Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roadster in the house

I just don't get what the typical go fast boats are all about. Before the owners of these boats start to whip me with their gold chains, I get the "Need for Speed", I just don't get these boats.

I would love to have the "where with all" to own a fast car, and when I say fast, I mean fast as in a Bugatti Veyron, or a Aston Martin DB9. Now imagine what the DB9 would look like if you asked Aston Martin to design one, that would go just as fast, and have room to sleep in it at night, (maybe this would be a good topic for Top Gear), and the typical go fast boat is what you end up with.

So here is my impression when I get on a generic go fast boat. You enter, often precariously, into a cockpit that is generously covered with copious quantities of colorful hides, from the rare Nauga. Stepping down into a cabin designed for Hobbits, onto a purple plush carpet, and with bent knees, and a cricked over neck, you survey the less than expansive space. A galley is to port, with a fridge that will just hold a couple of bottles of wine, and maybe a six pack of beer, and a sink that is just large enough to ice down a bottle of wine. To starboard, is a tiny claustrophobic compartment that has a head, and another pretend sink. Lifting your eyes forward, is a very low white pleather couch, facing a formica cabinet, with lots of mirrors above it, and plenty of gold plastic trim. The "Piece de Resistance", all the way forward is the love nest. A triangular bed, with a leopard print bedspread, that you can barely crawl onto on your hands and knees. With poor access to the bow, often no anchor locker, loud, poor ventilation, and hard riding, they are a classic case of function follows form, with marginal accommodations, and garish interiors. Ouch, quit hitting me with that gold chain, your'e going to break it.

I feel better now that this is off my chest, but all of a sudden, a new go fast boat moves into my town, and all of my perceptions are suddenly changed. The boat below is the new Nortech 80 Roadster. This is a deceptive vessel. At a first glance, it appears to be just 40 feetesque long, but when you get up next to it, it's substantial in scale. With a length of just shy of 80', and a beam of 16', I feel small next to it.

A huge cockpit, and a very commodious European style interior, with a  three cabin layout, that sleeps 6 in comfort. There is a full galley, and en-suite heads for each cabin. It is everything its little brothers from the Jersey Shore want to be, but never achieved. The Roadster has twin Cat ACERT turbocharged diesels providing a total of 3800 HP, powering Arenson surface piercing drives, and reaches speeds of over 70 MPH. With a displacement of 80,000 pounds, and 1200 gallons of fuel, you will get a smooth ride, over a much broader set of sea conditions, and with real range.

Also unlike its little brothers, the helm can hold real navigation systems. In this case there are twin Garmin 5215 15" touchscreen chart plotters, and most clever of all, the Garmin radar dome rises up out of the cockpit on a stainless shaft to a usable height when you need it. So lets sum up, very fast, comfortable, room for real navigation systems in the dash, and a real head turner. I have seen it out on Sarasota Bay at speed, and it an awesome beast to behold. Best of all, no purple plush carpet, and monkey fur to be seen anywhere.

When I took the pictures, I was also very impressed with the lift, and maybe in my slightly weird techie way, I liked the lift more than the boat. The lift is a Titan 60 ton precision machine manufactured by Quality Boat Lifts in Ft Myers Florida. I spoke to Sean, who was the engineer that designed it, and the lift, like the Roadster, is a machine on a grand scale. 

The system uses 220 VAC stainless steel variable frequency electric motors, with cycloidal gearboxes to drive the lifts. With next to no mechanical backlash, the programmable speed controlled system, allows the lift to start smoothly, accelerate to speed, and then gracefully brake to a stop. This type of drive system is also used widely in larger robotic systems. In other words, this lift will place the 80,000 Roadster exactly where it is supposed to be, stop on a dime, and give you nine cents change. The motor covers are powder coated aluminum, and Plexiglas windows on the sides allow you to see the drive systems. In addition to the 60 ton unit, there are also 50 ton, and 36 ton systems, and all are available with a wireless interface, and a remote controls. You need to pick up a big boat? This is where you should go.

The Roadster, has temporarily left town, and can be seen at the Ft Lauderdale boat show, and if I can catch up with the owner, we will come back and take a closer look at this remarkable piece of boating technology.

Now come on now all of you gold chain wearing guys, you know you really want a Roadster, so stop beating me with those chains, the Atocha coins are staring to hurt.

You can see more pictures of the Roadster at Nortech Boats