1920s Historic motor boat race video

Historic motor boat racing is pretty amazing. British Pathé News has uploaded 85,000 historic films from the archives on to Youtube – all in HD – including some stunning early 20th Century powerboating and sailing footage.

Pathé News was originally founded in France in the 1890s and established in London in 1902. It is famous for its biweekly news gazette that was shown in cinemas from 1910 until 1970.

See the link below for a little taster of some powerboat racing scenes off Venice, Italy that were probably filmed over 90 years ago.

Historic Motor boat racing: Venice 1920-29

Historic motor boat racing: British Pathe News footage of powerboat racing in Venice 1920-29.

There’s very little historical info – the youtube info merely describes the action in the footage – and no sound to go with the clip, so if you have anything to add to the description, let us know in the comments below.

For more on historic vessels, see  Five Classic Power Boats: Triana, Broom, Riva, Fairey, Albatross


Shameful shoreline: the state of British beaches

It seems that the modern Brit’s failure to take responsibility for his own conduct continues when he heads out for a day at the beach.

MCS beach litter

Shameful shoreline: A Marine Conservation Society clean-up operation towards the end of 2013 revealed more than 2,300 items of rubbish for every kilometre of shoreline.

According to the MCS (Marine Conservation Society), a clean-up operation towards the end of 2013 revealed more than 2,300 items of rubbish for every kilometre of shoreline tested. It’s a revolting figure and one that ought to shame every right-thinking beachgoer, so if you’re guilty of it, stop – and if you happen to see someone else who’s guilty of it, do whatever you deem appropriate to make him think again.

There are a few simple things everyone can do to make a difference – why not take a carrier bag with you every time you go to the beach? If you fill even one bag every time you will make a massive difference – and if we all did it we’d make up for the irresponsible people who make the mess in the first place.

Surfers Against Sewage are among a number of organisations who organise regular litter-clearing events (see Marine Litter: Steps to Cleaner Seas), keep an eye out for one near you, or why not organise your own?



Marine electrics: how to use good terminals and tools

Basic electrical system upgrades and repairs (such as: How Can I Save Battery Power With My Refrigeration System? and Using LED lighting on your boat) are one of the most common do-it-yourself projects we undertake as boat owners, writes Gary Reich.

Ratcheting crimper

This ratcheting crimper places a precise amount of pressure on the crimp fitting while also making two crimps—one on the wire and one on the wire jacket—at the same time. Photo by Gary Reich.

And while most folks start these projects with the best intentions, many of the materials they use are often ill-suited for life in the marine environment. With that in mind, let’s take a look at one area where using the wrong parts is a recipe for disaster: electrical terminal fittings.

Electrical crimp terminals do exactly what the name implies—they provide an attachment point for a wire where it terminates. Good examples include a ring terminal where a wire is screwed to a fuse block, a spade terminal connecting lead wires to a removable depthsounder or fishfinder, or a butt connector joining two pieces of wire. These terminals are crimped down on the wire using a tool engineered for that purpose, and provide a good connection between the wire and its termination point.

So why not just use the cheap terminals found at your local car-parts shop or hardware store? Three words: corrosion, vibration, and moisture.

Let’s start with corrosion. The crimp terminals you generally find at your local car-parts shop are what you might call “mystery meat,” meaning it’s difficult to know what type of metal they’re made of. I’ve seen them made of anything from mild steel to zinc, and neither of those materials is good at much of anything electrical, save for sacrificial zinc anodes.

Tin-plated copper terminals are what you’ll want to look for at your marine store. Tin is highly resistant to corrosion, and copper is an excellent conductor of electricity. In tandem, they make for a great marine-grade electrical terminal. Plain copper terminals with no tin plating can be found on many boats, but they’re all susceptible to that funky green corrosion that can cause connectivity issues in the future.

Marine terminal

A double-crimp, ring-style marine terminal installed on a section of 10 AWG wire. Note the double crimp points as illustrated. Photo by Gary Reich.

