METS 2019

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METS (Marine Equipment Trade Show), held annually in Amsterdam over three days, is the world’s largest boats and marine equipment trade show. This year’s attendance reached 17,792, with 1,670 exhibitors from around the globe. Exhibitors range from superyacht builders and marine yards, to yacht designers, to engineering and composite products companies, to manufacturers of anything boating related, including engines, connectivity systems, stainless steel products, sanitation systems, fenders, propellers and anchors.

We managed to visit every booth over the course of three days and had an excellent time learning about products old and new. Talking to the system designers is really interesting and one of the strengths of METS is that oftentimes very technical representatives are there. We also were able to spend time with several acquaintances in the boating industry, meet in person some we’d only corresponded with via email, and make some new ones.

Below are trip highlights from November 19th through 21st, 2019 at METS in Amsterdam. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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At the entrance on the opening day of METS. The crowds look bad, but most attendees had e-tickets and were scanned and issued a badge in literally seconds. It was incredibly efficient. We plan to walk the entire show, so we’ll need a good plan of attack, and comfortable shoes.
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A Yamabisi outboard. There were a surprisingly large number of outboard motors from China that you’ve never heard of that looked remarkably like outboard motors that you have heard of.
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Talking with Frederic Algalarrondo of MaxSea International, the producer of the navigation software we use, TimeZero. We had a question about a feature we’d seen on one of the commercial boats we’d toured in Donso, Sweden and Frederic was super-helpful in answering and making recommendations.
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Torqeedo, a company we know mostly for their small electric outboard motors, had a huge booth at METS. They’ve expanded significantly beyond small electric outboards and their product line now includes larger inboard motors and hybrid drives. This is a 360-volt high-capacity lithium battery system for Deep Blue Hybrid, their hybrid drive system designed for yachts up to 120 ft, commercial boats, and ferries.
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Yacht Devices
Digital switching and control systems are becoming increasingly popular, with many on display at METS. We hadn’t seen the company Yacht Devices before—they produce a wide variety of NMEA 2000-compatible sensors and devices.
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Naval Yachts
Rob Westermann of Artnautica 58 Britt introduced us to, from left, Baris Dinc, Dincer Dinc, and Michael Schrodt. Brothers Baris and Dincer own and run Naval Yachts of Turkey that specializes in aluminum boats. They currently are building XPM78 Mobius, designed by Artnautica architect Dennis Harjamaa. Michael will also be building an XPM78 at Naval Yachts, with plans to charter in Greenland.
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GS Composite
This carbon gangway from GS Composite was amazingly lightweight.
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SIMARINE’s PICO battery monitoring system includes state of charge, time until discharge, current voltage and draw in a nice bright graphical display.
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PowerTech Systems
PowerTech Systems was one of many METS exhibitors displaying Lithium batteries and managements systems. PowerTech focuses on industry-standard form factors that can just be dropped in place, including the popular 8D.
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The HydrauNautic portable crimper can put permanent crimps on high-pressure hydraulic hoses in place. One of the challenges of replacing hydraulic hoses is the crimping is usually done at the hose supplier and when the hose gets back to the boat it may be too long or too short. A portable system allows the hoses to be cut and crimped exactly right without any delay.
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The ColdChili is one of a very large number of manufacturers that are producing similar form factors and capacities to the popular Dometic units.
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This 6kW Coelmo generator was one of a large number of generator manufacturers showing their products that we’d not heard of before. This unit uses a water-cooled generator end.
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A large and beautiful windlass from Italwinch.
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A stacked display of many members of the Victron inverter/charger line. The bottom one is a beast: a 48V, 15kW inverter.
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Here’s a fun little idea. When tenders are left for long periods of time, they often fill with water and sometimes sink. Drainman uses the slight motion of the boat on the bow line to keep the boat pumped dry.
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When cleaning the hull, we use a suction pad smaller but similar to what is used to move large panes of glass around. The YachtGrabber is a similar idea, but they’ve just made everything much easier to do. It locks on only requiring one hand, can be released with the touch of a thumb, has no metal parts so won’t corrode, and floats so it won’t be lost. And yes, we have done that. :)
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A really nicely-designed digital steering system from Kobelt, that will be put into market early next year. A member of the development team was there to demonstrate its use. It’s really interesting to be able to talk to the system designers and one of the strengths of METS is that oftentimes very technical representatives are there.
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Jordan Shishmanov of Across Ocean Systems was at METS to demonstrate his Vitals line of NMEA 2000 sensors, actuators, and displays aimed at making NMEA2000 more affordable. The Vitals product line are all interconnected by NMEA 2000 and includes an easy-to-read graphical display system with a flexible alarm system that can be configured to your exact needs. For sensors, Vitals has digital input (detect whether a devices is off or on), digital output (turn a device off or on), and analog input (for example sensing voltage levels).

