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Florida trawlers explore waters Down East

Eight Great Harbour trawlers steamed out of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Aug. 26 on a group cruise to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, intended to sharpen owners’ seamanship skills and give them a taste of the New England coast.

The cruise was led by Mirage Manufacturing, which builds the Great Harbour trawlers in Gainesville, Fla. Except for one, none of the boats had ever been further up the East Coast than the Hudson River. The fleet consisted of six Great Harbour 37s, a Great Harbour 47 and an N37, all of which share the same hull design.

The itinerary included Onset, Mass., Provincetown, the Isles of Shoals (off the New Hampshire coast), Portland and Boothbay Harbor. The plan had been to duck into Gloucester as well, but the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Katrina’s remnants prompted the group to arrive at Portland a day early, and provided the skippers with a lesson in weather window planning.

In Portland the fleet went alongside docks at the Maine Yacht Center, the only scheduled docking on what Mirage dubbed the Down East Cruise. Otherwise, the boats anchored or picked up moorings.

Shoreside, the crews enjoyed a private concert in the marina’s lounge by Eileen Quinn, itinerant troubadour of the cruising lifestyle; a clambake on the beach at Provincetown; and a lobster bake at Boothbay.

Several of the participants saw their first whales as the vessels paralleled Stellwagen Bank en route from Provincetown to the Isles of Shoals. En route to Portland, many of the skippers got their first taste of navigating in fog.

Shipwreck treasures survive hurricane Katrina

Odyssey Marine Exploration, which specializes in deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, celebrated the grand opening of its first exhibition of treasures in New Orleans — then promptly closed shop as Hurricane Katrina hit the area.

The company held a ceremony Aug. 27 for the Shipwreck & Treasure Adventure in the Jax Brewery complex in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Less than two days later, Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

Odyssey announced Sept. 7 that the Jax Brewery building in which the attraction resides appeared structurally sound, and there was no flooding in the immediate area. No damage resulting from looting, fires, or flooding had been reported to the Jax building, the Odyssey attraction or any of its exhibits.

Additionally, Odyssey was able to safely remove all irreplaceable artifacts and valuables, including all coins and other high-value items from New Orleans.

No date for reopening the attraction has been announced. www.shipwreck.net

Florida eases some dock restrictions

Florida’s state leaders on Aug. 23 eased restrictions for building or expanding docks at condominium projects, but fell short of rescinding another regulation concerning dock size.

Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Cabinet agreed to allow one slip per condominium unit, dropping a complex formula to determine the number of slips allowed at a condominium project.

State leaders did not rescind another regulation that limits the total size of docks, slip and pier to 40 square feet for every foot of shoreline. However, they agreed to consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis if the condo project offers “public benefit,” according to a report in the Daytona Beach News Journal.

Developers and several interest groups, including the Florida Marine Contractors Association, had lobbied for changes to the rules, adopted decades ago amid fears that overdevelopment of waterfront condos would lead to loss of public access to the waterways.

Environmentalists are opposed, citing concern for natural resources and danger to wildlife, such as the endangered manatee.

Fundraising sail planned for St. Pete

The Southeastern Sailing Association and Strictly Sail St. Petersburg have launched Sailing for Miracles, an event to raise money for All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Special events and programs will take place from Nov. 3-6 during the Strictly Sail boat show at the Vinoy Yacht Basin, where celebrity sailors will skipper regattas and children from the hospital will be brought to the show for sailboat rides.

The public is invited to a Masters Under Sail cocktail party Nov. 4, which kicks off the fundraiser, sponsored by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. The highlight of the event is the regatta. The St. Pete Yacht Club will provide 10 Sonars, and sailing participants can buy tickets to sail with some icons of sailing. Ted Irwin, Gary Jobson, Ted Hood, Charlie Morgan and Frank Butler have committed to sail. Check www.sailingformira

cles.org for updates and how to purchase tickets for the cocktail reception.

Life jacket part of modern art exhibit

The StayAlive Life Jacket manufactured by Innovations & Solutions will be featured in a unique safety products design exhibition opening Oct. 16 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“SAFE: Design Takes on Risk” runs at MoMA through Jan. 2, and features about 300 products and prototypes designed to protect the body and mind from dangerous conditions, to respond to emergency situations, to ensure clarity and information, and to provide a sense of comfort and safety.

Retired Florida Marine Patrol Officer Dan Williams invented the StayAlive Life Jacket. It combines a U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device with necessary safety items to greatly improve the chances of survival and rescue in emergency situations.

For more information about the StayAlive Life Jacket visit www.stay

aliveinc.com or call (305) 289-7376. For information about the exhibit, call (212) 708-9400. www.moma.org