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Aug. 28, 2016
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Captain's Comments

It's all in the name; original boat monikers abound


Boat owners have some strange ways to name their boats. Just walk down the dock at any marina and you will see names you wonder how to pronounce or what they mean. I’ve seen names formed by the first two letters of their four children’s names. It’s original but try and pronounce it. Then there are owners that combine portions of the husbands and wife names such as “Marthomas” on a 42’ wheeler I repowered and sold. A man named “Hand” who owned numerous boats from a Mathews – Carri-craft, all were named “Handful,” an appropriate name for a boat. I sold a 46’ Bertram to a Delta pilot. He changed the name from “For Play” to “Flight Deck.”
 
James Bond enthusiasts are known to call their 100’ plus yachts, “Never Say Never,” or “Octopussy.” Other popular yacht names: “Charisma,” “Pipe Dreams,” “Excellence,” “Tomorrow We Ride,” “Easy Rider,” “4 Mal,” “Aqua Life,” “My Lady,” “Rainbows End,” “Seas The Day.” Of course there are yacht owners that name them after their wife, especially if she is the one who let him buy the boat. That’s probably why you see so many named “Miss (girl’s name),” that keeps peace in the family. 
 
My father had a 30’ cruiser that he named “Muffet,” my sister’s nickname. My first 18’ Cobia Twin rig was named “Muck-Muck” because my godson couldn’t say Mike. One of my first boats was names “Kwitchurbeliakin.” I used the boat for ski races and the announcer sure had trouble with it.  My OPC (outboard pleasure craft) race boats were named after Snoopy Characters. The 18’ twin rig was called “Snoopy’s Revenge,” the large single rig a red 16’ was the “Red Baron,” the 15’ single was called “Good Grief Charlie Brown,” and another 15’ single was “Lil Snoopy.” All the boats had the illustration on both sides of the boat of Snoopy on his dog house with a racing life jacket and helmet. The dog house was powered by a Mercury and was going through the waves. I even got a complimentary letter from Charles Schulz for using his characters. 
 
If you have just bought a boat and thinking of naming it, I hope I have given you some ideas.  Remember, the more original your boat’s name, the more people will talk about it.
 
SUP with power
It was bound to happen: stand up paddleboards with power. The Mirage Eclipse SUP now has the same pedal system as the Hobie kayaks. The system allows them to get up to seven knots. The new boards store easily and break down to make it compact. It looks like paddle boards will become a lot more fun. Visit www.hobiecat.com.
 
High school fishing tourney
Georgia’s High School All American fisherman Cody Stahl of Griffin teamed up with professional angler J. Todd Tucker to fish the Bassmaster High School All American Event on McGee Creek Lake in Oklahoma. The event was presented by Choctaw Casino and Resort. The 12 high school anglers were paired by random draw with pros who volunteered their time.  They caught a total of 11 pounds 7 ounces to win the tournament. I’m sure we will be hearing about Cody’s fishing achievements as he goes to college on a scholarship in Savannah. 
 
Six year old lands Great white
Lars White declared “Momma, we’re going to need a bigger boat.”  The boy hooked up with a Great white shark while fishing off Cape Cod. They got a photo of the 10’-12’ shark when it finally surfaced. They cut the line so he could be caught another time. What a thrill for a 6 year old. Take a kid fishing this summer, you both will have a memorable experience.
 
Fast trip to Miami
In the late 1960s I had an 18’ Cobia with twin 110 hp 6 cylinder Mercs with surface props. It was one of the fastest boats in the area.  My girlfriend was a bookkeeper at a local bank and when she got her vacation she told me she was going somewhere with or without me. So I said, “Let’s go to Miami.” She said, “OK, if it won’t take too long to drive.” I said, “No, we’re going by boat.” She gave me a quizzical look but agreed.
 
I called my friend in Miami at Donzi and told him I’d see him tomorrow, and he said OK. We loaded the boat which I had installed a 50 gallon Marathon fuel tank to go with the pair of 30 gallon side tanks. We loaded up and left at 4 a.m. My course in the Gulf of Mexico was from the Clearwater sea buoy to the Boca Grande sea buoy.  
 
We made good time in the open gulf. We didn’t have to dodge any stone crab trap buoys. We entered the I.C.W. about dawn and continued to Ft. Meyers and then entered the Okeechobee waterway to Clewiston where we would cross Lake Okeechobee. We fueled up in Clewiston and then headed across Lake Okeechobee which took about 8-10 minutes. That boat was fast. I learned one thing from old Captains when I helped deliver yachts from the East Coast to the West Coast or vice-a-versa: when you are locking thru, a cold six pack in the lockmaster’s hands speeds up the process, and it did for us. We fueled up again on the waterways intersection with the ICW and headed south at speed.

We had a lot more traffic on the East Coast ICW but it didn’t slow us down. Late in the afternoon we arrived at marker #47, the entrance to Thunderboat Ally. I pulled up to the marina dock and called my friend with Donzi to tell him I’d arrived. He said, “No way you made it that fast.” I said, “I’m here and you know when I left.” The time we figured was just under 14 hours from Clearwater Beach to Miami.
 
Michael Peters in his article in Power and Motor Boating magazine reminded me about the “No Slow Down Zones” we have now and didn’t back then. We had “No Slow Downs for Manatee” zones, no “No Wake” zones, etc. You couldn’t make that trip today in three days. As a matter of fact my last delivery was a 46’ Bertram from Pompano to St. Petersburg and it took three days of hard running.
 
