Sharing my Marine Product Reviews experiences
from over 25 years of boating and yachting.
I think it’s about time for me to share some of my experiences with various marine and yachting product and service reviews. So far I have only been sharing my TOP 5 Star reviewing ratings. I will however eventually share my favourite, most interesting, most useful, and even products that I may have been disappointed in. If you have a product you would like me to review, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]
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Navy Point Yacht Sales & Service. * * * * * 5 Star Ratings
We purchased our brand new yacht a Jeanneau 39i Performance including over $120,000 in upgrades from Angus Yachts in Toronto back in 2008. There were a number of screw ups with the installation, include one potentially fatal mistake by their installers which could have ended in a very bad way. Later we found out their electrical installers were not even certified or licensed electricians. If you wish to read more about that it can be found at this link; http://www.sailboatcruise.ca/2008/12/24/fire-onboard/
Angus ended up going bankrupt within 6 months of our delivery, I should not have been surprised. Enough about that little bit of history. Shortly there after in comes Navy Point Yacht Sales, and takes over the Jeanneau dealership for Ontario, Canada, on this side of Lake Ontario. One of the ongoing problems with my boat was the fridge door. The fridge hinges kept breaking off the counter top. Angus had tried to repair it once before under warranty, but the same problem came back. After investigation by Navy Point, Jeanneau had told us, that they have already paid Angus to repair and replace these, and would not pay a second time for the warranty work. Turns out Angus had pocked the money, and instructed their staff to put on cheap home depot hinges. Can you believe this. Well Navy Point took it upon themselves, without being compensated by Jeanneau, and rebuild the synthetic marble countertop and replaced the hinges properly at no cost to me, and absorbed all their parts and labour. Well from this moment on I have been a loyal customer of Navy Point Sales and Service.
I have taken my boat across the lake to have it wintered and serviced by the good people there for 3 or 4 years now. Each time I had much work done in terms of general maintenance, repairs, bottom painting, and many more upgrades. Each time they have taken care of our boat very well. When working with boats things don’t always go as planned or as smoothly as we would all like. But I measure the service and quality by how well they take care of their customers. Mr. Peter Leubner <[email protected]>, Vice President, part owner and in charge of their service department. He has always gone well above and beyond to ensure that things were made right and made sure I walked away happy.
Peter would picking me & my crew up from the train station many a times when I came back to pick up the boat (3 hour drive there and back). On our last trip to the Bahamas, we stopped in at Sackets Harbour to have the mast prepared for the transit through the canal. We had the bottom painted, wi-fi antenna installed, life raft hinges installed among many other things. They dropped everything to ensure we were on our way for our vacation and delivery through the canal. There was a water leak we could not locate in the boat, various food colouring tests narrowed it down, and we realized it was internal, not from outside. The boat left sackers with it being located due to our schedule. Peter continued to work with me remotely to try and solve this problem. During our trip down the canal, we ran into a couple more problems, the alternator died, as now the boat was 6 years old, and had almost 17,000 nautical miles under the hull and about 1,500 hours on the iron genny. Peter ordered us a new alternator and had it shipped down to the boat on the canal. He was always available by cell phone if I had any questions and trying to diagnose the water and alternator problem. Once we arrive to our destination in New York state, I had located the water problem. It was simply the main feed hose to the tank, which had a bit of leak. He had shipped new hoses and all the parts that I would need to replace this myself.
I had a few more projects that needed to be done, and was not sure how I would get them completed away from home in a strange marina. Peter offered to drive about 200 miles (2 Hours each way) to help me out. He repaired the water hose, checked the alternator, installed new larger gauge wires for the new high output alternator, installed a battery switch, changed the oil on the motor and a few other projects. He never charged me for travelling costs, and gave me a great deal on the other service items.
Peter and Navy Point Sales & Service have been a great support, providing us with good old fashioned customer service that you can really rely on and we very much appreciated and continue to appreciate. I would not hesitate recommending these folks for a new boat purchase or any kind of marine service for your boat.
ElectroMaax High Output Alternator and Serpentine Kits * * * * *
If your attempting any kind of extended cruising or if your just a weekend warrior you should really consider upgrading to a high out alternator. The standard one that comes with your boat is usually a 40 amp, and is only powerful enough to charge your engine start batteries. Many extended cruisers will be thinking of or have already installed a wind generator or solar cells. A high output alternator is a great supplement and back up to various battery charging solutions. If you anchor only occasionally, or cruise on the weekend, a high output alternator may be all you need, why install all that extra hardware and mounts, that just gets messy, heavy and expensive. I don’t need more things to maintain either. I spent weeks and months on anchor in the Bahamas, and my only source of power is the ElectroMaax 160amp alternator along with a portable 3,500 watt generator I also purchased from ElectroMaax.
I highly recommend the ElectroMaax High Output Alternator solution with Serpentine Kit. Previously I had a Balmar 120amp alternator without the serpentine belt kit. I was not getting the power output I needed for extended periods of time, the power output would drop off drastically. It required me to run my engine at 2,000 to 2,500 rpm for extended periods of time. My house battery bank consists of 400 amp hours, and I usually use about 200 amp hours a day. I found myself having to run the engine for 4 hours a day unless I also used my portable generator. I recently installed the ElectroMaax 160 amp alternator, and it is fabulous. I am having to run the motor about 50% less, at lower RPMs, less wear and tear and better fuel consumption. The serpentine belt transfers all the power to the alternator with virtually zero slippage. On my last week long cruise moving from anchorage to anchorage, I would often arrive with 100% batteries charged just by running the motor for a couple hours to my destination.
