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Talkin' Boats - Tom Rau

Boating safety expert

This mishap illustrates the need for a high degree of situational awareness on the water.Tom Rau is an expert on boating safety who served 27 years in the Coast Guard (California and Lake Michigan). He retired in 2002 as a senior chief, responsible for the auxiliary substation at South Haven, Mich. He has participated in about 500 search-and-rescue missions.

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Teen's record quest ends with dismasting

Abby Sunderland was about halfway through her attempt to become the youngest solo circumnavigator when the rig came down.It started with a dream - one that began to fall apart, little by little, and ended abruptly halfway around the world. Abby Sunderland, who set off Jan. 23 from her home port of Marina del Rey, Calif., on an attempt to become the youngest solo circumnavigator, was dismasted at about 5:30 p.m. June 10 in the Indian Ocean. (The time zone she was in is 12-1/2 hours ahead of her hometown of Thousand Oaks, Calif.). She was about 2,000 nautical miles off Western Australia and 570 miles northwest of the Kerguelen Islands when she activated two of her three rescue beacons.

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Designer recounts Wild Eyes' intent

I designed Wild Eyes - the yacht Abby Sunderland was sailing around the world - as BT Velocity for racing in Class II of the 2002 Around Alone. Being a 40-footer, she was at the low end of the allowable size range for the class, which was 40 to 50 feet. She was part of a new generation of single-handed vessels that was required to meet the new International Monohull Open Class Association rules for self-righting and flotation.

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Gulf oil spill spurs nautical innovation

Dragonfly Boatworks and singer Jimmy Buffett are building flats boats to aid distressed wildlife

The wildlife rescue vessels are equipped with solar fans, a misting system, laptops, webcams and a collapsible canopy. Singer Jimmy Buffett is funding the project.A Florida boatbuilder - with financial support from singer Jimmy Buffett - will build at least four flats boats modified to rescue wildlife from oil-soaked marshes along the Gulf Coast.

 

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Are your charts current? Probably not

With electronic chart update rates as low as 8 percent, alliance stresses the risk of navigational surprises

This comparison shows chart alterations that can occur between the start and end of a season.It's easy to take the accuracy of nautical charts - paper or electronic - for granted year after year. After all, boaters' home waters are their waters and they're familiar with the shallows, hazards and tricky spots.

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