It was particularly interesting to meet Jordan since he is both the inventor and designer of the Vitals system and he was happy to show every aspect of the hardware systems and talk about how the system works in detail. Over the past year we have corresponded with Jordan by email since we’re both interested in NMEA 2000 systems so it was good to have a chance to meet him at METS.

The Vitals product line is distributed by Kobelt: Vitals Vessel System Monitoring and Smart Alarm Device.

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We’ve been huge fans of commercial knuckle cranes for years, so this offering caught our interest. Opacmare had done a long-reach knuckle crane with beautiful yacht-quality finishing.
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Jamie Broadbent
We dropped by the KVH Industries booth at METS to catch up on their latest innovations. We have been very dependent upon the KVH VSAT systems to stay connected since before we left Seattle back in 2012. We’re currently using the V7hts (high throughput satellite) system and we are quite happy with its performance and reliability. Here’s us with Jamie Broadbent, the KVH Value Added Services Manager, who has helped us with KVH decisions and issues for many years.
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Chris Watson
James talking to, from left, Chris Watson (KVH Senior Director Marketing) and Jamie Broadbent (KVH Value Added Services Manager) in the KVH Industries booth at METS.
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The outboard power race continues. This is a 425HP, 5.6L V8 from Yamaha. It’s an impressive engine, but this cutaway is particularly interesting, showing most of the internal details of the engine.
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Helm remote controls are getting more and more popular, where thruster, engine and transmission controls can be carried in your hand. Dockmate and Yacht Commander are two of the better-know suppliers.
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SC Puffin
Skipper Arie Ruud Lievaart did an impressive job of safely backing the 70ft (21 m) SC Puffin into the slip behind us while we were at METS (footage from our aft video camera). It’s a fairly tight fit, with the bowsprit overlapping the swim platform on Dirona.
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Seafood Bar
After a fun, but full day at METS, we had a delicious fresh seafood meal at Seafood Bar in Amsterdam’s Rokin district along the metro route home.
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We spent much of our second day at METS in the superyacht, marina and yard industry pavilions. Here we are at the Schottel booth. Schottel is a German engineering company founded in 1921. They are best known for azimuthing propulsion systems, and actually invented the Z-drive back in 1950. The conventional Z-drive deployment has the engine driving a transmission, and then the Z-drive system with the prop, with the Z-drive being able to deliver propulsion in any direction. Schottel’s Z-drive systems are very popular choices in tug boats, but they also are used in small and mid-sized passenger vessels as well.

Tug boats are rated on Bollard pull, and pilots and ship owners chose the maximum bollard pull possibly needed for their job. The tug will just about never need this maximum bollard pull, but it needs to be there for safety. The Schottel representatives at METS explained this is an ideal application for a hybrid propulsion system, where a smaller diesel engine is used but, in addition, a motor/generator is also installed. This allows the rarely-used maximum bollard pull to be generated with the main engine on max and the electric motor running flat out.

In the more common ship assist case, just the smaller and more efficient diesel can be used. And when the tug is waiting for ships to assist or just moving around itself, it can use just the electric motor. This very efficient design is a variant of what we saw on the two oil tankers and the fish boat we toured at Donso, Sweden.

Schottel explained to us that this same approach is useful on superyachts, where they occasionally need 30 to 40 kts speed when the owner is in a rush, and this requires massive horsepower. But in the common case, the boat is moving at more efficient speeds. Again the combination of the maneuverability of a Z-drive coupled with the efficiency of hybrid operation provides an environmentally more efficient package that still is capable of high speed.

