Saturday, February 4

Silent Yachts has just taken the idea of adventure or explorer yachts to an entirely new level by announcing that its new 120 Explorer will have both a vertical takeoff and landing airplane and a personal submarine. The all-electric powered catamaran also will have trans-oceanic capabilities and virtually unlimited range. The plane, an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) named the XP4, is made by the British startup VRCO. It can hold four people, cruise at 160 knots, and fly for an hour. Large solar panels on the yacht’s roof slide out to port and starboard to open a touch-and-go…

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NOAA Satellites Saved 397 People Last Year

Here’s some very good news from NOAA: NOAA satellites, which are crucial in weather and climate forecasts, helped rescue 397 people from potentially life-threatening situations throughout the U.S. and its surrounding waters in 2022. NOAA’s polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites are part of the global Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, or COSPAS-SARSAT, which uses a network of U.S. and international spacecraft to detect and locate distress signals sent from emergency beacons from aircraft, boats and handheld Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) anywhere in the world. A graphic showing three categories of satellite-assisted rescues that took place in 2022: Of the…

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Rolls-Royce Tests Hydrogen-Powered MTU Engine

In a major advance for hydrogen power, Rolls-Royce announced last week that it completed testing a hydrogen-powered MTU engine, and it worked. The bench test was on a 12-cylinder MTU Series 4000 gas engine (pictured above) using 100 percent hydrogen fuel. For the test, Rolls-Royce engineers had to modify some MTU components, including fuel injection, turbo-charging and piston design, because of the different combustion of hydrogen, compared to gas. The test lasted several months, but then Rolls-Royce announced it was successful in terms of efficiency, performance and combustion. MTU has been making engines in Germany for more than a century.…

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New Delta 48: Upscale Fast Cruiser

The new Delta 48 Coupe from Sweden is a sharp-looking, upscale, lightweight cruiser that comes with either twin diesel sterndrives or twin outboard power. Delta has been building clean, elegant powerboats for the past 20 years. The new 48 Coupe is the result of a collaboration with Mannerfelt Design, which specializes in fast race boats as well as high-performing recreational boats. The Delta 48 is built with an all carbon-fiber hull and deck to keep its weight down and to boost performance. You can order it with either twin 440-hp Volvo diesel sterndrives, or twin 600-hp Mercury V12 Verado outboards.…

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New Electric Persico Zagato 100.2

Let’s face it: A lot of the early electric-powered boats were, well, to put it charitably, aesthetically challenged. Not so the new Persico Zagato 100.2, unveiled last week at Zagato’s headquarters in Milan. Zagato’s announcement called it “an innovative hyperboat featuring aesthetic purity of design,” combining Persico’s technology, electric jet propulsion, and Zagato’s supercar-like looks. A little history: The boat’s100.2 nomenclature celebrates Zagato’s second century in business. It was founded “to dress cars and planes with customized bodywork,” and its most famous designs include work for Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and Alfa Romeo, among many others. The new 26-foot Persico Zagato…

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European Boat of the Year Awards

The winners of the annual European Boat of the Year Awards were just announced at the Düsseldorf show. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges from 12 European boating magazines, and they consider each boat’s workmanship, handling, layout, safety, value, and new ideas and concepts. For this year’s contest, the judges looked at more than 250 new boats, and ultimately choose the winners, and multiple finalists, in six categories. (The Prestige M 48 is shown at top.)  The winners are: Sportboats up to 8 Meters (26’): Winner: Askelladen C 78 Cruiser (above) Finalists: Bayliner M19, Beneteau Flyer 8…

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Family Rescues Missing Florida Diver

Dylan Gartenmayer, 22, has been diving in the waters near his Key West home for the past 11 years. As it turns out, a few days ago his own fast thinking and his family’s fast rescue efforts probably saved his life. Gartenmayer was free diving in about 35 feet of water off Western Sambo Reef, when a strong current swept him away. When he surfaced, he realized he was about a mile from his boat, with two friends on board. He could see the boat; his friends couldn’t see him. The friends searched for half an hour and called the…

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C-Dory TomCat: Stable Pocket Cruiser

If you’re thinking about an outboard-powered pocket cruiser, the 25-foot C-Dory TomCat has a lot going for it. Per its name, the C-Dory TomCat is a catamaran, so it has a cat’s stability and space; indeed, the cockpit is a full 7 feet long and 7 feet wide, not bad for a 25-foot boat. And the twin outboards are mounted pretty far apart on the transom, so docking and low-speed maneuvering are relatively painless. The ride is flat and fairly dry, and the TomCat doesn’t bank in turns. You can run it up on a beach for a picnic, if…

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Pardo Unveils New 72 Long-Range Cruiser

Pardo just unveiled plans for its new Endurance 72 at the Düsseldorf show, the second in its line of long-range cruisers. The Italian yard introduced its first Endurance, a 60, at the Fort Lauderdale show last October, and the new 72 has the same slightly reversed bow, raked windshield, tinted wraparound windows, and barely visible flybridge as the original. It’s scheduled to be launched in the spring of 2024. Standard power on the new 72 comes from twin 800-hp Volvo IPS1050 pod drives. With optional 1,000-hp IPS1350s, the boat has a range of 900 nm at 12 knots. The large…

