Archive for » June, 2012 «

Beneteau affirms its ‘good resilience’ and turns to Asia

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Libya fires on Tunisian fishing boat, killing 1

TUNIS, Tunisia—Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry says it is investigating what led the Libyan coast guard to open fire on a Tunisian fishing vessel, killing the captain.

The incident occurred late Wednesday. Three of the 17 fishermen on board the vessel were wounded. The captain succumbed to his wounds Thursday.

Ministry spokesman Mohammed Nafti told The Associated Press, that the “urgent inquiry” would try to determine who was responsible for the incident.

Tunisian authorities are working on repatriating the boat, the fishermen and the captain’s corpse, all in Libyan custody.

There are conflicting claims in the Tunisian press about whether the boat was in Libyan or international waters.

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Boat building makes a comeback

At Boksa Marine Design in Lithia, Joshua Trupia, marine engineer, and Nick Boksa, president and naval architect, discuss a structural stiffner for a hull bottom for certification for boat sales in Europe.

At Boksa Marine Design in Lithia, Joshua Trupia, marine engineer, and Nick Boksa, president and naval architect, discuss a structural stiffner for a hull bottom for certification for boat sales in Europe.

Jane Meinhardt
Staff Writer- Tampa Bay Business Journal

 | LinkedIn

TAMPA — Navigating and surviving the economy’s rough seas during one of the worst downturns in the marine industry’s history gave Nick Boksa some business insights.

The founder and principal of Boksa Marine Design understands that diversification, controlled growth and branding are important strategies for his company.

After the economy forced him to downsize his office and staff in late 2009, BMD is now steaming along.

Boksa expects his business’ gross revenue to grow 30 percent this year. [He declined to cite revenue numbers, but said BMD is well on the way, with 26 marine design or engineering projects underway so far this year and new clients around the world.

Making mistakes

For Boksa, a naval architect and engineer, growing his business has been a learning experience.

“It’s been trial and error,” he said. “I’m an engineer who is trying to make my hobby into a business. We’ve made some mistakes along the way.”

When BMD first started in 2007, it was “a no-name” that grew quickly with a couple of major projects, Boksa said. When the downturn hit, the company had seven employees.

“I think maybe we grew too fast,” he said. “Now we’re growing more deliberately and spreading projects across several industries.”

He and his three employees currently are making a name for the company from a tiny office in Lithia where sometimes work is done on a folding table.

BMD now focuses mostly on the commercial, military and government markets in the United States and overseas.

Boksa estimates that about 75 percent of the company’s projects involve commercial clients such as handling the design and engineering for patrol boats in foreign companies.

The company is providing design and engineering services for a 48-foot pilot boat for a South American client and for sport fishing vessels for a Chinese company. Boksa recently went to Sweden to meet with Volvo Penta about incorporating a drive system used on luxury yachts in commercial designs.

Jane Meinhardt’s beats include health care, law firms and lawyers.


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Boat Talk: See when and what safety equipment is required on the lake

11083382-standard-1.jpgSusie Parker polishes her 48 foot boat called “Idyll Time” at North Shore Marina in Grand Haven this spring. Susie and her husband, Jeff Parker, are from Chattanooga, Tenn. “We love the Great Lakes,” Jeff said. “It’s kind of been our second home.”

As we’re getting used to those frequent trips to the lake, it’s important to remember what materials to have on board before heading out on the water.

I’m not talking about just the cooler and stock of must-have snacks (although, nothing beats an ice-cream sandwich on a hot summer day). I’m talking about the fire extinguishers, life preservers, sound-producing devices and visual distress signals that are must-haves on many boats.

Welcome to this week’s edition of Boat Talk. The weekly column will run through Labor Day addressing boating safety issues and any questions you may have. Speaking of those—don’t be shy. If you find something happening out on the water that causes you to stop and wonder, email me at We’ll get to the bottom of it.

But now — those must-have items.

I turned to Jim Kearns, a certified boating safety instructor with the Michigan DNR and United States Coast Guard to talk about what it takes to properly stock a boat with the right safety gear. Kearns regularly conducts vessel safety checks and offered some information for readers this week.

