Monthly Archives: December 2012

Literary Corner

Literary Corner

Welcome to the Boat & Yacht Report’s Literary Corner. From time to time I get submissions from authors all over the world to have a look at some of their boat-related themes, works in progress, or published works. This hit a chord with me and I decided, while it is still being written, I’d let you have a look at the first two chapters of a novel-in-progress that I am penning. If you find this interesting, please let me know by using the Leave a Comment button at the bottom of the page. And if you have any creative works with some sort of connection to our watery way of life lying there on your desks, in a desk drawer, or sitting in a file on your desktop, whether they be poetry, a children’s story, or novel and want to share or test the waters with the world, just send them on over and I’ll give them a read and hopefully, with your permission of course, put them up here on the site.


Copyright © 2015 by Ken Kreisler. All rights reserved.

brass-nautical-compass-692732_1280I remember him standing there, the freshening breeze whipping his raven hair back and forth across his brow while one hand clutched the mainsail’s varnished boom with its deep-set grains a myriad and mysterious canvas of visible whorls and curves, the other hand holding the helm’s spoked wheel, its front and back sides inlaid with brass, the teak bungs a bit lighter in color than the mahogany wood it was hewn from. Like all of us, he wore a long sleeve, white cotton shirt, open two buttons at the neck, and no cuff links holding the arms closed at his wrists. His baggy navy shorts hung loosely at his hips and just made the tops of his knees. It was his look. Our look.

I could see the outline of his sunglasses the summer spent in the sun had made around his eyes; the same glasses that now hung rakishly from his neck, held there by a length of fishing line; and the burnished brown color that tinted every exposed part of his skin.

He was a force of nature now, one with it in mind, body, and soul, imploring us all to join him; our Hornblower and Raleigh, our Nelson and Drake, and yes, even our Morgan and Ahab, entreating all aboard to set sail for glory and honor on a once-in-a-lifetime grand adventure. He looked over at us standing there on the dock, all of us barefoot, our blood up, with muscles taut and honed from a season of physical work.  In that moment we would even have followed him down past horizons none of us could ever have imagined. And all he would have had to do was ask.     

“Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you from the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions,” he smiled and said, pointing at the other boat, its crew going about one routine after another in preparation to getting underway. It was the one we would not only have to beat, but beat so soundly and so convincingly, that there would be no question as to which was the better vessel manned by the better crew.

“Colossians 2:18,” yelled Jack as we cheered a deeply resonant and hearty ‘hoo-rah!’ in response.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” I yelled almost maniacal, stepping forward, now totally caught up in the living, growing vortex of what we were about to do.

“Yes, Just Edward, master of the foresail! Timothy 4:7,” Kevin said to me, pointing my way and smiling broadly.

 “That’s the spirit! Now, on with it lads. Let’s show these louts what real sailors can do. Let’s show them how we balance and master wind with water and spirit on this fine boat of ours. The spirit is the prize, mates. The spirit of why and how we race the race. It’s what we do. It’s what we are. Mos insisto in nostrum excito! They will follow in our wake!”

“And who are we?” we all shouted as one voice.

“We are The Great Corinthians!” we answered mightily, arms held high, feeling the camaraderie of fellowship that, once touched and savored, may urge one to spend an entire lifetime pursuing in hopes of experiencing it just once more.  

And as we clamored aboard, clasping hand to shoulder, turning to the tasks of getting underway that would bind our souls to each other, to him, to our boat and to the wind, we knew, beyond a doubt, every one of us, that this was our time.

 Corinthian story wingding

On the day after Charles Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, seventeen year old Edward Collins, just graduated from high school and looking forward to entering the freshman class at Columbia University as a journalism major in the fall, sets his sights on landing his first job as one of the dock boys for the impending regatta season, that being from Memorial Day to Labor Day, at an elite and private yacht club on the northeasterly waterfront reaches of New York City’s well-heeled Westchester County.

There, as Edward either sinks or swims, for he has no background or experience within the exclusive world of sailing yachts, or of those whose station in life is far above his, he falls in with a robust and brigand band of young sailors and mariners, captained for the most part by a charismatic, talented, and free-spirited teen who leads his salty cohorts in tending to the wants and needs of the well-heeled yachting set. Over the course of the summer, and as he is quickly seduced by the ways of fine yachts and their polished brass fittings and deeply varnished rails and teak decks; by the natural ebb and flow of water and wind and tide, he will develop, have nurtured and made valid, his own style of maritime swagger and unique view of the world. He will also have his heart broken by a soon-to-be debutante, the daughter of a high-profile and valued club member. And with all the trusting innocence of his youth, Edward will find out in an all too meaningful way when he is tested by the inner workings of money and privilege, and how an act of deception and lack of moral character can threaten to tarnish and attempt to bring down the notion of how true and lofty the meaning of honor and friendship can be.

THE GREAT CORINTHIANS is an adventurous story of bravery and self-discovery; a bittersweet coming of age tale of how best to embrace the responsibility of savoring victory or accepting oneself in the face of defeat; of the angst of unrequited first love, and the often-harsh life lessons and rites of passage that can either strengthen forever, or work to test, weaken, or even break, the ties that bind us together.


Copyright © 2015 by Ken Kreisler. All rights reserved.


“The mind of the master of a vessel is rooted deep in the timbers of her, though
he command for a day or a decade.”
                                                             –Stephen Crane, The Open Boat

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
                                                                      -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“Such is the human race, often it seems a pity that Noah… didn’t miss the boat.”
                             -Mark Twain

                 “I yam what I yam and tha’s all what I yam.”
                                                                                    -Popeye, Sailorman

browse-2371920_1280Chapter 1.

Incoming Tide

How I had come to seek a job at the yacht club that summer of 1927 is one that I have long since stopped questioning. Instead, and with that same bravado I had when I first set out to cast my fate to whatever lay ahead of me by the time I had reached the barely enlightened age of seventeen, between when I would graduate from high school and enter my college studies that coming September as one of the freshman class at Columbia University, accepted the steps that guided me off the train from New York City that late spring day and walk the mile and a half through the well-heeled town to the manicured and seemingly genteel waterside grounds of one of the most venerated and exclusive sailing communities in the country. I had not an inkling as to what it meant to jibe, of what being on the edge of a broad reach could deliver, the importance of beating downwind, or what the difference was between a barque, a brig, and a sloop.

By the time I found myself sitting in the main dining room of the clubhouse, surrounded by 19th century maritime oils on the walls, ones even in my present state of ignorance I knew to be original and genuine, and well-set tables all around me, waiting to be interviewed by the club’s manager and vice-commodore, things in the real world were changing rapidly. Earlier that May, a man by the name of Philo Farnsworth had transmitted the first experimental electronic television pictures. And just yesterday the entire known civilized portion of the planet was notified that Charles Lindbergh had landed in Paris, becoming the first person to make a solo, non-stop transatlantic crossing.

I had worn the only suit I owned at that time, a dark blue affair with what was termed then as having a banker’s stripe in it, and of the proper pants length and cuffed of course. My mother had starched and ironed my white shirt, polished my black dress shoes, and I was using my father’s gold cuff links, his leather braces, and a tie he thought would fit the circumstances I was now surrounded by.

“These are the kind of people that are not like us, Edward,” he said to me as he stood an arm’s length away and showed me how to tie a proper Duke of Windsor knot. “There. Now that is what a correct knot should look like.” He paused, stepped in some, smiled, and grabbed both my shoulders giving them a gentle squeeze before stepping back and putting both hands in his pockets.

Harry Collins gave a tall appearance, most likely because of his rather slim build, but missed measuring six feet by a bit more than an inch. I always remember him being well-groomed and clean-shaven with features that were not remarkable. Most likely he would not have stood out in a crowd. But then again, he was the kind of man who did not have to and nor did he want to.

But for his suit jacket, he was almost fully dressed himself, wearing his gray suit, also one with a faint stripe in the fabric, a pair of black cloth braces with brass fixtures, his six button vest, a light blue shirt with a round, white collar, and a very nice silk tie.

“Yes, as I was saying Edward, they are moneyed people son, with the kind of money that we on the street have come to know as old. And that means they are privileged, with their own rules and their own way of doing things. Trust me son, I know.”

It was said that I got my business sense from my father and my intellectual capacity from my mother. He was a somewhat successful Wall Street broker who, with his sharp, conservative business acumen and instincts, would see what was coming two years hence, and, along with a small handful of others, manage to survive the great economic calamity. Those of his clients, the very few left who had stuck by him and took his advice, were most appreciative during the recovery years later, allowing my parents, and my younger sister who was still living at home at the time for both my brother and I had already found our own ways in the world, to enjoy a level of life he had always dreamed of but never quite achieved before.

What Peter was to Christ, my mother was to Harry Collins. She was the solid raw material, the natural resource upon which my father could build his life, standing by him when he was unsuccessful in his endeavors or decisions and sharing in the happiness and adulation the family enjoyed when things went well. My father always knew who he was and where his shortcomings were and perhaps, more importantly, knew who she was and what she meant to him.

The former Dorothy Tolliver had met Harry Collins during his initial and unpaid six-month internship at E.A. Pierce and Company, being signed up in the senior year of his college studies at City University where he excelled in several areas, the best of which were mirrored in his oft-quoted senior thesis on factors that could affect the somewhat volatile futures market as it related to various bond offerings and certain commodities both here and abroad. Upon her graduation from Barnard, with a magna cum laude standing in her class, and armed with a degree in English literature that was bolstered with a natural way with words both spoken and written—my mother never received anything less than an A- for any paper she wrote during her four-year baccalaureate degree work, once even arguing and winning the battle with an established professor on a B+ rating she refused to accept—she had also been hired by the firm, answering a campus recruitment ad, to act as a tutor to some of its veteran executives as well as those targeted as up-and-comers.

The money was very good at the time and young Miss Tolliver decided to delay taking a teaching position at a grade school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, at least for a year. While still living at home with her parents, and being the last of four sisters still remaining in the house and finally having a room all to herself, she laid out a plan on how best to put away enough money to get a place of her own in the future. To that end, she set her sights on the Greenwich Village neighborhood she imagined would suit her social sensibilities and challenge her intellectual aspirations.

Harry Collins was smitten by his tutor almost immediately. Beyond her comely good looks and pleasing personality and charm, and that devastatingly wonderful perfume she wore, there was something about the young woman; some almost indefinable assuredness that while just out of explanation was nonetheless as real and substantial as granite. There was an enduring quality about her, surrounding her like a gossamer aura, seemingly thin and delicate at first and easily parted, but possessing the kind of moral strength of character that set her apart from others.

It was with these thoughts of my parents, about how they were with one another and what they had attempted to give to me and my siblings that, combined with some of my own self-inflicted judgments and fears, I now found myself staring almost absent-mindedly with some passing interest at the panoramic view of the long horseshoe-shaped cove that lay at the bottom of the gently sloping hill upon which the clubhouse, circa 1850, was built on and decided to get up from my chair and stride over to the window. There was a lot of activity going on both shore side as well as out on the water as small dinghies and launches darted back and forth, guided by what appeared to my landlocked eyes as a young and roguish band of tiller handlers and sailors, quite sure and adept in their abilities as they went about their tasks of setting the anchors for the vast mooring-ball field, one that would soon be dotted all over every shape, design, and length of sailing and motor powered yacht.

Whether intimidated, should I actually get hired, that this would be the kind of work I would be doing, or just allowing my own natural shyness to get the better of me together with the fear of trying to be at ease with accomplishing, to any degree of success or expertise, the tasks of those I now watched, made my mind wander some and away from the activity outside. Instead, I scanned the room until my eyes landed on the calligraphy-styled names inscribed on a rather austere looking roster framed in what appeared to be gilded gold and mounted over a nearby large fireplace, one of many in the sizeable room, its mantle strewn with polished silver cups of varying sizes and, as I figured, importance; especially the particularly large and ornate one positioned in the middle. I moved over for a closer inspection.

He strode into the room from somewhere else, and as I heard his precise and measured footsteps on the highly polished, dark walnut, wide-planked floor behind me, I turned in my place, smiled as per my mother’s direction, and knew this was the man with who rested the decision for my summer employment.

“One always wants to see a pleasant smile upon the face of a handsome young man rather than the scowl or overly concerned look on one who is confused or ill at ease,” she had said to me.

He was tall with a long, character-lined face, high forehead, and wore his silver hair combed back and parted in the middle. He was very well-groomed and it appeared, from the pink hue of his skin, he had just come from a private session with a barber, having been given a flawless shave and hot towel treatment. He had pale blue eyes and carried himself like a banker, corporate executive, or head of state. And a very accomplished one at that.

“Those names there,” he said, pointing up at the roster. “Chilton and Turner. Family names dating back to the Mayflower. And you are?”

“Edward. Edward Collins.”

“Yes, Mr. Collins. Your father is a mid-level broker with E.A. Pierce and Company, originally A.A. Housman and Company, a firm founded by William and Arthur Houseman in 1885 and taken over by the aforementioned Pierce concern earlier this year. Housman was the broker for J.P. Morgan and played a prominent role in calming the trouble back in 1901. That was when he brought Mr. Pierce aboard. The Baruch Brothers were also there at the time,” he added with a much different tone that seemed to emphasize that last statement; a disapproving and somewhat disdainful quality punctuated by a momentary glance away and at nothing in particular. It was as if he had remembered tasting something bad and was trying to get the memory of the flavor of it out of his mind.

His voice had a special timbre to it; an almost hypnotic resonance that at once compelled me to listen to the information I was being given and then at the same time, filled me with dread and insecurity at not having any knowledge of what it was about. And he knew it too.

“But for what my father does for a living, and that he and my mother met there, I did not know all that other information.”

“Unless you were planning to enter the world of finance, and even at your age, I would think there would be no need for it. But you, Mr. Collins, will be attending Columbia this fall with a major in journalism. Yet another writer in the chute. John Daniels, vice-commodore of the club,” he said as he offered his hand across the distance from where he stood, making no attempt to cross the chasm. I stepped forward and gave him a firm shake and saw him smile and nod.

“Yes, well then, Edward, let’s grab a seat over there by the window and talk a bit. Shall we?” He didn’t wait for an answer and quickly turned.

I followed a step or two behind, noticing the confident way he walked and how exact his tailored clothes, that being a tan suit, light blue shirt, navy and yellow striped silk tie, and brown wing tip shoes fit him.

“The reason I mentioned the Pierce firm is that it seems they oversee a portion of a small number of our members’ financial portfolios, and especially a limited but nonetheless, somewhat significant percentage of the investments of our long-time member, Mr. Arthur Cook which in turn, are tended to in part, by your father. For myself and my holdings, I choose to do my personal banking and speculation elsewhere, but that is of no consequence to this conversation. Do you know the Cook family?” he said as we sat at one of the dining room tables I could see easily being set for eight with plenty of room to spare.

“No sir.”

“Would you like something to drink, Mr. Daniels?” She was silent in her approach, appearing as if out of nowhere, and waiting for the correct moment when it would be proper to interrupt. She was an older woman, conservatively dressed as I would imagine someone whose occupation was that of a bookkeeper or accountant would be. Or perhaps, someone whose job it was to prevent unimportant people from trying to see important ones.

“Mr. Collins?” he said directly to me, tilting his head somewhat to one side and smiling.

“Uh, no thank you.”

“Half a cup of coffee for me then, Margaret. Black please.”

“Thank you,” she said and left without a sound.

“So,” he said, squaring himself in his chair, crossing one leg on top of the other, and settling his hands, the right one covering the left, in his lap. “Tell me about Edward Collins.” The large class ring on his right hand matched the small pin he wore on one lapel of his suit jacket. While I could see that both said Yale, the numerals indicating the years were too small to notice from where I sat.

I most likely let a bit too much time pass before I answered but not having any experience in being interviewed, and especially with someone possessing the commanding presence of vice-commodore John Daniels, my mind went blank for a moment as I fished around in my brain for something, anything, to say.

