Archive for April, 2012


A 37-foot sailboat apparently collided with a much larger vessel during the annual sailing race from Newport Beach, Calif., to Ensenada, Mexico, killing three crew members and leaving one missing, a sailing association said early on Sunday.

“An investigation was continuing, but it appeared the damage was not inflicted by an explosion but by a collision with a ship much larger than the 37-foot vessel,” Newport Ocean Sailing Association spokesman Rich Roberts said in a statement.

The sailboat Aegean had been reported missing Saturday morning near the Coronado Islands, just south of the border, Coast Guard spokesman Henry G. Dunphy said in a news release.

“The first indication of the incident was at 1:30 a.m. Saturday when the boat’s image vanished from the online race tracking system in place for the race. A Coast Guard search was launched that led to discovery of the boat’s wreckage, including the rear transom with the boat’s name on it,” Roberts said.

Dunphy said vessels near the Coronados reported seeing debris at about 10 a.m. and three sailors were found dead in the afternoon. One body was recovered by a Coast Guard helicopter and two others by a civilian crew.
Dunphy said race officials reported the Aegean missing about 11:40 a.m. The Associated Press reported that the Aegean’s home port was Redondo Beach. The names of the crew were not released.

The 125-mile race, organized by the Newport Ocean Sailing Association, began at 11 a.m. Friday off the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach. The race crosses heavy shipping lanes off San Diego, and only a relative few boats can finish before darkness the first night.

More than 200 boats had entered the race as of Wednesday, though it was unclear how many started.

Some boats can finish the race in less than 12 hours, but others can take up to two days.

The incident comes two weeks after an accident during a race from San Francisco to the Farallon Islands left five sailors dead.



The Coast Guard called a temporary halt Thursday to oceangoing boat races in the Bay Area in the wake of the April 14 accident that killed five crew members of a racing yacht off the Farallon Islands.

The Coast Guard said the order would affect Saturday’s Offshore Yacht Racing Association Duxship Race and a second event, the Singlehanded Sailing Society Farallones Race, scheduled for May 12.

This photo shows The Low Speed Chase, a 38-foot sailboat from the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere, on Saturday, April 14, after it was slammed broadside by a 12-foot wave as it rounded the Farallones during the Full Crew Farallones Race. Five of eight crew members washed overboard, and the boat crashed into the rocks.

Saturday’s race has already been rerouted inside San Francisco Bay, and Coast Guard officials will work with organizers of the May 12 race to find an alternate course within the boundary line between Point Bonita in Marin County and Lands End in San Francisco, said Coast Guard spokesman Mike Lutz.

A safety review by US Sailing, the governing body of yacht racing, should be completed before the next scheduled offshore race on May 25, he said.

Five of the eight crew members of the 38-foot racing boat Low Speed Chase were killed when the vessel was rolled over by a large wave and smashed into the rocks of South Farallon Island. The accident took place during a race over a 54-mile round-trip course between San Francisco and the offshore islands, a route where boating competitions have been held since 1907.

“This temporary safety stand-down from offshore racing will allow the Coast Guard and the offshore racing community to further our common safety goals,” Capt. Cynthia Stowe, the Coast Guard’s commanding officer in San Francisco, said in a statement.



A panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit this week heard oral arguments on a challenge to the EPA waiver that allows for 15 percent ethanol-blended gasoline to be sold for use in cars model-year 2001 and newer.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association joined with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and the Association of Global Automobile Manufacturers Inc. to file the legal challenge to the EPA Clean Air Act waiver for E15.

Numerous other parties also filed similar suits that the court consolidated.

Growth Energy intervened in the case in support of the EPA, according to the NMMA.

“NMMA is pleased to have our day in court and is hopeful that EPA’s ill-conceived waiver will be struck down,” the association said.

Meanwhile, the NMMA said it recently became aware of a safety measure that Toyota and Lexus have taken to deter E15 misfueling.

The companies will include a special label on gas caps on their new automobiles and will include instructions in the owner’s manual not to use E15 because the vehicles are not designed to operate on it.

“This is an interesting development as manufacturers continue to consider how best to reduce misfueling as the government continues to push for higher levels of ethanol-enhanced fuel in the marketplace,” the NMMA said. “NMMA recently sent a letter to EPA opposing EPA’s approval of the ethanol producers’ misfueling mitigation plan.”


