The “Bandit” Sneaks into YVR – Cathay Pacific Begins A350 Service to Vancouver

Cathay Pacific's first A350 from HKG to YVR is ready for a tug to pull it to the gate

Cathay Pacific’s first A350 from HKG to YVR is ready for a tug to pull it to the gate

Almost 35 years ago, Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) began its international expansion to North America, flying a Boeing 747-200 from Hong Kong (HKG) to Vancouver, BC (YVR). It was the first airline to fly nonstop between the two key Pacific Rim cities, and on Tuesday morning, Cathay Pacific introduced a new aircraft type on the route.

The airline’s Airbus A350-900XWB, B-LRI, touched down in the pouring rain just after sunrise, almost an hour ahead of its 8:00 AM scheduled arrival time. I was with the media group, set up on the south ramp for the A350’s expected arrival on YVR’s runway 08R. But just a few minutes before landing, the plane’s approach was changed to the north runway, 08L.

From over a mile away, this was the best I could get of the CX A350 landing on YVR's north runway.

From over a mile away, this was the best I could get of the CX A350 landing on YVR’s north runway

Everyone scrambled back into the bus, which stopped just as the A350 broke out of the clouds on short final. We were still over a mile from the threshold, and everyone tried to get a shot of the plane, with varying success. I felt bad for the YVR Planespotters group – about 20 people had braved the weather to watch the landing from the viewing area on the south side of runway 08R/26L. They were even further away when the A350 appeared, but at least enjoyed the coffee and doughnuts brought over by YVR’s social media maven, Chris Richards.

Cathay Pacific's "Brushwing" logo on its A350's sharklets

Cathay Pacific’s “Brushwing” logo on its A350’s sharklets

We made it to the ramp just as the A350 was pulled onto the gate by a tug. Even in the teeming rain, the swooped sharklets adorned with the airline’s “Brushwing” logo gave the plane an elegant appearance. The A350 also sported the type’s “bandit mask,” with black highlights around the cockpit windows.

At least I got THIS great shot! Cathay Pacific A350 rotates, on the return flight from YVR to HKG.

At least I got THIS great shot! Cathay Pacific A350 rotates on the return flight from YVR to HKG.

The A350 will fly between HKG and YVR three times per week, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, increasing CX’s frequency between the two cities to 17 flights per week. The introduction of the A350 also represented the first scheduled flight of the type to a Canadian airport – Airbus had previously performed cold-weather testing of the A350 at Iqaluit, Nunavut, in Canada’s North.

Premium Economy and Economy Class seats feature tablet holders.

Premium Economy and Economy Class seats feature tablet holders

CX has configured its A350-900s with 280 seats in three classes. There are 38 lie-flat pods in two business class cabins, 28 seats in a small premium economy cabin, then 214 standard economy seats in two large main cabins, stretching to the back of the plane.

The seats include some of recent improvements in seat design, like tablet holders in the premium economy and economy seatbacks. All seats feature embedded monitors that grow in size from Y- to J-class, and the A350 is also Cathay’s first “connected” aircraft, giving passengers fee-based internet, email, and social media access.

Celebration at the gate for Cathay Pacific's A350 inaugural at YVR - cake & cupcakes for all!

Celebration at the gate for Cathay Pacific’s A350 inaugural at YVR – cake & cupcakes for all!

The A350 is the most recent clean-sheet design to roll out of Airbus’ Toulouse final assembly facility. At the celebratory gate event for the departing passengers, I spoke with Captain Michael Brown, Cathay Pacific’s Deputy Chief Pilot (Airbus). “The A350 is faster, quieter, and it’s the latest technology. Aviation always goes in incremental steps, and this is quite a large step. For example, our 777s burn about 20% more fuel per passenger than the A350 does,” said Captain Brown. “We have 12 A350s in the fleet, and we’re getting them at the rate of one per month, so by the end of this year, we’ll have 22 -900s. And in April of next year we’ll start delivery of 26 of the larger -1000s.”

The post The “Bandit” Sneaks into YVR – Cathay Pacific Begins A350 Service to Vancouver appeared first on AirlineReporter.

