Today's lake level: 1,068.91
Your complete online news, information, and recreation guide to Lake Lanier
Sep. 2, 2014
12:41 pm
Currently
85°
Fair
Humidity: 61
NW at 9mph
Forecast

Captain's Comments

Casino ship 'Escapade' lives up to its name on maiden voyage

I found the recent news interesting – the grounding of the 157-foot casino ship “Escapade” on its maiden voyage off Tybee Island while trying to make her way back to port in Savannah. A chart plotter was blamed. My thought was that the vessel made it out of the same channel earlier in the day, why would they have run aground returning in the same channel?  Low tide comes to mind. Also, after off-loading passengers to Coast Guard cutters the tide came in the vessel proceeded to port with no problems. True, she had less weight after off-loading passengers, but I think low tide played a part.

My question is since this was her maiden voyage how come side scan sonar was not in use? The alarm system would have alerted the captain of shallow water ahead.  We’ll probably know in a future story of the incident.

My first experience in the Coast Guard to aid a grounded vessel came in boot camp at Cape May, N.J. I had been assigned to the boat docks and my job was to clean a captain’s “Gig.” A 26-foot diesel powered double ender used to transport the ship’s captain. Suddenly a man came aboard, I looked up and he was in a full captain’s uniform. His brass was a corroded green, I assumed from being around salt air. I immediately came to attention and saluted. He did likewise and said, “Sailor let’s get this boat underway.” I said, “Yes Sir,” and proceeded to start the Buda diesel, which sounded like a John Deere Tractor. I removed the dock lines and started backing out of the slip. It was about this time I was thanking myself that I paid attention when I was in the Sea Scouts and we visited Coast Guard stations and got to ride on a captain’s “Gig.”

The captain pointed out a training schooner aground in the harbor.  She was 80 plus feet and listing.  We pulled alongside amidships and passed lines fore and aft. Slowly she became loose of the sandbar and the captain told me to proceed to a nearby wharf. The schooner’s auxiliary engine would not run, so we were the only power. As we got closer to the concrete wharf I realized our 26-foot gig was in between the wharf and the schooner – the meat in the sandwich if you will. The closer we got the more I anticipated a command to back out and let the schooner pass lines to those waiting on the wharf. We scraped the wharf and the schooner squeezed the gig to the point we heard wood cracking.  I had one hand on the throttle and one ready to reverse, waiting for the order to get the hell out of there. Finally he gave the order and we shot out of there like a cork from a champagne bottle. We proceeded back to the boat docks, tied up, and that was the last I ever saw of the captain, or heard anything about the incident.

I am sure if you have been around boats long enough you’ve heard the stories of groundings a time or two. Most are related to a stupid mistake, like not paying attention while underway. I had an old salt friend of mine that had a favorite saying for the one boater who brags that he has never run aground. He’d say, “The reason he’s not been aground is he didn’t get off the bar stool at the yacht club or he never took his boat out of its slip.” Groundings are always serious and can cause injury and damage that will cost money. Know the waters where you cruise, if you’re not sure, go slow and watch your fathometer.

New engines
BRP, or Bombardier Recreational Products, the Canadian manufacturer known for its snowmobiles (Ski-Doo) and personal watercraft (Sea-Doo), and also for purchasing bankrupt Outboard Marine Corporation (Evinrude and Johnson) is announcing a totally new engine.  Gone is the Ficht and E-Tec 2- strokes. The new engines will be E-Tec G2 and is totally new from prop shaft to fly wheel. This is the company’s first completely new engine in 38 years.

It will have 75 percent lower emissions and 20 percent more torque (especially out of the hole and at midrange) than leading 4-strokes. The G2’s will have 40 percent more battery-charging capacity at idle. Customers will have a choice of 200, 225, 250, and 300 H.P. models. The engines will have a 5-5-5 warranty as they call it.  This means five years engine and corrosion protection and 500 hour no dealer scheduled maintenance. No doubt this will be the benchmark for the industry. They will be manufactured at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin factory. You will recognize them by their new angular shape when you go to the boat shows.

Mercury Marine has four new engines, 75, 90 and 115 H.P., 4 – stroke outboards and a 4.5 liter 250 H.P. Mercruiser gasoline stern drive. The outboards are of a larger displacement and lower weight and were developed by the Consumer Research Team. The new 250 H.P. Mercruiser was designed in house and did not use the base of an automobile engine. Some of these engines are available now.

Suzuki unveiled a 4-cylinder 200 H.P. 4-stroke in June. The inline engine gives boaters performance previously expected from a V-6. The new engine weighs 12 percent less than the previous V-6, 200 H.P.

Whatever boat and motor combination you choose make sure you give it a thorough sea trial and inspection before you commit yourself. Larger vessels even though they may be brand new should be surveyed. You’ll be surprised what you might find. Whatever craft you decide to purchase, be safe and have fun cruising. You might also what to join Boat U.S.

Fishing clubs in high school
The popularity of bass fishing clubs in high schools has risen across the U.S.A. The idea for these clubs started six years ago in Illinois, which is currently one of four states (including New Hampshire, Kentucky and Missouri) where high school bass fishing is sanctioned as an approved sporting activity. Illinois schools alone field about 245 bass fishing teams with a total following of up to 4,000 students. Student anglers must maintain a 2.0 grade average or better to compete. Dues are $25 per member and entry fees also offer insurance coverage.  Some clubs have as many as 80 members.  

The organization Student Angler Federation (S.A.F.) is affiliated with FLW Outdoors, and also Bass Nation. Prizes in competition range from college scholarships to laptop computers. Check these clubs out and start a club at your high school today. By the way this is not a men’s only club, women are also members. Remember these young people will be our future boat buyers and conservationists.

New books
A book called “As Long as it’s Fun” which is the blue water cruising voyages and extraordinary times of Lin and Larry Pardy. It not only documents their more than 200,000 voyage miles, but also their 48-year marriage. Their advice is “Go simple, go small, go now.” Contact Paradise Cay Publications at www.parcay.com. Price $18.95.

