Friday, June 29, 2007

One Sweet Ride

Fishing tournaments always arouse competitiveness, but imagine the heightened spirit when everyone participating in the inaugural Abaco Billfish Challenge got a load of this: a custom marlin motorcycle created by Paul Teutul Sr. and Jr. of Orange County Choppers, featured on the popular TV show "American Chopper."

The tourney, hosted by the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbor, attracted 40 boats. While only one went home the weekend of June 16 with the beautiful bike, the Teutuls, who were at the event, also designed a dolphin bike (in the background of the photo), which was auctioned off for $300,000.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Slips, Safe Manatees

On Tuesday, the Broward County Commission passed a plan that allows for the construction of 4,392 new boat slips. An earlier draft of the proposal called for 7,000 new slips to be built but was hotly contested by environmentalists hoping to limit the number of manatees in Broward that are killed by boats. The approved proposal marks a compromise between the boating industry and state wildlife officials.

The Broward plan greenlights the construction of storage units, parking spaces, and other boating facilities. It also mandates that 513 of the new slips be set aside for those who cannot afford private dock space. The County Commission instated additional means of protecting manatees including a fee increase for boaters that are caught speeding and the installation of speed-reduction signs that light up when manatees are present.

"Everybody understands this is a compromise plan," said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel. "We all hope it will stand the test of time."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Calculating Costs

If you've done banking or even just researched your financial lending options online, no doubt you've noticed those handy cost calculators the major banks feature on their Web sites. Have you ever wondered why there isn't a marine equivalent?

Well, actually, there is, and it's on the Web site of Luxury Yacht Group, a firm offering a variety of services ranging from yacht management to crew placement and charter. But Luxury Yacht Group's Cost Calculator is arguably better than the banks' version, going beyond a simple "enter price and APR here" numbers-cruncher. It takes a total of 33 pieces of specific information about your yacht into account, to ensure you get a customized report breaking down your annual operating costs.

Here's how it works. You start with basic details such as the length of your yacht, then add more in-depth information such as engine type and hours, cruise and top speeds, the dockage rate you pay, even whether you have crew (and what type of uniforms they wear), how often you wine and dine guests, and whether your yacht is regularly adorned with fresh flowers. (Don't laugh; you'd be amazed at what some owners spend on fresh flowers—on a weekly basis.)

Interested in offering your yacht for charter? Luxury Yacht Group's Cost Calculator even has a section devoted to that, giving you the ability to input rates for summer and winter, along with the number of weeks you'll make the yacht available each season. This helps you determine whether you can offset your overall expenses.

Once you've input all the data, hit "submit," and you can get a printable report.

Now if only deciding between the Feadship and the Lurssen you've been eyeing was so easy...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Waterman Challenge

Imagine paddling 3.6 mph over the course of a few days to travel 175 miles. Crazy? Not to Kevin Horgan, who'll be doing just that, barring any weather-related delays, from New York City to Newport, Rhode Island beginning June 29.

Horgan is a water fanatic and an expert at paddle surfing, a fusion of canoe paddling and surfing. In fact, last summer, while standing on a 12-foot board and paddling with a seven-foot paddle, he became the first person in recent history to have paddled the four major channels in the Hawaiian islands.

Horgan is also the brother of Harry Horgan, the founder of Shake a Leg in Miami, an organization that creates water-based programs for kids and adults with disabilities as well as disadvantaged youth. Harry himself is in a wheelchair, due to an accident many years ago, but it’s never stopped him from pursuing his passion for the water and from encouraging other people to do the same. (He even worked with the build and design teams behind the 153-foot Genesis, now known as Argyll, to ensure the yacht’s passages were wheelchair-friendly.) Kevin says he’s always looked up to Harry and wanted to do his share to raise awareness of the power that water has to be many things to many people: “The ocean doesn’t care if you’re on a surfboat, in a wheelchair, or on a sailboat—it just is.”

Thus the Waterman Challenge was born. Various sponsors, including Shake-a-Leg, are supporting Kevin’s efforts, but regular folks like you and me are donating as well. Everyone who gives a donation of $100 or more receives a special Waterman Challenge T-shirt. You could also win a stay at the NamiNori House in Hawaii and the chance to learn to paddle with Kevin. For more information, click here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Make Gas Last

With summertime gas prices skyrocketing, here are BoatU.S.'s top ten tips for getting the most from a tank of gas.

1. Leave the extra ‘junk’ home: Don’t load the boat up with weight you don’t need. Do a little spring cleaning—unused equipment that has been collecting mildew in the bottom of lockers for years should be taken home.

