Vicem is Back, and ….

…. I’m back with Vicem!

Yes, loyal clients, it is true. After a nine-year break, I am beyond thrilled to be reunited with my old friends in Istanbul again!

Long-time readers will recall that I worked directly with Vicem for nine years, up until 2012.  During that time I was honored to have sold more Vicem’s than anyone on the planet. Most were custom builds – yachts that required monthly commutes to Istanbul, and lengthy planning session with clients who knew exactly what they were looking for.

Now I am amused to renew my friendships with the flight crews of Delta Airline flights #73 and #74, JFK to IST and back!  And I encourage you to accompany me on a factory tour (starting with a November 15th trip). To revisit and update all of that history, if you first started with me on my original Vicem Blog, I’m happy to say that I will be bringing that publication back to life for you all quite soon.

As you have seen here, when I returned to the industry in 2015 it was with a special focus on Dutch yachts. Now I’ve got a two-fer for you here, bringing the Fog Warning’s unbridled enthusiasm for the very best of Dutch building with my friends at Long Island Yachts, and for the very best of bespoke Turkish builds with Vicem Yachts.

Vicem has grown mightily during my time away. In recent weeks I’ve learned a tremendous amount about what Vicem now does, and how. The biggest news to me is this:

Vicem now builds in both fiberglass and cold molded construction.

Yes, today just all about all their models, from 46 feet to 46 meters are available in both cold molded mahogany or fiberglass. Here is their full lineup:

Reacquainting myself at the Newport Boat Show about what makes Vicem’s yachts so special, I keep coming back to their interiors. After spending the last five or eight years immersed in fine northern European craftsmanship, I will say that in my view what Vicem does with its interiors rivals what the Dutch and German superyacht builders can do, at a real fraction of their cost. Look here, and tell me if I am crazy:

 

If you would like to reacquaint yourself with Vicem (and what I can do for you with Vicem), please come see us at the coming Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. I will be with them full-time from Wednesday, October 27th through the Sunday 31st. You’ll find me aboard the [now in fiberglass] Vicem 50 Classic, as shown here:

Please feel free to begin your V50 photo safari right here:

 

That V50 is an IPS-drive yacht. Did I mention that most of the line now includes IPS drives? A brave new world, indeed!

As required and befitting this new Dutch/Turkish biz meld of mine, you will be seeing a major redesign in The Fog Warning website over the next month, and of course a tremendous amount of helpful coverage on this blog (as well as the restored Vicem Blog) in the months to come.

But for the moment, pricing and delivery info on the V50 or any other model in the line? You know the drill – Just launch a flare!

Thank you one and all. And fasten your seatbelt, because:

Ciao for now!

Big Wave Dave

Big doings…

It is no secret that September is just about the busiest month in the boat biz on both sides of the pond. Racing around as I do, I’d like to take a jet-lagged moment to fill you in on some fun stuff.

First, our CT-bound Long Island 33 Runabout is just five or six weeks away from her delivery!  That’s her brand new, completely stunning sistership above.

I’ll be in Holland in mid-October for our sea trials, and urge you to come over with me for a great time.  Holland is now 100%  open to vaccinated Americans, so just launch a flare for your details..

Next, If you’d like an inch-by-inch video tour of a 33 Runabout (this one with a Med-style Sunpad layout), your wishes are hereby granted:

 

 

Moving down my list, the dock-side photo up top comes to us today from this weekend’s celebration of Long Island Yachts opening of their new offices in Holland. I couldn’t get there, but looking at these photos I certainly wish I did:

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I was delighted to get an out-of-the-blue call from the editors of The Superyacht Times, curious as they were about The Fog Warning’s offer of Carbon-Neutral Yacht Ownership for my clients. You can find their unique take on this initiative right here:

 

OK, ciao for now, loyal clients. But rest assured I am working on something truly big, so keep half an eye out for news over the next couple of weeks. You WILL NOT be disappointed!

As always, big thanks. And enjoy!

 

Big Wave Dave

 

St. Tropez? Napoli? How about both?

I. Fancy Free

Clearly, good things come to those who wait. And with Western Europe finally open to vaccinated Americans, off I go. If Europe is in your travel plans this month, let’s try and get together there. Here’s what can be in store for you:

Our first stop is Napoli to learn more about the storied Fiart Yachts, builder of two lines of yachts who’s command of interior space has really impressed me – their Seawalker line of luxury dayboats, and their Cetera 60 motoryacht

Here is a great example of their Seawalker 43 – that rare dayboat with real, usable interior space:

And this is their Cetera 60 – the first yacht I know of that brings superyacht and cruise ship layouts down to a more manageable size (and budget):

 

Fiart is almost completely unknown in America (for now) but to European families with rich nautical heritages they are famous, indeed.  Famous because way back in 1960 Fiart built the very first fiberglass boat in all of Europe, Conchita:

 

In the 60+ years since, they have evolved, retooled and advanced to a state-of-the-art facility with state-of-the-art designs. I invite you to explore them with me in Napoli during the last week of July.

Until then, feel free to explore these two informative video reviews. Each of them does a great job in demonstrating Fiart’s innovations in space planning:

 

          Video Review of the Seawalker 43

 

                 Video Review of the Cetera 60

If you can’t get there this month, both will be on display at the Cannes Boat Show from September 7th through the 12th. Nothing would make me happier than meeting you there as well.

From there it’s off to France’s Cote d’Azure for a viewing of hull #1 of the Long Island 40 Classic:

If you are in the St. Tropez area in the first week of August, I’d be delighted to show you her as well. Hull #2 has just sold (for Holland) and America is clearly ready for #3. As you very well may already know, you can now design, price and calendar your Long Island Yacht online, easy peasy.

While in St.Tropez, I’m quite excited to be doing a sea trial of this gem among gems, Stockholm’s  J Craft 42 Torpedo:

I first saw this 47 knot wonder in Cannes two years ago. Her styling, fit and finish was among the finest I’ve ever seen, as you’ll see through a close look at this video:

 

                   Click for a rocking video

It’s hard to say no to a St. Tropez sea trial (I know, I tried). So just give up and come along for the ride with me on the afternoon of August 3rd.

II. What a Nice Surprise

I guess that sometimes when you do something long enough (23 years, in my case) they call you a leader. Fair enough! I am honored to be profiled in Sounding’s Magazine June Issue devoted to industry innovators. And its all because of The Fog Warning’s achievement as the first in the industry to offer carbon-neutral yacht ownership to its clients. Click below for the story, and the inspiration that came during a hot shower….

