There is no bad weather. Just bad boats!

 

Really now? “No bad weather, just bad boats?” It’s an old Danish expression, but I heard it for the first time in Holland. Sure, it’s a little bit ….  judgmental? But I’ll give the Danes this: When you boat on the North Sea, and have since the time of the Vikings, I say you’re entitled to judge all you want. Because as Dizzy Dean once famously said,

“It ain’t boasting if’n you kin do it!”

As the fish swims, it’s only 375 nautical miles miles from southern Denmark to Urk, Holland. Urk is home port of Hartman Yachts, builder of, among other things,  the Livingstone 24:

I’ve done enough sailing in Denmark over the years to see a certain shared yachting culture with the Dutch. My respect for those shared values has led me to connect so well with Hartman, and with  Long Island Yachts.  It’s why, when bringing these lines to America, I now summarize their offerings to America this way:

“From the North Sea, to your sea!”

Which brings me today to….

I. Sold!

Keep your eyes open this summer and you’ll see a brand new Long Island Yacht 33 Classic whizzing by on Long Island Sound!

Don’t blink, because she’lll be moving fast. The owner (a race car driver and bad-ass waterskier)….

Not yet behind a 33 Classic, but soon enough…

…. has the need for speed. That’s why he opted for the largest engine that fits the 33, the Yanmar 370, which will top her out at 32+ knots. As he put it to me, “Upgrading to the V8’s additional torque was a no-brainer for me.”

In regard to that performance, you’ve heard on my Tom Brady Goes Dutch podcast about the recent sea trial of a Long Island Yacht 25 Sportsman in New Jersey:

Long Island Yachts Sportman 25 is a touring yacht built in the Netherlands.

25 Sportsman

Before our sea trial her owner was glowing in his account of the boat’s handling. In particular, her solidness in a chop. So we went out on a brisk fall day, and I quickly understood his point. Zooming with the Dutch the next day, they answered for me a question that had been on my mind for awhile:

Why are Long Island Yachts heavier than the competition?

 

Their answer?

 

Because they are supposed to be!

 

All things being equal, we like heavy boats because,

  • When you fall off a wave, that extra mass cushions the blow, and leaves your boat standing on her feet.
  • When you crash into a wave, that extra mass helps crush the weight of what’s coming straight at you (at 64 pounds per cubic foot!)
  • And when that 64 pounds per cubic foot of wave falls on top of  you? Well, best to be pushed around as little as possible.
  • Simply put,  weight delivers stable and able.

The engineers at Long Island Yachts explained that the net additional weight comes from their use of solid fiberglass construction (no foam or balsa cores) below the waterline. That extra mass, down low, is the secret to their handling. And if you are a speed demon, you can make up for that extra weight with a bigger engine (or even twins).

Personally, I think this is an optimal design choice. Especially, when you run aground (see this post on Long Island Yachts’ protected underbodies) …

 

 

… and listen to a great story about a damage-free, high-speed nighttime grounding here. A grounding, by the way, that left the boat 50 feet up on the shoreline (no one was hurt).

For your Long Island Yacht, the next open production slots are for September delivery. But demand is high so please call for your availability update.

II. Next up…

With one hundred of these small luxury yachts having splashed since 2006, the 33 Classic is a perennial best seller. But my innovative friends wanted to tweak the design a little, presenting a more curvaceous look in a slightly smaller design. So they brought some rough plans of a 29 Classic to the Dusseldorf Boat Show last year to gauge client interest. It must have been high, because they’ve already sold five from the plans alone!  Hull #1 will finish in a couple of months, and I will have a full report for you. Meanwhile, here are some CGI’s to tide you over:

 

 

Long Island Yachts commitment to growing their USA fleet has led them to move into their new and larger factory in Holland this week. I look forward to seeing it myself this spring, and I welcome you to come over with me. In fact, let’s sea trial the entire line together…

 

Here is a little of what you can expect at the factory:

III. Hardtop and Other Options

Something else you can expect from Long Island Yachts is some new Hardtop builds. This option is now available for the 29/33 Classic models:

And, so impressively, for the 40 Classic:

 

I’ll take this opportunity to say that the pricing on the hard top option is quite reasonable.

Actually, the options pricing across the entire LIY line is unusually reasonable for our industry. I always take it a little personally when builders pump up their options pricing  ($30,000 for a generator? Really? Do they thing my clients won’t notice?). So hat’s off to Long Island Yachts (the rare builder for whom teak decks and bow thrusters are standard equipment) for keeping their little luxury yachts affordable. Your cost for the generator option on the 40 Classic, you might ask? An eminently reasonable $14, 300. That’s what I’m talking about…

The Long Island Yachts 40 Classic: Quality, Performance, and Value!

40 Classic

IV. What to Build, and for Whom?

 

I’m gonna take a  deep dive into the belly of the beast today, loyal clients, and talk about how builders decide what to build, and for whom. Some of it will be a bit arcane, some of it a little obvious, and some of it (sorry) will come close to boring. But stick with me here, because I think it can add real value to your decision making process.

