*** Innovare ***

I. Innovare

The word just just rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it?  “Innovare,” the root of “Innovate.” It’s meaning in Ancient Rome? “To renew.” My meaning today? Way cool. Maybe even Daddy-O cool….

To be cool and classic ain’t easy. When you can innovate and celebrate tradition at the same time, you’ve achieved (and can own) a rare and beautiful thing.

Here’s an example of an apparent innovation.  This video is from my friends at San Lorenzo Yachts, showing off the rotating radar mast on their new SL78. They call it the Sag Harbor Edition (my home port) because the pesky bridge to that inner harbor has an air draft of 23 feet.

Watch their “way cool” here:

Nice job. I went through this yacht thoroughly at the Palm Beach show last week. If you have questions or want more information about her, call me.

However, I say “apparent” innovation because if the truth be told,  Vicem first did this very same thing ten years ago on this fine yacht:

Mahogany Rose – 2007 Vicem 67 Flybridge

Three cabins, plus crew quarters (2).  20 knot cruise, 25 knots top end

Massive ground tackle

Extra high bow rail, extending all the way aft


The entire “shelf” inverts, bringing her air draft down to 19 feet

And here’s an innovation that no one has copied (yet):  Her convertible guest cabin:

All up!


Desk down

Bed down

Bed down, reverse angle


I just posted sixty professionally shot pix of this fine yacht on our Yachtworld listing. She is seriously for sale. Here’s your chance to avoid that sad sigh when one of my “You snooze, you lose-a-grams” drops into your mailboxSo click away, and note that the owner will consider smaller trades.

Mahogany Rose – 2007 Vicem 67 Flybridge


II. The Classic Side

So the SL78 is impressive. But we probably wouldn’t put her in the classic category. Here at Reliant Yachts we spend a great deal of time and energy pondering how to do cool without losing touch with tradition. And by a great deal of time, I mean literally thousands of hours.

Walking the boat show last week, I was able to do a complete survey of the downeast yacht marketplace. I saw wonderful examples of the purely modern (Mochicraft) and the purely classical (Hinckley, Vicem). But the land between those two shores was pretty empty. And therein lies our business model. It’s the territory where Reliant Yachts proudly plants its flag. Take a look at this RY 60 Express, and I expect you’ll see what I’m getting at:

                     Reliant Yachts 60 Express – Express and Flybridge

I had a blast showing her little sister, the Reliant 40 Commuter, at the Palm Beach Show last week:

If you love doing it, is it still a job?

Over and over again I heard this sentiment:

“Beautiful boat. There’s nothing quite like her at the show.”

I agree, and IMHO that nothing-quite-like-her quality comes from the harmonious mix between the contemporary and the classical. Interestingly, the design that people wanted to talk about most was our 60. Here’s what our standard interiors achieve:

Other custom interiors available

As for the Commuter 40, here’s the listing. She will be in Florida for a few more weeks before she comes up to Newport for the summer:



III. The Stately

The Yacht of the Show — or the one with the longest lines, anyway — was Bread, this 137′ Kanter:

She’ a 2007/2012 for $11m, and she is drop-dead gorgeous (call me if you’d like the inside scoop on her). Her interior is even more stately than her exterior, and she got me thinking about presidential yachts. Presidential, as in,  Sequoia:

104′ Trumpy!

and Honey Fitz:

93′ Dafoe

and Savarrona:

446 feet! World’s longest Presidential yacht. I’ve seen her in three seas – The Aegean, Caribbean, and Mediterranean.

The supremely elegant, stately nature of these vessels lay behind the inspiration for our Classic Motor Yacht Series. And the Motor Yacht that keeps me up at night is our Classic MY75:

Reliant Yachts 75 Classic Motor Yacht

Alternate layouts available

With an almost 18′ beam, and displacing 40 tons, the MY75 will carry you from port to port in a startling, Head-of-State level of elegance. Even more startling is the price:

 This Presidential yacht sails away at a lower price than a new Hinckley 48.

Yes, it’s true. So please (as my old Brooklyn high school friend Spike Lee put it)….

