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Fair Enough... So We Did!

by John Curnow, Editor, Powerboat-World.com 6 Jun 00:40 PDT
SEAir Flying Tender - the 5.5m version shown here's foils roughly amidships, and here on the leg of the outboard © John Curnow

Just not sure how much time will be spent at anything other than 11, however. For that is exactly where you'll want to drive this boat, at just about any time you can. We flew the SEAir 5.5m on the flat waters of the Coomera River, immediately after the recent Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. Later on, we will come back to her for a test in waves, but if you have not driven a foiler, then do have a go.

Apart from the incredibly minimal wash, there is an incredible sensation, along with learning to drive a bit differently. We skated a little in the wash left by the dredger, and it is important to acknowledge that this is not unsafe, just the way it is for a craft effectively riding along on its forearms. There is about a 20% premium to pay over a reputable brand of RIB for the pleasure, and that is exactly what you gain, but in addition to the sensation you get to do things like burning a miserly 13.5l/hr at 26 knots. Please have a look at our video.

Indeed we spoke with a lot of people at the show, went on a vast array of craft, and then spent the week after driving many of them. This included the very new and recently sold Iliad 50 powercat, the impressive Longreef 60 SX, Nanni's huge range of diesels and gensets, Palm Beach's incredibly well made GT50 flyer, Horizon's huge display, and the Galeons from Poland.

So do keep an eye for our articles and also reviews of some of these craft, but in the meantime let's see what we learned from one of the busiest shows ever. Strap in, it's a bumper editorial this time...

Mark Elkington from Multihull Solutions took me out on the new Iliad 50 powercat. They have been working on the development of this new, long-range brand of cruisers for some years now, so the occasion was made even more special for that very reason.

She may be the first in the line, but you will not have to wait too long to see more of her sisters, as Elkington explains, "It wasn't a surprise that we sold the boat on the night of the official launch party at SCIBS. Three years in the making meant that I was optimistic that she would be welcomed by the market, and I did feel we would sell her at the show or soon afterwards. However, to shake hands with her new owner only two minutes before my speech and then having them christen her there and then was really overwhelming and pleasing."

"Our new 70, the second in the line, has just gone in the water. She is undergoing commissioning right now, and will land in Brisbane in early July, before she makes her debut at the Sydney International Boat Show. Hull #2 of that model is also sold and now in construction. The first of the Iliad 60s has just commenced her build, and this craft too was sold at SCIBS. We have some work to do on finalising her spec for her new owner, but we can get under way with her. Hull #2 of the Iliad 60 has been sold earlier, and we also did two new 50s during the show, with one of them heading over to Western Australia when she is ready. We also have a couple more interested parties for this model, so it has been wonderful to be in such a good place so early, and one of those looks set to be in the Caribbean."

"It is absolutely pleasing, and we have listened to the market for 20 years now, and done a lot of boating ourselves in that time, so the market has spoken. There are no compromises in these passage-making vessels, and we are really thrilled the comments and feedback, so I think we nailed it. Now we can focus on getting on with it, as presently there is a two-year wait for a 60 or 70, and the 50 looks like following suit. However, that is not a problem as we are going to build them well, for we do not aim to be the biggest seller, just the best, with good service and support."

Once again, Riviera was very kind, and extended an invitation to me to join them for their gala. As the factory is now so busy, there is no more space available to hold a huge soirée on site (see our video of last year's event). Instead the marina came alive with smoke machines, a laser light show, and tremendous tunes sung from on board all 11 of the brand's craft that were on display.

It was also a time to re-immerse oneself in the family, and thanks go to Richard and Annette for having me on board their sensationally well kept Belize 54. This boat is so brilliant that you could eat off the engine room floor, so we did. We also got to speak with Doug Nelson who heads up Belize, and talk about the imminent launch of Hull #2 of the glorious Belize 66, which will be the first to have the Daybridge.

Princess was back in Australia, and how, with a showcase of three craft, including a brand new V65. Even Executive Chairman Antony Sheriff came Downunder for this one, as well as many other Head Office and regional staff. The craft are very well made, incredibly presentable, stylish, and the brand is more than afloat, being both profitable, and with a strong order book moving forward.

