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Student’s invention converts smartphone into VHF radio

Date Reported: Apr 24, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

vhf-casemate-promo-image.jpgMore information about this handy invention can be found here...other similar products are also under development (Alianza DxB, for example).  From an Irish Examiner article:

Being in trouble at sea without a phone signal might no longer be an issue thanks to an Irish-designed case that allows a phone to become a VHF radio.

Seán Toomey came up with the idea for his waterproof VHF Casemate last year as a thesis project for his product design degree at Dublin Institute of Technology. He is now hoping a partner firm will be found to put it into production.

“More people are now relying on phones in case they have an emergency, but I spoke to a few people at the RNLI in Dún Laoghaire. They said it was a problem in some cases they responded to, where people had tried unsuccessfully to raise the alarm using mobile phones,” the 23-year-old Dubliner said. Read more...

Source: Irish Examiner

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NOAA hydrographic survey season is underway

Date Reported: Apr 23, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

All of these surveys are focused on commercial traffic, although some areas will be of interest also to cruising boats. Updated charts will reflect the surveys, once they are completed. From a NOAA Coast Survey press release:

The 2014 hydrographic survey season is underway, with the NOAA fleet beginning its projects for this year.

Have you ever wondered how Coast Survey goes about determining where to survey and when? Several considerations go into prioritizing survey plans, which are laid out several years in advance. Coast Survey asks specific questions about each potential survey area.

  • Is it considered a critical area? If so, how old are the most current survey data?
  • Have local pilots or port authorities submitted reports of shoaling, obstructions or other concerns?
  • Does the U.S. Coast Guard or other stakeholders from the maritime community (e.g., fisheries, energy, pipelines) need surveys for economic development or ecological protection?

Coast Survey’s 2014 projects reflect these priorities.

Here are projects in Waterway Guide's coverage areas:

NOAA-Gulf.jpgGulf of Mexico: Pilots and port authorities requested hydrographic surveys in Galveston Bay and the vicinity, and NRT4 is responding. Anchorages in this area are of particular interest; the team will survey Anchorage Basin A in Bolivar Roads and the newly charted barge channels and charted features along the main Houston Ship Channel.

A NOAA contractor will survey in Louisiana, offshore of Barataria Bay. About 5,000 deep-draft vessels transit the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River per year. Surveys will be looking for turnoffs and turning basins for large vessels. A re-survey of sandy, changeable bottoms in the areas of Mobile Bay, Alabama, and Panama City, Florida, will also be conducted to finish surveying approach lanes to these ports. A NOAA contractor will survey the approaches to Lake Borgne/Lake Ponchartrain in Louisiana, where charts still use data acquired by the U.S. Coast Survey in the 1800s.

NRT1 is surveying in Panama City, Florida, acquiring data in St. Andrews Bay and West Bay. The team will also investigate shoaling and a changing channel course in Grand Lagoon, depths and features in West Bay and West Bay Creek, and depths along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. After they finish up in Florida, NRT1 will continue the rest of the 2014 survey season in Louisiana.

http://www.waterwayguide.com/images/NOAA-Long-Island.jpgEast Coast: NRT2 will survey in the St. Johns River area near Jacksonville, Florida, in response to a request for support from the U.S. Coast Guard. The survey team will investigate hazards to navigation in the waters of a proposed anchorage area seven nautical miles northeast of St. Johns Point.

NRT5 will survey in the area of Eastern Long Island Sound. Along with providing contemporary hydrographic data, this survey will support the Long Island Sound Seafloor Mapping Initiative. NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson will also survey in Long Island Sound, performing essential habitat mapping in Fishers Island Sound, and continuing Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy surveys that were started in 2013.

In central Chesapeake Bay, the research vessel Bay Hydro II  will survey critical areas, measuring depths where shifting sands and shoaling have been reported. NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler will survey a possible wind turbine site in the approaches to the Bay.

The Hassler will survey off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This data will contribute to habitat mapping and the state’s effort to locate sand resources for beach replenishment.

Finally, the Thomas Jefferson and Hassler will survey an area offshore of Rhode Island Sound to identify a safe route for deep draft oil tankers. The area is also a potential site for wind turbines.