When I returned to Clearwater Beach it was a much slower and casual trip, with stops in Clewiston and Cabbage Key. After I returned I called “Red Marston” the boating editor of the St. Petersburg Times.  He always wrote about my racing exploits. I told him to meet me at the St. Pete Yacht Club for lunch.  We met, and I proceeded to tell him about our record trip to Miami.  He said, “Mike I’ve had no less than three sheriffs wanting to know who owns that boat? If I were you I’d go lock it up in a barn for six months.” I followed his advice after all I had another boat. That trip could never be duplicated today because of the slow and no wake zones and the manatee zones.  Myself and my girlfriend had a great experience we’ll never forget. 
 
Mid summer maintenance
I hope everyone is having a safe and great boating season. Don’t forget while you are having fun the hours add up on your boat so don’t forget your maintenance schedule. Keeping up to date on maintenance will ensure you have many more fun days this year. 

Be sure and wear your PFDs, remember 84 percent of drowning victims weren’t wearing a PFD. Don’t become a statistic, also remind your boating friends to wear their PFDs. Check the weather and have fun on the lake, 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 2016 column

All boats should have a fuel line water separator


I hope everyone had a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend. It was the first long weekend of the year and I’m sure those of you who had properly winterized your boat enjoyed the weekend with no problems. I was privy to a problem a Lodge brother of mine had. He always winterizes his boat by the book and puts “Stabil” in his fuel tank. But this year he thought he was getting water in his fuel because the RPMs were erratic. I thought he had an inline water separator, but he didn’t. They use to be standard. He ended up cleaning the fuel filter at the carburetor and put some fresh “Stabil” in the fuel tank. The next day the boat ran like new.
 
I advocate having an inline water separator on all gas powered boats. You can put the contents of the separator into a clear container and right away you know what is in your fuel tank. If you have a minor water or ethanol problem put in some “Stabil” or “Marvel Mystery Oil” and it should solve your problem. Don’t forget to use it throughout the season. If you don’t have an inline water separator, install one. They are inexpensive and easy to maintain. They also will save you from future repair bills. 
 
Not running fast enough
A lot of you might have thought your boat ran faster last year. Well here are some things to check: 
  • Weight: is your boat loaded down with unnecessary equipment? A lot of boats are. Take everything off except USCG necessary equipment. In most cases that could amount to the weight of one or two passengers which would gain you a couple of knots. 
  • Propeller: when was the last time you checked your prop? Maybe you had a couple of groundings and the prop needs servicing. Maybe your boat is several years old and a new prop would be more efficient. Mercury has just come out with a new prop with more blade area which will give better fuel efficiency. It’s called the Spitfire CT. Make sure your prop goes to the recommended RPM for your engine. If you have a problem your dealer should be able to help you.  
Maybe a few of these ideas will help you have a trouble free boating season. 
 
Marine apps 
Most boaters have smart phones. Well Boat U.S. has apps that can help you. You can find boat ramps, sailing, charts, tides, fishing, and weather  If you are not a member of Boat U.S., you should be. It’s only $24 and has great benefits and an informative magazine. Join now, you’ll be glad you did. 
 
New Chris-Craft boats
I always admired the old mahogany Chris-Craft runabouts.  They were always the boat to ski behind, and I used several in my water-ski shows. You never had to worry about pulling five skiers for a five-man pyramid. Chris-Craft moved out of Michigan where it originated and now is in Sarasota, Fla. It’s had many owners since and to be honest with you their fiberglass models didn’t look that good to me. Maybe all I could remember was that beautiful mahogany and the shipwright’s workmanship.  Now, as they say, they have a pair of aces: a Capri 25 and a Corsair 28. Both are very elegant with a touch of teak, a massive swim platform and sunpad. They are powered by a 300 hp Mercruiser. Either one would make a great family day boat for Lake Lanier and they are reasonably priced. Check them out at:  www.chriscraft.com or phone 941-351-4900.
 
Exclusive private island club
Useppa Island is on the west coast of Florida. It is located just south of Boca Grande Pass on the I.C.W. The pirate José Gaspar kept the women he captured there and his favorite was Useppa, thus the name of the island. It was also used as a strategy planning location for the Bay of Pigs invasion. We know how that turned out.
 
Florida’s Baron Collier built the inn, which is quite the place. I visited there many times when Jim Turner owned it. He also owned the “Big Toy” which at the time was the largest sailboat built of fiberglass by Charlie Morgan. In 1976 Garfield Beckstead purchased it, and now has formed “Useppa Island Club.” The location has some of the best fishing available, Boca Grande being the tarpon capital from the first full moon in May through July. The flats off the ICW have redfish, snook, trout and flounder and the fishing is fantastic when you follow the tides. Also south of Boca Grande pass on the west side of the ICW is “Cabbage Key,” a boaters’ gathering place with excellent food and atmosphere, where Jimmy Buffet wrote “Cheeseburgers in Paradise.”  Charlotte Harbor and the ICW gives you many places to explore by boat. 
 
The club offers a preferred membership with and initiation fee of $2,500 and monthly dues of $491 and members docking fees are discounted. The Collier Dining Membership is $225 and annual dues of $491. Useppa is truly a beautiful island and if you like Florida the way it used to be, this would be it. You don’t have to have a large yacht to visit, take your runabout. Just check your waterway guide, or chart and you will see how easy it is to find. If you visit Useppa take a photo and let Lakeside News know about your experience. Visit: www.useppa.com.
 
Cuba update
The 66th Annual Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament was held June 13th to 18th with more entrants than usual due to relaxed visitation laws.  Several airlines are now flying to Havana daily and cruise ships are booking passage to Cuba.  Cubaseas.com can get you all the information you want as well as file the correct documents and papers you will need to enter the country. They will also reserve a boat slip or hotel for you. Boat slips are at a premium as there are only 700 plus available for the whole island and some slips are not weather protected. Another company, Harmony Yacht Vacations, is having boating rallies to Cuba. You can bring your own boat or charter one of theirs.  At this time I would consider going through one of these companies.  You will probably get a better slip and accommodations, plus they handle all the paperwork. Contact www.harmonyyachtvacations.com or call 1-888-542-2667.
 
