Sailing News & Views

by Reggie McLeod

Controversy over the Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Mississippi River-Illinois Waterway Navigation System Feasibility Study (Navigation Study) has focused on efforts to reorganize the Corps. Three Republican senators are pushing legislation that would prevent the Corps from reorganizing. The Department of Defense attempted to create civilian control and more accountability in the Corps last spring.

At “River of Dreams,” a Corps sponsored “Mississippi River Partnering conference and listening session,” June 15 to 17 in St. Louis, environmental groups refused to partner with the Corps until it is under civilian control and more accountable to the public. Protesters accused the Corps of acting on behalf of the shipping industry.

On June 20, ABC World News Tonight summarized the Navigation Study scandal and interviewed Donald Sweeney, the Corps economist who says his bosses told him to change economic data in the $54 million Navigation Study to support expanding the lock-and-dam system. ABC News claimed that in internal documents the Corps characterized itself as a proponent for the inland shipping system and warned that the Navigation Study should not include any “limp wristed” conclusions.

In June, Lt. Gen. Joe N. Ballard, the head of the Corps, postponed his retirement, including the scheduled parade and farewell luncheon, until later in the Summer, according to the Washington Post (6-19-00).

The delay lessens the likelihood that the Clinton Administration will appoint Ballard’s successor.

Reggie McLeod is editor and publisher of Big River, an independent, monthly newsletter about the Upper Mississippi River: 800-303-8201.

Wayzata YC, Wayzata, MN
August, 2000

One evening classroom training will be provided by members of the Minnesota Women’s Sailing Team on: balance of forces, boat speed, weight distribution, sail trim and advanced rigging of three boats.

Two on-the-water sessions will be held with Wayzata Yacht Club guest instructors on: starts, buoy roundings and upwind/downwind legs.

Dates for the clinic are August 9, 16 and 23, 2000. For further information please call 763-559-7769 or e-mail: If you are a boat owner who would be willing to act as a guest and/or volunteer your boat for this clinic, please contact the above.

Red Wing, Minnesota
August 19 -20

The 25th Annual Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous is taking place on Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20. From runabouts to cruisers, canoes and sailboats, along with rowboats and outboards, there is something for everyone at the Rendezvous. It will be held at the marina of Treasure Island Resort and Casino near Red Wing, Minnesota.

This event has been designated a 25th Anniversary Show of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Inc. commemorating the Silver Anniversary. This will be one of a handful of national shows bestowed such distinction.

Some features of this event:
• Display of over 100 antique and classic boats, including wooden sailboats, wooden canoes and kayaks, classic fiberglass and aluminum boats, and “exotic” boats.
• Boat restoration answer booth.
• Vendors displaying and selling nautical items.
• Great food and drinks as well as live musical entertainment.
• Fun for the entire family including activities for children.

New this year will be a Pre-Rendezvous Mississippi River Cruise. For three days prior to the Show (August 16-18), a flotilla of boats will cruise the mighty Mississippi. The daily trips will originate and conclude at the Treasure Island Marina. For more information, contact 877-636-3111, ext. 4. Website:

Sept. 9-10, 2000

Schooner Days, an event sponsored by the Milwaukee Rotary Club and hosted by the Wisconsin Lake Schooner Education Association (WLSEA), will be held on Municipal Pier, 500 N. Harbor Drive (east end of Michigan Street), on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10. This event is expected to attract 25,000 people to Milwaukee’s scenic lakefront.

This family event will feature tall ships from all over the world including the Denis Sullivan, True North, Windy, and one other vessel to be announced. The Denis Sullivan, currently under construction on Milwaukee’s Lakefront, will be completed in the summer of 2000 to operate as a floating, traveling classroom as well as a goodwill ambassador for the state of Wisconsin. The 137-foot, three-masted replica of a traditional Great Lakes schooner is the first tall ship to be built in Wisconsin in over 100 years. 

The True North, originally built in Holland in 1947, is a 118-foot two-masted topsail schooner that has spent considerable time exploring tropical islands and foreign coastlines. Included among her adventurous owners was the Hensen family, famous for their work in children’s television. True North was refit in 1996 and became Canada’s newest tall ship. Windy, a 4-masted schooner, was the first one built in the United States since 1921. During the summer months she sails daily out of Navy Pier in Chicago, offering hands-on sailing experiences to the public. During the off-season, she sets an educational course through the Great Lakes, Erie Canal, eastern seabord, and the Caribbean.