See press release for more information and links.

Source: WG Staff

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UPDATE: Both Florida anchoring amendments are rejected!

Date Reported: Apr 23, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

NEW UPDATE: The House amendment was shot down 50 yeas to 67 nays, and the unamended bill passed the House 111 yeas to 3 nays. Click here for video (move slider to 1:51:20...runs to 2:30:55)

(Previously posted) Great news from the Florida State Senate: Senate Bill 1126 passed without the Margolis amendment. I hope that all the emails and calls from concerned Florida boaters and cruisers helped shoot down the amendment...

...because here we go again! According to a new BoatUS Action Alert, Florida State Representative Eduardo “Eddy” Gonzalez of Miami Springs has introduced the exact same amendment to House Bill 955, which is being voted on TODAY!

So, hit the phones and the email this morning, folks – the House is in session 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM. And, keep in mind: Even though these amendments have been "engineered" to cover only Miami-Dade and Broward Counties (which is a huge area – almost 100 miles of the ICW), other municipalities would love to tweak that population number to join in on the attack of our anchoring rights. Let's not go back to the days when dozens of anchoring regulations restricted our travel and encroached on our navigation rights.

Here's a revealing video of yesterday's Florida Senate (move slider to 464:35):

(Click here if you have trouble viewing the video).

From BoatUS:

TALLAHASSEE, Fl., April 22, 2014 – A last-minute amendment snuck in under the radar to be attached to a piece of pending Fish and Wildlife legislation in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate could throw out a statewide effort to develop consistent and rational anchoring options for cruising boaters and severely impact anchoring in some of the most important areas along Florida’s coasts, says Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). The national boating advocacy group, with over 100,000 members in the Sunshine state, is urging boaters and the boating industry to speak up now against the “Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment” which would establish a dangerous precedent for the rest of the state and completely ignore an ongoing Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission anchoring pilot program.

Florida Senator Gwen Margolis (Miami Beach) and Representative Eduardo "Eddy" Gonzalez (Miami Springs) introduced companion amendments to House Bill 955 and Senate Bill 1126 (the Florida Fish and Wildlife Bills) that would allow Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to restrict anchoring. The Florida House of Representatives is voting on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Bill tomorrow, Wednesday, April 23, and will consider adding the Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment that would allow Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to restrict anchoring.

“We need all boaters in Florida to contact their state representatives immediately without delay and ask them to pass a ‘clean bill’ without the amendment in order to stop this anti-boater initiative,” said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich. “The proposed Margolis/Gonzalez Amendment directly counters the state’s on-going pilot anchoring program, and leaves boaters to the whims of any special interest who decides they don’t want boats anchoring in their community.” 

Added Podlich, “Recreational boating in Florida has a $10.35 billion economic impact. For a number of years BoatUS and our members in Florida have worked tirelessly to prohibit localities from enacting a patchwork of laws and ordinances that restrict the anchoring of non-live-aboard vessels outside permitted mooring fields. We want to ensure that the active, responsible, cruising boaters continue to have an array of options, including anchoring out, using moorings and tying up at docks. We do not want to go back to the old, and broken, system of confusing local laws which make legitimate cruisers unwelcome in local waters.”

BoatUS says boaters can go to here to easily email their legislators, or here to call them.

(Posted 4/22/2014) An amendment to the state legislation to extend the FWC Anchoring/Mooring Pilot Program (Florida Senate bill SB 1126) is being considered by the Appropriations Committee THIS MORNING – the amendment would allow municipalities to regulate overnight anchoring by prohibiting anchoring of vessels within an unspecified distance from private residences! The amendment text:

"Notwithstanding paragraph (b), a municipality located within a charter county that has a population of at least 1.748 million may regulate overnight anchoring if the regulation is limited to the distance a vessel may be anchored from a private residence. This paragraph expires on October 31, 2017." (Paragraph (b) states: However, local governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring fields of vessels other than live-aboard vessels as defined in s. 327.02).

