Miami Boat Show Highlights
There’s only one way to survive this event—breathe deeply.
At the Miami Boat Show this year we stumbled upon a morning ritual that made the circus-like atmosphere seem almost sane. The first stop was always the “Visit Columbia” booth, where we sipped free coffee and chatted about export possibilities. Next stop was the Max1 miracle glue booth, where the German glue-meister repaired our broken world with two drops and a flair that turned more surreal with each deep breath. Finally, we would make a loop around the floating docks, where a fleet of rocket-fueled Cigarettes brought home a reassuring truth: the faster any peril approaches, the faster it is gone. Caffeinated, glue-stoned, and temporarily enlightened, we we’d set a course for the Strictly Sail, in search of anything else that might further bolster a sailor’s noble aspirations.
Strictly Sail’s proximity to the dry Bahamas islands made watermaker maker Christopher Burton’s sales pitch seem irresistible. His bright blue Rainman is a portable, modular watermaker system that makes installation as easy as dropping two hoses over the side. Comprising two parts—a pressure supply pump and a reverse osmosis unit—the Rainman is a stand-alone system that can be moved from boat to boat, or be permanently installed. You can choose to power the easy-to-service reverse osmosis unit—made with widely available filters and parts—one of three ways: a small gas engine, via the ship’s 12-volt system, or with AC power. The portability is a bonus for anyone whose next adventure is an overland trek to the Sea of Cortez. Prices start at $3,000.
Torqeedo Pod Drive
Torqeedo, the pioneers in portable electric engine propulsion are moving on to bigger and more powerful things. New higher capacity lithium batteries nearly double the range of the Travel 1003 and a new pod drive simplifies retrofitting a permanent electric propulsion system on sailboats up to 10 tons that lack a drive train. The complete kit includes a drive pod (available in three sizes—the equivalent of a 6 hp., 9.9 hp., or 20 hp. engine), a 26-volt lithium manganese battery (104 Ah), an onboard computer with GPS that estimates range, and a choice of charging systems (fast or normal). Prices for the pod alone range from $4,500 (6 hp.) to $9,000 (20 hp.). The battery ($2,600), and charging system ($600; or $2,000 for a fast charger). It can also be powered by a 24-volt AGM on boats that don’t require the range or fast-charging of lithium. Torqeedo touts the mixed-metal pod’s saltwater-ready design. Although we have an aversion to mixed metals and motors in brine, we trust Torqeedo’s engineers on this one.
Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GPS (GX6500)
Adding to its line of Matrix AIS/VHF combined systems, Standard Horizon introduced the GX6500 AIS/VHF Class B Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder. The first all-in-one Class B transceiver should appear in stores later this year once the Federal Communications Commission approves it. The MATRIX AIS/GPS displays AIS target information (including ship name, bearing, distance, speed, and course), allows you to contact an AIS target ships directly using Digital Selective Calling (DSC), shows your vessels position in relation to AIS targets and alerts you when an AIS-equipped ship is too close using a closest point of approach (CPA) alarm. The GX6500 can support two RAM4 wired mics or one wired and up to four RAM4W wireless mics, with each mic capable of performing essential functions. Retail price will likely be around $800.
Spinlock Deckvest Cento
Spinlock, the leader in form-fitting inflatable personal flotation devices PFDs for racing sailors has introduced an utra-lightweight and low profile inflatable lifejacket-harness for children 8 to 15 years old weighing 20 to 110 pounds. Like the adult versions used by around-the-world racers, the Deckvest Cento has multiple adjustments to ensure good fit, but the inflation system—the UML MKV auto-inflation system—is different, requiring different re-arming kits. The junior deck vest is compatible with a range of accessories designed for the adult version, including the lifejacket light, Lume-On bladder illumination light, sprayhood, essentials packs, and an automatic AIS man-overboard (SART) unit. We will be testing this along with other new inflatable PFDs this year. Store price is around $180.
FORCE 10 SEA GRILL
A few years ago Force 10 had passed its grill line to Kuuma (later Camco), but now the brand is back with some planned upgrades in the barbecue line, including what it claims will be the first marine grill with a thermocouple and control to maintain a set cooking temperature. The new curved-top design was unveiled in Miami, but the new thermocouple and regulator won’t be released until late this year. The company also has refined a line of LPG “plancha” grills. Popular in Europe, the Antigua plancha features a ceramic coated tray that evenly cooks fish and allows meat to simmer it its own juices. There’s no price yet on the new grill, but the Antigua plancha retails for about $450.