SWIFT TRAWLER COMPLETES GREAT LOOP IN FOUR MONTHS
by Kathy Bohanan Enzerink
The Greatest Loop, on the final legs of its four-month journey around the Great Loop, put out the welcome mat for an afternoon open house while docked at the Oriental, N.C., waterfront Aug. 25. The 34-foot Beneteau Swift Trawler departed Annapolis May 15 and completed its circumnavigation of the Eastern United States Sept. 7. Nearly a dozen men captained different legs of the trip. Jeff Hammond, owner of BoatTest.com, was at the helm when The Greatest Loop arrived at Oriental.
Built in France, the boat boasts a 425 hp Cummins diesel with bow and stern thrusters providing speeds up to 21 knots and a range up to 813 nautical miles.
“I was impressed with the well-thought out design and its ability to turn a complete circle in its own length,” said Dave Wright, managing broker and dealer for Beneteau at St. Barts Yachts in Oriental. “She’s very stable at full throttle and it didn’t take long to get to plane.”
Beneteau is selling the trawler, including all existing equipment, with an asking price of $323,988.
BOAT YARDS WEATHER ISAAC
Trinity Yachts re-opened its New Orleans yard, six days after Hurricane Isaac hit the northern Gulf coast. Despite taking the full force of the Category 1 hurricane and its 11-foot storm surge, the New Orleans yard is protected by the city’s new levee system and only experienced 18 inches over the bulkheads. The only damage reported was to roof panels on the unoccupied covered wet slip. A 164-foot Trinity megayacht rode out the storm moored at the yard with no damage reported. The company’s Gulfport, Miss., yard was hit by tropical storm force winds and nine feet of storm surge. It re-opened Aug. 31 and reported no damage to the yard or vessels in it.
WEST MARINE DONATES LIFE JACKETS
West Marine has teamed up with the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water to give away over 2,500 type-III, vest-style life jackets to camps for use in at-risk youth programs, community swimming and youth sailing programs. Girl Scout Camp Meriweather in Luthersville, Ga., and Chestnut Ridge Camp and Retreat Center in Efland, N.C., were among those in the Southeast benefiting from the donations.
“As part of our BlueFuture initiative, we encourage kids to get out on the water and enjoy boating,” said Chuck Hawley, V.P. of Product Information for West Marine. “We hope this donation will enable more youth to explore the wonders of our country’s beautiful lakes, oceans and rivers safely.”
BAJA MARINE RESUMES PRODUCTION
Washington, N.C.-based Baja Marine Inc. resumed production of new boats in August with plans to re-introduce the offshore Baja 278 Performance, 30 Outlaw and 35 Outlaw models in 2013. The boats will appear at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October. “Baja is back in production after a few months’ shutdown,” said CEO Johnny Walker. “Our customers have been demanding bigger, faster boats with new custom graphics no one has seen before, and that’s what we’re giving them for the new model year.”
He also announced a new Elite Service department to tune, restore and re-power existing customers’ performance boats, regardless of brand.
BALANCE LAUNCHES FIRST CATAMARAN
Phillip Berman – longtime sailor, owner and founder of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based yacht brokerage, The Multihull Company – has launched his own line of catamarans aimed at the performance sailing market. Berman teamed with Kiwi catamaran designer Roger Hill in the re-design of one of Hill’s already proven hull designs. The result is the Balance 421, the first in what is expected to be a full range of Balance Catamarans. The boats will be built by Lee Zinxiang in Juhai, China, and marketed and sold exclusively by The Multihull Company around the world.
MARINE MAX OPENS MALL SHOWROOM
The national boat dealer MarineMax in Tampa recently took over the bottom floor of a former furniture store in the upscale International Mall Tampa, and converted it into a showroom. Boats on display range from 17 to 24 feet and have been built into a panoramic environment that allows clients to climb aboard and get a first-hand feel for the vessel with fans set up to simulate the wind. Shoppers can even get their photograph taken on a wakeboard being towed behind one of the vessels.
The showroom will also have a 24-seat theater showing videos of various Marine Max products and will also provide a venue for safety courses and the company’s “Women on the Water” training classes. The showroom will serve as a prototype for others around the country.
ESTUARY ALLIES MEET IN TAMPA
By Glenn Hayes
Environmentalists will converge on the Tampa Convention Center Oct. 20-25 for the sixth National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration. Organized by the non-profit group Restore America’s Estuaries, this year’s theme is “Restoring Ecosystems, Strengthening Communities.”
Attendees will take part in panel discussions and plenary sessions presented by more than 300 experts, supplemented by more than 100 poster presentations. They can also take part in hands-on hiking, birding, kayaking and air boat field sessions, plus restoration projects at places such as the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve on the eastern shore of Tampa Bay. Volunteers will help plant 10,000 plugs of smooth cord grass, aiding in the restoration of 10 acres of estuarine wetlands. A full review of the conference program along with registration information can be found at http://www.estuaries.org/conference/.
