Hey Capt. Ken, enjoyed catching up with you at this past Ft. Lauderdale boat show. Good to see you again. We are on our way back from our trip through the Abacos and took this sunset shot for your Photo Op section. Hope our paths cross again as we will be cruising up north late in May and are planning a stop over in New York City before we head to New England waters including Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Mt. Desert, Maine, and then up into Nova Scotia. Either way, going to or coming from, we’ll be sure to look you up. – D. and M. Smith, Chicago, IL
Monthly Archives: March 2015
Always on the alert for issues that affect the boating community, BoatUS has had its collective ear to the ground on this particular news for quite some time now. Here at the Boat & Yacht Report, we also feel it is important to get the information out as well. You decide. Thanks for listening. -Capt. Ken
THE ISSUE: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the 2005 federal law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When it was written, it assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to rise and mandated escalating amounts of biofuels to be blended with our fuel. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually declined steadily, which today forces more ethanol into less gasoline.
To keep up with this RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15% ethanol) into the marketplace. Even though E15 is prohibited from being used in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, as well as any vehicle made before 2001, this fuel can now be found at over 100 stations in 16 states at the very same pumps as E10 and ethanol-free gasoline.
Over 60% of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) half million members as well as millions of recreational boaters fill their boat’s fuel tanks at roadside gas stations where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk.
ACTION NEEDED NOW: For years, BoatUS has been battling in Washington to make sure recreational boat owners can buy gasoline that works with their recreational boat engines. Senators Diane Feinstein and Pat Toomey have now introduced S. 577, the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015” in the US Senate.
This bill, which has both Democrat and Republican support, will effectively remove the government mandate for higher blends of corn-based ethanol fuels (more than 10%) and allow for investment in other more compatible biofuels. BoatUS believes it is a critical step to solving the ethanol issue and urges America’s boat owners to contact their Senator now to become a co-sponsor and supporter of S. 577. Boaters can easily do this at: http://goo.gl/S4bWMu. For more on the Renewable Fuel Standard go to www.BoatUS.com/gov.
WHO: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half million members with government representation, fighting against unfair federal taxes, fees and regulations that single out boat owners. BoatUS is also non-partisan working on both sides of the aisle as well as with state agencies to promote boating laws that make sense.
Solar Power Adds More Benefits To ShoreStation Boat Lift
ShoreStation FlexPower Hydraulic Lifts are known for their speed and reliability. DC power is the brawn behind both of these benefits. The charge of the system’s marine deep-cycle batteries can be maintained by a 20W solar panel, transforming a boat lift into an environmentally friendly and electrically safe, hydraulic system that is economical to install and simple to operate.
More than just a battery charger, the solar panel completely removes the need for an AC power circuit on the dock, creating a safer environment. In addition, this eliminates the high, up-front costs of installing AC power with the required GFCI equipment and the inconvenience of running power all the way to a slip. Owners can also say goodbye to annual electrical safety inspections and maintenance.
Eric Sager, with the help of Ocean One Docks and Boat Lifts, recently installed a ShoreStation lift with solar panel at the end of a canal near his home for his 22′ Pro-Line. “A more traditional, AC powered lift would have cost $600 a year just for the needed electric meter,” said Sager. “The solar charger makes the ShoreStation Lift totally independent from AC power. The cost-savings are excellent. This lift is the best money I ever spent. Ocean One was great about installing everything, too, even for such a unique application.”
With a self-contained solar panel, users can recharge the lift battery with a clean, free and renewable power supply. Simple to use and hassle-free, the solar panel automatically charges the battery with no daily maintenance. It also protects the battery from draining and over-charging. ShoreStation’s 20W solar panel even charges faster than traditional 10 watt models, ensuring a quick recovery time so it’s always ready for use.
Contact ShoreStation, a division of Midwest Industries, 122 E State Hwy 175, Ida Grove, IA 51445. 800-859-3028;
Fax: 712-364-3361. www.shorestation.com
QCamPro: A Security App making waves from Down Under to Down Home
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
This report on QCamPro, a relatively new Smartphone security app that is getting rave reviews around the docks worldwide, has a personal back story that concerns its founder, British born and now Adelaide, Australia-based John Convill and myself and is one that began some 25+ years ago in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
At that time, being mid-November of 1989, I had just brought a 93-foot yacht down from New York to participate in that particular year’s holiday boat parade, start a cosmetic work project, and offer her services for some charter work.