…call for the details if you’re interested.

I ran into many longtime friends and clients at the show who told me that they love The Fog Warning, and quite a few of them requested more frequent and/or longer posts. I tried for the latter today, and let’s see if I can keep it up.  But be careful what you ask for!

Ciao for now. I’m off to Istanbul and Italy in a few weeks, and have much work to do before then.

Thanks, and enjoy.

Big Wave Dave




*** Fasten your seat belts ***

A bumpy night, indeed! Clearly Bette Davis wasn’t talking about boats here (we all know what she was talking about).  But talking,  writing and selling boats is what I do. So this week The Fog Warning turns to the timely subject of hull construction. Specifically, an analysis of cold molded vs. fiberglass construction methods.

Let’s start with a video. Here’s a [cold molded] Vicem 72 doing 26 knots through 7 foot waves (and 30 knot winds), somewhere off the Chesapeake. Watch (and try to imagine the feel) as the boat comes off each wave, burying its substantial bow:

Wait, I say! Where’s the Archimedean (spellcheck assures me this is a real word) crash of 60,000 pounds of boat suddenly displacing 250,000 pounds of water? Where’s that teeth and kidney-rattling thump? And how does that laptop just sit there, unsecured, on the nav table? These questions all have the same answer: cold molded construction.

Here’s another example, bringing a [cold molded] Vicem 78 from Fort Lauderdale to Miami (yah, that’s me dating myself with the Victory at Sea comment). It’s deceiving, as this is a bigger, heavier boat than the 72, but these are 8 footers, with a few 9’s thrown in for effect:

To quote Aretha Franklin, my eternal Queen of Soul:

Rock steady! 

Steady enough that a helicopter could have landed on our deck, first attempt.

As an aside, that sort of ride can lull you into a bit of ill-advised complacency. When we reached Miami we had to plan a starboard turn into Government Cut.  We belatedly appreciated how rough those conditions were, and how critical the timing of that turn had to be (those were not waves we wanted to stay broadside to for very long).  But we throttled back, cruised along until we found a longer fetch, and did a fast power turn right into the channel. Peace of cake.

Got it? Cold molded construction is all about the ride.

In my hundreds of hours of running cold molded boats, all over the world in all sorts of conditions, I’ve experienced very few instances of pounding. Here’s an eye-opening and stomach-churning clip about pounding, offered for definitional purposes only:


The rare instance I had came when dodging a fierce lightening storm off Croatia, running too fast for the conditions. (Lightening strikes were hitting the water randomly, and I’d do it exactly that way again, all things considered.)

Notwithstanding that day (it’s become a great scene in my novel), if you blindfolded me aboard a test boat I could tell you with near 100% certainty if she was of fiberglass or cold molded construction. So too could most of my owners and captains. When the issue is ride, cold molded is better, every time. Why? Because the hulls are designed to flex, to squeeze themselves through difficult waters rather than hammer themselves through. It’s a thrilling feeling.

So then, what exactly is cold molded construction? Personally, I prefer the term “Composite Construction.” But I recognize that can be confusing to many (“Wait Dave, I thought fiberglass is composite construction?”).  So let’s stick with “cold molded” for today.

It’s lunchtime here in the snowy Hamptons, and I’m writing in front of my fireplace, thinking about sandwiches. Which, whether cold molded or fiberglass, is exactly what a modern hull is. In fiberglass hulls the “meat” that makes up the inner layer is hi-tech foam. The outer layers (the bread, if you will) are fiberglass cloth, saturated in resin or epoxy. When everything cures, you end up with a bonded sandwich, much lighter and stronger than a hull built of solid fiberglass.

