Double Take, a beloved boat gets new owners

Double Take

Blue Heron, a 34-foot CHB trawler, gets a new home and a squadron gains new members as told from both the sellers and buyers point of view

THE SELLERS: Retiring boaters Ray and Nila Madsen pass along their beloved boat and their boating knowledge

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Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, by Miguel Angel Miranda

Looking Back photo contest winners

Via an online poll held during the United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, you voted for your favorite photo in The Ensign’s Spring 2021 Photo Contest. This year, we invited photographers to submit their best boating photos from any decade or year.

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2020 Charles F. Chapman Excellence in Teaching Winners Go Above and Beyond

Chapman Winners Go Above & Beyond

During the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, recognized three outstanding volunteer educators—Ann Peltier, Graham Hunter and Chris Leavitt—with the 2020 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching. These Chapman Winners go above and beyond to educate their students and make boating better.

This year’s winners exemplify the creativity, dedication, and passion for education shown by Charles F. Chapman, the award’s namesake. One of our founding fathers, Chapman was a tireless educator, author and editor. Author of the boating bible, “Piloting: Seamanship and Small Boat Handling,” Chapman steered the editorial ship at Motor Boating magazine for many years.

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Piloting skills put to the test

Piloting Skills Put to the Test

By John Gignilliat

Editor’s note: This story is a part of a book (working title, “Sailing Across North America”) John is writing about his boating adventures in 1990 while sailing from Lake Michigan through the North Channel, Georgian Bay, the waterways of Canada, and eventually down the Atlantic Coast to North Carolina.

Despite the gray and rainy day, my wife, Carol, and I decided to make the run from Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, to Mackinac Island, Lake Huron. When we first purchased our chartbook for Lake Michigan, I had examined our expected route, which was straightforward and simple until you departed Beaver Island. There, the passage through Gray’s Reef was marked with numerous shoals, reefs and rocks.

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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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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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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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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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