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2 People, Four Oars, 2,900 Miles

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In 1966 Sir Chay Blyth CBE BEM rowed across the North Atlantic with John Ridgway from Cape Cod on the North American Coastline to Ireland. Their epic journey took place in a 20ft open dory named the "English Rose III" and during their 92 day passage they faced hurricanes, fifty foot waves and a near starvation diet. Their voyage was a challenge, a test of strength and endurance and an opportunity that just had to be taken up.

More than three decades later, a fleet of double handed teams in identical 24ft ocean rowing boats are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime as part of the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race 2003. The third in a trilogy of successful Ocean Rowing Races organised by Sir Chay Blyth's Challenge Business, the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race will start from La Gomera, Canary Islands on Sunday 19 October 2003 and will finish 2,900 nm away in Port St Charles, Barbados.   more...

 





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Lake Erie’s health takes downward turn

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ANN ARBOR - Hailed as one of North America’s greatest environmental success stories of the 20th century, Lake Erie has taken a sharp turn for the worse.

Experts widely acknowledge now that the comeback is over. Some attending a two-day, U.S.-Canada conference here yesterday said they even fear the lake is sinking back into a condition reminiscent of its dark days of the early 1970s.

"It’s clear from briefings we have received that Lake Erie has been backsliding and is being polluted again," Herb Gray, chairman of the International Joint Commission’s Canadian section, said while opening a workshop devoted to Lake Erie issues.   more...


 



Environment  

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Report: Ban Lake Erie drilling

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COLUMBUS -- A state committee that spent 18 months studying Ohio's current energy resources has recommended that no oil or natural gas drilling take place in Lake Erie.

The House Energy Policy Committee, a 35-member group, issued a report this week on a variety of energy topics, including oil and gas drilling.

The lack of natural resources discovered in other parts of the country should not prompt the state to drill here, the report said.

"While the members heard testimony that natural gas and oil supplies in the Gulf of Mexico are not as abundant as experts previously thought, the committee agrees that Lake Erie should be protected from oil and gas exploration," the report said.   more...

 



Environment  

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Watchdog watching St. Lawrence River PCBs

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Groups protesting high levels of PCBs in the St. Lawrence River have caught the ear of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico environmental watchdog agency.

The Commission on Environmental Cooperation has asked Ottawa to answer charges it failed to enforce regulations governing the discharge of PCBs and other toxic wastes into the river near the Technoparc in downtown Montreal.   more...

 



Environment  

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Threats to lakes grow faster than cures

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To the west, the Asian carp lurks in a canal near Chicago, 22 miles from a tenuous electrical barrier designed to keep the ravenous fish from swarming into the Great Lakes.

To the east, nonnative quagga mussel -- the zebra mussel's bigger, tougher cousin -- may be partly to blame for turning part of Lake Erie into an oxygen-starved dead zone.

At a binational conference of Great Lakes experts in Ann Arbor that concluded Saturday, the region's foremost invasive species gurus admitted the threats are moving faster than science can keep up with them.   more...

 



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Impossible Dream

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Mike Browne's 60ft catamaran, Impossible Dream, was named by Para-Olympic sailor Andy Cassell during the Southampton Boat Show. Christina Sampson was invited aboard for a sail.

Mike Browne, the founder and owner of outdoor clothing company Snow and Rock, was confined to a wheelchair following a skiing accident five years ago. He contacted yacht designer Nic Bailey, who worked with Darren Newton's company Multimarine and a team of builders lead by Simon Baker to build Impossible Dream.   more...

 

 



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MORE MOET CUP COMMENTARY - Matthew Sheahan

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Opinion among some of the more seasoned spectators was divided as to whether the current Cup holders Alinghi were really playing as hard as they were at the beginning of the year during the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup when they dismissed Oracle 5-1. Was the Moet Cup really a showdown between the world's top two teams, or a showcase event for the next America's Cup?

Russell Coutts, who had handed the skippers role over to his former sparring partner Jochen Schuemann was clear as to the reasons for being in San Francisco and pushing hard to win. "If we'd lost every race in this series, questions would be asked about our previous performance during the Cup," he said. "This event is also important for us in evaluating new team members. We're in the process of signing nine new sailing team members. When you're locked into four year contracts it's very important to get the decisions right."

Some might say, a less than entirely convincing reason for shipping both the boat and a 50 strong team half way around the world. Taking an America's Cup team on tour costs money, lots of it.

For Alinghi's owner Ernesto Bertarelli, the event allowed him to get his hands on the wheel of SUI-64 for the first time in a racing situation. "Owner driver racing certainly makes it easier to swallow the pill when you're signing the cheques," he said. - Matthew Sheahan, Yachting World website, full story:  more...

