News, recent developments, and useful information from around the Chesapeake.


June 15, 2015


Photo by Zora Aiken

Floating Pretty


Everything old is new again-especially under the capable hands of someone like Dave Gentry, whose hand-built "skinboats" reflect an old tradition with a high-tech twist. Imagine a prehistoric Arctic sea kayak crafted by fastening a seal skin over a framework of wood. Or a wicker-and-cowhide vessel. Nowadays, countless generations later, modern boatbuilders still produce "skin-on-frame" (SOF) boats or "skinboats," but their construction methods have changed. Instead of traditional ribs, Gentry fashions his frames from marine-grade plywood and uses industrial-grade polyester and nylon fabrics as the "skin."

Gentry opened his first shop in 2006 in the state of Washington, where he turned out standard wooden kayaks for a cadre of local buyers. Until, that is, he saw a friend's skinboat and decided to build one for himself. It took him a matter of weeks, rather than months, and the end result was a boat that was half the weight of a similar design made of wood, fiberglass or composite.

"That fit perfectly with my belief that the easier it is to use a boat, the more use it will get," he says. "If a person can lift and move a boat without help, it can be car-topped and launched easily anywhere there is shore access-no crew needed, no launch ramp required."

It was a short step from building individual skinboats for clients to selling skinboat plans-and ultimately skinboat kits-to do-it-yourselfers. SOFs are surprisingly easy to build, even if a person has no boatbuilding experience or special carpentry skills. Only a small number of common tools are necessary for the job.

Gentry has developed a remarkable collection of designs for the wannabe builder. Many are nontraditional skin-on-frame versions of boats found in museums, perhaps a nod to the builder's graduate degree in history. Gentry's boats are also connected by their style, a definite nod to the artist's eye.

His designs include kayaks, canoes, sailboats, rowing boats and a paddleboard. Recently out of his backyard workshop and dock in Weems, Va., is the 10-foot-6-inch Wee Lassie, designed in the late 1800s by J. H. Rushton. Gentry's version sports a clear vinyl skin to give an elegant look to the little go-anywhere canoe. Still in the shop is a unique 17-foot canoe inspired by a dual-outrigger sailing canoe from Java.

When he opened his boatbuilding shop, it was with mixed feelings about making a career out of what had been recreation. In college, he coached the sailing team and got involved with class racing. He traveled the country for a time, filling his calendar with Laser and 470 regattas. Then came surfing, whitewater kayaking, rowing, even a time of cruising on a sailboat.

Settling down in the Chesapeake has not stopped all his travels; He still teaches and conducts boatbuilding projects for clubs, schools and corporations around the country, from the WoodenBoat School in Maine to the Family Boatbuilding weekend in Mystic Seaport. He recently conducted a four-day workshop for a group of wounded warriors through the organization Heroes on the Water.

"I'm lucky," he says, "that boatbuilding has presented so many different opportunities for me: design, building, restoring and teaching. Because of the variety, I enjoy them all."

Soon, perhaps, he may add a new design to his mini-fleet, something just about the right size for a toddler, as he and his wife Anna introduce their daughter to the joy of small boats.

To learn more about Dave Gentry's boats, visit www.gentrycustomboats.com. -Zora Aiken


June 15, 2015


Captain George W. Bentz

In Memoriam:
GEORGE BENTZ


Fisherman Extraordinaire

The Chesapeake's recreational fishing community lost one of its patriarchs when George Bentz, 78, died in April after a long illness. As founder (with his wife Ellie) of the "No dues, no politics, just fish talk" Pasadena Sportfishing Group (PSG; www.pasadenasportfishing.com), George helped fishermen gather together, swap information, and introduce young people to the sport. PSG still draws a hundred attendees of all ages on the first Monday of each month to eat supper, listen to a speaker, hand out door and raffle prizes and talk fishing. The group participated actively in developing public fishing access at Downs Memorial Park and a much-needed boat ramp at Fort Smallwood Park.

Bentz grew up in Baltimore, but from age four on, he spent as much time as he could with an uncle who had a cottage "in the country," which in the 1940s characterized Bodkin Creek, at the mouth of the Patapsco River. There he learned to row a skiff, catch crabs, gather grass shrimp for bait and fish for then-abundant yellow perch with a cane pole, a two-hook "spreader rig" and a brightly painted cork bobber. His uncle always warned him not to go out at night, though, because the yellow-bellied-sapsuckers and drizzle bars would get him.

After they married, George and Ellie bought that cottage and raised a family. He worked at the former Westinghouse Corporation installation (now Northrup Grumman) near BWI Airport. The cottage became a house, and the dock grew to accommodate larger boats so George could fish the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for rockfish. He built most of the lures he used.

"Dad knew he had been privileged to grow up with the riches of the Chesapeake, and he wanted to share what he had learned with friends and succeeding generations," said his son, Captain George W. Bentz, who today runs his charterboat from that dock "in the country." She's a handsome 46-foot Markley named (did you guess it?) Drizzle Bar, and until a couple of years ago, his mate was, yes, his father. Fair winds and pretty rockfish to you both, George and Ellie. Thanks for all you contributed to the Chesapeake's angling community.

-John Page Williams


June 15, 2015


Photo by Michael C. Wootton

Can You Canoe?


Hear the word "canoe" here in Bay Country, and chances are someone is referring to an over-canvassed wooden sailing craft that glides gracefully across the water with crew members scrambling out on wooden planks to keep it from heeling over too much and capsizing. The sight is about as Chesapeake as Chesapeake gets-even if there are only a handful of the boats left.

Thanks to folks at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, Md., the Chesapeake log canoe fleet recently grew by one. Shipwrights, apprentices and volunteers toiled in the museum's boatshop this past winter to craft Bufflehead, the first two-masted log hull sailing canoe to be built on the Bay since 1979. She slid quietly into the harbor at St. Michaels in late April.

Log canoes, and the methods by which they are built, are indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay. While more "modern" designs date back to the 1800s, log canoe DNA can be traced back to the dugout canoes created by the Powhatan Indians. Watermen added sails to help speed them to and from fertile oyster grounds. Nowadays the fleet is used almost exclusively for racing. Spectators can watch them sparring during weekend regattas, primarily in the Miles, Choptank, Tred Avon and Chester rivers.

Yes, log canoes are built from logs. The process starts by binding three to five loblolly pine logs together, and then hacking away at them with axes and adzes until a hull shape emerges. One or two additional planks form the hull up to the deck. Bufflehead's lines came from an 1893 Robert D. Lambdin log canoe in the museum's collection.

So what does the museum plan to do with Bufflehead now that's she finished? "Race as many races as possible," says CBMM Boatyard Manager Michael Gorman, adding, "We may not have a full rig and new sails until the middle of the race season this year, but we will fully participate next year, for sure."

For the log canoe race schedule, visit www.ChesapeakeBoating.net.


June 15, 2015


Little Fish, Bigger Bag


In May, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (www.asmfc.org) voted to increase the coast-wide catch of Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) by 10 percent for the 2015 and 2016 fishing seasons. This action is a partial relaxation of the 20 percent catch reduction the Commission had enacted in December 2012; it was based on a new stock assessment that found more large, older fish in New England waters in the summertime, raising the overall estimate of menhaden biomass. Menhaden play a critical role in the food webs of Atlantic coastal waters.

Omega Protein, the Reedville, Va., company that harvests the small, silvery fish for animal feeds and human diet supplements celebrated along with the watermen who harvest the fish for bait. Conservationists, however, noted that in spite of the higher biomass, menhaden numbers remain extremely low overall, causing a shortage of the nutritious, oil-rich fish for their natural predators, including rockfish, bluefish, ospreys, gannets, loons and even whales.

To address those concerns, ASMFC's Menhaden Board directed its Technical Committee of fishery scientists to begin a formal process to evaluate the ecological roles of menhaden in the Chesapeake (which serves as a major nursery for the fish) and along the Atlantic coast. That committee's findings will be incorporated into quantitative "reference points" that will be used to determine catch limits in the future. Though less obvious than the increased catch limit, this action will have much greater implications for future management of this species, which has been called "the most important fish in the sea."

-John Page Williams


June 15, 2015


Photo by Chelle Fulk

Driftwood Menagerie


For Chesapeake Beach artist Larry Ringgold, a typical shoreline stroll can unveil the foundation of several creative ventures: the beak of an eagle; the legs of a stallion; the mane of a lion. He spends hours mining beaches for inspiration squeezed, of all places, through the porous, salty membranes of sea-soaked driftwood.

