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Peter Blake - Murder on the Amazon

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As this was written, the sailing world - and a good part of the landbound one - was still in a state of shock over the shooting death of Sir Peter Blake. One of ocean sailing's most accomplished and revered figures, the 53-year-old New Zealander was killed by Brazilian pirates who boarded his research vessel Seamaster after dark as she lay at anchor in the Amazon River in early December.

At presstime, reports on exactly what happened were sketchy and inconsistent. All seemed to raise more questions than answers. The following account, by British yachting journalist Barry Pickthall, is the one we consider to be the most reliable.

The Seamaster and her crew had just completed a three-month expedition up the Amazon, and reached Macapa, where the mouth of the river meets the Atlantic, on December 5. Blake was directed to an anchorage off the small fishing hamlet of Fazendinha, where they dropped the pick several hundred metres offshore to await a visit from the Customs official who would clear them to leave Brazilian waters.   more...

 



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Spinnaker Furling

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Rollgen A couple weeks ago a reader posted a link to some interesting spinnaker furlers made by Bamar. And since then I’ve seen that Bamar was awarded the coveted DAME award at the METS (Marine Equipment Trade Show) in Amsterdam, for the motorized version of their furlers. Unlike a code zero or reacher sail that is designed with a wire in the luff for furling, these new furlers work with any asymmetric spinnaker, and require no modifications to the sail. The continuous line-type furler has an extra thick, yet still flexible luff-rope/stay. The spin attaches to an offset tack pendant at the bottom, and a shackle which spins with the foil up top. Thirty seconds of pulling the continuous line wraps the sail onto the stay. The whole assembly can then be lowered and stowed. And the unit is also suitable of hoisting wire luff sails for outstanding flexibility. If your boat has a bowsprit that can fly an asymmetric spin, this may be a very attractive proposition for short-handed cruising.

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Long, hot, showers...mmm

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ItrwaterheaterBeing familiar with the Bosch on-demand hot water heaters for residential use, I’ve kept an eye similar units for boats. However, they are typically propane-fired, and propane can be a rather limited resource on-board, best saved for cooking. There are also the diesel-fired hydronic heating systems from Webasto and Espar, and you can plumb them into a hot water tank heat exchanger, but that seems a bit complex to me.   more...

 

 



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Engel Fridge Update

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Engelfiberglassicebox At the Miami Boatshow I talked with the U.S. distributor for Engel, and asked him about the availability of the stainless version pictured here. He said that they were an experiment in out-sourced manufacturing, and that the Japanese parent company was unhappy with the quality of the product. Consequently, no more will be produced. Rats! However, besides locking bases and protective, insulating bags for their fridges, Engel was displaying a couple ranges of robust iceboxes, including fiberglass and plastic models in a bunch of sizes. Check it out if you're looking for something a little nicer than the ubiquitous Igloo and Coleman iceboxes.   more...

 



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Automatic ID System

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Mcmurdoais

It’s not a widely known technology to pleasure boaters yet, but AIS, or Automatic Identification System, is a maritime transponder system that is rapidly becoming mandatory for commercial vessels. Ship’s names, positions, and various other vital statistics are digitally encoded and automatically transmitted via VHF, so that they can be monitored by vessel traffic controllers, and anyone with the proper receiver. In fact, it’s very similar to the latest DSC equipped VHF radios. And it’s not inconceivable that pleasure boats may one day be required to carry AIS transponders as well.

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Stainless Dinghy Anchor

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Stainlessgrapnel_1In the Caribbean a couple years ago, I remember seeing beautiful stainless steel dinghy anchors at Budget Marine. These were the folding grapnel type, and certainly more appealing than the galvanized ones that’ll leave rust stains in the bottom of your dink. What puzzles me is that these are extremely hard to find in the U.S. At the Miami International Boatshow, I actually spotted one of these from Blue Star Ground Tackle, and sadly, I didn’t get a brochure for them, and I can’t seem to find their website either. Anyone like to suggest a source? Here’s the one I found:

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Sailing program teaches kids they are captains of their fate

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Wheat Ridge - Six years ago, Reeve Dunne didn't know "ahoy" from "avast."

But after five summers with Community Sailing of Colorado, Dunne understands sailboats from bow to stern. He teaches other children, competes in coastal races and builds boats in his spare time.

The sailing program on Standley Lake and Cherry Creek Reservoir, however, teaches lessons that extend far beyond the water, said Dunne, 16.

"You can't be passive," he said. "You have to take responsibility and take care of things because things break and go wrong all the time."

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Sailor Schwab ready for next thrill

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Staff photo by Gordon Chibroski BRUNSWICK — Sailor Bruce Schwab survived 30-foot waves, a leak near the rudder, and a perilous climb to fix a damaged boom as he raced solo around the world this winter.

But the thrill of the adventure has made him want more, Schwab told students at Brunswick High School on Thursday.

Schwab's visit was his first U.S. public appearance since he became the first American sailor to finish the Vendee Globe, a single-handed, nonstop, 'round-the-world race, on Feb. 25.  more...

 



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IRC Introduction: Overview

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OVERVIEW

US SAILING, the local IRC Rule Authority, working in relation to the RORC, www.rorcrating.com, is offering IRC Ratings.  The following information offers an introduction to the rule and should help answer many of your questions.  