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Wellcraft Adds New 435 Fast Cruiser

Wellcraft just announced that it’s building a second boat in its new Performance Cruiser line, a Wellcraft 435 that’s designed for “a new breed of boaters.” The 435 follows the start of Wellcraft’s new Performance Cruiser series last May with a 355. That announcement was well received, and was a sign that Wellcraft meant to return to its heyday as a world leader in performance boats in the 1980s when Don Johnson was driving a Wellcraft Scarab 38 on Miami Vice. The Beneteau Group bought Wellcraft in 2014; it’s now making boats from 20 to 44 feet. Wellcraft says “the…

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New Cheoy Lee 72 Heading for U.S.

Cheoy Lee just finished sea trials on its latest CLB 72 family cruiser in Hong Kong. It’s  now on a ship heading for the U.S. The 72 is one of CL’s most successful yachts. A spinoff of the historic Cheoy Lee Shipyards, CL Yachts introduced its first boats at the Miami show in 2019. The new CLB 72 is hull #49. It’s a four-stateroom, four-head cruiser with a two-berth crew cabin and head aft. Hull #49 heading this way has new sliding windows in the galley, up/down windows in the salon, and opening portlights in the four staterooms on the…

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Avikus’ AI Nav System Wins Award

Hyundai’s Avikus autonomous navigation system just won an Innovation Award at the big Consumer Electronics Show, a recognition that will surely give a boost to the use of artificial intelligence in recreational boating, The award was in the Vehicle Tech and Advanced Mobility category, and it was for Avikus’ NeuBoat, already in its second phase of autonomous navigation. NeuBoat uses a Navigation Assistant System and a Docking Assistant System to navigate and dock in real time without human intervention. It also works with an Augmented Reality screen that indicates risk levels with different color boxes. Humans can control the systems…

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Starlink Offers Fast Internet to Yachts

You now can have fast, reliable internet service to your yacht, thanks to Starlink, a new service from SpaceX. With download speeds up to 350 Mbps, it’s very fast. Right now it’s transatlantic, but it plans to offer full global coverage next year. Starlink now has 3,177 satellites in the sky, thanks to its SpaceX connection, and they fly on a scheduled pattern, meaning that some parts of the Earth are less visited than others. Since it started its launch operations in 2019, Starlink has completed 66 launches, and the company says it plans to continue launching “at an ambitious…

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New Sea.ai Collision-Avoidance System

The world of long-range, anti-collision systems is growing and becoming more organized and high-tech. Oscar AI, one of the leaders in the field, is consolidating its various business units around the world and rebranding as Sea.ai, using artificial intelligence to detect and identify floating objects and then alert the boat’s crew in real time about any potential danger. The Oscar system was founded in 2018, originally for blue-water sailboat and ocean-racing use. It was based in the U.S., Austria, France and Portugal, and used several names, including BSB Artificial Intelligence and BSB Marine for its various branches. Now, all those…

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New Icom Sat Phone for Worldwide Connections

The new Icom IC-SAT100 provides worldwide real-time communication at the push of a button. Icom says it’s the world’s first satellite PTT (Press To Talk) mobile radio that uses the Iridium satellite communication network. The new radio provides communication between a group of people at any time, anywhere in the world, including both poles. It uses the 66 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites of the Iridium network. The regular IC-SAT100 can be a fixed mount on a vessel, a vehicle, or in a building. The IC-SAT100M is a mobile device (pictured at top) that can work within 400 feet of…

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Ecuador: Home of 2,800 Giant Manta Rays

If you want to see some giant manta rays, lots of them, head to Ecuador this summer. A new study says that more than 2,800 of them gather there in August and September, more than ten times the number of rays found anywhere else in the world. A recent study by the Marine Megafauna Foundation and the Manta Trust said the overall population of oceanic manta rays could be as high as 22,000, if you counted those off the coast of Ecuador and neighboring Peru. Oceanic manta rays are indeed giants. They grow to be as large as 29 feet…

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Hawks Cay: Popular Keys Resort

Hawks Cay Resort, sprawling over 60 acres in the Florida Keys, about half way between Miami and Key West, has become an increasingly popular boating destination. It’s easy to see why. First off, as the real estate saying goes, it’s all about location, location, location. The resort is on Duck Cay, mile marker 61, about 90 miles south of the Miami airport and 61 miles north of Key West. It’s just a bit north of Marathon, where you can cut under the bridge if you want to head up the Gulf Coast of Florida, and a bit south of Islamorada,…

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Ocean Reef Vintage Weekend: Classic Fun

The Ocean Reef Club’s annual Vintage Weekend just ended, and it was the usual high-spirited mix of classic boats, cars and planes with parties, dances, costumes and a generally good time. Founded in 1993 as a private club, Ocean Reef is one of the better yachting destinations in the world. It’s not far below Miami on Key Largo, and it has a world-class marina, two golf courses, a private airport, lots of tennis courts, a spa, and a large outdoor swimming pool and beach area. There are also several restaurants and bars. I once spent the New Year’s holiday there…

