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D O C K L I N E S
JAN/FEB 2009
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!
BARNER, Rick Erie, PA 43TWLR1976 BARNEY rwbarner@gmail.com
DROMGOOLE, William &Cynthia                        Cotuit, MA 37AUX1978 PENTHESILEA wdromgoole@gmail.com
HOFFMAN, Eric Greensboro, NC 49MY1987 FAST COMPANY eric@mvfastco.com
McCALL, Tom
COAKLEY, Susan
Lake Mary, FL 39SM1981 SCENARIO SEA trmccall@cfl.rr.com
MILLER, Eddy & Becky San Diego, CA 49MY1984 NAPHTALI eddyandbecky.com
RIEGER, Larry Ontario, CANADA 36MS1972 DREAM CATNER lrieger@golden.net
SHAPIRO, Alan
BEAUSOLEIL, Danielle
Ontario,
CANADA
43TWLR1976 DREAM CATCHER ashapiro@yorku.ca

WEBSITES WORTH WATCHING

 

www.soundingsonline.com/boat-shop/new-gear/230162-real-world-electronics.html
Soundings On Line...their on line February issue has a good article called
"Real World Electronics"

www.tinyurl.com/6xhlc4
Beautiful photos of the stingray migration in the Gulf of Mexico

www.earth.google.com
Download google earth 5 for ocean floor and surface data from marine experts

www.detailsart.com
This is where you can order that miraculous Museum Putty that will keep glasses,
vases, and knick-knacks from heeling over.  Type in search box to pull up info.

www.cruisersnet.net
The Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net - up to date fuel prices, transient dockage, new
marinas, marina directory, bridge info, anchorages, weather and tides, and photo
contests for all coastal waters of the Southeastern USA
 

Members, please email us with informative nautical websites in your area of the US!
 

GOC MEMBERS NORM AND NANCY DINSKY ATTEND TRAWLER EXPO, STUART, FLA.

 
Nancy & Norm Dinsky
(this photo is from March 2008, not current) 

We had a great time at the show,  Expo Speakers (and GOC members) Chris and Alyse Caldwell (44MC1980 SANDY HOOK) were, as you had said, both knowledgeable and gracious.  I attended Chris's Knot class.  He made tying up and docking simple. 
Answered many questions in simple understandable terms.  The show was excellent,
with a variety of vendors offering all sorts of discounts. 

I purchased two hats with an embroidered Star Dancer and also a 3 year subscription to Southern Boater for $10.  I did not see one boat offered that I would trade my 38' Gulfstar.  

This was Nancy's first trip since her operation and I was a little apprehensive.  She was great and enjoyed our adventure as much as I did.  She handled the lines when we
docked and thru the 5 locks going and coming.  She spelled me at the con and did all
she ever did to make our trips relaxed and fun.

The weather going from Bradenton to Stuart was wonderful.  We took a slow 5 day trip,
up the Caloosahatchee River, across Lake Okeechobee and up the St. Lucie River to Stuart.  We stopped at Moore Haven City Dock for one night and we anchored out the rest.  Our two Scotties, Annie and Captain Black loved barking at everything.

The facilities at the Harborage Yacht Club were excellent.  We had friends and family
over every night of our stay and had a great time seeing everyone.  We had planned to leave on Monday January 12th, but discovered our battery charger had died.  We had that replaced and left Stuart on the 13th instead.  We anchored for the night just east of the Myakka Lock at 3:30 PM.  The cold front came thru that night bringing rain and 45 to 50 mph gusts.  The next day was cold (for us) wind from the NE at 15 to 20.  We crossed
the lake which was quite rough, waves coming off our stern quarter.  We stopped at
Moore haven to walk the dogs and bought lunch from a local restaurant.  We anchored
on the Caloosahatchee that night.  The fish were jumping all about.  We saw several Manatee just lazing around.  It was really very nice. Next day we stopped to fuel at the Ft. Myers City Dock.  Diesel at $2.15 with the Boat US discount.  We took 185 gallons.  I thought that was pretty reasonable for the run from Bradenton to Stuart and back to Ft. Myers.  Over 350 miles and the generator running about 40 odd hours.  We stayed at a Marina in Cape Coral that night.  The next day we made it as far as Cape Haze when I called it a day 3:30 PM.  We pulled into a Marine Max marina for the night.  (Still cold)
and lucky for us there was a Leverock's Restaurant at the marina.  We had a delightful dinner and a peaceful nights rest.  We arrived home at our dock, behind our house at
4:30 PM.  Happy to be home, and kind of sad our trip is over.  Sure to plan another as soon as it warms up.  Regards,  38MC1983, "STAR DANCER"
Norm & Nancy Dinsky