With cold molded, the “meat” is thin strips of solid mahogany, four or five layers’ thick, saturated in epoxy. Then, as above, the outer layers (inside and out) are fiberglass cloth. The strength comes largely from the way the the mahogany layers run in alternating directions, like this:


This method works brilliantly up to about 120 feet. At mega yacht size, boats tend to twist laterally as they rock and roll, and every component must be designed and built to handle that movement. It’s easier to accommodate that twisting with fiberglass, steel and aluminum construction. But make no mistake, very large yachts have been built with these mahogany cores:

[This is a good place to note that Reliant Yachts and SuMarine (our builder in Turkey) has the expertise and experience to design and build everything up to and including mega yachts — from expedition yachts to the fastest of the go-fasts — in fiberglass, steel and aluminum as well. Call me for the details.]

So a sandwich is a sandwich. But, as we’ve seen,  cold molded gives you that great ride. It’s also:

  • Lighter  (which means you can go faster with the same engines;
  • Stronger, both torsionally and for impact-resistance;
  • Quieter (nothing beats the natural sound-deadening qualities of wood);
  • More insulated against heat and cold;
  • Doesn’t need a gelcoat, so gelcoat blisters are moot;
  • Cheaper (there’s no need to build an expensive mold) if your skilled labor costs are low; and,
  • It gives you that romantic (if not technically accurate) thrill of connecting yourself to thousands of years of navigating wooden boats. That romance is easier to show than to describe:

The flip side, you may ask? I’ve spent  all morning trying to come up with the disadvantages of cold molded construction, and I’ve come up with only one: The comparative lack of familiarity with the technology, making re-sale more challenging. That’s where….

Warning: Self Serving Statement Ahead

….an informed broker can be your best friend.

Which sandwich would you like? At Reliant Yachts, each of our models is available in either cold molded or fiberglass.

Fiberglass costs more, of course (remember that mold?).  But if — like Bette Davis —   bumpy nights turn you on, we’re happy to build it exactly your way.  Please feel free to call me  (or see me aboard our Commuter 40 at the Palm Beach Show next week) for the details on any particular boat.

So that’s it for this week. Thanks, as always, for indulging me.  And stay tuned for the next edition of The Fog Warning, where I talk about presidential yachts —


— and, after much urging from you, my loyal clients,  I begin a four-part series on the history of downeast boats. Hmmm, someone should write such a book, no?

The season approaches, so enjoy!

Big Wave Dave


PS: I must leave you with a small gift: The original Rock Steady!


Weapon of Choice

I.TIS THE SEASON: Long ago and far away I used to work a dozen or more boat shows a year, all around planet earth. That, plus monthly trips to Istanbul, left me in a near-constant state of jet lag. It all came back to me when, preparing for the coming boat show season, I rediscovered this great video – Weapon of Choice, by Fatboy Slim. That great hoofer Christopher Walken brought back to me the thrills and chills of  a peripatetic life. You’re gonna wanna wait for the ethereal Botticelli-like sailboat scene at the end:

Now I’m just pleasantly working a couple of local shows each year. Two are coming up:

  • The Newport Boat Show from September 15th through the 18th
  • The Norwalk Boat Show from September 22nd through the 25th

In truth, I never got tired of the boat show circuit. I used to particularly love the Annapolis Show, in part because of the incredibly complicated logistics it takes to put it together (the show has to put in and remove their own docks each year).

One of the best times I know is to book a room at the Marriott overlooking the show, and stay one extra day to watch the epic closing party. Here’s the sailboat version:

The Newport Boat Show is no less difficult to set up. I give the show organizers great  credit for shoe-horning in nine figures worth of boats, and making it look easy. As you’ll see on the bottom of this map, we will have three, countem, three jet boats next to the Black Pearl Restaurant (and our brand-spanking-new Hunt 72):

NIBS 2016 HH8.19 copy


Our largest offering will be the Talaria 43:


I’ve been watching this great video of a T43 underway. It draws me back to last week’s review in The Fog Warning of C. Raymond Hunt’s biography, A Genius at his Trade. I’ve become quite conscious of Hunt’s unique ability to look at a static, two dimensional drawing but perfectly picture what marine architects call the “laminar flow” of water over a hull.  This video highlights that flow. Keep your eye on the waterline, that spot where “the rubber hits the road,” so to speak. Note the almost complete lack of turbulence as she cuts through the water. This is what good naval architecture looks like, loyal readers:

If you want to see the T43 (and who wouldn’t?) she will only be at the Newport Show, not Norwalk. So, you snooze, you lose.