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Beaufort, SC: Charm on the Waterway

To my mind, the Low Country, the winding, tidal flats and marshlands that run through the southern part of South Carolina, is the best part of the Intracoastal Waterway. You can’t be in a hurry; there are so many S-curves that you can think you’re cruising back on yourself. But that’s the point. Everything is virtually at sea level, with an absolutely golden hue at the beginning and end of the day, so it’s easy to relax and feel peaceful about the world. Dating to 1711, Beaufort is one of the most inviting spots there. You can choose from several…

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New SiOnyx Nightwave Night-Vision Camera

SiOnyx just introduced its innovative Nightwave night vision camera at the recent Lauderdale show. The new Nightwave is an ultra-low-light camera that adds an extra level of safety and situational awareness if you’re navigating at night or in reduced visibility. The new Nightwave uses SiOnyx’s most advanced sensor, the Black Silicon CMOS. It sees well beyond the possibilities of human eyesight  and can detect man-sized objects almost 500 feet away in low-light situations. It also has a 44-degree field of view, offering a fairly wide look at any obstacles ahead – another boat, for example, or a channel marker or…

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Navico Fathom: Say Goodbye to Gensets

Brunswick’s recently formed Navico Group just launched what it calls “the world’s most advanced power system” that could replace generators on powerboats. Navico’s totally new Fathom e-Power System links lithium-ion batteries with the boat’s charging systems, power conversion, distribution, digital switching, and control and monitoring. It ties all the electrical components together, providing house power for communications, entertainment, lighting, audio, air conditioning, heating, gyro stabilizers and appliances. All that linkage means that the boat no longer needs a generator, which takes up space and requires fuel and maintenance. The Fathom system is silent (certainly an advantage in a mooring field…

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Simrad Unveils Most Powerful Radar Yet

Simrad just introduced its most powerful radar yet, the HALO 2000 and HALO 3000, with longer ranges and more power and features than previous models. The HALO 2000 has 50 watts of power and 72 nm of visibility; it starts at $6,399. The HALO 3000 has 130 watts of power and 96 nm of visibility. It starts at $8,499. The new high-performance, open-array radars offer Simrad’s best clarity ever. And they access power instantly from standby mode, and in just seconds from a cold start. The features include a Bird+ Mode, a ZoneTrack and Dangerous Target Alerts, all designed to…

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New ACR PLB with More Built-in Safety

The Electronics Tent is always one of the most popular spots at the Fort Lauderdale show. And cruising boat owners usually crowd around the ACR exhibit. This year ACR is showing its new Return Link Service for its most popular ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon that gives cruising boat owners an additional level of safety. The Return Link Service (RLS) provides a clear message confirming that U.S. boaters are connected to the international Cospas-Sarsat satellite system. The confirmation means that the boater’s distress message and GPS location have reached the international network. The ResQLink View RLS ($449.95), pictured at top, confirms…

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Aquila Launching New 42 Power Cat

Aquila just announced that it will launch its new 42 Yacht Power Catamaran at the Miami show, starting Feb. 15. The new Aquila, designed by VPLP, the French naval architects, will be on display at the show’s One Herald Plaza site. Aquila just celebrated its tenth anniversary last summer. It now makes power cats from the 28 Molokai to the 70 Yacht. The 42 fits in a popular size range for owners who want to cruise (or charter) with their families; it’s small enough so it can be handled easily by a couple, while it’s large enough to carry that…

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Moorings Adding New 403 Power Cat

The Moorings just announced that the new 403 Power Catamaran will join its charter fleet in the fall. The new 40-footer will have three cabins for up to six guests, with two heads and three showers. There certainly will be enough room for everyone to stretch out; the cat’s beam is 21’ 8” – more than half its length. And they’ll be comfortable; the cat has standard air conditioning and a water-maker with a purifying filter system. The Moorings 403 is built by Robertson and Caine in Cape Town, South Africa, which has launched more than 1,000 catamarans from 39…

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Best Dive Spots in the Bahamas: Navigare

What to do on a charter vacation in the Abacos? Problems, problems. The Abacos are known for some of the most beautiful waters in the world, as well as white sand beaches, warm breezes and easy cruises (as long as you watch your depth). But they’re also a great place to go diving, for beginners and experts alike. The Abacos are a little more secluded than many other spots in the Bahamas, so it’s easy to enjoy the marine life and dive with the turtles and tropical fish by yourself. The reefs there get more exposure to Atlantic temperatures, and…

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BoatUS and The Moorings Forming BVI Flotilla

BoatUS and The Moorings just announced that they’re forming a new cruising flotilla in the British Virgin Islands next May. In normal (non-pandemic) years, The Moorings hosts a week-long BoatUS Flotilla in the BVI, where BoatUS members can charter power and sail boats to cruise as a group through some of the best cruising grounds in the world. The next flotilla will be from May 20-27, and will include stops at some of the BVI’s most popular destinations. A flotilla offers a feeling of security for people who may not have a lot of charter experience. There’s safety in numbers,…