While a gadget for the marine leisure market is conditioned by the need to appeal to the family boater and to avoid excessive cost, a product designed for work at sea is far less drastically constrained. The results of that are often bizarre, outlandish and magnificent creations that leave you scratching your head and wondering why you’ve never seen them before...
Nauti-craft’s new prototype is just such a treat. Known as the ‘2Play’, this eight-metre catamaran (pictured) uses a suspension system at its core, plus a “Deck Attitude Control System”, which actively adjusts, enabling safer transfers in rough seas. In essence, this novel approach separates the vessel’s hulls from the deck and superstructure via a “passive reactive” interlinked hydraulic suspension system. According to the designers, this enables the hulls to react to the water’s surface, delivering a more level and stable attitude, plus a more comfortable and controlled ride.
So where on earth would this Australian company decide to stage the latest 2Play prototype's international debut? At the commercial marine and workboat splendour of Seawork 2014 of course. And in addition to this superb looking craft, there will be the usual array of new gadgets and solutions for beaching a boat, operating in the shallows, inverting an engine, stowing a lifeboat, carrying a load, mitigating an impact, increasing efficiency, protecting a driver and rescuing a casualty. And while Seawork is by no means a mainstream leisure show (and is generally a bit light on the beer tents, fireworks and live music), there will be plenty of brands you recognise (such as Barrus, C-Fury, Garmin, Icom, Suzuki, Ribcraft, Sealegs and Yamaha) – plus plenty of thoroughly satisfying gadgets that look like they’ve been pulled directly from the mind of a mad professor.
Held from 10 to 12 June 2014, this year’s Seawork Commercial Marine Exhibition will be the 15th consecutive event of its kind. Expect more than 450 exhibitors (many of them international) and more than 60 floating exhibits. Based at the heart of Southampton’s commercial waterfront (SO15 1HJ) it’s a great place to rekindle your enthusiasm for marine gadgets - and perhaps even improve your own boat in ways you had never imagined.
So just in case you need a reminder: 10 Great Gadgets for Your Powerboat. Or if you don't like gadgets, then you might need one of these instead: Affordable fun: Five brilliant “boy-racer” boats.