2. Water weight: At 8.33 pounds per gallon, why keep the water in the tank topped off if you’re only going out for the afternoon?

3. Tune her up: An engine tune-up is an excellent investment and should easily pay for itself over the summer.

4. Tune your prop: If your boat goes 30 mph with a like-new prop and only 27 mph with a prop that’s dinged and out of pitch, that’s a 10% loss in fuel economy, or, you’re wasting one out of every ten gallons you put in your tank.

5. Paint the boat’s bottom: When boating in salt or brackish waters a fouled bottom is like a dull knife. It takes a lot more fuel to push your boat through the water.

6. Keep the boat in trim: Using trim tabs or distributing weight evenly will help move your boat through the water with less effort – and less fuel.

7. Go with the flow: Consult tide tables and try to travel with the tide whenever possible.

8. Install a fuel flow meter: A fuel flow meter is like a heart monitor; when consumption starts to rise, it’s an early warning that something is amiss. A fuel flow meter also allows you to select a comfortable cruising speed that optimizes the amount of fuel being consumed. If you don’t want to spring for a fuel flow meter (about $300), you can calculate your fuel mileage by dividing distance traveled by gallons at fill-up. Using your logbook, you can then approximate fuel flow using average speeds and time underway.

9. For sailboats only: While their engines are miserly, a sailboat with a fouled bottom, prop, or poorly maintained engine can have marked effect on its fuel economy.

10. Get a discount: Many of the 870 BoatU.S. Cooperating Marinas around the country offer up to 10 cents off a gallon of gas. To get the discount all you have to do is to show your BoatU.S. membership card.

Photo credit:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dragon Boat Festival

How cool is this? You're looking at the team that Taiwanese builder Horizon assembled for the national Dragon Boat Festival race, inches away from snagging the bronze medal in the competition on Wednesday.

The festival is a big deal in Taiwan—in fact, it's a nationwide holiday that's been celebrated for centuries, highlighted by the race, in which one team member pounds away on a drum and the rest row to its beat. It's always held at the beginning of the summer, to drive away evil spirits and insects that can spread disease as well as to instill peace in life.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Moscow Yacht Festival Is Around the Corner

See those little people onboard? Those are my parents, Alex and Galina (right and center), at the Moscow Yacht Festival with Konstantin Buryanov, the Chairman of the Board for Laky Verf, the builders of this 76-footer named Ohta. Her split-level layout separates the wheelhouse from the main saloon, which features a sliding roof for air circulation. Mahogany and wenge wood make up the paneling in the interior, while marble and mahogany comprise the heads. Chrome highlights add to the yacht’s subdued ambience. Ohta comes complete with an owner’s suite plus a VIP cabin and a twin cabin that converts to a double-bed setup with a Pullman. I like to think I live vicariously through my parents.

A yacht festival in a city that defines glamour and luxury comes at no surprise. Where grand ventures are the essence of Moscow’s business world, the third-annual Moscow Yacht Festival is only fitting, bringing Russia’s elite to the forefront from June 21 to 24.

Yacht enthusiasts are organizing the noncommercial event on the Moskva River, but it’s more than a simple yacht show; it’s a full-scale city holiday in true over-the-top Moscow fashion, featuring a brilliant display of fireworks that lights up the legendary river overlooking the Kremlin. Yacht lovers can indulge in test drives, sail regattas, and PWC and powerboat races, as well as entertainment sure to enliven the crowd. In fact, the festival is so huge, Motorsport Entertainment, organizers of uber-popular events like Super Car & Bike and the Moscow Festival of Speed, are cashing in with a line-up of promotional events guaranteed to kick the heat up a notch. Think beauties in bikinis. But the event-turned-city holiday has more to offer than bright lights and big boats. Shifting away from the usual just-for-show ordeal, the festival aims at improving the ecological status of the Moskva River and enhancing its historical role.

A ticket to this rare and awe-inspiring event is golden, but the door is open to all. Would you make the trip?

For more on the festival and the full program schedule, click here.

QE2 To Be Relaunched. As a Luxury Hotel!

The Queen Elizabeth 2, one of the world’s most recognizable and famous luxury liners, is going condo. More specifically, the ocean liner’s career will come to an end in November 2008, when she’ll be decommissioned by current owner Cunard and delivered to her new owners.

Where will she reside? Why in Dubai, of course! Luxury hotel group Dubai World recently purchased her for 50 million pounds, or $99.4 million. After her refurbishing, she’ll be berthed at the Palm Jumeirah, the world’s largest man-made island.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World, which owns the shipping company P&O, said the QE2 was "one of the wonders of the maritime world and easily the most famous serving liner in the world today."