IRENENorm & Nancy, thanks for attending the TrawlerExpo.  Michele had last-minute, out of town family from Illinois and Houston fly in for a quick defrost that weekend, and she couldn't make the Expo.  We are sending you Gulfstar T-Shirts as a big THANK YOU! 


FROM BOAT U.S.

121 MHz EMERGENCY RADIO BEACON COVERAGE ENDED FEBRUARY 1st

BoatU.S. Rents Newest 406 MHz Beacons for Offshore Passages

ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 27, 2009 - For boaters cruising offshore, having a way to summon help in an emergency is critical. For years cruisers and racers making offshore passages relied upon EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) utilizing the 121 MHz radio frequency. However, with better technology available in the newer 406 MHz EPIRBs, the U.S. Coast Guard ceased monitoring the old frequency on February 1.

"406 MHz EPIRBs are now the standard for offshore distress signaling," said BoatU.S. Foundation Rental EPIRB Program Manager David Carter. "They have better accuracy,
fewer false alerts and greater reliability. Search and rescue agencies are able to respond quicker and pinpoint offshore boaters in trouble."

The BoatU.S. Foundation highly recommends that boaters who make frequent offshore passages -- generally considered to be about 20 miles out from shore and too far for
VHF radio or cell phone coverage -- to purchase and install a new 406 MHz EPIRB.
Current retail pricing starts around $500.

The Foundation also rents the 406 MHz EPIRBs for only $40 a week for those with a temporary need who only go offshore occasionally.

"Our BoatU.S. EPIRB Rental Program is perfect for someone entering an occasional offshore race, or making that once or twice a year passage to a new cruising ground such as Mexico or the Bahamas," said Carter.

The decision to no longer monitor the 121 MHz radio frequency was made by the international satellite-based search and rescue organization, COSPAS/SARSAT, nearly
nine years ago, giving time for mariners to transition to the newer technology.

For more information on the BoatU.S. EPIRB rental program, go to http://www.BoatUS.com/foundation/epirb or call 888-66-EPIRB (888-663-7472).


NEW "DOCKIT!" GAME AT BOATUS.COM TESTS YOUR BOAT HANDLING SKILLS

One of Six Free Computer Games Available
ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 22, 2009 - A new online "DockIt!" game is the latest of six,
free games available at BoatUS.com/games that will keep your passion for boating alive all winter long.

"To many boaters, docking is a spectator sport," said BoatU.S. Program Manager Ted Sensenbrenner. "Now you can compete for high scores and never worry about running into dock pilings, scratching up your boat, or going aground. It's a great way have fun and
test your boat handling skills."

The DockIt! game allows users to select one of three boats: stern drive powerboat; inboard powerboat; and deep draft sailboat. Each vessel has its own unique handling characteristics. Players use the arrow buttons on a standard computer keyboard to
safely maneuver the boat into a slip - no special gaming equipment is required. Three levels of play are offered and helpful boating tips also periodically appear on-screen.

Also at http://www.BoatUS.com/games are: Sudoku; word search; six boating jigsaw puzzles; a crossword puzzle and a solitaire version of Mahjong.

