Thursday, July 30, 2009

THE GARAGE: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

While some may say that the interpretation and appreciation of boat design may be a subjective matter, most knowledgeable boaters share a certain degree of taste when it comes to overall design and paint schemes. This is true for both new boats as well as restored, updated and customized boats. The three examples we're sharing today have pretty much been unanimously praised or panned by everyone who's seen them on the various offshore forums, and a couple of them provide excellent direction in what to do - or not do - when customizing a boat.

The Good.
Our first example is a very sharp restoration/update job on an older 27' Searay Pachanga, which we came across on Speedwake.com. Forum member Pachanga69 shared these photos after completing a job that took two years of off-and-on work. As you can see from the slideshow, he basically retained the original color scheme, but revised it in a way that reflects current design trends, with a white dash, new custom Livorsi gauges, graphic wrap on the hull, updated engines and much more.



It's a great example of the smart way to update an older classic so that it looks like a much newer boat. With a rarer boat, or a former race boat, you might want to go with a more conservative approach and try a straight restoration, but for a production model like this Pachanga, it's a solid play. The owner adds:

"I went with the steel exhaust manifolds instead of aluminum, which is a major difference in weight with two engines. The next time I install new manifolds, I will use aluminum. For the dash, I had the guy use PPG paint and paint over the grey/charcoal. The new interior, painted dash, and custom Livorsi gauges and panels make it feel like a new boat." We agree.

The Bad.
The second example we have is basically a new boat - a 33' one-off prototype of a design by the legendary Art Carlson. For sale on Ebay, it's hard to tell exactly who built it. According to the lister, the boat (according to him, one of three) is built with a wood structure and Kevlar overlay, and with a 12' beam, reportedly weighs a mere 1,300 lbs -- less engine and outdrive. As for that, the 540 cubic inch "procharged and injected Dart racing engine" is claimed to produce 1,500 horsepower...though every expert who's studied the boat on the forums says "no way."

On Offshoreonly.com, user Catmando states "The real 33EC was designed by Carlson. He calls it the Reverse Three-Point Air-entrapment Monohull. There were five built, most of them weigh around 8800lbs. They ran close to 80 with the old 502/415 motors."


A press release from 2006 says Patriot Marine had contracted with Carlson to design the boat, but it seems only a handful ever went into production. To add even more mystery, this does not seem to be one of them, since the interior layout is totally different and the cabin in the Ebay boat is clearly not that of a production boat. Could it have been a mold "transformed" into a boat? Maybe.

What can't be disputed is the boat's strange look. While it was said to be an effectively-performing design, it's clearly not to everyone's taste. What can be said to be "bad" is the construction, which doesn't appear to be very robust. As one forum poster said, it's "probably good for three minutes of fun at full throttle" before something bad happens. At left is a photo of the real Patriot-produced boat that accompanied their press release.

The Ugly.
First off, I will admit that I absolutely hate boats with overly-suggestive names; though the "puzzle" graphics on this boat offer an acceptable double-meaning, I still see this boat being parked next to a double-wide in a trailer park. But moreover, why would you take the time and the money ($9,000) to paint the back half your boat to look like a dirty, beat-up rustbucket? All I can say is that the painter did a nice job on the flames.



"Lookin' For A Piece" is a 1989 20' Baja that the owner had for sale after having it "totally redone" from top to bottom three years ago. The work included a new motor, new floors and carpeting, seats and sound system. Why a 20' boat needs a triple-axle trailer is a little beyond me as well, but it's nice to have. The boat actually sold on Ebay for $6000 to a single bidder, located in Germany; I suspect it would cost almost as much to ship it overseas as it did to buy the boat. Perhaps the low price was due to unfortunate circumstances noted by the seller in his listing:

"I had the boat out 3 weeks ago and it over heated on me. We got it back to the dock and got it on the trailer. I took the boat to the shop and they said the water pump was out in the outdrive. They replaced it. The boat now still runs but I think we got it too hot on the way back and blew out a head gasket. I have no time or funds left at the time to fix the boat.
So I must sell..."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Outrageous Outboard Margarita Maker

Everybody knows margaritas and boating go together like hand-in-glove; it's probably #1 on the list of "Boat Drinks." A couple of days ago, Al Roker and Matt Lauer were in colorful Key West for the Today Show, and during one segment, Al was joined by Howard Livingston & The Mile Marker 24 Band, who gave him a chance to try out a piece of machinery any boat lover would appreciate -- a giant Margarita maker constructed from an old, modified Johnson outboard motor.

Though Hulu pulled the video of that segment, we found another YouTube video that shows the band demonstrating their toy onstage. Take a look and see what you think!