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FlatOut 4: Total Insanity review

FlatOut has a notoriously chequered history. While the original games in the destruction racing series fell under a lot of people’s radars, fans regarded them as an alternative to the popular Burnout series and a spiritual successor to the classic Destruction Derby series. Original developer Bugbear Entertainment went on to develop Ridge Racer: Unbounded and new IP Wreckfest, leaving Team6 Game Studios to handle the FlatOut franchise. 

The abominable FlatOut 3: Chaos and Destruction followed in 2011, a PC-only game so wretchedly woeful it nearly wrote off the series for good – not only is it the worst entry in the FlatOut franchise, it’s widely regarded as one of the worst racing games ever released. So, when it was announced that WRC 6 developer Kylotonn and Tiny Rebel Games were developing FlatOut 4 Total Insanity, expectations weren’t very high in the wake of the wreckage left by FlatOut 3. 

The good news is that FlatOut 4 redeems the franchise and is a vast improvement over the last abomination – though that isn’t exactly a difficult achievement. FlatOut 4 is billed as a love letter to the forgotten franchise, and Kylotonn has done a commendable job taking the series back to its roots, capturing the spirit of the original games and pretending that FlatOut 3 never happened.

FlatOut 4: Total Insanity screenshot PS4 Xbox One PC

Boot up FlatOut 4, and there’s a strong sense of deja vu, from the menu design and driver profiles for you to hold grudges against (where are the Benton brothers from the original games?), to the blaring rock, punk and ska soundtrack featuring lesser known artists, though Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic seem to dominate the track listing. 
 

Driven to destruction

Like the previous FlatOut games, causing carnage is just as important as finishing first in races. Rather than rewarding you for clean overtakes, smashing into scenery and ramming into opponents will fill your nitrous boost. It’s a simple mechanic, but it works well, adding a risk versus reward element that made the original FlatOut games so intense. 

Races in FlatOut 4 are fast and furious, thanks to ruthless AI opponents that won’t hesitate to barge into you at every opportunity. Being constantly spun out by rivals tapping you from behind can get frustrating, but that’s the nature of demolition derby-style racing games. 

This aggressive approach to racing can take some adjusting to, but it’s a welcome throwback to destruction racers that flooded the market in previous console generations. In a genre saturated with serious simulations, FlatOut 4 arrives at a time when there’s a strong demand for arcade racers that don’t take themselves too seriously, just as car combat games are starting to make a belated comeback with the recent releases of Carmageddon Max Damage and Gas Guzzlers Extreme, and of course the forthcoming release of Wreckfest when it eventually escapes Early Access.        

FlatOut 4: Total Insanity screenshot 2 PS4 Xbox One PC

The 20 tracks are well designed with a smattering of shortcuts and alternative routes to take advantage of to add variety, as well as dozens of destructible objects to smash into which has always been a staple of the series – it wouldn’t be a FlatOut game without barns to barge into and cones, tyres and fences filling the air during races.

Many locations from previous FlatOut games return, including the fan favourite Water Canal circuit from FlatOut 2 which has you racing through drainages, and the slippery snow track from the original FlatOut with ice patches which can spin you out, as well as lumberyards, factories, a new dusty desert environment and a nerve-racking figure-of-eight circuit designed for close calls and crossroad crashes. 

While the sense of speed is exhilarating when activating nitrous, the tracks haven’t been designed for the insane speeds you can reach. Unless you have super-human reaction times, the narrow routes, tight corners and deviously placed hazards make it difficult to avoid overshooting and slamming into walls and obstacles. Using the nitro in cautious short bursts helps, but it’s a conflicting design decision that causes unnecessary frustration. 
   
There’s a satisfying sense of weight to the cars that makes catching slides and knowing when to use the handbrake is a skill which takes time to master, but the handling isn’t responsive enough to handle the excessive speed gained from nitro boosts. Racing wheel owners will also be disappointed to find that FlatOut 4 doesn’t offer any wheel support on console. While the cars feel weighty, the physics will have you believe they are constructed out of cardboard when you encounter bumps or hit debris.

FlatOut 4: Total Insanity screenshot 3 PS4 Xbox One PC

Case in point: on one track, you cross over a stretch of railway, but unless you approach it at the speed of a snail clipping it will send your car spiralling into the air and bouncing around the track. Colliding into other cars at speed often has a similar effect.   