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The massive 24.2L MAN V12-2000 produces 1471 kW (1972HP).
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Maxwell 32
This huge Maxwell 32 windlass dwarfs the Maxwell 3500 on Dirona.
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Radio Zeeland
Beautiful bridge console by Netherlands-based Radio Zeeland.
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A 338-HP Cox diesel outboard.
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The huge VEEM Gyro 120SD is designed to provide stabilization underway or at rest on yachts and commercial boats between 50 to 130 tonnes. Dirona falls just into the lower end of that weight range, but this would take up our entire engine room.
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James trying out the new Steelhead davit remote controls with Jake Burns of AdvanTec, the company that owns Steelhead davits.
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Steve D’Antonio
Lunch with marine consultant Steve D’Antonio. We last saw Steve here in Amsterdam a year ago and had a great time catching up. Steve is a wealth if information on all things boating and is particularly interested in high-latitude travels.
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Some Veem propellers include the interceptor strip, a small plastic inset in the trailing edge of the propeller. This strip gives the prop more lift at only a slight increase in drag and is similar in design to a Gurney flap in aerodynamics. Veem uses these to tune the pitch of a propeller in the water without having to lift the boat out of the water or remove the props. These plastic strips allow effective prop pitch to be increased or decreased by changing the thickness of the plastic strip inset into the trailing edge of the prop.
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More automation and control systems, this one from Boning Ship Automation.
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The Biomaster biological sewage treatment plant by DVZ Services uses a unique stainless steel filter.
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Flying Carpet
Flying Carpet, by Termomeccanica “EOLO”, is a great idea to transport people and goods on and off a yacht without stairs or gangways.
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Naiad model 820 fin actuator assembly designed to provide stabilization at rest and underway for yachts 54-84m long.
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Propflex T
In a conventional straight shaft drive system, propeller thrust is transfered through the prop shaft to the engine and through the engine mounts to push the boat. This has several side effects, including that propeller shaft alignment must be precisely set, and the engine mounts must be stiff enough to transfer both vibration but also the entire thrust of the propeller. The Propflex T system is one of several approaches where boat drive-line thrust is transfered to a bulkhead in behind the transmission. In this design, the boat is driving through this thrust bearing and the engine is floating free. Since the boat is not driving through the engine mounts, they can be more compliant and better insulate the rest of the boat from engine noise. In some designs, this also allows less precise engine alignment. The bearing pictured above is the thrust bearing and flex plate in the Propflex T system.
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The CELLWeaver router provides a single high-speed internet connection by combining multiple cellular data connections. In this design, CELLWeaver delivers the equipment with four cellular radios which will form four connections back to their central servers. Then all internet traffic on the boat is striped over all four channels and reassembled at the server side. This effectively gives four times the bandwidth of a single cellular connection, and can provide redundancy to transparently work through connection faults. In addition to CELLWeaver, other providers such as Peplink offer similar services.
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A very large superyacht anchor at the Wortelboer booth.
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Poly Ropes
A nice approach by Poly Ropes to keeping power cords looking good by enclosing them in a polyester silk casing. It does dramatically increase the required storage space though.
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Cummins QSB 6.7
A nice cutaway of the Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel engine on display by Cummins France.
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This heavy-duty balloon fender from DAN-FENDER of Denmark is 43 inches (1100mm) in diameter. The picture behind Jennifer shows an even bigger model at 64 inches (1650mm).
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A Hyundai marinized engine. We were amazed at the number of engine suppliers taking popular over-the-road or industrial engines and marinizing them.
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Northern Lights
A great conversation with Donald Williams, New Product Development Manager at Northern Lights. The Northern Lights team always has interesting and innovative new designs underway, so its fun to catch up on what’s coming to market.
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Nordhavn Eastern Mediterranean
Riza Cagdas Cakir leads the Nordhavn Eastern Mediterranean office in Gocek, Turkey. Riza was involved in the decision to add a Nordhavn world-wide production facility in Turkey. The Nordhavn sales and support network continues to expand world-wide.
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End of Day
It’s been an incredibly busy couple of days at METS and here’s what the facility looks like after 17,792 visitors have headed off to their evening activities.
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Carbon foil at Gurit composite engineering. Gurit was the principal engineer and a key material supplier for 2018-launched Charal, a next-generation of the IMOCA 60 class of racing yachts designed specifically as a foiler.
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Composite Propeller
This is an interesting approach that we haven’t seen before. Here a bronze propeller hub holds four composite blades. The primary advantage of this design is the blade flex changes the prop pitch under different loads, reportedly improving efficiency. It’s hard to know how much of that will actually be realized, but there’s clearly less rotating mass, so we could imagine there being less sensitivity to balance and being able to change between forward and reverse more rapidly.
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Sicomin Epoxy Systems was demonstrating their MaxCore engineered sandwich construction product. Carbon fiber reinforcements inserted at multiple orientations into a core provide high shear strength in a thick foam core composite. Their target markets are places with high loads where very thick cores are required to get the needed strength-to-weight ratio. It may have application in boats, but it will also give architectural designers the ability to have very long unsupported spans. The primary advantage is architectural freedom over lower-technology materials.
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Dixie Electric
A beast of an alternator from Dixie Electric. We spent a fair bit of time at their METS booth last year and described their products in 13.2 kW Alternators and Beyond. This year they had an even bigger alternator on hand, this one producing an amazing 600A at 24V, which is 14.4 kW. That’s more power than the entire main generator on Dirona.
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An Oxe diesel outboard based on a four-cylinder General Motors diesel engine. They also had on display a pre-production version of a larger outboard based upon a BMW six-cylinder diesel.
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Ben Ellison (right), former owner and publisher of the highly-respected Panbo marine electronics site, introduced us to the new owner and publisher, Ben Stein. If you haven’t spent time on the Panbo site and you care about marine electronics, you really should. Panbo covers most gear available, takes the time to dig deeply and get into the details, and presents it all in a comfortable, easy-to-read form.

