Home Making Waves Making Waves – September 2023

Making Waves – September 2023

by Randy Woods
Boats Afloat

[ it’s showtime ]

Boats Afloat to Celebrate ‘Women’s Day,’ Soldiers for Salmon Charity Events

The crisper air and shorter days may mean the 2023 boating season is beginning to wane, but the party will continue with a nod to 2024 with the upcoming fall Boats Afloat Show on Lake Union. Dealers and brokers from the Northwest and Canada are expected to showcase more than 120 new power and sailing boats, while the show’s organizers will hold new promotions celebrating women in the Northwest boating community and military service from all genders.

During the expo at the Lake Union Piers development that runs from September 14-17, the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association (NYBA) will host several fun and educational family-friendly activities, including live music, cooking demonstrations, food and beverage vendors, equipment presentations, sailboat rides, and boating skills courses.

For the event’s kick-off on Thursday the 14th, Boats Afloat tickets for women attendees will be offered at 50 percent of the adult general admission fee. “Women are often the ‘behind-the-scenes’ driving force in the success of a family’s boating adventure,” explained Karli Houlé, NYBA’s director of operations. “We encourage women to bring a friend, or friends, for this special day.”  

Another new promotion will come from Salmon for Soldiers, a Puget Sound-based nonprofit that specializes in helping veterans and active-duty military personnel overcome the hardships of their service and heal themselves through fishing activities.

Salmon for Soldiers’ fishing tours are designed to help reduce stress and foster relaxation, while creating new relationships with others who share their maritime interests. Events arranged by the charity are designed to form bonds among veterans with paralysis, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and other debilitating challenges. Seven years after the group was started by two veterans, it now hosts regular events for over 800 veterans. According to Salmon for Soldiers, the group chartered fishing trips for more than 150 veterans in 2019 alone. One of these excursions involved a dream charter to Alaska for 10 veterans, who fished with the Prince of Wales Sportfishing charter organization.  

Salmon for Soldiers will provide information and resources each day at Boats Afloat, and all attendees can purchase raffle tickets for a variety of prizes—with all proceeds of the raffle going to the group’s members.

Returning for this show will be free sailboat rides at the North Dock offered by the Seattle Sailing Club. To help encourage interest in boating, the club also holds pre-booked Intro to Sailing courses. Those who have already signed up for the beginner’s courses will also get free entry tickets.

Launched in 1978, Boats Afloat is the largest floating boat show in the Pacific Northwest. For more information about hours, admission, special ticketing discounts, and other activities, visit NYBA’s website at: boatsafloatshow.com.


[ on the drawing board ]

Nordhavn’s New 112 Hopes to Fill Expedition Yacht Gap

For Northwest boaters seeking to purchase a large, expedition-style yacht but are leery of needing to hire a full crew to manage it, Nordhavn is looking to offer a middle ground, with a new vessel that balances luxurious, almost super-yacht accommodations with the versatility and easier handling of a smaller boat.

Known for designing boats that focus more on performance than poshness, the California-based builder released detailed digital renderings in July for the Nordhavn 112, featuring a host of surprisingly ample amenities. In its prototype configuration, the N112 will have four cabins with queen-sized berths, a large owner’s suite, space for a crew of up to six people, and 10 heads throughout. Other top-end frills include a gym, ample outdoor lounging areas, folding bulwark balconies, a hydraulic beach-style swim step, and a hot tub in the foredeck or flybridge.

While full performance and design specs have not yet been released by Nordhavn, the beam of the new design is expected to be wide enough to include space for a 26’ tender and various other RIBs and personal watercraft. The builder added that the N112 will also carry a substantial fuel tank suitable for transoceanic voyages.  

The N112 is meant to fill a gap between Nordhavn’s 96’ and 120’ models. The key to the mid-range size, Nordhavn said, is to keep the weight just under the 400-gross-ton limit that tends to require a full crew to manage a bigger yacht’s operations. In a statement following the announcement, Jeff Leishman, Nordhavn’s chief designer, said the niche of the N112 will be “anyone who has owned a large yacht with lots of crew and is looking to simplify things, or anyone looking to upsize from something smaller and wants a true expedition yacht.”

Once completed, the yacht will feature a full-displacement steel hull, which is expected to make customization easier, reduce the construction time and costs, and accelerate delivery schedules, compared to boats using fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP). The superstructure, however, will likely be built with lightweight aluminum or FRP to provide better fuel economy.

“Building the superstructure of FRP is a bit easier since so much of the areas are simple, flat, plain surfaces, so the amount of fairing is less and it goes very quickly,” Leishman added.

A release date for the first built-to-order N112 has not yet been determined. Nordhavn said it is currently searching for a facility where the yacht will be produced, most likely in a European shipyard specializing in steel hulls. For more details, go to: nordhavn.com/nordhavn-yacht-models/nordhavn-112/.

