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News notes - Long Island Sound

View bald eagles from a tour boat

The Connecticut Audubon Society will again sponsor numerous boats from Feb. 9 through March 16, departing from Essex, Conn., to view eagles wintering along the Connecticut River. Bald eagles, and occasionally golden eagles, can be found along the lower river, where this wintering ground is host to the largest concentration of eagles in the Northeast — as many as 100 individuals.

Aboard the boats will be naturalists from CAS to assist in identification and to help distinguish the birds’ different ages. All vessels have a heated cabin, restroom and open decks. Tours are about 100 minutes and depart Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tickets are $40.

For more information visit www. or call (800) 996-8747.

On the weekend of Feb. 16 and 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Essex, is the “Largest Birding Festival in North America” — a record-breaking 15,000 visitors in 2007. For more information on the festival visit or call (800) 714-7201.

Ship collides with notable lighthouse

Ambrose Light, the 76-foot structure off Staten Island, N.Y., was struck by a 799-foot tanker ship on Nov. 3 at about 2 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

The light, which watches over the main shipping lanes into New YorkHarbor suffered extensive damage to its support structure and stanchion. The revolving light bent forward, halting its rotation, according to the report. The ship that struck Ambrose Light is named Axel Spirit and operated by the Teekay Shipping Company. The vessel was bound for the Chevron facility in Perth Amboy, N.J.

Known to many sailors as a starting point for many a trans-Atlantic speed sailing attempt, the tower was built and pressed into use Aug. 23, 1967, according to the New Jersey Lighthouse Society. It cost $2.4 million to build, with a framework of four 42-inch diameter steel pipe legs and cross-braced with 18- and 20-inch diameter steel pipes. It was built to withstand most any kind of stress, but not the kind a 799-foot ship can dish out.

The Coast Guard got the initial report of the damage to Ambrose Light from the pilot of the Axel at 3:15 a.m. and pilots aboard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., flew a HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to confirm the damage of the structure. The Coast Guard is in the process of thoroughly inspecting the structure and investigating to determine why the ship hit the beacon.

No injuries or pollution have been reported.

— Elizabeth Ellis

C.G. Auxiliary course returns to boat show

For the second year the Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer a basic boating course that meets requirements for recreational boat operators under most state laws at the New York National Boat Show.

“America’s Boating Course” is designed both for newcomers to boating and more experienced boaters who might welcome a refresher session. It emphasizes practical skills like basic seamanship, safety on the water and nautical rules of the road.

“It’s a wonderful way for the first time skipper to acquire a solid grounding before he or she buys that new boat,” says John Howell, public education staff officer of Division 5, First District, Southern Region.

The New York Boat Show runs Dec. 29, 2007 to Jan. 6 at the JavitsConvention Center.

The course is taught by certified instructors from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, 1st District, Southern Region. The cost is $35 and includes the “America’s Boating Course” book and free admission to the Boat Show.

Advance registration is recommended as space is limited. Contact Helen Cohen, or John Howell at (646) 642-0737.

You can also register at the New York Boat Show. Look for signs posted outside the entrance to the exhibit hall.

DEP arrest for marine fisheries violations

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection reports that officers from the DEP’s Environmental Conservation Police recently arrested one man and cited a second on numerous charges relating to marine fisheries laws.

On Nov. 4, EnCon Police arrested Glen D. Plourde, 28, of Ellington, Conn., for lobstering without a license, 13 counts of possession of lobster less than the legal length and three counts of possession of egg-bearing lobsters. The suspect was released on a promise to appear at New London Superior Court Nov. 20.

Nov. 5, EnCon Police received a complaint of a Charter boat, Black Rock, taking over the daily creel limit of Tautog (blackfish) near TwoTreeIsland off the shores of Waterford, Conn. EnCon officers boarded the boat and upon inspection found a total of 53 Tautog, which is 21 fish over the daily creel limit. The owner of the charter vessel, Sloan Gurney, 40, of Orient, N.Y., was cited for exceeding the daily creel limit of Tautog and two counts of possession of Tautog less than the legal size limit.

Ten fillets and 16 whole fish were seized from the vessel and donated to the New LondonCounty community center.

Frostbiters still enjoying the water

MysticRiver Yacht Club’s Nov. 11 frostbite races were held on yet another idyllic day with bright sunshine and 10-knot breezes from the northwest.

Participants say the sailing was as great as the weather, with some superior boat handling and “extremely creative” interpretations of the US Sailing Racing Rules. At times the races seem as competitive as a NASCAR automobile race, but so far the team that’s the least intense and avoids “situations” seems to win.

Winning the regatta with four first-place finishes were Patrick Murphy and Kyle Fast, “the kids” from Ram Island Yacht Club. In second place, from Ram Island Yacht Club were Woody & Ann Bergendahl. And in third place were Ted and Andrew Corning from the Conanicut Yacht Club.

Conn. water quality program praised

An innovative program to reduce nitrogen discharges into the Long Island Sound has resulted in the State of Connecticut winning the federal EPA’s first Blue Ribbon Water Quality Trading Award.

“Connecticut has done a remarkable job working to reduce nitrogen to Long Island Sound,” says Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Their hard work will result in a healthier ecosystem in the Sound for millions of residents to enjoy.”

The program was selected over other finalists from across the country. The EPA award highlights programs that have achieved environmental and economic benefits as well as to showcase programs that align well with EPA’s Water Quality Trading Policy.

Every summer the bottom waters of the western half of Long Island Sound experience hypoxia, or very low levels of dissolved oxygen. Extensive monitoring of Long Island Sound has identified the excess discharge of nitrogen from human activities as the primary pollutant causing hypoxia.

