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The Loon

May 24, 2006 “Exhausting hydrocarbons directly into your own lake isn’t much different from urinating in your family room”, states Monte Gisborne. “We need sensible options if we want to leave something for future generations to enjoy… and I believe that water and electricity do mix!” Monte backed up the talk by building a solar-assisted electric pontoonboat and took his family for a 100 mile, 6-day trip down Ontario’s historic Trent-Severn Waterway to evaluate it. Now he’s developed a commercial version called the Loon for sale to environmentally-conscious boaters around the world. The Loon emits no noise and no emissions and carries up to eight passengers in comfort.  Read More

Solar-powered trimaran plans around the world challenge

May 15, 2006 Last December, we reported on the remarkable Swiss SolarImpule Project which aims to circumnavigate Planet Earth by air using solar power. Now another Swiss project plans to circle the planet using a trimaran, propelled by renewable energies. Two distinct itineraries are planned. From 2008 to 2009, the first around-the-world tour, powered by solar energy, will be undertaken with a schedule allowing for 120 days with stopovers. The planned boat will be 30 meters long, 16 meters wide with a solar panel area of 180 square metres. The second around-the-world tour is foreseen for 2010-2011. It will be a voyage without stopovers, powered by solar energy and hydrogen; taking place in 80 days. The project, which has adopted Henry Dunant’s famous quote, “"Only those who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, will!" as its catchcry, is currently seeking sponsors.  Read More

New helmet enables normal breathing underwater

May 12, 2006 Jules Verne would be proud. Columbian start-up Aquanautas has created a new method of enjoying underwater activities without the need for scuba gear, tanks, masks and regulators. By wearing on of the company’s new helmets, a human can breath underwater as they would on the surface. The Aquanautas is designed primarily for tourism-related activities such as resorts and aquariums and is suitable for anyone over the age of 12. Indeed, you don’t even need to know how to swim or even remove your glasses. they only need to wear a swim suit and a pair of sandals. Aquanautas is seeking international distribution and pilot sites.  Read More

Volvo Round-the-world Race visits the Big Apple

May 7, 2006 When the runaway leader of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, ABN AMRO 1, enters New York harbour some time tomorrow the round-the-world race will have been underway for more than six months - the 32,700 mile race having begun in Vigo, Spain on November 12, 2005 is scheduled to end in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 17, 2006. With more than 29,000 nautical miles of the race completed and just a tenth of that distance remaining in one of the world’s most gruelling adventure races, ABN AMRO I looks likely to take the event barring mishap. The has journeyed from Europe via the Atlantic to Cape Town then on to Melbourne, Australia, then across the Tasman Sea to Wellington, New Zealand, then across the Pacific ocean to Rio de Janeiro, then on to Baltimore, USA. If you’re in the Big Apple this week, make sure you get down and take a look at the most remarkable, high tech sailing machines ever assembled. Currently, boaters are setting their sails as they prepare to finish the sixth course of the race in New York on May 8. After a 48-hour stay, crews will hoist their anchors and set sail for Portsmouth, England. There are many fantastic information resources on the internet which cover the technologies used in the construction and design of the canting-keel boats, the official race site with full tracking of the boats and much more, and the official sites of the leading boats such as ABN AMRO I & II, the Spanish Movistar boat which set a world 24 hour distance record just prior to the start of the race, the superbly named Pirates of the Caribean, Brasil 1 and Ericsson Racing Team. Check out the image library for a taste of the spectacular nature of the event. Check out the image library  Read More

The innovative new 70 WallyPower Motor Yacht

April 3, 2006 The new 70 WallyPower carries the same distinctive stealth-like exterior as the US$25 million WallyPower 118 that won the Millenium Yacht Design Award, an award dedicated to the “Layout of the Third Millennium, a design that remarkably contributed to the development of the concept of the yacht layout”. The 70 WallyPower’s credentials as a floating pointer to the future remain equally as distinctive, with a glass composite hull, carbon fiber superstructure and KaMeWa water-jet propulsion system though with a far more modest price tag than its 118 big sister in the vicinity of US$3.5 million. The 21-meter WallyPower 70 comes in two basic models, both with that same distinctive dark glass exterior though one has a fully enclosed glass cabin area and the other is open to the aft transom, with the air conditioning acting as a barrier between the outside and the inside. Both can seat 20 or more for meals, though if it’s party space you’re after, the open version with the “lunch boat” layout is the one to go for, as its deck plan flows seamlessly between three social areas. And if you fancy speed, both boats are powered by two MTU diesel engines generating 3,000 horsepower, pushing the 70 WallyPower’s top speed 47.5 knots half load, and 45 knots full load at continuous duty with a consumption of only 250 litres – 66 US gallons per hour! Extensive photo library of these exquisite motor yachts.  Read More

