Introducing The Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain

The smallest GF yet is an exercise in doing a simple thing in an extreme way.

Quick Take

Greubel Forsey watches are known for being expertly engineered, superlatively finished, and generally compromise-free. That they tend to have multiple tourbillons and/or other complications is somewhat incidental, as the brand’s identity is much more about a particular style of watchmaking and a pure commitment to quality than any particular function or mechanism. The watch we have here, the Balancier Contemporain is proof of just that. The brand set out to accomplish three main goals with this watch: 1) Create a more moderately sized watch without sacrificing proportions or three-dimensionality, 2) Prominently show off their in-house balance wheel, and 3) Maintain the aesthetic traits and finishing styles that distinguish their timepieces. I’d say they achieved all three with room to spare.

First off the Balancier Contemporain measures in at 39.6mm, making it the smallest Greubel Forsey yet. This watch shows just the time and power reserve and the bottom third of the dial displays an oversized balance bridge and that special balance wheel. It has a large diameter of 12.6mm for optimal stability and the poising weights are recessed to minimize air friction. It’s anything but typical. Finally, throughout the movement you’ll find grained surfaces, black polishing, broad chamfers, and other traits you’re used to in Greubel’s watches. Like I said, mission accomplished.

This watch is only available in a white gold case for now, and it’s a limited edition of just 33 pieces. In addition to the main edition, there’s a parallel limited edition version that’s set with baguette-cut diamonds. This piece is slightly larger to accommodate all the stone, measuring in at 41.6mm across. It is also limited to 33 pieces.

Initial Thoughts

As soon as I saw this watch, the Signature 1 immediately came to mind. That watch was released in 2016 and measures 41.3mm across, which made it the smallest Greubel Forsey until now. That watch was also the first GF with a sub-$200,000 price tag, and it must have been a successful venture for the brand to follow it up with something like this.

Jack has often said that the true definition of luxury is that “it takes as long as it takes and costs as much as it costs,” and I think Greubel Forsey is the perfect example of that philosophy. Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey are two hyper-intelligent guys who have a vision for what high-end watchmaking can look like and they’re not particularly interested in bowing to commercial pressures or making watches that don’t adhere to that vision. I applaud them for that. They’re real artisans and masters of craft. That said, I love that they’re trying to create products that offer different incarnations of that vision and that possibly open it up to new audiences (whether for reasons of wrist size or of wallet size). If this watch is half as amazing on the wrist as the Signature 1 is, I think we’ll have nothing but cause for celebration.

The Basics

Brand: Greubel Forsey
Model: Balancier Contemporain

Diameter: 39.6mm
Thickness: 12.21mm
Case Material: White gold
Dial Color: Multi-level gold dial with black lacquered hour and minute rings and rhodium-plating
Indexes: Arabic numerals
Lume: None
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Alligator strap with white gold pin buckle

The Movement

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indicator
Diameter: 32.4mm
Thickness: 9.2mm
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Winding: Manually-wound
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
Jewels: 33
Total Components: 255
Additional Details: Powered by two fast-rotating, series-coupled barrels, and fitted with Greubel Forsey’s in-house variable-inertia balance (which stops when you pull out the crown)


Pricing & Availability

Price: CHF 195,000 (price upon request for the diamond model) 
Limited Edition: 33 pieces each (with and without diamonds)

For more click here.

Source: hodinkee.com; STEPHEN PULVIRENT

SUPER AIR NAUTIQUE G23

The 2019 G23 Stands Alone

To be a true icon, you need to respect all others that came before you. To be a true innovator, you need to see and understand the space that others don’t. Recognized as the boat that leads the industry in terms of wake and surf wave performance, the G23 stands alone as the number one choice for riders around the world. Over the past five years, the G23 has been awarded the Rider’s Choice Award as the 5X Wakeboard and 4X Wakesurf Boat of the Year. Quality, innovation, and luxury go hand-in-hand with this revolutionary model that is designed to maximize the fun during your days on the water. The best wakes, the best surf waves and all the high-end refinements you’ve come to know from a Super Air Nautique, that’s the G23.

The G23 hull is the winner of the 5X Wakeboard and 4X Wakesurf Boat of the Year. With 2,850 pounds of sub-floor ballast and the ability to customize your wakesurf waves and wakeboard wakes, it stands alone at the top of the wake boat market. The integration of the Nautique Configurable Running Surface® (NCRS) and the Nautique Surf System (NSS) right into the design of the hull allows this legendary model to outperform the rest with its ability to be completely adjustable. Dish out perfect wakeboard wakes for beginners, experts and everything in between, or set up a surf wave exactly the way you want it, the G23 does it all.