It starts with yet another restatement of The Fog Warning’s core mission, it’s dedication to answering these questions:

What makes a yacht great, and why? Who makes a great yacht, and how?

 

And for today’s discussion I will add this little postscript:

… and how not to!

 

Obviously, building a great yacht takes a great team.  It starts with the builder, of course  – the owner or the CEO.  But then add:

  • The designers;
  • The bean counters;
  • The naval architects;
  • The parts suppliers;
  • The subcontractors;
  • The service teams (a huge resource when designing and building the yacht in the first place); and,
  • The marketers.

Team assembled? Now the first critical decision:

Exactly what are we going to build, and for whom?

Here’s an illustrative but hypothetical story about the range of possible answers.

Let’s say sales have slowed at a storied builder of big boats. The reasons could be all over the place, but for the purposes of this discussion let’s say:

  • Maybe their designs have gotten stale.
  • Or, they haven’t kept up with the competition.
  • Or, changing trends in the industry (outboards, anyone?) just passed them by.
  • Or, human nature took its course and leadership got too comfortable for too long (when I call the owner or CEO I’m delighted to catch them out on their own boats, using and testing their own products. Catching them out on the golf course ….. um, not so much).

And now their CFO (or maybe the smartest member of their Board of Directors) notices that 18 to 24 months out their cashflow is looking a little shaky.

No need to panic! The solution is well known and well used, practically shouting itself from the rooftops of every boatyard in the world:

“We need a new model!”

Okayyyyy, but what should we build? Keep in mind that tooling costs for a 60 foot yacht are huge. The molds alone for fiberglass construction can run over $2,000,000.

As a brief aside, these tooling cost are one reason I love well-built aluminum and cold molded yachts. Without having to make a huge investment in molds (trust me, you have sell a small fleet of yachts to make that investment back)  all of that value stays in the boat! It stays in as design enhancements, higher-end components, and higher levels of performance and finish. Vanquish Yachts, for example:

… is coming on strong is America with their new, hot aluminum luxury day boats, with at least 20 deliveries here in the last year or so.

But any way you cut it, it’s a big decision. Margins are low, capital costs are high, and not many builders can survive a $2,000,000 mistake. Which leads to question #2:

Do we build down to a price, or build up to the best possible yacht?

Stated another way:

Do we build a yacht generally good enough to meet the needs of the largest pool of potential owners, or do we build a great and more expensive yacht for a far smaller but far more discerning class of owners? 

Biz-wise, neither answer is wrong. Both can succeed. But only one answer consistently and dependably produces a great yacht. Which, as my loyal clients know, is The Fog Warning’s whole raison d’être.

But let’s stick with Track One first, “build down to a price.” And since copying is cheaper than innovating, the project usually moves on to this question:

Who’s doing well, and what marketshare can we grab from them?

It’s a comparatively low-risk play. Why not leverage your competition’s expenditures on costly R & D and marketing? Well, there’s one obvious “not.” Walk through the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show’s lineup of 4,000 largely look-alike, perform alike offerings, and you’ll get what I mean.

But even copying is hard, biz-wise. If competitor X’s yacht is selling well at $2,150,000, the obvious approach for a builder becomes “Let’s move into that space, do it just differently enough to distinguish ourselves a little, but use our smarts to do it more efficiently, say for….. $1,999,000. We’ll clean up!”

Sometimes they do. But that doesn’t mean they produce a great yacht.

And let’s be clear – saving that $150,000 is nowhere as easy as you might think, because:

  • The basic material costs of yacht construction are roughly the same, planet-wide.
  • Even if you can squeeze out some cost advantage on these basic materials, the cost of the hull and deck itself is no more than 25% of the overall build.
  • The core components (engines, electrical, plumbing) are all sourced from the same suppliers, at the same cost unless you are pumping out a thousand boats a year (hello, Azimut!).
  • Basic labor rates don’t vary by county. No matter where you build in China, your base labor rate will be $4.85 an hour. Taiwan? $5.20. Turkey? $4.95. The US or EU? $22. Once you’ve built an elaborate factory, there is no easy way to reduce labor costs. Even robotics (except for making the molds) are not all that applicable to yacht construction.

So, cheaper is harder.

And doing it better and cheaper is way harder.

Which leaves the Goldilocks middle path: More-or-less match your competition’s costs, price point and quality. Then pressure your world-class brokers and cracker jack marketers (who these days are way closer to data scientists than traditional marketers) to leverage the great value of your brand name.

It works.  Does it deliver a great yacht? Sometimes. Not often enough.

More often it takes Track Two: Building the best yachts for the most discerning owners. It’s still a really hard path (after all, if it were easy, everyone would do it). But the best builders in the world continue to produce the best yachts, year in and year out. How do they do it? What skills do they bring to bear?