An urgent note from the Association Director of the Seven Seas Cruising Association about the surprise amendment:

Florida Senator Gwen Margolis, in the Florida Senate appropriations committee forum, is seeking an amendment to Florida Senate bill SB 1126 which will undermine all the good work the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has performed to date with regard to Florida's Anchoring and Mooring pilot program (Florida Statute 327.4105). 

For the past 4+ years, FWC has met with local Florida Municipalities, Florida County governments, Property owners, Marinas, boat owners, the Navy, the Coast Guard, EPA, and Boating groups and Associations like SSCA. There has been a lot of give and take among all concerned and a lot of work by the 4 or 5 Municipalities who ultimately went forward with pilot programs. The pilot program temporally ended the wild west of anchoring in Florida, and the variety of pilot programs is giving FWC and others experience on how to best manage this resource.

Because there was so little data collected from the pilot program to date, the FWC and others have not had sufficient time to develop a lasting Florida Statute to codify lessons learned from the pilot program, it was agreed by many, if not all who attended the public forums, that the best near term action would be to extend the pilot program for another three years. Florida Senate Bill SB1126 was the legislative tool to such an extension.

Florida Senator Gwen Margolis is now seeking to undermine the current and proposed statute by allowing municipalities to regulate overnight anchoring and to prohibit anchoring of vessels within some unspecified distance from private residences ( Sunset Beach should come to mind....) Your SSCA CCC Chair attended all of the public meetings associated with the implementation of this pilot program and never heard one proposal, recommendation or complaint from any of her constituent Marinas, Municipalities, or property owners.

While we can all argue for more freedoms in navigation, including anchoring, the CCC believes the current compromise recognizes most of the needs of all those involved, and the extension associated with SB 1126 is viewed positively in the efforts to establish a long term legislative solution.

SB1126 as Amended is up before the Appropriations Committee tomorrow. The SSCA Concerned Cruisers’ Committee and your Board suggest that you please write to your FL senator as well as Senator Gwen Margolis and her Legislative Aide Zorida Druckman. Their email addresses are:

margolis.gwen.web@flsenate.gov & druckman.zorida@flsenate.com.

If you are a resident of Sen. Margolis’ district a phone call might help also. 327.4105 as extended by SB1126 isn’t perfect, but it’s MUCH better than nothing and the proposed amendment limits its effectiveness by permitting local officials to again harass visiting cruisers.

Judith R. Mkam
Association Director
Seven Seas Cruising Association
2501 East Commercial Blvd., ste 203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Tel (954) 771-5660
Fax: (954) 771-5662


Hon. Senator, 

Under the Florida Senate Bill SB1126, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has performed very good work to date with the Anchoring and Mooring Pilot Program (Florida Statute 327.4105). From reports familiar to me, this program was going to be extended for another three years to gather additional experience before a final statute was codified.

I believe the amendment to SB1126 sought by Sen. Gwen Margolis, will undermine the various stakeholders who have worked positively together to best manage Florida's waterways, a remarkable success in light of the political, social and economic divisiveness that seems to infect government, from local to state to national levels.

The amendment sought by Sen. Margolis in a unilateral action, rejects the successful work thus far by the stakeholders, and permits municipalities to regulate overnight anchoring and to prohibit anchoring of vessels within some unspecified distance from private residences. These actions, which lay at the heart of the confusion and rancor that led to SB1126, shall resurface and shall surely damage and diminish the use of the this Florida treasure, which should be enjoyed by all residents and nonresidents.

Please extend SB1126. Please do not pass the Margolis amendment.



(Thanks, Judi, for the head's up.)

