Archive for December, 2012

Mercury expansion on schedule

Posted: December 30, 2012 in News


Construction projects at Mercury Marine are part of a $20 million expansion in support of its engineering and manufacturing divisions in Fond du Lac. / Aileen Andrews / The Reporter Media

A pair of construction projects supporting product advances and growth are starting to take shape at Mercury Marine.

Expansion is occurring at product development and engineering areas at Plant 12 and at component manufacturing and fabrication at Plants 4 and 17.

John Pfeifer, recently named vice president of global operations, said work is on schedule.

“We’re very pleased with how it’s going,” he said. “The (expansion) is not your routine construction project. There is a lot of very, very specialized work that has to be done . . . that doesn’t proceed as fast as standard construction.”

Fond du Lac-based C.D. Smith Construction is the lead contractor, along with Excel Engineering of Fond du Lac and Rohde Construction of Plymouth.

Work related to product development and engineering includes construction of new dynamometer “dyno” test cells. Components of the test cells are more advanced as engines become more advanced.

One component being installed is a new closed-loop water system that recycles water used in testing.

Investing in the future
Pfeifer said the company continues to investin the future. The combined cost of both projects will be nearly $20 million. They are scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2013.

“The market for marine engines is demanding a higher and higher level of emissions-friendly products,” he said, adding that Mercury Marine is typically “way ahead” of what the Environmental Protection Agency requires. “I think the best way to describe it, is there is a technology shift in the marine engine market which is pushing up demand for emissions-friendly engines.”

The U.S. market for recreational engines expanded over the past year, Pfeifer said. Various markets around the world, including China and Brazil, provide growth and are considered emerging markets. Europe, though, experiencing a recession, has seen a decline.

The $20 million construction project at Mercury Marine was part of plans made after the company decided in 2009 to consolidation operations in Fond du Lac. Its Stillwater, Okla., plant was closed in December 2011.

“We knew when we decided to consolidate our operations — first with the work brought here from our former sterndrive plant in Stillwater, Okla., and more recently with work brought here from our former CMD (Cummins MerCruiser Diesel) joint venture in South Carolina — that we would eventually have to make physical changes and some additions,” Mercury Marine President Mark Schwabero told The Reporter at a groundbreaking event Sept. 28.




Saturday, 21 December, ABU DHABI (UAE): Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri completed their Abu Dhabi Grand Prix treble after cruising to a comfortable Victory in race 2.

Today’s win, their seventh of the season, ends a near perfect season for the Champions, claiming top spot in the World, Middle East and Edox Pole Position Championships.

Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella maintained their impressive run of form to finish on the podium for the second time in two days bringing LFFendi10 home in second place, with Zabo-Isiklar’s Ugur Isik and Christian Zaborowski ending their season on a high with a well-deserved first podium of the year and clinching fourth place in the Championship.

The newly crowned Champions were in a league of their own and took the initiative from the start and led the race from flag to finish and at no time came under any pressure.

By mid-race Al Zafeen and Al Marri had eased out to a 30 second lead and were in cruise control and able to back off in the closing stages to win the 14 lap, 70.17Nm race by 12 seconds. “It was the perfect way to end our season,” said the five time World Champion Al Zafeen. “There was no pressure on us today and the conditions outside the island were much flatter. The start was good for all boats with no issues and once we came inside we controlled the race and our pace.”

Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella completed their hat-trick of race podiums to round off a very strong second half the year, but had to hold off a strong challenge from Zabo-Isiklar in the closing stages. “This is super good for us and a big comeback in the Championship,” said owner-driver Formilli Fendi. “This boat has made a big difference and our year really only got going in July. We have been able to make some changes to the boat and now have a very good package. I think we can be stronger next year.”

Zabo Racing’s habit of ending their seasons on the podium continued, with Isik and Zaborowski’s strategy of taking their second short lap late paying dividends, moving them up from sixth place at the end of lap six into third spot a lap later.

For the remainder of the race they piled the pressure on and chased down LFFendi10 closing the gap too under five seconds. “It was good race for us. We were a little short of speed but made up for that in the turns. I think if we had a few more laps we could have caught Fendi.”

For the first Grand Prix this season Team Abu Dhabi missed out on a podium finish, with Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori again finishing in fourth.

Gian Maria Gabbiani and Luca Nicolini did not have the pace to run with the others but did have the reliability, ending a positive weekend for the team picking up their best result of the year finishing in fifth spot.

There was disappointment for Victory Team Australia’s Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath who were running in second place when their race came to an abrupt end after a broken torque sensor forced them to stop on lap seven.

Subseapilot lasted just two laps with Yngve Bratland and Bjorge Jacobsen returning to the pits with an engine problem, Poliform-Spirit of Gabon’s Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci following them in on lap 10, also with an engine issue.