The Nautique Surf System (NSS) with WAVEPLATE® technology is seamlessly integrated into the hull of the G23. Engaging on either side of the transom at surf speeds, the WAVEPLATE extends outward and down from the transom to redirect the flow of water forming the perfect wave. NSS allows surfers to switch sides instantly without the need to change up ballast or shift people in the boat, and it also incorporates variable settings that can adjust the steepness and shape of your wave. To be in full control while you’re surfing, opt for the Nautique Surf Switch so you can change which side the wave is on whenever you’d like.

What Customers are Saying:

2019 G23 FROM BOATHOUSE CO

Anthony S
Antioch, IL

My new G23 is stunning. Ordering a new boat is very exciting but can also be frightening. Eric at the boathouse helped me through the entire process. Dealer communication was great, the timing of delivery was perfect for me and I got the boat of my dreams. The quality, fit and finish of the boat exceeded expectations. I absolutely love it? Thank you boathouse co and thank you Nautique!!

Source: nautique.com

The 2020 GT500

A Mustang that aims to take on the best from the rest of the field.

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500’s history is almost as impressive as the black lines each generation’s owners have left on the pavement. What started out as a successful aftermarket racing upgrade package by Carroll Shelby in 1967 eventually morphed into something of a high-powered factory show pony with a heart for drag strips. Beginning in 2013, Ford figured out that it was possible to add sharper handling for canyon roads and road courses while still developing big power, but to me, that 662-horsepower car still never felt particularly approachable or all that sophisticated. To listen to Ford officials tell it, the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 will be both of these things.

Oh, and it’ll have over 700 horsepower.

Set to arrive in showrooms this fall after debuting Monday at the Detroit Auto Show, the 2020 GT500 builds on the precedents established by the Blue Oval’s frankly wonderful GT350 coupe, adding even more power, technology and sophistication, imbuing the car with a character that chief engineer Carl Widmann told me is “a little bit more ’rounded off’ on the edges.”  

DCT or nothing

The outgoing GT500 was both quick and fast, with 0-60 mph happening in about 3.5 seconds en route to a claimed top speed of over 200 mph. The new model adds at least another 39 horsepower (I’m betting there will be few more besides) and, perhaps more importantly, a standard seven-speed dual-clutch transmission developed with Tremec. You read that correctly: You can’t get a manual transmission any longer in the King of the Hill Mustang. With shifts in as little as 100 milliseconds, the new gearbox will undoubtedly be quicker than a three-pedal setup.

The GT500’s various drive modes (including Normal, Weather, Sport, Drag and Track) optimize transmission behavior for the driving at hand, whether tooling around town, lining up in front of a drag strip Christmas tree or idling out of the pit lane at your favorite road course. Interestingly, sport mode is tuned to produce the quickest shifts, while track mode prioritizes smoothness in order to keep the car from getting out of shape.

Ford’s move away from a DIY gearbox is likely to irk some self-anointed muscle car purists, but along with about a thousand other changes, it should help this new GT500 to not only be violently quick around a big race track, but more tractable and flattering to the ham-fisted, too. Dearborn authorities say the new car will be capable of mid-3-second 0-60 mph runs, as well as quarter-mile times in under 11 seconds.

(If you’re a manual-only buyer, a six-speed stick shift is the only transmission available in the GT350, a car with which diehard tripedalists will be plenty happy.)

Like its less powerful sibling, today’s 562-hp GT350, the 2020 GT500 starts out with a 5.2-liter aluminum-block V8 that’s hand-assembled in Romeo, Michigan. But stuffing a massive 2.65-liter Roots-type supercharger down in the “V” of the engine has necessitated a bunch of other changes, too. The flat-plane crank that gives the GT350 its unique voice has been nixed in favor of a cross-plane design to better handle the increased loads of a forced-induction engine. With that big blower honking away at 12 PSI, the engine needed increased cooling and lubrication capacity, too, forcing changes to the block itself, many of which will find their way back into the 2019 GT350.

Additional new pieces include valves, seals, seats, springs and head gaskets, with longer head bolts to keep the whole works from fragging under the pressure. A beefy model-specific oil pan features both static and dynamic baffles to prevent fluid starvation when really pushing the Gs.

(Note that, sadly, the blue show car didn’t have a production-representative engine, so we weren’t permitted to take our own photos or video of it.)

In order to slake the beast slung between the GT500’s wider front fenders, Ford designers had to find a way to feed it more air. A new front end features more than twice the cooling, and Ford’s largest-ever louvers — 31 inches by 28 inches — help extract air through the new hood made of sheet mold compound. (Since those big louvers might make for a messy engine bay when it rains, Ford has thoughtfully designed an aluminum undertray that can be easily removed for track work — or showing off at your local Cars and Coffee.) Out back, a new composite rear diffuser is bookended by a quartet of SEMA-sized 5-inch exhaust tips.

Magnetic suspenders

The fact that Ford claims this new GT500’s demeanor will be a bit more genial shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, today’s sixth-generation S550 Mustang offers a far more sophisticated platform than the S197 chassis that came before it — especially the independent rear end. The new GT500 features unique suspension geometry, along with lighter-weight springs at all four corners. 

