Spring 2019 Photo Contest winners


Members submitted and voted on their favorite boating photos

Via an online poll, USPS members voted for their favorite photo in The Ensign’s Spring 2019 Photo Contest, in which we invited photographers to submit their best boating photos.

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Fishing Boats in Angelmo, Puerto Montt, Chile

Rounding the Horn

By Rafael Belliard

When my first mate Linda, the perennial travel opportunities researcher, found the perfect way to round the cape, we decided to make it happen. We would take the trip with back-to-back cruises from Miami, Florida, to Valparaiso, Chile, and on to Buenos Aires, Argentina, which included the much sought-after “rounding of the Horn.”

In the Winter 2019 issue, we detailed our trip from Miami to Chile. Here, we complete our cruise around Cape Horn.

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Photo accompanying Building a Boat showing a glued lapstrake sailboat on the water

Building a Boat

By Al Meyer

The beginning

I launched my previous boat, Wee Lass, a Penobscot 14 designed by Arch Davis, in 2004 and had lots of fun with it. In 2008, Hurricane Ike damaged the boat, but I repaired it and got it back in the water.

The boat developed a slow leak where the centerboard case joins the hull. Over time, it became more and more of a nuisance. When I noticed discoloration on some of the hull planks, I decided to start building a replacement.

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Photo for Contract Basics article

Contract Basics

By Tim Akpinar with Erol Akpinar

From their childhood, people might remember the enchanted tale of “The Reluctant Dragon.” Its author, Kenneth Grahame, is probably better known in boating circles for this quotation from “The Wind in the Willows”: “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

As readers can appreciate, much of that “messing around” involves contracts being entered into for the hauling, storage, mooring and repair of those boats. In many instances, people don’t always realize a contract has been created because such deals are often consummated casually with nothing more than a handshake or nod.

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Celestial Navigation Taking a Noon Sight

Teaching Celestial Navigation

By Dick Sorensen 

On a cloudless Ohio winter day, Dr. Ralph Newman of Columbus Sail & Power Squadron/29 led 20-plus Ohio State University Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps midshipmen out into the bright sunshine. The rest of the squadron’s Navigation instructors joined them to teach the basics of a noonday sight. As students raised their sextants to take their first reading, my mind flashed back to how this came about.

I had read in a recent issue of The Ensign that the United States Naval Academy was reintroducing the study of Celestial Navigation to the midshipman curriculum. My initial reaction was shock. How could they not be teaching Celestial Navigation?

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Photo of Valparaiso, Chile, from Cruising Around the Horn.

Cruising Around the Horn

By Rafael Belliard

Going around South America’s Cape Horn has always been fraught with awe and understandable concerns about ships wrecked by rough seas, icebergs, huge waves, and strong currents. As avid cruising sailors and travelers, Linda and I had always dreamed of visiting South America and rounding Cape Horn.

When Linda, the perennial travel opportunities researcher, found the perfect way to round the cape, we decided to make it happen. We would take the trip within the sybaritic comforts of a cruise ship on back-to-back cruises from Miami, Florida, to Valparaiso, Chile, and on to Buenos Aires, Argentina, which included the much sought-after “rounding of the Horn.”

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Photo of wear and tear on a boat

Wear and Tear on Boats

By Tim Akpinar

Wear and tear can be a tricky legal issue when it comes to examining damages to a boat. It’s not so much the general concept of wear and tear that’s confusing. The notion of a boat and its machinery being worn away with use is straightforward enough. Inside an engine, piston rings wear away as they slide up and down cylinder walls. Below the waterline, propeller blades rotating at high speed wear away as a result of cavitation. Boat owners accept this basic premise.

The tricky part comes when wear and tear arises in the realm of insurance claims. Here, the concept is sometimes used as a legal defense in denying property loss claims. Here’s an example. Let’s say a boat sinks. The owner is likely to view the sinking as a single catastrophic event, which appears to be a covered loss in an insurance policy. It could seem like an open-and-shut case.

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Building an Electric Boat Aquatron at Hales Bar

Building an Electric Boat

By Dan Fannon

F or quite some time, I’d wanted to build a boat. But what kind of boat? Would it float when it was done? Would it look more like a workbench, or would it have graceful lines?

My wife, Melissa, and I had many questions. In search of answers, we went to an annual gathering of boatbuilders in Guild, Tennessee, at Nickajack Lake on the Tennessee River, where we could talk with people who had built their own boats.

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Mobile member search

Find squadron members with mobile member search

By Dan Bartell

Have you ever been away from home and needed to call a United States Power Squadrons member but didn’t have the person’s number in your cellphone? Or perhaps you’re having lunch at a marina, and you see a boat flying the ensign or with a squadron burgee and want to call or email to say hello. Now there’s an easy-to-use extension of the USPS Information Center that runs on your mobile device’s web browser available at usps.org/mobile.

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Off-season Charter in Belize Brings Wealth of Adventure

Off-season charter in Belize brings wealth of adventure

By Peter Baumgartner
Photos by Denisse Allaire

My first mate, Denisse Allaire, and I chartered a Beneteau 42.3 sailboat for a week in September from the Moorings in Placencia, Belize. The off-season rate made the three-cabin, two-head monohull affordable.

We flew from Denver to Houston, Houston to Belize City, and from Belize City to Placencia in a boxy Cessna. The Friday before the charter started, we rented a cute, air-conditioned beachfront cottage for the night. The next day did not go as smoothly.

I had been communicating with Palencia through the Moorings in the U.S., but our messages hadn’t been relayed. Denisse and I requested a two-person kayak we could fasten on deck instead of a dinghy. Belize did not get this message. Likewise, we didn’t get the message that our briefing was to begin at 9 a.m. and spent the morning shopping in the quaint town of Placencia.

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Sailor satiates wanderlust, grows on Salish Sea

Sailor satiates wanderlust, grows at helm on the Salish Sea

By Patrick O’Brien

After years of living in Boulder, Colorado, we moved to Oriental, North Carolina, to cruise the Atlantic coast and beyond on a 40-foot Passport. After enduring the rigors of offshore sailing for two years, we sold the boat and returned to Boulder, only to stay for a year before leaving for Seattle, Washington.

Wanderlust seems to be a force in my life, and with it comes the desire to grow as a sailor.
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