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.

Season 5 of Lats & Atts TV

Season 5 of Lats & Atts TV

Season 5 of Latitudes & Attitudes TV is now online and air.

Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine has a TV show, now in its fifth season.  And of course, that’s the one that’s important to me as I’m the talking head and “co-host” beginning with that season. 

You can see the episodes on Wednesdays at  9:30AM  EST in hi-def (ouch) on the Versus Network, on Direct TV Channel 603, DISH Channel 151 andcable in most areas (see your local directory).  This week airs episode 58 featuring the British Virgin Islands (Part 1). 

So what if you’re like me and don’t have a cable provider that carries it?  You can watch it on line at seafaring.com .  Of course, the previews are free but you can download the episodes for $4.99 each. 

I hear I have a fan base of like two, help me out and watch, will you?

Trawler Fest Set for Baltimore

PassageMaker Magazine announced its choice of Baltimore’s historic Inner Harbor as the location of their new mid-Atlantic Trawler Fest set for September 24-26, 2010. 

The Inner Harbor, a major seaport in the United States since the 1700s, is a very nautical location for Trawler Fest’s newest venue. Seminars will take place at the Hyatt Regency hotel, just a short walk from the Baltimore Inner Harbor Marine Center, where exhibiting companies will set up on the grounds overlooking the city’s waterfront.

Boat show hours will be Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. with seminars 8:30 a.m.–12 p.m. 

Seminars include:

• Finding Your Cruising Style
• Cruising Down The ICW
• Strategies For Repair Decisions
• Share The Channel: Navigating With Big Ships
• Basic First Aid And CPR/AED
• Practical Basic Navigation Skills: What To Do When The GPS Quits
• Bob Smith’s Diesel Workshop
• Ship’s Systems Stem To Stern
• Building Cruising Confidence As A Couple
• Women-Only Boat Handling

Two-day courses are $450 per person. One-day course is $175 per person. 
For more information or to register, visit the Passage Maker site. 

Gori Propellers Offers 10% Discount

Gori folding propellers from Denmark let you sail faster and motor more efficiently and now you can save too.

Drag – it’s such a drag when you’re sailing.  But a fixed prop is just like dragging a bucket through the water and that does nothing for speed under sail.  According to the manufacturer, Gori folding props can increase your speed under sail by up to a knot.  Gori’s technology folds the prop, unlike say MaxProp which feathers the prop, but both do provide less drag and better efficiency under power and sail.

Under sail, Gori props do not auto-rotate or vibrate, even at high speeds. The two, three and four-bladed props fold into a hydrodynamic shape when the prop shaft stops turning.  Various sizes are available depending on the number of blades. 

But it’s not just under sail that a folding prop makes sense.  Under power, the blade design and gearing system make a Gori prop more efficient in forward and reverse than fixed props. The true blade shape and design – the camber, curve and twist – deliver maximum drive.  Unlike fixed props, the folding Gori is the same shape in both forward and reverse, so you can back much better (minus the crazy prop walk) and stop more effectively with all blades digging in just as if the prop were in forward.

Gori props also offer their “over drive” function that allows you to motor at cruising speeds while the engine is turning over at lower revolutions, thus creating less noise, vibration and heat – and of course, using less fuel. 

So how do you save 10%?  Blue Water Sailing’s online newsletter called the Cruising Compass came out with this offer Tuesday and it’s good until the end of October.  So let me help them spread the word – get a discount while sailing and motoring more efficiently. 

For more information, visit Gori propellers

Laura Dekker Cleared to Solo Circumnavigate

Laura Dekker lives in the Netherlands and wants to sail around the world – solo and now.  She’s 14.

Dekker was born at sea on her parent’s boat and has wanted to sail her Jeanneau 38, Guppy, solo around the world – a desire that launched Dutch child protection services into action last year.  The court placed Laura under a guardianship so she couldn’t go.  She in turn ran away to the Caribbean where she hoped to procure a boat.  She was found and returned home. 

Laura hopes to be the youngest to circumnavigate, taking two years and returning in 2012 at the age of 17.  Since she’s planning on two years, it’s clear she’d be doing it with stops, unlike Abbey Sunderland who attempted the circumnavigation initially, as a non-stop adventure. 