Please contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and let them know you oppose the amendments – Here's a list of Appropriation Committee Members and phone numbers:

Negron, Joe (Chair) (850) 487-5032
Benacquisto, Lizbeth (850) 487-5030
Bean, Aaron (850) 487-5004
Bradley, Rob (850) 487-5007
Galvano, Bill (850) 487-5026
Gardiner, Andy (850) 487-5013
Grimsley, Denise (850) 487-5021
Hays, Alan (850) 487-5011
Hukill, Dorothy L. (850) 487-5008
Joyner, Arthenia (850) 487-5019
Latvala, Jack (850) 487-5020
Lee (T), Tom (850) 487-5024
Margolis, Gwen (850) 487-5035
Montford, Bill (850) 487-5003
Richter, Garrett (850) 487-5023
Ring, Jeremy (850) 487-5029
Smith (C), Christopher L. (850) 487-5031
Sobel, Eleanor (850) 487-5033
Thrasher, John (850) 487-5006

Source: SSCA, BoatUS, FL Senate/House

Comment submitted by Christopher Waln - Tue, Apr 22nd

"Notwithstanding paragraph (b), a municipality located within a charter county that has a population of at least 1.748 million may regulate overnight anchoring if the regulation is limited to the distance a vessel may be anchored from a private residence...

Notice the size and charter stipulation, this proposed legislation appears to apply to:

Miami-Dade 2,551,290
Broward 1,771,099

And is being cast in the light of a "local" not "State" matter under the Charter system

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The trip of a lifetime (Part 5)

Date Reported: Apr 21, 2014

Reported by: Captain BullDog Thal

caribana-captain-thal.jpg(Continued from Part 4).

Easter weekend I started the trek back North from Charleston with the shallow-draft Downeaster I delivered from Connecticut for Charleston Race Week. Charleston itself is a great boating venue – but a cruise to Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant offers some great casual southern dining by the waterfront. Use Yelp to sort out your choices, but eating at The Wreck and Red's for Shrimp and Grits or a Low Country Boil is quite a treat. Just watch the channel markers as you come in (channel dredging has just been completed). 

I want to compliment the Charleston Maritime Center  – and particularly Bill, the mobile repair service rep at Mt. Pleasant's Charleston City Boatyard – for handling a multitude of boating issues – a failed Yanmar starting solenoid, a fried A/C circuit board, a busted helm seat, a malfunctioning fresh water system, and other minor annoyances that either our yard up North just did not know about, or, because of the frigid temperatures, could not proof. I am a delivery Captain and I pride myself on making repairs on board as needed and to leave the boat for the owner in as near perfect condition as possible. For this reason, I have established good working relationships with what I consider to be some of the finest boatyards on the East Coast, starting with all the Brewers yards but particularly Dauntless in Essex, and Bruce and Johnson in Branford. Let me also add Fairhaven Shipyard, although I have not tested the new ownership. In Martha's Vineyard you cannot beat Ross Gannon at Gannon and Benjamin. In Milford, Connecticut – the Port Milford Marina and Milford Boat Works. On call is Phil DeDonato of Ship Shape out of the Guilford area. Then add Norwalk Cove and Rob Gardella's crew. Then Diane and company at Palmer Point, and Richard at Beacon Point Marine, both in Cos Cob. My next stop is Utsch’s in Cape May for anything. I love this family-run facility. Then the service people in Portsmouth at the Tidewater Yacht Marina, then J.D. and the rest of Louie’s people at Coinjock Marina. Then Beaufort Town Docks and Carlton Craft and the very good craftsman at the Maritime Center that will help you out with anything you need.

There are places in Fort Lauderdale like MPI that are good people, but I would call my friends Steve Sodowski or Jack Zacks, well-regarded boat brokers, for special help when in the Southern Florida area.

You might assume that the boats I deliver are not always in tip-top condition – but they generally are by the time I hand them off. It is so important to find good people to do your service work.

I will be leaving Charleston Maritime Center and heading north on the ICW on a rising tide – as Waterway Guide and others have made it clear that the South Carolina section and, particularly around Mount Pleasant, have silted in. I was more worried about North Carolina and places like Little Mud River, the Waccamaw, Lockwoods Folly and Hells Gate, but recent reports say some of these problem areas have been dredged. Nonetheless, I will proceed with caution and do my own mapping on my trusty Toughbook – with the new 12 satellite track antennae, reliable WAAS and Nobeltec Admiral software – especially since two weeks after this delivery I will be bringing up a deeper draft trawler not designed for the heavy seas often encountered off Frying Pan Shoals or Hatteras.