1. 3 Victory – A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) 00.42.31,12
2. 10 Fendi Racing – L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.11,71
3. 91 Zabo Isiklar – U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 00.16,97
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.24,16
5. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI – G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 03.10,71
6. 74 Poliform – G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) dnf
7. 7 Victory Team of Australia – D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) dnf
8. 8 Subseapilot – Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) dnf

1. 3 Victory Team – 177pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 127pts 3. 10 Fendi Racing – 87pts 4. 91 Zabo Isiklar – 63pts 5. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 53pts 6. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 45pts 7. 7 Victory Team of Australia – 37pts 8. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI – 34pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon – Poliform – 22pts 10. 8 Subseapilot – 7pts 11. 90 Welmax – 5pts 12. 9 Welmax – 0pts

1. 3 Victory Team – 112pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 75pts 3. 10 Fendi Racing – 52pts 4= 91 Zabo Isiklar – 33pts 4= 7 Victory Team of Australia – 33pts 6. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 32pts 7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI – 23pts 8. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 9pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon – Poliform – 7pts 10. 8 Subseapilot – 3pts 11. 90 Welmax – 0pts




Thursday, 20 December, ABU DHABI (UAE): Dubai’s Victory Team is celebrating a remarkable twelfth World Championship success after a convincing win in race 1 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri.

The Victory duo seemed unfazed after finding themselves in third place after the start and played a waiting game, coming from behind to take their sixth win of the season to seal a fifth World title for Al Zafeen and a third for Al Marri.

Today’s win also secures a sixth Middle East Championship for Victory after dropping just eight points in five starts, with Al Zafeen winning both titles for the last four years.

Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella raced to their third podium of the year bringing LFFendi10 home in second place, with Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath, running under the Victory Australia banner, producing yet another outstanding performance to make it three podiums from five outings in their short end of season stint in Class 1, finishing third.

From the green flag Al Zafeen and Al Marri watched as the Italian duo in LFFendi10 came from sixth place on the line and raced into a comfortable lead on the rough 2Nm start run outside Lulu Island to lead by five seconds at the end of lap1.

Nicholson and McGrath were up into second ahead of their adopted teammates Victory, with Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci in Spirit of Gabon-Poliform in fourth and Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori in fifth.

LFFendi10 extended their lead after opting to run their two mandatory short laps immediately, to open up a 17 second gap but now over Spirit of Gabon-Poliform and Zabo-Isiklar who also went for the short laps early.

But by the end of lap 5 with all boats having run their short laps, Victory hit the front to lead by 9 seconds with LFFendi10 second and Victory Australia third.

The leading trio remained line astern for the remaining 5 laps with Al Zafeen and Al Marri running out the comfortable winners by 34 seconds. “It was always our plan to take it easy at the start and not to take any risks,” said Arif Al Zafeen after his 29th career win. “I know this course so well and knew we had the pace to get back to the front once we were running on the inside.”

A third podium in six outings since they switched into their Victory hull has now moved Fendi and Carpitella up into third place in the overall Championship standings, with Luca Formilli Fendi understandably pleased with the result. “To move up from sixth to first in one lap is pretty impressive,” he said. “It was a great start by us and we really pushed on the outside leg but we always knew that Victory would come back at us. They have the boat to suit these circuits.”

Nicholson and McGrath’s short time on the tour just gets better and better, the Australian-New Zealand pairing now boasting two race podiums and one from yesterday’s qualifying. “We can’t complain,” said McGrath. “We knew that when 10 got to the turn in front and we lost the first corner it would be hard for us to get back at them. But we ran well on the outside and did all we could inside.”

Team Abu Dhabi’s hopes of a podium finish on home waters disappeared after dropping a place at the start, but Al Tayer and Al Mansoori regained the place on lap five to finish in fourth and secure the runners-up slot in the World and Middle East Championship standings.

Spirit of Gabon-Poliform and Zabo-Isiklar battled it out in the latter stages and enjoyed a six lap tussle for fifth and six spots, Cappellini and Montavoci winning the duel to finish in front by just four seconds, with both FARO ACCIAI and Subseapilot going the distance and picking up valuable points.

1. 3 Victory – A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) 00.29.49,34
2. 10 Fendi Racing – L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.34,39
3. 7 Victory Team of Australia – D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) + 00.38,39
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.52,72
5. 74 Poliform – G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) + 01.25,00
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar – U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 01.29,00
7. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI – G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 1 LAP
8. 8 Subseapilot – Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) + 1 LAP

1. 3 Victory Team – 157pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 114pts 3. 10 Fendi Racing – 68pts 4. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 53pts 5. 91 Zabo Isiklar – 47pts 6. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 45pts 7. 7 Victory Team of Australia – 33pts 8. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI – 23pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon – Poliform – 20pts 10. 90 Welmax – 5pts 11. 8 Subseapilot – 3pts 12. 9 Welmax – 0pts

1. 3 Victory Team – 92pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 66pts 3. 10 Fendi Racing – 37pts 4. 7 Victory Team of Australia – 33pts 5. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 32pts 6. 91 Zabo Isiklar – 21pts 7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI – 16pts 8. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 9pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon – Poliform – 7pts 10. 8 Subseapilot – 3pts 11. 90 Welmax – 0pts


New Release: U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary


Hurricane Sandy is gone; New Jersey waterways are open to recreational boating, fishing and hunting; many boaters are already back on the water and more boaters will follow come Spring.

Left in Sandy’s after effects are a new and different variety of hazards for the recreational boater.

The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary urge all boaters be aware of these dangers produced by Sandy:

-Shifted channels, new shoals, altered bottom contours and changes in waterway depths.
-Sand and sediment pushed into environmentally sensitive areas, coves and anchorages.
-Aids to navigation fixtures may have moved, been damaged, inoperable or destroyed.
-Existing charts, maps and GPS data may not reflect actual conditions.
-Flotsam, wreckage, low-silhouette floating debris (building material, household items, etc.), newly submerged or sunken obstacles and derelict boats.
-Short term bacteria, pathogen and virus risks.