She was granted permission by the courts to depart on her journey.  Her parents are separated – her father is in support of the trip and her mother, although originally opposed, has given her blessing.  The couple has two other daughters. 

OK, so before everyone gets on YouTube with their ideas on perfect parenting like they did with Abbey, let me just say two things:

1) I am happy that this decision no longer rests with the court and has been given back to the parents. 
2) I am dismayed that the measure of accomplishment here continues to be age.  This trend to the youngest anything, is unhealthy. 

I’m not saying I condone the parents’ decision.  I’m not saying I’d let a child of mine do this.  I am saying that it should not be a matter of legality.  Also, when is young too young?  I wonder if we could come up with another measure of accomplishment for adventurous young minds. 

Edson Emergency Pump Kit

Edson enhances its emergency pump kit with a couple of good ideas.

A manual emergency pump is vital to have aboard, especially for offshore work.  You may already have a manual pump installed but if things really go wrong, a second pump is critical, certainly if the ingress of water is coupled with power failure. 

Edson’s Gallon-A-Stroke emergency pump has been around for a while but they’ve just added a couple of good things to the kit.  First, they now package it in a bright orange bag.  If you’ve ever looked for something in a black bag in a dark lazarette, you know the value of high visibility – especially in an emergency.  Second, Edson has added Forespar’s Tru-Plug (see my earlier post on those) that is an orange foam cone used to plug holes of various sizes and shapes – including lost thru-hulls.  No pump will help if you can’t stop the leak and this handy pump will even pass rags through its chambers – and that’s great because you never know what is floating in that bilge. 

Edson’s emergency pump kit sells for $1,029 and $1,059 (1 ½” or 2” version) and comes with 20 feet of hose, a 32” handle and quick clamp hose fittings.  They are both rated at 30 GPM.

Digital Yacht Introduces Entry Level AIS

Digital Yacht launched the new, easy to use, entry level priced AIS100 which is a simple dual channel AIS receiver.  Connect a VHF antenna and hook the AIS 100 to a plotter and you’ll have basic AIS information.

The AIS1000 overlays AIS targets onto the chartplotter display and sends data via NMEA 0183 data format.  The dual channel design monitors both AIS frequencies and will decode both Class A and Class B transmissions simultaneously.  It retails for $229. 

They also introduced the AIS2000N2K which is an AIS receiver for NMEA 2000 networks (N2K). This unit provides both NMEA 0183 and N2K data connections.  The AIS200N2K is priced at $519. 


AIS is a system used to track nearby vessels for anti-collision purposes.  It is a mandatory requirement for all vessels over 300 tons and there has been debate whether recreational vessels will be required to carry some form of AIS onboard as well – at least a receiver (like these two) if not a transponder.  A receiver should pick up an approaching vessel’s speed, course, position and identity (if given) via VHF frequencies. 

With an entry point of just over $200, seems like there’s no reason not to carry one even on smaller boats doing coastal cruises. 

Visit www.digitalyacht.co.uk for more information. 

Cabo to Leave Adelanto

Another California boatbuilding facility moves.

Adelanto based Cabo Yachts will be closing the desert based plant and moving to North Carolina to consolidate production with parent Hatteras Yachts.  This loss, which will represent about 40 California jobs, is expected to be completed by year end.  Seems California has troubles hanging onto manufacturing jobs, especially in the marine industry, and losing Cabo is just part of a trend.  Catalina Yachts moved most of their production to Florida by 2009.


Hatteras president, James Meyer, stated that combining the brands will allow the company to leverage technological and operational advantages and will enable the company to better serve their dealers.  Cabo employees were informed of the decision July 20. 

Cabo Yachts was founded in Adelanto by Pacific Seacraft sailboat builders Henry Mohrschladt and Michael Howarth, after the pair had sold Pacific Seacraft Corp. in 1988.  The latest incarnation of Pacific Seacraft also moved to the Carolinas a few years ago. 

It’s a sad and continuing trend of boatbuilders not surviving in California which was a building center in the mid-eighties.  If you want a job with a boatbuilder, seems Florida and the Carolinas are the place to go. 

