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Nighttime accident claims CT boater

Police have found the body of a 41-year-old Connecticut man who went missing after the boat he was operating struck a navigational buoy on the Connecticut River.

John Riley, of Cromwell, Conn., fell into the water just before midnight, Aug. 6, after the 21-foot Sea Ox he was operating crashed into a buoy near the Salmon River boat launch in East Haddam, Conn. Eric Bronstrup, 37, of Middletown, Conn., and Howard Nielson, 43, also of Cromwell, were aboard at the time of the accident, but did not suffer any serious injuries.

Riley and one passenger were thrown from the boat upon impact with the buoy, news reports say. The boat eventually ran aground on the east bank of the river.

Riley’s body was found Aug. 8 floating about a mile upriver from where the boat hit the buoy.

Officials initially guessed that the boat was traveling faster than the 25-mph speed limit in place on the river after dark, according to a news report. It wasn’t immediately determined if alcohol was a factor in the accident.

The state Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police, along with fire departments from the towns of Chester, Haddam and East Haddam, Conn., participated in the search for Riley. The state Police Emergency Services Unit later joined the effort, using side-scan sonar. The DEP EnCon Police and the DEP Boating Accident Reconstruction Team were investigating the cause of the accident.

— Jason Fell

New York ups

PWC age to 14

New York Gov. George Pataki recently signed a bill that makes 14 the minimum age to operate a personal watercraft in the state.

The measure was sponsored by Assemblywoman Patricia Eddington,

D-Suffolk County, and state Sen. Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County. The new law will take effect Jan. 1.

Under the current law, children as young as 10 have been able to operate a PWC. The new law says that only children aged 14 and older who, like adults, have completed eight hours of safety training and received a boating safety certificate, will be allowed to operate a PWC.

Eddington and Skelos, along with a number of other officials, argued that many children younger than 14 lack the physical height and strength to properly handle a PWC, according to a news report. PWCs can be up to 12 feet, and can reach up to 60 mph.

“Today’s personal watercrafts are bigger, faster, and more powerful than ever before,” Eddington says in the report. “Increasing the operating age from 10 to 14 is a common-sense measure that will improve water safety for our families.”

Maureen Healy, executive director of the Personal Watercraft Industry Association, has said that the association applauds the New York state legislature for raising the minimum age to operate a PWC. “While the industry advocates a minimum age of 16, we clearly think this is a step in the right direction,” she says.

According to the New York State 2004 Recreational Boating Report, there were 32 accidents in New York in 2004 involving PWCs, down from 69 in 2003 and 89 in 2002. Of the 32 accidents there were 17 related injuries and only one fatality. The biggest cause of PWC accidents in 2004, according to the report, was careless/reckless operation.

Stonington sailor

honored with program

A sail-education program dedicated to the memory of Sydney Rogers, a well-known sailor in Stonington, Conn., has been created to promote instruction in seamanship, sportsmanship and safety in boating activities in the Stonington community.

Rogers, one-time publisher of Boating magazine and Stonington resident as well as a founding member of the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club, died Feb. 2.

“Syd was a legend in our region and the quintessential yachtsman,” says Spike Lobdell, SHYC commodore. “He believed in getting as many people sailing as possible, but only if they could do it safely.”

Born 1919 in Fall River, Mass., Rogers was a graduate of Yale University and the Harvard Business School, and served in the Navy in World War II on the Fletcher Class destroyer USS Hart in the 7th Fleet in the Western Pacific. He supported invasions in Tinian, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Borneo and Jinsen, and served as navigator for the last four months of duty.

A longtime sailor, he made trans-Atlantic passages, sailed 12 Bermuda races and six Southern Ocean Circuits. He was a member of the Wadawanuck Club, New Bedford Whaling Museum, New York Yacht Club, Herreshoff Museum and Mystic Seaport Museum, and was active on the Stonington Harbor Management Commission.

From 1963 to 1987 Rogers worked for Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. as vice president and publisher of Boating and A+ magazines.

“Syd’s other passion was to help more women become skippers,” said Lobdell. “He felt that too many wives/partners of sailors found themselves in too passive a role when it came to the very important business of boat handling, especially under adverse conditions.

“To this end, we have sponsored — and will continue to offer — the ‘Suddenly Alone’ series given by the Cruising Club of America, as well as world-class seminars with NorthU, the educational arm of North Sails,” he says. “These courses and this education — along with our summer-long adult and junior sailing programs — are exactly what Syd was so intent we should be doing.”

For more information on the Sydney H. Rogers Community Sailing Program and the SHYC, call (860) 535-0112 or log on to www.shyc.us .

Unique regatta

to debut off Stamford

The first SoundWaters Ship-to-Shore Regatta will take place at SoundWaters’ fifth Annual Conservation Day, Sept. 24.

Vessels eligible for the regatta include: kayaks, sculls, canoes, rowboats — all seaworthy, manually propelled vessels are welcome.

Racers will paddle out from Cove Island Park, round various markers and SoundWaters ship, Schooner SoundWaters, then head toward shore to cross the finish line. There will be two divisions in the regatta. Division I will be a timed, seven-mile course for competitive, experienced racers. Division II will be a 1-to2-mile Family Fun Race.

Registration information, including entry fees, course map, safety instructions and schedule for the day are posted at www.soundwaters.org .