Risk evaluations, restoration assessments and rehabilitation could take months; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will need to survey and re-map local waterways. This means hazards could remain for some time to come.

It is extremely important that operators of boats, kayaks, canoes, personal watercraft or anyone using our waterways take precautions.

Some recommended precautions are:

-Consider each trip as piloting in uncharted waters and exercise extreme caution.
-Post multiple lookouts and proceed at a reduced speeds.
-Boat responsibly, use common sense, wear lifejackets at all times and avoid alcohol.
-Report all sightings of dangerous floating debris and submerged/sunken obstacles to the nearest New Jersey State Police Marine Bureau Station or U.S. Coast Guard facility. Do not use emergency call procedures unless an actual emergency exists.
-Report lost or abandoned boats to the nearest NJSP Marine Bureau Station.
-Check the latest “Local Notice to Mariners” information for the New Jersey waterways at:
-View storm damage updates at:

As the owner or operator of a vessel, you are the responsible party and must exercise all necessary precautions to avoid accidents or injuries.



Remembering Jimmy “Trophy B****” Welsh

Posted: December 27, 2012 in News


Love, Thoughts & Prayers for the Welsh Family & Team Typhoon

Jimmy Welsh aka “Trophy B****” was a man that many of us loved & adored. There are so many things and so many stories about this man that we can go on forever and never have a bad thing to say. Jimmy truly had a heart of gold.

Jimmy was big a part of Offshore Racing and was a part of so many people’s adventures. He always seemed to be everywhere all the time helping everyone. It is safe to say that no one ever walked away from Jimmy without a smile on their face. You may have walked away shaking your head, but “YES” it was always with a smile and probably a laugh too. Jimmy will be missed greatly by all.

Services will take place from 10 am – noon, Friday, December 28, 2012 at the Boylan Funeral Home, 10 Wooding Ave., Edison; family and friends are invited to visit the family on Friday from 10 am to noon. The service will be under the direction of Rev James Black of Clearwater FL. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Sandy Relief Funds. Following the service, friends and family are invited to the Raritan River Boat Club, 20 Player Ave., Edison, NJ for a celebration of Jimmy’s life. Please bring any photos of “Trophy *****” to post on the board.

Please send photos of Jimmy to



Tensions mount as tourism leaders try to accommodate two major events. Broward says game on, while Miami-Dade warns of too few hotel rooms.

Miami-Dade tourism director William Talbert III says Miami can’t host the Super Bowl and Boat show on the same weekend. ORLANDO GARCIA / Miami Herald file photo

South Florida risks fielding a divided team for the 50th Super Bowl if it can’t resolve a conflict with the Miami International Boat Show. Long a hassle for Super Bowl organizers, the boat show issue now seems to be something of a dividing line among local leaders charged with pursuing the country’s largest sporting event.

A recent planning meeting at Sun Life Stadium for the 2016 Super Bowl bid reportedly got heated when Miami-Dade’s tourism director, William Talbert, repeated his position that Miami can’t play host to the Super Bowl and the boat show on the same weekend. The NFL may want to move its championship to President’s Day Weekend, the boat show’s home for decades, and the potential overlap has caused a rift among the key players that helped give South Florida a record 10 Super Bowls.

“We’ve worked great together in the past, and we’ll work through this,’’ said Rodney Barreto, the long-time head of South Florida’s Super Bowl Host Committee. “We’re right in the middle of negotiating things.”

Though the boat show has complicated South Florida’s past Super Bowl bids, the pursuit of the anniversary game in 2016 has brought more challenges and intrigue than ever.

In 2010, the NFL began asking cities to reserve President’s Day Weekend as one of three potential slots for the Super Bowl in case it ever extended the championship schedule into the middle of February. But South Florida’s two main tourism bureaus previously have declined to pursue hosting the game if the NFL opted to hold it on the same weekend as the boat show. Instead, they’ve jointly bid on only the remaining weekends.

But in recent weeks, Broward’s tourism bureau has signaled it won’t go along with that approach for 2016.

“I will not support a soft bid,’’ said Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, a government agency. “My county won’t do it. A soft bid is anything short of what the NFL is looking for. Which is three weekends.”

Grossman said Broward is ready to step in and be the Super Bowl hub if Miami-Dade can’t because of the boat show. That’s in part what happened during the Super Bowl’s last trip to South Florida, in 2010, when most of the NFL’s official events and facilities were housed in and around Fort Lauderdale.

But such a scenario could complicate matters for the Miami Dolphins as the team considers a pitch to use Miami-Dade hotel taxes to fund improvements to the team’s stadium in Miami Gardens. The Dolphins and the NFL have said the improvements, including a partial roof, are crucial for capturing the 2016 Super Bowl from the other finalist, San Francisco, home to a new $1.2 billion stadium in nearby Santa Clara. The losing city will take on Houston for the 2017 Super Bowl.

Barreto, a partner in one of Miami’s top lobbying firms, said he is in talks with boat show organizers about moving to another weekend for 2016. But if those negotiations fail, Barreto is also floating aggressive moves to let Miami accommodate the Super Bowl while the boat show takes place on Miami Beach. Those ideas include docking barges or even cruise ships in downtown Miami to accommodate NFL events and the throngs of fans, sponsors and media that come to the Super Bowl each year, according to people involved in the 2016 bid.

