Yachting - - DEPARTMENTS - pa­trick sci­acca Ed­i­tor-in-Chief pa­trick.sci­[email protected]­ing­magazine.com

Some­times the ob­vi­ous is hard to see. Our ed­i­tor ex­am­ines how some seem­ingly ele­men­tary ideas have im­proved life on the wa­ter.

So­lu­tions that seem sim­plest can be so damn bril­liant that you won­der how we got along be­fore they ex­isted. For years, I used to strad­dle the twin oil-lov­ing two-stroke out­boards on my 25-footer, and then stretch to clamp on the mo­tor-flush ear­muffs. Then I’d at­tach the hose to the ear­muffs and rinse the en­gines with fresh wa­ter. It was the best tech­nol­ogy of the time. And it worked. But when I moved up to a 31-footer a few years later, and I could at­tach the dock hose di­rectly to a fit­ting on the mo­tors and flush, I felt lib­er­ated. Need­ing one less step seemed more ef­fec­tive. Re­cently, I stepped aboard a 34-footer with triple four-strokes, and the en­gine flush was a but­ton at the helm that drew on the ves­sel’s fresh­wa­ter tank. No more hose. Bril­liant, I thought. Then I won­dered, Why didn’t I think of that? ¶ Years ago, while run­ning a 40-foot flybridge at about 28 knots, the hard­top’s two for­ward-fac­ing over­head hatches were left open. My bad. The wind caught un­der­neath the hatches, and I soon dis­cov­ered the struts’ break­ing strength: 28 knots. A few months back, I stepped aboard a 40-foot ex­press cruiser whose hatches au­to­mat­i­cally dogged down via a but­ton at the helm. No more bro­ken struts. Again, I thought, Why didn’t I think of that? ¶ Be­cause I am only 5 feet 7 inches tall, I get a lot of “Can you come down here?” from friends when they need help in the en­gine room. And while I’m not the tallest guy around, these spa­ces still oc­ca­sion­ally re­quire me to twist my body in ways that would make the Cirque du Soleil cast green with envy. En­gine-room tasks are thus of­ten fol­lowed by Tylenol and a heat­ing pad. So, the first time I saw a cock­pit quick con­nect to drain and re­fill the en­gine oil with­out climb­ing down into the en­gine room and con­tort­ing like a pret­zel, my eyes got misty. Why didn’t I think of that? ¶ I have an ar­mada of formerly white T-shirts that have fallen vic­tim to the bounc­ing-boat, fly­ing-cof­fee sce­nario. Last year, I was on board a 72-footer that had metal strips in­serted into its ta­bles and flat sur­faces. The cups and glasses had mag­nets in their bases. When you placed a cup or glass down on the table, it stayed put. Why didn’t I think of that? ¶ Thank good­ness that yacht de­sign­ers and builders are lis­ten­ing to guys like me. I may never come up with one of these make­life-on-the-wa­ter-bet­ter ideas, but I’m sure glad there are tal­ented minds that can.

I have an ar­mada of formerly white T-shirts that have fallen vic­tim to the bounc­ing-boat, fly­ing-cof­fee sce­nario.

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