Archive for » March 14th, 2013«

Tax is sinking boat industry

How is it possible that boat registrations in Maryland are stagnant even as boating sales and registrations across the rest of the country are bouncing back from the national recession?

I think that Gary Jobson hit the answer squarely by pointing out the impact of Maryland’s excessively high boat excise tax (“Bring the boats back,” March 8). By not being competitive with our neighboring states up and down the Atlantic Coast, it’s clear that Maryland boat owners are choosing to register their vessels in other states to avoid our tax. And that means that all of the local spending and local jobs that typically are created to service local boats are going to other states.

Let’s give our boating industry here in Maryland a boost and help restore this traditional Chesapeake Bay industry.

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Bob Brandon, Baltimore

The writer is president of Tidewater Yacht Service.

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    Shell Shipping sees smooth sailing in O&G waters

    by Ronnie Teo, Posted on March 15, 2013, Friday

    QATAR: As a major component complementing Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (Shell) integrated business model, Shell International Trading and Shipping Company (Shell Shipping) plays a major role in enabling the group to maintain its competitive advantage over other oil and gas (OG) peers.

    According to Shell Shipping vice president Dr Grahaeme Henderson, the group currently managed some of the most advanced liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships, bringing energy from gas rich countries to those that needed cleaner burning energy.

    “Shell is an energy company. However with almost all of its oil and gas exploration and production activities offshore and on the water, Shell could also be described as a shipping and maritime company,” he outlined during his media briefing on the company’s overview.

    “Much of the future oil and gas exploration and production will be offshore, in more remote, deeper water, so having our own in-house shipping and maritime expertise is a great competitive advantage for Shell.”

    With Shell being the market leader in global gas and LNG in particular, Henderson said it was crucial for Shell Shipping to maintain its focus on safety and reducing risks while managing potential environmental impact and oil spills.

    “You probably don’t immediately think of Shell as a world leader in energy shipping, but we are and have been for over a century.

    “We are involved in over 100,000 cargo transfers a year and, on any one day, have an interest in more than 1,500 vessels and barges on the world’s oceans and rivers,” he revealed.

    “We are responsible for ensuring that the entirety of Shell’s global shipping and maritime activities are safely managed, including ships, barges, drilling rigs, supply boats, floating production storage and facility vessels, floating storage and regasification units, single buoy moorings and the related operations that take place in some 130 ports and terminals around the world.”

    To note, Shell’s shipping and maritime heritage began some 120 years ago when the Murex, Shell’s first oil tanker, set sail in 1892 and was the first to go through the Suez Canal.

    The Methane Princess carried the world’s first commercial LNG cargo, to the UK in 1964.

    During the briefing, Henderson further outlined Shell Shipping’s responsibility in driving supply chain efficiencies for the group.

    “Maritime expenditure is affected by industry-wide supply chain inefficiencies.

    “Our objective is to deliver maximum value through the optimisation of voyages and terminal related activities.

    “Looking to other industries and seeing how they have used technology will help give the confidence that this can be achieved in shipping,” he noted.

    “We have mapped the entire process from loading and leaving one port to arriving and discharging at another.

    “We have identified over 100 separate process steps and have run a time analysis using our ships, then asked how the end-to-end process can be made more efficient.

    “We have used our global expertise, with our shore based teams working closely with our sea captains. The results are amazing and we are applying these in our operation, such as here in Qatar.”

    Amongst several other successes under Shell Shipping’s belt include in Nigeria with the development of more than 650 staff to manage Nigeria’s first locally operated shipping company.

    “We’ve also pioneered LNG shipping in Brunei and have trained an industry leading team of over 500 Bruneian seafarers,” Henderson added.

    “And in 2006, we were hugely honoured to be chosen to manage and operate Qatar’s new fleet of 25 LNG carriers.

    “It’s a 25 year agreement and the aim is to develop Nakilat’s shipping expertise and eventually transfer operational management back to Nakilat.”

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    Inland Northwest boat sales float gently higher

    Spokane-area boat dealers are upbeat about sales this year after receiving a strong response at the recent exhibition boat show here.

    “Our floor traffic has been greater the first two months of this year than the previous two years,” says Doug Trudeau, co-owner of Trudeau’s Marina. The longtime dealership located at 304 E. Sprague carries Sea Ray, Boston Whaler, and Bayliner brands.

    Meanwhile, Coeur d’Alene-based Hagadone Marine Group general manager Craig Brosenne sa…

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    Sailing in Marin: Mill Valley family finds kiteboarding bliss in Baja

    Click photo to enlarge

    IN THE PAST 10 weeks, Hadyn Fischer has managed to chalk up some 50 to 60 kiteboarding days, and plans on at least as many more in the next 10 weeks. This wouldn’t be so surprising if Fischer wasn’t just 13 years old and also maintaining a regular school schedule … well, maybe “regular” is a stretch in his situation.