Strictly Sail Philadelphia

is canceled for 2006

Strictly Sail Philadelphia, the show that debuted under difficult circumstances last January, has been canceled for 2006, returns for 2007, and is uncertain for 2008.

Sail America, which produces the show, said a conflict in dates at the Philadelphia Convention Center would have stripped a weekend day from the planned Jan. 26 to 29 production next year. The organization says it looked at “all available date options” from January through March, and decided the best choice was to pull back until 2007.

The same scheduling conflict exists in 2008, Sail America said, prompting a decision to skip that year as well, “while firming up 2009 show dates.” In 2010 an expansion of the convention center should be completed, enabling a return to an annual format “if desired at that time.”

Strictly Sail Philadelphia made its debut last Jan. 20 to 23 as a replacement for the sail-only show previously held in Atlantic City. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The show went up against a Philadelphia Eagles playoff game and an 18-inch snowfall that virtually paralyzed the city.

Despite the problems, the show managed to draw 10,000 people — well below the 15,000 to 17,000 turnout that had been expected — but enough for Sail America executives and some exhibitors to pronounce it a success.

The Philadelphia production is one of five Strictly Sail shows on the Sail America calendar. All the rest remain on schedule for 2006. They are Chicago, Feb. 2 to 5; Miami, Feb. 16 to 20; Pacific (Oakland, Calif.), April 19 to 23 and St. Petersburg, Fla., Nov. 2 to 5.

Added pumpout option

for Conn. River boaters

A new pumpout boat is expected to service boaters along the lower Connecticut River next season.

Phil Miller, first selectman of Essex, Conn., says officials are planning to purchase a new 25-foot boat this fall that will act as a pumpout boat servicing six Connecticut towns on the river: Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.

“We have a real strong sense here of keeping the Connecticut River an important economic, recreational and ecological resource,” Miller says.

According to Miller, the town of Lyme will be responsible for the costs of operating the new boat and Essex will own it.

The area’s current pumpout vessel broke down just before the July 4 holiday, Miller says. The boat was back on the water two weeks later after a new engine was installed. That engine will be transferred to the new boat once it’s purchased, Miller says. A different engine will be installed in the current boat, and the boat will be used as backup on busy weekends.

“It’s crucial for boaters to have an environmental ethic,” Miller says. “This is an important service that we will continue to make available to the boating community.”

— Jason Fell

Seaport Association

receives $5K in grants

The Norwalk Seaport Association this summer received two grants totaling $5,000. Supporting the Seaport Association’s educational programs were Connecticut Light and Power with a $3,000 grant and the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation with a $2,000 grant.

The funding will enable 500 underprivileged elementary school students to attend the Norwalk Seaport Association’s educational program “Celebrating the Sea” during the 2005-’06 school year. The grants will help bring students from cities throughout Fairfield County as well as New Haven to take part in this unique exposure to local maritime history and Long Island Sound’s marine environment.

3 antifoulant paints

approved for sale in N.Y.

After three years of testing and review, the New York Department of Environmental Protection has approved Trilux 33, Micron Optima and Micron 66 for sale in New York.

Trilux 33 is safe to use on aluminum as well as on fiberglass, wood and steel. Micron Optima is a two-part paint that uses a new resin system and “activated biolux” technology for controlling all types of fouling.

Micron 66 uses patented self-polishing copolymer technology. This type of technology has previously only been available in tin-based copolymer coatings.

Jobson among

museum lecturers

The Herreshoff Marine Museum of Bristol, R.I., is offering a lecture series through October. On Sept. 13 author Chris Pastore will give a lecture and book signing on his new release “Temple to the Wind: The Story of America’s Greatest Naval Architect and His Masterpiece, Reliance.”

America’s Cup sailor, author and commentator Gary Jobson will give the Carlton J. Pinheiro Memorial Lecture on “The Rolex Trans-Atlantic Challenge 2005” Oct. 11.

The lectures take place Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Aria Gallery at the museum, and are free to museum members. Non-members’ fee is $5. Herreshoff Marine Museum, 1 Burnside St., Bristol, RI 02809. (401) 253-5000. www.herreshoff.org

Free: maps of NYC

pumpout facilities

Going Coastal, a Brooklyn-based organization promoting protection of New York City’s coast, is distributing 10,000 postcard-sized maps showing the locations of pumpout facilities in New York Harbor.

The Brooklyn-based non-profit is getting the word out in a campaign funded through a Clean Vessel Act grant provided by the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation. Local and visiting boaters can pick up the free maps at area marinas, yacht clubs and Coast Guard Auxiliaries, or visit www.going coastal.org to download a map.

Going Coastal is a non-profit group committed to promoting awareness and understanding of the coastal environment through the efforts of volunteers and initiatives.

Nautor sets up

base in Newport

Nautor’s Swan, the 40-year-old manufacturer of luxury sailboats based in Finland, is establishing U.S. headquarters in Newport, R.I.

Nautor USA, located at the Newport Shipyard near Goat Island, will be responsible for sales and marketing for North America. The announcement was made by Enrico Chieffi, group vice president of marketing and sales, who will assume the title of chairman for the new headquarters. Steve Barker has been appointed executive vice president of sales and Jack Gierhart will serve as executive vice president of marketing.

The office will collaborate with the two independent Nautor’s Swan agents based on the West coast, KKMI in San Francisco, and West Coast Yachts Inc. in Seattle.

For information, call (401) 846-1090 or e-mail info@nautorswan-usa.com . www.nautorswan-usa.com