Friday, February 29, 2008

Cooler Saves Fishermen

A no-quit attitude and some luck recently lead to the rescue of an Australian angler who spent nearly 30 hours swimming and hoping for rescue. The full story as reported by Yahoo News is below.

Aussie's epic swim saves crewmate clinging to cooler
SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian fisherman's "miraculous" swim through shark-infested seas resulted in the dramatic rescue Thursday of a crewmate who spent 30 hours clinging to an ice cooler after their boat sank.

A helicopter plucked the crewman from the ocean about 15 kilometres (nine miles) off the east coast near Byron Bay early Thursday after the fisherman swam for almost 12 hours to reach land and raise the alarm, officials said.

An air and sea search was continuing for a third man who had been aboard the trawler "Sea Rogue", said a spokeswoman for the Maritime Safety Authority.

The first sign of the drama at sea came when deckhand Michael Williams was found on a New South Wales beach by a walker on Wednesday afternoon.

The 39-year-old had "miraculously swum to shore after their vessel overturned" before dawn Wednesday, a police spokesman said.

A police statement said Williams was "in a distressed state. He said he had been swimming for about 12 hours after his fishing trawler had sunk".

"He had pretty bad cuts and bruises to his legs and his arms, he was pretty exhausted, pretty badly sunburnt," said Chris Gort, who was second on the scene and rang for an ambulance.

Williams was rushed to hospital and treated for exhaustion and dehydration as rescuers raced to find crewmates skipper Charlie Picton and deckhand John Jarrett, who were clinging to debris when Williams set out on his epic swim.

Jarrett, 41, was found holding onto a cooler box and airlifted to Ballina Hospital, saying later he always believed he would survive.

"I have determination like no other person," he told Sky News "I wasn't going to die out there mate, no way."

He said he and Picton clung to an upside down ice cooler, also known as an esky, kicking and paddling to stay afloat.

Jarrett's friend and family spokesman Mark McMurtrie said the deckhand desperately tried to help Picton while keeping the cooler buoyant.

"Every time the esky got a bit too much water in it he'd have to sort of hold Charlie up in one hand and hold the esky up out of the water with the other and then put it back down so it was full of air again," he told reporters.

McMurtrie would not say how Jarrett and Picton became separated, although television reports said the trawler's exhausted skipper was unable to keep hold of the cooler and floated away Wednesday night.

He said Jarrett was expected to make a full recovery but was distressed about Picton.

"He's got an iron will constitution, but he's shattered about losing his mate, simple as that," he said.

Police said an assessment of the search for Picton would be made at nightfall Thursday.

"We hold grave concerns for that gentleman at the moment based on the time the search has been going on and other information we've received," he said.

Jarrett's sister Julie expressed relief that the father-of-three survived.

"He's never going out to sea again, that's all I can say," she told reporters.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

One, Two, Three Sails You're Out?

Come springtime, a man’s fancy turns to love. In my case, however, it turns to… baseball. Yes, yours truly considers spring to have arrived when pitchers and catchers report to training camp. My obsession with the sport really knows no boundaries; I’ve been to several different ballparks, ranging from LA’s Dodger Stadium and both Seattle’s old Kingdom as well as its terrific replacement, Safeco Field, to Toronto’s Skydome and Beantown’s Fenway.

Which is why I hope the Tampa Devil Rays get the proposed $450-million stadium illustrated above. On the St. Petersburg waterfront, the stadium will be handy to a marina (can you say, "Grab the net, here comes a homer!") and even embrace boating elements in its design. Take a good look at the roof, for example: It resembles a sail. Pretty cool, huh? (Yes, we powerboat lovers can actually respect sailboat elements.)

If the proposal gets the go-ahead, the stadium may be completed by 2012. Anyone want to organize a pre-game yacht hop?

Royal Navy For Sale

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, the British Royal Navy is now for sale. Well, at least their services are. The RN is offering training to megayacht crews in the “Navy way”, in techniques as far-flung as, “firefighting, submarine navigation, and napkin-folding.” The courses are offered through Flagship Training, a company that takes 40% of the profits from the course, the rest going to the RN.

Due to tightened budgets over the past decade, the RN has sought new paths for monetary gain, and this opportunity was, “too sweet to pass up”. Founded by retired Royal Navy Commander Stephen Mackay, the program is meant to bolster the military’s budget and remove, at least a small burden, from the taxpayer.

The first participant in the program was none other than the captain of Ecstasea, one of Russian-oil tycoon Roman Abramovich’s ships. With this training, the Wall Street Journal hints that Capt. Bridge may be poised to take over Abramovich’s newest yacht, the 500-ft Eclipse, after she is launched, but those claims are unsubstantiated. Whatever the case, this type of first-class training could raise the bar on what is expected aboard a luxury yacht.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dockwise Delivers to Dubai

On February 19, Dockwise Yacht Transport completed its first shipment of pleasure yachts to Jebel Ali, Dubai. The boats were delivered aboard the BBC Chartering ship Lady Gloria, in plenty of time for the Dubai International Boat Show. Dockwise parterned with BBC Chartering and Logistics—which has 140 vessels in operation worldwide—last October in order to expand its global shipping options.

