Has Yachting Truly Evolved?

Evolution continues all around us everyday. Plants, humans, animals and the Earth as a whole is changing whether we acknowledge it or not. Technology, however, is undeniably evolving. It used to be that you needed a bag to carry your cell phone because it was so big and heavy. Now we lose the damn thing in our own pockets! The advancements in technology have been radical to say the least and as a result we have better communication, more reliable systems and have more freedom than we ever did. With the evolution of systems we’ve also seen the price of these fancy devices drop to affordable levels and they’re ease of use less complicated…then came the smartphone. Is your boat what you really need? Our desire for more and manufacturers desire for more sales have prompted for ever more sophisticated (and pricer phones). It’s like the cycle started all over again. We went from big to small and from pricey to affordable and now we’re going back for big and pricier.  It’s no longer important to fit nicely into your palm or your pocket. Now it’s all about how big the screen is, how much data it can hold and how much can it do. Meanwhile this makes the phones bigger, more complicated, and more expensive.  And why shouldn’t they, Apple has sold over 3 million of their $300+ phones in just over a month! We’ve seen the same “evolution” in the boating world. Sail gave way to steam and it to gas as wood gave way to steel and then to fiberglass. We want to go faster and further everyday, all while carrying more and more. Granite floors, 360 degree TV’s, extra generators, more this and more that. Sky’s the limit, right? Wrong! As boats gets heavier they need more power to achieve the same speed. More power means more fuel consumption. More consumption means bigger tanks which in turn adds more weight, which means more power/more consumption/more tanks…and the cycle never stops. Boats used to be an escape from your home. Now most of them try to replicate your home. Say what? Look around, the average 70′ yacht sleeps 8 people including crew and has the same TV’s, surround sound stereos, BBQ grill, full size washer and dryer, refrigerators, stove, oven, microwave and dishwasher as your home. However, it also has extra freezers, engines, generators, underwater lights, a watermaker, navigation electronics, a davit, a trash compactor and much more.  Now we need to somehow make all this stuff work together and we need to make it move at 20kts through 6 foot seas!! The result is a far more complicated and expensive boat than we ever needed in the first place. Boats are increasingly more difficult and more expensive to maintain. You basically need an engineer degree just to use your stereo or turn on the breakers.  Apparently cell phones and these floating mansions are intended for some elite alien race that finds fuel switching valves and programmable app macros “intuitive”. And just like cell phones, all these added features make boats unstable and more prone to downtime. Isn’t that ridiculous? We demand so much that we make these “fun things” so complicated and expensive that now we can’t even use them!! Do yourself and everyone else a favor and stick to what you actually need. Take a stand. Drop that extra fridge, forget about that extra...




Yes Man

During a rather enthusiastic project kickoff, I once told a prominent Naval Architect that I wanted him to design the perfect boat to which he replied “ok, but how will you sell it?”.  He smiled, then (in a rather sad tone) finished with “I learned long ago that the perfect boat is the one that sells”.  As a young idealist that really pissed me off. How could this obviously wise man give up so easy? It’s his duty to educate his consumers and do the right thing! Well if he wasn’t going to do it then I would have to take it upon myself and so the next day I called my (prospective) client and told him that we needed to eliminate a few things, narrow the beam and alter the layout, but that we would have an amazing yacht capable of comfortable cruising in the worst of sea conditions. He listened attentively and I hung up the phone excitedly. A week later he signed with a competitor that was more than willing to fill up the spec sheet with this fellow’s desires. I could picture the conversation: Buyer: “I want x,y,z and throw in some of that m,n,o,p,q” Salesman: “Sure, it will be great, you are obviously an experienced yachtsman” Buyer: “This 60 footer is a step up from my 28′ walk around, but I’ve been doing a lot of research” Salesman: “You will be very happy and your resale value will be outstanding, sign here” I was upset, but I get it. Why would this guy want to deal with me, Mr. Realistic, when all he wanted to hear was from Mr....




Does your boat manufacturer have a future?

When I was growing up we had a big box TV in the living room. It was bulky, heavy and the picture wasn’t all that great. There was no need for a remote control (apparently that’s what my parents had me for). Nowadays we have tiny flat screens, video on demand, blueray, TV lifts, surround sound, multiple zones and so much more.  Our ever growing demand for these image makers increased the number of manufacturers which resulted in a crowded industry. By choice, or by force, manufacturers have had to adjust- some have gone for bargain pricing, some for premium technology, and others have fallen somewhere in the middle. Those that embraced their course have done very well…then there are those that reject their newfound identity, or worse yet, they haven’t figured it out.  These latter ones will not make it. Does your boat manufacturer have a future? The auto and marine industries have also suffered from the same evolution issues. Both have seen their fair share of manufactures come and go, rise and fall. This latest economic hiccup has further highlighted the fragile state of these industries as even perennial Giants collapsed or suffered major setbacks. Many of the price conscious builders took the initial hit since their slim margins depend on high volume. On the other end, exotic premium brands have had a tough time justifying their prices. Eventually those that hung in the middle, well they too were hung out to dry. Yes, this wave has washed away many, but not everyone.  In fact, those that understood, embraced and excelled at their position have faired just fine. Ford just posted big gains, Porsche is up 57% YTD and Hyundai continues to beat expectations. Why? Because these builders acknowledged their role long ago and have put all their energy into excelling at it, not climbing out of it. Sure they also had their scares, but all they had to do is adjustments, not identity changes. We can find similarities in the boating world. Builders such as Nordhavn, whose ocean-crossing image is engraved in our heads, are staying ahead of the wake and perhaps gaining speed. Does this make them a good investment? You bet, which only helps to further cement their future. Yacht builders today face a lot of challenges, but none is more important than their identity. The sooner they figure it out, the sooner they can excel at it and the better off they will be. As consumers, we like stability. We find comfort in knowing (or expecting) that those that we spend our money on will be around. It doesn’t matter if we’re buying the low cost or high end item. We want to see our manufacturers succeed because it must mean that their product is good and that makes us feel validated for purchasing it. If you own a yacht or are in the market for one, think about your manufacturer’s identity. Are they consistent? Are they resisting their identity or are they embracing it and doing their best to excel at it? If the answer is resisting, then ask them why and listen good because if they don’t have a sound reason then they probably do not have a sound plan for the...