What I’ve seen is this: They use the best installed option available to species Homo Sapiens:

 Come Again GIF - PeeWeeHerman What Huh GIFs

A world class set of ears!

 

I mean ears (as is said of great jazz musicians) that can hear paint dry.

The builders who turn those ears unwaveringly towards their current and past owners, they get to grab the gold ring. After all, who better can identify what’s missing from their boats, and from their yachting lives, than the owner’s themselves? That kind of market knowledge is invaluable, and all it takes is Pee-Wee Herman-sized  ears.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s not done as often as you think, or as well as it should. The boat biz can be very much an ego-driven dynamic, rife with the “I know best” syndrome. Trust me, nobody in this biz knows everything. So nothing beats a goods set of ears.

What else works? Builders who:

  • Are emotionally and intellectually wired for innovation;
  • Who prioritize a direct connection to a yachting life – They use their yachts just as their owner’s do. A lot;
  • They work hard at staying small. With great product that takes discipline (you have to be good at saying no). It’s hard for big conglomerates to build great yachts;
  • Their pockets are deep enough to avoid chasing the latest trend; to weather downturns (in fact, downturns are exactly when you should be working on new models); to provide great service to their owners; to operate without significant debt but with great partners; to take as much pride in the quality of their yachts as the quality of their balance sheet; and,
  • Most of all, they have the skills, confidence and integrity to…

Say what they build, and build what they say!

 

By this I mean they define right up front the core functionality they want to bring to their yachts. And they stay true to that from first drawing to first splash.

Builders with integrity build yachts of integrity. They don’t dwell on labels or depend on slick marketing. What they depend on is the good judgement of knowledgeable yachtsmen and women who know what they are looking for and what they are looking at.

God, I love this business.

V. Explorer Yachts, Expedition Yachts, and other Assorted Labels

Which brings me, finally, to our last chapter today: Explorer and Expedition yachts (whether mini, maxi, or pocket). And I’m going to apologize in advance for being a little strident here. But in this sector the dollar costs can be as high as the physical risks. If you’ve been following the damage done to the Vendee Globe racers this winter, you know that some 10,000 shipping containers a year get jettisoned at sea. Any one of them can sink an under-built ship:

 

But no nautical authority – not Lloyds of London, nor MCA, nor anyone else – has technically defined what constitutes an Explorer or Expedition yacht. Unless and until you get up into Ice-Class classifications, any builder can call anything that floats anything they want. And since this has been a very hot build class over the last five years, builders everywhere have rushed in with their own offerings, definitions and labels.  The build space is now occupied by at least 18 builders around the world, and five times that many designers. The best of the best stand out. Some don’t (fiberglass expedition yachts? Really?).

Who builds what I would take anywhere, anytime? For me they are builders of ships. Ships that get through almost anything, for as long as it takes, with sufficient space and range for crew, guests, toys, supplies, and refuse. Ships strong enough to handle things like semi-submerged shipping containers, with commercial-level damage control systems when things get wrong. Ships that can safely provide the offshore experience that very few people get to have, much less own.  They include:

Holland’s  Damen Yachts (the world’s largest commercial builder, from freighters to naval ice breakers):

 

Feadship (Royal Dutch Shipyards), who have been building Super Yachts almost since the time of Superman:

 

Italy’s Cantiere delle Marche (CDM), who’s Darwin class Expedition Yachts blew me away in Cannes last year:

 

And Heesen (yes, that’s her Long Island Yachts 28 Sportsman tender alongside):

 

The Fog Warning Blog and Podcast is going to spend the coming months exploring this world, and I hope you enjoy the ride. Maybe you can tell that I’m taking the lack of authenticity in this sector a little ….. personally. Sure, I could probably lighten up a little.  But to me, if a client is going to spend $5m, $10m, or far more on a true ocean-going vessel, it’s  because they want the challenge of rounding Capes – not puttering though canals. They don’t need slick marketing or magazine cover shots,  convenient labels or copycat builders. In my humble opinion what they need is:

  • A ship, not a boat.
  • And that ship should be built in a shipyard, not a boatyard.
  • And it should be a Dutch ship, or one that aspires to that level.

And, if they’re going Dutch, I want them to take a very close look at my Dutch ships. Those built by the shipyard of Hartman Yachts:

 

What can I say?  I’m a true believer. Why? I’ll leave that to Dizzy Dean again…

“It ain’t boasting if’n you kin do it!”

As always, thanks for listening. And launch a flare if I can help with anything along the way.

 

Big Wave Dave

From Newport to Cannes, to … Newport?

I. Summer in Newport

I am so pleased to report that our Zeelander Yachts “pop-up” boat show last month in Newport Harbor was a wonder and a joy – an [almost] living, breathing example of the “If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much” dynamic.

We had a brand new Zeelander 72 available for sea trials all weekend. Here she is, directly in front of a brand new Dutch “Mystery Ship,” and behind her smaller siblings, the Zeelander 55 and Z44. All in all (except for some pea-soup fog) it was a fabulously successful event.

