Picnic Boats:By Michael Vatalaro
The Runabout Refined
Published: August/September 2012
Call them what you like — day boat, picnic boat, or cocktail cruiser — these elegant vessels embody the essence of the idiom, "Time on the water is time well-spent".
Duffy 16 Back Bay
When the only place you want to be is on the water, why rush? Electric boats like the Duffy 16 Back Bay, or their new Lake Cruiser model, offer stress-free boating on protected waters. Silent and highly maneuverable, thanks to their patented Power Rudder, Duffy electric boats will cruise at around 5 mph for more than three hours, and double that with an optional extra battery pack. The Back Bay model has room for eight adults, plenty of places to stash food and drinks, and a Surrey top to keep the sun off your guests. The Lake Cruiser model features an "M" hull design, making it more efficient than a traditional catamaran, but it still offers the space of a pontoon boat. www.duffyboats.com
Hunt Harrier 25
Hunt set out to build a yacht-quality runabout and the result is the Harrier 25, a semi-custom day boat that combines the sea-keeping ability of a Hunt hull and classic "Down East" styling. With a single Volvo gas or diesel engine mounted ahead of the cockpit and connected by a jack-shaft to the stern drive for better weight distribution, the Harrier offers a dry, stable ride and flexible seating arrangements. A removable rear-bench seat lets you open up the cockpit for fishing or to store more water toys. Teak is an option on almost every horizontal surface so you can have as much or as little brightwork as you'd like. Hunt recently celebrated the delivery of their 1,000th hull and is now offering outboard power on the Harrier as well. www.huntyachts.com
Frauscher 757 St. Tropez
This Austrian boatbuilder made a splash a few years ago with a hybrid version of this flashy 24-footer, and it's now available with a Volvo Penta big-block gas engine. A similar pure-electric launch, designated the 750, is also available. Contemporary styling that would look at home on an alpine lake and meticulous craftsmanship from this 85-year-old company set this boat apart from the crowd. Imported by Forum Marine. www.Frauscherboats.com
It might be hard to think of a 34-footer as a runabout, but with twin Yanmar diesels driving Hamilton water jets, the new T34 is projected to cruise at 29 knots, and top out in the low 30s, far livelier than her lobster-boat forbearers. Her exterior, of course, is far more dramatic as well. A spoon bow, tumblehome aft, and distinctive shear line set Hinckleys apart from many boats on the water. But on the inside, Hinckley designed the T34 with a simpler level of detail than previous models, leaving off some features such as power sliding side-windows and power hatches that customer feedback told them often went unutilized. The first T34 should debut in July. www.hinckleyyachts.com
To Home Page
Web-enhanced Charts: Paper charts make big picture route planning easy, but until recently, lacked a quick and easy way to provide real-time tide, buoy, and weather data, the way a chartplotter can. But now, NOAA and print-on-demand chart supplier OceanGrafix are experimenting with Quick Response (QR) codes on eight charts in the Tampa, Florida, area. Scan the QR code with your smartphone and you are instantly taken to a dedicated regional webpage at the NOAA website, full of useful links to tide charts, buoy feeds, and weather forecasts and radar, organized by location. If the concept proves popular, NOAA hopes to expand the project. www.OceanGrafix.com
Man Overboard AIS Transponder
Kannad Marine took the concept of a Personal Locator Beacon, and twisted it, so that rather than a beacon that communicates to a satellite, and then back to a ground station, and then a rescue organization, the beacon "squawks" directly to AIS receivers in a four-mile radius.
The SafeLink R10, which won the 2012 Pitttman Innovation Award, is equipped with a precision GPS which updates every 60 seconds, sending position information, distance and bearing to all nearby receivers, allowing rescuers to plot a course directly to the missing crew member. The SafeLink R10 is manually activated and will broadcast for 24 hours with a unique identity code. $319 at West Marine. www.Kannadmarine.com
A Midsummer's Hull Clean
If you pushed your luck with your bottom paint and barnacles have built up this season, you usually have to haul mid-season to take care of the problem. But if you are the DIY-type, you might be thinking you can scrape those pests loose while still in the water.
Waveblade can help. This water-proof power tool was specifically designed to remove barnacles from hulls, while leaving the bottom paint intact. The oscillating blade does the work — the less muscle you put into it, the better. The Waveblade comes with a 45-foot power cord, runs on 12-volt power, and is rated waterproof to 15 feet. Blades are available in black and stainless steel for metal or fiberglass boats, or with a protective tip for wooden hulls. $399, www.Waveblade.com