 

ANNUAL PUBLICATION - To keep you informed
The IRC yearbook is made available at the beginning of January each year to holders of certificates from the previous year together with a rating revalidation form. Apart from the IRC rule, the yearbook provides help to owners applying for their certificates by way of diagrams and definitions, race management recommendations, useful names and addresses, articles from invited authors and much other relevant information. 
IRC Rule 2005 (1,118Kb PDF File)

 

ALL MONO-HULL YACHTS CATERED TO
IRC is capable of applying a rating to any mono-hull yacht. In doing so, it respects such features as asymmetric spinnakers, carbon masts, canting keels, and water ballast; all of which have been permitted for several years. Furthermore, the rule is reviewed annually in light of new developments and past results. On this front, RORC seeks and actively welcome input and comment from the users.

The Basics- IRC permits and encourages owner declared measurement data- self measurements. These will be maintained into the future, although some clubs and areas have always insisted that locally they should measure boats.

Thus, there are " ENDORSED" IRC ratings. These require that US SAILING, working under the auspices of the RORC, should be satisfied as to the correctness of the rated data, generally by measurement by an appointed measurers. Race Committees may require endorsed certificates for some events. Also, an IRC measurement manual is available on request to assist with local measurement if required.

The rating one receives is a time-on-time number, with the higher number being the fastest.  For example: 1.850 is faster than 1.650.  Corrected time = Elapsed time X Rating.  See 'Ratings Explained' on side bar.     more...

 



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IRC Handicap Rule

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                             HAS US SAILING RECEIVED YOUR IRC APPLICATION?
Attention internet IRC applicants: if receipt of your application has not been acknowledged by the Offshore Office of US SAILING in a timely manner, it may not have been received. Please retransmit your application.  The preferred method is via an attachtement in email. 
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

The reason for this concern is that near the end of 2004 US SAILING changed the firewall for email and some bonafide email was blocked. This problem has since been corrected. For questions or concerns, please e-mail irc@ussailing.org.

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Another Mackinac Story - Big Al Jaroszynski

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My first Port Huron Mackinaw race. Three friends bought a 38 ft Yawl built in Abo. Finland. They entered the 38 ft wooden yawl in the Mackinaw Race. I was invited to crank the winches and do other heavy work.

The start was in light air in the early afternoon and it kept building until we were dragging our sails in the water.

Around midnight, pitch back, I heard the owners talking about a red light that we couldn't find on the charts. The opinion by the navigator was that the red light was going to be taken to starboard. In about ten minutes, the good ship, TEHANI, was driven on the rocks on the northeast shore of Michigan.

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WCsailing Spring Clinics

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Photo by Rick Tomlinson

Sailing is just around the corner and now is the time to start thinking about your boat, sails and crew. Consider an evening or a one day sailing clinic to brush up on your sailing skills.

The four hour evening clinic will cover;

  • Boat Preparation
  • Rig Tune
  • Marking of Jib Tracks, Halyards, Backstay
  • Sail Pictures and settings
  • Boat Handling drills
  • Target sailing
  • Race Course Management (windward/leeward around buoys)
  • Crew Video
  • Race Log, Target Sheets, Race Board, Rule Book, Tuning Guide
  • In door team de-brief with video, next day e-mail future goals
  • Price $500.00 (5pm-9pm)
  • Full Day $850.00 plus travel expenses (9am-5pm)

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WCsailing
22600 Mack Avenue
St. Clair Shores Mi, 48080
586-776-1330
586-909-8690 cell
wallyc@sales.northsails.com 
www.wcsailing.com




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Michigan walleye, northern pike and musky season closes for the season

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Walleye, northern pike and musky season closed on Tuesday on Lower Peninsula inland waters, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said in its weekly fishing report.

The season will re-open on April 30, with the exception of the Michigan waters of Lake Erie, where walleye season it will open on June 1.

SOUTHEASTERN LOWER PENINSULA:

Anglers are reminded that walleye season in the Michigan waters of Lake Erie will close on March 31, 2005, and will not re-open until June 1, 2005.

Good perch fishing was reported near the Banana Dike. Jumbo perch were also caught. Walleye were caught, but some of the fish are running small. Due to unsafe ice conditions in the marsh, anglers should stay on the dikes when crossing.

On the Detroit River, northern pike and perch have been caught in Canadian waters southeast of Sugar Island. It appears to still be early to find big walleye in the river. Good numbers of panfish were caught in the marina at Metro Park.   more...

 



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Snowmobile laws lag; deaths mount

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Minocqua - Senseless bloodshed and ugly headlines drove the North American snowmobiling community to adopt a "zero-tolerance" policy on drinking and sledding during the 2002 International Snowmobiling Congress.

Less than three full snowmobile seasons later, at least 43 people have died while snowmobiling drunk, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. That number seems to swell with almost every passing week with snow on the ground.

For the DNR wardens who are left literally to pick up the pieces after a fatal crash, the story line behind the deaths has become frighteningly mundane.  more...

 



Other  SNOW  

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Harsens Island man given a choice on trees

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To dodge a misdemeanor and the bill for having his ash trees cut down, John Horvath has to take action.

The state agriculture department outlined the options for Horvath, 67, of Harsens Island in an official order. It was delivered Friday without incident by the Clay Township Police Chief and a state agriculture inspector.

Horvath can remove and dispose of 86 marked ash trees on his property by April 4, or decide by April 1 to let contractors do it at state expense.

The state says the trees must go as part of its drive to suppress emerald ash borers, which are spreading throughout Michigan and into other states and Ontario.  more...

 



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