Best ways to access the internet on your boat

Networking Your Boat: How to Get Connected Wouldn’t it be nice to get away from it all, cruise off into the sunset, and never look back? This might seem like the perfect idea, but for most of us, the thought of truly separating ourselves from the rest of the world and all of its technologies does not set our mind at ease. We want to bring our toys along with us and stay connected to the outside world. These days an internet connection on your yacht ranks high on a boat owner’s list. Once you’ve made the decision to bring internet technology onto your yacht, what comes next? Before jumping into the installation process, you need to set up a plan of action. What is it you would like to accomplish? What will you be using this system for and what are your own personal requirements? Be honest, how often will you be using your internet? Are you working with multiple computers, possibly a printer or other devices aboard your yacht? If so, you may want to consider creating a network. When creating a network for your yacht, you are linking computers and other objects to a central network device, allowing them to share files, music, pictures, and most beneficially, an internet connection (See Computer Network diagram). Sharing a single internet connection simplifies the connecting process, making it a lot cheaper than having to pay for several connections and creating a safer environment for all of your computers. When networking, there are several things to think about. First, what are you networking and where are these items? Maybe you want to install network ports in the master stateroom, pilothouse, salon, cockpit, and galley. Survey the boat and write down any locations that you might want to establish a connection. Choose a main computer, which will contain the main resources such as the hard drives, scanners, printers, cameras, and any other devices you would like to share within your network. This computer is called a server, it needs to remain on at all times so that all the other computers within the network, called clients, can access the main files and devices in the network. Now that you’re ready to set up your network, you will need to decide what kind of network you will be using and purchase the hardware necessary for constructing the system. The Ethernet network is the most common way of connecting computers, providing a general blueprint for designing a network. In any network, there will be a central location that connects everything, as seen in the various diagrams, as well as a network interface. The central location is called a “hub” or the more advanced hub, a “switch.” The installation process for a hub or a switch is simple, just plug it in! The network interface is a card or chip that gets installed in each computer. Most new computers come with this already built in, but for older computers, you will have to purchase and install a network interface card. The next thing to think about is security for your network. A router acts as a filter, blocking unwanted information from the internet from entering your network and preventing other computers from retrieving information from your system. Routers typically have a WAN (wide area network) port that connects to the internet and one or more LAN (local area network) ports that connect to devices that are in the network on board the yacht. When searching for routers,...




Alaska: award winning Fedship

Specs Equipment: Length: 198 feet (60.35m) Beam: 37 feet (11.29m) Draft: 11 feet (3.35M) Number of crew: 14 – 16 depending on needs Engines: Twin CAT 3516B Sleeps: 12 Impeccably maintained with one of the most exquisite Feadship interiors ever delivered. In addition to the 1,200 square foot Owner’s Suite incorporating Owner’s office and Owner’s gymnasium, she offers five guest staterooms. The option is available to combine four of these guest staterooms to create two large VIP suites, each with a sitting room and separate his and her bathroom. In other words, on the Guest Level, you have the choice of a five, four, or three stateroom layout, plus guest gymnasium. All four levels of the yacht are wheelchair accessible utilizing the spectacular glass-encased elevator. Complemented by a sterling crew of 14-16 (depending on Charterer’s needs), and an array of water toys and audio-visual entertainment, she is worthy of her Awards Achieved as: 2006 WORLD YACHTS WORLD TROPHY 150′-200′ 2006 SHOWBOATS BEST FULL DISPLAC. MOTORYACHT OVER 56M 2005 MONACO “Star of the Show” Highlights: All Strms equipped with Entertainment System, complete blackout, Wi-Fi access, and much more. Owner’s Study: 42” TV, computer, printer, and Wi-Fi access Owner’s Gym: Pilates Equipment, Treadmill, dumbbell weights, and Massage Table His-and-Her en-suite Jacuzzi Tub with separate rain shower guest foyer features a mini-bar and the elegant glass elevator Kaleidescape movie server Blu-ray in Main Salon and Bridge Deck Salon iPod Docking Stations Bridge Deck Lounge: full wet bar, a game table, and a 63” TV The Bridge is guest friendly with its curved seating area All levels are accessible by dumbwaiter TOYS: Original 1972 restored 28’ Riva with 2 x 420hp (total 840hp) 25’ Chris Craft with 475 hp 16’ RIB inflatable emergency tender 2 x single Kayaks 15 x Snorkeling Sets Towables: wakeboard, waterskis, kneeboard, inflatable tube, wing 2 x 2-person Yamaha waverunners 2 x windsurfers (1 pro, 1 universal for novice) 2 x bicycles Fishing Equip: Deep Sea, Light Tackle, and 2 heavy tackle rods Fighting Chair Beach Umbrellas and Chairs Onboard Compressor with 6 Scuba Tanks, 4 BC’s Rendezvous Diving...