 



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Curmudgeon's Commentary - The Moet Cup

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By now, most readers probably know that after six days of very exciting racing on the San Francisco Bay, Oracle BMW Racing's USA 76 narrowly defeated Alinghi (SUI 64) in both the owner-driver series (3-2) and the pro-driver series (4-3). In the process, Oracle BMW picked up Moët Cup Silver Methuselah Trophy, and the Moët & Chandon Owner-Series Jeroboam Trophy. Plus, Larry Ellison won the Harold S. Vanderbilt Trophy for "excellence in yacht racing as a team principal and skipper."

On the surface, it would appear the Oracle BMW Racing Team was the big winner - but I really don't see it that way. After experiencing the event first hand, I came away feeling strongly that the big winners were the America's Cup, the people of San Francisco, the sport of sailing and the entire sailing community.

This was a truly breathtaking event. It was much more than just a regatta - it was a spectacular showcase for our sport. Frequently, more than 300 spectator boats swarmed on the San Francisco Bay to see it first hand, and what a view they got. While the course marshals worked hard to make sure the ACC boats had room to 'do their thing,' they did it in such a way to insure that the spectator fleet was still able to get an 'up close and personal' look at these amazing racing machines.

Particularly the photo boats. Photo-journalists were allowed to get tightly into the action and came away with shots never possible in other venues. And the conditions on the bay made for some incredible images - bright sun, flat water and 15-20 knots of breeze against a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco skyline and Alcatraz Island. Tasty stuff indeed.

But you did not have to be on the water to see the exciting action. Thousands enthusiastically watched from bleachers erected next to the hosting Golden Gate Yacht Club, or from piers, docks or rocks as the 80-foot racing machines short-tacked the city front in the flood tide conditions. And tens of thousands more watched the spectacular daily television coverage produced by the Outdoor Life Network.

And just to add frosting to this already delicious package, Larry Ellison hosted a $250,000, 24-minute fireworks show on Thursday night that far surpassed anything previously attempted on the West Coast of America. This dazzling display featured sophisticated, high-tech pyrotechnics fired from three separate barges anchored in the bay. This awesome display of color and technology totally overshadowed anything previously done in this part of the world, and delighted the thousands who witnessed the spectacle first-hand.

The America's Cup show has now left the San Francisco Bay, but Alinghi's Ernest Berterelli promised repeat performances next year in Europe, in Newport, Rhode Island, and possibly a return to San Francisco. Personally, I can't think of a better way to promote our sport. - Event website: http://ggyc.org/moet/index.htm



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ALINGHI CONCEDES MOET CUP TO ORACLE

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Moet Cup, San Francisco, September 20, 2003

ALINGHI CONCEDES MOET CUP TO ORACLE

Blue skies and a huge spectator fleet - mega yachts, cruise ships, row boats, tall ships, windsurfers - graced the Bay for the final day of the Moet Cup, a 6-day regatta between Alinghi and Oracle. The regatta involved both a pro driver and an owner driver series. After six days of extremely close racing, Alinghi conceded both the pro driver and owner driver series to Oracle.

If you must have one funny guy on board an America's Cup Class boat, it doesn't get any better than San Francisco's own comic Robin Williams, famous for movies such as Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire and Patch Adams. Rounding out an absolutely perfect week of America's Cup Class yacht racing, Williams sailed as 17th man on board Alinghi in race 4 of the owner driver series today. "It was a very exciting race and Alinghi won which was just great," said Williams, noting that this was his first time yacht racing. Jokes aside, and there were plenty of them with Williams on board, Ernesto Bertarelli helmed his team to take the race four from Larry Ellison and Oracle in the owner driver series.

Race One - owner driver

An aggressive start by both boats as they approached the line early, having to stall along the line before crossing. Oracle on starboard tacked away first and headed off to the right toward Alcatraz while Alinghi headed to the left. Although separated, the boats held even positions for a close battle along the city front shore. Oracle with a 2 ½ boat length lead at the windward mark broke it's spinnaker pole rounding, giving Alinghi an opportunity to roll past, take the lead and win by 24 seconds.

Race Two - pro driver

Race seven to determine the winner of the Moet Cup, Oracle took an early and substantial lead off the start in a steady 18 knots of breeze. With not much difference between the two sides of the course due to a tide change, Alinghi chose to stay close to Oracle. Alinghi initiated a tacking duel lasting some 12 tacks through the middle of the course as the teams headed to the top mark with Oracle in a controlling position 27 seconds ahead of Alinghi. SUI-64, showing better downwind speed than USA-76 all week, gained 8 seconds to round the leeward mark just 19 seconds behind Oracle but not enough to pass the American team. Oracle won by 32 seconds to take the Moet Cup.

