Getting a head

Getting a Head

What to do when your marine sanitation device craps out

By Steve Hodges

My wife, Susan, and I had sailed to Santa Cruz Island and stayed in Prisoners Harbor. Lovely weather, a lovely anchorage—what could be nicer than being on a sailboat in paradise? But the fun stops when the head does, and that signaled the beginning of the end for that trip.

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P/C/C Richard W. Miner

Richard Miner

Richard Miner

Past Chief Commander Richard W. Miner died on Aug. 27, 2020. Born on Feb. 18, 1929, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Dick is survived by Nancy, his wife of 70 years; his daughter, Pam Miner (Ted Rogowski); sons Randy and Rick; five grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.

Dick graduated from Bloomfield Hills High School and went to the University of Colorado in 1948, where he met Nancy. They were married during his sophomore year. After graduation, Dick and his family returned to Michigan, where he managed the family grocery store. In 1955, he sold the store and opened Miner’s, a business specializing in fine foods, liquor and gifts. Nancy operated a clothing bazaar nearby.

Dick bought his first boat, a 26-foot Owens, in 1960 and headed to Lake Huron. On that trip, he encountered fog and high wind and hit the rocks at Kettle Point. He kept the bent propeller as a reminder. Back home, he took a United States Power Squadrons boating course and joined Mount Clemens Power Squadron.

A founding member of Birmingham Power Squadron, Dick wrote an article for the first edition of Bilge Chatter, the squadron newsletter, and never wavered in his dedication to the squadron and our national organization. He continued his education and earned the grade of Senior Navigator in 1981.

Dick served on the squadron bridge, becoming commander in 1966. Then he moved up the District 9 bridge and became commander in 1973. After serving on the national bridge, Dick became our 40th Chief Commander in 1986.

His service continued for the rest of his life. During the 61 years he belonged to United States Power Squadrons, he earned 55 merit marks, becoming an Emeritus Member, the true pinnacle of achievement in our organization.

Throughout his life, he was a friend and a mentor to those of us privileged to have known and worked with him. We wish him fair winds and following seas.

We will miss him. –Thomas H. Geggie

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A storm to remember

A Storm to Remember

One boater recounts her family’s terrifying ordeal on Lake Champlain

By Diane Ptak

One summer about 50 years ago, my family voyaged to Montreal for our annual cruise. We began our excursion at Waterford, New York, passed through the 11 locks of the 60-mile Champlain Canal, and entered Lake Champlain.

Dad, Mom and we five children—ages 3, 5, 10, 11 and 13—relaxed aboard Princess IV, our 24-foot twin-engine wooden-hull Trojan Sedan cabin cruiser (circa 1960). While leading a small convoy of boating enthusiasts north on the 120-mile-long lake, we encountered a horrific storm. Our boat took a beating. Luckily, we were riding with the current. The wind, waves and rain were another matter.

Having perfected his United States Power Squadrons Seamanship skills, Dad repeatedly examined our vessel instrument panel gauges—tachometer, engine hour meter, ammeter, engine temperature, oil pressure and the fuel gauge to the 50-gallon tank. Then he ran the bilge pump and Raytheon depth sounder. Despite knowing the lake well, he double-checked the compass and nautical charts to avoid crashing into rocks. He knew that when you hit rocks, the rocks win. He was also alert to unusual boat sounds.

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Sultana Downrigging Weekend Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festival

Wooden boat festival lures boaters to Chestertown, Maryland

By Susan Gilbert

The Sultana Downrigging Weekend Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festival in Chestertown, Maryland, has become a favorite fall mini-getaway for my husband and me. In 2018, we took our third trip to this charming town to view interesting ships, Chesapeake Bay work boats, beautifully preserved Chris-Craft powerboats and antique cars.

Sponsored by the Sultana Education Foundation, the festival takes place on the banks of the Chester River. Proceeds from the three-day event support the schooner Sultana. Each year Sultana takes more than 4,500 students from many Maryland ports onto the Chesapeake Bay for hands-on programs in environmental science and history.

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murphy's law

After trip to Door County, boater proves Murphy’s Law is real

By Stu Zwang

We try to go to Door County for about four days every year. We go far up into the peninsula, and I trailer our 23-foot open-bow Larson. We launch at Sister Bay, where we can go north to Washington Island, south to Egg Harbor, or west to Menominee. My goal for this cruise was to return to Washington Island, specifically Rock Island State Park, which is only accessible by boat.

We had to travel through Death’s Door, the strait between the peninsula’s tip and Washington Island. I had been to Washington Island before and had no trouble. This year, the water was calm—for the first two hours, until we could see through the passage at Gills Rock. Then the water went from calm to 3-foot whitecaps. The swells knocked our small boat off course, and water splashed into the boat.

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Ronald Glenn Wallace

Ronald Glenn Wallace, 76, a resident of Fort Myers, FL, passed away at home on June 24, 2020. Born in 1943 in Puyallup, WA, Ron grew up in Richland, WA, a town built on the Columbia River by the US government to house the scientists, engineers, and support personnel for the Hanford plutonium enrichment site’s role in the Manhattan Project’s atomic bomb production.
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America's Great Loop Part 2 Grand Rivers, KY, to Fairhope, AL

Cruising America’s Great Loop Part Two

By John Simons

Our Great Loop adventure took one year and covered 6,500 miles. We departed from Waukegan Harbor in mid-September 2015 and, after making a series of left turns, returned to Waukegan Harbor in September 2016. Our crew consisted of John and Priscilla Simons and Dale and Andy Arnold.

Hundreds of “Loopers” make this trip each year. America’s Great Loop Cruising Association conducts seminars to help Loopers prepare for the adventure.

You can read part one here.

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Woman to Woman

Make anchoring out a pleasure

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

In my opinion, anchoring out is one of the greatest pleasures of boating. Whether relaxing near the beach, rafting up with friends, or hiding out in one of the little coves that can only be reached by water, anchoring out is awesome.

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Dock on deck logo

Boating and COVID-19

By Gino Bottino, MD

As a member of the US Sailing Sports Medical committee, I have been working on plans to reopen sailing centers for sail training and Olympic sailing, as well as big boat sailing, amid the pandemic. Here are a few recommendations that can be made applicable to recreational boaters as well:

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isopropyl alcohol could prevent water-contaminated fuel

Isopropyl alcohol could prevent water-contaminated fuel

By Dave Osmolski

With the coronavirus pandemic squarely upon us this spring, boating was curtailed during the worst possible season. With marinas and public and private boat launch ramps closed, many boats languished in boatyards and driveways.

I wonder how many boat owners, like me, were faced with water in our gasoline fuel tanks. Water collects due to condensation and ethanol additives absorbing water from the atmosphere, which has been going through periods of heating and cooling.

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Kayaking on Alaska's Glacier Bay

Kayaking Glacier Bay

By Sally Stuart

The Spirit of Adventure approached the drop-off site at Skidmore Beach and ran up the beach a short distance. We crawled up over the chairs, out the window and onto the deck. The crew lowered a ladder. We climbed down and reached up for our gear and kayaks as the crew handed them down.

We waved as Spirit of Adventure backed up and pulled away. Looking at the pile of gear on the beach, we wondered if everything would fit in our kayaks. With our gear finally loaded, we squeezed in our kayaks and paddled off to Skidmore Bay to spend our first night in kayaking Glacier Bay National Park.

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