Of course, this post wouldn't be complete if we didn't include at least one margarita recipe. There are hundreds of different styles of margarita out there, but we thought we'd settle on a simple classic that anyone can make: Jimmy Buffet's Perfect Margarita Recipe (courtesy of Margarita Texas)

Ingredients:
Crushed ice
3 wedges lime
2 ounces gold tequila (Cuervo 1800)
1/2 ounce tequila (Cuervo white)
1 1/4 ounces Rose's Lime Juice
1 splash orange Curaçao (Bols)

Directions:
Put all ingredients except the 3 lime wedges into a shaker. Squeeze 2 of the lime wedges into the shaker. SHAKE WELL! Rim outside of glass only with lime. Salt only the outside of the glass. Add fresh crushed ice to glass. Strain mixture over ice. Squeeze remaining lime wedge in glass. And ENJOY!

VIDEO: What Racers Do When They're Not in the Cockpit...

We just wanted to highlight this recently-posted YouTube video that shows another side to offshore powerboat racing. These are the quieter, more introspective times, when racers take a deep breath, survey the course, devise their strategies, and even take some time to enjoy the scenery at water's edge. In this video, user Alvinski100 brings us some of these moments, shared between Team Geico driver Mark Granet and throttleman Scotty Begovich.



It's interesting to watch the guys survey the course, analyze the waves and weather, and size up the competition. They even manage to crack a few jokes as they enjoy the beach during an early-morning walk. It's nice to see that racers are just like everybody else -- they look for ways to relax and calm down before the race; which is probably a good idea when you're getting ready to blast across the waves at nearly 200mph.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Boats: Pantera 28 SR and Nortech 427 Super Vee

While the downturn in the economy has affected performance boaters everywhere, it hasn't stopped America's best boat builders from turning out incredible new boats that continue to impress with their technology and original design ideas. Pantera and Nor-Tech have recently introduced some new models that are highly expressive of the latter.


Pantera's new 28 SR is a modified special version of its 28 model, which was launched to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary. The Pantera 28 SR features a newly designed twin stepped bottom design, new cockpit dashes and a new cabin layout. Particularly unique are the hull's recessed sides, which also feature special accent lighting (see the photo above) as well as headers which dump out the hull sides. Very sharp looking at night time, we suspect.

PHOTO CREDIT: (top and above) Pantera Boats.

The interior is comfortable, but kept simple to keep overall boat weight light for top performance. It can sleep four persons in the forward vee berth and the two facing cabin settees. Standard power for the 28' hull is from a single 525hp Mercruiser, run through a Merc Bravo One XR stern drive. For more information, check out Pantera's web site.


At the larger end of the spectrum, Nor-Tech's 427 Super Vee is definitely a Big Bad Boat. This new model incorporates advanced exterior styling from the helm all the way back to the all-new transom design. Updated features include a hull-centered twin helm with dual steering, larger head compartment, a large center mount GPS panel and stand-up cat style bolsters.


At the rear of the boat, there's a six-foot long recessed sun lounge, and between that and the swim platform, you'll find a trunk lid covering a "utility garage" which can conveniently hold items like a dive ladder, running light, dock lines and similar stuff.

PHOTO CREDITS: (last three above) Nor-Tech Boats.

The 427's powertrain consists of two Mercury 700's, which can push this boat to up over 100mph. Overall, this is a beautiful boat that represents some interesting new ideas...and it's a well-thought-out update of Nor-Tech's great 3900V. For more information on this and other great Nor-Tech boats, head over to their website, HERE.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

[B3] Marks 100 Posts with new Odiogo Podcasts

We almost weren't paying attention. But as we looked at our website records we noted that Big Bad Boat's 100th Post just went up yesterday, and we had been thinking about a way to mark the occasion. Happily we found it...we have just instituted a new feature: audio podcasts, powered by Odiogo. These podcasts will allow you to listen to all posted [B3] stories, and if you want, you can even download them directly into iTunes. The system is backward-compatible, so you'll be able to "click-to-listen" at the top of any story, new or old.

The content is all there, except for the photos, of course - but it adds some extra convenience if you're on-the-go. If you have an iPhone, you can either read [B3] with our mobile site, or listen to it via iTunes or by clicking the "Listen Now" button. The audio feeds are also available via RSS; and they truly are the best voice-to-text conversions we have ever heard. We hope you enjoy them.

We also had to make a few adjustments in the way we write the posts, as the voice-to-text system interprets web URLs letter-by-letter, includes photo credits (if they fall in the middle of the post) and does some other things which we have to account for. Nevertheless, Odiogo's system produces a high-quality .mp3 audio file, and it sounds great. For now, it's important to note that the system only works in spoken English, and is not currently compatible with our translated pages.