Are you embarrassed tying granny knots on your boat? Get this book and learn marlinspike seamanship. Learn to tie bowlines, sheepshanks, clove hitch and square knots. Be an authority.  Contact International Marine at: www.internationalmarine.com “Knot Know How,” by Colin Jarman. Don’t forget to add a marine gas treatment to your fuel tank when you fuel up next time.

Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.  
 


Mike Rudderham is a veteran marine surveyor with more than 40 years experience in the marine industry.





July 2014 column

Crazy crossing and college champs

Back when I was selling and brokering yachts, my neighbor told me about a new yacht that was new to the market. It was called Carri-Craft. It had a catamaran hull with twin Lehman diesels and Genset.  The layout below was similar to today’s houseboats, but with an upper enclosed command bridge.  The yacht was certainly unique and interesting. They were built in Berlin, WI on a floating assembly line. At the end of the line they were floated on a custom made trailer and delivered.

About six months later and after my neighbor purchased a 45’ model, I was at the Chicago Boat Show, held at McCormick Place. It was the middle of winter, and the windy city was cold. While inspecting all the new boats I came upon the Carri-Craft booth and they had catalogs on their new 57’ yacht. It looked interesting and extremely roomy and convenient.  One of the salesmen came up and started to point out all the benefits of the new 57-footer and then he said “Do you want to take a demonstration ride? We’ve got one ready to go down in the harbor.” I said “You’ve got to be kidding it’s the middle of winter and ice is on Lake Michigan.” He said “No, I’m not kidding.” I said “Let’s go.” We got on board and there were several clients preparing for the cold sea trial, one was from Surinam. I’m sure he thought we were all crazy.  The sea trial went well. The interior and the enclosed command bridge were warm and cozy.

 One of the people on board had just retired from the J. Walter Thompson Advertising company where his account was Uncle Ben’s Rice. He said he was getting Carri-Craft’s Florida sales and would be bringing two 57-footers down the Mississippi and then across to Clearwater. I went back to Clearwater and didn’t think much more about it until I got a call that two Captains were needed to bring two 57’ Carri-Crafts from New Orleans to Clearwater. So, fellow Captain Tuffey Parker and I were off to New Orleans for the delivery trip. We arrived at the marina and the owner who had been on the ice breaking sea trial said Tuffey would Captain the boat he and his family were on and I would take the other one. The owner hired a Captain’s mate to help me for the trip. Being Cajun Tuffey immediately nicknamed him “Frenchy.” I figured he could handle the job.

The next morning after we had checked the boats and warmed up the engines and were about to cast our lines and get underway, I couldn’t find “Frenchy.” I went below and found him seated in the galley with a bottle of scotch. I explained that was a no-no and got rid of the scotch. It was rough in the Gulf so we decided to take the I.C.W. and hope it calmed down the next day. Somewhere in Mississippi or Alabama we passed a tug pushing a barge and it picked up some flotsam from the bottom and sheared my outboard rudder off. We weren’t taking on any water and the engines were OK, so we reduced speed and proceeded to Pensacola. The owner called the factory and had a rudder and parts air shipped.  

Tuffey was in the engine room to pull the bolts through and I was treading water pushing the rudder in place. A situation like this is why you have dowels and tapered wooden bungs on board. When the bolts go you use them to retain watertight integrity.

We also had a boating magazine writer traveling with us. He was getting a little restless because of the repair delay. We stopped at Apalachicola that night and feasted on great seafood. The Gulf was still rough and we decided to proceed to Carrabelle and make our crossing from there. A 57’ Chris-Craft Constellation was moored next to us in Apalachicola and the writer jumped ship and decided to cross the Gulf to Clearwater with him.  He later said he had never been so sick and the salon furniture was flying back and forth and breaking up. He also said it would probably be his last crossing.

We arrived in Carrabelle and anticipated an early morning start to our crossing. Tuffey said, “You lead the next morning.” I was going to check and see if it had calmed down. “Frenchy” was at the helm when he realized how rough it was. He tried to turn around in the channel and almost broached the boat. I grabbed the helm, went out in the rough Gulf turned around and went back to the marina. We decided the next day would be a safe crossing. The Gulf calmed and we decided on a night crossing.

Tuffey and I decided we would run parallel 75 to 100 yards abeam.  I took the first watch while Frenchy rested (like he really needed it). Tuffey created the entertainment talking with the Campeche shrimpers, telling them how great their girlfriends were. It kept me from seeing ghost ships. I let Frenchy take a late night watch, and I went below. Several hours later I took over the helm and Tuffey was several miles to starboard. Seems Frenchy is a shallow water sailor and was trying to get closer to shore. I corrected and we made the rest of the trip with no surprises.

We hadn’t secured our lines well when Frenchy took off. Four or five weeks later a large Chris-Craft ran aground entering Clearwater Bay. Who was the Captain?  You guessed it, “Frenchy.” I must confess, on the many deliveries myself and other Captains have made, we found the Gulf rough so we could follow the I.C.W. and stop at ports with great seafood. The boats got there OK with well-fed Captains and crew.   

UGA fishing champs
In the last year or two I’ve hit on topics of high school and college fishing tournaments. UGA’s Byron Kenney from Griffin, GA and Will Treadwell from Buford, GA showed them how it’s done two times. They won the FLW-SEC College Tournament at Guntersville Lake in Alabama, and the Boat U.S. College Championship at Pickwick Lake, Ala. At the Boat U.S. College Tournament they landed 10 bass weighing 49.84 pounds. This was almost four pounds more than the second place team from Tennessee Tech. I’m sure we will be hearing from these fishermen in the future tournaments. Congratulations guys.

Take some kids or a veteran fishing this summer. Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.


June 2014 column

Have a safe, fun boating season

The boating season is well under way, and I’ll bet that after Memorial Day weekend there are a few maintenance problems you have discovered while you were on the water. I’m sure the majority of you who properly winterized and did your spring get ready maintenance had trouble free cruising or wake boarding, but those of you who did no maintenance or have  just purchased a boat and are still learning most likely had a problem, or two.

Fuel problems likely caused most problems. Sitting over the winter with no fuel treatment in the tank will do that. That means a thorough cleaning of the fuel system, tank, lines, water separator, and filters and remember fuel treatment when you fill up.