I venture to say you are going to see a lot more of these pop-up, invitation-only events from more high-end boat builders. Builders are taking increasingly closer looks at their “bang for the buck” returns from traditional “big-box” boat shows.

As attendees, you’ve seen it all first-hand. Shows have gotten so big (think Miami, or Fort Lauderdale), that builders are finding it increasingly hard to make their quality products stand out in the marketplace. And even more importantly, among the crowds they struggle to provide you with the quality viewing and buying experience you deserve. So you can expect to see far more private, invitation-only showings like ours. In fact, this year and next you may be surprised about which high-end builders choose to skip the big box shows altogether. A brave new world….

I mentioned above that our pop-up was a “fabulous success.” Well, here is how I measure success:

We sold hull #2 of the new Zeelander 72!

I am pleased to say that she will be berthed in Connecticut next season. And that in anticipation of your order, Zeelander will be starting construction on hull #3 as you read this!

You can view an informative video review of this amazing yacht right here:

https://youtu.be/JfNChyl3HNU

And if you’d like to really poke around her, here’s a fun virtual tour:

The Virtual Tour

So, that brand new Dutch mystery yacht, immediately aft of our Zeelander line in Newport? She be Scout, a Hakvoort 64 meter explorer-class yacht:

I last saw her in the Haakvoort yard a couple of years ago, where she had been sort of …. abandoned? Her Russian owner-to-be had defaulted mid-build, so she sat for a while until her current Palm Beach owner could finish the project to his highly-customized liking:

https://youtu.be/edIIraSLFt4

It was a thrill to see Scout’s before and after, and I give great kudos to Hakvoort for riding the someway bumpy Scout project out right to her final home port. The Hakvoort yard, by the way, is in North Holland, not far from my friends at Wajer Yachts (it’s pronounced “Wire“).

I stopped in to see that factory a few weeks ago, as I wanted to get a better handle on the Wajer build process. Unlike most builders I know, they choose not to use subcontractors. Management explained to me that they are willing to take on higher labor costs, as they feel quality is better guaranteed by in-house staff! I was very impressed, particularly by their Wajer 55:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZGYiRjpBsc

Last year at the HISWA show in Lelystad, Holland I saw the W55’s oh-so-innovative fender system. I expect that this will certainly get your attention:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivn6AQpT9Ec

The Wajer Yachts motto is “Without a worry in the world.” I can’t think of a better representation of the entire Dutch approach to building quality yachts.

II. Fall in Cannes

I’ll be in Cannes on September 10th for the show’s opening, and I hope you will meet me there. What draws me there, however briefly, is to see and show two steel yachts that loyal readers of The Fog Warning have been following with me for some time: The Hartman Yachts Livingston 24, and the AvA Yachts Kando 110.

The Livingston 24 has just this week made its way from Holland to the south of France:

Hartman Yachts Livingston 24 entering Nice Harbor
Anchored at Cap Ferrat

I would delight in showing you this amazing yacht at Cannes. Just launch a flare for an appointment. Until then, the full listing can be seen here:

The Livingston 24 Yachtworld Listing

Later that day I will be aboard a yacht I have been following from the time her deck was first layed in Antalya, Turkey – The Kando 110:

Aluminum Deck to Steel Hull!

This will the first time I’ll see her afloat. Why not share this Cannes adventure with me? Just launch that flare…

III. Back to Newport!

From Day One of Cannes, I race back to Newport for Day One of the Newport Boat Show, which runs from September 12th through the 15th. The lineup there? Exactly what you saw (or missed!) at our July pop-up event: The Zeelander 72, 55, and 44:

To jump from one Zeelander to another, in size order, is a fabulous experience. Regular attendees at the Newport Show know how crazy the crowds can get. So please call me for a private viewing of these three spectacular yachts early or late on show days.

So, as usual, loyal readers, I’ve spanned the globe to bring you the finest yachts to be found anywhere. And for one of those yachts, I’ll leave you now with my final “mood piece,” one that I hope sets a tone for our next get-together in Cannes or Newport:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n0FbzLJm5A

Thanks, and enjoy!

“Big Wave” Dave

April 13th, for all you father’s-of-the-brides!

Time and Tide…

I. The Magazine!

At least one of your holiday wishes has been granted! The Winter issue of The Fog Warning Digital Magazine has just been published on the Apple and Google App stores:

 

The winter issue contains 178 pages of cool articles and in-depth listings of featured yachts. You can subscribe to this free and engaging diversion here:

The Apple Store

or

The Android Store

Enjoy!

II. An Explorer’s Dream

The hottest sector in super yacht construction for the last five years has been heavy duty, go-anywhere explorer yachts. The reason is not hard to fathom – Explorer’s speak persuasively to the adventurer’s among us.  Big and long adventures  – the Antarctic, the Galapagos, the Norwegian fjords – these rugged and distant lands require yachts that can travel long distances safely, stay out for at least six weeks at a time (in environmentally friendly ways), yet make no compromises to luxury or comfort.

