Authors Posts by Stephanie McMillan

Stephanie McMillan


Absolute-ly Incredible

Absolute 50 Fly, swim platform on the Absolute 50 Fly, swim, aft deck.

The 50-foot power-cruising boat segment is surging. Advances in electronics and engine technology have builders launching vessels that run 30+ knots, sleep six guests and can be operated by an owner and an able-bodied guest. The Absolute 50 Fly is no exception. 

When Absolute Yachts’ 14-member design team sketched out the 50 Fly, the goal was to build a 50 footer at the Italian shipyard that offered flexibility in design for different boating areas around the world.

“A fresh design was needed, and the 50 Fly is here to fill that gap,” says Cesare Mastroianni, vice president of sales of Absolute Yachts. “It’s our answer to a specific request from the market, and different layouts of the 50 Fly will be introduced around the world: for example, laid out for socializing in Asia and for families in Europe and the United States.”

Indeed, the 50 Fly I toured offers a family-friendly layout with a tropical feel for anchoring in warm waters and exploring the sea. With her flybridge helm, the Absolute 50 Fly is what one would expect to see cruising across blue Caribbean waters. Picture the pilot atop the flybridge deck at the starboard-side steering wheel, while guests lounge about on large couches and sunpads.

“Sitting in the helm seat you get a feel for the ergonomics; every control is within easy reach,” explains Harold Del Rosario, dealer manager for Absolute Yachts North America based in Fort Lauderdale. “The Volvo Penta IPS controls make docking the 50 Fly easy for the pilot, and the relationship between Absolute and Volvo Penta goes back to the origins of IPS in the early 2000s. Absolute was the first European partner. Every Absolute is designed for IPS, and it’s been a very successful relationship.” Absolute’s Flybridge line starts with the 40 Fly and extends to the 72 Fly, powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS 1200 (900-horsepower) engines. “And now we want more horsepower,” Del Rosario said.

“The idea is to offer the 72 with more speed.” Yet while speed matters on the 50 Fly—twin Volvo Penta IPS drives are mated to D6 435-horsepower diesel engines for a top speed of 30 knots; it is more suited toward functionality, fun and ease of use for her guests. For example, the large teak swim platform raises and lowers hydraulically more than 2.5 feet below the waterline. That provides easy access for swimmers to re-board the yacht, and more importantly, makes it simple to launch and retrieve a tender or two personal watercrafts.

“This eliminates the need for a crane for the tender,” Del Rosario adds. “This one is in teak or it can be finished in nonskid, and either way it’s very strong.” Just off the swim platform built into the transom area is what Del Rosario calls the fourth cabin, complemented by a full head with shower. It’s ideal for nanny or crew quarters, or a nice luxury after swimming or diving, with plenty of room to clean up and store gear.

The cockpit is accessed via steps on the starboard side of the transom, which features a settee that can convert into a large sunpad. If you like the pad but prefer some shade,
there’s an effective Arquati retractable awning that drops down on two supports from either side of the flybridge deck. Not only does it block the sun but also the wind for increased comfort on the aft deck. Access to the engine room is via a deck hatch in the cockpit, and while the space is tight with the twin Volvo Penta powerplants, there is a dedicated place for a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer.

“For people just cruising from marina to marina, it is not an accessory that is in demand,” Del Rosario suggests. “For people overnighting, though, it’s important. Once you try it when you are anchoring out, it’s a must-have.” The 50 Fly is ideally set up for anchoring, fully opening the aft salon doors and enjoying the sea.

The galley is located to port in the aft corner and features a two-burner stove, convection oven, wine chiller, and lots of storage. The Canaletto walnut cabinet joinery is complemented by the oak flooring, and attention to detail is evident as the wood grains in the veneers are matched throughout. Moving forward into the salon, to port is a U-shaped couch set around a hi-low table that easily converts from a coffee table into a dining table.