Batteries are another problem if not maintained. Make sure all connections are clean. Also any excess drain on the batteries power which would cause them to lose power.  Check the age of batteries.

If you find your bilge pump or pumps are running constantly or more often than they should, start checking for leaks. Most likely it’s a hose. If hoses are showing age they all should be replaced.

These are three of the most likely areas that could give you trouble. There are a lot of other projects that might not be DIY maintenance.  Get your dealer’s mechanic to tackle those. If you feel you are a qualified “do it yourself” boater you might want to get a manual for your stern drive or outboard as a guide. Contact: www.clymer.com or www.selocmarine.com. When you finish your projects remember to enter it in your maintenance log.  You might want to join Boat U.S. so you can use the Tow BoatU.S. service, it’s cheap at $24 and they have a great boating magazine.

Cruise the Bahamas
I’m sure when you have been at anchor or the end of the day after the boat is secure, the conversation turned to places you would like to go by boat. Crossing the Gulfstream to the Bahamas usually comes up. Most say they wouldn’t want to cross alone. Well now you don’t have to worry, you now can sign up for one of the boating flings offered by the Bahamas Tourist Office. Cost is $75 and you can join a flotilla of up to 30 other vessels led by an experienced captain.

The flotillas make direct, four-day runs to popular islands such as Bimini and Grand Bahama, as well as a 12-day island hoping tour.  The boating flings depart and return to Bahia Mar Marina in Ft. Lauderdale. They depart on Thursdays and return on Sundays.  These cruises are only offered in June and July. Call 1-800-32-SPORT for summer 2014 dates.

Your boat should be 25’ or more with the comforts of home, and be able to have a cruising range of at least 125 miles. The boat should in addition to required U.S.C.G equipment have a GPS, PLB or EPIRIB. You might want to get a Yachtsman’s Guide to the Bahamas: call 877-923-9653 or www.yachstmansguide.com. You should consult U.S. Customs and Border Protection to find out cost and proper I.D.s required when traveling to and from the Bahamas.

If you have a trailerable boat, why not get a group together and join the flotilla for a Bahamas fling cruise. If you go, please share your photos and story with Lakeside.  I’ve made many trips to the Bahamas, fishing, snorkeling and just relaxing. I also saw them the fast way in the 1970 Bahamas 500 Ocean Race.

Eco-Sea Cottages
These floating homes are elegant and ecological houseboats that are 560-1,300 square feet, one to three bedrooms, one to two bathrooms, 36’ to 55’ long, one or two levels, fireplace, all major appliances. The cost is $164,000 to $349,000 with free delivery in the U.S. This type of housing is popular in Florida and other Gulf states.  It is also a Coast Guard regulated vessel. I don’t know if the Corps will allow these on Lake Lanier, but if you have other lake front property it might be for you. Just think you could fish off your front porch, and you don’t have to mow the lawn. Contact: 206-297-1330 or www.eco-seacottage.com.

Banking by water
My introduction to water jet boats was a trip to the Bank on the Water. This was in Miami where you can bank from the water. My friend that had this “hot dog” jet boat said “Let’s go to lunch.” I said “OK” and he said “We’ll take the jet boat; I’ve got to go by the bank.” So off we went. My friend only knows stop and wide open, especially in his jet boat. We made it to the drive-thru window and it’s a wonder the teller didn’t run at the speed we came in. But he got his money and we went to lunch by boat. No traffic lights, jams or horns. That was a first for me, and I imagine in Miami you can still go to the water drive thru bank.  

More on water-jets, PWCs
Sea-Doo is trying to re-ignite the P.W.C. market with their new “Spark.” Personal watercraft prices have gone over the $10,000 level, so Sea-Doo introduces the “Spark” at a $4,999 price. This should get sales going again. When Sea-Doo ceased production recently their Rotax engine was kept in production to supply Scarab, Chapparal and Glastron boats. The Rotax 900 Ace that was developed for snowmobiles powers the Spark. It develops 50 hp and an optional high output generates 90 hp. The lower price will most likely introduce lower prices models from the competition. But when you add extras and a high output engine you will end up close to $10,000. So if you want a PWC without all the bells and whistles the $4,999 Spark will be the one for you.

Dogs and water
The Wilsons recent article about dogs on boats reminded me of my dachshunds and their water activities. I lived on the bay side of Clearwater Beach , Fl. and at low tide my dogs would go down the steps and swim or run. Skiers often dropped a ski in front of the dock, and come back to pick it up. Well Hienrich retrieved a ski and pulled it up on the beach. He made a good choice as it was a Cypress Gardens ski. I put it up on the dock expecting the skiers to claim it, and they never did.

Another time they were cruising in the boat with me when I thought they might need some exercise. It was low tide so I selected a large sand flat and put them out. Well, the sand flat was filled with fiddler and hermit crabs. When they discovered this, the chase was on.  The dogs gave us quite a show.  Needless to say they slept well that night.

When I lived in Wisconsin I had a black lab named Johnny Rebel.  He was 120 pounds of energy and if you threw it he would bring it to me. This story doesn’t involve a boat, but it does water, frozen that is. The ice fishermen would throw their catch: walleye, bass, trout on the ice and Johnny Rebel would pick one up and bring it to the house. The ice fishermen would chase him on their snow mobiles. I would offer them the fish back and they would say no, it’s been in a dog’s mouth. I’d give them a six pack which seemed to satisfy them, and I had a great fresh fish dinner.

Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.


May 2014 column

New technology is great but what if it breaks?

A bunch of boaters and I were discussing the recent technology seen at boat shows or read about it in magazines. One asked the question, “What do you do if your single lever control breaks down while docking?” Another asked, “What if you have the new Wi-Fi model and it fails, how do I get home?” All the more reason to be a member of Boat/US where you get a reduced rate for Tow Boat/US services. You would think some information would have been in magazines, or the manufacturers would have a remedy. I guess the best thing to do if you break down and need a tow is to call the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, or Tow Boat/US. I’m sure the manufacturers will say nothing will go wrong if it is properly maintained. Well, I have yet to see any devices that won’t break down even when maintained, when you combine man, wear and water, that won’t break down.  