Rolls-Royce at the helm of Royal Navy flagship

March 27, 2006 It seems logical that prestige automotive designers should be the go-to-guys when you wish to create an ambience of luxury – they’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s the key difference that enables a few extra zeros to be added to the price. We saw it recently when BMW Group Designworks was used by Airbus to design a luxury aircraft interior and now we’ve seen Rolls-Royce Motor Cars employed to make a special captain’s chair for HMS Illustrious – the flagship of the Royal Navy. The chair, which is appropriately finished in the finest navy blue leather with sea shell-coloured piping, was handcrafted by Rolls-Royce engineers and craftspeople at the company’s world headquarters in Goodwood. It is based on the front seat originally designed for the best-selling Rolls-Royce Phantom and has been specially adapted for its sea-faring role. The chair was officially presented by Rolls-Royce chairman, Ian Robertson, and a group of Rolls-Royce staff to Captain Bob Cooling and his crew in Portsmouth yesterday, as part of the ship’s refurbishment.  Read More

The 1250cc, 165 horsepower, 60mph Jetbike

March 27, 2006 Imagine a motorcycle that it didn’t hurt to fall off. Or one that didn’t do costly damage to itself in an accident. The Aquajet Jetbike WX-1 1250(MAV) is just such a beastie - a new type of watercraft powered by a 165 horsepower three cylinder two-stroke engine via a jet drive to offer a wild 60mph experience that is uncannily like riding a real motorcycle – without the pain of a transgression. Every aspect of the Jetbike is designed to give a motorcycle-like riding experience, from almost identical riding ergonomics and controls to the steerable front ski which has suspension, steering and handling attributes akin to those of a wheeled motorcycle, meaning you can carve turns for hours on end. For motorcyclists it represents the chance to go silly in a familiar environment without paying the inevitable price of pushing the limits on a motorcycle – a hefty repair bill, bruising, missing bark and the occasional broken bone. Sixty miles per hour on water is VERY fast so the thrills are just as heart pounding as those offered by a grand prix motorcycle and muscling the machine at those speeds provides an extreme aerobic workout such that the fitter you are, the faster you’ll go. The Jetbike is also spectacular and delivers blitzkreig point-to-point times, so it is perfectly suited to some form of offshore racing once sufficient numbers are available. Finally, the Jetbike’s engine is seawater cooled and all mechanical components are underwater at speeds below seven miles per hour. Combine this low-signature-everything stealth with extreme speed, manoeuvrability, and carrying capacity and you have an ideal platform for the potent military weapons system which is under development. The design allows for packing massive firepower while still maintaining a healthy lead as the manned military vehicle with the highest power-to-weight ratio.  Read More

The Talisman Autonomous Underwater System

March 24, 2006 We hear a lot about Unmanned Aerial vehicles from the size of a butterfly to a full blown jet, and unmanned ground vehicles have been getting their share of the limelight recently too. So it figures that Unmanned Underwater Vehicles would soon become commercially available too. BAE Systems launched an autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) Talisman at Oceanology International 2006 earlier this week and like its cousins, the latest-generation modular multi-role UUV Talisman is equally omnipotent and capable of a wide range of maritime littoral operations. Talisman comprises the vehicle and a remote control console. The vehicle is based on an innovatively-shaped carbon fiber composite hull, equipped with internal carbon fiber composite pressure vessels containing the electronics systems and payload. The hull is fitted with commercial-off-the-shelf vectorable thruster pods, which allow it to maneuver very accurately, hover and turn 360 within its own length. The hull has been designed and manufactured by stealth aircraft technology experts at the BAE Systems military aircraft sites at Warton and Samlesbury, U.K.  Read More

Ocean treasure hunting Dream Team gets celeb Captain

March 5, 2006 Exploration and treasure recovery team Deep Blue Marine had all the pieces to make a treasure hunting "dream team," except one. They needed a familiar face to launch and lend credibility to their brand. The company has solved that problem by inking a deal with celebrity James Brolin to be the spokesperson and face of DPBM  Read More

Volvo Penta’s new IPS joystick controller for boats

February 26, 2006 Old school thinking has a distinct ring to it. “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” and “It’s always been done that way for a very good reason” are the catchcries of an era long-since-past. Once upon a time, ships and boats were pushed through the water by a fixed screw propeller and steered by a rudder. Now Volvo Penta has released a new system it has dubbed the Inboard Performance System (IPS) system and turned the whole industry on its ear. With double forward-facing propellers and steerable drive units, boats equipped with the Volvo Penta IPS are significantly better than boats with traditional inboard shafts in virtually all respects: comfort, performance, environmental features and driving characteristics. Since its introduction last year, the Volvo Penta IPS has received prizes and awards throughout the world but time stands still for no man and now there’s a new enhancement that will look strangely familiar to computer gamers - a joystick. Even the most experienced boat-owners can sometimes feel uncomfortable about the prospect of docking a large boat in a congested harbour, especially if the dockside is filled with spectators! Volvo Penta’s new IPS Joystick eliminates that problem. With just a few simple hand movements, you can place your boat elegantly against the dock.  Read More

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