The DockIt! game was developed through a partnership with http://www.MadMariner.com

GULFSTAR OWNERS GET 1/2 PRICE OFF BOAT U.S. MEMBERSHIP

Don't forget to use your group i.d. number:  GA83557B when renewing your annual Boat U.S. membership.  Pay only $12.50, instead of $25.00 a year.  Eighty six of our members are taking advantage of this discount.  To renew call:  1-800-395-2628
 

BOAT OWNERS MAY HAVE FEDERAL TAX BENEFITS AVAILABLE

ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 19, 2009 - Recreational boat owners who paid state sales
taxes on a boat purchase, or those who secured a bank loan to finance a boat, may have some tax deductions available when filing their 2008 federal income tax return.

The Sales Tax Deduction

For boat owners who paid substantial state sales taxes on a new or used boat purchase last year, the Tax Extenders Act of 2008 signed by President Bush on October 3 continues to offer a federal tax benefit with a deduction for state sales taxes. Boaters must choose either the state sales tax deduction or state income tax deduction on their federal tax return -- you cannot take both.

In addition, to take the state sales tax deduction, the sales tax on a boat purchase must be applied at the same tax rate as the state's general sales tax. In order to claim the sales tax deduction, tax returns must be itemized. State sales taxes are entered on IRS form Schedule A, line 5b.

The Boat Loan Deduction

For those owners with a secured boat loan, mortgage interest paid on the loan may be deductible from your federal income taxes. Taxpayers may use the "second home" mortgage interest deduction for one primary home and one second home and must
itemize deductions on their returns. A boat is considered a second home for federal tax purposes if it has a galley, a head, and sleeping berth.

Some boaters may be unaware of this potential tax benefit because not all lending institutions send borrowers an Internal Revenue Service form 1098 which reports the interest paid. Not receiving the form does not preclude taking the deduction. If a 1098 is not available, boaters should contact their lender for the amount of interest paid and should enter it on line 11 on Schedule A along with the lender's tax ID number. If a form 1098 is sent, boaters should simply enter the amount on line 10 of Schedule A.

Sorry, AMT

For those who fall under the Alternative Minimum Tax, most deductions are unavailable
as taxes are calculated differently. Boaters are urged to contact a tax preparer or financial advisor for more information.

For more details on the mortgage deduction, go to http://www.IRS.gov and download Publication 936 or the Fact Sheets. For state tax deduction information download Publication 600, which also includes state-by-state tax tables.


FROM OUR LOYAL MEMBERS:

Dick & Pam Roberts (55VIKINGMY1989 NOT TO WORRY): 
I think it is sad to hear about losing one of our boats in the marine fire in New Jersey.  Hope you had a Happy New Year....Best to you!

IRENE & MICHELE:  Yes, we sent the insurance company who is investigating some wiring diagrams.  See photo below of a 63' Pilothouse Viking Gulfstar Motor Yacht on fire at Lincoln Harbor Marina, Jersey City.   This was Dec. 10th...heartbreaking.




John Eddy (54SC1986 OWLS NEST):  The main mast of my 54 develops a harmonic "banging" in heavy winds - can anybody give me some clues on how to overcome this irritating noise?

BILL GUTKNECHT (Preferred Yachts):  The noise is coming from the Stow-A-Way.  There was a flute that pulls up the mast to somewhat seal the sail slot.  Any sailmaker should be able to make one for you.

Ginny & Bob Withers (44MC1978 SUM TOY):  Hi Irene & Michele, Happy New Year!!!  We were down in Miami on the boat watching the fireworks on South Beach and Bayside NYE.  It was a fun few days.  Yes, we would like a spring rendezvous!  Keep in touch. 
We plan to leave for the Bahamas sometime in May, so we would appreciate a date sometime before May.

IRENE & MICHELE:  Ginny & Bob, you were the only members who responded for a
Spring Rendezvous!   We think between the economy and ethanol gas (see article following) it has paralyzed our decision making process.  Not next year, but 2011 will be the clubs 20th Anniversary.  We will start planning now for a big celebration for the 20th anniversary.    If you missed the request to phone in or email for a Spring Rendezvous (Docklines Nov/Dec) for this year (2009)....yes, I know we usually send a card for you to return, but we are trying to be more green, in order to save more green.  You can email gulfstaroc@aol.com with any input on the Rendezvous or leave a message on
727-347-4602.