Ringgold, a retired carpentry teacher, crafts elaborate figures (nearly life-size) using pieces of driftwood he's collected from local Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River shorelines. Possessing an inherent talent for discovering profound character where one would expect little to exist, Ringgold initially explored the untapped personality of driftwood when he found several thousand pieces of it beached by recent hurricanes. The wood had an eerie talent for evoking, say, a bird or a horse, when viewed at a particular angle. "Wood has so much character . . . I'm seeing something there, and I want to develop that," Ringgold says.

Ringgold drew from his carpentry skills to develop a self-styled creative process that demands weeks of rigorous work. He begins by searching isolated beaches for a piece of wood that hints at a particular shape. "The first piece of wood sets the whole movement of the figure. It's the most difficult one to find," Ringgold says.

After collecting more driftwood that complements the original piece, Ringgold begins the process of constructing a full-size figure, first calculating which pieces of wood will naturally fit together to form the anatomy he intends to create. He then fastens the appropriate pieces of the puzzle together using ceramic-coated finishing screws (he locks the smaller pieces together with glue and brads). That done, he trims excess wood from the figure and sands out the rough edges. Using a combination of power washing and bleach, he cleans the figure, removing sand, dirt and algae before applying five or six coats of paraffin-based exterior finish to enhance the wood's natural appearance.

The resulting figure is stunning, to say the least. Ringgold's "Dinnertime" sculpture portrays an eagle swooping to pluck a fish from the sea; the artist's dedication to detail shows in its intricately chiseled wing curvature and determined predatory posture. Another standout, "Sea Lion On the Prowl," replicates a lion in mid-stride. "Willow" depicts a stallion sporting a beautiful midnight coat and a distinctly confident carriage-incredibly life-like at seven feet tall!

Today, Ringgold's driftwood craft is a full-time job, and the multi-layered artistic process demands a seven-day work week (retirement, what?). But his efforts have paid off in spades. Single sculptures now sell for up to several thousand dollars, and each new piece feels more lifelike than the last. "I've come a long way," Ringgold chuckles. "With the first horse I made, I didn't even realize the legs went the other way."

For more information about Ringgold's driftwood sculptures and his upcoming art shows, visit his website at turtlepointdriftwood.com.

-Kyle Jenkins


June 15, 2015


Coming Soon to a Newspaper-Covered Table Near You


The results of the recently released 2015 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey will be music to your ears if slurping some suds while picking at a pile of steamy spiced blue crabs on a sultry summer afternoon is what you're all about. (But the music might not be from your all-time favorite group.)

So what the heck is the Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey? Well, since 1990, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) have been employing dredges from December through March to obtain crab samples at 1,500 sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay. By sampling during the winter, when blue crabs are usually tucked away under the mud and stationary, scientists can develop estimates of the number of crabs present in the Bay.

This year scientists discovered that while the overall number of crabs in the Bay is estimated to have increased by 38 percent, to 411 million, the population of female crabs still remains low. The abundance of spawning-age females is estimated to be 101 million-a 47 percent increase, but still below the target level of 215 million. Additionally, the 2015 survey shows that the overall population of crabs is 43 million crabs below the 26-year average of 454 million. Remember how difficult this past winter was? The crabs felt it, too, and 19 percent of the population perished, presumably as a result of the record cold.

All that said, there were some bright spots in the survey. The population of juvenile crabs was up 35 percent, to 269 million, and fisheries scientists commented during a media call that many of these fast-growing critters should reach harvestable size toward the middle to latter part of the season (which ends in December). Also, fisheries managers said that the exploitation rate, or removal of crabs from the Bay, is around 17 percent. That's far below the harvest target of 25.5 percent and maximum safe level of 34 percent.

Despite the low numbers of females, which are crucial in maintaining a healthy crab population, the overall positive numbers should be welcome news for both the watermen who harvest blue crabs, and the folks who enjoy catching and eating them . . . or just eating them. You can read the full results of the survey by visiting dnr2.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/blue-crab/dredge.aspx.


June 15, 2015


Boaters Asked to Flex Their Muscles Against Zebra Mussels


You may have heard of the zebra mussel, the small mollusk with a nasty habit of clustering up and clogging intake pipes, encrusting underwater gear, and creating general mayhem for industrial equipment beneath the water's surface. Present in the Upper Bay below the Conowingo Dam since 2009, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that numbers of the zebra mussel in the Upper Bay are on the rise.

Introduced inadvertently to the Great Lakes in the 1980s, these mollusks get their name from the striated pattern on their shells. Left to their own devices, they grow in vast colonies, expanding in dense packs that not only clog the pipes for municipal water supplies and power plants, but also might carry avian botulism, increasing the likelihood of harmful algal (Microcystin) blooms. Recent Upper Bay surveys and reports from watermen and residents show that zebra mussels are successfully reproducing in and around the Susquehanna Flats. Boaters can help prevent the further spread of the zebra mussel in the Upper Bay by following these simple tips, courtesy of DNR:

• Remove all aquatic plants and mud from boats, motors and trailers, and put the debris in trash containers.

• Drain river water from boat motors, bilges, live wells, bait buckets and coolers before leaving, to prevent these aquatic hitchhikers from riding along.

• Dispose of unused live bait on shore, far from the river or Bay, or in trash containers.

• Rinse boats, motors, trailers, livewells, bait buckets, coolers, and scuba gear with high pressure or hot water between trips to different water bodies. • Dry everything for at least two days-preferably five-between outings.

• Limit boating from place to place-particularly between the Susquehanna and Upper Bay to other water bodies in Maryland-where zebra mussels haven't invaded.

If you live or boat on the Upper Bay, DNR also asks that you report any suspected sightings by e-mailing invasivemussels.dnr@maryland.gov or calling 410-260-8604. More information is available at dnr.maryland.gov/invasives/ZebraMussel.asp, where you can find a fact sheet that differentiates zebra mussels from their lookalikes.


June 14, 2015

Don't Forget the Flares


"What's the most common safety violation you see?" I ask Officer Chris Neville, as the three-year Maryland Natural Resources Police veteran points his patrol craft toward the open Bay. "Expired or missing flares is a very common violation . . . and one we write lots of citations and warnings for," Neville says, adding, "Certain vessels are required to have visual distress signals aboard. While most classes of boats can simply carry a day signal, like an orange and black flag, most boaters choose pyrotechnic devices (flares), because they satisfy both day and nighttime signaling requirements."

Safety was the order the day when I accompanied officers Neville, McFarland and Colon on a patrol off Sandy Point State Park for the opening day of the Spring Trophy Rockfish Season in April. "This is the first run of the season, for many folks," says Neville. "We'll find a lot of folks today who spent more time prepping their fishing tackle than checking their safety gear inventory. It's a good opportunity to remind boaters what gear they need aboard, and to make sure they're safe. I can guarantee that we'll find plenty of boats with missing or expired flares, as well as other safety gear," he adds.

While the first three boats we stopped-a small center-console, a kayak and a personal watercraft-were in check, the fourth vessel, a small cuddy cabin, had expired flares aboard, prompting Neville to issue a warning citation. We'd write a few more warnings for expired or missing flares over the course of the patrol, but it was nice to see that all the boats we stopped had the proper number of personal flotation devices aboard, including a throwable Type IV device. "Missing lifejackets are a nonstarter and guarantee a ticket and fine," says NRP Public Information Officer Candy Thomson, who also accompanied us on the patrol.

Neville told me that they typically issue warnings for expired or missing flares during the day, but always write a ticket that carries a fine if they find a boat operating at night without proper signaling devices aboard. If you haven't made a check of your boat's safety gear, now's the time to do it. To get the details on the safety requirements for your boat, including boating safety education requirements, visit www.dnr.state.md.us/boating/pdfs/recreationvessels.pdf


June 15, 2015


Photo courtesy Knapps Narrows Marina

Dredge Baby, Dredge


Federal solicitation and public notices posted in late April suggest maintenance dredging for the channel through Knapps Narrows could soon begin. The project aims to deepen the channel that links Eastern Bay and the Choptank River to a depth of nine feet (MLW). Last dredged in 2007, frequent reports from cruising boaters confirm it has silted over in many places. Stay tuned.


