Archive for the ‘Unusual boats’ Category

Radio Yachts

According to the Great Lakes Advocate out of New South Wales:

“The building and racing of scaled down racing yachts has a long history with records showing such yachts being sailed in England as far back as the early 1800’s. In Australia, racing model yachts occurred as early as 1868 when several early clubs raced on Sydney Harbour and on lakes in Centennial Park.”

With time the materials used to build radio yachts have changed, making the boats sturdier and faster. Now radio yachts are made with glass fiber, carbon fiber, epoxy resins and mylar film. However, the joy people find in this pastime remains. Maybe it is even more fun now, since so many people are used to more sedentary activities: the opportunity to work on something with your hands and compete with others is something many people miss.

The Forster-Tuncurry Radio Yacht Club on New South Wales meets on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturdays each month and welcomes newcomers to join in the fun. They are happy to supply with boats and to assist as needed.

If you think you want to try your hand at sailing an actual yacht of your own, check out the yacht listings on


New ‘Green’ Technology Powers Luxury Catamaran

Whoever thought big,  luxury yachts couldn’t go “green” has never met Bruce Barsumian or seen his unique 65-foot luxury catamaran in action. Tired of draining his wallet to pump fuel into his 40-foot power boat, the electronics engineer from Tennessee told that he decided to find a way to “make big boats go faster with less power.” Fourteen years later, Barsumian is introducing his innovative Axcell 650 catamaran sport yacht at this week’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The 65-foot cat will be on display at the popular Florida boat show through Sunday. Check out this unique boat at Bahia Mar, 726 G Dock. 

Using HybridAir Technology, the sleek Axcell 650 cat glides smoothly over the water. Barsumian’s breakthrough air technology supports half of the boat’s 60,000-pound weight, allowing it to cruise at speeds exceeding 40 knots using only two 1,000 horsepower engines. Typically, a boat the size of Barsumian’s catamaran —  65 feet long by 21 feet wide — would require two 2,000 horsepower engines that would burn twice the amount of fuel required to power the Axcell.

Barsumian adapted technology used in ferry boats and Navy hovercraft to create his innovative design. After experimenting with a 16-foot prototype, it took Barsumian 10 more years to perfect his design and three additional years to build the Axel. Equipped with three plush staterooms and a 16-foot rigid inflatable, the Axle sells for $3.95 million.

Luxury Unfolds on ‘Origami Yacht’

Combining the ancient art of Japanese paper folding with design elements from cutting-edge stealth aircraft, an Italian ship designer as created an ingenious super yacht that folds open for luxury, closed for speed. Dubbed the “Origami Yacht,” it’s the brainchild of Millennium Yacht Design Award winner Fabio Federici. (Click the link to see this intriguing concept yacht.) If built, the yacht — still in the design phase — would cost more than $7.6 million.

Inspired by the rigid shape of military stealth aircraft, Federici has created a futuristic ship design worthy of a James Bond vehicle. When closed, the yacht is sleek and compact, sitting low on the water. An upward-slanting pointed bow and flying airfoil make the yacht extremely aerodynamic, allowing the yacht to reach “optimal speeds” on long-distance cruises, although determination of its actual speed range will have to await the building of a prototype.

When anchored, the boat unfolds into multiple decks with side-mounted “wings” extending to create additional living space. Four below-deck cabins are connected to a shaded roof-top sun deck by a spiral staircase. The three lounge decks rotate 360 degrees, providing continually changing views of the sea and harbor.  

Who knows whether the “origami yacht” is the wave of the future? As with all vehicles, designers are constantly striving for bigger, better and faster. You won’t find the “origami yacht” listed on this year, but boat buyers will find plenty of new and used boats for sale in every popular make and model.

Mega-Yacht Has Boaters Drooling

Anchored off the coast of Sausalito, California is a $300 million mega-yacht that has been drawing salivating boaters and crowds of awe-struck gawkers. Owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Meinichenko, the 390-foot yacht, christened “A,” is impossibly sleek with a futuristic command tower rising mid-ship. One gawker, echoing the sentiments of the shoreline audience, described the boat to Silicon Valley’s as looking “like something out of a James Bond movie.”