Captain BullDog, in service and on the job
UMM Master Captain
Pro Captain's Delivery Service
Sail or Power, Eastern Seaboard
(203) 550 1067

Source: Cruising Contributor

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Help chart the ICW and other cruising areas

Date Reported: Apr 17, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

TeamSurv-Tracks-2.jpgFor boaters, knowing the depth of the waters ahead is critical (especially if you don't want to run aground!). Most of our cruising grounds have not been surveyed recently – not even over the past century in some cases.

Hydrographic surveys are performed occasionally on sections of our Intracoastal Waterways, but are quickly out-of-date as shoals shift frequently and dredging can’t keep up with the changes, if dredging is ever performed at all!

But what if you could see a survey performed just days before you transit a trouble spot?

You may soon be able to, thanks to an innovative project, TeamSurv, that wants to harness the hundreds, maybe thousands, of boats out on the water to start collecting up-to-date depth data for our waterways.

TeamSurv provides vessels with a small data logger to collect depth, lat/lon, and time data. The data is published online and available to other organizations to use, share and adapt. If enough participating boats transit a particular area, a detailed, up-to-date chart can be built from the tracks.

Unlike some similar projects, TeamSurv requires no fees for vessels to participate, and provides the data logger for free loan – and the tracks and charting information will be available to view for free. Although anyone will be able to see all the data tracks from participating boats, for your privacy, they will not be able to identify your vessel.

TeamSurv has been granted funding for the initial research through the European Union, and startup support from the European Space Agency, for their innovative use of satellite positioning data. They were also a prize winner in the UK Satellite Navigation Competition.

“We’re eager to widen our coverage areas, and seeing the problems of keeping the charts for the ICW up to date this seems like a great area to start getting good data in U.S. waters,” says Tim Thornton, Project Coordinator. “And the more boats that sign up, the greater the coverage, and the greater the accuracy and confidence in the data.”

“Most boats participate using one of our hardware data loggers, that interface to your GPS and depth sounder over NMEA0183 or the original Seatalk bus – these are supplied on free loan, though we ask you to return the logger if you stop using it. If you navigate on a PC, you can also log data from nav software packages such as Nobeltec and OpenCPN, or you can use our own software logger.”

“Installing and configuring the kit is easy, and there is extensive support information on the web site. Once connected, you need to go through a one-off calibration process to get measurements such as your transducer depth, and then the data is logged automatically whilst you are out on the water. All you have to do is periodically upload your data logs, either using our software logger or through the web site. Everyone can see the corrected depth tracks on the web site, and we are just automating production of depth charts as PDFs and in a number of electronic chart formats, that the loggers can use.”

The project is just starting up for U.S. waters, and TeamSurv is ready for cruising vessels to participate here. Would you like to be part of this worthwhile project and help the cruising and boating community? If you plan to log some miles over the next few months, please help make this new project a success!

Click here to register and apply. Please feel free to contact me…I will try to help coordinate the efforts on this side of “the pond.”

Source: WG Staff

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AGLCA Radio: Looping single-handed

Date Reported: Apr 16, 2014

Reported by: Janice Kromer

Ed. Note: The America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association Blog Talk Radio Show airs at 10 a.m. each Friday; however, each show is archived so you can listen anytime you want after the air date. From Janice Kromer, Executive Director, AGLCA:

This coming Friday, April 18, 2014, we'll offer a very interesting show for our Loopers. Arch Fonken will be our guest host. Arch just completed his Loop week, but the difference from other Gold Loopers is that Arch did it single-handed. If you listen, you'll learn and Arch's adventure and his thought on doing the Loop alone. 

You can listen live by going to our website at www.GreatLoop.org, clicking on AGLCA Radio in the Free for Everyone section of the top navigation bar, then scrolling down to the Great Loop Radio player. Then, just left click on the arrow below the name of the show to start listening. Be sure not to tune in too far in advance or you will be listening to the show from the prior week. If you'd like to ask a question or offer a comment during the show, just dial toll free (877) 497-1815 and you'll be connected to the hosts.