Meanwhile, along with his lifelong friend Alan Brown, John, with whom he had spent many high school holiday times in Majorca, Spain and in the South of England, decided it was time they paid a visit to the U.S. of A. After getting all the proper documents together, and booking their plane tickets, the lads were off.
They flew from London to New York and then, after meeting up with several friends, traveled to Orlando and then to Miami where John found work at a car wash. Quickly deciding there was little future in this industry, he and Alan tried their hands at washing boats and soon migrated a bit to the north and Ft. Lauderdale.
The very night of the boat parade, someone they had just finished up some work with was sporting the boys to a dinner at the Bahia Cabana, a popular local watering hole serving relatively decent fare. And as fate would have it, my crew and I, having just gotten back to the dock and with things squared away, decided to do-drop-in. Several beers later, I was introduced to John and Alan by the person they had been working for; who, by the way, I knew casually, and as I was looking for two crew, took them down to the boat for a look-see.
“We’re sorted, Alan and I, and, tired of cheese and bread sandwiches, have decided to come aboard.” They set up the forward quarters to their liking and for the next three months, turned out to be stellar crew. Come spring, the boat returned to New York and the boys were off to England.
A true kindred spirit and fellow sufferer of terminal wanderlust, John returned to the States in the summer of 1990 and began an almost two year travel odyssey taking him from finding work in Bar Harbor, Maine, to Barbados, to Sweden, and finally, on a one-way ticket, to Australia. After three weeks of picking grapes at a local vineyard, and his total assets of $70 just about exhausted, he landed a job, having had some background in the past working with Alan, as a security technician. Since then, John now heads up his own successful company, Vision Security Services, and went on to develop the QCamPro App.
In 2005, while attending the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in Sydney Harbor, Australia, John and I were able to catch up, and in 2013/2014 he attended the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami International Boat Shows, QCamPro in hand, for its Stateside launch. While attending these two premier shows, he was in contact with top integration partners such as Mobotix, AXIS and FLIR. The QCamPro App is now spanning across the globe in 60+ different countries with 30+ companies ‘branding’ the app as their own.
And just why did I go through this lengthy introduction of the QCamPro App? I wanted you to get to know what kind of self-
motivated and visionary entrepreneur was behind this product. At the same time, I believe full disclosure is in order and given my background with John, did not want our friendship to get in the way of helping him get the word out. To the point, I have no stake in the company and neither have nor will receive any compensation for this report. As with other relevant products that come across my desk, this information deserves to be shared by my readers.
So, let’s get into it. Many have grappled with the concept of remotely monitoring video cameras or being alerted when a virtual staff member, marina manager, dockmaster, or security officer first detects activity on a protected site. The notification comes if there’s a problem onboard or site changes like a spike in temperature, perhaps indicating a fire, a power failure, or some other indication that something is wrong.
QCamPro works very much like an alarm system with one big difference: You receive a visual ‘push’ notification direct to your IOS device allowing you to have live video and two-way voice communication with speaker-equipped cameras when an event occurs (Android App is available but without event notification). With this app, you can have remote video security right in your hands. And as far as camera compatibility is concerned, QCamPro works with the full Mobotix range, including the new T25, Q25 and S15 models, Axis, Bosch, Panasonic, Sony, DLink, Grandstream, Toshiba, and Vivotek equipment. During my time with John at both the Lauderdale and Miami shows, I personally watched as he powered up an iPad and checked in on a boat at a marina in Sydney Harbor, Australia, in real time, remotely controlling the lights onboard through QCamPro.
The majority of camera/surveillance systems have their own app that allows you to have a look whenever it suits you. QCamPro also allows you to use this but the key feature is it ‘notifies you’ when an event occurs. Rather than have multiple apps for multiple sites, QCamPro has a multi-view option allowing different cameras to be set up in different camera layouts across multiple sites.
Other key features include live monitoring of video and audio across both 3G and wireless, a speak-to-camera function with frame rates as high as 25 frames per second depending on the camera and network configuration, PTZ controls, native IOS controls (multitouch zoom, swipe, etc), single, and multi-view of cameras, including a 16 camera view assigned to groups with no limit on the number of cameras or views that can be monitored, six action configuration to open doors, switch lights on and off, etc., and playback of recorded video and audio (not yet available on Android).