Given the game’s emphasis on all-out destruction, the damage modelling in FlatOut 4 also leaves a lot to be desired. Sparks fly when metal meets metal, panels flap open and detach, and paintwork gradually scrapes away, but the bodywork rarely deforms. Since this is Kylotonn’s first FlatOut game, it would be unreasonable to expect the damage to be as advanced as the spectacular soft body deformation in Wreckfest, but you would expect it to be an improvement over FlatOut Ultimate Carnage released 10 years ago.

The same can be said for the dated visuals. There are moments when FlatOut 4 looks fetching, particularly with the above average lighting effects, but the environments look unpolished. Generally, FlatOut 4 runs surprisingly smoothly considering all the on-screen carnage, but there are occasional frame rate drops as the game engine struggles to cope under the strain when clusters of cars pile into each other. This lack of refinement suggests that this is a budget release, yet FlatOut 4 is a full priced game – had the price reflected the budget, these blemishes would have been more forgivable. 
 

Hitting a brick wall

FlatOut 4’s career mode is lengthy, comprising of three tiers representing the Derby, Classic and Allstar car classes, each containing racing championships known as cups, as well as one-off events such as time trials and arena deathmatches. There’s a surprisingly steep learning curve, however. Starting with a limited budget, you can only afford an underpowered rust bucket which inevitably gets dominated by the overly aggressive AI.

A wealth of upgrades is available to tune components including your car’s engine, gearbox, and chassis, all of which have a noticeable effect on your car’s performance and strength to make it more competitive, which is essential in later events. Frustratingly, however, cash payouts in the career are paltry, so prepare to do a lot of grinding before you can afford upgrades and new cars. 

When you do eventually save enough cash to buy a new car, most of them remain locked – even if you’re consistently achieving gold medals in events. It would help if the game indicated the requirements to unlock cars in each class because it doesn’t take long before you’ve maxed out the upgrades of your first car and are ready to try something new. It’s the opposite issue to Forza Horizon 3’s overly generous reward system which showers you with money and new cars literally every hour just for playing the game.  

The car selection is varied, ranging from nippy hatchbacks and rugged pickup trucks to powerful muscle cars and a novelty ice cream van. Each vehicle has unique attributes – sportier cars have obvious speed advantages, whereas the ice cream van is so strong it can obliterate anything in its path. Any incentive to progress through the career diminishes, however, when you realise that every car is recycled in each class a with a reskin and better performance – it’s a cheap way to pad out the vehicle selection. There are 27 cars in total, but really there are only nine that are unique. Combine all this with tracks that get repeated far too frequently (half of the tracks are also mirrored versions) in each tier, and FlatOut 4’s career becomes a chore to play far sooner than it should. 

FlatOut 4: Total Insanity screenshot 4 PS4 Xbox One PC

The inconsistent AI behaviour doesn’t help, either. Usually, you’ll either leave the pack in your dust and finish several seconds ahead or languish in last place without any hope of catching up. That’s because FlatOut 4 doesn’t appear to have AI catch up slowing the opposition down to help you make up time if you fall too far behind, or rubber banding to speed them up if you gain a significant lead. Normally, these mechanics would be a cardinal sin in a racing game demanding driver skill, but they’re crucial in car combat games where the focus is on causing carnage. If there isn’t action happening around you all the time, the racing quickly becomes dull. 

Consequently, if you get taken out by the AI (which you frequently will) the time it takes to reset back onto the track will lose you several places, leaving you reaching for the restart button. There are no AI difficulty settings to help ease you in, either. FlatOut 4’s uneven difficulty, erratic physics, and slow career progression often make it more frustrating than fun to play. Sadly, most players probably won’t have the patience to persevere through the overlong and repetitive career.

Crash dummies

Fortunately, the additional FlatOut mode helps alleviate some of that frustration, since it doesn’t suffer from the same pacing problems as the career. Instead of struggling to earn enough cash to buy cars and upgrades, you play through a series of quick-fire rounds with pre-determined cars and unlock events by earning high scores. There’s a better variety of game types too, which makes it less repetitive than the career.