“I’m seventeen years old, and will be eighteen this coming August,” I finally stammered, trying to get comfortable in the chair, in my suit, in my voice, in my own skin. “I uh, as a sophomore, played baseball on my high school team, have a younger brother and sister…”

“Do you have any politics Edward? Any thoughts in that area? Anything to say about the current administration of Mr. Coolidge and Mr. Dawes?” he said, cutting me off.

“No, not at the moment.”

“Continue,” he said, remaining quite still and not taking his eyes off of mine.

“I like to read. I, read a lot, that is,” I said.

“Oh? And which of today’s authors do you prefer?” he said, smiling once again, this time more like some predatory animal, toying with its prey.

“I, uh, liked The Great Gatsby, Mr. Hemingway’s In Our Time, and my mother just gave me a copy of Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey. She thought I would enjoy it.”

“And, as you will be entering Columbia as a journalism major, your own writings?”

“Starting in my sophomore year too, I did some for the school newspaper. I’m, well that is, still working on my voice, uh, in that area.”

The foolishness of being ill-prepared for such questions, and the fact that I was way out of my league here, had taken hold of me as the words spilled out of my mouth and flopped and plopped on the floor, there to congeal and create quite the mess on the highly polished surface under my feet. In desperation I looked to my left, out of the window, trying to escape the now stifling surroundings of the original 19th century maritime oils hanging on the heavy oak paneled walls, the brass sconces with their little linen shades casting a yellowish glow, the great fireplaces and trophy-laden mantles, the deep burgundy-hued leather Chesterfield couches and elegant wing chairs, their hand-carved clawed legs resting on antique Oriental rugs of muted russet and browns and maroon colors in the outer rooms, and people such as Daniels and the specter-like Margaret and all the others who, so far unseen, I knew inhabited the grand clubhouse and the world of regattas and protocols and privilege.

“The sophomore year seems to have been a busy one for you. Anyway,” he said, breaking the silence as I looked back at him, my face not attempting, nor able, to hide my humiliation. “Mr. Cook has asked me, on behalf of your father’s request to him, to look into possible summer employment for you here at the club. Do you understand how this works?”

“Yes,” I answered, a bit mechanically, resigned to my lowly station by my own words.

“Good. So, this meeting was just a formality so we could make sure that at the very least, your physical presence would best typify the kind of young person we feel will represent the high standards and ideals of our organization. On that consideration, you present yourself well.”

“Thank you,” I said, feeling a bit strange now as I realized, and with the floundering way I tried to bluff my way through, that the job, whatever it was going to be, was mine.

“As far as your background is concerned, do you have any experience working around boats, sailing, and with those who own and race them? Do you know of, or are aware of the set of rules governing colors, the procedural methods covering regatta events, the Corinthian attitude towards amateur competition, and the finer distinctions of yacht club membership?”


“I see. Well then,” he said, now leaning forward and placing both hands, palms down, on the table. “As a request has been made by one of our esteemed members to see this thing through for you, we’ll just have you make a go at it. Sink or swim, as it were. You see those boys down there?” he said, still looking at me but motioning a bit with his head.

“Yes, I was watching them before, while I was waiting.”

Margaret had reappeared and placed on the table, what looked like to me to be a fine china cup on a small plate. She poured the coffee from a silver decanter, as elegant in its design as was the cup, and wiped the lone drop of dark liquid from its spout with a white linen napkin she held in her other hand.

“Thank you Margaret. ”

“Mr. Daniels,” was all she said, nodding her head slightly and taking two or three steps backwards, turned and walked quietly across the room and, opening a door, was gone.

“I think that is where we shall place you. Yes. It’s good outdoor activity, will test your mettle, and is of the kind I feel you will most likely benefit from. That is, unless you would rather work here in the dining room, not as a waiter of course, but most likely in the kitchen as a food runner, dish washer, or helping to clear tables. Or perhaps with maintenance or the grounds crew?”

“I’ll work out there, with the boats, with them,” I said without hesitation.

“Good. Why don’t you take yourself down there and introduce yourself to a, Mr. Marks. He’ll show you the ropes and start to get you, as they say on the docks, squared away. Quite the sailor, Marks is. Been with us, let me see, I believe this will be his third season now and he seems to have gotten the attention of those in charge of our racing committee. Won last year’s annual Labor Day Club Employees Regatta quite handily in a rather contentious affair with one of the other boats helmed by a member’s son. They did go at it some but in the end, Marks’ crew did prevail. Could make for a rather interesting rematch. Odd young man, though. He’s a, bit different from the rest. You’ll see what I mean. Now, will there be anything else?” he smiled while lifting the cup of coffee and taking a careful, almost silent sip.

As he looked at me over the rim, I could smell the deep, dark aroma coming from it, an adult scent that I did not understand nor could ever, at that moment in my life, along with many other as yet undefined things still shrouded over in mystery, fathom becoming familiar with.

“Uh, no. Thank you,” I said, not knowing whether to get up and offer my hand, or continue to sit there and reach over the table.

“Edward, you are supposed to ask about your salary,” he said, putting the coffee cup down and leveling his gaze at me.

“Oh. Uh, well then, what is it?” I felt myself go flush, becoming stupid and awkward again after almost recovering from a moment ago, and now beginning to sweat in my shirt as well.

“You will be paid twenty-five dollars per week, delivered by check, the week consisting of six days with a day off on a rotating schedule. Do your job well and there will most likely be gratuities coming your way; that is, you will get tips from the members and their guests. It will not be expected but earned. You will be issued two working shirts, which must always be clean and wrinkle free. There is a laundry service for the help but it will be your responsibility to get it done. Your hair must be neatly groomed and combed and as I see you have yet to shave, need not worry about that for now. Should you start to sprout some growth during the summer, make sure it is gone before reporting for the day. But Marks will give you all the necessary information. Keep your nose clean and take care of the members, their families, and their boats. This is a highly visible position and serving the membership is of utmost importance. And Edward,” he said, in a tone that told me our time together was just about up.

“Yes?” I said, standing up for no other reason than I had nothing else to say and wanted so much to be out of there.

“Stay away from the members’ young daughters, those of your age. While they may appear to be friendly and a tempting vision for the young men here, especially the boat crews what with their bravado and seeming ease and expert prowess with tiller and sail, such fraternization is not only frowned upon but is against the club’s rules of etiquette and station and serves as grounds for immediate dismissal. Understood?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well then,” he said as he stood up, “The best of luck to you Edward. Have a good summer and if you show enough of what we like to see around here, perhaps we’ll have you back again for next season. That’s a well tied Windsor knot, by the way.”

He offered his hand across the table, which I again, following my father’s advice, met and left him with a firm clasp. He smiled, nodded his head, picked up his cup of coffee by the dish and crossed over to the window.

“Edward,” he said, not turning around. “Make sure you send a personal, hand-written note to Mr. Cook, thanking him for his trouble. Be careful of spelling and grammatical syntax. But of course, you being a, writer, are already aware of that. Use the club stationary and leave it with Margaret at the front desk. She’ll see to it that he gets it.”

“I will. Thank you Mr. Daniels,” I said and, hesitating for a moment in anticipation he might say something back, which he did not, turned and walked out of the dining room. I made my way through the vestibule and outer lounge and past one of the bar rooms, pushed on one side of the double, oak-doored main entrance and stepped out on the porch, where quite soon, the handsome and varnished, bent-wood and cane furniture with their dark green canvas cushions and nearby, glass-topped tables, would be placed, and into the late afternoon sun of a late spring day.


Laying The Keel

The grounds upon which I walked that day, down the gently sloping and already well-manicured rise, its brown winter coat now green and shorn of its tattered growth, towards the docks and the boat crew huts, had come into being under the ownership of the yacht club in 1850. That was when the four original founding members of a very small but up and coming racing club, leased the then modest home on the hill from a wealthy industrialist who had moved on to another location but had not yet decided to part with the real estate. As the membership swelled, so did its coffers and they were soon able to purchase the property outright in a cash deal as well as acquiring the surrounding land. Then, as fortunes rose with new and wealthier members, they expanded the place until it reached its present and grand appointments.

Generations before that, of course, and in the time when the Boston Post Road ran between New York City and Boston, going right through the now wealthy and incorporated municipality, founded in 1661 according to the well-maintained signs found on both sides of its legal boundaries, itself a smaller hamlet within yet a larger and equally affluent town, it was land inhabited by the Manhatatan Mohicans. The tribal chief, Wappaquewam, was convinced by a prosperous English trader named John Richbell, to allow him to acquire three necks of land on what was known back then as the Westchester Path. It was on the middle neck that the yacht club’s grounds would take root.

While the image of a rough-hewn longhouse occupying the very ground on whose surface I now stepped, or that of hunting parties paddling across the cove in birch tree canoes with sides painted in images depicting animal and spiritual deities, the braves’ bows and quivers secured about their necks as they rowed across the placid waters never materialized in my mind, I did stop and turn around to look back at the grand clubhouse perched on top.

The rambling, two-story Victorian structure, with its three turrets, the largest one in the middle and the one sporting a rather whimsical weather vane in the shape of a whale, with two others steeples of equal height at each end, was built in a somewhat stretched-out V-shape that followed the natural contour of the land.

The finishing touches of the exterior paint, an elegant shade of brown, like the kind I’ve seen in the leather seats of grand touring cars, set against a dazzling white with some gingerbread trim here and there, was still being paid attention to by a group of painters, their scaffolding visible along one of the upper sides of the building.

Off to the side of each of the wings, and far enough away from the main complex so they would not mix with the membership, I could see the small clapboard cottages, shacks, and bunk houses that the summer and kitchen help occupied. They were painted white with green roofs and were maintained by whoever the current tenants were. It all had the look of that of a summer camp.

The first floor of the clubhouse consisted of several lounge and bar areas, a men’s cigar room, separate card playing rooms, one for the men and the other for the ladies, a billiard room, private conference areas, the kitchen, and the administrative office. The main dining room, from which I had just come from, was also located here and occupied the bottom of the V with both sides offering commanding views of the docks and the entire cove through massive floor to ceiling windows, ones that were framed in elegant curtains which could be drawn should the sun be too harsh for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner seating.

The vista seen through those windows was nothing short of spectacular including the buoyed markers leading out to the vast sound that lay beyond. By dusk and until the first light of dawn, they flashed red to port and green to starboard, showing the safe way in and out to those so anointed as to partake in this protected harbor of privilege and ideal community.

The second floor was accessed via two ornate and carpeted staircases, found to either side of the main floor’s entrance hall, their brass holding rods always polished. A small electric elevator cab was located to the right of the hall and was for those unable to make the climb. Upstairs, there were well-appointed guest rooms for the occasional and special visitors needing suitable accommodations. Situated in the eastern turret was an extensive, double-tiered library, whose offerings included many eclectic and varied reading materials, both contemporary and classic volumes of literature, a special first edition cabinet, and most importantly, the latest business periodicals and books penned by the sharpest minds both here and abroad. There was even a librarian on station starting at nine a.m. and staying until colors and the cannon firing in the evening.

There were also a pair of extra private conference rooms, equipped with tickers and telephones for both the domestic and foreign markets, which were set aside for discussions and meetings requiring such a need for secrecy or for those whose undisclosed information said between themselves, should it become common knowledge too soon to either the general public or those in a position to act upon it, could affect the price of oil, wheat, or some other commodity or stock. No, in a case like that, nothing but an ordered, timely, and controlled situation could be tolerated.

After all, vast fortunes were being made on the speculation of the futures market, and so far, all was well with the inner workings of the country’s great financial machine as it drove on, all pistons pumping, its immense furnaces glowing hot and liquid with explosive industry, guiding itself forward along a highway built and maintained, and sometimes under construction with no terminus in sight, by those same single-minded captains of industry who now also held the wheel.

But as I turned back around, totally unaware of what was happening on Wall Street or any other street for that matter, and not giving it any thought as to how or why it should or would affect me now or in the future, my focus was fully intent on the activities going on at the water’s edge and out in the cove itself.

There was a beehive of movement in progress, much of it accompanied by a cacophony of varying pitched whistles, some skillfully made by placing two fingers in one’s mouth while others used the usual and familiar mechanical device held between clenched teeth. There were yells and a great waving and gesturing of hands and arms, all seemingly random and somewhat confused at first glance. As I kept on watching however, I noticed a rhythm and an order; that each physical gesture was a signal and part of a method and plan leading to a solution to all the comings and goings of the many small and agile boats, some equipped with outboard motor power, others under sail, and all being guided, driven, and manned by young and, by their dexterity and expert timing of working with wind and current, sailors and mariners of great assurance and prowess.

As I noted before, the cove was somewhat horseshoe-shaped, its open end lying out to the west with its rounded edge off to the east. By my untrained eye it appeared to be about a mile wide and perhaps four miles long until its outermost boundary ended and it opened up and emptied out into the sound. Near where I now stood, a series of docks were being towed into place and assembled along what would have been the shoreside of the bay and the shorter of the two horseshoe legs. A duckwalk was also being constructed by a separate crew and when finished, would connect the docks to several pathways at the bottom of the hill.

“I’m looking for a Mr. Marks,” I said as I approached and then stopped at a group of them who were working just short of what, as soon as it was finished, would be the main face dock.

“Oh, you are, are you?” he said back at me, his voice decorated with what I assumed to be quite the Irish inflection, and looking me over for a moment before turning back to face the water.

He had a full head of red hair, was freckled across the face and cheeks, and quite tall and broad shouldered with the kind of arms and neck common to someone used to doing manual labor. He was stripped down to a t-shirt and shorts, had on a pair of well-used work gloves and very stained and dirty, very worn out, high-top sneakers of the kind I had never seen before.

“I guess you’ll be the new boy,” he said, grabbing a long plank of wood and handing if off to another who had been waiting there. “Best get rid of that suit and them shoes right quick and get yourself a proper work outfit and a pair of Connies,” he smiled broadly. “What?” he added when I didn’t seem to know what he was referring to.

“Uh, how did you know?” I said, a bit uncomfortably, now once again becoming aware of the insecurity of my surroundings and the fear of my limited abilities, both intellectual and physical, as the feeling seemed to encase me like an ill-fitting coat.

“Boy-o, there’s very little around here that doesn’t get noticed. An’ y’best be gettin’ used to it right from the start,” he said and, looking past me and up at the windows of the grand clubhouse, threw one arm up in the air in a wave. “Hiyadoin’ up there, Mr. Daniels,” he smiled. “The old boy’ll be watchin’ us for sure. Name’s McCurdy,” he said, now lowering his arm and, taking off one old glove, stuck his hand out towards me. “Just McCurdy will do.”

“Edward. Edward Collins,” I said and grabbed at his big paw, watching as it seemed to devour my hand. I would be amazed when I found out he and I were of the same age especially since, at first impression, he had the physical appearance and more defined facial features of one who had already left his teen years behind.

“And what shall we be callin’ you then? How do you prefer to go by?

“It doesn’t really matter. “

“Well then, we’ll settle on Edward for now. A right sounding name y’got there boy-o. I’ll be checkin’ in with me mum on this, but I believe it means you bein’ a wealthy guardian back in the old country. She’s one of the cooks here, up in the big house there, and for sure we’ll be fattenin’ you up some and, from the look of you, fillin’ them shoulders and arms out a bit. Say, you be one of them rich fellers, kin to one of the members maybe, what like to kick around with the workin’ class but havin’ nothin’ to do with them?” he said, his tone suddenly a bit on the unfriendly side. While I obviously knew nothing of McCurdy, there was one thing I was sure of. He was the kind of fellow one wished to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with rather than face-to-face.

“No. Not me. My father does some business with a Mr. Cook…”

“Ah, then it’s a favor to Mr. Cook what got you here?”

“Yes. I guess so.”

“’Tis or ‘tisn’t, Edward. A bit of advice, then: Don’t play the fence, not with this bunch,” he said as he gestured out towards the water. “Never know where you stand that way, whether it be here on the land or out there. It’s just the way things are for some of us.”

“Yes. That’s the reason.”

