New models, charters, and the loss of a great designer.
GEORGE BUEHLER, DESIGNER FOR THE PEOPLE
We are sad to announce the sudden death of George Buehler, boatbuilder, designer, and great friend to animals in need. George died February 28, 2018, at age 69.
George would be honored if in lieu of flowers, donations were made to one of his two favorite charities. Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation (WAIF) is a nonprofit organization on Washington’s Whidbey Island that helps the island’s homeless companion animal population ( waifanimals.org). Also based in western Washington, Old Dog Haven similarly strives to help aging dogs in their golden years by finding caring foster homes for them ( olddoghaven.org).
George made his mark on the cruising world by designing and building the fuel-efficient and oceangoing Diesel Duck, a cruiser inspired by fishing trollers. While the salty good looks of the Diesel Ducks stand out, it was Buehler’s emphasis on simplicity, particularly in the hull form, to minimize the complexity of the build that truly set his designs apart. He
was a minimalist who bristled at the idea that his strippeddown style somehow meant his boats were missing key design features. Rather, Buehler was impassioned by the belief that he could and should build boats that eliminated needless complexities in order to significantly reduce the cost of building and operating them.
Buehler was inspired by other legendary designers such as L. Francis Herreshoff and William Atkin, but he also felt compelled to build boats that the average person could afford. In his own words, Buehler put the philosophy like this: “It appeared to me the ‘niche’ I could pursue was one taking the looks and feel and hopefully as much of the performance of the type of boats I liked, but ‘interpret’ things so that [it] was feasible for a ‘normal’ person to own one. This means keeping the profile look of the types I like, but changing the hull form to make them simpler, which means less expensive, to build.” It was important that his designs were accessible—able to be built by small shops or even by home builders—in order to lower the barrier for entry into the offshore cruising world. -PS
NEW LE BOATS ON THE UNESCO RIDEAU CANAL
Ontario’s Rideau Canal, stretching 110 nautical miles between Kingston and Ottawa, gained its UNESCO World Heritage status in 2007 for being one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century and the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America.
Sixteen state-of-the-art Horizon cruisers were built exclusively for Le Boat, Europe’s most popular canal cruise company, so charterers can cruise the unique landscape of Canada’s Rideau Waterway in style. Each vessel offers spacious cabins and modern accoutrements, like handy USB ports, as well as a light and airy saloon with a fully equipped galley. Oversized windows and a huge sundeck allow passengers to take in the views.
To facilitate ease of handling, the Horizon models are equipped with bow and stern thrusters that allow operators to easily manage locks along the canal routes. The boats were built in Poland but include several Canada-specific modifications including a full-length steel keel/grounding plate, 110V shorepower, and power inverters.
The trips, too, will fill your photo albums. Le Boat customers are now able to cruise long sections of the Rideau Canal, the Rideau River, and the open Rideau Lakes, which are dotted with charming villages that echo the history and architecture of the most pristine riverside towns of Europe. All of Le Boat’s Canadian charters start and end from their home base in Smiths Falls, Ontario, and customers can select from short or long breaks and choose a cruising area that best fits their travel style. Vacationers also have the option to rent bicycles, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards to enhance the experience and take advantage of the pristine waterways and everything the beautiful region has to offer. -JC
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VETUS-MAXWELL WINS 2018 INNOVATION AWARD
The newest bow thrusters from Vetus, the BOW PRO series (an abbreviation of “bow-proportional”), received the prestigious NMMA Innovation Award in the “Propulsion Equipment & Parts” category at the Miami Boat Show. Presented by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, these awards honor manufacturers and suppliers that create innovative products in the boating
industry and bring those products to market. The NMMA partners with Boating Writers International (BWI) to select objective experts to judge. “With its integrated brain, the Bow-Proportional could be the smartest bow thruster built,” said Zuzana Prochazka, head of the award committee. BOW PRO thrusters are fitted with proven induction technology. The system makes carbon brushes obsolete, and, as a result, the thruster produces less noise and can provide virtually unlimited running time. The induction motor is controlled by the Vetus MCV motor controller, which can handle both 12V and 24V, making the new thruster suitable for boats of nearly every size. “We are excited to see the Vetus BOW PRO line of bow thrusters receive the prestigious Miami 2018 Innovation Award,” said Christopher Deboy, vice president of marketing and sales for VetusMaxwell, Inc. “We invest heavily in research and development and it is rewarding to receive recognition for this hard work.” vetus.com
NORTHERN MARINE BACK IN ACTION
Volumes have been written about the international voyages of boats built by Northern Marine, not the least of
which was the circumnavigation of the globe by Bruce and Joan Kessler aboard Zopilote, their 70-foot trawler. Along with Michael Poliza, who voyaged 78,000 miles on a three-year trip aboard the 75-foot Starship, the Kesslers were among the first to take a boat of this size on such a passage. After a hiatus, Northern Marine’s story has resumed. Though the company restarted complete operations in 2014, few knew that the builder of these luxury fulldisplacement passagemakers was back in business until a 57-footer with a baby-blue hull showed up at the Miami Boat Show in February 2018. The boat, Agave, didn’t materialize out of thin air, of course. Owned by Northern Marine’s new principal owner, Agave had already cruised from Northern’s home port in Anacortes, Washington, to Alaska and then down through the Panama Canal on her way to south Florida. She will spend summers in the greater New York area and will likely be on display at the 2018 Newport and Fort Lauderdale boat shows as well.