Returning players from FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage will recognise modes like Beat The Bomb where you have to keep your distance from exploding bombs, and Carnage mode where you rack up high scores and combos by smashing into scenery and opponents.

FlatOut 4: Total Insanity screenshot 5 PS4 Xbox One PC

Keeping with the light-hearted spirit of the series, the fan favourite Stunt mode makes a welcome return, allowing you to abuse your hapless driver in a variety of ridiculous ragdoll physics mini-games. It’s slightly sadistic, but unapologetically silly: using a jet-powered car, you speed down a ramp and eject your driver through the windscreen to knock down structures, fly through rings of fire, or aim for a hole in one in a round of driver-flinging golf. 

These mini-games were an amusing novelty before and are still entertaining, but they seem a tad dated now, and the techniques to improve your score aren’t always intuitive. Stunt mode provides plenty of laughs in the local multiplayer party mode, however, where the mini-games have more lasting appeal, but it isn’t playable online which is a missed opportunity, as is the lack of traditional split screen multiplayer racing.
 
Arena matches also return, where the objective is to simply destroy as many opponents as possible or be the last surviving driver – veterans of the classic Destruction Derby series should find this familiar. In FlatOut 4, the anarchic arena events crank up the carnage considerably, but they also highlight the disappointing damage modelling. It will pass the time if you’re in the mood for some mindless fun, but there isn’t much strategy required: you take a sturdy car and simply boost and bash into opponents as fast as possible until they explode. It’s a stark contrast to FlatOut Ultimate Carnage where your damage meter showed the strong and weak points of your car, forcing you to be tactical.  

FlatOut 4 screenshot 6 
Of course, these modes offer nothing new for FlatOut veterans. Unfortunately, attempts to innovative in FlatOut 4 fall flat. New to the series is Assault mode, which adds Mario Kart-style power-ups to the mayhem. Using a similar system to the underrated Split/Second, preserving your boost unlocks power-ups like bollards which appear on the track to create obstacles for unsuspecting opponents, or sticky bombs, flaming wrecking balls, and radial blasts that flip over nearby rivals. 

While taking out multiple cars with a well-timed shockwave leaves you with a smug sense of satisfaction, defending yourself against incoming attacks is virtually impossible. The action also gets so crazily chaotic that winning is often a case of luck rather than skill. It’s enough to lose you an entire cup after a winning streak, but Assault events don’t appear in the career too often, thankfully. You can’t blame the developers for trying something new, but it feels too forced – powerups simply don’t belong in a FlatOut game. 

Online multiplayer offers the same destructive thrills as the single player, with the added satisfaction of being able to smash into human opponents. The action remains smooth throughout, but it needs fleshing out. In contrast to the single player, every car is already unlocked and there are no online rankings, which means there’s also no matchmaking to group players with similar skill levels. 

With no unlocks or recognition for achievements, there isn’t much here to keep you coming back online. That means it’s down to the racing action to keep you engaged, but online events are restricted to only eight players, resulting in secluded races and arena battles – particularly as it’s rare to find a full lobby of players even close after launch, and there’s no option to fill the empty slots with AI cars. Battling against online opponents should have been a highlight in FlatOut 4, but it lacks the intensity of the single player.    

[ai:grid size=2|classp=pull-left|class=img_margin][ai:endgrid]FlatOut 4: Total Insanity repairs the damage done to the series by its diabolical predecessor, but it’s not quite the return to form it could have been – it simply doesn’t do enough to innovative or improve the games that came before it and struggles to find its own identity. There’s fun to be had in the reckless racing and driver-ejecting ragdoll physics mini-games, but the damage modelling is too primitive for a crash-centric racer, the physics and AI are frustratingly inconsistent, and the repetitive career suffers from serious pacing issues. FlatOut 4 fills the void of light-hearted arcade racers for now, but if you’re looking for a game to satisfy your appetite for destruction, you’re better off waiting for Wreckfest.  Source: http://www.teamvvv.com/

Martinsville qualifying canceled; Kyle Larson will start first

Kyle Larson will start first for the second-straight week. (Getty)

The rain is making sure that Kyle Larson’s roll continues.