[ fresh off the factory line]

Q4 Delivery Expected for Pure Watercraft’s Pontoon Debut

This December, don’t be surprised if Northwest boaters find sleek new pontoon boats under their Christmas trees—they’re so quiet they can sneak up on you.

The long-awaited, all-electric Pure Pontoon boat, made by the Seattle e-boat manufacturer Pure Watercraft, has unveiled its fully equipped commercial prototype and has begun taking pre-orders for both its single-engine and twin-outboard formats. Deliveries of these orders is expected in the fourth fiscal quarter of this year, at the earliest.

While the boat’s instant torque and quietness, with the use of its nearly silent 25kW electric outboards, is no surprise to anyone who’s navigated with an electric boat, the performance exceeded even Pure Watercraft’s expectations. The top speed of the prototype with the twin power-tilt Pure Outboards and Bluetooth-enabled throttle stands at 27 mph, increasing from estimates of 23 mph earlier this year. The e-boat still hits 24 mph when fully loaded with its maximum capacity of nine passengers, the company said.  

Using an automotive 66 kWh battery pack developed in collaboration with General Motors, the Pure Pontoon can be operated for a 40-mile, 3.5-hour outing on a single charge, running at a normal mix of boating speeds. Once back at the dock, it can be recharged in a few hours with a Level I charger that connects to 110V and 220V outlets.

This boat is undeniably made to be a socializing platform, but it’s hardly the slow, stodgy rectangle that so many older aluminum pontoon boats resemble. The latest upgrade, measuring 25’ 9” long, has a more swept-back, sportier styling, a sound system, and an electrically retractable Bimini top. The open-air interior also features an L-shaped settee to starboard around a fixed table aft of the helm. Opposite the helm, to port, is another cushioned bench seat, along with two forward-facing lounge seats at the bow.

Notably different from most conventional pontoon catamarans is Pure Pontoon’s stability and smoothness in choppy water, even at top speed through turns. Much of this comes from its fixed hydrofoil between the two hulls, which lifts the pontoons higher in the water at speed, reducing drag and enabling the hull to cut cleanly through the waves. Use of the foil assist also reduces power usage in the motors by up to 21 percent. 

Once deliveries begin arriving toward the end of 2023, Pure Watercraft said it plans to ramp up production at its new West Virginia factory in 2024. For more information, visit: purewatercraft.com/product/electric-pontoon-boat/.

Pioneer Square Beach

[ waterfront rehab]

‘Habitat Beach’ Reconnects Waterfront to Pioneer Square, Indigenous Cultures

While much attention has been paid to Seattle’s massive Waterfront Park construction project to redevelop the old Alaska Way Viaduct property, some people may not have noticed a small beachfront addition in the Pioneer Square area that opened on July 1.

Called Pioneer Square Habitat Beach, the 200-foot-long strip of urban intertidal shoreline has been under construction since 2018 and is wedged between the Coleman Dock ferry terminal on Pier 48 and the historic Washington Street Boat Landing pergola. Habitat Beach was actually completed in 2020 but remained closed to the public during the pandemic to give the newly planted flora time to establish a foothold.

By adding this beach property to the much larger waterfront development, the project partially fulfilled its pledge to support and restore endangered marine habitats around the city’s renovated seawall. During the industrial development of the area more than a century ago, most of the natural coastal elements were eliminated, including sloping beaches, shoals where marine life can grow, and beach vegetation.

The new park serves to restore part of the coastline to its original habitat, which is more conducive to juvenile salmon migration. Made with more than 45,000 tons of sand, gravel, soil, and shells, the new beach has been stocked with 1,400 native plantings, such as evergreen saplings, saltwater-tolerant shrubs, Oregon grape bushes, Nootka roses, Douglas asters, gumweed, dune grass, and sea plantains.

Like most parts to the Pioneer Square district, Habitat Park also hearkens back to the time of the founding of Seattle, when the region’s indigenous cultures resided there. The spot near the new park was once a small island that the Duwamish people would travel to in canoes to trade goods with the city’s white settlers. By the 1890s, the Duwamish were forced off the island, which was renamed Ballast Island and used for sailing ships to dump their ballast rocks before sailing on to other ports.   Today, the now-erased island is being honored on the new beach with an installation of indigenous artwork in the form of four stone columns measuring 3’ to 5’ high, with interpretive signs about the Duwamish culture. As the artwork is being installed, Habitat Beach will be temporarily closed again this fall before re-opening by spring 2024. The adjacent Washington Street Boat Landing pergola will be fully restored that same year, with a still-to-be-named concessionaire also expected to open there in the spring.

Meanwhile, construction continues to surge forward on the sprawling, $781 million, 20-acre Waterfront Park project to form an unbroken connection between Pioneer Square and Pier 62 Belltown to the north. The massive undertaking, featuring walking paths, greenery, bike lanes, and festival spaces, has been ongoing since 2010 and is set to be completed in several phases through 2024 and 2025. For details on the development, go to: waterfrontparkseattle.org.

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