June 15, 2015


Photo by Karen Ashley

Maryland is for Megayachts


While major ports like Baltimore, Norfolk and Annapolis certainly can't compare to the megayacht metropolis of Fort Lauderdale, a new law signed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan aims to increase the number of "super-size-me" yachts that make annual pit stops on the Chesapeake Bay.

Thanks to a lobbying effort by the Marine Trades Association of Maryland and Baltimore Marine Centers, a law was signed in April that applies to foreign-flagged yachts, or U.S.-flagged vessels up to 200 feet that engage in foreign trade (think charter boats and small cruise ships). These vessels make up the biggest piece of the U.S. East Coast megayacht pie. Previous rules required vessels 79 feet and over fitting the above descriptions to secure a pilot at the owner's expense before entering the Bay. Besides the hassle factor, the $250-an-hour (or more) trip under the watch of a pilot could definitely eat into the discretionary happy-hour funds, effectively reducing the number of these high-rolling yachts willing to venture up the Bay shedding dollars along the way.

So, what's the big deal for the state of Maryland? Consider that a 199-foot Feadship can hold as much as 36,000 gallons of fuel. Even if that yacht only requires a top-off, 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel could mean a $27,000 to $30,000 tab at the fuel dock, based on current average prices. Then there's dockage, at $5 per foot, per night or more. Factor in the expenditures that passengers and crews make during their visits, and the cash starts to pile up. Not surprisingly, Maryland wants its cut of that cash.

Delaware currently requires all vessels over 100 tons to utilize the services of a pilot to navigate in its waters, while Virginia requires a pilot on any vessel over 300 tons. And what if you're the captain of a 150-footer and you want to hire a pilot? You'll still be able to do that, at your own expense. Not a bad problem to have.


June 14, 2015

Message in a Bottle


The first thing beachcomber Pat Meneely (who happens to be editor Janie Meneely's sister-in-law) did when she found a message in a bottle washed up on Bay Ridge Beach outside Annapolis was to check that no one was in trouble. Then, she got inspired. "Keep your head up . . . Keep Your Heart Full," it read, a few simple words to brighten anyone's day. When she showed it to us, we noted the hashtag #DriftingHope. Turns out the "bottle tosser" is none other than Jeffrey Brant, an aspiring filmmaker from Nashville, Tenn., whose mission is to inspire others "to be better people." Since April, he's put uplifting quotes in bottles and chucked them into waterways from New York to Tennessee. To keep the spirit moving, we've put a new message in the bottle and set it adrift again. If you find it let us know on Twitter @ChesBayMag (and @DriftingHope). Then, pass on the good vibes.


June 15, 2015


New Exhibit: Please Touch


Its most interactive exhibit yet, the National Aquarium's Living Seashores offers visitors the chance to get their fingers wet while learning about the ever-changing mid-Atlantic shoreline.

It's all about touching things. Two pools (containing 5,331 gallons of seawater, no less) hold up to 150 different animals representing 20 different species of underwater denizens. Crabs, skates, whelks, even moon jellyfish glide through tanks that sit low enough to the ground that little people can reach easily over the edge to stroke a passing stingray (among other sea creatures).

Digital touch-tables and computer touchscreens provide more information about exhibit residents. Look through a set of digital boardwalk-style binoculars to see videos of non-resident animals in their natural habitat.

The aquarium opens at 9 a.m. seven days a week. Admission price is $35 adult; $22 children (group rates apply to groups of 15 or more). For more information go to the museum's website at www.aqua.org.


June 14, 2015

If at First You Don't Succeed . . .


According to a recent article in the Bay Journal, Chestertown, Md. native Scott Budden was tickled in May 2014 when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources approved his application for an oyster lease north of Ringgold Point on the Chester River. And you'd be tickled, too, if you'd spent three years planning and preparing with as much detail and forethought as Budden did. But others weren't as excited about the prospect of Budden's oyster cages peppering the bottom of the Chester River.

Wayne Wilson, a local waterman, protested the lease within the 30-day comment period following the lease approval, and, before long, Kent County Commissioner Ron Fithian and the Napley Green Gun Club were in the mix, questioning the approval of the aquaculture operation. "I opposed it for one reason-to bring attention," Fithian said to the Bay Journal, adding, "I heard there was some opposition. I forced it to come to a public hearing." The gun club contended that Budden's operation would interfere with its hunting operation.

In a spurt of good news for everyone involved, a compromise was reached in April. It allows Budden to work his original lease while a new lease next to the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge awaits approval. Once the new site is approved, he will move his operation there. He hopes to have his first crop of market-size oysters ready in two years.

Despite the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' opening up vast areas of bottom to aquaculture leases since 2009, the region has a reputation for being a difficult place to start oyster farming. It's so difficult, in some cases, that Senator Barbara Mikulski in May inked her pen and asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop "dragging its feet" in issuing leasing permits for oyster farmers.

While plenty of folks seem to agree that oyster farming is an ideal solution to helping the Bay's oyster population recover, others say it clogs up and closes off areas that are also productive grounds for crabbing and clamming.

A recent New York Times article highlighted the opinions of the Maryland Waterman Association's president Robert T. Brown, who says, "You don't put one person out of business to start another [business]. If you put a bunch of cages on the bottom of the water, how are you going to put your trotline down? You can't sift for crabs, you can't clam there, you can't fish there, and you can't even sport fish there. I am worried about all of it."

Since 2010, Maryland has granted more than 300 aquaculture leases, covering approximately 4,000 acres of Bay bottom.


June 14, 2015

Boatkeeping Tip


Every boat inevitably winds up with mold and mildew. Alberg sailor Mike Lehman says Mr. Clean Magic Erasers make short work of cleaning up the mess. They can be used on painted surfaces, wood and fiberglass. "We keep several on our boat at all times," he says, adding that his boat's name is Gilleleje. "It's a small seaside village in Denmark where we had our honeymoon, " he says. "So we have the name Gilleleje with a hailing port of Arnold. My cousin in Denmark has a boat named Arnold with the hailing port of Gilleleje."

Send your boatkeeping tip to editor@ChesapeakeBoating.net. If we print it, we'll send you a Chesapeake Bay Magazine hat.


June 14, 2015

Clam Slam Rolls Into Cape Charles


If you're like us, you're all about a good old-fashioned gear-grinding, transmission-crunching, smoke-belching workboat docking contest, which is reason enough to attend the fifth annual Clam Slam in Cape Charles, Va. But add in Smith Island Skiff races, clam-eating contests, crab-float races, live music and all sorts of other waterfront mischief, and you've got the makings for an incredibly good summer festival.

Celebrating the area's status as one of the top clam-producing regions in the United States, the Clam Slam fun starts Friday, July 31 and runs through Sunday, August 2 on Cape Charles's scenic waterfront. Friday features the clam-eating contest, accompanied by live music and good food, while the fifth annual Clam Slam Khedive Shriner Parade, Smith Island Skiff races and docking contest practice runs happen during the day and into late afternoon Saturday. The aforementioned transmission-crunching, smoke-belching workboat docking contest kicks off Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Be there, or be square. Visit capecharlesbythebay.com/event/clam-slam-2 for more information.


June 14, 2015

What's That You Say?
Nautical lingo is an exacting, if exasperating, science.


Words have a perverse way of eeling around us as time passes and they slide into the common vernacular. Yachting terms can be especially slippery. Take the term "saloon."

When you leave the cockpit, step down the companionway, pass through the galley and sit on the comfy cushions around the table, you are properly in the vessel's saloon. Absolutely.

But what is there about your paneled, elegantly appointed cabin that connects it to Duffy's Saloon at the corner of Rye Avenue and Souse Street? It doesn't compute, not even if you sprinkle sawdust, peanut shells and stale beer across the cabin sole.

Most dictionaries define the word in two ways: 1-a public establishment where alcoholic drinks are served; 2-the living spaces of a yacht. The word has an impressive pedigree which Webster's Dictionary explains thusly:

French salon, from Italian salone, augmentative of sala hall, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German sal hall; akin to Lithuanian sala village. First Known Use: 1728

We are informed that those among us with powerboats prefer the term salon, but this is an affectation. Go to a salon to get your hair marcelled. Captain Nathaniel Herreshoff, conversant with both power and sailboats of modest and mighty proportions used the word saloon. Case closed.