 

 

OK, time to pack. Want to join me, question me, or gossip with me, just launch a flare.

Thanks, and enjoy!

 

Design, Price and Schedule …. Instantly!

I. A Brave New World

Long-time readers of the Fog Warning Blog may recall my pre-COVID predictions about the coming, inevitable post-boat show era. Specifically that big-box boat shows – while entertaining – were failing at delivering real value for anyone serious about buying (or selling) fine yachts. For buyers, getting quality, unhurried private time aboard is often a frustrating experience (a private sea trial is a far better use of one’s time). As for the builders? Crowds in and of themselves don’t necessarily make the $100k cost per show worthwhile. In fact, such crowds are usually counterproductive.

Well, the pandemic has greatly accelerated the coming of this new age. New, higher-value and personalized sales models are steaming toward us all. Toward that end, I’m pleased to bring you today my new online process to design, price and schedule your Long Island Yacht. In just a few minutes you can “build” your customized yacht, and see how its delivery fits into your yachting calendar.

This week I received these pix of a 33 Classic currently at the molding stage, and delivering to New York in August:

 

To get a handle on your molding stage, check out the new online design process. Here you can design and calendar your 33 (whether she be a Classic or Sportsman model):

 

Useful? Hype? Feel free to launch a flare, either way.

II. Our Coming New World

I expect you’ll find this 20 minute YouTube interview entertaining. I was thrilled to be invited aboard Ben Taylor’s Tech Stories on Yachting International. You’ll hear a bit about exactly what [dangerous] career failures first brought me to the yacht biz, and what successes directly led to The Fog Warning’s Carbon-Neutral Yacht Ownership program:

 

III. Europe Opens!

This morning comes the long-awaited news that the EU will open to vaccinated Americans in June. Personally, it’s been an excruciating wait. But I am pleased that I can now meet clients in Holland to see the entire Long Island Yacht line, including the about-to-splash 29 Classic. And, I will add, to St. Tropez to see and run their 40 Classic. Now that’s a great little vacation.

And then, a follow-up vacation in August! Long Island Yachts is famous for creating spectacular owner experiences. The design and build team understand exactly what hands-on owners look for in an owner’s rendezvous.  Past rendezvous have included a fleet of LIY’s taking a 200 mile trip down Germany’s Rhine River, stopping at well-preserved medieval castles and verdant vineyards along the way:

The owner’s rendezvous that everyone talks about is this open water expedition across the channel to London:

And this summer, you may ask? I’m excited to announce here for the first time that the 2021 LIY Owner Rendezvous will occur in Scandinavia! Specifically, a cruise from Denmark to Sweden, beginning and ending in Copenhagen. Here is your chance to run a wide range of Long Island Yacht offerings in cruising grounds I know well:

Join me there this August? Just launch a flare for the details.

 

Later, alligator….

Big Wave Dave

The two Dave’s, Rotterdam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

K.I.S.S.

I. Your Neil Armstrong Moment

You’d be forgiven for thinking this strange blue marble was some bizarre exoplanet from a distant galaxy, one of the 2,632 (as of today) discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope:

 

But of course it’s Earth, via a satellite pic taken of the exact center of the Pacific Ocean. It makes one wonder why our home is called Earth, and not Sea.

Where is the Pacific’s exact center, you may ask? Cartographers have labelled it “Point Nemo,” named after the submarine captain in Jules Verne’s classic novel, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” Point Nemo is the most remote place on our planet, being the furthest possible distance from three other bits of land: Exactly 1,670 miles from Ducie Island to the north (an uninhabited atoll in the Pitcairn Islands); Motu Nui to the northeast (a tiny islet off Easter Island); and Maher Island to the south (off the Antarctic coast).

Google tells me that the word Nemo comes from the Latin word for “nobody.” Pretty fitting, if you ask me, as it’s quite possible that no one has taken the time (or had the right boat) to actually stop at Point Nemo. If you’d like to do so, enter  48°52.6′ south, 123°23.6′ west into your chart plotter. Then, with the right expedition yacht (which we will talk about in next week’s blog posting), the right weather, and the right day you could very well be the first mariner to have your own personal Neil Armstrong moment! Just take that proverbial long walk of your short swim platform and be the first person in history to swim at exact Point Nemo!

Since Neil’s giant leap, I understand that the average temperature mid-Pacific has increased by 2 degrees farenhheit. A two degree increase in my lifetime troubles me greatly. Which brings me, loyal clients,  to Spike Lee.

II. Spike’s mantra

Long ago (um, Gerald Ford?) and far away (Crooklyn), I went to high school with Spike Lee. Although then, in our three years of homeroom together at John Dewey High, we knew him as Sheldon Lee. But I am sure that even without this personal connection I’d still love his movies (it’s a Brooklyn thing).

My favorite film of his, and the one that provides me with my life mantra, is this one:

“Do the right thing.” Simple enough in theory, often more challenging in practice. Personally, I’ve reconciled the difficulties of achieving perfection through Faulkner’s advice on the seemingly impossible task (to me) of finishing my  novel:

Fail.

Fail again.

Fail better.

So now I’m trying to fail better at bringing something new and important to the yachting industry:

Carbon-neutral yacht ownership. 

 

Here’s the K.I.S.S. version, in just four easy steps:

Step One: Buy a new or used yacht from The Fog Warning.

Step Two: At the end of each season, send me your fuel pump receipts for all the fuel you burned that year.

Step Three: I buy offsetting carbon credits, or make donations to organizations that work to directly absorb carbon, to totally offset your use for each and every year you own your yacht.

Step Four: Your descendants thank you (especially if they’re still playing on your beautifully maintained, now-antique yacht).

Easy as pie, no? I’m shocked, in an industry of smart and innovative people, that no one has come up with this before.  But I’m happy to be the first.

III. The Press

The coverage for Carbon-Neutral Yacht Ownership has been wonderful. It’s been picked up by 123 media outlets, and at last count 21,300 people have read articles like this one  HERE, in my local Southampton paper:

And, in the environmental press, as HERE: 

Feature: Carbon Conscience Inspires Unique Business Ideas (Feb. 12th).

and HERE, in one of many articles in the biz press:

III. The Podcast

If you’d like to dive into the deeper part of the pool, please enjoy Episode #2 of The Fog Warning Podcast. You’ll hear my interview with Jason Donofrio of The Ocean Foundation’s Project Sea Grass Grow. He explains the exciting story behind a term I was unfamiliar with (Blue Carbon), and you’ll also hear a bit of what brought me to my Do The Right Thing moment (Hint:You know few people who are responsible for putting more yacht-carbon into our atmosphere than yours truly. That’s what happens when you sell +$50m in fine yachts).