Since the QE2 began service in 1969, she has done 25 circumnavigations, crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times, and carried more than 2.5 million passengers.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Boating "Baby" Seeks Advice

Do you remember your first time on a boat? Mine happened when I was 11, snorkeling in Cancun. I spent a whole five minutes on the tiny thing before I was instructed to jump into the water to see the fishies. So the boat itself didn’t matter; we used it as if it were a U-Haul. And even now I know nothing about boats, except that they’re “designed to float on, and promote transport over, water.” (That’s what Wikipedia says.) I’m even fascinated by their ability to stay afloat (seriously, isn’t it astonishing that a massive 150-footer doesn’t sink, but a penny does?).

In any case, I’m new to the paradoxical world of boats, but I hope the question mark I have in my head won’t be there for long. I’m an editorial intern for Power & Motoryacht this summer, and I made a promise to myself that I’ll “dive into” this area of interest for the roughly two months that I’m here (pardon the cheesy, please).

I’m glad that I have an opportunity to be a sponge right now and absorb anything and everything I can about marine life. How many times do you get to be a sponge in life and not get made fun of (unless you’re SpongeBob Squarepants)? Anyways, I’m excited to be here, especially because the very nice people at Power & Motoryacht are taking me out on the company boat, a Cranchi Atlantique 50 christened Office Ours, at the end of July. I want to pretend that my first time on a boat will be then, and I want it to be special.

What was your first time like? Please share, and don’t be afraid to divulge the intimate details, because I know, just from being here for two short weeks, that the relationship avid boaters have with their significant boats is sacred, their first time aboard memorable, and their appetite for more time with their love insatiable.

Friday, June 15, 2007

25-Foot Long Replica of Queen Mary, Made Entirely of Toothpicks

-Toothpicks: 814,000
-Gallons of glue: 17
-Patience level of artist Wayne Kusy: UNMEASUREABLE!

For detailed photos, click here.

Mystery Skiboat

PMY doesn't normally cover skiboats but this one caught my eye. I was on Lake Tellico in Tennessee to test the new Sea Ray 330 Sundancer (the test will be published in our September issue) when this obvious prototye rumbled out of the nearby MasterCraft plant. Now I don't know too much about skiboats but I don't think I've ever seen one powered by two big V-8s. I'd guess the boat was between 26 and 28 feet and that the engine enclosure/cover had been removed for testing. Pretty interesting, huh?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Leave a Light(house) on

Stamp collectors and lighthouse lovers are about to have something in common: Next week the U.S. Postal Service is issuing a series of stamps featuring famous Pacific lighthouses.

Specifically, you’ll get a chance to admire Diamond Head Light in Hawaii, Five Finger Light in Alaska, Grays Harbor Light in Washington, Umpqua River Light in Oregon, and St. George Reef Light in California. Why these? Because each played a historic role in guiding vessels through hazardous water. For example, while St. George Reef Light stands on an exposed rock off the coast of northern California, there’s a hazardous reef beneath the surface. Due to the actions of the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society, the light is now on the National Register of Historic Places and received a new lens in 2002. And Grays Harbor Light, a.k.a. the Westport Lighthouse, is the tallest lighthouse in the state of Washington and among the tallest on the Pacific Coast.

In fact, Westport is where the stamps will be issued, on June 21. To get yours, visit your local post office or order them via the postal service’s Web site.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pledge Per Paddle

Some people canoe or kayak for fun—but Margo Pellegrino is doing it for her children’s future.

Pellegrino, a New Jersey mom of two, is in the midst of an 11-week, Miami-to-Maine trip in a 20-foot-long kayak. Her goal is to raise money for groups trying to solve coastal environmental problems, including the Surfrider Foundation, Oceana, and the Mordecai Island Land Trust. She’s been an active canoer and kayaker since she was a preteen, but the birth of her children, ages five and two, as well as some articles about our collapsing fisheries refocused her concern about what we’re doing to our nation’s waterways. “My kids have inspired me,” she told New Jersey Monthly recently. “There’s no way that they will be able to enjoy a healthy ocean, clean beaches, and an abundance of seafood if we continue to degrade the ocean at the rate we’re going. Like any parent, I want what’s best for them.”

Paddling an average of 25 to 35 miles per day, Pellegrino is subsisting on energy bars and water packs stowed aboard her 18-inch-wide craft, but she’s also enjoying normal meals and some good nights’ rest at the homes of sponsors and other supporters along the route.

You can track her current position, read about her progress, and donate to her cause via her Maimi2Maine blog.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Great White Gaff Goof Could Cost

You should always look before you gaff.

