Letters To Editor

June | July

An Image Of Rude

I enjoyed "A Look Back In Boating Time" by Chris Landers (April 2011), recounting boating's growth during the last 60 years. I did note a mistake in his article, namely the attribution of extremely poor boat handling in the photograph on page 50. While the helmsman is clearly violating good seamanship, I doubt he is a Coast Guard Auxiliarist. The organization expends a great effort in support of the Coast Guard's recreational boating safety mission. It deserves better recognition than the apparent misattribution the caption makes.

Editor's Note: The photo caption mentioned above caused a great deal of consternation among our members, who couldn't imagine Coast Guard Auxilarists behaving in such a manner, an interpretation of the caption completely at odds with everything we know about the Auxiliary. Here's more background about the photo: It depicts a situation that was indeed set up by the Auxiliary in May of 1959, but they did so to intentionally and dramatically create a public-service message, to demonstrate in photography the bad behavior they would like boaters to avoid. We apologize for not spelling that out more clearly.

Radar Love

"Get A Fix On Radar" (April 2011) is a well-written and thoughtful piece with good advice. I have one suggestion: Using radar to avoid bad weather is under-utilized. When transiting areas with potential bad thunderstorms the extended ranges are quite useful. I've picked up storm cells 15 and 20 nm away.

New Meaning Of "Shovel Ready"?

I found "Rethinking A Waterway at Eight Knots" (April 2011) to be most interesting, particularly the objection to defining the waterway as being from Norfolk, Virginia, to Florida only. Mention was made of the continuing waterway along the Gulf of Mexico to Brownsville, Texas. But, why stop there? North of Norfolk is the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, connecting the bays so named. Then north of there is the Cape Cod Canal and the Blyman Canal that avoids the dangers of Cape Ann. The waterway in fact runs from Texas to Maine.

The missing piece in all of this is the Delaware and Raritan Canal that once crossed New Jersey and eliminated the dangers of Sandy Hook. This canal served commercial interests and the yachts of the wealthy through the "Gilded Age," but was closed by its owner, the Pennsylvania Railroad during the Depression, and partially filled in by the WPA and later the highway gang. But, it is still mostly intact and watered as a state park across New Jersey. There are current discussions about reopening it.

The recreational boating community allows government and commercial interests to define the discussion rather than setting the agenda. The idea that waterways exist only for commercial use is 100 years out of date and ignores the huge tourism and recreation industry, and we let congress perpetuate this obsolete policy.

Many Uses For Wind

I just read the great story "Winds Of Change Coming?" (April 2011) on the Great Lakes wind generators There are other positive aspects of generating power without burning stuff. The Great Lakes have a mercury problem primarily caused by coal plants. Mercury causes neurological disorders in humans. We've all been saddened by the events in Japan; it's worth noting that the only power source there that had no disruption in service, through all the turmoil, was the wind generators. When we count up the benefits, rerouting a regatta or two seems like a reasonable sacrifice.

I thought the article "Winds of Change Coming?" in the last issue was well written. However, some clarification is in order. Permit decisions in the U.S. Great Lakes will be made by both the federal government and the states, not just the states. Clearly, the states will need to issue leases for development of Great Lakes bottomlands, which states hold in public trust. State environmental and waterfront planning statutes will need to be followed. At the federal level, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will issue structure permits and other ancillary permits for wind projects and will likely serve as lead agency if an Environmental Impact Statement is called for under NEPA.

I know of no plans by the U.S. Coast Guard to routinely establish security or safety zones around offshore windmills unless the Coast Guard mission is compromised or a navigational hazard exists. The Coast Guard gives Sectors wide discretion in the matter. I know of no plans by wind developers to seek safety zones to restrict recreational boating in turbine fields, except during a brief period of construction and during occasional maintenance of individual turbines. Finally, wind turbines will not be located in shipping lanes.

We really need to take a deep breath here and continue to separate myth from reality.