Plastiki Arrives in Sydney

Plastiki’s journey goers from trash to triumph.

A catamaran descriptively named Plastiki and constructed from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, completed a 4-month journey across the Pacific Ocean meant to raise awareness about plastic waste.  It is estimated that nearly 8,000 bottles were used in the US during Plastiki’s voyage.

The 60-foot boat and its six crew set sail March 20 from San Francisco and endured 8,000 nautical miles at sea, battling 70 knot winds, hundred degree temperatures, and torn sails.  After a stops along the way at various South Pacific islands including Kiribati and Samoa, Plastiki docked Monday at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney Harbor.
Expedition leader David de Rothschild, 31, mounted the effort after he read a United Nations report in 2006 that said plastic related pollution threatened the world’s oceans. Plastiki was named for the 1947 Kon-Tiki raft sailed across the Pacific by explorer Thor Heyerdahl and is fully recyclable.  It was powered by solar panels and wind and trailing hydro generators.  Rain catchment and urine to water recovery systems were also aboard. 

The boat is almost entirely made up of bottles, which are held together with an organic glue made of sugarcane and cashews and the mast is recycled aluminum irrigation pipe.
The voyage took 128 days during which the crew lived in a cabin just 20 feet by 15 feet, ate dehydrated and canned food and some fresh vegetables they grew in their on-board garden, and took saltwater showers.  The boat weighs 12 tons and travels at an average speed of 5 knots – being able to only gybe, not tack.

Female skipper Jo Royle was the only woman aboard and was ready for a glass of wine as she told reporters in Sydney. 

Plastiki was originally meant to be recycled at the end of its voyage but now the crew are considering saving it and using to educate people about the power of recycling. 

Photos by Associated Press.

Topaz Sailing Dinghy

Topaz sailing dinghy now dubbed as “Boat in a Box” can be shipped anywhere. 

If you haven’t checked out the Topaz sailing dinghy, you now have one more reason to learn about this award winning design because it you can get it shipped just about anywhere in the US with minimal shipping costs.  Topaz is a roto-molded tri-lam polyethelene,  multi-purpose sailing dinghy developed in England by designers Ian Howlet and Rob White.   It’s easy to sail but provides quite a few thrills.  

One hull with an upgradable rig, the Topaz can be built into four different boats to accommodate a variety of sailing abilities.  The boat is virtually indestructible and is designed to be low maintenance with no gel coat or fiberglass to repair.  The construction provides a perfect combination of stiffness, durability and moderate weight.  

But the concept just got better as it can now be shipped in new, environmentally friendly, custom packaging that can come to you via UPS anywhere in the US. 

The packaging was designed by Virginia Tech University students and faculty who were asked to create lightweight, inexpensive, packaging, that is easy and efficient to assemble, using green technology, to protect the Topaz sailing dinghy during cross-country shipping.

The result is packaging that is affordable, weighs less than 45 pounds, and can be assembled quickly. The students designed two custom, light-weight, recyclable corrugated pallets, with lift points, in addition to a unique cradle system, also made of recyclable corrugated material. The cradle is then affixed to the top of the pallets and both protects and stabilizes the hull of the boat.

Voila, a Boat in a Box. 

Visit www.topazsailing.com for more information. 

Aqualuma’s Surface Mount Lights

Yesterday, we looked at Perko’s Trim Tab Lights as an option for underwater lighting and ambiance.  Today, we look at another option that doesn’t require that holes be drilled in hull – the Surface Mount Light from Aqualuma

Designed to mount to the transom of a vessel, Aqualuma’s new Surface Mount Light doesn’t require a thru-hull installation.  With nine LEDs, it’s quite bright and comes in white, blue or green.  It also includes 12’ of submersible cable.  It’s a two-wire installation that doesn’t require any bonding and it’s very thin, measuring 5.4″ L x 3″ H x .8″ D, so it’s easy on the transom. 

The Aqualuma light is factory-sealed and very durable as you can see on their website when they hit it with a hammer. It features onboard driver circuitry and a housing made from a thermally conducted polymer.  It draws less than 1.4 amps at 12V DC and is reverse-polarity protected.

The Aqualuma Surface Mount Light comes with a two year warranty and retails for $598.