Moisture and corrosion-resistance go hand-in-hand, especially if your boat operates in a saltwater environment. Tin plating will definitely help suppress this corrosion, but if you really want to nip it in the bud, use not only tin-plated marine terminals, but tin-plated marine terminals with integral heat-shrink tubing. This integral tubing often is lined with sticky adhesive that melts and seals out the end of the termination when heat is applied. Alternatively, you can apply your own heat-shrink tubing, cut it to size, and shrink it on the connection yourself. If the electrical work you’re undertaking is in a bilge, underneath a center console, or in any location where there’s a remote possibility of water contact, it’s absolutely essential to use these high-quality marine-grade terminals and heat-shrink protection.

Marine ring terminals

An assortment of ring-style marine crimp terminals. Photo courtesy of Ancor.

Vibration is an electrical system nemesis we don’t generally think about, but a nemesis it is. Engine and drivetrain vibrations, shock waves from wind and waves, encounters with docks and pilings, bumps and bangs caused by hatches and locker doors — all of these  bad vibrations (not like the good ones the Beach Boys were singing about) can make a terminal fail at its connection with the wire, causing circuit failure or a fire.

To battle these connection failures, a good marine terminal uses not one crimp, but two, and is aptly called a “double crimp” terminal. Look for terminals labeled as such. A double-crimp terminal makes one connection onto the bare wire, and another on the wire jacket, which provides excellent strain relief and resistance to the effects of vibration.

Last detail: Make sure you use the proper tool when installing double-crimp terminals. There are many different types of tools out there, but I like ratcheting double-crimp tools. Not only do they release when the proper amount of pressure is applied to the fitting, but they also crimp the terminal fitting to both the wire and the wire jacket in one motion. You also can use a standard strip-and-crimp tool, but make sure you crimp at both the wire and the wire jacket.

So there you have it. Next time you’re elbow deep in marine electrics – rewiring a VHF radio or installing a new navigation light –, spend the time to find the right terminals for the job. In the long run, you won’t be sorry you did.

Here’s a video that walks you through the steps of how to install a heat-shrink terminal:

For more DIY advice, see: 10 free and cheap boat improvements, or How to prepare and apply antifouling.

Neel 45 trimaran: cruising in style… at speed

As early liveaboard cruisers in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, my family lived aboard a 41ft William Garden ketch, with ratlines running up along her varnished wood spars; 30,000-pound displacement on a 32-foot waterline; six-foot sprit on a scrolled clipper bow, six-and-a-half-foot (two metre) draught. Days’ runs of 100 miles were an honest estimate. I spent most of my 16th year aground in the Bahamas.

Search all William Garden yachts for sale – www.boats.com

Neel 45

The Neel 45 combines great daily runs with a comfortable cruising mode.

I sailed a boat recently—the Neel 45 trimaran—that stunned me with how far cruising yachts have come in a generation. Better living through design? Let us count the ways.

The Neel 45 is a breakthrough boat from several different perspectives. Broadly, it’s an honest couple’s boat that will deliver days’ runs of better that 200 miles in comfortable cruising mode, with the potential for speeds almost twice that when she’s pushed. Her 63-foot rig is Intracoastal-friendly, and her 1.2m draught opens entire worlds along the water’s edges where all the best gunkholing lies.

Years ago, multihull designer Peter Wormwood, comparing a fast catamaran to a traditional cruising monohull, challenged my friends and me to take out a highlighter and fill in all the places that a shallow-draught boat could go, then draw miles-per-day radii on the charts. It was an “A-Ha!” moment for all of us, and it’s just the kind of exercise that demonstrates the places this Neel will take you.

Read more: Neel 45: Boat Review

Search all Neel yachts for sale – www.boats.com


Musto launches unbelievable climate-control suit – video

Musto, one of the world’s leading offshore sailing brands, has revealed an exclusive collaboration with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Volvo Ocean Race team to develop a range of ground-breaking personal climate controlled (PCC) offshore clothing. The new suit, the PCC, will sit within the HPX Pro Series range which has been developed to meet the specific needs of the professional ocean racing sailor. Watch an in-depth video report below.