Another thing we are going to see is true captains disappearing.  You know the ones that can dock a single engine boat and make it look easy, or can read the tides and current when entering an inlet. I’m afraid if we depend too much on technology, a real captain will become a lost art. Let’s hope not, there’s still a lot of older boats that need us.

National Safe Boating Week
May 17th thru the 23rd is that week, just before two big holidays: Memorial Day and July 4th. I’m sure most boaters have hit the water for a weekend or two and have noticed an item (or two) that could need some attention on the boat. Maybe some new PFDs, a fire extinguisher, VHF radio, anchor and rode, are just a few items which might have a need for replacement. Make having your boat in top condition your Safe Boating Week goal. It will make the rest of the boating season more enjoyable.

You might also get the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary to give you a boat inspection. When your boat passes they give you a sticker.  Everyone will see it including the “water” police. This won’t mean they won’t stop you but that sticker shows you passed the inspection and you may not be boarded for another inspection. It also indicates that you are a safe boater.

Safe Boating Week’s first day, Saturday May 17th, will be a world record attempt at wearing lifejackets. Go to: www.readysetwearit.com and you and your family can participate in the life jacket world record day. It sounds like a great idea.  Remember, 84 percent of boating deaths were because they were not wearing a life jacket. I’d like to see the kids reminding mom and dad to put their life jackets on. The more we practice safe boating the better season you will experience.

Well traveled bourbon
We have all heard that alcohol and water don’t mix. Well, Trey Zoeller, founder of Jefferson’s Bourbon in Louisville Kentucky thought that he could speed up the aging process by sloshing the bourbon around in the barrel. So he contacted an old classmate of his, Chris Fischer who is chairman of Ocearch, an organization that does research on sharks and oceans.  Ocearch has a large vessel that travels around the world. Zoeller made arrangements with Fischer to put five barrels of aging Jefferson Bourbon on board to get sloshed around as it travelled around the world’s oceans. Zoeller thought it might speed up the aging process.  Three and a half years later and two barrels less, due to damage, (yea, I’ll bet) the three barrels left were matured way beyond it’s years. Zoeller named it Jefferson’s Ocean. It sold out immediately.  Being eager to continue the experiment he gave Fisher four barrels to stow below decks. He also loaded 62 barrels on a container ship that has crossed the equator four times in five months. This batch of Jefferson’s Ocean was released on March 1. Next time you are enjoying a nightcap, consider that your beverage might have logged more ocean miles than you have.

Million dollar bass tourney
As they say, “Things in Texas are big” and they brag about it.  For fishing tournaments this is BIG. On April 25 to 27, 2014, the Lake Sam Rayburn Tournament was scheduled to take place with a guaranteed $1 million purse. The first place payout included a $250,000 grand prize consisting of a Coachman RV, Ram pickup (fully loaded), fully loaded Triton bass boat and $40,000 cash. Second through fifth places also won big with $10,000 cash, four more Triton Bass boats and four more Ram trucks for those winners. The winning didn’t stop there. Anglers will compete every hour of the three day tournament for 12 cash prizes. The total hourly payout will be $372,000. This year they also have Lake Jam, a five day tackle and boat show with live music by Nashville stars.

Two other Texas tournaments have been scheduled: Toledo Bend, May 16-18 and Lake Fork, September 12-21. Both have $500,000 in total winnings. These tournaments have been going on annually for some time, and you can see how they have grown.

 In 1988 a man won with a 9.42 pound fish. He was out of work and borrowed money from the family grocery to enter. He then borrowed a Jon boat to fish from.  He caught the winning fish and took home $38,000. In 2004 a 10 year old won an hourly session with an 8.33 pound fish and won $2,000. A year later he caught an 11.57 pounder and won the payment of $100,000.

The same organization also holds tournaments in Guntersville, AL, Kentucky Lake in Tennessee and Lake Ouachita in Arkansas.  Entry fees are not that steep considering the payout. The recent Lake Sam Rayburn event was $160 for one day, $210 for two days and $260 for three days. Contestants can also enter a couple of bonus games to win additional money.   Entry fee in the little anglers division is $10 per day.  

Sounds like a tournament like this would fit right in at Lake Lanier. For more information visit www.sealyoutdoors.com or call 888-698-2591.

Tug boats
In the last 10 years or so tug boat replicas have become popular for cruising. They have that recognizable classic macho style. Also, with a single diesel engine they are quite economical to operate. Now several manufacturers have introduced trailerable tugs in the mid 20 foot range. These boats are ideal for family trips and have all the comforts of home. A tug would be a great choice for a great loop adventure. Visit www.greatloop.org or call 877-GR8-LOOP. Most boating magazines will have information on the new trailerable tugs or the larger ocean going yacht type tugs, visit www.nordic.com or www.ranger.com. I’ve always been fascinated to see tugs work, especially when they go through the locks with a push or a tow.

Maintenance logs
Often in this column you have heard me expound on the importance and value of maintenance logs. They remind you of when important preventative work needs to be done and if you are selling your boat it’s probably the most helpful item to get you asking price. I have noted when I go through my wish list (boats for sale) in the back of boating magazine some listings say documented maintenance log available. This log will answer a lot of the buyer’s questions and offer proof that the work was done. If you don’t have one, get one started it will help you sell your boat faster when the time comes.

Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.


April 2014 column

Make sure your boat is ready for the season

Spring is here and that means it’s time to re-commission your boat for the season. Due to the two ice storms we had your inspection of hoses will be even more important this year. Hoses that appear damaged need to be replaced immediately. When you think everything is OK, double check with all tanks full and recommended pressure. If there are no leaks you are ready to go.

If your boat has outdrives be sure to inspect the bellows that cover the U-joints, cables, exhaust, and propeller. Next, check wiring and connections. Sometimes older wiring will have insulation cracks and that portion of the wiring will need replacement, also correct any bad connections.

If your boat stays in the water year round it should be hauled and  pressure washed, at least on the bottom. Also inspect thru hull fittings, running gear, props, and zincs. The cleaner bottom will make the boat more fuel efficient.