Larson, who finished second in three-straight races before starting and finishing first in last week’s race at Auto Club Speedway, will start first Sunday at Martinsville after rain washed out Friday’s qualifying session

It rained off and on at Martinsville on Friday and Cup Series teams were able to get on track for practice at noon. But rain after the practice session forced NASCAR to wipe out qualifying as it poured so hard that inspection had to be temporarily halted.

Larson will start first because he’s the series points leader. He admitted Friday that Martinsville wasn’t his best track even though he finished third in the spring a year ago.

“I’m glad to have a 29-point lead coming into Martinsville because this is my worst race track we go to, probably, even though we ran well last year,” Larson said. “I’ve gotten better at it each time, but it’s still not a track where I’m extremely comfortable. I can go fast in qualifying or early on tires, but I struggle at saving my stuff. I’ve got to get better at that. If we can get a top 5 or top 10 here, that would be a huge success.”

The starting order for Sunday’s race is as follows:

1. Kyle Larson
2. Chase Elliott
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Joey Logano
6. Jamie McMurray
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Kyle Busch
11. Ryan Newman
12. Denny Hamlin
13. Kasey Kahne
14. Kurt Busch
15. Erik Jones
16. Trevor Payne
17. Jimmie Johnson
18. Aric Almirola
19. Daniel Suarez
20. Austin Dillon
21. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
22. Paul Menard
23. Ty Dillon
24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
25. Matt Kenseth
26. Michael McDowell
27. Landon Cassill
28. Matt DiBenedetto
29. Danica Patrick
30. AJ Allmendinger
31. Cole Whitt
32. Reed Sorenson
33. Chris Buescher
34. David Ragan
35. Corey LaJoie
36. Jeffrey Earnhardt
37. Gray Gaulding
38. Timmy Hill

– – – – – – –

Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Porsche and Toyota Debut LMP 1 Racecars Ahead of Silverstone Opener

Forget LaFerrari, P1, Regera, and 918, the real hybrid hypercars are those fielded in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Here, both Toyota and Porsche dominate with their respective entries. Drastically different in terms of power units, these two teams want to dominate each other in the most grueling endurance races ever devised, including the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. And with the first race just around the corner — April 15 at Silverstone — both teams have released their 2017 racecars, detailing the differences in how both aim to achieve total victory at this year’s Le Mans.

Toyota WEC TEAM TSO50 Hybrid

Toyota WEC TEAM TSO50 Hybrid

While both feature hybrid systems, that’s where the similarities end. Toyota’s TS050 Hybrid uses a newly-developed Higashi-Fuji 2.4-liter turbocharged V-6 engine coupled to an 8MJ lithium-ion high-power battery unit that combines to produce a staggering 986 horsepower. Additionally, Toyota’s team has further focused on chassis reinforcements and redesigns to ensure that the team doesn’t suffer another heart-breaking near-win failure as it saw at Le Mans last year.

Toyota’s team president, Toshio Sato told Motorsport, “The whole team is motivated and determined for this season. We want to win, there is no doubt about that, but we know it will be an incredibly tough fight with Porsche.”

Toyota TSO50 Hybrid
Toyota WEC TEAM TSO50 Hybrid
Toyota WEC TEAM TSO50 Hybrid 1 1
Toyota WEC TEAM

As for the team from Stuttgart, they’ve been hard at work developing the 2017 car to dominate Circuit Le Sarthe, as well as the rest of the season. With the 2017 Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche is aiming to complete a hat-trick, winning at Le Mans for the third consecutive year and the car itself looks the business as it’s been extensively gone through with 60-70 percent of the car new or greatly redesigned for the 2017 season.

The 919 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged V-4 engine that produces 493 horsepower in conjunction with two separate energy recovery systems that feed the car’s lithium-ion battery powering the front axle. In total, the battery generates an additional 400 horsepower, which gives the 919 Hybrid a net horsepower rating of 893 horsepower. While lower in power than the aforementioned Toyota entrant, the 919 Hybrid aims to be the most efficient entrant, looking to stay out longer and require less fuel than the competition.

Further enhancements to the exterior of the racecar were made to improve its aerodynamics, intakes, and other exterior bits in order to increase its downforce as well as top-speed.