-Jan Adkins


June 15, 2015


Three Cheers for Beer: Bay Brews Aim To Save Bay, Oysters


It's certainly not news that the country is smack dab in the middle of a craft beer craze at the moment. It's also no secret that Chesapeake Bay boaters, anglers and other Bay lovers enjoy kicking back with a cold one, whether it's while sitting at anchor in a secluded cove; bellied up to a pile of steamed hard crabs; or laid back at a dock bar watching the tide go by.

But what if we told you that your next six-pack could help save the Bay, or fund oyster restoration efforts? Well, thanks to a handful of local breweries and organizations, your next sudsy mugful could do just that. Now, before we get started, we know we don't have to lecture you about the responsibility that comes with enjoying these refreshing beverages while afloat or on land, right? Or did we just do that?

Deadrise Old Bay Summer Ale As the name suggests, this spicy summer seasonal ale is spiked with the Chesapeake's beloved Old Bay Seasoning and brewed by Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Md. A portion of the proceeds benefit True Blue, a state program designed to promote the watermen who harvest blue crabs exclusively from Maryland waters and the restaurants that serve them. flyingdogbrewery.com/beers/dead-rise

Striped Bass Pale Ale Everyone knows cans work better on boats than bottles, so that's the only way this somewhat hoppy pale ale from Devil's Backbone Brewing Company of Lexington, Va., is available. Well, unless you're on land; then you can also enjoy it on tap. The brewery's founder, Steve Crandall, conceived the brew on a fishing trip. A portion of the proceeds from this brew goes to help fund the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's efforts to restore and protect the Bay. cbf.org/striped-bass-pale-ale

Rosie Parks Oyster Stout Chesapeake Bay oysters are brewed into this thick, chocolate-colored stout, giving it a slightly briny finish. Brewed by the Fordham Brewing Company of Dover, Del., this beer is named after the skipjack Rosie Parks, originally built by Mr. Bronza Parks in 1955 and fully restored to her original condition by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in 2013. A portion of the proceeds helps fund CBMM's mission to preserve the Bay's cultural history.

Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout The oysters that flavor this dark concoction from Flying Dog Brewing Company come from the Rappahannock River Oyster Company, a sustainable oyster farming operation situated on the Rappahannock River in Tappahannock, Va. Drink this full-flavored stout and help fund the Oyster Recovery Partnership, an organization that coordinates oyster restoration projects all around the Chesapeake Bay. flyingdogbrewery.com/beers/pearl-necklace

The Bay IPA A relative newcomer on the feel-good brew bandwagon, The Bay IPA is a hoppy India pale ale from Full Tilt Brewing of Baltimore. Introduced in February, this beer has feisty and astringent notes on the back end. Enjoying this beer means you're helping fund the efforts of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a non-profit organization that aims to improve the waters of the Chesapeake Bay through environmental outreach and education. cbtrust.org


May 19, 2015


Pictured are the seafood businesses along Navy Point in 1907

Pictured is the Crab Claw Restaurant today

Photos Courtesy Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Happy Anniversary, Crab Claw!


St. Michaels' most famed institutional restaurant is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a 1960s style party on May 22, from 4:30-9:30 p.m. To honor the milestone, there will be live music, Crab Claw trivia, door prizes and rollback prices on a drink and menu item popular when the restaurant open. Guests dressed in 1965 attire will receive a free drink.

While you're there, you can learn all about the Crab Claw's history, which includes a hefty list of famous patrons, including David Letterman, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and numerous political and sports figures. The restaurant has been owned and operated by the same family since its opening in 1965. For more details about the Crab Claw, or its anniversary celebration, call 410-745-2900, or visit thecrabclaw.com.


May 19, 2015

Boatbuyer's Toolbox Aids New Buyers


When the boating bug bites, there's little stopping it. But knowing how and where to start a boat-buying search can be daunting for first-time (and even seasoned) buyers. To aid the uninitiated, BoatUS has devised a handy resource complete with helpful tips on where to find a boat, what to look for, buying a new vs. used boat, survey tips and more. The toolbox also covers after-sale aspects of boatbuying, including title, documentation and registration details, and a library of over 8,000 boat names for when you've bought your new baby. Check it out free at BoatUS.com/buyer.


May 19, 2015

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Lands Best National Wildlife Refuge Designation


Readers of USA Today voted Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Md., to its 10 Best Readers' Choice awards list of best national wildlife refuges. Blackwater came in at number 10, and was recognized for its internationally known birding area, its wetlands, and paddling and hiking trails.


May 19, 2015

Go Sailing, Win Some Swag!


As if you need an excuse to go sailing, the folks at Summer Sailstice have teamed up with charter giant, Sunsail, to offer sailors a little extra incentive to get out on the water for a summer solstice sail on June 20. All you need to do is sign up with Summer Sailstice at www.summersailstice.com, and then go sailing! You'll then be entered to win the grand prize one-week BVI charter. Other prizes include several copies of CBM's own Guide to Cruising Chesapeake Bay, a standup paddleboard, a Velar SonarPhone or electronic charts from Navionics, a GoPro Hero3+, North Sails backpacks, gift certificates from J/Boats, a Spinlock Deckvest, a Ronstan Clear Start Watch . . . and the list goes on. Now, go sailing!


May 19, 2015


The Schooner Virginia under way.

Photo by Mark Krasnow Photography/Schooner Virginia

Schooner Virginia up for Sale


The Schooner Virginia, flagship of the Commonwealth, has been listed for sale. The 122-foot replica of a 1917 pilot schooner is listed with Sparkman & Stephens. The Virginia, was launched in 2005 to much fanfare and soon set a course record for the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. Funding for the Virginia's program fell out starting in 2008 when the economy took a dive. In 2009, she was taken out of commission due to lack of funds. In 2013 she was revived under a new business plan and renewed interest from donors, but soon operating costs outpaced contributions. The Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation had been hoping to find a local buyer since fall, but has now listed it up on the national market with Sparkman & Stephens. Any interested parties can contact Harry Morgan at 203-687-4535 or hmorgan@sparkmanstephens.com. Questions about the Virginia can contact Will King at will@schoonervirginia.org.


May 12, 2015


Photo by Gary Reich

Crabs from Cans


If you've ever watched the hit HBO series True Detective, then you probably remember the scene when Matthew McConaughey's lead character Rustin Cohle commanded his interrogators to fetch him a six-pack of beer in the middle of a police investigation. If you did, you likely remember him later cutting the emptied beer cans into stick figures with a pocketknife before staging each of them in various poses on the interrogation table as if they were Lego people.

It turns out Rustin Cohle isn't the only guy repurposing empty beer cans. We recently found an artist in Essex, Md., who makes life-size representations of the Chesapeake's infamous and grouchy crustacean-the blue crab-out of old National Bohemian beer cans. And these aren't any ordinary, boring crab silhouettes cut from flattened out pieces of aluminum. Not even close.

Travis Edmisten's crabs are the same size (and three-dimensional) as any seven-inch jimmy you'd find in a bushel of jumbos, and are almost as anatomically correct as the real thing-right down to the leg joints. Each "can crab" is made up of a six pack whittled down into 46 individual aluminum pieces that are then bent more than 140 times by hand. Edmisten even uses the bottom of the beer can and the pop tab as a hook, so the crabs can easily hang on a wall. Each crab takes about two hours to make by hand, from start to finish.

We asked Edmisten where this all got started. He says, "Well, I've been building stuff out of junk forever. I've made lamps out of pool balls and baseballs, tables out of playing cards, and even table lamps made from shotguns. But the crabs? Well, it sounds sort of cliché, but I got the idea sitting in front of the television one night watching an Orioles game. My mind is always running a couple hundred miles an hour, so after seeing all those folks drinking cans of Natty Boh I asked myself, 'I wonder what I could make out of those?' I started sketching, and after a few prototypes had one made exactly the way I wanted it." Edmisten strategically uses specific parts of each can so that "Mr. Boh's" one-eyed face shows on the can crab's carapace, claws and legs.

While the original National Bohemian can is Edmisten's most popular item, he makes his "uncanny" crustaceans from all sorts of brews: Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Yuengling, Duckpin, Birdhouse Pale Ale, Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite, Pabst Blue Ribbon. . . . Edmisten has also fashioned crabs from Coca-Cola, Orange Crush and various other soda cans. Each sells for $35.

