News notes Florida November 2006 - Soundings Online

News notes Florida November 2006

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Grand Bahama Yacht Club acquires Port Lucaya Marina

New Hope Holding Co., owner of the Grand Bahama Yacht Club, has announced the acquisition of the full-service 115-slip Port Lucaya Marina as part of the company’s $500 million, 70-acre waterfront expansion surrounding Bell Channel Bay.

The project, which is well under way, will ultimately produce 300 yacht slips (available by the day, week, month, year or even a 99-year lease) and 300 new luxurious waterfront condominiums, townhouses and private residences. Port Lucaya Marina is situated just across the bay from Grand Bahama Yacht Club.

Adjacent to the marina is Port Lucaya Marketplace, a waterfront 6-acre shopping, dining and entertainment complex and a bandstand at Count Basie Square (The legendary jazz pianist built a home in Freeport).

New Hope Holding plans to transform the Port Lucaya area into an upscale lifestyle destination with state-of-the-art marinas, restaurants, shopping, casino, offices and luxurious residences.

Future plans for the Port Lucaya Marina include a reconfiguration to accommodate the substantial number of megayachts being built worldwide and the dredging of the Bell Channel to 13-feet to accommodate the bigger yachts.

For information, contact Steven Olesen, VP International Sales, at (954) 839-8230.

Founder of Regal Marine dies at 76

Paul M. Kuck, founder and chairman of Regal Marine Industries, died Sept. 5. He was 76.

Affectionately known as “PK,” Kuck was born in the farming community of New Knoxville, Ohio. He began his career in the U.S. Army, followed by 12 years in sales, merchandising and marketing. In 1969 he and his wife, Carol, moved their young family to Orlando, Fla., where the couple invested their life savings of $60,000, with an additional $40,000 from former colleagues, to launch a new boatbuilding venture.

The family-owned company has developed into one of the world’s largest privately owned boat manufacturers. In addition to its headquarters in Orlando, the company has a manufacturing plant in Valdosta, Ga., and has dealers and distributors in 40 countries. The company employs 850 people and has annual sales of around $160 million.

Kuck also was active within the marine industry, having served as chairman of the National Marine Manufacturers Association from 1988 to 1990, as well as serving as treasurer and on the board of directors.

A deeply religious man, Kuck was also involved in numerous Christian ministries including Prison Fellowship International, Bill Glass Prison Outreach, the Orange County Jail Ministry, Frontline Outreach and CareNet. He was also involved with Nathaniel’s Hope, an organization dedicated to helping special needs children and their families, founded by Kuck’s son Tim and wife Marie in honor of their son Nathaniel.

“We were fortunate to work with our dad and to be mentored by him throughout our lives,” says Duane Kuck, eldest son and Regal CEO since 1994.

In addition to sons Duane and Tim, the company’s COO, Kuck also is survived by daughter Pam Kuck Biddle and 10 grandchildren.

— JoAnn W. Goddard

Sculpture erected at Chub Cay Marina

The Chub Cay Marina & Resort recently unveiled “Chub Cay Blue,” a monumental bronze sculpture of a leaping blue marlin that will serve as a symbol of the island’s history as a fishing paradise.

Sculptor Kent Ullberg, who specializes in marine wildlife, created Chub Cay Blue. The 18-foot-high, 3,000-pound leaping blue marlin stands tall upon its 15-foot pedestal base overlooking the new multimillion-dollar marina in the Bahamas.

“It is a welcoming symbol that embodies the endurance, elegance and allure of the island with its white sand beaches and spectacular fishing,” says Kaye Pearson, chairman of Chub Cay Associates. 

Ullberg says his creation took eight months to complete. Once finished, it was shipped to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. It was then loaded onto a World War II-type landing craft and taken to its final destination.

The new, expanded multimillion-dollar marina recently opened accommodating yachts up to 200 feet. While construction and renovations on the island continue, including the new clubhouse and villas, the marina is fully operational. For docking, reservations and information contact Chub Cay Marina at (242) 325-1490. www.chubcay.com

Fire prompts 40-person rescue

The Coast Guard rescued 40 people aboard the 175-foot research vessel, Odyssey Voyager, Aug. 11.

The vessel, located approximately 10.5 miles south of Grand Isle, La., placed a distress call at 5 p.m. reporting a fire in the engine room. The crew on board had been fighting the blaze since 2:30 p.m. that afternoon. Coast Guard crews from the Cutter Pelican, Station Grand Isle, and Air Station New Orleans were dispatched to the burning vessel.

The HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station New Orleans airlifted two individuals with minor injuries to West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, La., while the rest of the crew was brought to Fourchon, La. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the fire. The Odyssey Voyager’s research is still to be determined.

Web site bringing boaters together

BoaterFriends.com, a new, free social network that connects people interested in boating to each other went online Aug. 9.

“BoaterFriends.com is a way to share my enjoyment of boating with others who love it as much as I do,” says Kent Simpkins, founder of the site. “Boaters are a special breed and we hope this site will help those of us who love the water connect.”

Members can create self-organizing collaborative communities within the site. Members have a home page with space for profile information and photos of their boats, fish trophies and crises. Each member has a Ship’s Blog and a personal calendar to keep up with birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions.

Members can talk live in the chat room area and create special-interest chat rooms and send messages to other members. The site also has a shopping center with clothing. For information, visit the site or call (615) 831-1234.

SkyMate expands technical support

Marine satellite communications systems provider SkyMate, Inc. of Chantilly, Va., has launched an around-the-clock technical support center to assist its more than 1,500 recreational and commercial customers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

“With significant growth and diversification of our customer base over the past year, we have many more customers with support needs outside of normal business hours,” says SkyMate president John Tandler. The new SkyMate support center will also help reduce wait times for all customers during the regular workday, he adds.

SkyMate delivers telematics, messaging, tracking and weather solutions for recreational boaters and commercial fleets. The company received a NMMA Product Innovation Award at the Miami International Boat Show in 2004.

SkyMate systems are available from a network of about 175 authorized dealers located across North America and the Caribbean. For information about SkyMate products or for a listing of SkyMate dealers, visit www.skymate.com or call (703) 961-5800.

Cruising Guide: Hampton Roads to Biscayne Bay

A new cruising guide crafted to plan a trip and pilot a vessel while learning about and enjoying the Intracoastal Waterway’s wildlife, history, and culture went on sale July 11.

The MTW Series includes VHF hailing & working channels and telephone numbers for the nearest Coast Guard, Sea Tow, and TowBoatU.S. stations; the strongest NOAA weather stations; opening bridges, security zones, and navigational hazards; a table to determine boat speed to make a bridge opening or estimate time to a marina or anchorage; 192 waterway chandleries and a listing of marine stores within reach of ICW marinas and anchorages, including services available and contact information.

The guide contains more that 260 interpretive vignettes providing detail on regional flora and fauna, history and folklore, pop culture and local events.

Overall, the guide contains more than 1,200 telephone numbers and Web sites, 443 GPS waypoints, 349 marine facilities, 283 anchorages, 142 bridges & locks, 43 ranges, 26 inlets and eight alternate routes.

Safety program for boating youths

The National Safe Boating Council is calling for entries for its Boating Safety Youth Program Award that recognizes individuals or organizations who have developed and implemented innovative youth boating education programs that focus on recreational boating safety.

For a youth boating program to qualify, it must include boating safety practices and be targeted to youth under 18 years of age. Previous awards have gone to school districts, summer camps, scouting groups and U.S. Power Squadrons.

The award’s $2,500 prize is designed to be used for the implementation or enhancement of a youth-oriented boating safety program. This can include equipment, audio-visual aids, printing, teaching aids, program promotion and advertising, or rental of a meeting space.

The deadline to apply is Dec. 31. For information and an application, go to www.safeboatingcouncil.org and click on “award programs.”

Fairline yachts to host Bahamian rendezvous

What organizers have dubbed “the adventure of a lifetime,” Fairline Florida, the Sunshine State’s dealership for the British luxury motoryacht builder, is hosting a Winter Rendezvous in the Bahamas in December.

The eight day round-trip begins at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, on Dec. 2 and concludes there Dec. 10, following a journey that will encompass the islands of Nassau and Sampson Cay, among others.

Fairline Florida will host a second Rendezvous in spring 2007, which will take place March 26-April 4. This trip will see Fairline owners visiting St. Petersburg and the Florida Honda Grand Prix Races.

For more information about either of Fairline Florida’s upcoming rendezvous, visit www.fairlineflorida.com or contact Nadine Beckers or Bill Blacketer at Fairline Florida, (954) 832 9191.