This video captures the romance of that kind of yacht, and that kind of exploration, better than any I have seen. She’s a Dutch-built steel explorer, not too different than my Amundsen 42M or Zeelander 164. You are going to watch this video more than once, so make yourself comfortable….

On your second viewing, if not your first, you probably caught at moment 2:10 one of my Dutch tender’s at work, the classically inspired Long Island Yacht 28!

 

 

Some 80+ Long Island Yachts have been built in the last eight years. Half a dozen serve as tenders to megayachts. I can’t think of a better endorsement. You can find the Yachtworld listing for this fine little yacht right here:

Long Island Yachts Runabout 28

Legend, the yacht in this video, is a converted commercial ship. My yachts, built expressly for this kind of voyage, are the Amundsen 42M:

 

 

 

And the Green-Class Zeelander 164:

 

I have quite a lot of fun information on these builds. Curious readers, dig out your flare gun!

III. “And te tide and te time…” 

As far as my research goes, those olde English words are the first recorded use, from the year 1225,  of the term we all know: “Time and tide wait for no man.” The full expression was:

“And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet.”

It doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue. Anyone who’s read the original Chaucer can tell you that. But I do like the historical nature of it all.

Last week I made a quick trip down to Fajardo, Puerto Rico to sea trial a really special sailboat. Running back into the harbor, the wind at our backs, I was momentarily surprised to see all the yachts at anchor pointing sideways to the wind. That reminded me that moored boats follow whichever is stronger – wind or tide. Docking a boat, its a good thing to know which is going to effect you more.

Here’s a video that makes the point. I’m docking The Baron, my Vicem 72 listing in Newport, a few months before her current owner took title. It’s a pretty tight fit. Tight enough that if you turn up the volume on my son’s play by play, you’ll hear

“Doesn’t look good, I don’t think he’s gonna make it!” 

The tide was running from port to starboard, with a little more velocity than I anticipated (you’ll see it drift this 30 ton yacht a little closer to it’s neighbor than I would have liked). Here is where a good set of bow and stern thrusters really came into their own. I’ll note in advance, for the squeamish among us, that no people, animals or yachts were injured in the making of this movie:

The Baron is in Miami. If you are going to be at the Miami Boat Show next month, I would love to schedule an appointment with you:

The Baron!

IV. Robotics

I’ve been knee-deep all month in financials, analyzing comparative construction costs for yachts around the world. Globalization has made hardware and material costs virtually identical no matter where you go. Labor, of course, is the great variable. Lately, because of increasing labor costs in China, Turkey – with its newly devalued Lira – has become an extremely attractive place to build a quality yacht at a great price. Sooner or later, though, advances in robotic construction is going to narrow down these advantages wherever you choose to build.

If that sounds years away to you, it ain’t. Here’s an amazing video of how Grand Banks is using robots in Malaysia to make their production molds. The magic is scheduled nightly, when most of the staff is home with their families:

 

V. Zeelander 72, hull #1 Update

The Robb Report, and many other magazines you probably have lying around, has been covering the coming launch of our Z72 #1:

Hull #1 is on schedule to splash sometime between January 30th and February 14th.I’ll be in Rotterdam for her first sea trial, and I’d love to have you along for the ride.

Here are the latest construction pix:

Portside

Swim Platform (note the electric motor).

Starboard

The Belly of the Beast

Custom Tile Work

Ciao for now, loyal readers. And remember to subscribe to The Fog Warning Digital Magazine on the Apple and Google App stores.

Big Wave Dave

Not supposed to notice…

I. What you’re not supposed to notice…

To all whom I was lucky enough to catch up with at the Fort Lauderdale Show, thanks for your time! I can say with complete authority that no one who boarded our Zeelander 55 left unimpressed. And my clients, I am very proud to say,  are very hard to impress!

Seeing my yacht through your eyes is the most valuable education I could ask for. On the VIP day of the show, an experienced yachtsman I had met for the first time spent quite awhile going through her, as you can on VIP days. When he was done, he sat in the cockpit for a long time, drinking her in, before saying:

“I get it. She speaks to me.” 

That she did. That’s what happens when the right designer meets the right builder, and the magic begins.

The FLIBS show was perhaps my 150th over the last twenty years. I would guess I have shown my yachts to way more than 100,000 people in that time. And what these relationships have taught me is that with the finest of yachts – those created by that special magic – the first appeal is not what we we consciously see. It’s about what we feel.  Feelings like this couple evidenced in their spontaneous “flash-tango” on the Z55’s beautiful, immense swim platform:

 

That platform, by the way, operates my means of a cockpit switch mounted in the aft docking station”

 

 

As well as a handheld remote and a hidden emergency switch along the waterline reachable by a swimmer in case … well, you know.

