Archive for » March 29th, 2015«

Sailing: Weymouth Finn ace Scott in the hunt for trophy success

FINN star Giles Scott and the 470 men’s pairing of Luke Patience and Elliot Willis will be looking to continue their early season form when the Princess Sofia Trophy kick-starts the European sailing season today in Palma, Majorca.

The ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallists are among the 60 British Sailing Team athletes set to compete across 10 Olympic classes and the 2.4mR Paralympic class.

This 46th edition of the annual spring regatta provides the opening event in the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup series.

Miami silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves, and Portland’s Megan Pascoe will also be in action in the 470 women’s, Nacra 17 and 2.4mR events.

Some 1,200 sailors from 65 nations have signed up for the Palma event, which will not only put sailors through their paces after the winter training period, but will also provide the final chance to qualify for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres (April 22-26) under the revamped new elite series rules where just 40 boats in each Olympic class will compete.

Portland-based world champion Scott, still enjoying an 18-month winning streak, will be joined in the heavyweight Finn class by four of his Podium Potential squad team-mates, with Patience and Willis aiming high once again in the 64-boat 470 men’s event.

Mills and Clark will be joined in the 470 Women’s line-up by fellow Podium squad pairing Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre and Podium Potential crews Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter and Jess Lavery-Megan Brickwood, while seven of the British Sailing Team’s Podium Potential sailors will look to shine in the 162-boat Laser event.

In the Laser Radial class, Chloe Martin will have fond memories of her 2014 Princess Sofia Trophy campaign when she claimed bronze, with fellow Podium sailor Alison Young also looking to challenge.

Podium Potential sailor Ellie Cumpsty is using the event as a warm-up for her title defence at the RYA Youth National Championships in Weymouth and Portland, where racing gets underway on Monday, April 6.

Izzy Hamilton and Tom Squires will spearhead the British challenge in their respective RS:X windsurfing fleets, while in the Nacra 17 multihull event, John Gimson-Hannah Diamond will have their eyes on Hyeres qualification.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves and Lucy Macgregor and Andrew Walsh will have high hopes in their respective partnerships, while Podium Potential sailors Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface will be seeking a solid start to their new team after joining forces following the Miami World Cup.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth will aim for a repeat of their 2014 podium finish in the 49erFX women’s skiff event, where Kate Macgregor and Kirstie Urwin will also be in action for the British Sailing Team, while four Podium Potential crews will contest the 49er event with Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign and John Pink-Stuart Bithell opting to skip the regatta.

In the 2.4mR Paralympic class, which gets underway on Wednesday, Miami silver medallist Pascoe and Paralympic champion Helena Lucas will expect to be pushing for the podium spots once again in the 17-boat fleet.

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Several new initiatives by the state Fish and Boat Commission to increase … – Wilkes Barre Times

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway has a lot on the line this season.

Not that Arway is taking a risk, but rather he’s convinced the PFBC to take a different approach on some popular fronts and with the opening day of trout season a few weeks away, he will see if the moves pay off.

Arway was one of the featured speakers on Thursday during a public meeting hosted by state Rep. Gerald Mullery (D-Nanticoke) at Luzerne County Community College. The focus of the meeting was fishing, and the 60-plus anglers in attendance listened to Arway explain the agency’s ambitious plan.

First up was the Mentored Youth Fishing Day program, which gives kids their own opening day of trout before the season opens for everyone else. The program began as a pilot in the southeast in 2013 and expanded statewide last year on select lakes.

But an extended winter prevented the lakes from thawing in time for the Mentored Youth Fishing Day, and the event had to be bumped back to May 10. That resulted in a decrease in the number of permits and voluntary youth fishing licenses issued – 4,400 compared to 5,110 in 2013.

“Rescheduling the date to May 10 took away some of the momentum of the program,” Arway said.

Despite a drop in participation last year, the PFBC stuck with the program and has taken it in a new direction this season. The mentored youth days will be held a week before the regional and statewide openers of trout season, and to avoid any problems with ice on lakes the program is open on all approved trout waters.

By having every stocked lake and stream open for the mentored youth day, Arway said, the program is no longer limited by weather.

It may turn out to be a good move as most lakes are still covered in ice, but stocked streams will serve as another option for parents wanting to take their kids out for the day.

“We opened all our waters and we eliminated the conflict with Mother Nature,” Arway said. “Hopefully, everyone will take a kid fishing or a kid will find an adult mentor to take them fishing.”

Another change implemented for this year allows the youth anglers and the adult mentor – who must possess a valid fishing license and trout stamp, each to keep two trout on the mentor youth day.

With the April 11 statewide Mentored Youth Fishing Day only a few weeks away, Arway is watching closely to see if it generates interest.

Early results indicate it is.

“We’re seeing an increase of 200 percent more than last year in the issuance of permits and mentored youth license sales,” Arway said. “I’m encouraged. The rest is up to Mother Nature now.”

Another proactive move implemented by the PFBC this year was the $1 decrease in the cost of a fishing license to $21.70 for a resident adult. Arway said the move was made to bring back those anglers who fall in and out of the sport and generate more interest overall in fishing.

Last year, there were approximately 860,000 licensed anglers, Arway said, and current sales are about even with the peak week for purchases yet to come.

