Tuesday, December 1

Billy Joel’s classic 57-foot commuter yacht Vendetta, launched in 2005, has had a two-plus year refit in Newport Beach, California, and now is up for sale. I have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for this boat. I was the editorial director of Yachting at the time, and I went to its launch party on a hot July afternoon at the Derecktors’ Yard in Mamaroneck, New York, and then tested it the next morning with Doug Zurn, the designer, and Gene Pelland, Joel’s full-time captain, taking it out to Joel’s waterfront estate on Centre Island…

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Outer Reef 610 SILVER SKYE Owners Make Lasting Memories in New England

As the beautiful Outer Reef 610 Motoryacht "SILVER SKYE" journeyed through the northeast U.S. this past summer, cruising couple Nick and Robin enjoyed an informative and memorable visit to Ocean Alliance, located in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as well as other areas in New England including Mystic, Connecticut and Kennebunkport, Maine. Incredible scenery, an immersion into history, and the "ubiquitous lobster rolls" were just a few reasons why New England made such a lasting impression on these Outer Reef yacht owners.

SILVER SKYE in Mystic, Connecticut

SILVER SKYE in Gloucester, Massachusetts

SILVER SKYE in Kennebunkport, Maine

 

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Okean Launches Prize-Winning 80 With Open Layout

The new Okean 80 Flybridge gives a whole new meaning to an open layout. Made in Brazil, the new cruiser won the Revelation of the Year Award at the 2020 World Yachts Trophies ceremony in Cannes in September. The flagship of the Okean fleet (there’s also a 50 and a 55), the new 80 delivers on Okean’s signature “Open Up Your World” theme. Indeed, it features a seamless transition between the interior and exterior spaces in the salon, where the hull sides drop down to form balconies and the side doors open wide to let in the sea breezes. The…

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Jeanneau Launches All-New NC 795 Weekender

Jeanneau has just launched its NC 795 Series 2 weekender, an all-new version of the best-selling NC 795 (more than 1,000 built so far). Among other things, the NC (for New Concept) 795 Series 2 has a new, 26′ 8″ hull, and it can be powered by a 250-hp Yamaha outboard. The new Jeanneau is built as an all-around coastal cruiser, with a V-berth forward that can sleep two, and a convertible dinette that can sleep two more. The protected helm deck is filled with natural light with windows all around and a sliding glass door aft that leads to…

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Five Great Gifts for “The Boater Who Has Everything”

Even though we still haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving yet, it’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas and, even in a time impacted by the pandemic, also thinking about what to give to our favorite boat owners. Here are some fresh ideas from West Marine that they say are the “Five Top Gifts for the Boater Who Has Everything:” Magna Newport 2 Gourmet Series Gas Grill (pictured at top): Designed for the marine environment, the grill has rounded edges and a dynamic combustion system that keeps the grill lit even in heavy winds. It’s made with a double-walled case with…

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Researchers Save Orca Stranded on the Rocks. See Video

Here’s a heart-warming story from the CBC about how a group of whale researchers and volunteers kept an orca whale alive for eight hours after she was stranded on the rocks off the coast of Hartley Bay in northern British Columbia. See the video: An orca that was stranded on some rocks was kept alive for eight hours by a dedicated team of whale researchers and volunteers on the North Coast of B.C. “She cried often, which tore at our hearts, but as the tide came up there were many cheers as this whale was finally free,” said in a…

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Silent Yachts Expands with New Battery Power. See Video

Silent Yachts, the innovative Austrian builder, is on a roll. Silent sold its first solar-powered catamaran just two years ago. Now it just ordered 500 lithium-ion battery packs to power the 15 catamarans it has orders for next year, and it’s opened new plants in Thailand and Fano, Italy. The state-of-the-art battery packs add up to 2.5 megawatts; their energy storage is equal to that of 25 new Teslas, or enough to run three U.S. homes for a month. The lithium-ion chemistry comes from MG Energy, a Dutch company started by two winners of the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat…

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Garmin Introduces New, More Powerful GPSMAP X3 Chartplotters

