News notes – New England

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Free-sailing event launches 2008 season

Free sailing trips along Boston’s historic waterfront will highlight the start of the sailing season in Boston weekend of April 26 and 27, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the BostonSailingCenter.

First-time sailors as well as more experienced skippers are invited to join the festivities at LewisWharf. Harbor sailing trips will be conducted by experienced sailors aboard a fleet of boats ranging in length from 23 to 40 feet.

The Center’s teaching staff will be on hand to answer questions about sailing basics, and about BostonHarbor and the islands.

Those who sign up as members during the event will have a portion of their lesson and/or membership fee donated to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, a nonprofit agency working to conserve and improve Boston Harbor as a recreational resource.

This year’s event marks the 32nd annual Free-Sailing Weekend at the BostonSailingCenter. Headquartered in a converted Louisiana riverboat which is permanently docked at LewisWharf, the Center’s floating classroom and boat moorings are a short walk north of Faneuil Hall Marketplace along Atlantic Avenue. Public parking is available nearby.

For information, contact the Center at (617) 227-4198 or visit

www.bostonsailingcenter.com.

Boat restoration shops to kick off symposium

The 2008 Classic Yacht Symposium, the third in a series of international symposia co-sponsored by The Herreshoff Marine Museum/America’s Cup Hall of Fame and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, will feature a tour of three boat restoration shops that specialize in the restoration of classic yachts. The tour is the first event of the three-day Symposium that will be held April 4-6, in Bristol, R.I.

Included in the tour are MP&G (McClave, Philbrick and Giblin) in Mystic, Conn.; Stonington Boat Works (Bill Mills), located in Stonington, Conn.; and Taylor & Snediker in Pawcatuck, Conn. All these shops will open their doors to tour participants to give them an up-close look at current restoration projects and to see first-hand the techniques used in the restoration of classic wooden boats. Lunch is also included in this all-day event.

The Classic Yacht Symposium brings together classic boat enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs engaged in the restoration and replication of classic yachts from around the world.

For information, visit the Herreshoff Marine Museum Web site,

www.herreshoff.org, and follow the CYS link, or contact Curator John Palmieri at j.palmieri@herreshoff.org or (401) 253-5000.

Free safety at sea seminar offered

On April 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 pm, Life Raft Survival and Equipment of Portsmouth, R.I., will offer their free annual Safety Seminar, featuring new classes along with the critical basic drills that boaters need to practice to be safe at sea.

This unique multi-course seminar is open to anyone and is offered by Life Raft and Survival Equipment to give boaters the opportunity to experience and practice procedures, which could one day save lives. Course offerings include Firefighting, EPIRB 101, Life Raft Deployment and Flare and Signal Use.

Participants must be 18 years or older to participate in certain hands-on activities and many classes are held outside so participants should come dressed for cold or wet weather.

Participants may bring their own safety equipment and ask questions of the Life Raft and Survival experts at the end of the seminar and the LRSE store will be open for purchases from 8:30 to 4:00 pm. Avon and Zodiac inflatables will be on display. Pre-registration is required; forms, information and directions can be found at www.lrse.com or e-mail Teresa@lrse.com .

Life Raft Survival & Equipment’s mission is to build lifelong relationships, providing the highest quality safety and inflatable boating solutions through unequaled experience, knowledge and integrity.

Abandoned vessel law passed in Mass.

The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA) announced Feb. 12 that An Act Relative to Abandoned Vessels (House Bill 4188), championed by lead sponsor State Rep. Anthony J. Verga (Gloucester), was signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick.

The new law, which goes into effect on May 6, will streamline the process and reduce expenses marinas and boatyards incur during lawful disposal of derelict vessels abandoned on their property.

The change in law is critical to “clearing the decks” of unsightly derelicts that may pose environmental liabilities or attractive nuisances to trespassers, the MMTA stated.

