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Yacht Broker Institute Launches Online Yacht Broker Training Manual To Aid …

Yacht Broker Institute LLC, a training and employment referral company, announces a comprehensive online course named “Fundamentals and Essentials of Yacht Brokerage” for people who aspire to enter the world of yacht and boat sales. http://www.yachtbrokerinstitute.com

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA (PRWEB) February 29, 2012

Yacht Broker Institute LLC, (YBI – http://www.yachtbrokerinstitute.com) a Florida-based training and job referral company, announces the launch of “Fundamentals and Essentials for Yacht Brokers,” a comprehensive online training course for people wishing to become a yacht broker – the brokering of new and used boats and yachts around the world.

From professionals in search of a career change, sales people looking for a more flexible and potentially lucrative sales position, college graduates just entering the work world or Captains and crew looking to “come ashore.” The Online Course is a comprehensive body of knowledge covering all aspects of yacht brokerage and the boat sales transaction. The course covers everything from fiduciary responsibility, people involved in yacht sales transactions, the boat listing and selling process, writing and understanding boat purchase agreements, surveys and sea trials, the closing process and paperwork to technical overviews of construction and systems typically found on boats.

The company, founded by industry veterans Rae Whitt, former 14 year, Executive Director of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) and Kevin Ralph, the author and 25 year yacht brokerage veteran, President of Skywater Yachts LLC, allows entree into the potentially lucrative world of international yacht sales.

“While at the FYBA, I would get calls all the time from people who wanted to become yacht brokers,” Whitt states. “But until now there was no formal yacht sales training program available, effectively blocking entry for interested candidates.”

The 450 page “manual” includes over 150 samples of Charts, Illustrations, Forms and Checklists plus an extensive Dictionary and list of Acronyms. The online course, utilizes an E-Learning Management System, used by Colleges and Universities, for an interactive learning process.

“Not only is there a need for training for people looking to enter the industry,” says Ralph. “But there is currently a huge demand by companies looking to hire salespeople who are knowledgeable about yacht brokerage transactions and methodology. In this day and age, this online boat sales training course is truly a “win-win” scenario!”

The company states they already have several multi-location yacht brokerage companies that have agreed to hire graduates of the program through YBI’s referral program.

For more information on this exciting opportunity go to: http://www.yachtbrokerinstitute.com

# # #

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebyachtbrokerinstitute/boatsalestraining/prweb9215780.htm


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Boat reaches Costa cruise liner adrift off Seychelles

Costa allegra cruise ship

A fishing boat has reached an Italian cruise ship adrift in the Indian Ocean off the Seychelles with more than 1,000 people on board, officials told the BBC.

Authorities in the Seychelles say they sent two tug boats and a coast guard ship to the scene but the tugs are still some hours away.

A fire broke out in the generator room of the Italian cruise liner Costa Allegra, causing it to lose power. The ship is in an area where pirates remain active, around 200 miles south-west of the Seychelles and 20 miles from Alphonse Island, the Guardian reported.

It has no lights or air conditioning and an emergency generator providing communications “could fail at any minute”, the Italian coast guard told the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: Costa Allegra cruise liner in trouble off Seychelles

According to a company statement, none of the Allegra’s passengers or crew was hurt.

The ship is operated by Costa Cruises, which also owns the Costa Concordia, which recently capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32.

Italian coast guard commander Cosimo Nicastro told the BBC that the trawler – a French-registered ocean-going boat – could now maintain communications with rescue vessels if the ship’s emergency battery failed.

“At any moment we could lose communication,” Nicastro said. “The first step is to keep communications with the ship.”

More from GlobalPost: Italy, bravado and the Costa Concordia

The crew managed to extinguish the flames after “a few hours,” a commander from the Italian coast guard, which is monitoring the incident, told the BBC.

The fire left the Allegra unable to start her motors, prompting the crew to send a distress signal.

There are 636 passengers and 413 crew on board.