“Alright then. Favors is part of what makes things move in life. Mr. Cook’s one of the right fellows, an’ I found him to be a fair man. Does good by the boys what does good by him.”

Just then a shrill whistle cut the air, followed by another and another and yet another; the first having its origin way out on the water with the subsequent  sounds being relayed to shore. They were at the same time a signal and a call to arms as would a heralding of trumpets indicate, as most of the boys near us stopped what they were doing and gazed seaward, out past the furthest buoy that marked the entrance to the channel leading into the cove. Some donned sunglasses while others, like McCurdy was doing now, shaded their eyes with one hand.

“There be your Mr. Marks, out there and beatin’ downwind Edward. And you’re about to see a right smart demonstration of sailin’ ability. You watch close now, boy-o. Ain’t many can do what he’s about to do. You watch at how it’s done, and done all Bristol-fashion proper.”

From where we stood, all I could see was a rather small boat that had just turned the far corner at the top of the seaward arm and entered the lane of buoys. It was actually a twelve-foot sailing dinghy that went by the name of Buster, with a single sail that was now billowed out and full with the stiff wind.

“He’s got her now. There’ll be no luffin’ ‘till he brings her in, starboard side to,” grinned McCurdy.  “And with the wind against the tide.”

There was admiration in the way he spoke, an esteem I rarely heard from those of my age and with whom I generally referred to as friends, and as I stared out at the quickly approaching boat, I could see the way it moved across the water and the spray it now and then threw up as it hit a small wave. But as for nuance; as for the fine distinction of expertise everyone else but me seemed to be observing, it was as if I were a blind man lost in a dark cave, beating around in desperation with my hands and trying to get a sense of where I was.

And then I saw him, leaning out over one side of the boat, stretched out at almost his entire length, his body seeming to hover in the air as if in the next moment he should surely be tossed, heels over head and into the water.

He held onto a piece of line I surmised was attached in some manner so as to control the sail and clutched in the other hand, a shorter line I was sure had to be affixed to the tiller. His repositioning, and that the boat on his side immediately reared up out of the water, made me think that surely this maneuver would cause him to capsize. But instead, the boat seemed to do exactly as he wished and even picked up speed.

Then, as he tugged a bit at the sail line he was holding and the taut sail was pulled in some, the rate of his approach increased two fold and now, by all accounts of my perception of speed and distance, he would most assuredly crash headlong into the yet to be completed face dock, quickly scattering his fellow workers to safety as he dashed his boat to splinters and most likely, a great deal of his own bones.

Everyone had now stopped what they were doing and watched as the boat and its demon helmsman, hell bent for sure destruction, skipped and sped into the very basin where the mooring-field buoys were being set. With just visible and deft movements of the tiller, he avoided one after the other, cutting them so close as to make them bob up and down as he sped by, barely losing speed in the maneuver, and quickly recovering his intended track after passing the last one.

They whistled now, but not in the signaling manner as before. Instead, the shrill calls joined in on an exuberant and excited collective resulting in one steady sound. The kind that was a clamorous declaration of support and admiration and one that would crescendo in its approval to the kind of bravado that was obviously going to be the product of an audacious display of sailing skill and individual bravery.

For some reason I turned away from the water for a moment and glancing up and back at the porch outside of the main dining room, saw one of the big doors open slightly and someone I assumed to be Daniels, walk out and stand there, waiting and watching. I imagined a slightly toothy smile crossing his lips as he patiently sipped at his cup of dark and sharply aromatic coffee. And in that same instant I had a sense of apprehension, as if some vigilant and eternally patient and omniscient overseer, having put into play his own rules of the game, was waiting for things to follow his pre-set course, knowing what the eventual outcome would be.

“Here he comes now Edward. You’ll be wantin’ to see this,” McCurdy said, his voice immediately bringing me back to watching, with the utmost anticipation, what surely was going to be an impeding disaster unfolding before my eyes.

But instead of wood crashing upon wood; of a human body flying uncontrollably through the air, itself to be dashed upon the dock, I saw him quickly and deftly sit up straight, the boat now on an even keel. In one motion he tucked the tiller under one arm, and in almost the same instant, with the hand holding the sail line, gave a rapid pull on it that caused the sail to immediately drop. With the wind now gone, the boat had all but stopped its forward motion and, with the outgoing tide on the bow, glided safely into less than a boat’s length away. The dinghy drifted the rest of the way, coming to rest alongside as it just slightly touched the dock. He got out of the boat, tied it off, and smiling to all who were watching, touched his forehead slightly with one hand and bowed.

A cheer went up. A hearty and hale ‘hoo-rah!’ from most all who had been watching and I found myself unable to control my smile or my hands as I too joined in the clapping and whooping and hollering that ensued.

And as I stood there in my dark suit with my black dress shoes on, aware of the perfect Windsor knot against the collar of my starched white shirt, I felt an elusive something brush by and pass very close, so much so that I could take in its exciting fragrance. It was a slight, playful and insistent thing that pushed at me, now so close I could hear it whispering something I could not quite make out and knowing, at the same time and in the same moment that I wanted very much to listen to it again. It was at once delicate and powerful and moving, much like the irresistible effect the moon has on the tides. And then just as quickly, it was gone but not before leaving a memory of the promise of something to come and of the possibility of an unknown and as yet to be determined change. One that I would be given a choice to either follow or ignore.

With the revelry now over and as the work quickly resumed, ramping up to its previous fever pitch, he made his way up from the dock. I could see he was heading straight for where McCurdy and I, along with some of the other boys, stood. I stole a quick glance up at the porch and noticed the figure was no longer standing there.

“There’s hope for you yet Kevin,” McCurdy said. “But you surely would have broken an egg on that landing.”

“Yeah,” he said. “But I feel I’m kind of getting the hang of it.”

“This here’s Edward Collins. He’s the new boy.”

“Just Edward will be fine,” I said to him, knowing full well that McCurdy, given our most recent introduction and upon hearing my words, would be grinning from ear to ear.

“Now,” he interrupted, as if on cue and scratching a bit behind one ear, it almost covered over by his wild red hair, squared himself, his arms folded over his chest. “Would that be Just Edward, because you are a righteous and honorable chap, or Just Edward, the dolt, too dumb to get a stone out of one of his Connies while readin’ the instructions what was written on the bottom of the sole?”

“I’m working on just what a Connie is but I think I’ve got that stone thing figured out,” I said, now finding myself unable to once again, hold back the smile as well and enjoying being the object of the joke so much so that I even relaxed in the comfort of it, somehow knowing that the rag I was getting was in good-hearted fellowship rather than in taunt or torment.

“Well then, Just Edward, seems like you’re going to fall in rather quickly with this bunch,” Kevin said, extending a hand out. “Kevin Marks. Welcome to the boat crews.”

“Thanks,” I said and met his hand.

There was handsomeness about him, one that I would remember years later as possessing the same kind of looks I had seen in a young Gregory Peck in his very first motion picture. It was not so much for the fact that he had very black hair, not quite straight but not overly curly, that seemed to enjoy being tossed back and forth, especially in the light, landside breeze that puffed at and around us every now and then, carrying with it a tinge of salty air.

Nor was it in his somewhat lighter brown eyes and his facial features, a mostly square face with ears flat against his head, which were more or less in balance with the rest of what he looked like. Not overly tall nor broad, especially when compared to the likes of McCurdy, still he, much more than his manly appeal, did have a quality of person about him that was immediately, quite likable. And like many of his comrades and cohorts, I too would find no trouble, much like a moth drawn to a flame, in following him. But unlike being burned and destroyed, the light we pressed on towards was one based on friendship and honor and the kind capable of forging a bond as timeless and as enduring as the sea itself.

Like most of the other workers, he wore a pair of baggy shorts, stained and dirty from the almost non-stop activity that had obviously been going on long before I arrived, an old and worn sweat shirt, its sleeves pushed back up on his arms, its original color suspect and long hidden from the many washings with darker items, and a pair of beat up leather moccasins.

But that would all change with the coming Memorial Day Weekend, the official launch of the yachting season here, and as of Thursday afternoon, just three days away, what with the mooring field finished by then and several boats due in, no one on staff would present themselves dressed in anything but a clean and pressed uniform, no matter what their individual job was or what kind of activity they were involved in. Hair would have been cut to the proper length and all other grooming would constantly be administered to and monitored by managers and supervisors. And it would remain so until the Monday of the Labor Day weekend. For that was when, in rain or shine, with gale-driven or becalmed seas, the last sailboat regatta race, that being the young boat crews taking on all comers, would take place.

It was a privileged tradition dating back to 1861, when the idea for the competition first took hold and became an integral part of the club’s lore, that but for several years during the Civil War, would now continue with its latest contest and my participation at the end of this summer. While September 5, 1882 was the first recognized Labor Day holiday, the initial challenges took place on the day before the annual migration south began and the yacht owners made preparations to send their boats to warmer climes.

Regardless, the participants followed the strict regulations and conventions of the club, ones adhering to in a most sacred and almost holy way, to what was known as The Corinthian Rules of Amateur Competition. And anyone found in violation of those set of consecrated, inviolable, and granite-tableted laws would face the humiliation of the club and all those affiliated and cross-honored institutions.

In short, it would be nothing less than a nautical excommunication and the kind of badge of dishonor all within the yachting community would know of. And therefore, in much the same way as the rings of water made by a tossed stone work their way outwards in ever-expanding circles, the word would eventually reach the world of business, finance, and banking.

All of that was of no concern to me that day. “I’ve never seen anything like that before,” I said, following Kevin and McCurdy up the hill.

“Thanks,” Kevin said. “But, as with anything, if you do it enough times, you get comfortable. This is what I do. Wish I played a musical instrument as well. Or painted.”

“But you still have to have the talent,” I said.

“I guess,” he said and smiled. “I guess.”

Just as we were getting to the top of the hill and picking up the path that led to the boat crews’ bunkhouse, I saw another fellow coming towards us. Where Kevin and McCurdy were rugged and fit, this other boy, of average height for our age, seemed a bit soft and in his physical presence and demeanor, in the way he carried himself I mean, I sensed something of the unsure about him. Not that I was such a good judge of people back then, having had such limited experience in the world, and while I cannot explain it, it was there all the same.

I have found that sometimes these first hunches about someone can ring false and then what follows is a great deal of ground to make up with oneself and that person that could have been avoided in the first place with just a bit of patience and understanding. But not in the case of Mason Goode.

There was nothing notable in his appearance and he possessed a rather plain and unlined face. Not that any of the other boys were as yet etched with character, still with most you could see it in the way they smiled or when engaged in conversation, whether it be of a serious nature or one of telling a tale or a simple discussion of sports or some news heard over the radio. And then again, there was the conspiratorial exchanges and quick and animated banter often associated with talking about the girls, whether real or imagined, that inhabited the thoughts some of my friends or of the young men I was about to take up with. Then it was all wide-eyed and filled with the kind of innuendo that was often whispered with a ‘you-know-what-I-mean’ delivery, even though most times both speaker and listener did not know at all.

He had sandy-colored hair that sat up on the top of his head and wore long, tan khaki pants, a pair of leather moccasins that looked quite new, and a long-sleeved Oxford shirt, white with blue stripes, worn outside of his khakis.

“Showing off again, Marks. Very impressive, as usual, to some,” he called out as he approached.

“Watch this,” McCurdy said to me in a slightly conspiratorial way as he smiled and leveled his gaze at the approaching boy. “Whattya know, whattya say, Goody?” he called out in a voice laced with seemingly lighthearted joviality.

“It’s pronounced, Good. The ‘e’ is silent,” he said sullenly and with impatience, grabbing a quick glance at McCurdy and then, with a slight nod at Kevin, his dark eyes darting about some as if making visual contact were something he wished to avoid.

“Then why is it there?” McCurdy said and stopped, as we all did now standing a few steps away from him.

“Obviously beyond your understanding,” he said.

“Ah come on Mason, lighten’ up the load a bit. You still wincin’ from that trouncin’ we give you an’ your boys last year? That was one hell of a race, boy-o. An’ we give it to you good too. I worked on varnishin’ that transom myself so’s you’d be getting’ a good look at it from start to finish.”

I saw him flinch slightly and blink once too often. It was as if he were removing a rather nasty splinter from the fleshy part of his palm, and missing grabbing it a few times with the tweezers until finally getting it out only to discover a small sliver still there under the skin and a bit too deep to go in again. When that happened, there was nothing to do for a time but live with the discomfort.

“I hear you got a new boat boy. This him?” he said, choosing to ignore what McCurdy had said and looking at me.

“Edward. Edward Collins,” I said and stepped forward a bit, offering my hand.

“Mason. Mason Goode,” he said, again emphasizing the correct pronunciation of his surname.

His handshake was half-hearted and much like making the effort for him was not worth what he would be getting back. He let go first, and I got the feeling he wanted to be done with the whole convention.

“He going to be one of your, Great Corinthians Marks?” he said, this time his voice mouthed the words so that they were singed with sarcasm and finished off with a vitriolic attitude.

I was a bit taken aback at how quickly this had become adversarial and was somewhat confused at all the goings on when Kevin stepped in. Then things changed.

“That will be for him to decide, Mason,” was all he said, delivering the message in a non-threatening way while at the same time, diffusing the somewhat charged atmosphere.

“I guess you heard Lipton has Shamrock over at Jacobs’ yard on City Island,” Mason said, changing his tone and now, being bested by personality, was looking for a way out, perhaps even to gain some ground with this information.

“And Resolute will be visiting Seawanhaka. You never know then, do you Mason? Maybe they’ll have a go at it right here. By the way, you got a boat in mind yet?”

“What?” he snapped.

“Oh, don’t you know? There’ll be three Herschoffs. All thirty-one foot Fisher Island rigs, right here for the summer. I’ll be tending to Kestrel for the Dunleavy’s.”

“The other two spoken for?” Mason said, his voice going up an octave.

“You’ll just have to find that out for yourself,” Kevin said.

I had been watching with fascination as Kevin and Mason squared off and noticed how, with this last statement, the conversation was over and everybody knew it. Mason had let a little too much time pass before coming back with a response.

“I guess I will,” he finally said and with that, walked away.

“You watch out for that one,” McCurdy said to me before I had a chance to ask who Mason was. “Yeah,” he called out. “See you around the docks, Goody.”

“What was that all about?” I asked as we again began to make our way towards the crews’ bunkhouse. I saw Kevin stick his hands into his pockets and shake his head some and smile, and while McCurdy turned to me to say something, a quick and sharp whistle coming from down the hill caused him to stop.

There were two of them and as McCurdy waved, they raced one another up the hill to where we waited. Quick and agile, more like cats in their lively movements, they were smiling and elbowing one another up the steep grade, legs pumping in counterpoint to their arms, in what was obviously, good-hearted and spirited competition, finally rushing past us in tandem and falling to the grass, huffing and puffing.

“I won than one,” the taller of the two said in one breath.

“No you didn’t,” said the other, gasping a bit between his words. “I had…you by a… chin.”

“No you didn’t. I stuck out my hand. If there was tape there, I would have busted through it sure as anything and definitely way before your chin.”

“How could you be sure?”

“I was watching you.”

“No you weren’t. I was watching you and I didn’t see you watching me.”

 Yes I was.”

“The good Lord was sure havin’ pity on their folks when they was born when He arranged for one of them to get kidnapped by the last of the Barbary Coast pirates and sold to a traveling Rumanian circus. Imagine these two being in the same house as babies,” McCurdy said.

“Come on. Who won McCurdy? You saw,” the smaller one said as he got up and brushed off the grass from his elbows and knees.

“I beat him this time Kevin. You tell him,” said the taller one as he too got up and, after sweeping the shock of brown hair off his brow and eyes, brushed off some lingering grass from one shoulder and, turning him around, from the back of the other boy’s shirt.

“Thanks,” he said.

“You’re welcome. But I still beat you,” he smiled and pushed the smaller boy away, again in what could only be described as affection and care.