The ultimate goal with the change, according to Arway, is to get back to one million license buyers. He hopes for a 10 percent increase in license sales over the next five years, and he expects this year’s sales to surpass last year’s total.

“We’ve got to try some things that are non-traditional,” Arway said.

And if it doesn’t work out?

“We’ll try something else until we get more people fishing,” he said. “I don’t like to stand still. We need to try different things to get people involved in the sport.”

Tom Venesky can be reached by email at

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International model boat race in Mellieha

The 2015 Malta IOM Open will take place between the 19th – 22nd March, where the Mellieha Bay Hotel opens its shores for competitors in the IOM racing class for model sailing boats.

The annual event welcomes 48 skippers, including 11 local competitors to the four day open showcasing the latest technology in the one metre catagory. Most international guests hail from Europe and will include sailors from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, Croatia and Sweden amongst others.

The one metre boats will be remotely controlled from the shorelines, and last year was won by Dutch skipper Huub Gillissen controlling an Ace 4 yacht. Racing begins at 10:00 on Thursday the 19th March where the Dutchman looks to defend his title, with the combined results will be finalised by the final leg on Sunday evening.

The event will be sponsored by Thomas Smith Group of Companies for a third successive year.

Members can track further progress by following the event on the club’s official facebook page titled MMBA and also on their website:

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Cruisers plans to launch a bruiser of a yacht

Wisconsin boat builder Cruisers Yachts has designed its biggest yacht ever and plans to launch the vessel, followed by others like it, this summer.

The Oconto-based company, a division of KCS International, says the 59-foot Cantius-series yacht will have generous space for entertainment — with the cockpit, galley, salon and helm all on one level.

The $2 million yacht is aimed at people taking long-range cruises as well as day trips. It will be the flagship vessel of Cruisers’ lineup, which includes 48-foot and 54-foot yachts.

Cruisers employs more than 300 people. The company fell on hard times during the recession but has been on the mend and has brought people back from layoff at its Oconto boat plant.

“We are putting a lot of money back into the business for new products,” said Matt VanGrunsven, KCS International marketing director.

Cruisers designers worked with Facheris Designs and DeBasto Designs, both in Florida, in creating plans for the 59-foot yacht.

“Overall they brought a lot to the party,” said Tony Martens, director of product design and engineering at KCS International.

“It really resets the bar for Cruisers and the Cantius line moving forward,” Martens said.

Boaters will be able to enter the yacht’s cockpit from the swim platform by ascending four steps. From there, they will find a large seating area and bar. The swim platform can be raised with a hydraulic lift to haul a personal watercraft, tender or dingy out of the water.

“There are no steps once you get into the cockpit and galley level. That’s a big item,” VanGrunsven said.

In the upper salon, a sofa with seating for three will be flanked by end tables with storage. A 50-inch television can be raised when in use and concealed when not in use. The TV will be in view of a dining area that has seating for six people.

The galley will have a refrigerator with freezer, a full sink, a stove, microwave and storage. A dishwasher is optional.

There will be digital controls, meaning functions such as lighting can be controlled with an iPad.

The yacht will be powered by twin Volvo diesel engines producing 950 horsepower. It will be unveiled this summer and available at dealerships in the fall.

Overall, “it’s the most impressive design we have ever had,” VanGrunsven said.

Yacht building is an important niche in northeast Wisconsin, where the brands include Carver, Marquis, Palmer Johnson, Burger, Cruisers and Rampage. The industry also supports dozens of suppliers, including companies in the Milwaukee area.

The high-end boat business has experienced a slow recovery since the global recession, fueled partly by the creation of smaller yachts appealing to a wide base of customers.

The American market is strong, VanGrunsven said, but the strength of the U.S. dollar has made it more expensive for overseas buyers to acquire American-made yachts.

In late July, hundreds of people from around the world are expected to attend Cruisers’ annual dealership meeting in Sturgeon Bay. A prototype of the 59-foot yacht is scheduled to be unveiled at the meeting.

The company has boosted its international sales efforts, placing emphasis on China and other developing nations, and it now has dealerships in about 20 countries.

There’s a lot of “new money” in China and Eastern Europe that benefits yacht sales, according to VanGrunsven.

The typical age of a yacht buyer is between 45 and 70.

“But there’s also a wave of younger buyers. People 35 to 45 have done well in their lives and are getting into boating. Often we are seeing them buy larger boats right off the bat,” VanGrunsven said.

Rising oil prices can hurt yacht sales some, but it’s not like a meltdown on Wall Street.

The 59-foot yacht has a 650-gallon fuel tank.

“If someone has the financial means to purchase a yacht, the price of fuel doesn’t really matter to them that much. It might affect how they use the boat; they might not go on as many trips,” VanGrunsven said.

The harsh winter in the Northeast has resulted in slower spring yacht sales.

“Boston and the Northeast are a big market for us. Normally we would have boats in the water for sea trials by now, but with all of the snow and ice built up we aren’t able to do that yet,” VanGrunsven said.

“Instead of getting those sales in March or April, they’re going to be pushed off to May or June,” he added.

Still, there’s been a strong response to news of the 59-foot yacht.

“We are getting calls from people from all over the country who want to fly to Wisconsin to see it. There are people who want their name on a waiting list for it,” VanGrunsven said.

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