Cool Stuff found at the boat shows

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Soundings was on the ground — and on the water — at the big boat shows earlier this year in search of, well, cool stuff. Here’s a sampling of what editors Rich Armstrong, Jim Flannery and Chris Landry came away with.

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Cigarette AMG Electric Drive Concept

Touted as the world’s most powerful and fastest electrically driven boat, the Mercedes Cigarette AMG Electric Drive Concept has 12 electric motors — 2,220 horses — and hits 99 mph. Four 60-kWh batteries are energized by two 22-kW chargers. A full charge takes seven hours. www.cigaretteracing.com

Nouvoyage Limousine Tender

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With an estimated price tag of $1.5 million to $2.5 million, the amphibious Limousine Tender 33 is designed to deliver the “super-yacht experience from airport to ocean,” CEO Martin Bodley says. On land, the diesel-electric composite vehicle can reach 85 mph. Head down the launch ramp and retract the wheels, and the 530-hp Yanmar diesel with Hamilton HJ 241 jets can propel 12 passengers and two crewmembers to an awaiting yacht at 28 knots. Nouvoyage unveiled a scale model of the Limousine Tender — designed by Michael Peters Yacht Design — in Miami, and it expects to have a contract to build in the near future. www.nouvoyage.com

SLXtreme

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Snow Lizard Products has developed a waterproof, shock-proof, dust- and sand-proof case called SLXtreme for the iPhone 4/4S. Made of rugged polycarbonate with rubberized side grips, the 11-ounce case has an integrated 2,000-milliampere-hour battery that doubles the phone’s battery capacity and a solar charger that delivers a trickle charge to the battery to extend its use. The case is waterproof to 6 feet, and the company says it can be dropped from 6 feet without damage. www.snowlizardproducts.com

Team Sandtastic - At the Miami International Boat Show, sand sculptor

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Steve Schomaker put the finishing touches on a piece he crafted using 25 tons of sand. Commissioned by 303 Products, the sculpture took about 12 hours and featured a fish and octopus driving a bowrider. Schomaker is part of Team Sandtastic, a Sarasota, Fla.-based professional sand sculpture outfit. For quotes and other information, e-mail Mark@TeamSandtastic.com. www.teamsandtastic.com

Mercury QC4v sterndrive

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Mercury Racing unveiled a new 1,650-hp sterndrive that’s high-tech all the way. The QC4v — 9.0-liter quad-cam 4-valve — has an aluminum block and heads, and is designed to work with Mercury’s SmartCraft Digital Throttle & Shift to deliver “big power with luxury-car-like drivability,” according to the engine maker. It’s available only to qualified racing professionals, but gearheads should certainly find it cool. www.mercuryracing.com

Jetovator

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Not for the faint of heart, the Jetovator uses your PWC to blast the rider as high as 30 feet, at speeds up to 25 mph, and as much as 10 feet under water. The water thrust from the jet unit of the PWC is redirected along a 40-foot hose to the Jetovator. The PWC follows behind, using the hose as a tether. A rider on the PWC controls the throttle. A fly-by-wire throttle system for riding independently is in the works. MSRP is $8,975. www.jetovator.com

AquaLens Pro

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Aquabotix calls the new AquaLens Pro a commercial-grade version of its AquaLens camera, which lets you check the hull below the waterline, the set of your anchor or just explore under water — from on deck. Designed to be mounted on the end of a boathook or other pole, the AquaLens Pro uses LEDs and transmits live video to a waterproof 3.5-inch LCD. It includes a rechargeable battery pack and Kevlar-reinforced cable. Options include a 7-inch screen and recording capabilities. Retail price is $1,295. www.aquabotix.com

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Attwood Fuel Demand Valve

The EPA requires portable fuel tanks to be sealed and leak-proof. The Attwood Fuel Demand Valve keeps pressurized fuel from reaching the engine, preventing flooding and spillage. The valve provides fuel to the engine only when demanded during start-up or operation. www.attwoodmarine.com

Raymarine

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Raymarine’s assortment of cool stuff included the CHIRP-powered Dragonfly sonar/GPS (shown here) with high-resolution DownVision imaging, gS Series Glass Bridge multifunction displays with multi-touch navigation and gigabit networking, and Evolution autopilots, a breakthrough in autopilot intelligence, according to the company. “In the consumer electronics industry, new innovative product is the lifeblood of our business,” says marketing director Jim Hands. “We’ve gotten some really good feedback from consumers.” www.raymarine.com

