Monday, June 30, 2008

Prepare for Panama

Plenty of anglers know about the waters off Panama, but how about you cruisers? A new marina breaking ground this summer might just be the excuse you need to go check the country out. Palacio Del Mar, a Six Diamond Resort International property, will feature a marina with more than 100 berths as well as a yacht club.

Located in Bocas Del Toro (see photo), an archipelago on the northwestern coast of Panama, Palacio Del Mar will be bordered by a rainforest as well as a placid bay. The marina will feature floating concrete docks, 24-hour security, customs assistance, fueling, Wi-Fi, electrical service up to 100 amps, fish-cleaning services, sailing and fishing charter services, and more. While a restaurant will also be steps away from the docks, the yacht club will feature additional dining options. (It will also have a billiards room and library.)

Should you wish to linger longer, Palacio Del Mar will also feature residences ranging from one to three bedrooms.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Antique and Classic Boats

Sure it's a cliche, but it's also true: Some things do improve with age. Wine, cheese and—in the mind of antique vessel enthusiasts—boats, too. If you subscribe to that school of thought (or if you just like to gawk at all things vintage and boaty) then I offer up the following event for your consideration: The 26th Annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival in Salem, Massachusetts.

This weekend-long affair kicks off on Saturday, August 23rd (though there will be a reception the previous night), and will feature a display of antique (pre-1946) and classic (pre-1968) boats. If you're interested in registering a yacht, prices start at $80 (depending on size) and include dockage. In addition to the all-important boat display, the festival will also feature a crafts market, musical interludes, and an awards presentation. Prizes will be given for categories such as best powerboat, best reproduction, and finest interior.

Captivated by Cape May

Living in New Jersey means I have more than 100 miles of coastline to enjoy. And I definitely enjoyed myself last weekend along the state's southernmost coastline: Cape May. I took the photo above during HarborFest, a celebration of the city's proximity to and relationship with the sea. As you can see, there were plenty of booths, and of course there was plenty of seafood. (I'm still waxing poetic to friends and family about the scallop wrap I had for lunch there. Three words: to die for.) The evening before I arrived, there was even a blessing-of-the-waters ceremony and a rededication of a beautiful memorial to local fishermen who've been lost at sea.

A lot of the activity during HarborFest took place in and around the Nature Center, which offered everything from hands-on learning exhibits for kids to eco-kayak tours. And coincidentally, a big group of Sea Ray owners were enjoying a rendezvous at South Jersey Marina, just a few blocks away, so they mixed and mingled with the rest of us.

Look for more information about Cape May in my story appearing in our December issue's special destinations section.

Launched: Paul Mann 76

One of North Carolina's most well-respected custom boatbuilders, Paul Mann, launched his largest vessel to date, a 76-footer, dubbed Ann Warrick. The green-hulled and teak-accented sportfisherman (she even has a matching custom tender that sits on the massive foredeck) is in the water and ready for her new owners. Be sure to keep an eye out for this behemoth battlewagon, she just might make an appearance at a tournament near you soon. And here at PMY, we'll be sure to do our best to see if we can give you a first-hand account of how she runs in the near future. Stand by.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Indonesian Mimic Octopus

This is supposed to be a blog about boats, not sea life, right? Well, I’ll argue they’re inextricably intertwined. Who knows what you’ll see when you hook up the tanks and drop below the surface, especially if your vessel is in the waters off Indonesia:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Little Something for Your Riva

So you've got your new Riva. Yes, it's one of the most prestigious vessels in the world, but still, who wants just any old Riva? You need something to make yours stand out. But what? Well how about this solid hardwood chest (top) made to order for each boat and owner? Inside its elegant lacquer enclosure you'll find four bottles of Clicquot La Grande Dame 98 champagne, two magnums of Le Grande Dame 88 champagne, six Riedel champagne flutes, and six water tumblers. And it's all yours for a mere $80,000!

A tad too much for your budget? Then try the limited edition (only 300 pieces will be made) Cruiser Bag (above). It includes a bottle of La Grande Dame 98 and two champagne flutes and costs a considerably less stratospheric $425. Products of a joint venture between Veuve Clicquot and Riva, both are available through your local Riva dealer or direct from the Riva factory.