Dripping in luxury, the yacht is 62 feet wide at the beam, sporting a 2,583-square foot master suite, 6 cabins, three swimming pools, hot tubs and spas. The ship carries a crew of 37 and staff of 5. Safety and confidentiality are assured with a fingerprint security system on all doors.  

The opulent white master suite is wrapped in bombproof glass. A king-sized bed sits on a rotating platform that allows uninterrupted views of the sunset from any angle. A 60-inch plasma TV retracts from the ceiling. White stingray hides cover the walls of one room. Chairs crafted from Kudo horns and alligator hides sit on the main deck.

The vessel is powered by twin 6,000 HP engines. Cruising speed is 19.5 knots, but the yacht can reach speeds of 24 knots and travel 6,500 nautical miles without making port. Click here to take a tour of the A.

Mega yachts of this class are out of the price range of all but a few people, but you’ll find plenty of affordable yachts and boats for sale on

Plastiki Makes It Across Pacific; Arrives in Sydney

The Plastiki has finally stumbled into port, arriving in Sydney, Australia after a harrowing 4-month cruise across the Pacific to the cheers of its jubilant crew. Built of 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, the unique 60-foot sailboat set out from San Francisco on March 20. Its mission was to raise awareness of the plastic waste that litters the oceans and show that it could be effectively recycled.

Recycled, natural and environmentally-friendly materials were used in every aspect of the boat’s design. The plastic soda bottles that formed the boat’s hull and deck were cemented together with an organic glue made from cashews and sugar cane. A recycled irrigation pipe served as its mast. Plastiki was also an experiment in green energy. Ship systems and communication were powered by solar panels and windmills.

The boat completed its voyage a bit bedraggled but still largely intact after weathering several fierce storms during its epic 8,000-nautical mile ocean crossing. To get a better idea of just how amazing this expedition was, check out the photo gallery on the Plastiki website. Would you have sailed this across the ocean?

You may not find a boat as unique as Plastiki on, but you will find some amazing bargains on new and used boats of all types.

Old Ship Unearthed at Ground Zero

Nearly half a mile from the nearest water at New York City’s Battery Park docks, the concrete towers of Lower Manhattan would seem an unlikely place to find a boat. The discovery of ancient timbers buried under the ground zero rubble where the World Trade Center once stood certainly startled construction crews. Yet, the wood skeleton of a 1700s-era sailing ship is an integral part of the city’s history.

Archeologists who flocked to the trade center site were thrilled by the unexpected excavation of the 32-foot vessel. The rotting deck and thick wooden ribs marking the ship’s hull could be clearly seen poking through the mud 20 feet below street level. Archeologists hand-dug the maritime skeleton from the mud after a backhoe unearthed two curving, hand-hewn timbers early Tuesday morning.

Historians speculate that the damaged ship was included in rubble and  debris dropped into the harbor between the 1600s and 1800s to expand Manhattan’s shoreline. The island has expanded several times over the centuries through aggressive land filling of huge riparian land tracts. The most recent landfill project, which enabled the creation of Battery Park City,  occurred in the 1970s to dispose of earth excavated from the foundations for the World Trade Center. The trade center construction site sits on what was once the seaward wall of the Lower Manhattan’s west shoreline.

Hugo Boss Ocean Yacht Cuts Distinctive Swath

A special treat awaits New Yorkers flocking to Battery Park in an attempt to beat this week’s stifling heat. Flitting among the lumbering freighters and tourist-packed ferries like an exotic dragonfly skimming over a pond, the 60-foot, ocean-going Hugo Boss yacht certainly catches the eye. The sleek, carbon and Kelvar, black-hulled craft has been seen this week plying New York City harbor waters around the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River. With yards of billowing black sails, the racing yacht has been garnering plenty of envious attention from harbor boaters and sailboat owners.

The distinctive Hugo Boss yacht is moored at the Battery Park Marina in Lower Manhattan while visiting NYC on an around-the-world publicity tour. If you’re in Manhattan, it’s worth the trip to get a close-up view of this $4.5 million, state-of-the-art speed machine. Built to be sailed solo around the world, the boat is stripped of even the most basic amenities to reduce weight and bulk. You won’t find a toilet, shower, kitchen or stateroom anywhere on board. During around-the-globe races the boat is outfitted for the spartan life of a solo racer with a water distiller and freeze-dried meals. With 10 extra sails onboard for races there isn’t room for anything but lines and cranks and winches.

