Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fishing Charter Crew Makes Two Rescues in One Day

A 24-foot Mako with four passengers onboard capsized last week in the Ambrose Channel, the main shipping channel serving the ports of New York and New Jersey. Three of the boaters were tossed into the water after hitting the towline of a passing tugboat. The fourth was able to cling to the overturned vessel.

The crew of Capt. Dave, a charter boat fishing nearby, was alerted to the accident and high-tailed it to the scene, where they were able to pick up the man clinging the the capsized Mako. (Coast Guard boats and NYPD helicopters were able to rescue one of the men in the water and retrieved the bodies of the others, who had already drowned.)

After passing the stunned boater over to the Coast Guard, the crew (seen above, from left to right: Captain David Paris, Peter Paris, Paul Paris, and Ralph Giovacco) was on its way back to shore when they spotted a windsurfer off a jetty at Rockaway Point. The 46-year-old windsurfer was trying to travel nine miles from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to Staten Island, New York. He was blown off course after his sail broke off and had been clinging to his board for 6½ hours before the crew of Capt. Dave came along.

Adventurous Adventure Us

While I unfortunately don't have a photo to show you, trust me when I say that Ted Haines, a crewmember aboard the 82-foot Hargrave Adventure Us, wasn't exaggerating when he showed me the galley and declared, "Welcome to our four-butt kitchen!" There's enough space between the appliances and prep island for a small crowd to gather (and you know everyone always gathers in the galley, just like at home!).

The yacht, which I toured during last week's Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, is packed with personality. The owners have kids of various ages and not only made Adventure Us stuffed-animal-friendly, but also welcoming for their multiple generations to relax together. The saloon, for example, has a table that has hosted some rousing games of chess as well as studying. The flying bridge, where the owners themselves run the yacht, has a small observation settee to port of the helm, and they and their kids have spotted whales and various schools of fish from Kennebunkport, Maine, down to Key West.

Haines, who handles lines and related tasks for the owners, loves having the kids around. Even though there are two bunk-berth staterooms each with a Pullman in the guest accommodations for the boys and girls to use, Haines says he's found the kids, usually the boys, hanging around his cabin, located just aft of the engine room.

But maybe that's because Haines keeps his small freezer stocked with ice cream...

Nautical Gifts

It's hard to believe that Halloween is already here, which means that the holiday shopping season is lurking not too far around the corner. Yikes. But, lest you begin to stress out about all the shopping you've got to do, know that there's some good news.

The folks behind the Captn Jack's Catalog recently announced that their 2007/2008 Holiday Catalog will expand its focus beyond the high-end electronic marine navigation gear the company has traditionally offered. They'll be selling a variety of new marine lifestyle gear, which means plenty of gifts for every boater on your list. Some of my favorite highlights include the Remote Control Pirate Ship ($65, with "functioning" light-up cannon), the i-blue 757 Pro Solara GPS ($119, which lets you broadcast GPS data throughout your boat with a Bluetooth enabled sensor), and the Rocking Dory ($265, a beautiful, handcrafted lap-joint dory) for the little ones. Happy (upcoming) Holidays!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Meet PMY at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show

Meet PMY at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which starts Thursday. Our stand is number 1229, near the engine tent, at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center.

Straight from the show we're giving you a look at the newest boats, yachts, gear, etc. We're adding new pictures every day, so keep checking back.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Desirable Destination

It's always a thrill to receive a letter from a reader when he/she likes something you've written. This morning I had just that experience when Mark Allen of the Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey, e-mailed me to say how much he enjoyed my November "Megayachts" column, in which I urge yacht owners to expand their horizons and explore places other than the same spots they go to year after year.

Here's what Mark had to say:
We’ve been actively trying to entice the larger motor yachts to visit our marina here in Cape May for the past couple of years. We can handle up to three in the 110’ range at one time and have plenty of water underneath. And we have a great town for both crews and owners as well as a year-round service facility at our nearby sister marina.

But we can’t seem to get the "desirable destination" message out.

Consider the word out, Mark. As for you yacht owners: Consider yourselves educated. Being a Jersey girl, I can attest to how beautiful Cape May is. A few of our other editors have been there, too. And if any of you have, feel free to share your knowledge here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Piracy Attacks on the Rise

According to the London-based International Maritime Bureau, maritime piracy attacks rose 14 percent in the first nine months of 2007 from a year earlier, with Somalia and Nigeria showing the biggest increases.

The Associated Press reports that:
While Africa remains problematic, Southeast Asia's Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways, has been relatively quiet, the International Maritime Bureau said in a report.

A total of 198 attacks on ships were reported between January and September this year, up from 174 in the same period in 2006, the IMB said.

It said a total of 15 vessels were hijacked, 63 crew kidnapped and three killed.

"If this current trend continues, it would appear that the decline in piracy attacks since 2004 has bottomed out," it warned.

Indonesia remained the world's worst piracy hotspot, with 37 attacks in the first nine months of 2007 - but this was an improvement from 40 in the same period a year earlier, the IMB said.

But attacks rose drastically in Somalia to 26 reported cases, up from only 8 a year earlier, it said. Nigeria also suffered 26 attacks so far this year, up from 9 previously, it added.