The operation of the platform is a thing of beauty:

I’m sure you noticed at the beginning of that clip the port-side tender garage. It houses a Williams Jet Tender. It’s operation is shown here in this real-time video:

The Z55 was an eye-opener at the show. I have previously posted here a bunch of exterior photos and videos, but I now have some stupendous interior and cockpit shots:

The Master Cabin, with a TV lift in the makeup desk.

Mirror facing outward, TV facing the bed.

Stunning tile work in the master head.

VIP Cabin, forward.

Stunning woodwork, the equal of any I’ve seen coming out of Istanbul.

The Bar and TV area.

The TV, after dropping from the ceiling, of course rotates for viewing from the salon as well.

Salon table, with rotating captain’s chris for wrap-around eating for an honest eight guests.

The Salon table in its convertible bed position. Electrically operated, of course.

The cockpit table drops in the same way, making a huge sun bed:

And, ingeniously, the table also tips up 90 degrees, allowing a complete athwartship walkway, with cockpit entries to port and starboard!

 

I asked that yachtsman what our Zeelander whispered to him.  He said:

“She just …. flows.”

Flows! I was thrilled to hear that word. Because that ideal was determined up front by Zeelander. Their designers and builders challenged themselves to build a yacht with as few straight lines as possible. In the end she’s all about the curves, and they certainly do flow.  Take a moment and revisit the pix above, and this one below, and I think you’ll get my meaning. Flow is not something you expressly see. It’s not about noticing design and engineering choices. It’s something you feel. And when you do, it makes your day! And mine….

If you could not make it down to FLIBS, our Z55 is berthed in Fort Lauderdale for the next few months. She is fully available for your own special VIP viewing. Just launch a flare…

II. And Her Little Sisters

These intoxicating curves are no less evident with the “little” yachts that launched the Zeelander line: The Zeelander 44H. You will find her in motion here, and if you can find more than a handful of  straight lines, you win!

I can now announce two dramatic price reductions on two “leftover” Z44’s.  The first is a stunning 2014 model with a metallic Black Sable hull:

 

 

 

And the second is a Bentley Blue 2012 Dealer Demo at almost 40% off a new build price:

 

 

 

These two wonderful pocket yachts, currently at the factory in Holland, now need to go away. Quality trades will be considered. You can see their complete specifications on my Yachtworld listings, here:

Zeelander 44 #028 – Call for Price

Zeelander 44 #016- $795,000

By all means, call me for their stories in full. One of these belongs on your dock, and  if they won’t get you to Europe, nothing will.

III. The Holland Tour

I’ve been displaying, to no small notice, some wonderful photos of the Hartman Yachts Livingstone 24M on her Scandinavian cruise, Now, some from the Holland part of her shakedown:

 

So what then, you might ask, are we not supposed to notice about the Livingstone 24?

That’s easy – her rugged construction. It’s completely untrue, for those in the know,  to say that the blood and guts of yacht building in steel and aluminum is best left unexamined, like that old joke about the sausage factory. There is real beauty in strength, if you finish the job right! For an explorer yacht like the Livingstone 24, it’s about becoming the beast and the beauty, in that order.

You can build a myriad of rugged boats out of steel, from barges to aircraft carriers. But building them with consummate style and grace means enveloping their ruggedness with real polish and panache. That’s where the magic happens.  So here’s a glimpse of what you are not supposed to notice, in chronological order:

Tough enough for the Norwegian fjords.

 

Steel plating done.

The aluminum pilothouse.

Pilothouse attached. A welding job not for amateurs!

Finis!

Splash time.

Where it all comes together…

This wonderful go-anywhere classic is berthed about an hour outside of Amsterdam. She’s a full season yacht, of course. I’ll be in Holland on a monthly basis all winter, so please allow me to take you on your sea trial of this beastly beauty.

IV. And then there’s those tough conditions…

My final “not supposed to notice” for the week is about when fine yachts get tested in  harsh, real world conditions.  Because when the going gets tough, a great yacht delivers a ride capable enough that your family  don’t quite notice that tough sea-state.

The best example of this is The Baron, my Vicem 72 listing, effortless making her way through some serious weather at 28 knots, with nary a complaint:

She is in Miami, and can (make that should) be seen at any time.

VI. And finally…

Something I do want you to notice, loyal readers. I’d like to introduce you to my new hire. Now serving as The Fog Warning’s “Good Will Ambassador,” I am pleased to present Trout, my new Australian Shepherd puppy:

 

 

Her first performance review was OUTSTANDING! I will keep you posted as she chews through my life.

As always, thanks for rolling with me!

Big Wave Dave (and Trout)

 

If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much!

I’ve been traveling the breadth of Holland for most of September.  Having bounced around between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and that booming metropolis of Urk (no, that’s not a typo) for weeks on end,  I return with fascinating tales and stunning boats for you. So grab a Heineken or two and settle down for the story.

