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News Notes – Mid-Atlantic

Families can build Optimist Racing Dinghies

The seventh annual Annapolis Family BoatBuilding event will take place July 2 to 5 at the Trumpy Boatyard in Annapolis, Md.

Several local families and volunteers will work together to build a half-dozen family sailboats. Annapolis Family BoatBuilding is a non-profit organization and currently seeks up to four families to construct and sail their new boat in the four-day event.

A complete kit for the epoxy and wood International Optimist Racing Dinghy — including all building materials, sails, floating bags and all sailing hardware — costs $1,650 through Annapolis Family BoatBuilding. The price is a fraction of the retail cost for a factory-finished Optimist Dinghy. Families that cannot afford the kit fee can apply for a grant from the City of Annapolis. In 2008, four families received grants to participate in the event.

The project is an effort to introduce more families to the joy and camaraderie of working and sailing together. The public is welcome to attend the event.

For information, visit or call Joe Cater at (410) 626-1413.

Nordic Tug owners to gather in Virginia

Nordic Tugs owners throughout the country have announced their 2009 rendezvous dates, including one May 17-19 at Smithfield Station in Smithfield, Va.

Events follow throughout the spring and into fall.

Visit for information on upcoming events.

Headquartered in Burlington, Wash., Nordic Tugs manufactures classic tug-style yachts from 26 to 54 feet.

Chris-Craft owners meet in Maryland

The 10th annual Rendezvous of the Chris Craft Commander Club will take place July 16-19 at the Kent Island Yacht Club in Chester, Md. More than 20 vintage Commanders are scheduled to appear.

In 1964, the Chris-Craft Corporation unveiled its first fiberglass cruiser, the 38-foot Express, at the New York National Boat Show. The Chris Craft Commander Club began in 1999 as a written registry of 30 Commanders and their owners. The non-profit club has grown to include more than 1,000 members worldwide.

Patty Wagon is a 1969 38-foot Chris-Craft Commander Sedan.

For information, visit

New Web site for East Coast cruisers is a new Web site about touring the waters of the eastern half of the United States and Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. The site features illustrated cruise stories and boating advice.

The stories range from small harbor towns on inland waterways and canals to megayachting centers. A selection of interactive crossword puzzles test readers’ local knowledge and nautical word wisdom. New boaters can learn basic techniques, while seasoned cruisers will find more complex solutions to boating situations.

Founders Gene and Katie Hamilton are members of Boating Writers International, a professional association of boating writers. They are authors of “Coastal Cruising Under Power,” (2006, International Marine).

Launch ramp locator helps trailer boat cruisers

Trailer boat cruisers, pontooners, waterskiiers, and PWC owners can cruise new waters by using the free, online Boat Launch Ramp Locator at

The Ramp Locator offers over 25,000 locations to launch a boat including municipal or state boat ramps, marinas, boat clubs, private sites and other locations that offer trailer boat access. Now, a trip to a new lake, river or bay can easily be planned from the comfort of your own home.

If you know of a boat ramp location not listed, you can easily submit the information and get a free trailer ball hitch cover from the BoatU.S. Trailering Club. The club offers 24/7 roadside and towing assistance for boat trailer breakdowns, as well as tow vehicles, launch ramp fee rebates, and a subscription to BoatU.S. Trailering magazine with information on towing techniques, how-to, destinations and more.

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the June 2009 issue.