Bittersweet

Ann Dermody's profile of Jacques Torres choked me up ("New York's Willy Wonka Finds Peace On His Boat" April 2011). At 65 now and gray, a product of Harlem and dirt poor at the outset, I know exactly what it means to dream about one day owning a boat. While never having risen to the "Chocolate Man's" level of fame, I've done ok. I spent half a lifetime landbound as a surf fisherman on Sheepshead Bay or City Island, where beach access was enabled by bus, train, and foot — and the Hudson River, where I caught my first bass, from shore naturally.

Twenty years ago, when the chance came to buy a hurricane-damaged Grady-White, I jumped. I hauled my 25 Sailfish up I-95, from Miami to Virginia, white-knuckled and new to the experience of hauling 11,200 pounds of boat, engine, and three-axle trailer on the interstate. I was flush with pride and glowed as other drivers stared at her. Talk about proud fathers!

Three years of elbow grease and several more thousand dollars were needed to bring her back to as close to new condition as possible. Luckily, no serious hull damage, and the engines ran after power flushing and mechanic's magic. The rest I did myself, replacing everything electrical, plus rotten wood, head liners, latches, and of course electronics.

My boat ended up costing about 25 percent of what a new one costs. Now, when I go to a boat show, I can't help but reflect that I own one, after a lifetime of dreaming! The article was a trip down memory lane for me. I will never sell her until the day I am unable to go out to sea. That day I will cry again.


Bad Boat Behavior?

Chris Landers' historical article on the history of boating in the April 2011 Issue of BoatUS Magazine drew a great deal of ire from me. On page 50, the lower photo shows a powerboat passing between a small skiff with three male POB and a small cat sailboat with two POB at a high rate of speed and leaving excessive wake.

Truly this is an example of the negligent operation of a powerboat? What is so galling is that the caption reads: "Prepare to be waked! This Coast Guard Auxiliary Boat flying through a peaceful Saturday fleet demonstrates a common boat violation, May, 1959."

I looked at the photo and could not see any evidence that it is a USCGAUX boat. I then used a jeweler's loop to magnify the image and find that the boat has no markings, such as patrol signs and patrol ensign, indicating that it is a USCGAUX boat. The two people seated in the back are a man and a child, (Children are not allowed on USCGAUX Patrols) and the operator and other male standing looking out are not in uniform.

There is no explanation as to how it was determined that this was a USCGAUX boat. As a member of the USCGAUX, and a coxswain who patrols on my own and other members' boats, I take extreme exception to this assertion.

Editor's Note: The photo caption mentioned above caused a great deal of consternation among our members, who couldn't imagine Coast Guard Auxilarists behaving in such a manner, an interpretation of the caption completely at odds with everything we know about the Auxiliary. Here's more background about the photo: It depicts a situation that was indeed set up by the Auxiliary in May of 1959, but they did so to create a public-service message, to intentionally and dramatically demonstrate in photography the bad behavior they would like boaters to avoid. We apologize for not spelling that out more clearly.





The Family That Boats Together … Aida and Eric Klun along with their daughters Alexis (7) and Hannah (3) get ready to enjoy a barbecue dinner on their Sea Ray in Ocean City, Maryland.

Did That Really Happen? When Ron and Deborah Cheney from Wells, Maine, sent this photo of their Sea Ray back in February, they were dreaming of spring. We're hoping the snow's melted and they're enjoying some on-the-water sunshine now!

Boy's Best Friend: Drake Regenhardt (9) and his boxer Bu (10), get in some bonding time aboard Whaler Watch at Washington Island, Wisconsin, before a cruise to Baileys Harbor.

Wearing The Green: CF and Christy Larkin from Hilton Head, South Carolina, took this shot of their boat Five Seas on St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, Georgia, last year.

Cruisin' The Spit: This Tiara, Miss Amanda, has spent many an hour at anchor on the North River in Scituate, Massachusetts. Her owners, Bob and Derrell McGrath, have enjoyed this spot with their children, and now grandchildren, for 25 years.

Peter Paul Loves Mary Jean! See letter Bittersweet.


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