Thursday, January 31, 2008

Luhrs' IPS 35 Convertible

For the convertible enthusiast, the ease of driving an inboard propulsion system (IPS) boat is here. The Luhrs Marine Group is launching its 35 Convertible with Volvo Penta's ever-popular IPS drive system at the Miami International Boat Show February 14-18. The builder initially put the IPS system, which utilizes a joystick system married to forward-facing, azipod-type prop sets that offer on-a-dime maneuverability, in its 31-foot Express last fall. The success of that launch has prompted the builder to expand its use of IPS to its popular convertible line.

Over the last few years, IPS has been proven to enhance the driving and docking experience for boaters as well as offer up significant fuel savings in the process. If you'll be around the Miami show on VIP day (February 14), the builder will provide the marine-industry with its first look of the new boat.

An Anchor May Have Taken Down the Internet

We’ve all seen those signs that say “No Anchoring: High Voltage Cables.” And cable areas are marked on all our charts. Well, it may be that one captain wasn’t paying attention today in the Mediterranean.

Internet service has been disrupted and cut across The Middle East, North Africa, and Asia today due to a problem with a large underwater internet cable. India has reportedly lost half of its country’s bandwidth, forcing it to reroute through satellites and other cables. The whole slow-down is having a strong impact on India’s outsourcing and markets.

And as for the anchor issue, well here is what CNN had to say:

“An official at Egypt's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was believed that a boat's anchor may have caused the problems, although this was unconfirmed, AP reported. He added that it might take up to a week to repair the fault.”

We’ll keep you posted once we hear confirmation of what caused the outage.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Whaler Watching

I think I can safely say that I'm among the millions of Americans who are addicted to TV shows about how things work. Whether it's a home-renovation program or a behind-the-scenes tour of a candy factory, I love discovering how things we see in our daily lives come into being.

So I'll be among those watching on February 12 when the Discovery Channel premieres an episode of "Some Assembly Required" that features Boston Whaler. The show, which delves into how noteworthy or well-known products are manufactured, will take viewers through everything from hull layup to launch.

Airtime is 10 p.m. If you can't catch it that night, the episode will repeat on February 16 at 8 p.m. and February 17 at midnight. (Best to check your local listings anyway, just in case.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Under the Sea

Cancel your SCUBA lessons. Hang up your snorkel. Soon, you can see the underwater universe the James Bond way—for a price tag of about $3.5 million.

The Hyper-Sub Submersible Powerboat has been the life's work of inventor Reynolds Marion.

"I started designing it when I was about 11 years old and spent 31 to 32 years trying to come up with the solution that make that type of a design possible," Marion told reporters during a recent test cruise in Clay County, Florida.

Marion says the boat can clock 35 mph on the surface and 5 mph underwater. It can also dive as far as 600 feet below the waves. If the prototype passes testing, the boat could be on production lines within a few years.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Knots to Know

Even after years on the water, we all occasionally need a quick refresher on how to tie those knots, slips, and hitches we don’t frequently make. And although most of us have at least one knot-tying book laying around the house or onboard the vessel, these books all have one flaw: you have to try and trace the bitter end from picture to picture to see what’s happening to the line. has taken the difficulty out of studying each picture for changes by simply animating the shots. You can loop the animation or stop on each panel to go step-by-step.

Another benefit of the site is that the knots are divided into categories, so you can research ties for your boat, the knots for your fishing trip, or the securing hitches for your mountain climbing expedition. Tying along with the site is good practice while you’re ashore, and you may even learn a few new useful ties while you wait for the spring waters to warm.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The BIG Fishing Trip...

An epic journey begins. Chris Fischer and the crew of the 72-footer Go Fisch have spent the last seven years traveling the Eastern Pacific in search of great angling opportunities for the TV show Offshore Adventures. Well, Fischer and his team have recently acquired a 126-foot mothership named Ocean (formerly Arctic Eagle) and have a 45-foot Cabo Yachts sportfisherman on deck as her fishing platform. The plan is to spend the next five years traveling the world's ocean in the name of fishing, research, and education.

From Tonga to Thailand, to New Caledonia and beyond, the crew will be both be shooting great footage for the TV show and collecting data for scientists to help get a handle on the state of the world's oceans. You can read a full interview with Fischer about this trip in the April issue of Power & Motoryacht.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cover Me

Wait 'til my Dad hears about this: If you've secretly wanted your boat to grace the cover of Power & Motoryacht but didn't know how we made our decisions (or figured your bribes to us just weren't good enough), here's your chance to make your baby a star.

