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Melting snow brings up Great Lakes water levels

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ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) -- The rush of snowmelt and rain filling up area rivers and streams is adding inches to Lake Michigan water levels, officials said.

The heavy, wet snow in January, February and March contained a larger proportion of water, compared with the fluffy, lake-effect snows of 2003.

Readings as of March 26 were 7 inches above last year's average levels for March, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But the lake remains 17 inches below its long-term monthly average.   more...

 



Environment  

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UPDATED VERSION OF ACCUMEASURE AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOADING

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UK Sailmakers just posted an updated version of our very popular AccuMeasure software in the download section of our web site. UK Sailmakers' AccuMeasure is a valuable tool for all sailors. With it, you can view pictures of your sails on your computer and take measurements directly off the image. Using digital technology and an easily manipulated high-tech program, you have a state-of-the-art measurement and analysis tool as a member of your team. Along with the program, you can download a Quick Start manual or a full reference manual, both as PDFs.   more...


 



Sailing  

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How To Buy A Sail - Made Easy

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   Buying a new sail should be a pleasure, not a terrifying, difficult or mysterious experience. If you're a bit concerned about this, we'd like to explain the process.
     New sails transform the performance of your boat. They can make your sailing both more comfortable and more fun. As sails age, they lose their aerodynamic shape (as people say, they get blown out); that makes your boat heel more and go slower. With new sails, you will be able to cover greater distances - because you'll sail faster.
     Sails are made to fit your boat, for the kind of sailing you want to do, and the winds and waters you sail in. Each customer and each boat are different. The more information we have about you and your boat, the more accurate our quote can be and the more tailored-for-you we can make your new sails.
     So, here are some questions to think about that will make the buying process easier and insure that you get the sail you want. Our sail consultants are very experienced and can usually make suggestions to help you along, starting with these
8 questions:   more...

 



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WIND, SUNSHINE, FUN - IT MUST BE A CARIBBEAN REGATTA

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Resize of IMG_4309.jpg

Tortola, British Virgin Islands, April 2, 2004 Back to back racing,
roasting Caribbean sunshine and wind touching 12 knots at times launched
day one of the 33rd BVI Spring Regatta today. 

Six races were held for the beach cats, six for the IC-24s, two for the
boats on the Norman Race area and four for each class on the Cooper Race
area courses, giving a total of 34 races for the 132 boats competing.

Boats on the windward-leeward Cooper Area race course potentially had six
course permutations to contend with which could include two possible
windward marks, a windward finish line, a leeward finish line and a gate.   more...

 



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Working the Gate

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For nearly a decade, leeward gates have been used to reduce congestion at the leeward mark. Before race committees started using gates, the tactics were simple if you were leading: Protect the inside. But today, gate tactics are more complicated than that. Now you have to ask yourself, "Which gate is closer? Which way do I want to go up the next beat? Where’s the traffic?"

If you’re the boat behind and you have the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to gain. If you choose the correct mark and work the traffic flowing through the gate, you’ll make up distance quickly.   more...


 



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When to Jibe-n-Run

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The first jibe after rounding the top mark is always a tough call. When I look at Real Tick's situation in our photo sequence, here's what comes to mind:

Hopefully, these guys have tuned into the traffic report for the upwind starboard-tack layline. In any large fleet, be it Farr 40s, Melges 24s, or Stars, jibing underneath the starboard-tack layline rarely pays, primarily because of the bad air and disturbed from boats coming upwind. In Real Tick's case, there'd better be more pressure on the other jibe, or at least a line of pressure moving across the course, for its move to pay off.  
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Cheyenne and crew cover 497 miles Saturday (avg 20.7 kts)

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Only 500 miles remaining

5-1/2 days+ ahead of Orange I's 2002 RTW pace

Finish line likely tomorrow (Monday) morning around 0900 GMT (approx 58 days 4 hours)Sunday 4 April 2004 - 0510 GMT - 144 miles West of Cape Finisterre, Spain: Sunday morning's report from Steve Fossett and Cheyenne at the end of day 57 on their Round The World Sailing record attempt showed the American skipper and his crew of 12 about to cross Cape Finisterre on Spain's NW corner, 5-1/2 days+ ahead of the existing record pace and only 500 miles from the finish line at Ouessant, France. A Monday morning record finish at Ouessant is now likely.

Friday's outstanding 590 mile run has been followed by a strong 497 miles over the past 24 hours (averaging 20.7 kts) with an excellent weather prognosis for the day to come. Lighter SW winds across the Bay of Biscay today are expected to be followed by better breeze early on Monday, taking the 125' carbon composite maxi-catamaran to the official WSSRC start-finish line at Ouessant's Le Stiff lighthouse around 0900 GMT (11 am local time) - or 58 days 4 hours after their start on 7 February - over 6 days faster than Orange's 64 day 8 hour 37 min 24 sec passage (May 2002). A good portion of this gain has been made over the past week.    more...