Established in 1964, the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA) is the statewide, representative body for over 1,200 marine trades businesses in the Commonwealth, which employ over 27,000 men and women.

Boatyard honored for ‘technical excellence’

J&J Marine of Somerset, Mass., received the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association (ABBRA) 2007 Award for Excellence in Technology at the International Marina & Boatyard Conference in Atlanta in January.

The ABBRA award is given annually to the marine service or repair yard that has developed or applied an advanced or innovative technology system or procedure to their facility.

Located on the TauntonRiver about 18 miles by water from Newport, R.I., J&J Marine’s six-acre complex sits on the site of an old shellac factory. Partners Jeff Botelho and Steve Anderson weathered three years of lawsuits, skeptical bankers and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to realize their vision of a state-of-the-art, efficient and worker-friendly boat service facility on the reclaimed industrial site.

“When I first looked at our site, there were three dead skunks, four dead foxes, 40 dead cats, 1,800 55-gallon drums of mystery liquids, a badly leaking roof and a 300-year history of mixed industrial use that made chemical contamination a virtual certainty,” said Anderson.

J&J has 90,000 square feet of indoor workspace with separately-zoned air conditioning and heating to provide a consistent year-round work environment. The fiberglass shop has a dust control booth, which draws contaminated air through four banks of 24 filters. A 125,000 cubic foot positive-pressure sealed spray booth features computer-controlled temperature, humidity, and airflow. Employees working in the booth each have their own supplied air respirator system. www.jj-marine.com

Maine ‘eco-adventure’ by land and by sea

For the first time, the Maine Windjammer Association and the Historic Inns of Rockland have joined forces to offer a “coastal Maine eco-adventure.”

Guests can combine a four-day Maine Windjammer cruise with a three-day stay at one of the three Historic Inns of Rockland. Visitors can take in the craggy Maine coast from the deck of a historic schooner, then finish off the vacation at one of Rockland’s historic inns, offering easy walking distance to the galleries, museums and fine dining in Rockland.

The package features plenty of green schemes from leaving no trace on remote islands to arrival presents including an Energy Star compact florescent light bulb. Transportation is via hybrid taxi from docks to Historic Inns of Rockland.

Packages start at $825 per person for double occupancy for the seven-day package throughout 2008. Upgraded rooms and extended cruise or inn stays are also available. www.SailMaineCoast.com

Grants awarded to improve boating

More than $13.5 million in competitive grants will be awarded to 15 states for 19 boating infrastructure projects. The grants, which will help fund construction of docks, boat slips and other facilities to support recreational boating, are made available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program.

Regional states awarded competitive grants include:

• Connecticut: The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, in cooperation with St. Clements Castle, will receive more than $1.8 million and match that amount with the same to construct dockage for 35 visiting boats at the Saint Clements Marina near Portland.

• Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Fish and Wildlife, in cooperation with the City of Newport, will receive $713,000 and match that amount with more than $250,000 to construct a centralized “state of the art” facility for visiting boaters. The proposed project includes restrooms and other amenities for visiting boaters. www.fws.gov

LandingSchool takes home high honors

The LandingSchool won marine industry accolades Jan. 22 at the closing day of the International Marina and Boatyard Conference in Atlanta.

The American Boat Builders and Repairers Association presented its 2007 Dennis Snow Award to The Landing School for its contribution to the boatyard and repair industry through education and training programs.

The school, in Arundel, Maine, offers 10-month training programs in boatbuilding, yacht design, marine systems and composites. The curriculum emphasizes traditional boatbuilding design and construction skills as well as modern techniques and contemporary materials. The school also provides continuing education to marine industry professionals.

Roger Hellyar-Brook, marine systems program manager at the school, accepted the award from ABBRA during the All-Industry Breakfast on the final morning of IMBC.

“Our graduates are The Landing School’s real contribution to the marine industry,” he said. “And their hard work and dedication in their careers are what have really earned the school this award.”