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Charges dropped in

Cuba indictment

Charges against two sailors who organized a sailing regatta from Key West to Cuba were dismissed by a federal judge just days before the trial was to begin.

U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King ruled Oct. 29 that Peter Goldsmith, 55, and Michele Geslin, 56, had not traded with Cuba because the regatta entry fees were spent on T-shirts, trophies and a regatta party in Key West, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. The trial was to begin Nov. 8.

The June indictment was the first filed against recreational sailors who had traveled to Cuba. The charges came about the time the Bush Administration was stressing enforcement of a 42-year-old trade embargo that prohibits Americans from spending money in Cuba.

Switlik issues

safety alert

Switlik Parachute Co. of Trenton, N.J., has issued a safety alert covering a range of Switlik life rafts manufactured as far back as 1997. The rafts identified are fitted with a proprietary Switlik inflation valve that can self-inflate or allow inflation gas to escape if exposed to “an unusual or extreme combination of temperatures,” according to the company.

The models listed in the safety alert are MRP-10, MD Series (MD-1 and MD-2), Coastal Series (CLR Mk-II), USCG (CGR Mk-II), SAR-6/8 Mk-I, SAR-6 Mk-II, POD-4, and POD-8, as well as any rafts re-equipped with S-2630 valves manufactured before April 1, 2004. www.switlik.com

High fuel prices

took a toll

Fuel price increases influenced both the amount and type of boating activity over the summer, according to a Recreational Marine Research Center survey conducted in late July and early August.

More than 4,000 members of RMRC’s National Boater Panel participated in the survey. Of those who responded, 80 percent (3,306) took a cruise during the May-through-August period, for which they purchased fuel.

The results show that 44 percent of these boaters did less boating because of higher fuel prices, and 70 percent took fewer boating trips. Fifty-three percent of those who took trips in the survey period reduced the length of their cruises, while 36 percent spent most of the time on their boats at the dock.

The impacts of higher fuel prices were greatest on owners of inboard and sterndrive cruisers, according to RMRC.

Boaters paid an average of $2.44 per gallon for gasoline and $2.04 for diesel at marinas; and $2.01 for gasoline and $1.90 for diesel at land-based stations between May and August. n