I am not a handy guy! I work in an office, boat ownership has forced me to become handier than I like to be. But the thought of installing this alternator myself brought shivers down my back. I met the good folks of ElectroMaax at a boat show in Toronto, while my boat was in the Bahamas. They assured me even a monkey can do it blind folded. They showed me exactly what I had to do on a demo unit of a Yanmar they had at the show. Electromaax also hosts how-to-videos on their site. The next time I was at the boat, I was able to install it myself, it took me a few hours to install the serpentine system and the new alternator, including taking the old one off. Someone handier than me can do it in a couple of hours or less easily.
Installing the serpentine belts was the easiest part for me, just unscrew the existing screws, pull off the fly wheels, and push in the new ones, tension the alternator, and put on the new belt. There was a couple of alignment issues, you want to make sure the belt is properly aligned, so it does not come off during operation. I had to adjust the way the alternator was sitting. ElectroMaax has service technicians available to speak to you on their 1-800 number. I had e-mailed them a couple of photos and they were very friendly and happy to help me out.
Pictured above is how the ElectroMaax alternator as shipped. The picture on the right is it installed, with the wide serpentine belt. It is about an inch thick, with multiple grooves, which prevents slippage and in effect acts as if it was 3-4 inches wide. The Alternator had all the wire leads labeled and instructions included. Again videos online to refer to. I made note of the wire connections on my old alternator, and replaced it with the new one, and reconnected the wires. Important: You want to make sure your red positive feed wire, which feeds the power to the batteries is a large enough gage to handle all the extra power this puppy will be putting out. I then reprogrammed my battery manager letting it know the type of belt and alternator I had now installed so it would manage the power being put into the batteries. Again I had a couple of issues with connecting the wires, but the folks at ElectroMaax where very helpful and happy to spend time with me on the phone until everything was working perfectly.
Electromaax Service is a thumbs up for me! They are there for you to assist in install, troubleshooting and warranty parts replacement or repair! They stand by their word!
Engel Performance Fridge & Freezers * * * * *
High Performance AC/DC Fridge & Freezers, with the lowest power consumption.
I purchased the latest model MR040. I give it a thumbs up, 5 Star Rating! You can get a smaller one or a larger one. A single unit has lasted over 50 years in the Australian desert. This is due to a single piston compressor. One one moving part, very well and strongly built to last. Not much can go wrong with these units. But the best part is their power consumption. Mine has increased my freezer space 400%, and it only draws 3.6 amps to get it to freezing temperature, then it draws as low as 0.7 amps to keep the temperature. That is dependent on the environment you are using it. If you are using it in the desert exposed to sun and heat, it will draw more to maintain the temperature. I have now had mine for about a year on the boat, and it works wonderfully!
You don’t need to assemble the handles if they take too much room. They also sell straps to bolt it to floor. I have a top loading fridge freezer combo that came with the boat, integrated into the counter top. But the freezer is very small. So I installed this until for extra freezer space. You can install it anywhere you have room for it, for me it was under the navigation table. I removed the nav seat which I never used. You can wire it right into your panel, from the DC plug in the back of the unit. You will need to buy a hard wire that plugs into the DC plug in the back of the fridge, and it provides bare wires on the other end that you can install into your electrical panel. BTW it is a fridge or a freezer, depends on how cold you set it to. But it will definitely freeze everything, you don’t even need to keep it on the coldest setting to keep things frozen. Since I don’t open it all the time, only when I need some frozen meat, it does not lose cold air, and then uses less energy.
Atlantis Marina * * * * *
A Premier Marina in the Bahamas, on Paradise Island, Nassau, within Atlantis Resort and Hotel.
I give the Atlantis Marina a thumbs up, 5 Star rating! We were able to make reservations months in advance, and they were honoured as promised. The price was costly compared to any other marina in North America. Between $3 to $7 per foot depending on the season. Sounds expensive, but really it is a great deal! Considering a nights stay within the resort, will cost you hundreds of dollars, a 40 foot boat at $4 per foot, is only $160 per night. High season, the minimum charge is a 50 foot length, at $4 per foot, about $200 per night. Not only gives you the dock space, but admission to the world renown water park, and aquariums. A friend of mine recently visited Nassau by cruise ship, and it was going to cost him well over $200 just for the park admission.
Services include all what you would normally expect at most marinas, but in addition to this, cable tv, and phone hook up at the dock. Behind hour slip, was a swimming pool, children’s splash pad and a hot tub open all night. Call the dock master on the VHF and they’ll send a golf cart, that will shuttle you to the restaurants on site, the dock office, laundry mat or to the front of the resort entrance and the water park. Dock office includes free internet, a pool table and plenty of other amentities available within the resort!
The marina is a destination to visit on it’s own. You’ll see some of the largest mega yachts you’ll ever see on this side of the hemisphere. The average size of a yacht in this marina is 100 feet, and its not unusual to see a 200 footer inch its way down the fairway. It’s amazing when you stop an think some of these yachts are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, where does all this money come from. Check out the Mega Yacht action at the Atlantis Marina! It’s no wonder they are so welcomed here, it might have something to do with the Casino on the property. Many mega yacht owners love to visit the casino for the gaming fun and adventure it has to offer. Many casino tournaments are hosted here, and a popular stop for the yacht named after a recent bond movie, Casino Royale.