    Just like some families pack up house and leave town for years on end to take their families cruising, the wind crazed Devereaux-Fischer family of Mill Valley are on a similar adventure. The difference being that they drove the 2,500 miles to their windy destination — Baja, California, Mexico — along with the family dog and almost the kitchen sink. Talk about a serious road trip.

    Both avid and accomplished windsurfers Cyndi Devereaux and Tom Fischer sailed regularly on the San Francisco Bay and often traveled overseas to indulge their passion. They made it quite clear when they started a family that their kids would have to swim or sink, literally.

    “When our kids got older we insisted they join the swim team since we are water people,” Tom said. “They still are competitive swimmers with the Scott Valley Sea Serpents.”

    Sure enough, they raised kids who were more than happy to be along for the ride, Hadyn becoming an accomplished windsurfer at an early age, and Sterling (now 8) champing at the bit to be big enough to participate.

    But as

    the kids got older it became harder to carve time out to windsurf because the sport requires an enormous amount of time chasing enough wind as well as rigging and de-rigging equipment.

    “We’d been interested in kiteboarding for a few years but waited for kites to get safer before we took lessons,” Tom said.

    Switching to kiteboarding, the family bought a small casita in Los Barriles, a sleepy fishing village on Baja’s northeast cape, on the Sea of Cortez. The “Beach Shack”, as the family affectionately refer to their Mexico home, isn’t much bigger than some boats families cruise on, but that’s part of the education that the kids are getting — that big is not necessarily better and it’s a more sustainable way to live.

    Los Barriles is famous for winter winds, a fresh northerly sea breeze that funnels south through the Sea of Cortez, creating almost perfect kiteboarding conditions in 80-degree water. It’s a favorite playground for world champion kiteboarders Johnny and Erika Heineken from Larkspur.

    Hadyn’s now a hot kiteboarder, recently taking third in the slalom and second in the big-air events in the Lord of the Winds Showdown, an international competition held annually in Los Barriles, competing against some of the world’s best.

    “It was an amazing experience,” Hadyn said. “It was my first competition ever, I was the youngest competitor and pretty nervous but I got to meet professional kiteboarders from all over the world.”

    Sterling is learning to kite and having spent many hours beach-side observing the older members of her family, got the sport wired in just a few sessions.

    “Learning to control the kite was a bit hard, it seemed to have a mind of it’s own, but then I got the hang of it,” Sterling said. “Then, it was figuring out how to fly the kite and at the same time trying to get up on a board but when I’m up and riding it’s a blast.”

    Kiting aside, the kids do have school work to do, perhaps the biggest challenge of their six months in Baja, for Hadyn at least, “It’s hard being disciplined enough to get my work done before kiting, dirt biking or spearfishing,” Hadyn said.

    His mom agreed.

    “Probably first and foremost our challenge is keeping our son focused on his studies,” Devereaux said. “We live right on the beach which is very distracting for him — he’s always staring at the water.”

    Besides the irreplaceable quality family time, Devereaux and Fischer hope that their adventure has lasting cultural, social, and life experiences that shape their kids in a unique way. They all hope to further their Spanish and absorb the differences between living in a real small community like Los Barriles in which everyone depends on each other.

    “It is a completely different kind of environment,” Devereaux said. “Food vendors whom we know by name come to our casita and sell us seafood, produce or tamales and empanadas. We constantly have neighbors, friends stopping by. When we go out, our children are always included even though there aren’t a lot of children here.”

    Wind aside, the family also takes advantage of the many other cultural and sporting activities that the area offers, like a recent visit to San Ignacio Lagoon, the winter breeding and calving grounds for the gray whales.

    “Our kids learned so much on that trip and it was life changing for all of us to pet mama and baby whales,” Devereaux said.

    Marin resident Michelle Slade is a sailing journalist. Contact her about results, upcoming competitions and story ideas at Read her blog at

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    Exceptional Sales Performance for Integrity in NSW

    Performance Boating, Integrity Motor Yachts New South Wales Dealer, has achieved outstanding sales results for the brand since starting in August 2012. Ron Jacobs, Lee Condell and Adam Workman from Performance Boating, have just delivered their third boat in just over 7 months, with a fourth sale for a 330 Sedan soon to be announced, contributing over $1 million in retail sales.

    Performance Boating has now delivered a 350 Flybridge, 380 Sedan and 330 Sedan from the Integrity Motor Yachts range, with the stylish design, entertaining appeal and exceptional pricing of the Sedan range hitting a chord with boaties in NSW.

    “We have a long and proud reputation for representing some of the worlds best yacht brands and we’re now excited to be delivering our clients a great powerboat boat range too,” said Performance Boatings Lee Condell. “The Integrity Motor Yachts range offers great value for money whilst delivering on exceptional fuel economy, easy operation, a spacious layout and hassle free boating”, commented Lee.

