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News Notes New England June 07

Symposium prepares cruisers for offshore

Those cruisers pondering an offshore passage should consider attending the Cruising Rally Association’s Offshore Sailing Symposium, July 28 and 29 at Wayfarer Marine in Camden, Maine.

Experienced CRA speakers with specialties in communications, sail handling, heavy-weather sailing, mechanical/electrical systems, and offshore safety bring a series of two-day seminars to future offshore sailors.

The symposium is an interactive workshop. The speaker’s role is to present practical information and help each participant select and equip one of many appropriate boats for offshore cruising adventures. The speakers will outline the keys to passage planning and preparation.

As a result each participant will leave the symposium with a notebook of concise, customized checklists to guide their future outfitting and planning decisions. Each will develop personal action plans designed to help skipper and crew acquire necessary experience and confidence for safe and enjoyable offshore passages. In addition, an overall “Time Line to Departure” emphasizes the critical preparation steps for the future passage-maker.

“Our speakers, all currently active sailors, have sailed across oceans and around the world for decades. As a result, they are able to help you cut through the massive amounts of information available on each subject and determine what is right for you, your boat, and your crew,” says Steve Black, president and founder of the Cruising Rally Association.

For information, call (757) 788-8872 or e-mail .

Shifty Sailors to storm New England

The Shifty Sailors, a maritime shanty band from Whidbey Island, near Seattle, are expected to arrive in Boston June 27 to begin a two-week tour of the seaports of New England.

Beginning with the Tall Ship Festival in Newport, they will sing their way through Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine.

A group of 20 male singers (17 will be along on the tour) all living on Whidbey Island, their repertoire includes shanties, fishing songs, songs of the rivers and canals, naval and merchant marine songs, songs of shipwrecks, hymns and more.

Without the two-week tour their summer schedule is chock full with events such as festivals, concerts, parties and fairs. To see who they are check out their Web site at .

Followers of the Tall Ships, the Shifties have performed at festivals in Bergen, Norway; Riga, Latvia; G’dynia, Poland; Luebeck, Germany; Waterford, Ireland, and Cherbourg, France.

This will be their first appearance at a tall ship festival in New England.

The New England tour stops are:

June 28 – Newport, R.I., Tall Ship Festival

June 29 – Newport, R.I., Tall Ship Festival

June 30 – Mystic Seaport Concert, SailCT Fundraiser (Westbrook)

July 1 – Noon concert at Norwalk (Conn.) Pier, New Bedford (Mass.) WhalingMuseum (evening)

July 2 – Nantucket, Mass., MethodistChurch

July 3 – Park Concert in Hyannis, Mass., Sing aboard Mayflower II

July 4 – Pub Tour in Boston

July 5 – Concert in Rockport, Mass.

July 6-8 – Perform in Portland, Brunswick & Bath, Maine, Art Festival in Belfast, Sea Dog Brewing Company in Topsham

New England port may host innovative ship

NOAA is evaluating Quonset Point/ Davisville, R.I., as the future home port of the Okeanos Explorer — the nation’s first federal ship dedicated solely to ocean exploration — as part of an environmental assessment to be completed this spring.

“Okeanos Explorer will break the mold for the way the nation conducts at-sea research in the future. We have better maps of Mars and the far side of the moon than of the deep and remote regions of Earth,” says retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

The Okeanos Explorer is a former Navy surveillance ship (USS Capable) that was transferred to NOAA in 2004. The full conversion is expected to be complete in the spring of 2008. The ship will conduct research and discovery expeditions in support of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration. Using sophisticated ocean mapping, deepwater remote-operated vehicles, and real-time data transmission, the ship will unlock clues to the world’s oceans — of which 95 percent remains unexplored.

Quonset Point/Davisville is close to many labs and universities associated with the ship’s ocean exploration mission as well as to a new telecommunications center to be constructed on the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett campus. Called the InnerSpaceCenter, it will be the ocean equivalent to NASA’s space command center in Houston.

RoseIsland Lighthouse uses ‘green’ biofuel

Energy independence is nothing new for the Rose Island Lighthouse, on an island off Newport in Narragansett Bay. It lies a mile beyond the reach of utility lines and services.

The self-contained landmark has its own environmentally sensitive systems for heat, water, sewer and electricity. But this past winter its heating system was burning soybean-derived biofuel heating oil provided by the Providence-based biofuels company, hudsonecofuel.

Built on the site of an 18th-century fort, the lighthouse was originally lit in 1870 as a navigational aid and kept active for a century. But after the NewportBridge — a much larger visible landmark for ships — was built, the lighthouse fell into disrepair. Restored and relit in 1993 by the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, the site is a tourist attraction and featured stop on winter seal watch tours.

The lighthouse is maintained by keepers who sign on for a week at a time as part of the foundation’s environmental education program.

Hudsonecofuel had originally obtained the 400 gallons of donated B10 heating oil for other projects funded through the State Office of Energy Resources, and there was still some remaining.

Fuel for the lighthouse had to be transported by boat to the island in 55-gallon drums and pumped up the hill to storage tanks inside. This winter the boat also brought along smaller containers of hudsonecofuel’s bioheating oil to be blended with the low-sulfur diesel used for heating.

IYRS hosts open house for new facility

The InternationalYachtRestorationSchool hosted its first open house at the school’s new satellite facility in Bristol, R.I., April 14. The Bristol facility, located at 257 Franklin Street, was opened this winter to serve as the teaching locale for IYRS’ new courses in marine systems.