While they were indeed brothers, and as I would find out, one of them not kidnapped by pirates, Frederick, the taller one, and Jack could not have been more different in both appearance and personality. They were dressed more or less in the same manner as all the others; a pair of shorts and t-shirt and those well worn, high-top sneakers I had figured out by now were the Connies McCurdy had mentioned.

Jack was a gregarious fireplug of a boy, with strong legs and shoulders for someone fifteen years old. Frederick, senior to his younger brother by eighteen months and who could be at times somewhat introspective, was thin but not skinny. Instead, and as fit as Jack, his physique was more lithe, as if his muscles were tightly coiled springs whose force was ready to be released at a moment’s notice. Where his older brother’s hair favored a mostly brown color, Jack’s was that of a shorn corn husk and worn close to his scalp. Neither possessed what could be called handsome looks but both boys had a hardy and almost devil-may-care quality about them that made them at once quite likable and fun to be around. And though seemingly in constant competition, they were as devoted to one another as siblings could be.

“Hey, Jack, Frederick, say hello to Edward,” Kevin said.

“Edward,” Jack said, sidling up to me and shaking my hand with a big smile on his face. “You seen it too. Go on, tell him I won.”

“Hey, I tell you, from where I stood? It looked like a tie,” I said, immediately enjoying being part of the banter.

“That is a diplomat,” Frederick said, shouldering his brother aside and offering his hand. “Glad to meet you Edward.”

“We hung Just Edward on him,” McCauley joined in, clasping me on the shoulder hard enough so I could feel the power in his big hands.

“Just Edward?” Jack asked, squinting in the sun.

“Alright, that’s enough of that. We’ll explain it later. Edward’s joining us this summer as part of our crew,” Kevin said. “We’re on our way up to the quarters. Are you guys done?”

“Got three more anchors to set on our line,” Frederick said.

“Okay. We’ll be down as soon as we get him a bunk,” Kevin said.

“Bunk?” I asked.

“Now, don’t tell me Daniels didn’t tell you,” he said, grabbing a quick look up into the sky and then over at the main clubhouse. “The boat crews work around the clock, in shifts. We run the launches back and forth from the mooring field to the face dock. Once things get going, and they get going really fast, we’re always on call. There are four crews, each with five to a crew, and ten launches, two to a launch. One helmsman and one to handle the lines and help people get on and off. That means we live here. In there,” Kevin said, pointing to the white clapboard bunkhouse, with the green roof, ahead of us.

The one-story structure had eight windows, four to each side of a single door in the middle. Above the door, cross-crossed like two dueling swords, was a pair of wooden oars, and between them, at the space above the point where they met, was a small, old-fashioned anchor.

“Home sweet home,” said McCurdy.

“Okay. Here’s what we do,” Kevin said, a plan already worked out in his head. “I’m assuming you’ve got no gear with you, nothing. Right?”

“Yes,” I said, feeling a bit uncomfortable now. While I had no trouble staying out now and then, I had never been away from home for more than a weekend at a time and then, at a cousin’s or some other relative’s home. Now I would be sharing space with nineteen other boys. “My father got a phone call telling me to come up for an interview. That’s all I was told.”

“Okay. You live in Manhattan, right?”


“McCurdy. Go up and find out the train schedule back today and when they start running tomorrow morning,” Kevin said.

“Like this?” McCurdy answered, gesturing at his work-stained clothes.

“Right. Uh, tap on the office window and explain to Margaret that we need a train schedule to and from Manhattan. Better yet, ask your mother.”

“She ain’t gonna like it either but it’s better than dealing with Margaret.”

“It’s only to ask for a train schedule and besides, you’re not going through the dining room. And your mom’s on our side.”

McCurdy turned and jogged his way up the hill and soon disappeared behind the building.

“You guys get back to work. I’ll be down in a few minutes and I’ll help you run the lines out and finish things off,” Kevin said to Jack and Frederick. “And Frederick, you run the boat. Jack, you can take it tomorrow.”

“Ah, come on Kevin. I been working the line since Sunday,” Jack said.

“Hey, he’s about my size Kevin. He can borrow some of my stuff,” Frederick said, smiling over at Jack.

“Thanks,” I said, still feeling a bit inadequate at not having all the information I needed. It was like when I didn’t ask Daniels about my salary.

“Well, we’ll work on that,” Kevin said. “Okay, get going.”

“See ya, Just Edward. Don’t worry, we got your back,” Jack smiled and, tapping his brother on the arm, led the way back down the hill. “Welcome to the boat crews!” he called out, turning around and grinning and waving one arm.

“Come on, let’s go,” Kevin said to me and began walking off at a quick pace.

It took me a step or two to catch up and I followed him into the bunkhouse. It was a big, rectangular room and as I stepped inside, and even though most of the windows were open, I was met by the familiar odor of a locker room, much like the one at school and in a similar state of masculine disarray. There were two doors; the one we came in from and directly opposite, on the other long side, another one and four windows to the left and right of the doors and two on each end.

Up in the rafters and hanging from lines strung every which way, were a riot of pennants, hundreds of them, seemingly of every color combination possible, some faded with age and others still vibrant with letters in fancy script or possessing numerals or symbols, their secret meaning known to only those on the inside, and all representing the collections of the many crews that had inhabited the bunkhouse over the years. And in the corners stood wood masts, rigging, block and tackle, canvas, small triangular-shaped sails, and short and long oars. Scattered on the floor in piles were oarlocks, pelican hooks of all sizes, coiled up line, worn and salt-water stiff leather gloves with the fingers and thumbs cut off at the second knuckle, fids and other marlinspike tools, thick hemp boat fenders, and bent and barnacle-encrusted brass propellers.

Sixteen cots, with small wood tables and a lamp alongside were set up, one under every window along the two long walls of the room. The other four beds, two on each side, were located under each of the far side windows with the same table and lamp set up. At the foot of every bunk was a medium size steamer trunk, some of whose lids were open with their contents seemingly spilling out and on to the floor as if trying to escape captivity.

“It’s not pretty. Doesn’t have to be. You’ll be grabbing a couple of hours of sleep between shifts and not much else here. It suits the purpose,” he said looking around. “There. Over there. That’s us,” he pointed off, down the line. “One, two, three, four, along the wall and that fifth one under the far window on that wall. We like to keep the crews together. We’re known as Boat One Crew. Over there is Boat Two. And on the other side, Boats Three and Four. You’ll meet the rest of them later, most likely at breakfast in the morning. As soon as McCurdy gets back, we’ll get the timing straight.”

“Hey Kevin, I’m, uh, sorry about, well…” I began to say.

“Ah, never mind. We’ll get it sorted out.”

It was the way he said it and how I was feeling that started to put me at ease and I began to promise myself that I would now think about things more carefully; stay a step or two ahead of what I saw and heard in anticipation of what could be coming my way. I would ask the question and get the answer.

“I hope I didn’t mess things up for you and the others,” I stammered.

Just then, the door opened and McCurdy walked in. “Sometimes, boy-o, it truly is the luck of the Irish,” he said. “Mum told me one of the drivers is pushin’ on down to the city in about half an hour and runnin’ some fresh produce errands before going over to the Fulton Market. He’ll be there for quite awhile before he starts to come back. Where’s home?”

“Upper east side,” I said.

“Why then, he’s practically going right by your door. He can drop you off and by the time he starts back, he’ll put in a call to your home and you’ll be ready to meet up with him for the ride back. Come on, I’ll take you up by the road and we can wait there,” McCurdy said.

It was a great plan and with its play about to be put into motion, I willingly joined in the conspiracy, feeling a shudder of excitement run through me. I felt safe in their company, ready to stumble and lurch my way into their good graces; become one of them and, while partaking in the adventure, learn to do something so different and thorough enough so that someone would take notice, as I did while watching all the work going on, that there was no doubt I knew what I was doing and able to do it well.

I looked at Kevin for approval. “Go,” he said. “We’ll cover for you. Besides, the higher-ups will be leaving soon. None of them stay on the premises now. When you come back, get off at the same spot and walk on down here. It’ll be late and we’ll wait for you. Save you some dinner as well. Go on.”

“Okay. See you later,” I said and began to follow McCurdy outside.

“Hey Edward, wait a second,” Kevin said and walked to the back of the room, grabbed at something on the floor and came back to where we stood. “Here.” He handed me a dark green canvas sea bag, the kind that you see sailors often carrying, slung over one shoulder.

“You can have it. Anything you can’t fit in that bag, you won’t need,” he said, smiling.

I caught my ride, told my parents and my siblings what I would be doing, shed my dark blue suit, starched white shirt, and shiny black shoes for a pair of blue jeans, my school sweat shirt, the only sneakers I had, and packed my sea bag.

“Edward, here, this is for you to use,” my father said to me, as the driver had phoned and I was almost ready to leave. He handed me a small leather case, the one I used to admire and covet growing up as a child and something I recognized as one of those objects that I perceived as defining being a man. It was his toiletries kit, the one that held a toothbrush, comb, and other necessary items for one to have while traveling.

“Have a good summer son. And don’t forget to call your mother, at least twice a week,” he said before stepping forward and embracing me.

“I will,” I said.

“I have a sense that you are going to be quite the man. Now, go say goodbye to mom and your brother and sister. I’ll walk you down to the street and wait with you.”

Before I got into the truck for the ride back, my father handed me some money.
“It’s just to get you started until your first paycheck. Then, you are on your own,” he said as he closed the door, waved goodbye, and walked back towards the front door to our apartment house as we pulled away from the curb and headed north.

“Thanks dad!” I called from the open window. “Thanks!”

To be continued…


Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Literary Corner


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Green Dock

Green Dock

The Shape of Things to Come

The buzz, or perhaps the hum, on hybrid and electric outboard engines.

By Ken Kreisler

Here’s an excerpt from a forum thread I picked up on while researching this topic:

“I have been doing some drawings using a 18V cordless drill and a 90⁰ drive. I would like to build a prototype but don’t want to spend a lot on proof of design model. Maybe this winter? It might be what the canoe, kayak people are looking for?”

Then this response:

“For a little boat, you might just try a cordless drill as-is. Attach a prop to the drill and hold it underwater. Just might work fine in water. Haven’t tried it myself.”

Okay, so I don’t think the drill thing is going to work. Better scrap that idea and move on. But I couldn’t resist this last one to kind of dog the hatch here:

“Also wanted to add that many power tools will also operate just fine on DC rather than AC power. So for example, you can take a beefy angle grinder and run it on 24v battery power, which would probably spin it at an RPM more useful for a prop than 120v”.

We’ve seen it before. A need addressed usually results in some sort of solution, however circuitous or less travelled the path might be. I even remember way back, in my yard snipe days, hearing some of the old timers lament about this new ‘Loran thing’. But certainly, with today’s geopolitical climate being what it is, and whether you ascribe to any doomsday theories about the end of oil supplies or not, the often rollercoaster and volatile price at the pump is certainly driving research into not only alternative fuel sources but in the direction of energy replacements as well. Enter the idea of the hybrid and electric outboard.

The original Elco Electric Launch as used in Chicago in 1893.

The original Elco Electric Launch as used in Chicago in 1893.

First, in the case of the electric outboard, let’s skip the intensive physics lesson concerning electromagnetism or the laws of Newton, Ampere, Ohm, and Kirschhoff, and instead cut right to the chase. At its most basic, an electric motor takes electrical energy, such as that produced by a battery, or enhanced/backed up by solar power, and turns it into movement. So instead of an internal combustion engine under the cowling, there is an electric motor turning the driveshaft to move your boat through the water.

The concept is not new. You could say it began in Chicago at the World’s Columbian Exposition on the afternoon of May 1, 1893, where well over one million passengers would take rides on 55 electric-powered boats designed and built by the Electric Launch Company, better known as Elco, over the course of the event.Today, there are several electric outboard engine manufacturers in the forefront of the technology whose designs, in some applications, offer a sensible, quiet, economical, and non-polluting alternative to internal combustion power.

Campion and ReGen have teamed up with an electric rig capable of pulling waterskiers and wakerboarders.

Campion and ReGen have teamed up with an electric rig capable of pulling waterskiers and wakerboarders.

Ft. Lauderdale-based ReGen Nautic has been creating quite a buzz with its 180- and 130-hp, fully electric outboard engines. Joining forces with Campion Boats, Canada’s largest producer of fiberglass boats, they already have a Chase 550 Bow Rider and 180-hp electric engine off to a Swiss dealer.

ReGen 180-hp Outboard“This technology has to start somewhere and we feel it is with us,” said ReGen’s president and CEO Pierre Caouette. “Among the most important aspects are our concerns about the safety systems we design into our products, ones that are well-understood by our company. Improved battery technology is some three years out and we are positioning ReGen Nautic to be there when it happens.”

The ReGen 180, with its 38.4 kWh lithium-ion battery bank, has gone for about 20 minutes at near peak power before having to go in for a charge. “With hi/lo operation, we’ve gotten two hours before recharge. And the boat has easily pulled water skiers and wake boarders,” said Caouette. However, it may make sense in a more practical application, such as that for a megayacht tender, where the engine can be easily recharged by a big boat genset system, or in a multi-engine configuration instead of running gasoline-powered engines for slow bell operations when entering a harbor or navigating a long stretch of no-wake zones.

Ray Electric OutboardMorton Ray, the guiding force behind Ray Electric Outboards of Cape Coral, FL, built his first prototype in his basement in Annandale, Virginia in 1973. “I am proud to say, that since my first motor was manufactured back in 1974 and of the thousands of motors manufactured since then, approximately 99% of our motors are still in service,” states Ray.

The Ray line up incudes the System 200-2.5 HP, 36V Series Motor, System 400-4.0 HP, 48V Series Motor, and System 500-5.0 HP, 60V Series Motor. Chargers and either Deka or Exide batteries are extra as is some optional equipment. Pricing for lithium-ion batteries is also available.

Winner of the 2012 DAME Innovation Award at this past year’s METS gathering in Amsterdam, Torqueedo, the German electric outboard motor company, with 13 offerings from 1- to 15-hp, is relying on its new 80-hp DEEP BLUE engine to propel it forward and into a strong position in this market.


The Torqeedo Deep Blue is making quite a splash while leaving a nice wake in the electric outboard field.

According to the company’s fact sheet, the DEEP BLUE System incorporates top to bottom specifically designed engineering. Among other features are a matched gearbox, and a waterproof venting and breathing seal, this to prevent any moisture from affecting the battery, compensate for temperature variants, and, in the unlikely event, to safely vent any gases. The connection box is the system’s nerve center connecting all the electrical and signal cables while providing a connection for two to four batteries.  And an on-board computer and touchscreen display, with 14 different screens, covers a wide range of information including GPS-based range and battery charge status. Pricing for the DEEP BLUE System, options, and battery information is available upon request.

The 30-hp Aquawatt seems a good match for a tender/dinghy.

The 30-hp Aquawatt seems a good match for a tender/dinghy.

Aquawatt, based in Austria, has four offerings in its electric outboard line; 11-, 18-, 28-, and 30-hp. The company has done extensive research and development in both AGM and Lithium Ion battery technology as well as in the solar power market and will therefore, have the ability to match up specific needs for various applications. All the engines are constructed with seawater resistant aluminum, have highly efficient water-cooled AC induction motors, and are suitable for saltwater use with zinc anodes.

There is little doubt that the shape of things to come will be more efficient, less polluting power for our engines, both inboard and outboard. In the case of the electric models, there is the inefficiency and extra weight of the battery systems. But as long as the need is there, a solution will be found. We’ll keep you posted on how things are progressing as we move forward with this technology.

I have a final thought on this topic concerning both its social, political, and economic implications that is mine and mine alone: If this country can send a $1+ billion, one ton, car-sized, electric/solar-powered vehicle to the surface of Mars, and then communicate and operate it to run around and explore the planet’s surface, then most assuredly, we should already be much further on down the road then we are in terms of alternative energy sources, sustainability, and limiting the use off fossil fuels. What do you think?

If you have any thoughts on this subject, please feel free to contact me by using the Leave A Comment feature at the bottom of the page.

