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Boating Know-How with Mike Saylor

The wonders of late-season boating

Hey, look here. The waters are empty.

Well, not exactly empty, but after Labor Day there certainly are fewer boats out there. And the trend accelerates as we move down the calendar. Late-season boating — it’s my favorite time to be on the water, whether sailing or powerboating.

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The lessons of Bligh and Shackleton

Superior leaders and seamen, both beat impossible odds in small, open boats without losing a man

Before I began research for this column, I envisioned Capt. William Bligh as the harsh disciplinarian I read about in “Mutiny on the Bounty” and saw portrayed by Charles Laughton and Trevor Howard in film adaptations.

Ernest Shackleton, on the other hand, was a faintly remembered Antarctic explorer around the time World War I started.

Boy, did I have it wrong.

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I’ll take a set of oars over an outboard

I don’t know why I wrote a column on outboards.

I hate the darn things. I’ve never owned an outboard that I trusted, that didn’t let me down. Wait a minute … maybe it wasn’t the outboards. Maybe the problem rests with me.

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The virtues of speed, or the lack thereof

On May 12, my wife and I noticed, in a heavily clouded sky, a large, very black area to the north/northeast. We couldn’t see the cloud itself, only its effect.

The wind was a light south/southwest. By rotating to our right 30 degrees and watching the left-to-right cloud movement overhead, we knew conditions were deteriorating. (We were on land, but had we been at sea our rotation would’ve been 15 degrees to the right.)

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With lightning, it’s respect and protect

One thing that sure scares me is lightning.

From the time we’re kids we’re warned about sheltering under a tree during a thunderstorm, since trees are tall and can attract lightning. On the water — whether you’re in a power- or sailboat — you are the tallest thing out there.

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