Based on state of art technology developed by the space agency, the super-lightweight, fully waterproof and breathable, one-piece stretch-to-fit Abu Dhabi PCC suits will enable the crew to maintain a comfortable body temperature whatever extremes of hot and cold they encounter during the 38,739 nautical mile race.

The ambitious project was commissioned jointly by Musto and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing after physiologists in the UAE capital discovered that the Emirate’s warm winter conditions, which average at 23 degrees Celsius in December and January, were the perfect conditions to support peak athletic performance and muscle recovery.

PCC suit

Simply plug the suit in to the power control unit, then dial in the ideal temperature.

To activate the suits on board their new yacht Azzam, the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew will plug themselves into the master PCC units located at the back of the boat. Once attached, the sailors can dial up their desired body temperature using a thermostat keypad built into the forearm of the suit. Lithium battery backup will maintain heat for up to two hours when not connected to allow the sailors to unplug during watch changes or to leave the cockpit for a sail change.

Additional upsides of the body hugging suits compared to traditional offshore gear are previously undreamt of levels of freedom of movement and massive savings in the weight of the crew gear.

Nigel Musto, President of MUSTO, said “For years we have been trying to reduce clothing weight whilst maintaining performance. Now with the innovative Abu Dhabi PCC suit not only have we achieved a significant weight reduction in kit, about 90% or 80kg, but we’ve also improved both performance and recovery by allowing the sailors to maintain a consistent muscle temperature. The performance gains we have seen as a result are extremely significant.” 

“As the suit is so innovative we nervously awaited feedback from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s first sail aboard Azzam – the response was so overwhelmingly positive from all the team that we couldn’t wait to unveil the PCC suit.”

“In the new one-design world of the Volvo Ocean Race, every reduction in weight or improvement in performance is like gold dust to the teams and this offshore clothing breakthrough could ultimately make the difference between winning and losing.”

ADOR Skipper Ian Walker commented “I’m certain that the MUSTO PCC Suit is a real game changer – I can’t wait to wear the finished version on the start line in October.  We are now able to sail around the world in our own microclimates which for me will be set to mimic a perfect Abu Dhabi day in December. It’s set to be the most comfortable Volvo Ocean Race I have ever done”

For MUSTO the breakthrough represents a new approach to offshore sailing clothing design, which it hopes will be adopted by more elite racing teams in the future.  The Abu Dhabi PCC suits will undergo four months of further tests and modifications as part of ADOR’s training programme in Europe and North America before the final race-ready suits are handed over to the team in September.

MUSTO plan to have the new suits available in stores by the end of July 2015.

PCC suit

Warm weather at your fingertips – like a dream come true for ocean racers.

Hobie Alter: 1933-2014

The surfboard and Hobie Cat designer and builder, Hobie Alter has died at the age of 80. The Hobie Cat website published the following obituary, and the video clip below was posted in 2011 by the USA Sailing Hall of Fame:

Hobart “Hobie” Alter, who started out shaping surfboards, and ended up shaping a culture, passed away peacefully at his Palm Desert home on March 29 surrounded by his loving family. Born on October 31, 1933 in Ontario, California, he was 80 at the time of his passing.

The son of a second-generation orange farmer, Hobie flourished spending time at his family’s Laguna Beach summer home. And it was here in the family’s garage back in 1950 where he began his somewhat accidental career by combining his two loves, wood shop and water, crafting handmade 9 foot balsawood surfboards for his friends.

Business was good, and his father had grown tired of the sawdust, so in 1954 Hobie would open the area’s first surf shop in Dana Point. But as demand continued to grow, balsawood was becoming scarce, and even with Hobie’s creative assembly line, the wooden board building process was cumbersome.

This is where Hobie’s extraordinary gift for self-taught, “outside the box” engineering rose to the challenge. Through a top-secret trial and error process, and along with friend and employee Gordon “Grubby” Clark, Hobie pioneered the development of the foam surfboard. With the lighter and more responsive boards, and his gift for design and commitment to uncompromising quality, Hobie quickly became the number one surfboard brand in the world.