You can also listen to the show on Blog Talk Radio's website. Just click here, or go to www.BlogTalkRadio.com and type AGLCA in the search box. That will take you directly to AGLCA's page where you can listen live, or, check out the archives. The show is also available on iTunes.

Source: AGLCA

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Onboard alarms - part 1

Date Reported: Apr 15, 2014

Reported by: Steve D'Antonio


A client of mine contacted me and asked about which, if any, alarms he needed to have installed aboard his boat while it was undergoing a refit.  The "Which if any" comment caught my attention.  Indeed, if there's one thing a skipper needs while he or she is cruising, be it under way or at anchor, it's information about the vessel, the propulsion system, generator and the integrity of the hull.  A vessel that includes complete, operational systems alarms is less likely to suffer catastrophic breakdowns, flooding, fires and other seaborne calamities as well as being less expensive to operate in the long term.

Engines and Generators

One of the tests I carry out during a vessel inspection involves confirming that the engine's own integral alarms work.  Virtually every marine diesel engine and generator includes, or included when it was originally manufactured an alarm to alert the user to a few key events.  Typically, and at the very least, these include high coolant temperature and low oil pressure annunciators.  The coolant temperature alarm threshold varies from engine to engine, however it's typically somewhere around 220°F.  Oil pressure alarms also vary; their alarm set point may be as low as 8 psi.  Generally, oil pressure rarely has an in between failure, either it's within specifications or it's zero.  Both of these alarm scenarios call for immediate action on the part of the skipper, particularly the latter... 

To view the rest of this article, please follow this link:


This is an excerpt from Steve D' Antonio's "Marine Systems Excellence" blog. With nearly 25 years of experience as a marine mechanic, electrician, consultant and boatyard manager, Steve ranks as one of the most knowledgeable boating experts in the country. His ability to explain highly technical information on a wide array of boating topics in a clear, easy to read and easy to use manner has made him one of the most widely read boating writers and lecturers today. Steve's commitment is to strive to improve the safety and reliability of boating products while increasing the confidence and enjoyment boat owners. In short, Steve strives to help bring the fun back to searching for, building, maintaining, repairing and owning a boat. Text and photos by Steve D'Antonio - © 2014

On April 24th, Steve will present a lecture for Deltaville Boatyard employees on the subject of technical photography (Deltaville, VA).

On April 26th, Steve will deliver a lecture at Brewer Yacht Yards' Pilot's Point Marina, on achieving maximum vessel reliability and economy of operation, as well as ABYC compliance (Westbrook, CT).

For more information on either event, or hiring Steve to lecture for your event or organization, please e-mail Katie.

Source: Contributing Professional

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Join the Snowbird Rally Down the ICW this fall

Date Reported: Apr 12, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

SAIL-ICW-Snowbird-Rally.jpg(Updated from 4/10/2014)

Planning on cruising south on the ICW next fall? The first-ever SAIL Snowbird Rally is already getting geared up, and registration is open!

After a pre-rally seminar in Annapolis and Halloween party kick-off in Hampton, VA, Wally Moran (longtime ICW cruiser, SAIL Magazine Contributing Editor, and Waterway Guide Cruising Editor) will lead the flotilla of sailboats on a journey south. Enjoy plenty of stops for potlucks and parties along the way with your fellow cruisers to arrive in Miami, FL in December – perfect timing to spend your winter in the Keys, Bahamas, or beyond.

Wally's intimate knowledge of the route, and real-time assistance from Waterway Guide and other ICW experts, will help you each day with weather conditions, shoaling and trouble spots, finding the best anchorage and docking options, and lots of interesting things to look for along the way.

Rally participants receive 1 free entry per boat to SAIL's Secrets to the ICW Seminar, Oct 12, Annapolis, MD, during the Annapolis Sailboat Show (where you can pick up the newest editions of Waterway Guides and Skipper Bob guides).

The Rally officially kicks off on Halloween at Hampton Public Piers (a Waterway Guide Cruising Club Partner!) with a "WWRD? Party" ("What Would Redford Do?" – a fun takeoff on Robert Redford's recent sailing movie All is Lost.

