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A Detector Saves The Day In New York

"Poisoned at Sea" (August 2011) struck a chord. My wife and I had a similar experience, although our carbon-monoxide detectors shrieked a warning before the situation deteriorated to the point that it did for Ron and Janie Ressel. Three years ago, on our initial walk through of what would become our new Hunter 36, I remember thinking, among other things, "Wow, three carbon-monoxide detectors, one in each cabin… maybe a little overkill in a relatively small space." But then I remembered from my flying days that a little redundancy in safety systems can be a life-saver.

One evening in late June, we sat in our cockpit enjoying the sunset over Erie Basin Marina in our hometown of Buffalo, New York, after a great day of sailing. Our neighbors were coming back into the marina. At one point my wife and I looked at each other and said: "I smell exhaust and raw gasoline." The smell persisted and was strong enough that it drove us below. It was muggy down there, so we closed up the ports and hatches and switched on the A/C. We were getting ready for an early lights-out when, within 30 seconds of each other, all three CO detectors started to squeal.

We unplugged the detectors to silence them, opened all the ports, and went home to sleep. Did the fresh-air intake for the A/C draw the CO in and concentrate it inside the closed-up boat? Or did it come in through a low hatch in the aft-cabin that I had opened to cool it off before bed? And we wondered, had Hunter's designers not put all those CO detectors in our boat, and had we gone to bed, would we have awakened the next morning, or would that previous day have been our final sail?

Can't They Just Swab The Deck?

One of the best ways we've found to keep our kids into boats is with a book that Danielle Zartman (August 2011) didn't put on her great list: The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon and 101 Other Things for Young Mariners to Build, Try, and Do on the Water. A weird and long title, but it says it all.

Lionfish Ceviche, Please!

Just finished reading "Eating The Aliens" (August 2011) about carp and lionfish. I live in South Florida and eat out three or four times per week, and fish is my favorite fare. Lionfish is great eating, but as of this time not one of the restaurants that I frequent has lionfish on the menu and when I ask for it, they don't know what I'm talking about. If we demand them on the menu, we can win this war.

Pleasant Passing

As a long-time boater who's traveled the ICW from Norfolk to Florida 15 times, I've been passed a lot. The vast majority of power boaters are courteous; the small percentage who aren't can generate Irish curses down the waterway as far as a VHF can reach. Many courteous power boaters still miss the mark how they pass, and I respectfully offer my two cents. About 50 percent of passing boaters will slow down two or more boat lengths behind you, which accomplishes nothing, because you're moving away from their wake. The passing boat will then slowly go by and when their transom is at your bow, hit the throttle and send you into a nasty wake.

I suggest, depending on speed and how close a pass, it's pointless for the passing boat to slow any sooner than when their bow is even with your transom, or even one third past. Then don't hit the throttles until you're a full boat length or more past the slower boat. This gives the slow boat time and space to pull in directly behind you and avoid any wake your acceleration may cause. Thanks.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bob Adriance's "Boat Wakes And Bad Tempers" until I got to his advice, "If you are being overtaken, come completely off plane… Slowing your boat will allow the overtaking skipper to slow his boat as well." As I read it, the author's advice is contrary to the Navigation Rules (Rules 16 and 17). All NASBLA boating safety courses for the public stress that the "stand on vessel" is to maintain course and speed. This includes the BoatUS online course. How can this advice be reconciled with the Rules Of The Road?

From Bob Adriance:

It's an interesting topic. On many parts of the ICW, for example, a small boat would be at significant risk if its skipper were to maintain speed while being passed by a much larger and faster boat. The waterway is typically shallow, which tends to exacerbate the size and shape of the wakes, and the boats (and shoreline) are never more than a few yards away. In the 60-plus years I've been cruising the ICW, the routine has always been for both boats to slow way down when passing.

Fortunately, the Inland Rules allow for this: 2(b) "Depart from rules when necessary to avoid immediate danger. In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger." It's an important rule that is often overlooked.

One For The Onboard Library

I was so impressed with "The Curious Mariner" by Pierre-Yves and Sally Bely (Aug 2011) that I immediately purchased their book Do Dolphins Ever Sleep? After I perused it, I purchased 11 more copies, one for each of my grandchildren. Thank you for the article and for the many terrific improvements in the magazine that have taken place over the past year or so.

I am not trying to knock Pierre-Yves Bely in any way for his brilliant contributions to the marine world or those who adventure in it, but when asked about the greatest navigator of all time, he did not even mention Zheng He, who surely was the greatest by a long shot. Zheng He did it all 300 years before James Cook got under way and 50 years before Columbus found the Bahamas.

Top Of The Stack

I have been a member of BoatUS for many years, and have spent good deal of time reading different national boating publications, keeping up with new boats, trends, motors, equipment, and interesting boating destinations. Heck, I even read the boating supply catalogs just to see what the newest widget is for the year. I have to say that I've gotten to the point where I'm now focusing more on your publication then any of the others. Your magazine has some of the best-written articles, and interesting stories that I've ever read. I also have followed all the news releases on boating legislation at the state and federal level affecting us all.

Now after my stack of boating magazines reaches one foot in height, I weed all of them out for recycling except for yours. I like them too much to part with them.

For your own BoatUS flag, call 800-395-2628 or visit www.BoatUS.com/logoitems

Lake Powell Peekaboo, For Ticaboo David Pape from Arizona sent in this dramatic photo taken at sunset in Padre Bay, Lake Powell, aboard his 25-foot Albin Ticaboo, a Piute Indian word for friendly. "That's a Boat US flag below the spreader," he says. "I spent a week enjoying the quiet canyons in January and we saw four boats all week, three being National Park Service maintenance vessels."

Journey Into Eden Rob Miculinic and Jodie Johnson from Pasadena, Maryland, are the proud grandparents to Eden (pictured), on presumably one of her first boat rides. The couple is photographed aboard their Regal 2460 while cruising in the upper Chesapeake Bay.

Impulsive Behavior In Milwaukee Inspired by our beautiful photo of two sailboats in the inner harbor of Milwaukee in the August issue of BoatUS Magazine: October, Brian Smith took this photo of his wife Debbie and daughter Shannon about three miles out of Milwaukee Harbor. "The boat in the photo is our tender, a Boston Whaler 130 SS and our main boat is a Carver 36M named Impulsive Behaviour Again. We love your magazine," says Brian. "Thanks for all the great articles."

Up Swan Creek Without A Paddle Bob Walker from Rock Hall, Maryland, sent in this shot taken from his deck in Swan Creek. "This sailboat was hard aground and the next high tide was not until the middle of the night. The TowBoatUS captain had to work hard at dragging the boat across the mud to deep water. His persistence paid off and a successful rescue was completed."

When The Therapy Couch Is Inflatable Randy Hauslein from Illinois sent this photo of Lori Cushion, at anchor, on her "weekly therapy session" on the Fox chain of lakes in Illinois. "Notice the plastic tumbler from BoatUS in her hand," says Randy.

Send Photos! Do you have photos of you, your family, and friends enjoying great times on the water (preferably wearing life jackets)? E-mail the high-resolution digital version to us with your name and address. Tell us who or what's in the photo. It might appear in this column. Send to LettersToEditor@BoatUS.com.