Garmin just launched its new GPSMAP x3 mid-sized chartplotters with more power and higher-res displays; they’re available with or without built-in sonar. The new units were shown at the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Designed for a wide range of helm configurations, the new X3 series have streamlined borders with edge-to-edge glass displays and they can be installed in bail-, flush-, or flat-mounted configurations. The 12×3 and 9×3 models offer touchscreens with accurate colors that you can see from all viewing angles, even if you’re wearing polarized sunglasses. The 9×3 and 7×3 models offer 50 percent and 60 percent…

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Brabus Shadow 500: Head-Turning Looks and Fun

If you want to add a little juice to your life in these trying times, try the Brabus Shadow 500, built in conjunction with Axopar Boats. It’s a tricked out, semi-custom version of the Axopar 28, and it hits 50 knots with twin 250-hp Mercury outboards. You can order it with an open deck or optional aft cabin. Fun, as in a major adrenaline rush, is standard equipment. The fun comes from Axopar’s twin-stepped hull with a sharp entry and 22-degree deadrise at the transom, all driven by two Mercury V8 Pro XS outboards. The lightweight Mercs produce head-snapping torque;…

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Sunreef Building New 60 with Solar Power

Sunreef Yachts just announced that it’s building a new 60 Sunreef Power Eco luxury power cat that seems to be covered with Sunreef’s proprietary state-of-the art solar panels for art totally green cruising. Indeed, the solar panels cover up to 738 square feet of the yacht’s surface; they’re fully integrated into the hull sides, the superstructure and even curved areas all over the yacht. They are designed to generate 13kWp of solar  power. The 60 Sunreef Power Eco uses cutting-edge electric motors powered by a dedicated ultralight battery bank for silent and emissions-free cruising. The big cat’s other green features…

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Alva Building New Electric Eco Cruiser 50 Monohull

Alva Yachts just announced that they are building an Eco Cruiser 50, the first monohull electric-powered yacht. The new Eco Cruiser will be powered by two electric motors producing a total of 272 hp with solar panels and the option of hydrogen fuel cells for totally self-sufficient, green, emissions-free cruising. Designed by Henndesign, the new 50, the smallest yacht in the Alva fleet, was designed specifically for electric propulsion. The two electric motors deliver 100 kW each. Power comes from a 50 kVA generator and from solar glass tiles on the rooftop, producing 4.9 kWp and stored in a 140…

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New 43-Knot Back Cove 39O Down-East Cruiser

Back Cove just launched its new 39O, and it’s the fastest and quietest Back Cove yet. Indeed, powered by three 400-hp Mercury Verado outboards, the new Maine-built cruiser tops out at 43 knots, and it’s so efficient it has a range of 300 nm at 30 knots, a remarkable performance. It also registers a sound level of just 73 dB(a) at the helm, which means you can talk and listen to your playlist and generally enjoy yourself on a long day’s cruise. (See the boat’s performance numbers at the end of this story.) The 39O is Back Cove’s second outboard…

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Simrad Introduces New VHF Systems with AIS

Simrad is introducing a new VHF radio and an upgrade with a Class-B AIS system, representing a pair of multi-station marine radio systems. Both radios, the RS100 and the RS100-B, which is integrated with a Class-B AIS transceiver and a GPS, are expandable and be customized for any boat. The two new radios are part of modular VHF systems that expand to include up to eight handsets (four wired and four wireless) and four external speakers. This possibility makes them appropriate for both medium-sized and larger yachts. “Our new VHF systems offer our customers ever more flexibility and better communication…

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U.S. Maritime Administration Warns of GPS Signal Loss

Here’s another warning about possible GPS signal problems from the U.S. Maritime Administration, part of the Department of Transportation. It said it has received reports recently of lost or inaccurate GPS signals in various parts of the world. To be safe in areas where GPS is potentially unreliable, mariners are urged to use redundant nav systems. The Maritime Administration just issued its warning, called “Various GPS Interference.” It says, “Multiple instances of significant GPS interference have been reported worldwide in the maritime domain. This interference is resulting in lost or inaccurate GPS signals affecting bridge navigation, GPS-based timing, and communications…

