About Zuzana Prochazka

Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site, TalkoftheDock.com.

Latitudes & Attitudes Share the Sail

Latitudes & Attitudes Share the Sail2010 in the San Juan Islands was a great mix of pirate parties and quite coves.

Lats & Atts put on another great Share the Sail – this time, with a group of a half dozen boats on a domestic charter in the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest.  Readers of the magazine, viewers of of Lats & Atts TV and longtime friends showed up in Anacortes in the middle of August and set out to test their knowledge of tides and currents and to get in some great scenery. 

Over the course of the week, our ranks swelled from the original 6 charter boats to nearly 20 boats as newcomers joined in on their own vessels.  You could hardly miss the group with flags streaming and cannons blasting wherever we went. 

The boats took off from Anacortes Marina and headed straight into the sun to Spencer Spit – a sandy little cove with the smell of fresh evergreens in the early morning.  We then set sail for Friday Harbor and on the way learned what current looks like in a part of the world that experiences 10’ tides on a regular basis. 

Setting sail isn’t really a great description as we really only got a day and a half of actual sailing.  This is trawler country after all.  After Friday, the crew of our ship, Lil’ R&R, decided on a little autonomy so we took off to Roche Harbor via Mosquito Pass.  Hands down some of the best hiking and eating of the trip and an amazingly friendly marina staff. 

So far, three days of fog and mist, but on the next day we decided to take a day sail (more like a day bob) in the Haro Strait to take in some sunshine and look for whales.  As if not to disappoint, several pods of orcas swam by, jumping and splashing right on cue and the weather turned to unseasonably warm temps in the 90s the rest of the week.

On the recommendation of Big John of Vessel Assist, we also separated from the group to take in the Moran Mansion at Rosario Resort on Orcas Island.  That was certainly the biggest wind we encountered as we clawed our way into 30 knots apparent.  After hooking up to a mooring in the windswept bay, we went ashore for a piano and organ concert with Christopher Peacock.  This was a real treat in the mansion’s music room complete with footage of the original Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney. 

The week wrapped up in Cap Sante marina in Anacortes for a party with Eric Stone.  I think that was the most boisterous thing Anacortes has seen in a while – certainly the most pirates than have ever roamed the streets of that quiet town. 

Next one is in Tahiti – stay tuned for details.   

Signs of Life in the Marine Industry?

Marine distributors see an increase in total sales.

According to the National Marine Distributors Association’s recent survey, the majority of marine distributors have seen an increase in the total sales volume of marine accessories this year, and most expect that trend to continue into next year.

55% of those who responded said the total sales volume of marine accessories was up in 2010 compared with 2009, and only 18% said it was down.  82% expect the total sales volume to go up in 2011.  36% said they expect to maintain larger inventories next year and 55 percent expect that inventory levels will remain the same.

Respondents were split on the average size of dealer orders this year, compared with last year – 36% are seeing increases, 32% are seeing a decrease and 32% say the average order size is the same as it was in 2009.
One of North America’s largest aftermarket suppliers for the boating, RV and outdoor recreation industries, Coast, reported net income of $1.18 million, or 26 cents a diluted share, for the quarter that ended June 30, compared with net income of $1.16 million, or 26 cents a diluted share, for the second quarter of 2009. Coast’s net sales increased by 4.6 percent, to $34.6 million, in the quarter, compared with $33.1 million in the same quarter of 2009. 

It’s not a huge gain, but at least it’s directionally correct. 


TreeFrogPad  – a super sticky pad that holds on to your stuff – even at angles.

Now this is a neat idea.  Check out the TreeFrogPad, a synthetic resin pad that measures 7” x 9” and is sticky so it holds on to cell phone, pens and pencils, glasses cases, keys, and all the other little stuff that bounces around your boat when under way. 

The TreeFrogPad is environmentally safe , tasteless, odorless, contains no solvents and is impervious to water.  Just put it on a horizontal or angled surface anywhere – it won’t hurt vanrish, paint or gelcoast but it will stay put.  It not only holds your gadgets, it provides shock resistance and hangs on to up to 2.5 lbs per square inch. No worries if you don’t want you iPhone to be sticky, the TreeFrogPad leaves no residue. 

You can cut it to fit smaller places (just wet the scissors so they won’t stick) and you can wash it with soap and water if you spill something on it or when it collects dust.  And for those of us who live in earthquake country, you can even use these to hold your fragile collectibles at home. 

It’s recommended that you don’t use the TreeFrogPad to mount something on a wall because on vertical surfaces, objects are likely to move over time.  The pad is designed to withstand quick movements like those in car or on a boat. 

A one-year money back guaranty is provided and with a price of just $12.95 (including shipping) , I bet you can find lots of uses for these. 

Bird Dropping Clean Up and Protection

Clean up after birds with Shurhold’s cleaner and polishes.