In addition to the ship tours, “Schooner Days” will feature food, beverages, music, small wooden boat building demonstrations, nautical displays and maritime artwork. Discount tickets are available when ordered in advance. For ticket information, call the Milwaukee Rotary Club office at 262-532-6885 or 414-276-7700.

The Many Faces of
Denis Sullivan -
A Photography
Contest / Exhibit

Wisconsin Lake Schooner Education Association is hosting a photo contest and need your photos!! Photos must show some facet of the building of the Denis Sullivan. Ten images (slides or prints) per entry are allowed. 

Entries must be submitted no later than August 9, 2000. Finalists will be announced after August 15.

Winners will be featured on the cover of WLSEA’s newsletter and potentially in a book about the building of Wisconsin’s flagship, the Denis Sullivan. For entry form and further details, contact Doris Bauer at 414-276-7700.

Muskegon, Michigan selected to host

Muskegon, Michigan is honored and excited to have been selected as an Official Race Port of the 2001 Tall Ships Challenge™ Series. Four Muskegon County young people will sail on the “HMS” Rose from Charleston to Baltimore this summer, acting as ambassadors to the community to grow the already high level of interest in the 2001 Tall Ships Challenge™ Muskegon visit.

Muskegon Lake is the largest inland Lake in Michigan, with a connecting channel to Lake Michigan. The 780-foot wide channel leading to and from Lake Michigan will be lined with thousands of excited West Michigan residents and visitors to welcome the tall ships as they sail into Muskegon Lake.

Festival headquarters will be at Muskegon County’s Heritage Landing, a 23-acre park and entertainment venue in downtown Muskegon. Vessels will be moored in a protected lagoon with water depths of 22 feet. The Festival will include musical entertainment, food and beverage and is expected to draw crowds of 250,000 people from Western Michigan and around the Midwest.

The Muskegon Convention and Visitors Bureau can organize many tourist attractions and fun activities during shore excursions. For more information call 1-800-250-WAVE or visit the Website at

Thousands Attend Amistad Launch
Mystic Seaport Museum

Thousands of people came to the Mystic Seaport Museum on March 25 to celebrate the launching of Amistad, the newest addition to American Sail Training Association’s fleet. After nearly two years of work by Mystic Seaport shipwrights, the 129-foot replica freedom schooner was gracefully lowered into the water, accompanied by cheers from the “HMS” Rose.

Amistad’s maiden voyage will be to New York for 4th of July celebrations, after which she will ply the nation’s waterways as an educational ambassador, teaching lessons of history, cooperation, and leadership to Americans of all ages, interests and cultural backgrounds.

Boat US Towing Companies Enjoined from Answering or Interfering with Calls for Sea Tow®

Two courts have recognized the vigilant efforts of Sea Tow Services International Inc. to protect its customers by enjoining two Boat U.S. licensees (TowBoat US) from continued misappropriation and interference with calls for SEA TOW®. Further strength has therefore been added to the already famous SEA\\TOW® Federal trademark registrations. As the judiciary has consistently recognized, customers have every right to expect to receive only a duly licensed, trained and experienced SEA\\TOW Licensee when hailing “Sea Tow” on the marine radio.

Virginia Beach, VA: Circuit Court Judge Alan E. Rosenblatt granted judgment in favor of SEA\\TOW® after a trial held on June 28, 1999, against W. R. Watson III, and his corporation Sea Legs, Inc., a licensee of Boat U.S. The Court ordered the defendants permanently enjoined from misrepresenting themselves as being involved with SEA\\TOW “in any way shape or form” and from answering or responding to any calls for “Sea Tow” over the marine band radio. Watson and Sea Legs were also ordered to pay to SEA\\TOW’s substantial damages and legal fees.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: After a hearing on March 30, 2000, Florida Circuit Court Judge Leroy H. Moe entered a temporary injunction against Offshore Marine Towing, Inc. and Lawrence H. Acheson. Offshore, purportedly one of the largest licensees of Boat U.S., and Acheson, its owner, were found to have “intentionally and unjustifiably” interfered with actual and prospective business relationship between SEA\\TOW and its customers, “infringed and diluted the SEA\\TOW® trademarks and tortiously interfered with actual and/or prospective business relationships with SEA\\TOW customers.”

