Sailing News

Dan Fisher and Ryan sailing the WindRider 17 in the ADA Regatta on Medicine Lake. Photo by Guy Grafius

WindRider Becomes A Minnesota Company
Confluence Spins Off WindRider

Confluence Holdings Corp., the world’s premier paddlesports company, announced that it completed the sale of the assets of its WindRider trimaran sailing line to WindRider LLC registered in Plymouth, Minnesota on October 7, 2005. Terms of the sale were undisclosed.

“With the sale of the WindRider, product line we will be able to concentrate on our core business of designing and manufacturing the best canoes, kayaks, and paddlesports accessories on the market,” Richard Feehan, CEO, Confluence.

“WindRider is a unique product that makes sailing safe, fun and accessible for anyone.” said Don Maxwell, managing partner of WindRider LLC and technical advisor and director of research and development. “We look forward to picking up where Confluence left off in developing WindRider into the most popular sailing trimarans in the world.”

WindRider LLC has acquired all WindRider assets, including the brand name, molds, designs, and intellectual properties.

Operating out of Sandstone, MN, WindRider plans to market and develop new models, upgrade and refine the current line, and provide parts and service for all previous WindRider models.

About WindRider LLC

WindRider LLC is a new venture started by WindRider sailing enthusiast Don Maxwell. WindRider is located at 214 Eagle Drive, Sandstone, MN 55072. For more information visit and and 800-311-SAIL will be transferred from Confluence to WindRider LLC in the upcoming weeks.

New Lifejacket Law for Children in Minnesota

Q: Minnesota lawmakers recently passed a lifejacket law requiring kids under 10 years old to wear a lifejacket while in a boat. What are the reasons for and specifics of the new law?

A: Children not wearing a life jacket in a serious boating accident where they enter the water have a greatly reduced chance of survival. Because they’re not as strong as adults, their swimming skills are limited, hypothermia occurs much faster in a smaller body mass, and kids are generally less able to deal with the physical and emotional stress of an emergency situation. The new law requires children under 10 years old to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating unless they are in a commercial vessel with a licensed captain, or the boat is anchored and being used as a platform for swimming or diving. DNR conservation officers have been rewarding kids who they observe wearing their life vests with a certificate for a free Dairy Queen treat. That program will continue this summer.

Tim Smalley, DNR Boat & Water Safety Specialist

Incandescent vs. LED Trailer Lights

Not All LEDs
Are Created Equal

The lights on boat trailers take a lot of abuse. They are exposed to the elements, regularly submerged in fresh water and saltwater, and subjected to bad roads and rough boat ramps. It is not unusual for lenses to crack and break or for lights to burn out. When replacing or repairing trailer lights, it is important for boat owners to remember that not all trailer lights are created equally - particularly when comparing standard incandescent lights to the newer light emitting diode (LED) lights that are available today.

ShoreLand’r, a leading manufacturer of boat trailers has researched the advantages and disadvantages of both technologies and offers consumers these insights and suggestions when purchasing a new trailer or replacement lights for an existing trailer.

All vehicle and trailer lights have to meet minimum standards for light intensity, direction and reflectivity as outlined by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 and administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT). They also must have the ability to withstand environmental elements such as dust, moisture, corrosion and vibration. Most of the leading light manufacturers have had years to develop incandescent lights that meet these standards. However, this does not apply to LED lights and not all the new LED trailer lights offered today meet the DOT standard.
“Shoreland’r is closely watching LED light technology and we are waiting for the DOT to establish specific standards for LEDs,” says Butch Williams, Shoreland’r sales representative. “Currently, the LED lights that match or exceed the quality and performance of incandescent lights are significantly more expensive.”

There are high quality LED lights designed for use on boat trailers, but they are more expensive and customers typically do not want to pay the additional cost to have them installed. Many LED replacement lights fail to meet the DOT standards and could result in unsafe operation of the trailer. The safety and reliability of a LED lamp depends on the type of diode and the hermetic seal used in the manufacture of the lamp. A higher number of diodes will not necessarily result in a brighter light output, but the number of diodes combined with the lens optics work together to assure the proper light output at the proper direction.

Several LED lighting manufacturers design their lamps to exceed minimum standards by 25 percent for safety reasons during real world use when dust and grime on the lens can significantly affect light performance. Lens design is another issue that is just as important as the LED used because an LED diode is directional, like a headlight beam of a car. The light output must be directed by the optic design of the lens to cover all the zones required by law.

In order for LEDs to work properly in a marine environment, the diodes must be hermetically sealed from the elements and this can be accomplished by several methods. The most reliable method is to encapsulate the circuit board and LED diodes in a potting material that is impervious to the marine environment. Even the sealing techniques used in sealed incandescent lamps do not ensure a hermetic seal capable of matching the life expectancy of a LED lamp.

The long life expectancy of a LED lamp means that better technology and greater care must be taken during the design and production of the lamp. This translates into a higher initial cost but lower replacement costs over the life of the trailer. Remember that just like a sealed incandescent lamp, the entire sealed LED lamp must be replaced if there is a problem with the unit, and the replacement cost is much higher than an incandescent
LED’s continued lamp. For these reasons, it is important to choose a LED lamp that is built to the most severe standards. Do not assume all LED lamps are equal.

There are some distinct advantages to LED lights such as lower amperage draw, instant-on capability for quicker reaction time and the ability to integrate features like flash, strobe and synchronization without any external switching systems. However, the trailer experts at ShoreLand’r point out that the advancement from incandescent to LED diodes is a huge leap in technology that is similar to going from analog to digital. Adapting the application of LEDs to boat trailers will take more time and study to perfect.

“Boat owners will benefit from LED technology in the near future, but they should be very cautious about replacing their current incandescent trailer lights until these issues are resolved,” says Williams.

For more info visit or call 800-859-3028.

Sharpie "Charlevoix" Shines at Annapolis Sailboat Show

Michigan Builder First Offers Charlevoix Sharpie
At Annapolis Sailboat Show

A formerly "quiet little boat company" recently made a new splash, and in a big way, with the debut of its 32-foot sharpie ketch "Charlevoix" at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis on October 6.

Lakeland Boatworks, Inc. of Middleville, Michigan has produced a sharpie ketch with a modern "retro" design featuring more extensive cruising comfort capabilities than sharpies reminiscent of the turn of the century. The Charlevoix was featured in Capitol Entertainment magazine and on a local television station as one of eight new and innovative boats to be viewed at the boat show.

Lakeland Boatworks has been manufacturing wood/epoxy recreational boats from 16 to 32 feet for two years now, and their product line has been significantly enhanced by the completion of their newest creation, the "Charlevoix", a 32-foot sharpie ketch featuring an arc bottom amidships with deadrise increasing toward stem and stern. This increases displacement for stability but doesn't significantly affect wetted area for speed. With draft at a little over two feet with the centerboard up, the Charlevoix can explore inland waters as well as the larger lakes and islands. Unlike most sharpies, this model offers a little more headroom and an unobstructed galley, since the centerboard is placed well forward, and the 8-foot beam makes this vessel trailerable like all Lakeland models. The 9-foot lounging cockpit and 12-foot port and double starboard berths make the Charlevoix the perfect day-sailer or a relaxing weekender.
Lakeland Boatworks, Inc. has created the Charlevoix utilizing an internship program in conjunction with the University of Michigan Naval Architecture and Marine Design School, and they manufacture seven models of recreational watercraft of their own design. In addition, the company offers extensive wooden boat restoration services. Lakeland is planning to expand its manufacturing capabilities with construction of an 18,000 sq. ft. industrial facility in the summer of 2006.
The company was founded by its president, L. Joseph Rahn. Rahn is a certified U.S. Small Business Administration consultant and served several years on the Board of Examiners of both state and national Quality Leadership Award programs.
Michael O'Brien, Lakeland's' Great Lakes Vice President of Sales and Marketing, is a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Master Captain and a lifelong sailor and racer.
The "Charlevoix," hull number one, was launched in August 2005, and her maiden voyage and reception took place at Harbor Springs, Michigan. She was also featured at the Hessel Wooden boat Show in Les Cheneaux that same week.

Lakeland Boatworks can be reached at: (269) 795-9441, or at their web site: Their E-mail address is:

Seaworthy Magazine Looks at Five Shocking Years of Lightning Strike Claims Data

There may not be much a boater can do to prevent lightning from striking their vessel, but there is an important step to take immediately after a jolt hits, according to the July 2005 issue of Seaworthy magazine, the quarterly BoatU.S. Marine Insurance and damage avoidance report. In “Lightning! Flash, BANG! Your Boat’s Been Hit- Now What?”, Associate Editor Chuck Fort reviewed five years of lightning strike claims data from the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance claims files. What he found might surprise or confirm your suspicions about lightning strikes.
The feature reports that in any one year the odds of your boat being struck by lightning is about 1.2 in 1,000, with 33% of all lightning claims coming from the sunshine state, Florida. The second most struck area in the country was the Chesapeake Bay region (29%), while on the opposite side, 13 states had no lightning-related claims, including states such as Idaho and Nebraska.
The rate of lightning strikes for sailboats was about four boats per 1,000, while motorboats averaged 0.5 per 1,000. A surprise finding was that multi-hulled sailboats were struck more than twice as often as monohulls.
Interestingly, the files also showed that many boats equipped with lightning dissipaters were also hit, questioning their effectiveness. Most electronics aboard a boat were found not damaged by a direct hit but rather from surging electrical current created in the wiring by the strike.
While the story explains that some vessels can have little or no damage after a strike, an immediate short-haul is a must. The reason is that when lightning exits your boat, it can go through the hull itself or via a through-hull fitting. This may cause a gradual leak that could go unnoticed.

Oftentimes boaters don’t know their unattended vessel has been struck or suffered collateral damage as the result of a nearby strike. The article reviews a claim in which lightning damage was found only after an amber LED light lit up on a battery charger - a light the owner had never seen before - and his depth sounder quit. Sometimes a damaged or missing VHF antenna is the
only clue that an unattended boat has been struck. Fort also mentions that most vessels are not electrically bonded according to American Boat & Yacht Council lightning protection standards. Boats built to these construction standards offer a more direct pathway for lightning to exit a vessel.

If you’d like to get your own copy, get a subscription for only $10/year by going to services