That's the lesson being learned by a Delaware fisherman and his crew this week, when they killed a small great white shark this week. According to reports from the Associated Press, the fisherman, Michael Davisdon, was on the vessel Little One, when his crew hooked up the shark, which is a federally protected species. While it is currently permissible to play a great white on a rod and reel, it should be released not killed. The almost-200-pound fish, however, was gaffed and weighed. The crew reportedly claims they thought the fish was a mako shark. Charges could be filed against the angler for catching and killing the protected fish.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Hungry? Dock and Dine!

Imagine the following scenario: You've been out all day on your boat having a great time, when you start to get hungry. Naturally you head below decks to grab something from your galley’s fridge, only to discover there’s some cheese you probably should have thrown out last weekend and a couple of bottles of flat soda. There’s still a bag of unopened Doritos, but that’s just not gonna cut it. What do you do?

Never fear, Discover Boating is here! The program, a national awareness campaign created by the National Marine Manufacturers Association to promote boating, surveyed boaters and on-the-water dining enthusiasts to come up with a Top 10 list of dock-and-dine spots:

1. Bali Hai Restaurant, San Diego, CA. The South Pacific meets Southern California, complete with Mai Tai cocktails (only for your guests if you’re driving, of course).

2. Captain Dave’s Dockside Restaurant, Murrells Inlet, SC. Regional favorites like Low Country Shrimp & Grits have been keeping people coming back since 1975.

3. Carrol’s Creek, Annapolis, MD. Right on Chesapeake Bay, serving up Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes—what could be better?

4. Cousino’s Navy Bistro, Toledo, OH. On the Maumee River, the restaurant ages its own steaks. You can dock at The Docks, a “parking lot” serving Cousino’s and other waterfront spots.

5. Dockside Restaurant, Wilmington, NC. After you’re done eating seafood and Southern dishes, you can “feed” your boat, as the restaurant is at Dockside Marina, which offers fuel.

6. Finz Waterfront Grille, Stuart, FL. Twenty-three boats can fit at Finz’s dock. Make sure you pull in for the weekend “deck jams” and order the Tilapia Imperial.

7. Flatwater, Chicago, IL. Fusion cuisine featuring Asian, Spanish, and Indian flavors, in the shadows of the Windy City’s skyscrapers.

8. Rafferty’s Dockside Restaurant, Muskegon, MI. Yachts to 70 feet can tie up here. Dishes include Pretzel Crumb Walleye.

9. Rockafeller’s, Virginia Beach, VA. A private dock can accommodate you, but call the restaurant at least two days in advance to make sure you can get a spot. The grilled tuna is back on the menu due to popular demand.

10. Waterway Café, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. No time to stop? Radio in a pick-up order for Rajun Cajun Pasta or other dishes.

Have you been to any of these places? Tell us about your experience—or about your own favorite dock-and-dine spot.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Rousing Rescue by the USCG Auxilary

Thirteen isn't always an unlucky number. Just take the 13 passengers rescued in Alaska moments before their vessel sank in 39-degree water, for example.

Fortunately for those aboard the 40-foot charter vessel, a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary crew happened to be performing routine towing drills approximately 20 miles away. After receiving the call, the crew put the pedal to the metal and arrived at the sinking vessel's side to find the passengers on the bow of the boat with the stern awash.
"We came alongside the stricken vessel and the 11 passengers were pulled aboard to the forward deck of the Auxiliary vessel," [coxswain Shane] Taylor said. "We removed the 11 passengers, then the vessel rolled over on its side within 30 seconds after the last passenger was removed. We backed away momentarily to clear the sinking vessel while the two remaining people on board, the master and his crewmember, climbed the hull as it rolled. We then approached again and nosing up to the overturned vessel, we pulled the two remaining survivors aboard."

"Within a minute of the last survivor boarding our boat, the stricken vessel sank completely," said Taylor. "The sunken vessel's life raft deployed and broke the surface approximately one minute later."

Luhrs 41 Convertible Recall

The Luhrs Coropration has put out a voluntary recall on the first 38 of the 41 Convertible Hulls built due to a port-side heel problem as well as a potential bow-steering issue. If you own Hull No. 101-139 you should contact the builder soon:

Dear Luhrs 41 Convertible Owner,

The Luhrs Corporation has received reports from a few owners that, under certain conditions, early versions of its 41 Convertible may heel to port while underway. It has also been reported that this condition can sometimes lead to slight to moderate bow steer.