According to the Costa website, the Allegra set sail from Mauritius on Feb. 20, and was due to tour Madagascar and the Seychelles before making its way along the coast of east Africa back to Italy.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120227/boat-reaches-costa-cruise-liner-adrift-seychelles


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Yacht Broker Institute Launches Online Yacht Broker Training Manual To Aid …

Fundementals and Essentials for Yacht Brokers

“everything someone needs to know to enter the field of international yacht brokerage”.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA (PRWEB) February 29, 2012

Yacht Broker Institute LLC, (YBI – http://www.yachtbrokerinstitute.com) a Florida-based training and job referral company, announces the launch of “Fundamentals and Essentials for Yacht Brokers,” a comprehensive online training course for people wishing to become a yacht broker – the brokering of new and used boats and yachts around the world.

From professionals in search of a career change, sales people looking for a more flexible and potentially lucrative sales position, college graduates just entering the work world or Captains and crew looking to “come ashore.” The Online Course is a comprehensive body of knowledge covering all aspects of yacht brokerage and the boat sales transaction. The course covers everything from fiduciary responsibility, people involved in yacht sales transactions, the boat listing and selling process, writing and understanding boat purchase agreements, surveys and sea trials, the closing process and paperwork to technical overviews of construction and systems typically found on boats.

The company, founded by industry veterans Rae Whitt, former 14 year, Executive Director of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) and Kevin Ralph, the author and 25 year yacht brokerage veteran, President of Skywater Yachts LLC, allows entree into the potentially lucrative world of international yacht sales.

“While at the FYBA, I would get calls all the time from people who wanted to become yacht brokers,” Whitt states. “But until now there was no formal yacht sales training program available, effectively blocking entry for interested candidates.”

The 450 page “manual” includes over 150 samples of Charts, Illustrations, Forms and Checklists plus an extensive Dictionary and list of Acronyms. The online course, utilizes an E-Learning Management System, used by Colleges and Universities, for an interactive learning process.

“Not only is there a need for training for people looking to enter the industry,” says Ralph. “But there is currently a huge demand by companies looking to hire salespeople who are knowledgeable about yacht brokerage transactions and methodology. In this day and age, this online boat sales training course is truly a “win-win” scenario!”

The company states they already have several multi-location yacht brokerage companies that have agreed to hire graduates of the program through YBI’s referral program.

For more information on this exciting opportunity go to: http://www.yachtbrokerinstitute.com

# # #


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Spanish boat with 3 tons of cocaine seized

VIGO, Spain, Feb. 28 (UPI) — Spanish customs officials seized a fishing boat carrying more than 3 tons of cocaine Tuesday in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

The boat, the “Ratonero,” was carrying 90 bales of cocaine, which officials believe came from somewhere along the coast of Venezuela, ThinkSpain reported.

The boat’s owner and two crew members from the town of O Grove, and two crew members from Uruguay and Colombia were taken in, along with the boat, at the port of Vigo. All five men were arrested.


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Water & Wheels at Cape Harbour this weekend

“Water” stands for lots of big yachts and water activities, and “wheels” stands for plenty of classic cars.

The 6th Annual Water Wheels at Cape Harbour event begins Friday, March 2, and runs through Sunday, March 4. Admission to the family fun event is free and open to the public.

It is a weekend full of yachts, boats and classic cars, along with live music, food, a sunset dolphin cruise and more.

Cape Harbour Event Manager Glenda Swager said it is always one of Cape Coral’s premier events.

“We have a beautiful waterfront, we have beautiful yachts and many come to show and see classic cars,” Swager said. “That’s why we call it Water Wheels.”

She said the Harbour’s former marketing manager, Laura Straus, came up with the idea six year ago and each year it becomes more and more popular.

“She just wanted to add to the water and bring it to land, too,” Swager said. “We started talking to residents who have beautiful cars, and they got excited. Last year, we had more than 100 classic cars.”

They will be displayed in the parking lot right across from Rumrunners restaurant in the Cape Harbour food and fun complex.

“Mercedes Benz of Fort Myers will also be joining our car show this year,” she said.

