I. Ugly Boats…
After working about 100 boat shows, my good friend Michael and I instituted our own award category. We’d diligently walk the docks in order to select the “Ugliest Boat of the Show” award. When we found a candidate we could agree on (and that wasn’t always easy) Michael would always joke:
“You know, some designer worked hard and long to come up with a design just that ugly…..Maybe we can get the line!”
By far the ugliest boat I’ve ever seen at a show was this one, at Dubai:
The Winner and Still Champion!
It was right next to my Vicem 78 Cruiser, and its’ traffic was literally ten times higher than my Vicem’s. The sheik’s just loved her! The Emir of the UAE, the big man himself, came by with a retinue of forty (!) cabinet members. They stayed aboard for almost an hour. And my Vicem? It got hardly a glance (although it sold at the show).
My point is, of course, that these are subjective things. But to my own boating eye, it all comes down to one simple word: Sleek. And any boat, even a flybridge or an aircraft carrier, can look sleek. It just takes a designer with a great eye and a good autocad program. It helps, of course, (it’s almost an unfair advantage) if they’re Italian. See Benetti, below!
So how does one define sleek? Beats me. But my daughter, now in her first year of law school, directed me to this quote from Supreme Court Justice Potter Steward, talking about pornography:
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be pornography. But I know it when I see it!
In that regard (um, sleek, not pornography) for the next few weeks I’m going to be adding my thoughts about the brand new Eastbay 50:
Eastbay’s have always been beautiful, of course. But I used to feel that my Vicem’s were just a bit sleeker (you, loyal clients and readers, can tell me if I kept that observation to myself). Now, with the Eastbay 50, I am really impressed with how the designers have shaked and baked their way to an amazing look. Note, for example:
New Eastbay 50 vs the 49
Features of the New Eastbay 50 vs the 49
- The position of the pilot house, slung lower and forward;
- The sexier shape of the windows;
- The omission of the window mullions (I admit it, I had to look that word up);
- The gentle rise of the stainless handrails over the deck;
- The raked radar mast; and,
- (Pardon the expression, – and bonus points if you get the reference – the “Hinckley C”.
What can I say? She’s just a real hot boat. We will have the very first one for sale in the North East, arriving next month. She’s got my favorite drive system: pod drives (see rudder discussion, below). I’ll be writing quite a bit in the next few weeks about how she changes the game, but if you ‘d like to see her with your own eyes, just launch a flare (and meet me at the Miami Show later his month).
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II. And a Beautiful Boat…
If you’ve been on my Brokerage Yacht page you’ve seen my listing for the stunning 2003 Vicem 42, Saracen. She has a red hull (funny, both of my brokerage Vicem’s are red) and can be seen at any time in St. Michael’s, Maryland. Her galley-up design really shouldn’t be missed.
Vicem 42 – Saracen
2003 Vicem 42, Saracen
Following some technically-oriented inquiries, I spoke with the owner to get a better understanding of her fuel efficiency. It is very impressive. She has twin 300 HP Yanmar 6LP-STE’s. The owner typically cruised her at 2800 RPM, at a dry and comfortably 20 knots. And at that speed she burned just 15 GPH. Figure $75 per hour to run, but in Vicem elegance! If you’re curious, at full RPM (3,800) she maxes out at 24 knots and 33 GPH.
Only three Vicem Classics under 50 feet were ever built. The two other ones are happily owned in Europe. This one, at $325,000, is going to make a new owner the talk of the harbor. Call me, and make it you.
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III. Size Matters…
For rudders, anyway.
Be forewarned, I’m not a designer. I just sell ‘em. But I get to spend a couple hundred days a year on the water (is this a great country, or what?) which allows me to develop my own idiosyncratic and somewhat cranky personal opinions. And today’s is:
Your Rudder is Too Small !
Now I know that rudder size is controlled by strict scantling requirements, derived from complex formulas I’ll never understand. People get paid good money to study this stuff. I know a marine engineer who works on only one thing, forty hours a week, fifty-one weeks a year: propellers! I’m sure there are marine architects out there in the great beyond who focus their entire being on rudders. So what do I know?
I know rudders on planing hulls are too small.
Now at planing speed, they’re fine. Fingertip control is the name of the game on any good boat. But at idle speed, when you’re dodging mooring buoys in wind and current, we all know how things can get squirrely. I suspect it’s part of the design tradeoff between optimal function and speed, or maybe between function and draft. We’re all aware of it, even if we implicitly accept it. But the next time you’re dodging lobster pots pay attention to how much work you’re doing just trying to steer a course. You don’t do that in displacement hulls and sailboats with big-ass rudders. Just in planning hulls (with shallow draft). Hence my cranky conclusion.
So let’s talk about pod drives now. Knowledgeable people talk about the ease of joystick control and the 30% improvement in fuel efficiency. But me? I find low-speed steering to be much easier. Being able to direct the thrust as you like is the answer. This just adds to my complete infatuation with pod drives.
Which brings me to my next cranky comment:
I’m not a big fan of jet drives.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love joysticks for tricky docking situations, and I love the shallow draft. I’ve long told clients “If you need them, get them. but if you don’t, don’t.” Until today, I’ve never disclosed why I felt that way. Here’s the clarifying story:
I was bringing a 40’ foot jet drive boat through an inlet on a so-so day in October. You know, one of those wind-against-tide days we try to avoid. Maybe the waves weren’t huge, but they were huge for me. Let’s call them six footers. Big enough that my and my guest (who couldn’t swim) put on our PFD’s before entering the inlet.
After we committed to entering, the boat dropped into a trough right inside the sandbar. A pushy wave washed in right behind me, and when I pushed the throttles to surf ahead of it, NOTHING HAPPENED. As the wash of the wave met the opposing wash of the jet thrust, the boat just sort of squatted there for a few [very long] seconds. I envisioned, albeit briefly, losing stern alignment with the following sea. And you know what that can mean.
Fortunately, the rear wave eased by, and the jets re-grabbed enough traction to move us up and on. But I hated that loss of power and control. And that’s when I soured a bit on jets.
Now of course in a straight drive boat, the same sort of thing can happen. But personally, I haven’t experienced it as dramatically.
And what, you may ask, is my point? Pod drives! To me their pivoting thrust is the perfect solution to running an inlet in wind-against-tide. In October. With someone who can’t swim.
OK, enough ranting for now. Let’s move on…
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IV. Miami Show
I’ll be down at the Miami Show (February 13th - 17th) looking at some Super Yachts with a client. Benetti will have two amazing examples there:
A Benetti Vision 145 -
Benetti Vision 145
And a Benetti Classic 132 -
- Benetti Classic 132
If you’d like a private viewing of these amazing creatures, or if you’d just like to get together for a drink and catch up, it would be great to see you.
By the way, this week I added some great Benetti photos to my New SuperYachts page, above. But it you are in the mood for a video, here ya go:
This fine yacht just sold, but I can always build you another one.
Well, that’s it for this week. But you know the drill – Any questions, comments, interest or gossip, just launch a flare.
Thanks, and enjoy.
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