If nothing else, the inclusion of Magneride was already going to be a huge step in the right direction. The real-time dampers expose special iron filings suspended in a magneto-rheological fluid to a magnetic pulse, altering the viscosity and changing resistance levels near instantaneously. These shocks feature heavily in the GT350’s scintillating performance, and are available on lesser Mustang models now, too. This is the first time the tech comes to the GT500, and the magic sauce in those dampers should enable ultra flat cornering while still preserving ride quality.

Track Pack attack

All of that power will be routed to the ground via Michelin rubber regardless of how you option your Shelby. The full “knives out” Carbon Fiber Track Package shown here adds 20-inch carbon fiber wheels that are a half-inch wider out back (11.5), and those come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer tires — basically road-legal semislicks. 

The Track Pack also includes the adjustable carbon fiber wing (Ford says it enables more rear downforce than its GT supercar), along with front splitter wickers with integral dive planes. The rear seat is deleted to save weight, lending the trim a track-ready vibe even when trundling to the corner store.

If the Carbon Track Pack is too extreme, there’s a middle ground, the optional Handling Package that incorporates adjustable strut top mounts and a different rear spoiler with a Gurney flap (a small tab on the rear edge of the wing). Non-Track-Pack models receive less extreme 19-inch Pilot Sport 4S rubber, and all GT500s receive a new power steering setup.

Naturally, braking has been substantially upgraded, with a Brembo package including 16.5-inch two-piece iron front rotors — Ford says they’re the largest found on any domestic coupe. Six-piston fixed front calipers are fitted up front and four-piston units are found out back. Ford says the new discs feature 20 percent more swept area than the binders on the GT350, and 30 percent more thermal mass up front. 

According to Ford, the upsized brakes forced the adoption of 20-inch wheels (the GT350 runs 19s). In case you’re wondering like I was, Widmann says, “Iron brakes were found to meet the track requirement when it came to brake fade resistance and longevity, we did not pursue ceramic brakes.”

Interior shifts

For such an outrageous exterior, the cabin changes to the 2020 Shelby GT500 are actually fairly muted. There’s optional exposed carbon fiber dash inserts, along with faux suede door trim. Having sat in the car in these pictures, the available Recaro seats feel like must-get items to my backside, although if you want the convenience of powered adjustability, you’ll have to skip them. I think they’re worth that sacrifice, and they’re track-ready thanks to their safety harness compatibility, too.

The interior’s biggest difference, however, is the inclusion of a new electronic rotary gearshift, which is a change I can’t quite wrap my head around. Even acknowledging that the new GT500’s character will be more well-rounded and sophisticated, the new gear selector dial feels out of character to me. A car with this much muscle deserves a substantial-feeling interface with a mechanical action (even if it’s actually electronic underneath). A larger, cold-to-the-touch, chunky metal knob would’ve probably done the job, but the parts-bin piece that Ford has chosen is a letdown. The new magnesium paddle shifters are better resolved, at least.

Source: www.cnet.com

3-Day Weekend Getaway to Fredericksburg, Texas

Day One – Friday

  • Arrive in Fredericksburg.  Stop at the Visitor Information Center, located at 302 East Austin Street downtown, for a friendly welcome, maps and directions, information on restaurants and shops, a weekend schedule of live music and more.   Watch our 10-minute welcome DVD on Fredericksburg’s history and attractions.
  • Check into your lodging property – maybe it’s a modern hotel, a historic log cabin, a charming inn or a flat over one of the shops along Main Street.
  • Stroll Main Street for a preview of the shopsrestaurants and museums located in the historic district.  Note – many of the shops close around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. 
  • For the First Friday Art Walk Fredericksburg, about a dozen art galleries remain open till 8:00 p.m. so the first Friday of the month is a great time to visit.
  • Enjoy dinner at one of our restaurants – you choose whether it’s Biergarten casual or fine dining or something in between.
  • Finish out your evening with some live Texas music at Hondo’s on Main, Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse, The Auslander, The Officer’s Club at The Hangar Hotel, Silver Creek or the legendary Luckenbach Texas.

Day Two – Saturday

  • Early to rise this morning for an awe-inspiring hike to the top of Enchanted Rock – estimated to be one billion years old. The state natural area opens for day use at 8:00 a.m.  You might consider taking breakfast or a snack from one of our great bakeries with you.  And don’t forget to take plenty of drinking water with you.
  • On your way back into town, stop at the Pioneer Museum, located at the corner of West Main and Milam Streets to learn some of the history of the German settlement of Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill Country.
  • Now it’s time for a quick lunch.  Several cafes downtown have outdoor patios, just perfect for people watching.
  • This afternoon spend some time shopping along Main Street — clothing boutiques, jewelry craftsmen, art galleries, western wear, home décor, an authentic variety store – it’s all here.
  • Or you may want to cruise Wine Road 290 – sipping some great Texas wine at a couple of the ten wineries that are on or near U.S. Highway 290 from just west of Fredericksburg to just east of Johnson City.  The Texas White House at the LBJ Ranch is located right in the heart of wine country near Stonewall and makes a great stop for some history on the 36th president of the United States.
  • Enjoy dinner at one of our great restaurants.
  • At 8:00 p.m. it’s time for a high energy, live musical show at Rockbox Theater, showcasing music from the 50s, 60s and 70s.  The theater is located just one block off Main Street on North Llano – walking distance from numerous restaurants.  Note:  weekly shows are Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 and 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