Mega Madness

We just wrapped up "The Power & Motoryacht 100," our annual compendium of the largest private yachts in the world, which you'll be seeing in your mailbox in about a month's time. Until then, I thought I could whet your appetite for what's become our most popular issue with some more video footage of these mega-beauties. Here's one I found on YouTube, shot on New Year's Eve. You'll get good looks at Lone Ranger, Rising Sun, and particularly Octopus.

You'll also see Mine Games—which despite being a healthy 164 feet LOA is a good 40 feet too small for the list.


Less Than a Grand Slam

Bob Uecker, the legendary Milwaukee Brewers sportscaster, also famous for spoofing himself in the ‘80’s Major League baseball comedies, got one out of the proverbial left-field when his express cruiser was hit by the 551-ft freighter St. Mary’s Challenger. Uecker’s boat was tied dockside on the Kinnickinnic River at the time, and no injuries were reported, but the celebrity’s beloved boat suffered severe damage. The sportscaster was supposed to use his cruiser for a charity-fishing event the following weekend; fortunately, he was loaned one for the purpose. To appropriate one of Uecker’s favorite expressions, "How about that one, folks?!" For video of the damage, click here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Solar-Powered Topsides

The Dutch solar boat maker Czeers has just introduced a new 10-meter (32'8") "speedboat" that the company says will reach speeds upward of 30 knots; its cruising speed and range are not listed on the builder’s web site. Photovoltaic panels cover a cabin top built of carbon fiber and the solar panels power an 80-kW (107-hp) engine. The instrument panel is another interesting feature, and is purported to have touch-screen capabilities. Watch the builder’s video below and let us know what you think:

An Elegant Affair

British papers have been buzzing with the news that Manchester United soccer star Wayne Rooney chartered the 237-foot RM Elegant as part of the week-long celebration surrounding his wedding to childhood sweetheart, Coleen McLaughlin. According to the Daily Mail, the 22-year old lovebirds invited 60-something guests to help celebrate their upcoming nuptials. The pair entertained friends and family by throwing numerous parties and dinners onboard, including an elegant masked ball (pictured here).

Papers are hailing it as a real Cinderella story: The young couple from humble Croxeth, Liverpool, treating themselves to a wedding-extravaganza onboard a luxurious yacht. And luxurious she is: RM Elegant accommodates 30 guests and includes features such as a massage room, sauna, gym, and a deck jacuzzi. To check out other celebrities and dignitaries who've been spending time relaxing onboard the world's biggest yachts, look for our August issue's Power and Motoryacht 100.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Mighty Viking

Here she is. Viking Yachts' latest and largest convertible sportfisherman to date, an 82-footer, is well on her way to being a completed boat. This vessel is sure to do some adventure angling to all the around-the-world hotspots in short order. The boat is slated to be powered with MTU Series 2000 diesels and should see a mid-30-knot top end speed with a comfortable 30-knot cruise. She also sports 235 square feet of fish-fighting cockpit space and should be available for viewing at the fall boat shows. Stay tuned for a PMY test of this behemoth battlewagon.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Stealthy Enviro-Cat

Remember the Wally Yachts 118 WallyPower? It was an angular, iconoclastic, double-take-inducing 115-footer that was supposed to break new ground in yacht design and ended up not exactly setting the world on fire—at least in terms of sales. Well, someone has decided to double down on the concept. Code-X AG, a Swiss design firm, will soon (sometime this summer, it says) introduce an equally angular 14.5-meter (47'6") catamaran.

But external appearance may be the least unusual thing about this boat. According to the company, motive power will come from a unique hydrid system. A pair of 1,420-hp gasoline engines mated to ZF Trimax surface-piercing drives are predicted to push the Kevlar-and-carbon fiber hull to speeds of around 90 mph. For less frenetic, more environmentally conscious cruising, the owner can choose, via a touch-pad screen, to rely either solely or partly on a bank of photovoltaic modules supplying electric motors and/or lithium batteries.

The mechanical interface between the two systems is said to be "specially developed electronic and cycloidal interlocked gears...that supply 360-degree steering." Under stored electric power, the vessel is projected to cruise at 10 to 15 kph (about 6 to 9 mph) for two hours. Under solar power alone, the vessel should do 5 kpm (about 3 mph) for as long as there's sunlight. I guess the only question is can Code-X find a buyer who likes to go 90 mph but can also endure speeds one-tenth that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Vroomin' Around With Vripack

Last week I got the grand tour of what's often called the Yacht Valley in Holland, thanks to HISWA, the Dutch maritime federation. For such a small country, it's amazing how chockful it is of boatbuilders (production and megayacht alike), naval architects, gear companies, and more.