Welsh skipper Alex Thomson, 36, the youngest solo skipper to win and around-the-world yacht race, calls the yacht “the ultimate toy.” Find your ultimate toy on Boatline, the premier online classified boat ad site.

Whale of a Boat Rides to Gulf’s Rescue

At 3 1/2 football fields long and 10 stories high, the unusual boat certainly lives up to its name. They call it “A Whale” and pray that its appetite for oil will match its gargantuan size. Folks along the Gulf Coast are hoping the retrofitted Taiwanese tanker, the world’s largest oil skimmer, will vastly speed efforts to clean up the Gulf. The vessel arrived off the coast of Louisiana late last week and Saturday began plying a 25-square mile test site close to the exploded Deepwater Horizon wellhead.

Seen by many as a game-changer in the battle to clean the Gulf of crude, the mammoth ship is supposed to be capable of processing and cleaning up to 21 million gallons of oil-contaminated water per day.  Much like a whale sucking in water through its formidable maw, A Whale sucks in sea water through 12 huge vents. The oily water is then pumped through a series of chambers where the oil is separated from the water before the clean water is returned to the sea.

A Whale is being tested in waters with the highest concentration of oil where it is expected to perform best. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been testing water processed by the boat and returned to the Gulf for oil residue and contaminants. Testing of the unique boat is expected to conclude this week.

Jimmy Buffet and Pals Design Wildlife Rescue Boat

There’s not much good news coming from the Gulf Coast, but singer Jimmy Buffett and his boating pals are providing one bright note. On the second day of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, while watching news footage of the growing oil spill, Buffett and two friends were discussing the impact on wildlife and what they could do to help. They saw a  need for a boat capable of traveling the shallow waters of Gulf Coast estuaries to reach and rescue wildlife threatened by encroaching oil. A quick sketch on a cocktail napkin led to the construction of the first S.W.A.T., an innovative wildlife research and rescue boat.

Designed by Buffet pal Mark Castlow and his colleague Jimbo Meador and built at Castlow’s Dragonfly Boatworks, the Shallow Water Attention Terminal, or S.W.A.T. is an extremely shallow-draft boat specifically designed to navigate the shallow Gulf Coast marshlands that are the breeding grounds for thousands birds and wildlife. S.W.A.T. is capable of navigating in waters as shallow as 10 inches deep. To provide shade from the hot Gulf sun, the boat is completely enclosed by a canopy and features a special misting system to keep injured wildlife cool after being brought onboard.

Buffet underwrote the $43,000 cost of building the innovative boat. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, the singer has donated the first S.W.A.T. to the university’s Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Several more S.W.A.T. boats are under construction.

Fledgling Electric Boat Movement Cuts ‘Green’ Wake

Remember learning about the perils of mixing electricity with water in your high school physics class? Anyone who ignored that safety lecture got a shocking dose of reality. Water conducts electrical current and using your body as a ground is a lesson not easily forgotten, if you live through the experience.

Well, the times they are a-changin’. Setting physics on its head, avant-garde boat builders are dabbling in green-energy electric boats. SJ Koch Duffy Electric Boats Sales and Rentals in Annapolis, Maryland is one of a handful of boat dealers who now offer safe, green, electric-powered boats for recreational boating use. Duffy offers an 18-foot electric power boat for rent at $100 per hour and a 22-footer with toilet for $125.

It only takes a brief lesson to get the hang of skippering an electric boat, which is similar to driving a golf cart. Powered by 16 6-volt batteries, today’s electric boats are only capable of 6 mph which makes current models of fairly limited use. An interesting tourist attraction, their short range, slow speeds and easy-to-use controls make it hard for even novice skippers to get into trouble on the water.

While immediate uses may be limited, expect technology to improve rapidly and electric boats to gain in range and power over the next few years. Even today, their noiseless operation and zero emissions make electric boats a green choice for harbor taxis in crowded city ports and sight-seeing vessels in quiet nature preserves.