Oops!
An angler in Loreto, Mexico caught a 430-pound yellow fin tuna, weighed it on a cattle scale and then proceeded to fillet it. It would have been a world record had he weighed it on a certified scale. The record remains at 427 pounds. 
 
Prep angler named All-American
Griffin Georgia’s Crosspoint Christian Academy senior Cody Stahl has been named to the Bassmaster High School All American Fishing Team. He is one of only 12 across the country to receive this distinction. The award also honors his work in the classroom as well as the community.  He’s also a varsity football and basketball player and member of the student council. He accepted a fishing scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Designs. Way to go Cody. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about him in the future Bassmaster Tournaments. 
 
Old saying about fishermen
It’s just a jerk on one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other. 

Remember to wear your PFD (personal floatation device). Eighty four percent of all drowning victims were not wearing a PFD. Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.
 


June 2016 column

Reading 'Blue Thunder' brings back racing memories


I just finished reading a book called “Blue Thunder,” by Thomas Bordick and Charlene Mitchell. It’s about how the mafia owned and finally murdered world boat racing champion Don Aronow. Aronow founded the boat companies of Formula, Donzi, Magnum, Cigarette, and Blue Thunder.  
 
Formula was later bought by Dick Genth who had Thunderbird Boats. I raced him one year in the St. Petersburg Boat Show Race. He beat me, but not by much. His passenger, besides his mechanic-throttleman was the older boy who played on the “Flipper” TV series. He was making a fool of himself at the trophy presentation, so I asked him what he did to win, he said nothing. I said exactly and he calmed down. The next time I saw Dick Genth I asked him where his noisy rider was and he said, “I got rid of him, thank God.” 
 
I first began to know about the Donzi boats after I won a marathon race in the Gulf of Mexico off Tierra Verde which is next to St. Petersburg, Fla. The race was presented by orchestra leader Guy Lombardo for the opening of his new hotel and nightclub.  Lombardo was himself a racer in a 7 liter hydroplane called Tempo V. On my way to the dock I saw another race boat dead in the water, so I went to see if I could be of assistance. The boat was a 16’ Donzi that had run out of gas after the race. The driver was the plant manager for Donzi and a fellow worker. They both eventually drove for my Cobia/Mercury race team with much success. 
 
Every time I went to Miami I usually visited Thunderboat Ally, and there I met Don Aronow in almost the exact place where he was gunned down. That was the place to go if you wanted to discover the latest tricks in racing.
 
The book not only talks about the mafia bosses, but a lot of guys I raced against. The night before the 1970 Bahamas 500 Aronow’s riding mechanic/throttleman “Knocky” House and I spent hours debating the pros and cons of certain set ups on race boats, of course a beer or two enlightened our discussion. That year a Bahamian driver won. I never did find out how Don and Knocky did, but I heard they had some sort of trouble. Our 27’ Magnum with triple outboards finished eighth or ninth out of 42 boats. 
 
Aronow’s most successful boat was the Cigarette. The name came from a prohibition runner’s boat that had machine guns mounted on it. You will find the book interesting if you like mysteries. It will also leave you wondering about our government. 
 
Shore power cords
When you walk down the marina docks most boats in a slip have a shore power cord. Most look in good shape and provide excellent service. Then there are those that look like they came out of Fibber McGee’s closet.  Remember that your shore power cords are essential to keep your boat’s electrical system working properly. It keeps your batteries charged so your bilge pumps will function properly (as well as any other units using the 12 volt system). Shore power cords should be inspected periodically. Make sure the connections are secure and haven’t been arcing. 
 
Marinco has been the recognized manufacturer of these cords for years. Now there is a new provider for connectors, cord sets, and adapters: Furrion from Lippert Components.  Check them out at www.lippertcomponents.com. Marinco parts and cords are also available at West Marine. If any of your shore power equipment is looking sub-standard, replace it now. Don’t wait until that summer day when you have a special cruise planned with friends and you find your boat won’t start because of dead batteries. Electricity is like the life blood of your boat, so do your maintenance and then record it in your log. 
 
Georgians win national high school fishing championship
Evans High School students from Evans, Ga., Tyler Mathews and Blake Stephenson, won the 2016 TBF/FLW High School National Championship on Table Rock Lake. The win earned them a $10,000 scholarship to the college of their choice. A Little Rock, Ark. school was second. Third was Pell City, Ala.; fourth Colrain High School, Cincinnati, Ohio; fifth was Abbeville High School, Abbeville, S.C. The Evans team had a two-day total of nine bass totaling 27 pounds, 1 ounce, winning by a narrow margin of 1 pound 11 ounces over the Little Rock team. All teams that participated and won or placed high in order to fish in the High School National Tournament also were in the event last year.  Also coming up is the 2016 High School Fishing World Finals. For more information on dates and prizes visit:   www.highschoolfishing.org.

A bit of background: The Bass Federation Inc. is a member of the fresh water fishing hall of fame and state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 events each year. For more info visit: www.bassfederation.com. The FLW is the world’s largest tournament fishing organization. Their tournaments offer millions of dollars in prize money. They even sponsor tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, and South Korea. For more info go to: www.flwfishing.com. If you don’t have a fishing team in your school, get a group together and get one of the faculty to be your advisor then contact: www.highschoolfishing.org for details.
 