For some parts of the country, it’s getting time for winter decommissioning which includes a thorough cleaning.  One thing you don’t want leave on your boat during the next few months is bird and spider droppings which stain gelcoat and are harder to remove the longer they stay on. 

Shurhold has a cleaner and tow polishes which will not only help remove those stains but will also help with future cleanings because if gelcoat is well waxed, it’s less likely to hold on to future messes.  Shurhold’s Serious Marine Cleaner and Pro Polish and Serious Shine work on fiberglass, vinyl, carpet, rubber, teak and canvas. 

The cleaner is non-abrasive so it removes dried-on particles without scratching.  After removing the droppings, protect the surface with Shurhold’s Serious Shine or Pro Polish.  Serious Shine cleans, polishes and protects in one step without leaving behind any residue and it has UV inhibitors.  Pro Polish produces a high-gloss finish and protects against the sun, salt, acid rain and just about anything else you can get on your deck or cabintop.  ProPolish doesn’t contain filler or talc like wax, and it’s formulated with cosmetic-grade ingredients so it’s very safe. 

hurhold’s Serious Marine Cleaner comes in a 32 oz. trigger spray bottle for $11.98 or a one-gallon concentrate for $29.98.  Serious Shine comes in a 14 oz. aerosol can for $17.98, while Pro Polish is offered in a 16 oz. bottle for $22.98 and a one-gallon bucket for $109.98.

As you prepare for winter, check out Shurhold’s free guide on 10 boat care tips. All you need to do is provide your name and email. 

Lewmar’s EVO Winches

Lewmar’s new winch line, EVO, will be unveiled to the trade at METS (Marine Equipment Trade Show) this November.

Still built on the standard Lewmar winch platform, EVO features new styling, easier installation, new sizes and new finishes.

The new range comprises seven self-tailing winches: size 15, 30, 40, 45, 50, 55, 65, available in single speed (size 15 only) and two speed combinations. Electric versions of the winch are offered from size 40. Conversion kits and pre-wired motor gearboxes are available to adapt the manual winch to powered on size 40 up to 65.

The keys to the new design is the self-tailer is sleeker, the drum is grippier and they’re very easy to service by the boat owner – without any special tools.  They come in black, grey or chrome and even include an arrow so non-boaters know which way to load up the line. 

The EVO line comes in standard or electric versions or can be retrofitted with a motor later and they can be mounted with Lewmar’s existing Fast Fit studs.  EVO winches come with a 7-year warranty. 


Preview of Beneteau Sense 50

Beneteau is set to launch their new Sense 50 this fall.

I’m looking forward to checking it out at Annapolis so this is just a preview.  Like many European cruising boats, it looks like the sleek new Sense is all about futuristic design.  The exterior features a clear deck and a wrap around window while the interior is Eurochic with clean lines, light wood and hard angles. 

Word is that both the cockpit (which has twin helms) and the interior can be reconfigured somewhat.  What exactly that means remains to be seen.  Below the cockpit is the machinery space that is accessed by a ladder and houses all the noisy equipment but can also hold a washer/dryer and another berth – hope the crew is comfortable.

The Sense 50 has a displacement of 32,000 lbs and carries 110 gallons of fuel and 140 gallons of water.   Increased light and air below should make the cabin more livable and supposedly the boat is designed to heel less without reducing performance – that might have something to do with its 16’ beam. 


Initial pictures still include artist renderings, especially of the interior but I’m sure Beneteau will see some traffic on the docks at the shows this fall. 


Bruckmann to Build SAGA

J.J. Taylor & Sons Ltd announced they will have Bruckmann Yachts build the SAGA Yachts line of ocean cruising sailboats at their yard in Mississauga Ontario. The SAGA line includes the Bob Perry designed 35, 43 and 48 and the Tony Castro designed 409.

SAGA will offer the line on a semi-custom build-to-order basis to join the nearly 100 SAGA vessels currently  cruising around the globe. Bruckmann builds custom and semi-custom yachts and has been building quality sail and motor yachts for over 40 years.

The alliance means that existing SAGA owners will have a trusted home yard for major repairs, upgrades and re-fits. 

Van Liew Christens Boat


Sole US Entry in the Velux 5 Oceans, Race Brad Van Liew, christened his new a few weeks ago – with the same name. 

Brad Van Liew, winner by a huge margin of the 2002-03 Around Alone race has a new project.  That’s not really news, Team Lazarus, as his project is named, has been in full swing for a while now getting him ready to race in the Velux 5 Oceans Race beginning this October. 

Van Liew is missing one major piece of the puzzle to do this race for the third time – a corporate sponsor to name the boat and brand some 8,000 square feet of space onboard.  Van Liew’s ‘ECO 60′ is a fast, high-tech, carbon fiber racing yacht, designed for singlehanded, transoceanic racing.  This was the boat of French solo racer Catherine Chabaud who christened the boat “Le Pingouin” – for the birds that she would see as she passed remote places in the desolate Southern Ocean.  The yacht has been registered with that name ever since and has been adopted by Van Liew as well. 