Along the way, the Rally will enjoy potlucks and other events hosted by towns and marinas along the way, including:

  • Beaufort, NC – At Beaufort Town Docks, we’ll grill and picnic together either dockside or in a nearby park and gazebo. The North Carolina Maritime Museum will be displaying its famous artifact exhibit from Blackbeard's famous pirate ship. (Click here for Marina Close-Up.)
  • Wrightsville Beach, NC – Seapath Yacht Club offers plenty of amenities such as courtesy cars, grocery stores, propane refills, and on-site shops and restaurants. Plus, there’s an anchorage nearby if you’d prefer to moor. One night, we’ll throw a cruiser party. We’ll spend two days here to give you all the time you need to shop at Mayfaire Town Center.
  • Myrtle Beach, SC - River Dunes get-together & events at Grace Harbor at River Dunes (click here for Marina Close-Up).
  • Charleston, SC – We’ll gather at the Charleston Maritime Center (CMC) for a potluck bash held in a private room overlooking the harbor. The CMC is close to historic downtown, which has an aquarium, plenty of sites, shopping plazas and restaurants, and Patriots Point, where we can tour the USS Yorktown, submarines, the Vietnam Support Base and plenty more.
  • Beaufort, SC – As a co-host of the Rally, the exquisite town of Beaufort is going all-out! The marquee event begins in downtown Beaufort with sailors docking and mooring vessels in the Downtown Marina of Beaufort. Rally participants will be greeted by their very own Personalized Beaufort Host, host and hostesses from the local Yacht Club, who will assist in shuttling them to acquire provisions and food, and will also coordinate carriage tours, activities, and discounts. That evening, Snowbird Regatta sailors celebrate their arrival in Beaufort with a private outdoor dinner at one of the town’s signature plantation homes overlooking the water. The residence, known for having “the most beautiful garden in Beaufort,” will offer guests the opportunity to relax over cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres while strolling through the garden and soaking in the harbor view. Dinner will include seasonal Lowcountry cuisine served at farm style tables beneath a rustic canopy and homegrown Band, The Bull Grapes, will provide the entertainment. See feature article at BeaufortSC.org...
  • St. Marys, GA – There is plenty to see at St. Mary’s. Test your film knowledge at the Film Museum, bird watch on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail or see the beauty of the town by going on a Tram tour. Sailors can also explore the oak canopies, various wildlife and beautiful beaches of nearby Cumberland Island, the largest of George’s barrier islands. We’ll join the Cruiser's Thanksgiving Potluck—an annual tradition at St. Mary's—to celebrate the holiday.
  • Titusville, FL - Enjoy a get-together & events at Titusville Marina (a Waterway Guide Cruising Club Partner!).
  • Much more to come...

At many of the stops, The group will be touring maritime museums and local sites of interest, dining out, and getting to know the towns and cities of the ICW.

The Rally will finish at Miami's "No Name Harbor" at beautiful Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park where there will be a final blowout, awards ceremony for cruisers, barbeque and party. A day of advanced cruising seminars is planned to assist Rally participants in safely negotiating the next stage of their journeys.

Check out http://www.sailmagazine.com/icw-itinerary for updates. Sign up early...space is limited.

To take part in the SAIL Snowbird Rally, your boat must be a sailboat, capable of completing the ICW between Hampton, VA and Miami, FL. (Mast height must not exceed 64 feet. Draft must be 7 feet or less.) 

IslandPacket.com posted an article today featuring the Snowbird Rally and its planned stop in Beaufort, SC.

Source: WG Staff

Comment submitted by Richard CLagett - Tue, Apr 15th

This sounds like a great cruise. How about power boats joining the group. I have a 22 CDory and would love to travel with you all. I have made most of the trip before, however this was done by ourselves, having others along would make it much more enjoyable.