We are looking at producing a more traditional weekly podcast very soon, and have been happy about the response we have received since becoming a Media Partner of American Powerboat Television. It's just part of the great multimedia content we want to bring our worldwide audience. With 100 stories under our belt, we've been able to bring you site translation in 15 languages, a shop where you can buy some [B3] merchandise, a mobile website, subscriptions via Amazon Kindle, and some positive recognition as well. We just want to thank everyone who enjoys the site!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Powerboat P1 World Championship Set to Run in Gothenburg, Sweden on August 7 - 9

With just three more races set to run in the 2009 season, Powerboat P1 heads to Gothenburg, Sweden in 2 weeks to take the action to the tough Langedrag course. Rounds 7 and 8 of the championship will see the Powerboat P1 World Championship making its first appearance in Gothenburg – a city shaped by its close connection to the sea.

PHOTO CREDIT: WikiPedia.

Over 10,000 people will have a unique opportunity to watch the breathtaking event from the city’s famous military landmark, the Oscar II fort – a historic fortress which was last opened to the public back in 2004. Gothenburg’s maritime heritage makes the city an ideal location for a P1 event, and a significant proportion of Sweden’s exports and imports pass through Gothenburg’s port, which is the largest in the region.

PHOTO CREDIT: www.havetsgrandprix.com.

As one of only six racers to have won the famous Cowes Torquay Race more than once, SNAV OSG driver Hannes Bohinc will be returning to world-class powerboating action in Gothenburg. The Austrian and his throttleman, Giancarlo Cangiano, will look to take their #88 Outerlimits SV-43 to the head of the leaderboard. Winning two of this season’s three Grand Prix events, the team is currently in second place, behind British team Silverline.

PHOTO CREDIT: Powerboat P1.

“In four of six races this season our boat has performed well and we are hoping for another strong showing in Gothenburg,” says Bohinc. “The Swedish people can be assured of a very competitive and spectacular battle.” For more information and continuing updates on the race, go to Powerboat P1's website.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dock The Boats & Hit The Parties at Lake of The Ozarks

Every summer, Lake of The Ozarks continues to be one of the country's hottest "hot-boat" spots, and for good reason. Not only is this huge lake a great playground for high performance boating, there is an incredible variety of places to go and things to do throughout the region. The shores of the lake are filled with great scenery, beautiful homes and unforgettable night spots...and we want to highlight just a few. You'll not only find sports bars, tiki bars, relaxing lounge bars and hot dance clubs, you can even enjoy a comedy club or a down-home opry show.

Whether you're into live country, blues, jazz, rock-and-roll or karaoke, you'll find it. One of the most popular places is the Horny Toad at Toad Cove; originally a small Lakeside restaurant, the 30,000-square-foot waterfront entertainment complex now features the Horny Toad restaurant, Frisky Frog sports bar, and Jeremiah's nightclub not to mention an arcade, mini-mart store, gas dock and boutique shop. Peckers Dueling Piano Bar, which is owned by the Horny-Toad, is another popular nearby nightspot. With a new luxury resort and yacht club added close by, this place has it all.

The Bambooze Bar & Grill offers a tiki bar and entertainment on an outdoor stage, while the well-known Captain Ron’s offers weekly Beach Parties and Beach Volleyball, Martinis and a live Jazz Night. Like it's neighbor, the Horny Toad, The Topsider has grown into an impressive entertainment complex with six bars. Among these are a popular Tiki Bar, a fun place called The Poop Deck and a high energy dance club.

No matter what you're into, you can find it here. These are just a few of the many popular hangouts; there are many more bars, lounges, dance clubs and hot spots scattered throughout the LOTO region. Of course, during powerboat races and poker run season, these places are packed with people who are eager for a good time. One of the most popular events is the LOTO Shoot Out, the largest unsanctioned boat race in the United States, and which has been listed by Powerboat Magazine as one of the 8 “must see” boating events. It runs from August 25th through the 30th, and is hosted by Captain Ron's. You can find out all about the Shootout HERE.

PHOTO CREDITS: (top) The Horny Toad (middle) The Topsider (bottom) TLCUG.

For more information about Lake of the Ozarks' nightlife, lodging, dining and events, call 800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau's web site at www.funlake.com.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Be One of The Lucky Ones to Enjoy the 2009 WYNOPA BlackJack Run

Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, New York will host the 2009 WYNOPA BlackJack Run, from July 31st to August 2nd. This club (Western New York Offshore Powerboat Association) always puts on great events, and one of the best things about this run is that the course is set up to be run on by boats of all sizes. All the planned activities are located about 100 yards of each other, and there is also a naval museum located in the harbor.

PHOTO CREDIT: Western New York Offshore Powerboat Association.