We first met Ben Ellison back in 2016 while in Belfast, Maine where he interviewed us for a typically-detailed Panbo post: MV Dirona: deep cruising, deeply shared. Our paths often cross at boat shows. We haven’t met up with Ben since last year at METS and enjoyed seeing him again and meeting Ben Stein. Both have a deep knowledge of boating, particularly marine electronics and communication systems—we could spend hours talking with them.

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At the Carling Technologies booth with Kip Wasilewski, Director of Sales for Maretron, and Peter Hayden, who is building Nordhavn 6837. Readers of our blog know we’re heavy Maretron users and big fans. We’re always are eager to learn about any new products or services from Maretron and were particularly excited to learn that they’re moving away from the proprietary Adobe Air product to standard HTML5 for their N2KView user interfaces.
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Closing METS 2019
Forklifts and crates filled the parking lot out front as the 1,670 METS exhibitors tear down their booths and prepare them for shipping.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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4 comments on “METS 2019
  1. John S. says:

    The hybrid drive systems sound efficient but perhaps overly complex. If you have a main engine, a motor/generator unit plus a separate dedicated generator, does the engine room become a crowded maze? Three separate engine/motors to keep serviced, plus a very sophisticated system management process to master and maintain. Flexible, efficient but expensive and complex>?

    • It sounds complex but it’s actually not in some applications. The first example is from the regional oil tanker business (written up in more detail here: These tanks operate in canals and near to shore so need to have a redundant engine for regulatory reasons. But a single engine is more efficient. So, a nice approach is to install an efficient single engine configuration with a motor/generator installed on the back of the transmission over the shaft. They now have the redundant power they need for regulator reasons in a more efficient single engine package. And, from a complexity perspective, they are using 1 engine rather than 2 so it’s simpler.

      These near shore oil tanks need the power to work against big winds, big currents, with full load so they need to have excess power. But, in the hybrid design, they can be configured with an engine sized to the normal case which is more efficient. In the unusual case where they need more power, they can use both the motor/generator and the main engine to get full emergency power.

      In my opinion, it’s a pretty nice design for ships that only rarely need high power but in a high percentage of the time only need medium power. My regional oil tanker is an example of that application. This characteristic also applies to tug boats but they also spend much of their time waiting or slow steaming with nothing in tow. The hybrid design is a particularly nice design for these boats where they can run in 3 modes: 1) motor only at very low speed either on battery or on a small generator, 2) medium power mode where the boat is running on the main engine and it’s also providing all house power (no gen) through the motor/generator unit, and 3) max power where they main engine and the motor/generator together deliver max bollard pull.

      Any boat that has high variability of power requirements or has regulator/business requirements for very high power but typically needs far less, is a candidate for a hybrid design.

  2. John S. says:

    Thanks for interesting review of new and interesting gear at METS. Anything impressive enough for you to add to Dirona in the future?

    • Good question. The equipment I found most exciting isn’t really appropriate for post-build installation. What caught my interest in the biggest way was the hybrid drive systems being used in Tugs, regional tanks, fish boats, and starting to get installed in super yachts. In these designs the transmission has a very large power take off and a motor/generator unit is attached. When the main engine is running, the motor generator unit driven by the transmission power take off supports the entire house power loads. Having only a single engine running is more efficient and requires less maintenance. But the motor/generator unit also allows a smaller and more efficient main engine to be used. For peak prop output, they start a dedicated generator to run house loads and also drive the motor/generator unit as a motor increasing peak prop power. When little power is required, the main engine is shut off and a smaller generator supplies house power and drives the boat through the motor/generator unit. I really, really like this over all design approach. it is very flexible and allows tailoring the system for maximum efficiency.

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