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.

Perko Trim Tab Underwater Lights

Perko Trim Tab Lights

Simpler underwater lighting comes in the form of Perko’s trim tab LED lights.

Striking underwater illumination always improves ambiance but it’s not just for the megayacht crowd anymore.  Smaller, trailerable boats can light up like the big guys and sportfishers can attract fish at night with Perko’s 0178 Trim Tab Surface Mount lights. 

The great part is their small and can be mounted without adding holes below the waterline.  They’re easy to install and mount on existing trim tabs – which move the beams as the tabs move.  The LEDs come in blue or white and produce less heat and use 1/10 the power of standard bulbs.  With a 15° beam angle, the white version produces 75 lumens, 324 CP, while the blue supplies 27 lumens, 207 CP. 

The 12V, 7W lights are rated for a service life of 50,000 hours and have a completely-submersible, non-corrosive, molded black polymer housing.  The lights come with 8’ of electrical cable and removable brackets for mounting.  Measuring roughly 4″ x 11/4″ W x 11/4″, they come with 8′ of electrical cable, as well as removable brackets for horizontal or vertical installations.  A mounting riser is included for lipped trim tabs and they retail for $499 a pair. 

Last time I checked, they were not up on the web site but contact Perko to ask for more information.

Colligo Marine Titanium Swivel

Lighten up with a titanium swivel.

Saving weight on a boat is usually essential to smaller, lighter, racing boats.  But hey, it can never hurt, especially if there’s no compromise on strength.  Colligo Marine, an innovative company out of Arizona, focuses on various aspects of rigging, and has a titanium halyard swivel for luff line furling systems.  The swivel features a built-in 2/1 halyard static block with the traditional clevis pin sail connection.  The swivel weighs only about 10 ounces and has a 6,000 lb. safe working load for boats up to 48 feet. 

The swivel is machined from titanium which includes the bearings so there are no corrosion issues.  Coastal race boats are probably the best target although larger boats can benefit as well depending on the application.

A stainless steel version is also available which weighs 14 ounces. 

EZ Launch Docking System

Graceful entries into and exits out of kayaks and canoes are possible – but they take skill to master. 

Getting into a small vessel like that from a dock is especially challenging and more than one paddler has gone for a swim rather than landing in his boat.  So the people at EZ Dock came up with a solution called EZ Launch which is a floating ramp system and a combination of rollers and guide rails to make it easy to glide on and off a dock. 

Because it floats, EZ Launch adjusts to changing water levels and there is foot space on both sides and in the front to allow for optimum access and stability.  It is easy to install and works with the current EZ Dock system or with wooden docks so it can be customized to fit your private dock. 

The maintenance free materials mean the EZ Launch has a longevity well beyond a wooden dock and it can even ease access to paddle sports for the disabled or the elderly.  The dock requires only 1.5” to float and doesn’t have to be dismantled in cold climate locations. 

Paddlers simply pull into the launch space and then use their hands to pull themselves along the rails and over rollers – up and out of the water where they can safely step out of the vessel onto the dock.  The ramp can be used to launch a boat into the water or haul one out as the end of the ramp is sloped.  A solar powered hydraulic lift is available as an option. 

The system is modular so it can be installed on a variety of private dock configurations which of course, makes pricing variable.  Visit EZ Dock for more information. 

Sperry ASV Solution Shoes

Aching knees and backs are not new to boaters, especially those who travel on fast center consoles and tend to experience a lot of shock and movement at high speeds.  Constant wave pounding and engine vibration can be tough on anyone so many people tend to wear athletic shoes aboard.  But these often have black marking soles, not much traction on wet surfaces and they get funky when they get doused repeatedly. 

So Sperry, has come up with topsider style boat shoes called Anti Shock & Vibration (ASV) Solution footwear designed to reduce stress to the body – supposedly up to 40%. 

 The ASV Solution has a mid-sole that is built with a specific material with energy-dampening characteristics, combined with a plate and cassette system embedded into the material that absorbs and disperses the shock and vibration energy. 

ASV shoes come in topsider and athletic shoe (or sneaker) styles for both men and women.  They retail $130-$140 and still have some of the key features of Sperry’s regular boat shoes including good traction, quick drying materials, internal drainage, anti-microbial linings and non-marking rubber soles. 

Check out their styles and colors at Sperry Topsider.

AnchorRescue Anchor Retrieval System

A stuck anchor is no fun and can be quite destructive.  I’ve seen a couple of boaters rip the windlass right off its base as they attempted to retrieve a fouled anchor.  Setting a trip line is a good answer where a line with a float are set to the crown (fluke end) so it can be pulled up and out when pulling on the chain doesn’t do the trick.  But trip lines can be a pain especially if the anchorage is deep and can get tangled or be run over by other boaters. 