We're now offering custom covers to readers like you. By clicking the PMY Custom Covers bar on the left side of our homepage, you'll find easy directions for uploading a photo of your boat. We then give you a handful of cover blurbs to choose from, if you can't decide what to write. And we'll even frame it for you, so you can hang the cover in your home or onboard.

Easy? Definitely. Just don't tell my father—I'm surprising him with one for his birthday next month.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Counterfeit Concerns

Working in New York City, we PMY staffers are no strangers to counterfeit goods. The city sidewalks are awash with peddlers hawking copied wares. Not surprisingly, the problem doesn’t end with faux designer purses and perfumes: Counterfeit goods have become a real concern in the boating industry.

According to a recent article by Bill Klimas in Soundings Trade Only, imitation boating gear abounds and has become a serious problem for manufacturers and customers alike. Klimas cites the case of bilge pump manufacturer ITT Rule. The company found that nearly identical knock-offs of its 2,000-gph model pump were being made in China and sold to unsuspecting consumers in Australia. ITT ran tests of the counterfeit pumps and found that they ran for only 45 minutes before they stopped working. Conversely, three real ITT Rule pumps were tested and operated for more than 5,000 hours without incident.

Though the World Trade Organization is in charge of controlling this and other cases of trademark/Intellectual Property infringement, the question of how to regulate the influx of counterfeit goods is fraught with many political and bureaucratic issues. For the time being the best we consumers can do is work hard to educate ourselves and make sure the boating gear we’re buying is the real deal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Right Adhesive Sealant

Here’s a link to the 3M Adhesive Sealant Selector I ran across on their Web site while working on an upcoming article about sealants for our April Maintenance Issue. On this page, simply select what surface or surfaces you want to join (fiberglass, wood, vinyl, lexan plastic, etc.). Next select if those surfaces are sanded or unsanded. After that, decide if the surface is chemically resistant. Finally, choose from the available colors. Click on the “View Products” button and 3M will give you a list of all of their available adhesive sealants that might fit the job.

It’s a pretty slick program and really cuts down on any guesswork about which adhesive will work best for each task (at least if you're looking at a 3M sealant). They also have a selector for all their marine producst as well. This one allows you to start with the condition of your vessel and then find all of the appropriate products (waxes, cleaners, etc.) to perform your upkeep for the season. For more on sealants, be sure to look for the article in the April issue of PMY.

Monday, January 14, 2008

One More Time....

You have to hand it to Peter Bethune and the Earthrace crew, they don't stop trying. After last year's failed attempt by Bethune's team to circumnavigate the planet in record speed with their all-biodiesel-fueled, 70-plus-foot wavepiercer, Earthrace, a second attempt is planned for March. The first attempt was plagued by myriad mechanical problems and even a collision with another vessel, which sadly cost one person his life.

Leaving the past difficulties behind them, the crew is prepared for its shot at redemption. Bethune announced the 2008 challenge will begin from the Vulkan Shipyard, Valencia, Spain on March 1.

According to Bethune, the proposed route is: Valencia - Azores - Puerto Rico - Panama Canal – Manzanillo, Mexico – San Diego, USA – Hawaii – Majuro, Marshall Islands – Koror, Palau – Singapore – Cochin, India – Salalah, Oman - Suez Canal – Valencia. SGC Energia (SGCE) based in Portugal will supply all the fuel required for the record attempt, about 165,000 liters of 100-percent biodiesel.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy (Slightly Belated) New Year

Even though the holiday season is quickly fading in the face of a presidential election and economic worries, I feel a parting shot is warranted, especially an optimistic one. I'm sure that many of you got holiday cards from business associates this year, as did I, some from people you can't remember ever meeting and other from people you'd frankly rather not hear from during the joyous season, like your tax attorney or oncologist. I naturally get them from boatbuilders, some of whom I recognize (the name of the company if not the person signing the card).

This year my all-time favorite came from Pershing, maker of those ultra-fast, super-sexy, Italian express boats. Like a lot of stuff that comes from Italy (especially catalogs), it's oversized. It's actually a hardbound book that I would guess measures 14" x 14". Open it up and it's a calendar, a not very practical calendar given its size. Each spread has the days of the month on one side in very small type and a quote from a famous person on the other. The quotes are frankly priceless, and I'd like to share them with you without comment. I hope they'll both inspire you and reinforce a notion—that might be somewhat comforting in these worrisome economic times: that predicting the future is a risky enterprise. Happy New Year.