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The Rebel Heart rescue - UPDATE

Date Reported: Apr 12, 2014

Reported by: Wally Moran

UPDATE: Here is a very uplifting video: Guardian Angels from the 131st Rescue Squadron speak at a press conference about the Rebel Heart search and rescue mission (Moffett Federal Airfield, April 9, 2014 – U.S Air National Guard video by Airman 1st Class Julia Bates). In the 23-minute video, members of the rescue team express that the cruising family "made the right call to call for help when they did" and handled themselves very well during the rescue – "The family was very very well-prepared for the voyage...they did everything right, including calling us as early as they did." When a reporter asked whether "the taxpayers pay for the rescue" or whether the family will be billed, the rescue member stated "we're using the same resources we would have used if we were training in Monteray Bay...just this time we come back with four lives...we're in the saving-lives business, not the billing business." There are many more moments like these, plus some very stupid questions from the reporters (like "were they worried that people would think they were terrible parents?")...worth a listen:

kaufmann-family.jpg(4/8/2014) Ed. Note: I'm very happy that the family is safe and sound, and sad that their circumnavigation – and their "home" – was lost in the tragedy. World cruising is life-affirming. It is also potentially dangerous, as life is generally (like crossing the street, for example).

I have met dozens of kids cruising the world with their families, and have found all of them to be joyous, engaging and remarkably smart. Thanks, Wally, for the "call to action" and your seasoned perspective:

This week's BIG news in sailing circles is the Rebel Heart story. Very briefly for those not familiar (what? how long can you stay at the top of your mast anyhow?), a family of four including a three year old and a one year old left Mexico two weeks ago on the first leg of a circumnavigation. The baby became seriously ill about 900 miles out, and the US Navy parachuted four paramedics to the boat. Her condition was stabilized, but - and not all of this is confirmed by any means - the boat was experiencing some issues. From the reports, it sounds like they had a packing gland problem as water was coming in when the engine was running.

The Navy then sent out a fast frigate to take the family off the boat, and scuttled Rebel Heart rather than leave it floating, and a danger to other vessels. A google search for Rebel Heart will find you all the details.

Of course, it didn't take long for the media to pile on this one. Great story: young family, adventure, sick child, rescue of sinking boat - wow! WWRD? (what would Redford do?)

And of course, online, thousands of people are taking the parents to task for risking their childrens' lives in a foolhardy adventure.

None of them are, of course, sailors or boaters. Many seem to want the government to take their children away, to force the parents to pay for the rescue (ignoring that they get free 'rescue' if they crash their car or their house burns down), develop legislation preventing this sort of thing from EVER HAPPENING AGAIN! On and on it goes.

Read more on Wally Moran's LiveBloggin' website, including an appeal: Let's add the cruisers' perspective to offset the harsh bashing on mainstream media sites.

And a statement from the United States Coast Guard:

"The Coast Guard does not charge for search and rescue operations," said Lt. Anna Dixon of the 11th Coast Guard District.  "We don't want people in trouble at sea to hesitate to call for help for fear they'll be charged for assistance.  Mariners assisting one another at sea is a both a time honored tradition and a requirement of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention of the International Maritime Organization."  

The Coast Guard is the Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator (SMC) for the Rebel Heart rescue operation, but no Coast Guard vessels or aircraft have been deployed.  A Navy vessel and California Air National Guard aircraft are involved but those agencies have not indicated plans to seek reimbursement for this rescue operation.

Follow this link to the sailing blog of Eric, Charlotte, & family (no updates posted since the rescue, at the moment of this posting).

Source: Cruising Editor

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BoatUS: Annual list of top ten boat names

Date Reported: Apr 10, 2014

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

A valuable resource for deciding what NOT to name your boat (Serenity Now!). From a BoatUS press release:

If a car’s vanity license plate can tell you a lot about the person behind the wheel, what can a boat name tell you about the person behind the helm? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) just released the national boating organization’s 24th Annual Top Ten Boat Names List and may have the answer.

The BoatUS list of Top Ten Boat Names:

1. Serenity
2. Second Wind
3. Island Girl
4. Freedom
5. Pura-Vida
6. Andiamo
7. Island Time
8. Irish Wake
9. Happy Hours
10. Seas the Day

“We’ve had indicators that a boater who names their boat Second Wind may have rebounded from a misfortune...Read more...

Source: BoatUS

Comment submitted by Glenn McCormick - Thu, Apr 10th

Lets have the Top Ten in both power & sail.

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