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News Notes Florida

‘I hereby christen thee …’

top 10 boat names ranked

If it is true a boat’s name reflects its owner’s personality, there’s a renewed affection for piracy of late.

Topping the charts for 2007’s top 10 boat names is Black Pearl, the name of the haunted ghost ship in the popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” Disney films, according to Boat U.S.; although the report speculates the name was probably given by the kids of boat owners.

Liberty takes a close second and first showed its face on the list after 9/11, where it has been a regular ever since. Second Wind and Second Chance also appear, showing how many believe boating gives them a new lease on life. Some offbeat titles include The Dog House, Carpe Diem, Seas the Day and Knot on Call, depicting boat owners’ escapist mentality from the pressures of everyday life.

The ever-popular Aquaholic makes an appearance, book-ending Wanderlust. For the more spiritually inclined, Amazing Grace continues to be a popular standby.

— Elizabeth Ellis

Popular Lauderdale yard owner dies at 74

Helen N. Lewis, a prominent figure in the South Florida marine industry for more than 40 years, died Jan. 30 at her home in Dania, Fla., surrounded by family and friends. She was 74.

Lewis, with her husband, Joe Lewis Jr., and their partner Bobby Laborde, owned Jerry’s Marine Service, one of the largest marine engine and parts distributors in the U.S. The company has its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.

Lewis was a pioneer in South Florida’s bustling marine industry. She touched the lives of thousands, her family says, and is best remembered as somebody you could count on. Always a sharp businesswoman, she had a keen sense of knowing what had to be done and how to do it, her family said.

In 1982, Lewis became the first woman to be named president of the Marine Industry Association of South Florida. In 1992, she received the national Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year award from the Marine Retailers Association of America.

When Lewis was not working, she and Joe would head to their getaway home in Islamorada, Fla., which they affectionately called Paradise. Her namesake boat is moored there.

In addition to her husband, Lewis is survived by four sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandson.

Furuno offers NavNet vx2 Rebate

At last fall’s Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, Furuno debuted its new NavNet 3D system. With the impending delivery of NavNet 3D, many consumers have been speculating what Furuno is going to do with their current NavNet vx2 product line. “NavNet vx2 is here to stay. The vx2 series is slated to remain in the Furuno product line through 2009,” says Dean Kurutz, Furuno USA Marketing Manager.

Furuno recently unveiled what they are calling a “massive rebate” on the NavNet vx2 series. Depending on the combination of units purchased, it’s possible to get a rebate totalling up to $4,000.

Customers are limited to a maximum of five rebate items per invoice, per household. The rebate is good for purchases between January 24 and May 31. You can download the rebate form from Furuno’s Web site ( ) or pick one up from a Furuno dealer.

St. Pete marina reborn after hurricane damage

The recently opened 74-slip luxury marina at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Fla., is a case of picking up the pieces after a disaster and creating something new, upscale and different.

The old marina at the Vinoy, smashed by the fierce wind-and-wave action of Hurricane Dennis in 2005, was re-opened in late 2007 after a complete re-design, re-configuration, updating and reconstruction spearheaded by Brandy Marine International of Sarasota.

The old marina’s floating dock system, pounded and battered by the storm, was replaced with a $5-million, hurricane-resistant, fixed-dock concrete system incorporating an expanded configuration.

The marina’s main piers are arranged in a “fan” style design. The former marina had piers located at right angles to the shore. The main piers and finger docks are arranged at multiple angles to allow for bigger and wider yachts to manoeuvre with greater ease in the marina basin. In addition, increased fairway widths (or “turning” areas in between piers) contribute to manoeuvrability for larger vessels.

Longest private airstrip in Caribbean opens

Turks & Caicos Sporting Club at Ambergris Cay recently announced the completion of its 5,700-foot airstrip; the longest lighted, paved private airstrip in the Caribbean. The private airstrip offers members an opportunity that few other destinations can match — the chance to fly directly to their own private Caribbean island.

AmbergrisCayAirport is suitable for operations with many types of commercial and private aircrafts with an adjacent facility for customs and immigration.

At almost two football fields wide and an actual landing area totaling 100 feet wide by 5,700 feet long, the airstrip serves as the welcome mat for Turks & Caicos Sporting Club members. Night lighting has been installed and grass installation of non-paved areas was expected to be completed by the end of February.

Florida school named one of the best

American Sailing Association (ASA), the international accreditation organization, named FloridaSailing & CruisingSchool to its honor roll of 2007 Outstanding Schools, saluting it as one of its 20 best sailing instruction programs in North America.

Florida Sailing and CruisingSchool scored in the top tier out of more than 300 ASA-accredited schools based on the number of excellent evaluations submitted by students who have attended its courses.

FS&CS conducts liveaboard sailing courses for up to four students at a time, and has been ASA-accredited since shortly after it was founded in 1984. Students live aboard the vessels while taking courses conducted by Coast Guard-licensed captain-instructors.

At FS&CS students learn by doing — steering, plotting, casting-off, cruising, using the radio, anchoring, maneuvering, and tying-up — and more. Students bring their own groceries and prepare their own meals. By night, around the salon table, they study their textbooks before retiring to one of the vessel’s cabins.

“Our students learn a lot, and they retain what they learn, because by living aboard the vessel they are using all learning powers, mental and physical,” said proprietor Barb Hansen.

For information go to www.flsailand or contact Hansen at (800) 262-7939 or, by e-mail,