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Green Dock



Green Dock

Green Dock

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

If you are in any way concerned about the health of our oceans and what that means to the overall well-being of our planet, and you don’t know who Sylvia Earle is, then it is imperative you do so…and now.

By Ken Kreisler

Her resume and background reads like just what you would expect from this dynamic woman whose passion and very being is connected to protecting the world’s oceans. Known with genuine affection as Her Deepness or The Sturgeon General, Dr. Sylvia Alice Earle is an oceanographer, aquanaut, and lecturer.

I want to get out in the water. I want to see fish, real fish, not fish in a laboratory.

I want to get out in the water. I want to see fish, real fish, not fish in a laboratory.”

She is the author of more than 125 publications concerning marine science and technology including the books Exploring the Deep Frontier, Sea Change (1995), Wild Ocean: America’s Parks Under the Sea (1999) and The Atlas of the Ocean (2001), she has participated in numerous television productions and given scientific, technical, and general interest lectures in more than 60 countries. Children’s books that she has written include Coral ReefsHello FishSea Critters, and Dive!

In 1986, Earle tied the world solo dive depth record in a sub (and setting the record for a woman), going 1000m in Deep Ocean Engineering’s Deep Rover. She was a chief scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1990 to 1992. Since 1998 she has been a National Geographic  explorer-in-residence; was named by Time Magazine as the first Hero for the Planet; was leader of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions; sat on the council chair for the Harte Research Institute for the Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; was founder and chairman of the Deep Search Foundation; and finally, the chair of the Advisory Council for the Ocean in Google Earth. And in her spare time, Dr.Earle has founded three companies which includes Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER Marine Operations), a company now run by her daughter Elizabeth, which continues to design, build and operate equipment for deep ocean environments.

In 2009, Earle won a TED Prize. With TED’s support, she launched Mission Blue, which aims to establish marine protected areas (dubbed “hope spots”) around the globe. With Mission Blue and its partners, Earle led expeditions to prospective hope spots: Cuba in 2009,Belize in January 2010, the Galápagos Islands in April 2010, and the Mesoamerican Reef in July 2011. There is more but I think you get the picture of who we’re dealing with here.

Recently, Dr. Earle reached out to the owners, captains, and crews of superyachts during a meeting in Ft. Lauderdale for help in furthering not only existing research, but assisting in critical data collection for future studies.


“We are united in the common interest in the blue part,” Earle said, pointing to the oceans on a spaceshot of Earth. “I want to know how the power of megayachts might be used in a positive way. This is a community of people who already care. It must begin with awareness,” she said.

“Sure, the problems are what we put in the oceans and what we take out,” Earle remarked. “But the biggest problem is to recognize that the oceans are in trouble.”

Kevin Hardy of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography seeks yachts to help his group deploy instruments to measure data at the sea bottom. He showed video of one of the small robotic machines he invented that, when dropped overboard, fall to the sea floor, record data, and floats back to the surface.

“Practically every time we do this, we discover a new creature,” he said.

Hardy has traveled to the ocean’s major trenches on every type of superyacht, boat, fishing trawlers to research vessels. “The hard part is getting out to these areas.”

As Expedition Leader of the Deep Ocean Odyssey crew during Fall 2000, Fabien ran extensive tests on one of the revolutionary Deep Rover subs. Here he is at 1,400 feet maneuvering the sub through the Mediterranean Sea.

As Expedition Leader of the Deep Ocean Odyssey crew during Fall 2000, Fabien ran extensive tests on one of the revolutionary Deep Rover subs. Here he is at 1,400 feet maneuvering the sub through the Mediterranean Sea.

Fabian Cousteau, grandson of legendary marine explorer Jacques Cousteau, shared a sentiment from his grandfather, that people with interest and ability have an obligation to use them. “It’s time we stopped living on this planet and start living with it.”

The scientific panel was sponsored by SeaKeepers International, a non-profit organization that fits superyachts with an ocean and atmospheric monitoring system, to bring researchers and yachts closer to their similar goals.

“What are we waiting for?” Earle asked. “We’ve been to the moon. Let’s send people to the ocean’s depths. Yachts have helicopters, she said, so why not more submersibles? Explore what is underneath the boat,” she said.

In recognition of her many accomplishments, Dr Earle was awarded the 1997 Seakeeper Award.

In recognition of her many accomplishments, Dr Earle was awarded the 1997 Seakeeper Award.

She knows what’s underneath a yacht; Earle set a record for her dive in an atmospheric diving suit in 1979 (to 1,250′) and she holds the women’s record for a solo dive in a deep submersible (to 3,280′).

“Yachts can be especially valuable for the opportunity they provide others to appreciate the oceans,” she said, even by offering scuba diving. “And when people know the waters more intimately, they will appreciate and care for them.”

“Our ability to deplete resources is at an all-time high,” Earle opined. “But so is our ability to restore.”

While the title of this essay has biblical roots, for me, its literal interpretation rings with a far clearer and more resonant understanding of our place on this planet and what our stewardship has meant to it so far. Sylvia Earle is truly one of those people who displays a certain kind of quality in which humankind finds possibilities. Her lifelong commitment to rise above mediocrity and defend the planet is shared my many but so far, only a few have chosen to follow. How about you?

Sylvia Earle on a reef“People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet — we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.”
—Sylvia Earle
If you have any thoughts on this subject, please feel free to contact me by using the Leave A Comment feature at the bottom of the page. You can learn more about SeaKeepers International and Sylvia Earle by visiting their Websites:, 

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Green Dock


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Green Dock

Green Dock

To Use or Not to Use: Is it really a question?

Boaters are squaring off on the controversy of having E15 added to the fuel used in their engines.

By Ken Kreisler

According the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) summary of The Clean Air Act of 1970 “ [it] is the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. Among other things, this law authorizes EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and public welfare and to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” Sounds like a plan to me. I mean, who doesn’t want clean air? But as widely attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in about 1150, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Fast forward to the 2007 signing of the Energy Independence and Security Act. In essence this tome included, among many other objectives, one that most boaters can relate to: Reducing petroleum use and increasing the utilization of alternative fuels with a stipulation that, according to Forbes contributor Larry Bell in a 9/23/12 Op-Ed article, “…a certain amount of ‘renewable’ fuel must be introduced into the market each year, an amount that will rise to 36 billion gallons in 2022.” In October of 2010, after an almost year- long urging from Growth Energy, a coalition of Ethanol supporters, along with over 50 Ethanol manufacturers, that same EPA decided to allow a bump up in the percentage of Ethanol from 10%, known as E10, to E15 in a selected group of gasoline engines.

corn-1847037_1280Here’s where things get contentious. E15 is a 15% solution of Ethanol; the alcohol fuel made from the sugars found in grains, with the most popular being extracted from corn and, in harmony with marine industry thinking, not a very good thing for internal combustion engines.

Firstly, it is hygroscopic by nature and attracts moisture and will therefore encourage internal engine rusting and other downstream problems. It also tends to dissolve and release destructive engine gunk which plug fuel filers, clog injectors, and play havoc with carburetors. Then there’s possible gasket and rubber hose failure and an issue with the decomposition of fiberglass fuel tanks manufactured prior to 1991. And while there are conditions with being able to use E15 with 2001 model year engines and newer in cars, light trucks, certain SUVs, and FlexFuel vehicles, it seems as if marine warranties are voided should the brew be introduced into the boat’s fuel system.

Case in point, Mercury Marine’s take on using E15: “E10 is considered acceptable but fuels with higher levels can void the warranty.”  Mercury’s David Hilbert, a Thermodynamic Development Engineer, in his November 2, 2011, testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, United States House of Representatives, reported the following paraphrased findings of a 300 hour test performed during 2010 and 2011 on three Mercury outboard products using E15:

Ethanol damage done to engine parts.

Ethanol damage done to engine parts.

“We were able to complete the entire test running E15 in a 9.9 HP engine…results indicated poor running quality, including misfires at the end of the test, an increase in exhaust emissions, increased carbon deposits on the underside of the pistons and the ends of the rods indicating higher engine temperatures. Additionally, deterioration of the fuel pump gasket was evident, likely due to material compatibility issues with the fuel blend.  This deterioration of the gasket could lead to fuel pump failure, disabling the engine.

“The 300 HP four-stroke supercharged engine did not complete the test, encountering a valve failure after 285 hours. One valve broke apart and two others developed cracks. Analysis showed the cause of these fractures was deteriorated mechanical strength due to high metal temperature.  The 200 HP two-stroke engine also failed a rod bearing at 256 hours of testing, resulting in catastrophic destruction of the engine. There was so much damage to the engine that we could not determine the exact cause of failure.  It is important to note that two-stroke engines of this architecture mix the fuel and the oil and use that mixture to distribute the oil to the critical interfaces such as the bearings and cylinder walls.  Ethanol may have an effect on the dispersion or lubricity of the oil as it is mixed with the fuel.  More testing of such engines is necessary to understand the ramifications of an E15 blend fuel on this type of lubrication system, as it is not well understood at this time.”

To move the information-gathering process forward so as to be able to understand what is at stake here, I went back to the proverbial horses’ mouth—although some would say it was another anatomical region of that most noble breed of equine—and perused more of the aforementioned EPA site. Among the listed factoids and talking points I found, clearly listed under the What Vehicles May Not Use E15 heading, this:  “…all off-road vehicles, such as boats and snowmobiles.” But as with those most annoying infomercial pitchmen, there’s more.  And this one is a real eye-opener: The E15 Waiver.

In essence, the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to disregard the exclusions on E15 use as long as, “…the prohibited fuel or fuel additive will continue to meet their emission standards over their ‘full useful life.’” Enter some data, such as that from the Biotechnology for Biofuels site, a Euro-based research group, where, in its conclusion of testing in the UK and Sweden—remember, we are not in this alone—pointed out that the large amounts of electricity used during the conversion process may actually increase greenhouse gasses so much so as to diminish any gain in reported exhaust emissions. Then there is the whole land use discussion and how it impacts not only our own economy but that of established and emerging nations as well.

Cap warningWhile E15 remains on the EPA’s Do Not Use List, it can find its way into the boating fuel supply. “A majority of boats are pulled on trailers. You get to the pump and fill up your tow vehicle and then fill up your boat. That’s the way people have been doing it for years and will continue to do it,” said Jim Currie, NMMA’s Legislative Director.

Most recently, a D.C. Court of Appeals ruling denied a suit brought forth by the Engine Products Group (EPG), of which our own National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is a part of, in its opposition to the higher concentrations of Ethanol in gasoline.  “The ultimate goal is to get the law changed.  Our plan for the 113th Congress is to re-open the Renewable Fuel Standard, the law that requires ever-increasing amounts of renewable fuel—like Ethanol—in the marketplace. We’d like to have the Congress pass legislation that would basically freeze the standard for Ethanol where it is, at about 10% by volume,” Currie added.

And finally this from NMMA president Thom Dammrich: “E15 is a disaster for boaters and the environment. We need to have everyone learn as much as they can and to get in touch with their members of Congress and let them know we need to change the requirement that is driving this process to get more Ethanol into gasoline.”

If you have any thoughts on this subject, please feel free to contact me by using the Leave A Comment feature at the bottom of the page. Future discussions will feature a lengthy interview with the NMMA’s Thom Dammrich.

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Green Dock


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Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelThe NuMarine 78 Fly is a yacht from a company whose philosophy is based on being different.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

The Numarine 78 Fly delivers performance with striking good looks and lots of interior styling.

The NuMarine 78 Fly delivers performance, striking good looks, and lots of room for individual interior styling.

“I grew up with boats on the west coast of Sweden but started my working life with cars. And through all of it, I held onto my boy’s dream of building boats,” said NuMarine’s CEO Patric Von Sydow as we sat on the aft deck dining table of his company’s 78 Fly.

With his boating background, Patric Von Sydow is a hands-on CEO.

With his boating background, Patric Von Sydow is a hands-on CEO.

As he tells it, once he had his fill with the automobile industry, Von Sydow put in his time with several high-profile boat builders until joining NuMarine in 2010. “I’m a product person, fascinated with design, and realize that in order to be successful in this business, you have to be ready to be different and present something that stands out.”

What makes NuMarine different starts with its manufacturing facility; one that began with a major investment in infrastructure in both the size of the physical plant and how they build their boats. “We started big. Our Istanbul-based factory covers some 35,000 square meters—376,740 square feet—is climate controlled, and is capable of producing up to 50 boats ranging in size from 55- up to 105-feet in length.”

The builder uses the latest in automated milling machines, resin infuses the carbon and Aramid-reinforced, vinylester sandwich construction of PVC foam, unidirectional and multiaxial E glass and lightweight materials, and are always ready to make the most of the latest technology. “In our building process, we have reached the 60/40 glass to resin ratio; this for a lighter, stronger vessel with good fuel economy. In addition, we post cure all our boats to ensure full structural strength.”

Seen from any angle, NuMarine's contemporary styling is a head turner.

Seen from any angle, NuMarine’s contemporary styling is a head turner.

The responsibility for the contemporary styling and design of all NuMarine yachts falls upon a trio of marine architects whose sole purpose in bringing boats such as the 78 Fly to the buying public is a result of a high level of collegial participation in the process. “With our design philosophy, we always strive to avoid the ‘sea of sameness’,” commented Von Sydow. And in this particular vessel, Can Yalman, Tommaso Spadolini, and Umberto Tagliavini, along with the Turkish craftsmen and artisans employed by NuMarine, have indeed, achieved their purpose.

The first thing I noticed as I approached the dock at the top of the Miami River was the 78 Fly’s low, sleek, swept-back profile. Exterior-wise, everything not only looked in balance but in proportion as well, including the forward main deck brow, bridge, aft deck overhang, and especially those big wide windows to either side as well as forward; something that would shed much light on what goes on inside.

On the way to a private anchorage and a memorable alfresco dinner.

On the way to a private anchorage and a memorable alfresco dinner.

NuMarine is as semi-custom as a builder gets. To that end, and while still functioning as a family oriented yacht, this particular 78 was designed and built to participate in private charter service. On the exterior, the aforementioned aft deck dining table, shaded from above by the bridge overhang and easily seating six to eight, affords an excellent place for alfresco meals. To either side, it’s a few steps down to the hydraulically operated swim platform where there is also a door leading to the crew quarters and engine room. I found both these important spaces to be exceedingly well laid out with the former finished up to yacht standards while the latter provided all the room the hands-on skipper or owner/operator could want in order to keep things humming along. All critical engine maintenance areas, including all pumps, valves, switches, systems, and anything else necessary for this kind of peace of mind while underway, were readily accessible.

A view from the bow, NuMarine style.

A view from the bow, NuMarine style.

Back topsides, there were two more areas to visit before checking out the entertainment and living accommodations. The first was forward on the bow where I found a large and quite comfortable seating and lounging area with accompanying table and a pair of sunpads. On this 78 there was also an optional ‘cabana-like’ cover that easily deploys up while in dock or at anchor and stows away just as quickly while underway.

A view from the bridge, NuMarine style.

A view from the bridge, NuMarine style.

The bridge deck is a superbly laid out space with a stylish hardtop, portside steering station and lounge opposite. Just aft of the skipper’s bench seat is a bar with a dining table to starboard. And with her charter profile, the owner decided to mount a Jacuzzi up here instead of the usual dinghy/tender cradle.

However exciting and appealing her exterior is, it is in her interior spaces that the 78 Fly is most impressive. Entering aft from the sliding glass doors, one enters the salon area with C-shape seating to port and entertainment console to starboard. The motif on this boat is all light colors; white and beige with light wood for a very open and airy feel. Indeed, with those big windows all around, the ambient light floods the space. The enclosed galley, so designed for her charter service—an open galley is, of course, available as well—is also to port with a dining table opposite. Forward of the galley is the lower control station and on the centerline, is the stairway to the living accommodations on the lower deck.

Just one of the variations on a theme aboard the NuMarine 78 Fly; here as realized in the master suite.