Check it out:

 

IV. Closing Thoughts

Look, I’m just one guy in a big and ever-consolidating industry. Even in my special niches (luxury day boats, downeast yachts, expedition yachts ) I have to work very hard to punch above my weight. I’m quite pleased and proud to have been the first to come up with the Carbon-Neutral Yacht Ownership concept (an initiative that I am initially budgeting at $10,000 per year, on my client’s behalf). But frankly this plan screams out for wider industry adoption. I may be the first, but nothing would make me happier – nothing – than to know that I am not the last to venture down this path. So I close today respectfully asking two things of you, my loyal clients:

First, If you choose to buy a yacht from someone other than me (it does happen, occasionally!), please ask that dealer or builder to make a similar commitment to your carbon-neutral ownership. There is no reason this initiative couldn’t spread like wildfire through our industry. Because it should.

Second, in the course of your nautical travels, please feel free to bring up with your friends, neighbors and dock mates the story of a certain hard working, slightly eccentric yacht broker’s plan to help preserve the nautical lives of our grandchildren.

Who knows, maybe we can all fail better, together?

Thanks for all you do!

 

[Blue Carbon] Dave Mallach

 

Really now, what is a Dayboat?

“Dayboats” are a myth…

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

The Long Island Yachts 40/40, as in 40 feet, 40 knots.

… and you can have one this fall.

The two hottest segments of the yachting market over the last few years have been “Dayboats” and “Expedition Yachts.” Between Long Island Yachts and Hartman Yachts, I’m lucky to cover the waterfront for you, so to speak. But I put both terms in quotes today because they have become almost meaningless categories. Meaningless, because builders and marketers are sketchy about how they label and define them. These days  anyone can call just about anything a dayboat, and build what they want. This inevitably [or is it purposely?] leads to confusion in our yachting marketplace. But of course providing such clarity is what The Fog Warning is all about, so please join me today as we explore the myth and reality of dayboats. We will answer the questions:

  • What’s going on here?
  • Exactly what is a dayboat?
  • Is this even a real thing?
  • Or is it just a marketing gimmick?

What is not a myth is how hot his market really is. There is a worldwide shortage of new boat inventory, and for most builders delivery slots are as much as 18-24 months out (unless you are Tom Brady).

For answers I start today with a boat show story – from one of some 150 I’ve worked over the years. I’ve found that boat shows can be as much an education for me as for my clients. And that’s important because in an industry as fun and absorbing as ours – especially if you are a specialist in a particular niche – it’s easy to drift into what I’m always cautioning builders about: Your own private “Boat Bubble.”

 

Cut off in that bubble, over time you isolate you from the most important and valuable perspectives in yachting –  that of your clients. So I work hard at seeing my boats though my client’s eyes. That’s a big part of how I’ve been able to sell over $50m in yachts in my time.

Anyway, two years ago I was showing a small fleet of Zeelander’s at the Fort Lauderdale show – their 72, 55 and 44 foot models.

 

I found myself spending most of that show aboard the Zeelander 55 (available at the coming Palm Beach Boat Show later this month. Call me for the inside scoop!)

 

 

Now, pre-COVID, the Lauderdale show would average about 100,000 visitors of the week. We paid premium prices to dock our Zeelander’s on the main drag, so virtually every single attendee got to see our boats.  Looking back at our registration data for that show, I see we had 400 viewings over five days. Eighty quality showings a day is a very good show. At this particular show I was surprised to hear something I hadn’t heard in earlier years. And I heard it at least four times a day:

“Nice, really nice. Basically, a big dayboat, right?”

Huh, I thought? The Zeelander 55 is a three-cabin, two-head yacht with a real galley and three (count ’em) separate dining areas:

Zeelander 55

 

In my book that’s a motor yacht, pure and simple. But when clients speak, I listen. Maybe the marketplace shifted under my feet to the point where 50,000 pound yachts like this could now being called dayboats? I resisted that conclusion at first, but by the end of show I realized I had some work to do if I was going to keep up with my clients. That work began with some basic definitions.

My own way of defining and categorizing boats is a two-step process. I always start with history, because our personal nautical heritage is important – it connects our boats with the boats we grew up on (or hungered for greatly as kids). More about that later in this post.

But the heart of my approach is to distinguish between function (a lot) and form (a little). In other words, for me its about what a boat does, not how she looks. For example, a true sportfish is designed and built to achieve one function perfectly: To bring in trophy fish. If she can do that, then in my book she’s truly a Sportfish.

 

A globe-circling, bulletproof yacht that go just about anywhere, any time for forty days or more, safely and with all her toys? If she achieves that function – if she can truly walk that walk – then to me she’s a true Expedition Yacht.

Dutch Explorer Yacht, with Long Island 28 tender.

But a dayboat? That’s just too broad a concept to be helpful. Is it a boat you take out for a thoroughly enjoyable day on the water? That’s the first definition that Onno Laarhoven and I came up with on The Fog Warning Podcast devoted specifically to dayboats and Long Island Yachts. But of course by that definition even my kayak is a dayboat.  As is just about any outboard powered boat that the industry wants to slaps that label on:

https://boats.drivemag.com/news/beneteau-presents-the-new-flyer-8-outboard-day-boat

This, my loyal clients, is not helpful. So it seems clear that with dayboats, perhaps because they have to achieve so much with so little space,  function has to go fully hand-in-hand with form.

For function, I’ll list these ingredients:

  • Largely open boats with small [ish] cabins;
  • Quite speedy;
  • Quality-built;
  • With a head and at least a rudimentary galley; and,
  • Not for sleeping aboard for more than a night or two.

For form I’ll add:

  • Elegant;
  • Sexy;
  • A luxurious feel;
  • Uncompromising fit and finish;
  • For reasons of style and history, usually European-built; and,
  • Especially by Italians and Dutch builders.

Now, the relative comfort levels of sleeping aboard is a very subjective thing. What’s luxury cruising for one family can be bare-bones camping to another. But either way, while we can cruise aboard a dayboat for a week, wouldn’t a more comfortable nautical lifestyle involve staying at a waterside home or a beachside resort, with the right boat docked right outside? Or let’s put the question this way:

Question: Shouldn’t the travel to your luxurious destination be just as luxurious as the destination itself?

Answer: Yes, if you can seamlessly meld artful form to well-engineered function. And that’s where Luxury Day Boats come in.

Yes, it’s luxury that’s driving the market. So I am hereto and forthwith retiring the term dayboat on The Fog Warning. From now on its all  “luxury day boat” all the time.