IMB director Pottengal Mukundan urged ships to stay as far as possible from the coasts of Somalia and Nigeria, which remained very dangerous with large numbers of violent kidnappings.

"The level of violence in high risk areas remain unacceptable. Pirates in Somalia are operating with impunity, seizing vessels hundreds of miles off the coast and holding the vessel and crew to ransom, making no attempt to hide their activity," he said.

Only four attacks were reported in the Malacca Strait this year, compared to 8 in the same period in 2006, thanks to increased cooperation between states straddling the waterway, the IMB said.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Serenity at Sea

Last weekend I was the first journalist to not only see Lazzara Yachts’ new flagship, a 116 christened Serenity, but also to take a ride on her, from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. And what a ride it was: Mother Nature threw lots of messy four- to six-footers at us, with a few eight-footers tossed in clearly for the heck of it, thanks to northeasterly winds gusting in excess of 20 knots. Now, while some of you may be groaning and/or mimicking the same nauseated expressions my friends and family did when I relayed this information, trust me when I say that my normally iffy stomach in these situations wasn’t the least bit disturbed. Thanks to the stabilizers doing their job and Lazzara’s in-house design team, the yacht’s captain comfortably ran us at 21 knots for about an hour and a half. (And I even fell asleep for about 30 minutes of it—seriously. But don’t tell my boss I was sleeping on the job.)

Serenity, which I photographed above during her christening in Fort Lauderdale, will be at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show next week. If you don’t get a chance to see her, look for my feature article in the January issue of Power and Motoryacht.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Contest for Cruising Kids

The National Safe Boating Council is asking for entries for its 2008 Boating Safety Sidekicks Contest "I'm a Safe Boater, Are You?"

Children between the ages of four and 15 and are encouraged to submit stories, posters, or videos that describe how they stay safe on the water. Winners will receive prizes courtesy of West Marine and WithinReach.

For more details and to view last year's winning entries, visit the Boating Safety Sidekicks Web site.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bookworms Wanted

Not that long ago, I became enamored with a series of coffee-table books about travel that I'd seen aboard a yacht I'd toured. Since they weren't esoteric topics, I figured my local bookstores would carry them. Unfortunately, one didn't, and while the other did, the titles were out of stock.

If you're a book nut like me and/or have compiled a collection for your boat's or yacht's bookshelves, surely you've experienced the same situation. And you've likely encountered worse frustration if you've searched for highly collectible or limited-edition titles. A new company feels your pain and intends to make not just your individual title-shopping experience easier, but also your search for hard-to-find editions and even your need for an entire library.

The company is Designarta Books, started by individuals with more than three decades' experience in art publishing. The firm has hundreds of titles about everything from art and architecture to fashion, photography, travel, and lifestyle. I spent some time this morning perusing the Web site, and not only was I delighted to see a book containing vintage posters promoting Italian tourism, but also a photography book about my favorite sport, baseball (go Yankees!). Designarta even has the highly promoted Superyacht book that's selling for a few thousand dollars worldwide.

If you want more than just one or two titles, Designarta Books specializes in creating bespoke libraries, taking care of everything from selecting titles for you based on subjects you specify to delivering them and even setting them up onboard your yacht.

Interested? Designarta Books is extending a ten-percent discount to PMY readers. Enter code PMY1 at checkout on its site. (Note that Designarta Books says its contracts prevent it from applying the discount to collectors' editions but that other books are eligible.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Avoiding the Six Most Common Winterizing Mistakes

BoatU.S. Marine Insurance recently reviewed its claim files and came up with a list of the most common mistakes made when winterizing a boat:

1. Failure to winterize the engine: Freezing temperatures occur in all 50 states and while they are taken seriously up north, it’s the balmy states of California, Florida, Texas, Alabama, and Georgia where boaters are most likely to have freeze-related damage to engine blocks. It routinely occurs to boats stored ashore here. Boats left in a slip are less susceptible to sudden freezing as the surrounding water retains heat longer than air.

2. Failure to drain water from sea strainer: If your winterizing plan calls for draining the engine, the seawater strainer must be winterized or residual water could freeze and rupture the watertight seal. Sometimes you won’t know it’s damaged until spring launching and water begins to trickle in.

3. Failure to close seacocks: For boats left in the water, leaving seacocks open over the winter is like going on extended vacation without locking the house. If a thru-hull cannot be closed the vessel must be stored ashore – the sole exception are cockpit drains. Heavy snow loads can also force your boat under, allowing water to enter thru-hulls normally well above the water line.

4. Clogged petcocks: Engine cooling system petcocks clogged by rust or other debris can prevent water from fully draining. If one is plugged, try using a coat hanger to clear the blockage or use the engine’s intake hose to flush anti-freeze through the system.

5. Leaving open boats in the water over winter: Boats with large open cockpits or low freeboard can easily be pushed underwater by the weight of accumulated ice and snow. Always store them ashore.

6. Using bimini covers as winter storage covers: A cover that protects the crew from the sun does a lousy job protecting the boat from freezing rain and snow. Unlike a bonafide winter cover, biminis tend to rip apart and age prematurely by the effects of winter weather.

Visit the BoatU.S. Web site to get free copies of its Winterizing Guide, which they will send by mail, or through e-mail.