Just one of the variations on a theme aboard the NuMarine 78 Fly; here as realized in the master suite.

The galley offers clean lines and lots of workable space for private dining whether for the owners and guests or for a charter party.

The galley offers clean lines and lots of workable space for private dining whether for the owners and guests or for a charter party.

The NuMarine 78 Fly offers a four stateroom, four head layout; forepeak, VIP to starboard with double bunk berth to port, and taking full advantage of the boat’s 19-foot beam, the amidships master. All have a contemporary décor with excellent use of space and more than ample storage; enough for any extended trip away from the dock. And as with the ambient light topsides, all the staterooms, with large windows, have a spacious feel.

While she presents very well on the style and amenities side, with obvious attention to detail and superior fit and finish, she also delivers out on the water. Powered by a pair of 1,150-hp Cat C-18s, she easily got right up on plane at 1600rpm with a 48gph fuel burn at a respectable 17+ knots.  And when I settled her in at 2000rpm, I noted a 24 knot average speed and 82gph. With dead calm conditions out on Biscayne Bay all I had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride of this easy handling boat. And that’s exactly what I did for the rest of my time aboard this big, comfortable, and stylish cruising yacht.

Numarine reflection2“In this market, with these economic conditions, you can’t be greedy anymore. You must deliver a quality product that is also a fair deal. NuMarine is in a position to do so,” remarked Von Sydow as we wrapped up our time together. Given the company’s focus on design, naval architecture and engineering, and its ability to deliver exactly what any owner wants, it appears as if the Numarine 78 Fly, and her sisterships, is going to be seen in marinas and docks around the world.

NuMarine 78 Fly Specifications

RPM                SPD(KN)                     GPH                 dB(A)

800                 8.1                               2.9                   65

1000               9.4                               11                    67

1200               10.5                             23                    68

1400               11.6                             37                    70

1600               17.2                             48                    72

1800               20.8                             71                    73

2000               24.1                             82                    74

2200               27.7                             103                 76

2300               29.5                             119                 77

LOA: 78’6”

LWL: 71’1”

BEAM: 19’

DISPL.: 99,208 lbs. (full load)

WATER: 194 gal.

FUEL: 1,100 gal.

ENGINES: 2 x 1,100-hp Caterpillar C-18

TEST CONDITIONS: The sea trial was conducted on Biscayne Bay, Miami, in 16 feet of water with calm conditions, 700 gallons on fuel and full water, four persons on board. GPH measured by electronic CAT engine gauges, speed computed by GPS. Sound levels taken at the helm using dB(A).

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Sea Trials



Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelCovering its P’s & Q’s, Beneteau’s Flyer GT49 Delivers Performance, Pods, and Quality.

By Ken Kreisler

The Beneteau 49 sports an exciting profile that promises the kind of equally adventurous boating  expected from this quality builder.

With its exciting profile, the Flyer GT49 promises the kind of equally adventurous boating expected from this quality builder.

Let’s get something out of the way for all you naysayers and dedicated fossil fuel loyalists: Yes, Beneteau, a company with a 125-year history, is known as a builder of sailboats, garnering a loyal and dedicated following due in large part to its unfailing resolve never to cut corners on its construction or service. However, with the 2004 introduction of their Marion, South-Carolina-built 42-footer in the Swift Trawler line to the U.S. powerboat sector, followed by the Barracuda, Antares, and Monte Carlo lines, and now into the 34-, 38-, 44-, and 49-foot Flyer GT Series—offered in both express and flybridge—they’ve come to the powerboat market with the same mindset that has made the name synonymous with being the world leader in the sailboat business. And there are some definite signs that the company is very serious about what it can offer in this highly competitive segment of the boat building industry.

Comfort abounds below decks as well with a practical and elegant layout.

Comfort abounds below decks as well with a practical and elegant layout.

“You can especially see how important the commitment the company has undertaken is with the significant amount of R&D money Beneteau has put into the launch of the GT Series, and especially with this, the current flagship of the model line with, among other features, a hull specifically designed for the IPS pods,” remarked Alex Wilkes, part of the Denison Yacht Sales group, who along with fellow sales representative and skipper Juan Pasch, accompanied me for my time on the GT49.

After noting the ample cockpit area with table and transom seating—an optional helm station is available here as well as an outdoor grill—the hydraulically operated swim platform, a garage with room for an 11-foot tender and outboard, visiting the engine room via the cockpit hatch and noting the ease of doing fluid checks, and the roomy flying bridge, additional indications of the GT49 Flybridge’s well thought out design was put to the test a few minutes after I left the dock at the Denison Yacht Sales facility just off the Andrews Avenue Bridge.

As we began idling her along the upper reaches of Ft. Lauderdale’s serpentine, and often quite narrow, New River, the normally busy waterway, was already in the throes of a rip-roaring incoming tide. Add to that, both down and up river traffic had to deal with a rather large-beam catamaran, a very large megayacht, her bow and stern tethered to tow boats with engines straining to keep their oversized charge going in the right direction, and of course, the ever-present Jungle Queen, a sightseeing boat that gives no quarter no matter what the situation is.

The pucker factor is taken out of tight quarters maneuvering with a pair  of 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS 600s.

The pucker factor is taken out of tight quarters maneuvering with a pair of 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS 600s.

Steering at the lower station and without having to do any throttle jockeying, this courtesy of the lightning-fast reaction of the twin 435-hp Volvo Penta D6 IPS600’s, made navigating the quickly changing nautical pin ball situation just a bit more relaxed. Complementing the revolutionary, and now quite familiar, pod system were the lower station’s big forward windows and those to either side that afforded me the ability to keep sharp eyes on the waterway and feel in control of the close quarters conditions unfolding around me.

By the time we motored down river to where the waterway opened up, I noticed the due east wind blowing at a constant 30+ miles per hour, as it had been all the previous day and promised to do so for the next two. And once we arrived at the channel markers indicating the Port Everglades Inlet, and poked the GT49’s bow seaward, we got a peek at the nautical horror show that was going on out in the ocean.

After a very brief confab—key word here being very—with Pasch and Wilkes, we were all in agreement that trying to push past those cresting eight to 10-footers, whose several second duration had them piling up against the inlet’s rock jetties, and then out into the roiled-up ocean was just nonsense. After all, I was not testing a self-righting, U.S.C.G. lifeboat here and besides, no boat owner worth their salt would deliberately venture out in such dangerous conditions. And if that weren’t enough to deter our thoughts, the very boat we were on, was due to be shown to a serious buyer flying in from Texas.

With the decision made to keep my testing to the ICW, we headed south down the ICW towards Dania where we could find enough running room outside of the no-wake zones in order to get some solid performance numbers and boat handling time.

As far as why I chose to do my evaluations from the salon station? The answer to that question came during our rpm runs. In the past, when putting a boat with dual helms through her paces from the bridge, there is no way to assess what happens to your view of the seaway during acceleration. On many a vessel coming up out of the hole, and while steering from below, the driver can lose the horizon for enough time to miss that nasty ‘wood shark’ lying dead ahead or some other nefarious flotsam just waiting to strike the hull or do damage to the propulsion units. Not so with the GT49. During four runs, all with the boat coming up on plane, and while there was the anticipated bow rise, not once did I lose the seaway, and that, with my 5’9” height from the seated position and not having to crane my neck up. That I liked. The outcome of the overall performance test resulted in an average fast cruise of 27.7 knots burning 42 gph at 3300 rpm, and a slow cruise average of 18.3 knots, with a 26 gph fuel rate at 2700 rpw. And with her responsive, sports car-like handling, the GT49 is a fun-to-drive boat as well with quick answer to the helm, a tight turn radius, and straight and true tracking during lengthy runs. It’s the reason Beneteau refers to these boats as the GT Series.

Taking all it has learned from its many years of designing boat interior,Beneteau has imbued the 49's master suite with amenities usually found of larger vessels.

Taking all it has learned from its many years of designing boat interiors, Beneteau has imbued the 49’s master suite with amenities usually found of larger vessels.

I also liked the boat’s interior layout, first noticing how open the salon actually is, even with the starboard lower station, the port side sofa and table, and, aft of the helm, an entertainment center, and not how it appears even though the use of light coverings on the sofa and those aforementioned windows do add to the overall effect. More to the point was the great headroom Beneteau afforded its space here, averaging some 6’6” and including an atrium-like effect from the galley-down area. Also accessed down there is a starboard side seating area—available as an optional third stateroom—the forepeak quarters, and the full beam master aft, each of them with an ample sized head with the forepeak WC functioning as a day head.

The noteworthy fit and finish throughout is complemented by her quality construction details including a solid fiberglass bottom with coring from the waterline up, low profile exterior styling, featuring wide walkways on both sides and sturdy high rails for safe passages, and the kind of attention to detail one would expect from a company with this kind of pedigree. From all indications, the Beneteau Flyer GT49 seems to have its P’s & Q’s covered pretty well. Beneteau USA, 410-990-0270.

Performance Box
RPM             KNOTS                  GPH                       dB(A)

650               4.4                          .7                            62
1000             5.8                          1.6                          63
1200             7.0                          2.0                          66
1500             8.0                          5.5                          67
1800             9.7                          8.6                          71
2100             12.0                        16.0                        73
2400             14.2                        21.0                        74
2700             18.3                        26.0                        75
3300             27.4                        42.0                        80
3600             28.6                        44.0                        84

Test Conditions
Speeds were measured by GPS in 14 feet of water in the Intracoastal Waterway between Ft. Lauderdale and Dania Beach, Florida, with calm seas and 15-knot winds, with a 5/8 load of fuel, zero water, and three people on board. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronic engine monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm.

Vessel Specifications
LOA: 51’2”
27,550 lbs. (Dry)
344 gal.
170 gal.
STANDARD POWER: 2x435hp Volvo Penta IPS600
TEST POWER: 2×435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Sea Trials



Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelFunctional By Design

The Hampton 680 Endurance LRC is a well-balanced and efficient cruising boat.

By Ken Kreisler

With the Hampton 680LRC you can truly have your cake and eat it too...all in comfort, safety, and style.

With the Hampton 680LRC you can truly have your cake and eat it too…all in comfort, safety, and style.

Hold this thought by celebrated basketball coach John Wooden: “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

I don’t think it was by coincidence that by the time I caught up with the new Hampton Endurance 680 LRC, for Long Range Cruiser, she was already on a tight schedule. I mean if you are considering a boat with this kind of profile, being designed and built to do some serious cruising, then it is completely understandable it is not the kind of boat meant to be sitting at the dock. And if her owner is like many of the other Hampton owners I’ve interviewed over the years, I suspect her home port time will be quite limited. It was already something I was experiencing in trying to shoe horn my way on board for whatever time I could manage.

Whether on an extended trip or a weekend getaway, the salon offers an intimate setting for the owners and their guests.

Whether on an extended trip or a weekend getaway, the salon offers an intimate setting for the owners and their guests.

The newest boat in the Endurance model line-up had already made an appearance at last year’s Ft. Lauderdale show—including move in and break down prep time, and the detailing and clean up from all the dock traffic; the pre-show aerial photo shoot, along with an interior shoot later that same day, was being coordinated along with the final sea trial for her pair of C18, 873-hp Caterpillar engines conducted by Caterpillar technicians; and oh yes, her owner was champing at the bit to get his hands on the wheel of his new boat.

Back to the coach’s thought. There I was, sitting at the large dining table located just to port of the starboard lower station and talking to Anchor Yachts’ Forest Roberts, who heads up the Lauderdale-based Hampton dealership and plays an instrumental part in company owner Jeff Chen’s boat building planning and layout as well.

Comfort abounds everywhere aboard as typified by the master suite.

Comfort abounds everywhere aboard as typified by the master suite.

The Endurance 680 LRC is designed by Howard Apollonio [See sidebar: Design Insight with Howard Apollonio.] and to that end, the hull’s resin infused laminate schedule; the first three utilizing vinylester resins and glass with the following two being chine-to-chine Kevlar, is built to, well, endure.

As Roberts and I discussed some other construction matters—the boat’s solid bottom rises some six inches above the water line; that the collision zone, from the anchor bow area to 12 feet aft under water and then out to both port and starboard another 12 feet, also has three Kevlar layers; and the engine beds are all stainless steel reinforced, glassed in, and then capped with another stainless steel mounting plate—I noticed a little something about the way the legs of the stools at the nearby port side island galley were being held in place. The two front ones fit neatly and securely into a cut out thus anchoring them to the island.

“They’ll never slide or tip over while she’s underway or in a sea. Simple solution,” said Roberts.

The fully found galley will be able to supply the kind of meals ranging from a simple snack to a sumptuous dining experience.

The fully found galley will be able to supply the kind of meals ranging from a simple snack to a sumptuous dining experience.

And that was just the first of the many minor details I found aboard. There was a unique latch on the door of the full size refrigerator, designed to keep the door closed in a pitching sea. There are screens on the easy-to-swing pantograph doors. I particularly took note of the electrically operated and custom fit designer blinds on the usual out-of-reach forward windows; making cutting any harsh sunlight effortless. I found drains on the bridge deck, seamlessly connected to overfills so as to prevent any water pooling topsides. And the engine room air intakes are located on the inboard sides of the exterior’s wide walkways, so designed to significantly cut down on salty mist incursion.

To my eye, all these simple solutions were indicative of a more than meaningful attention to detail and one signifying that if they were being addressed so practically, then the big items would most certainly stand out. And they do.

It’s easy to extol Hampton’s craftsmanship on the 680’s interior, what with the perfectly matching African Makore cherry with its flawless, high gloss finish. The accommodations layout includes a very comfortable and fully finished off crew quarters—one that could easily double as a private space for the kids or grandkids of owner/operators—a four stateroom, four head configuration, with all quarters having more than ample storage areas, perfect for those long trips out. The satellite tv, watermaker, and tender are the only options.

As found everywhere aboard the 680, creature comforts abound int the enclosed pilothouse.

As found everywhere aboard the 680, creature comforts abound in the enclosed pilothouse.

Topsides, the spacious enclosed bridge deck, with dining and seating area has almost 20 feet of open space from the back of the house, while the main deck cockpit has its own alfresco table and seating. In addition, there is a most useful and well-placed day head out here. Put that all together with her Portuguese bridge and a salty profile, and this boat says, let’s go.

But it was in her Sound Down insulated and air-conditioned engine room, that I could truly appreciate the builder’s attention not only to detail, but to safety as well.

“Redundancy and back up is one of the keys to our building philosophy,” said Roberts. “We want and need our owners to feel and be safe while underway.”

Easy to work in with plenty of room to get at all critical maintenance areas, this engine room is typical of Hampton's attention to every detail.

Easy to work in with plenty of working space to get at all critical maintenance areas, this engine room is typical of Hampton’s attention to every detail.

To that end, in addition to a working captain’s or hands-on owner’s dream space, what with all the room to work on any part of the mains, gensets, pumps, or any other critical maintenance or service area, I found the kind of back-up systems that would indeed, instill the safety factor.

There are two sea water air conditioning systems with two AC circulation pumps. I found a pair of fresh water Headhunter pumps, one ac and a back-up 24-volt dc unit. Two power steering pumps, and a pair of heavy-duty pumps from the PTO on the transmissions can drive the Wesmar 3-Term, nine square foot fins as well as both 33-hp, bow and stern thrusters. The automatic oil change system services the mains, the 23- and 15-kW Kohler gensets, and both transmissions. There are eight, 115 Amp AGM marine batteries in boxes for the house system, a pair of 200 Amp, boxed AGM starting batteries per engine, and a 100 Amp heavy-duty battery, also boxed, for each genset. Then there is a pair of shore power isolation transformers with ISO boost, two 75-foot Glendenning Cablemasters, and a 4-kW inverter as well. Couple that with that sturdy, no-nonsense construction and the 680 Endurance more than lives up to her name.

With new owner Ted Lange at the wheel, the 680 Endurance drew smiles and nods of approval from all those aboard during the sea trial.