Don & Joann Beadle (38MC PANACEA):  Sold the old 38MC PANACEA and then regretted it so, that we bought another 38MC1980 MISBEHAVE, so we will renew our membership!



IRENE & MICHELE:  Our website forum monitors, club members Charlie Johnson and Chris Caldwell warned us about this Reformulated Fuel way back in July of 2006.  If you log into the Forum section of our club website www.gulfstaroc.org and go into General Interest and scroll down to about the middle of the page you'll see their post on Reformulated Fuel.  Charlie was nice enough to put a note in each category to read this post.  If you haven't read it, well, I urge you to do so. 


JUDGE LETS ETHANOL SUITE MOVE FORWARD

A District Court judge in southern Florida recently denied a request to dismiss a lawsuit regarding the damage that gasoline blended with ethanol does to boat engines and fuel tanks.

The suit was filed last August by The Kopelowitz Ostrow law firm on behalf of clients
Erick Kelesceny, John Egizi and Todd Jessup, all Florida residents. Defendants in the
case are Exxon, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, BP and Shell.

The suit alleges that the oil companies failed to warn boat owners that ethanol-blended gasoline may destroy fiberglass tanks and tends to absorb water and phase separate, which could cause damage to any boat, regardless of its fuel tank material.

The next step following this week’s ruling is pursuing certification to become a class-action lawsuit, according to a report in the Naples News.

If successful, the oil companies will be forced to place a warning label on pumps at all Florida gas stations. The plaintiffs also seek compensation for Florida boat owners
whose boats have been damaged by the fuel.

"Denial of the motion is a significant step toward redressing the wrong perpetrated on Florida's boating population," said TKO managing partner Jeffrey Ostrow, in a statement. "Florida is the boating capital of the world, and it is reprehensible for oil companies to enjoy significant profits while knowingly paralyzing Florida's boaters."


The next article is by Carolyn Frazier (43TWLR1975 DOUBLE DRAGON), our new contributing editor for 2009.  The photo below is from June of 2006, from an article she wrote for a major boating magazine....maybe we can get a more recent photo for the
next issue!  How about it, Carolyn?
                                           

                                          WHERE'S MY MARGARITA?

When Bert and I started cruising in 1998, we'd only had the typical boating experiences ....water skiing, fishing, and joy riding with friends and family.  Living aboard full-time was a major adjustment to our mind set, but cruising full-time took it to a whole new level.  The learning curve was steep and enlightening, but not always fun.

Our first night out, we anchored near Fernandina Beach and asked fellow Gulfstar owners over for sundowners.  As the woman was climbing the stern ladder to the back deck, she slipped off the ladder and landed in the dinghy, on top of Bert.  She cut and badly bruised her leg, but was otherwise fine, especially after first aid and some "pain killer".  Bert was OK, too, but to us, this was not an auspicious start.  Reality had raised its ugly head in our dream cruise and we were not happy.

Don't get me wrong, the whole 7 month cruise was not like this, but with such a limited pool of experience, mistakes were made and lessons learned.  We honed anchoring skills, docking skills, engine maintenance skills, radio skills, dinghy towing skills, bad weather skills, locking through skills and, most importantly, living in each other's pickets skills.  We learned how to get the most bang for our small supply of bucks when sightseeing and got in really good shape riding our bicycles everywhere.  We found free trolleys and, best of all, free docks!  We made friends and memories to last a lifetime.

Before we set out on this new lifestyle, we did what we could to educate ourselves.  We took classes through the US Power Squadron, which were invaluable to us both.  We read magazines, talked to other boaters and cruisers and looked for information everywhere.  What we found in all those resources was the dream....beautiful scenery, new and interesting people, quaint towns and huge cities, good food and drink, warm sun and twinkling stars, margaritas on the back deck at sunset.  What we actually found was all that and more.

The reality of "more" is that no one, no one tells you about the bad stuff, the scary stuff, the expensive stuff.  All of those things are different for everyone, but you can't tell people about them if you're trying to sell the dream.  Little is said about running aground on an outgoing tide because the markers are off station.  There's no mention of dragging anchor during horrendous lightning storms in the middle of the night.  There are few references to receding water levels in dammed bodies of water in the fall to make way for winter rains.  We found no footnotes to tell you how to handle meeting a huge barge and tow configuration at a 90 degree bend in a manmade channel when the tow captain won't answer a radio call because the woman making the call can't possibly be the "captain".  You just have to deal with it all and hope to come out in one piece on the other side.

The other reality of "more" is learning to expect and accept the unexpected.  It can be those things listed above, but it can also be something else.  It can be the amazing fall colors on the Tennessee River seen over the forward deck covered in the first frost of the season.  It can be seeing West Point rising out of the Hudson River, stern and strangely comforting with its historic strength.  It can be the big grin you get from seeing a huge flock of plastic pink flamingos making its way down a rocky gully to the water in a Canadian waterway filled with intricate twists and turns.  It is certainly an unexpected thing to see a huge goat looking into your salon from the dock at Lady's Landing on the Tenn-Tom Waterway in Alabama and the look on your dogs' faces when they're too confused to even bark at it.  It is the basic human kindness of strangers who will give you a ride to the ER, many miles away, for treatment of a dog bite, then wait an hour to give you a ride back.  And it is definitely the surge of emotion that comes with seeing Lady Liberty for the first time, the golden flame shining through the smog of Manhattan.

So, here's the real "reality" ... as long as the good outweighs the not-so-good, you're having a great day.  Life on a boat isn't much different than life in a house, just a little more challenging because things move.  Life lived "outside the box" is a wonderful thing.  So, c'mon Captain ... let's roll down the no-see-'um screen and crank up the blender....
I want a margarita!

IRENE & MICHELE:  Thanks, Carolyn!  We look forward to your next article!


It was 1985.  My friends, Rose, Cathleen, Martha and I delivered a Swan from Ft. Lauderdale to the Virgins.  It was 3 a.m. when Cathleen had a "dream" that Rose had fallen overboard.  It wasn't just a dream, it was reality...more like a nightmare.  Sure enough, Rose had fallen overboard and was hanging on the last knot in the line she grabbed before going down.  I can't tell you how long it took to get her back on board.  If we had the product below, well it would take about one minute!



This is the Lifescoop, a retrieval device invented by California sailing instructor, John Connolly, after 12 long years of research.  As you can see, it is a full-size stainless steel stretcher with a handle.   After testing, they retrieved over 400 people out of the water
in less than one minute.  It was invented specifically for mariners who fall overboard and are unconscious.  There is no need for another person to get into the water to heave the unconscious victim onboard.  Bravo John Connolly!

MORE FROM THE WHEELERS -

Monday February 9, 2009                Location: Nassau, Bahamas
N 25 04'51.2        W 077 20'51.7

 Sail Log:  I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

                      

 "Now that is an odd place to anchor" commented Rick of s/v C-Language from his dinghy
pulled alongside Mima. Such began a new and abiding relationship with Rick and Susan
and such has been the life of these modern day mariners. After 3 sleepless nights and 3
less than tranquil days of sailing we had arrived in the Bahamas.  We left St. Petersburg
on our way to the Bahamas and as the weather continued to show openings we kept going,
not wanting to get held up by frequent weather systems from the north that could keep voyagers
anchored in the Florida Keys or at other crossing points to the Bahamas.

This is admittedly a topsy turvy time of year to be crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas
and one is well advised to pick carefully the weather window of the crossing.  The 2.5 knot
north setting Gulf Stream in the winter often encounters cold fronts coming from the North
that stack the seas up in tall breaking waves that many have described as sailing over
elephants. The result is at best a very rough ride and it can deterriortate from there. We
prefer sailing over mice and the occasional squirrel but not elephants.

After riding the tail end of a northern from St. Petersburg down to Marathon and anchoring
at 3:30 p.m. the following day, we realized that our best, and possibly only window to cross
for the next week was now. The last two nights in transit had provided very little sleep and
we were both really quite tired. I made final passage calculations and Sue made dinner for
us all. We ate and went to bed at 7:00 p.m. with our alarm clock set for 10:00 p.m. to get up
and once again get under way. Our trip across the Gulf Stream was rough but not untenable,
and thankfully we only encountered a few smaller ungulates and no elephants. We made it
onto the Bahama Banks on the western edge of the Bahamas by mid afternoon. The wind
had shifted and we were making 8 knots on a beam reach in only 10 feet of gin clear water.

Just for fun go to Google Earth and plug in these coordinates: N 25*12'01, W078*52'35.
If what you see is nothing but ocean you are in the right place. This is where we anchored
for the night, 40 miles from the nearest land and with nothing in sight other than water.
It was a strange feeling. The winds were forecasted to pick up and so with extra chain rode
out and lots of room to move around (like 40 square miles) we went to bed having finished
the day with a few hours of great sailing and a couple of nice tuna. By 9:00 p.m. the wind
was blowing in excess of 40 knots and things got rolly to say the least. Given my three
prior nights with little rest I simply checked the anchor and our position and fell back into
a much needed coma.

Up early and under sail once again, we needed to get to an anchorage to hold up as
another northern was on the way. With the weather in mind we looked for an anchorage
that would give us protection from the North and was within a days' sail. We decided to
head to Frazier Hog Cay in the Berry Islands. With the sun beginning to fall from the sky
and after some moments of frustration poking around trying to find our way into the inner
anchorage I decided to just stop and drop the anchor. We were not in the most protected
of spots but I was tired and tomorrow we could explore in the dinghy and look for the
channel into the anchorage. It was at this point that Rick appears and makes his afore
mentioned comment.

Needless to say we pulled anchor and 20 minutes later were settled in the inner
anchorage secure and glad to not be moving, thanks to Rick. We declined an invitation
to shore that evening and after dinner we collapsed. Sleep has rarely felt so good as it
does on the boat. We stayed on the boat all the next day recovering from the prior 4 days
underway and invited Rick and Susan to dinner. It was our way for saying thanks for Rick's
kindness the day prior and we are always eager to get to know new sailing friends. It turns
out Rick is an electrical engineer and radio expert and the next day he was back on board
Mima helping me sort out an electronics issue with our SSB radio.

While Rick was working and I was in awe of someone who actually understands the black
magic world of single sideband radio and electronics Marshall said to me, "Dad, we sure
have gotten a lot of help from people with Mima." Rick's response was profoundly simple,
"That is what cruisers do Marshall." Few truer words have been spoken and as Susan and
I discussed this article we were reminded of the words to the old Beatles song, "I get by
with a little help from my friends, oh I get by with a little help from my friends." Once again
we recalled all the people who have contributed to our success by their willingness to help
with areas of specific expertise, experience or encouragement. Most recently in
St. Petersburg we were shown great kindness by resident yachties (m/v Lady Enna,
m/v Kilaweau and m/v Southern Eaze) as they assisted us with local knowledge and their
vehicles on several occasions to run errands. The result was not only that our days were
made easier, but also the chance to become life-long friends.
 

We have had our fair share of opportunities to help other cruisers and yet it has been
their willingness to help us that has shown us first hand the gift that is a willing and eager
helping hand. I have not done well photographing these "helping moments" so I leave you
with a picture of our first Bahamian sunset and our most recent catch knowing that the colors
in the sky and the smiles on our kids' faces are possible because of the generous and willing
helping hands of others.



Live Slow, Sail Fast, Love Well
The 4Wheelers  (Mark, Susan, and their children, Amy and Marshall aboard MIMA CSY50)




"There is something about a voyage...you are barely aware of while you are making it"  Vanderdecken
 


 
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