If you’re interested in speaking with John about the QCamPro App, or have any questions, you can contact him at email@example.com
Capt. Ken: We are on our way back north from spending the winter in South Florida and, knowing our home port weather is still not very good, are taking it very slow aboard our 60 foot Hatteras Motor Yacht. Currently staying at the Jekyll Harbor Marina in Georgia, we are enjoying the sights, the food, the golf, and meeting up with friends and family. Our plan is to stop at Tybee, Hilton Head, and Charleston for a few days each, maybe longer, before pushing on. Have enjoyed your articles over the years in the boating magazines as well as your video work. Most entertaining and informative. Your site is also very good and would ask that you post more of your creative work. Both the SALTY LIFE and LITERARY CORNER writings are worthy of attention. We were walking our dog the other morning and noticed the light fog hanging in the midst of a nearby wooded area. I always have my camera with me when we travel and after loading the photos on my laptop, I thought you might like it enough to share it here on your site. Thanks again for all your efforts. -J. and L. Banks, Cape May, NJ
10 Tips From BoatUS for Owners and Renters
As boat clubs and rental opportunities have gained momentum, my industry friend Scott Croft of Boat US has forwarded this brief guide to me in hopes that some questions can be answered if you are considering entering into an agreement with a boat owner or if you are thinking of renting your vessel out. Cross your ‘t’s’ and dot your ‘i’s’ and things just might work out. -Capt. Ken
Airbnb may be a popular “peer-to-peer” lodging site on the web, but if you want to rent a boat in your local area or away, you’ve got options too. Boatbound.com, Boatsetter.com and Cruzin.com are just a few of the new crop of online websites offering a chance to rent a boat for the day or weekend. These services, which connect private boat owners to renters, can help owners recoup some expenses, and can also give non-owners a chance to get on the water with friends without the cost of full-time ownership. So what do you need to know? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has some information for both boat owners and renters.
- Renters do not want boats that are not safe and or can barely get out of the marina, so these services are often better suited to newer vessels less than 10 years old. Older, larger or faster boats may require a survey or inspection. Rental costs vary widely based on boat size and location, and renters typically are required to have some boating experience as well as a deposit.
- These peer-to-peer boat rental websites generally handle every part of the transaction, including taking deposits and payments. They typically take 30%-40% of the rental fee, which covers overhead, profit, as well as insurance and on water towing services (more on both of those in a second … read on).
- For boat owners, most boat insurance policies don’t provide coverage during the rental period and some companies may not provide coverage at any time simply if you list your boat with a rental program. If you happen to own and insure your boat but desire to rent another, your insurance company (including BoatUS Marine Insurance) may offer a temporary endorsement for liability coverage while operating the rental boat — but damage to the rental boat still is not covered. That’s why these “peer-to-peer” boat rental companies often provide additional insurance coverage. However, it’s up to owners — and renters — to read the fine print. For owners, know what happens if your boat is damaged, the claims process, how depreciation may figure in, and, in the event of total loss, how the insurance will value your boat. For renters, ensure you are OK with the level of liability coverage being offered during the rental, know how much you would have to pay if you damage the boat, and whether injuries to both you and your passengers would be covered.
- TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist towing fleets provide on water towing and assistance service to some peer-to-peer rental services at no additional charge to the renter or owner. For the renter that means simply calling BoatUS’ 24-hour nationwide dispatch (800-391-4869) if there is a breakdown.
- Renters need to ask about any other costs or fees, including fuel or other charges like pump-outs. They should also clarify with the owner what happens if the boat breaks down and becomes unusable.
- Boat owners have the full right to say “no” to a renter, starting with an initial phone call. BoatUS member Bob Kellet, who has successfully rented his 30-foot sailboat, says owners are in full control of the process, from pricing to vetting renters. After speaking to a potential renter on the phone, if he’s comfortable, Kellet will meet at his boat for a full run-through. He may even take the renter out for a few minutes to show how everything works.
- Kellet also suggests having a detailed instruction guide for the boat’s equipment and a step-by-step guide for things like starting the engine. Be sure to include safety gear.
- Having a walk-through, pre-rental checklist is good for both parties, as is taking a few date-stamped photos showing the condition of the vessel.
- While there is a certain element of trust, owner and renter reviews tend to weed out bad apples quickly, so be sure to check the renter’s history or the owner’s reviews from past renters. “Reviews are the best indicator of whether there will be a positive rental experience,” says BoatUS Consumer Affairs Director Charles Fort, who adds, “These services may also help those looking to buy a certain boat to try it out, if you will, before they purchase.”
