News Notes - New England - February

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Soundings contributor to speak about Cuba cruising

Soundings contributor Peter Swanson will give an illustrated talk on the high and low points of cruising Cuba if the embargo is lifted.

If the embargo to Cuba is lifted, more American boaters will be seeing the customs office at Marina Hemingway.

"Sailing in Cuba," takes place at 4 p.m. Feb. 7 at the town hall in Essex, Conn. The talk will be the latest installment of the "Essex and the Sea" programs.

Despite being a mere 90 miles south of the tip of Florida, Cuba is still an unknown and undiscovered region for Americans. The coastline of Cuba is striking, but also utterly bereft of sailing amenities, says Swanson. "Nothing works but the beautiful, beautiful waters," he says.

Swanson will be accompanied by Soundings editor Bill Sisson, who will speak about Pilar, author Ernest Hemingway's sportfisherman. Hemingway was a noted big-game angler who fished the waters off Cuba.

Call (860) 767-2814 for reservations.

Letter: Credit misplaced says Fleming & Co.

I would like to clarify a fact relative to the article in your January 2010 issue regarding the Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel buying an electric boat. The article, through no fault of the writer, gives credit for the idea to the wrong person.

In 2008 my firm, which provides marketing and public relations consulting to a number of hospitality and marine companies, was providing similar services to the Hyatt. My sales and marketing contact at the Hyatt told me that they had budgeted for a boat to shuttle guests to downtown Newport.

I had recently been to Florida where I had taken an electric boat on a test drive. So I suggested that they consider an electric boat, which would be quiet for their guests and would be kind to Newport Harbor environmentally. They agreed that would be a good idea and eventually bought the exact boat I recommended based on their needs and my company's research.

We are very happy that the electric boat has been so successful for them, but the credit for the idea belongs solely to Fleming and Company Inc.

Paul E. Fleming

CEO, Fleming and Company Inc.

Newport, R.I.

Marine marketer is new C.G. Foundation trustee

John Thommen, CEO of Guilford, Conn.-based marine manufacturers representative firm Ocean Marketing, was appointed to a three-year term as a trustee of the Coast Guard Foundation.

Established in 1969, the Coast Guard Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports projects to enhance the education, welfare and morale of members of the U.S. Coast Guard and their families.

Thommen launched his career in the marine industry in 1976 and founded Ocean Marketing in 1981.

New work buoys Maine's marine industry

During the last few winters, Custom Float Services on Portland, Maine's Union Wharf has had to lay off a few full-time employees because of a lack of work.

But the company recently landed the biggest job in its 21-year history - constructing a replacement marina in the boating haven of Newport, R.I. - and its work force is going full tilt through the winter, according to reports.

And in a case of a rising economic tide lifting all docks, other Maine businesses are benefiting as well. Port Harbor Marine in South Portland is building the concrete floats that are used to deaden wake action from passing boats and will be part of the marina. And the high-tech composite decking that covers the floats comes from Correct Building Products in Biddeford.

The project's value exceeds $500,000, according to company president Charles A. Poole.

Boat Trader unveils an iPhone app

Boat Trader released an iPhone application that puts more than 100,000 new and used boats, yachts, sailboats and personal watercraft at shoppers' fingertips.

The free Boat Trader application can be downloaded from the lifestyle section of the iTunes Store by searching the keyword "Boat Trader."

The new Boat Trader iPhone app is GPS-sensitive, allowing boat shoppers to quickly find nearby boats for sale. The search tool allows users to search for boats by type, new or used condition, price range and model year in a specific zip code or by location. The application also saves the user's recent searches and vessels viewed to make finding boats even easier.

The Boat Trader application lets users view multiple boat and dealer locations on enhanced Google maps and quickly access driving directions. Each boat listing provides a detailed description, including length and engine hours, along with multiple photos of the boat for sale. YouTube and manufacturer videos appear on select listings.

Boat Trader and Soundings Publications are both divisions of Dominion Enterprises.

Man sentenced for fraudulent boat loans

A Michigan man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud and other charges for taking out millions of dollars in loans for boats he never bought.

Michael Vorce was sentenced on charges of bank fraud, money laundering and income tax offenses. He admitted to multiple criminal violations, including defrauding $9.2 million from Macatawa Bank, according to media reports.

Vorce, 32, pleaded guilty in June. In his guilty plea, he explained a scheme where he secured loans for at least 30 boats with fraudulent documents and titles when he owned just four boats.

He says he used computer software to create fake documents - some pumping up the value of boats - as part of his West Michigan Yachts company, which supposedly specialized in buying distressed boats at wholesale and reselling them at retail.

In addition to the 12-year sentence, Vorce was ordered to serve a three-year term of supervision after his release and pay restitution in the amount of nearly $25 million.

In all, Vorce admitted that his fraud of Macatawa and other financial institutions led to losses in excess of $20 million, prosecutors say.

Albin Marine makes a comeback

The Albin Boats line will see new life through C&C Marine Inc., builders of NorthCoast Boats.

The company is currently building the Albin 28 Tournament Express and, when the market dictates, they will build the 31- and 35-foot models as well, according to Joe DaPonte, president and owner of C&C.

The Albin nameplate has been around for more than a century but Albin Marine stopped building boats in fall 2007. At the time its lineup of fishing/family boats ranged from 26 to 45 feet.

C&C Marine Inc. is a division of C&C Fiberglass Components, located in Bristol, R.I., which specializes in both marine and non-marine products.

Dealers marketing the boat include Standish Boat Yard in Tiverton, R.I., Sassafras Harbor Marina Yacht Sales in Georgetown, Md., and Advantage Yacht Sales in Newburyport, Mass.

The first Albin 28 by C&C will debut Jan. 7-10 at the Providence (R.I.) Boat Show represented by Standish Boat Yard. The boat will also appear Feb. 20-28 at the New England Boat Show in Boston and April 22-25 at the Bay Bridge Boat Show in Stevensville, Md.

- Elizabeth Ellis

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the February 2010 issue.