According to Northern Marine’s website, the company is sticking to the tried-and-true naval architecture that allowed explorers like the Kesslers and Poliza to forge reputations as global voyagers: “Advanced resin-infused composite technology produces a hull and superstructure of extraordinary strength, equal to the demands of serious passagemaking. High bulwarks forward deflect spray for a dry ride; a full-length keel, bulbous bow design and hydraulic stabilizers deliver superior stability for unsurpassed comfort at sea.” One visit to the 57’s engine room is all you’ll need to know that it was built for safety and long distances. Tankage and an economical run with the genset will net its owners about 4,000 nautical miles at 8.5 knots. -JC northernmarine.com
OUTBOARD CRUISING GOES BIG: MJM INTRODUCES THE 53Z
New England–based MJM Yachts recently announced a new addition. The MJM 53z is the third boat in their lineup of Outboard Express cruisers. Launched just a year ago, this line is already reaping rewards for the company. Another feather in the cap for naval architect Doug Zurn, the new 53z will feature standard quad-drive 350-horsepower Mercury Verados. The boat will be able to hit or exceed 50 knots and will continue in the company’s tradition of seaworthy performers, carrying a CE Category A rating. According to MJM founder and CEO Bob Johnstone, “With the twin MJM 35z and triple MJM 43z introduced last year, and particularly now with this new quad MJM 53z, the term ‘outboard cruising yachts’ has
become a reality.”
There is little doubt that the formula is working: According to MJM’s Roe O’Brien, the company has already delivered 12 Outboard Express models and has orders in hand for an additional 28. All MJMs are constructed at the stateof-the-art facility at Boston BoatWorks, the builder that has held the exclusive contract since MJM started in 2003. -JC mjmyachts.com
BOATERS UNIVERSITY LAUNCHES TWO NEW COURSES
Boaters University, the online education site of the Active Interest Media (AIM) Marine Group, has launched two new courses for 2018: “Anglers Bootcamp: The Basics of Saltwater Fishing” is available now at boatersuniversity.com; “Safety & Rescue at Sea” will be available soon.
Anglers Bootcamp is a great intro- duction to saltwater fishing for new and experienced anglers alike. Instructor John Brownlee, host of Anglers Journal TV, talks students through knots, hooks, tackle, terminology, and various angling techniques. If you’re looking to tackle the challenge of saltwater fishing this summer, this course will launch you in the right direction.
The Safety & Rescue at Sea course is a must-have for anyone who ventures offshore. Taught by Soundings safety contributor, Mario Vittone, this course teaches techniques for dealing with onboard emergencies—starting with how to avoid them—by evaluating and mitigating risk aboard your boat. Vittone has spent his life responding to and evaluating boating accidents and emergencies, first as a USCG rescue swimmer and then as a vessel inspector and accident investigator. With years of experience, he is a nationally recognized expert on immersion hypothermia, drowning, sea survival, and safety at sea. He now works to impart his extensive knowledge to course participants so that they will never get a visit from someone like him.
Northern Marine 57
Rendering of the new MJM 53z
Above: Anglers Bootcamp: The Basics of Saltwater Fishing instructor John Brownlee explains how to match your tackle to the fish you are targeting.