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Web Waypoints

These stories and others appear daily on which also contains a searchable archive of past Soundings stories.

In over their head

A French skipper recently was ordered to pay damages to a British Royal Navy crew for dumping head waste on them as they were about to perform a routine inspection of his fishing boat in the English Channel. Jerome Vicquelin’s crew discharged the waste over the side through a sewage pipe, covering the navy crew, Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper reported. Royal Navy Lt. Andrew Floyd tried to avoid the spill by climbing the fishing boat’s rope boarding ladder; the rope parted and Floyd fell back into the sewage-filled tender. Vicquelin appeared in court the following day and was ordered to pay nearly $10,000 in fines: $100 to each of the Royal Navy crewmembers, and about $180 to Lt. Floyd.


A sailor rescued by two college students after his boat capsized rewarded his saviors by giving them his boat. Martin Kuhn’s sailboat overturned in March in Langebaan Lagoon on South Africa’s west coast, the Cape Argus newspaper reported. Kuhn apparently was unable to right the boat or swim the 1,000 feet to shore. Tarren Smith, who is 25, and his girlfriend, Bronwen Thompson, 20, set off in their canoe and pulled Kuhn to shore with a line. Kuhn, who reportedly vowed never to sail again, gave his boat to the couple. “I was half dead, but Tarren asked if he could take the boat for a sail,” Kuhn says in the report. “I told him to take it, permanently. I’m never using it again.”


Two British men recently were ordered to pay $390,000 after the Fairline Phantom 40 they were delivering sank when they hit a 20-ton steel buoy. The boat’s owner sued Bob Elliott, who is 53, and Mike Bailey, 38, after the insurance company refused to pay for damages to the $560,000 Fairline, which went down off the Isle of Wight, according to England’s Sun newspaper. Elliott and Bailey had been transporting the boat from Chichester in West Sussex to Weymouth in Dorset when the accident occurred. Insurers reportedly claimed that the men, who were being paid about $88 each to make the delivery, were negligent for not slowing down.


A ship’s log kept by Beatle John Lennon during an eight-day passage under sail from Newport, R.I., to Bermuda in 1980 was one of a number of items up for auction at Madame Tussaud’s in London. The log recounts Lennon’s experience skippering a 44-foot chartered schooner, Megan Jaye, to safety in rough weather, England’s Telegraph newspaper reported. When Lennon made Bermuda he apparently described how he’d regained his confidence at the helm by singing sea chanteys during the storm. The experience is said to have freed Lennon from a 10-year writer’s block, and he completed his final solo album “Double Fantasy” later that year. The auction, which was scheduled for April 19, also included a letter cosigned by Lennon and former bandmates George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The ship’s log was expected to fetch more than $35,000.


With friends and family watching from a dock, a Michigan couple with a shared passion for fishing were married in March on a boat ramp while wearing fishing gear. William Nickel proposed to Vickie Wright about a year ago after introducing her to fishing, the News Advocate newspaper of Manistee, Mich., reported. The couple was married at the Tippy Dam boat launch and wore fishing vests adorned with white flowers. While Nickel waited for the pastor to arrive for the ceremony he reportedly caught 10 small fish, which he released. At Wright’s request he kissed one for good luck.