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Stateside: Super Sailing Yacht Makes a Splash Down Under

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with the State of Maine, it is famous for lobsters, the celebrated L.L. Bean line of outdoor clothing, shoes, and accessories, moose, wild blueberry pie, and a decidedly curmudgeon-like attitude to all things non-Maine.

Oh yes, then there is boat building. Among the most revered is the Hodgdon yard located in the town of Boothbay and still family run since 1816, making them the oldest boat builders in the States. 

Hodgdon's S/Y Comanche

The 100ft/30.5m Hodgdon-built maxi sailing yacht COMANCHE, her advanced composite and single-infused construction making her one of the largest so built in the States and indeed, the world, was launched late in 2014.

The excitement around this particular racing boat, with naval architecture from Van Petergem Lauriot Prevost and Guillaume Verdier, began with her debut in Sydney Harbor, Australia, in December, 2014 as she participated at the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, a historically grueling testing ground for many who seek to establish their super racing yachts in the rarified air of this highly competitive sport.

While she led from the start, with what was reported as a brilliant jump off and the fastest in race history, she soon showed both her strong points and possible weaknesses. With wind in the 15+ knot speed, she was untouchable. However, when the wind dropped off, the light puff resulted in her losing the lead and eventually the race.

While her crew, owners, and designers review all the data collected at Sydney Hobart, their sights are set on the upcoming Transatlantic Race this June where COMANCHE’s distinctive red and black hull, her giant spinnaker flying, is expected once again, to turn heads, perhaps even to watch this U.S. built Maxi cross the finish in first place.

And The Beat Goes On

If you’ve been following the soap opera around the 2016 Miami International Boat Show’s proposed new location, on Key Biscayne at the site of the (presently non-operational) Marine Stadium, hold on. We’re not done yet.

During the last week in April, Key Biscayne filed a lawsuit against the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) in order to stop next year’s show from going on at the venue.

With some $US600 million in revenue generated by the show’s presence in the Miami area, the NMMA is highly motivated to work things out to make sure this kind of revenue is not lost to the city. According to sources, one of the main issues Key Biscayne has with the NMMA concerns the increased traffic caused by such large events over several days.

With the old convention center slated for renovation, the 2016 Miami International Boat Show will be held somewhere, that’s for sure, and whether the Marine Stadium venue will be a one-off is up in the air. As always, we’ll be keeping a sharp eye on this ever-changing scenario.

Keeping Things On An Even Keel

Seakeeper, the Mohnton, Pennsylvania USA-based company founded in 2002, has all but revolutionized the stability market with their extensive line up of gyros for yachts and boats under 229ft/70m. And now, the innovative company has made yet another breakthrough.

The Seakeeper 3DC is its first DC-powered gyro, designed and engineered for boats 30ft/9m–40ft/12m in length. This state-of-the-art equipment, which here in the States has almost become the option of choice among builders, reduces resonant roll by up to 95% in a wide range of sea conditions,  underway or at rest, without the need for a generator.

Based on the company's widely-popular Seakeeper 5, the Seakeeper 3DC shares the same small footprint of 30" L x 30" W x 25" H and weight of 790 lbs. The unit has a modest electrical draw of between 500–1,000 watts, depending on sea state.

I was recently out on a sea trial on a 52ft/15+m boat in sea conditions that were not favorable for beam-to running. When I switched on the Seakeeper gyro, our roll time and motion was significantly reduced.

Seakeeper 3DC

The Brunswick Corporation Seeks Additional Growth Overseas

Brunswick, known around the docks here Stateside as Big B, has always been a powerhouse in the marine sector. With a global presence including Europe, Canada, the Pacific Rim, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, any news from the company is worth paying attention to.

This past April, Brunswick announced it had acquired Australia-based BLA, that country’s largest provider of boating, lifestyle, and adventure products with reported revenues of $AU50 million. While the exact terms of the purchase were not disclosed, the move will most certainly increase Brunswick’s marine parts and accessories presence in that part of the world.

BLA, located in Brisbane along with Aussie offices in Perth and Melbourne, and a New Zealand office in Auckland, will continue to operate under its own name.

"We are pleased to have completed this transaction with BLA and look forward to continuing and extending a connection with its current client base and the marine industry in the region," said Brunswick Chairman and CEO Dustan McCoy in a company press release.  "This is another strategic step in our efforts to continue to grow Brunswick by select acquisitions such as the BLA transaction.”

Brunswick boatsSuperyacht in remote area

Yacht Safe

There’s no doubt that boats, yachts, mega, and super yachts are not only attention getters wherever they go, but are also magnets for robbery, vandalism, theft and, in extreme cases, piracy, kidnapping, and worse.

Many of the vessels I review for the numerous marine publications I write for, and especially those that travel to Latin American waters to engage in competitive sport fishing tournaments, now have specially designed weapons lockers aboard equipped with all manner of armament.

Yacht transiting remote area 2

At the same time, with all the recent media coverage of migrant boats and the potentail risk to superyachts from ISIS, business is booming for security firms. Stateside, companies such as ATAC Global, Command At Sea International, Contego Security Systems, KKP Security Group, and AMSS Limited, among  others, offer on board security for yachts passing through questionable waters, as well as consultancy on new builds and retrofits for safe rooms, escape pods and deterrent systems.

It’s a sad comment on the current world situation but one that unfortunately, has become a reality for those of us who choose to travel by sea.

Fair winds, shipmates – Capt. Ken

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