Housing Super Bowl visitors on ships is bound to invite comparisons to Jacksonville’s widely panned turn as a Super Bowl host in 2005, when a lack of hotel rooms forced organizers to turn to its port for help on accommodations. But the fact thatBarreto raised the option in private meetings reflects the priority being put on keeping Miami in the Super Bowl mix.

“We’re a big city that can hold multiple events in our town,’’ Barreto said, while declining to confirm the cruise-ship idea. “I’m not totally convinced the boat show needs to move.”

Central to the Super Bowl standoff is Talbert, president of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. In a Nov. 29 interview, he was adamant that the Miami area does not have enough hotel rooms for the Super Bowl, the boat show and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, another major annualevent the same weekend. Talbert said “it’s not physically possible in Miami to host Super Bowl during the Presidents’ Day weekend.”

Talbert has not responded to interview requests about the Super Bowl since. But a closed-door meeting with the host committee at Sun Life late last week reportedly got tense when Talbert pushed back against Barreto’s contention that Miami could host both events, according to several sources close to the committee. Barreto said the meeting involved “a very frank discussion” but would not discuss details.

Amid the tension, the Dolphins and Barreto have established a vetting process for the 2016 Super Bowl that in some ways pits Miami against Fort Lauderdale. While past Super Bowls have purposely straddled the county line to justify receiving upward of $6 million from Broward and Miami-Dade governments, the NFL wants a smaller footprint for 2016, said Dolphins CEO Mike Dee.

“You’re going to see this urban core area with a concentrated critical mass of activities in one place,’’ Dee said.

That helps explain why, for the first time, Broward and Miami-Dade’s tourism bureaus made separate proposals to the Super Bowl host committee this year, rather than collaborating on a single plan, participants said.

“I told the committee I thought our bids were usually stronger when we present together,’’ Grossman said. “This time the request was made to make our presentations individually. And we did. It heightened the air of competition.”

Dee said that a rivalry always existed as the two counties vied for more visitors and events from past Super Bowls. And he noted that no matter where the pre-game NFL activities take place, the Super Bowl will bring a flood of visitors for the tens of thousands of hotel rooms in Miami-Dade and Broward County.

“There is a lot on the line here and a lot of economic value,” Dee said. “Both counties recognize it, and want as big a piece of it as they can.”



Saturday, 15 December, DUBAI (UAE): Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri cruised to a somewhat hollow victory in the Skydive Dubai Grand Prix, following extraordinary scenes before the start with three boats boycotting the race and returning to the pits.

The decision by Spirit of Qatar’s team principal Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Luca Formilli Fendi to boycott the race hinged on the fact that they [teams] were informed of the decision to change the course 45 minutes before the start of the race, and that Victory were late to the race pontoon because they were changing their set-up.

Despite all teams being given the opportunity by UIM Race Commissioner Gordon Sutherland to return to the pits to change set-ups, only Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath of Victory Team Australia took up the option.

Not for the first time over the race weekend the weather was the powerful dictator, forcing race officials to shorten the course for the mornings practice and then reduce it considerably further and run a ‘storm course’ due to the extreme conditions on the outside leg.

With Subseapilot already side-lined after losing their escape hatch and damaging the boat in the morning session, and the withdrawal of both Qatar boats and LFF 10, six lined up for the revised 13 lap 42.14Nm race with officials opting for a rolling start with the boats running line stern.

The absence of yesterday’s race winner and third placed boat handed the advantage to Al Zafeen and Al Marri who disappeared into the distance from the green flag and were unchallenged throughout, and cruised to their fourth win of the year to extend their lead in the Championship standings to 30 points.

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer and Majed Al Mansoori added to their podium haul with an untroubled second place to keep them insight of their UAE rivals in the title race.

Class 1 newcomer Darren Nicholson and Class 1 returnee Peter McGrath took full advantage of the situation to celebrate their entry into the Championship finishing in third place in Victory Team Australia, with Zabo-Isiklar and FARO ACCIAI picking up valuable points coming home in fourth and fifth spots, but there was frustration for Spirit of Gabon-Poliform who stopped on lap 1.

1. 3 Victory – A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) 00.28.16,28
2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 00.08,77
3. 7 Victory Team of Australia – D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) + 00.48,36
4. 91 Zabo Isiklar – U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 01.28,00
5. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI – G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 2 LAPS
6. 74 Poliform – G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) dnf
96 Spirit of Qatar – H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) dns
95 Spirit of Qatar – A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) dns
10 Fendi Racing – L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) dns
8 Subseapilot – Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) dns

1. 3 Victory Team – 132pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 102pts 3. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 73pts 4. 10 Fendi Racing – 50pts 5. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 45pts 6. 91 Zabo Isiklar – 40pts 7. 7 Victory Team of Australia – 19pts 8. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI – 18pts 9. 74 Spirit of Gabon – Poliform – 13pts 10. 90 Welmax – 5pts 11= 9 Welmax – 0pts 12= 8 Subseapilot – 0pts

1. 3 Victory Team – 67pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 54pts 3. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 52pts 4= 7 Victory Team of Australia – 19pts 4= 10 Fendi Racing – 19pts 6. 91 Zabo Isiklar – 14pts 7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI – 11pts 8. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 9pts 9= 74 Spirit of Gabon – Poliform – 0pts 9= 90 Welmax – 0pts 9= 8 Subseapilot – 0pts



Saturday, 15 December, DUBAI (UAE): Class 1 promoter Nicolo di San Germano was quick to point out that he did not feel let down by the actions of the teams who boycotted the race but was emphatic in his support of the decision taken by officials to change the course. “Everybody is responsible for their own actions and if they were unhappy sobeit. But in terms of sportsmanship and sporting actions – I make no comment.