One of the most enjoyable visits was to Vripack, the naval architecture and brokerage firm. I've known the Vripack team for several years, yet I'm always amazed at how many projects and services it tackles at once. The walls were plastered with a dizzying array of profile drawings, G.A.s (a.k.a. deck plans), interior designs, and even engineering drawings. Marnix Hoekstra, who's both the firm's sales director and one of its naval architects, explained how Vripack works closely with builders all over the world, both renowned and unknown, to ensure their boats perform properly.

But instead of simply pointing to drawings and computer monitors to make his point, Hoekstra also arranged for us to experience a ride aboard the Wajer Osprey 37, which Vripack designed for Wajer Watersport, a Dutch builder that emerged on the world scene earlier this decade. The 38-knot boat carves turns like she's on rails and handles like a dream, thanks to Volvo Penta IPS drives and a deep-V hull shape.

But don't just take my word for it—watch her go in this video that I shot. (And if that whets your appetite for more, J&J Marine Yacht Group in Massachusetts is the U.S. dealer.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Prop Thieves

Is nothing sacred?

A pair of spare propellers for the royal yacht Britannia was stolen from a warehouse in England. According to published reports, the seven-foot-diameter props were somehow hoisted and removed from the building at the Leith Docks, where Britannia is berthed, last Monday, June 2.

How the heck anyone was able to sneak in unnoticed with heavy-duty lifting equipment and trucks is the pressing question. As to what the thieves would do with such a load, some news reports have speculated the props, which are estimated to be worth about $14,000 each, will be sold on the black market, where there's high demand for some metals.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Better than a Ziplock...

It’s never fun losing your electronics. I’ve seen more than one guy step off the bow of a dingy and go kerplunk in the water, frying a perfectly good cellphone. Even if you’ve got exceptional balance, salt can leech into your handheld electronics that are simply left below unprotected.

OverBoard Waterproof Gadget Cases are a good answer. They not only protect your expensive gear from water and salt intrusion, but also come in custom sizes to precisely fit your gadget. The camera case also allows you to take pictures underwater; the company says it safe as low as 19 feet. Also, all the bags float, so if you drop your gear, it bobs right up to the surface. They sell for roughly $30 depending on the size.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Exciting Change

Would you expect a yacht like this:

to come from a yard famous for yachts like this?

Well, get used to it: Jongert is entering the motoryacht market.

Actually, the Dutch builder is re-entering the market. When it was established in the 1950's, it built motoryachts, around 65 feet or so. But over the past few years, the yard's management team decided that because motorized megayachts are by far more popular than sailing ones, it made sense to tap into those roots again.

So the rendering at the top of this post is the result. Called the 3900, she'll measure 39 meters, or a little less than 120 feet LOA. Her sporty style comes from the drawing boards of two companies, Guido de Groot and Azure Naval Architects; it's a bit hard to see in this drawing, but her hardtop will have a multipanel skylight, adding to her appeal. Also appealing is her anticipated top speed: 30 knots, which the build and design teams are confident they'll attain, thanks to extensive tank tests.

I got a sneek peek today at the semidisplacement aluminum hull taking shape, as I'm in Holland touring several shipyards. In talking with Jongert's team, I sensed great excitement about this project and about future motor-megayachts as well (details of which can't yet be divulged, as contracts aren't yet signed). While the owner of the 3900 will have to wait until summer 2009 to take delivery, something tells me the shipyard will have a few more motoryacht announcements to make well before that.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Easy Come, Easy Go

How do you make a good living in these less-than-stellar economic times? An ex-Army detective has a pretty good answer, although not everyone appreciates him for it: He repossesses boats.

The New York Times posted this sad tale about the diligent work of Jeff Henderson, who on average repossesses one boat per day in the Great Lakes area. He's been in the business 20 years, and this year his business is at its busiest.

Although the article touches generally on the debt problems some boaters are facing, the saddest part concerns a man who could no longer afford his 34-foot Donzi Express. When the repo man finally caught up to him, the boater was neither angry nor pleading. He was apologetic. He was wistful. He actually hugged his boat, and said, “O.K., I’m gonna go cry now.”

These kinds of stories are reported often during economic downturns. Sure, the repo man does well at times like these. But is there a silver lining for anyone else?

Absolutely. Most of these repossessed cruisers end up with happy new owners—via boat auction.