“One important thing for me was to drive the boat head on into a sea of some size, just like those four footers out there, and avoid the pounding we experienced on many of our other boats,” he said.

To Lange’s delight, the boat was very responsive with no pounding. In addition, and with the stabilizers activated, she was quite comfortable when he put the boat sideways in the trough of the waves with no way on. He also steered her in following and quartering seas and in both situations, she responded very well. “The rudders are large enough to steer the boat without any difficulty,” he said. “I was quite pleased with the sea trial and at no time, experienced any negative attributes.”

Analyzing her numbers also proved on the positive side, especially with the ability to trawl along at 8.4 knots and a stingy total fuel burn of some 8gph. Doing the math based on her 2,000 gallons of fuel, and at 1000 rpm, one can expect a range of near 2,416sm/2,100nm with about 250 hours of running time. “On the performance side, the 680 is all there,” remarked Roberts. “You can get the kind of economy and range you want from her as well as being able to get up and go should the weather or conditions warrant it.”

If you put all the little things aboard Hampton’s 680 Endurance LRC together, the result is one well-built, well-designed vessel with the kind of layout, appropriate balance between power and efficiency, luxurious accommodations, and cruising abilities to make her light up your radar screen should your next boat fit her profile. Hampton Yachts, (949) 673-6300


Howard ALong respected as one of the industry’s most talented and capable marine architects, Howard Apollonio’s track record speaks for itself: Design engineer and naval architect for the marine division of Sikorsky Aircraft; project engineer for Jacuzzi Brothers; Chief Naval Architect for Teledyne; Naval Architect for Marine Construction & Design Company; U.S. Navy Engineering Manager for Uniflite; Owner & Principal Design Engineer for Apollonio & Associates; President, NA, PE, Apollonio Naval Architects.

KK: What criteria do you use when approaching a project?

HA: I try to identify what the key issues are for the buyer and/or the market in which the boat is to function and compete.

KK: When did you first consider designing for Hampton?

HA: Hampton Yachts’ Seattle dealer approached me in 2004 in regards to refining a 58-footer ready for production.

KK: How did you match the most efficient power requirements for use on the 680?

HA: It depends on understanding the mission or intent of the user. On the 680, weight and performance estimate cycles were done to identify power and speed combinations to suit the hull’s potential. The Cat C18’s, at commercial rating, were chosen for their efficiency when operated at or below 1800 rpm.

KK: Hampton is known for, among other notable attributes, taking maximum advantage of space both inside and out. Given the finite space aboard the 680, for example, how does your design achieve this?

HA: The Endurance Series are like two boats in one; a most seaworthy, efficient passagemaker combined with a no-compromised yacht possessing generous living spaces. The roominess is the result of designer, builder, and dealer teamwork with care taken to provide generous headroom, walking/visual space, step heights, diverse sightlines, and passageway widths and logical traffic patterns. In addition, colors, mirrors, lighting, both natural and artificial, all help to enhance the spaciousness. Finally, Anchor Yachts’ Sandy Roberts’ sophisticated décor provides a positive counterpoint to Hampton’s fine woodwork and detailing.

OWNER PROFILE: Mr. & Mrs. Lange Get What They Wanted…And Needed.

MM Lange3Ted Lange and his wife are veteran boaters and have put some 50 years in their many wakes. “We’ve had everything from 51-footers up to a 151,” Lange said, beaming that new owner smile as we met in the engine room of his new boat. “At this stage in our lives, being in our mid-70’s, we wanted a boat we could handle by ourselves. We liked all we had heard and read about the Hampton boats and decided to have a closer look. The size, interior arrangement, and equipment were just what we were looking for. We were very impressed.”

Lange also mentioned the input Roberts had with the factory. “Forest has had input on some suggested improvements with the factory in China and I think they have taken most of those as they certainly show up in the operation of the boat.”

The Lange’s will be spending the winter in the Bahamas aboard their new Endurance 680.


TEST CONDITIONS: Speeds were measured by GPS off of Ft. Lauderdale in 3-4 foot seas with 10-15 knots of wind, with full fuel and water, and six people on board. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronic engine monitoring system.


800          4                   4
1000        8.4                     8
1200        10.6              14
1400        11.7              22
1600        12.3              38
1800        14.0              52
2000        16.0              64
2100        17.1              82
2200        19.2              90

LOA: 68’0”
LWL: 64’8”
BEAM: 18’8”
DRAFT: 5’2”
DISPL.: 110,000 lbs.
WATER: 400 gal.
FUEL: 2,000 gal.
DEADRISE: 9 degrees at transom
ENGINES TESTED: 2 x 873-hp Caterpillar C18 diesels


Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Sea Trials



Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelProject 70007

Delta looks back to its much celebrated commercial past for a retrofit on a 70-foot expedition yacht that is definitely worth her salt.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

It is clear why Delta 70007 is truly the stuff that nautical dreams are made on.

It is clear why Delta 70007 is truly the stuff that nautical dreams are made of.

According to information posted on the Delta Marine site, the details on Project 175038 are confidential—it is however, a 175-footer as the first three numbers indicate—while those of the 164041 and 156039 builds, and the already-named Monarch, at 150’8”/46.2m and Invader, measuring an impressive 215’/66.5m, are not. Then there was one tagged as Project 70007 that I was most interested in.

iWith its unique, in-house team of technicians, marine architects, and craftsmen, the Delta Design Team can create any vision.

With its unique, in-house team of technicians, marine architects, and craftsmen, the Delta Design Team can create any vision.

P70007 was launched in 1990—the first 70 hull was delivered in 1986—and was one of five in the series of 70-foot boats built by Delta to yacht standards. They were designed after the builder’s easily recognized and sea-proven commercial fishing vessels; those with prominent high bows and a rough-and-tumble, no nonsense profile that promised adventure limited only by imagination and the will to be aboard a boat of this configuration. Indeed, one of them, the well-known Zoepilote, owned by former race car driver and film director Bruce Kessler, went around the world. Because it traveled so extensively and visited so many ports, especially in Europe, the dock talk spread far and wide and soon enough, Delta found itself picking up momentum in the yacht building industry. And like a dream come true, I found myself walking down the dock during a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest with P70007 sitting out there as the distant snow-capped mountain peaks began making an appearance in the mid-morning hours.

Delta began building commercial fishing boats back in the 1960’s when brothers Ivor and Jack Jones opened the yard on Seattle, Washington’s Duwamish River. With names such as Bobbi Dee, Tanaga, and Nakchamik emblazoned high on their proud bows, the fleet of rugged Delta-built vessels slid down the ways and plied the dangerous waters of Alaska and the Bering Sea in search of full nets and holds. They ranged in size from 30 feet up to 70 feet and their profiles were as varied as their missions: from charter boats to patrol and Coast Guard vessels to purse seiners and crabbers. When federal regulations caused the fishing industry to change in the mid to late 1980’s, the Jones brothers decided to take their largest commercial hull and build a yacht out of it. And it was with the John Shubert-designed 70 foot hull that things took on an extra special quality both in practical sea keeping abilities as well as function and appearance.

 “This boat, being the transition hull from commercial builds to yachts, is part of Delta’s history and special to the company and to our family,” said Michelle Jones, Ivor’s daughter who, with her cousin Chris, Jack’s son, is for all intents and purposes, the next generation in charge of Delta Marine. His focus is in project management while hers is in sales and marketing.

Elegance and practicality are perfectly blended in the main salon.

Elegance and practicality are perfectly blended in the main salon.

“It means a lot to who we are and where we came from,” she added while we got comfortable in the main salon area. “The 70 hull is the perfect boat for a builder; it’s a manageable size where it can be taken out for some local fun and, of course, for much longer excursions,” Chris said. “The boat’s owner was getting on in years and decided to sell it. We bought it with the idea of a retrofit and decided to make it our first design project. And since we’re so well known for our expedition-style vessels, one of the things that we’re so keen on is her timelessness. I mean, just look at her lines.”

I had to agree with Chris. The same lines that were realized back in 1990 still look as dynamic and pleasing 22 years later. “Both of our parents are really good under pressure, have great ideas, and in the end, take the kinds of risks that usually result in a positive outcome,” recollected Michelle as we discussed the switch from the commercial/work boat end of the industry to the design and building of yachts and how important appearances were.

While some of the functions stay the same; that being a tough, ocean-going vessel with a lot of range—approximately 4,000 miles at 10 knots for Project 70007—one of the more important aspects of the refit conception was, while keeping her salty, no-nonsense exterior intact, to make sure all her interior creature comforts were properly upgraded to not only 21st century standards, but to those high bar factors Delta is so well known for as well. “If you go to a commercial yard that specializes in barges, you’re not going to get the kind of fit and finish that we deliver,” said Chris.

Comfort is guaranteed in the living accommodations.

Comfort is guaranteed in the living accommodations.

With the late 1980’s interior fairly modern for the time, including lots of color, the Delta Design Team, led by Jay Minor, who, by the way, came up under John Shubert, put on their building hats and began to figure out how to imbue the living spaces with the kind of timeless presentation they wanted. “As I said, this particular boat is very historic to the company so when we took on the project, we made sure to leave nothing to chance,” said Michelle. And that meant going back to classic yacht design.

As with most successful companies that enjoy their kind of longevity, Delta Marine still has some of the original workers that were there when Ivor and Jack first opened the doors and are now on second generation family members as well. “It’s not only us,” Michelle said, indicating Chris. “Some of the same workers that started building this very boat back then have watched their sons work on this one. And that means the same kind of work ethic, and loyalty and pride in the job that results in the level of craftsmanship you see here.”

With plenty of storage areas, the galley is definitely one of the more prominent focal points aboard.

With plenty of storage areas, the galley is definitely one of the more prominent focal points aboard.

What is seen here is nothing short of the kind of wood and finish work that, even to the untrained eye, is quite impressive including mahogany soles, masterfully crafted built-in furniture with burl veneers and wood painted overheads. “We really liked the theme our team developed when they worked with the Setzer Design Group on the interior of the 123-foot Marama, one of our 2008 builds,” said Michelle. “And we decided to go with that look for our 70 project.” As they would find out, there was much more involved than just an interior makeover.

When Michelle and Chris first took the boat over, their thoughts were more in the fix or replace mode; new carpets, cabinets, soft goods and upholsteries. But that soon spiraled up to a let’s-get-rid-of-everything attitude. Every piece of woodwork is new as is the electronics, wiring and plumbing; the Dometic 10 ton air conditioning, Naiad stabilizers, 16-inch American Trac II bow thruster, 900gpd Aqua Whisper Sea Recovery water maker, 3,000 lb. Marquipt crane, and twin Kohler 36- and 20-kW gensets. “With the engine, that being a 402-hp Cat 3408, and since it only had a couple of thousand hours on it, we had a Cat tech put a fluoroscope inside and have a look. When everything checked out, it stayed.”

One of the more important considerations they kept in focus was in making the yacht quieter. “We did a good job back then,” Chris said, “But with sound technologies evolving over the years, we focused on the engine room, engine mounts and couplings, put in sub walls and triple overheads with lots of insulation, and replaced all the gaskets on the doors. Anywhere we could, we got sound levels down.”

“Our boats are continuing to evolve and we’re doing several proposals on some pretty big vessels right now. Hopefully Michelle and I, along with our fathers and other family members, can bring the company to the next tier by constantly focusing on how we can put out the very best product there is,” said Chris. With the kind of heritage Delta possesses, I would hard-pressed to think the company would not be on my short list twenty years from now without the same pedigree, legacy, and cache it now enjoys.

While we all have that special certain something for our boats, no matter what size or configuration she may be, it is the heart-thumping, dream-inducing kind of feelings one can easily conjure up while imagining being at the helm of the Delta 70 that I think best exemplifies a favorite and insightful quote of mine from Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat: “The mind of the master of a vessel is rooted deep in the timbers of her, though he command for a day or a decade…”. Indeed, she is the kind of boat that gets right into your very soul and confirms, beyond a doubt, why you even go out on the water in the first place. Delta Marine, 206.763.2383.


LOA: 70’/21.3m
LWL: 65’6″/20.0m
BEAM: 20’/6.1m
DRAFT: 9’/2.7m @ half load
DISPL.: 100 long tons @ half load
ENGINES: CAT 3408BHp @ 1800rpm
SPEED: 11.5kn
CRUISE: 11kn
FUEL: 4,400 USg/16,656L
RANGE: 4,000nm @ 10kn
GENERATORS: Kohler 36kW/Kohler 20kW
STABILIZERS: Naiad 254 (updated 3-term electronic control)
BOW THRUSTER: American Trac II 16″
FRESH WATER: 2,000USg/7,571L
WATER MAKER: Sea Recovery Aqua Whisper @ 900gpd
AIR CONDITIONING: Dometic 10 ton
PAINT: Awlgrip
BUILDER/YEAR: Delta/1990/2010
TENDERS: 20′ C-Dory/12′ Rendova
CRANE: Marquipt 50K Sea Crane 3,000lb.

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Sea Trials



Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelA Good Call

The all new VIKING 55C easily picks up where her much-admired predecessor left off.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

The Viking 55C runs proud to a heritage that is built on pride of craftsmanship and a name that is synonomous with the best that a fishing boat has to offer.

The Viking 55C runs on a heritage built on pride of craftsmanship and a name synonymous with the best a fishing boat has to offer.

As all freelance writers can readily attest to, the sound of one’s own phone ringing is a joyous noise and when mine sounded off one particular day, I was quite busy negotiating getting a 47-foot catamaran out of her dock in reverse. While I pride myself on being a competent and intelligent multi-tasker, when it comes to safety, as in this tricky maneuver given having to deal with both a rather insistent breeze and a rip-roaring incoming tide, I decided to wait before picking up the phone until I had comfortably cleared the close-quartered pier and put my current charge on course for the preferred channel.

After the last time I spoke with Marlin editor Dave Ferrell, I quickly found myself with billfish-tight lines for several days in the waters off Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico. And while New Gretna, NJ’s Bass River does not teem with any kind of significant game fish, it is home to a very specific top-of-the-line predator of another genus. For this is where Viking Yachts are designed and built and my quarry this outing is nothing less than the brand spanking new Viking 55C.

Before we jump aboard and have a go at her, there is a little background information on this latest offering from the highly-respected company that will shed some light on this particular vessel’s importance in the Viking line up.

The first 55C, drawn by Bruce Wilson—with Viking since 1968 by the way—was introduced at the 1996 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. It was so well-received that 153 hulls later, the boat had established itself as one of the premier sportfishing boats in its size and accordingly, occupied a strategic place in the Viking fleet. As equally impressive is the fact that Wilson’s son Dave is responsible for designing the new 55.

In describing the 55 from the bottom up, Wilson explained how the convex shape is softened up a bit in the midsections. “We’re always looking to refine it some with tank testing; maybe drop the deadrise two degrees and then another. This new 55 is at 12 degrees at the transom where my dad’s boat was at 15/15 ½. Among other things, we’ve been working at getting a sharper entry up front and a little flatter in the back for a more improved and efficient planning area aft,” remarked Wilson. “Nothing too exotic here and we weren’t looking for any buzz words to describe the design. It is what it is; and if you come out with a good product you can call it a Viking,” he says with pride.

One of the many sisterships to my 55C test boat waits to move up the line at the Viking plant.

One of the many sister ships to my 55C test boat waits to move up the line at the Viking plant.

Besides the several factory visits at those strategic times during a new build, it has always been my assertion that one should first look at the engine room space before anything else on board. For it is here that one can readily see if the kind of thought and planning for such an important area is up to the task. If it is, you can just about count on everything else to follow suit. And that is just what I did.