Now, I mentioned history earlier. How did we get here? Of course it’s evolved over time. Some say the sector started in Italy after the war, with stunning little yachts like Grace Kelly’s AquaRiva:

But personally, I place it in the USA back in the 30’s, with amazing creatures like this Chris Craft Barrel-back:

and, of course, Hackercraft:

:

 

But while the Americans got there first with development and design, it’s the Italians who won the race by defining the luxury dayboat lifestyle. And those reasons, I suggest, are due to accidents of geography and history. Geography because Italy is blessed with over 4,700 miles of coastline, the most in Europe. And most of that coastline is backed by forbidding mountain ranges. That’s why even today you can travel between Cinque Terre’s five seaside villages quicker by boat than by car or rail:

Cinque Terre

History because a thousand years of harbor-building by Roman Empire engineers placed harbors 20 miles apart up and down its entire coastlines. The result? Luxury dayboat heaven, as in Portofino:

With harbors like these, who needs to sleep aboard when you can boat from Genoa to San Remo for lunch? All you need is a measure of speed and style that matches the elegance of your destination.

In America  luxury dayboats are filling that need from New England to Florida. I keep my own boat in Sag Harbor. There are days when I can almost skip across the harbor, jumping from one luxury dayboat to another. Again, its the geography that’s determinative.  From Sag to Montauk, and on to Block Island, Newport, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and back again, it’s those same Italian Riviera-like skips and jumps.

And Florida? It’s not just skipping down to the Keys. The Bahamas are all of 48 miles away. A 40/40 (a forty-foot, forty-knot luxury dayboat) can get you there in ninety minutes.

Now, of course, the market has moved beyond its classic origins, almost entirely with smaller builders (true luxury cannot be sustained with mass builds).  Most are splashing from ten to forty boats a year. Which is the main reason that luxury day boat deliveries are now up to two years out for builders like:

Wajer Yachts

Vanquish Yachts

Pardo Yachts

But then again, my own line, Long Island Yachts, has open USA delivery slots for their 25 to 40 foot luxury dayboats as soon as this fall. Just launch a flare for the details:

Well, as an old-time broker, an early mentor of mine once told me “Dave, the good Lord gave you two ears and just one mouth. Use them accordingly!” So I’m going to turn those two ears towards you, my loyal clients. Let me know your thoughts about whether a 55 foot, three-cabin, 50,000 pound yacht can be considered a luxury dayboat? I’m, um, all ears…..

Thanks, and enjoy!

[Big Wave] Dave Mallach

 

 

“Adventure is just bad planning”

“Adventure is just bad planning.”
– Roald Amundsen

 

 

 

 

 

“When you spend enough time on boats, there are going to be moments when you wish you were just about anywhere else.”     

 – Dave Mallach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s been true for me here and there, and sooner or later you may find it true for you. In preparation for all possibilities, I invite you to join me today for a graceful meander down a path that skips through Newtonian physics, yacht building best practices, boat loss insurance data, and that ever-exciting world of explosive welding.  Most of this will tilt toward big boats, but there is a method to my madness – A boat is a boat, and knowledge is power. Who knows, someday you may thank me for this post (but let’s hope not).

I. The Physics of the Matter

 

Let’s start with Sir Isaac. It seems the mythic story of Isaac Newton’s apple – the one that delivered to him (and us) the truth of gravity – is not a myth. Best evidence shows that it actually happened, and in fact the the grandchild of that tree can still be visited. Perhaps a visit will provide your own inspirations.

Said apple fell during during England’s Bubonic plague of the mid-1660’s. Newton was “socially distanced ” in a farmhouse for two years, and he later explained how the plague allowed him to do his best work:

“I was in the prime of my age for invention & minded Mathematicks & Philosophy, more than at any time since.”

I’m certainly no Newton. And I’m no engineer (I just play one on TV?).  But socially distanced as I am here in the Hamptons, I’ve begun to wonder about …. impact forces! Last week we discussed the hazards of sea collisions with shipping containers.

 

I’ve always managed my businesses with the philosophy that “What can’t be measured, can’t be managed.” So how, I wondered, do shipbuilders intelligently build around impact forces they can’t measure? Clearly, there must be a way. But I found hard answers hard to come by. Google didn’t help much, so I posted some question on  yachting forums I respect, both recreational and commercial. No dice there, either. Then I reached out to some of my amazing clients (I really do have some of the best and smartest clients found anywhere), and hit the jackpot.

I have a client who is a major league quant. He started his career as a particle physicist, and now works as a derivatives trader (and is a skilled baseball data hobbyist.)   He explained that impact forces between moving objects are measured by something called (thank you, Sir Isaac)  “Kilonewtons.” He directed me towards an idiot-proof app called  Gigacalculator.  There I was able to easily plug in the following assumptions:

 

  • Traveling in a straight line at 10 knots;
  • Colliding dead on with a shipping container (loaded, they weigh roughly 50,000 pounds);
  • Thereby pushing that container two feet out of the way upon collision; following,
  • 10 seconds of direct contact.

You’ll see here an average impact force of 329 kilotons and a peak force of 658 kilotonsA torpedo, basically.

 

 

Loyal readers may remember my blog post entitled “A Survey from Hell” about the damage incurred by the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald. This painful tragedy resulted from an [entirely avoidable] collision with a freighter in the Sea of Japan:

I can’t calculate those kind of forces, but let’s stick with our shipping container model. My understanding is that 600 kilonewtons is roughly the force delivered by a 60 ton hydraulic press. Seeing this demo, I can imagine what this could do to a ship’s bow.

 

As for what happens at the point of contact,  I’ll direct you to a well-thumbed book off my bookshelf:

It turns out what sinks a yacht, technically, is not frontal damage to the bow. Rather, it’s the resulting side forces, which force the hull sides outward. That sideways pressure, as you’ll see here, breaks the welded joint connecting the hull to the all-critical waterproof bulkhead:

This is what keeps yacht and ship builders up at night. It’s not the durability of the steel or aluminum plating. It’s all about the welds!

 

II. Ship Building Best Practices

 

Welding – An art AND a science!

 

I entitled this section “Ship-Building” in reference to my closing plea in last week’s post,  There is No Bad Weather, Just Bad Boats :

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.

 

In other words, a quality Dutch shipbuilder and shipyard like Hartman Yachts. 