Race Three - owner driver

Starting in 20 knots of breeze for the final race in this series, Ernesto Bertarelli drove SUI-64 across the start with not an inch to spare after an aggressive pre-start sequence that resulted in Alinghi being flagged a windward leeward penalty. The boats immediately split off the line with Oracle heading to the right. With the breeze lightening up toward the top mark and tide flooding, the teams had shifty winds to manouever on the beat. Oracle's experience on the Bay paid off royally as they played the shifts, taking a substantial lead to win the race by 1:22 after Alinghi took a penalty turn.

 

QUOTES:

Ernesto Bertarelli: "There's no substitute for preparation and training. Larry and Chris demonstrated that this week. They had a plan to win and they executed that plan. I think the biggest problem for us was miscommunication. But we've had a great week and I'm absolutely looking forward to new regattas next year."

Jochen Schuemann: "It was really good to be able to come here. We enjoyed the sailing and even the losing because the racing was close enough to get excited. The short course meant that the boats were close but along with the conditions that were new to us made the racing very challenging."

Pro Regatta, 20 September

Race 7 Alinghi: 0 - Oracle: 1 Delta: 32 seconds

Overall Ranking

Alinghi: 3 - Oracle: 4

Owner Driver Regatta, 20 September

Race 4

Alinghi: 1 - Oracle: 0 Delta: 24 seconds

Overall Ranking

Alinghi: 2 - Oracle: 3 Delta: 1:22



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Don's Link to skirts

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Don Link's fishing story just keeps getting bigger. And bigger. Now the number is 100 million.

Back in the mid-1980s, Don Link was a Twin Cities manufacturing veep for Rubber Industries and a man who knew his formulas to concoct rubber/silicone products.

In his spare time, Link kept thinking of ways to enhance fishing lures to fill his personal passion for bass and muskies.

He looked at rubber skirts — so called because the item looks like a hula skirt on a spinnerbait or jighead. At the time, all skirts were made of rubber that turned gummy in the heat or fell apart and were only available in limited colors.   more...

 





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ORACLE BMW RACING WINS THE MOËT CUP

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Challenge for the Moët CupSeptember 20, 2003 – San Francisco , CA – Saturday dawned with the promise of an exciting conclusion to the MOËT CUP and in the event, it didn't disappoint. Both the Pro-Driver and Owner-Driver series would take a final, winner-takes-all race to determine the ultimate victor.

Sailing on his home waters of San Francisco Bay, Larry Ellison and his ORACLE BMW Racing team sailed a flawless final race in the Pro-Driver division, winning the start and protecting well, to defeat the defending America's Cup holders, ALINGHI.

The ORACLE BMW team followed that up by winning the final Owner-Driver race as well, sweeping both series of the MOËT CUP.   more...

 





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STAND OFF - from Sailing Anarchy

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Looking for all the world like an absolute beating was going to take place, Alinghi has climbed back in the hunt today. Frankly, they didn't look very impressive early on and questions of sandbagging, using old sails, and a less than shining effort were being thrown about. Or maybe the whole thing is a fixed as the De La Hoya-Mosely fight? Enjoy Laurie's superb report.

San Francisco, CA - Tensions are building on San Francisco bay as the Moet Cup is tied at 3-3 in the pro- driver series after a hair-raising day of dodging cargo ships, sailboats and heavy wakes generated by spectator boats is giving the pro-sailors some extra challenges.   more...

 



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Boats.com's US top 20

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Boats.com has announced its manufacturersÕ rankings for August based on the most popular consumer searches in the US by brand for new and pre-owned boats on boats.com.

On the boats.com Power Top 20 List, New: Bayliner, Sea Ray and Boston Whaler remain in 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively, with Wellcraft (4th) and Tracker (5th) rounding out the top 5. Crestliner has moved up 4 positions into 7th place. Re-entries into the top 20 for August: Mako (9th place), Carver (14th), Grady White (16th), Trophy (17th) Tiara (18th) and Larson (19th).    more...

 



Powerboating  

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Pine Lake may get access site

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While Oakland County hasn't seen a new state public access/boat launch site developed on any of its lakefronts in more than a decade, that could soon change, as state officials have confirmed they're exploring a parcel of land along Pine Lake in West Bloomfield, one of the largest private lakes in the county.

"(A Pine Lake property has been) verbally offered to us as a gift," said Paul Yauk, lands manager for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Recreation Division. "Generally we don't (accept these) because they don't fit our plan, but this (spot) fits quite well in providing public access. It's one of the largest lakes that still doesn't have public access. This would give us a clean site to provide that."   more...


 



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Osprey chicks hatch inside park

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Three male osprey chicks were recently born at Kensington Metropark, a sign that the effort to re-establish the threatened bird species in the region is a continuing success.

The future looks even brighter, officials say.

"Male birds are more likely to return to the area in which they were raised, so these birds will likely jump start our efforts to bring the osprey back to southeast Michigan," said Lori Sargent, the wildlife biologist in charge of the project for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).   more...


 



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