Sailing News

Public Comment Sought On Fate Of Long Range Navigation System

The land based navigation system maybe decommissioned later this year
The Coast Guard Auxiliary wants to inform all mariners that the US Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, is seeking public input on the fate of the Long Range Navigation System, otherwise known as LORAN-C.

The land based navigation system, operated by the US Coast Guard, may be scheduled for decommissioning later this year. At question is whether the system should be decommissioned, maintained “as is,” or up-graded to an enhanced LORAN system (eLORAN), which could be used either as a back-up to the GPS (Global Position Satellite) System, or a complimentary system to GPS.

The public is invited to submit their thoughts and comments, which must be received on or by February 7th of this year. To learn how to submit those comments, visit, or call the U.S. Coast Guard Info line at 1-800-368-5647.

Last Call To Apply For Boat U.S. Foundation Clean Water Grants
Deadline is February 1, 2007

Don’t miss out - the deadline for non-profit groups to apply for BoatU.S. Foundation grant funds of up to $4,000 for projects that educate boaters about clean water issues and environmental stewardship is February 1, 2007.
While applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that strive to improve the marine environment, projects involving the reduction of trash and other marine debris in our waterways will receive extra consideration this year.
Susan Shingledecker, Environmental Program Manager for the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, said, “Eighty percent of all marine debris - such as plastic bottles, cigarette butts, automobile tires and industrial waste - starts out on land and ends up in the water. Not only is it unpleasant to look at, but the trash can significantly harm marine life as well as be a navigational hazard. The easiest way to reduce marine debris is to prevent it from reaching the water in the first place.”

The 2006 Clean Water Grant program received 65 proposals. Of these, 18 projects in 14 states were selected for funding for a total of nearly $50,000 in grant funds. To view previous grant projects or learn more about marine debris, please visit or call Shingledecker at 703-461-2878, ext. 8358. Applications must be submitted electronically or postmarked by midnight February 1, 2007.

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 the 670,000 members of BoatU.S. The Foundation operates 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” national clean fueling campaign, a free kid’s Life Jacket Loaner Program, and has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for nonprofit groups for boating safety and environmental projects.

Walker goes to 10 years on hull warranty

Yakima, Wash.-based Walker Bay Boats extended its factory-backed warranty on all injection molded hulls, including the Original and Genesis lines, to 10 years.

“We have put the hulls through rigorous testing and have even hit [them] with a sledge hammer and driven over them with a truck to illustrate the extremes [they] can withstand as opposed to aluminum or fiberglass hulls,” Michael Carroll, director of marketing for Walker Bay Boats, said in a statement. “Although we don’t expect or warranty our hulls against sledge hammers and trucks, we are confident that our hulls are going to be around for many years.”
Walker Bay boats uses an injection molding process to build its boats. UV-protected polypropylene resin is precisely measured before being injected with a massive force of more than 8,000 tons into a mold that can weigh up to 82 tons.

It is then cooled to take the shape of the mold. The one-piece hull has no seams or joints to crack or leak, which contributes to its impact-resistance and durability, said the company.

This warranty is specific to the injection-molded hull — not to the components and accessories. Those items have separate warranties that are described in the owner manuals.

Search for Woman in Atlantic Ocean Suspended

A massive search of the Atlantic Ocean by U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard assets for the daughter of hockey great Bob Gainey has ended. The aerial search was suspended, three days after she was swept overboard in the Atlantic during a storm. The 25 year old woman, Laura Gainey, was working on the tall sailing ship “Picton Castle,” headed for the Caribbean. The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday evening that it was suspending its search efforts. A Canadian Coast Guard aircraft which had been swapping shifts with the U.S. Coast Guard, also ended its search on Monday.

U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard C-130 aircraft scoured an area of 3,175 square miles, using specific grid patterns, night vision, infrared sensors and radar during the operation. The Coast Guard also advised that computer models estimated Gainey's likely survival time to be about 36 hours. The search for Gainey finally came to an end around noon yesterday when the tall ship Picton Castle also ended its efforts.

Montreal Canadians general manager Bob Gainey issued a statement thanking searchers. A star in his playing days and a member of the hockey Hall of Fame, Gainey’s teams won five Stanley Cups with Montreal during his 16-year career. He also won a championship as general manager of the Dallas Stars. His wife, Cathy, died of brain cancer in 1995 at 39.

Coast Guard Drops Plans for Live Fire Training

In an important victory for boaters across the Great Lakes, the Coast Guard has withdrawn its proposal to establish 34 permanent zones for live machine-gun training on the water.

Opposition to the plan was formidable. The Great Lakes Boating Federation, the advocacy voice for 4.3 million boaters, over eighty mayors and more than a dozen environmental groups all asked for an end-or substantial changes, at least-to the project, which would have sent 430,000 lead bullets raining into the water and militarized the tranquil waters of one of our greatest and most pristine national resources.

While the Coast Guard did plan to make ship-to-shore announcements of training activities, boaters and many others were wary about the effectiveness of the warning system and were concerned about the safety of boaters. With no contingency warning system in place, there seemed to be no way to ensure boaters' safety in the event of a real threat.

The Coast Guard began live-fire training earlier this year, conducting 24 exercises before a public outcry forced a suspension. Since then, the Coast Guard has held a number of public hearings in order to consider the concerns and worries of citizens. Complaints, resolutions in opposition, even lawsuits followed.

“Boaters remain respectful of the need for increased security measures to protect our waters and our shoreline,” said F. Ned Dikmen, Chairman of the Great Lakes Boating Federation, “but we are relieved that this proposal has been repealed. It's good to see that the Coast Guard is responsive to the concerns of boaters and that the Great Lakes basin, which has been a tranquil haven for generations, will not be militarized.”

Congress Approves Offshore Oil & Gas Development affecting the Florida Keys

In the waning hours of the 2006 lame duck Congress, a bill was approved to open up 6 million acres of oil and gas drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, otherwise know as Lease Sale 181. Reef Relief and many Floridians opposed this. The legislation was added to major tax legislation that passed by a large margin. Some interpreted this as a win because it establishes a ban on drilling 125 miles off Florida’s West coast. Also, President Bush has revoked his previous protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska, while not mentioning the Keys, which is still under his Presidential moratoria. However, if this Congressional bill is signed into law by the President, it will have the effect of revoking his current ban.

Several oil drilling bills were filed during the current Congress. The most onerous was a House bill by Richard Pombo, which was defeated. However, a less expansive, but still dangerous bill was introduced by Florida Senators Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson that will allowed drilling in Lease Sale 181, an area where the Gulf Loop Current would carry any routine but still very toxic drilling muds right into the Lower Florida Keys and then up our reef tract. The two bills were never reconciled and the House of Representatives finally took action to pass the Senate bill. It was pulled from the House on December 5th when it became clear to Republicans that they did not have the necessary two-thirds majority votes, but added as a rider to the tax bill days later. The political climate has changed since elections and what seemed a certainty earlier may no longer be, so hopefully, the next Congress will approve moratoria language that would have the effect of not funding this part of the bill. Presidential and Congressional moratoriums have protected this area for over 25 years for good reason. In addition, the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service has included this area in its current Five Year Plan. So further efforts will be needed to monitor this issue and continue to resist efforts to open up Florida to tarballs on our beaches and oil slicks on our mangroves and coral reefs.

For more background on the issue, go to

DNR Finds Eurasian Watermilfoil in 11 New Lakes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed the discovery of Eurasian watermilfoil in 11 new lakes, all but one of which are within 50 miles of the Twin Cities.
Eurasian watermilfoil, or simply milfoil, is now in 188 bodies of water in the state since it was discovered in the late 1980s. The majority of infested water bodies are in central and north-central Minnesota, according to Chip Welling, DNR Eurasian Watermilfoil Program coordinator.

Milfoil also has been discovered in Wisconsin in Superior Bay near the Barkers Island Marina. It is not known whether milfoil is growing near the Park Point public water access or other accesses on the Minnesota shore of Superior Bay or the Saint Louis River. To prevent further spread of milfoil to inland lakes near Duluth, boaters using these accesses are urged to be extra thorough when looking for and removing aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, nets, anchors and other equipment. It is unlawful in Minnesota to transport aquatic plants or prohibited invasive species on public roads or to launch watercraft with them attached.

The following lakes have been added to the list of Minnesota waters infested with invasive species: Lake Winona, Winona County; Maria or Little Mary and Emma lakes, Wright County; Fish Lake, Chisago County; Clear, Mud and Bone lakes, Washington County.

In addition, milfoil was discovered in four bodies of water with no public water access. They are Lucy Lake, Carver County; an un-named and unprotected lake in Washington County; Quarry Lake, Dakota County; and Lakewood Cemetery Pond, Hennepin County.

The full list of infested waters is available on the DNR Web site at

Despite finding more evidence of the plant’s spread, DNR officials said milfoil is still known in fewer than 200 lakes across the state, thanks to continued vigilance from boaters.

The DNR urges boaters to continue to take precautions to avoid spreading the plant.

Harken Celebrates 40 Years

Peter and Olaf Harken have always said, “Keep the well being of your people first.” And for 40 years, the brothers have done just that.

But Peter and Olaf have always expected certain things from their employees. They must be self starters, take pride in their work, figure things out on their own, and not be afraid to try new things. Of course, having fun is mandatory.
Back in the boat building days, we made the best dinghies in the world. However, comparing Harken / Vanguard to a college campus on Saturday night isn’t far off the mark. The beer machine opened at five and there were always reasons to party-boats shipping (sometimes at midnight), sailors arriving, holidays, birthdays, football, baseball, cold weather, hot weather. Building acoustics proved perfect for rehearsals of a local band. Most band members were also Vanguard employees until Olaf put his foot down and refused to hire any more drummers.

Many old-time employees have stayed to witness the company’s phenomenal growth, have married, and raised families. Today, Harken is still a great place to work-and play, with innovation and the development of breakthrough products to keep life interesting. Fun still plays a big part in company life: dress-up Halloweens, the family picnic (starring P & O and the dunk tank), and Sail Day featuring epic water fights using inventive delivery systems.
Until recently, some could say the principles that have guided Harken were ‘seat of the pants’ rules that were never written down in a formal way. Others know it was simply the fabric of our people. For our 40th year, we’ve documented these principles so our future goals are clear.

• Keep the well being of your people first!
• Make the best products at a fair price.
• Service your customers beyond their expectations.
• Never lose your sense of right or wrong, the basic judgment taught by your parents.

The Power of the Press

Bruce Kirby, Editor of One-Design and Offshore Yachtsman, writes tongue-in-cheek editorial arguing Harken ball bearing blocks are dangerous because they let the boom out so fast. Controversy brings great publicity.

All contents are copyright (c) 2007 by Northern Breezes, Inc. All information contained within is deemed reliable but carries no guarantees. Reproduction of any part or whole of this publication in any form by mechanical or electronic means, including information retrieval is prohibited except by consent of the publisher.