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Powerboat strikes rowing scull

New York City police scuba divers in October recovered the body of a Manhattan man who went overboard into the Harlem River when a powerboat struck the rowing boat he was in.

James H. Runsdorf, a 41-year-old real estate executive, was rowing a lightweight scull with three friends in the river at about 6:30 a.m. Oct. 24. Apowerboat — a 29-foot Hinckley named Ready to Jet, according to the Coast Guard — collided with the rowing boat in the early morning darkness, sending the four men into the water. Andrew Harnett, who was operating the powerboat, pulled the other three rowers, Edwin Joyce and Jeff Ludwall, both of Manhattan, and Vincent Houston, of Hartsdale, N.Y., onto his boat. Coast Guard, police and fire department boats searched the waters but were unable to find Runsdorf.

Runsdorf’s body was discovered in about 30 feet of water three days after the accident occurred, a news report says. Hundreds of volunteers and divers had been searching the river.

Harnett was reportedly transporting the boat to a marina in Connecticut for the winter. Police are investigating the accident.

— Jason Fell

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Actor’s former boat

on the auction block

A fishing boat once owned by actor Paul Newman was recently auctioned off for a Connecticut charity.

On Oct. 22 the 21-foot Chris-Craft SkipJack was sold at the Mohonk House, an educational and research facility for troubled teenagers, located in Westport, Conn. A total of 35 people placed bids on the boat that eventually sold for $4,600. The proceeds benefited the educational facility.

“We have charity auctions from time to time and we’ve sold some celebrity items, but it’s unusual that we had something like this donated,” says David Singer, founder of the Mohonk House. Singer says a man from Westport who had “maintained it meticulously” donated the boat. He says an appraiser had valued the boat at $7,000 to $10,000.

Actor Robert Redford, who co-starred with Newman in the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), is said to have been one of the many guests on the boat, Singer says. The boat, built in 1984, came with its original registration made out to Newman and his longtime friend and associate, A.E. Hotcher. There is also an inscription on the boat, Singer says, that reads: “To Paul, with love. Margaret.”

“It was pretty neat to have come across this boat,” says Singer.

— Jason Fell

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Brewer acquires

Greenwich Bay Marinas

The Brewer Yacht Yard Group has acquired Greenwich Bay Marinas of Warwick, R.I., adding 1,100 slips to Brewer’s string of Northeast marinas.

Greenwich Bay Marinas has three locations in Warwick — at 1 Masthead Drive, 125 Wharf Road and 252 Second Point Road. Brewer says it will run the facilities with “the same professional staff.”

Jack Brewer, owner of the Brewer Yacht Yards, said storage would be available at all of the Greenwich Bay locations, and slips are available for the 2006 season.

The Greenwich Bay facilities are 15 minutes from Providence and accessible from the nearby Providence airport and Amtrak train station. They offer access to the popular cruising destinations of Newport, Block Island, Montauk, Hyannis, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

In addition to the marinas, the Greenwich Bay locations also house several marine businesses — among them, Bassett Boat Co., Cape Yachts, ZF Transmission, Gifford Marine and Total Marine.

The Greenwich Bay facilities bring to 20 the number of Brewer yacht yards between New York and Maine. The company has its headquarters in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

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New search-and-rescue patrol boat delivered

Mission Marine delivered a 29-foot Mission 338 Pilot House to Monroe County Sheriff Marine Patrol in late August. Monroe County is on the banks on the Genesee River in Rochester, N.Y. The aluminum catamaran will be used in a variety of missions including search-and-rescue, patrol, homeland security, drug intervention and escorting the high speed ferry owned by City of Rochester, and to assist the Coast Guard and border patrol. The vessel will complement their fleet for rough-water missions on Lake Ontario.

The vessel is powered by twin Mercury Verados. The boat will based on the Genesee River at the Marine Patrol Headquarters. Mission Marine holds a federal government GSA contract. Mission Marine uses the standards of the USCG T-boat, ABS for high speed craft, and ABYC.

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Cruisers Yachts names new dealer in NYC

Cruisers Yachts recently named Staten Island Boat Sales, of Staten Island and Freeport, N.Y., as the newest dealer in the Long Island and Connecticut region. Founded in 1964 by Phillip and Frank Bongiorno, Staten Island Boat Sales has grown to become one of the largest midsize yacht dealerships in the world. The company’s locations in Staten Island and Freeport, on Long Island, boast an extensive seven lines of yachts ranging from 33 to 105 feet. This past year Staten Island Boat Sales invested $4 million toward its marinas. New state-of-the-art Bellingham Marine concrete floating docks were added to both the Staten Island and Freeport marinas. www.siboats.com

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“Festival Of Lighthouses” at Maritime Aquarium

Now in its fourth year at The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Conn., the “Festival of Lighthouses” has become a holiday tradition for area families.

