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Sourcing new energy alternatives continue but traditional systems still develop - MBW newsletter

by Peter Rendle 21 Jun 13:00 PDT
Deep Blue Battery 80 © Sandra Eckhardt

As the industry continues to explore power alternatives, existing units are also being updated. Two stories this week reflect both ends of the spectrum.

Torqeedo GmbH, the global market leader for marine electric drives, today announced a new battery option for its Deep Blue series of powerful electric drives: Deep Blue Battery 80. The new battery leverages lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry and delivers 80 kWh of energy storage, twice the capacity of the previous generation of Deep Blue batteries. The new battery was unveiled at the Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

"The new Deep Blue Battery 80 doubles the range and runtime for Deep Blue systems. It's a game-changer for electric mobility on the water," said Fabian Bez, Torqeedo's CEO. "This new battery marks one important step in our new strategy to make Torqeedo even more customer-centric by providing optimized products for specific market segments."

Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum, Mercury Racing elevates outboard engine power and technology with the introduction of their V8 500R model. This supercharged 500hp V8 outboard was created for no-compromise owners of the fastest luxury sport boats. The 500R introduces a host of new components engineered to complement the raw power produced by this engine and the challenging demands of extreme-performance boating.

"Capable of delivering more than 500 horsepower in a wide range of conditions, and weighing as little as 720 pounds, the 500R establishes a new benchmark for outboard power density," said Stuart Halley, Mercury Racing general manager. "This motor offers incredible mid-range punch and pulls with unrelenting authority all the way to wide-open throttle. This is the most exciting production outboard to ever emerge from the Mercury Racing shop."

People movements dominate the news this week: Renowned yachting industry corporate manager and marketing professional Ed Roberts is the new director of sales at Boston Boatworks. Central to Roberts's role is overseeing the company's new branded series, the 52 Offshore Express Cruiser designed in collaboration with award-winning naval architect Doug Zurn and London based Winch Design. The line was launched in April 2023.

"It is a rare pleasure to work with a team of people that are as genuine, authentic and as capable as CEO Scott Smith and the team he has assembled," Roberts says. "It is the way boat building should be, but so often is not."

Blue Innovations Group, a leading marine technology and all-electric boat company, today announced the appointment of Dr Chuck Bamford, a globally recognized entrepreneurship and business strategy expert, and Mr Scott Rayder, a recognized leader in energy & environment policy and advocacy, as new directors. These appointments reflect the Company's commitment to enabling the transition from land to water with sustainable solutions.

"We are thrilled to welcome our new directors to Blue Innovations Group," said John Vo, Founder and CEO. "Their collective expertise, vision, and passion for sustainability will be invaluable as we launch the all-electric R30 power boat and continue to innovate in the marine industry."

Capt Stephen Lilly's great grandfather was a Cape Lookout Lighthouse keeper in the 1930s, so it's perhaps befitting that Lilly is the new owner of TowBoatUS Beaufort and TowBoatUS Swansboro, two local towing ports that help boaters in the Inner and Outer Banks region with routine on-water troubles. Much like an auto club for recreational boaters, the locations provide professional, 24/7 on-water towing, ungrounding, battery jump and fuel drop off services. The business is a first for Lilly, who purchased it from former boss and long-time owner Capt Lee Sykes, who is retiring.

It's been a long road for Lilly, who said, "I towed my first boat when I was 8 years old. I was in a marina on my little dinghy and 2-hp motor, and a big cruiser was having trouble getting into the slip, so the captain leaned over the rail and asked me for a little push," he said. "Definitely not something I would recommend today," he adds with a chuckle. Joining him in the business is his wife, Mariangel Lilly, who is overseeing marketing and public reach out efforts as well as business operations. "She's my right hand in life," said Lilly.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and that is the case for Cruisers Yachts employee Ken Hayes, retiring after 51 years with the company. Hayes started working at Cruisers Yachts in 1971, right out of high school, as a boat assembler. He quickly progressed up the ladder to become a boat inspector, CPG Manager, and Production Supervisor in just five years. For the next decade, he wore every managerial hat imaginable between production, CS & Parts, Quality & CSM, Sales, and Customer Service Manager Quality Control. But this is where he thrived - assuring every yacht that left the line had his seal of approval.

In 2005, he became the Director of Customer Service and continued for the next 17 years, using his expansive knowledge to improve the company and provide excellent yachts to customers. Hayes travelled the world meeting with customers and dealers along with assisting in the repair and set up of yachts. He was heavily involved with the Cruisers Yachts' Rampage line for both generations of products in the '90s and 2000s. He led the service department for the last 32 years of his career.

New marine product this week includes ECOXGEAR under their SOUNDEXTREME brand. They have partnered with West Marine, the nation's leading omni-channel provider in the marine aftermarket, to introduce the ground-breaking ExtremeTower 8" Speakers. These speakers are the marine industry's first of their kind lithium-ion battery powered marine tower speakers, setting a new standard in performance and innovation. The speakers have a wide range of impressive features.

Notably, they come with a revolutionary true quick-release 360-degree rotating mount (patent pending) that allows users to effortlessly transition their speakers from their boat to their UTV to the beach in a matter of seconds.

Also, the ExtremeTower 8" model showcases SoundExtreme's exclusive integrated addressable LED technology known as LEDcast. This innovative feature offers customizable light modes, millions of colors to choose from, and a plethora of pre-programmed light shows, making the ExtremeTower speakers the ultimate accessory for individuals who want to bring the party to life.

And for sailors, as Season 4 of SailGP opened with the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix in Chicago on 16 June, Zhik have announced its appointment as the Official Technical Partner to the US SailGP Team and US SailGP Team Foiling First. With four SailGP events scheduled in the USA, it is an important market for Zhik, and one where it has recently experienced strong growth. The association will play a strategic part in building the brand's US marketing and dealer support. The company also believes the SailGP series is important for the growth of the sport to reach new audiences.

"We are excited to be working with Jimmy Spithill, a two times America's Cup winner and World Sailor of the Year, and his team to help us grow our US brand awareness as well as inspire and engage more young people with sailing," comments Mat Belcher, Zhik CEO and triple Olympic medallist. "This is a significant partnership for Zhik, where both performance and sustainability are key to Zhik's and US SailGP's core values. We want to back the Team with our in-house design team and R&D focused technical products."

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Peter Rendle -

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