The New Voyage for Madmen?

It’s sailing madness season! The Vendee Globe round-the-world race starts on Nov 6th. And so begins the 100-or-so day, semi-annual obsession with pure speed in single-handed offshore sailing. This year’s fleet of crazy racers features above-water foiling boats — similar to hyper-developmental skiffs like the Moth class: 30 knots will be considered average top speeds. And the word “suffering” will also be considered standard in terms of skippers’ life aboard. Some bit more sensible yachting minds have come up with an alternative round-the-world race: Called the Golden Globe Race 2018, it is the 50th-anniversary re-running of the original Golden Globe that […]

Bob’s Best Boat Toys: Gocycle.

We’re boat nerds. We can’t resist the crazy gadget overlooked by the rest of landlocked society. Hence, this little beauty that popped up on a recent trip to Newport, Rhode Island: The Gocycle, a mashup between a folding bike and an electric bike. It was a soft-seller when it first came out in 2010. Too bad. Because this is exactly what aerobically challenged sailors need for handy harbor-side transport. At 35 pounds, it is a wisp of a feather for an electric bike. And we love how both wheels do the pushing and the pulling. Meaning, this little wonder can get you, […]

World’s Spookiest Yacht!

It’s Halloween. And by all accounts, ghouls love a good yacht: There’s no shortage of great boat-ghost stories: There is the famous Italian ghost schooner Bell’amica that was found drifting off the coast of the Sardinia in 2006. All hands were missing, as was the GPS data, the nameplate and the flag of origin. The only human trace? An on-board phone that could call an owner. An owner that would never appear. There’s The Sailing Mummy, one Manfred Fritz Bajorat, who was found dead and mummified at his boat’s navigation station in 2016. Was he radioing for help? Was it […]

Waterworld Comes to J/World

American production boats got heavy this month. Newport, Rhode Island-based J/Boat announced the J-121. (Say “Jay One, two, one.” and you’ll be all the rage.) This 40-footer appears to be another step in a long line of powered-up, day and weekend racers from this serious production boat yard. Save for one tiny — seriously heavy — feature. Water ballast. For the first time, as far as we are aware, a major boat maker is placing a potential 400 kilograms (or about 820 pounds) of pump-able water weight in tanks near the sides of the boat. We will be digging deeper […]

Cuomo’s Steampunk Picnic Boat.

Even governors, it seems, have electric tug boat dreams. Two years ago, we began work on an early-stage, cross-platform electric propulsion project for the Maine State fishing fleet. Details are still hush-hush. We can’t spill the beans on our electric lobster boat just yet. But our discretion has not stopped us from tracking alternative powerplants in other boats since. One of the most intriguing — and frustrating — is the 2014 electric repowering of this classic 1928 canal tug, pictured above, by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Cuomo […]

The Zumwalt Class Lobster Boat

An interesting early look at a new “transmission-less” propulsion option crept out of Europe earlier this year. Netherlands-based Hybrid Power Systems announced a variable-speed, saltwater-cooled diesel generator that might open new powering options to smaller craft. The full specs are hazy. But from what we can see, this one motor could power not only batteries, but all the power systems on a small boat. Meaning, that pesky central prop shaft, that runs from the back of the engine through the hull, and to the propeller would be gone. Instead, a quiet, all-electric coil would drive the boat. And that’s a […]

World’s Best Engineered Kaiser Roll

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” — Jesse Owens Mizzen masts are not born. They’re made. And not wasting a lot of time — and money — in making these small spars ready for the job of civilizing a big, powerful modern sailing yacht takes major boat-nerd TaiChi. In fact, the mizzen engineering ‘round here can get cut so fine that the results earn nicknames — like this “Kaiser Roll,” fabricated stainless mizzen mast collar for the 90-foot sailing yawl Bequia. This […]