Smoked mullet
If you like to have a good fish dinner like I do, then the next time you are in Florida on the West Coast look for one of those old Florida family restaurants. They will probably be off the beaten path, but they will have a source for fresh mullet which can be fried or smoked. Or, if you have a cast net you can catch your own dinner. They also run on the East Coast, but they don’t eat them, they use them for bait. It’s funny how one area of the Gulf will love mullet, but don’t mention eating it in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. The same goes for Black Drum, cousin of the Red Drum or Red Fish, which also is a great eating fish made famous by New Orleans Don Prudhomme’s restaurant which featured blackened Red Fish. I caught a Black Drum in Boca Grande one time and everyone laughed at me for keeping it. Go west to Texas and you’ll get your picture in a magazine for catching a Black Drum. Back to Mullet, if you find one of those old Florida restaurants that has smoke Mullet, try it with cole slaw and a cold beer. I’ll bet you will go back for seconds. 
 
Angler’s Journal on TV
Angler’s Journal will be on Destination America Network on Saturdays and Sundays starting in July.  If the TV show is as good as the magazine is, then it should be a great show.
 
Waterway guide
If you are planning a cruise this summer don’t forget your waterway guide. It will give you the latest on navigational alerts, bridges and locks, anchorages and cruising news, also you might want to join the waterway guide cruise club. It’s free. Good luck and safe cruising. Info: www.waterway.com.
 
Be courteous, practices safe boating, wear your PFDs and I’ll see you on the water. 
 


May 2016 column

The Chinese treasure ships were real after all


Reading one of the many boating magazines I subscribe to, I ran across this story I thought you might find interesting. Back in the time of the Ming Dynasty, the third emperor “Yongle” had a Mongol eunuch as his right hand man and he chose him to be the admiral of his fleet of ships. He was known as Admiral Zengh HE. 
 
 But the ships are the story. They were much larger than those used by Vasco Da Gama or Christopher Columbus. The largest of the treasure ships fleet was 450’ long x 160’ wide with four decks and nine masts for twelve sails.  The ships were called Bǎochuáns.  They even had private rooms for travelers. Maybe this was the first cruise ship. It also had water tight bulkheads that created compartments that kept them afloat if rammed. The compartments were also used for fresh water for the crew and animals on board. The boats were capable of carrying 500 passengers. 
 
The stories of these ships and their travels were largely considered a myth, until a spring day in 1962. Workers were dredging on the Yangtze riverfront of Nanjing when they discovered a buried wooden timber 36 feet long. It was a steering post, and embedded in the mud alongside were the decaying remains of a rudder whose surface area works out to 452 square feet. It’s big enough to maneuver a 21st century aircraft carrier. The remains of the rudder are nearly 600 years old. Overnight an improbable myth became reality.  These Bǎochuáns, as they were called, must have been a sight with 60 of them under sail with accompanying support ships. 
 
Admiral Zengh HE made seven voyages. The first was the largest with 317 ships, 60 being the huge Bǎochuans. Sounds like a huge armada. These voyages took them as far as East Africa and numerous ports in between. Admiral Zengh HE died during the final voyage and they buried him at sea.
 
The Chinese used celestial navigation and also were using compasses a century before British and Spanish explorers. A stone pillar was erected at Chang Le A Harbor in Fujian providence. Admiral Zengh HE’s voyages were recorded on the stone pillar. The pillar is now in a small museum near the harbor. The calligraphy is worn after many centuries of weather, but you can still make out the more than 30 countries, large and small, where the fleet landed. 
 
If you want to check out more on this history search the web for: Fred Wakeman Jr., University of California, Chinese Treasure Ship, and Admiral Zengh HE.  
 
Two new boats
The new 35’ Bertram Hull #1 being built in Maine by Lyman Morse Shipyards looks to take off in sales like the old 31’ did. The first 31 became famous in the 1961 Miami-Nassau Powerboat Race, which was one of the roughest races to date with 8-12’ seas, 30 knot winds. The 31 made the crossing in eight hours and finished first. The other boats finished the next day. 
 
The first 31 was designed by C. Raymond Hunt who was commissioned by Richard Bertram after testing one of Hunts’ V-hull yacht tenders off Block Island. The first 31 was wooden and was named after Bertram’s wife “Moppie,” as is hull #1 of the 35’.
 
Three famous names in yachting were aboard that first race.  Besides Bertram there was Sam Griffith who drove the boat, and Carlton Mitchell who was navigator. They used the wooden 31 for a plug and started building 31s.  They entered and won the 1962 race. The boat was called “Glass Moppie.” The 31 became legendary and Bertram told Jim Martenhoff of the Miami Herald, “that he had so many damn yachtsmen waving checkbooks at him that he had to go into the boat business.” They finally retired the 31 after building 1,860 in 16 years. 
 
The new 35 improves on what the old 31 didn’t have, more cabin room and a larger fly bridge. The twin diesels should give the boat a 40 knot top speed with a mid-range cruise which should save fuel. It should hit the waves in July.  Check out: www.bertram.com.
 
The other boat is a 38’ Galeon. It’s a euro-styled hardtop express cruiser from Britain’s mega-yacht designer Tony Castro. Galleon designs have consistently earned European Powerboat of the year awards, including in 2016. She’s powered with twin Volvo Penta 370 H.P. D6 Diesels, which give her a top speed of 36 knots. 
 
The interior offers two private staterooms and heads, plus a dining area. It has three oversized skylights plus a long one in the master stateroom. There is plenty of room for entertaining top-side or just for enjoying the cruise.   The boat tests all say “look at the details.” Wow. Each drawer, locker and cabinet is fully lined with real walnut, some of them with real maple. They do everything in house so quality is well above what many boats are.
 
