Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy New Year

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What Were They Thinking?

Okay, let’s all think this through before we make a quick decision.


  • We have an 18 foot sailboat named Cielo.
  • We have no sailing experience.
  • We have very little food and water.
  • We have no reliable source of communication.
  • However, we do have a cell phone.
  • It is night, approximately 9 pm.
  • There is a small craft warning in place and heavy seas and gale force winds are expected.
  • But we don’t know that because we didn’t check the weather.

Okay folks, we’ve made our list and checked it twice. I think we are ready.

All in favor say aye! The vote is unanimous.

We are leaving Mayport, Florida and headed for Jamaica.

If you think the above scenario sounds preposterous, think again, it is exactly what happened in early December. Luckily, once again it was the U. S. Coast Guard along with vessels in the area monitoring the ongoing rescue, that led to a happy ending rather than a potential disaster.

The Coast Guard is using this case as an example to educate all mariners that being prepared for possible maritime emergencies will save your life. The close coordination between good Samaritan vessels, Coast Guard operation watchstanders and rescue crews were pivotal in the successful rescue of these boaters. Always have a working VHF radio aboard your vessel and monitor it continually. Before ever getting underway, assess the risks, check the weather and file a float plan. Being prepared will save your life.

To read the whole story go to:

For more information on boating and boating safety visit

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Test Your Own Nautical Know How – The Answer

On December 18, 2009 an article was published featuring the barkentine, Gazela, sailing vessel.

Toward the end of that article the question was posed: “What are those furry, caterpillar looking things attached to the rigging called?”

Frank correctly identified the purpose but not the nautical name.

“Baggy Wrinkle” is chafing gear fashioned out of old hemp rope and wound on the mast shrouds to protect the sails from damage.

Below, Boston University Students are learning to make Baggy Wrinkle.

The above photo is courtesy of Vernon Doucette, Boston University. It was taken during the BU Summer Term 2000 Program, Maritime History in the Atlantic World, conducted aboard Tall Ship Rose in August, 2000. For more on the Rose visit

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Risk of Collision – How Do You Know?

When two power-driven vessels are in sight of one another and the possibility of collision exists, one vessel is designated by the rules as the stand-on vessel and the other is designated as the give-way vessel. The stand-on vessel should maintain its course and speed. The give-way vessel must take early and substantial action to avoid collision.

If it becomes apparent that the actions taken (or not taken) by the give-way vessel are dangerous or insufficient, the stand-on vessel must act to avoid collision.

So, how do you know a risk of collision exists? An example: your boat and another boat are on a course with a constant bearing but a decreasing range. You are both heading to the same point at the same speed. The risk of collision exists if neither of you alter course and/or speed.

To see this in action watch the following video. After watching, let me know,  in the comments section, who should have been the stand-on vessel and who should have been the give-way vessel.  Also, what rules of the road were violated?


Filed under Boat Operation, Boating Safety, Boating Trivia Contest, Navigation

Happy Holidays!

By Chalto on Flickr

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Yard Patrol Craft – YP

If you read the December 14 post, “The Most Boats Win…and So Can You”, the question was asked “What does the YP in the YP class Navy vessels stand for?”

One of our readers, Todd, came up with the correct answer, Yard Patrol.

Todd, please send your snail mail address to me at and we will get your Nautical Know How “BoatSafe” tee-shirt on its way to you.

Meanwhile some further information on the Yard Patrol Craft follows courtesy of the United States Navy Fact Sheet.

Yard Patrol craft are used for training and for research purposes.

The YPs are used to teach familiarization with water craft, Basic Damage Control and underway instruction of Basic to Advanced Seamanship and Navigation. Yard Patrol craft provide realistic, at-sea training in navigation and seamanship for midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and candidates at Officer Candidate School, Pensacola, Fla. These craft can cruise for 1400 nautical miles at 12 knots for five days without refueling.

The YPs are used at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, Wash., to measure mobile underwater target and torpedo radiated noise plus ambient water noise conditions; serve as a platform for deployment of suspended, stationary, in-water acoustic targets during on-range torpedo proof and test operations; deployment of countermeasure emulator during torpedo operations; and deployment of oceanographic measurement instrumentation to determine seawater conductivity and temperature at the depth(s) of interest.

The new Training Patrol Craft (YP) are designated the YP 703 class. The general craft characteristics of the YP 703 class emphasize habitability, training areas, hull structure, integrated bridge, maneuverability, propulsion plant configuration, and, for training purposes only, simulated Underway Replenishment. The main and auxiliary systems and electronics are state-of-the art, Commercial-Off-The-Shelf equipment. Design, construction, and selection of systems, sub-systems, and equipment along with associated software are consistent with reduced Total Ownership Cost and shall facilitate system maintenance and periodic upgrades.

The primary mission of the Training Patrol Craft (YP) is to provide the midshipmen professional training course with practical training afloat on a robust platform to conduct professional development in a safe shipboard environment equipped with systems essential to modern seamanship and navigation. Such training is designed to develop within midshipmen the abilities of an Officer-of the Deck, a proficiency in navigation, and a working knowledge of afloat operations.

General Characteristics, YP 676 and YP 696 classes
Primary Function: Training.
Builder: Peterson Builders (YP 676 through 682)
Marinette Marine (YP 683 through 700)
Differences between the YP 676 class and the YP 696 class are only minor configuration changes.
Propulsion: 12V-71N Detroit diesel engines, 2 propellers, horsepower rating 437 shaft horsepower @ 2,100 RPM.
Length: Overall: 108 feet (32.9 meters); Waterline Length: 102 feet (31.1 meters).
Beam: 24 feet (7.3 meters).
Draft: 8 feet (1.9 meters).
Speed: 12 knots (19.6 km/hr).
Range: 1800 nautical miles (3300 km).
Hull Material: Wood hull, aluminum superstructure.
Crew: Officers: 2 Enlisted: 4; Safe Capacity: 50 people.

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The end is near for Loran

A single signature, which may come at any moment, could end Loran-C, and eLoran, in the U.S.A. for good, starting next month…

President Obama has signed the DHS appropriations bill with the Loran shut down clause, the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant certified that termination of Loran-C will not adversely impact maritime navigation, and the only step remaining is for Secretary Napolitano to agree.

Read more.

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More on Maritime Pilots

If you found the article “What is a Maritime Pilot?” interesting, here is another article on bar pilots in San Francisco.

“Being on the Jacob’s ladder, hanging off the side of a moving, 900-foot-long container ship. … Well, let’s say that it still gets my heart pumping after 23 years,” said Miller, a member of the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association.

Piloting a freighter or an oil tanker across San Francisco Bay isn’t easy. First, there are the shallow waters, strong currents and shifting shoals. Then there are the underwater wrecks, cables and other obstructions capable of peeling back a ship’s hull.

The maritime industry considers the bay one of the most challenging places to work, and piloting there is not for the faint of heart. It takes years of technical training followed by even more years as an apprentice.

Read more.

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Test Your Own Nautical Know How

Gazela under sail

The barkentine, Gazela, was built in the shipyard of J. M. Mendes in Setubal, Portugal. Her records, as she now stands, date from 1901 but there is good evidence that many of the timbers used in her construction are from the ship Gazella (spelled with two Ls) which was built in 1883. Portugese stone pine is the primary wood used in her hull and decks while the masts and spars are of Douglas fir.

What are those furry, caterpillar looking things attached to the rigging called?

For more information on the Gazella and the Jupiter tugboat, both of which belong to the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild, visit their website. (No, you won’t find the answer there.)


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Winter Boat Shows

2010 Austin Boat Show Set for Jan. 14-17 at Austin Convention Center.

The 30th annual Charleston Boat Show will be held Jan. 22-24 at the North Charleston Convention Center.

The 69th annual Miami International Boat Show takes place Feb 11-15.

Sail America, the Northern California Marine Association and the Port of Oakland reached an agreement to hold Strictly Sail Pacific April 15-18 at Jack London Square in Oakland.

NMMA shows in 2010: Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show, Jan. 13-17; Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow, Jan. 20-24; and the St. Louis Boat & Sportshow, Feb. 10-14.

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