January: "The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad." The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company

February: "A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere." The New York Times, 1936

March: "Man will not fly for 50 years." Wilbur Wright in 1903, the same year as his and his brother's famous inaugural flight

April: "Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946

May: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

June: "The Suez Canal? A useless attempt and impossible to build." Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister, 1858

July: "With regard to the electric light, I think I may say without contradiction that no more will be heard of it." Erasmus Wilson, President of the Stevens Institute of Technology, 1879

August: "The theory of relativity is just as unacceptable to me as, say, the existence of the atom or other such dogmas. Ernst Mach, German scientist, 1838-1916

September: "Photography will not last long as painting is so clearly superior." Le Journal des Savants, 1829

October: "Radio has no future." Lord Kelvin, mathematician and scinetist and president of the Royal Society, 1897

November: "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" H. M. Warner, co-founder of Warner Brothers, 1927

December: "Today it is practically impossible to find undiscovered lands." Queen Isabel of Spain's Advisory Council

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dubya Goes Fishing

On Sunday, January 13, President George W. Bush will be a guest on ESPN2’s Offshore Adventures. The president joined hosts Chris and Melissa Fischer for a day of fishing for striped bass on Chesapeake Bay. The show also followed the president’s signing of an executive order to build up stocks of striped bass and red drum in federal waters.

According to Offshore Adventures/Fischer Promotions:
The episode shows a side of the president rarely seen—unscripted and casual—and discussions focused on subjects dear to both Bush and the Fischers: conservation, sustainable fisheries, family and fishing.

The Fischers joined the president for two hours of fishing off St. Michael’s, Maryland. Although security was tight on the Bay and required several weeks planning logistics, rare candid access was allowed at the president’s request.
Sustainable fishing was a central subject.

A catalyst behind the meeting was Offshore Adventures’ recently unveiled plan to embark on the greatest global oceanic expedition in history—a seven-year trip around the earth aboard a 126-foot mothership.

The goals of the trip are to assess the state of the worlds’ oceans, educate people around the world on proper fisheries management, discover the most remote fisheries on earth, and record it for television history. Throughout the journey, marine scientist will be involved to study and assess ocean ecosystems and fisheries.
As it turns out, Melissa Fischer was the only one to raise a fish on the outing. See, even the Commander-in-Chief, can have a bad day on the hook.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Silver Bullet

In a literal flash, this center console sportfish boat may be here and gone. Jay Perrotta, who founded the successful Black Lab Marine, a builder of plate-alloy, outboard-powered boats from 23 to 29 feet, has recently partnered with Phil Hulsizer, founder of Welding Services, to start a new boat company called Rock Salt Boats. The first launch from the fledgling venture is the 34-foot, plate-alloy speedster you see here, the Rock Salt 34 CC.

The marine-grade-aluminum-alloy-constructed vessel is designed for the hardcore offshore angler and will be matched with twin four-stroke Suzuki power. Rock Salt's founder describes the 34 as having "the heart of a Navy attack boat, the soul of a Coast Guard rescue boat, and the brains of today's large offshore capable center consoles..." Some the 34's standard features include: T-top, 50- and 30-gallon livewells, 150-gallon in-deck fishbox, 2/nine-foot in-deck rod stowage lockers, rigging station, and more. Options include triple outboards, painted hull, underwater lights, tower, and outriggers, to name a few.

Monday, January 7, 2008

No More Rock and Roll

You may remember the article that appeared in the November issue of PMY entitled, "The End of Rock and Roll." It was about a new, compact (about the size of a beach ball), relatively affordable, high-speed gyro called the Seakeeper (above), which during our tests all but eliminated rolling on a 43-foot Viking convertible. Having been on that boat—in the tuna tower and in a beam sea—I can tell you that the difference this device made was so remarkable, we opined that Seakeeper would change boating forever.

Well, that prediction may come true a lot sooner than we thought. I got a call the other day from Shep McKinney, president of Seakeeper, who informed me that as a direct result of that article, his company had just signed a multimillion-dollar deal to supply gyros to the Azimut-Benetti Group in exchange for an agreement not to sell the units to the Italian builder's direct competitors for the next few years. It's a great deal for Seakeeper because it gives the fledgling company a solid piece of business on which to build, and it's great for Azimut-Benetti because it gives it something none of its competitors will have, at least for now.

