Browsing: On Watch

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Wellcraft Comes Back with 355 Adventure Cruiser

Wellcraft is coming back – back, at least, to the world of fast cruising boats where it once was a major player. Now owned by the Beneteau Group, Wellcraft just announced that it’s making a new 35-foot cruiser, powered by three outboards with 1,050-hp as part of a new direction. We’ll have more details in a few weeks, and the first boat, the Wellcraft 355 (pictured above), will be displayed at the Cannes show in September. I well remember Wellcraft’s heyday in the 1980s, when Bob Long was running the company, Irwin Jacobs owned it, and Don Johnson, aka Sonny…

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Captain Sets Autopilot, Leaves Helm, Boat Crashes

The captain of a fishing boat set the autopilot as it was heading out of the St. Marys River Channel south of Cumberland Island, Georgia, last June, and then went below to talk on his cell phone, leaving the helm unattended. A few minutes later, the 78-foot boat ran into the channel’s north jetty and subsequently sank, leaking more than 2,000 gallons of fuel and oil into the water. The National Transportation Safety Board just issued its report about the accident, concluding that “leaving the wheelhouse unattended is imprudent, especially when navigating areas like the St. Marys entrance, which included…

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Jeanneau Launches Stunning New DB43

Jeanneau just launched its breakthrough DB43 premium day boat, starting a new style and a new line for the French builder. The first boat, powered by twin 380-hp Volvo diesels, has a top speed of 33 knots, and a range of 276 nm at 8 knots. The DB43 represents a major move by Jeanneau, part of the Beneteau Group, a worldwide giant in both the power and sail markets. With its plumb bow, low profile and Euro-modern design, it is more reminiscent of a new Axopar or Pardo than of the traditional Jeanneau cruisers. But that’s the point. The DB43,…

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Astra Rounds All 5 Capes in Southern Ocean

Earlier this week, Iain Macneil and his four-man crew rounded the Cape of Good Hope off South Africa on his converted 77-foot rescue boat Astra, completing their voyage around all five capes on the Southern Ocean. Just after sunrise on April 26, 146 days after Astra left Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, the crew celebrated rounding the Cape of Good Hope with a bottle of champagne (see picture above, with Macneil in foreground). “The views of Cape of Good Hope and the rising sun over Africa were truly stunning and a truly fitting backdrop for this final cape,” he wrote…

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NTSB: Anatomy of an Accident

The National Transportation Safety Board has just released its report about an accident on the lower Mississippi River involving a 599-foot tanker and a 70-foot tow boat with two barges that has some lessons for us all. The NTSB said the accident was probably caused by the tanker captain’s decision to pass the tow and its barges in a large bend in the river, with lots of other traffic around and a strong following current, as well as poor communications between the captains of both boats. The accident occurred in the afternoon of March 16, 2021, near mile 104 of…

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New Absolute 60 Fly; Light Everywhere

It catches your eye by day, but the Absolute 60 Fly is simply stunning at night, when all the light from the windows all around, even in the large cutouts in the hull forward and amidships, show their stuff. Absolute calls the new Fly line Prisma, or prism, and the name is certainly appropriate, given the combination of light and space throughout the yacht. The 60 Fly is designed for an owner-operator, and it’s powered by twin 725-hp Volvo IPS950 pod drives, with fingertip joystick control. Absolutes also have Volvo’s Assisted Docking system that coordinates GPS and sensors to make…

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Adm. Fagan, First Woman To Lead Coast Guard

President Biden just nominated Admiral Linda L. Fagan as the next Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. If confirmed, Admiral Fagan, who started out as a deck officer on the Polar Star, a 399-foot icebreaker, will be the first woman Commandant of the Coast Guard and the first woman to lead any branch of the U.S. military. Admiral Fagan has served as the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard (essentially its CEO) since last June. She previously was Commander of the Pacific Area. Since her graduation from the Coast Guard Academy in 1985, she has served on all seven continents.…

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New Northern Marine 57 with 5,000-Mile Range

Northern Marine has just launched its latest 57 pilothouse long-range expedition yacht, designed for an owner-operator to cruise anywhere in the world. Stuart Archer, the general manager of Northern Marine in Anacortes, Washington, wrote me that the 57, powered by a single 325-hp John Deere, has a range of 5,000 nm at 8.75 knots. The boat holds 2,600 gallons of fuel and burns 4.2 gph at that speed. Top speed is over 10 knots. Northern Marine has a rich heritage of making commercial fishing boats, working trawlers and long-range expedition yachts. It was bought by Seattle Yachts in 2019, with…

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New Outer Reef 900 Debuts in Palm Beach

The new Outer Reef 900, a long-range cruiser with a legendary pedigree, is making its world debut at the Palm Beach boat show this week. The new 900 is powered by twin 750-hp John Deere diesels, giving it a top speed of 24 knots, and a range of 3,000 nm at 8.5 knots. Outer Reef has earned a solid reputation for its long-range cruisers lately. Indeed, two have gone around Cape Horn, one with company president Jeff Druek on board. This latest Outer Reef was ordered by veteran cruisers who have owned many top-tier yachts in the past. Two years…

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New 16-Knot Hybrid Hardy 42 Cruiser

The new Hardy 42 is a solid, traditional trawler-type design with a high-tech twist. It’s a hybrid, with a 16-knot top speed coming from a single 440-hp Yanmar diesel, or a 6-knot top speed from its 20kW electric motor. The new Hardy is the first built by Cockwells in Falmouth, England, since Cockwells took over the Hardy line in 2020. The Hardy fleet runs from 32 to 65 feet. This 42 was already under construction then, ordered by an owner who wanted the offshore performance and range (600 nm at 13 knots) of the diesel with the eco-friendly qualities of…

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