More RVs That Float. Really.

When I had posted that Winnebago had purchased Chris Craft, a boating company, I tossed out a joke that Winnebago was about to make RVs that float.

Turns out that somebody has already done that.

There’s something just not right about a floating RV.

Hot Skin

I’m part of the Newmar Motorhome and Fifth Wheel Owners Facebook group and I came across this post:

Purchased our 2010 Ventana DP new we love it HOWEVER, we have developed a little problem I could use some help on. Each time we touch counters, sink, appliances (anything) we get a shock which in some cases is visible to the naked eye. Problem started a couple of months ago and am quite uncomfortable with the issue. Suggestions to why and possible solutions would be appreciated.

From there, I came across the term “Hot Skin”. This problem occurs when you get a shock by touching surfaces on your RV. The condition can cause a very dangerous and life-threatening electrical shock:

The reason we don’t notice this Hot-Skin condition until it’s too late is that an RV is basically a big metal frame sitting on rubber tires. And those tires act as electrical insulators just like the rubber surrounding the metal wire of your extension cord. That means that the skin of your RV can be electrically charged with 30, 60 or even 120 Volts with no visual indication of the problem until you complete the connection to the earth with your hand. Then because your own body provides a low resistance path to earth […], current will flow through you to the ground. How much current is really the subject of another article, but if your hands and feet are wet your body becomes a 1,000-Ohm resistor connected from your hand on the doorknob to your feet on the ground. This will allow over 100 mA (milliamperes) of electrical current to flow through your heart. Tests have shown that as little as 10 mA to 20 mA of a 60-Hz current (what comes out of your electrical outlet) can cause your heart to go into fibrillation (essentially a heart attack). So you can easily get 10 times the current needed to kill yourself from a 120-volt outlet.

This story highlights the tragic death of a young boy, Landyn Keener, only 3 years old, killed when he left the family’s RV.

Hot Skin is fairly common. Children and pets are particularly vulnerable to hot skin electrocution.

How does Hot Skin occur?

A Hot Skin condition can be caused by plugging into power that is not properly grounded or where the power has the polarity reversed. It can also be caused by wiring problems within the RV itself.

The important takeaway for me? Get a digital voltmeter or a non-contact voltage tester and check the coach every time we connect to power.

Blowing In The Wind

The Forest Sandpiper:

The Sandpiper is built to last using only the best materials to ensure that your coach is in it for the long haul. Careful engineering, well appointed craftsmanship and an uncompromising sense of pride go into every fifth wheel that we produce. Rest assured that your Sandpiper is built for luxury living.

To which I might add, remember to tie the Sandpiper down. It might try to lift off in high winds. And when it does, it might not last very long at all.

When I watched the video by KXAN below, a few thoughts quickly came to mind.

I hope the owners are okay.
I hope they had insurance that covers their loss.
Why was their fifth wheel the only one to blow over?

RVs That Float

Interesting news release from Winnebago:

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (NYSE:WGO), a leading outdoor lifestyle product manufacturer, today announced that it has acquired Chris-Craft, an iconic recreational boat builder, from Stellican Ltd., which has owned Chris-Craft since 2001. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With a brand heritage that dates back to 1874, Chris-Craft is an industry leader in recreational boating craftsmanship and quality. The business is poised to leverage its strong brand reputation and drive future growth through the introduction of new models and product lines, category extension opportunities supported by increased production capacity and expanded dealer reach.

“Chris-Craft is an iconic, premium brand that shares many similarities with our own heritage Winnebago brand, including a commitment to providing customers with the highest quality products and services,” said Winnebago Industries President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Happe. “The company’s strong brand, high-quality product line and premium position in the marine market make Chris-Craft an attractive addition to our portfolio. Chris-Craft marks Winnebago’s first entry into the marine market, which we believe has significant runway for growth, with a large and increasing population of current and new boaters who enjoy extraordinary experiences on the water.”

Mr. Happe continued, “Importantly, this acquisition aligns with our strategic initiative to further diversify Winnebago Industries within the outdoor lifestyle market and gives us a strong base on which to build an additional revenue platform over time. We believe there will be synergies realized across our value chain and that the Chris-Craft business has material expansion opportunities available. Additionally, we see significant intersection between the RV and marine lifestyles and view marine as a natural adjacency to our existing outdoor lifestyle portfolio, with similar customer demographics and significant ownerhip crossover. With a broader, more balanced portfolio of products uniquely positioned across the outdoor lifestyle and leisure travel industries, we expect to continue to drive improved profitability and shareholder value over the long term. I look forward to working with the talented Chris-Craft team and to welcoming them to the Winnebago family.”

“I am delighted that Chris-Craft has found an ideal partner in Winnebago Industries,” added Chris-Craft Chairman and Stellican Ltd. Founding Partner, Stephen Julius. “Winnebago is a natural fit for Chris-Craft’s premium brand, with a similarly iconic brand, complementary cultures, and a shared dedication to design, craftsmanship, quality, and customer service.”

Financial details about the deal are limited although Winnebago made the following observations to their investors:

  • Undisclosed transaction value, expected to be paid with cash on hand and debt
  • Provides platform to drive expanded revenue growth opportunities
  • Transaction expected to be immediately accretive to fiscal 2019 EPS
  • Continue to expect to reach our goal of 1.5x or lower Debt-to-EBITDA by end-Fiscal 2018

Interesting to see an RV manufacturer diversify this way. Chris Craft is primarily focused on outboard and sterndrive boats although they do offer one cruiser, the Commander. Perhaps Winnebago intends to go further upscale and leverage common components in systems that tend to crossover between RVs and marine. They do note in the investor material that Chris-Craft’s current focus is primarily on 21-38’ boats. And that 90% of all boats sold in the U.S. are < 25’.

Another RV Catches Fire

Photo from this CTV post.

Another motorcoach randomly catching fire. This one on Highway 403 near Brantford, Ontario. I don’t have much in the way of detail.

From the photo, it looks as though the car was a toad and that the fire originated in the engine compartment.

A diesel pusher with a single drive axle. I can’t make out the model. The mirrors hang down from the roof and the radiator is on the side. Those attributes would suggest a more expensive motorhome. I make out what appears to be an air horn on the top driver’s side. That would suggest an older motorhome.

The logo on the side is hard to make out but the first two words read: “Jesus Christ” with some kind of symbol and the word “Freedom” underneath.

I hope the owners are okay. Looks like the firefighters caught the flames relatively early.