- One man’s experience: BoatUS Member Kellet said he was apprehensive the first few times he rented his sailboat to a stranger, but after a couple rentals he realized the renters cared about his boat, too, and they were there for the same reason: a love of the water and boating. A couple rentals a month easily pays his Seattle, Washington, area moorage fees. The only downside Kellet reports are scheduling conflicts when he’d like to use the boat himself.
For more, see the BoatUS Magazine story, “Is Peer-to-Peer Boating for You?” at BoatUS.com/thinkingofrenting.
About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS)
BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS insurance program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.
The Bayliss 77 is the one-of-a-kind result of a custom builder’s expertise combined with fulfilling the dreams of the owners.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
While the ideas of renowned physicist Albert Einstein changed the world, he was never, to my knowledge, a sportfishing enthusiast. However, he did have a thought that just might explain, in relative terms that is, just how John Bayliss achieved a remarkable accomplishment with the launch of hull #18, and the latest boat to bear his name, the 77-foot Clean Sweep.
Einstein’s quote goes like this: “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
Bayliss learned his boat building craft with roots anchored deep in that special enclave of Carolina boat builders. “For me, growing up in that environment, it was always fishing first,” he said as we discussed his early days on the water and his eventual graduation, with honors, from ‘Oregon Inlet University.’ “And that’s what I bring to each and every boat I build.”
It wasn’t until mid-2001, when he was asked to offer some insight into a build, that Bayliss decided it was time to do something on his own. “I had a lot of ideas in my head and ran things up the flagpole with a couple of friends.” By Christmas week of that year, ground was broken for the shop. Eighteen boats later, the Bayliss brand has become a formidable force in the rarified air of custom-built, hard-core sportfishing machines.
He and I first crossed paths at the 1998 Mid Atlantic 500 and on the day I was part of the invited crew, we had 11 knockdowns. I distinctly remember his drive and determination in doing his best to make the day as successful as could be. Many years later, as I stepped aboard Clean Sweep in Key West, Florida, it was quite obvious that both his passion for fishing and his own style of boat building skills have complimented each other and resulted in something really special.
“Everything is important aboard my boats. From the top of the tower to the bilges, nothing gets less attention just because it can’t be seen,” he said proudly and again, laced with that same determination and force of nature he brought to all those years of competitive fishing.
As I like to start ‘at the bottom’ when reviewing a boat, knowing that if things are taken care of here the rest will follow suit, I entered the machinery space via a large hatch on the cockpit’s centerline where a set of steps allows easy access without any serpentine contortions.
Brightly lit with high-gloss refrigerator white finishes on all the big iron and its requisite equipment, including a pair of 30-kW Northern Lights gensets as well as the bulkheads and overhead, the fully air conditioned and wired for sound engine room offers complete access to any piece of equipment. It’s the kind of space that is easy to get to and has the workroom that eliminates the backache out of doing regular maintenance projects. “Makes it a pleasure to work down here what with the a/c and some music,” remarked Capt. Gerry Keene, Clean Sweep’s skipper and a 13-year veteran with these owners, having been with them on their previous 68-foot Bayliss boat, hull #8, as well.
Fully forward and through a door is the pump room with all water and air conditioning systems, and their redundant back ups, to port and starboard respectively. As with the engine room, there is great working space in here as well.
As you would expect, the as-good-as-it-gets business end of Clean Sweep is her 200 square foot cockpit. It is replete with mezzanine, fish boxes, live well, chillers, individually controlled refrigerator/freezers, cold drink compartment, tackle storage, amazingly detailed and expertly finished teak cover boards and deck, a beautiful fighting chair, actuated under-gunwale storage cabinets, and just about anything a tourney-ready, serious—in this case, very serious—sportfishing yacht would need to get the job done.
Clean Sweep’s striking ice-blue hull and gleaming white house, with teak toe rail, and dramatic hull form and balanced Carolina profile was merely a prelude of what would await within. “Her owners are big time fishing people and have a shared vision on how they want to use their boat,” said Capt. Gerry as we toured Clean Sweep’s stunning interior.
Without mincing words, breathtaking is the only way to describe both the décor and the exacting attention to detail and craftsmanship that went into creating the interior space.
Clean Sweep presents a four stateroom, four head layout, all accessed through the expansive main salon, itself offering a fully found galley to port and dining area to starboard. What is so outstanding about the interior work found throughout is, of course, the extraordinary fit and finish that immediately catches the eye and how all the wood grain veneers match due to have actually been hewn from one log. And then there are those leather finish granite countertops, whose very special composition blends perfectly with the teak and holly sole and the rest of her striking interior.