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COOS BAY, Ore., April 11, 2012 — Captain Thomas Kramer got bit hard by the boating bug when he was still a boy in Colorado. As soon as he was old enough he moved to California and began working in a boatyard – for free. “I wanted the experience. I wanted to know how to fix a boat in case it broke down when I was out there,” he said. That was 50 years ago. Today, Kramer is in the business of helping other boaters, having reopened Vessel Assist Coos Bay, an on-the-water towing service that helps boaters, anglers and sailors get safely home when they have trouble on the water.
Kramer, a familiar waterfront figure known as “Captain Thomas,” had operated the business for seven years until 2010 when he sold it to a captain who’d made him an offer that was too good to refuse. But the new owner discontinued the operation after four months, and Kramer has gone back into the towing business.
Much like an auto club for recreational boaters, Vessel Assist, a program of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), offers an on-the-water towing service plan for salt waters that cost just $149 a year, which includes BoatUS or BoatUS Angler membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face out-of-pocket costs that nationally average about $600 per incident, or $250 per hour.
Kramer also runs a charter fishing business, Pacific Charter Services, and he and his wife, Stephanie, own a popular bed-and-breakfast inn called the Old Tower House, but the captain is on call 24/7 to help boaters in need. For a man whose career went from repairing boats to captaining luxury yachts and running a fishing charter business, operating Vessel Assist Coos Bay is a way for Kramer to make the most of his vast knowledge and skills.
“I have lots of experience in all kinds of conditions,” he said. “It can get nasty here. It’ll look all nice and smooth from the bay but when you get to the bar, you’ll find 12- to 15-footers rolling in.” When he first started towing, Kramer said he practiced operating in the surf by running alongside the U.S. Coast Guard when the seas were rough. “I needed to see what the boat could handle.”
With his current boat, a 35-foot Grady-White with twin 150 horsepower outboards, that’s just about everything. The boat is fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs and extra fuel. Presently white in color, the boat will soon have a red hull with distinctive “Vessel Assist” lettering once a local paint shop backlog clears up, Kramer explained.
Coos Bay is a major commercial fishing and lumbering port that also attracts recreational boaters, sailors and anglers. Kramer, who can tow boats as large as 50 feet, said he gets the majority of calls to assist boats that break down or get caught in crab traps. Sometimes it is even the crabbers themselves, who get trap lines wrapped around their propellers while they are working.
He keeps his Vessel Assist boat in Coos Bay but can assist boats as far away as Bandon Bay, about 20 miles to the south, and Winchester Bay, about 20 miles to the north. To see the location on a map, go to Boaters can contact Vessel Assist Coos Bay 24/7 by hailing on VHF channel 16, calling Kramer at 541-294-2243, or calling the BoatUS toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-888-4869.
Vessel Assist Coos Bay is part of the world’s largest boat towing program with over 600 towboats servicing hundreds of ports and waterways. Towing is just one service offered by BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its half-million members with government representation, consumer programs and money-saving services. For more information go to or call 800-391-4869.



The City of Newport’s new Maritime Center is scheduled to open in late May. Located in the historic Newport Armory, the $1.46 million facility is owned by the City of Newport and the project has been in the planning stages since 2008. Designed for transient boaters, the aim is to provide all the necessary amenities visitors require to make their stay in the harbor an enjoyable experience.

The Armory, erected by the State of Rhode Island to house the R.I. Militia in 1884, is located at 365 Thames Street, in the heart of the Harbor and waterfront business district. The Maritime Center project, designed by Torrado Architects, has rehabilitated 8,000 square feet of the building, creating a public boating facility with entrances at Thames Street and the public Ann Street Pier. Facilities will include storage lockers, restrooms and showers, laundry, vending machines, a lounge with charts and internet access, a concierge/information desk, and office space for the facilities manager, and display cases for local attractions’ brochures.

The adjacent Ann Street Pier offers public dockage for vessels up to 40 feet, a dinghy dock, pumpout facility, trash disposal and stop for the Harbor Shuttle.

Financing for the Maritime Center came from a $713,000 Boating Infrastructure Grant Program grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, cash contribution from the City of Newport ($140,000) which has also donated the value of the building and property, the Newport County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Newport Restoration Foundation and Bowen’s Wharf Company. Mayor Stephen Waluk said, “These funds have offered us the opportunity to provide visiting boaters upgraded harbor facilities that will maintain Newport as the sailing capital of the world.”

The Maritime Center will be administered by Newport Harbormaster Tim Mills and managed by his assistant Sara Schroeder. Hours of operation will be daily 07:00 to 20:00 from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Boaters can contact the Center on VHF Channel 09, telephone 401-845-5870 or email at  For further information please contact Sara Schroeder.



We won!!! Now approved by both the Miami City Commission and the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority, we can finally move forward.

On March 8th, the Miami City Commission approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority, and the City of Miami to create a partnership to prepare plans for the restoration of the Marine Stadium. On March 29, the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority approved some amendments to the MOU that had been included by the City Commission.

A big thank you to District Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, and Commissioners Francis Suarez and Willy Gort who voted in favor of the legislation. We appreciate the leadership of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and the Administration in developing a plan to move this complex project forward.

Under the terms of the MOU, Friends of Miami Marine Stadium has just six months to develop a plan specifying the amount of land needed, and a financial and operating plan. We also must raise the necessary funds for restoration of the Stadium within a two year period (no City funds are to be used). We estimate restoration costs to be approximately $30 million and we have about $10 million in commitments so far.