In a market where brand recognition can be challenging, if not downright difficult, I was both intrigued and impressed that Princess carts the band, Odd Socks, all around the world with them. Hailing originally from Nice, the foursome do wonderful takes on memorable tunes, and some lucky customers even get a private serenade! As for the band members, well they can not only hold a note really well, but converse with all of their wider audience, as well as going the distance with Queensland's charming, and super-hospitable Amor brothers.

Maritimo unveiled their new X50 at the show, as well. This is the second in the line, and we'll be taking her offshore next month, so look out for the report on that shortly thereafter. It is quite an achievement to get the configuration to work in 50 feet, and even though she has almost the same the freeboard as her bigger sister, she is a fair bit narrower. Ordinarily you may think that would not work, but it does, and she is quite the looker. She's also quite quick, due to having less wetted surface area, and can be optioned to get into the low 40-knot bracket.

What has also become apparent with now something in the order of 20 'Xs' delivered, is that the beach club is by far and away the preferred option over the full cabin, or tender garage options. Indeed, just one of the latter has been taken up. Now that both the X60 and X50 come with fold out beds as part of the beach club offering, I think you can just about lock in well over 90% of craft selecting this format.

We had an extended chat with Grzegorz Tuszynski, the MD of Galeon, which we'll post soon. Interestingly, he made this comment on The Boat Works, where local distributor, Alexander Marine Australia is based. "I think it could well be #1 in the world when it is all up and running," and we had a terrific guided tour with Tony Longhurst and Charmaine Webb ourselves.

The Boat Works is the cleanest and greenest shipyard I have ever been in. By way of example, a street sweeper truck goes through the massive facility every day! The entire team there do an amazing job, and it is little wonder they do over 50 lifts a week. Soon, the new, and ultra-expansive superyacht facility will be added to the whole equation, but whilst this is a showpiece in and of itself, it is by no means anywhere near the end of the yard's visionary growth.

An enclosed bunker for owners to watch their pride and joy being washed down whilst remaining clean and dry themselves, is also only part of it. Huge sheds to house 45m superyachts are standing tall now, and get completed almost as you look at them. There is no watching of paint drying here, for the moment you stop, you turn, and some other project is rising before you.

I am not sure if saying it is like watching a shopping mall being built, or even an entire city blossom out of the ground, come anywhere close enough to describing the frenetic pace being conducted at Coomera. What we can say is that this will be a genuine focal point for not only the industry, but boating in general, and also hopefully the soon to be ratified new Australian charter regulations. Good work team!

With thanks to Sirocco Marine North and Nizpro we attended the inaugural 'Brig Day Out' on the Broadwater, and what a hoot that was, including doing 80mph backwards in the little Labsports screamer (thanks Craig!). We have so much to say on all of that, that we may actually generate a couple of pieces about it.

All right, this is quite literally 'THE' subject of the moment. Seems like a barely a day goes by when there is not a new massive outboard, a big craft powered by them, or both that gets revealed, hinted at, or lobbed into the equation. Right then. At this juncture I do need to ask you to reset. Refresh your cache, if you will, and even reboot if necessary.

Now if the incredible Seven Marine outboard is modelled after Predator, then I could not help thinking that with the cowling off, the Nizpro Marine 450s is exactly like an Alien wrapped around the face of the next host. However, rather than using the host to spawn the most evil of creatures, Nizpro's version creates an utter gem.

Final point. There is not a boater anywhere who was not really shocked by the events in the hitherto peaceful locale of Panama. The response by the President to assist in so many ways, was brilliant to see, and I am sure really appreciated by all concerned. It does need to be said that we all need to take care, no matter where we are, and to be vigilant, and respectful. Our condolences to the family, and may you find a peace with it all very soon.

OK. Today you will find that we have information for you about the completely gorgeous Zeelander Z55, Bayliss Boatworks deliver another spectacular Sportsfisherman, Explorer craft from Arcadia, the innovative Amasea 84, fuel efficient superyacht from Alia, Pantaenius explain exactly what taking responsibility for your craft means, hull cleaning, Vanquish VQ40, iBridge from Team Italia, Nordhavns gather, as well as much, much more.

As you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other parts of the group, go to the top of the Powerboat-World home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the site you want to see and, voila, it's all there for you.

Speak with you again, very, very soon. Time to go boating now...

John Curnow
Editor, Powerboat-World.com

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