And so some
powerboat companies have begun to look for answers before the shortage burns
sales. At Chris-Craft, for example, they are emphasizing gas-saving hulls like
a 25-foot tournament fishing boat displayed at Annapolis.
The hit of the
show, all things considered, was the Vega 30, as shipshape a little packet as
anyone has seen in decades. Though she measures merely 30 feet in length, the
Vega gives the impression of being quite a bit more boat than that. She may be
steered from a snug wheel-house or from an on-deck station, and not only does
she boast hot and cold running water but a shower, too.
The Vega is doing
her bit to defuse the energy crisis, for the Navigator model is a true motor
sailer with 340 square feet of sail to back up a fuel-stingy power-plant. To
achieve sailboat stability she has 4,000 pounds of ballast stuffed into her
keel to balance the press of a sloop rig. Her range under power is 600 miles,
under sail virtually limitless, since no one has yet contrived a wind
came from Brud Hodgkins, international sales manager of Hatteras. Power yachts
of 36 to 70 feet plop from Hatteras molds in North Carolina. All are swank; all
gulp gas. So Hatteras has a deep interest in how much fuel there is to go
around. Recently Hodgkins circulated a memo to company officials suggesting
that Hatteras consider developing not another speed merchant but a slower, less
53-footer, he pointed out, is typically bought by families whose summers
revolve around a single major cruise. Frequently it is not a lengthy trip,
perhaps no farther than from New York to Block Island, a distance of 125 miles.
Since the 53 cruises at 18 knots, she would reach Block Island five hours
sooner than, say, a boat plodding along at 10 knots. "Yet," says
Hodgkins, "weigh this against the fact that the 10-knot boat would burn
only one-third as much fuel. The time saving looks pretty
scarcity of fuel was the immediate worry of powerboatmen at Annapolis, there
was unease and confusion over what the future might or should hold in regard to
waste disposal and engine-emission controls. Discussing the latter, one boat
salesman growled, "They're not O.K. on my car. They're not O.K. for my
boat. And Ralph Nader can go emission himself, if you want my opinion."