Hartman has building ships for seven generations. Johan Hartman, the current owner, was commanding ocean-going freighters at the age of 22. His builds are the state of the art, mission-critical ships, whether for commercial or private usage. Hartman, 100% privately owns, builds and operates a fleet of +100m ships like these:

 

 

 

 

In fact, if you order a new Long Island 40 Classic like this one, for end-of-2021 delivery…

 

…. she may very well come to the USA on this very yacht-transporting Hartman freighter:

 

And if you need to move a damaged destroyer across the Pacific, well, Johan can certainly build one of these for you as well.

Now, back to welds…. I’ve been to shipyards all around the world (including Turkey, Vietnam, and China) where they still rely on basic acetylene torch technology:

 

 

But welding from premier shipyards is now done with computers, using solid-state welding machines that provide maximum control of things like (come on, I know you really want to know) waveform shape, the pitch of the leading and trailing edges, pulse settings, crater time, burnback time, and much more:

After that, impact-dependable welds depend upon extensive and continually upgraded staff training and the correct choice in welding wire.  Once again, it ain’t easy. Or cheap! In the early stages of a build – those involving long, continuous welds in a flat position – the best practices is to use a very expensive, special metal-cored wire, called Coreweld C6.

It costs much more than standard flux-core wire, but as in all things, you get what you pay for. Later in the construction, when they’ve run out of flat runs and the hull begins to take its final shape, a different wire is called for: Dual Shield 70 Ultra Plus. And finally, for ship areas with thinner plates, AristoRod comes into play – a bare, solid wire alloyed with manganese and silicon.

So, the right machinery, the right skills, the right rods, and you are ready? Nope, far from it…

III. Your Controlled Explosion

For considerations of weight and performance, quality yachts like Hartman’s Livingstone 24 must join its steel hull to an aluminum superstructure. And without the most exotic of materials and practices, that is impossible – You cannot just weld steel to aluminum. The hear required to weld steel liquifies the aluminum. You’ve got to get hi-tech…

… and built yourself a “ship sandwich” by:

  1. Starting with the steel hull on the bottom;
  2. Ending with the aluminum superstructure on top;
  3. But inserting in between a bizarre bi-metal invention, a kind of gasket that has been formed in a controlled explosion that permanently fuses together a thin layer of steel to a thin layer of aluminum (Imagine, if you will, a copper penny fused flat to a steel nickel). This strange amalgamation allows you to:
  4. Weld the top of the steel hull to the steel bottom of the bimetal gasket, and after it cools, to weld the the bottom of the aluminum superstructure to the aluminum top of the same gasket.

It’s called explosive welding. It was discovered in WWII, when B52 crews found strangely fused metals resulting from iron shells blowing through their aluminum-skinned planes.

Here’s what a controlled explosion looks like, graphically:

and here it is in real-world production:

 

And that, my friends, is how you build a ship sandwich!

IV. Sunk Investments

I’m going to step away from impact damage now to talk about a statistically more likely scenario out in the great beyond (or in the middle of your home channel). When it comes to outright sinking, insurance company data shows that only 4% of boats sink from collisions. The main culprit, at 40%? Water intrusion. Yup, your basic and boring seawater inflow through open hatches, doors, and blown thru-hulls. Check out this recent example, where a yacht ran aground in the middle of the night, in the middle of  a supposedly navigable channel:

With her stern exposed to following waves, eventually the sea found its way in through the stern’s tender garage. Trust me, nothing good ever happens after that.

Now, long-time clients will recall my take on tender garages in the post Love me Tender.  All in all, I really preferred this much safer, side opening alternative:

 

Speaking of Zeelander, the Demo Z55 that I showed many of you last fall is still available, and will be displayed at the coming Palm Beach Boat Show.  You’ll find that opportunity HERE. I’ve run this fine yacht a bunch, so by all means launch a flare if you’d like to hear her full story. I’d be delighted to meet you at the last day of the show, Sunday March 28th.

From there I’m off to to Holland to celebrate the splash of Hull #1 of the new Long Island Yacht 29 Classic,

and to investigate this [currently hush-hush] project:

 

Of course I’d be delighted to meet you in Holland in Early April. Please call me for EU entry details.

 

OK, more to follow on collisions, sinking and other mishaps. Please stay tuned for your next blog post, where I will explain why your bilge pump sucks (in fact, it’s almost useless). And I’ll explain what I think you really need when things go wrong.

Meanwhile, thanks for all you do. And as always, for whatever you need, just launch a flare!

 

Big Wave Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Tom Brady Goes Dutch!

Welcome to the launch of The Fog Warning 2.0. The new website allows us to share our stories with you in more helpful and engaging ways.  You’ll find more exciting high-value content, more informative videos and special reports, and most of all the latest in compelling story-telling platforms:

 

The Fog Warning Podcast

I’m also tremendously excited to share with you how The Fog Warning has become the first in the industry to offer carbon neutral yacht ownership to our clients.

It’s all quite a story.  Enjoy the ride!

I. Tom Brady Goes Dutch

The Fog Warning’s mantra is becoming more widely recognized with every passing day. The latest “If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much” convert is Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady, who last month took delivery of his Dutch yacht – A Wajer 55:

 

Here’s the sports media’s amusing take on his choice. While these sportscasters get most of the details wrong, you can’t fault them for their excitement. Or their envy!

 

 

Long time readers of The Fog Warning know well my passion for Wajer Yachts. Pronounced “Wire“, they are still largely unknown here in the States (I believe Brady’s Wajer is just the fourth USA model). I find their quality, engineering and performance to be all I have learned to expect from the Dutch. I‘ve gotten to know the yard and its management team quite well. I’ve run these yachts in Holland, the Med and in the States, and I am exceedingly impressed. They have become quite the phenom in Europe, to the point where they pretty much own the day boat market there. Their biggest challenge has been building enough to meet demand, but their recent expansion should do the trick.

Their “entry level” offering is their W38:

 

 

And a much bigger [currently hush-hush] addition to the line will splash shortly. If you would like to hear more about Wajer, just launch a flare. I am here to help.

Interestingly, this makes Brady the second NFL quarterback to recognize the quality and value of Dutch yachts. John Elway, of Denver Bronco fame, bought a Zeelander 44 a couple of years ago. Like Brady, he keeps it in Florida:

 

Zeelander 44’s are no longer in production, but there are always a few available on the brokerage market. Last November I made my way up to Maine to see this 2013 model, currently asking $775,000:

large photo Photo 0

Just launch a flare for my observations, and feel free to check out her complete listing.

II. A Brave New World

Wajer, Zeelander, Pardo, Van Dutch, Vanquish, and of course Hinckley and Riva have essentially created their own new class of yachts. Three years ago, while selling Hinckley’s, I began calling this the “Luxury Day Boat” market. I’ve been watching this sector quite closely these last few years, proudly observing its growing market share.