Galeon yachts are built in Poland where they have been building yachts since 1982. Marine Max is their U.S. dealer. Visit: www.marinemax.com or call 888-890-4187 for a catalog. 
 
Both boats would be great. The Bertram is more offshore fishing, while the Galeon is for cruising and entertaining. Both are tops in my opinion. Check them out and see what you think.  
 
Record your catch
In 2015 more than 40 anglers received the Angler Award from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. This award program recognizes those who catch fish that meet or exceed a specific weight or length for the particular species. 

Qualifications are: 
  • Catching fish by legal hook and line sport fish methods in Georgia. 
  • Meet or exceeding minimum weight or length requirements. 
  • Taking the fish to a division fisheries biologist for positive species identification, including a clear side view photo of the fish.
  • Complete and submit Angler Award application. 

Applications are available at: www.georgiawildlife.com. Send it to Wildlife Resources Division/Angler Award application, 2070 U.S. Highway 278 S.E., Social Circle, Ga. If you win you will receive a certificate and an embroidered hat with your name, species, weight and length of fish caught, plus the bragging rights. 
 
Kite surfing
A new sport from the South Pacific where you don’t need a boat (but would be a good idea to have a chase boat if you are on a lake). The only power required is the wind. Three kites are available: radar kite, switch blade kite and driver kite. One is for learning, the others are for light air or windy conditions. The sport has become popular with people who charter yachts and travel to remote islands.   It’s easy to learn, most people can master it in four or five days of practice. All the equipment can be carried by one person comfortably.  A kite surfing kit costs between $2,500 and $3,000. Just think: a water sport featuring no gas! Visit: www.cabrinhakites.com
 
Do your part
One piece of gear you want to have aboard this year is a garbage bag. Yep, that’s right, a garbage bag. Make it a practice to collect your trash and dispose of it properly. You might consider picking up the trash left behind by someone who doesn’t practice clean boating. Teach your children and crew and they will get in the habit. The Lake Lanier Association will appreciate your effort when shore clean up time comes around.  
 
Our oceans are getting more cluttered with refuse. The Northern Pacific had a patch of garbage that covers 10 square miles of ocean.  Jacques Cousteau who invented the SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) was one of the first people to talk about keeping our oceans clean. His son Jean-Michel Cousteau has started a non-profit marine conservation organization whose motto is “Explore-Learn-Engage-Protect.” Check it out at: www.oceanfutures.org.  Let’s keep Lanier and all our waters clean. 
 
Be courteous, practices safe boating, wear your PFDs and I’ll see you on the water. 


April 2016 column

Take the proper steps to get ready for boatiang season


The U.S. Coast Guard’s motto is “Semper Paratus,” meaning “Always Ready.”  The question is, will your boat be properly equipped and running for the start of this boating season. Now is the time to check your maintenance log to make sure you have completed your spring “get ready” list. 
 
Re-inspect all fuel lines, water separators and filters. Check all of your wiring and make sure you didn’t have any nesting birds or squirrels over the winter. Nests and munched on wiring or hoses can be a mess. Check thru-hull fittings and sea-cocks, make sure the valves open and close easily. Make sure bilge pumps operate properly. All hoses from thru-hull fittings should be double clamped, with U.S.C.G. approved stainless steel hose clamps. Don’t forget fire extinguishers and PFDs and replace if needed. Make sure electronics are properly working. Check all navigation lights. Inspect all U.S.C.G required equipment.  
 
If you are not entirely sure of the equipment you are required to have on board your boat, get a copy of C.G. 169, usually available at your marina store and other outlets (West Marine). You can also call the Coast Guard Auxiliary to sign up for one of their free inspections. They give you a windshield sticker which shows you passed inspection. This could help you from being stopped for an inspection by patrolling officers.
 
Remember, your maintenance log can be kept online, with reminders for maintenance that will need to be done. If you use a boatyard for boat maintenance, try www.mytaskit.com. It’s a software tool that brands itself as the solution to bridge the coordination and information gap between boat owners, service professionals and boat builders. You can even use your smart phone to pay your yard bill. 
Set up that maintenance schedule and log, keep up with what needs to be done, and you will be “Always Ready.”
 
Tattoo your topsiders
Sperry Topsiders have been around for years and regarded as perhaps the best boating shoe around. Mr. Sperry noticed how well his dog or cat stayed firm on deck in rough weather, so he magnified the foot pads and used that pattern for the Topsiders sole. I’m not sure if it was a dog or a cat, as I’ve heard the story both ways. Now one of Sperry’s employees who was a customer of Rob Hotte’s “Solid Gold Tattoo Parlor in Queens, N.Y. got some tattoo’s on his Topsiders. Next thing you know he had tattooed 300 pairs of employee shoes. The tattooing must be a success as Sperry is flying Hottee to a different city every weekend for special events and store openings. They even flew him to New Zealand. People are putting boat names, ship wheels and anchors. Maybe they will put port and starboard on so they will get the shoe on the right foot.  Check with Sperry Topsiders if you want your shoes tattooed. 
 
Update on heads
Thetford has come out with an award winning marine porta-potti.  It’s a lightweight and convenient non-permanent sanitation system.  Flushing is battery powered and it has level indicators for both the fresh and waste tanks. MSRP is $150. Check out:  www.thetfordmarine.com. For permanent installation heads, research Dometic’s Vacuflush 5009. It fits a wide array of small power boats. Also Headhunter and Raritan have excellent new models ranging from $600 to $1,500. All have good ratings, it just depends which one is best for you boat.  Every head should have a sign that states “Don’t put anything in here unless you have eaten it first.” Invariably you get land lubbers on board and they throw trash in the head which stops it up and creates a nasty clean up job. Some of the new heads have macerators. So mind that sign and you won’t have a bad clean-up job. 
 
