The holidays have come and gone and the days are slowly getting longer, so spring can’t be too far away. Most area boatshops are reporting a busy winter and a positive outlook for the upcoming season. Let’s hope that forecast is accurate.
Some interesting tidbits from the internet, thanks to Soundings online:
Brunswick Corporation has announced that a program is underway to develop an Autonomous Docking System. Plans call for the system to be introduced to the public in 2025. Building on the current technology in their joystick control system, a Brunswick spokesperson said the program, which employs no less than six video cameras, will require only the joystick and at least two mercury outboards to work on your boat. More to come, no doubt.
A new hydrogen-powered outboard prototype from Yamaha Motor Co. will be displayed at the Miami International Boat Show in February 2024. In the company’s effort to be more environmentally conscious, Yamaha said in a statement that they plan to become carbon neutral in Scope 3 emissions by 2050. Per the Environmental Protection Agency these emissions are, “the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly affects in its value chain.” Not sure what that means exactly but stay tuned.
Laura Shackleford of Tiffany Yachts in Burgess, VA, checks in with a busy report. “We’ve got two paint jobs we are working on. One is on a 38-foot Henriques and another one on a 45-foot Sonny Briggs. Also, right now we are still in the middle of winter storage stuff. We’ve been doing a little bit of work on them, shrinkwrapping them and putting them into storage. I think we should be pretty good for the winter. We have a lot on the books, and we have one of the Jamestown Settlement Ships, the Godspeed, coming in in January for her annual service where we paint the whole boat. We can do pretty much anything; we have some pretty talented carpenters right now and we’ve been doing a lot of wooden boat repair. Earlier this fall we had an older deadrise where we replaced a lot of planks and then we have another one coming in that needs almost a full bottom replacement. Just out of the shop, a 70-foot Horizon came down from Washington, DC for bottom paint, underwater lights, and engine service. Our 88-ton Marine Travelift can accommodate vessels up to 80 feet long and 20 feet wide. Call today to discuss your upcoming project. We have a lot going on.”
Smokey Glover of Lake Assault Boats in Portsmouth, VA, sends us this report of two recently completed projects in his shop, including “a 24-foot patrol/fire boat recently completed for Langley AFB Fire and Emergency Service. This aluminum hull RIB hull was fabricated at the main Lake Assault manufacturing plant in Superior, WI, and then brought to the Lake Assault Service and Warranty facility in Portsmouth, VA. Customer supplied engines and controls were installed, along with a Wing foam collar and Boatmaster trailer. A 24-foot patrol boat was built for and delivered to the Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, SC, Park Service. This aluminum hull RIB had the hull fabricated at the main Lake Assault manufacturing plant in Superior, WI, and then brought to the Lake Assault Service and Warranty facility in Portsmouth, VA, for rigging, outfitting, and delivery to the customer in Charleston, SC. This boat was equipped with twin Suzuki 2500hp engines, Wing foam collar, Boatmaster trailer, Signature Canvas enclosure, and Simrad electronics.”
Hank Reiser of Marine Services, LLC at Pocohontas Marina in Edgewater, MD, checks in with this upbeat report. “We are completing our restoration on a 1966 Century Arabian. That will be done by the end of the year. Then we have a Chris-Craft Sportsman, a U-22, in for varnish and electrical work,” he concluded. Asked about the winter Hank replies, “It looks really good. We have our prize-winning Chris-Craft 34 Commander going back in the tent for some final completion on a lot of interior details. Next, we have a 21-foot Coronado coming in for some restoration work. We have a second Chris-Craft U-22 coming in for some restoration and we have a Larson strip-planked 15-footer also coming in for restoration. Then we also have a fair amount of work on our fiberglass boats. It looks like a busy winter. If you’re looking to do some sanding, come on down.”
Nancy Noyes from Chesapeake Light Craft in Annapolis, MD, sends us this fun update. “Popular social media content creators Ryan Ellison and Sophie Darsy, otherwise known to their 74,000-plus YouTube and blog subscribers as Ryan & Sophie Sailing are spending the winter living aboard their 40-footer in Annapolis. When not at sea cruising the world on their sailboat, Sophie is a talented filmmaker, and Ryan owns a company that manufactures high-tech batteries. So what are they doing with their winter sojourn in Annapolis? They’re building a powerboat in the Chesapeake Light Craft workshop!
They’ve chosen CLC’s Rhode Runner, a 15-foot runabout inspired by the classic 1950s-era Lyman and Chris-Craft designs. Unlike the classic versions, CLC’s CNC-cut stitch-and-glue boat kit requires no building mold, and when it’s complete this one will be powered electrically with a bank of Ryan’s Dakota Lithium batteries. In a recent newsletter, Sophie explained that the couple had dropped into Chesapeake Light Craft’s Annapolis showroom on a whim last April. ‘If you aren’t familiar, Chesapeake Light Craft is the world’s largest manufacturer of small boat kits that you can build yourself,’ she wrote. ‘Think of it as the IKEA of small wooden boats, kayaks, sailboats, paddleboards, dinghies, etc. We left the showroom with their catalog, and that night while I was browsing it, I absolutely fell in love with the Rhode Runner, a small wooden motorboat with a James-Bond-boat look that runs up to 20 knots. Right there and then I told Ryan: ‘I will be building this, and I will make it electric.’ She will be the perfect little vessel to roam the waters of Annapolis creeks. Ryan is still figuring out the electric propulsion part, but one thing is for sure: there will be Dakota Lithium batteries in there, and of course, the process will be documented! Until we moved onboard back in 2018, I could barely put together an IKEA shelf, so this should be a very interesting experience.”
“Sophie and Ryan are building their Rhode Runner in CLC’s boatbuilding classroom,” Nancy continued. “You can follow progress on CLC's live shop cam, but locals who are curious can drop by the CLC shop for an in-person look at their progress. Keep an eye out for Ryan and Sophie’s blog and social media posts for her documentation of the process.”
Brittany Parrish from Higgins Yacht yard in St. Michaels, MD, send us this seasonal greeting (written just after Christmas) and a timely reminder. “Happy Holidays and New Year to all our customers! Thank you for another great year and your continued support in our business. We are looking forward to the New Year with some exciting winter projects at the boatyard, and to welcoming back our marina guests in the spring. As temperatures drop, please be cautious of weather conditions. Ice may be present, but not visible, in the yard and out on the docks. If you are checking on your vessel while it is in the water, be careful of hidden ice on docks and the deck of the vessel. We also do not recommend walking out on docks alone. While our team makes every attempt to keep snow from accumulating on dry stored vessels, be cautious when walking around these vessels in the yard, as falling ice or snow may be sliding off covers or shrinkwrap.”
Good advice, no matter where your boat is stored. That’s it for this month, see you in March.
By Captain Rick Franke