While the success of this sector started and continues in Europe, it has begun to positively explode here in the States. In Florida and the Hamptons, of course (in Sag Harbor you can almost hop straight across the harbor from day boat to day boat without wetting your feet), but now the Luxury Day Boat tide is indeed spreading across America (lately, notably, the Great Lakes)!

I’m particularly excited by this because of my representation of Holland’s Long Island Yachts:

 

 

With seven models between 25 and 40 feet, I find Long Island Yachts hit the exact sweet spot of the rapidly growing Luxury Day Boat market:

 

Long Island Yachts, Holland's premier yacht builder.

The Long Island Yachts 33

 

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

The Long Island Yachts Sportsman 25, just delivered to her thrilled NJ owner.

 

Long Island Yachts Sportsman 28

The Long Island Yachts Sportsman 28 tours Antarctica

 

The best-selling Long Island Yachts 33

 

The Long Island 40 – with optional IPS drives

LIY is about to deliver its one-hundredth yacht in Europe. I firmly believe they will splash even bigger here in the States, and I’m putting all I have behind them. I’ve been to the the LIY factory many times, have worked closely with their design and production teams to better tailor them to the US marketplace, and I’ve run their yachts on the North Sea, the Med, and our Atlantic coast.  I find their styling, engineering and build quality to be top-notch, as well as a tremendous value in the Luxury Day Boat market.

What Long Island Yachts does better than almost anyone in the industry is merge quality with value. For example, in both their Traditional (cuddy cabin) and Sportsman (center console) lines, they deliver bow thrusters and teak decks as standard equipment.

I’ve also come to appreciate a pivotal design feature of both lines: Their shallow draft abilities. You’ll see here their fully protected underbody, perfect for exploring skinny waters from the  Chesapeake to the Bahamas:

The Long Island Sportsman 25’s underbody

Or, to safely slide over errant icebergs:

LIY 28- Antarctica

 

If you’d like to learn more about the LIY story, your timing is excellent! I present you now with Episode #1 of The Fog Warning Podcast. My interview with LIY founder Onno Laardhoven covers the LIY story at length, as well as our predictions and observations about the Luxury Day Boat market in both Europe and the USA. You can find it here:

 

The Fog Warning Podcast

 

As you can tell, I am completely thrilled and proud to represent Long Island Yachts in America. For a deeper dive into all things LIY – including pricing, options, and delivery dates – just launch a flare. And of course explore the brand new Fog Warning website.

And the same goes for my representation of Holland’s Hartman Yachts, builder of the Livingstone and Amundsen lines of explorer yachts:

 

Our commitment to carbon neutal emission standards that apply to yachts.

Hartman Yachts Livingstone 24

 

Hartman Yachts Livingstone 24

Hartman Yachts Amundsen 26

You can learn more about the Livingstone 24 in my snoozeagram, below.

III. You Snooze, You Lose

As detailed in Episode #1 of The Fog Warning Podcast,  what you have been hearing on the docks is not just hype – brokerage yachts sales have been record-setting during the pandemic. There is now a real shortage of quality brokerage boats out there. The public (and not just the traditional yachting-buying public) found that Yachting = Social Distancing. I’ve sold three brokerage yachts in the last few months, including Mahogany Rose:

*** SOLD *** Mahogany Rose – Vicem 67

*** SOLD *** Grand Banks 42

*** SOLD *** Island Gypsy Trawler

 

I’m also knee-deep in helping clients search for just the right Vicem. Check out the stunning woodwork Vicem is famous for in our just-explored Windsor Craft 36  in CT:

large photo Photo 15

 

I’ve also been carefully evaluating the considerable value in Hinckley’s early series of Picnic Boat Classics:

If you can be flexible about the wide range of jet control systems (Generation 1, 2, or 3) on these early models, there are still real opportunities to discuss. Just launch a flare!

As or my own inventory, well, there’s not a lot left. But foremost among them is this 2017 Livingstone 24:

 

 

Stunning photographs, interior plans, and a thrilling 360 degree virtual tour right HERE.

As always, just launch a flare.

IV. The Podcast and You

So why, one might ask, a podcast?

 

The Fog Warning Podcast

 

I started blogging over a decade ago, with my Vicem Blog.  And while that particular blog has been on the shelf since 2012, it still continues to rack up an enormous number of hits. Not a month goes by where I don’t receive Vicem inquiries through it. I’ve learned a lot about blogging over the years (which is why The Fog Warning now gets 10,000 readers a year). And the main lesson is this:

Knowledgeable yachtsmen and women hunger for quality content.

And with traditional publishing’s challenges (just see how skinny the boating mags have become) I’m told The Fog Warning fills a valuable need. I’ll say this: It certainly helps me sell a lot of boats ($50 million at latest count).

I recently read that podcasting today is where blogging was back in 2005, and that we are about to enter “the golden age of podcasting.”   This was on my mind when I recently met a quite knowledgeable client aboard his yacht, as he’d begun to think about selling her.

Our highly-substantive talk ran over three hours. Reflecting upon it later, I realized that however valuable a blog’s content, there are limitations to the written word. Perhaps a supporting forum (one, lets say, that you can listen to on your boat, bike or commute) could provide greater value to more people.

So there’s your answer!

I’ve got the next six months of podcasts mapped out. You can expect wide-ranging discussions with builders, designers, naval architects and brokers as we seek to answer (you’ve heard this before) the two eternal questions of yachting:

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

I also realized  that no one – not even the world’s top brokers – can tell the story of a fine yacht with the same knowledge, passion and enthusiasm as her owner.

So I am throwing the Fog Warning Podcast open to my owner’s as well. If you would like to tell the full story of your brokerage yacht to a world-wide audience of qualified yacht buyer’s, I am here to help. Please call me for the details.

V. Tom, Giselle, Me, and now You?

 

I expect that Tom and Giselle will dock their Wajer 55 at their new Indian Creek home:

Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen Buy Miami Property

 

Frankly, I didn’t know much about Giselle before Tom bought his Wajer. But I’ve since learned a lot about her efforts to combat deforestation in the Amazon, including the planting of hundred of thousands of trees to replace those illegally cut down by loggers. I’ve done a small bit of this kind of work in the hills of eastern Haiti while building a school in the mid-2000’s:

 

And I’ve seen how quickly embattled environments can bounce back. If you give Mother Nature a chance, she fights hard! Which is in part what led me to our latest and best initiative: The Fog Warning is the first company in the industry to offer carbon neutral yacht ownership to its owners: 

  • Why? Because our quality time on the water directly depends upon the quality of our marine environments. We’ve all become aware how that environment is changing due to climate change. We see it with rising water levels at our docks, and with more extreme weather patterns inshore and off.  Most recently, the link between climate change and the rise and spread of pandemics has become increasingly clear. So I feel that our industry has a responsibility to do more to assure safe, quality yachting experiences for our owners, and for subsequent generations of yachtsmen and women.