Our second offering will be our ever-so-popular Picnic Boat MK III.

Take a moment and  look back at my Newport dock diagram, above. Think about the scratch-potential of moving a fine yacht into one of those tight slips. But this clip of a MK III shows why it’s just not a big deal:

Pretty easy, huh? How about in a more challenging environment?

We’ve kept a Talaria 34 Pilothouse over in the Shinnecock Canal all summer. It’s a superb location, because to the south the Atlantic Ocean is just a few minutes away. Or head north, past Orient Point,  to quickly enter Block Island Sound.


But the tidal difference between the Shinnecock and Peconic Bays is a couple of feet, so sometimes, depending upon the phase of moon, the current can really rip down the canal.  It’s really more like a swift river at times, and docking a prop’ed boat (after all, it takes six hands to maneuver a double throttle/double gearshift/double bow thruster yacht!) takes skill plus luck.  But to achieve the docking ease shown in the above video in a ripping canal all you have to do is increase your RPM by about 15% and use your jetstick normally. Trust me,  she will obey!

Lastly, our new and much-buzzed-about Talaria 34R.


We just sold one to a knowledgable Hinckley owner (his third!) and when you see her at the shows you’ll understand why.

I’ve posted this particular video before, and probably will again. I just can’t get enough of the soundtrack’s baritone saxophone!

So that’s our Newport Fleet. Come see us, and to quote Fatboy Slim and Christopher Walken, find your Weapon of Choice!


II. The Gorilla in the Room (Redux)

Longtime readers  will remember my earlier blog (found on the home page as “My Original Blog). Over a span of four years that blog grew to have over 4,000 regular readers. I am really excited to report that The Fog Warning, in jut a few short months,  is now closing in on 1,000 regular readers. Thank you, one an all, for your support. It means a lot to me.

I’ve been averaging about a dozen insightful comments from loyal readers each posting. But last week’s posting (The Gorilla in the Room, about the true costs of yacht ownership) brought in over 40 responses, from as far away as Argentina. My favorite comment, however cryptic, came in from a Silicon Valley quant guy I’ve known for quite a while:

“Hmmm. Reduce #1 expense of boat ownership by 50%. Like it.”

Oh, that I could write with such eloquent economy!


This is big – I now have a 2013 Talaria 48 for sale in my backyard, so to speak. Meet me in Westchester and I promise you an eye-opening walkthrough. The circumstances of her sale are unique. Call me quick, and I’ll fill you in.

Here’s the listing:


Hurricane Hermine is making some noises today in Sag Harbor, where I keep my trawler. So I’m off to check her lines and to add some chafe protection. So ciao for now, peoples of the world. And remember, Newport Boat Show – Be there or be square!


Big Wave Dave

PS: The descriptions of C. Raymond Hunt’s genius in picturing water flow over a hull form reminded me of something, and it took a couple of days for me to put it together. Which is quite strange, because it’s a scene from my own novel-in-progress! Here’s the quote:

Hardened sailors on the circuit could be tough to keep up with, party-wise. But there was talk all that summer of some young black girl tearing up the docks and clubs every night of Key West Race Week. And after just a few minutes racing with Dawn it was clear to Tommy that she sailed exactly as she lived – wild, raw, and undisciplined.

Of course there was more to racing than speed. His dad had taught him it took focus, discipline, and tactics. But he couldn’t deny that Dawn had a brilliant feel for the wind. For her a breeze had an almost physical mass, and he sensed that she saw wind over water the way Van Gogh saw it over open fields; as colorful waves of swirling, airborne streams. 

She certainly had the intensity of an Olympic competitor. The story came up from Key West weeks before she arrived in Maine – trailing by twenty seconds around the final mark, she had slammed the wheel in frustration. Every crew within a quarter mile could hear her scream at the fitful wind: “Come on you motherfucker, give it to me!”

She broke two bones in her hand. And won the race by six seconds.