We started with a discussion of the United States Coast Guard’s vessel safety check-off sheet. Examiners run through these sheets with the owner of a boat, discussing requirements and recommendations for safe boating.

You can see the full checklist and the explanations here

But let’s also run through a few of the items.

First off: Visual distress signals. Recreational boats at least 16 feet long used on Coast Guard waters or the Great Lakes must be equipped with a minimum of either three day and three night pyrotechnic devices or one day non-pyrotechnic device, like a flag, and one night device, like an SOS light. Boats less than 16 feet are required to carry only night visual distress signals when operating after dark.

Fire extinguishers are always a good item to have on board, but they are required under a few conditions.

• if the boat has an inboard engine
• when double-bottom hulls are not completely sealed or not completely filled with floatation materials.
• if there’s a closed living space
• if the boat has compartments containing flammable materials
• if the boat has a permanently-installed fuel tank

Wondering about that small fishing boat you like to slide onto a trailer and take out for a quick morning jaunt? If it’s less than 26 feet and propelled by an outboard motor, you are not required to have one—unless one of the above conditions applies.

Kearns also notes there’s more to this than just having the right number of fire extinguishers on board. If you can’t grab it quickly, it won’t be very useful in an emergency situation.

“We recommend they be mounted. They ought to be in places where they are readily accessible,” he says.

The minimum number of extinguishers varies from boat to boat (specifications are on that vessel safety checklist).

But, Kearns says, the more the better.

“Just because the law says you need two of them doesn’t mean you can’t do three or four.”

All boats also must carry a device capable of producing 4-second sound bite that can be heard for a half-mile. This could be a siren, a horn, or even a whistle. Boats longer than 39.4 feet also must have a bell.

And then there’s the life jackets. We talked about them a few weeks ago, but Kearns noted again the importance of keeping the proper number stocked on board.

That means a wearable one of a size that fits each person on board.

“Too many people keep their life jackets behind a cabinet someplace or they don’t take them out of the Cellophane when they buy them from the stores so they’re not readily accessible,” Kearns says. “If you need to use that in an emergency, time is ticking away.”

The same goes for navigation lights (see requirements here).

Carry extra bulbs on board, Kearns says. And don’t leave the signals in their packaging, thinking you’ll get them out if necessary. It’s a whole lot more difficult to get one out with an emergency situation unfolding. Things can go from bad to worse.

“You need to use one of those signals and it’s stuck in some plastic, so now your hands get wet and you try to get it open and you’re bleeeding and now there’s an emergency and you still haven’t gotten the distress signal out,” Kearns says.

He recommends vessel safety checks each year for all different kinds of boats—from large ones that cruise on Lake Michigan to simpler fishing boats.

The checks are offered in most, if not all, places free of charge and take only about a half hour to an hour, Kearns says. Many marinas have specific days set aside for checks. Some examiners will make house calls.

And the best part? “It’s a penalty free process,” Kearns says.

An examiner will make a boat owner aware of safety violations, but won’t scribble out a ticket—unlike law enforcement authorities.

Interested in scheduling a check? Go online to, plug in your ZIP code, and review the examiners located closest to you. Email addresses are provided.

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Marathon so far from plain sailing

Marathon so far from plain sailing

Saturday, June 30, 2012

There are any amount of hoary old legends associated with the seven seas and those who sail them and the Volvo Ocean Race is no different.

The story goes that Colonel Bill Whitbread of the renowned brewing family and Admiral Otto Steiner of the Royal Naval Sailing Association met over a pint in a smoky old Portsmouth pub in 1971 and worked out the concept for a round-the-world yacht race.

That may or may not be true. What followed is fact.

Two years later, 17 boats carrying 167 sailors left the Solent and headed south for Cape Town in the first ever race of its kind. There was no pot of gold waiting at the finish line. No buried treasure. There still isn’t. Just a 70cm high trophy made of aluminium and silver plate.

Phileas Fogg would no doubt approve.

Originally called the Whitbread Round the World Race, it is reputedly the longest sporting event in the world. A nine-month maritime marathon encompassing four oceans, five continents and 10 ports of call, the last of them this year being Galway.

