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Ice boating catches on in High Country

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DILLON - At the Dillon Marina, the boats are in dry dock, wearing their white winter plastic coats and an 8-inch layer of ice now covers the Reservoir. But Dan Burnett's short and sweet sailing season has just started.

"Lake Dillon gets between a week and two weeks of good ice boating," said Burnett.

He's one of a few who raise their sails after the snow falls, taking part in a unique high adrenaline winter sport called ice sailing.   more...



SNOW  

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Bayview Mackinac Race makes changes in ratings system, safety

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After several years of newer handicap rating systems, including last year that saw a slew of normally long-course boats defect to the shore course to sail under the PHRF system, the Bells Beer Bayview Mackinac Race is returning to the PHRF rating system for all classes.

Also this year, host Bayview Yacht Club is making a couple of minor safety changes in the wake of WingNuts capsizing in last year's Chicago race, killing two Michigan sailors. This year, all sailors will be required to carry a knife that can be opened with one hand, and have a quick release tether with the quick release end attached to the sailor, not the boat.   more...



Sailing  

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Year in sports included champions we lost

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The waters of the Lake Huron can be hellish, rough waves propelled by strong, and often, fickle winds. And often the footing becomes treacherous for the sailors who thrive on the sport of yacht racing.

It was on this lake that John Barbour became a champion, skippering his sailboats through the choppy water, the sailors in his crew slipping and sliding on the deck, frequently starved. Barbour heading northward, tacking to catch the winds, at the helm, commanding and entertaining the sailors.

When the waves lapped over the gunwales, the sailors still hungered to be fed. It was impossible then to prepare a proper meal. They would munch at whatever dull food provided.  more...



Sailing  

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New bridge

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The new Windsor-Detroit bridge may still be waiting for final legislative approval in Michigan, but one thing is certain - the case for building the downriver crossing is rock solid. The economies of Ontario and Michigan and Canada and the U.S. need the bridge to sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs and create new ones.

Over the past year, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has continued to champion the project and, despite the politicking of a handful of Michigan lawmakers, has vowed to get the bridge built.  more...



Other  

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Root for S.S. Badger conversion

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 The debate over the fate of the S.S. Badger pits history and tourism dollars against environmental protection.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants the nearly 60-year-old steamship to stop dumping tons of coal ash into Lake Michigan as it ferries as many as 600 passengers and 180 vehicles between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich., most days from May to October.  more...



Other  

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Michigan's scenic Deer Lake almost off pollution list

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ISHPEMING -- On a clear winter day, the only sound on the shores of Deer Lake is that of a screaming hawk. Snow weighs down the boughs of majestic pines and the blue water sparkles.

Deer Lake is making a big comeback.

Except for prominent signs warning that the fish here are not safe to eat, no one would know that for decades, this has been one of the most heavily polluted spots in the Great Lakes. Its waters were once full of mercury from two mines. Raw sewage dumped into nearby sewers ended up in the lake, creating nasty algae blooms. Eagles and other wildlife stayed away or couldn't reproduce.  more...



Environment  

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Water levels rising

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Water levels in the Lakes Michigan-Huron basin are up from last year but remain about 9 inches below the historic average.

Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said it's been more than a decade since water levels in the lakes were above the long-term average of 578.4 feet.

The basin averaged a level of 577.6 feet in December, a seven-inch increase from the same time a year ago, Kompoltowicz said. The wet fall and early winter helped keep the water levels up during the usual seasonal decline, he said.  more...



Environment  

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Rains raise Great Lakes water levels, but lack of ice is a concern

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Wet weather could push Great Lakes water levels up from last year, but some fear those gains could evaporate because of unseasonably warm weather.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its six-month forecast Wednesday calling for above-average levels on the lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario. By February, levels could be way up in Lake St. Clair — nearly 20 inches because of last year's ice jam, said Keith Kompoltowicz, a corps meteorologist.

That's good news for recreational boaters, but it could be short-lived. Some fear that gains from the region's second-wettest year in 131 years could be offset because it's almost January and the lakes still lack much ice. Temperatures in December were 3.6 degrees above average.  more...



Environment  Other  

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US destroying 434K lake trout for 'rock snot' fear

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MONTPELIER, Vt. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is disposing of 434,000 lake trout from a Bethel fish hatchery because of fears that stocking them in the Great Lakes could spread the invasive algae known as "rock snot."