The location is very user-friendly as well; there are no launch fees, boats don't need to be launched Friday night, and they can also be left on the trailers at the marina. The facility has 24-hour-a-day surveillance, and the club has rented out over 250' of docks this year to keep everyone together after the run for safety...and so everyone can get a good look at all the boats. All of the recommended hotels are within 5-10 minutes of the marina as well, if you're not sleeping on your boat. Other features of this run include:

- Cook out Friday Night / 5-7:00 PM.
- Cocktail Party ( The Good Stuff ) 7-9:00 PM - Shanghai Reds - at the marina Friday.
- Photo Boat - Pictures for sale at Dinner.
- Post-Run Dinner and open bar [beer / wine only] 5:00 PM Saturday Night.

- CASH Awards for 1,2,3 Place.

- $500.00 in Door Prizes.

The entry fee is only 125.00 for Boat and driver -- and $50.00 each for additional crew members...that's a great deal. (WNYOPA / ROPA Members get a $ 25.00 Discount) Check the BlackJack Run out -- you'll be glad you did. To register and get more info, go to http://www.powerboatingwny.com

Kansas Investors Revive Magic / Sleek Powerboats

Back in May, we told you how tough times had forced Lake Havasu's Power Marine and Motor Sports Inc, the manufacturer of Magic Powerboats and Sleek Powerboats, to close their doors. Since then, Kansas investors Berney Shumate and Tony Poore have completed a deal to buy the company's manufacturing operation and molds. The pair, who had also acquired Cougar Custom Boats in 2004 and relocated it to Hill City, Kansas, discovered the Magic/Sleek operation was for sale while on a west coast purchasing trip.

PHOTO CREDITS: (top) Cougar Custom Boats (bottom) Magic Powerboats.

Asa result, Shumate and Poore have obtained 28 boat molds and have plans to continue building Magic and Sleek boats at the Lake Havasu, AZ plant. Reportedly, some of Magic's former personnel have been brought back into the new operation, which is good news. With Cougar's boats ranging in smaller sizes -- from 18-27' and the Magic boats ranging from 26-44' the new addition seems to be a solid business move that significantly rounds out their performance boat line. The manufacturer's statement concludes:
"With this purchase we will be more diversified and be able to reach more customers. The owners of Cougar Custom boats and Magic and Sleekcraft Powerboats plan to manufacture all three brands at both the Kansas and Arizona locations. We will continue to customize our boat lines so that we can meet the customers expectations."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cool Your Boat Cabin With a Portable DIY Air Conditioner (Hey...it holds beer, too!)

Some of us out there actually USE our boat's cuddy cabin, either to get out of inclement weather, for a quick "pit stop" or imagine this: for sleeping! My wife usually insists on an air-conditioned hotel room, but I find the gentle rocking of the waves actually helps put me to sleep.

Of course, there's a problem with boat cabins -- most get really hot after your boat's been out in the hot sun all day, raging across the water on a Poker Run. Sure, if you've got a big-dollar boat with built-in air conditioning, this is no problem, but for many people with more modest rides, the answer to cooling is either an expensive custom built-in unit, something really bulky and ugly-looking, or--the hotel room.

PHOTO CREDITS: Instructables.com (user CameronSS).

For those of us who are handy, however, I came across this neat project on Instructables (via Lifehacker) where user CameronSS has a guide to building a portable air conditioner out of a small cooler, a cheap bilge pump ($11 unit from Wal-mart) and other materials that you might already have in your garage or basement. Even if you need to buy a few parts, you're in for about $30 or so at most for the base model. The whole unit runs on ice-power and 12v fans, which can plug into the DC outlet in your dash. Here's what happened when the builder used it to cool off a hot vehicle:
"...the air in the cab was 95 degrees, parked in the shade after a morning of sun, and the outside heat index was 108 degrees. Within five minutes the cab had cooled to 75 degrees, and the air output was 65 degrees. With two quarts of water that had been refrigerated and 8 pounds of ice cubes, the ice had melted after 40 minutes, leaving 50 degree water, with an output of 65 degree air..."
While it's not perfect, this project should work decently for many boats under 30' -- depending on the size of the cooler. Don't forget, you could also put beer in the cooler too, which is a side benefit for many of us.

PHOTO CREDITS: Instructables.com (user taz300nice).

The Instructables website also has some alternative versions of this air conditioner; some are simpler (like the one above) -- using no pump or internal radiator but simply one or two fans, with a warm-air-into-cooler / cold-air-out-of-cooler design. Check them out -- I'm sure boaters would have a lot of great customizing ideas to add as well. If you build one - take a picure and send it to us!

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Boats: Outerlimits SV 52 & Vector Powerboats V-40 Launched

The performance boating industry may be hurting in some places, and a few of the manufacturers may be taking their lumps. But the current state of the economy isn't always evident at the upper end of the cost spectrum, as some boat builders are still turning out big, powerful, luxurious and technologically-advanced models that don't fail to amaze. Here are a couple of the more recent examples we've come across, from Outerlimits and Vector, respectively.

PHOTO CREDIT: Outerlimits Powerboats (above and below).

