded in 1998, TIDF takes seriously its motif of "re-encountering reality." After two pandemic-hit iterations with online Q&As, this was the first time in six years that filmmakers and audiences had gathered in Taipei in person for the ...

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