 



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Try a dry fly for spring steelies

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By Captain Steve Kunnath and John Vincent


Very few Michigan fly-fishermen have ever tried or even thought of taking a steelhead on a dry fly. The first time I heard about it, I figured someone was pulling my leg. The truth is that it is possible. Dry flies have been used by traditional steelhead fishermen on the West Coast and Atlantic salmon fishermen on the East Coast for many years.
One of the most popular flies for doing this is the bomber. This is a dry fly made mostly of spun deer hair. It has the appearance of an oversized bushy Adams or royal wulff. It does not represent any real insect species on the river.
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Fishing  

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Don't Eat That Fish

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High mercury levels in fish have prompted a new nationwide advisory: The species you bring home could make you sick.
It is the most basic of human rights: to fish for food, to take from the bounty of our waters a healthy meal for ourselves and our families. The practice is as old as mankind, from a caveman bent over a river with a sharpened stick to a modern angler powering a cast into the waves with a surf rod. But that right is under a grave threat.

Most fishermen today are familiar with some form of fish consumption advisories, because almost every state has waters that are contaminated by industrial chemicals or other toxic substances such as dioxin or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Dealing with toxins is one of the sadder facts of being a sportsman in the modern world. And while federal and state agencies have made progress in reducing many kinds of water pollution, one poisonous substance is very much on the increase, and it may turn out to be more dangerous than all the others combined.    more...

 



Environment  Fishing  

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How Other Sailors Learned

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Every sailor has a story about how he or she got interested in the sport and began to understand the forces at play. For me, it was at Henderson Harbor Yacht Club on Lake Ontario that it all began. I had never seen a sailboat "pop-a-wheelie" before, but sure enough, my brother managed to ram the sailing school's 14-foot Bantam into, and right up onto the dock, where it hung with its bow pointing skyward at a crazy angle, sails still straining in the broad-reach position. The boat rocked lightly back and forth tilted to port as its dazed crew spilled out onto the dock.   more...

 

 



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Surviving in Light Air

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Late summer makes for a good time to consider sailing in light air. For me, there are a few good things about racing keelboats in light air: You don’t get wet, you will have a very smooth motor back into the harbor. Well, that’s about it. Let’s not kid ourselves. Keelboat racing in a drifter is no thrill ride, but all sailors are faced with it from time to time. If you look at the statistics for North America, light air (winds from zero to seven knots) is more the rule than the exception. The good news is that by focusing on a few key areas you can speed up the race and reduce the drudgery—concentration, clear air, and momentum.  more...

 



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Fitness for Every Sailor

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Admit it. If you're like most weekend warriors on the sailboat racing scene, chances are your pattern of activity during a regatta goes something like this: Day One—race hard and then stand around rinsing down some alcoholic refreshment until its time to eat dinner and do a little more rinsing. Then you go to bed. Day Two—Repeat, rinse again, and so on. From a standpoint of physical conditioning, that behavior isn't too harmful for a brief duration, but over a weeklong regatta, it's nearly the quickest way to wear your body down. I'm speaking from experience here.    more...

 



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Wrecks lure divers to tour Great Lakes

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Divers brave the frigid Great Lakes to tour preserved wrecks such as the schooner Kate Kelly, in Lake Michigan.Like tourists in an underwater museum, divers in the Great Lakes explore shipwrecks searching for remnants of clothes, containers of food or even floating human remains.

Divers say it's becoming a popular hobby to journey into the thousands of schooners, steamers and other sunken ships embedded in the depths of the Great Lakes.

``It's kind of like exploring a haunted house underwater,'' said Michael Haynes, who teaches diving lessons in Menomonee Falls, Wis. ``You start to imagine what it was like aboard that ship. You're touching history.''   more...

 



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Rocky year expected at city pier

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PhotoPORT CLINTON -- In February 2003, paddle boat operator Ed Ellis boldy proclaimed that -- unless Port Clinton leaders offered him a docking contract -- "the end of that (Jefferson Street) pier will be so desolate there's going to be tumbleweed blowing down it."

One year later, his prediction appears somewhat prophetic.

  • Island Rocket executives have indicated they will not operate ferries in Port Clinton this season, City Councilman Terry Witter said.

  • Zephyr, the 90-foot island hopper that operated from the Island Rocket terminal last summer, could be officially gone within weeks.

  • And "For Sale" signs decorate Ellis' paddle boat building.
  • more...

     



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    Asian carp threat no laughing matter to water life, fishermen

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    It's time to get the old boat ready for a season of fun. Now is a good time to make sure the mechanical parts are in good working order, the safety equipment is properly checked and your carp guards are in place.

    Carp guards?

    If you have been reading the news recently, you might already be aware of why some Midwest boats are beginning to resemble armored personnel carriers: Asian carp, specifically the bighead and silver carp. This fishy duo is garnering more and more press as they become widespread throughout the Midwest.

    Asian carp were believed to have entered the lower Mississippi River in the late 1970s during floods that spilled over into fish farming ponds where the carp had been used to control vegetation. From there, they have spread upstream.    more...

     



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