Sailing News

Lands’ End Announces Thrill of the Mac Essay Contest
Enter to Win Your Spot on Board a Racing Yacht

Do you have what it takes to sail 333-miles from Chicago to the Northern tip of Lake Michigan? The Chicago Yacht Club race from Chicago to Mackinac Island – a.k.a “the Mac” – is the world’s longest freshwater race. Celebrating its nautical heritage, Land’s End will offer the opportunity to join the race. Anyone with a passion for sailing (experienced or not) can enter the Lands’ End Thrill of the Mac Essay Contest. One lucky winner could win a spot on board the Lands’ End yacht, “Guaranteed. Period.” alongside a savvy crew.

Write an essay of up to 500 words telling us why you'd like to race in the Mac. Your essay will be judged on your passion to participate in the race (so throw your heart into it), written composition (here's your chance to show off your way with words) and prior sailing experience (if any). The lucky winner will join the Lands' End crew aboard a brand-new, 38-foot C&C 115 sailboat. The prize also includes air fare and hotel accommodations for the winner and three guests in Chicago and on Mackinac Island, plus assorted other goodies. Essays must be written in English and submitted in writing to 2 Lands' End Lane, Dodgeville, Wisconsin 53595, no later than March 31, 2005.

For a complete set of rules, visit

Viking Life-Saving Equipment Sponsors the Challenge

Equipped with a RescYou four-person offshore life raft from Viking Life Saving Equipment, Scott Duncan and Pamela Habek have set off on the adventure of a lifetime. The couple, both legally blind, is sailing around the world in TOURNESOL, a 32' Valiant.

The journey, which is expected to last 2 years, began on October 12, 2004, in San Francisco. For Duncan, the trip is an opportunity to prove that people with disabilities are capable of extraordinary things.

"Visually impaired kids are always being told what they can't do, and if they hear it enough, they start to believe it," said Duncan. "I want to show people what they can accomplish."

In case of an emergency at sea, the couple will be safe relying on the Viking RescYou offshore life raft. Once activated by pulling the painter line, the raft will inflate within 10 seconds. Manufactured to SOLAS standards, the offshore life raft comes equipped with two independent buoyancy tubes, each capable of supporting the weight of the number of persons which the life raft is approved to accommodate.

The SOLAS approved ballast system with 15 gallon capacity in each ballast bag along with the sea anchor will create maximum stability in high seas. A fluorescent international/SOLAS orange canopy with SOLAS grade retro-reflective tape on the canopy as well as the bottom of the raft will make the raft highly visible in an emergency rescue at sea. Manufactured with a SOLAS grade fabric, the life raft is extremely durable and ensures longevity.

Viking, one of the world's largest manufacturers of marine safety equipment for over 40 years, has earned a reputation for quality and dependability.
To follow Scott and Pamela's adventure, visit

Contact Viking Life-Saving Equipment, 1400 NW 159th St, Suite 101, Miami, FL 33169. Phone: 305-614-5800; Fax: 305-614-5810.;

New Coast Guard statistics show most boaters who drown were not wearing life jackets

WASHINGTON U.S. Coast Guard statistics released this week indicate 86 percent of all boaters who drowned in 2003 were not wearing life jackets. In addition, alcohol involvement was a contributing factor in approximately one third of all reported recreational boating fatalities.

More than 95 percent of boat owners report having enough life jackets onboard for all their passengers, however 66 percent of them do not wear their lifejackets every time they go out, according to a Coast Guard study conducted in 2001 and 2002 involving more than 25,000 recreational boaters.

"Boaters need to be responsible for the safety of themselves, their passengers and other boaters," stressed Rear Adm. J.W. Underwood, U.S. Coast Guard director for operations policy. "This means not only having life jackets on board but requiring your passengers to wear them all the time. You never know when an accident will happen that will prevent you from reaching for and putting on that lifejacket."

The statistics also show the leading contributing factors in boating accidents are operator inattention, carelessness/reckless operation, operator inexperience, and excessive speed. Eighty percent of those who died were onboard boats whose operators had not received boating safety instruction.
"There are still far too many deaths, injuries and accidents," he continued. "The key is education, which is why the Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety has joined forces with a number of recreational boating safety partners to launch our 'You're in Command. Be Responsible. Boat Safely!' initiative."

Recreational boating fatalities were down 6 percent from the previous year, continuing a 12-year downward trend. The 13 million registered boats in 2003 represent two million more registered boats on America's waterways than 12 years ago.

The new statistics are posted on the Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety website at and include statistics broken down by state.

For additional information boaters can visit or call the U.S. Coast Guard Infoline at 1-800-368-5647.

CQ CQ CQ Any Station Any Station Any Station
The Auxiliary is looking for Amateur Radio Operators
By Wayne Spivak - KC2NJV
National Press Corps
US Coast Guard Auxiliary

Photo by Ron Tomo - KE2UK

To an individual involved in Amateur Radio, also known as Ham Radio, the letters CQ sent via voice or Morse Code is a request by the sender to talk to anyone listening on the frequency. Simply, the sending party is looking for a pleasant conversation. Conversation is what Ham Radio is all about, whether it’s with someone down the block, across town or on the other side of the world.

The USCG Auxiliary is calling, and we're looking for a dialogue with those citizens who are or want to be Ham Radio Operators. Like every other emergency based service, the Coast Guard operates every day, in good weather and in bad. We, in the USCG Auxiliary, operate whether there is power to operate the normal modes of communication, such as phones, or whether the weather is bad, and the normal means of communications are out of service.

For more information, contact your local Auxiliary Flotilla ( You can make contact by either calling your local Coast Guard Station ( or finding the Flotilla on the web at our Flotilla Finder:

U.S. Proposes Ban on Killing Sharks

Currently, there are few international restrictions on shark fishing, and the U.S. has taken steps to ban the killing of sharks for their fins. The government has requested a reduction in the number of fishing vessels allowed to hunt sharks, and has requested that more data be collected on shark populations.
These announcements were made by the U.S. at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) that was recently held in New Orleans.

"I think that sharks have been abused over the last 10 years," say William Hograth, the Director of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. "We haven't managed sharks in a very sustainable manner."

Shark finning is the act of cutting off the shark's fin and throwing the carcass overboard. Fins are a delicacy in Asia and command a high price. Therefore, many fishermen catch the sharks, cutoff their fins and throw the body overboard to save space and weight on the vessels.

The demand for shark fins has increased, and the United Nations estimates that more than 100 million sharks are killed each year. Even worse, in a study by Dalhousie University last year, marine scientists estimate that 90 percent of the world's large fish, including sharks, have disappeared since 1950.

Boat U.S. Foundation Makes Funding Available For Clean Water Grants

The BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is seeking nonprofit groups to help educate mariners about good environmental habits with grants of up to $4,000 for clean boating projects. Clean Water grants are designed to educate boaters on issues such as petroleum pollution prevention, pumpout education, and littering prevention. Although all clean boating education proposals will be considered, the 2005 "focus topic" is on reducing the spread of aquatic nuisance species, with extra consideration given to proposals that address the issue.

"Boaters who trailer their boats can inadvertently transfer non native plants, fish, and other species from one body of water to another," explains Margaret Podlich, environmental director for the BoatU.S. Foundation. "When alien species are spread to new waters, they can devastate the native ecosystem. We are looking for proposals that educate boaters about practical habits to prevent the further spread of invasive species - for example, zebra mussels in middle America, purple loosestrife in the Great Lakes or even the infamous snakehead in Maryland."

Last year's grant program received 62 proposals. Of these, 19 projects in 15 states were selected for funding. To view previous grant projects, learn more about aquatic nuisance species, or download a 2005 application, please visit Applications must be e-mailed or postmarked by midnight February 1, 2005.

The BoatU.S Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit education and research organization primarily funded by the voluntary contributions of 575,000 members of BoatU.S., the nation's largest recreational boat owners association. The Foundation has more than a dozen programs including the only accredited, free, online general boating safety course, a low-cost EPIRB rental program, the "Help Stop the Drops" clean fueling campaign, a free kid's Life Jacket Loaner program, and grants for nonprofit groups for boating safety and environmental projects.


Feb 11th from 1800 TO 2200 Bert Foster and Cliff Black (Regional Area Judge for Area K) are holding an advanced rules seminar at Wayzata Yacht Club, MN.

This course is designed for more advanced competitors, ie "intermediate level" (3-5 years racing as tactician) who want to move up to "Black Diamond level" and "Black Diamond level" who want to move up to "Double Black Diamond level".

Students in this seminar are expected to have a good working knowledge of Part 2 (When Boats Meet) of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) and want to go further to understand US Sailing interruptions of the rules themselves and how the "Appeals Decisions" impact what you can and can't do on the race course.

This Seminar will also cover the "Changes" in the RRS for 2005. The WYC is delighted to have Cliff Black, a very experienced senior US Sailing Judge, come from Chicago for this seminar.

This seminar is $40. Send check to Wayzata Yacht Club, Steve Bren, PO Box 585, Wayzata, MN 55391 or call 612-839-7386

February 12 & 13

This is for sailors who have an interest in becoming a US Sailing Judge. You will have the opportunity to take the workshop and the test. The workshop will be given by Cliff Black and another US Sailing Judge.