Dockwise will now regularly service Dubai and other previously hard-to-reach destinations. It recently added Southampton, UK; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Houston, Texas to its service ports.

On her voyage from Port Everglades, Florida, to Dubai, Lady Gloria's load included a new 105-foot Mangusta and a 30-foot limousine tender from Royal Denship, among others.

An Alternative for Boating Enthusiasts, Dreamers, and Snowbirds

On a recent trip down to Palm Beach, my cousin Brian invited me to his marina club for the day. While sharing similarities to the yacht clubs in the northeast that I'm more familiar with, I was intrigued about the differences.

The Marina Club at Jonathan's Landing has private slips for members, a lounge with waterfront restaurant, lots of social activities, and reciprocity with other clubs around the country. But it also has a newly renovated boat storage facility, with interior space for boats up to 40 feet and 24/7 security, and a program called Boat Fleet, an alternative to boat ownership.

For a yearly fee, members of the Boat Fleet program have access to 30 different boats: a variety of center console fishing boats, bow riders, and cabin cruisers from 21 to 46 feet. All but the two largest boats can be taken out by members after they've attended a one-on-one training class, new-boat orientation, and a boating safety course. (The 40- and 46-footers require a captain.) You simply call ahead to reserve the boat you want.

There is one glitch: Although the marina takes care of any maintenance issues and all the boats are insured, there is the potential for damage when sending members out after only one training session. When we took one of the boats out, the rudder indicator was broken and the steering was so tight you could barely turn the wheel. Fortunately my cousin has spent quite a bit of time on these boats and can get himself out of a jam. But on-the-water troubleshooting training would probably be beneficial to members.

With reliable maintenance and thorough training, this can be a great alternative for boating enthusiasts who don't have enough free time to warrant the costs of having their own boat or snowbirds who store their boats over the winter rather than transporting them back and forth.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Brave New Boating Museum

"People think of New Jersey as the Garden State. But the truth is, New Jersey has an incredible maritime tradition. Our history rivals that of Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire."

That's Robert O'Brien, president of the New Jersey Museum of Boating, who recently announced his plan to build a new home for the popular museum.

Currently located in Point Pleasant, the museum showcases hundreds of maritime artifacts from the state's boating history, including a 1959 Cramer racing garvey and the racing scull that New Jersey's own Jack Kelly rowed to victory in the 1936 Olympics.

But the museum, which attracts more than 2,000 people a year, has outgrown its location. The new $12 million facility will be built on Barnegat Bay and is expected to open in 2009. In addition to more gallery space, the museum will feature boat-building classes, a museum shop and clam bar, and a state-of-the-art 120-seat theater.

Keep it in mind when you're planning your coastal cruise next summer.

Attention: Government IDs for All Captains and Crew

Everyone who holds a U.S. captain’s license, STCW certification, or COR document must now also obtain a Transportation Workers Identification Card (TWIC). The TSA has already required the card to be carried by longshoreman and other dockworkers who require access to secure areas and plans for all those possessing merchant mariner documents to get a TWIC by the end of September, 2008.

TWICs, which contain a biometric chip as well as a photo, bar code, and magnetic strip, currently cost $132.50 and are good for five years. The rate is slightly reduced for applicants who have already passed the background review of their criminal history records, immigration status, and affiliation with terrorist groups. You can find a list of TWIC enrollment centers, and you can find answers to your questions regarding the TWIC program by calling the U.S. Coast Guard helpdesk at 866-347-8942 (the 877-687-2243 number given on their web site is for enforcement questions only) or at the TSA’s TWIC program’s Frequently Asked Questions page. You can get a copy of the application form here.

We’ll be reminding you about this as the final date for applications becomes firm. As I go through the process, I'll keep you updated on my progress, and let you know about and hassles or any "streamlined efficiencies" that I encounter.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Seeing is Believing

Depthsounders are great tools when looking for bottom structure, drop offs, or bait when fishing. One hurdle that sounders have always had is that when you're running a vessel at speed the return image from the sonar often seemed cluttered (at best) or altogether unreadable, either due to the transducer's capability or interference from the sounder's own signal, which was often driven with a lot of power to penetrate deep water.

That was the case until Lowrance showed me its new broadband depthsounder technology at the Miami Boat Show last week. The picture you see here was taken off Miami while we were running a 330 Wold Cat with twin outboards. There are two notable features about this image: First, that it was taken via a transom-mount transducer. Second, the detail is amazing, especially considering the boat's speed. She was doing nearly 30 mph. Fish beware, there is no place to hide. Lowrance says that it has had success receiving clean images from depths up to 5,000 feet (traveling at 17 knots) by using more robust through-hull transducers. Lowrance should have this technology in retailers hands in about a month.