If your boat is inboard powered check your exhaust hoses. Also inspect hose clamps.  Check sea-cock if equipped and make sure they open and close easily. You never know when you might need to close them in an emergency.

Next check your hydraulics, tilt, trim and steering. Don’t forget to grease all fittings. It’s best to start the season with an oil and filter change, tune-up and checking that all fluid levels are fresh and at proper levels. Check accessories like bilge pumps, anchor winch, spotlight, navigation lights, PFDs, fire extinguishers and ditch bag.

Don’t forget to inspect required Coast Guard equipment. When you are done you might want to have the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary conduct a boat safety inspection.  It’s free and they give you a sticker. If you have not gone to the boating school offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, you might want to sign up. Completion of this course can mean a 10 percent discount on insurance premiums offered by some insurance companies

Don’t forget the boat trailer. Inspect tires, bearings, lights, and winch. Make repairs where necessary and you won’t be stuck on the highway.

If you need an owner’s manual for assistance contact: www.clymier.com or www.selockmarine.com. Remember to record your repairs in your maintenance log.

Outboard motor history
Most people give Ole Evinrude credit for the first outboard motor until the 1940s when Carl Kiekhaefer claimed Cameron Waterman invented one several years before Evinrude. But Evinrude’s model caught on and is still being produced today. Evinrude started in 1907 and its competition from then till the 1940s were Waterwitch, Lockwood and Johnson. Evinrude eventually purchased Johnson and later formed O.M.C. (Outboard Marine Corporation). Mercury outboards came along in the late 1930s when he bought out a bunch of catalog order outboards which weren’t selling. He re-worked and sold them and the rest is history.

In the late ’40s O.M.C. made Sea-King outboards for Montgomery Wards and also Buccaneer outboards for hardware stores. Mercury followed with Wizard Outboards which was sold by a now defunct auto parts store. Scott-Attwater threw its hat in the ring for awhile.

During the ’50s and ’60s there was a horsepower race between O.M.C. and Mercury.  O.M.C. had a V-4 that was called the Fat Fifty by Mercury. Mercury seemed to have the edge with their in-line 4-cylinder Mark 58. It was lighter and more economical. O.M.C. came out with a 75 H.P. V-4. Mercury countered in 1958 with an in-line 75 H.P. six cylinder called the Mark 78. To demonstrate how powerful they were Kiekhaefer put two on a 20’ runabout and set the world’s record pulling 20 water water-skiers. I was one of the skiers, and it was quite an experience.  

It was about the time that chain saw maker McCullough entered the outboard business. They sold motors to Sears, who marketed them under the Elgin name. Suzuki came on the scene with a unique fuel mixing system that mixed oil and gas at the engine, this caught on with the boating public. Yamaha came on the scene and as you know has been very successful.

The four-stroke era came about just as O.M.C. went out of business. Evinrude was bought up and Johnson died on the vine. Tohatsu four-strokes came on the scene with small outboards. Currently we have two manufacturers of electric outboards. Overpriced in my opinion for the time they run before needing to be recharged.

Today we have Mercury and Yamaha that offer two and four stroke. Evinrudes are all two strokes and offer a three year maintenance warranty. Tohatsu offers only four-stroke modes. I would say Mercury wins the racing end of outboards history.

The king of the hill is Sevens converted Cadillac V-8 with 577 H.P. There is a trend in outboard powered off shore boats, both cruising and fishing. I’m sure the time between charges on electric outboards will improve and make them more practical. They also need to reduce battery weight. I think the next 10 years will be interesting, especially if the “Big Three” come out with electric outboards that will match the 300-plus horsepower of today’s internal combustion models.

Stray current sensor
Anyone who has kept their boat in the water for a length of time is familiar with the damage stray current can cause. Evidence is seen when you haul your boat and find abnormal deterioration on zincs and other metals below the waterline. Also stray current has been strong enough to electrocute swimmers. That’s led to the no swimming regulations in marinas. A local man has developed a device that would benefit marinas and personal docks that have shore power. Mike Griffin of Marine Surveyors of North Georgia invented the device he calls a stray current sensor. This mobile device identifies stray current immediately. This  patent-pending device will enable you to locate the problem and correct the issue. The device is featured elsewhere in the April issue of Lakeside. For more info about the sensor visit: www.marinesurveypros.com.

Solo circumnavigation ended
After Dr. Stanley Paris had his problems in the South Atlantic he decided there was too much damage to the rigging. He was also injured during the journey. He decided to terminate the attempt and sailed to Capetown, South Africa. He flew home and friends repaired “Kiwi Spirit” and are sailing it back to St. Augustine. He is now contemplating taking another shot at the solo circumnavigation record. To keep up to date check his website at: www.stanleyparis.com.

Waterway guide
The latest waterway guide is now available. Those of you who cruise the I.C.W. or navigable rivers should have a copy. It gives navigation tips, marinas that give discounts, and cruising news.  They also have a cruising club that gives a member more discounts. I have always found it useful and informative and you will too. Visit www.waterwayguide.com or call 800-233-3359.

New material
The composite industry is constantly investigating ways to find new and better material. The latest is volcanic rock or Basalt. We know it as lava that accumulates after a volcanic eruption. They super heat it and extract fiber and then use a multi-axis positioning machine that produces unidirectional fabrics. You end up with a product that is lighter, stronger, fireproof and recyclable. The Russians are already using this in their arms industry and car manufacturers are using it in engine compartments and shock absorbers. A 16’ test boat is now sailing across the Atlantic and is expected to reach St. Augustine the last of March. Plans are to build a 60 footer in the near future. For more information go to: www.fipofix.com. Let’s hope it’s as good as or better than Kevlar.

Be safe and courteous and I will see you on the water.


March 2014 column

New boats at the shows

Most of the major boat shows are over, and I hope we’ve seen the last of old man winter. Often I’m asked about what kind of boat to purchase. My answer is always, “What type of boating do you and your family want to do?” It’s easy to get enticed on various boats at the boat show or in the showroom, but will that boat satisfy your family. If you don’t make the right choice the boat will end up not being used and you will have an expensive investment not in use and losing value.

