Building a Carbon Fiber Hard Top Bimini – Part 1

This project took a fairly “useless” (ok, it was good for sun protection) and definitely tired existing soft top bimini cover on a Black Watch 26, and replaced it with a super lightweight and very solid, custom built carbon fiber “hard top.” Using the existing stainless steel frame, the tattered canvas top was removed and new carbon fiber panels were designed and built to fit onto the frame, adding surfboard, kiteboard and kayak storage on top of the hard top.

This first video in our 3 part How-To series, shows the first steps in building this hard top – from building a specific table to mold the panels, to laying out the carbon fiber and core cell foam and vacuum bagging the whole panel.

Watch as Brendan and Matt show you all the steps to get a new hard top panel started. And then watch for the follow up videos part 2 & 3 to see the whole project in action!

After a summer of use with plenty of boards strapped to the top, it certainly was a worthy upgrade!



Adventures with Icebergs and GoPros (and a cool sailboat…)

So maybe you never want to climb an iceberg….or explore the far reaches of our globe. the high latitudes are rumored to be stunning – even more so in real life than in this cool video with ultra beautiful 4k GoPro footage. And should you be one of these crazies who does want to scale icebergs  – you better have a great support boat nearby.

We love boats around here – not icebergs, truthfully. And while not every TotalBoater will explore these remote areas, we can all dream and better yet get a lift there via dazzling YouTube videos documenting it all.  Adventure is out there – and even if you’re a landlubber or if you’re stuck in a dusty wood shop or boat shed – we hope you find time to seek and enjoy plenty of adventure. And mostly we hope your adventures involve boats…forget the icebergs….

But even if you don’t care a lick about ice climbing (count me in that category), the footage is stunning from these well camera-ed up climbers. Complete with a drone and about 4 cameras (by my count) on each climber, this remote area is very inviting for an adventure. And if you agree, then by boat is pretty much the only way to go…that is if you want the ultimate adventure which, we know, is always based on a boat!

O’Pen Bic Intergalactic Video and Boat Sale

TOO. MUCH. FUN! In the midst of storm prep or storm avoidance it’s fun to look back at this crazy event this past summer. Kids had smiles for days after the first ever O’pen Bic Intergalactic RI Championships. Big breeze and a big crowd of sailors brought wild conditions and enthusiasm to the shores near the Tiverton YC, host of this awesome Un-Regatta. See – it wasn’t about winning this time – everyone got awards and everyone had a blast racing with a teammate on some pretty nutty courses. And everyone swam. A bunch. Not the scary kinda capsize, but planned – even mandated – capsizing mid race to see who could best recover and scoot to the finish.

The O’pen Bics are showing up all over the East Coast and beyond. The West Coast has a number of fleets popping up and around here – especially post Intergalactic event – clubs and families are embracing this fun, fast and fairly wet kind of racing.

We took demo boats on the road this summer (read about the Bic Summer Tour here) to spread the stoke about how cool they are to sail. And the people loved the tour. Junior sailors flocked to the trailer of boats to check them out and be first in line to take it out. (Watch the video about the Summer Tour here)  Kids readily handed off the tiller of their Opti for a chance to rip around in the O’pen Bics! And our little fleet of Bics rocked it’s way around New England – steadily adding to the list of enthusiasts. And to the list of boat owners. So next year when Bic madness ensues – there will be a longer list of local clubs and sailors ready to Un-Regatta with the best of ’em!

And now is your chance! Pick up one of these gently used boats from the summer tour for a great price. The boat retails for over $3200 but you can grab one of these boats for $2400.  (fully rigged, lightly used, no dolly or covers.) Grab one now and tuck it away for the sweet spring sailing we all love. To inquire about the boats contact or grab a brandy new boat here.

