Obie's Triumphs and Trials Had Quite An Impact On Readers

By Chris Landers
Published: February/March 2012


Your article by Obie Usategui ("Oh, The Torment," Oct 2011) hit me in the solar plexus. It was so nice to read something by someone who was not a raging success at everything he did in life and as a result owned a boat the size of Rhode Island. Like Obie, I own a relatively small boat in my circle, and yet I bet I enjoy my boat more than anyone else around me. Like Obie, I too have been embarrassed by "mechanical challenges" when entertaining family or friends. I, too, have had some life-altering marriage and business misadventures. But I've never given up my love for my boat and "the lake." I'd rather spend Christmas day on my "winterized" boat reading BoatUS Magazine and my best book than be anywhere else.


Still Missing

Robert Youngman's photo, supposedly of Oneida on page 6 of your December issue, appears to actually be the 126-foot steam yacht Cangarda, built in 1901, restored in 2007 by Jeff Rutherford in Richmond, California, and now steaming along the New England Coast. Her owner, Bob McNeil, is currently restoring the 1885, 131-foot schooner Coronet at the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, with Rutherford's management. By the way, nice issue! It feeds the dream to cruise the French canals.


Editor's Note: Oneida was the yacht on which President Grover Cleveland received clandestine surgery for cancer in July of 1893, which was described in award-winning author Matthew Algeo's popular feature in our October issue, "The President, A Yacht, And A Secret Operation". Algeo had written that the yacht had been sold for scrap, and after our issue came out, we received and printed reports of our members' recent "sightings" of Oneida. Alas, it appears those sightings were of a similar vintage steam yacht, and that Oneida, once the setting of one of the biggest presidential cover-ups in American history, has indeed been lost to history and the scrap heap.

Extended Vacation

I enjoyed reading about Bernadette Bernon's adventures cruising the French canals ("Charter Far Afield," Dec. 2011). My wife and I had often thought about exploring the European canals, and in 1999 were researching the various charter companies. Then in November of that year, at the Seven Seas Cruising Association annual "gam" in Melbourne, Florida, we met a couple that owned a canal boat in France and were selling it after living on it for two years. This was a no-brainer for us, and we bought it on the spot. (We didn't see the boat until the following April, so I don't recommend this method for others). The boat turned out to be as advertised.

We moved aboard, with two dogs, in April 2000, and spent the next three years, five months each year, touring the canals. We made a giant circle of France the first year, and spent the second year in Belgium and the Netherlands, as far north as Tershilling Island in the North Sea. The third year we traveled from Amsterdam to the Midi canal in the south of France. Altogether, we traveled more than 6,000 kilometers, and passed through 1,400 locks. It was a wonderful lifestyle. We invited friends from home to join us every two or three weeks and all it cost them was the airfare. The rural people in Europe couldn't be more friendly to Americans.

We sold the boat in 2002, which covered our total expenses, so essentially, we had a free ride. Incidentally, we bareboated through the Greek Isles in 1980, so we have completed two-thirds of your bucket list.


Dammed If You Do …

You might be interested to watch the progress on the Elwha dams removal: Some locals question the wisdom of this project; we'll loose the "green" electricity from that water power, and end up having to burn more fossil fuels to make up for it. After all, it may take 100 years to get 100-pound salmon from that river again.


Fuel Matters

I just read Ryck Lydecker's article about the development of isobutanol (Dec. 2011) and the positive effects on our engines. Recently, I also read that the Federal Aviation Administration just awarded Honeywell UOP a $1.1 million contract to "produce renewable jet fuel from isobutanol."


Your magazine is full of useful and interesting stuff for an old boater/chemical engineer. In "Three Ethanol Myths Clarified" (Dec. 2011), myth #2 could have made more impact on the boater's brain by explaining the physical chemistry a bit. If you have a tank partly full of fresh gasohol, then the fuel does have an affinity for water vapor and can absorb water from the air in the absence of condensation.

In the industrial settings I work in, we have moisture pick-up problems in solvents and oil/solvent systems. When we use polar solvents like alcohols, we have to keep our liquids enclosed and under a blanket of dry nitrogen gas to avoid the very problems that happen in your boat. Lucky me — I keep my boat in a quaint little town where non-ethanol gas is available. If the dollars spent to subsidize corn-based ethanol had been spent on bona-fide R&D, we would have the solutions now.

Members' Gallery

Photo of wedding coupleTying The Knot: Long Island residents Joann and Michael put their boat to good use at the Sunset Harbor Marina in Patchogue, New York, last September, when they got married aboard. "Captain Arnold officiated and it was a beautiful day surrounded by all our family and friends," says the couple.

Photo of 21-foot open-bow Reinell in Lake OntarioWhich Century Am I In, Anyway?: "This is a photo I took from our 21-foot open-bow Reinell in Lake Ontario, with my wife Renee," says Bill Bray of Webster, New York. "We were two miles offshore from the port of Rochester."

Photo of Sammy commanding their 43-foot Ocean SS, the Maria J, on the St. Lucie RiverAye, Aye, Captain Sammy!: Maria and Gene Faatz from Stuart, Florida, sent in this photo of their four-year-old granddaughter Sammy commanding their 43-foot Ocean SS, the Maria J, on the St. Lucie River.

Photo of 1991 Doral 255MC all dolled up for the July 4 The Flagship Prestancia: "This is our 1991 Doral 255MC Prestancia, all dolled up for the July 4 celebrations," says David Cope. Their boat was photographed on Lake Allatoona, Cartersville, Georgia, last year.

Photo of boating cats, Tigger and Smokey, on their 23-foot SeaswirlAlley Cat Or Galley Cat? Terry Meyer from Youngsville, Louisiana, poses alongside her two boating cats, Tigger and Smokey, on their 23-foot Seaswirl. "My wife insisted I submit this picture because she said it was time to see some boating cats instead of everyone's boating dogs!" says husband John.



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