This summer’s slate of events include:

• IYRS Launch Day, June 2 — IYRS students will launch and sail the boats they restored in a ceremony that has become a unique waterfront event for the Newport community. Among the boats to be launched this year are a fleet of 12-foot Beetle Cats and two Herreshoff 12-1/2s. Members of the public can join the graduation ceremony, which begins at IYRS Restoration Hall at 10:30 a.m., or head directly to the school’s docks for the launching of the fleet (around 11:30 a.m.).

• Tenth Annual IYRS Summer Gala, July 14 — Restoration Hall will be transformed into an elegant setting for the 10th annual IYRS Summer Gala. The event is held each year to raise funds for the school’s educational programs and draws an international crowd of classic yacht enthusiasts.

• IYRS Classic Yacht Cruise, Aug. 19 — The 2007 IYRS Classic Yacht Cruise will begin in Nantucket in conjunction with the Opera House Cup.

The cruise will continue on to Martha’s Vineyard, the ElizabethIslands and New Bedford; the traditional end-of-cruise party will take place in Newport on Aug. 24. The CYC is an annual flotilla cruise that draws classic yacht owners, charterers of classics, and individuals who book a berth on the CYC mothership, the three-masted staysail schooner Arabella.

For information: or (401) 848-5777.

Castine Race to fete Dorade’s return

The Castine Yacht Club and Sparkman & Stephens will host a celebration in the Maine port Aug. 1 of the launching of the new S&S designed 56-foot sloop Anna and the return to U.S. shores of its historic precursor, Dorade.

Anna, built by Brooklin Boat Yard for Sam Rowse, is reminiscent above the waterline of the classic S&S design Stormy Weather, and traces its roots to the famous yacht Dorade.

The 52-foot yawl Dorade, designed in 1929, launched the design career of Olin Stephens, who celebrated his 99th birthday on April 13. In 1931 Stephens and his brother, Rod, sailed Dorade to victory in the Trans-Atlantic Race from Newport to England, beating the fleet of larger rivals by more than two days (almost four days on “corrected” time). Dorade went on to win the Fastnet Race by a wide margin. When the crew returned to New York, they were honored with a ticker tape parade up Broadway, a first for sailors. The New York Times hailed the “Youthful ‘Vikings’ Who Won Ocean Race in Little Yawl.”

In recent years Dorade was based in the Mediterranean and competed in Europe’s active classic yacht racing circuit. She was acquired and brought back to the United States.

Commenting on the construction of Anna, Rowse said: “I have been thrilled to work with Olin Stephens, Mitch Gibbons-Neff (late S&S head), Bruce Johnson (S&S chief designer), Greg Matzat (S&S chief naval architect), Martha Coolidge (interior designer) and the skilled crew at Brooklin Boat Yard to recreate the classic lines of Stormy Weather with many modern improvements and, at the same time, to maintain the simplicity and functionality of boats built in the ’30s, exemplified by Dorade.”

On Aug. 1, Dorade and Anna will be on public exhibition in Castine, with Olin Stephens presiding.

This celebration will precede the eighth annual Castine Classic Yacht Race to Camden on Aug. 2, the Camden to Brooklin Feeder Race on Aug. 3 and the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Aug. 4. More than 50 Classic and Spirit of Tradition yachts will race the 18-mile course from the CastineHarbor bell, around Robinson Rock at the southern end of Islesboro and finishing off CamdenHarbor. .

Newport-to-Annapolis Rally wants snowbirds

For Down East sailors planning to sail to warmer waters in the fall, the Newport-to-Annapolis Cup is scheduled to leave Newport Sept. 20. The non-stop sailing event is hosted by the Cruising Rally Association ( ), best known for its Caribbean 1500 rally from Hampton, Va., to Tortola, British Virgin Islands, in November of each year.

In the Newport-to-Annapolis Cup, the sailors will go offshore from Newport to Cape May and then travel up the Delaware River, through the Chesapeake and DelawareCanal, and on to Annapolis.

Participants will choose between a non-competitive cruising class and a more racing oriented rally class.

Prior to departure in Newport, all boats will undergo a safety inspection to help skippers assess their readiness for an offshore passage.

Other CRA events of interest to New Englanders include a two-day Offshore Sailing Symposium July 28-29 at Wayfarer Marine in Camden, Maine, and a Caribbean 1500 Reunion the same weekend.

Maine Boats, Homes Show returns in August

The fifth annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show, slated for Aug. 10-12 at Harbor & Buoy Parks in Rockland, Maine, will feature boats in the water, boats on land, fine furniture and home wares, the arts, architecture and food.

This event is Maine’s only in-the-water boat show, and it is also the only show to feature dozens of Maine’s most talented furniture makers, architects and builders. Combined on one waterfront site, craftsmen present the essential components for living the good life on the coast of Maine.

There will be hands-on demonstrations, live music, children’s activities, exhibits, and, of course, the popular World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials.

Admission: $10 adult, under 12 free. Gates open at 10 a.m. daily. Please leave all pets at home; they will not be allowed onto show grounds.

Call (800) 565-4951 for more information.

Foundation announces safety grant winners

The BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has awarded nearly $50,000 in grants to 23 nonprofit groups from Alaska to Florida to spread the message about safe boating practices. Since 1988 the foundation has awarded more than $750,000 in boating safety grants to fund projects that promote responsible boating at the local level. Funds are derived from the voluntary contributions of the 670,000 members of BoatU.S.

For information about how to make a tax deductible donation to help keep programs like these afloat, go to