    “We always knew our boats were ideally suited to the waterways of Sydney Harbour and the Pittwater, and this is now confirmed with the outstanding sales results achieved by our NSW Dealer”, said Integrity Motor Yachts Managing Director Brett Flanagan. “Having trusted and well known Dealers such as Performance Boating in key locations like the Pittwater, will help us to continue to grow the brand, particularly with some exciting new models to be released this year”.

    If you’d like to arrange a private inspection of the new 330 or 380 Sedan, call the team at Performance Boating on 02 9979 9755 or for more information visit

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    Wind, water, freedom: Sailing 101

    FOR EVERYONE. Sailing is a ‘lifetime sport’ that is not restricted to a certain age bracket or even fitness level. All photos by Peter Imbong

    MANILA, Philippines – “Sailing is the most fun you can have with your clothes on,” said Roman Azanza, president of the Philippine Inter-Island National Sailing Foundation or PHINSAF. On a searing day on the shores of Anvaya Cove in Bataan, several members of the sailing foundation together with guests welcomed the participants of the 13th Philippine Hobie Challenge.

    Held since 1999, the Philippine Hobie Challenge is a grueling 250 nautical mile (500 km) regatta which, this year, started in Zambales and ended in Anvaya Cove. It was held over the course of 7 days with 16 pairs of participants from countries like Australia, France, Italy, USA, Taiwan, and the Philippines racing to the finish on hobie cats (small catamarans with two hulls).

    ULTIMATE FUN. PHINSAF president Roman Azanza tells everyone that ‘Sailing is the most fun you can have with your clothes on’

    “Sailing is a lifetime sport that anyone can get into, at any age or gender,” said Azanza. “It’s an active lifestyle where you get to be one with nature.

    “It just opens up a whole new adventure to beachside living and to living in a country like the Philippines.”

    The sight of 16 hobies zipping in between islands and flying past the large shipping vessels was a magnificent sight; their more than 20-ft vibrant sails slicing through the cerulean waters of the South China Sea.

    NOT INTIMIDATED. A hobie zips past a large vessel

    According to Raffy Nieto, a member of PHINSAF: “Sailing is actually not a physical sport where you need to be physically fit or be of a certain age; it’s a cerebral sport.

    “As long as you understand the principles (of sailing) and have a good feel of the boat, the water, and the wind, there’s no reason why somebody can’t learn how to sail.”

    Perhaps the most important factor in sailing, as most sailors know, is the wind. Hobies move by the power of the wind alone. Because of their size, hobies are the fastest of small sailboats.

    CEREBRAL. ‘As long as you understand the principles… there’s no reason why somebody can’t learn how to sail,’ says Raffy Nieto

    There are two sails on a hobie: “The big main sail which is like the engine of the boat, and what we call the jib sail which is smaller and acts like a turbo charger,” said Nieto. “You can actually sail the boat without the jib. But if you want it to go faster, you use the jib.”

    According to Bruce Tardrew, a 68-year-old Australian participant in the regatta, and — believe it or not — one of the top hobie sailors in the world, “there is the misconception about sails that they work by the wind blowing on them” similar to blowing on a paper boat to make it move.

    “Sails on these kinds of boats only work that way when you‘re traveling in the direction of the wind,” he told Rappler.

    TOP SAILOR. Australia’s Bruce Tardrew

    “At any other angle, they actually work like wings on an airplane. What you’re trying to do with the sails is to generate lift. It’s not so much the wind blowing on the sails but the lift the sail shape creates that, in turn, moves the boat.”

    As for the boat itself, there are several important parts. “Normally,” said Nieto, “you’d just say front, back, left, or right. You can’t say those in sailing because it’s always with respect to where you’re standing.”

    The pointed or front part of the boat is called the fore, and the back is called the aft. The left part — so to speak — is called the port side, and opposite on the right is the starboard side. And then there are the many ropes — called sheets — that help control the main and jib sail.

    SIGHT TO BEHOLD. Hobie cats may be small, but together against the backdrop of blue skies and waters are an amazing sight

    A brand new hobie can set you back half a million pesos. “But there’s an active second-hand market in the Philippines where you can get them for as low as P200,000,” said Azanza. “We’re always looking for new people [to join us.] We, Filipinos, have the potential to be really good sailors; we’re surrounded by sea. On the Sea Games level, for example, some of our local sailors are world class.”

    He added, “When we think of sailing, it’s always of regattas and high speed races. But at the end of the day, it’s really about a personal experience: the passion for being out there with nature, having fun, and mastering the elements around you.” -

    Peter Imbong (right) with Bruce Tardrew

    Peter Imbong is a freelance writer, sometimes a stylist; and on some strange nights, a host. After starting his career in a business magazine, he now writes about lifestyle, entertainment, fashion, and profiles of different personalities. Check out his blog, Peter Tries to Write.

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