Several boats impressed me recently and here’s a list ... I’m sure one would fit your needs.  Boston Whalers have always been well-built boats and have a good selection from the 13’ boat tender to their larger off shore fishing vessels. Many boaters’ first boating experience was with a 13’ Boston Whaler powered by a small outboard. Whalers also have a reputation of good resale value, which is another factor to think about when buying a boat.

If your boating fund is small and you are starting out you might want to check out Bass Pro Shops’ “Bass Trackers” and family runabouts. Their hull design offers excellent performance with less horsepower than most boats. This means your fuel bill will be less, check them out.

Aluminum boat builder Lowe offers a 22’ outboard powered runabout that has a wakeboard tower. For those into watersports you need to check this one out.

Hurricane deck boats have been around quite a while and have a good reputation for quality. The new Sundeck 2690 has a new bottom designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates, which gives a better ride and also has a 15” draft which allows you to explore. It also performs well enough to pull skiers or water toys.  

Premier Pontoon boats introduced the Intrigue 250 PTX which offers a great seating arrangement and a power Bimini top with moon roof. A unique feature is that while you are on the water you can access the owner’s manual through the in dash beacon helm system if you have any questions.   In the 25’ and up bow riders with all the bells and whistles check out Georgia-built Chapperal, Regal, Cobalt, Sea-Ray, and Cruisers Yachts’ Black Diamond 328SS which Boating Magazine has named “Boat of the Year.”

In larger boats with sleeping accommodations the Sea-Ray 370 Venture deserves consideration.  The 2013 Boating Magazine’s “Boat of the Year” is unique in design as it is powered by two 300 h.p. Mercury Verado’s which are installed in a well that is covered beneath the aft sun pad. They are still conveniently accessible for service. Boat testers say it’s the quietest boat they have tested to date. This design allows more cabin space which other boats of the same size can’t offer.

In the big cruisers, Sea-Ray introduced a 71’ footer at the Miami Boat Show, and Bertram displayed a 60’ convertible fly bridge with tower. Having sold the Queen of the Miami show in 1970, a 46’ convertible fly bridge, I would love to sea trial the new 60’.  I can’t wait to see the boat test on her.

Whether you buy a new or used boat, always have a marine survey and sea trial with your complete crew. You’d be surprised what a marine surveyor can find on a new boat. Also get a free U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary inspection before the season starts. In any case there are a lot of great new boats this year and one of which would fill the needs of your boating family. We wish you a happy and safe boating this season.

Canal cruises
I’ve met a lot of folks who won’t take an offshore trip or even a cruise ship trip because they say they will be seasick, especially if they are out of the sight of land. However they are fine cruising on a lake or bay. Here’s a chance to cruise the world and never be out of the sight of land. Le Boat offers canal cruises in nine different countries. You are the captain and whether you want to cruise France, Italy, Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, Holland, or Poland the next turn in the canal is a new adventure. You and your family will experience history and different cultures. This would be the trip of a lifetime for a family.  Contact Le Boat at: www.leboat.com/boatus or call 866-649-2116. If you go, share your photos and story with Lakeside.

College fishing
We’ve occasionally reported on college fishing. It has become very popular. In our area Auburn University is leading the pack, but fishing fever is spreading.  Oklahoma University has an accomplished team, as well as Virginia Tech and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. So as you can see fishing fever at the college level is showing enthusiasm throughout the U.S. Even the Bass Pro Series is hosting tournaments. You would think that with Lake Lanier and other lakes in North Georgia we would have a few teams to brag about. Check Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series at: www.boatus.com/angler.  Let’s get some teams going.  

The JetLev
Not long ago we reported about the jet pack which allowed you to fly over the water; now comes the Jetlev which is called the Atlantic Fly Board. The propulsion come from a PWC and shoots its water up a 60’ hose and out of a snowboard like platform. Steering the board is by leg and hip movement, while the throttle is controlled via a remote or by the PWC below.  Videos show doing flips in the air, and diving underwater. Training is recommended. Price is $5,850.  Check videos at www.yachtingmagazine.com/jan2014 and for more information check www.atlanticflyboard.com.

Musical LEDs
One of the displays at the recent marine equipment trade show in the Netherlands was underwater LED lights that blink to the beat of your favorite song and can be controlled by your smart phone. For more information on LED technology. Go to: www.yachtingmagazine.com. Some of the things they are doing with LED’s will surprise you.

New stand up paddleboard
We’ve all heard of Bic pens and most likely have a few of them.  Well Bic is now into the blow-up paddle board business. They have a line of inflatable SUP’s from 10’ to 12’6” that when deflated fit into a large back pack. It also makes them easier to stow on your boat.  Its surprising rigidity rivals traditional fiberglass-epoxy boards.  Prices range from $899 to $1,300.  For more information go to: www.bilsup.com.

Check your boat
Those of you who have stored your boat on the trailer with a boat cover or tarp outside as well as those stored in the water with boat covers might want to start cleaning them up for the season. Many will find that critters have moved in and made a mess. The sooner you get rid of them the better. Also check exposed wires ... squirrels love to chew on them. Usually a few moth balls will keep them away. All part of the fun of owning a boat.

Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.


February 2014 column

Boat show signals a successful start to the new year

The Atlanta Boat Show was a great success compared to last year’s edition. There were many lines waiting to see the new models and everything else manufacturers had on display. I’ve heard that sales were better than last year’s as well. The gator show and the kid’s water toys were a hit. I hope you had the chance to enjoy the show. If you didn’t, visit one of the many boat dealers around the lake and I’m sure you will find a new or used boat for your needs. If you need to sell your boat before buying a new one advertise in Lakeside and it will reach people looking for a good buy on a boat.

Those of you who purchased a new boat or P.W.C. might want to sign up for a boating class with the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary which will have classes during the month of February. Even if you think you don’t need to, you might want to also have your crew attend. Also remember if something happens to you, one of your crew will take over to get you back to the dock so the more they know the better everyone on board will be in an emergency. Also remember when you complete an approved course some insurance companies will give you a 10 percent discount on premiums.
Those of you who purchased a new boat, it would be a good time to start your maintenance log.  Read your owner’s manual thoroughly so you will know when to start service. I hope you all have a safe and happy boating season.