Day Three – Sunday

  • The National Museum of the Pacific War opens at 9:00 a.m. each morning and makes a great stop on a Sunday morning to reflect on ordinary people and their extraordinary accomplishments during World War II.  Allow at least two hours for this amazing museum.
  • Sorry, it is time to check out of your lodging property!
  • Stop for lunch or Sunday brunch at one of our restaurants as you prepare to depart Fredericksburg for the trip back home.

Source: visitfredericksburgtx.com

Featured Local Eats – The Red Brick Tavern

Old-school fixture for live music, refined American pub grub & craft brews in nostalgic surrounds.

In Red Brick’s own words: “Conroe, a one of a kind small town with roots dating back to the 1800’s, nestled in its historic downtown The Red Brick Tavern is place where you can enjoy a cocktail or craft beer and paired with upscale comfort food, while listening to the best in Texas Country. We strive to provide you with a one of a kind experience, time and time again.”

What we just can’t get enough of:

Bacon Fried Gulf Oysters

Fresh, Gulf Oysters Hand-Battered in Cajun Seasoning. Pan Fried and Served with Horseradish Dijon Sauce

If you like fried oysters you are in for a marvelous treat! Bacon fried? Yes, and seasoned perfectly to pair with their signature sauce. These alone keep us coming back.

RBT Signature Nachos

Fresh Tortilla Chips served with your choice of The Beer-Braised Pulled Pork or Pulled Roasted Chicken and Drizzled in Brew House Queso, Pepper Jack and Cheddar Cheese, RBT Black Beans. Topped With Charred Tomato Salsa And Sour Cream

Oysters, not your thing? Maybe looking to add another appetizer? These nachos deliver and deliver BIG. The pulled meat combination with three kinds of cheese starts the party. Then the RBT black beans and charred tomato salsa deliver the finishing touch. We could eat this as an entree.

Soups and Salads make a Splash!

Drunken French Onion Soup

Made With Dark Beer And Topped With A Ciabatta Crouton And Smoked Gouda Cheese

This may be our favorite french onion soup in North Houston. The soups are hand made by Chef everyday and they are always right on the money.

Wedge Salad

Baby Romaine Lettuce With Gorgonzola Dressing, Chopped Bacon, Green Onions, Fresh Tomatoes, And Gorgonzola Crumbles

You can’t go wrong with any of the available salads. Our favorite is the Wedge. It’s done classically and done right.

Double Cut Pistachio Crusted Pork Chop

Tender Premium Double Cut Pistachio-Crusted Pork Chop finished with Perppercorn Port Demi-Glace and Served with Grilled Asparagus

While Perry’s pork chops are still our favorite, it’s nice to get a great chop with out the white linen tablecloth prices. We like everything about this dish.

Hatch Chili Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Two Fresh Tortillas Stuffed with RBT Pulled Pork And Pepper Jack Cheese, Smothered with Homemade Hatch Chile Sauce And Cotija Cheese Served With Black Beans.

Their take on a Southwest favorite…we’ll take two please.

BBQ Meatloaf

Hand Made with Premium Ground Beef, Ground Pork, Sausage and RBT Secret Spices and Drizzled with RBT BBQ Sauce over Whipped Golden Yukon and Crispy Shoestring Onions. Served with RBT Collard Greens

Ask the friendly staff what their favorite dish is and you’ll likely hear about this meat treat. We tried it and agreed it was one of the best items among many greats we’d had.

Zydeko Burger

Served with Cheddar, Andouille Sausage, Fried Oysters, Onion Strings, and Remoulade

If you are looking for a burger, but not your run-of-the-mill burger this might be for you! It’s big, bold, delicious and worth savoring every bite. We’d not had a burger with oysters before, but why not we said (plus they’re the bacon fried kind). We were glad we did.

Steaks, Chicken, Fish, Pizza

They’ve got all that too. We’re sure they’re all good. We’ll have to go back and try everything over time. This place is well worth the visit.

Omega Resumes Production Of The Caliber 321, The Speedmaster Movement That Went To The Moon

After a decades-long hiatus, one of the most renowned movements of all time is coming back.