“I am grateful to the UIM officials because what we want and must have are safe races. When it comes to safety we make it our first priority. We have a duty and our responsibility, along with the officials of the UIM, is to minimise risk.”



Friday, 14 December, DUBAI (UAE): Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis produced a brilliant tactical drive in rough conditions off the Mina Seyahi to come from behind to take their second win of the season in race 1 in Dubai of the Emirates-Dubai Duty Free and Skydive Dubai Grand Prix.

The pole-sitters and 2012 Champions elect, Arif Al Zafeen and Mohammed Al Marri saw their hopes of victory disappear in the latter stages to finish in second place ahead of Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella in LFF10.

The decision by the Spirit of Qatar 96 crew to take their two mandatory long-laps early after a poor start dropped them to third place behind LFF10 and the early race leader’s Victory, paid off.

They began their fight back as the front two runners went for their long laps and on lap six passed LFF10 and then set about overhauling the 40-second deficit to Victory.

By lap eight they had cut the gap to ten seconds, passing the Championship leader’s two laps later to go on and take the win by 14-seconds, completing the 12 laps/53.76Nm in 38:03.77s.

Despite a brilliant start by Al Zafeen and Al Marri and easing out to a comfortable lead in the early stages of the race, an engine issue in the closing laps and second place means their hopes of trying to close-out the Championship in front of their home crowd now depends on them winning race 2 and Team Abu Dhabi, who finished in fourth place, finishing outside the top six.

Luca Formilli Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella mirrored their performance in official qualifying, but a ballast issue mid-race prevented them from holding off the Spirit of Qatar charge to the front, costing them a possible second spot.

Peter McGrath and Class 1 newcomer Darren Nicholson survived one or two nervous moments in the new Victory hull, running as Victory Team Australia, coming home in fifth place despite being given a time penalty for missing a turn buoy, ahead of Zabo-Isiklar and FA.RO ACCIAI.

A 360 spin-out on lap two ended Guido Cappellini and Giampaolo Montavoci’s race, with Yngve Bratland and Bjorge Jacobsen’s Subseapilot stopping on the same lap with a technical problem. Ali Al Neama and Matteo Nicolini failed to make the start after damaging Spirit of Qatar 95 in qualifying.


1. 96 Spirit of Qatar – H Al Thani (QAT) / S Curtis (ENG) – 00.38.03,77
2. 3 Victory – A Al Zafeen (UAE) / M Al Marri (UAE) + 00.14,72
3. 10 Fendi Racing – L Formilli Fendi (ITA) / G Carpitella (ITA) + 00.35,56
4. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – R Al Tayer (UAE) / M Al Mansoori (UAE) + 02.46,00
5. 7 Victory Team of Australia – D Nicholson (AUS) / P Mc Grath (NZL) + 03.57,00
6. 91 Zabo Isiklar – U Isik (TUR) / C Zaborowski (NOR) + 1 LAP
7. 23 FA.RO. ACCIAI – G M Gabbiani (ITA) / L Nicolini (ITA) + 2 LAPS
8. 8 Subseapilot – Y Bratland (NOR) / B Jacobsen (NOR) dnf
9. 74 Poliform – G Cappellini (MON) / G Montavoci (ITA) dnf
10. 95 Spirit of Qatar – A Al Neama (QAT) / M Nicolini (ITA) dns

1. 3 Victory Team – 110pts 2. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 83pts 3. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 73pts 4. 10 Fendi Racing – 50pts 5. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 45pts 6. 91 Zabo Isiklar – 27pts 7. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI – 11pts 8. 74 Spirit of Gabon – Poliform – 9pts 9. 7 Victory Team of Australia – 7pts 10. 90 Welmax – 5pts 11. 9 Welmax – 0pts 12. 8 Subseapilot – 0pts

1. 96 Spirit of Qatar – 52pts 2. 3 Victory Team – 47pts 3. 5 Team Abu Dhabi – 39pts 4. 10 Fendi Racing – 19pts 5. 95 Spirit of Qatar – 9pts 6. 7 Victory Team of Australia – 7pts 7. 91 Zabo Isiklar – 5pts 8. 23 FA.RO ACCIAI – 4pts 9= 74 Spirit of Gabon – Poliform – 0pts 9= 90 Welmax – 0pts 9= 8 Subseapilot – 0pts



IT’S just a little smile but it’s there every time Australian sailing’s miracle girl Tess Lloyd heads out for a race.

Tess Lloyd, who was told she’d never sail again, is competing in Sail Sydney and has her sights set on competing at the world titles after winning Sail Melbourne. Picture: Phil Hillyard Source: The Daily Telegraph

And it’s still there each time the teenager comes back in, even if she’s wet and cold.