Winter months charter
I’m sure you, as I did, when we had the recent cold snaps where wind chill temperatures were in the single digits wished you were in sunny Florida. Well why not plan to charter a yacht on the west coast of Florida. I’ve always thought that a family of four could charter a yacht for a week, and it would be cheaper than renting a beach front motel. Also if you don’t like where you are, you can always weigh anchor and find a place you like.  Of course these are bareboat charters where you are the captain.

I would recommend cruising in the Sarasota to Ft. Myers area.  There are many excellent overnight stops, and if you run offshore you are close to an inlet if it gets rough.  Another place to explore would be east of St. Myers on the Okeechobee Waterway and take the Rim Canal around Lake Okeechobee and see some of old Florida. Get yourself a recent waterways guide and plan your trip. You will find places like Cabbage Key, just south of Boca Grande pass. It’s been said that Cabbage Key inspired Jimmy Buffett to write “Cheeseburgers in Paradise.”

For information on charters contact: www.chitwood-charters.com or call 1-800-769-1377. They are located at the Dock of Hyatt, Sarasota, FL. An air conditioned, fully equipped 36’ Grand Banks trawler that will accommodate six people will charter for a four-day package for $1,595 to $2,095 per week. These boats are all in bristol condition. I personally captained one for a client and it was a trip of a lifetime for them.  

If you would rather charter a sailboat, or have instruction on sail or power yachts you can contact:  Southwest Florida Yachts in Cape Coral Fl. www.swfyachts.com or call 1-800-262-7939. They have many different sail and power yachts that would satisfy any charter group. Also they have several leasing plans, some with free days. They are located in the heart of cruising paradise. If you go have a great time and share your stories and photos with Lakeside readers.

Kayak fishing
Kayaking is becoming one of the fastest growing forms of boating. There are many different kayaks: surfing, ocean, whitewater, racing, and fishing. Fishing from a kayak is unique. You can go in an area quietly, like you are in stealth mode, to get to that unreachable structure where you know that lunker is hiding. I used a kayak to portage into nearby lakes when I was young. You could shoulder the kayak and your fishing gear with ease.

Now colleges are forming kayak fishing teams, much the same as we reported about bass fishing teams some issues back. They call it the “College Kayak Series.”  Stephen F. Austin, Lamar University, Texan A&M and LSU created some of the first teams.  The winning ream was Lamar University. I’ll bet with the “Lake Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club” we might already have the makings of a team. With all the colleges around Atlanta I’ll bet several teams could be formed. For more information contact:  www.takemekayakfishing.org.

Kiwi spirits solo update
While sailing off Brazil, Dr. Stanley Paris blew out a sail at night. He waited until daylight to inspect the damage. Then he tried to remove pieces of the shredded sail stuck in the shrouds and fell onto an extrusion of the deck. This produced excruciating pain and he couldn’t use his left arm. He managed to get to the cockpit where he collapsed for several hours. It took several days but now he’s better, but limited with what he can do, especially with his left arm. He continues on his course, although conservatively and gently until he feels good enough to attend to all the tasks. This happened on New Year’s Day. Paris is still on schedule and will make more progress as his health gets better and he can make more speed. We will keep you posted.

Iron woman
While Dr. Stanley Paris is on his first leg of his solo circumnavigations “Iron Woman:” 71year old Jeanne Socrates, ended her 259 day solo circumnavigation in Victoria, British Columbia. This was her third attempt and successful sail in her stock Najad 380 named “Nereida.” This was also a non-stop sail. It seems like a lot of folks are trying this feat since the 16-year-old tried it two or three years ago. Check out her website at:  www.svnereida.com.

Cash for a PT boat
When I was selling yachts in Florida I had a gentleman come in my marina office from a chauffeur-driven car. He sat down and told me the story about how he and his two boyhood friends wanted to be commercial fisherman. They each went off and made their fortunes.  They met in later years and decided to fulfill their boyhood dream. So they bought an old P.T. boat, rebuilt it and installed new 8-71 GM diesels and a gen set. He told me they had fished the boat five or six times when his buddies got sick and passed away. Now he was losing his sight and had to sell the boat. I said I’d look at it and try to sell it for him. He said he knew he couldn’t get the money they had in it, but he asked me to do what I could. One of my associates and I went to Tarpon Springs to inspect the boat. She was in good condition, and when I inspected the helm station you had to wonder where this boat had been and what her sea going history was. I discovered their log book and it was obvious they were not covering expenses, but I don’t think it mattered since they were fulfilling their boyhood dreams. I advertised the boat and got the curious, but no serious inquires. Then a young commercial fisherman showed some solid interest. I told him bring me the money. So a couple days later he came in the office with grocery bags of cash; $50s and $100s. As I remember the boat sold for $50,000. So we went to my bank and had them count it. We made the deal. The banker didn’t speak to me for a week. Dock talk was that the buyer got the money running drugs, but I saw him as a hard working fisherman who saved his money and didn’t have time for drug foolishness.  I just wish I could have sea-trialed that P.T. boat.

Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water soon.


January 2014 column

Atlanta Boat show to be best in years

The Atlanta Boat Show opens on January 9 and it should be one of the best in years. Last year showed an increase in boat and equipment sales. For 2014 we already have large yachts being built on speculation, and new models of deckboats, pontoons, runabouts, bow riders, and overnighters. So my bet is you will see some boats with new innovations at this show. Searay, Cobalt, Regal, Cruisers, and Stingrays are among a few of the manufacturers already advertising new models.

New safety and electronic equipment will also be on display.  If you want to update your electronics or if you go off shore occasionally you might want a PLB or EPIRBS in case of emergency. Maybe when winterizing your boat you noted some of your safety equipment might need replacing, PFDs, anchor and rode, fenders, lines or fire extinguishers. I’m sure these will be on sale at a great price, so make a list and save some money.

Don’t forget to check the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron booths to find out about boat inspections and when your family can attend a boating safety class, which upon completion could save you money on boat insurance.