When confronted with the evidence, one of Offshore’s captains admitted “I knew I shouldn’t have done what I had done,” and that “[b]asically a SEA TOW call is SEA TOW’s business..” Acheson, himself, was impeached with a January, 1998 incident after he testified that he and his company “stay away from the SEA TOW calls.” The evidence showed that Acheson in fact monitored and interrupted communications between SEA TOW and its customer.

The Court, in its decision, stated that, “the nautical public has come to associate the Sea Tow Parties with their trademarks as a single source or origin of high quality, nautical services” and that the injunction is, “in the public interest because there is danger that personal injury and/or bodily harm would occur to passengers on board disabled or distressed boat(s) under tow.”

SEA\\TOW has 14 successful defenses of its trademark and has also protected its famous color mark, yellow on all of its vessels.

Rolex IMS Offshore Worlds
July 15-19, Newport, RI
Notes and Quotes (July 14):

Despite the presence of enormous Olympic and America's Cup talent in many of the American crews gathered for the Rolex IMS Offshore World Championship, the Italians crews are still strongly tipped to leave Newport with the trophies when racing finishes next week.


The big unknown in IMS Cruiser/Racer division is whether Vincenzo Onorato's new Farr 42, Mascalzone Latino, will live up to the hype surrounding her. Certainly, with multiple world champion Vasco Vascotto at the helm, the crew should be able to get the optimum out of the boat. The question is whether her radical rig, with small non-overlapping genoa, will suit the predominantly light conditions off Rhode Island. If the breeze kicks in, the boat's design should suit them well, but some tweaks to the set-up could also see them as strong contenders at the lighter end of the range.


Bouwe Bekking, the Dutch Whitbread sailor who this week is sailing on the Farr 40 Barking Mad in the IMS Racer division, predicts Mascalzone to be a strong contender. "The boat is very similar to the King of Spain's boat, Bribon, except 10 foot shorter. I know how fast the concept and design is, and I think they could win overall in Cruiser/Racer this week. They will be very strong."

Bekking is one of a number of sailors brought in by Barking Mad's owner, Jim Richardson, to take the place of Adrian Stead and the other British crew who this month are preoccupied with winning the Tour Voile 2000 back in France. But Richardson, an ex-world champion in the Farr 40, is happy with the replacements he has got along - although whether he can win is another matter. Bekking admitted: "The Farr 40 is a one-design and so is not likely to rate as well as the boats designed to IMS. But we are one of the bigger boats in our class, so at least we should get clear air off the starts."


One of those purpose-built designs is Yah Man, the Frers design back to defend the IMS World title it won in Sardinia last year. While the boat has changed hands and is now registered under the Portuguese flag, the core of the world-beating Italian crew remain aboard, headed by America's Cup sailor Tommaso Chieffi. "The boat remains unchanged from last year when we won, but I think we will still be fast. We are well prepared and sailing well together. The boat we need to watch, though, is Vim 3."


Craig Speck's VIM 3, a Nelson/Marek design, has a very strong crew headed up by AmericaOne tactician Terry Hutchinson. Designer Bruce Nelson is aboard, along with a lot of America's Cup talent, including names like Moose McClintock and Peter Dorian. "I think we're looking good for this week, particularly if we get some racing in mid-range conditions.


Tucker Thomas, from the America True campaign, is sailing aboard Peter Gordon's Gaucho with Geoff Stagg at the helm. Of all the crews, this was one was the most bullish about its chances. "We're here to win this week," said Thomas. Certainly the Farr 44 has an excellent pedigree, having won the Commodore's Cup, Kenwood Cup, three SORCs and two Key Wests. Asked what conditions they favored, he replied: "0-30 knots". And as for their closest competition, Thomas believed it to be Yah Man, or the "soon-to-be-former world champions", as he described Chieffi's crew.


Good performances are also expected from Robert Towse's Reichel/Pugh 66 Blue Yankee, with regular helmsman Steve Benjamin, an Olympic silver medallist. Multiple world champion Ken Read is at the helm of Idler, and Chris Larson heads up an all-star cast on George Collins' Farr 52 Chessie Racing.
However, no one should get close to Sagamore for line honours, as James Dolan's Newport-Bermuda Maxi is the biggest boat in the fleet by some way.