Friday, September 20, 2013

Writing For Great Lakes Scuttlebutt Magazine :-)

I'm very happy to announce that my first boating article has been published in the 'Great Lakes Scuttlebutt Magazine' :-)

Photo Credit: Great Lakes Scuttlebutt Magazine
 This premier article is the first in a series of four that looks at the joys of boating along the Trent Severn Waterway. Of course, I am limited to a word count, so I couldn't possibly cover ALL of the joys of traveling through this region, so we'll have to simply continue with that journey right here, as well as on my YouTube channel :-)

 This article also marks the beginning of regular contributions that I am looking forward to providing as the magazine's 'Canadian Boater'. I am really looking forward to continuing the fun that I am having with my new found writing career - something I'm actively working on expanding. If only my old school teachers could see me now!

 You can read the article on their online version of the magazine, by clicking Here. Have a read and let me know what ya think!

Just one of the many terrific stops we made along the Trent Severn Waterway this summer!

Rebound For Florida Based Boat Builders

 I recently read a very positive article from the Miami Herald regarding a significant rebound for the 172 boat builders that call Florida home. So, why is that important to the rest of us, you ask? What does Florida have to do with us located well outside of that area of the world? Well, read on. . .

Our visit to the Sea Ray plant in Palm Coast Florida, in 2011.
 Firstly, it marks a continuing turnaround from the ugly depths of 2008/9 when boat sales dropped off by 30% and put many builders at risk of going out of business, some of which sadly did. Both attendance, as well as the number of boats shown at the Miami & Fort Lauderdale shows are up by 6% (the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, held every year at the end of October, and is the largest boat show in THE WORLD, so that 6% says a lot!).

The Bahia Mar Marina, home of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS)
 This is great and welcome news to everyone associated with boating. Whether one is in the market for big or small, new and even used, the increased capacity and breadth of choices can only be a good thing for the market in whole. Even for those boaters who might be looking to trade up in the years to come, but wouldn't necessarily have the resources to go new, the increased number of these currently sold boats will trickle down to the used market in the future and offer more options for this type of buyer.
The top deck of a new Sea Ray Sundancer is readied for mating with the hull. At Palm Coast Sea Ray plant.
 In the meantime, those employed in the industry can take advantage of this hard won turnaround. Bravo to all those who stuck it out, stayed the course and continue to provide the boats and lifestyle we all love :-)

An assortment of brand new Sea Rays and Meridians, almost ready for delivery to their new owners.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Boat Review - Regal 2300 RX

Bottom Up Innovation

 Perhaps it’s that very diversity that has inspired such innovations as their patented FasTrac hull, which reduces drag via a stepped hull. This allows for air to be introduced under the hull, just behind the step with the result being less resistance while underway. The effect is a more ‘slippery’ underside for better efficiency.

 If you remember back when the notion of stepped hulls was first being developed with the go-fast crowd, you’ll recall that various manufacturers were discovering that these hulls were encountering some of loss of control during high speed cornering.  The engineers at Regal overcame this
potentially dangerous condition by further advancing the hull design to include precisely placed reverse chines running longitudinally along the bottom to maintain stability and keep a bite on the water. They also provided larger lifting strakes at the hull sides for increased lift. The combined benefits of the tuned steps + increased lift resulted in the FasTrac hull. This innovative design translates into a safe ride with greater fuel economy and increased performance over traditional deep-vee hulls. According to company specs, the FasTrac hull design results in 26% faster speeds and an impressive 30% increase in fuel economy. Fast, safe AND economical? Sounds like a win-win-win scenario to me.


Fun, Fun, Fun

OK, enough time under the boat, let’s dry off and take a look at the features of this family sport boat that make it, well - fun!

  Probably the best way I can think of to describe the 2300 RX is that it is a big bow rider with a sports car heart. Available with your choice of either Mercruiser or Volvo stern drive power plants that range from ranging from 270 to 320 horsepower, you can choose the engine company of preference. Access to the engine compartment is made more convenient by having the stern cover tilt forward, making getting at it from the more practical swim platform side.

With dimensions of 24’ in length and an 8’-6” beam, this trailerable boat has seating for up to 12 people and was designed primarily for fun - and water sports are going to be a big part of that play time. Two stereo speakers, a tow eye and storage for wake boards are located on the ‘Power Tower’, which folds down at the flick of a switch. The ability to tuck it down allows for easier transporting when trailering or better fit into your garage.

 A water friendly feature that I like is that the swim platform is low to the water, making it easy and comfortable for swimmers or skiers to reboard without pinching a nerve to climb out of the water (too many times I’ve seen boats that appear to be better suited to circus contortionists than a family and friends chillin’ out on the water). It also extends well over the outdrive, making it safer when jumping into the water here. Regal also positioned the re-boarding ladder off to the port side and offset it. This frees up the platform for sitting or moving around, even if swimmers are repeatedly in and out of the water. For anyone with younger kids, you’ll quickly see the how this simple design feature would lessen those squabbles between siblings that might otherwise have to climb over one another.

 Further study of the back of the 2300 RX reveals a transom mounted stereo remote control and a pair of LED transom brake lights which act as an extra set of brake/turn signals when the boat is being trailered. A great feature when anchored in shallow water is the auxiliary transom switch to trim the outdrive up or down.

The backrests on the sunpad share that duty with the rear cockpit seats. Removing the center cushions provides for a ‘flexi-teak’ protected walk through to the ‘largest in class’ cockpit and the wrap around, arena style passenger seating.  To port is an aft facing seat, situated for the passenger to keep an eye on skiers or wake boarders. This seat flips forward with the aid of gas assisted rams to reveal a cavernous storage compartment, perfect for stowing oversized items like skis, PFD’s, dive gear and whatever else you want to take along for a fun filled day.

 Behind the helm seat is the lift out cooler. There is a mount for the dining table aft, which is storable when not in use.

One thing I’ve appreciated about Regal boats for many years is that their hulls always look straight and true with consistent colors. Eyeballing the sides of some competitor’s boats sometimes reveals a lesser degree of care when laying up the hull, but again, Regal quality comes through on the 2300 RX. The same quality follows through when looking at the upholstery, available in a palette of colors to match with the hull selections.

 At the helm we find a vinyl wrapped dash to help reduce glare, Faria gauges, power steering and a 12-volt receptacle. The Fusion marine stereo is situated just to port of the steering wheel for uninterrupted access by captain and crew.

Moving forward to the bow there are two forward facing sun pads, complete with fold away armrests. As we found with the cockpit seating, these cushions also tilt up aided by gas struts to provide even more storage. Another nice touch is a dedicated anchor locker; something not always found on boats this size. An additional table mount is also located forward.

 Sized for nimble handling and packed with innovation, the 2300 RX ably reflects the values that Paul and Carol Kuck based Regal Boats on many years ago - values that your family can enjoy for years to come.

Photos courtesy of Regal Boats, www.RegalBoats.com