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5 Top Night Vision Cameras for Cruising

Here’s a very helpful review of five night vision cameras from NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association) Boater that could help make your cruising life a lot easier and safer. Take a look: ComNav V7 The ComNav V7 thermal night vision camera with multi-axis gyro stabilization and high-sensitive quad payload is designed for situational awareness such as surveillance, navigation, security, and search and rescue applications in extreme low-light environments. Furthermore, it is an effective tool for ice and iceberg detection, as well as marine oil spill recognition. Thermal imaging technology allows the capture of faint image details in challenging light conditions,…

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NMEA Makes New Excellence Awards in 17 Categories

The National Marine Electronics Association just announced its annual Product of Excellence Awards for products in 17 categories, plus an award to Garmin as the Manufacturer of the Year. Here’s the announcement: SEVERNA PARK, MD—Manufacturers scored big at the 2020 National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) Business Meeting held on September 26, following the NMEA Virtual Education Week held last week. A total of 19 products received the top award, and the NMEA Manufacturer of the Year was named. “On behalf of the NMEA Board of Directors, staff, and membership, we congratulate all 2020 award winners,” said Mark Reedenauer, NMEA President…

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New Resort To Open on Private Island in U.S. Virgins

A new resort will open next month on a private island just a ten-minute boat ride from Cruz Bay in St. John. The resort, the Lovango Resort & Beach Club, will be the first resort to open in the U.S. Virgins in 30 years. And it will have moorings and tender service if you want to arrive on your own boat. The Lovango resort is the third boutique property in the Little Gem Resorts portfolio, which already includes The Nantucket Hotel and Resort, and the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. It will open in stages over the…

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BVI Set Covid-19 Protocols for Dec. 1 Reopening

The British Virgin Islands, one of the best and most inviting cruising and charter destinations in the world, just announced new Covid-19 protocols for its reopening to visitors on Dec. 1. Andrew A. Fahie, the premier and minister of finance, spelled out the protocols. He said they were “tailored to allow visitors to experience a safe, luxurious vacation by deploying technology, implementing strict testing and comprehensive protocols for tourism industry operators and accommodations units.” Starting Dec. 1, you can fly into Terrance B. Lettsome Airport on Beef Island. A new welcome center can handle 90 passengers at a time. The…

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Top 10 Islands in the U.S.: Conde Nast Traveler

A few weeks ago, we ran a story about the five best islands in the world (except for those in the United States), as chosen by 600,000 readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Now we have the results of the ten best in the U.S., as reported in the magazine’s 33rd annual survey. See if your favorites made the cut: Number 1: Hilton Head, South Carolina (pictured above). “Remaining in the top spot, Lowcountry’s loveliest island is a world away from mainland South Carolina on the other side of the bridge. This is the kind of getaway that satisfies all travelers…

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Top 5 Islands in the World: Conde Nast Traveler

Conde Nast Traveler just announced the winners of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards for the best islands in the world (not counting the United States; that’s another story). This is the 33rd annual survey, and more than 600,000 readers voted. They chose the five best islands in seven regions of the world. Here are the winners: Caribbean and the Atlantic Winner: St. Barts. “While any mention of St. Barts tends to conjure up images of Rolexes and caviar, the tony territory has enough natural beauty and scenic views to give any five-star hotel a run for its money.” Also, #2. St. Vincent…

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Garmin Launches Powerful New Open-Array Radar Series

Garmin just launched its new GMR Fantom 254/256 open-array radar series, and the company says it’s the highest-powered solid-state marine radar on the market. The new Fantom radars have 250W of pulse compression power, and they can detect targets from just 20 feet away to 96 nm away, providing the best short- and long-range target detection and consistency. They more than double the power of Garmin’s existing series, and they maximize energy and range resolution for cruising boat owners. The Fantom 254/256 use Garmin’s MotionScope technology with an adjustable speed threshold to detect and highlight moving targets, in different colors,…