 

  • How? Buy a yacht, new or used, from The Fog Warning and we will provide you with a carbon-neutral ownership experience. Just send us your fuel receipts at the end of your boating year, and we will buy offsetting carbon credits to make up for your fuel use.  What’s more, we will do this for as long as you own your boat. 

 

  • Who? Our first partnership is with The Ocean Foundation’s Sea Grass Grow project. By planting and nurturing coastal sea grass acreage, shorelines are preserved and additional carbon is naturally absorbed, as demonstrated here:

 

 

That’s the plan, my friends. And while I’m proud and pleased that The Fog Warning is  the first carbon-neutral dealer in the industry, nothing would make me happier than knowing we are not the last.

So please consider spreading the good word. In my experience, no one – not builders, dealers or designers – has more collective power in this industry than yacht owners. So even if you choose to buy a yacht outside of The Fog Warning,  consider asking that builder or dealer to follow The Fog Warning’s way.  They can contact us directly for the details.

Thank you! And, most importantly ……

 

 

Big Wave Dave

Stable and Able

I think I can distill down to three simple words an answer to The Fog Warning’s eternal question of yachting:

What makes a yacht great, and why?

Those three words? Stable and Able. If your yacht delivers that for you in all respects, you’ve done well. So here in unit four of Zeelander University – Your Advanced Degree in Zeelander Ownership, we will take a deep dive into how to literally support a stable and able life afloat.

Our path today covers a wide range of stabilizer options here (there are more choices than you might expect). I can pretty much guarantee you’ll trip over some things you haven’t seen elsewhere. So kick back and enjoy. 

But first, loyal readers,

I. Our summer and fall event schedule:

First, Labor Day Weekend! We will be displaying our brand new Zeelander 55 in Martha’s Vineyard that weekend, at the Harborside Inn Marina in Edgartown:

Harborside Inn Marina, Martha’s Vineyard

You can book your safe and private viewing of this fine yacht right HERE.

From there, you can find her for most of September – seven days a week – at our docks at Norwalk Cove Marina.

Norwalk Cove Marina

This wide open scheduling means that just about any time that works for you and yours will work for me and mine. Let’s make it happen!

Lastly, I am very excited to now share with you that we will be displaying the Z55 at the private Steelpointe Yacht and Charter Show from September 24th through the 27th:

Steelpointe Yacht Show, Bridgeport CT
Z44 at Steelpointe, where she quickly sold.

We displayed our Zeelander 44 at Steelpointe’s last private, invitation-only event in July. I found it to be a safe and tightly managed event, one that found a new owner for our Z44!

Building upon that success, the September event’s invitation-only platform has tickets priced at $150 each. However, I have a limited number of free guest passes, so call quickly!

Now, back to class…

II. Stable and Able, with …. Stabilizers

There are more than a few ways to stabilize a yacht. Mostly I’m going to talk about mechanical stabilizers, but out of respect for George Clooney (who I was once pleased to meet on a Bahamas Vicem 85 charter), I’ll include a discussion of [non-mechanical, fixed] paravanes.

A) Paravanes

Anyone who has seen The Perfect Storm (and I don’t know any boater who has only seen it once) will remember what happened when George Clooney lost control of Andrea Gayle’s stabilizers:

https://youtu.be/FM-wfXvcbAY

For the record, loyal readers, I’ve never been aboard a boat that rolls the way the Andrea Gayle did above. If you have, I’d love to hear your story.  

Paravanes are the oldest of four stabilization technologies used since the 1920’s, along with Flumes, Fins, and Gyros.

Also know as “birds” or “fish,” paravanes are simple, low tech, reliable, and effective at lower speeds. The physics are pretty simple: Long booms, as George Clooney so aptly wrestled with, hold the heavily weighted paravane birds out to the side, as a counterforce to a boat’s tendency to roll. You find them on commercial fishing vessels all the time, and on quality trawlers like Nordhavn’s.

In my view, If Nordhaven spec’s them, they work. 

As for their downside’s, beyond the Clooney-esque efforts it takes to deploy and retrieve them, they only work for [slower] open water passages. It would be an entangling nightmare to deploy them in traffic. I’ll also note that the bird’s drag will cost you speed and fuel efficiency.

B) Flumes 

I’ve brought my share of yachts over from Europe and Asia on the decks of container ships. There are aways delays in receiving them dockside, as Homeland Security does a very thorough job of inspecting them (radiation detectors, anyone?). I usually don’t mind the delays, as it provides a fun Keyser Söze/Usual Suspects experience.

It was on one of these kind of handover delays that I first saw a flume system. Trust me, I had no idea what I was looking at – a massive system of tanks, pumps and valves unrelated to any other system aboard:

The goal is to manage the flow of water ballast as the boat tips from side to side. Here’s how it looks in motion:

https://youtu.be/qTFJ33WiK9E

I’ll note that of all the systems discussed here today, flumes are the only one that can effectively offset fore-and-aft trim as well. I’ll be discussing that challenge in greater detail below.

C) Active Fins

Moving back into the center of our stream, we all know Active Fin stabilizers. Quality engineering from ATBT_TRAC, Naiad, and Wesmar all share the same technology: Gyroscopes sense the motion of the vessel and hydraulic actuators then quickly rotate the fins to counteract. The reaction time has decreased greatly over the years (thank you, faster micro-processors) and zero-speed devices now work quite well even at anchor.

They can be hydraulic, electric, and even compressed air powered. In all cases, a generator is required. They require less space than gyros (more below) and aftermarket installs will usually fit (although the hull and stringers may need to be be substantially beefed up).

Tried and true, but I’ll note that they are deceptively complex systems. Their [expensive] components require monitoring and regular maintenance. The list of those components is long: Engine driven hydraulic pumps, hydraulic fluid tanks, sea water circulators to cool the fluid, actuators, seals, through hulls, and more.   

I’ll also note that hydraulic cables run through and around guest cabin bulkheads are noisy beasts when those fins are moving this way and that.

