At the 2014 Ft. Lauderdale boat show I attended a breakfast where a panel of center console builders spoke about their craft and the marketplace at large. One thing that stuck with me from that event was a sentiment expressed by Todd Albrecht, vice president of Jupiter Marine. Albrecht essentially said that Jupiter is really pushing a simpler kind of boating, one that encourages families to put down their phones and tablets and whatever else is sapping their attention, and make a real connection with the marine environment. And that’s a pretty cool thought to have—and one I agree with. I always get a kick out of getting on boats that have a limited number of TVs onboard. You need one flatscreen in the saloon for big games, everything after that is overkill.
There are other details on boats I’ve noticed too that just might constitute a trend towards a simpler time. More and more manufacturers are installing analog compasses on their boats. And old salts throughout the marine industry are looking at the fancy, crowd-sourced chart functions available in certain electronics packages and saying, “That’s nice and all, but let’s not forget to learn how to read paper charts.” Electronics after all, have a way of crapping out when you need them most.
Meanwhile, onboard a Palm Beach 55 I tested in Australia, Palm Beach head honcho Mark Richards proudly proclaimed to me that he likes to “keep it simple, stupid” when he builds boats. To highlight this mantra, he showed me a tender launch system in the boat’s garage that was nothing more than a rope pulley system. No hydraulics, no buttons to push, just you, a line, and probably a couple well-earned calluses. (Granted the swim platform we were standing on was a $100,000 option that hydraulically rose into the air to create a diving board, but let’s not get into that. Baby steps.)
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.