The spacious master is located forward and among its many noticeable features, has above the berth’s headboard, a wood carving done meticulously by hand in relief form and fashioned from a single piece of lumber. And whether here, in the starboard crew stateroom, the VIP to port, or the captain’s quarters aft, there is more than ample storage room for all the necessary items required for staying away from the home port for extended periods of time. “We are based in Corpus Christi, Texas,” commented Capt. Gerry. “But I doubt we are going to see much of it. This is a purpose built boat and these owners like to go.”
Topsides is accessed by a starboard ladder and once up here, the centerline console offers a commanding 360° view. For guests, there is wrap-around seating forward easily accommodating 12-14 people with a table that doubles as a freezer. Additional freezer and drink compartments are located forward of the console and there are actuated storage boxes to either side.
For the skipper, there are a pair Garmin Black Box GPS systems, 25-kw Furuno radar, night vision, Chirp transducer, Furuno sonar, Simrad autopilot, 4 KEP 19” monitors, aft hard-top mounted 8” Garmin screen, Furuno sounder, Garmin sounder, KVH SAT phone and TV, Carlisle & Finch spotlight, KVH compass card, redundant Garmin tower electronics package—yes, that awesome Palm Beach Tower is fully functional—and more. And the hatch leading up to the bridge closes for safety.
Clean Sweep is a cold molded boat, built with exacting precision from the jig right up through her flawlessly finished hull and topsides. “From hull #1, which was a simple 12-cylinder, no-frills fishing machine, to this one here, with her twin 2,600-hp MTU diesel engines and all the many technological improvements through the years, you can track any boat builder’s career. And it goes beyond size,” commented Bayliss as we discussed the way he builds his boats. “Our goal is to always make them better.”
Matching the ride to the boat’s weight, size, range, and speed, Bayliss, along with renowned marine architect Robert Ullberg, gave Clean Sweep’s bottom around 24° – 25° around the forward bulkhead with a little more deadrise aft. “It’s walking a fine line but every boat is a compromise. We like the great head sea performance with plenty of buoyancy forward and the ability to not get squirrely on the captain in a big following sea,” said Bayliss.
With 30 months of build time and some 68,145 man-hours involved, the final product is a true labor of love, vision, dedication, and the combined efforts of a team of expert craftspeople. “The pre-construction time is as important as the build itself,” said Bayliss. “During that process, and among many other questions, we nail down the following: Where do you expect to travel? How do you plan to use your boat? What features are most important to you?”
Out on the water, Clean Sweep lived up to everything one would expect from her DNA. My day found the waters off of Key West mostly calm with just a hint of breeze sweeping landward and as we headed out to sea, I noted she got up on plane at 1500 rpm and with a 22-knot turn of speed. When we bumped her up to 1900 she responded by delivering 34+ knots. And adding a mere 100-rpm, we settled into a very comfortable 36 knots. She responded extremely quick to helm commands, cut exciting turns, banking and holding rpm as she did so, backed down quickly, and settled into tracking straight and true on our way back to the dock.
OFF TO FARAWAY PLACES
The Bayliss 77 is a boat that needs to be seen up close and personal to really appreciate everything that went into making her. Clean Sweep would be in Key West one more day as her rightfully proud owners were due in the following morning and then it would be off to fish the Caribbean side of Central America before transiting the Canal to Costa Rica. And then? Well with a boat like this one, that’s as it should be.
If a custom built, one-of-a-kind sportfishing boat is in your means, you owe it to yourself to check out what Bayliss Boatworks has to offer. You will not be disappointed.
Weight: 125,000 lbs (dry)
Fuel: 2,800 gal
Water: 450 gal
Power: 2 x M94 2,600-hp MTU
RPM GPH SPEED/KTS
1500 96.5 24.8
1700 123.5 29.2
1900 155.5 34.2
2150 191.0 38.5
2450 252.5 43.4
For more information, please contact Bayliss Boatworks (252) 473-9797; baylissboatworks.com
ZF transmission technology reaches new levels of shift speed and comfort with Supershift 2.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
ZF, founded in 1915 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and known for its innovative engineering vision in the automotive sector, has had many groundbreaking products find their way into the marine sector; transmissions, pod drives, steerable azimuth and tunnel thrusters, controls, propellers, and surface drives among others. The company’s latest advancement is Supershift 2, an evolution of ZF’s high horsepower marine transmissions.