Bow fishing
That’s right, fishing with a bow and arrow. Since we have an overabundance of Asian Carp in some rivers and lakes, the compound bow is being used. The compound bow is rigged with sights and a line that’s attached to the arrow. The line comes off a reel that looks like a Zebco 202. Tracker Marine has made a special boat for bow fishing. It’s called the Grizzley 2071 MVX. It has a raised platform that will accommodate two hunters/fishermen with lights under the platform that show where the fish are. The boat even has a small generator to keep the batteries charged.   Competition has been so keen that the Bow Fishing Association of America (BAA) has formed, and they keep track of record fish that are caught. Bass Pro Shops has taken the lead in starting tournaments The U.S. Open Bow Fishing Championship which has a $25.000 prize. They have also had the first Bass Pro Shops Bow Fishing World’s Fair which is a seminar with accomplished bow fishermen.  The B.A.A. recorded the 244 pound 8 ounce Alligator Gar shot by Robin Parks of Texas and a 92 pound 8 once Big-Head Carp shot by Darren Opel in Illinois. If you want to try bow fishing contact B.A.A. or check with Bass Pro Shops.
 
Record fish 
Wes Carlton, of Gainesville, GA was fishing on Lake Rabun on February 19th when he landed a large walleye pike. He knew it was large for a walleye. After a weigh-in and contacting the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division, he found out his 14 pound 2 ounce, 31 and a half inch fish had beat the state record established in 1996 by almost three pounds. A new state record has to be one ounce or greater. The Wildlife Division says it’s been expecting some large catches out of Lake Rabun. More walleye information can be found at: www.gofishgeorgia.com. Congratulations Wes. 
 
Griffin fisherman wins
Byron Kenny of Griffin tallied a five bass limit totaling 16 pounds 17 ounces to win the FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Tournament on Lake Lanier. His catch earned him $4,763. He used a shad colored fish head spinner, a citrus shad colored strike king KVD and a HC square bill silent crank bait. After fishing all day he didn’t think his fish weighed enough to win. He was wrong. Power-pole was the tournament sponsor. 
 
Tips for buying used boats
You have been to the boat show and decided you could save money buying a used one. Well, you can, but you have to be careful. Ask the owner to see the maintenance log. Check the power plant. Dirty oil and corrosion will give you an indication of what kind of maintenance it has had. Check hull for damage or repairs. A fiberglass hull with wood in the transom or deck could have dry rot. Decks can also have plywood below the fiberglass that can dry rot. Check for stress cracks.  Inspect electrical systems, especially the batteries, all navigation lights and electronic devices, VHF radio, and depth sounder. Chances are the canvas, upholstery, carpet and vinyl will show wear and may need replacing. If it is a boat with a trailer, make sure you check tires, bearings, rollers, bunks, lights, and winch.  If after checking all that I have listed you feel it’s a good buy then contact a marine surveyor to go over the boat and conduct a sea trial. You have to have a survey for your insurance and financing so get a surveyor that they will accept. Finally, take the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s safe boating course and have your boat inspected. 
 
Safety advice
Get PLB’s (personal locator beacons) on all PFDs. That way, if someone goes overboard, especially at night, they will be easier to locate. If you go offshore make sure you have an EPIRB unit. I know they are expensive but you can rent one for your trip from Boat US. Last but not least tell someone on shore where you are going and when you will return. If you have a problem they will know where to start looking. Combined with the previously mentioned electronic gear, in case of an emergency you and your crew will be found quicker. Don’t be a statistic, boat smart and safely.
  
Practice safe boating, be courteous and I’ll see you on the water.


March 2016 column

Will butanol replace ethanol in our fuel?


Gulf Marine on the East Coast will soon offer ethanol-free gasoline. Instead of adding 10 percent ethanol it will add an EPA-approved concentration of 12.5 percent isobutanol. This has been tested for the last five years by the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, American Boat and Yacht Council, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Coast Guard.  Also several manufacturers like BRM (Bombardier) are also testing butanol which has a 30 percent higher BTU rating. This biofuel also comes from the same feed stocks (corn) as ethanol, but it has greater energy density. Most important it does not absorb moisture or allow phase separation. It also does not corrode or damage fuel tanks, fuel lines or engine components. 
 
Burtamax and Gevo have reached an agreement in which each will pursue the development isobutanol markets. Gevo is jet fuel and Butamax is land fuels. Gevo currently produces it for Gulf Marine. Gulf Marine has 17 plus marinas and it is growing, supplying this fuel on the East Coast. Cost will probably be $1.50 to $2 per gallon or more. But you don’t get the problems you do with ethanol. Ask your local marina if  they will switch to butanol added fuel instead of ethanol fuel. 
 
New items
A Swedish company has come out with a 200 hp diesel outboard called the OXE, which is Swedish for ox. They say it burns 40 percent less fuel than a 200 hp gasoline outboard. The engine is a GM 2 liter inline 4 cylinder that weighs 700 pounds. Check with Cascade Engine Center in Seattle for price and more information.
 
Gibbs Sports announces its Quadski, an all-terrain vehicle that turns into a personal watercraft. The Biski transforms from an 80 mph motorcycle to a 32 knot PWC almost seamlessly. This is a toy that should really take off. Visit www.gibbssports.com for price and more information. 
 
New book
Several years back you will probably remember a fisherman whose 25’ boat broke down off of Mexico; 14 months and 6,000 miles later he was rescued from the Pacific Ocean. The fisherman, Salvador Alvarenga, tells his unbelievable tale of resourcefulness, faith, and an unrelenting will to live. Read his new book from Simon and Schuster by Jonathon Franklin called “438 Days.” The cost is $18 at www.amazon.com.  It will make you appreciate the little things in life. 
 
Things to do
Your boat has probably not had much attention since last year, with the holidays and football. So now is the time to get started. Get out your mechanical log and start completing some of the items you can do now, so they will be done when the warm weather hits. I’m sure you made some notes when the boat was winterized. Maybe a trip to West Marine is necessary to replace old equipment such as PFDs, fenders, line, anchors and rode, flashlights, flares, first aid kits, and I’m sure there is more.

Remember to complete any mechanical service that pertains to your boat. Remember that all the ground hogs didn’t see their shadow this year, so we don’t get six more weeks of winter, so spring should come early. So be ready. Don’t forget to record what you did in your mechanical log. You have no excuses. It can be all online now. If you have any questions go on line to www.boatingmag.comand direct your questions, they sure can help out. If you don’t have a boat, but are considering one this year, check out www.boatingmag.com for boat tests. They have 1,300 plus tests so you are bound to find the boat for you. 
 
New engines
Volvo Penta, who gets their marine blocks from General Motors, has new V-6 and V-8 engines in their 240 hp and 300 hp range for customers in 2016. GM builds the aluminum block engines and Volvo marinises them with aluminum parts. So now Volvo has two all-aluminum engines and they claim they are the power-to-weight champions. Some of the boat manufacturers who are using the new engines are: Chaparral, Chris-Craft, Cobalt, Cutwater, Formula, Four Winns, Monterey, Regal and Stingray. Both engines have closed cooling systems. This sounds like a good reliable engine for your future boat. 
 
New engine additive
“Motor Whiskey,” no it’s not for your cocktail hour, but a new additive which is a fuel stabilizer, fuel enhancer, octane booster and fuel system cleaner. It is available in four treatments, one being for diesel engines. Check out:  www.motorwhiskey.com
 
Past racing days
Well, the Miami Boat Show is over and I’ll bet it set records. The mentioning of the Marine Stadium brought back some racing memories. I had the Cobia Racing Team that was sponsored by Mercury Motors and Ashland Oil Company, which owned Cobia boats. It consisted of five race boats; two 18’ twin rigs, one 16’ rig, and two 15’s.  We raced OPC (outboard pleasure craft). We had just finished the Miami-Key Largo race and there were a lot of single engine unlimited class boats. So the race committee decided to have a race with this class with a $10,000 first prize. As I remember it was a 50 lap race on the Marine Stadium course. Well I had one single unlimited 16’ called the “Red Baron” and I also had a stock 15’ Cobia. So I took one of the twin rigs’ unlimited engines off the twin rig and put it on the 15’ which was called “Lil Snoopy.”  All but one of my boats was named after “Peanuts” characters. The unlimited twin rig was “Snoopy’s Revenge.” The standard twin rig was called “Muck Muck” because my godson couldn’t say Mike. The other 15’ rig was a “G” class (80 hp) called “Good Grief Charlie Brown.” So we got the “Red Baron” and “Lil Snoopy” ready.  The command to go to the starting area came and “Lil Snoopy” idled out to the area with the 30-40 other boats.
 
I was driving the “Red Baron,” but as I was ready to start the engine and idle out, the “Red Baron” wouldn’t start. We tried to figure out what was wrong, but we just couldn’t get it to start. I was destined to not start the race. One of the notables in the race was “Renatto Molinari” whose Molinari Boats had set numerous speed records in his single engine tunnel boats. Well the race started and “Lil Snoopy” and the Molinari were at the front. The announcer couldn’t keep quiet over how fast and great the Molinari was. While this was happening, “Lil Snoopy” found the right water and blew by the Molinari. The announcer didn’t know what to say. About three laps later “Lil Snoopy” limped into the pits when the bottom de-laminated.  When we got home we took the “Red Baron” to the water and it started right up and ran perfect.  “Lil Snoopy” was beyond repair and was retired. I guess the racing Gods didn’t want me to race at the Marine Stadium. 
 
The SS United States
A preservationist group is trying to save the 1950s era ship which set records crossing the Atlantic as well as being known for having presidents, kings and queens, and actors aboard for cruises. William Francis Gibbs was the visionary shipbuilder who directed the ship’s construction at the Newport News Shipyard. The conservancy, founded to save the ship and make it a waterside attraction, is headed by his granddaughter Susan Gibbs.  The ship has been saved from the scrap yard several times. She is now docked in Philadelphia. There is even a song written about the ship and sung by the Virginia Children’s Chorus of Norfolk to raise money. Fast forward to today, Crystal Cruise Lines will purchase the ship, refurbish it and place it within it fleet.
 
For boaters that trailer
Boaters that trailer to different lakes and rivers need to thoroughly clean boats and trailers for any aquatic weeds that might be stuck on the prop or trailer.  The aquatic plants that you carry from one lake to another can literally take over a lake and ruin fish population, recreational boating and sports. Weeds such as salvinia must be controlled. Do your part and check your trailer and boat to make sure you are not transferring aquatic weeds from one lake to another.  Make sure your boat is clean when launched in the lake. 
 
USCGA classes
The boating classes that are under the direction of the USCG Auxiliary would be a good family project. You will all be better boaters for it. Also you can save 10 percent on your insurance premiums. The USCG Auxiliary also conducts free boat inspections.  This publication has dates for the classesand how  to get your inspection.
 
Be courteous, practice safe boating and I’ll see you on the water.
 