This is probably the single most exciting piece of movement-related information I’ve seen in over 20 years of reading and writing about watches. As every watch fan knows, the movement that was used in the Speedmaster Professionals that were sourced by NASA for the Apollo missions was the caliber 321 – a remarkably tough, beautifully built classic lateral clutch chronograph movement that represents one of the most important high water marks in modern chronograph design. No less a luminary than Roger Smith recently sang the praises of the 321 in Talking Watches (and he’s a guy who may be presumed to know something about movements). As every watch fan probably also knows, it’s been many decades since the movement went out of production and for as long as I can remember, Omega and Speedmaster fans (myself included) have wistfully been hoping for the movement to make a comeback. We’d always assumed, of course, that there was about as much chance of that happening as the return of the passenger pigeon, but Omega has just announced that the 321 will be going back into production. 

Omega says:

If you ask most watch fans to name a famous movement they’d like to see reborn, you’re bound to hear them mention the OMEGA Calibre 321. This robust and elegant chronograph movement has been a favourite since the 1940s and is still highly sought-after by watch collectors around the world. Now, more than 50 years after the last Calibre 321 was produced, OMEGA is bringing the iconic movement back.

Known for its beautifully intricate design, the original Calibre 321 was the first movement ever used in the OMEGA Speedmaster in 1957. It had, in fact, been previously used in some of OMEGA’s other chronographs, namely those in the Seamaster collection. It stands out for its use of a monobloc column-wheel, a feature that is machined from a single piece and which adds technical value. Generally, column-wheel movements require very careful precision in design and build, making them popular with watch collectors.

In addition to its construction, the original Calibre 321 also earned a very notable place in history. It was used in a variety of models including the Speedmaster ST 105.003 (the model first tested and qualified by NASA and worn by astronaut Ed White during the first American spacewalk) and the Speedmaster ST 105.012 (the first watch worn on the moon).

Reintroducing a movement with such an important reputation must therefore be done with the utmost exactness.  For the Calibre 321 project, OMEGA utilised a dedicated team of experts who worked efficiently over two years and in total secrecy to bring the movement to life. The small group was composed of researchers, developers and historians, as well as the finest craftsmen and experienced watchmakers. To protect the project’s exclusive details, the team even worked under the codename “Alaska 11”, in line with the names that OMEGA used for its secret Speedmaster designs for NASA in the 1960s and 70s.

Using the 2nd generation Calibre 321 as a reference, the OMEGA team compiled extensive historical research and original plans to reconstruct the movement as accurately as possible. Going even further, they also used “tomography” technology (digital scanning method) to see inside the true Speedmaster ST 105.003 timepiece that astronaut Eugene “Gene” Cernan wore on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Cernan was the last man to walk on the lunar surface and his Speedmaster is now housed at the OMEGA Museum in Bienne. Its Calibre 321 provided the perfect design criteria for OMEGA to follow.

GoldWiser Conroe

As a result, even the most unique and iconic parts of the Calibre 321 have been reborn in respect to their authentic specifications.  The movement wonderfully corresponds to the “moon period” of OMEGA’s history, with a construction that completely respects the designs from the past.

Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA, said, “It’s amazing that so many people are passionate about the Calibre 321. We produced the last one in 1968 and fans have never stopped talking about it. That shows how special it is. We’re very excited to finally meet their wishes and have gone to great efforts to bring the movement back.”

The new movements will now go into production at OMEGA’s HQ site in Bienne. Uniquely, all aspects of creation will be undertaken within a dedicated Calibre 321 workshop. For each movement, the assembly, as well as the watch head and bracelet assembly will be performed by the same watchmaker. Watch fans can expect more developments and news in the coming months.

It probably won’t escape your notice that 2019 is also the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission which put astronauts on the Moon for the first time in history … no prizes for guessing what I’m hoping for (and probably lots of you guys and gals too). 

Source Credit:
JACK FORSTER ; hodinkee.com

Azimut 60 – Cruise Day Tuesday


This 60-foot flying-bridge yacht gets minor updates to make a major improvement.

With its glossy topsides and Harley Earl fins, this sleek and sinuous Azimut 60 might look like it’s been plucked from some pinnacle of sybaritic luxury, but what you’re actually looking at here is a battlecruiser. Sixty-foot flying-bridge yachts from shipyards all over the world are fighting ferociously for customers whose numbers, compared with those of just a few years ago, are drastically diminished.

For those of us in the market, however, this is nothing but good news. Competition drives up standards. Boats that five years ago might have seemed a hard act to follow would now be lucky to get a gig in support—not because they have been superseded by superior design or technology, but because yachts launched into the fray today offer so much more refinement.

Azimut’s new 60 was revealed at the Genoa boat show last fall and replaces the 58 in the yard’s flying-bridge lineup. While it is built on the same hull and machinery package as its predecessor, there are several improvements Azimut felt to be significant enough to justify the new name. Not the least of these is the new swim platform, which, in addition to providing the boat with its extra overall length, is also hydraulic as standard, allowing for the convenient securing and stowage of the yacht’s main tender. Complementing this arrangement is the new 550-pound capacity davit on the flying bridge, which makes it possible to hoist a 9-foot RIB up there.