First is the impressive Outerlimits SV 52, which recently hit the water for a weekend of successful sea trials on Lake Winnipesaukee. It's powered by Whipple Supercharged Chief 1200's, has a five-step hull and reportedly hit speeds in the mid-130's on it's first time in the water. The manufacturer says the most impressive characteristic, aside from the acceleration, is the boat's ability to crush the waves. We believe it.


Of course, those kind of speeds from a 50'+ boat are very impressive; apparently this one will not be straying too far from home, the builder indicates the first SV 52 will be spending the summers on Lake Winni in New Hampshire.

The second boat we are introducing is the innovative and surprising new Vector V-40, an all-new Ocke Mannerfelt design that expands on the basic concept of the unforgettable V280 "bat boat" -- but with some advancements and enhancements that are in-tune with its larger (42' LOA) size. We'd love to be able to show you a good photo of this boat, but there are no pics or info about it yet on Vector's website other than the intro banner seen at the bottom of this article. The first photo just above is from a recently-posted YouTube video titled "Vector Powerboats 40 foot 135mph super-boat." Unfortunately the videographer was far more interested in the three models posing on the boat than the boat itself, so all we could do is show you as much as we could see in a frame capture. But of what we could make out, the boat does look good.

With a maximum beam of 14 feet, the V-40 rides on a twin-step hull incorporating four strakes per side and a 22-degree deadrise. With twin power options available ranging from 700 hp - 1,200 hp, the first V-40 is powered by Teague 1,200 hp engines and #6 drives. According to Vector president Rex Jardine, the V-40 shares the similar wing design of the V280, but they mechanically retract to allow easier towing and docking.
“The really neat thing about the boat is the fact that once we scaled it from 28 to 42 feet, the beam increased from 10 feet, four inches to 14 feet, which is not very practical for towing down the road or docking when the wings out," explains Jardine. "So, we designed a retractable wing system where they mechanically pivot on the front and come in at the back to reduce the beam.”

PHOTO CREDITS: 1st photo- YouTube user JCVdude / 2nd photo - Vector Powerboats.

I can only imagine what a sensation that retractable wing would be at the local watering hole when you pull up to the docks; it would definitely be something to witness. BTW, if you do want to see the YouTube video, you can see it HERE.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Poker Run Wrap Ups: Four Jammin' & Slammin' Weekends

The Summer Poker Run season is fully underway and we wanted to bring you a few pics from forum users who have posted them and give you a quick run down, in case you want to start planning for next year.

First off, the 2009 Lake Sacandaga Poker Run on June 27 was rated a great success by 46 participants who got to enjoy this beautiful body of water. Though sandwiched by a couple of storms, the weather generally held out; among some of the awesome boats on hand were the restored Drambuie racing cat (see below) and a loaded black Sunsation 32 with 600 sci's.

PHOTO CREDIT: Seriousoffshore.com member GLH.

The Motor City Fun Run on June 19 & 20 had good weather; set on the Detroit River, this run is always set up nicely for boats of all sizes, and was run out of Jack’s Waterfront Restaurant, after some last-minute snags with a local marina. Participants enjoyed a pre-run breakfast, lunch and a meet-up with the Old School Offshore Reunion back at Jack’s, and several other stops before they all headed back to Jacks Waterfront for an end-of-run party.

PHOTO CREDIT: Offshoreonly member: MattBMiller.

Each Year, "Jammin' on The James" puts on a great poker run party, and this year's run on the James River in VA on July 11 & 12 was no exception. The run, sponsored by Richmond Power Boat Association, was blessed with great weather, a great turnout of beautiful boats, excellent food and by all reports -- an awesome dock party! At one point, there were so many people on the floating dock (see below) they weren't sure it was going to remain floating! With 108 boats registered, this is one of the east coast's biggest runs - and with all that southern hospitality, one of the best.


PHOTO CREDITS: offshoreonly.com members drejustice (top) & Nascat (bottom).


The Annual Western New York Fun Run, held on June 12 & 14, was held on the Niagara River (see below). With great weather on hand for this event, Buffalo revealed itself to be a super powerboating destination. The course is very unique, with a number of twists and turns around Grand Island, interesting bridges and other sites to see.

PHOTO CREDIT: torquephotographic.com.

Even though the economy is down, people are still bringing their boats out to have a good time. Assuming things are a little better next, year, it might be a good idea to grab a calendar and start planning next year's itinerary pretty soon...the most popular events will be filling up fast, and you won't want to miss out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Impy Steering Wheels: Get a Grip on Better Boat Handling

A custom steering wheel is one of the better ways to set off a new boat or upgrade an old one. Not only offering better control and handling, today's billet wheels simply look incredible, and are a great match for the custom gauges and throttle controls you may be adding.