"I've got plenty of friends who help keep me in cans," says Edmisten, adding, "They don't seem to mind throwing back a few to keep me busy." You can find Edmisten's creations at etsy.com/shop/junkboxcustoms, or you might run into him at seafood festivals, art shows and other events around the Bay.


May 12, 2015


Photo courtesy of Cambridge Lighthouse Foundation

Good Golly Miss Polly


If you've cruised into Cambridge, Md., anytime in the last few years, you've likely noticed a stately new red-and-white screwpile lighthouse at the corner of the Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin. That structure is an accurate replica of the lighthouse that stood off Benoni Point at the mouth of the Tred Avon River until it was dismantled in 1964.

In May, the lighthouse celebrated the beginning of its fourth season with a new addition: Miss Polly, a full-scale wooden replica of a 22-foot dory, a boat much like the one that would have ferried the original lighthouse's keeper to and from shore. Volunteers at nearby Ruark Boatworks (a part of the Richardson Maritime Museum) in Cambridge built the boat over the last year, with the help of construction funds from the Pauline F. and W. David Robbins Charitable Foundation and the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area.

In addition to Miss Polly, the lighthouse received a new fog bell and signal, as well as a fifth-order Fresnel lens, all of which are on permanent loan from the United States Coast Guard. Situated at the corner of High and Water streets in Cambridge, the lighthouse is open to the public daily (through October 31) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for self-guided tours. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Volunteers serving as "lighthouse keepers" are on duty Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit choptankriverlighthouse.org.


May 12, 2015


Photo by Andy Teeling

Long Journey's End


Last fall Andy Teeling of Belle Haven on Virginia's Eastern Shore completed a 450-mile rowing trip around the Delmarva Peninsula when he landed at the headquarters of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in his hometown of Annapolis.

It was the end of a journey that was 35 years in the making.

In 1979, the 22-year-old Teeling dreamed of rowing a 16-foot home-built dory around the Delmarva Peninsula. With the help of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, who provided many of the supplies he would use to record what he saw, Teeling set out in June from Annapolis and rowed south across the Chesapeake Bay, stopping at Fox and Watts islands and spending the nights in a tent rigged up with mosquito netting on his boat.

Averaging 10 miles a day, Teeling made his way south, rounding the tip of Virginia's Eastern Shore and proceeding northward in the Atlantic Ocean before ducking into the inlet waterway at Oyster.

By late August he found himself in Chincoteague, some 250 miles from his starting point. But it was time to return to college, so he hooked a ride with a waterman who took him and his boat to Crisfield, Md., where he rowed back home across the Chesapeake Bay and straight to the campus of St. Mary's College.

When college was done, he ultimately apprenticed with a master cabinetmaker, but other rowing adventures were on his mind, including a five-month stint rowing around Europe with his wife Caroline.

He built a 20-foot boat to handle two sets of oars. A friend who was a shipping agent found a captain willing to take the boat to Germany free of charge. When he and Caroline were ready to come home, they sold the boat to pay the airfare. They eventually came to the Eastern Shore, where they have raised two sons on 13 acres near Belle Haven. But something was missing.

"I always wanted to complete that journey I began thirty-five years ago," said Teeling, as he pondered a new project in his spacious workshop. "But life got in the way. Caroline and I were raising a family, and there was never enough time. I always had a map of the Delmarva Peninsula and the Chesapeake Bay in my shop, knowing I would complete the trip one day. Then this year my older son was in college, and the younger son was entering his senior year of high school, and we thought it was the right time to finish the trip."

On Memorial Day last year, Teeling, now 57 but not more than a pound or two over his 140-pound weight at age 22, set off from Chincoteague in another 20-foot double-ended skiff he built from a Francis Herreshoff design.

He rowed north through the inland bays, the Assawoman Canal and then the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal before entering the Delaware Bay and crossing into the Chesapeake via the 14-mile C&D Canal.

Blessed with excellent weather, Teeling made the 150-mile trip in 14 days, sometimes making as many a 18 miles in a day, though he paid the price with calluses as big as 50-cent pieces on both his hands. He stopped briefly at Still Pond Creek on Maryland's northern Eastern Shore, in order to return home to complete some orders for cabinets.

"Some things never change on the water," said Teeling. "Time has a way of slowing down when you're by yourself in a rowboat. It can seem like forever just to get to lunchtime. There is time to think, to reflect, to find a perspective on life-that is not easy to do in the world we live in today. In a rowboat a creek seems like a river, a river seems like a bay and the Bay seems like the ocean."

But Teeling said some things did change, and for the better. "Thirty-five years is a blink of the eye in history, and yet in that short time I've seen eagles where I used to see none. I've seen osprey by the hundreds where I used to see only a few. I've seen schools of rockfish swimming under my boat where I used to see none, and I've seen shoreline vegetation on the edge of farms when the fields once came right to the edge of the Bay."

He was pleased that beaches he had seen strewn with litter on that first trip were now clean. "It's amazing what a few thoughtful regulations have done for our shoreline."

To pursue his adventures, Teeling has made his life as simple as possible. There were no iPods or iPads on this trip, just a fishing rod to catch fish. "I find I need to be a minimalist to do what I do. I save every cent I can to be able to take off time from work. Then I take only what is essential on the trips. I only listened to a transistor radio twice a day to catch the weather report. And, over time, I was so in sync with nature I could almost predict the weather without having to listen. Planning is everything, but then you have to be ready for the unexpected."

Last October, Teeling completed the third and final leg of the 450-mile trip when he made the final 38-mile trek across the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis. The next day, rather than load his boat on a truck for the ride home, he thought about rowing back to Belle Haven, but family and work obligations intervened.

He did the first 250 miles in one summer as a student whose love of the water and adventure spurred him to attempt what many would find unthinkable. He completed the second and third legs of the trip as a father, husband and master craftsman. At first reluctant to tell his story, Teeling said, "Maybe some young person will read this and think, 'Maybe I can build a small boat and take my own adventure.' "

Why not?

-Bill Sterling


May 12, 2015


Photo by Arlow Sampson

Boatkeeping Tip


It was early June, 2007. I was making my first offshore trip on Wanderlust, our Dickerson 37, heading from Bristol, Rhode Island, to our first stop, Cape May, N.J., with my crew of three. We were approximately halfway, well off shore. It was 8 p.m. I was off watch and decided I should head for my bunk and try to get some sleep.

It was a beautiful evening. There hadn't been any wind for some hours so we were motoring. I had been doing occasional visual engine room checks since we left Bristol, so I decided to do one before I hit my bunk.

To my horror I found a steady stream of diesel fuel spraying across the engine room from the Westerbeke diesel. "Stop the engine!" I shouted. I couldn't imagine what was happening. There we sat with no means of propulsion, and to make matters worse, and we are in the vicinity of three sets of shipping lanes out of New York.

Fairly quickly I was able to determine that the fuel had been coming from the fuel-filter housing downstream of the lift pump. I had changed the filter just prior to leaving Bristol and hadn't noticed any problems. The bowl of the filter housing was held in place with a large aluminum nut with fine threads. As soon as I touched the nut, it was apparent that it was loose and the threads were stripped. You could hand tighten it up to a point and then it just spun.

I always carry a large supply of materials for use in emergencies, so I tried to figure out what I had that I could use for a repair. One of my favorite products is blue Loctite, and I thought this would be the easiest thing to try first. With the bowl disassembled I wiped the threads with a rag, coated them with Loctite and reassembled the bowl. I tightened the nut just to the point where it felt like the threads were starting to slip.

We left the engine off for approximately fifteen minutes. (While waiting I tackled the cleanup process. What a mess!)

When we started the engine again, we were relieved to see no leak, so off we went toward Cape May. For the rest of the night we kept a close watch on the filter housing not knowing how long the repair would last. By morning it was apparent that the fix was successful, still no leaks!

Three days later me made it to Oxford, Md., in time for the Dickerson Rendezvous, without leaking a drop. For me the moral of the story is, don't leave home without blue Loctite.

Thanks to Captain Arlow Sampson, aboard Wanderlust (pictured above).

Send your boatkeeping tip (long or short, but we're suckers for a good story) to editor@ChesapeakeBoating.net. If we print it we'll send you a Chesapeake Bay Magazine hat.


May 12, 2015


Photo by Gary Reich

Is It a Keeper?