Toyota TSO50 Hybrid

Toyota TSO50 Hybrid

At the car’s launch, Fritz Enzinger, VP of LMP at Porsche said, “Each and every one of the nine endurance races presents a challenge. Reliability is the basic requirement; six hours of navigating around the many cars in the different categories, each driving at different speeds, makes each race unpredictable — and ultimately it is often only seconds that separate the winner from the rest of the field. At four times the duration of other races, Le Mans forms the pinnacle of the series.”

And speaking of the competition, Enzinger elaborated with, “Toyota is set to be a very strong contender in the top-tier LMP1 category for the 2017 season. We will face up to them with a meticulously enhanced Porsche 919 Hybrid and a team of six first-class drivers.”

From these statements by both Porsche and Toyota, it appears the 2017 season will be hotly contested.

Porsche 919 Hybrid
Porsche 919 Hybrid Side
Porsche 919 Hybrid Above
Porsche 919 Hybrid Above 1 1
Porsche 919 Hybrid Finish Line
Porsche 919 Hybrid Front
Porsche 919 Hybrid Front 1 1
Porsche 919 Hybrid Low
Porsche 919 Hybrid Rain
Porsche 919 Hybrid Rear Track
Porsche 919 Hybrid Rear
Porsche 919 Hybrid Side
Porsche 919 Hybrid Track Above
Porsche 919 Hybrid

Porsche 919 Hybrid Rear Track

Porsche 919 Hybrid Rear Track

The post Porsche and Toyota Debut LMP 1 Racecars Ahead of Silverstone Opener appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Charter superyacht Akiko from the Coral Coast to the Kimberleys in Western Australia

34m/111ft motor yacht AKIKO (ex.VvS1) is now available in Western Australia throughout 2017 to provide charters to some of Australia‘s most iconic sites away from the usual destinations surrounding Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef.

Luxury yacht AKIKO - Built by Alloy Yachts

Luxury yacht AKIKO – Built by Alloy Yachts

Discover the wonders on the other side of Australia aboard this beautifully styled luxury yacht, constructed by New Zealand builders Alloy Yachts in 2007 and refitted in 2016 to include all new interiors and the exterior styling by Gregory Marshall. M/Y AKIKO won an award for the Best Displacement Motor yacht of below 500GT (30m to approximately 49.9m) at the World Superyacht Awards 2008, and her on board facilities have been upgraded to keep up to date and future proof.

M/Y AKIKO - Salon

M/Y AKIKO – Salon

The main salon and dining area comprise a single large space towards the centre and aft of the main deck, brightly illuminated during the day by the large window panels that allow natural light to flood inside. Pale American oak, bamboo flooring and wenge inlays form a bright and natural contemporary environment for guests to gather for coffee mornings, films and relaxation.

Superyacht AKIKO - Dining area

Superyacht AKIKO – Dining area

The central staircase is enclosed on three sides by oak-covered walls which form the main salon bookcases and separate the dining area for a more personal dining experience between a maximum of 8 guests.

Alfresco dining on the main deck aft of M/Y AKIKO

Alfresco dining on the main deck aft of M/Y AKIKO

On the main deck aft, a wet bar will serve guests dining alfresco at the shaded lounge-style seating, which make an excellent space for laptops and reading material outside of meal times.

Towards the bow of the bridge deck guests will find space to stretch out in the sun, while towards the aft there is a gym to help guests maintain their fitness regimes while they cruise from one destination to the next.

Teppanyaki grill aboard M/Y AKIKO

Teppanyaki grill aboard M/Y AKIKO

Be entertained while you and your group dine alfresco on the sundeck: the teppanyaki grill is situated right in front of you, so guests can watch their meal being prepared. Sun loungers located on the sundeck aft will give guests a place to sleep off their meal, or to enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Kimberleys along the Australian coast.