Underwater roots, cables, rocky shelves and the like all provide anchoring obstacles.  Over the years, there have been a number of solutions that have come to market including a simple breakaway chain link that connects the shaft to the chain and if it breaks, the chain, which is also connected to the crown, then pulls the anchor free.  The problem with most of these solutions is that they may compromise the effectiveness of the anchor and can pull free during a wind shift or other inopportune times. 

Now, Boxer Marine has introduced a new and improved version of their AnchorRescue anchor retrieval system.  I have not tried this myself so I’ll just describe it for anyone who wants to test it and if anyone has experience with this – please contact me. 

Billed as “the smart alternative to a trip line”, AnchorRescue is made up of two parts – a slider and a retriever.  The slider is made of stainless steel and comes with a length of trip chain. It lives at the base of the anchor/chain connection.  The retriever is made from UV resistant UHMW with stainless steel fittings and is supplied with a bridle for attaching your retriever line.  It looks like an opening donut which slides down the rope on a line, locks onto the slider which it then lifts and gets an angle on a piece of trip chain that is connected to the crown of the anchor.  Lifting the anchor by the crown should free it.   Here is a diagram from the Boxer Marine site:

The system comes in two sizes to accommodate 5/16” and 3/8” chain and retails for $180 and $220 depending on size. It is designed for power and sailboats up to 60 feet in length and the load capacity is 760 lbs.  It will work with plow, hinged plow, claw and scoop anchors.  If you already have a swivel on your chain, it will not get in the way of the slider.  The system carries a five year warranty.

Its’ hard to describe but there is an animated video – it would be better if it were real – on Boxer Marine’s Web site – http://www.anchorrescue.com/HIWvid.html

Check it out and if you have any experience with it, I’d love to hear about it.

Old Harbor Outfitters Captain’s Bag

Old Harbor Outfitters Captain’s Bag organizes the messiest of skippers.

Check out Old Harbor Outfitters’ Captain’s bag  for a bulletproof bag that will carry everything from laptop to lures.  OHO’s bag comes with plenty of interior and exterior pockets to keep you organized, a non-skid molded bottom so your stuff stays put even on a bouncy ride, and wide mouth opening so you can see what’s in there and stuff it however you like.

A compression molded pan at the base of the bag makes sure everything inside is protected even when you mercilessly toss the bag onboard.  The Captain’s bag is made of heavy duty, rip stop polyester with a waterproof coating and non-corrosive Delrin zippers.  It measure 24” x 15” x 14” and has a wide, zipperless opening, compression straps, a mesh pocket for wet gear and even detachable first aid and travel side pockets. 

There is a place for a laptop and logbook and a waterproof proof pocket for other electronics.  Two standard handles and a shoulder strap are included and the zippers even come with pulls so you can open and close them with gloves on. 

Seems like someone was thinking when they designed this.  The Captain’s bag is grey with yellow accents and retails for $220.  To read more or to purchase, visit http://www.oldharboroutfitters.com


Nordic Tug 26

Nordic Tug 26 trawler opens up new cruising options.

Small trawlers are gaining market share as sailors move on to power and large power boat owners downsize to manage their boating expenses.  And that is just the right market to bring the Nordic Tug 26 back. 

Nordic reintroduced the baby of the family, the 26 footer that was first produced between 1980 and 1997.  When the original was launched almost 30 years ago at the Seattle Boat Show, a whopping 54 orders were immediately generated for company founder, Jerry Husted.  Approximately 170 hulls later, the 26 went out of production – temporarily as it turns out.  This pocket-trawler has a near-cult following and older boats hold their value impressively.  The company brought the design back and feels it will also do well in the shallow canals of Europe so international dealer expansion is afoot. 

Just like its larger siblings, the Nordic Tug 26 features a solid fiberglass, semi-displacement hull with a watertight double-bottom compartment in the forward stateroom.  The relatively flat bottom and hard chine design adds to ride stability and reduces roll while at anchor.  With its full length keel, substantial bulwarks and nearly 7,000 pounds of displacement, this is a Lil’ Toot to be reckoned with.

Diesel might not be $5.00 at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that saving money isn’t top of everyone’s mind today, which is why the fuel-stingy 26 has been reborn.  With its 110 hp Volvo D-3 diesel engine, the 26 will burn 1.1 gph at 6.8 knots but can hop up to 13.5 knots for quick getaways.  Lynn Senour originally designed the Nordic Tug’s hull to plane at eight knots, and it will, even if a planing tug looks a little odd. 

