Friday, September 28, 2007

Ballast Water Battle

On Thursday, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida) pledged to fight a ballast water permitting scheme that has been much maligned by many in the boating community. In a U.S. District Court case last fall, several environmental groups successfully argued in that ballast water should be government regulated, due to the fact that it introduces non-native species into the water. The ruling was intended to target big, commercial vessels that use and expel large amounts of ballast water. However, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, "The court's ruling also includes boat engine cooling water, bilge water, gray water and common deck runoff—none of which was considered by the court, as the case focused solely on commercial ship ballast water." They add, "The court has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a new, complex and costly permitting scheme for the nation's estimated 18 million boats by September 2008."

Boxer and Nelson share a strong belief that recreational boaters should be exempt from such permitting, and are dedicated to resolving the issue before the 2008 deadline. The senators’ commitment has met with great support from many boating groups, and the NMMA has thrown its hat into the ring. "NMMA, leading a collation of boating and outdoor recreation partners, has created a grassroots website to mobilize the boating community on the ballast water permitting issue," the association said in a recent press release, "It's estimated spending by recreational boaters is responsible for some 855,000 U.S. jobs." For further information from the NMMA and BoatUS, check out BoatBlue.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mega Power

When people refer to engines as being "big iron," they're not kidding—at least in the case of this new 20-cylinder powerplant (emphasis on power) that MTU unveiled last week at the Monaco Yacht Show.

The 20V 4000 M93L series engine produces 5,795 hp, mostly suitable for the 60- to 80-meter (197- to 262-foot) megayacht market, but MTU sees potential even beyond that size range. This latest addition to the 4000 Series is in is in the same power range as the MTU 595 Series engine, which it's intended to replace.

There are a few significant differences between the 20V and the 595 Series. First, it's more compact: about a foot and a half lower in profile and about 3,300 pounds lighter. It's also a common-rail design, so emissions are lower, meeting EPA Tier 2 specifications. And finally, MTU says it's more fuel-efficient, representing a 10-percent fuel savings over the 16V 595.

Four engines have already been sold, according to MTU, with the expected ship-out date in April 2008.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Better Borrow Your Kids' Nintendo

For those headed to the Boston In-Water Boat Show from September 27 to 30, don’t forget to bring your gaming thumbs. The Power Boat Docking Challenge (PBDC) pits you against other competitors to see who has the precision to dock a 4-foot model boat into a slip.

Standing behind the throttles at one end of the 20-foot tank, each competitor is timed to see how quickly he or she can wiggle the boat into the slip and then gun it back out to the other end of the tank through a set of channel markers. Of course, speed is not the only factor. Drivers accrue penalties for every bump of the dock on the way in and out of docking, and these are calculated together with their times to determine a final score.

If you think you’ve got the boat handling skills, competitions are scheduled throughout the day, the first being held at noon on the weekdays and 11 a.m. on the weekend. When entering the Boat Show via the dock, the floor plans show the PBDC in the back left corner. Remember to arrive early to beat crowds.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two Rescued, Four Crew Still Missing

The captain and crew of the charter boat Be Cool went missing last week shortly after leaving with a charter, CNN reported earlier today. The vessel, a 47-foot sportfishermen, "made several erratic movements before heading south" about halfway into her voyage, according to the vessel's global positioning system (GPS). The boat was found floating 160-miles south of Bimini. The captain, Jake Branam, his wife Kelly Branam, and two crew members, Scott Campbell and Sammy Cary, are among the missing.

The Coast Guard reports it has rescued two of the six missing boaters. The names of the rescued are Guillermo Zarabozo and Kirby Archer. Archer is being investigated, as he has the same name as a man who stole over $90,000 from an Arkansas Wal-Mart back in January. Foul play has not been ruled out.

According to Coast Guard reports, family members reported Joe Cool overdue at approximately 5:45 p.m. Sunday after the vessel failed to return to Miami Beach Marina. The crew of the 110-foot cutter Pea Island found the vessel late Sunday. The cutter's crew said the abandoned vessel was in disarray with the life-raft missing.

Zarabozo and Archer were found by an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter approximately 12 miles north of that location and taken to the cutter Confidence. The Coast Guard immediately began searching with a HC-130 aircraft from Elizabeth City, N.C., the Cutter Confidence, the Cutter Pea Island and an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Miami deployed to the Confidence.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Feadship's New Concept Yacht

I'm presently at the Monaco Yacht Show, and yesterday I stopped by Feadship's display to see the model of its latest concept project. You're looking at F-Stream, a decidedly futuristic 55-meter yacht that reflects some innovative thinking on the part of the De Voogt design office, which designs and engineers each Feadship. (It's also the realization of the project Royal De Vries' president Henk De Vries told me about in our exclusive podcast over the summer.)

Out of all the cool features, such as hybrid propulsion and abundant use of glass, the one grabbing the most notice is "The Snug," a.k.a. the cozy sundeck. Why? Take a look at the illustration here: The roof opens or lowers, depending on the owner's mood. Talk about a twist on the ol' sunroof.