Luxury yacht AKIKO has an excellent selection of water toys, including:

  • 2 x Waverunners
  • kayaks
  • a surfboard
  • a paddleboard
  • scuba diving equipment
  • snorkelling equipment, and
  • fishing gear
Luxury yacht AKIKO - Master suite

Luxury yacht AKIKO – Master suite

The on board accommodation sleeps up to 10 guests over 5 cabins which all have en-suite facilities: 1 Master suite, 1 VIP stateroom, and 1 double cabin and 2 twin cabins plus a Pullman berth. A crew of 9 will ensure that every guest has an entertaining and memorable charter experience in one of the world’s unique and less traveled holiday destinations.

Motor yacht AKIKO is available for charter in Western Australia from $115,000 USD per week plus expenses. Find out more about this amazing charter yacht and contact CharterWorld, or find more superyachts available for charter in Australia.

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Explore the Philippines this summer aboard charter yacht ANTONIA II

32m/105ft luxury yacht ANTONIA II is available for charter this summer in the Philippines – a destination where demand for luxury charter yachts far outstrips supply far away from the crowded charter grounds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

M/Y ANTONIA II - Built by Azimut

M/Y ANTONIA II – Built by Azimut

With developed marina facilities and knowledgeable local guides, there is nothing to stop your charter party from experiencing paradise on Earth. Built by Azimut in 2007 and last refitted in 2013, superyacht ANTONIA II has perfectly integrated exterior styling by Stefano Righini and stately interiors by Galeazzi Design.

Luxury yacht ANTONIA II - Formal dining and salon

Luxury yacht ANTONIA II – Formal dining and salon

The main salon and formal dining area create a classic environment with warm brown panelling complementing plush ivory and cream furnishings. Large windows along the port and starboard sides flood the interior with natural light during the day and concentrated lighting in the ceiling illuminates the focal social areas throughout the evening long into the night. The lounge area is ideally situated for group gatherings, with a table and bookcase for daytime study and a comprehensive bar located by the sliding glass doors that lead out onto the main deck aft.

Both the formal dining area and the alfresco option seat up to 8 guests, with the latter offering shade from the midday sun while retaining excellent views of the Philippines bays, beaches and coves.

Superyachts ANTONIA II - Sundeck with Jacuzzi and sunpads

Superyachts ANTONIA II – Sundeck with Jacuzzi and sunpads

Cool off during the day with a dip into the Jacuzzi on the sundeck aft, or dine alfresco with the best views on board and choose whether you want shade or full sun with the retractable cover. A bar and sun loungers add to the outstanding features of the sun deck to make it the favourite spot of sun worshippers and party lovers alike.

The selection of water toys will entertain your party and give you even more from your destination. As well as a 4.5m/15ft tender to get your group to the best secluded beaches, motor yacht ANTONIA II contains: 1 x jet ski, snorkelling equipment, fishing equipment and inflatable toys.

M/Y ANTONIA II - Master suite

M/Y ANTONIA II – Master suite

The on board accommodation is designed for a maximum of 8 guests over 4 cabins: 1 Master suite, 1 VIP stateroom, 1 double cabin and 1 twin cabin, all of which have en-suite facilities.

Superyacht ANTONIA II is available for Southeast Asia charters this summer from $ 75,000-$85,000 per week plus expenses. Reserve your dates or find out more and contact CharterWorld now.

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Tesla Drivers Can Now Draw on the Center Touchscreen

Once again, Tesla has released a completely random Easter Egg feature as part of a software update. This latest one will appeal to your inner artist, or at the very least help you pass the time if you’re stuck at a charging station.

Tesla drivers can now doodle on the car’s center touchscreen and share their drawings with others. Tap on the Tesla logo three times, and the touchscreen turns into a full-on sketch pad. Earlier this week, CEO Elon Musk clued in Tesla drivers to the new feature and posted some of the sketches that users have created.

In the past, Tesla has introduced a host of fun Easter egg features. In addition to a feature that prompted the Model X’s headlights to synchronize to music last year, Tesla introduced Ludicrous Easter-egg modes to improve performance on Tesla P100D vehicles.

We hear the newest Software 8.1 introduces not only the sketch pad but also improvements to Autopilot Hardware 2. Updates to Summon allow drivers to park their cars via either the Tesla mobile phone app or the key fob. Drivers can now engage Autosteer at 80 mph, up from a previous top speed of 55 mph. Of course, drivers should still keep their hands on the wheel and be prepared to take control at all times.

