Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Did you know?

Our friends in Canada have gone all out to regulate boating; not only to make it safe, but a little too far in my opinion.

Here is a quote from their official site at

Anyone who uses a VHF radio must follow the procedures described in the VHF Radiotelephone Practices and Procedures Regulations. Currently, all VHF radio operators are required to have a Restricted Operator's Certificate (ROC) with maritime qualifications. Canada recognizes the American Certificate."

This has been tried in the U.S., and failed miserably. It would take an army to try to enforce this regulation. Granted, there are those nuts on the VHF radio that think it is CB radio, but on the most part, they are boaters communicating to other boaters in plain English. What if the government required all cell phone users to have a license?

Does the USA have a similar requirement? Ask 100 people and you might get 95 that say "no". Well, there is actually an FCC rule requiring an operators license for VHF marine radio. It says A marine radiotelephone license isn't required for vessels on inland waterways. However, if you visit a foreign port (CANADA), it is required.

I believe that a marine VHF radio plays a very important part in boating safety. We now have DSC (Digital Select Calling) which allows automatic Mayday calls with your current location (if you have a GPS receiver connected to your radio). Most folks however, use the VHF for chatting about fishing, weather conditions, what your plans are, and how is Aunt Sue doing?

If you can't beat them, join them. I hope that the Canadian rules for VHD radio operations are in the books just so they can say they have rules. If they are not followed or investigated by the Coast Guard, what difference does it make?

What do you think?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Great holiday weekend

Ruth, Ernie (the dog), and I set sail for Brockport Yacht Club at a leisurely 10 AM departure. The winds were less then 10 knots from the south-east, just as NOAA predicted. We were joined by Paul and Sue Nielsen aboard Moonstruck. This was a great opportunity for me to once again try running with the spinnaker. Up it went, a red, orange, and yellow sail that just makes you want to sit back and smile. Paul flew his spinnaker also. We were able to go the entire trip of 13.5 nm just sitting back and enjoying the ride.

The folks at BPYC were preparing for a wine-tasting charity event for one of their members that recently passed away. Everybody brought a dish to pass and the club grilled up some yummy chicken wings. It was quite a party, lasting into the evening. My thanks go to the BPYC members for their generous hospitality.

As we left Brockport and Sandy Creek, we wondered how the sailing would be with the winds still out of the SE. Moonstruck and Water Colors both set sail with Water Colors heading a bit to the NE to get further out into the lake. We ended up tacking a couple times, and by the time we had Rochester in site we were sailing along at 5+ knots. Once again, we sailed the entire trip with no assist from the engine.

We have decided to use the temporary jib until we are ready to haul in mid-October. I will take the mast down and store it at the club, and install my new roller furling in the spring. We still have a few weeks of sailing if the weather holds out. Maybe this weekend.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Roller Furling Has Arrived

A package was waiting for me Friday when I returned from my part-time job. My much awaited roller furling had finally arrived! I took a quick peek inside the main box and found the installation instructions. I tried digesting them Saturday morning when I was nice and fresh, but stumbled over the copied sheets and photos on a CD. The mast would have to come down again to do this job since it is a fractional rig and I would not be able to disconnect the headstay while the mast is up. My thoughts are to bring the mast back down when I am ready to haul and store it at the club facility. In the spring I can do the work and install the furling as I step the mast.

On the other hand... I am also going to look into hiring the job out to more experienced people. Ruth and I will have to talk about that possibility.

Today we are heading out to Brockport Yacht Club, a close-by port. They are having a wine-tasting party and charity event. A few of us GYC members hope to leave this morning. Yesterday was the annual clam bake at GYC and it went off very well. The weather was great and a good turn-out.