One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: a boat designed so as to be ideally suited to use in rowing or sculling races, and typically of the lightest and narrowest construction. Later (now chiefly): a racing punt of similar construction.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Ballarat Star. From best + boat.
best boat/ˈbɛs(t) ˌbəʊt/
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