There's not a lot worse than being stopped and boarded by marine law enforcement only to find out that the 35-inch cobia in your fishbox-the one you thought was a keeper- actually needs to be two inches longer.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) is hoping to keep you on the up and up this fishing season by enhancing its mobile-friendly website. The new website is easily accessible on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, which means more anglers can quickly and easily find season, size and creel regulations for the fish and crabs they catch in Virginia waters. The site also has information on current state record and citation sizes for each species listed. You can access the site on the water anywhere there's cellular data coverage by visiting mrc.virginia.gov/mobile with your Android or iOS devices.


May 12, 2015


June is L'Hermione Month on the Bay


CBM readers may remember our Talk of the Bay story from the January/February issue, where we wrote about a very special French tall ship getting ready to set sail across the vast Atlantic Ocean for the Chesapeake Bay and five port towns along its shores. That ship is L'Hermione, a replica of a vessel that carried Major General Lafayette to America back in 1780.

The 213-foot L'Hermione set sail from the mouth of the River Charente, in Port des Barques, France, in April. This is the same place where Lafayette boarded the original L'Hermione on March 10, 1780, bound for America. L'Hermione stopped in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands before setting off on her transatlantic voyage to Yorktown, Va., where she is scheduled to arrive June 5. After Yorktown, L'Hermione will sail on to Mount Vernon, Alexandria, Va., Annapolis and Baltimore, before heading to Philadelphia and several other ports all the way up into Canada's Maritime Provinces.

The initial transatlantic landing point of Yorktown is significant in that Lafayette and L'Hermione participated in the Siege of Yorktown during the American Revolutionary War. It was a decisive battle in which Lafayette organized targeted attacks against British supply units and L'Hermione participated in a naval blockade that squeezed British troops to the point of surrender.

The voyage is a celebration not only of the ship, but also of Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, known more familiarly as the Marquis de Lafayette, the man who volunteered his services to the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Visit hermione2015.com for the full story and a further itinerary of her activities.


May 12, 2015


Photo courtesy of CBMM

Classic Craft Invade St. Michaels for Father's Day Weekend


"There's nothing as nice as a beautiful wooden boat. Wood's got soul-it's a living, breathing thing. I can tell the sound of a wooden boat when I hear it coming, because of the acoustics of the hull resonating through the water. It's like a guitar going down the river." If that quote from my friend George Hazzard, of Wooden Boat Restoration in Millington, Md., resonates with you, you'll definitely want to clear a day from your calendar on June 19, 20, or 21. If you've really got a case of old boat affliction, clear the whole weekend.

That's when more than 100 beautifully restored wooden boats and all sorts of antique boating gear, nautical arts and crafts, and craftspeople will roll into the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, Md., for the 28th installment of the Antique & Classic Boat Festival. And it doesn't matter if you don't know the difference between a Chris-Craft and a Hacker Craft; if you appreciate the fine beauty of those glossy old mahogany or teak beauties, be there or be square.

Once you've arrived you'll find static displays of gleaming boats scattered on land across CBMM's campus, as well as in the water at the museum's Fogg Cove docks. Boat types range from hydroplanes to runabouts and workboats to motor yachts. Be sure to check out the expansive displays of restored outboard engines, some of which date back several decades, but also set aside time to walk through the tents and check out the tons of unique local artwork and crafts. I find a crafty treasure among the tables every year I attend.

Festival hours are Friday, June 19, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, June 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Father's Day, Sunday, June 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The festival includes admission to all museum exhibitions where authentic Chesapeake boats, cultures and traditions are highlighted. Admission is good for two consecutive days: $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and students with ID, or $6 for children 6 to 17. Entry for museum members and children under six is free. For more information, visit cbmm.org/acbf.


May 12, 2015


Photo courtesy of MBOA

Matthews Owners Rejoice


Okay, it's not exactly couch potato weather outside, but we think we've found a worthwhile evening or weekend watch, especially for Matthews Boats owners and enthusiasts. The Heritage & Evolution of Matthews Boats is a new production that details the story of the Matthews Company, which built hundreds of beautiful wooden and fiberglass powerboats from 1898 to the early '70s. Narrated by Bob Reynolds, grandson of Matthews Boat founder Scott J. Matthews. $15 ($10 for MBOA members) from matthewsboatownersassoc.com/merchandise.php.


May 12, 2015

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines


The waters of Hog Bay will turn into a frothed-up display of water-shredding horsepower when Thunder on the Narrows kicks off June 27 for its 25th running. And if hopped-up hydroplanes shooting rooster tails high into the air, or Jersey Speed Skiffs carving turns at speeds that seem just on the edge of disaster sound good to you, make plans to head to Kent Narrows for a good dose of shock and awesome. The event wraps up the afternoon of June 28.

The races start and finish in Hog Bay, which is nestled behind the Kent Island Yacht Club (KIYC) just off the east side of Kent Narrows on the northern end of Prospect Bay. The best views of the racing oval are in and among the lively anchored spectator fleet, but make sure you stay well outside the anchored warning buoys, which mark the boundaries of the race course. The best spots on the water go quick, so arriving early each day is the key to getting a good spot. You'll see various hydroplane classes and Jersey Speed Skiffs duking it out at speeds up to 140 mph.

You can also enjoy the action from land, thanks to the hospitality of the folks at KIYC. There are a few catches, however. First, leave coolers and beverages at home; you won't be allowed on the grounds with either. Luckily, though, there are lots of great and reasonably priced food and beverage options. We recommend a cold one and a pit beef sandwich. Also, no parking is allowed on KIYC grounds. By automobile, take Exit 41 off U.S. Route 50, and then follow the signs to the designated parking areas. Free shuttle buses will take you the short distance to and from the yacht club, where adults pay $7 to get in (kids 12 and under are free). Gates open at 10 a.m. each day; the racing action blasts off at noon. Click over to kentnarrowsracing.com/events.php for the scoop.


May 12, 2015


Photo by Sean Lyons

Ex-Congressman Heads for the Trenches


Spry at 69, Gilchrest canoes, hikes, fishes and plants trees with youngsters anxious to learn. They numbered more than 1,000 this school year, an eight-fold increase since he helped open the Sassafras Environmental Education Center in 2010.

With the facility's only other staffer, marine biologist Jaime Belanger, Gilchrest teaches such subjects as stream restoration, water and soil ecology, pollution control, photosynthesis, the food chain and about English explorer John Smith's exploits four centuries ago in a very different Chesapeake Bay.

"I see this as an educational oasis for children where they can learn their place in the ecosystem and develop an appreciation for nature," says Gilchrest. "And they have fun doing it."

Students keep on the move. They ask watermen about their work, examine shells and bones of wild animals and, in a lesson on farming and community service, plant and dig up potatoes that they deliver to the Kent County Food Bank.

The center sits on 1,000 acres of county- and state-owned land along the Sassafras River, a blend of old-growth forests and agricultural fields with an abundance of wildlife.

It operates in a partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Kent County public schools, which provide most of the students, grades two to ten. Gilchrest intends to expand it to include grades 11 and 12, as well. Its tuition? Free.

Like many former U.S. lawmakers, Gilchrest received offers to join corporate boards or lobbying firms when he left Congress in January 2009, after 18 years of service.

"But I was done wearing a suit and going to boring meetings," he said. So Gilchrest began the center, motivated largely by what he saw in Washington. "I had colleagues who knew nothing about environmental issues-whether it was good farming practices, climate change or wildlife habitat-yet they had absolute certainty about what they believed in, which was anti-environment. I guess they didn't learn an appreciation for the environment, especially when they were young."

Gilchrest thought that if he could build an outdoor school in a beautiful spot like this, where he could teach children about environmental issues, he could literally change their pattern of thinking. "They would get out of high school with a pretty good frame of reference about how to be compatible with nature's design, upon which they depend," he said.

In Washington, Gilchrest was a member of a vanishing breed, a moderate Republican maverick who broke ranks with party leaders. It cost him his job. He was voted out in the 2008 Republican primary in favor of a conservative, Andy Harris.

Gilchrest now has a beard, wears blue jeans and drives a pickup truck. His office is in an old brick building near Turners Creek, just outside of Kennedyville.

While students call him "Mr. Gilchrest," others in town refer to him simply as "Wayne."

"Nobody calls me 'Congressman' anymore," he says. "That's over. I don't miss it. I have no sense of it."