And that’s not the only change to be found at the stern of this elegant cruising boat. The crew cabin is new too and can be configured as a twin or a double—depending on whether you opt to have the Seakeeper gyro stabilizer fitted—with a neat door in the transom for access. The engine room is reached via a hatch in the cockpit. It’s not a big compartment, but the MANs are compact and mounted flat on down-angled gearboxes, so even with a genset mounted aft there is good access to all the principal service points. There is also a useful door on each side of the cockpit, to make life easier for guests when moored alongside rather than stern-to.

Inside, guests will also appreciate the bigger main-deck windows, which make an already spacious-looking and comfortable saloon even brighter, especially with its pale oak veneers and cream-colored lacquer and fabrics. The seating area aft can take six to eight in comfort, while the dining table amidships breathes equally easily, with excellent views from its raised vantage point and just the single, central helm seat ensuring that communication between chef and diners remains as unimpeded as possible.

The open-plan galley is the main deck’s centerpiece. A sociable and spacious working area with plenty of style and lots of practical touches, it features no fewer than seven useful drawers and lockers, plus more around the outside, including a tailor-made cutlery tray and an elegant sliding locker for cups and glasses, both cut from solid beech.

A three-cabin layout down below is focused on the master suite, which occupies as much floor area as the other two cabins put together. That might seem an extravagant use of space, but you can’t say it’s wasted when you take in the big, offset berth, the comfortable asymmetric dinette on the starboard side and the full beam shower and heads compartment, flanked by big hull windows. Up in the bows the VIP is a more conventional cabin, with an equally generous bed at more than five feet wide, plus its own impressive set of windows. The twin-berth guest cabin, meanwhile, makes up in headroom what it might lack in floor space. The forward head is shared.

We were blessed with a three-foot swell off Savona on the day of our test, which without being unduly dramatic provided us with a much better opportunity than the usual mild Mediterranean calm to see what the Azimut’s hull was capable of. The 800-hp MANs are notably torquey engines—as you might expect with six cylinders displacing 130 cubic inches each—and the 60 launched itself out of the hole as we left harbor, reaching 20 knots in 15 seconds and recording a two-way maximum of 32 knots, while effortlessly proving itself master of the conditions.

With its 15.5 degrees of transom deadrise, we found the hull would plane quite contentedly at speeds as low as 15 to 16 knots, which is useful in choppy weather to reduce slamming—although a glance at the fuel consumption data suggests a dip in efficiency at this point, with the 60’s optimum fast cruising speed to be found slightly further along the curve of the graph, at around 22 knots. On all points of the compass, the hull proved well balanced and unflappable, tracking upwind, down and diagonally over the swells with equal aplomb.

We did encounter one handling problem, which Azimut’s trials team had already identified. While hard, high-speed turns to starboard could be executed with great verve and enthusiasm, spinning the wheel over to port proved something of a damp squib, as the hull dug its shoulder in and sulked, producing plenty of spray but little in the way of an actual turn. It felt like the outer rudder—the starboard one—was producing too much lift, and it was explained that this boat, the prototype of the new model, was still undergoing its pre-delivery tests. The solution would be simple, I was told: Turn the rudders slightly outward. It will be the work of a morning.

The Test

Conditions During Boat Test

air temperature: 59ºF; humidity 48%; seas: 3′

Load During Boat Test

260 gal. fuel, 149 gal. water, 5 persons, 100 lb. gear.

Test Boat Specifications

  • Test Engine: 2/800-hp MAN R6 6L
  • Transmission/Ratio: ZF 325-1A reduction gears, 2.037:1
  • Props: 29.9 x 42.1 4-blade NiBrAl props
  • Price as Tested: Upon request

The Numbers

rpmknotsgphnm rangedbangle
6007.23.71,299710.0
10009.910.0659651.5
125012.119.0426702.5
150016.030.1353784.0
175021.840.7360784.5
200026.151.8333794.5
225030.671.3286794.5
235032.077.7273804.5

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht 

Source: powerandmotoryacht.com

Say Hello To The New Lamborghini Huracan Evo

The updated Lamborghini Huracan is here with more power, aggressive styling, and a new name.

The Huracan Evo also features new rear-wheel steering for extra agility and a four-wheel torque vectoring system. At its heart is a new Central Processing Unit that “controls every aspect of the car’s dynamic behavior, fully integrating all of the car’s dynamic systems and set-up to anticipate the next move and needs of the driver, interpreting this into perfect driving dynamics”.

The active suspension has also been updated with instantly adaptable dampers and the all-wheel-drive system now supports power transfer to only one wheel.