I was invited to the Netherlands by a consortium of Dutch builders eager to establish (or improve) their beachheads on our side of the pond. I got up close and personal looks at over two hundred new yachts, and met with over a dozen builders.

I found there’s a lot of truth behind the old “If it ain’t Dutch…” joke. The Dutch truly have a unique relationship with the sea. The hard fact is that most of their country is below sea level, so they don’t have much choice!  Crawling through their yachts, I found some of the best engineering on the planet. I feel very strongly that we need this level of engineering in our harbors, too. Which is why I am so thrilled to now be representing three of Holland’s premier yacht builders in America!

I. First, Zeelander Yachts

Zeelander has been selling their fine yachts (including the hot one cruising through that cup of  coffee, above) in the USA since 2010. Their Z44 and Z55 models are well established on both coasts. I think you’ll understand why this year their best seller is their Z55:

 

 

 

 

 

 

As stunning as they are to the eye, what’s going on behind the scenes – from their hull design and uncompromising standards of soundproofing to their impressively laid out systems – is even more impressive. You can see what I mean by meeting me aboard their latest Z55 (a triple IPS 45 knot boat!) at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show (from October 31st  through November 4th).  I know my clients and loyal readers. So I know you will love this boat.

Be forewarned that I’ll be divulging some Zeelander secrets at the show. You can hear some advance news about Zeelander’s new Corniche 55:

and their under-construction  Zeelander 72:

And if that is not enough, I will have details on what to me is a pinnacle of avant-garde engineering: Their stunning Hybrid Drive, Rina-Green Class Plus Zeelander 164:

The artist renditions of three alternatives for its interior design will grab your attention. I am certain of it.

But to tide you over until your FLIBS vacation, here’s a cool little advance holiday for you:

II. Hartman Yachts

These are the boats that brought me to Holland this fall! It all started with a review of their Livingstone 24  in the latest issue of Passagemaker Magazine. Her classic jazz-age styling made me reach for my passport:

This 24 meter shares her lines with two larger siblings, the 34M and the 42M. Viewed as a complete series, these sketches provide the best view of Hartman’s deep dive  into classic yachts:

The Livingstone 24

 

The Livingstone 34

The Livingstone 42

I’ll be writing about this fine yacht quite a bit in the months to come, but if you can’t wait, here’s the review that sent me to Urk:

 

I’d be remiss here in not mentioning Hartman’s Explorer line, the Amundsen Series. Designed to go anywhere at almost any time, their design and overbuilt scantlings come directly from Hartman’s experience in building ocean-tested commercial freighters – boats that routinely go from Holland to the Falkland Islands, regardless of weather. Their intelligent and redundant systems will identify their 26M, 35M, and 42M yachts as true Explorer-class yachts:

Amundsen 26

 

Amundsen 34

Amundsen 42

III. Long Island Yachts

I must say, this was the big surprise of my trip to Holland:

I had not heard of Long Island Yachts, despite their oh-so-American name (they’re actually named after a very special place in the Bahamas). I was surprised (and then excited) to learn that over eighty  have sold in Holland. I find the Dutch to be a very friendly, but rather grounded people. It takes a lot to get them excited. Well, clearly these Long Island Yacht builds turn them on!

 

I firmly believe these little pocket yachts are poised to make a big splash in our harbors. Why?

  • Their designs are spot on.
  • Their build-quality is as close to flawless as I’ve seen on small yachts.
  • Their pricing is quite advantageous.

But hey, don’t just listen to me! Come see for yourself, as I’ll have a beautiful red one for you to board at the Fort Lauderdale Show. Please call me for the details.

IV. Oh Wait….

One last thing about the Fort Lauderdale Show – The Baron, my Vicem 72 brokerage listing, will be open for private viewings in nearby Miami. I will be making scheduled trips  during the show, so please call now for an appointment. For a more public viewing, here ya go:

V. Things I hate!

Welcome to a new regular feature of The Fog Warning – Things I love, and Things I Hate. This week, it’s all about the hate!

I’m often asked where the name “Big Wave Dave”  comes from. I rarely tell the story. It’s too embarrassing for a marine professional (sic) to admit.  But as The Fog Warning’s reach has expanded (with 10,000 new readers this year alone) I recognize that a good part of this growth is the boating public’s hunger for better coverage of “real world” safety issues. So in the interest of the greater good, I will overcome my embarrassments for you, my loyal readers. You owe me one.

First, some video’s that explore that brave and dangerous activity of boarding moving vessels. (Warning, don’t try this at home).

The first is about mail deliveries on the Great Lakes. In some communities mail gets delivered right to your dock. And, as you’ll see,  that mailboat don’t dawdle!