Directly opposite of the couch to starboard is a flat-panel TV that rises out of a console or is hidden away when not in use. Forward of the TV and two-person settee is the starboard-side helm station and steering wheel, which features seating for the pilot and co-pilot and an unobstructed view of twin Garmin GPSMAP 7416 multifunction displays. A compass is located forward of the pilot atop the dash, and controls for the Bennet trim tabs, Fusion entertainment system and throttles and shifters are in easy reach.

“There’s a starboard-side door for the captain so it’s very easy to get out onto the deck,” Del Rosario remarks. “That’s important because you can stick a foot out the door while you are docking and get a good look at everything. You’ll also notice the large front windshield with two panels and windshield wipers.

The lower deck cabins are accessed via a centerline staircase that leads to a small foyer. All the way forward is the VIP cabin, featuring a queen-size berth on the centerline, portholes and a deck hatch for ventilation. The VIP also has a private door to the head and shower, which is also accessed via the foyer and serves as a day head. The master suite is situated amidships with a king-size berth and plenty of headroom. The lower deck cabins are accessed via a centerline staircase that leads to a small foyer. All the way forward is the VIP cabin, featuring a queen-size berth on the centerline, portholes and a deck hatch for ventilation. The VIP also has a private door to the head and shower, which is also accessed via the foyer and serves as a day head.

Moving out of the VIP, a cabin with two bunks is located to starboard, while the king master cabin with ensuite is situated amidships. The master also features a settee to port, and a counter and storage to starboard. Headroom is generous, due to the grid stringer system. “The stringer and grid system allows Absolute to build all the cabinetry much lower in the hull allowing for more headroom throughout,” Del Rosario explains.

“Also, by not utilizing pre-molded liners, Absolute is gaining valuable inches throughout and especially noticeable in head and shower areas.” The 50 Fly is made for outdoor relaxation, and the bow area is where form and function meet. The teak deck and huge sunpad are inviting, and the boat has a windlass and an anchor. “Everyone loves the bow seating,” Del Rosario affirms. “That was a huge hit on our Navetta 52, and we carried it over to the 50 Fly.”

LOA: 49′ 10″
Beam: 14′ 6″
Draft: 4′
Displacement: 22.5 tons
Fuel/Water: 423/119 U.S. gals.
Power: 2x 435-hp Volvo Penta
IPS D6 engines
Cruise/Top Speed: 23/30 knots
Range: 258 nm @ cruise
MSRP: Inquire

Contact: Absolute Yachts North America
3001 State Road 84 (Marina Mile West)
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

By Doug Thompson, Southern Boating November 2017

Raymarine Axiom Pro

Raymarine Axiom, Raymarine, axiom pro, mFD, multifunction display, sonar

The Raymarine Axiom Pro 16 RVX is a top-of-the-line 16-inch HybridTouch HD multifunction display with a few surprises. The quad-core processor zips through the LightHouse 3 operating system that can run Navionics, C-MAP or LightHouse charts. Anglers will love the built-in RealVision 3D sonar that includes CHIRP SideVision, DownVision and Conical High views.

MSRP $5,850 (note: transducers not included)

NRS Women’s Kicker Remix Water Shoes

water shoes, NRS water shoe, watershoes, womens water shoes, best water shoes, best water shoes for boating

NRS Women’s Kicker Remix Water Shoes

The NRS Women’s Kicker Remix Wetshoe is a pair of some of the best water shoes for boating. The water shoes offer great fit and comfort. With superior insulation and traction, this shoe was created specifically for women to stay snug and secure when they need it most. The upper and insole are constructed with 3 mm neoprene with titanium from heel to toe while the stretchy bands improve lateral stability. Whole sizes only.

MSRP $44.95;

U.S. Coast Guard Safety Check

Coast Guard Safety Check

If the U.S. Coast Guard boards your boat, it pays to be calm and ready.

The U.S. Coast Guard isn’t to be feared like Big Brother, though boat operators may feel like scofflaws who speed through school zones when the red and blueclad Coasties appear. It’s the same driver angst police officers elicit on the road: What will I get busted for now?