If you have a classic car, registration is still going on, said Swager.

“If anyone wants to still register, they can still call 945-6116. Registration is free.”

Right in the middle of the complex is what they call Expo Island, where The Joint restaurant is located, and where there will be live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

One interesting highlight among the many events planned for the weekend is a sunset dolphin cruise.

“Banana Bay Tour Company will host the dolphin cruise,” she said. “The dolphins love showing off.”

Galati Yacht Sales is one of the boat dealers now gearing up for the event. Most area dealers have just returned from the Miami Boat Show, and a dozen major dealers will attend.

“The event for us actually started as an opportunity for boats returning each year from the Miami Boat Show to be on displayed here on Cape Harbour,” said Galati Broker Dan Howland. “Will Stout, the developer, is very generous, allowing us very easy access to the marina for all of our boats, and offering no charge to the public. It’s really just a big party.”

The Miami Boat show was a big success this year, Howland said.

“New boat sales are defiantly on the rise,” which is a good sign for the economy, he noted.

“We’re going to have five new boats, the Tiara 31 and 36 Coronet, a 43 Tiara, a 41 Cruisers Cantius and a 36 Cruisers Express,” he said. “We also have several brokerage and trade-in boats.”

Cape Harbour’s four restaurants are also hosting the event.

Rumrunners, The Joint and Run Agrounds will offer food and drink specials throughout the weekend, along with former Caf Pignoli, which has a new owner and a new name, “Pignoli on the Harbour.”

Charlotte Harbor Paddlers will present its “Draggin Dragons” on Saturday. The show includes a Dragon Boat demonstration.

“It’s like a long, long canoe,” Swager said. “It is an oriental boat with a dragon leading the way. That will be at Rumrunners dock from noon until 3 p.m. The show includes a Dragon Boat demonstration.”

Also, the Lee County Sheriff’s office will be displaying its 36-foot Ambar and The United States Customs and Border Protection Office of Air Marine will display its 39-foot Midnight Express Interceptor.

Marine Interdiction Agent, Alan Brown, will be on board. Both crafts will be on display Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the marina next to the pavilion.

The live entertainment at Expo Island starts Friday, March 2, at 6 p.m., featuring Mike Pick. Live music continues Saturday from 6-10 p.m. with The George Lewis Project and on Sunday from 2-5 p.m. Chris Workman will be performing.

Col. Hugh Saint, preeminent custom wooden boat builder, will be meeting and greeting spectators to talk about his craft. There will also be displays by A Custom Carts, Bob Annie’s Boat Yard, CapeCoral.com, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Costco, Dermatology Solutions, Florida Lifestyle Homes, Kayak Connections, Lampe Chiropractic, Nautical Mile, PowerFX, Southwest Spine, Sun Sports, Tropical Marine Construction and Zumba with Rebecca and more.

The Cape Harbour waterfront community features deepwater slips and waterfront homes, condominiums, waterfront shops and restaurants, galleries, indoor boat storage, and its newest residential community, the Funky Fish Houses.

To find out more, go to capeharbour.com or call 945-6116 or toll free (877) 945-6116.


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Striped bass catch limit bills draw crowds, encounter resistance

Commercial fishermen pleaded with lawmakers Tuesday not to interfere with striped bass catch limits, saying it is not the Legislature’s place to manage fisheries.

But others who run recreational fishing charter boats argued if state lawmakers do nothing, striped bass stocks will continue to dwindle and tourists who come to Massachusetts to fish in coastal communities will disappear, hurting local economies.

The two sides spent nearly five hours trying to convince lawmakers of their opposing viewpoints during a packed hearing of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. The committee is chaired by Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Rep. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer).

The commercial and recreational fishermen, charter boat captains, scientists, and seafood restaurateurs testified about the potential impacts of four bills aimed at restricting striped bass catches and declaring it a “game fish,” essentially prohibiting commercial fishing. Five other states have passed similar legislation declaring striped bass a game fish, including Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

Recreational fishermen fell on both sides of the issue with some pushing for limits, while others argued restrictions unnecessarily pit one group of fishermen against another.