The 17-year-old still cannot believe she is back doing what she loves most just 10 months after she emerged from a coma that doctors induced to treat shocking brain trauma.

“I consider myself lucky every day now,” said Lloyd as she prepared for three days of intense racing on Sydney Harbour in the Sail Sydney regatta.

Last week the incredible story of Lloyd’s comeback from a life-threatening accident on the water got a little more extraordinary when she and new crewmate Eliza Solly won their first major regatta together at Sail Melbourne.

The Melburnian hopes the story becomes even more astonishing. Lloyd and Solly are chasing a spot on the Australian youth team to compete at the world championships in Cyprus next year. “My dream is also to go to an Olympics,” she said. “I’ll aim at Rio and the one after that.”

In January at a youth championship in Brisbane, a then 16-year-old Lloyd sustained a head injury when her 29er skiff was involved in a collision with a sailboarder. Lloyd was knocked unconscious and her crewmate, Lewis Duncan, held her above the water until help came, saving her life.

“No one really knew I had been hit in the head. Lewis found me in the water with my face down,” Lloyd said.

“I had an operation because I had a fractured skull and (swelling) was pushing into my brain. The doctors opened me up and fixed things and I was in an induced coma for 14 days. The last thing I remember was talking to mum before the race.”

While Lloyd’s memory slowly improved during her five-week hospital stint, she had to learn to walk and talk again and is still seeing a speech specialist as part of her rehabilitation.

“At the start I couldn’t talk at all and had to learn all my speech all over again. It’s not 100 per cent but it’s getting there,’ she said. “All the words were in my brain jumbled up but I just couldn’t get them out. It was the same with my reading and writing and it’s still a bit difficult at school.

“Everything is a lot slower. Things are processed slower but I’m working really hard on it. Every day things are getting a little better.”

While doctors told her she might never sail again, Lloyd said sailing was her lifeline back to a normal life.

“So much has changed. So much was different. But sailing was the same,” she said of her tentative return to the water around three months after the accident. “The doctors didn’t want me to go for a long time but I wanted to do it for my sake. It was something I really needed to do. My parents were nervous but knew I had to go.”

And Lloyd is still going, this week racing at Sail Sydney before heading back to Victoria for the Australian 29ers and then Hobart for the Australian youth nationals.

“The last two are qualifications for the world youth championships and we’d love to get there,” Lloyd said.

She is so serious about making an Olympics that she has already ordered a 49er FX skiff – the new class to be raced by women at the Rio Olympics.

“It’s all so exciting. I just can’t wait to sail it,” she said.



Photo credit: Tourists and shoppers visit Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport. (Charles Eckert)

The South Street Seaport Museum has resurfaced.

Closed down since getting Sandy-soaked six weeks ago, the museum at 12 Fulton St. is reopening 10 a.m. Friday with two new ambitious exhibitions — a custom print shop (Bowne & Co., Printers) replicating a 19th century print shop replete with 1,200 fonts of movable wood and metal type, and an exhibition of works by renowned Key West folk artist Mario Sanchez.

Seaport supporters hope the Museum’s resurrection will help the “Front Street” area, which was hard hit by the superstorm, and where some businesses still remain closed.

Storm damage to the museum’s mechanical and electrical system, elevators and escalators means that visitors will be warmed by heaters blowing in air from the sidewalk and must use stairs in lieu of elevators. But “we welcome all comers,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, president of the museum, in a statement.

The opening is in large part “a statement of faith in our mission and community,” Jones said.

The new exhibitions will join a multimedia presentation about New York City called “Timescapes,” and Handheld Devices, an exhibition of historic tools used in ship and port work.



“12-12-12”, a fundraising concert to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy, will take place on December 12 at Madison Square Garden. The concert will feature Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Kanye West, The Who, Paul McCartney plus more artists to be announced!

The concert is being presented by Chase, and the proceeds will go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund. Robin Hood, the largest independent poverty fighting organization in the New York area, will insure that every cent raised will go to non-profit groups that are helping the tens of thousands of people throughout the tri-state area who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The concert is being produced by James Dolan, Executive Chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company; John Sykes, President of Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises; and Harvey Weinstein, Co-Founder and Chairman of The Weinstein Company‹the same group that produced and sponsored the historic 9/11 benefit “The Concert for New York City”.



Additional Fort Monmouth Housing Units and Mobile Homes Will Help Address Disaster Housing Needs

Trenton, NJ – In response to a housing need unlike any New Jersey has before encountered, the Christie Administration today expanded a multi-faceted housing strategy with the support of FEMA to provide additional resources to the many households who are in need of temporary housing as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Additional housing units at the former Fort Monmouth Military Installation will immediately begin to be renovated and temporary housing units will be placed on existing concrete pads already serviced by utility hookups and facilities. Additionally, a request has been made to extend FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program and Bergen and Hudson counties will be added to the list of areas where a FEMA rapid housing repair program is offered.

“Among our top priorities is to ensure that everyone who has been displaced by Hurricane Sandy can find temporary housing that meets their needs in one available form or another, so they can begin to recover from this major disaster,” said Governor Christie. “State departments and agencies, coordinated by my recovery and rebuilding team, have been working hard every day to assess and anticipate unmet housing needs and to develop a comprehensive strategy that, first and foremost, provides safe and adequate housing in the interim and, second, moves impacted households into permanent housing.”

