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News notes - Mid-Atlantic

Grounded cruise ship re-floated in ICW

The 207-foot cruise ship Spirit of Nantucket, which went aground Nov. 8 in the Intracoastal Waterway in Virginia Beach, Va., was re-floated two days later.

The vessel was escorted by the Coast Guard and the Virginia Beach Police Department to Colonna’s Shipyard in Norfolk, Va.

The captain told authorities the ship struck a submerged object, began taking on water and he intentionally ran it aground in about 9 feet of water to prevent it from sinking.

The Army Corps of Engineers located a submerged object about 8 feet below the surface. The object is marked and was to be removed, according to the Army Corps.

There was no pollution associated with the grounding of the vessel. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The 207-foot Spirit of Nantucket was on a 10-day cruise from Alexandria, Va., to Charleston, S.C. There were no reports of injuries.

Local sailor 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.

Marine journalists join Waterway Guide

Peter Swanson, a longtime sailor and marine journalist, has joined the staff of the Dozier Waterway Guide as managing editor. Swanson’s appointment follows the recent hiring of another professional mariner, Gary Reich, as the cruising guide’s technical editor.

“In bringing Peter and Gary aboard, we believe we have the yin and yang of cruising guide excellence with us,” says Waterway Guide publisher/owner Jack Dozier. “Both are boaters but with a different emphasis. Together they have skills we need to maintain our position as The Cruising Authority and to improve and expand our guides as we develop new products to serve the boaters in the 21st century.”

Swanson is responsible for the content and design of the Waterway Guide’s four regional editions, which are updated annually, as well as the bi-annual Waterway Guide Magazine. Dozier said he will also oversee the content of the company’s expanded and redesigned Web site, which will reportedly be unveiled in the near future.

Swanson, 52, was senior editor at Yachting and PassageMaker magazines and worked for more than three years as communications director for Mirage Manufacturing, builder of the GreatHarbour line of trawlers. He has recently been a columnist and contributor to Soundings magazine and Boat Digest. Since 2002 Swanson has logged more than 14,000 nautical miles in sailboats and trawlers; he holds a Coast Guard 50-ton Masters License.

“My goal is to maintain the level of quality that these guides have taken 60 years to achieve, while developing and improving new media, such as our Waterway Guide Magazine, Web site and additional planned products. It’s a big challenge,” Swanson said.

Reich has been boating or living aboard in the Chesapeake Bay for most of his 37 years. He worked for the Waterway Guide from 2003 to 2005 and has returned after working as a freelance writer and photographer for area publications, including Spinsheet, PropTalk, Mid-Atlantic Fisherman, Boater’s Digest, Coastal Companion and Coastal Georgia Magazine.

Besides general editing duties, Reich ensures that navigational information in each of the four editions is up-to-date by carefully checking text against the information in the latest government publications and charts. He also ensures the accuracy of the hundreds of annotated aerial images that make the guides so valuable to mariners.

“I really enjoy pouring over the charts and keeping up with the navigational changes along the waterways. It’s really dynamic and ever-changing. I’ve always been a nitpicker, so combing out the fine details has always appealed to me,” he says.

Founded in 1947, Waterway Guide publishes four editions annually: Northern, MidAtlantic, Great Lakes and Southern. Waterway Guide Magazine, devoted to destinations and events for boaters, is published biannually. Waterway Guide Publications is owned by Dozier Marine Group, which purchased the publication in 2002 and has since embarked on an ambitious expansion program.

Detour for visitors to Ego Alley this winter

Ego Alley, the maritime promenade in Annapolis where boaters cruise and preen, was closed to boasting two days after the October fall boat shows left town and won’t reopen until late April.

Where most winters the slips and bulkheads are filled with moored pleasure boats, including several liveaboards, the boat show glitter was replaced with a barge supporting a crane, its boom erect, poised to dismantle the existing bulkhead while jackhammers turned concrete in the adjacent parking lot to dust.

The $8.8 million project will replace the bulkhead along the City Dock area and deep into Ego Alley with steel sheets driven deep into the mud. The SusanC.CampbellPark along Spa Creek will also get an overhaul.

These are the first repairs to the waterfront in three decades, city officials say.

Aids to navigation to be discontinued in Md., Va.

Due to shoaling problems in Spring Garden Creek, located in Frederick County, Md., the Coast Guard is preparing to discontinue two navigational aids.

The aids for Spring Garden Creek were established to assist tugs and barges unloading at the Baltimore Gas & Electric Facility. BG&E closed in 1993, which downgraded the waterway to a non-critical status due to no other commercial activity. The lack of tug and barge traffic has allowed the waterway to shoal, and in April 2007 the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team in Baltimore requested Spring Garden Creek Daybeacon 4 (LL 21315) and Spring Garden Creek Daybeacon 6(LL 21320) be discontinued.

Advance notice for the proposed change to discontinue the aids for Spring Garden Creek was posted in the Local Notice to Mariners between June 20 to July 30. This information was also announced at the Maryland Port Authority meeting last week.

The Coast Guard will also discontinue the aids to navigation that mark Quinby Inlet, which is located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia due to shoaling that has encroached into the inlet and reduced water depths to less than 3 feet.

Following Hurricane Isabel in 2002, the dynamics of Quinby Inlet changed greatly. At that time, many of the buoys were relocated to the North to mark best water for the waterway users. Buoys 5 and 6 were discontinued in 2003 and 2004 due to continued shoaling and buoys 7 and 8 were relocated in an attempt to mark the shoal.

Earlier this yearCoast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Chincoteague, Va., reported shoaling to depths of less than 5 feet in the vicinity of buoys 7 and 8. The aids to navigation that will be discontinued are Quinby Inlet Lighted Buoy 2 (LL 6705), Quinby Inlet Buoy 4 (LL 6710), Quinby Inlet Buoy 7 (LL 6720), Quinby Inlet Buoy 8 (LL 6725), Quinby Inlet Entrance Light (LL 325) and Quinby Inlet Junction Light QI (LL 6735).