Local Waters January 2012
Posted on 01 January 2012
Written by Rich Armstrong
Concord Point Lighthouse
Concord Point Lighthouse was built of local granite in 1827 where the Susquehanna River meets the tidal flow of Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, Md. It is the northernmost and second-oldest lighthouse on the Bay. Automated in 1920, it was decommissioned in 1975 and restored in the early ’80s by Friends of Concord Point Lighthouse. The 30-foot tower and keeper’s dwelling are open to the public on weekends from April to October. The beacon is not an active aid to navigation.
New options await in Dry Tortugas
Boaters heading to Dry Tortugas National Park can now tie up at mooring balls placed within the 46-square-mile Research Natural Area. All visiting boaters must have a free permit and use one of the six moorings in the area. Vessels are limited to two hours and are no longer allowed to anchor within the Research Natural Area. Boaters hoping to spend the night are only allowed to anchor on sandy bottom within 1 nautical mile of the Garden Key Harbor Light.
Permits can be obtained at the visitor center on Garden Key. Rangers also can issue permits.
Construction has been completed on five visitor slips on Garden Key. Boaters can use the slips on a first-come, first-served basis to unload camping gear and supplies or take a walking tour of Fort Jefferson. The harbor can be busy with small private boats, so there is a two-hour limit for slip use. www.dry.tortugas.national-park.com
Frostbite sailors are a hearty breed
Two days after a freak Oct. 29 snowstorm knocked out power for more than two million homes and businesses in the Northeast, a band of 25 sailors raced in 20-knot gusts in Essex Harbor on the Connecticut River.
The frostbiters did not seem to mind the conditions. In fact, the news that 10 sailboats had capsized that Sunday afternoon was taken as a point of pride rather than a demonstration of what some might consider foolishness.
The boats that competed included Etchells, JY-15s, Ideal 18s and Lasers. Most of the boats that capsized were Lasers, but a few JY-15s did, too. Once a Laser capsizes there is only one person to right the boat. Regular dunkings are the primary reason Laser skippers wear full-body wet suits.
A crash boat patrols the races, manned by Frostbite Yacht Club Commodore Scott Baker, who has the authority to send a boat back to the dock if the sailor is fatigued.
Still, the pleasure these far-from-fair-weather sailors get from frostbiting was evident at day’s end. “It was an awesome, windy day,” says Toby Doyle, who took first place with his Etchells. “We survived.”
Charlotte Posey, who sails an Ideal 18 with her husband, Dennis, was shocked when her husband said he wanted to go sailing that day. First, they had to shovel snow out of their driveway.
Once the boats were out of the water and stored until the next week’s race, the frostbiters retired to a local yacht club for hot soup and camaraderie.
— Jerome Wilson
Harbormaster boats get green upgrade
Annapolis received the first of two hybrid propulsion systems to be installed on harbormaster boats, offering improved efficiency and a reduced environmental impact. The city was awarded grant money to purchase two Steyr Hybrid D solar-electric-biodiesel systems. The grants were awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian government. The EPA covered $300,000 of the $400,000 cost of updating both boats, and the Canadian government covered the rest.
The first system will be installed on a patrol boat used to collect mooring fees and for rescues. The second system will be mounted on a pumpout boat.
The boats can operate on solar power and batteries for as long as three hours at speeds up to 6 knots without using the diesel. Officials say the city will see a 50 percent savings in fuel costs during the 20-year life of the boats.
Revamped Providence show returns in January
The Providence Boat Show is dedicating the lower level of the Rhode Island Convention Center to bargain hunters. On Jan. 14-15, the space will feature boat dealers, equipment retailers, boatyards, marinas and others selling new marked-down items, after-holiday specials and used gear. Rhode Island’s Clean The Bay will offer hundreds of products donated by others in the trade, with proceeds benefiting the group’s work to keep coastal waters free of debris.
Hands-on repair and maintenance workshops are another new feature of the show, which runs Jan. 12-15, and there will be a trout-stocked fishing pond for catch-and-release fun. Information is available by calling (401) 846-1115 or visiting www.providenceboatshow.com.
A lighthouse shines again after a century
The Norwalk Seaport Association lighted the 143-year-old Sheffield Island Lighthouse for the first time in more than 100 years. A commissioning ceremony was held Oct. 17 to light the tower and turn on the refurbished electrical system on Sheffield Island.
A highlight of the project was the installation of a Coast Guard-approved low-energy light in the tower. Although the white light will not be used as an aid to navigation, it will be visible from the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound.
Activated in 1868, Sheffield Island Lighthouse was in service for 34 years until it was retired in 1902. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is maintained, along with the island, as a museum and nature preserve by Norwalk Seaport Association volunteers. www.seaport.org.
This article originally appeared in the January 2012 issue.