Impy Billet Steering Wheels feature fully leather wrapped cushioned grips for superb driving comfort along with three dimensional fully machined billet aluminum spokes. The spoke and wheel frames are one piece construction for maximum strength. Impy uses the finest quality genuine leather to wrapping the grips, and each wheel is hand sewn. Some other brands of “half-wrap” wheels on the market may look great, but may not be as comfortable to use -- since they may get too hot to touch in the sun. Impy fully wrapped leather billet wheels are comfortable to hold, don’t get excessively hot to the touch, are hand-crafted in the USA, and look great too.

Most Impy Steering Wheels are in stock and ship within 24 hours. If by chance the wheel color you order is not in stock the folks at Impy can usually wrap it within 2 weeks and ship. Also, custom wrapped wheels, created to match your boat are available if you supply the leather. Allow 2-4 weeks for this type of special order. There is no extra charge to wrap a wheel in your leather, but it will take a little more time.

Impy wheels are available from Rex Marine, from about $240 - $250. Their Impy product page is HERE.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

VIDEO: Baltic Sea Poker Run Looks Like Fun

German YouTube user Zimbonaut recently posted some interesting video footage from an offshore poker run in Ückermünde, Germany, on the North Coast (Pomerania, to be exact, which is sort of split between Germany and Poland). On the Baltic, Ückermünde is Germany's most northeastern port city, and a popular resort town.



There isn't a lot of other information available about the run, other than it was held on June 13th, 2009. There are some pretty sharp boats participating, though - and it's clear from the images that our friends in Europe know how to have a good time! Another video of the run is posted HERE.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Little Boats, Big Balls: Powerboat Racing for The Masses

I spent this past Sunday afternoon about a mile from my house on the shores of Springfield Lake, where Springfield Township and the Village of Lakemore were celebrating the second annual Rock The Docks Festival. With carnivals, beer gardens and an impressive lineup of local rock bands on both the north shore and the south shore of the lake, it's a great backdrop for the exciting show that the 3 Rivers Outboard Racing Association (TRORA) puts on with it's small hydroplane & runabout races.


What makes this particularly enjoyable is the fact that it's a great family event -- the participants include families where two or even three generations of racers are behind the wheel. There's a lot of great sportsmanship, the enthusiasm and camaraderie between the participants is clearly evident, and the action is exciting, albeit on a smaller scale than offshore racing. Attendance was free, all you had to do to get into the pits area was sign a waiver, and they had a nice viewing area set up on shore where you could relax and enjoy the racing with some cheap beer.


That said, my hat is off to these guys. It's takes some serious stones to go flying down the lake at about 70mph in what amounts to a surfboard with an outboard motor strapped on the back. There were middle-aged guys, people in their twenties and kids in their teens out on the lake, and you could tell that everyone was having fun. A couple racers got wet, but the rescue teams were right on top of the situation, and the swimmers were smiling after they were fished out and back on shore. The APBA-sanctioned event was very well organized, and it also got excellent coverage in the local news media.


I caught a discussion on one of the offshore forums that raised the question of how it might be possible to "convert" some of these young "kneel-down" hydro-racers to offshore racing. The main problem is the cost of entry between the two types of racing is so disparate (we all know offshore takes some serious bucks) and there is really little or no "middle area" where these could could make an interim step up towards something larger.

If there was something like this UK-based "Formula Future" series in the US [their website is HERE] it might provide that much-needed step; for the long term health of our sport, supporting a program like this might be something the industry should consider once the economy picks up.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Video: Nice 2-Part OSS Footage from Lake of The Ozarks

American Powerboat Television (APBTV) is one of the best places on the Internet to catch the excitement of offshore powerboat racing - and we'd like to give you just a little taste of what they have to offer. This video includes some footage from the Lake of The Ozarks Offshore Super Series (OSS) National Championship Power Boat Race.



This is one of powerboating's premier racing events, and the boats reach speeds of almost 200mph.
This annual race takes place at the 7 Mile Marker in Toad Cove, on Lake of the Ozarks. APBTV has also just added some new videos, including the recent Powerboat P1 race in Istanbul, Turkey and the Lake Cumberland Poker Run. Head over there and check out the action!

There have been some changes in the OSS schedule that we'll be reporting on in a few days; suffice to say they have cancelled some scheduled races and are teaming up with OPA at some other venues this summer. However the next National Championship race at Lake of the Ozarks, scheduled for September 25 – 27 is definitely on.

Part 2 of this OSS race has been posted here.

Everybody Wants to be on a "Speedboat"

Just came across this on Twitter - more signs that the go-fast lifestyle is catching on everywhere. This is a new DJ Khaled song called Speedboat Music. Apparently, he can't quite get a Yacht yet -- like T-Pain or the fellas from The Lonely Island. This song also features Kasual & Tarik Nix; Khaled's new album, Victory won't be dropping until October or November.