I found McKinney's news particularly interesting because immediately after my ride on the Seakeeper-equipped Viking, I called a few builders to tell them that I felt this product was a true game-changer and whatever builder came out with it on their boats first would have a huge advantage over its competitors. Amazingly, I couldn't seem to get anyone excited—except for one guy: Paolo Vitelli, president of Azimut-Benetti.

Vitelli founded Azimut back in 1969, then acquired Benetti in 1985, and has grown the company, which he still owns, into arguably the most successful and profitable boatbuilder in the world. Above all, Vitelli is an entrepreneur who can move more quickly and decisively than a lot of other builders. It was that nimbleness that allowed him to nail down Seakeeper while his competitors were still just thinking about it. I'm predicting that his quick decision will translate into huge profits for his company over the term of the agreement. Just wait and see how he exploits the advantage of selling boats that don't rock and roll. A lot of builders are going to be trying to figure a way to avoid Seakeeper's patents.

No Fix

My girlfriend has a 2002 Lexus RX 300, and being a Lexus, it's loaded, right down to its nifty GPS navigator. Like most modern vehicles, this car's GPS is part of a module that also includes the audio (AM, FM, CD player) and climate controls—very convenient ergonomically speaking. This is a high-mileage car—139,000 miles—but it's in great condition. Hey, it's basically a glorified Toyota, and what car has a better reputation for dependability and reliability than Toyota?

Indeed, mechanically this car is bulletproof—it doesn't use a drop of oil and never has had so much as a burp. But one night a week or so ago, the electronics started to act up. First, the radio on/off button wouldn't work. Then I couldn't go forward or back a track on the CD. The on/off button came back on line but the navigator started to lose its way, heading off cross-country even as we slogged up I-95. Ever since that night electronic features keep disappearing and reappearing in some perverse imitation of musical chairs; when we climb into the car we never know what's going to work and what won't, but we've started carry maps, just in case.

Of course, the ever-helpful Lexus dealer is more than able and willing to fix the problem, which means replacing the entire audio/climate/navigation control module for a price that I calculate is about twice what the car is worth.

Among the many lessons I've learned (and relearned) from this experience is that my psyche is forever trapped in the Mechanical Age when things could actually be fixed—screw this gizmo off, screw this new one on, and you're on your way. In the Electronic Age, I am coming to understand, life is not this way. Stuff is no longer designed to be repaired, only replaced. My epiphany regarding this actually occurred last spring when my boat's chartplotter abruptly went dark. I called the manufacturer's toll-free service number, and after a very brief Q and A ("Are you sure it's turned on? Is the power plug in tight? Have you dropped it recently?), I was told to box up its way-out-of-warranty self and ship it off to the service center where they basically replaced everything but the knobs that hold it to its bracket and returned it to me, fully operational. The cost, I am delighted to report, was zero, but only because the company took pity. They were in no way obligated to give me a pass, unless it was by some corporate conscience (an oxymoron if there ever was one).

Boating has finally taught me that this is now the way of the world: Most things are no longer designed to be fixed, just discarded and then replaced. Considering how much stuff on my boat falls into this category, I find myself seriously questioning what I may have really gained with all this new technology. I have a friend who actually knows how to navigate by sextant and has had the same instrument for three decades. Whenever it needs adjustment or repair, he ships it back to England, where they can replace any part. Gives new meaning to the word fix, doesn't it?

Sad Day for Billfish!

The recovery of the billfish stocks along the East Coast of the United States and Gulf of Mexico has been impressive over the last decade. What was once an utterly devastated fishery has come been bouncing back, especially swordfish stocks, and recreational anglers and charter skippers have been enjoying it immensely. Yours truly, included. However, what made the rebound such a success was the closure of certain zones to the commercial longline fleet. Sadly, longliners are being allowed back into these zones, under the term "research." See the full story below, but if these zones get opened back up to serious commercial fishing, we're only putting ourselves back into a boat that almost cost us these magnificent fish to start with.

