FORT LAUDERDALE — Editors from several Active Interest Media Marine Group publications met with industry manufacturers or their representatives Tuesday on the eve of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The open house at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort was held to receive information about new products.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for the industry to sit in a casual environment and spend time talking about their business with our editors,” said Bob Bauer, publisher of Power & Motoryacht, Anglers Journal, Sail and other AIM publications.
Rus Graham is a principal and co-founder of Rushton Gregory Communications in Lee, N.H., and he represented Fusion stereos, Navico electronics, Evinrude outboards and Suntex marinas at the roundtable.
“When you’re on the docks, you’ve got 20 minutes for whatever the pitch is,” said Graham. “In all the situations today [our clients] were able to give you a presentation and talk about things that are further coming down the road and give you an idea of where we are going.”
More than 25 companies were represented either directly or by public relations agencies during the fast-track sessions. The presenters discussed new products and took questions.
The day started with Jim Seidel, marketing manager, and Scott Townsend, sales manager for Pettit Paint, highlighting new products and regulations on the way that could affect the industry.
Arnie Hammerman is a marketing strategist at Brand Builder Media, and he represented a number of companies at the open house. At Ranger and Cutwater Boats, Ranger has a new R27 model powered by a 300-hp Yamaha outboard.
With a beam of 8 feet, 6 inches, the boat is trailerable. Hammerman said it is a “big 27-footer.” He hinted that Ranger could have a boat pushing the 40-foot mark in 2018 and that Cutwater is looking at some midsize offerings for the coming model year.
For those interested in endurance boating, Aspen Power Catamarans is in the middle of a 10,000-mile tour with one of the manufacturer’s C120 cats. As of Tuesday the company had covered 5,000 miles traveling from Seattle to Alaska and back, and down the West Coast to Marina del Rey, Calif.
The boat is scheduled to head down to San Diego and then into Mexico, traveling the Baja Peninsula into the Sea of Cortez. After arriving on the mainland side, the boat will be hauled and trailered to Galveston, Texas. Then it’s a quick trip across the Gulf of Mexico to the west coast of Florida and down to the Keys. The final leg of the journey will take the boat to the Bahamas and then up the East Coast to Annapolis for the 2018 U.S. Powerboat Show.
For people who need accessories to secure their tenders to a host vessel, Weaver Industries makes and sells a variety of them in stainless steel.
Lastly, for improving communications when you’re at sea, Hammerman presented Mazu by SkyMate and Wave WiFi. Mazu is a satellite communication system for cruisers who want to stay in touch while offshore. For $995, it’s a DIY installation and the primary interface is an iPad app. The system is for people who cruise or fish beyond cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity range and need better access for texting home, checking weather or reaching emergency responders.
Wave WiFi provides antennas and connection solutions for boats ranging from runabouts to megayachts with an external antenna and other equipment that bring a stronger Wi-Fi signal to your boat. It’s a receiver with stronger sensitivity that picks up access points that surpass what you get on mobile devices.
Dean Kurutz, vice president of sales, marketing and product planning at Furuno, and Matt Wood, national sales manager, showed off the company’s latest DFF-3D Sonar, which works with the company’s NavNet TZtouch and TZtouch2 multifunction displays. The sonar was released during the summer and won the technology award at the National Marine Electronics Association’s annual conference.
Furuno said the key to the DFF-3D is that it goes deeper than competitive products. It has a lower frequency at 165 KHz, but because Furuno has a history as a provider of electronics products for commercial and professional fishermen, the company wanted to make sure it provided equipment that its customers would want.
“We’re known as a bluewater fishing company,” Wood said.
The DFF-3D reads to a depth of 1,000 feet directly under a boat, and for three-dimensional mapping it has a scope of 3:1. If you’re in 500 feet of depth, you’re mapping out 1,500 feet of depth to port and starboard.
Furuno also talked about its DRS4D-NXT solid-state and DRS6A-NXT conventional magnetron radar antennas. Although the solid-state models provide all of the detail that a recreational enthusiast could want, the DRS6A-NXT gives a range of as much as 2 miles for spotting a bird.
Long-distance cruisers are always interested in the latest in electronics, and Kadey-Krogen’s new 50-foot open trawler could be the boat for that equipment. The 50 will be the smallest in the open series.
Lastly, Evinrude’s E-TEC series of direct-injected 2-stroke outboards can now be had with the company’s iDock joystick system. Karl Sandstrom, a consultant to Evinrude, said the three key elements of iDock are that it’s “intuitive, integrated and attainable.”
Other joystick systems require the installation of additional equipment, but for the most part the equipment required to make iDock work is already on Evinrude E-TEC G2 motors ranging from 150 to 300 hp.
It works with a standard hydraulic helm, and no pumps are required in the boat. It is a $5,999 upcharge and has to be ordered new with the motors. Also, for repower applications Evinrude is offering a 10-year warranty. For boats in Florida, an owner gets free rigging, free iDock and a free set of stainless-steel propellers.