“As directed by Governor Christie, providing short and long term housing options for displaced New Jerseyans is the first critical task of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding,” said Marc Ferzan. “Working in concert with FEMA and the Department of Community Affairs, we are putting forward a plan to identify individual housing needs, provide clear options and help residents navigate the process. This is just part of an ongoing strategy to identify and respond to our state’s housing needs and to reassure New Jersyeans and their families that federal, state and local government resources are collaborating to help those who need post-disaster assistance.”

As of December 7, over 48,000 households have been determined eligible for financial assistance for housing exceeding $258 million in rental assistance and repair grants, according to FEMA disaster assistance registration data. Of those, over 9,500 sustained damage significant enough to warrant a call out from FEMA to determine the need for temporary housing. More than 8,000 of those households are located in Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, demonstrating a concentration of unmet housing needs within a relatively compact geographic area. The number of available rentals listed locally and in the FEMA Housing Portal are not sufficient to meet the anticipated need.

“A very high percentage of displaced households were staying with family and friends when they registered with FEMA. However, as some of these housing situations become unsustainable, residents who have been unable to secure available, affordable housing will need additional temporary housing alternatives,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, whose department heads the New Jersey State led Disaster Housing Task Force. “We are confident our program will provide a comprehensive housing strategy to meet our citizens’ needs.”

In order to meet the housing needs of displaced residents, the Christie Administration, in partnership with FEMA, will:

  • Renovate housing units at Fort Monmouth in addition to the 45 units currently being renovated. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority is simultaneously preparing to issue multiple Requests for Offer to Purchase portions of Fort housing stock that could add approximately 375 units of permanent housing for Sandy displaced residents. The New Jersey Department of Education has advised that students housed at the Fort will have busing transportation available within a reasonable radius to their home school district;
  • Place manufactured housing units on existing pads in mobile home parks;
  • Request an extension of FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program to accommodate those residents who are currently staying in hotels and motels seeking housing. The program will be re-evaluated to determine the need beyond the January extension date; and
  • Add Hudson and Bergen counties to the list of jurisdictions where FEMA’s Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) Pilot Program is offered. Through the program, homeowners can apply through their municipalities for eligible repair work on residences, including electrical meter repairs, shelter essential measures, and rapid temporary exterior repairs so that they can live in their homes while permanent repairs are made. The program is already offered in Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties.

The Christie Administration believes the expanded temporary housing assistance is warranted given the large number of uninhabitable homes in the state, the high percentage of households who are residing with family and friends, and the fact that more disaster assistance registrations are being received every day related to Hurricane Sandy losses. The Administration will continue to work with FEMA to monitor housing needs in the weeks and months to come.


2013 OPA Racing Awards Banquet

Posted: December 9, 2012 in Events, News, Racing


Please join us on February 16th, 2013 at 7:00 pm for the 2012 OPA Awards Banquet. The Banquet is being held at the Oyster Creek Inn located in Leeds Point, NJ which is conveniently located 20 minutes from Atlantic City.​​

This year’s National Champions are:, Wazzup, Cat Can Do, Pirate Racing, Cleveland Construction, Bull on the Beach, Twin Screws/R&S Racing, Pushin-Tin & Wazzup II.

The Stugots Cup will be returning to New Jersey as the High Points Champion is

And let’s not forget about the The Biggest, The Baddest and The Heaviest Trophy in all of Offshore Racing, “The Godfather Cup”. This trophy you have to earn. Recipient of the “Godfather Cup” will be announced at the awards banquet.

We are handing out special OPA jackets to the 2012 seasons National Champions. All race teams are able to purchase OPA jackets. They are $160.00 each. Jackets must be ordered & Paid in Full by January 7, 2013. Please contact Smitty for all Jacket purchases.

The cost of the dinner is $70 per person, drinks not included. The dress code is business casual which means no ripped up jeans. Pay at the door! Cash only! NO credit cards! LIVE ENTERTAINMENT is provided by “The Switch” featuring Johnny Saris with guest appearances by Jason Saris and Louie Giancontieri.

There will be a racers meeting at 5pm-6:30pm and EVERYONE IS INVITED. This meeting will be held at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club which is 6 miles down the road from the Oyster Creek Inn. We will be reviewing new business along with some new and exciting things that are happening for the 2013 season, so please be on time for the meeting.

Unfortunately due to obligations to FEMA as a result of Super Storm Sandy, OPA is unable to secure a room block at the Stockton Seaview Hotel for this event. Please check online with the Stockton Seaview Hotel as they are advertising their own online specials.

Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club
401 South New York Road
Galloway, NJ 08205
(855) 894-8698

Oyster Creek Inn
41 N Oyster Creek Road
Leeds Point, NJ 08220




Assistance to Individuals in Connecticut Tops $9.2 Million

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that residents living in one of the four declared Connecticut counties who suffered damage as a result of Storm Sandy must register with FEMA by December 31, 2012 to begin the disaster assistance process. To date, more than $9.2 million in federal assistance has been approved to help individuals in Connecticut with disaster expenses resulting from the storm.

“With the deadline less than a month away, it’s critical that any residents in the shoreline counties who experienced damage from Sandy register with FEMA to determine whether you qualify for disaster assistance,” Governor Malloy said.

Residents in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties and businesses across the state who suffered damage as a result of Storm Sandy should register with FEMA by either calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by going online at For those with speech or hearing disabilities, the TTY number is 1-800-462-7585.

