Fourth-Quarter Report: Lots Of Action At Mile Zero
Although you may be reading this in mid- October, the magazine’s November cover date brings back my New England mind-set, with visions of boats hauled and buttoned up for winter. But here at the bottom of the Bay, the last quarter of the year is still boating season.
There is great cruising into November, and the peak season for striper fishing is just getting going. If you are still in the water and yearning for a longer season, come on down. If you fish, think about taking part in the December striper action with one of the many guiding outfits in this part of the world.
Outboards: Back To The Future
As kids, many of us had outboards on our first commands; I still dream of that 13- foot Boston Whaler, although my 60- something lower back twinges at the thought. Today, we may have a modest center console in our boating mix, but powerful modern outboards have changed the landscape for bigger hulls. Boating magazines are full of 40-plus-foot, multiengine canyon runners, and we see those builders offering cruise-friendly, family-oriented outboard designs up through 30-plus feet.
The power, longevity and efficiency of today’s outboards is changing the cruising-boat scene at an accelerating rate. While diesels with straight shafts, pods or jets remain the gold standard on larger cruisers, the introduction of yachts such as MJM’s 35z and 43z show just how mainstream outboard-powered boats may become. Small-boat builders such as Cutwater and Ranger Tugs — long dedicated to diesels — are offering outboard power on models where diesels were formerly the standard.
New fuel tanks and plumbing have quelled long-held fears of gasoline-related accidents, and advances in outboard noise suppression have kept pace with inboard advances. Outboards also get all that machinery out of the bilges. And the engines have become part of the styling statement, with custom paint jobs or the radical visuals on the big Evinrude E-TECs. While big outboards on bigger boats are not revolutionary to some, the rapid evolution going on is fun to watch.
Gathering Of The Clans
If history holds true, snowbirds and cruising rallies will gather around Mile Zero, waiting to head to sea or down the Ditch in early
Southbound snowbirds occasionally have to pause to let a big boy pass.