Wednesday, February 26


Now that the huge Miami boat shows have ended, it’s time to look at some trends that will determine the nature of cruising powerboats in the years ahead. After all, when you get 1,800 boats together (the combined total from the boat show and the yacht show), some dynamics have to emerge. The basic trends involve a growing number of power catamarans, the continued growth of outboards on cruising boats, the move to high technology on almost every aspect of boat building and performance (which includes solar/electric power), the inclusion of more social areas on boats (from “beach clubs” under…




Outer Reef Yachts Launches New Service Video Library and QR Code Access System

One of the major cornerstones of Outer Reef's business model is customer service that is second to none. Technology-based owner programs have been an integral part of Outer Reef’s ability to provide excellent and convenient service. Outer Reef’s service department is excited to introduce another industry first, by way of a new service video offering. Outer Reef’s in-house captain, Captain Randy Ives, hosts a selection of videos presenting important topics such as the “Oil Transfer System” in a step-by-step, simple video presentation. Owners and operators can view the videos by accessing them via QR codes strategically placed on equipment throughout the area. The goal of these service videos is to equip each owner/operator with key information via an easy scan of a QR code with any mobile device.

The end result? The owner-operator can access helpful and relevant information quickly and conveniently, delivered by the expert, without having to locate a manual or leave the area he or she is working in.





Coast Guard Rescues 3 from Sinking Fishing Trawler

Here’s a story about a fishing boat in distress in the middle of the night off Fire Island, New York, a Coast Guard rescue, and determined owner, from Newsday. It was 3:45 a.m., and the fishing trawler New Age was about 20 miles south of the Fire Island Inlet, heading to New Jersey to unload its catch with a crew of three. It had 1,500 pounds of fluke in the hold, the wind was blowing about 30 knots, and the swells were getting even the stern. As the New Age started to list, the crew realized it was sinking. Billy…


Ferry Captain Disoriented by Fog, Goes Wrong Way, Sinks Yacht

Here’s a report from the BBC about how a ferry boat captain became disoriented in fog, went the wrong way, and crashed into a yacht off the Isle of Wight: Cowes ferry yacht-crash captain ‘lost control in fog’ A ferry captain became disoriented in dense fog and ended up going in the wrong direction and crashing into a yacht, a report has concluded. The Red Funnel car ferry sunk Nigel Minchin’s yacht when it ran aground off the Isle of Wight in October 2018, leaving people stranded for hours. Investigators found Red Falcon’s captain became “overloaded due to high stress” as…


Freak Wave Hits Virginia Beach Whale-Watching Boat, Injures 4

A rogue wave hit a whale-watching boat leaving Virginia Beach on Saturday, terrifying many of the 124 people on board and injuring four seriously enough they had to be taken to a local hospital. The boat was operated by the Virginia Aquarium  & Marine Science Center on a scheduled two-hour-plus whale-watching trip. The Aquarium offers cruises Wednesday through Sunday to take visitors out in the ocean to see humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins. At about 10:30 on Saturday morning, the boat was hit by a rogue wave as it was going out Rudee Inlet. Passengers said the boat launched about…


Divers Find More Artifacts from Doomed Franklin Expedition

Archeologists and divers working with Parks Canada and the Inuit population have found new artifacts from one of British explorer John Hope Franklin’s ships that may help them understand what happened to Franklin and his 128 men when they were trapped in the Arctic and disappeared in 1846. Working in 37-degree water, divers found some 350 artifacts from the HMS Erebus, one of Franklin’s ships, in about 40 feet of water off King William Island. On 93 dives, the divers were able to reach only three cabins on the Erebus last fall, with 17 more to explore. The deck of…


Two Tugs Stranded, Crew Not Paid, Off Sabine Pass, Texas

Two tugboats have been stranded in the Gulf of Mexico, five miles off the coast of Sabine Pass, Texas, since Nov. 26. Members of the crew say they haven’t been paid since the start of the year. The tugs, with their attached barges, are more than 700 feet long, and are lying at anchor. The crews are asking for help, and contacted Father Sinclair Oubre, who’s with the International Seafarers Center in Port Arthur. He, in turn, asked the Transport Workers Federation, as well as the marine safety unit in Port Arthur, to seek a solution. Various members of the…