Six vessels are currently making their way towards Ireland’s western seaboard from the French port of Lorient. The 77 or so crew members have endured the globe’s most hostile seas, stretches of up to 25 days on the waves and temperatures ranging from -15 to 45C.

They have done it all on state-of-the-art mono-hull boats whose masts stand as tall as the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, whose largest sails are the same as the playing area of two tennis courts and where the space available for each person is about two cubic metres, or the equivalent of a phone box made of carbon fibre.

Not for the faint of heart, clearly.

Held every three years, it has been won by entrants from Mexico, Holland, France, Sweden, Germany, New Zealand and Japan and each vessel is crewed by specialists in medicine, sailmaking, engineering and media — as well as sailing, of course.

Three men on each 11-man crew must be aged 30 or under to allow young sailors gain experience of its unique trials and tribulations and secure the race’s legacy but other cherished elements are being tested by modern realities.

Each boat costs millions of euro and the global economic problems have reduced this year’s field to just six — the least in the race’s history — which is why plans were unveiled on Thursday to bring down costs and attract more sponsors and entrants.

The introduction of standardised, ready-to-sail yachts is expected to cut costs considerably but there are fears it will bring to an end the event’s reputation as a market-leader in sailing design and technology.

“Our clear goal throughout the planning process for the next race has been to make it easier and less costly to mount a campaign in the Volvo Ocean Race,” said race chief executive officer, Knut Frostad. “This is a big step towards that goal.”

The offshore legs may consume the majority of time and effort but in-port racing allows the general public the opportunity to absorb a combination of skill, speed, power and technology of the kind Galway witnessed three years ago when it was one of the ports of call.

This time, the race will come to a close in the City of the Tribes and, while the race started in Alicante back on October 29 of last year, the organisers of the Irish leg have been promoting the concept that the party will only start in Galway.

The 2008-09 stopover attracted 600,000 visitors to the west coast settlement with a peak of 62,000 for the in-port spectacular alone. Another 120,000 are estimated to have watched the race unfold from the shoreline in Salthill.

The Galway Race Village opens as of today through to July 8 and will incorporate a Global Village business expo, fashion shows, craft workshops and demonstrations, youth activity programmes, arts and theatre and comedy from Daire Ó Briain and Après Match.

No to mention a good few pints in smoky old pubs.

a d v e r t i s e m e n t


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Seal leaps aboard fishing boat during desperate attempt to elude killer whales

Greg Beldham caught more than he bargained for while fishing for salmon in Nanoose Bay on Sunday.

Beldham said five transient killer whales, hunting in a pack, cornered a frightened and confused harbour seal and began smashing it against the side of his boat before they moved in to finish it off.

Beldham said the seal was obviously in dire straits, so it took the chance that he was friendlier than the whales who were looking for a quick meal.

It leaped aboard the platform where the boat’s engines were mounted, saving itself from the jaws of one of the ocean’s top predators.

Beldham said he took the beleaguered harbour seal, who refused to leave his vessel and endanger itself any further, to the shallow waters off nearby Mistaken Island where he coaxed the marine mammal off the boat and watched as it safely swam away.

It is estimated that there are approximately 250 transient killer whales, which regularly range from Alaska to Washington, visiting and hunting in the Georgia Strait, a stunning rise in numbers from the approximately 50 identified when major research into the species began in the 1970s.

Scientists agree that the increasing number of transient killer whales in the strait is likely connected to the increased number of harbour seals since the Department of Fisheries and Oceans lifted the bounty on them in the 1970s.

The number of harbour seals, the whales’ favourite prey, has increased tenfold since then, to more than 52,000 today.

“In my many years fishing in this area, I don’t recall anything like that happening to me before,” Beldham said.

“The seal looked me right in the eyes when the whales were attacking and he looked so tired and worn out from the beating he was getting that I felt sorry for him.

“When he finally made the decision to jump on the boat, I decided to take him to safer waters.”

There has been unusually large pods of meat-eating transient orcas spotted close to Nanaimo this spring.

Unlike the fish-eating killer whale pods that live in the strait, little is known to date about the transient whales, largely due to their wide hunting range that makes them hard to study.

