Hot off the drawing board, Cruisers Yachts is flinging down the gauntlet
and we suspect this is the start of something very big in the mid-40s range.
The littoral combat ship (LCS-1) USS Freedom was commissioned last week in Milwaukee, and is the Navy's first of a new wave of ships designed to patrol "close to shore" (which is the meaning of the Latin root of littoral). Built by Marinette Marine in northeastern Wisconsin, Freedom will be used within 200 miles of shorelines to neutralize pirates, mines, terrorists, subs, druggies and launch special ops teams. Steering is controlled by joysticks, not a wheel and the ship is propelled by twin diesels and twin jet turbines driving through four water jets. To see more pictures and get de-classified information -- launch your mouse.
Snap it on your belt clip, hang it from your neck or attach
it to a PFD. The MOBi-lert transmitter is about
the size of a small beeper.
One of the most recent advances in safety equipment is the man overboard alarm system that automatically sounds an alarm for fast recoveries. We took a close look at one of these systems at the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS). Andrew Hill, the Chief Operating Officer for the Australian-based Mobilarm Ltd., tells BoatTEST.com Director of Testing Rob Smith about the MOBi-lert -- watch our video interview.
Mercury Outboards and MasterCraft Boats
Manufacturers of boats and engines work closely with the “watch dogs” (USCG) to insure the safety of boaters. Many of the recalls are instigated by the product-makers themselves and they notify the USCG and enlist their help in finding the owners of products with potential safety issues. But the most effective way to find the owners is through their friends. Please take a look at this month’s recall list and if you know someone with the indicated products, pass this notice along -- recall this.
The Summer of
|High fuel prices this summer had some powerboaters modifying their activities, but surprisingly, overall usage was not wildly different -- and one type of boat was up!|
Remember how horrified everyone was last summer about high fuel prices? More recent events have put that little economic hiccup in perspective. If you are wondering if your reaction to last summer’s spike in fuel prices was “normal” you might enjoy finding out what your peers were doing. The industry association (NMMA) recently released a study it conducted among several thousand boaters. One category of powerboat actually was used more than before; can you guess which one? To find out the affect $4+ per gallon fuel had on U.S. boaters -- pump this gas.
|Mobile phones depend on towers for a signal. Where they are located matters.|
A mobile phone can provide a great deal of functionality onboard a boat, from obtaining weather forecasts to sending blog posts, but all this technology only works if you can get and stay connected to cellular towers. What good is an up-to-the-minute weather forecast if you can't connect to read it? Think back to the days when mobile phones were new (and much larger). Remember going in search of that sometimes elusive signal? With a small investment and a little work, you can greatly increase your mobile network access. Get connected here.
Michelangelo had it figured
out 500 years ago.
Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the interactions of humans with the designs in which they operate. Unfortunately, many naval architects and boat designers either skipped this course or flunked it. We all know that every boat is a compromise, and nowhere is this more true than when it comes to the ergonomics of a boat. As a new boat buyer you must be aware of a lot of things, and high on that list is the ergonomics of the boat. For a sampler of what we mean -- squeeze into this.
|Four people were blasted out of this 26’ boat shortly after refueling and leaving the dock.|
Four people from Georgia had to be rescued from the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway in Jacksonville when their 26-foot boat exploded Oct. 31. Three of the people were hospitalized after the vessel burst into flames about a half-mile north of the Beach Boulevard (I-90) Bridge. The fourth person did not have serious injuries, authorities said. Reportedly they had just refueled, overfilled the tank, and had “cleaned the bilge...” There’s more to this story -- grab your fire extinguisher.
|This 40-something sedan found its way to a pristine Bahamian beach, but how and why? And, can it be saved?|
Recently one of our faithful readers sent us a series of photos of a beautiful
late model sedan that had washed up on a beach in the Bahamas. We were given no
explanation as to what happened to disable the yacht or why it got into this
unfortunate predicament. At our weekly captain’s meeting everyone had a
different scenario for the causes of this vessel’s plight. But as believers in
the power of “six degrees of separation” we feel confident one of our other
readers will know what actually happened so we won’t have to guess.
To see more pictures and find out what happened to this boat
-- shovel this sand.
The Day it Rained Sand
Regular readers know that we rarely pass along the misadventures, foibles, and usually interminable sea yarns of sailors, but this reader submission deserves to be an exception because they were under reliable diesel power when they encountering something very strange, indeed. It all started with an email report from the yacht Maiken: “... and then we sailed into a vast, many miles wide, belt of densely packed pumice. We were going by motor due to lack of wind and within seconds Maiken slowed down from seven to one knot...[then]... we noticed that there was no cooling water was coming from the engine--” Pity that! To find out what these sailors had powered into--throw this stone.
|Vic and Kris Porter began building boats in 1958 in an ice cream plant with three employees.|
One of the unique aspects of boat building is the presence of family-owned boat
builders as opposed to corporations run by hired executives. Not coincidentally
these boat-builder families are responsible for more than their share of the
marquis brands in the sport. This summer Vic Porter – the man who built Formula
into the platinum name you know today – celebrated his 50th anniversary in boat
building. Vic started out in the corn fields of Decatur, Indiana and Formula is still
there today building some of the most sophisticated and high-tech boats on the
If you own a Formula, or are thinking
about buying one in the future, you should read Vic’s bio because it will give
you a sense of the experience and integrity behind this brand --
To see more vintage photos of the Porter family and Formula employees -- step into this time machine.
See Formula boat tests --
Captain Steve's Lesson #12
Requirements for Recreational Boaters
In the next few weeks Captain Steve will be dealing with the
requirements for recreational boaters. In this week’s lesson, Captain Steve
takes you through boat registration, boat lettering and points out the safety of
and requirements for life jackets. The thirteen videos presented this week are
part of Captain Steve’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.”
Watch Captain Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
Ducky Award Winner
“If he works on this boat like he does at home, I’m wearing a life vest!!” – D. Zillig
“Shhh, watch this...I just pulled the plug!” – A. Branton
“First my manhood, now the vest...” – J. Jackson
“You’d sit up here too if you saw what they were doing below!” – C. Etzper
What's Going on Here?