What are the best nautical products to watch in 2022? Rupert Holmes previews some of the most exciting gear coming this year
2021 has seen many new nautical products hit the market, despite the challenges throughout the year, here is our Yachting World roundup of the best nautical products of 2022 to help you with your boating this season.
2021 ended with the return of the METS Equipment Show after cancellation in 2020 due to Covid, although the show was held this year it was at a somewhat reduced capacity and a late cancellation of Boot Dusseldorf caused dealt a severe blow to the maritime sector.
Despite these difficulties, however, the annual DAME awards were held at the METs, so the impressive kit and DAME winners were always duly selected. A common theme at November’s METS Marine Equipment Show was existing products benefiting from development work that significantly improves functionality, which you’ll see in our selection of the best marine products of 2022.
An example of a manufacturer focusing on an updated kit is Oceanvolt, who have worked on their ServoProp series of electric saildrive units to improve efficiency in propulsion mode and to increase battery charge rates when regenerating power under sail.
Improvements were achieved through a two-pronged approach. The software modifications give much more linear and stable regeneration at higher boat speeds. This is especially true in surf conditions, when boat speeds can vary dramatically. This update is available for owners of existing systems.
Additionally, improved water cooling helps increase efficiency at higher speeds. At 11-12 knots – a speed that many cruising catamarans can achieve – a massive 3kW of power is produced by the ServoProp 15.
Re-engineering the mechanical elements of the system has reduced friction, allowing for a large increase in load rates at lower boat speeds. Regeneration now starts at 4.5 knots instead of 5.5, the amount of power needed to spin the propeller fast enough to launch the charge is reduced by a third and there is a tangible jump in rates load at 5-6 knots of boat speed.
The ServoProp 15 (suitable for yachts up to 15m with a single trolling motor and larger yachts with twin units), for example, now produces 220W at 5 knots boat speed, increasing to 500W at 6 knots and almost 800 W at 7 knots.
Relatively light cruising yachts fitted with Code 0 and asymmetric spinnakers are easily capable of reaching 5-7 knots, even in very light airs, provided the apparent wind is kept well ahead. This can mean jibing at high angles, which can mean slow VMG.
However, instead of zigzagging slowly downwind, electric-powered fast cruisers may want to steer more like a race boat in light airs. These could use code 0 to quickly reach another part of the ocean with more wind, or at least to an area where a new wind is expected to form.
For cruisers, this approach reduces the time spent under power, while increasing the time the regeneration function is able to recharge a substantial charge into the batteries.
Price: from €39,400 for the ServoProp 10 system including a 13.3 kWh battery bank.
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This second generation descending furler for asymmetric spinnakers and downhill sails offers a number of important refinements. The larger spool diameter, for example, reduces the physical effort required to furl the sail.
The plastic sleeve around the torsion rope insulates the sail from the rope, improving furling reliability, while minimizing the risk of damage to the sail. Along the same lines, the top and bottom hardware have been redesigned with more rounded edges to reduce friction.
As with the previous version, sealed bearings are used on all but the smallest model. These require no maintenance other than regular washing with fresh water.
The Spinex is produced in four versions to suit boats from 29ft (8.9m) to 60ft (18.2m).
Price: from €2,000
Digital Yacht NavAlert
Many new products offer such a range of benefits that they are becoming increasingly difficult to categorize. Digital Yacht’s NavAlert, for example, works as a remote monitoring device that will send you an SMS message if something goes wrong.
However, it is also designed to produce useful alerts when you are on board – it comes with an audible and visual alarm to be mounted in the cockpit and can be interfaced with compatible MFDs, where an alarm will open a pop-up window.
NavAlert is therefore in fact a universal system capable of monitoring any parameter of the boat’s NMEA 2000 network, from engine data to GPS position, bilge pumps, sensors and anchor drift alarm. It interfaces with Digital Yacht’s existing 4GXtream internet connectivity product, meaning there are no ongoing additional costs.
It is also designed to interface with a NavChat device which will be available in early 2022. It offers voice alarms such as “Warning – shallow depth alarm!”
Dometic Voyager TX air conditioner
Advances in technology have led to the development of more compact air conditioning systems, with lower energy requirements, easier maintenance and longer life.
Dometic’s Voyager TX series is available in 10,000 BTU and 18,000 BTU units (approximately 2.9 kW and 5.2 kW) and replaces the previous DTG line. They operate on both 110V and 240V AC and both have a built-in inverter.
Instead of separate “on” and “off” modes, the variable capacity compressor is able to maintain exactly the speed required to keep interior temperatures constant. This also helps to reduce noise levels and energy consumption during start-up.
Built-in digital pressure sensors eliminate the need for a technician to visit the boat and connect their own pressure gauges as the first step in a troubleshooting process.
Price from around US$2,500
Sailmon Max mini
Adoption of Sailmon’s compact Max wireless instrument display and analysis tool has been dramatic across many classes – 84 J/70s use the system, for example, as do many Moth sailors. However, many classes of keelboats and dinghies do not allow electronic displays.
Sailmon has therefore developed the Max mini, which combines all the sensors and processors of the original Max in a black box format. It can operate as a standalone device or interface with other onboard systems, including Cyclops load sensors, and relay data to the cloud via a 4G data connection.
Despite the absence of a display, it is therefore possible to use Sailmon’s performance analysis tools after the race or training. You can replay the course to see which boats around you were taller or faster and even dig deeper into details like comparing heel angles across the entire fleet.
This rugged 10-inch tablet is an affordable and flexible alternative to an on-board navigation computer. With the waterproof covers on the various ports closed, it is water resistant to IP67 and designed to withstand a drop from a height of 1.2m (4ft). The 850-nit sunlight viewable display uses third-generation Gorilla Glass with an anti-reflective coating.
Its 10,000 mAh battery is easily changed, allowing the device to be used on deck for long periods of time, whether for racing navigation or complex piloting. When used at the navigation station, it can be connected to a remote monitor, Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad.
The SP10W is part of the Sail Proof range alongside the marinized 8-inch and 10-inch Android tablets.
USB charging port on deck
Scanstrut has added this dual USB-C/USB-A charging port to its product line to power portable devices on board. The USB-C outlet provides 36W on 12V boat systems, which is enough to power many laptops directly. An impressive 60W is available when used with 24V DC systems.
The USB-A socket provides up to 36W for fast charging. With the flap closed, the device is waterproof to IPX4 standards, so it can be installed on deck. Called Flip Pro, this charging port will be available from February.
Solution for lithium battery fires
The growing popularity of lithium-ion batteries poses a problem that conventional fire extinguishers cannot effectively solve. These batteries pack so much energy density into a tight volume that in the event of a fire, temperatures can soar as high as 800°C.
The solution is an AVD (Aqueous Vermiculite Dispersion) extinguisher. These spray a fine mist of water and platelets of vermiculite, a type of aluminium-iron-magnesium silicate.
The water has a vital cooling effect, while the vermiculite pads form a layer on the battery that insulates it from oxygen in the atmosphere and greatly reduces the risk of re-ignition.
Price: to be determined
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