In case you didn't already know, DJ Khaled is South Florida's hottest DJ, and paired up with K-Foxx, DJ Khaled currently has the No. 1 rated radio show in South Florida. It's truly a Miami Sound mix - and you can check out his MySpace page HERE.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When it Comes to The Sun, Even a Man Has to Know His Limitations...

We all dig the sun, and boaters have to deal with it all the time. We've talked about how important sunglasses can be for protecting your eyes, but it's a pretty good idea to look after your skin as well - and that's where a decent sunscreen comes in handy. Whether your Mister Pale-Freckles or Mr. Road Construction Tan, it's a good idea to use something on your skin - at least at the start of every summer season. Burnt skin doesn't look good or feel good; and nobody wants skin cancer, so it's best to play it smart and use an adequate level of protection. Here's some things to remember for guys:

The skin is also an excellent accountant -- every moment you spend out in the sun adds up slowly -- like money in the bank. Unfortunately, the payoff down the road may be potential skin damage in the form of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (okay, dark spots) and premature ageing...as well as the potential for skin cancer, which can be very serious.

Defend yourself the easy way by limiting exposure to the sun and protect the skin with sunscreen. Don't forget the top of your head (especially if you're shaved, bald or your hair is thinning) can be protected with a hat. Keep a baseball cap or panama hat handy and wear it every once in a while.

All sunblocks guard against UVB rays to stop your skin from burning and most also block UVA2 rays. Look for products which contain Avobenzone (Parsol 1789) to ensure your skin has the best protection against damaging sunlight. You're not a baby - so a lower level of protection (SPF4 or 8) might be good enough, unless your skin is really sensitive.

Men are particularly vulnerable to sun damage after shaving. Two to three layers of skin are shed when you shave, and that leaves skin more sensitive to the sun. This shouldn't be a problem, since a lot of you guys never shave on the wekends anyway...

Avoid alcohol-based aftershave prior to sun exposure -- this can lead to hyper pigmentation spots appearing on your skin (think liver spots, but not permanent).

Me, I go with the classic Coppertone SPF 4. Gives me all the protection I need and no other smell says "beach" better than this stuff. In fact, it's even a pretty good after-shave, except that the smell doesn't last that long. It keeps your skin from drying out and it's non-greasy, too -- so I don't have to worry about a beer slipping out of my hands when I'm relaxing on the dock or at the local waterside tiki bar.

BTW, I didn't notice till after I posted it that the blonde in the Coppertone ad is actually Sharon Tate. If you don't know who that is, then it doesn't matter...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Italians Enjoy Victory at Home in PowerboatP1 Weekend

Italian teams dominated round 5 of the Powerboat P1 World Championship Italian Grand Prix of the Sea, held in the Adriatic Sea off San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. With both Evolution and SuperSport racers enjoying very smooth water on Saturday in the sprint races, Italian-flagged teams took the top three spots in both classes. The fast Snav OSG team followed up Saturday's Sprint Race Evolution Class victory by winning the Endurance Race on Sunday.

PHOTO CREDIT: Powerboat P1.

SuperSport victors Baia-Attolini ensured the Italians dominated the race weekend. In contrast to Saturday, weather conditions were very turbulent on Sunday, knocking out all but three boats in the Evolution Class. Fairing slightly better than their Evolution peers, only two boats failed to cross the finish line, with championship hopefuls Ikocasa and Team SW1 Capital suffering from mechanical problems.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's A Wrap: Successful Sarasota SBI Races Celebrate 25 Years of Offshore Fun

Raising tremendous amounts of money for charity for a quarter of a century, the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival wrapped up in Sarasota over the July 4th holiday weekend with another series of successful races and many thousands of spectators jamming the beaches to catch a glimpse of the action. Over all of those years, what many have called the "Indy 500 of Powerboating" has transformed from a basic one-day race into a week-long celebration, actually spanning two weekends and including car and motorcycle shows, parades, fishing tournaments, outrageous parties and much more. For many offshore powerboat fans, this event has become a real 4th of July weekend tradition.

CBS Television even broadcast the race this year, which will be re-broadcast again later this year as part of the CBS Sports Spectacular. Early results had Miss Geico coming in first in Turbine Division and First Overall; they also set a new World record in the Friday Kilo Run of 184.002 mph. One of the keys to their success in the Grand Prix race was the Miss Geico's ability to negotiate the turns quickly and make up for a little less speed on the straight sections of the course: "The key to our win was absolutely the turns," Miss Geico driver Marc Granet said. "Our boat was set up perfectly to where we could maximize our turns and shorten the distance around the course."

The Seminole Hard Rock Team also set a Kilo Run record for Super Vee class, topping out at 120.698 mph. However, boat owner and throttleman Peter Meyer says that setting a new record could have come at a cost, as he thought they might have dropped a valve or broken a spring in the process.