To date, Luhrs has received no reports of accidents or injuries that have resulted from this condition. Because of these reports, the Luhrs Design and Engineering staff has conducted sea trials on several of the vessels and, thus far, have been unable to reproduce the condition.

The testing was conducted while using information supplied to us by current 41 Convertible owners. Despite these inconclusive test results and in the interest of safety, Luhrs Corporation has made the decision to conduct a voluntary recall of hull numbers 101 through 139 inclusive in order to perform a hull modification. The procedure consists of extending the existing hull tunnels by 5 inches and creating a rocker along the hull bottom at the transom. This will provide added assurance against the possibility of an occurrence of the reported instability. To date, the hull modification was performed on seven of the subject vessels.
LHRPC101F304 through LHRPC139A505

Luhrs Marine Corporation will perform the hull upgrade to all of the above vessels at its expense including, if necessary, transportation to the location where the modifications will be performed. As an added measure, Luhrs Corporation is in the process of contacting all owners of the subject vessels by telephone to help with arrangements for making the upgrade while answering any questions that may arise. Failure to comply with the voluntary recall and free upgrade may result in abnormal heeling and the possibility of slight to moderate bow steer.

If you have any questions regarding this recall, please contact Luhrs Corporation Customer Service Department at 800-248-2980 or send an e-mail to and we will assist you in making arrangements for this free upgrade.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Smart Cruising With Dockwise

While some boats and yachts are built to handle Atlantic (or Pacific, for that matter) Ocean crossings to enjoy cruising in different parts of the world, not every owner wants to put his or her vessel through the wear and tear—or put crewmembers through it, either, as sometimes it’s impossible to outrun a storm. That’s where transport ships come in. These massive vessels feature a semisubmersible section that permits yachts to literally float on and off as cargo.

There are a handful of companies that carry yachts, but Dockwise Yacht Transport (DYT), which has been in business since 1987 and solely focuses on the pleasure market, can now boast ownership of the largest transporter in the world. The photo here, taken by famous yachting photographer Onne van der Wal, is of Yacht Express, measuring nearly 688 feet long—that’s more than 130 feet bigger than DYT’s previously largest carrier. Equally impressive, Yacht Express has nearly 106 feet of beam and displaces 15,000 tons. DYT commissioned the vessel from Yantai Raffles Shipyard in China in 2005 to meet the ever-increasing demand for yachts traveling to and from Florida and the Med. To date, DYT says it’s transported more than 8,000 motor- and sailing yachts.

As this photo (also by Onne van der Wal) shows, there’s 541 feet of deck length for boats and yachts to be transported on. Because crewmembers need to be present when the yachts are ready to disembark, Yacht Express features complimentary cabins for them—plus a swimming pool, restaurant, movie theater, fitness center, and other amenities to make the passages more enjoyable. Even better, because the vessel is capable of an 18-knot speed, DYT says transatlantic trips can be reduced from 15 to eight days.

Yacht Express will be picking up and dropping off boats in Australia and New Zealand in the coming weeks and then heading to Florida. She’ll be rechristened at the Monaco Yacht Show in late September during a special ceremony, complete with a fireworks display.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Lyman-Morse's Green Facility

On Memorial Day weekend, venerable Maine boatbuilder Lyman-Morse celebrated the grand opening of a new facility that incorporates some of the latest design, construction, and operation concepts as outlined in the construction-industry wide, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The 22,400-square-foot Varco/Pruden (the VP) building—pictured above with Electra, a 94-foot Hunt yacht built by Lyman-Morse—is constructed of high-energy efficient foam core (SIPS): It’s a material that’s similar to a core-infused hull, with a polystyrene rigid-foam sandwiched between something called oriented strand board, which forms the interior and exterior sheathing. This results in much less construction debris and better insulation than wood frame construction.

Inside, several green systems work in concert to ensure that the VP building will be among the most environmentally responsible facilities of its type. A passive-solar panel system on its roof is designed to handle approximately 40 percent of the 22,400-square-foot building’s heating needs via an in-floor radiant heat system; four gas-fired boilers (rated at 92-perecent efficiency) will kick in as needed. Low E-rated, thermal windows provide ample light but do not allow for heat to escape in cooler weather. And all lighting is energy-efficient.

The facility was designed as a joint venture between Lyman-Morse and Reluminati, a Washington, D.C.-based company comprised of alternative-energy gurus and the workplace of Cabot and Heidi Lyman’s son Zach. Lyman-Morse is implementing an environmental bent across the board: The builder is working with Maine's Harvest Fuels to provide them with 20-percent biodiesel fuel—B20—to run its new 110-ton TravelLift and its other diesel equipment.