September 28, 2005
Tampa Boat Show
The annual Tampa Boat Show is this weekend at the Tampa Convention Center downtown. As many of you know, Genmar will not be there displaying their Aquasport line as the brand was discontinued a few months ago. That's probably for the best as the direction Genmar was taking Aquasport was getting very far from from the brand's classic looks and functionality.
March 07, 2005
Unique Boat! - Everglades Canoe Company
Wilson and I came across the Everglades Canoe Company's display at the Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo & Boat Show last weekend. They have put together what appears to be the next generation version of the Gheenoe. I hope the Everglades folks don't take that as an insult. It's just the best comparison my uncreative mind can come up with.
Anyway, the design is unlike anything I've seen in a production boat. The company officially opened its doors about six weeks ago and currently offers the Gladesmen 18 as their flagship model. These boats offer some cool options as well. The company plans on launching a 17' and 15' model in the near future. Definitely some boats to keep an eye out for. I wonder if you could throw a Go-Devil on these?
March 06, 2005
Wilson and I had an opportunity to speak with Ben Sheaffer, President of Sheaffer Boats, while attending the Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo & Boat Show on Friday. I've posted some pictures in the photo gallery. Ben is one of the most knowledgeable custom boat builders in Florida. He is also a pioneer who helped to resurrect the fishing friendly design of boats like the original Aquasports.
Those of you in the Tampa Bay area are likely familiar with The Boat Doctor, a boat repair and refurbishing facility owned and operated by Ben. After spending many years running The Boat Doctor, repairing and refurbishing old boats (and many Aquasports), Ben realized he had gained the knowledge and expertise to build the ultimate fishing platform, the Sheaffer 239 - V. These boats are impeccably built and Ben spares no expense. They are not for those light in the wallet! However, if you want classic lines in a new boat, the Sheaffer is the way to go. Ben uses only the highest quality materials and he has literally thought out every square inch of this boat.
Ben brought up an interesting point about adding towers to older boats like the Aquasport, as well as closing in the transom. He noted that these boats, while similar in length to the boats of today, were nevertheless not built with towers in mind, nor massive 4-strokes hanging a foot or two off the transom on a bracket. When making such changes to an older boat, Ben emphasized the importance of taking into consideration the weight issues and distribution of that weight. He says he has seen or heard of several rebuilds that have gone to the bottom or overturned because of such issues. It is something to consider as Wilson and I contemplate what type of tower we want to install on our 1975 23' Mako.
Ben brought up another interesting issue regarding the flat back design. While most people (me included) believed Aquasport flattened the stern in order to reduce the draft, Ben tells us that the smaller outboards of the day simply could not get a boat with any substantial dead rise aft up onto a plane. The flattened back added much needed lift. It wasn't until the larger engines where manufactured that could produce enough horsepower to get a V-hulled boat sufficiently on plane that the flat back design was scraped.
March 04, 2005
Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo & Boat Show
Wilson and I are heading over to the Florida State Fairgrounds this afternoon to get an early look at the Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo & Boat Show. The event, hosted by the prolific author and Tribune outdoor writer Frank Sargeant, is Florida's largest outdoors show.
While the exhibitors will be quite different from what we saw at the Miami Boat Show, I think they will be of more interest to us. After all, I can't afford a 60' Bertram like the ones we saw in Miami!. The following exibitors will be of particular interest to me, Shaeffer Boats, T.A. Mahoney (where Wilson purchased those cool garboard plugs), and Young Boats (never heard of them, but maybe I'm related?). I also hope to get a chance to speak with Capt. Bill Miller from the Hooked on Fishing television program. Capt. Miller probably knows plenty of folks with older Aquasports who would be interested in getting involved with our group. I'll try to post some pictures from the show later this weekend.
February 27, 2005
Welcome Home Suzuki 250 4-Stroke!
So, Wilson and I were pretty much sold on the E-Tec from Evinrude. We went to the Miami Boat Show looking to find a dealer willing to wheel and deal on the new 'Rude. We spent a good part of the day on Sunday talking to the Evinrude folks. On Monday we decided to make our purchase. However, on the way to the Evinrude dealer's pavilion, we happened by the Suzuki area. We were stopped dead in our tracks by Craig Clements, a Suzuki dealer with Travis Boating out of Stuart. After showing us a cut-away of a big Suzuki 4-stroke, taking us for a spin with Suzuki senior engineer David Greenwood in a DF250 Suzuki equipped CC and hitting us with a price that couldn't be beat, we were sold. We'll take delivery in the next few weeks over at Travis Boating's Clearwater store.
The Suzuki utilizes a chain rather than belts. That was one of the unique features we really liked about this engine. It seems a lot less likely that a chain will break as opposed to a belt.
February 26, 2005
"The Patrick" - Self Leveling Radar Mount
Wandering around the Miami boat show, I wondered aloud to Wilson why the various marine radar manufacturers don't incorporate some sort of mechanism to adjust the angle of the mount that the radar sits on. A few minutes later we stumbled upon a small booth manned by the soft spoken Capt. Pat Caudle out of Post Isabel, Texas. It seems Capt. Pat wondered the same thing a year or so ago when he developed The Patrick Level, a remotely controlled self leveling radar mount.
The Patrick Level allows users to adjust the antenna angle regardless of the running angle of your boat by the simple use of an up/down switch. Since radar is by line of sight, this will maximize the aquisition of targets that radar is designed to detect. The device consists of a standard mount modified with a hinge, which is raised or lowered using a Lenco trim tab actuator. The Patrick Level gets my vote for innovation of the year!
February 23, 2005
Back From Boat Show - Wallet Empty!
Wilson and I returned from the Miami International Boat Show on Monday. We spent two full days at the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Sealine Marina. We never made it over to the sailing area or the large yacht brokerage show (which I believe is not officially associated with the main show). It would have taken at least three days and possibly four to see everything.
At any rate, it was a hell of an experience. I'm more accustomed to the smallish Tampa boat show and St. Pete, so Miami was a real eye-opener. Makes you wonder where all of these people get all of this money! I mean, here we were, just a couple of guys trying to outfit a 23' center console, and we left there spending cash like it was growing on trees.
My next few blog posts will detail some of the purchases we made, including a 250HP Suzuki 4-stroke engine and Raymarine nav package with the E-Series multifunction display, a 24 mile 2kw radar, GPS, Fishfinder, autopilot, and Navionics navigation card.