For me, the Cape Town Boat Show is a highlight on my annual event list. The fact that I work for PM, and like to stay up to speed with what’s going down (for want of a better term), is one good reason. However, what I really enjoy is wandering around all the beautiful craft on offer – both power and sail – and daydreaming about how best to squander my Lotto winnings when my luck finally comes through. Anyway, back to reality. Here are the four items that, for me, were the highlights at this year’s show:
Is it a bird or a boat?
The moment I laid eyes on the FlyingDuck I knew I wanted one. And, judging by the throng of guys huddled around the stand’s flat screen trying to get a better view of the video showing it in action, I wasn’t the only one. Imported from Italy by Saldana Bay resident Marna Cilliers, this fun machine is designed to fly over all water surfaces, including the sea.
Designed from scratch as a flying machine, its wing covers an area of 21 m² which allows for easy handling in the air (similar to that of a normal land trike), as well as safe handling while taxiing in strong winds. Its fibreglass hull has been specially designed for fast surfing with little power, allowing the craft to reach take-off speed in very short runs. And the Hypalon used for the inflatable pontoons, although extremely light, is strong and durable. I will definitely be heading up the West Coast to take this baby for a spin.
No trailer required
The Sealegs range of amphibious craft, brought in from New Zealand by David Abromowits & Associates, is the ultimate boating solution for those fortunate enough to have waterfront properties. Featuring motorised, retractable and steerable wheels fitted to purpose-built aluminium hulls – they can be driven from a storage location, down a boat ramp or beach and into the water with all occupants onboard. Once in the water, the wheels get retracted into the “up” position and the boat’s then used as normal.
When it’s time to head home, all you need do is troll towards the beach, lower the wheels, wait for them to touch the bottom and drive the boat up on to the land. Your thoroughly impressed and, it must be said – completely dry, guests can then comfortably disembark and get the braai fire going while you give it a quick hose down and park it in your garage.
Kit DIY yacht in development
Building a performance yacht from scratch takes a lot of effort, not to mention years of your precious time. That’s why the BlueEyes 20 – currently being built by the Izivunguvungu Boat Building Project, a non-profit organisation who teach youth from around the Cape’s South Peninsula boat building skills – is slowly being transformed into a glass fibre DIY kit. Helping them out is the Whisper Boat Building Academy, an NGO that teaches deaf township kids boatbuilding skills, who’re busy manufacturing the moulds.
The design, penned by renowned UK yacht designer Keith Callaghan, is a six-metre long sports trailer sailer and features three berths, a stable, yet high performance hull and fully retractable centreboard, allowing it to explore shallow waters. Once complete the boat is expected to have a dry weight of around 600 kg, making it easy to transport. The kit will include the deck and hull, rudder, centre board and centre board case.
Don’t get lost overboard
There can be nothing worse than sailing single handed and falling overboard. A close second has to be losing one of your crew mates or a much-loved pet in the drink without realising it until it’s too late. That’s where the Autotether Wireless Kill Switch, sold by Killer Deals comes in. This clever gadget uses cutting edge RF technology and is the only wireless lanyard on the market that connects directly to the engine ignition kill switch, requires no hard wiring, is fail safe and works in both salt and freshwater.
What it does is protect the boat operator and up to 3 passengers including pets and kids, allowing unrestricted movement about the boat by just wearing a small, wireless sensor. If the operator falls overboard it shuts off the motor and sounds an alarm and if a passenger falls overboard the alarm will sound. It can also be connected to the autohelm of sailboats.