In 2001, EPA along with both the State of Connecticut and State of New York, set aggressive new targets to significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen that can be discharged to Long Island Sound without impairing the health of the Sound. Through 2006, the point source nitrogen load to the Sound (from 106 sewage treatment plants in New York and Connecticut) was reduced by nearly 25 percent.

More information on EPA Water quality trading can be found at

Local sailor, businessman made his mark

Robert William Hoffman, 70, of Edgewater, Md., and Henderson Harbor, N.Y., died Nov. 5 of lung disease.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hoffman cruised extensively in his sailboat. He also enjoyed a career as first crew, then captain of several private sailing yachts, traveling throughout the Caribbean and across the Atlantic.

Hoffman settled in Annapolis where he became a partner in Dockside Yacht Sales, located in the building now housing Storm Brothers Ice Cream. In 1973, with partner Clarence Blackwell, he purchased part of the historic Trumpy Yacht Yard in Eastport. Jointly, they developed the property into Yacht Haven of Annapolis.

He was well known as a partner in the syndicate that bought, refurbished, owned, and operated the 12 Meter racing yacht American Eagle.

He is survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters, six grandchildren, a brother and two sisters.

Seminars teach diesel maintenance skills

Mack Boring & Parts again offers its one-day Basic and two-day Hands-On Marine Diesel Maintenance engine seminars. Running through June 2008, the seminars are designed to instill boaters with confidence by teaching necessary maintenance and repair skills.

The popular one-day Basic Diesel Engine Seminar covers fundamental components and operation. Participants learn how to maintain the lubrication, fuel, cooling and electrical systems. Winterizing and owner questions will also be addressed.

Held in a classroom setting, the one-day seminar uses textbook examples to concentrate on theoretical materials. The subject matter applies to numerous engine makes and models, including Yanmar, Westerbeke, Volvo, Perkins, Nanni, Kubota and Detroit Diesel. This seminar is a prerequisite for those wishing to take Mack Boring’s two-day hands-on seminar.

Tackling essential maintenance and emergency repairs on the operation systems, the two-day Hands-On Diesel Engine Seminar allows boat owners to familiarize themselves in a working environment. The thorough class is over 60 percent hands-on and participants will work exclusively on Yanmar engines. Work clothes are recommended.

The fee for Mack Boring’s one-day seminar is $205, while the two-day costs $520. The Basic and Hands-On can be taken consecutively for a three-day comprehensive training package. Weekend sessions are also available at slightly higher prices. All classes run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and include training literature as well as a continental breakfast and lunch.

They take place at Mack Boring’s training facilities in Union, N.J.; Middleborough, Mass.; Wilmington, N.C.; and Wauconda, Ill. For information, call (908) 964-0700, ext. 213, or visit .

Mystic Seaport names new board chairman

Richard R. Vietor has been elected to chair the board of Trustees of Mystic Seaport Museum. He replaces William D. Forster, who served as chairman for six years.

Vietor has been a Mystic Seaport trustee for nearly 25 years, previously serving as vice chairman, treasurer and as a member of the executive committee. As a member of the board of trustees, Vietor played a significant role in the development of the museum’s long-term strategy for renewal and transformation for the 21st-century.

“There are few people who know Mystic Seaport so well and are as committed to its future as Dick Vietor,” president and director Doug Teeson said.

Professionally, Vietor was a financial analyst and investment banker, specializing in the healthcare sector, with Merrill Lynch, Web MD and Lehman Brothers. He presently serves as director of QLT and InfaCare Pharmaceuticals.

Vietor studied at YaleUniversity, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree there before receiving his MBA from ColumbiaUniversityGraduateSchool. A former Naval officer, Vietor is a longtime sailor and an avid collector. He and his wife Rosemary are residents of Manhattan and Sharon, Conn.

Yacht charter firm offering special deal

Southwest Florida Yachts has invited boaters to a “berth-day” party, a three-year celebration of 25 years of chartering power and sailing yachts on the protected waters of Florida’s Gulf barrier islands.

The company officially marks its silver anniversary in July 2009, but the celebration starts Jan. 1, 2008, and continues through Dec. 31, 2010.

During the high season, Dec. 14 – April 30, charterers receive one extra day of cruising, free, on any charter of three days or longer. Between May 1 and Dec. 14, charters of three days or more receive two more free days of cruising.

Southwest Florida Yachts charters power yachts from 32 to 43 feet and sailing yachts from 24 to 35 feet. The company’s chartering operation, maintains its offices and power yacht fleet at Marinatown Marina in N. Fort Myers. The sailing fleet is located at Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda.

Fishing chain seeks antique memorabilia

Bass Pro Shops is building a historic display that honors the great outdoors and is asking anglers to share their artifacts, photos and treasures, which will be displayed at the chain’s stores.

Currently, Bass Pro Shops is seeking quality antique fishing, hunting, camping or other outdoor sport items, any North American game mounts, or old historical fishing and hunting photos from the 1800s to the 1960s for the new store being built in Denham Springs, La. If you have any such items and would be interested in Bass Pro Shops taking a look at them, please contact Allen Morris at (417) 350-5710 or e-mail him at .

All original photos will be returned to the owner if received by mail, and if used in the store’s décor, the owner will be given credit.

Insurance firm expands diesel warranty program

FPC Premium Marine Protection has expanded their diesel warranty coverage to now include new and used yachts and boats up to 80 feet and up to 2,000 hp per engine.

According to the company, “this is unprecedented in the pleasure boat market, and no other service warranty provider has ever offered this level of coverage to a growing yacht market.”

Customers purchasing new and used yachts up to 80 feet can now buy extended service warranty coverage on engine and drive train, equipment, electronics, hardware and other accessory components, much like the programs FPC has offered on smaller boats and cruisers.