Officials tried to find alternative locations where the 4-inch fingerlings could be stocked into waters already contaminated with the algae, known more formally as didymo, including lakes in Vermont and New Hampshire, but none could be found, said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Terri Edwards.   more...



Environment  

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Ship project brings winter employment in the Sault

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SAULT STE. MARIE — Two local firms, MCM Marine and Reid Metals will dismantle the former Lake Michigan car ferry, Arthur K. Atkinson, according to a press release jointly-issued by the Darwin "Joe" McCoy and Ed Reid.
"We're pleased to be able to offer additional employment for the Sault area," said those orchestrating the project adding that the careful demolition and recycling of this vessel will protect the waters and eliminate future potential environmental risks.
The Arthur K. Atkinson, one of the last existing examples of the Railcar Great Lake Ferry, took her maiden voyage in January of 1917 sailing as the Ann Arbor #6, according to boat nerd member and historian, William Keetly who compiled the information upon learning the vessel was being docked in the Sault for the final time.  more...


Other  

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Boat Wiring and Exhaust Systems Do Not Mix

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If wiring is too close to the exhaust, it may be affected by heat. Ed Sherman explains.

Question: I recently noticed a large grouping of my boat’s electrical wiring that seems to be routed pretty near my engine’s exhaust system. It seems like this might be a problem as the exhaust system gets pretty hot when the engine is running, even though it is water cooled from the engine raw water system. From the photo, can you tell if I actually have a problem here? It would be a lot of work to correct if it’s not necessary.  more...



Other  Powerboating  

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Is Dry Stack Storage Right for You?

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More and more people are using dry stack storage for their boats these days. And there are many advantages to using a “boatel” as opposed to leaving Mom’s Mink in the water or on a trailer. Of course, there are a few down-sides as well. Is dry stacking a good option for you? Let’s find out.

Dry Stack Advantages

First, the positives: Maintenance is greatly reduced when a boat is kept out of the water. Waterlines are a thing of the past, the chance of blisters forming in your bottom goes down, and if the dry stack is under cover (which is common) your boat stays looking good longer. That means you spend less time waxing, and more time boating. Performance also gets a slight boost since bottom paint becomes unnecessary, and in most cases, painting the bottom of a boat shaves off one-half to one mile per hour of speed. Finally, consider cost; a dry stack can be half as much as a wet slip.   more...



Other  Powerboating  

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Bayview Yacht Club will be introducing new regatta in place of NOODs

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After a 19-year run, the National Offshore One-Design Regatta -- commonly called the NOODs -- no longer will be held in Detroit, and in its place, Bayview Yacht Club is introducing a new one-design regatta.

The Bayview One-Design Regatta will be similar in format to the NOODs, with three racecourses. The new regatta also will have a fourth course for dinghy classes in the Detroit River in front of Bayview, said race chairman Hanson Bratton.

The race will continue to have non-one design classes for boats racing under a handicap rating. But those races will be held Saturday and Sunday, while the one-design classes will continue to race Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"It's time for a change, and we want to see if we can freshen it up a little bit," Bratton said.  more...



Sailing  

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Ice Climbing in Pure Michigan

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February’s page of the 2012 Pure Michigan calendar features a photo of an ice climber scaling a frozen waterfall in Munising, one of the state’s most popular destinations for the activity. Garrett Peabody, owner of Peabody Ice Climbing Club in Fenton, shares some insights into this exciting sport and why Michigan is such a popular destination for it.

Q: How does somebody get started with ice climbing?

A: Ice climbing is a lot like rock climbing with respect to movement and belay systems. Understanding those concepts helps when getting started, though they can be learned quickly. Climbing outdoors or in a climbing gym is a great place to practice those skills in a controlled environment. That said, ice climbing requires additional considerations because of conditions and needed equipment.  more....



Watersports  

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Three Things BoatUS Angler Prizewinner Rick Clark Learned While Fishing With Mark Zona

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. November 10, 2011 – Largemouth bass angler Rick Clark of Crystal River, Florida, recently went on the fishing trip of a lifetime to Northern Michigan, guided by none other than BoatUS Angler member and outsized television fishing show personality Mark Zona. Clark’s girlfriend, Layne Lowrey, also of Crystal River, won the fishing trip in a contest for members of BoatUS Angler, and gifted the prize to Rick, proclaiming herself the “best girlfriend ever”.

 
Of course Rick agreed (as would any wise angler), and while fishing with the “Awesome Fishing Show” host in the backwoods near Traverse City, Michigan, Clark said he learned three important things:  more...


Fishing  

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