Albatrosses with Radar Detectors Find Illegal Fishing Boats

A team of French and New Zealand scientists have used almost 200 albatrosses, fitted out with radar detection devices, to track fishing vessels at sea. Their findings, just reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: About a third of the vessels the birds tracked were probably fishing illegally. Henri Weimerskirch, a marine ornithologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research and one of the leaders of the albatross project, said that albatrosses were ideal for finding fishing boats, legal or illegal. With wingspans up to 11 feet, the largest of any bird alive, an albatross can…



Invictus was born from a challenge: to offer a new landmark to the Italian and international yachting market of leisure shipbuilding. Invictus is represented by various vessel ranges, which were designed and built applying qualities such as aesthetics, state-of-the-art construction, reliability, flexibility and endurance. Thanks to the collaboration with Christian Grande, Invictus has transferred a strong technological element and great design into its vessels. In 2020 Invictus Yacht officially debuted in the US with the official dealer Invictus Yacht USA and will participate for the first time in the Miami Yacht Show presenting one key model: the GT 370.


Fontaine Designs New Surfari 50 Rigid Hull Hybrid RIB

Here’s a creative new boat that’s bound to turn some heads when it’s launched: The Surfari 50 Rigid Hull Hybrid Inflatable from the Friendship Yacht Company in Middletown, Rhode Island, an all-around coastal cruiser with an attitude. Ted Fontaine, president of the Fontaine Design Group and Friendship, designed the boat for a client who had a Protector 41 but wanted a larger boat that would carry him to his favorite beaches and surfing spots on Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and the eastern end of Long Island. He wanted a high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, multi-purpose exploration boat that he also could use…


Palm Beach Launches Fast and Beautiful New GT60 in Miami

The gorgeous Palm Beach GT60, which just made its worldwide debut at the Miami show, is simply a treat. With its flowing low profile, long sheer line and elegant tumblehome, the new GT60 is certainly a treat to look it; it definitely qualifies as marine eye candy. And then it’s also a treat underway, with its high-tech, lightweight, warped hull, powered by twin 1,000-hp Volvo IPS1350 pod drives, producing a top speed of 43 knots and a comfortable cruising speed of 37 knots. As I walked through the boat at the show, Mark Richards, the Palm Beach founder and CEO,…


Leopard 53 PC Makes Well-Received Debut in Miami

Walking through the salon of the Leopard 53, which just made its debut at the Miami show, I was not surprised by the amount of space inside the new power cat. I had expected that; after all, the boat has a beam of more than 25 feet. But I was surprised by the amount of light that beamed in. There are panoramic windows all around, and the interior décor is all light in color and modern in design, so that it’s both inviting and soothing at the same time. It would be easy to feel at home on this new…


New Walker Bay Venture 16 RIB; Luxury Sport Tender

Walker Bay is launching its new Venture 16, and the company calls it the world’s first 16-foot luxury sport tender RIB. The new V16 is much more than a sport tender, however. You can use it for exploring, fishing, diving or just about anything else you can do on an all-around 16-foot runabout. The V16 offers three driving positions. Its flip-up bolster seats create room for standing or elevated seating, in addition to the regular seated position. Its hydraulic, tilt steering wheel and a top-mounted throttle make all three positions comfortable for the driver, while the wide rear seat with…


New Garmin MARQ Captain Smart Watch: “A Luxury Modern Tool”

If you’re looking for a high-tech smart watch, Garmin’s new MARQ Captain will help you stay connected as well as help you navigate your boat. Garmin calls it a “luxury modern tool watch,” and it seems all of that. The many tools on the MARQ Captain include a GPS (no surprise; this is a Garmin product, after all), a man-overboard button, wind speed, temperature, tidal information, coastal charts, port conditions, a regatta timer, music storage, Garmin Pay, and a heart-rate sensor, among other things. And the watch face is surrounded by a nautical blue color scheme. The luxury touches include…