“ZF launched the world’s first eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions for passenger cars, so we talked to yacht builders and captains to see how we could adapt this technology to marine,” explained ZF Director of Industrial Technology, Wolfgang Schmid. “Supershift 2 provides a much smoother gear change with more efficient hydraulic system and increased robustness in the design.”
I recently did a sea trial on the latest Viking sportfishing yacht to hit the water. The 92C is a massive boat whose design and function, that is to supply ultimate comfort and performance while in the pursuit of big game fish, is well realized. In this nautical scribe’s opinion, she achieved, and surpassed, on both assignments.
One of the more notable experiences I had aboard that day was watching veteran Viking captain Ryan Higgins expertly put her through her paces; flat out speed runs, seemingly hair pin turns, acceleration runs, and most impressive, our backing down maneuvers during ‘fighting a tourney-hooked fish’.
Higgins was able to maintain complete control, and as I noted, obtain smooth and immediate engagement over the big boat without losing the all- important ‘bump’ when going from neutral to forward or reverse. He even had her pirouette like a prima ballerina while doing eight knots in reverse. All this because of her superbly designed hull form and machinery; a pair of 2,600-horsepower MTU 16V2000 M96Ls coupled to ZF Smooth Shift 5050 transmissions with Supershift 2 technology. “The Supershift 2 transmissions shift smoothly and precisely every time, and the trolling valves work perfectly,” said Bill Gibbons, a Senior Project Engineer with Viking Yachts.
To understand how this important component works, let’s take a general look at what your engine’s transmission does. Around the dock, and as known by most engine mechanics, the tail end attached to the aft portion of your inboard engine is called the marine gear and has three main functions: to put your engine(s) in neutral, forward, and reverse. It does this in today’s now ‘standard’ electronic format by engaging and disengaging a series of highly machined and accurately designed clutches and rotating gears, using an oil pump to create hydraulic pressure for the movement, as per commands from your helm controls.
ZF Marine Propulsion first introduced its Supershift technology over ten years ago now and with it, set a new standard for high horsepower vessels. “Back then Supershift was the new generation of integrated hydraulic electronic shifting technology that came to the pleasure craft segment, one that had, for the most part, switched over from mechanical operations,” said Martin Meissner, Marketing and Communications Manager for ZF North America. “With Supershift 2, our engineers looked at ways we could improve the shift quality, feel, and reaction time within the transmission.”
For those of us who put in time at the wheel, this last notion mentioned by Meissner is quite important. The operations of our marine gears is something we have come to almost take for granted and, with the familiar ‘shift feel’ of the machinery, whether using pods or the more traditional inboard designs, we know just how our boats are going to react while cruising, out at sea, or in maneuvers and, at those necessary times, during tight quarter situations around the dock.
To achieve this and other goals, ZF began by looking at the tolerances of the clutch packs; the series of plates and discs that, when hydraulic pressure is applied to, will cause them to close up and create the engagement of the gear ratio. By tightening up those tolerances when that force is applied, a more immediate reaction will be achieved. The trick however, is to find just the right balance while working within mere millimeters of space that will still allow the all-important hydraulic fluid to flow so that any drag, caused by having too much space, will be eliminated. In other words, your engine(s) will really be in neutral when you put your controls in that position.
But that is just one part of the entire system and to attain the results ZF wanted for this latest version, achieving the proper balance throughout was necessary. “All of the hydraulics, and the ability to push the fluid through, needed to be looked at to see where we could instill any improvements,” said Meissner. “In our view, these were evolutionary advances in an already successful and proven system we knew we could, and did, put into play.”
As far as maintenance is concerned, ZF has, of course, built-in warnings and error codes in its highly sophisticated electronics package that will appear on a digital display should anything of concern show up. Should this be the case, a phone call to an authorized ZF technician is in order.
From someone who has put many hours into engine rooms, as well as in my discussions with ZF personnel, regular routine examination of the transmission oil, housing and its connections is advised. Always look for any telltale signs of oil leak or sweat or if any salt water is dripping on the covering from somewhere else in the engine room. Become familiar with your owner’s manual and follow all directions and schedules for regular oil and filter changes. Doing so will result in a long and productive life for your sophisticated ZF equipment, peace of mind, and smooth, dependable operations while your vessel is in your hands.
For more information, and complete worldwide operations contacts, visit the company Website a www.zf.com