As we saw from the leaked photos, the Lamborghini Huracan Evo looks more aggressive than its predecessor thanks to a new front bumper with a splitter that features an aero-enhancing built-in wing. There’s also larger, reshaped air intakes, and the twin exhaust tips are now positioned higher up the car’s rear bumper for a meaner look. An integrated ducktail spoiler further enhances the air flow. Amazingly, Lamborghini claims these styling changes improve the downforce and aerodynamic efficiency more than five times over the first generation Huracan. Rounding off the exterior changes is a new four-layer color called Arancio Xanto and 20-inch Aesir wheels exclusive to the Evo wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires.

Big changes can also be found in the cabin. The center console now incorporates a new 8.4-inch touchscreen with multi-finger gesture control, which can operate functions such as the seats, climate control, and Apple CarPlay. The intuitive interface also supports voice commands and an optional dual-camera telemetry system, while the new Evo trim features a mix of Alcantara and leather, with Arancio Dryope details matching the exterior.

“Lamborghini is intent on leading the advance to the highest level of super sports car technologies and driving emotion. This is the essence of the new Huracán Evo. It takes the extraordinary abilities of the Huracán Performante and combines state-of-the-art vehicle dynamic control to amplify the everyday Huracán driving experience,” said Stefano Domenicali, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini.

“The Huracán Evo is the very definition of evolution: it is a step ahead, redefining the segment parameters. It is remarkably easy to drive, while delivering the most responsive, sensory and agile driving experience, in every environment.”

Deliveries of the Lamborghini Huracan Evo will start in the spring, with prices starting at $261,274 in the US. Additional Style Packs will be available at an additional cost.

Credit:
BY MARTIN BIGG, CarBuzz.com

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The Perfect Three-Day Weekend in Portland, Maine

image credit: travelchannel.com

Travel + Leisure is exploring America one three-day weekend at a time. Here’s what to do on a short trip to the picturesque coastal New England town.

Portland, Maine: an often-buzzed-about, lobster-lover’s paradise where waterfront industry, a dynamic local art scene, and the smell of the sea make for one of the East Coast’s finest north Atlantic escapes. The city has gained much recognition in recent years—and for good reason. Portland has come into its own exciting cosmopolitan moment, developing an impressive collection of restaurants, bars, and breweries while remaining a historic icon of the Northeast. If you’re looking to scout out some of the best seafood and local breweries while catching a salty breeze, head north for a classic New England three-day weekend—itinerary on us.

Day One

If you’re arriving at Portland’s local airport, PWM, it’s only a five-mile drive to where you’ll be staying at the Press Hotel, which is located in the historic Old Port district. Drop your things and take a moment to appreciate the hotel’s history—it used to house the Portland Press Herald headquarters, and gives subtle nods to the newspaper industry through rooms inspired by 1920s writing offices and clever in-house venues like the Inkwell bar.

After settling in, make a beeline to Commercial Street. Sit on the waterfront for an early lunch at one of the city’s best chowder spots, Gilbert’s Chowder House—a local favorite where the vibe is casual and the seafood chowders are award-winning.

Following lunch, head to the Portland Museum of Art at Congress Square, which is home to an impressive collection of European, American, and contemporary art, as well as an active rotation of exhibitions featuring local Maine artists and legendary works from around the world. When you’ve gotten your fill of PMOA, take some time to wander in and out of the many art galleries, thrift shops, and boutiques that line the streets downtown. Be sure to stop in Longfellow Books and the Art Mart.

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When you’ve gotten your fill of exploring, and if you have access to a car, head about eight miles south of Portland to Cape Elizabeth’s Crescent Beach and spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun and salt water. If you’re on foot, walk over to East End Beach on Casco Bay, about a 20-minute walk from the heart of downtown Portland.

image credit: getty images; Robert Chiasson

Go back to your hotel for a glass or two of [R}osé at Inkwell, followed by a relaxing dinner at the Press’s UNION Restaurant, helmed by Maine native chef Josh Berry. Feast on dishes like pan-roasted Maine salmon with summer corn fondue or seared local cod with Maine lobster, clams, and coconut nage.

Day Two

Now that you’ve settled into the city, it’s time to explore what Portland has become very well known for: a thriving local beer scene. After a laid-back morning at the Press, walk about 10 minutes down to Commercial Street to Standard Baking Co. and enjoy organic local pastries and a coffee. Take an hour to stroll the shops of Commercial Street, which was named one of the best streets in the U.S. by the American Planning Association in 2008. Some can’t-miss spots: Portland Dry Goods, Browne Trading Market, Asia West, and Edgecomb Potters.

Now, time for the brews. If you’re traveling by car, it’s no trouble to drive around the greater Portland area to tour various breweries (like the esteemed Allagash Brewery and Bissell Brothers Brewing Company), but the easiest option is to hop aboard the Maine Brew Bus, which leaves for tours from the Craft Beer Cellar on Commercial Street. The bus takes beer lovers from venue to venue on an all-inclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of Portland’s craft breweries. At $55 per person, the tour bus varies which breweries it makes stops at depending on the day of the week and the theme of the tour (tours run midday on weekends and weekdays, lasting for several hours). Breweries include (but are not limited to): Maine Mead Works, Oxbow Blending & Bottling, Geary’s Brewing Co., Rising Tide Brewing Co., Foulmouthed Brewing, Lone Pine Brewing Co., Maine Beer Company, and more.