Offshore folks who traveled to Sarasota to experience the event said the people were lining up on the beaches as early as 6:30 am -- which may be a little hard to believe, given all the hard partying that goes on over the weekend! Indeed, perhaps that's more of a testament to the extreme dedication of offshore racing fans. We'd like to offer a shout-out and thanks to Twitter user Tyukich for the great parade shots; the boat parade is always one of the biggest attractions every year - friends who were down there for the event last year kept telling me over and over again how impressive the boats are. One look and you'll agree.


Clearly, Sarasota knows what it's doing when it comes to putting on a great offshore powerboat event. If more venues followed their lead, the sport would definitely have a higher visibility. To read more about event results, check out the Sarasota Herald Tribune article HERE. This is definitely an event to mark on your calendar for next year!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Online Computer Simulator Uses Input Data to Predict Your Boat's Actual Performance

We recently came across Speedboatperformance.com - which describes itself as "an interactive performance prediction program that actually simulates the conditions present under your boat," and provides you a full report on it's potential performance. Among the things the simulator is designed to show are the required RPM and power for all speeds, shown in dyno-sheet format; the projected top speed and RPM; and the rate of propeller slippage.

The idea has a lot of potential and could be very useful for things like checking to see if your current setup is optimized, planning a future repower or engine upgrade project, or even for choosing a prop to run on your favorite high-altitude lake. In theory, accurate predictions of performance could allow you to save money on power upgrades by helping you purchase the right parts, and reducing trial-and-error.

PHOTO CREDIT: delikon.com

In depth, here are some of the parameters that the simulator takes into account:

-Hull dimensions, weight and aerodynamic characteristics
-Special hull features: Steps, Running Strakes, Keel Pads
-Engine Dyno Data: (two options)
-Input actual dyno sheet data
-Use a generic dyno curve based on your engines' power
-Power to 3000 HP
-Amazingly accurate modeling of hydrodynamic, viscous and aerodynamic lift and drag.
-Drive Units
-Uses a library of hydrodynamic data to support 17 different production & racing drive units!
-Gear ratios for all popular drive units compiled in one place!
-Adustable propshaft height and setback
-Your choice of propeller type, pitch, diameter, blade-count, and finish
You specify the conditions:
-Ambient temperature
-Altitude correction
-Salt, fresh or brackish water

The code was developed over a decade of research, including numerous on-water tests, model testing in an instrumented towing tank, and a lot of impressive engineering. The results of this testing is said to provide highly accurate performance predictions that are sensitive to even small changes in propellers or setup you might want to make:
"The code uses the established fundamentals of planing dynamics as it's core, but takes it a few steps better. We've incorporated the effects of special hull features, and have made some landmark improvements to the way high-speed, lightly loaded hulls are modeled mathematically. Many other secrets we've unearthed along the way about how to predict the behavior of high speed hulls, drive units and propellers play pivotal roles in the software coding."
The site usually charges a penny-per-hp to do the calculations, which is actually pretty cheap - and a lot less than buying the wrong set of cleaver props. But the site is offering a free trial version (and has been, since 2006, apparently) that allows you to run up to single or twin 375 HP Mercury Magnums - to see how it works. So it might be a good thing to check out and test. Those of you who are more technically oriented than I am would be better judges as to the program's accuracy, but if it's relatively reliable, it might be a useful tool for a lot of performance boaters. If you do, let us know what you think about the results!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

PowerboatP1 Race Teams in Italy This Week

The next round of PowerboatP1 action heads to Italy this week as teams prepare for the Italian Grand Prix of The Sea at San Benedetto del Tronto, on the Adriatic Sea. An active fishing port and one of the main seaside resorts on the central Adriatic coast, it features a long beach of fine white sand which gently slopes into the sea.

The town is also the home of the Metamarine boat-manufacturing company, since ot was originally founded by Marco Pennesi in 2001. The Metamarine Pignolo #53 driver says he is extremely excited to be coming home: “I am very happy when we race on home territory," he says, "as I will have my friends and fellow neighbors all watching and supporting me and the team."

PHOTO CREDITS: PowerboatP1 (top) - Marchecitta.it (above)

Another interesting aspect of the race is the sibling rivalry set up as Luca Nicolini - brother of Cigarette Smash Poker throttle man Matteo Nicolini - will replace Max Ferrari in the #53 boat this weekend. Though the Metamarine team experienced an unfortunate crash while practicing in Malta, owner Pennesi has expressed confidence that the boat and its crew will be ready for action in this week's race.

PHOTO CREDIT: Powerboat P1

Last year's race in San Benedetto del Tronto was enthusiastically supported by Italian powerboating fans. The 2009 race will also be run in conjunction with the exciting Italian Powerboat Series (IPS). Further discussions are underway with the Italian Federation and the IPS to undertake an additional joint event in Sicily in September.

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