Government Approves Longline Research Fishing in Portion of East Coast Closed Zones

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced on January 3rd its approval of Exempted Fishing Permits (EFP) for two pelagic longline vessels to fish within portions of the east coast closed zones, with an additional third vessel approved as a backup. In 2001 the government closed waters to pelagic longline gear in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico to reduce bycatch of juvenile swordfish, sailfish, blue marlin, white marlin and other highly migratory species. White marlin, a severely overfished species, has benefited from the removal of pelagic longline vessels from within those closed zones. The most recent assessment of white marlin population size indicated a slight increase in their abundance, the first positive up-turn for white marlin in decades. TBF's experts are cautiously optimistic that this good news will prevent the government from recommending a listing of white marlin as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), an act that would trigger a wide range of restrictive measures. Curiously, the government has delayed issuing a formal opinion on the possible listing of white marlin, yet they have rushed forward to approve the longline research fishing into the zones providing real protection for the species - yet another indication of the lack of importance recreational fishing has with the current government decision makers.

The government describes its research protocol for the longline research fishing as "scientifically rigorous", a description The Billfish Foundation (TBF) takes exception to. The government's stated purpose of the longline fishing research is:

1. To collect information on the effectiveness of current bycatch reduction measures in closed areas where bycatch rates may be higher than in other areas and

2. To determine the effectiveness of [current] bycatch reduction measures [offset and non-offset circle hooks, bait requirements, bycatch release gear, and careful handling and release workshops] in these closed areas.

In reality the "bycatch reduction measures" in the conservation zones have been the prohibition of longline gear. Clearly the use of such gear will increase bycatch and incidental mortality in these areas. The real reason for the authorization is to allow for the landing of more swordfish in hopes that it will demonstrate to other nations that the U.S. is taking measures to increase its landing of the internationally allocated quota, which is in jeopardy of being reduced and given to other nations. TBF maintains that a better alternative would be for the government to authorize larger U.S. longline vessels to fish competitively and safely in distant waters of the north Atlantic where many other nations fish for swordfish.

Over a 12 month period, the "longline research fishing" will range from a few miles north of Ft. Pierce, Florida (28 degrees north latitude) proceeding north, seaward of the axis of the Gulf Stream, to the northern boundary (31 degrees north latitude) of the east Florida closed zone. In the Charleston Bump closed zone, "longline research fishing" will be allowed north of 31 degrees north latitude and following the 100 fathom contour to the northern and eastern boundaries of the Charleston Bump closed zone. "Longline research fishing" will include 289 longline sets over the year with an equal number within closed zones and outside those zones. Each longline set will use 500 18/0 non-offset circle hooks rigged with whole dead finfish bait and/or squid bait.

The government "conservatively" estimates the catch numbers to be:
- swordfish: 1,083 landed, 973 released alive, 360 discarded dead;
- white marlin: 9 released alive and 13 dead;
- blue marlin: 10 released alive, 14 dead;
- large coastal sharks: 113 landed, 124 released alive, 50 discarded dead;
- pelagic sharks: 21 landed, 81 released alive, 11 discarded dead;
- bluefin tuna: 0 landed;
- leatherback sea turtles: 2 interactions; and
- loggerhead sea turtles: 6 interactions.

It is interesting to note that the government anticipates the death of at least 27 marlin in this longline fishing research—a number that is more than 10% of the total annual landings allowed in the U.S. recreational fishery.

The government's notice is not clear as to whether both a trained federal observer and a federally trained staff person (contract scientist and/or graduate student) will be on board the vessels at all times during the longline research fishing. Most likely, it will be one or the other. The pelagic longline vessels will not be compensated for their "research fishing", as was the case for the multi-year sea turtle bycatch research project completed a few years earlier, the research during which the current "bycatch reduction measures" were identified in the cold waters of the north Atlantic.

TBF is relieved that the pelagic longline vessels are kept out of waters south of Ft. Pierce, but we are very concerned as to potential negative impacts in waters authorized for the longline research fishing. TBF will monitor the interaction rate with each species and the number landed, sold, released alive and discarded dead and report that back to you regularly.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fine Day For a Boat Test

Those of you who regularly read PMY boat tests are familiar with a caveat that appears all too often regarding test conditions. It goes something like this: "I was unable to evaluate the boat's rough-water handling because conditions on test day were flat calm." It's a shame that we have to say that but we only get these boats for a day or, at the most two, and so we can't choose our weather. But every once in a while the stars align and we get one of those honkin' days that really tests the boat and us. I had one on Friday, January 4, off St. Lucie, Florida. It had been blowing 30 for the last 24 hours, and although the wind had died a bit, the seas were still up—fours and sixes—and it was still squally. I was aboard a 70-foot Davis sportfish, and as we headed out the inlet, I could see the waves breaking and I knew we were in for it. I shot this picture through the enclosure just as we cleared the inlet. To find out how the Davis fared, look for the test in the March issue.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Good Enough to Eat

Forgive me as I wipe the drool from my chin. You're looking at the surf-and-turf dish that made Stephanie Hodges (below) of the 135-foot Atlantica the winner of the Concours de Chefs competition at last month's St. Maarten Charter Show.

