Best of 2011: New Economy, Apps, and Products

Here are our picks for some of the best new products, apps, and developments of the new economy for 2011. For more of our Best Of 2011, visit www.yachtingmagazine.com/BestOf2011.

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Several new products that have come out in the last year — like the ACR Aqualink PLB, the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger and the DeLorme inReach — are bringing an increased ability to communicate location and short text messages from almost anywhere, inexpensively. It won't be long until updating your Facebook status or sending out a Twitter message from the middle of the Atlantic will be as easy as making a phone call at the dock. www.yachtingmagazine.com/electronics

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There’s no doubt that the iPad was a cool invention, but if you’re a mariner, you have to love it twice as much now that Navionics has stepped up with its iPad app. High-definition charts and easy-to-use navigational features make this as compelling as a fancy chart plotter at a fraction of the cost. Easy to carry from home to boat, it’s a perfect planning tool. And — full disclosure — you can download relevant features from Yachting and other marine titles with a tap on the glass as you and your crew approach the next harbor.

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Best Development of the New Economy: “If people think that boatbuilding is a sound financial enterprise, they’re nuts,” said a successful boatbuilder. “You do it because you love it,” as does JB Turner (above, right), managing partner of Front Street Shipyard. During the boom times, this prophetic message was silenced by the shouting and static from investment bankers and financial institutions getting in on the fun and buying boatbuilders for ridiculously large sums. Then the good times came to a screeching halt. From the wreckage emerged independent, passionate boatbuilders, ready to build boats for like-minded yachtsmen. This colorful cast of characters is more concerned with building a quality boat while trying like hell to keep folks employed than with securing the next round of mezzanine financing or phantom stock. Well, we salute you for keeping this industry humming along and interesting.

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