Through Jan. 17, illuminated lighthouses built by regional artists and crafters will greet aquarium visitors around every turn. Ticket holders can join in the holiday celebration by casting their votes to determine this year’s festival winners.

The lighthouses span a wide variety of styles and use all manner of materials from wood, metal, stone, wire, hardware items, plastic and glass to paper, string, sea glass, shells, clay, candy and gingerbread.

Seven artists from last year’s “Festival of Lighthouses” are returning this year with all-new creations.

www.maritimeaquarium.org

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Maritime gallery

announces new exhibit

“Marine Artists in Winter” is the new theme for the annual holiday exhibition at The Maritime Gallery at Mystic [Conn.] Seaport. Featuring paintings, sculpture and scrimshaw, the exhibition opens November 20 and is free to the public. It runs through December 31.

Founded in 1979, The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport is the nation’s foremost gallery specializing in contemporary marine art and ship models.

The Maritime Gallery hosts a number of shows annually, including the Modern Marine Masters Exhibition and the International Marine Art Exhibition. The gallery is located at Mystic Seaport. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., daily. www.mysticseaport.org/gallery

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Educational CD-ROMs

for recreational boaters

A professional captain has developed a CD-ROM-based interactive boating certification course that is recognized by the United States Coast Guard, approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

Smart Boating was developed by Steve Larivee, a licensed captain for 25 years now based in Longmeadow, Mass. The visual-based course is contained on eight CD-ROMs that work on a home computer. The course features explanations for all right and wrong answers to more than 290 interactive questions. Progress tracking allows users to leave and return at their convenience. Completion of all questions should take about eight hours and is, so far, approved in 31 states for boater certification. Achieving the program’s approved Certificate of Completion will also allow the user to qualify for insurance premium discounts in all states, according to Larivee.

Beyond the course, the $89 (suggested retail price) set also includes a printable float plan form; pre-departure checklist; list of all marine VHF-FM radio channels, their frequencies and uses; copy of the Coast Guard International and Inland Rules of the Road; copy of Chart No. 1 Nautical Chart Symbols and Abbreviations; fuel and oil log program with graphing and trend tracking built in; and a nautical dictionary.

Smart Boating is available for purchase by visiting the company’s Web site at www.maritimesmarts.com.

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Boating industry icon

‘Chip’ Shea dies

James “Chip” Shea, a marine industry veteran who for years led the marketing department at Luhrs Corp., died Oct. 12 after a long battle with esophageal cancer, according to friends.

Shea is described as a good friend with a creative mind, a zest for life and a passion for boating — a man who lived aboard various vessels over the years. Shea, who was in his early 50s, died during the night aboard his sport cruiser at the Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor in St. Augustine, Fla., where the Luhrs Group is based.

“He was where he liked to be,” said longtime friend Tom Neale, a maritime author and technical editor of Soundings magazine.

Shea joined Luhrs more than a decade ago to spearhead the company’s marketing efforts for all its brands — Luhrs, Silverton, Hunter and Mainship. He previously had worked for Boston Whaler and years earlier was in the game board industry, according to John Peterson, marketing director at Hunter Marine and a longtime friend.

Shea is credited with driving up sales and boosting brand recognition for all the Luhrs brands, and particularly Hunter sailboats.

“He was like a one-man advertising agency,” says Peterson. “I’ve been in the marine industry for around 30 years. To me, there was not a better creative mind.”

Shea left Luhrs two years ago to pursue other interests, and most recently worked with his wife, Stacy, at Advanced Marine Technology’s Oil X-Change-R in St. Augustine, according to friends.

— JoAnn W. Goddard

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Sunsail promotional DVD

showcases BVI sailing

To encourage travelers to consider a Caribbean yacht charter — either with or without a captain on board — Sunsail has created a new 32-minute DVD, “Paradise Found: Sailing The BVI,” offered free on www.sunsail.com.

The DVD showcases the ease of sailing the BVI, and includes vacation activities such as hiking, shopping, kayaking, beachcombing and snorkeling, as well as sailing from island to island in a 39-foot three-cabin monohull sailboat, and a spacious 44-foot catamaran.

The documentary is narrated by Gary Jobson, 54, the former All-American collegiate sailor who won the America’s Cup in 1977 as tactician for Ted Turner.

“The DVD shows why sailing, particularly in the waters around Tortola, is one of the world’s most enjoyable pastimes, even for those who occasionally get port and starboard confused,” Jobson says.

Sunsail, based in Annapolis, Md., has yachts in more than 30 locations worldwide. A preview of the DVD is available at the Web site, along with details on how to order a free copy. For additional information, call (800) 281-8350.