Boats Now Cheaper than Homes.

Here’s a scoop about marine living that surprised us: Living on the water is probably a better deal than living near the water. During the past 60 days or so, our little yacht design world has invested serious time in exploring how to live on marine environments. We’ve been digging deep into costs and benefits of various marine residence concepts from floating homes to houseboats to live-aboard yachts. And one of the biggest puzzles of living on the water are the values involved: What’s a better deal? A residence on real land near the coast. Or a residence floating on […]

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 […]

Zen and the Art of Spirit of Tradition Pontoon Boats.

It can take effort to sense the silver lining in the dark cumulus clouds of the custom boat business. We work in a mature market, of a discretionary product, for a flat demographic that makes little sense to the next generation. Boats are like golf, but with waves and even crazier names for sh#t. But there’s at least one ray of hope in the thunder clouds of the yacht-making game: Pontoon boats. Yup, pontoon boats: Floating packages of giant aluminum hot dogs are the runaway winners in the slowly recovering global boat building market, at least according the Boat Building […]

Retro Golden Globe One-Design Racer Gets Lost In Design Time.

Hey, Don McIntyre! You’re the organizer of the Golden Globe 2018 single-handed round-the-world race. You know, the one where anybody can grab a select list of old fiberglass boats and go around the world non-stop, with not much more than a sextant. Is there a rule we missed that says the new one-design for your race has to be a slow boat to China and back? It’s not like we’re not big fans of the coming Golden Globe Race 2018. We flat out love how your GGR will send off a mixed fleet of about 30 professional and amateur sailors. […]

Marine Engineering 111: Why is my cockpit eh … a cockpit?

We all sit in them, we stand in them, haul lines in them, and have lunch in them. But do we know why a cockpit is what it is? In many boats, the answer is no. Cockpits seam to slouch in as pre-ordained stories. And that’s a shame, because roughly 7 out of the 10 of the design choices in a vessel involve the design and function of a cockpit. Cockpits expose the inner guts of a boat to the elements and bad luck. Soles that are too low can sink a vessel through downflooding. And it’s the cockpit that […]

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 […]

Marine Engineering 108: Why on earth does anybody pay so much for a custom boat?

And now, the customer: All the elegantly engineered keels, retro-installed electric drives and superyacht-regatta winning hulls matter not a whit unless these yachty wonders wind up into a real, floating boat. And that real boat requires the near magical, impossible-to-design thing: A real customer. We’ve been working the yacht design wheels for nearly 60 combined years, and we know less now about where the good clients come from than when we started. Where does the individual with the means, inclination and imagination come from to create a great boat? We have no idea. But it is impossible to overstate their […]