Best New Electronics: NMEA Technology Award Winners

If you’re thinking about buying new electronics for your boat, either as part of a new vessel or as an upgrade on your existing one, you’ll want to take a look at this review of some of the best from NMEA Boater. It lists the winner and four other finalists for the National Marine Electronics Association Technology Award in 2019, and it’s certainly a good place to start. It has the manufacturers’ own descriptions of their entries. The overall winner was Raymarine/FLIR ClearCruise (pictured above). The entry says it “is an industry-first navigation technology that brings leading-edge Augmented Reality to…


Stay Connected with New, Fast, AquaFi Mobile Hotspot

Here’s a new way for you – and a lot of your friends – to stay connected when you’re cruising: the Taylor Made AquaFi Mobile Hotspot. Indeed, the AquaFi Hotspot delivers fast and reliable 4G LTE speeds for up to ten users on board at the same time. The AquaFi provides a secure 2.4 GHz connection, and it can connect with multiple devices at up to 150 Mbps. Speeds will vary according to the strength of the cell signal. The device requires a Nano SIM card (included) and it’s easy to set up with the free AquaFi app. Made for…


Simrad Launches New Faster, Smoother, Glass Bridge Display

Simrad just introduced a new NSO evo3S Glass Bridge display that it says is particularly appropriate for large cruising and fishing boats. The new display is faster, smoother and easier to use than previous models. The NSO evo3S delivers much faster page changes, cutting loading time in half. It also provides much smoother transitions. A new iMX 8 integrated six-core processor makes movement on the screen – such as panning and rotating charts – smoother than ever before. The increase in  power also means that evo3S can multitask easily, even when the screen is split six ways, as in the…


New Chicago Transient Marina To Open at Iconic Navy Pier

Here’s some very good news for anyone cruising on the Great Loop or anywhere on Lake Michigan. Starting next year, a new transient marina will open on the north side of Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier, right in the heart of town, with access to all the city’s restaurants, museums, stores and parks. You can tie up there for a few hours, a few days, or even a week, and then enjoy everything that Chicago, one of the most vibrant cities in the U.S., has to offer. (Full disclosure: My very first journalism job, many years ago, was working for a…


After the Shows, What To Do in Miami

One of the most vibrant, lively and warm of all American cities, Miami has long been a magnet for people from all over the world. The draw: A combination of the culture, the water, the beaches and, in the middle of February, the boat shows. But Miami is always a great place to visit at any time, particularly for cruising boat owners. It’s a great destination in its own right or as a stopover on the Great Loop, a starting point for a cruise down to the Keys or over to the Bahamas. Whether you’re heading to Miami for the…


NY Times: 52 Places To Go in 2020

The New York Times just published its annual “52 Places To Go” in the coming year story, and it contains some old favorites, as well as some entirely new ones. Here are some in both categories: The Times’ Number 2: The British Virgin Islands. Still recovering from the hurricanes of 2017, the BVI are coming back. Rosewood Little Dix Bay, for example, reopened this month. Richard Branson’s private Necker Island (its Red Dock is pictured above) is on schedule to reopen by April. The Bitter End Yacht Club will open its new marina this summer, with accommodations to follow in…


For 2020: The 20 Best Beach Bars in the Caribbean

You may have been wondering, as you plan your next cruise or charter vacation, what are the best beach bars in the Caribbean? Even if you haven’t been concentrating on this yet, the people at Caribbean Journal have put together a list of “The 20 Best Caribbean Beach Bars to Visit in 2020,” just to get you in the mood. I may be remiss in this department, but I haven’t set foot in most of them; then again, this gives me something to aim for in the year, or years, ahead. The point is that the best bars are more…


Simrad Launches Two New Radars for Smaller Cruising Boats

Simrad Yachting just announced the launch of HALO20+ and HALO20 radars, a pair of compact, pulse-compression units designed for smaller cruising boats. Both radars provide excellent detection with short-range performance, while HALO20+ has the fastest rotation on the market and can detect targets farther away than the HALO20. With a 20-inch dome, the HALO20+ is Simrad’s smallest pulse compression radar yet, delivering a full 360-degree sweep every second. Simrad says it has an industry-first 60 RPM rotation at ranges up to 1.5 nm. These fast updates give boat owners an almost real-time view of close range activity, helping to avoid…


