The Cal “4040”

Listen up, all you Cal 40 owners and racers: We have nothing but deep love and true respect for all you do, and what you represent. But, we have two serious marine design words for you all: “It’s time.” Over the past several months, we have been tinkering with several questions for cruisers/racers for the California, Oregon and Washington coasts. Not everyone realizes how a fertile the waters of the western U.S. have been for yacht innovation. But everything from America’s Cup boats to Bill Lee’s ultra-light TransPac racing sleds have flourished in these open waters that are lucky enough […]

A Rock. And a Hard Place: Lessons Learned Going Aground in Hoi An

Here’s what happened: It was a normal Maine summer day. Half work, half play. Paul and I were out of the office, moving Hoi An from her mooring in Blue Hill to Camden. Her owners had kindly loaned the yacht to us for racing in the Camden Classics Cup to act as sponsor’s boat. The morning fog had cleared and a cracking breeze had come up; we were closing Camden fast, beam-reaching at over eight knots. I was navigating using the older, below-decks-mounted chartplotter occasionally, confirming with dead-reckoning, sighting islands, buoys, and landmarks. These weren’t my home-waters, but I had […]

What is the Cost to Own An All-Electric Boat, Anyway?

It’s frustrating, but true: Nobody seems yet to know exactly what it costs to own an all-electric boat. So, if you’re considering purchasing something like Hinckley’s nifty new all-electric Dasher — or joining our other clients and commissioning a custom boat from us — you will have to feel your own way to estimates on what that boat will cost to own. Here is the bottom line on electrons: Electric propulsion is simply too early stage for meaningful wide ranging cost estimates. Let’s start with Electric Cars. It seems nutty, but the automotive world is the place to start for […]

Dasher: The Un-revolution in Electric Boats.

When it comes to boats, the revolutions seem to happen when they’re not that revolutionary. Take all-electric runabouts. Our shop has spent nearly 10 years exploring electric propulsion in smaller craft. And earlier this year, the once impossible quietly happened: A major, high-quality American production boat builder began shipping an all-electric powerboat. Branded as the “world’s first all electric luxury yacht,” the svelte 28-foot Hinckley Dasher features twin 80hp inboard Torqeedo all-electric motors, BMW’s i3 waterproof lithium-ion batteries, and high capacity, dual 50-amp charging cables that can repower this boat in less than 4 hours. We’re sure that electrical pioneers, […]

On Powering Anna

Sailboats are just that: Boats that move because they have sails. So while we spend lots of our time figuring how out how slick mechanical systems operate winches and cool the air below, at the end of the day a boat like our new 66-footer Anna, just finishing up at Lyman Morse Boatbuilding, is a sailboat: Her central role is to provide her owners and crew the delightful experience of cajoling the wind into pushing or pulling all through the water — in more or less the direction the crew wants to go. Since Anna’s chief propulsive force is the […]

Paul Pounds Sails: Why Handicapping Sail Materials Is a Material Mistake.

Sailing is not golf. Handicapping a sailboat race is a silly, silly idea: Length, weight, sail area, wetted surface are difficult to compare fairly. Nothing comes close to a simple “three-stroke handicap” that captures the subtle mix of tools that make a boat fast or slow. But, still, we sailors want to have fun, we don’t want confusing rules and penalties that are faulty in basis.  Mostly we want to collect our friends and all our different boats, together at the same party, and race. It’s what we do. Today, we’re going to rant about the especially gnarly problem of […]

Question of the Month: Should I Varnish My Boat in the Caribbean?

We love boats of all materials– okay, except MAYBE go easy on the ferro-cement. But we’ve drawn a lot of cool boats, boutique boats, and modern classics. Many have been built as custom one-offs in composite wood construction. We’re often tapped for our expertise in building fancy things out of different wood species. And we recently had a reader and a customer pose a question we get a lot: Can I keep my modern wooden boat in the Caribbean year-round? What challenges will I see? To be honest, the brutal conditions of the sun and salt air of the sweeping […]

On Making a 50-knot Electric Speedboat:

It’s been a long and winding electric road. We first got involved in using batteries to drive a boat on our hybrid Zogo back in 2009. Still — almost ten years later — the electric revolution is still “just over the horizon.” We continue to consult for practical cross-platform propulsion systems in our client’s boats. We have a custom lobster boat coming that will feature just such a system. We’re following the hybrid power wave in European harbors. And we keep tinkering with ideas to see if the calculus of electrons in boats is changing. So we wanted to see […]