Gilchrest recalls, however, co-chairing a bipartisan congressional caucus on climate change and being unable to drum up interest among fellow lawmakers.

"We invited them to meetings with some of the nation's top scientists. We brought in food. But they wouldn't come. They didn't get it."

Gilchrest's students "get it."

"They dig in the dirt," he says, "walk in the woods. They are outside, and they are learning all the time."

-Thomas Ferraro


May 12, 2015

wwwDOT: Tides


It's pretty clear that Brutus was a Chesapeake Bay sailor who encountered a few sandbars in his time: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. . . ."

(Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3)


Besides telling when you will be able to float off a shoal or get out of your marina slip, tide information shows where you will be able to anchor for the night and implies what the currents will be doing to help or hinder you on the way.

Since the moon creates the rhythmic earth-size wave movements we call tides, calculating them is predictable, although the effects of shoreline shape, depth and wind complicate things significantly. It was one of the first nautical phenomena to be computerized, and David Flater's Xtide ( www.flaterco.com/xtide) is still the basis for many newer programs with snazzier interfaces.

You can get tide and current information easily on your desktop or laptop computer, even by e-mail. All the standard commercial chart plotting software includes it as a matter of course. The Mother Ship for tide and current information is the U.S. Government (co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/faq4.html). Start here for all the essential information.

But we live in an age of mobile devices-iPads, smart phones and whatever else the hardware gnomes are assembling in their caves today. There are several excellent apps for tide and current information for our mobile toys and many are free.

Note that many of these apps require a data connection, either a Wi-Fi link or a cellular phone connection, to work. That's a real drawback on a boat since we are often out of range of these links. I recommend choosing an app that works independently of shore connections.

Friends recommend AyeTides ( ayetides.com) as the best app of all. It's $7.99 and runs only on iOS hardware (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). Tides & Currents ( www.amazon.com/Flytomap-Tides-Currents/dp/B008RWOCQ6) is the equivalent for Android. It's free but there seem to be some compatibility issues with certain devices.

TideApp ( www.tideapp.com) looks like a good one for all platforms, and it is free. The developer was working on offline access and it may be included by the time you read this.

For a quick look at the entire field, go to AppCrawler ( appcrawlr.com) and explore the possibilities by searching for "tide prediction." Download and try out anything that rates three stars or better and looks interesting. All should be pretty accurate; your preferences for layout, colors and controls will be a deciding factor, too.

-Tom Dove


May 12, 2015


Photo by Zora Aiken

Rivah Markets


Cruisers look forward to shore stops that resupply fresh foods, and three near-shore locations along the Rappahannock put fresh veggies within easy reach. Besides the seasonal produce, there may be pork or bison from Northern Neck farms, local honey and specialty sauces, and wonderful baked goods, from scones and breads to fancy desserts.

Nowadays, there's so much more to a Farmers Market than healthy produce. Arts and crafts of every stripe find their way to market, promoted by ambitious entrepreneurs who arrive shortly after dawn to pop their E-Z Up tent and offer their hopefully "e-z sell" goods. Baskets, jewelry, woven goods, leaded glass, garden art-all find a place, including the two alpacas who attract buyers to all the items made from their super-soft, super-warm wool. Christmas shopping anyone?

The markets are open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The first Saturday of each month (May through November) belongs to Irvington, located on Carter's Creek just off the Rappahannock a short distance west of the Route 3 bridge. Stay on the main branch of the creek to marinas or a yacht club on the starboard side, or find a handy place to anchor. (Check with Rappahannock Yachts about leaving the dinghy.) Walk up Carter's Creek Road to King Carter Drive, and go left till you see the tents at Irvington Commons. Just so you know: The Irvington Market has the distinction of being voted the Best Farmer's Market on Virginia's East Coast according to Virginia Living Magazine.

The second Saturday of the month is the Urbanna Market, up the river a few more miles and on the opposite shore. Anchor in the creek or stay at one of the marinas; it's an easy walk to Taber Park, where the Market sets up. Walk into town (Virginia Street is the main road), turn right at Rappahannock Avenue, and see the park on the left. On the way back you can stop at any of the town's shops or restaurants, many of which are conveniently lined up on Virginia Street.

On the fourth Saturday, stop at Deltaville's Market, held on the grounds of the Deltaville Maritime Museum/Holly Point Nature Center on Mill Creek. Nearby Jackson Creek has a marina and anchorage; the crew can either take the dinghy or walk to the museum, which is on Jackson Creek Road. There's a dock at the museum where visitors can leave the dinghy while wandering around the market. A look around the newly rebuilt museum is a plus.

-Zora Aiken


April 22, 2015

Notices to Chesapeake Mariners

Elizabeth River partial channel closures for tunnel construction


There is good news for boaters planning to transit the Elizabeth River this month. A few weeks ago, the Coast Guard announced that the Elizabeth River channel would be closed to all traffic for 48 hours at a time over several days during construction of the Midtown Tunnel. This would have put up a serious crimp of in the plans of returning snowbirds, commercial traffic and local cruisers. But this week, SKW Construction announced that instead of closing the channel, they would narrow to 375 feet.
Project manager Terry Cronk told CBM on Tuesday, April 21, that he was about 97 percent certain that all of the construction in the area would now be done by narrowing, rather than closing, the Elizabeth River channel. The next full closure on the schedule is April 27, but Cronk said that date too likely will be modified. We'll have a more definite idea of the coming schedule later this week.

No more printed Light Lists


Coast Guard Light Lists are a means for communicating aids to navigation information to the maritime public. Effective immediately, the Coast Guard will no longer print hardcopy Light Lists. The last government printed Light Lists were the 2014 editions.
Based on emerging technology and the ability to update Light Lists on a weekly basis, the cost and time for printing the Light List on an annual basis has reached obsolescence. Technology now allows us to provide the Light List in a timelier and less costly manner via the Internet. A Federal Register Notice announcing this change was issued on 1 April 2015. The notice can be viewed at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR- 2015-04-01/pdf/2015-07501.pdf.
Electronic Light Lists are available on the Coast Guard Navigation Center's (NAVCEN) website at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lightLists. Complete versions of the Light Lists are updated weekly on the NAVCEN website at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lightListWeeklyUpdates. Mariners should download applicable copies and updates as needed. Electronic nautical publications are authorized for use on commercial vessels. While the Light Lists will no longer be available in government printed form, commercial reproductions may be available in the future. Local Notices to Mariners will continue to advertise Light List corrections and NAVCEN will continue to publish a compilation of corrections.

Coast Guard proposes extinguishing Wolf Trap light


Wolf Trap Lighthouse (LLNR 7255), which is privately maintained, has been deemed unsafe for Coast Guard personnel to access. The Coast Guard is soliciting comments on discontinuing the lighting equipment on Wolf Trap Light. Interested Mariners and other stakeholders are strongly encouraged to comment on the potential impacts this proposal would have on navigational safety. You may provide feedback using the U. S. Coast Guard Fifth District Waterway Data Sheet, available online at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lnms/D5_LNM_2014_Special_Notice_Waterway_Proposal_Feedback_Form.pdf.
All comments will be carefully considered and are requested prior to May 25, 2015 to be considered in the analysis. Refer to project number 05- 15-073(D) Send comments to Albert.L.Grimes@uscg.mil or CGD5Waterways@uscg.mil, or mailed to U.S. Coast Guard Fifth District
Waterways Management (dpw) Attn: Albert Grimes, Room 100 431 Crawford Street Portsmouth, VA 23704.
Charts: 12225 12238

Patapsco River: Update on closure of CSX Railroad Bridge on Curtis Creek


Mariners are advised that the CSX Railroad Bridge, at mile 1.3, across Curtis Creek, in Baltimore, will continue to be maintained in the closed-to-navigation position to facilitate railway tie work. The closure period will continue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays until May 8. The bridge will still be able to open for navigation with advance notice by contacting 410-916-5045 or on VHF 13/16. At all other times, the drawbridge will operate in accordance with the operating drawbridge regulations set out in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 117.5 Mariners should adjust their transits accordingly. Chart 12289

Artificial reef construction off Love Point


On or about April 27, Corman Marine Construction, Inc. in association with MD DNR Artificial Reef Program, will be placing 1,350 tons of concrete columns and slab in the Southeast Quadrant of the Love Point Fish Haven. The 15-foot clearance will be maintained. Center Location: 39 04 05.42N-76 17 27.37W.  Charts: 12278 12281

Bush River landing-craft operations


The U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, will be conducting Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) operations between noon and 4 p.m. on April 27, and between 7and 10 a.m. on April 30. Operations consist of multiple LCACs transiting the Bush River between Bush River Lighted Buoy 3 (LLNR 27315) and Buoy River Wreck Light WR7 (LLNR 27340). The LCACs can be contacted on VHF Channel 13. Chart 12274



April 20, 2015

From Snapshots to Selfies


In honor of its 50th anniversary, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., is asking for Bay denizens to share photos for its new exhibition called "Snapshots to Selfies: 50 Years of Chesapeake Summers." The museum will be accepting photo submissions from May 23 to November 30, 2015, and the exhibition will open in 2016.