Best Satcom Systems for Smaller Cruising Boats

Large yachts have been able to fit and house satcom systems for many years, letting their owners enjoy satellite-driven communications and entertainment at sea or at the dock. The only problem was that many of these systems were too large (and too expensive) for most cruising powerboats. Now that has changed. Many of the leading satcom companies now have internet, phone and data systems that are appropriate for smaller boats. Here, Marine Electronics Journal takes a look at the best on the market now: INTERNET, PHONE & DATA Intellian FB 250 The Intellian FB 150, FB 250 and FB 500…


Garmin Launches New Hi-Res, Detailed Coastal and Lake Charts

Garmin just made navigation easier along the U.S. coastline and many interior lakes, expanding its coverage and improving the details and shading on its coastal and lake cartography. The new coverage, on Garmin’s BlueChart g3 Vision and LakeVü g3 Ultra premium cartography, will be shown at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The new high-resolution shading and improved detail showing the ocean floor and lake bottom cover the entire coastline of the continental United States plus 150 inland lakes. New hi-res satellite imagery overlaid on navigation charts provides a more realistic view of your surroundings and helps with situational awareness.…


Get Faster Wi-Fi with Shakespeare’s Stream Internet Booster

Here’s something almost all cruising boat owners say they want: Faster Wi-Fi, both underway and at the dock. Shakespeare Marine has an answer for that. It’s the Stream Wireless Internet Booster, and it uses Shakespeare’s marine cellular technology to amplify weak cell signals, so you can access the Internet faster and more reliably along inshore, coastal and popular cruising routes. The new Stream Wireless Internet Booster is designed for boats of all sizes. It has an outside antenna that communicates with cell towers on land; a stream wireless booster that processes and amplifies the cell signal; and a helm antenna…


Northwest Explorations: Still Spots Open for Flotilla to Alaska

Northwest Explorations, the Bellingham, Washington, company that runs the legendary Mother Goose flotillas up to Alaska, just announced that it still has a few openings on its cruises this spring and summer. The reason that people, experienced skippers and those who are not so experienced, like the flotillas is that they offer safety in numbers, and they are planned, and led, by captains and crew from Northwest Explorations who have done this many times before. You cruise in a group, with planned stops every night, and excursions on shore that highlight the best of the natural beauty of this part…


New Discounts on Some Great European Barge Cruises

Here’s some good news if you’re thinking about taking a barge vacation in Europe this year, but you have to act fast. European Waterways, the luxury hotel barging company, is offering up to a 20 percent discount on prices of some of its best cruises in France, Italy and Scotland, but you have to place the booking by Feb. 17. European Waterways is calling the discounted cruises Days of Wine and Whiskey, and it says that guests will have the opportunity to enjoy world-class wines on the French and Italian cruises, as well as famed Scottish whiskies on the barge…


Ellis Boat Charters: Iconic Down East Boats for a Maine Cruise

If you’re starting to think about where to cruise next summer, you might want to look at Ellis Boat Charters in Southwest Harbor, Maine, right in the heart of some of the best cruising grounds in the U.S. Ellis has a series of Down East boats for day or week (or longer) charters there, and they have all the local knowledge you’ll need to make sure your charter is a success. The charter operation is a branch of the Ellis Boat Company, one of Maine’s iconic builders. The charter fleet, naturally enough, has five Ellis 36s (see picture at…


A Guide to Chartering in St. Martin for the First Time

Here’s some great information about chartering in St. Martin if you haven’t been there before, with some up-date-advice from a charterer on a new Moorings 514 power cat. St. Martin Yacht Charter Guide for First Time Guests Published: January 20, 2020     Terese Kerrigan    A logical next step for anyone looking to branch out from the British Virgin Islands, half-French, half-Dutch St. Martin is a premier travel destination and a delightfully eclectic cultural melting pot. Known for its laid-back Caribbean charm and stylish European appeal, this upscale sailing paradise boasts sparkling white-sand beaches, designer shopping, superb dining, and scenic hiking. Plus, nearby…