A US SAILING Judge is qualified to judge any local or regional event in the US. To be certified as a Judge, one has demonstrated a thorough knowledge and understanding of the current racing rules, and the protest process. They also must possess judicial temperament, a reputation for mature judgment and have an outstanding reputation for integrity. Additional requirements include experience in race management and significant experience as a racing sailor. Judges must attend a workshop and pass a written test prior to becoming a judge and again each time they re-certify. Judges are certified for a four year period. For more info see

Judge candidate fee is $40. Mail your check with your personal information, to: Wayzata Yacht Club, Steve Bren, PO Box 585, Wayzata, MN 55391 or call 612-839-7386

Ocean Sail Racing Crewmembers are Dedicated PFD Users

Crew members of the racing sloop Blue Yankee with their Orca Gear lifejackets. Photo courtesy of Meghan Sepe Photography

In May of 2002, tragedy struck the crew of the ocean racing sloop Blue Yankee when Captain Jamie Boeckel died after falling overboard during the 57th Storm Trysail Club's Block Island race. He was thrown from the bow when the spinnaker pole broke as he was completing a spinnaker change. Neither Boeckel nor the crewman who dove in after him was wearing personal floatation devices. These days, the entire crew wears Float Tech lifejackets from Orca Gear.

The patent-pending Float Tech lifejacket is a comfortable, lightweight, all-season jacket combined with the safety of a fully functional lifejacket, currently under USCG review as a Type V. Upon immersion in water, its zip-in, inflatable liner activates automatically within 3 to 5 seconds. And it has two manual-backup inflation systems.

The jacket shell material is waterproof, breathable nylon and features a hidden hood and zip-off sleeves to accommodate changes in season. The inflatable liner fully zips out, and will be compatible with other Float Tech-style jackets and shells in the future.

Steve Benjamin is a frequent helmsman and tactician of top offshore racing yachts. He's also a ten-time national champion sailor, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the 470 Class, and the 1980 world champion in the 505 Class. He said, "The Float Tech lifejacket is simply amazing! It exceeds the versatility and comfort needs of the competitive racing sailor, while acknowledging the aesthetic and functionality needs of the recreational boater. It's about time, and I love it"!

Orca Gear was recently a recipient of the Freeman K. Pittman Editor's Choice award as Top Gear for 2004 by Sail magazine. To learn more about this unique lifesaving device, visit

Milwaukee Community Sailing Center to Honor Lakefront Leader at Sailor’s Ball

David Lubar, founder and chairman of Lake Express, will receive the Lakefront Leadership Award at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center’s (MCSC) Sailor’s Ball. The award is given in celebration and honor of Lake Express’ significant contribution to the promotion of Milwaukee’s lakefront.
For more than a quarter of a century MCSC has provided opportunities for all Milwaukee-area residents to explore the lakefront and the waters of Lake Michigan.

This year MCSC has created a new award, the MCSC Lakefront Leadership Award to honor an individual or organization that demonstrates creativity and responsibility in the promotion of Milwaukee’s lakefront and the waters of Lake Michigan through economic, educational, ecological or cultural endeavors.

This year, MCSC is pleased to honor David Lubar and Lake Express, which operates the first U.S.-built high-speed auto ferry, expressing passengers and cars between Milwaukee and Muskegon, Michigan. The award will be presented at MCSC’s Sailor’s Ball on March 5, 2005, an annual fundraiser that benefits the Sailing Center’s Youth and Disabled Programs, and facility improvements.

MCSC knows that the best way to protect our precious lake is to have a community that appreciates and values her. With the creation of the Lakefront Leadership Award MCSC strives to bring care and promotion of Milwaukee’s most valuable natural resource into the public eye. “Lake Express gives Milwaukee residents another opportunity to enjoy Lake Michigan in a safe and environmentally-friendly way. It is a welcome addition to our lakefront and David Lubar deserves a great deal of credit for having the vision to bring high-speed ferry service to Milwaukee,” says John Galanis, chairman of the Sailing Center’s Steering committee.

David Lubar remarked, “on behalf of Lake Express and all our associates, I am thrilled to receive this award from the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. In our inaugural year there were thousands and thousands of leisure and business travelers, with cars, motorcycles, and bikes as well as on foot who took the ferry as part of their leisure and business pursuits. Lake Express saved them time and stress by providing a fun, fast and easy means of crossing Lake Michigan to gain access to the tremendous natural resources and activities available on both sides of Lake Michigan.”

MCSC strives to expose people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to the joys of Milwaukee’s most valuable natural resource. Thousands of adults and children have learned to sail through affordable MCSC classes. MCSC also provides a fleet of nearly 80 sailboats for use in its classes and open sailing. MCSC further serves the community through sailing scholarships for at-risk youth and specially equipped boats for people with disabilities.

The Sailor’s Ball has been known for years as Milwaukee’s “fun” ball. This year’s theme, Lakefront Luau, promises even more. Rather than a conventional sit-down dinner, there will be a series of galley stations, an exciting silent auction, island-style entertainment, music and decorations. Guests are encouraged to wear themed costumes or casual attire to the ball held on March 5, 2005 at the Italian Community Center.

For Sailor’s Ball ticket and sponsorship information call 414-277-9094 or log on to