Finally, we would like to thank the many Miami Marines who either showed up for the Hearing or emailed the Commission. One Commissioner told us that his office received more emails on this issue than any other he had seen. Your efforts made a big difference!



Following the dismissal of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in Florida, the receiver for Fountain and related entities filed a motion in North Carolina asking a judge to confirm its authority to file such petitions on behalf of the boatbuilder.

Ronald Glass, and the firm of GlassRatner Advisory & Capital Group, were appointed the corporate receiver in First Capital’s case against Fountain on Oct. 20, and this latest filing recounts what led up to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition, which was filed in January.

First Capital is seeking $61.04 million in damages from Fountain and other entities for the “borrower defendants’ ” breach of loan agreements, according to documents filed in the North Carolina court.

The “borrower defendants” include: American Marine Holdings LLC; Donzi Marine LLC; AMH Government Services LLC; Pro-Line Boats LLC; Fountain Powerboats LLC; Fountain Powerboat Industries LLC; Fountain Powerboats Inc.; Fountain Dealers’ Factory Super Store Inc.; Baja Marine Inc.; Palmetto Park Financial LLC; 50509 Marine LLC; Liberty Acquisition FPB LLC; and Joseph G. Wortley.

In the latest filing, Glass noted that before filing for Chapter 11 in Florida he asked the North Carolina court for authority to sell 11 boats in the Palmetto Park inventory for $429,000, and the funds of the sale would generate capital to assist with continuing operations. Palmetto Park, according to court documents, is an entity created and funded by FCC to provide dealers with floorplan financing.

On Jan. 16, Wortley, a principal of the borrower defendants, filed a Chapter 11 petition “purportedly” on behalf of Palmetto Park, which “halted the receiver’s proposed sale of 11 boats and the planned construction of new boats. …The inability to proceed with the sale and to manufacture additional boats dramatically impacted cash flow.

“In response to Wortley’s bankruptcy filing, FCC informed the receiver that it was unlikely to continue funding any of the borrower defendants unless they also filed bankruptcy,” according to Glass’ latest filings.

“Lacking prospects of further funding from FCC or revenue from the proposed sale of boats, the receiver determined that Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings afforded the borrower defendants the best opportunity to restructure their debts and otherwise reorganize on a going forward basis,” he added.

The filing, he said, would reduce operating expenses by enjoining the collection of pre-bankruptcy debts, which are currently in excess of $3 million, increase the likelihood of “debtor-in-possession” financing from FCC and allow for the restructuring of loan obligations.

He noted that the judge in Florida dismissed the Chapter 11 petitions without prejudice, meaning petitions can be refilled. Wortley filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying Glass did not have the authority to file for Chapter 11.

Following the dismissal, an attorney for Fountain Powerboats Inc. and Baja Marine Inc. filed a motion in North Carolina to dissolve the temporary receivership. To date, no order has been filed on that motion.



HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut bill that would make a rise in sea level a factor in deciding waterfront property uses has drawn criticism from marine groups.

The bill, HB 5128, An Act Concerning Certain Revisions to the Coastal Zone Management Statutes, has been approved by the Environment Committee and referred to the House, but marine groups such as the Connecticut Marine Trades Association are urging members to contact state legislators and ask them not to take action on the bill this session.

According to the bill, its purpose is “to encourage a fair and orderly legal process to foster strategic retreat of property ownership, over a period of several decades, for coastal lands that have a likelihood of being lost due to erosion and coastal lands that contain structures that are subject to repetitive damage.”

A letter from the group to state legislators states that three decades ago, waterfront property owners gave up significant control of the future of their properties in exchange for primary considerations of the uses of those properties. The group argues the bill would seriously dilute those protections and allow changes to the properties by municipalities that “by their nature are driven by local commissions and local politics.”

In particular, CMTA is concerned that a “rise in the sea level” would be used as a factor in denying the use of or rebuilding on waterfront or coastal property.

“While this factor may need some consideration,” the group wrote, “the extent of rise and the timeline that should really be considered has not yet been sufficiently evaluated in the public conversation. Any local decisions based upon ‘sea level rise’” can only be a guess or an approximation, neither of which should have standing when deciding on private property uses. If and when such levels are scientifically determined and accepted, such criteria may be considered but until then local commissions do not have the technological capability to make those decisions.”

A Shoreline Preservation Taskforce has been formed to look further at the issue.



It is with great sadness that we learned today of the passing of Clive Curtis at the age of 78.

Clive after winning the 1969 Cowes Torquay Cowes with Don Arownow

Volare - Photo Graham Stevens

Yellowdrama - Photo Graham Stevens

Clive after winning the 1972 Putney Calais with Keith Dallas in the Cougar designed and built Aristocat

Aluminium Class 1 Cougar Catamarans in the early 1980's - Photo Graham Stevens