If you're at the show, you can see The Snug's roof open and close on the model every seven minutes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Riviera Launches Three New Models

Australian boatbuilder Riviera Yachts will launch not one, not two, but three new models at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show taking place October 25 to 29, at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center. The debuting boats include 41- and 45-foot flying-bridge vessels (like the one seen here), and a 48-foot offshore express. While Riviera has made great headway in the States with its flying-bridge models, it's been several years since it offered a sleek-looking offshore express boat. Stay tuned as PMY will be reporting live from the Fort Lauderale show with more industry news and reports of the latest launches.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Megayachts Go Dry—and Vertical

Usually when I receive a press release claiming something "defies convention," my reaction is, "Yeah, right." (As if moving a radar arch a few inches or changing the slope of a window by a few degrees is revolutionary.) But when I read the news about how the Vertical Yacht Club Marina Mile, which should begin construction in Fort Lauderdale next summer, will become the first dry-stowage facility for megayachts up to 85 feet, I blinked.

The idea isn't as crazy as some of you may think. After all, if production-boat owners can save maintenance dollars, why can't you? Wet slips are fine if you use your yacht frequently, but if you don't—or if you're among the many owners who's ruing the lack of dock space—dry stowage is a concept whose time has come. And considering the facility will also reportedly withstand hurricane-force winds up to Category 5, it's extra peace of mind.

Being created jointly by Aqua Marine Partners and Vertical Yacht Club Development, the Vertical Yacht Club Marina Mile will house 46 yachts weighing up to 90 tons each in climate-controlled "suites." Upon arrival at the building, your yacht will be picked up by what the developers call the Hercules system, an overhead bridge crane and an open-rack system. You'll have a custom platform as well, which Hercules will transport and store your yacht on and which will slide into the suite via rails. Domestic and European power will be available, and you can opt for a monthly maintenance program to have the facility check your engines, electronics, and other systems are in good shape.

For further details, contact Vertical Yacht Club Development.

All that Glitters

The presentation of the first Horizon Elegance 62 designed by Fiona Swarovski recently took place in Venice, Italy. The boat represents a collaboration between the Horizon Group, Yaretti Motoryachts, and Fiona, who is heiress to the Swarovski estate and an accomplished designer. The collaboration was born when a Yaretti representative met Swarovski at the presentation of her FWS fashion line and was immediately drawn to the heiresses' talent and her warm, sparkling (forgive me) personality.

According to Horizon, the yacht's interior features "fine woods" and "glossy textiles." Swarovski's keen attention to detail is certainly evident throughout—she even helped design the vessel's stunning china. But perhaps the most eye-catching design element of the boat's interior are the hundreds of crystals adorning everything from throw pillows to tables.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Viking 60 Convertible Debuts at Lauderdale

Hold on to your hats because this 60-footer from fishing-focused boatbuilder Viking Yachts is expected to hit 40-knots-plus (46 mph) with optional twin 1,825-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERTS (2/1,550-hp MANs are standard). The vessel's performance and her striking profile should be a favorite among hardcore tournament anglers. That, and perhaps 170 square feet of fish-fighting space, a stylish cockpit mezzanine, a massive bait freezer, which will keep a season's worth of 'hoo on at the ready, a 40-gallon livewell, 53-gallon in-transom fishbox, and much more. An enclosed-bridge version of the 60 will also be available. You can check her out at the Viking display at Bahia Mar during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which starts on Thursday, October 25.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Cruise With a President

Well, sort of. This Friday marks the first of a few opportunities that wine enthusiasts will get to experience cruising aboard the famous Presidential yacht Potomac.

The "Floating White House," as the yacht has been nicknamed for some time, has hosted San Francisco Harbor tours and special events for a few years. But she's no dinner cruises ship; she's a registered National Historic Landmark and maintained as a memorial to FDR, who entertained dignitaries and family alike onboard.

The wine tasting, called the Foggy Bridge Wine Cruise, will showcase selections from northern and central California, but of course still allowing attendees to learn about the yacht. The Foggy Bridge Web site, mindful that some people may never have been aboard a boat, wisely states that everyone should wear proper shoes and even adds, "dress as if you are having Sunday brunch with the President on his yacht."

If you can't make the cruise, you can learn more about Potomac by picking up a copy of the November issue of Power & Motoryacht, which hits mailboxes and newsstands in mid-October. Potomac is included in our annual exclusive feature "America's 100 Largest Yachts."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Man Bites Shark...Sort of

In true mob-mentality fashion, a harmless, toothless sand shark was taunted and manhandled by beachgoers off Coney Island over the Labor day weekend. Luckily, lifeguards save fish, too. The lifeguard noted that nearly 100 swimmers were surrounding the fish and some were hitting it. The shark's saviour swam out, took the fish from the unruly group, and then continued swimming to deeper water before releasing it. The sand shark, like the one seen here, is not a threat to man. I've caught and released many of these fish, and they're as docile as your puppy dog.

Granted, there was leftover hysteria from a report of a five-foot wayward thresher washing up on Rockaway Beach a day earlier, but even this shark while toothy and intimidating with its large whiptail, is not a true threat or maneater. In fact it's well-known that threshers come into the shallows during the summer to birth their litters on nearby reefs where food is plentiful for their pups.

Either way, Jaws was 30 years ago, and it's perfectly safe to go back in the water.