The list of legendary surfers and shapers that worked or rode for Hobie is a virtual Hall of Fame and his success is widely considered the launching point for California’s iconic surf industry. Hobie himself was a top surfing competitor.

In the late 1960’s having achieved great success with surfing, Hobie turned his attention to another of his water-based passions. And after much on-the-water R&D, he unveiled his namesake “Hobie Cat” catamaran.

This fun, lightweight and affordable craft is credited with bringing high-performance sailing from the yacht club to the masses. “The Cat that Can Fly” could be launched off any beach and soon became one of the world’s top selling sailboats. But his curious mind and constant tinkering didn’t stop there. A few of his other inventions include creating the “Hobie Hawk” a high-performance remote controlled glider (another of his lifetime passions). He also designed the hugely successful Hobie Super Surfer skateboard, sculpted a revolutionary 33-foot mono-hull sailboat, pioneered a “Float Cat” for fly-fishing and built the “Katie Sue” (named for his mother Katie and his wife Susan), an awe-inspiring 60-foot power catamaran from scratch.

Hobie Alter 1933-2014

Hobie Alter 1933-2014.

In discussing the future with friends as a young man Hobie declared that he wanted to make a living without having to wear hard-soled shoes or work east of California’s Pacific Coast Highway. By “Making people a toy and giving them a game to play with it” he was able to realize this dream. And in the process, he introduced an active outdoor lifestyle and collection of products that made the world just a bit more fun.

Hobie received the Waterman Achievement award from the Surfing Industry Manufacturers Association in 1993, was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1997 and admitted as an inaugural member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011 alongside Dennis Connor and Ted Turner.

Details of Memorial Services are pending, and in keeping with the tradition of the Waterman, there will also be a surfer’s “Paddle Out” in front of the family’s Oak Street home in Laguna Beach, where it all began. Date/time TBD.

Read more about innovative sailboat designers on www.boats.com: Video: Sailrocket Celebrates One Year World Record Anniversary, Kite Foiling: Taking Sailing to New Extremes and Boats We Love: International Moth.

Killer whales play in wake of speedboat

It’s easy to forget that dolphins are fairly closely related to killer whales – their reputations couldn’t be more different – yet once you’ve watched this video, you’ll definitely see the resemblance.

Killer whales playing in the wake of a speedboat

Killer whales playing in the wake of a speedboat

Divers Laura and Rich Howard were happily filming a dive off the coast of La Paz, Mexico enjoying some underwater play with some friendly sea lions, when they were called to the surface and saw the dorsal fins of a pod of Orcas – commonly known as killer whales.

When the dive boat headed away from the scene, the whales played for about an hour in the wake, jumping out of the water and getting within inches of the open stern of the boat.

According to Wikipedia, Killer Whales are ‘among the fastest marine mammals, able to reach speeds in excess of 30 knots (56 km/h).’ And from this footage, they enjoy that kind of speed as much as we do!

If you enjoyed this slice of marine wildlife on film, why not take a look at: Luna the Killer Whale Mimics an Outboard or Could Jaws be Alive and Well and in Devon?

Code X: the 47ft renewable energy speed machine

Hybrid diesel-electric boats such as the Greenline 40 have been around for nearly a decade in commercial terms, but in avoiding fossil fuel use, they rely on batteries, which produce short-lived performance and add huge weight to the hull, writes Rob Melotti. So where does the marine alternative power scene go from here?


At 47ft in length, the Code-X is designed to run on Silicon Fire, a methanol-type fuel derived from silicon and carbon-dioxide.

The answer, perhaps, comes from Switzerland. The CODE X yacht is the brainchild of CODE X AG from Meggen, in conjunction with technical partners FB Design, founded by legendary Italian powerboat racer Fabio Buzzi.

The CODE-X website describes its renewable technology as “a harmonious combination of conventional and environmentally friendly propulsion fuels.”