There is also the added complication of yet another underwater appendage exposed to possible damage. You may remember my post The Ghosts in the Machine, which highlighted engineer’s “test-to-destruction” methods in IPS development. Well, stabilizer engineers have tested fins in exactly the same way, as shown here:

https://youtu.be/P-E0yngavV8

 

My conclusion? While there are those that say that excess drag decrease fuel efficiency and speed, I find fins are a thoroughly reliable way to deliver a stable and able yacht.

An aside on running speed: Stabilizers of all types really come into their own on [slower] displacement and semi-displacement yachts. The basic physics of laminar flow means that boats that run in the water rock-and-roll a lot more than boats that run on top of the water (i.e. planing hulls). When a planing hull climbs up and goes, much of her hull is above the surface, and is (fortunately) less unaffected by wave state. Much more on that below.

Fins, digging deeper down, work with a predictable efficiency at all speeds. It’s not commonly known, but you have to pick your optimal cruise speed up front when adding fins, in the design stage. The faster your pre-chosen optimal cruise speed is, the larger (in square feet) your installed fins must be. Fins chosen for a 30 knot cruise speed will be as much as 33% bigger than a 15 knot speed. Just saying….

D) Gyros

Now, the game-changer.

Nature may abhor a vacuum, but gyro stabilizers (like those made by Seakeeper) couldn’t live without one!

Because in that vacuum a massive ball (in the 800 pound range) spins at almost 10,000 RPM. That’s only 20% less than your average high-speed woodshop router. But it can only reach that RPM (at least in the space, current consumption and cooling capacity a yacht can reasonably deliver) in a vacuum.

The benefits are huge – When you spin that much weight, that fast, in a vacuum, you generate enormous torque. Transfer that torque (securely and directly) to a boat’s hull, all that power goes to work in eliminating roll.

How much power? Well, the smallest model, the Seakeeper 2 (found on outboards, these days), generates as much as 3,870 foot-pounds of torque. For comparison, the maximum torque a single 425-hp Cummins diesel exerts on its crankshaft is 1,050 foot-pounds. You can see the physics of its all it in action here.

Of course it wouldn’t be Zeelander University without some history. So, to quote The Talking Heads, how did we get here? Well, thru some genius, actually, in a story that proves lightning can in fact strike the same place twice. In the yachting industry, it struck Shep McKenney twice, with huge payoffs for us all.

In the early 90’s Shep was a part-owner of Hinckley Yachts. While jet drives have been used in the boating world since the 1940’s, they lacked a simple user interphase. Shep, looking at joystick controls on NASA capsules, was sure he could buy an off-the-shelf joystick solution to marry to a jet drive. When he couldn’t source them, he brought together a team of hardware developers and software engineers to build one from scratch. It was a huge financial undertaking, at a time when Hinckley was seriously struggling. He really did bet the farm. But he won, brilliantly.

Similarly, twelve years ago Shep heard about some advanced work being done in New Zealand to stabilize high speed catamaran ferries by integrating together foils, tabs, interceptors, microprocessors, and massively beefed up stringer systems. In his words:

“When I saw what the basic device was, we realized that if we could spin it in a vacuum, it would mean we could make it much more efficient and environmentally bulletproof and control it actively, and therefore get a lot more out of the basic physics of the thing.”

Today Seakeepeer owns 90% of the worldwide gyro market. In my view, they’ve earned every sale. Because with an anchored (or, as with our Zeelander 55, an IPS Dynamically Positioned) yacht full of guests in heavy rollers, no one spills their drinks.

There are some costs to gyro technology:

  • They are heavy, and costly. Call me for the details, off our Options Price List.
  • They take considerable time to reach full RPM. Even in a vacuum, it takes about 40 minutes for that 800 pound ball to spin up to 10,000 RPM. But I’m told that an iPhone app is in the works – One that would allow you to begin the warmup stage before you arrive at your dock!
  • They are large, and take up substantial space in smaller engine rooms. Once you are above 45 feet, I don’t know of a powerboat that can’t fit them in.
  • The cooling systems are mission-critical. You’ve got to stay on top of your thru-hull connections, and keep an eye on your water strainers.
  • At speed (and our Z55 reaches 42 knots) planing hulls rise out of the water high enough that they rock-and-roll much less than at rest, or at harbor speed, or than displacement or semi-displacement yachts. At those speeds, a quicker and more direct application of force helps with both athwartship and fore-and-aft trim. More to follow….

There are a ton of video’s showing Seakeepers in practice, but the truth is I’ve never found one that accurately communicates the actual seat-of-your-pants effects they deliver. For that, come with me for a sea trial aboard our brand new Zeelander 55. I’ll do my best to find us some rough water, and you and yours can feel it for yourself. I expect you will feel what I have – It’s a little like King Neptune himself reaches up from the sea floor and grabs onto your keel. I’ve done this in six foot rollers outside Port Everglades. It was a remarkable experience.

E) High Speed Trim

I’ve been building towards this, and thanks for your patience. If you read in and between the lines, I think you get why I’m such a fan of SeaKeeper technology.

Embarrassing Truth Alert: While I’m privileged to spend 200+ days a year on the water, I do get seasick (especially early in the season, pre-sea legs). Low speed offshore trolling for tuna, inshore SCUBA trips (waiting in a long line for my turn to jump overboard, amid the rock and roll) or hanging upside down in a rolling bilge, looking for an errant bolt – these things take their toll on me. Hitting the ENGAGE button on the SeaKeeper panel is my ace in the hole.

Personally, I find stabilization less critical at higher speeds. It’s more about general comfort than avoiding seasickness. But my guests may disagree. And for that I recommend a different technology:

High Speed Stabilization

You’ve seen this variously labelled over the years (ZipWake, Interceptor, Humphree). Essentially they are extremely rapid-fire, computer controlled trim tab blades, instantly adjusting for both side-to-side and fore-and-aft conditions. They really come into their own at planing speeds, exactly the point where gyro’s become less useful. Having both technologies working together is a game-changer.

Volvo Penta’s has now purchased fellow-Swedish company Humphree, allowing their IPS systems to seamlessly integrate these two technologies. That’s what we offer on our Zeelander models, and you can see it in action here:

https://youtu.be/jWHURPUKay0

F) Conclusions of the Day:

The proof is in the buttons! Do a sea trial of our Z55 with me – one where I can instantly engage/disengage both its SeaKeeper and its Interceptor systems with a touch of a button- so you can see for yourself why they are such an integral part of the joys of Zeelander ownership.

And finally, you can experience this for yourself at our Martha’s Vineyard, Norwalk, or Bridgeport events this summer. Please book your appointment right here.

Meanwhile, stay stable and able, and call me about any little thing.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Big Wave Dave