Take a Seat
Cost: $4,000 to $10,000
Can you put a price on comfort? The answer is yes, if that comfort comes in the form of your boat’s helm chair. If you’ve ever cruised nonstop for long distances, run in a serious chop or a confused ocean, or endured some other foul weather-related at-sea scenario, you know that your helm seat is the unsung hero of your boat’s helm station (and your butt).
Choosing a significantly upgraded seat to replace your worn and tired chair is obviously a matter of personal preference, but in making your selection, remember that this is the one place where you should not spare expense.
I’ve had great boating experiences in the comfort of a fully cushioned, electrically adjustable high-back chair, like the ones from Stidd, a company that has been in the business of providing superior comfort in adverse conditions for decades.
That said, I’ve also enjoyed running boats with Pompanette’s Platinum Series Chairs and their telescoping pedestals (I’m short and need the adjustment), sliding armrests, and powdercoated finishes. And at about $5,500, these are also solidperforming, moderately priced chairs.
Teak ladderback helm seats, like those sold by Release Marine, Bluewater Chairs, and Murray Brothers, are often seen on hardcore sportfishing boats. And there certainly is a lot of eye appeal to these golden-hue beauties when they’re set against the brightness of their stainless steel pedestals. Add a high-quality seat cushion, and I’ve found them to be pretty comfortable when running in a sea. (The boat’s a factor, too.)
Whether it’s soft and cushy or sleek and sexy, a helm chair is an investment that can pay dividends for your back and when you decide it’s time for a new dreamboat.
Tune in Anywhere
Cost: $2,000 and up
Say you’re spending a week onboard your boat with your family. If you want to follow the news or let the kids watch cartoons, there’s really only one option: satellite TV. As Chris Watson, marketing director for KVH explains, “Adding satellite TV to any boat increases its appeal and entertainment value at a relatively low cost.” It also does wonders for her resale value.
Whether you’re upgrading from a traditional antenna or installing TV for the first time, there are two giants on the market that you’d do well to consider— KVH and Intellian. While the companies offer different products, both make good on a similar promise: ensuring that you can enjoy hundreds of channels and access to HDTV programming while at sea.
So what system’s right for you? “Most customers will buy an antenna relative in size to their boat and how far away from land their excursions will take them,” explains Aaron Friedman, marketing manager for Intellian. “The further away from land they are, the larger the antenna needed.” Intellian manufactures antennas as small as 11" and as large as 49.2", while KVH’s TracVision systems have antenna dishes that range from 12.5" to 32" in diameter.
When it comes to installation, Watson says that KVH recommends customers work with an authorized dealer for its larger systems, “[but] our 14-inch TracVision M3 and our 12-inch TracVision M1 use only a single cable, support satellite TV services throughout North America, and are easily installed by a do-it-yourself boat owner.” According to Friedman, Intellian also suggests that most installations be carried out by a pro, though he adds that “[We] designed [our] satellite systems so that the setup is very simple and can be accomplished in a short period of time. Each unit includes a setup guide that provides step-by-step instructions.”
With the possibility of a DIY installation and the promise of hundreds of channels, the benefits of upgrading to satellite TV are— forgive me—clear indeed.
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.