Anyone regularly navigating ports or waters near international borders will likely have an encounter with the Coast Guard. As one of the five branches of the U.S. military— along with the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy—the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security and exists to enforce the law, not to teach it. In addition, when you launch your boat in U.S. waters, you relinquish your Fourth Amendment rights at the dock. The Coast Guard doesn’t require probable cause to board your boat, a provision which dates back to the late 1700s and the Revolutionary War.

“When the Coast Guard pulls up to a boat, often it’s [to say]: ‘Hey, we are just checking to see how you are doing today,’” says Jonathan Lally, a Coast Guard spokesman and Petty Officer 2nd Class, based out of the 7th Coast Guard District, Miami Public Affairs Office. “Our crews are not out there to hassle people. They are out there to make sure people are safe and prevent accidents before they happen.”

Making the Coast Guard’s job difficult when officers want to board your boat will only cause the stop to last longer and may increase suspicion. If you have a firearm or other weapons on board, let the Coast Guard officers know before they board. Once they do an initial safety sweep to their satisfaction and make sure your registration and identification check out, then they may look for drugs. If that happens, they will thoroughly search compartments and closets.

Heeding basic regulations will prevent a citation. The Coast Guard will ensure that all children younger than age 13 are wearing life jackets and that there is a flotation device for each person on board. Make sure you have a noisemaker and throw-ring with a line that is within easy reach. A lack of boat registration or fire extinguisher is a common error, as these are federal  requirements. Again, the Coast Guard’s main duties are certifying that boats are secure from foreign threats, environmentally in compliance and, most important, that the boat and passengers are safe.

“Already having on a life jacket when you go into the water is going to increase your chances of survival,” Lally explains. “Not only does it help you float, but it gives us and other rescuers more to search for, because we are looking for basketball-size object in the water. Today’s life jackets are more comfortable than old-style life jackets, as well as colorful.”

Once the inspection is complete, the Coast Guard will issue a Report of Boarding Form CG-4100, a two-page document that consists of a white original and a yellow copy. The captain gets the yellow copy. Keep it handy, as you can show it to Coast Guard officers if you are boarded again soon.

If you are embarking on a long voyage, proper communication before and after the passage is crucial. “File a float plan with family and friends, the more detailed the better,” Lally adds, noting that your boat’s equipment and tools are also vitally important. Make sure your charts— electronic and paper—are up to date so that you can use them to navigate instead of visual aids. “If you do get lost or delayed and don’t make it to a certain marina you said you were headed to, the Coast Guard knows where to search.”

In addition, verify your marine-band VHF is working; the Coast Guard constantly monitors Channel 16. Don’t depend on a cell phone as cell towers are unreliable. You can use your
VHF radio to call for help even in spots where your cell phone has no signal. Also, Sea Tow offers a free Automated Radio Check system to ensure the radio is working properly.

Other tips include stowing extra gear—such as blankets and a tarp—to help protect you against the elements should a thunderstorm arise. Always have a dry bag with a change
of clothes. Staying dry is an essential part of survival. Finally, keeping a “weather eye” is invaluable, as conditions can change rapidly.

“Know how to use your flares if you are forced into using them,” says Lally, adding a caution to be careful not to fire them accidentally so that they’re not available when you really need to send a signal. “Nowadays, there are many boating classes out there where people can learn to be safe. We encourage everyone to take these classes and keep taking them to continue their safety education.”

By Don Minikus, Southern Boating Magazine November 2017


Compass Rose Wine Stopper

Compass Rose Wine Stopper, wine, drinks, wine stopper, compass rose wine stopper, wine corks, cork, best wine stopper for boaters

Compass Rose Wine Stopper

Dress up your wine bottle with this Compass Rose Wine Stopper from Chart Metalworks. Made in Maine, USA, this showy wine stopper features a quality pewter, breathable cork stop, which measures 3 inches from top to bottom on a 1.5-inch face. The satin, silver finish pewter is lead-free and mimics sterling silver. FDA approved.

MSRP $60;