The engine is under the pilothouse sole and is reached either through a hatch or by removing the companionway steps. The shaft log and hydraulic steering are all easily accessible too.  With 360º visibility from the pilothouse and direct access to the deck on both sides, managing the boat with a couple or even singlehanding is easy.

Accommodations are surprisingly spacious and include a fully equipped galley with a stainless steel sink, a two-burner alcohol stove and an electric refrigerator. A convertible dinette completes the main cabin and can be used as a very cozy double berth for two small people.   The cabin sides are paneled in teak and there is plenty of light and air from the large windows. 

The master cabin is in a V-berth configuration forward and down a few steps from the pilothouse. A hanging locker is to port and a head/shower combination is on starboard.

Optional equipment includes an electric windlass, electric toilet, inverter, 3 kW genset, bow thruster, air conditioning, and propane stove with oven. 
Little has changed on the Nordic Tug 26 since 1980.  A swept back “smoke stack” primarily used for storage was added a few years back and a larger engine is now standard.  Rumor has it that Nordic Tug is reintroducing this model only in a limited run, which might not be so limited if it finds its footing once again in the US market and aboard.

The dealer estimated price is around $187,500 depending on equipment.  For more information on the 26 or other Nordic Tug models, visit www.nordictugs.com .

Specs for the Nordic Tug 26

Designer Senour
LOA  26’ 4”
LWL  25’ 2”
Beam  9’ 6”
Draft   39”
Weight  6,800 lbs
Fuel tank 75 gallons
Water tank 40 gallons
Holding tank 20 gallons

Sunreef 62 Review Part II

Part II of the review of Sunreef 62, the smallest in the Sunreef Yachts luxury lines of cruising catamarans.

Yesterday, we looked at the customization and lxuxury that are available in Sunreef catamanrs.  As stylish as the interiors are, the truly unique aspects of the Sunreef 62 are outside.  The covered cockpit/aft deck area is cocktail cruise worthy with a wet bar, a dinette and separate lounge seating in addition to just a lot of room to stand around.  Full size sliding glass doors separate the deck from the interior as does a small window that leads directly into the galley.  The boat I was on even had fiber optic lighting built into the fiberglass overhead to simulate twinkling stars.

The steps down to the swim platforms on either hull lift to reveal great access to the two Yanmar engines with lots of extra room for other optional mechanical equipment including a generator and/or a watermaker in each engine room.  In fact, there is plenty of room aboard for heaters, air conditioners, a dive compressor and tanks, a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a trash compactor, multiple flat screen TVs, and all other necessities of a well found cruiser. 

But now it’s time to get to my favorite part and that’s the fly bridge.  You heard right and this is not a sportfisher.  This upper deck not only centralizes the sail controls within the helm station, but also offers a luxurious lounging location which includes cockpit seating and sunbathing beds.  A helm with a seat for two enables control over the entire yacht with basically unobstructed views forward.  All control lines and winches can be found up here as well as all electronics with repeaters down below.  A separate bimini keeps the helm and the cockpit in shade and comfort. 

As more builders focus on larger vessels and improved margins of custom yachts, the market space in the 60 foot range of catamarans becomes more crowded.  Sunreef has already taken steps to address this incoming competition and is planning a redesign of the 62 due out at the end of 2010 with the first hulls being available on a semi-custom basis in 2011.  It’s not unusual for a builder to evolve a successful design and having seen some of the artists renderings of the new boat, I can see their new direction.   The new 62 is rumored to have better performance under both power and sail but nothing will confirm that for at least another year. 

What we do know is that the boats will become even more contemporary in their interior design with ultra modern furnishings, lots of use of white surfaces and additional (and square) ports in the hulls to bring more light into the cabins.  For those who can’t get enough of sleek, chic and hyper Euro, this might be the ticket.  For the next 18 months at least though, the current 62 provides a terrific platform that will go sail well and still get the looks.

The Sunreef 62 might be the baby of the family but it has a big yacht feel and some smart engineering to make it a safe and fast boat as well. For more information on this boat or other Sunreef models, visit their website at www.sunreef-yachts.com.


Sunreef 62 Specs

LOA  : 62’
Beam  : 30’ 2”
Draft: 5’
Displacement: 48,502 lbs composite or 57,320 lbs aluminum
Engines: 2 x 100HP Yanmar
Fuel Capacity : 175 gallons x 2
Water Capacity : 103 gallons x 2
Sail Area : 1,950 sq. ft.

Sunreef 62 Catamaran Review Part I

Sunreef 62 might be the smallest model in the Sunreef line but there’s nothing small about this luxury catamaran. Here is the Part I of a look at a truly innovative cat that lacks for nothing.