With Viking’s Peter Frederiksen as my guide, I easily lifted the upper cockpit’s centerline hatch and, after comfortably negotiating the stairs, entered the space. My first impression was that this is a roomy and hands-on friendly space with the kind of work room that would all but eliminate the elbow-busting, knuckle-scraping conditions that are often present in engine rooms of similar sized boats. There is a bright white Awlgripped finish on the overhead and bulkheads and the Viking engineering staff fit in the pair of new MAN V12 1,550hp CRM power plants so as to provide complete access on both inboard and outboard sides. Among many other outstanding features, the latest from MAN offers maintenance-free, gear-driven fresh-water pumps, starter motors that can be fitted to both sides, multi-stage injection for quiet operation; and as I would find out during my performance runs, powerful acceleration and excellent and lightning quick reaction to the throttle. With this kind of power and room to move, this space is a skipper’s dream.

“We try, all the time, to always improve on things on all our boats; to find either a better design or a simpler method,” said Frederiksen as, making his point, showed me the centralized water system on the engine room’s forward bulkhead. Driven by a single, high output, continuous duty pump—yes, there is a backup just in case—with access to all the shut off valves, this system eliminates the need for any other ones to drive the live well, for example, any refrigeration that needs water, the wash downs, shaved ice unit, or water maker. “And if you don’t need a specific system, you can shut it off. It’s all done from right here.”

Efficient use of resin infusion is a major part of the Viking approach to its boat building. Weight saving along with stronger hulls and parts, and a cleaner, more environmentally safe work space definitely makes the company’s A list. “We are using a lot more cored material; like foam and balsa coring in the bulkheads, bringing in new composites, and being careful to look for anywhere to save some weight,” said Wilson.

Along with many of the smaller parts, including up on the bridge and underneath the hardtop, fuel and holding tanks and shower compartments, the 55’s hull has also been infused. Other notable Viking construction techniques include vinyl and polyester resins used in structural laminates and topsides, fiberglass side thru-hulls, prop pockets for draft reduction, solid reinforced keel, encapsulated foam fiberglass stringer system, and vacuum bagged composite bulkheads including the engine room, intermediate engine room, and forward bulkhead.

Viking prides itself on the company’s ability to provide almost ninety percent of everything you find on its boats being supplied by its own design, engineering, and manufacturing entities. And that includes the interior as well. Entering from the cockpit, the sliding door opens up to a well-balanced and functional salon.

This salon layout is one of many interior options available on the 55C.

This salon layout is one of many interior options available on the 55C.

On this 55, there is a C-shape leather couch to port—the cushions are removable with storage areas beneath—and a dinette just forward. The galley is to starboard and is available in either an island or peninsula configuration; the latter allows for a bit more counter space and can include a trash compactor as well. There is ample cabinet storage above the three burner electric stove top and sink and in either arrangement, the four drawer, under counter Sub Zero units make this galley capable of quick eats for busy fishermen or an elegant sit down dinner once the day is done.

The master stateroom offers style and comfort.

The master stateroom offers style and comfort.

The 55C is equipped with a three stateroom, two head layout. The master, with an en suite head, is to starboard with the two-berth quarters directly to port. The forepeak, available in either island berth or angled over under configuration, shares the port side head with the stateroom on that side. All these well-appointed living spaces are quite roomy with excellent headroom and adequate storage. And no matter where I looked or examined, I found excellent fit and finish complementing the tasteful décor all around.

Driving the 55C is nothing short of exhilarating and reminiscent of taking the wheel of a well-tuned and performance-oriented sports car; the result being an exciting and impressively hot nautical ride. While my test day saw clear skies, marginal wind, and flat calm seas, there is no doubt in my mind that she is all Viking and would relish some challenging seas. When I called upon the twin MAN V12’s for a full throttle run, remarking how quickly she came up out of the hole and settled in to spooling up 41 knots, I noticed how responsive the steering was and how well she answered the helm. Whether carving long and looping S-curves, letting her dig in either on port or starboard sides during hard over maneuvers, playing backing down on a near-grander, or just sitting back and letting her run straight and true, near instantaneous control was mine. At 2050 rpm, she settled into a comfortable 34.7 knots and when I knocked her down to 1800, watched the instruments log a 29.8 knot speed with a 93gph total fuel burn. At this rate, this particular boat could expect a range of approximately 440 nautical miles. And throughout my entire performance testing, not once did I detect any kind of smoke or exhaust from the engines.

When I told him about the 55’s remarkable and quick response to the helm, Wilson offered some first-hand insight. “The change here is due to some subtle distances we added between the rudders and the propellers and the space from the rudder to the transom. And like most of the things we’ve learned, it comes from the success on the other boats we’ve built.”

Unfortunately for me, but quite fortunate for her new owner, this 55C was sold and therefore, unavailable for a day of offshore fishing. Really too bad as the late summer bite off the Jersey coast was doing very well and having fished on many Vikings in the past, this kind of outing would have been something I would have truly relished.

The 151 square foot, self-bailing cockpit is Viking-ready for action and packed with all the requisite equipment to make her both a formidable participant on the tournament circuit or hosting a day with some family and friends. The extended flying bridge overhang can provide shade during particularly sunny days while the now-indispensable port aft facing mezzanine not only provides a “fifty yard line” seat for all the action but holds freezer compartment, insulated storage spaces, and tackle drawers as well. Add an optional fighting chair, an additional live well in the sole, and a pair of Rupp ‘riggers to her live well/tuna tube at the transom, her side gaff lockers, rod holders, and in-sole fish boxes, and all you will need to provide is a crew.

Topsides, the flying bridge is available two ways; the first is the traditional set up with access to the forward area over on the starboard side or in a ‘center console’ style. Either way, there is comfortable seating, ample storage areas, and excellent sightlines for the skipper not only into the cockpit, but out into the seaway when performing backing down maneuvers as well. You can customize the helm station to your liking with a variety of options and electronics as well as selecting a full enclosure or hardtop.

Yours truly making the call that will hopefully, get me out on this boat looking for deep waters and tight lines.

Yours truly making the call that will hopefully, get me out on this boat again, this time looking for deep waters and tight lines.

As we backed her into the make-ready dock, where over the next week or two she would get her finishing touches for her impending delivery, I had two thoughts. Firstly, I applaud Viking’s decision to re-introduce the Dave Wilson-designed 55C to the convertible line up. Given its size, power, performance, amenities on both its fishing prowess—it is a Viking after all—and creature comforts, there is little wonder the plant is already eight hulls out. She is truly a boat for the times

My second thought came in an admittedly selfish moment. I hoped that sometime in the future, and sooner rather than later, my phone would ring with an invitation to spend some time fishing on a new 55C.    Now that would be a really good call.

Viking 55 Convertible  Specifications

Length Overall (LOA): 56′ 5″ (17.20 m)
Beam: 17′ 9 (5.41 m)
Draft: 5′ 1″ (1.55 m)
Gross Weight*: 77,700 lbs. (35,244 kg)
Fuel Capacity: 1,414 gals. (5,353 l)
Water Capacity: 225 gals. (852 l)
Cockpit Area: 151 sq.ft. (14.0 sq. m.)
* Standard Fuel Load

Power: 2x 1,550 mhp MAN V12 CRM diesels
Fuel: Full, 1,414 gallons, standard
Water: Full, 225 gallons
POB: 3

RPM             Knots    Total GPH   NM range @ 95%   DBA
1500             20.5        62                444                           82
1600             24.8        73                456                           83
1700             27.0        83                436                           85
1800             29.8        93                440                           86
2000             34.2        108              435                           87
2050             34.7        119              398                           87
2100             36.0        124              399                           88
2200             38.2        138              380                           89
2300             40.1        147              373                           90
2330             41.2        158              357                           91
(2050 is typical cruise speed.)

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Sea Trials



Sea Trials

Hemingway at the wheelOdyssey Bound

Yet another Northern Marine build, this time a special 64-foot custom project, sets its course for the kind of travel and adventure limited only by imagination.

Text and photography by Capt. Ken Kreisler

With her bow pointed seaward, Aquila is bound for adventures both far and wide.

With her bows pointed seaward, Aquila is bound for adventures both far and wide.

The words came into my head as if I had just read them.

“Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide after he has sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home…”

“Whoa there Ken,” I said to myself, shaking off the momentary space-out I was experiencing as I, at least for now, ushered the translated words I had long since memorized of the opening lines of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, out of my consciousness. Even after all this time, since first reading the classic work in high school and later on in scholarly study at college, it still had the same, mesmerizing effect on me.

For those of us who are fortunate enough to seek destinations beyond the realm of terrestrial life, it was one of those all too familiar instances, sparked into an almost-reality by the mere fact of being aboard a boat and away from the dock. Only this time I was at the wheel of Aquila,a special custom Northern Marine 64 build with my present location the deep, dark waters of the Guemeus Channel off of Anacortes, Washington. Troy was a long way off from the rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest but the effect was the same.

Northern Marine has made Tod Taricco a very happy man.

Northern Marine has made Tod Taricco a very happy man.

I had been enjoying my momentary revelry for several minutes after having my hands on the wheel up on the bridge deck where I stood with Northern Marine’s president Andy McDonald and Tod Taricco, the boat’s captain, owner, and major design contributor for this particular build.

“We’ve revamped our approach over the last few years of what I call a young company,” said McDonald as we zipped up our fleece parkas against the bit of chill wind coming in off the water. “It makes it easier to get lots of fresh ideas from our designers and workers. In the end that means we are constantly working to improve the process and thereby, the product.” Adding to the build philosophy is the fact that Northern Marine’s fully custom profile relies heavily on owner involvement.

To McDonald’s point, Aquila—which, by the way, is the legendary eagle of Greek mythology; a powerful and magical entity that held Zeus’s thunderbolts in its talons, making it quite the formidable presence—and what has become known as Northern Marine’s Aquila Class of builds, is the tenth 64-foot hull the builder has sent down the ways but the first designed to meet U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter T-class standards and be so certified by adhering to the stringent regulations as to the vessel’s design, functionality, operational efficiency, and safety.

Andy McDonald at the helm of Aquila,

Andy McDonald at the helm of Aquila.

“On this project, the engineering cycle was a bit different. Everything had to be sent to Washington D.C. for approval, even prior to starting the actual build,”said Taricco. With past 64s, a more traditional approach resulted in a four stateroom, four head layout below with entertaining and dining areas and pilothouse on the main deck with a topside bridge and tender and crane space among other cruising amenities.

“With this particular project, and given Aquila’s commercial dive/charter/expedition yacht profile, with the ability to operate both in U.S. waters as well as foreign, and to carry paying passengers in international waters, the design was a bit more specific,” continued Taricco. “Andy and I made efficiency and energy-saving a priority.”

Aquila has a bit of understated elegance to her interior that definitely suits her purpose. And given Northern Marine’s fully custom abilities, Taricco got exactly what he envisioned. For example, a large communal salon was designed to allow everyone to be comfortable after a day of diving or exploring; a galley capable of providing not only the ability to serve food but also with plenty of storage space for ships stores while away from port for extended times; an engine room designed for ease of operation; and a pilothouse nothing short of a skipper’s dream. The original layout had the all-important pantry and laundry center down below. But during the mock-up phase; that’s where everything is laid out in actual size and arrangement, it was discovered there was wasted space underneath the stairs and therefore, a much more practical positioning was accomplished. The same thing occurred up forward with some of the door sizes and passageways, the layout of the crew mess, and the addition of the wet head outside enabling divers or others to utilize it before coming inside.

The massive hull of a Northern Marine build starts to take shape.

The massive hull of a Northern Marine build starts to take shape.

A big deal aboard is the boat’s rugged commercial systems including the rotary actuated, rack-and-pinion steering, robust pumps, waste treatment, life saving, and electrical. “Our mission critical criteria will sometimes mean that some of our crew, on any given expedition, are not us. They are employees and in our design here we’ve endeavored to make every ship-board system to be as easily operated as possible.”

On the all-important electrical side, Taricco gave me a crash course in Aquila’s unique cascading bus system. The way it works is that the selected power required from the various sources; inverters, shore power, large generator, for example, allow the loads that are capable of being handled by the selected source to be turned on. So it you have the 27-kW genset in operation, you can run everything. As you drop in kW to the smaller genset, certain things that are not necessary or important at the time, such as the Jacuzzi, won’t turn on. And with shore power, no matter where you plug-in, whether it is in South America, North America, wherever, you are good to go. “We’ve got 6-kW of inverters aboard driven by two large alternators that eliminate the need to run a genset during most crossings,” added Taricco. Another facet to the electrical system is the sophisticated Allen Bradley programmable logic controller which does things such as turning on the nav lights and any pump on the boat; it can monitor current draws, and trends in exhaust temps among many other functions. “From the electronics to the electricals, we have emergency and back-up systems backing up the emergency systems.”

Aquila awaits her launch, up the ways.

Aquila awaits her launch, up on the ways. (Photo: Northern Marine)

The Aquila build was a challenge for MacDonald and the entire Northern Marine team and one that they met head on. Because of the build’s uniqueness, the company has already begun to integrate some of what it learned into the current production boats already on the line. “As I said before, we are constantly looking to improve our processes to make as superior a product as possible,” said MacDonald.

The Pilothouse as realized by Northern Marine.

The Pilothouse as realized by Northern Marine. (Photo: Northern Marine)

So the next time you hear the Sirens of Circe singing, it’s time to listen to your own personal muse. And if that happens to be when you chance to be looking for an ultra-cruising boat, make sure to see what Northern Marine has to offer. You just might find your own odyssey unfolding before you in a most special way.

Northern Marine 64: SEA TRIAL

RPM             SPD(KN)               GPH                       dB(A)

600               4.5                          1                              51
900               6.0                          3                              55
1200             8.0                          5                              58
1500             9.0                          9                              59
1800            10.5                        17                              62

Test Conditions: Speeds were measured by GPS in 100 feet of water on the Guermas Channel, Anacortes, Washington with calm seas and no wind, with 3,100 gallons of fuel, 500 gallons of water, and four people on board. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronic engine monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm.

LOA: 64’7”
BEAM: 18’6”
DRAFT.: 6’6”
WATER: 500 gal.
FUEL:  3,100 gal.
ENGINES: 1 x 400-hp MTU Series 60

OWNER PROFILE: Fred Kirsch Balances The Ledger and Gets A New 80-foot Northern Marine

Long time boater Fred Kirsch knew he would get what he wanted when he approached Andy McDonald and the crew at Northern Marine.

Long time boater Fred Kirsch knew he would get what he wanted from the crew at Northern Marine.

Fred Kirsch has an outgoing and welcoming personality and one that pulls you right into the conversation. “My father inflicted his sons and daughters with a disease called boating when he bought a 21-foot CruiseAlong back in 1951,” he recollects, an infectious smile spreading across his face as we stand on the reality-in-progress work being done on the foredeck of his new Northern Marine 80 footer.

Hailing from the Chesapeake Bay area, boating has been a major part of his and wife Sharon’s lives. When they married, they promptly acquired an 18-foot runabout until working their way up to a 36 Chris Craft Constellation. “I remember wandering into a yard and seeing a 46 Hatteras Convertible. Three years later, we had a 48 LRC. We put 100,000 nautical miles over the years on Playpen by buddy boating and traveling all over the Caribbean, the Great Lakes, Bermuda, through the Panama Canal, and working our way up to Alaska. My wife liked that boat and so did I.”

The ever-traveling Kirsch’s saw their first Northern Marine years back and had the kind of impression most boaters do when they realize they are looking at their future. “We spent some time researching all sorts of production boats and kept coming back to the custom builds. Having been in the home construction business all my life, I did my due diligence and decided on Northern Marine. Building a custom boat is not for everybody but, here I am and finally getting what I want. These guys know what they’re doing, from the grinders on up to the fabricators and engineers and especially Andy. It always starts at the top.”

What the Kirsch’s are getting is New World Adventure, an 80-foot custom-built yacht with the kind of amenities, accommodations, systems, equipment, and rough-and-tumble, robust build to fit their cruising lifestyle and needs. It’s something that can be summed up in a discussion Kirsch told me he had with his wife when they felt they were ready. “Fred, the ledger books say we can do this.”

The Kirsch’s are planning to spend almost a year in the Pacific Northwest before heading out to, well, wherever they want to. Fair winds folks. Fair winds.

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Sea Trials


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