The industry-only show is attended by charter brokers and media from around the world, who inspect some of the best yachts available for your vacation pleasure. Since anyone who's ever chartered a luxury yacht typically raves about the food for far longer than he or she stayed aboard, the Concours de Chefs is a way to showcase these creative culinary artists' talents.

Hodges, whose yacht is part of the International Yacht Collection charter fleet, certainly wowed the judges with her dishes. She made sesame seared yellowfin tuna drizzled with wasabi sauce and sweet soy, topped with baby rocket (baby greens, for those of you nongastronomes). She also made shitake mushroom and seared wagyu beef filet on top of roasted asparagus with horseradish creme. Her finale: carrot and zucchini cake with pineapple and walnuts, topped with pineapple cream cheese ice cream.

I think I just gained ten pounds writing this post. Off to the gym...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Have Cats Finally Arrived?

Is it finally happening? Are power catamarans finally becoming accepted in the United States, as they have in the rest of the world (especially in Australia and New Zealand)? It seems that nearly every day some new double-hull design comes across my desk. Some are just dreams looking for a buyer to fund their construction. But more and more of them are actually being built—or in many case actually have been built and launched. Just a week ago, my friend and PMY electronics columnist Ben Ellison announced to me that he'd plunked down a deposit on a Maine Cat P-45. Although I'm no fan of catamarans, as he laid out the brochure I did find this one pleasing to the eye (at least in profile) and intriguing because it has just two cabins. The master lays athwartships to avoid the tunnel-like feel of most catamaran cabins—or at least that's the way it looks on paper. (You can get more information and look at a video of the prototype at

Then a few nights later I received an e-mail from Warren Mosler, who's building a 50-foot power cat at Goldcoast Yachts in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mosler's cat is a wave-piercer, which uses extended hulls to increase waterline and thereby efficiency. Like all cats, power and sail, his has an oversized (17'x 17') main-deck saloon, but unlike the Maine Cat, his master stateroom is aft (to starboard) along with two guest staterooms, all of which "utilize the hulls for hallways." I put this in quotes because even looking at the 3-D accommodations plan (top photo), I can't picture it.

Where in profile the Maine Cat looks fairly conventional, Mosler's boat looks other-worldly (bottom photo), at least to a non-cat guy. Both are, of course, wide: the P-45's beam is 18 feet. Mosler didn't provide that spec in his e-mail but judging from the pictures he sent, I'd guess it's all of that and more. Which leads to the perennial question regarding cats: Where are you gonna park that thing? The answer is, of course, at your own dock as few marinas can accommodate many boats of that breadth and those they can at a considerable premium. A lot of places won't even let you anchor one in the harbor.

So why are people buying these boats, which, by the way, tend to cost more than a monohull of the same length? Lots of reasons are offered up, like the livability of those giant saloons and the huge sun lounges. But at the bottom of it, I suspect, it's all about fuel efficiency. On its Web site, Maine Cat claims the P-45 gets 3 nautical miles per gallon (nmpg) at 10.8 knots and 2.2 nmpg at 18 knots. Mosler claims his boat burns 3 gph at 10 knots for 3.33 nmpg and 11.1 gph at 20 knots for 1.80 nmpg. While that may not seem like a lot compared to your Prius, those nmpg numbers are four to six times those of your typical twin-engine monohull of the same length.

That kind of data is undeniably impressive and is bound to attract a lot of buyers, especially as the price of fuel rises and with it concern over CO emissions. But for me, no thanks. It all comes down to aesthetics. I want my boat to look like a boat, and in my world that means one hull. If I need to save money I'll buy a used boat. If I want to save the planet, I'll resort to other measures, like lightweight construction, a single engine, and going slow. I've yet to see anyone oooh and aaah when a cat comes into a harbor, and until I do, I'll stick with a monohull.