Make Way for the Sleek A-44 Sport-Fishing ‘Tank’ Cruising Through Seattle Boat Show
What’s that on the horizon heading toward Bell Harbor Marina? It’s not a bird or a plane, it’s “The Tank,” a muscular new all-weather aluminum boat from British Columbia-based Tactical Custom Boats. Officially named the Adventure-44, the Tank will cross the border to appear next month at the Seattle Boat Show as the company’s next-generation model, designed to be used year-round in all sea conditions as a sport fishing vessel.
Cutting an aggressive profile, the A-44 is powered by three COX 300 HP diesel outboards, producing 1,470 foot-pounds of torque for a comfortable and impressive cruising speed of 30 knots. But speed and brawn are not the boat’s only selling points, said Tactical owner Tim Charles. “The goal was not to be the fastest boat in its class/size range, but rather the most capable and comfortable cruiser in its class,” he said.
The secret to the new boat’s durability, Charles added, is the quarter-inch 5083 aluminum used in the hull, framework, and support ribbing. Designed without a single piece of wood on the vessel, the A-44 is built to resist deterioration from humidity and moisture.
The aft deck provides plenty of room for fishing, with a chart plotter and sonar fish-finder at the aft helm station, along with downriggers, a fish preparation and cleaning table, multiple rod holders, a fish cooler, and custom gear storage drawers. As the Tank nickname implies, the A-44 is a workhorse, but it also includes many fun yacht-style amenities for luxury cruising, including ample underdeck storage space for personal watercraft toys. There’s even a submersible drone submarine and Mavic Pro Air drone aircraft to provide aerial and underwater video on the salon’s 42” LED TV.
To reduce noise from the aluminum hull, the A-44, designed by naval architect Greg Marshall, is coated with closed-cell, sound-absorbing foam insulation. Two Shockwave pneumatic seats help provide a smooth ride through the chop even at top speed. On calmer seas, a powered sunroof, plus cabin and bulkhead windows, let in fresh ocean breezes. An open-concept layout provides loads of counterspace and areas for guests to enjoy indoor and outdoor meals at either of two high-gloss DI-NOC teak dining tables.
Tactical said in late November that it had sold three Adventure-44 models to North American buyers and that production would start immediately. The boat’s price point starts with a base price of C$1.5 million. Keep your eyes peeled next month for a peek at Bell Harbor and for more details, visit: tacticalcustomboats.ca.
Icebreaker Resumes 25th Antarctic Voyage Delayed by Covid Pandemic
After a full year of delays due to the Covid pandemic, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCGC) icebreaking cutter Polar Star left its homeport in Seattle in November to continue its interrupted four-month journey to Antarctica in support of “Operation Deep Freeze,” an annual joint mission with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to resupply scientists living on the frozen continent.
The Polar Star, the country’s only heavy icebreaker, was supposed to have left for the operation in 2020 for the 25th time in its 46-year history, but the mission was postponed out of concern for possibly spreading the virus to the isolated coastal community of scientists at McMurdo Station. Instead of a sea voyage, the resupply of the station was completed last year by an “air bridge,” using a series of aircraft flights to the station, located just 850 miles north of the South Pole.
To make the voyage, taking place just before the austral summer season in the southern hemisphere, the Polar Star will have to cut through an estimated 45 miles of sea ice —some of which could be up to 20 feet thick—to reach McMurdo, located on Ross Island just off the coast if the Antarctic continent. Once the ship arrives, the crew will offload a full year’s worth of cargo and fuel, as well as a team of researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. During its stay at McMurdo, the team will test the viability of a hydroponic garden, designed to grow fruits and vegetables in the harsh climate.
During the hiatus of the mission, the Polar Star was refurbished at its Seattle drydock before it was deployed on 2020 to the Arctic to test communications equipment and conduct USCG training exercises. The visit was the 46-year-old cutter’s first north of the Arctic Circle in the last 40 years. For more details, follow the mission updates on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star Facebook page, or visit: pacificarea.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Cutters/cgcPolarStar/.