However, there has never been a recorded instance of the whales attacking a human in the wild.

Dr. John Ford, a marine biologist from Nanaimo’s Pacific Biological Station who studies killer whale populations around Vancouver Island, said that good feeding conditions for this apex predator in the area leads to bigger populations and more frequent sightings and encounters with people.

With so much more to learn about transient killer whales, Ford encourages the public to watch the waters off Nanaimo closely and report any sightings to the local killer whale hotline at 250-756-7253, so scientists can have the opportunity to take to their boats at the PBS to study them.

Ford pointed out that marine regulations prohibit the harassment and disturbance of all marine mammals and boaters are not allowed within 100 metres of them. 250-729-4234

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There Is Going To Be Live Competitive Sailing On Real Broadcast TV On Sunday [Sailing]

Jack Dickey

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NASCAR At Sea: How The America's Cup Evolved, And Why It's Good For The SportThere’s no more basketball or hockey on television this weekend. Football’s weeks away. There’s baseball, if that’s your thing, but we’re not even at the all-star break. So the weekend will be all about the global sports: soccer, various Olympic trials, and… sailing? Yes, the America’s Cup World Series—a new event designed to ensure that the America’s Cup loses slightly less money—will air in part on NBC, 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, live from Newport, R.I.

Joshua Brustein explains, in The New York Times:

Two years ago the officials who run the America’s Cup made an important decision: they were going to change professional sailing into a sport that was actually fun to watch.

This was a big shift for a sport that has traditionally been indifferent to the idea of an audience. But new revenue was needed to help sailing teams struggling to raise the tens of millions of dollars for building and sailing the boats for the Cup, so the organization decided to chase the broadcast television deals and sponsorships that are the lifeblood of many other sports.

The basic strategy was to add speed and danger to sailing by using winged catamarans, boats that move much faster, but also capsize easily, and holding races close to shore, where wind patterns are less predictable.

Yes. Wow. If you’re not versed in sailing jargon: A winged catamaran is less a boat than two giant plastic boat skeletons held together by some rods, with more plastic laid over the rods so that the mast and sailors can reside somewhere. There’s no keel, only a couple of wispy daggerboards, and there’s a shit-ton of sail area, so the boats can flip in a squall.

Historically, the America’s Cup boats resembled the average sloop, if on a dramatically larger scale. (These boats are 45 feet long.) They were single-hulled affairs. Sure, they were sleeker than the sailboats you’d see docked at your local harbor, ornamented with carbon fiber (or whatever was in vogue at the time of the race) everywhere it’d fit, but they weren’t crazy mutant speed demons, just big sailboats.

Now? It’s NASCAR at sea. It’s so fast and risky that the sailors wear helmets. And graphics—designed by the man who invented the NHL’s glowing puck and the first-down marker—will fill NBC’s broadcast, showing every boat’s speed and direction, with rhumb lines and the like overlaid.

Don’t let yourself, though, cry over the disappearance of the genteel seaman and his starched championship. The Times article wants to. But the sport’s been professional since Dennis Conner’s heyday, with its garish sponsorships, oodles of mysterious money, and boats from every nation discreetly crewed by New Zealanders. This weekend, the America’s Cup will finally get the vessels it deserves.

America’s Cup Updates As It Trawls for Viewers [NY Times]

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Officers revive fisherman on remote Alaska beach

EGEGIK, Alaska—Alaska State Troopers say quick action by three public safety employees likely saved the life of a 54-year-old California man near Egegik (EE’-geh-gick).

Jose Orendez of Fallbrook, Calif., and his son on Thursday left their fishing boat on board a 12-foot inflatable boat and headed for the beach but the small boat flipped.

The younger man reached the beach but Orendez was caught in a salmon fishing net.

He was pulled to shore unconscious and not breathing.

Trooper Jason Ball began CPR while safety technician Shawn Olsen contacted other officers on the trooper vessel Stimson. Orendez eventually started breathing after 25 minutes of CPR by Ball and boat officer Dan Pulice.

Orendez was flown to Anchorage for treatment.

Egegik is on the Alaska Peninsula 326 miles southwest of Anchorage

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