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ACR Launches New Self-Testing for EPIRBs and PLBs

We all know that it’s a very good idea to have a working EPIRB or a PLB on a cruising boat, but how do we know that they’ll work in an emergency when we actually need them? Now, ACR Electronics, the safety and survival device company in Fort Lauderdale, has an answer for that – a new 406Link that lets you test your device in advance. The 406Link is meant to give you peace of mind, and to reassure you that search and rescue services can find you when you need them most. It gives 406 MHz beacon owners, people…

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New FCC Decision Could Hurt GPS Accuracy

Despite initial opposition from the Coast Guard, the Pentagon, the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Commerce and Interior, plus NASA and the FAA, the Federal Communications Commission has given a private equity firm permission to run a 5G wireless network that could harm the reliability of GPS signals. BoatUS, part of a new group called the Keep GPS Working Coalition, also opposes the ruling. “With this decision, the FCC is permitting one private company to upend the entire reliability of GPS,” said David Kennedy, the BoatUS manager of government affairs. “It’s unfathomable that the lone federal caretaker of our national…

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Raymarine Launches New Line of Faster, Smarter, Axiom+ MFDs

Raymarine just unveiled its new Axiom+ multifunction navigation displays plus new, updated Lighthouse electronic charts. Axiom+ is the successor to Raymarine’s award-winning Axiom line of MFDs. Raymarine says the new Axiom+ displays are smarter, brighter and tougher than ever before. The new displays come in 7-, 9-, and 12-inch sizes, and they have a quad-core processor for fast chart redraws, multi-channel sonar views, and augmented reality navigation. Storage is increased to 16 MB. (The 12-inch display is shown above.) Axiom+ displays are up to 25 percent brighter than previous models. And they are more user-friendly, with HydroTouch impact-resistant glass that…

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MarineMax Vacations Opens Charter Fleet in the Abacos

MarineMax Vacations is expanding its power charter fleet to the Bahamas, in a partnership with Navigare Yachting. The fleet will start with a two-cabin Aquila 362 power cat and a three-cabin Aquila 443 power cat at Marsh Harbor in the Abacos, starting Dec. 1. Under the partnership, Navigare Yachting will operate MarineMax Vacations in the Bahamas. Raul Bermudez, VP of MarineMax Vacations, said that Navigare Yachting was a world leader for charter vacations. “Our shared vision to create an exceptional vacation experience is key with our mutual passion for unmatched guest service, yacht maintenance, and expert delivery,” he said. Although…

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Provisioning for a Cruise: 8 Simple Tips

Whether you’re going on a charter or a cruise on your own boat, getting the right stuff on board is a key to future happiness. That’s particularly true if you have more than a few people on board – each with his or her ideas about what to eat and drink. You want to keep everybody happy, but you also don’t want to buy too much, or too little, to last for the duration of your cruise. Here are eight tips from the people at The Moorings about how to make some basic provisioning decisions: Provisioning your yacht can seem…

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Moorings To Reopen Tortola Charter Base on Dec. 1

Here’s some very good news. The Moorings just announced that its Tortola marina is scheduled to reopen on Dec. 1. Click here to read the State Department’s information about covid-related restrictions there. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/BritishVirginIslands.html In normal times, The British Virgin Islands are one of the best, and most popular, cruising and charter destinations in the world. Here’s what The Moorings has to say about it: Stretching throughout the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands are a kaleidoscope of aquamarine waters, sun-soaked harbors, and white-sand beaches. Distinct ports of call can be found among the more than 25 pristine islands that make up…

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Now’s the Time To Plan Your Spring Charter in Corfu

Here’s some good news from The Moorings: Their charter operation is reopening in Corfu on Oct. 1. But now is really the time to plan for a special charter there next spring, when we hope that traveling will be easier. The prices are right. A seven night charter for two people on a Moorings 434 power cat with four cabins starting on April 10 costs $2,944. Here’s what The Moorings has to say: We are happy to announce that our Corfu marina is scheduled to reopen October 1, 2020*. Please be aware that additional entry requirements and restrictions may still…