Capt. Richard Thiel's blog
For some time now the French boatbuilder Beneteau has been making moves that indicate it is serious about being a major player in the United States market. Solidifying that impression is the announcement that it is opening a U.S. sales and marketing office for its powerboat division. (It has long had both a sales and marketing office and a boatbuilding factory for its Beneteau and Jeanneau sailboat divisions.)
Regular PMY readers are probably familiar with the Wider, a new Italian boat with a major twist: This 42'4" center-console-ish craft has a maximum beam of 11'6" that with the mere touch of a button expands to 21'6", giving her the room of a 60-footer. The brainchild of Tilli Antonelli, founder of Pershing Yachts, she made her debut a few months back (below) and performed as predicted.
I mark my time as editor of PMY with a number of technological milestones. One was when we got our first fax machine. (Until then we relied on the U.S. Mail and something called a telex, whose mysteries I could never fathom.)
When the bell on our machine sounded, the staff would all gather ‘round to watch a fuzzy, streaky document spool out. We were as enraptured as relatives of the deceased at a séance. Actually reading the thing was another matter.
So what's a really good way to empahasize the power and performance of your new $2.75 million Riviera 61 Series II Enclosed Flybridge? Well, if you're one of those crazy Aussies, how about towing a waterskier? In fact, how about towing 12 waterskiers?
One thing that makes boatbuilding in the United States unique is its regionality. Many areas have spawned distinctive styles of vessels that are the product of local sea conditions, the work they do, and the personalities of the people who use them.
For some time now we've been telling you that Beneteau is targeting the United States in a big way. (We'll be featuring a test of its new Swift Trawler 44 in our June issue.) Now comes word of yet another line coming to America called the Flyer Gran Turismos. It consists of four ranging from 34 to 49 feet, all of which are already popular in Europe.
Designing new boats on computers is now so common, it's hardly worth mentioning. But while everyone seems to be doing it, a few boatbuilders have discovered—some the hard way—that CAD is not perfect. Indeed, they're learning that despite the wonders of this new technology, nothing can substitute for actually walking through a full-scale mockup to determine if all the proportions and dimensions really work.
What makes a boat a yacht? If I had a dime for every time someone asked me that, I could afford to buy one. Unfortunately, there’s no agreed-upon definition. Webster’s “any of various relatively small vessels for pleasure,” is hardly helpful, and Wikipedia’s “a high-end recreational boat” is absurdly all-encompassing. Little wonder that the term has evolved into an honorific that anyone can bestow on his boat.
If you're thinking about selling your boat this spring, you're probably interested in what's happening in the general used-boat market. A recent report by the on-line brokerage site Yachtworld.com that was published in the March issue of Soundings Trade Only gives some idea of what you can expect. Here are some major conclusions: