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News notes – New England – October 2006

Hoax caller receives 18 months

A Fairhaven, Mass., fisherman was sentenced July 26 in federal court for making calls to the Coast Guard on an emergency frequency, falsely claiming to be aboard a sinking commercial fishing vessel in need of immediate assistance.

Responding to these calls, the Coast Guard launched search-and-rescue missions at sea involving a Falcon jet, Jayhawk helicopters and patrol boats.

Brian Feener, 21, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel to one year and six months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Feener was also ordered to pay $82,004 in restitution to the Coast Guard. Feener pleaded guilty May 3 to two counts of communicating a false distress message and two counts of making a false statement.

According to prosecutors, Feener radioed the Coast Guard July 10, 2004, on the international hailing and distress frequency from his home, claiming he was the captain of the fishing boat Why Not, which was taking on water near the entrance to Buzzards Bay.

In response, the Coast Guard deployed an HU-25 Falcon jet, two HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and three patrol boats, in an eight-hour search for the Why Not — a fishing vessel that later was determined not to exist. The search cost around $58,000 in crew and asset use, according to the Coast Guard.

Feener reportedly called the Coast Guard a second time, Sept. 24, 2004, from his home on the same emergency frequency, claiming to be the captain of the fishing boat Determined, an actual New Bedford-based fishing vessel on which Feener had once been a crewmember. The Determined was actually in port at the time of the call. During the call, Feener stated that the vessel was sinking 20 miles south of Nantucket. Feener concluded his transmission by stating, “I’m out. I’m going down. I got crew savers in the water. Fishing vessel Determined, out.”

In response to this call, the Coast Guard launched a three-hour search and rescue mission involving a Jayhawk helicopter and a patrol boat;the effortcost the Coast Guard about $24,000.

“The pointless searches [hoax calls] ... are a great waste of taxpayer funded resources,” said Rear Adm. Timothy Sullivan. “They also reduce the Coast Guard’s ability to rescue mariners in true distress, senselessly putting lives at risk.”

According to Coast Guard statistics, in the 1st Coast Guard District that encompasses the New Jersey and New England coasts, there have been 456 confirmed search-and-rescue hoaxes in the last five years. During the same period, hoax calls cost the Coast Guard $13,982,960 in operating funds nationwide.

Beantown boat show returns in September

The Boston International In-Water Boat Show will take place at the World Trade Center in Boston, Sept. 28 through Oct. 1.

The indoor and in-water boat show features exhibits afloat and ashore of both power- and sailboats, including luxury motor and sailing yachts, sportfishers, cruisers, runabouts, inflatables, performance boats, pontoons, personal watercraft, engines, marine accessories and electronics, marine financing and insurance.

For information call the sponsor, the Massachusetts Marine Trade Association, at (978) 777-4439.

Commercial fishing Is focus of festival

New Bedford is hosting the third Working Waterfront Festival, a celebration of commercial fishing culture, Sept. 23 and 24.

The festival will focus on the future of the industry,including young people working in it, the impact of changing regulations and new innovations in gear and technology. The festival willfeature vessel tours, contests, live music, fresh seafood, children’s activities, author readings, panel discussions and cooking demonstrations.

Castine club hosts Classic Yacht Celebration

The Castine Yacht Club and Sparkman & Stephens hosted a series of yacht events Aug. 2-3 off the Maine waterfront, including the seventh annual Castine Classic Yacht Race to Camden and match racing of 6 Meter and New York 32 yachts.

This year’s events celebrated the 70th birthday of the New York 32 class. These 45-foot yachts were designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built by the Nevins Yard in 1936. Renowned yacht designer Olin Stephens, now 98, sailed on the NY 32 Falcon and spoke at a symposium honoring the NY 32 class.

In match racing in Castine harbor, Peter Cassidy’s NY 32 Siren led the five yachts in the New York 32 fleet and St. Francis VII, skippered by Hans Oen, took 6 Meter honors.

Forty-five yachts joined the Castine Classic Yacht Race to Camden.

The Classic A fleet was led by Bob Scott’s NY 32 Falcon, edging out Peter Cassidy’s NY 32 Siren by less than one minute. Susanna, a 47-foot Giles-designed yawl sailed by Judith Chiara, took third in Classic A.

In Classic B, Crocodile, a 39-foot Concordia yawl skippered by Edgar Crocker, bested Alera, a Herreshoff NY 30 built in 1905 sailed by Terrance McClinch. Vince Todd’s Thora, a Hood designed 36-foot yawl, took third in Classic B.

The Classic C class was led by Jonathan Weinstein’s 28-foot Rozinante ketch, Concubine, followed by Bagatelle, a 32-foot gaff-rigged Herreshoff sloop built in 1914 and sailed by Glenn Kim. The Emily Marshall, a 36-foot gaff rigged Crocker yawl skippered by Bruce and Nancy Fowler, took third in Classic C.

At the awards ceremony at the Wooden Boat School in Brookline David Bicks, co-chairman of the Castine events, presented the Ames Cup to Bob Scott of Falcon, as overall winner of the Castine Classic Yacht Race. The Ames Cup honors the memory of Richard Glover Ames and Henry Russell Ames who were lost at sea on June 19, 1935, south of the Grand Banks. The pair died in an unsuccessful attempt to save their father, who was washed overboard during the Newport-to-Oslo yacht race.

Maine man earns first Auxiliarist of Year award

Kevin J. Cady, a firefighter/investigator for the City of Portland, Maine, and resident of Falmouth, Maine, is the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s recipient of the first Auxiliarist of the Year award.

Cady received the award from Adm. Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard. The award recognizes outstanding contribution to Coast Guard missions by an auxiliarist during their first three years of service.

Cady, a Coast Guard Auxiliary civilian volunteer, was honored for his service to Coast Guard Sector Northern New England in the area of marine safety, as well as for his leadership skills and community service to Flotilla 21 of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s 1st Northern District.

Cady served in the Emergency Operations Center during the South Portland Weapons of Mass Destruction exercise in April 2005, as well as serving in the Incident Command Post structure during the visit of Queen Mary 2 in 2004 and 2005. He was one of three key players in developing the Auxiliary Response Plan for SNNE and testing the plan in a “call out” exercise in 2004 and in 2005.

In addition to his duties with the Portland Fire Department and the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Cady serves as a seasonal Deputy Harbormaster in Falmouth and is a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal. Cady and his wife Heather, have two sons, Griffin and Marcus.

The 100th Back Cove 29 rolls out of the factory

The staff of Back Cove Yachts recently celebrated the shipment of the 100th Back Cove 29, produced at the boatbuilder’s new 240,000 square-foot yard in Rockland, Maine. Back Cove acquired the manufacturing facility, which opened in November 2005, to meet the growing demand for their yachts.

A new model is scheduled to be launched in late 2006, leading to a doubling of sales for Back Cove over the two-year period from 2005 to 2007.

Massachusetts man dies after mast fall

Benjamin Sutherland, 18, of Concord, Mass., died accidentally from a fall July 14 while working as a crewmember on board the schooner Alabama off Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Born April 23, 1988, in Cambridge, Sutherland grew up in Concord. He graduated from Concord-Carlisle High School in June 2006.

Friends say Sutherland showed great potential as a scrimshander while working on his senior project.

He is survived by his parents, Mark and Dominique Sutherland and sister Juliette, 17, all of Concord.