If you can, do your best to track down the High Roller Lobster truck, which frequents a few of the local breweries (like Bissell Brothers and Oxbow Blending), and sells rolls bursting with fresh Maine lobster on a local brioche bun—add-ons like avocado and bacon are a must-have.

When you return to Commercial Street in the afternoon, you may be ready for a nap back at the hotel. But if you’re looking to walk off the brews, take a stroll on the Eastern Promenade Trail, which snakes along the Casco Bay waterfront and connects to Back Cove Trail.

Make your way back into town for a farm-to-table dinner at Fore Street (which is part of the same local restaurant family as Standard Baking Co.), just a block away from the waterfront. Enjoy a menu that rotates daily, featuring fresh and foraged local fare. After dinner, grab a cone on Exchange Street at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream.

image credit: nypost.com

Day Three

Take your time and enjoy your last morning waking up at the Press—maybe opt for the Baseline massage in the hotel’s Akari Spa. Walk five minutes to Exchange Street to start the day at Blake Orchard Juicery with a freshly pressed juice or smoothie.

Today is all about taking advantage of Portland’s proximity to the ocean. Make sure you’ve got some layers with you (being on the water can get chilly!), walk to Commercial Street, and seek out Odyssey Whale Watch. Spend the day out on the boat trying to spot humpback whales up to 20 miles off the coast of Portland.

When you return to Commercial Street— if you haven’t gotten your fill of seafood yet—grab a late lunch at Portland Lobster Company. You can sit on the outdoor deck and feast on lobster rolls and fried clam baskets, or order from the to-go menu and take your food down to the water at East End Beach for a picnic.

Take the rest of the day to wander around Portland, in and out of shops, galleries, and cafés. Start your evening at a local gem, Eventide, where the fresh oysters on ice greet you the moment you walk in the door. You’ll come for the bivalves and cocktails, and stay for one of Portland’s finest seafood menus—think battered Maine hake, lobster stew, and a quintessential New England clambake.

After getting your fill of seafood, head to Market Street for post-dinner drinks at Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, a modern Scandinavian bar that features a cocktail menu divided into four parts: Refreshing, Adventurous, Classics, and Wild Card. Take your pick and enjoy your last night in Portland over a handcrafted drink. From the bar, it’s just a two-block walk back to the hotel.

source: Ellie Storck is the Digital Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Instagram at @ellienan.

Why a Funky Old Gas Station in Napa Valley Is Now a Mecca for Millennial Wine Drinkers

Tank Garage challenges tradition and draws younger oenophiles

Some entrepreneurs plan out their next business venture in their heads and on their laptops. James Harder spotted his from behind the wheel of his car.

It was 2012, and Harder was driving Foothill Boulevard, a meandering ribbon of asphalt that threads the tiny Napa Valley town of Calistoga, Calif. With a population of 5,311, Calistoga has little in the way of major industry, except of course for wine.

Chateau Montelena, the Kenefick Ranch Winery, Castello di Amorosa—these and scores of other vineyards nestle in the rolling countryside surrounding the town. Wine was the reason Harder was there, too. He and business partner Jim Regusci, scion of the highly respected Regusci Winery, had already collaborated on a number of successful ventures including the T-Vine Winery. But Harder was looking for a new project, a departure from what he’d already done.

That’s when he spotted the abandoned gas station.

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Harder had resolved to take that independent blending style to California, to be a renegade himself. He’d spent his career in the regimented world of traditional winemaking where a cabernet was a cabernet and a merlot was a merlot.

“It was done to death,” he said. By contrast, blending was “an opportunity to remove the handcuffs of conformity.”

So, Harder bought the garage, turned it into a bohemian tasting room and made it the centerpiece of his new brand. Tank Garage Winery, which opened for business in May of 2014, is a small operation that sells one-off wines, some online but mostly inside the old filling station (more on that later). It is not a brand that’s likely to threaten the preeminence of a Colgin Cellars or the dominance of an E. & J. Gallo. But in its colorful nonconformity and manifest coolness, Tank Garage nevertheless represents a significant development in the highly stratified business of wine, one Americans support to the tune of $32 billion annually. It suggests that artfully blended wines can find a place between the established segments of premium labels and mass-market jugs. And perhaps more significantly, Tank Garage also exemplifies how millennial drinkers and their tastes are changing the hidebound world of wine.

The brand is only three years old, but it’s gotten plenty of attention both locally and nationally.

“Tank Garage speaks volumes to the new wave of the region’s wine tasting culture,” Sonoma alternative weekly the North Bay Bohemian reported.

Source: adweek.comRobert Klara