Mailboat jumper tryouts

The "mailboat jumpers" are part of a time-honored tradition that helps put Lake Geneva on the map. FOX6 News was there on Tuesday for tryouts for the 2018 season — and not everyone stayed dry! via.fox6now.com/a1U5Q

Posted by FOX6 News Milwaukee on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

 

And then there is this boarding exercise,  from Finland. How else would your pilot board from an ice flow? And do they pay these people enough?

 

Finally, my points are made by this hair-raising tale (it ends well):

Personally, these videos instill in me an attitude of gratitude (as new-age meditators put it). Gratitude  for the fact that the universe, in its infinite wisdom, provided for the evolution of bow rails!

After all, these too-often overlooked options keep you and yours where you’re supposed to be.

Of course many downeast-style yachts dispense with these rails altogether. Far and away the majority of Hinkley’s don’t have them. In fact, these yachts are beautiful in part because there are no stainless rails breaking up their sweeping lines. Here’s a good example of that (and bonus points if you catch the captain almost falling overboard seven seconds in):

The bow rail discussion (do I or don’t I?) is a little bit like the flybridge discussion (Do I shoot for the panoramic visibility and extra outdoor space that a flybridge offers, or the pure beauty of an express model?).  A little tangent here folks….

I was speaking with a client just last week about his dilemma. His point, and of course we all get it, is that life is too short to have a less-than-beautiful boat. And whatever visibility, functionality and outdoor space a flybridge adds, it hurts to sacrifice one’s sense of style. On the flip side, when you’re running your boat, why care what she looks like to the crowds?

There’s no right answer here, of course. But I will say that one of the things that  completely won me over to Zeelander is how beautifully they balance interior and exterior space, without sacrificing visibility.

First, the designers at Zeelander went pedal-to-the-metal in providing full panoramic view from the helm of their 55. You can see it best clicking on this virtual tour:

 

I’ve never run an express-style yacht with this kind of 360 degree visibility. From a safety perspective, I cannot say enough about it.

And then, in terms of the indoor/outdoor space issue, the Z55 is the only express-style yacht I know that offers a quantum of outdoor space comparable to a flybridge. Check out these plans:

 

With her transom hydraulically opened, her beach-sized platform spread out just above the water, her bar area windows retracted and her sunroof open, the Zeelander 55 offers four outdoor areas for you and your guests, without sacrificing any room down below. I have never seen this on an express-style yacht. Come see me at the Fort Lauderdale show and I’m happy to demonstrate at length.

Well, now back to bow rails. In my ten years with Vicem, and some $40m in boats later,  I never did a custom build without bow rails. The conversation came up quite a bit, of course. Most commonly I heard “Hinckley’s don’t got ’em, why should mine?”  But in the end, safety won out repeatedly, and every one of my clients opted to spend the $14,000+ to add bow rails. Rails, I might add, high enough to do their job. Too many rails end just above knee height, as seen here….

…putting them at the perfect fulcrum point to toss you overboard.

Let me repeat that: ….putting them at the perfect fulcrum point to……

Ten years ago I was working a 50′ yacht at a CT boat show. Her bow rails were knee-high.  A client happened to call me for some advice, so for some privacy I worked my way up to the bow, thereby becoming the object of an old industry joke:

Q: How can you tell who’s a yacht broker at a boat show?

A: He/She is  the one on their phone with their back to the crowd.

Guilty as charged.

We talked for awhile,  my phone tucked in one ear as I took some notes in my ever-present notebook. These days I use this one, and if you’d like one for note taking at the fall shows, just launch a flare and I’d be happy to send you one:

All was fine until I dropped the pen. Leaning forward, braced against the (low) rail, a gentle wave from a passing wake rocked my boat slightly. Much quicker than I can write, I instantly went from six feet above the water to five feet under, hitting the dock with my shoulder as I passed it by. Instantly, as in:

Underwater, I was immediately aware of two things:

  • Which way was up (duh, the sunlight);  and,
  • That my arm hurt like hell.

I popped up, and looked aft to the crowds on the dock. No one saw me go over, and with my head just below dock level I was pretty much invisible. I couldn’t wave (I needed my other arm to stay afloat) but I could inch my way down the dock with my one good arm. I made my way up the ladder on the boat’s swim platform.

I was reasonably sure my arm was broken, but X-rays at the ER showed it was just a bad bone bruise. Three days later I was on a plane to Istanbul to splash a new Vicem 67 Flybridge.

So yes, I’m the only one in my industry who can say I fell overboard at a boat show. My colleagues awarded me a prize – an antique kapok-style  life jacket, labelled Big Wave Dave.

I have yet to escape that name. I don’t suppose I should.

What are the lessons of this embarassing tale? I will leave you with just one, plus a classic video clip to drive the point home: Bow rails are a personal decision. There are things to be said for high, none, or very low rails. But I’ll quote Archimedes here, who said this about fine yachts with knee-high bow rails:

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

Yes, I hate ’em.  And so should you. And please remember this:

Ciao for now, loyal readers. I’ll see you at FLIBS!

[You now know the saga of] Big Wave Dave