The Hero in Heronemus

Here is another amazing story to share with you about the good people of our boating world. Steve Heronemus was an avid sailor of the Wisconsin waterfront until he was diagnosed over 10 years ago with ALS. Losing all motor capabilities and having a sharp mind must be amongst the most frustrating and difficult illnesses, especially when pastimes like boating and sailing with your family slip out of physical reach.

So when the folks at the SEAS (Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan) reached out the the Heronemus family to see if they were interested in getting Steve involved in a new endeavor with their existing Adaptive Sailing Program, they jumped at the chance. Steve Orlebeke, Director of Engineering Harken got involved and  invented a touch pad and sip/ bite system to operate the auto pilot. And off went Steve. And hopefully other ALS patients in the future.

From the SEAS Blog: On September 4, 2015 using only a bite switch coupled to an autopilot and two touch pads for sail trim Steven Heronemus took his 83 year old father for a sail in a twenty three-foot sonar off the shores of Sheboygan Wisconsin. At the time. he had no idea it would be their last sail together because twelve days later his father unexpectedly passed away.

To Steven the quiet afternoon sail was a joyful return to something he loved. To his father it was one of the most beautiful gifts he could have received from his son.
And to other sailors with disabilities it would further inspire SEAS to explorer develop and refine the human interfaces necessary to provide any disabled person access to the wind and water.

On September 23rd the day after his father’s memorial service Steve took his son Matthew for sail as a tribute to his father the man who taught him to sail.

The story is about a whole community – the sailing community of Lake Michigan  and beyond and the friends and family of the Heronemus’ – and even more so about the family who was able to sail together again in a very timely way. Three generations of Heronemus men were able to sail again – so regardless of how the program takes off – and we have faith that it will – already magical things have transpired and a sailor gets to sail once again.

How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane

As the weather forecast zeros in on what could be a strong Hurricane barreling up the East Coast – it’s never too early to prepare your boat for a big blow or hurricane. Maybe you are in line to have your boat hauled by the busy hauler or boatyard – and maybe you plan to ride it out on your mooring or in your berth. Either way – (and even if your boat is safely ashore) you need to prepare for “the worst” in time to not be panicking and preparing as the storm bears down on your harbor.

This is a very important video on how to prepare your boat before a hurricane hits your area. It is essential to listen to weather forecasts and take the necessary precautions to properly prepare your boat from harsh winds and dangerous waves. You can find dock lines, fenders, chafing gear and thousands of other marine supplies at

Be safe! Be smart! Be Prepared!


Classic Yacht Racing in the Med

What a sight it must be to walk along the main quay in downtown St. Tropez. This is true on any given day, but most especially this week and weekend while Les Voiles de St. Tropez fleet is in town.

With the collection of classic yachts mostly moored stern to along the downtown waterfront, it is a great opportunity for tourists and interested yacht oglers to get up close to the impressive fleet.  All the major classic yacht designers, styles and builders are present – with a few Herreshoff NY40s and the impressive Elena of London (a 180 ft replica schooner launched in 2009), some beautiful Fifes like Moonbeam III, an Alden or two and of course some boats penned by S&S, the J Class yachts, some 12 metres and the list goes on.

Take a walk down the waterfront in this video showcasing the lineup of stunning wood and brass. Meticulously maintained and sailed, these boats put on quite a show on the water while competing seriously on the water…that is on every occasion except when – as is the case a few times this week – racing is cancelled due to bad weather. The crews have plenty to do to keep busy – polishing, entertaining, competing in shoreside activities…. the fun is never ending even when stuck ashore.

And in case you thought this was only a showcase of the most fabulous classic yachts – there is a division of modern yachts, as well, with a 15 boat fleet of Wally yachts and a modern fleet with plenty of impressive carbon fiber and design wizardry. All in all – a major spectacle whether they are ashore for a weather day or out racing.




Bottom Paint – Bring on the Banter

We told you about the early results we are getting with the Bottom Paint testing going on with Roger William University Marine Biology students. People are chiming in on all our social media channels about their own experiences and our LIVE interactive Map is being populated with each and every response to the survey. 