Silicon Fire

The core element of the CODE X yacht is the Silicon Fire drive and a new totally green methanol-type fuel.

Silicon Fire is the fuel derived from a highly technical chemical process that generates hydrogen from silicon. In a further process, the Silicon Fire technology combines this hydrogen with carbon dioxide, which is obtained as a waste product from conventional combustion processes. The result is a renewable liquid which is comparable to regenerative methanol in terms of substance and mode of action.

The Silicon Fire drive is available in two different versions. Firstly, Silicon Fire can be added to conventional fuel, reducing CO2 emissions depending on the admix ratio of Silicon Fire to conventional fuel. But Silicon Fire drives can be integrated in yachts which use pure Silicon Fire fuel. In this case, the Silicon Fire drive is completely CO2-neutral.

The CODE X yacht features a propulsion system, which allows the adding of Silicon Fire to conventional fuels in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Alternatively, CODE X yachts can also be ordered which have a Silicon Fire drive running with only Silicon Fire.

The introduced CODE X yacht features two Ilmor marine combustion engines with a total of 1420 HP, which are combined with two ZF TRIMAX propeller drive propulsion systems. This technology accelerates the CODE X yacht up to a maximum speed of approximately 80 knots. Additionally, the CODE X yacht comes with an integrated solar system. Due to the newly designed Silicon Fire drive, the integrated solar system on board is applied selectively as a power supply source for on-board systems in order to, for example, not need to consume Silicon Fire for the operation of any ancillary components while at anchor.


Code X Engine Specifications

2 x Ilmor marine combustion engines MV10-710
Configuration : 90 degree V 10
Horsepower : 2 x 710 HP
Torque : 882 Nm @ 4800 rpm
Full throttle rpm range: 5400 – 6300
Capacity: 2 x 8.3 liters
Performance: 90 knots
2 x electric engines

Source of Energy:
Fossil fuel (2 tanks) and silicon-fire Methanol

LOA: 47ft



For more unusual powerboating developments/experiments, try Alex Smith’s take on the £700m Streets of Monaco or perhaps Mad Mariners: Four Unbelievable Seafaring Exploits.

Waves crashing on lighthouses: aerial video

The video title: ‘Biggest waves ever…’ might be a slight exaggeration (there’s video evidence of people surfing enormous waves right here) but the lighthouses off the coast of Brittany do take a sustained beating from some huge waves year in, year out.

The lighthouses in the treacherous seas off Brittany have become famous for standing tall in the face of the massive Atlantic swells that are regulars – especially in the winter months. There have been some spectacular, iconic photographs showing this over the years, so we were interested to see film footage of the lighthouses taking a pounding. Watch the video below to remind yourself how just powerful the sea really is.

Lighthouses in waves

Brittany coast: lighthouses bear the brunt of huge storms.

The breath-taking footage was shot by Jean-Réné Keruzoré from above the Raz de Sein, which is itself famous for the extremely dangerous seas that are kicked up whenever the weather gets wild. There are also some sobering shots of the waves menacing people’s houses on the mainland towards the end.

For more footage of ocean storms, see: Stormy Seas: Dramatic Ocean Waves Video or Ocean Racing Video: Rogue Wave Smothers Clipper Yacht.


Outboard engine won’t start: trouble-shooting video

It’s your turn at a busy slipway and it’s getting late, which is exactly the moment you don’t want to turn the key and find that your outboard engine won’t start. So what do you check first? Watch this video by Gary Reich for a few quick ideas to keep in mind for basic trouble-shooting.

troubleshooting outboards

Remind yourself of the basics for trouble-shooting a non-starting outboard engine.

Of course, we’re barely scratching the surface of what can go wrong with an outboard, and how to fix it. But quite often, one of these simple issues is all that’s holding you back from a day of boating.

If you’re looking for more info on trouble-shooting or maintaining your engine, try Boats.com features such as: How to Change Engine Oil on a 4-Stroke Outboard Engine or Fixing Your Marine Engine at Sea: Emergency DIY Tips.