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News notes New England

Plimoth Plantationwelcomes ‘volunteer’

Plimoth Plantation’s latest volunteer is all wet. Launched in October, the newest addition to the Plymouth, Mass., museum’s fleet is the hand-built Garvey-style workboat named Volunteer. The new Volunteer will serve as a workboat, tender and tugboat to America’s most famous vessel, Mayflower II, at the museum dedicated to the history of the Wampanoag tribe and the Colonial English community in the 1600s.

Mayflower II is a full-scale reproduction of the original ship. It was hand-built and sailed from England to the United States in 1957 as a monument to American history.

Commissioned in January 2007 and completed in early October, Volunteer is the brainchild of Plimoth Plantation’s manager of maritime artisans, Peter Arenstam, and maritime artisan Jack Pitney.

The 17-foot workboat is powered by a single Honda Marine BF50 outboard. Arenstam and Pitney actually laid out plans for the boat in 2003, but an unreliable 2-stroke engine and a decrepit, 30-year-old skiff served as the final catalyst to construction.

Arenstam, Pitney and a team of 30 volunteers contributed over 900 hours and nearly $25,000 to the completion of Volunteer.

“From lofting to fiberglassing; from cutting out gussets to hammering, sawing, and painting; we not only raised the money for the workboat, we built the workboat,” says volunteer Linda Hart.“We are proud of what we have accomplished as volunteers, and this boat is a testament to our hard work.”

Providence show returns with the New Year

This year for the first time, the Providence Boat Show will run Jan. 3 to 6, right after the New Year’s holiday. Another first for the show is the inclusion of dealer used- and new-boat specials starting at 20 feet.

The show will again feature new power- and sailboats from 8 to 50 feet at both the Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. An expanded Fishing Section of fresh- and saltwater boats and gear will also be featured.

Also on display will be canoes, kayaks and inflatables, plus booths filled with gear and accessories and several seminars.

For the first time, the two show venues — The Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center — will be connected by an enclosed, glass walkway.

The show will have more than 240,000 square feet of boat and equipment exhibits with over 270 exhibitors and 300 boats.

Adult tickets at the door are $12 and children 12 and under are free with an adult. Advance discount tickets are available online for $10. In addition, military personnel will receive half-price tickets with a valid I.D. all four days. For information, call (401) 846-1115 or go to .

View bald eagles from a 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.

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.

The weekend of Feb. 16-17, 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.

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, and showcases 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

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.

Idyllic day for frostbite races

MysticRiver Yacht Club’s Nov. 11 frostbite races were held in 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.

Yacht charter firm offering specials

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.

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.

Children asked to describe safe boating

The National Safe Boating Council, with the support of West Marine, is asking for entries for a boating safety contest.

The third annual Boating Safety Sidekicks Contest, “I’m a Safe Boater, Are You?” asks for children between the ages of 4 and 15 to submit stories, posters or videos that describe how they stay safe on the water.

First-prize winners will be awarded in three different categories for each age group, 4 to 7; 8 to 11; and 12 to 15. Essay winners will be chosen based on good grammar, punctuation, composition and the story told. Poster and video winners will be evaluated on design, style, artwork and the safety message.

To view last year’s winning entries and for contest requirements, deadlines and more details, visit the Boating Safety Sidekicks Web site