“There is a myth out there that the recreational fishing community is behind this bill,” said Patrick Paquette, from the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association. “To pit a commercial fisherman against a recreational fisherman . . . I would hope legislators would sit back and say this has to be the wrong thing to do. Please don’t take one group of extremists as being the voice of the recreational community, because they are not.”

Capt. Michael Pierdinock, who runs charter boats on the South Shore, said he opposes the bills because since 1995 the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has done a good job managing and restoring the striped bass stock.

“It is the crown jewel example of fisheries management,” Pierdinock said.

Other recreational fishermen and charter boat captains said there is a real need for limits, arguing their livelihood is being impacted by a lack of fish.

John Kaufman, who fishes off Martha’s Vineyard, said the numbers of striped bass have been in radical decline. “We have a problem. The commercial industry has a history of being blind in terms of the numbers,” Kaufman said.

Capt. James Goodheart, who runs a charter boat for recreational fishers out of Newburyport, said his business depends on an abundance of striped bass being in the water. Goodheart said people who fish with him catch and release the bass, but they enjoy the sport of catching them. Without more fish, they will not come, he said, testifying in favor of catch limits.

Fishing tourists travel from all over the country, staying in local hotels, buying bait at area tackle shops and dining in Newburyport restaurants, Goodheart said.

“There is an economy that wouldn’t be there without these fish,” he said.

Commercial fishermen said this is the third time in three years they were forced to defend themselves over striped bass fishing. In previous legislative sessions, similar bills never made it out of committee.

“We have done everything asked of us as a commercial fishery,” said Michael Abdow, a Chatham fisherman who fishes both commercially and runs a recreational charter.

Abdow told legislators that the issue had become too political, and that they should stop considering striped bass catch limit legislation year after year.

“You have more important things to do than worry about fish and politics,” Abdow said. “This needs to stop now. Every fishery has its ups and downs. This fishery is regulated.”

Peter Kelly, a charter captain from Marion, said he has been fishing in Massachusetts waters for more than 45 years. He theorized that the warmer water in the past few years was driving more fish further off the coast. That is why recreational fishermen, who cannot afford to fuel boats to go further out, may be seeing less fish, he said.

“As fuel keeps going up, recreational catches are going to keep going down,” Kelly said.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates fisheries and has representatives from each East Coast state, allows Massachusetts fishermen to catch two million pounds of striped bass each year – split between recreational and commercial fishers. Commercial fishermen argued they do not catch more than their 1 million pound share.

But backers of catch limits said striped bass are overharvested.

David Ross, a scientist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, said striped bass “is a fishery that needs protection,” and pointed to research that shows the numbers of pounds harvested by recreational fishers has decreased by almost 1 million pounds since 2006.

Along with the commercial fishing industry, other businesses would be hurt by catch limits, a group of local restaurant chefs said. Chefs referred to striped bass as a “superstar fish” that draws people from around the country into Massachusetts seafood restaurants.

Jasper White, from the Summer Shack restaurants located in Cambridge and Boston, said “the chefs support anything that assists our small local fishermen and their families. It is not just about striped bass, it is about sustaining our fishing culture.”

Several legislators testified against the bills, saying they would hurt an already struggling industry.

Rep. Sarah Peake, a Provincetown Democrat, said she believes the issue is not a matter for the state Legislature to decide, but should be left to other agencies with federal authority.

“These agencies have control of allocations and quotas. They have teams of scientists; they have multi-million dollar budgets; and they are engaged in data gathering,” Peake said at the outset of the hearing.

The state Legislature is not equipped to make decisions about a population of fish that swims from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to Maine, Peake said.

There are many reasons why some recreational fishermen may be catching less fish, she said, including a growing seal population that drives more fish further offshore. She also said recreational fishing is hampered by beaches being closed for longer periods every summer to protect the nesting spots of the piping plover birds.

“None of these reasons why fish aren’t caught off the back beaches have to do with our commercial fishermen,” Peake said.

Peake said she represents more than 300 commercial fishermen who “care very much about conservation efforts.”

“We need to work together to craft solutions so everybody is able to catch the fish that they want to catch,” Peake said.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said it was a “dangerous path” to bring fishing management issues to the legislative process. Federal agencies are better suited to make decisions around allocation and conservation, he said.

“If we truly care about conservation, perhaps we ought to look at the biological measures that impact the stock, rather than who is on the other end of the reel,” he said.

Tarr said striped bass fishing began in Massachusetts in the 1600s.

“I hope it won’t end on our watch,” he added.

The bills are (S 337), sponsored by Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre); (S 392), sponsored by Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole); (H 260) sponsored by Rep. Thomas Stanley (D-Waltham), and (H 1145) sponsored by former Rep. Vincent Pedone.


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Sailing: Groupama ahead Volvo Ocean Race rivals

Sailing: Groupama ahead Volvo Ocean Race rivals
Posted: 28 February 2012 2010 hrs

 

 


 
 
 





SANYA, China: French team Groupama were in a commanding position on Tuesday having reached the coveted trade winds in the Pacific Ocean ahead of their Volvo Ocean Race rivals.

Groupama, skippered by Franck Cammas, now stand poised to take a huge lead going into the final stages of Leg 4 from Sanya in China to Auckland, New Zealand, with every prospect of ending Telefonica’s three-leg winning streak.

Current routing from race HQ in Spain suggests they could cover up to 550 nautical miles in the next 24 hours, and even greater distances during the next four days of trade winds sailing.

Groupama hold a lead of 50 nautical miles over Camper/Team New Zealand, with overall leaders Telefonica in third, while Puma are fourth but looking in a strong position to threaten from the north.

“You couldn’t ask for a better position than the position they hold at the moment, and on top of that we know that Groupama are near invincible in these conditions,” fifth placed Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson said.

Camper navigator Will Oxley told AFP he felt his team were starting on the back foot from their more westerly position.

“The boats to the east have an advantage with a better wind angle, so the boats to the west of them, including us, will have to hang tough,” he said.

American team Puma will look to take advantage of the hard fought easterly position they earned with a rebellious move north.

“After all this torture we’re going to finally have wider and faster angles than most, so we should be gaining by the hour,” navigator Tom Addis said.

With 30 points on offer for the leg winner against just five for last place, victory for Groupama could get them back in the hunt.

Leg four is due to finish in Auckland around March 8-10.

The Volvo Ocean Race started in Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and ends in Galway, Ireland, in July.

Overall standings after three of nine offshore legs:

1. Telefonica (Spain) 101 points
2. Camper/ETNZ (New Zealand) 83
3. Groupama (France) 73
4. Puma (US) 53
5. Abu Dhabi (UAE) 43
6. Sanya (China) 17

- AFP/de

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Suppliers Tap Rising Tide In Niche Marine Market















By Joseph Palenchar — TWICE, 2/28/2012

LAS VEGAS – The market for marine audio is small,
but many aftermarket autosound suppliers won’t leave
any niche unexploited, especially one that is growing
modestly and could accelerate further in the coming
years as powerboat sales pick up.

Multiple autosound suppliers have introduced new
marine-rated head units, amps and speakers, and
some suppliers are adding marine head-unit features
previously available only in their automotive head units.
Dual, for instance, is adding stereo Bluetooth with
AVRCP, and direct USB control for iPods/iPhones. Kenwood added control of Pandora
on a USB-connected iPhone and control of song
selection on USB-connected Android phones.

Head units that connect the new outboard SiriusXM
universal tuner have been added by Clarion, Dual, Kenwood,
and Sony.

The introductions follow a return to growth in the
boat market after five consecutive years of declines,
according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association
(NMMA). The association estimates 2011
wholesale boat-sales growth of 16 percent in units and
18 percent in dollars to about $30 billion. The group
also forecasts continued growth through 2015.

Despite the five-year decline in boat sales, aftermarket sales of marine audio products didn’t suffer much, some
marketers said. “Consumer electronics retail sales are
primarily an upgrade and replacement business, and
because of this we did not experience a large downturn
when the sales of new boats declined during the recession,”
said Jim Warren, senior VP of merchandising at the
50-store Car Toys chain.

Kenwood senior VP Keith Lehmann pointed out that
boaters need to replace marine radios and speakers
every two to three years if the boats aren’t stored in
dry storage during the off-season.

Some marketers contend marine audio sales
are rising and could get a further bump up in
the coming years in part because of the upswing
in boat sales.

“Over the last two marine seasons, we have
seen a nice uptick in premium sound solutions,
including a nice lift in wakeboard tower systems,”
said Warren. “All in all I would classify
the category as healthy and experiencing modest
growth.”

With boat sales on the upswing again,
marine-audio growth could accelerate in
a few years when those boats’ OEM audio
products require replacement, marketers
noted.

“It’s a good thing that more boats are being built,” said
Warren. “With certainty, the aftermarket should enjoy
benefits of the increased sales.”

Retailers, however, didn’t wait for boat sales to turn
around to step up their marine-audio efforts. Retailers such
as Best Buy, Car Toys and Mickey Shorr created separate
marine-audio displays separate from their regular car audio
displays to take advantage of an incremental sales opportunity,
said Kenwood’s Lehmann. Crutchfield similarly has
a separate marine audio section on its website.

For these and other dealers, here’s what select suppliers
plan to offer:

Clarion: One of the company’s two digital media receiver
introductions is a marine unit, the M502. It features
connector for the universal SiriusXM tuner, control of
Pandora on a USB-connected iPhone, Parrot Bluetooth,
and compatibility with Clarion’s marine wired remote controls.
From the head unit, consumers will be able to control
basic Pandora functions as well as the app’s thumbs
up feature.

The MF-1 one-way RF remote is designed for marine
and in-car use. It communicates with an RF dongle that
plugs into a head-unit interface designed to connect
heads to OEM steering-wheel controls.

The remote controls on/off, volume, track up/down and
play/pause functions and is priced at a suggested $199.
The company’s first two Class D amps, designed for
marine and car use, incorporate RCA audio-signal
sensing technology to turn them on when they detect
audio signal from a head unit. The feature
makes it unnecessary to connect the amps to
a switched-power wire for automatic turnon,
though wires must still be run to the
vehicle’s battery for power and ground.

One is the four-channel XC6410
rated at 4×85 watts RMS into 4 ohms,
4×125 watts into 2 ohms, and bridgeability
to two channels. The two-channel
XC6210 is rated at 2×85 watts into 4 ohms,
2×125 watts into 2 ohms, with bridgeability
to one channel. Both feature high- and
low-pass filters and will retail from $300
to $400 on an everyday basis.

JL Audio: Three speakers include the
company’s largest coaxial with 8.8-inch
woofer at $599/pair in white or $609/pair in titanium. Also
new are two speaker pairs intended for mounting on wakeboard
towers or other tubular structures. Both are coaxial
models with 7.7-inch woofer at $599 and $799/pair.

Kenwood: Two CD-receivers are the $190-suggested
KMR-550U and $120 KMR-350U, marking a new opening
price point down from $140. The introductions join
a current $300-suggested model. Both models are also
accompanied by the $120 KCA-RC55MR and $60 KCARC35
remotes.

The KMR-550U is a full-featured model with universal
SiriusXM port, control of Pandora on a USB-connected
iPhone, and control of music stored on a USB-connected
Android phone loaded with Kenwood software. Androidphone-
stored songs can be selected by title, artist, album
and mood when the phone is placed in mass-storage
mode. The USB connection also charges the Android
phone.

In its 2011 car line, Kenwood offered multimedia-navigation
units that charged Android phones and allowed
users to navigate songs only by folder and by
using track up/down controls.

The KMR-350U also controls Pandora on
a USB-connected iPhone and provides USB
control of music on Android phones equipped
with the free Kenwood app.

The KMR-550U is available in February, and
the KMR-350U is available now.

Rockford Fosgate: To complements its marine
speaker selection, Rockford is launching
its first four marine amps, all Class D models
shipping in the second quarter. The selection
consists of two 4/2-channel models stable to 2
ohms at $449 and $299 and two 1-ohm stable
mono amps at $399 and $499 and capable of
delivering 750 watts and 1200 watts, respectively,
into 1-ohm loads.

The brand’s marine-speaker selection got its
first purpose-built speaker for installation on the
wake towers of ski and wake-boarding boats.
The speakers look almost light spotlights. A 6.5-
inch 4-ohm 75-watt RMS model and an 8-inch
4-ohm 100-watt model ship in the second quarter
at $599 and $699/pair, respectively.

Sony: The entry-level marine CD-receiver is
debuting at an expected everyday $140 replaces
a current model and adds universal Sirius
XM connector, new digital processing tuner,
slot-load design, and piano-black faceplate,
which mobile electronics business manager
Takahiro Noguchi called a new trend. Other
features include RDS FM tuner, MP3/WMA CD
playback, front aux in and white LCD display.

Two speakers replace similar models but feature
improved cosmetics with water-resistant
coating and detachable grilles.

The $69/pair dual-cone XS-MP1611 and
$129/pair two-way speakers both feature 6.5-
inch driver. The former is rated at 65 watts RMS
and the latter at 70 watts. Sony will also package
the dual-cone speaker pair with the CDXM20
head unit at $190.















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Fishing boat assists stricken cruise ship

A French fishing boat has reached a stricken cruise ship adrift in the Indian Ocean and is towing the vessel to Seychelles’ main island, the ship’s owner said.

The Italian Costa Allegra, carrying more than 1,000 passengers and crew members, began drifting without power on Monday after a fire in its generator room.

Costa Cruises said on Tuesday that an earlier plan to tow the vessel to the nearest island of Desroches had been aborted because security conditions for mooring the ship and offloading the passengers and crew “would not have been assured”.

Two tugs were approaching the cruise ship to assist the Seychelles-based tuna purse-seiner Trevignon pulling the Costa Allegra, which is now due to arrive at the main island Mahe on Thursday morning.

“Helicopters will ensure continuous supply of food, comfort items, flashlights in order to mitigate guests’ discomfort given the difficult conditions on board,” Costa Cruises spokesman Davide Barbano said in a statement.

Srdjana Janosevic, the Seychelles’ presidential spokeswoman, earlier confirmed that the French vessel had reached the ship and that it was towing the Costa Allegra to Desroches.

But an evacuation off Desroches Island would have presented the ship owner and local authorities with a tricky and expensive logistical operation.

The 636 passengers and 413 crew would have had to use the ship’s lifeboats to land on the island, and ferries or a fleet of small private planes would most likely then have shuttled the passengers to Mahe.

Seychelles authorities still face a logistical headache finding accommodation in Mahe for all those onboard. “Right now we are in consultation with the hotels on Mahe to find out how many beds are available. It’s a busy time of year,” Janosevic told Reuters.

No injuries

Monday’s fire aboard the 188-metre Costa Allegra occurred only six weeks after one of its sister ships, the Costa Concordia, hit a reef and capsized off the coast of Italy, killing dozens of people. Both ships are operated by Costa Crociere SpA, which is owned by the Florida-based Carnival Corp.

Officials said the blaze was extinguished without causing any injuries, and that the vessel was stable and upright.

The luxury ship was sailing about 320km southwest of the Seychelles when the fire broke out and it sent a distress signal, the company said.

A spokesman for Costa said the passengers included 130 each from Italy and France, 100 from Austria and 90 from Switzerland.

Cosimo Nicastro, a spokesman for the Italian coastguard, speaking to Al Jazeera, said the ship had no electricity or air conditioning.

Captain Giorgio Moretti said on Monday night from company headquarters in Genoa that the fire in the ship’s generator room had left it without power.

The officials, who were in regular contact with the Allegra’s crew members, said emergency generators were keeping the ship’s command room illuminated and instruments such as its radio functioning. But the rest of the ship apparently was dark as night fell, with passengers gathering in the ship’s communal areas, rather than retiring to their cabins.

The 28,597-tonne Costa Allegra left northern Madagascar, off Africa’s southeast coast, on Saturday and was cruising towards Victoria. Costa said the Allegra had been due in Victoria on Tuesday.

The much larger Costa Concordia capsized on January 13 after hitting rocks off the island of Giglio. Divers and rescue workers are still searching for the bodies of seven people who remain missing.


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Sailing On Ice? Yeah, That's A Sport.


Sarah Harris /North Country Public Radio

Come Sail Away: Retired high school science teacher — and adrenaline junkie — Andy Sajor rides his ice boat on a frozen Lake Champlain in New York. Perfect ice sailing conditions call for cold temperatures, a strong breeze and a thick sheet of ice — but not too much snow.

The minute I learned that ice sailing was an actual sport, I wanted to give it a try. I watched YouTube videos of wooden boats with big white sails zooming across the ice on steel runners. It seemed like such a rush: Imagine racing over a frozen lake on a wind-powered sled, hitting speeds that top 40 miles an hour.

So I was delighted when Andy Sajor, of Plattsburgh, N.Y., offered to let me hitch a ride over an icy Lake Champlain. The 13th largest lake in the country, Champlain sits between upstate New York and Vermont and has emerged as one of the best ice sailing venues in the U.S.

We meet at Chazy Landing on the New York side of Lake Champlain, 12 miles from the Canadian border. It’s bright and windy. The ice stretches for miles, dotted by camps of shanties set up by ice fisherman. I’m bundled up in four layers of winter clothing. Sajor hands me a crash helmet and ski goggles.

“I noticed on our way up here that there was a new plate [of ice] that formed last night,” he tells me. “It’s gonna be gorgeous if we don’t get any snow on it and it stays cold like this.”


Enlarge Andy Sajor/North Country Public Radio

For her ride around the lake, reporter Sarah Harris claimed the ice boat’s only seat while Sajor balanced the plank next to her. Together, they reached a top speed of about 48 miles an hour.

Andy Sajor/North Country Public Radio

For her ride around the lake, reporter Sarah Harris claimed the ice boat’s only seat while Sajor balanced the plank next to her. Together, they reached a top speed of about 48 miles an hour.

Now that I’m out on the ice, and not watching YouTube videos, I get a little nervous. Sajor says he isn’t sure how fast we’ll go, but he’s brought a GPS so we can find out.

“With enough wind, we’ll probably get up on one runner decently and you’ll get to feel a little bit of the harum-scarum,” he says.

We climb into Sajor’s 12-foot-long DN, ice boat. It’s T-shaped with a long, horizontal plank at the back. There are two runners on either end of the plank and a runner at the bow that allow the boat to skim across the ice. While I sit in the boat, Sajor perches above the runner, demonstrating a ridiculously good sense of balance. Then he takes the biggest risk of the day and asks me to steer.

“When we’re steering the boat, if we want to go to the right that means the tiller which you’re holding goes to the left,” he says.

The boat starts moving, then we catch a breeze and it accelerates — a lot. We fly across the lake, runners rumbling. Eventually, we make it back to the landing without hitting anything or tipping over. My fingers are so cold I can’t feel them, and I’m a still shaking a little from the speed and the rattle of the ice against the runners.

Sajor checks his GPS — our top speed was about 48 miles an hour.

“We were only out there for an hour and we did a little over 10 miles,” he says.

As we pack up, I suddenly understand why ice sailors like Andy Sajor are so devoted to this sport. It’s exhilarating, zooming across a plane of frozen water like that. All that’s overhead is the sky; all that’s driving you is wind and sail.


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