Hell’s Bay Marquesa

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This 18-foot flats boat wasn’t just named after the Marquesas Keys — it was designed to fish this uninhabited group of islands about 30 miles west of Key West, Fla. “The Marquesa is the key for not only reaching the Marquesas but providing a dry ride in rough water areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts,” says Chris Peterson, president of the Titusville, Fla., company. The 695-pound boat (Kevlar hull and vacuum-bagged construction) draws only 7 inches and can be powered with a 90- or 115-hp outboard. www.hellsbayboatworks.com

Benetti Supreme Classic 132

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Making her U.S. debut at the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, the Benetti Supreme Classic 132 features a terrace that extends from the hull side in the owner’s stateroom, Jacuzzis on the forward upper deck and sun deck, and a sky lounge with full-height windows. There are four guest cabins — two VIP and two twin — as well as a “commander’s” cabin and three cabins for crewmembers. www.benettiyachts.it

Riva at 170

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Riva unveiled this coffee table book of prose and photos in tribute to the legendary Italian brand. “This book is mostly about the people — the workers and the clients — who share this love, this mutual relationship with Riva boats,” says Ferruccio Rossi, CEO of parent company Ferretti Group. The commemorative book details 170 years of innovation, design and craftsmanship — from 1842 to 2012 — as told by the designers, builders and owners who take great pride in Riva. A special edition of the book with a fabric cover costs about $200. A link to view a digital edition is at www.riva170.com.

GSatMicro

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Global Satellite USA has developed the smallest self-contained Iridium-based tracker in the world, the GSatMicro. About the size of a golf ball — including battery, modem and antenna — it can be used to track and monitor boats, fleets of vessels, PWC, tenders, crew or even equipment on the boat. GSatMicro has a 2.5-amp-hour lithium polymer battery for months of battery life, an integrated high-gain ceramic antenna, a USB connection for programming and full two-way communications. Cost is about $1,250. Global Satellite also was touting its GSatTrack.com, an integrated, Web-based “universal software” for global tracking that the company says is compatible with modern browsers and almost any tracking hardware. www.globalsatellite.us

Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero

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Columbia Sportswear’s motto could be “chill out” with the introduction of its Omni-Freeze Zero fabric. In development for four years, the fabric is mottled, with tiny light-blue rings that contain a cooling polymer. When they’re exposed to sweat or moisture, the rings swell, somewhat like goose bumps, and accelerate the “wicking” process — the transfer of sweat from skin to air, where it evaporates and cools. The fabric also helps keep you dry when you’re sweating. It is available in shirts, pants, hats, gloves, skirts, even footwear. www.columbia.com

Taku hatch fan

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Caframo Marine showcased its Taku air-exchanging hatch fan. The 12-volt fan draws just 1 amp at high speed and 4.3 amps in “AirBlast Exchange” mode, which powers it up to draw more than 500 cubic feet of air a minute into or out of the boat. The fan attaches to an open hatch cover with suction cups and swings down into the hatch. It can draw air in or out at three speeds or can drop down into the boat, swivel 360 degrees and serve as an interior fan. The fan is fitted with a high-efficiency LED for cabin lighting and installs on most hatches 19 inches across and bigger. www.caframo.com

SureShade

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What do Grady-White, Boston Whaler, Cruisers and Sea Ray have in common besides being high-end brands? They all use the SureShade, a Sunbrella cockpit cover that manually or electrically retracts. Talk about a cool item — it literally cools the boat by shading the cockpit area. The powered SureShade (12 or 24 volts) starts at $5,000 and the manual model at $3,000. www.sureshade.com

Joysticks for outboards

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Yamaha’s Helm Master and the Optimus 360 system by SeaStar Solutions (formerly Teleflex) were available for testing. Helm Master functions with Yamaha’s F225, F250 and F300 V-6 4-strokes, as well as the V-8 F350. SeaStar showcased its technology with high-horsepower Evinrude direct-injected E-TEC 2-strokes in an alliance with Bombardier Recreational Products (200,- 250- and 300-hp engines). Optimus 360 seemed to deliver a little more thrust than Helm Master (pictured), but both systems did what they are designed to do: give the skipper precise control. Both made the switch from conventional controls to the joystick seamlessly. www.teleflexmarine.com, www.yamahaoutboards.com


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Torqeedo Deep Blue

Torqeedo had its Deep Blue 80-hp electric outboard on an 18-foot Zodiac. Acceleration at the low end of the rpm range was immediate, but it waned in the midrange, lacking the bump of a gas outboard. Still, the Zodiac topped out at 20 knots and settled into a comfortable 14-knot cruise. The Deep Blue outboard is $20,000. Battery banks of two, three and four are $32,998, $49,497 and $65,996, respectively. www.torqeedo.com

 June 2013 issue