February 2016 column

News and notes from the boating world and beyond


Bertram is introducing the Bertram 35’, which is the replacement for the much enamored 31’ “Moppie.” The Moppie was made famous in the ’60s and ’70s as one of the best all-around fishing boats as well as the hull being one of the best for offshore powerboat racing. The hull’s sea keeping abilities were renowned.

The new 35’ takes all the qualities of the 31’ Moppie and adds some new features. The fiberglass hull is now built with up to date techniques and materials. The 35’ fly bridge is a great improvement over the small F/B on the 31’. It has a 12’5” beam and a draft of 2’6” so you can go in those shallow gunkholes for a swim or relax at anchor. Top end speed is 40-plus knots.  No news as to the price, but it will be in the showrooms by May or June. Go to: www.bertram.com to view the photos. It looks like a real winner.

Bertram has changed hands recently and was purchased by Beniamino Gavio, who also owns Baelietto and CCN Yacht Builders.  He is a successful entrepreneur and boat builder who promises nothing but the best in the Bertram’s future.

Bertram has always been one of my favorites. A 46’ was the queen of the Miami Boat Show in 1970, and I sold it to a client. After that I sold and delivered quite a few Bertrams in various sizes. One of my last deliveries was a 46’ Bertram from Pompano Beach to St. Petersburg, a great two-day trip.  Look for more new models out of Bertram in the near future.

Boat shows
I hope everyone enjoyed the Atlanta Boat Show. Those of you who purchased a new boat and have not taken the boating safety course, you should do so before you hit the water. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary course dates are in this publication, for your convenience.  You can also have your new boat inspected by them, it doesn’t cost anything, and you will feel safer.

The Miami International Boat Show will be February 11-15. This is probably is the largest boat show of the year. There are 600,000 square feet of exhibitor space, and 1,200 boats on display. Make sure you’ve got your best walking shoes on. This show has also taken over the Miami Marine Stadium Park and basin. We use to have heat races at the stadium, and the Miami-Key Largo-Miami marathon race started and ended at the stadium. The show will have demo docks, so you can take your dream boat for a ride. You will probably view parts of the show online, check for details at: www.miamiboatshow.com.  Remember, you need two or three days to see the whole show.

Young angler earns scholarship
In previous columns I’ve reported how high school and college fishing teams have grown in popularity. Now there is a high school graduate who made good grades, but also did well on his schools fishing team. Cody Stahl a graduate of Crosspoint Christian Academy in Pike County, Georgia along with his fishing teammate Tate VanEgmond dominated the Georgia High School Fishing circuit the last few years. They won first place trophies in Georgia Bass Nation High School Fishing Tournament action. The two also took their talents to the Bassmaster High School National Championship this past July and finished 10th in the nation.

Stahl’s scholarship at the Savannah College of Art and Design will help him in his major of industrial design and minor in marketing. In his spare time he’ll be fishing on SCAD’s college team.
Stahl will join local angler Noah Pescitelli of Buford on the SCAD fishing team. Pescitelli, 18, recently received an athletic and academic scholarship at the college as well.

We wish them luck. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about them in Bassmaster Tournaments in the future. Hey, high school students that want a fishing team, get a teacher to be a coach and start one.

New safety equipment
It seems like it takes a tragedy like the loss of those two boys in Florida last July to create new and less expensive lifesaving electronic gear. One of the parents is working with Florida legislators to offer boat registration discounts to those who show proof that they carry registered EPIRBS and/or (depending on vessel size) PLBs onboard.  ARC Electronics is already donating to the non-profit foundation aimed at keeping kids safe on the water.

There may come a day when all boats will be required to carry a U.S. Coast Guard approved EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon). Ocean Signal has a new affordable unit if it becomes law. It’s ideal for boats up to 25’ in length. You activate it manually or it automatically activates when immersed in water to send an emergency signal to a rescue response center anywhere in the world. The 66 channel GPS helps responders home in on your location. It also has two high intensity strobes which maximize visibility at night or in a fog. The unit has a 10 year battery life, and will broadcast at 12 watts for 48 hours when activated. Cost is $399.95 at:  www.gpsstore.com.

ACR offers a “ResQLink+” PLB (personal locator beacon) that is designed to secure onto your life jacket. In rough seas or a catastrophic situation people can become separated and the PLB will help locate them. They sell for $250 and it’s a good idea to have one on each PFD in use onboard. I know from experience a lot of boaters will say, “I don’t need that, I just boat on a lake.” But they forget the one or two trips to the Gulf or the Atlantic shore. Don’t be a statistic; if you are going off shore you need U.S. Coast Guard Approved devices such as these.

Here are a few more safety devices being offered this year:
  • The Throw Raft TD 2401:  Throwable flotation devices are essential to have onboard, especially for a man over board situation.  Cost $130: www.throwraft.com.
  • Flares are included in most safety units onboard. Aurora flares are a waterproof hand held red flare and should help in a quick rescue or for assistance. Cost is $30.  Contact: www.acrartex.com.
  • The Spot Trace and Gen 3 are widely used by delivery captains and long distance cruisers to keep people informed of their locations when cell phones won’t work.  They also have an SOS button.  Cost is $150. Contact: www.findmespot.com.

When you go boating with these items onboard you and your crew will be much safer in case of an emergency which I hope you don’t have.

PWC update
Bombardier’s Sea-Doo that started the PWC craze in 1968 used engines from their successful Ski-Doo snowmobiles. Both were in their trademark bright yellow which was recognizable on water or land as one of Bombardier’s successful recreation products. The new RXP-X model seems light years ahead of the 1968 models. It still has a Rotax engine, but most similarities end with the logo on the engine. The new model has a 1600 cc engine rated at 300 H.P. - that’s 17 times the original model.  The power is substantially boos
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