Mercury and Evinrude Release New Outboards

At last week’s Miami Boat Show, I attended back-to-back press conferences for Mercury and Evinrude that both revealed new high-powered outboards. Mercury released its Verado series 350Sci, supported with a video-clip of a Fountain center-console breaking 80 mph with three 350s mounted across the back. Mercury Marine President and COO of the Brunswick Corporation Pat Mackey and President of Mercury Racing Fred Kiekhaefer introduced the high-octane video that highlights the hole-shot abilities of the new 350 series.

Evinrude’s press conference took a different tone with the release of its new E-Tec 300-hp outboard. Instead of focusing on this engine, Evinrude celebrated 100 years of innovation, apparently all started by Ole Evinrude’s quest for ice cream. As the story has it, in 1906 the store that sold ice cream was 2½ miles across the lake. On a hot summer day, Ole and his wife Bess tried to bring ice cream back and it melted, prompting Ole to go into his garage for three years and invent the outboard engine. It may not be exactly what happened, but since they served ice cream at the booth during the sweltering Miami boat show, you’ll get no complaints from me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tour de Force

Saturday was a special day for Pat Hanrahan, as this lucky PMY reader was the winner of our "I Want to Tour a Megayacht" contest. He and his wife Cynthia were accompanied by me on not just one but two yacht tours: the 150-foot Mystic and the 150-foot My Iris. The treat came courtesy of Merle Wood and Associates, which was exhibiting the two yachts at the show. (Both are for sale through the firm.) Cromwell Littlejohn, a sales broker with the company, explained everything, from where the yachts were built (Mystic at Christensen Shipyards, My Iris at Trinity Yachts) to how crew and guest traffic is handled and even introduced the Hanrahans to the yachts' respective captains, who filled them in on the electronics at the helm and the cruising regions they've visited so far.

To see just some of what the Hanrahans took in during their tour, click here, then click on the first video at the top of the page.

If you missed out on this contest, don't despair. Keep checking our Web site's Contests page for your next chance to win something.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Live From Miami... It's PMY!

OK, so I stretched the truth there—we won't really be blogging live from the Miami International Boat Show or the Yacht & Brokerage Show, which each start today. But we will be uploading photos and even videos through Saturday on a special page on our Web site.

So if you're planning to visit some of the builders and gear manufacturers that will be exhibiting, you'll get an early look at what's making news. And if you can't attend the show, you'll see some of the boats we'll be testing in our spring and summer issues.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Recycle that Line!

These days, it seems that just about everyone is thinking green. From Capitol Hill to Hollywood, we’re riding a serious wave of eco-consciousness. And that's true of the boating industry, too. Case in point: West Marine’s recent partnership with the Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program (MRRP) of Florida to help encourage fishing line recycling.

According to Geoff Eisenberg, the CEO of West Marine, "Fishing line discarded in our oceans is a major problem affecting sea life." The MRRP reports that monofilament line—which is made from high-density nylon—can last in the ocean for 600 years before it’s broken down. Line entangles sea life and birds and is often ingested, too. The MRRP tells of a recovered sea turtle that was found to have consumed 590 feet of fishing line.

To discourage reckless discarding, West Marine is placing fish line recycling bins at its Florida stores. In addition, the company is launching what it calls the "Fishing Club Card." Individuals who spool and recycle their reels at West Marine stores will receive their sixth reel for free. Fishing Club Cards are available at most West Marine Stores. The company hopes to help spread awareness about the importance of recycling monofilament line.

Black Is Back

There's a first time for everything, and the launch of Beverly, pictured here, marked one of them. She's the first black hull for Benetti.

The 11th launch in the Benetti Classic line, Beverly continues the deep theme inside, with abundant use of wenge and cherrywood for soles and additional cherrywood for wall panels. Fabric tones range from black and brown to red and orange, said to create a warm, not somber, feel.

Once she's delivered within the next few weeks, Beverly will be available for charter, first in the Mediterranean and later in the year in the Caribbean.

Friday, February 8, 2008

One Special Fish!

Move over Nemo, say hello to zebrafish. Granted this lil' fella might not look like much, but he's making a great contribution in the name of cancer research. This engineered animal features a similar genetic makeup to humans, and because he's see-through scientists can view all of the fish's organs. This allows medical researchers to watch how cancer grows, travels, and affects certain organs. Hopefully this research will help lead to better cancer treatments, and maybe someday...even a cure.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


For the nautically obsessed (like most of us PMYers), what better bathroom furnishment than another boat? The Parisian studio Galerie Kreo distributes this oak and cedar wood vessel whose 77-inch LOA and 33.5-inch beam accommodates three guests comfortably (as seen in the photo below). This prototype is in a museum in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It’s hard to tell where art and practicality split here, and although we doubt she floats, wash down has never been so much fun.