As much of the marine industry stumbles along with the economy, it seems that the big boat category is doing just fine and the adage of ‘go big or go home’ is holding strong.  One player in this category is Poland based Sunreef Yachts that builds big, beautiful cats for discriminating owners and selective charter guests.  The baby in their line of huge sail and power cats is the Sunreef 62 and it’s worth a look if you’re shopping for an elegant catamaran with oodles of room.

Sunreef Yachts is among the world’s top producers of catamarans from 60 to 150 feet and they specialize in construction using aluminum and modern lightweight composite materials.  The composite version which includes the 62 footers, uses a Corecell foam sandwich lay up in the hull, deck and fly bridge construction.  All structural bulkheads are of a foam sandwich with unidirectional carbon reinforcements and forward longitudinal and transverse beams of aluminum alloy. 

The rig is equally techie with a carbon fiber mast and boom.  With an 82 foot bridge clearance, it’s good to know some thought was given to keeping less weight aloft.  Although the standard version is offered with Dacron sails, upgrade options include a Hydranet Spectra tri-radial cut main, genoa and solent.  A spinnaker and gennaker are also options as are electric winches to manage all this sail area. 

Each boat is relatively unique as different layouts and interior designs are offered. In fact you can order an owner, semi-owner or charter version.  I’m not sure what a semi-owner is but what all this translates to is a choice of 3 to 5 cabins and at least three different interior layouts meaning you can put your dinette, lounge area and entertainment center in various locations.

The interiors are a work of art with ambiance to spare and are offered in classic and contemporary design options with three choices of gleaming wood and sleek finishes.  The entire interior is very light and airy with plenty of windows and tons of storage.  Subtle but plentiful use of lighting has just the right effect to make you believe you’re in a New York penthouse only with a fabulous view of an anchorage. 

The aft cabins in either hull are enormous since they take up the entire width of each hull.  The owner’s version dedicates the entire starboard hull to a very private cabin and head arrangement or you can choose up to 5 heads, 4 cabins and one small crew quarters.  I’ve seen smaller kitchens in much bigger houses and any cook will enjoy working in the spacious galley that is right in the center of the social action.  The designer touches would make you swear that Italians had something to do with it since even the sinks in the heads are details to behold. 

Check back tomorrow when we go beyond the fancy interior and check out the rest of the boat.


Sunreef 62 Specs:

LOA  : 62’
Beam  : 30’ 2”
Draft: 5’
Displacement: 48,502 lbs composite or 57,320 lbs aluminum
Engines: 2 x 100HP Yanmar
Fuel Capacity : 175 gallons x 2
Water Capacity : 103 gallons x 2
Sail Area : 1,950 sq. ft.

Box Tops 4 Docks by JDS Marine

Box Tops 4 Docks has two new ways to organize a dock party.

Dock boxes often serve as party tables but they’re rarely big enough to do the job and things tend to go for a swim if the box is knocked.  Balancing wine glasses, food, bottles and the odd pair of sunglasses is not what a dock box was built for but it’s usually central to any dock gathering.  So where do you put all that stuff?

Box Tops 4 Docks might just be the party answer.  These are a series of toppers for dock boxes that will securely hold a seriously large selection of plates, bottles and glasses, and they look good too.  There are currently three models to choose from which are, in order of options:  Freeboard, Starboard and Overboard.  The basic platform remains the same but elevated glass and bottle holders can be added to increase the topper’s capacity. 

Made of FDA approved ½ inch King Starboard ST, Box Tops are weatherproof, food safe, strong and stain resistant.  And you can cut on them if you need to since they’re basically made of cutting board material.  Box Tops will not absorb odors, and they wont’ warp, discolor, delaminate or mildew.  Best of all, you never have to varnish one. 

But Box Tops are heavy and large so keep in mind that you’ll have to store your nifty platform somewhere, and it won’t fit into your dock box.  So if your marina allows it, why not mount it on top of your dock box permanently?  All included fasteners are stainless steel and five of them will attach the Box Top to the inside of your dock box lid.  All you need is a drill, ¼ inch drill bit and a #2 Phillips screw driver. 

They’re not cheap as the prices range from $325-495.  But they are useful and easy to install.  Box Tops can also hide and or improve the look of your dock box if it’s old and warped.  Add a couple of chairs and you’re in a perfect place to block dock traffic and start a party.

Now they’ve come out with a Fish Top 4 Docks that is designed for the angler on the dock and has e slots to hold knives, 2 for tools, drain slots in the rear corners for easy cleaning, a wash down hose, and of course 4 super sized coup holders. 

Current models are made for triangular dock boxes but they’re working on a topper for a rectangular box as well.  For more information, or to purchase, visit http://www.boxtops4docks.com