And every one of those pins is a boat and a customer with data and analysis about the performance of their bottom paint. Already – with a small portion of the data collected – there is so much to see and learn about paints and what seems to be working in particular areas as compared to others.

Because of the great response and plentiful conversation about bottom paint – we have devoted an entire Forum thread to discussions about bottom paint. Hop on over to the thread here and get involved. Tell us what you think about your bottom paint, about our survey, about the research we are doing, about our TotalBoat Antifouling paints and whatever else is on your bottom and on your mind!

And check out the Live Interactive Map of the results as they are entered.

All the rest of the extensive research/ testing and chatter can be found using these links below:


James Bond and Some Cool Boats (and a few beers)

Even though it’s really about some Heinekens and an unlikely jaunt on a waterski, the boating part of this clever commercial is worth a look. Any time a Riva makes popular culture – and why wouldn’t James Bond have a Riva? – it seems like a worthy use of a few minutes of our time to have a look. I Still don’t want to drink a Heineken, but I would love to go for a spin with Bond in his swanky Riva. And he has enough tricks up his sleeve (hat) to avoid rocks, villains and serious trouble –  unlike his counterparts in their sleek Frauscher boat.

The least believable part of this is of course with the lady… She never spills a drop! Check it out!


Breaking [all the] Records

Please welcome guest blogger, Bill Swizzle from Swizzle Sports Media, as well as contributor to Forbes Life Magazine. Mr. Swizzle has done some sailing on the mighty Phaedo3. and has written a great report about this boat on a mission. Read his story below and check out his blog, too!

From Billy Swizzle:

I’ve spent a bunch of time with Owner/driver Lloyd Thornburg and his merry band of speed freaks so I could see what it’s like to sail crazy fast and break records aboard his MOD 70 trimaran Phaedo³ and his highly modified Gunboat 66 Phaedo for a bunch of magazine stories that will be coming out in the coming months. And while I can’t tell you too much about Thornburg and his team and his plans and his amazing boats yet, it’s just not right to keep some of this amazing onboard video that was shot by Phaedo³ navigator Miles Seddon during their most recent World Record setting run from Cowes, England to Dinard, France (and sent to me by team Phaedo) to myself. This is what 35-knots of three-hulls-out-of-the-water boatspeed looks and sounds like.

And just incase you’ve been away from social media for like…ever…Lloyd, Miles, co-skipper Brain Thompson and the rest of boys on Phaedo³ set three new world sailing speed records in the last 7 days for cripes sake.

First they smashed the iconic Fastnet Race course record by over 4 hours.

Then they simply had a quick bite of pizza and immediately took off under the moonlight and bagged the Plymouth to La Rochelle record.

And as if that wasn’t enough, their record run from Cowes to Dinard was simply out of this world. Aren’t these photos shot by lovely and talented Rachel Jaspersen and talented and not-so-lovely Richard Langdon simply #thebombdotcom?

These guys are surfing some serious some record-breaking mojo and as you can see in this vid…they’re having a ball.

More from Swizzle to come in near future. And most likely from Phaedo3, too! Thanks to Swizz himself for the super commentary!

Vixen’s Voyage

Here is some more fodder for those of you who are dreaming of a live aboard life. The boat doesn’t have to be fancy or large, just solid and seaworthy. This family of four has toured the world aboard their 34′ wooden sailboat, sparing themselves from monthly bills, a mortgage and best of all – real 9-5 jobs.

Take a little glimpse into the enchanted and simple yet gratifying life of this family. Enjoying the simple life seems to work for them and their family. Boat repairs and maintenance, the most important safety concern, are not tedious because of Dad’s boatbuilding skills. And home-schooling and child rearing is made enjoyable with lots of help from Mother Nature and gifts of culture and humanity from around the world.  Would you raise a young family aboard a 34′ boat?