MIAMI BEACH — Thursday, 6:15 p.m.
As a boater who lives in Florida I know the importance of staying out of the sun to limit skin damage. On a boat, that can be tough. But companies such as Grady-White, Boston Whaler, Cruisers, Chris-Craft and Sea Ray are using a product that makes it a lot easier to find some shade. It’s called the SureShade, a Sunbrella cockpit cover that retracts under 12- or 24-volt or manual power.
Larger craft, such as the Delta 54 and Cheoy Lee 76 Express, also make use of the SureShade, said husband-and-wife company founders Ron and Dana Russikoff of Philadelphia. I talked to them at the Miami Beach Convention Center after a Boston Whaler boat introduction. The Russikoffs launched the product at the IBEX show in 2007 and displayed the SureShade for the first time on a boat at the 2009 Miami show on a Boston Whaler 370 Outrage.
“We give the boater ‘shade on demand,’ ” said Dana Russikoff, the company’s business leader. Ron Russikoff invented the SureShade. The powered SureShade starts at $5,000, and the manual model at $3,000. The manual model has an aluminum frame and the powered version uses a stainless-steel frame.
Friday, 3 p.m.
When I got home from the boat show and my 10-year-old asked me what was the “coolest” thing I saw, the first product that came to mind was the 80-hp electric outboard — the Deep Blue — from Germany’s Torqeedo. I wrote an article about the engine for our sister publication, Soundings, that will be in the April issue.
So I was licking my chops when I saw Chris Carroll, Torqeedo vice president of business development and formerly of Walker Bay Boats, sitting at his in-water display flanked by two boats powered with the Deep Blue — a 19-foot Inshore EdgeWater and 18-foot Zodiac RIB. Deep Blue is sold in the United States through Zodiac of North America. (www.zodiacmilpro.com).
You can barely hear a 4-stroke outboard running at idle, but my ears heard nothing when Carroll started the Deep Blue. You know the engine is running because the LCD helm display switches screens. Driving from the center console I pushed the Zodiac onto plane. It exhibited immediate throttle response at the low end of the rpm range, but lacked the pop that gas-burning outboards deliver. I got her humming along at 20 knots and settled on 14 knots for a comfortable cruise.
The Deep Blue outboard and its systems (which include a battery charger, throttle, connection box, onboard computer with GPS and display, prop and hub) is $20,000. Battery banks of two, three and four are $32,998, $49,497 and $65,996, respectively. A minimum of two batteries is necessary. The batteries are backed by a 9-year capacity warranty.
Click here for a look at some offerings from Miami.
I checked out the new Scout 350 LXF, a double-stepped center console that hits 65 mph with a trio of Yamaha F300s. The 350 can be ordered with either Yamaha's Helm Master with joystick or a bow and stern thruster system from Vetus that delivers joystick-like maneuverability. “Helm Master can do quite a lot,” company president Steve Potts said. “This is a less expensive alternative.”
Saturday, 10 a.m.
I spent the majority of the morning and early afternoon at the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach. First stop was to visit Greenline Yachts and check out the Slovenian-built Greenline 33, a pilothouse cruiser with a diesel/electric propulsion system that was introduced in Europe about three years ago. Look for a full story in the March issue of Soundings Trade Only, our “Green” issue.
Two of the Greenline representatives I interviewed for that story were on the 33 at the Yacht & Brokerage Show — Greenline Yachts sales manager Rok Babarovic and Greenline North America general manager Constantinos K. Constantinou. The Greenline fleet consists of a 33, a 40 and a 46. The latter will hit the market in Europe in September, Babarovic said. The 46 was introduced at the Dusseldorf Boat Show in Germany in January. A Greenline 40 was sold at the United States Powerboat Show in Annapolis, Md., last October.
With a single 150-hp Volkswagen diesel and a 7-kilowatt electric motor/generator, the 33 is about $325,000; the Greenline 40, with twin 150-hp Volkswagen diesels and electric motors/generators, is $475,000.
Viking Yachts director of communications Peter Frederiksen told me about Viking diversifying into manufacturing motoryachts. “Our new 75-foot motoryacht will debut at FLIBS in 2014 and will be the first in a series of motoryachts,” he said. “We want to create a motoryacht for the modern yachtsman. It will have a convertible’s hull bottom and it will be performance-oriented.”
The builder displayed 15 vessels from 42 to 82 feet at the Yacht & Brokerage Show. “The traffic has been steady and has been good,” Frederiksen said. “We sold several boats over the past two days — a 70, a 54 and several 62s — so we have had a lot of activity.”
The Viking fleet at the show included three new vessels — a 55 convertible, a 62 convertible and a 62 convertible enclosed bridge. “The 55 debuted at FLIBS , and the 62 debuted at the Viking VIP event earlier this month, and this is the first appearance for the 62 convertible enclosed bridge,” Frederiksen said.
Standing out among the shiny white yachts at the show was the silver-hulled Garcia Trawler 54, an aluminum trawler by Garcia Yachts of France, which has been building sailboats for 40 years. This is its first trawler.
A true oceangoing trawler with a heavy hull, a steadying sail, stabilizers and bow and stern thrusters, the Garcia Trawler 54 is $1.7 million with a single 185-hp John Deere diesel, said Garcia Yacht development director Benoit Lebizay. The company launched the yacht at the Cannes Boat Show in August and piloted her across the ocean for its U.S. debut at the 2012 Annapolis Powerboat Show, facing 20-foot seas and 50-knot winds during the 4,800-nautical-mile sojourn.
Judy Waldman, a yacht broker for JW Yachts in Fort Lauderdale, represents Garcia in the United States.
Contact Chris Landry at @CPLandry.