LOOPERS RENDEZVOUS IN ALABAMA
The America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association will host its biggest annual rendezvous Oct. 21-24 at Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, Ala., just off the Tennessee River. The event will feature seminars and side sessions for loopers of all levels, including talks about various portions of the Great Loop, vessel safety, marine electronics, the galley, buying and selling boats, watch keeping, prop repairs and life raft and inflatable PFD demos. There will also be tours of Rogersville, a dinghy race, awards, dinners and music. Visit www.greatloop.org for details.
SSCA PLANS 10th ANNUAL FLORIDA WEST COAST GAM
Seven Seas Cruising Association’s 10th Annual Florida West Coast Gam will be held at the Isles Yacht Club in Punta Gorda starting with a social hour on Oct. 12. On Oct. 13, the program will focus on topics that interest both coastal and long distance cruisers with Lin and Larry Pardey as the featured speakers. The Pardeys have circumnavigated on engine-free vessels they built themselves. Registration at www.ssca.org is required for Saturday’s program. There will also be a nautical flea market and social hour.
DEEP IMPACT ADDS TALENT
Deep Impact, the Miami-based manufacturer of high-performance luxury powerboats, has appointed two seasoned executives, Plant Operations Manager Steven Koss and Purchasing Manager Orlando Santos, to assist with the 13 year-old brand’s restructuring and long-term growth.
Koss offers a wealth of boating knowledge and more than 30 years of business experience, most recently with Power Play, Cheetah Cat and Platinum Power Boats. Santos, with 28 years of experience, rose through the ranks within Cigarette Racing. He began his career as a rigger, working up to quality control, parts manager, and finally purchasing and stock room manager.
Since acquiring the company in 2008, Deep Impact CEO Lazaro Hernandez has restructured the supply chain, improved production efficiency and added three new models to Deep Impact’s seven-boat catalog. “I can honestly say that Deep Impact is a legend in the making today,” Hernandez said.
NEW FIRM TAKES OVER CREW TRAINING OFFICE
International Crew Training began operations Sept. 1 after taking over International Yacht Training’s Fort Lauderdale crew training programs. The ICT staff brings more than 200 years of combined experience in the marine training industry to the new venture.
“This was a unique opportunity to take control of an established, well-respected company with proven training methods at an ideal location in Florida,” said ICT CEO Mike French. “And where there was room for improvement, we had the flexibility and resources to ensure we were offering only the best curriculum to our students.”
ICT has partnered with the Royal Yachting Association to offer a full range of certified courses that provide the advanced skills that are in demand in today’s global yachting community. ICT students can also benefit from a partnership with crew placement agency, CREW.ICT.
FREEPORT MUNICIPAL MARINA OPENING DRYSTACK FACILITY
The municipal marina in Freeport, Texas, was to receive its 31,000-pound forklift in September so that it could open its new 220-boat drystack facility on the banks of the Brazos River. Marina manager Angie Degetaire said the marina has also opened a new fuel dock with diesel and gasoline available and a pumpout facility. The marina opened in 2010 with 140 wet slips on its floating docks.
SUNTEX ACQUIRES BOSTON AREA MARINA
Dallas-based Suntex Ventures, in conjunction with Chicago-based equity firm Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, acquired Bay Pointe Marina and Seacrest Marine Services in Quincy, Mass. With 6.97 upland acres and 258 wet slips that can accommodate vessels up to 200 feet, the marina provides convenient access to Boston Harbor and the Atlantic. It includes a full-service marine repair company, a popular restaurant, The Inn at Bay Pointe, winter dry storage and a fuel dock.
“We see it poised for significant growth in the coming years,” said Jon Meyers, vice president of mergers and acquisitions of Suntex Ventures. “We could not have found a more perfect asset for our entry into the Boston market.”
This is the third acquisition by Suntex Ventures in 2012, including Saylorville Lake Marina near Des Moines, Iowa, and Crosswater Yacht Club on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. Suntex Ventures now owns and operates a portfolio of 12 marinas.
FISHING TACKLE UNLIMITED OPENS ENLARGED SECOND STORE
Houston, Texas-based retailer Fishing Tackle Unlimited opened an enlarged store on the north side of Houston in May. The 44,000-square-foot building on Interstate 10 is two blocks east of its previous northside store. It is full of tackle, kayaks, a full-service fly shop, trolling motors and store-within-store displays for Simms, Shimano, Daiwa, Guy Harvey, Tommy Bahama and more.
Along with its southside location on Interstate 45, the independently owned marine retailer launched in 1979 bills itself as the “world’s largest tackle store.”