A large race boat is an effective mobile billboard and the media exposure over the 9 months of the race, through locations on 5 continents in premium markets around the world, should be exceptional.  Of course, offshore racing is tough in the US and sponsors today are few and far between. 
Van Liew has done this race twice previously when it was named Around Alone.  He placed 3rd in class in the ’98 event, and dominated his class in the ’02-3 race, setting records for every leg. What if Van Liew doesn’t secure a title sponsor before the October start? “I’ll just rely on my amazing team, stalwart supporters, the great sponsors we’ve already partnered with, and the thousands of volunteers and donors that have brought me this far, and we’ll go win another one.”
When Van Liew finishes the Velux 5 Oceans 2010-11 race, he will become the first American in history to officially finish three solo round-the-world races. Companies supporting Van Liew’s campaign include B&G, Simrad, Gill, Samson, Awlgrip, Harken, High and Dry Boatworks, West Marine, Alpine Aire, Detyens, CMMC Machine, Charleston Rigging, Pierside Boatworks, Seabreeze Marina and many others.

For more information on Brad’s upcoming adventure – visit OceanRacing.org

 VELUX 5 OCEANS – The Ultimate Solo Challenge
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the Ultimate Solo Challenge, the ultimate human endeavor. More than 500 people have been into space, less than 180 have sailed round the world solo, and only 73 skippers have finished the VELUX 5 OCEANS. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a series of five high-pressure ocean sprints within a marathon 30,000-nautical mile circumnavigation. The race, run every four years since 1984, has a rich heritage which has given rise to some of the world’s best sailors. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is not only the longest round the world yacht race but at nearly 30 years old is also the longest running. Always at the forefront of ocean racing innovation, the 2010/11 VELUX 5 OCEANS will see the premiere of the Eco 60 class of yachts, pushing a message of sustainability, accessibility and affordability.

Lyman Morse Offers ZeroBase Solar Unit

Lyman Morse Boatbuilding Co. is working towards becoming a “green company” recently winning awards for its commitment to energy efficiency by installing wind power, solar power and generators for many yachts built in the yard.  

Now, they’ve partnered with Reluminati, a company offering energy conscious products using sustainable materials and built in the U.S..  The new Zero Base unit is a plug and play, easily deployable, solar power kit and what better people to build it than marine industry professionals?

ZeroBase™ can be used off the grid  on construction sites, cell phone towers, or any place that conventional power is not available.   On the grid, ZeroBase is a silent back-up  -  a quiet alternative always standing by, fully charged, and ready to work when needed.

ZeroBase™ is designed to integrate standard generators, solar, and wind power in one unit.  The box isn’t small as you can see from the pictures so you won’t just toss one on the foredeck of your Catalina 30.  But if you have a remote home where power outages are common, this might not be a bad addition to your emergency preparedness.  

There are two units – the H and Z series – and closed, the smaller H is roughly 6’x4’x3’.  It gets bigger when it’s “open” and the solar panels are deployed.

The H Series provides 3500 watts of power replenished by 600 watts of integrated solar panels, with battery back-up capability up to 28,800 watt hours of power. Expandable to 5000 watts of power replenished by up to 1kw of add-on wind power, 1.8 kw of add-on solar power and 12kw of add-on generator power.

The larger Z Series provides 3500 watts of power replenished by 1200 watts of integrated solar panels, with battery back-up capability up to 43,200 watt hours of power. Expandable to 5000 watts of power replenished by up to 1kw of add-on wind power, 1.8 kw of add-on solar power and 12kw of add-on generator power.

Sailing Channel to Develop New Programming

Here’s another boating related TV show you may want to check out – this comes from the Sail America association:

“Adventures in Sailing,” a new Public TV Series in development by The Sailing Channel, is slated for a March 2011 national rollout to Public Television stations across the U.S.
According to Executive Producer and Sail America member Tory Salvia, the new series is a half-hour anthology program featuring ten sailing films and documentaries including Lin and Larry Pardey’s “Cruising has no Limits,” along with episodes of the award-winning series, “Distant Shores,” by Canadian cruisers Paul and Sheryl Shard.

Salvia says The Sailing Channel is working with Florida Public Television WPBT2 as a co-production partner and presenting station, which is the first step towards national distribution. Next on the agenda is securing funding in the form of PBS Underwriting Sponsors.

“Here’s the ideal scenario: millions of viewers across the country watch Adventures in Sailing and get excited about learning how to sail (or getting back into sailing),” said Salvia. “Viewers remember this sponsor tag: ‘Adventures in Sailing is funded in part by Sail America and its Discover Sailing program at DiscoverSailing.com.’ Through our existing Discover Sailing program, Sail America is positioned to receive inquiries and provide information about sailing to help grow our sport.”

You can watch Latitudes & Attitudes TV now and catch up with this new program in March. I’m looking forward to it.