I’ve been hearing about it for years, but had never seen it for myself. As unlikely as it sounds, the world’s largest boat show is actually in Dusseldorf Germany, 100s of kilometers from the sea, in the middle of winter! I visited the show this year and wore out a good amount of my shoe soles visiting each of the 17 halls of this massive exposition, which includes just about everything you can do in, on and under the sea.
Here are some of the things I found that I thought were particularly cool:
The Outremer folks were there, and although they didn’t bring any boats, they did have their cool, new, virtual reality theater running. With this you can walk around a model of a boat to see it from outside and inside, and you can also become a passenger on a 5X under sail. Definitely a cool experience!
These Hybrid Stand Up Paddleboards that have a sail attachment to convert to a windsurf board were really nice. Not only are they inflatable, so easy to store on a cruising sailboat, but their ability to be used as a regular SUP and also a windsurfer, makes them a really versatile water toy when at anchor!
The best Man Overboard device I have seen is this Jon Buoy from Ocean safety. Not only is it really easy to spot from a distance, but it’s actually a mini, 1, person liferaft that you can climb into while waiting to be rescued. To deploy, you throw the rail mounted canister overboard and the whole thing self inflates when it hits the water.
Inside the Jon Buoy, there’s room for 1 person, and an attached PLB beacon. The system includes an integrated harness with a lifting strap to help lift the raft onto the rescue vessel.
Lagoon was at the show with two of their new model boats, the 42 (in the photo) and the 450S. And while I don’t think their boats are that great, their ability to get them inside an expo hall in Dusseldorf is definitely cool!
This little device will pull you along underwater at high speed and is very maneuverable, for the ultimate human-dolphin experience!
A lot of sailors are using drones for filming, but there are also a lot of drone casualties due to unintended water landings! The folks at Splash-Drone are making a waterproof drone that can not only survive a water landing, but can also take off from the water surface!
EWOL propellers is a company in Italy that is specializing in high thrust, low drag propellers for catamarans. They use an ingenious 180 degree rotation design, along with a very low drag sailing mode for their propellers. I’ve been researching these for a few months now, because our motoring speeds on Wildling are a bit weak. The boats that have switched to EWOL props have reported anywhere from 10% to 50% increase in speed. This photo shows the propeller in forward thrust position.
Here’s the propeller in sailing position. The blades rotate straight, so there is very little drag compared to a standard folding propeller.
Here’s the propeller in reverse thrust position. The blades rotate almost 180 degrees from the forward position. When you compare this to the first photo you can see that the blade profile is very close to the forward position but with a reversed angle of attack. This gives a high reverse thrust compared to a standard folding prop, that just spins backwards with the same blade angle as in forwards.
When we ordered Wildling, I was disappointed to learn that Outremer was no longer offering flexible, bimini roof mounted solar panels because they have had too many reliability problems with the panels they were using in the past. The folks at SunWare in Germany have been making their flexible panels since 1987 and believe they have perfected the art of building an electrically efficient panel that can withstand the rigors of long term cruising and high use. They are the suppliers to Leopard Catamarans, among others and have experienced almost 0 failures of the panel systems. I’ll be looking to add a few hundred more Watts to Wildling before we cross the Atlantic next year.
Here’s the state of the art in dive masks. The full-face design eliminates fogging because the regulator is built-in, and produces an airflow over the mask lens surface. It allows for underwater communications by connecting to an integrated 2-way radio system, and the visibility is supposedly better than a standard mask. I was curious about how to equalize pressure because you can’t squeeze your nose like a regular mask. The OceanReef guy explained that they use an adjustable nose pad system that allows you to press you nostrils closed by pushing on the top front surface of the mask when you need to equalize, but breathe normally through your nose the rest of the time. Very cool indeed!
The final stopoff on my tour of the show, was the Montenegro tourism booths to find out about marina logistics in that country. Because foreign flagged vessels only have an 18month visa for cruising inside the EU, we have to find a non-EU location to exit in order to restart our visa clock. The traditional choices of north Africa are too unstable these days, and even Turkey is becoming a concern, so I though Montenegro might be worth a look. In addition to their existing marinas, there are several new marinas under construction that should be completed this summer, and there are also some yacht management companies that will help with booking logistics and taking care of your boat while you are away.
We will need to exit at the end of this summer, so I’ll continue to research this and report back on what we decide to do.