New Agreement Set to Protect Orcas During Seattle Harbor Expansion
In an effort to protect critically endangered orca whale populations in Puget Sound, the Port of Seattle and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) have reached an agreement to include funds for habitat protection efforts and to limit the levels of underwater noises produced by the Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project.
Under the November agreement, the Port said it will provide additional funds for several improvements in marine habitats in both the Duwamish River and Elliott Bay, including shoreline restoration work at Seattle’s Terminal 108 and a study monitoring the acoustic impacts from dredging during a planned maintenance project at Terminal 18. Once completed, the expansion project will allow larger ships with deeper drafts to visit the Port’s marine terminals, which is expected to increase the number of containers to be handled.
The agreement settled a lawsuit filed by CBD against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NOAA Fisheries to enact stricter protections for the orcas during the dredging and expansion projects. The Port, acting on behalf of the federal agencies, also said it will continue to participate in Quiet Sound Program, intended to protect the Southern Resident orcas from ship-induced noise and disturbance.
“Saving Southern Resident killer whales from extinction requires monitoring and minimizing disruptions to feeding, which this settlement does,” said the Catherine Kilduff, senior attorney for CBD. The center said only 73 whales are left in Southern Resident orca population, based on the latest counts.
While the situation for the Southern Resident whales is dire, a recent report from the Pacific Whale Watch Association said the number of sightings for transient orcas, also known as Bigg’s killer whales, reached a record high in 2021. As of Labor Day weekend last year, 793 unique sightings of the whales were reported in the Salish Sea, which topped the previous record of 747 sightings set during the same period in 2019. The increased presence of the transients, the association said, suggests an abundance of key prey in the waters, such as seals, sea lions, and porpoises. The Southern Residents, however, have been struggling with the decline of their primary food source, Chinook salmon. More information on the agreement and the latest developments on the Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project can be found at: portofseattle.org
NYBA to Launch a Second Boats Afloat Show in April
If you liked the latest Lake Union Boats Afloat show last September, get ready for a second helping this coming spring, as the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association (NYBA) announced the launch of a new in-water show, from April 28 to May 1, 2022.
The second NYBA show, to be located at Chandler’s Cove, came about after the Northwest Marine Trade Association shifted its February Seattle Boat Show from South Lake Union to Bell Harbor. As a result, Seattle-area boaters get to welcome 2022 with two major on-water boats shows. NYBA added that demand for new boats continues to surge in 2022, due to the continuing Covid crisis that is driving an increased interest in offshore activities.
The new April NYBA show will follow the same four-day format as its September Boats Afloat show, including a VIP preview the day before the show opens. The September show was well attended last year, despite the pandemic, with more than 5,700 guests in attendance, but still down from its peak of 7,252 attendees in 2019. For details and tickets, go to: boatsafloatshow.com.
Galati Acquires Viking, Valhalla Brands from Stan Miller Yachts
Florida-based Galati Yacht Sales has expanded its presence on the West Coast with the acquisition of the Viking Yachts and Valhalla Boatworks brands from their previous authorized dealer, Stan Miller Yachts.
Stan Miller Yachts, based in Southern California, has been in business since 1955, and represented the Viking and Valhalla brands in the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seattle markets.
“We are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to represent Viking Yachts and Valhalla Boatworks over the last decade,” said Brad Buettner, CEO of Stan Miller Yachts. “We have worked closely with the Galati family over the years and have developed a relationship and a friendship that we will carry on into the future.”
This transferal of the Viking and Valhalla brands raises the number of Galati’s operations to 16 locations serving the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Western U.S. The family-owned Galati, which has been in operation since 1970, has had a 30-year relationship with Viking Yachts since it began servicing their boats on Florida’s Gulf Coast, later becoming a Viking dealer in the area. For more information on Galati, visit: galatiyachts.com.