New things to look for at the show: Mercury Marine is announcing its new diesels, eight models strong. The engines are Volkswagen based and marinized by Mercury Marine. The lineup is a 2.0 liter in-line four (115 to 170 hp), 3.0 liter V-6 (230 to 260 hp) and a 4.2 liter (335 to 370 hp) all are TDI engines. They are available in stern drives or inboard version with ZF transmissions.

As I have said before in this column that diesel power will become more popular and affordable. All these engines qualify for the EPA’s Tier III regulations. I’ll bet several power boats on display will have one of these new diesels for power.  Outboards are mostly four-stroke engines with the Evinrude and Mercury producing the best selections of two-strokes, Yamaha is down to two models of two-strokes.

Many pontoon boats will be offered with I/O power this year. Tests results say they run stronger and are more economical.

On the sailing side Hobie is introducing a 16’ Hobie 72 catamaran with a 26’ mast and 172 square feet of sail. It has a beam of less than eight feet and weighs only 388 pounds, which make transporting fairly easy. Cost is $7,899.  Contact: www.hobiecat.com. My bet is one will be on display at the show. This sounds like a good boat for a family of four to learn on.

You might want to go online and check out the Power Boat Guide and review some boats from 1995 to current models. Go to www.powerboatguide.com. It’s always helpful to make a list of the boats you want to see and marine equipment you want to check out.  

I look for 2014 to be a much better year and probably put the boating industry back in the black.  Have a great boat show experience.

Revolutionary vessel
Normally we don’t usually discuss vessels of this size in this column, but since we have all seen the longlines and crabbing trawlers on TV fighting the rough seas off Alaska while harvesting their catch, we know what a dangerous occupation it is. Well, Seattle based “Blue North” a longline cod fishing company with five trawlers went to Norwegian Naval Architects to design a revolutionary fishing vessel. The 191’ project is called Blue North ST-155.

All the retrieving of the longlines is done below decks. They have what is called a moon pool in the bottom of the hull where they retrieve the longlines and immediately clean, vacuum pack, and flash freeze the catch. All this is done below deck where the deck hands are safer and more comfortable.  This makes the whole operation more efficient.

The vessel is diesel/electric powered, so it is very efficient. The exterior minus the normal trawler rigging looks more like an ocean going expedition yacht with clean lines. For more information go to www.skipsteknisk.com. This is probably the future model of commercial fishing vessels to come.

The iBobber
This clever device actually puts a fish finder on the end of your line, and sends amazingly detailed underwater sonar data back to an app on your tablet or smartphone.  With all the electronic devices we now have to help us catch fish, I feel like the fishermen have an unfair advantage. If you come home from a fishing trip skunked it’s your fault, not the fish. For more information visit www.reelsonar.com. As unique as this device is, you might find it at the boat show.

Fast and furious PWC
Super Yacht Tenders and Toys have introduced a new extreme with its black edition PWC with a top speed of 80 mph, and that’s not the most impressive part. It goes from zero to 80 mph in three seconds. Design collaborator and personal watercraft racing world champion James Bushell admitted it’s probably too powerful for most people. “It practically pulls your arms off,” he said. Each PWC comes with individual branding, lifting points for davit, delivery and training – bravery not included. This brings the question; how fast is too fast? Just like a lot of machines man has invented they just get faster. Let’s hope the riders stay safe and remember, they don’t have brakes.  Cost is: $27,000. Contact:  www.superyachttenderandtoys.com

America’s Cup slogan
Oracle, the AC-72 catamaran that won the America’s Cup against fantastic odds, is now being called the “Cat with Nine Lives.” Very apropos considering the number of races Oracle had to win. For real cup fans, you can now have a replica desk model of Oracle. This 1/100 scale is made of photo etched resin and authentic sail material from North Sails, mounted on a resin base with Plexiglas cover. The model is 16 inches tall, 9.75 inches long and 5.5 inches wide. Cost is: $495. Contact: www.naticalluxuries.com.

Boat names
After you buy the boat you have to christen it properly with a name.  Many times it is a combination of kid’s names or the wife’s first name. I have often wondered when a boat was named after the wife was it because of love or to help to get him out of the dog house for spending so much money. I had a friend in boat racing that would ask his little daughter how big she was and she got quite excited showing how big she was, thus the name of his race boat was “So Big!”

Jack Eckerd who started Eckerd’s drugstore chain had a beautiful Morgan sloop he sailed in SORC (Southern Ocean Racing Conference competition). It was named Panacea after the Greek goddess of universal remedy. Of course names like “Soiree,” “Wine Down,” “Max Sea,” “Swan Sea,” “Daiquiri,” “Dream,” “Believe,” Lady M,” “Excellence,” or “Bubba,” are fairly common. I prefer a name that has a story behind it. A friend of mine who was past president of the APBA (American Power Boat Association) had a Hemi powered 7 liter hydro appropriately called “Long Gone.” My first boat I called “American Eagle,” my second was “Half-Mine.” I bought the boat from my paper route earnings and my father owned the motor, thus the name.  My ski racing boat was called “Kwitchurbeliakin,” which caused a lot of conversation. Whatever name you pick you will be known by that name at the marina, so pick a good one and have fun on the water.

Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.


December 2013 column

Gift ideas for boaters in your family


The holiday season is upon us, and I’m sure boating families are dropping hints of what they would like under the tree on Christmas morning. Here are some suggestions I think most boating enthusiasts might like to find.

• A West Marine tool kit.  Chrome plated steel tools resist corrosion, $59.99 at www.westmarine.com.
• A liquid image explorer midsize dive camera. Shoot what you see with this hands-free eight mega pixel dive mask and camera. $119.99 at www.amazon.com.
• Terralux TT-3 underwater flashlight that works underwater for 2.5 hours. $109.99 at www.terraluxportable.com.
• West Marine Tahiti binoculars plus compass. These 7x50 center-focus binoculars include a compass. $209.99 at www.westmarine.com.
• Cobra MR HH 800 waterproof VHF. It floats, is water proof, and it has Bluetooth wireless. $149.95 at www.cobra.com.
• West Marine inshore inflatable PFD. Protect yourself or crew with one of these lightweight automatically inflatable PFD. $109.99 at www.w
Copyright © 2011 Lakeside News. Internet Marketing Company: Full Media