Best in Show
Best in Show
At the Newport International Boat Show in Rhode Island earlier this month, I spent a few days cruising the tents, scoping out new gear. Some of this snooping had to do with the Newport for New Products competition, for which I served as a judge.
The EFOY 1600 fuel cell won my vote for the most innovative product in the contest. The unit is the size of a car battery, weights about 15 pounds, and outputs 1,600 watt hours a day sipping on a separate, five-liter jug of methanol. The system features an automatic charge controller that tells the fuel cell to top off your boat's batteries whenever the charge drops below 12.3 volts (or whatever voltage you set it to). Compared to a noisy, diesel generator, the EFOY is relatively simple to install, virtually silent, and eco-friendly, emitting only water and carbon dioxide. This powerful little fuel cell is a slick and sensible way to charge your batteries when you're on the hook or out at sea, and I imagine it won't be long until the EFOY, or something like it, is standard equipment on many boats.
One trend I've noticed-and this is great news for us lazy, bungling Americans-is products designed to be extremely easy to install. It's not just accessories like Vacumount's line of suction-cup holsters for binoculars and handheld radios; fool-proof installation is the key selling point for everything from Marinno's Exturn external-mounting bow thrusters (admittedly, not something you're going to slap on your raceboat) and the Gobius tank level indicator, which mounts on the outside of any tank and uses vibration to measure the level of fluid inside.