To date:

  • 10,626 Connecticut residents in counties of Fairfield, Middlesex, New Haven, and New London, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribal Nation located within New London County have registered for federal disaster assistance.
  • More than $9.2 million has been approved for housing assistance, including short-term rental assistance and home repair costs.
  • More than $481,000 has been approved to cover other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
  • 5,215 inspections of damaged properties have been conducted.
  • 8,188 disaster loan applications have been issued by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). Of that number, 6,497 are for home loans and 1,691 applications from businesses. More than $4.8 million in SBA loans have been approved to date.

For additional information, visit


Fred Kiekhaefer will leave Mercury Marine

Posted: December 6, 2012 in News


Fred KiekhaeferMercury Marine ~ FOND DU LAC, Wis. (Dec. 5, 2012) – Mercury Racing President Fred Kiekhaefer has announced he will end his distinctive 22-year career with Mercury Marine at the conclusion of 2012.

Kiekhaefer founded Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Inc. in 1983, and sold that company to Brunswick Corporation in 1990. Brunswick is the parent company of Mercury Marine. With the sale of Aeromarine to Brunswick, Kiekhaefer joined Mercury as president of its Performance Products division.

Kiekhaefer has worked in the marine industry for more than 30 years and will provide consulting services following his departure from Mercury. He will work as a consultant for Mercury through 2014.

“The achievements of Fred Kiekhaefer have been integral to the success of Mercury Marine for two decades and, more specifically, to Mercury Racing,” said Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine. “Fred’s genetic association to boating (he is the son of Mercury Marine founder E. Carl Kiekhaefer) was strengthened by an impressive education and a powerful desire and commitment to create the best-performing marine engines.

“Fred has brought many key innovations to Mercury, and his influence will be felt here and throughout the world of boating for many years. On behalf of all Mercury employees, I’d like to thank Fred for his important contributions and wish him the very best in all future endeavors.”

Erik Christiansen, director of engineering at Mercury Racing, has been appointed general manager of Mercury Racing. Christiansen, a 15-year employee of Mercury Marine, has held his current position since 2008. He started his career with Mercury as an engineer in research and development, then became an engineering manager in 2002.

“Erik’s rich experience and intimate knowledge of the programs and market needs will ensure the continuity of Mercury’s leadership in the global high-performance market,” said Schwabero.

Christiansen has led and worked on design and engineering teams that created many of Mercury Racing’s most notable high-performance engines.

As chief engineer, Christiansen headed up a 25-person team that designed and developed Mercury Racing’s QC4 1350hp and 1100hp propulsion systems.

The QC4 engine platform, which can power high-performance boats over 190 mph, was introduced in 2010. Christiansen also was chief engineer for Mercury Racing’s 850hp, 1075hp and 1200hp high-performance sterndrive engines.

Prior to joining Mercury Racing, Christiansen worked on the design team for the Mercury Verado outboard, the world’s first commercially available supercharged outboard.

Christiansen earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University.



Hurricane Sandy will change the way the way marinas are insured.

That’s according to Mark Yearn, marine insurance specialist at Norman Spencer Agency, who thinks that rates will increase nationwide and insurers might pay more attention to risk factors such as exposure and dock construction.

“It’s extremely difficult to make money insuring docks no matter where they are,” Yearn told Soundings Trade Only.

That’s not just due to Sandy; the last two years have seen increases in tornadoes, claims due to a drought, flooding, and more, Yearn said.

It won’t just be marina owners who see rising rates. The huge marine loss inflicted by Sandy will be felt by marine businesses and boat owners across the nation.

“The first thing marine owners have to focus on is the fact that their insurance is going to go up,” said Andrew Barile, a California-based independent insurance and reinsurance consultant.

“Everybody is going to have to pay,” Barile said. “The distribution system works that way. If the industry loses money, they’ve got to get the money back. Don’t forget some insurance companies didn’t pay one claim because they didn’t insure that kind of risk. But that gives them a good excuse to raise their prices, too.”

Insurers often don’t take into account the construction of docks when setting rates, several brokers said, and only sometimes do they take dock age and exposure into account.

“The evil truth is that the industry is woefully unsophisticated and the insurance industry is woefully undereducated about dock coverage,” Christopher Pesce, president of insurance underwriter Maritime Program Group, told Trade Only.

That’s partly because there are no data for dock construction versus survival in storms, Pesce said, adding that he has written policies for all kinds of docks that see claims.

But some predict that will change after Sandy, where owners with newer floating docks seemed to fare better than those with fixed docks except in the few areas that had almost 20-foot-tall surges.

BoatUS technical director Bob Adriance thinks exposure and age, as well as construction and materials, are critical pieces of dock survival.

“If you have floating docks with tall, 18-foot pilings, time and time again they go through the storms, the boats go up, the boats go down,” Adriance told Trade Only.

The problem with fixed docks is often the fact that boats have gotten beamier, Adrience said. That makes it difficult to tie the boat loose enough to give it slack enough to move with waves, but tight enough that it doesn’t bang against the sides of the dock.

Adrience said that every year boats drift off pilings that are too short and float away in storms, still tied to docks.

The silver lining is that marina owners will likely rebuild to be more storm-resistant, which will help when and if they are coming under more scrutiny from insurers, Adriance said.