Source: Elon Musk via MarketWatch

2017 Tesla Model S P100D rear three quarter 02
2017 Tesla Model S P100D rear three quarter in motion 02
2017 Tesla Model S P100D side
2017 Tesla Model S P100D launch
2017 Tesla Model S P100D center stack screen
2016 Tesla Model S 60 front three quarter
2016 Tesla Model S 60 front end
2016 Tesla Model S 60 interior

The post Tesla Drivers Can Now Draw on the Center Touchscreen appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Tesla Introduces Sketch Pad Feature for Center Touchscreen

Once again, Tesla has released a completely random Easter Egg feature as part of a software update. This latest one will appeal to your inner artist, or at the very least help you pass the time if you’re stuck at a charging station.

Tesla drivers can now doodle on the car’s center touchscreen and share their drawings with others. Tap on the Tesla logo three times, and the touchscreen turns into a full-on sketch pad. Earlier this week, CEO Elon Musk clued in Tesla drivers to the new feature and posted some of the sketches that users have created.

In the past, Tesla has introduced a host of fun Easter egg features. In addition to a feature that prompted the Model X’s headlights to synchronize to music last year, Tesla introduced Ludicrous Easter-egg modes to improve performance on Tesla P100D vehicles.

We hear the newest Software 8.1 introduces not only the sketch pad but also improvements to Autopilot Hardware 2. Updates to Summon allow drivers to park their cars via either the Tesla mobile phone app or the key fob. Drivers can now engage Autosteer at 80 mph, up from a previous top speed of 55 mph. Of course, drivers should still keep their hands on the wheel and be prepared to take control at all times.

Source: Elon Musk via MarketWatch

2016 Tesla Model S P90D
2017 Tesla Model S front side view
Valentino Tesla Model S steering wheel and dashboard 01
2017 Tesla Model S side view 1

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Spied! Say Hello to the Buick Regal Wagon

Ever since the all-new Opel Insignia debuted at the Geneva auto show, Americans have been chomping at the bit to see the car in U.S.-spec Buick Regal trim. We must be getting very close, as spy shooters just caught a prototype for a Regal wagon testing in Michigan – yes, GM is finally giving us a D-pillared variant of the Regal.

Though the Opel version was already revealed earlier this year, this mule was caught driving on public streets in full camouflage. The front grille retains the horizontal wings of the Opel version, but we can see Buick’s trademark waterfall vertical slats behind it. The badge is also larger than it appears on the Insignia, and we can just barely make out the impression of the tri-shield logo through the camo. We can see a lot of fake bodywork to disguise the profile from the B-pillar back, but there’s no mistaking the Opel Insignia Sports Tourer’s raked rear glass.

Buick Regal Wagon Side

Buick Regal Wagon Side

As we’ve reported previously, the Buick Regal is expected to be offered in five-door and wagon variants just like the Euro-market Insignia. GM will end Regal production at its Ontario, Canada, plant this year, which means the Regal is likely to be produced exclusively in Germany at Opel’s Rüsselsheim plant alongside the Insignia. Given the recent sale of Opel to French automaker PSA, it’s unclear how long Buick will have access to Opel’s models. The Insignia offers both gas and diesel options in Europe, all mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the drivetrain lineup may be different for the U.S. A torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system is also available in Europe.

Expect the Buick Regal to make its debut soon, possibly at the New York auto show in April.

Buick Regal Wagon Rear Moving
Buick Regal Wagon Side
Buick Regal Wagon Front
Buick Regal Wagon Front

Buick Regal Wagon

Buick Regal Wagon

The post Spied! Say Hello to the Buick Regal Wagon appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Comes With Baggage

The good people at Blackburn have made their featurette free. The movie shares some great history and background on people who ride crazy-long distances with stuff strapped to their bikes. And, perfect for a Friday after a long work week. The synopsis

Comes With Baggage is a lighthearted history of bicycle travel in the Americas, that makes you want to sell your possessions, quit your job and escape on a bike. Past and current footage, along with interviews of bike pioneers, makers and historians are combined to give a unique perspective on where bicycles can take you, both physically and spiritually.

The post Comes With Baggage appeared first on Bike Hugger.

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