Coast Guard removes Old Topsail Creek buoys
Due to heavy shoaling, all of the navigational buoys in Old Topsail Creek were removed by the Coast Guard in March. Water depths in the inlet have become too shallow and dynamic for Coast Guard buoy tenders to safely operate.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a survey of Old Topsail Creek on March 3. After reviewing the surveys, the Coast Guard has determined the water depth is less than the required minimums necessary for servicing the navigational buoys within the creek.
Due to the current shoaling conditions and subsequent removal of these buoys, Coast Guard search-and-rescue vessels will be limited in their ability to respond or operate in Old Topsail Creek and will have to evaluate its response on a case-by-case basis. In those situations where Coast Guard vessels are unable to respond, local responders and Coast Guard aircraft will become the primary search-and-rescue responders in Old Topsail Creek.
Local notices to mariners, announcing the removal of, or shift in, navigation aids will continue. These can be found on the Internet at www.navcen.uscg.gov/lnm.
Broadcast notices to mariners will continue over VHF-FM radio channel 22. These will have the most current schedule and location of buoy removals. Buoys will be returned to Old Topsail Creek if adequate depths return.
Pilot Schooner Virginia readies for sailing season
Commissioned last June, the Pilot Schooner Virginia sets sail for her first full season on the water this spring.
A busy itinerary keeps her afloat with goodwill voyages, special event appearances, youth sail training exercises, and school and corporate events until the winter holidays. Highlights of the 2006 sailing season include the inaugural “Home Port Celebration Weekend” on the Norfolk waterfront before she leaves for a busy schedule including the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race when its racing fleet ports in Baltimore and Annapolis, Md., and participation in a variety of schooner races/holiday boat parades, including Norfolk’s Harborfest.
For the complete schedule, visit www.schoonervirginia.org or call (757) 627-7400.
Sunsail expands fleet at Annapolis base
Sunsail has expanded its fleet of yachts available for charter at its Annapolis, Md., base. Four new sailboats, Beneteau Oceanis models 343, 373, 393 and 423, were customized for charter duty.
All yachts are equipped with the latest sailing technology and navigational equipment, including Raymarine depth, wind, and speed indicators and Navman chart plotters with 12-channel GPS and built-in C-MAP charts specific to Chesapeake Bay cruising grounds.
Weekend, weekly and midweek specials will be offered on the new fleet, and skippers are available. Each charter client is provided a list of preferred destinations and fine restaurants along popular Chesapeake Bay routes including Baltimore Inner Harbor, Oxford and St. Michaels.
The new yachts are available at the company’s base at Annapolis Landing Marina, 980 Awald Road. The Sunsail base sits on Back Creek and is part of a full-service marina including fuel dock, swimming pool and new bathhouse facilities. After the sailing season in Annapolis, the new Oceanis yachts will be transferred to Sunsail’s Tortola base for charter use in the British Virgin Islands.
New standard technology on Sunsail yachts, as of April, will include TackTick wireless and solar powered wind instruments on its worldwide fleet; and a digital and analog lighted display in the cockpit provides apparent wind speed and angle.
Call (800) 281-8350 or log onto www.sunsail.com for information.