"We want to celebrate that sense of community for our 50th anniversary in a meaningful way. This exhibition is a great way for people to share their favorite family or personal memories of time spent on the Chesapeake's waters. And when the exhibition is complete, the photos will share an interwoven story of the meaningful ways people have connected with the Bay over these last 50 years," says museum president Kristen Greenaway. To that end, the museum wants pictures of people fishing, boating, swimming or just enjoying a day on the Chesapeake with friends and family. Says CBMM Director of Education Kate Livie, "The beautiful images in this exhibition won't be landscapes or sunset shots. Instead, they'll be all of us, making memories during the summertime in the Chesapeake."

Visit www.cbmm.org/snapshots for details on how to upload your pictures. The museum will also offer several opportunities throughout the summer at which you can scan your old photographs, beginning May 23 at the Party on the Point anniversary celebration.


April 20, 2015


Photo courtesy Mid-Atlantic Aerial Video Photography. All 18 acres of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., will be available for free to all active duty, National Guard, and Reserve military personnel and their families between May 25 and September 7 this year.

Thank You for Your Service


Freedom may not be free, but those who fight for our freedoms-and the family members who support them-can enjoy complimentary admission to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) this season as part of collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense. Along with more than 2,000 other museums across the United States, CBMM will offer complimentary admission to its 18-acre campus and 12 exhibition buildings for all active duty, National Guard, and Reserve military personnel and their families between May 25 and September 7 this year. It's easy, too. All active-duty military personnel and their immediate family members have to do to get in is show a military ID upon entry. To learn about CBMM and its programs, visit cbmm.org.


April 20, 2015

Spring Sailboat Show Brings New Regatta


Six area high school sailing teams will participate in the inaugural spring high school invitational keelboat regatta. The regatta will take place April 24-26 in Annapolis, with regatta events at City Dock in conjunction with the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show going on that same weekend. The high schools participating (all local to Annapolis) are: Severna Park High School, St. Mary's High School, Severn School, Broadneck High School, South River High School and Archbishop Spalding. The teams will sail J/80s from Annapolis's J/World sailing school and will compete for the Weems & Plath-designed traveling cup.

All races will be run on Saturday, April 25, starting at noon. An Award ceremony will take place in Susan Campbell Park at 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 410-268-8828 or visit www.annapolisboatshows.com.


April 9, 2015


Photo courtesy VIMS

75 Years of VIMS


There's history under your feet here. You can just about feel it. On the 40-acre campus of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at Gloucester Point on the York River, artifacts of Indian settlements and a once-thriving colonial village, Gloucestertown, have been unearthed. The point also witnessed the last gasp of British rule as General Cornwallis attempted a desperate nighttime crossing from Yorktown only to be thwarted by a thunderous squall and forced to surrender.

The Virginia Fisheries Laboratory, as it was first called, was born in 1940 in a converted gas station on the Yorktown side of the river. The initial budget was $12,000. Ten years later, the lab moved to Gloucester Point, changed its name, became part of the College of William & Mary and began growing into the today's far-flung research and academic institution, with a budget of $43 million and a population that includes 60 faculty and 100 marine science graduate students.

Now VIMS is celebrating 75 years of monitoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay and finding ways to improve it. Scientists who work and teach here are grappling with the new realities of the Bay-population growth and rising sea levels-and how to make the best of these conditions.

"The good news is that a lot of progress has been made," Mark Luchenbach, associate dean of research, told me. It was a cold, blustery January morning, and yet, outside his window, a deadrise fishing boat was shrugging off waves as it bustled by on the York. The fisherman, I was thinking, owes the size of his catch to the research VIMS has conducted on the health of various species on the Bay and coastal waters. "The bad news," Luchenbach said, "is that all the easy stuff has been done. The rest is pretty much all heavy lifting."

The easy stuff involved curbing raw sewage, construction runoff and excess fertilizer. Heavy lifting? That would be hefting the problems of agricultural runoff, non-point pollution, advanced sewage treatment, population pressure and that silent thief, sea-level rise.

With a mandate from the Commonwealth to bring the best science to bear and make recommendations about the health of Virginia waters and the seafood industry, as well as to educate students, VIMS began long-running studies on oysters, blue crabs, juvenile fish and sharks. Soon its scientists were influencing the creation of national programs like "sea grant" college funds and coastal zone management. They prompted an impressive seagrass restoration effort. They opened labs on the Eastern Shore that sparked a resurgence in the clam industry. Their facilities on the Rappahannock River spurred the growth of farm-raised oysters. VIMS reaches to the bottom of the Bay with scuba divers and into space with satellite tracking of migrating species. Throughout the year, research boats monitor the health of finfish and blue crabs. Now VIMS has gone global, sending scientists to both poles, the Arctic and Antarctic, to help study climate change and its relation to estuaries and coastal waters. From molecular to global, its literature says. From mighty rivers to the deep blue sea.

"We have scientists working now on every continent in the world," Luchenbach writes in a new report on VIMS's 75-year history. "They're not only parts of teams; they're leaders of international teams. And it's not just us exporting our ideas to other places. We're bringing knowledge from these collaborations to bear on local issues."

VIMS has gone high tech in a big way, including its Bridge online marine science education programs. Just a glance at the website (www.vims.edu/bridge) reveals teacher-approved K-12 lesson plans, including this one for kindergarten: "Don't eat your flatfish before they're counted."

VIMS has been around long enough to observe many of the changes in the Bay's ecology. I went to see Carl Hershner, director of VIMS's Center for Coastal Resources Management, who has been there since 1971 and was preparing an "After Hours" lecture on "The Chesapeake Bay, Past, Present and Future." Here's a quick take of the Bay's various stages, according to Hershner:

When the English first arrived, he said, sturgeon and shad abounded; as towns and taverns appeared, the characteristic species were oysters and rockfish; with cities and suburbs on the rise, the shift was toward crabs and menhaden; not far off, if megalopolis is where we're heading, he says, the predominant critters are likely to be jellyfish and algal blooms. Not exactly what you'd put on the table.

Changes in the Bay are inevitable, Hershner told listeners at the lecture. "The thing to keep in mind is that we're not going back to where we were. . . . We've got a lot more development and a lot more people, and the climate is changing. And so that means our opportunity to change the system is changing constantly."

For instance, he said in an interview, the conventional wisdom about limiting development has been to build up to the back edge of marshes. "But what we didn't anticipate was the fact that as the climate changes and the sea levels rise, the marshes need to move." In many cases development stands in the way and the marshes give way.

Over more than four decades, Hershner has seen the Bay go from bad to better because of educated management efforts. The fact that it seems to be stalled now because of inevitable forces doesn't make him want to give up. "The future to me is pretty exciting," he said, "because I still believe that we can have a natural resource that we can derive a lot of benefits from. But they're just going to be different benefits from what we had in the past."

John Wells, VIMS dean and director, put it this way in the introduction to the new VIMS 75th anniversary report, "As we reflect on our history, it's clear that now, more than ever, our tagline is most fitting: Science for the Bay, Impact for the World. Our new Strategic Plan will carry us forward as a marine science institution with high impact." And, in a nod to all that history, he added, "Our success is a tribute not only to the people who work and study here, but to those who came before us and on whose shoulders we stand."

-Paul Clancy


April 9, 2015


Photo by Bill Sterling

New in Onancock


When Superstorm Sandy barreled through Onancock in 2012, she took out the then nearly new harbormaster's office (among other things), leaving transient boaters to cope with minimal portable facilities until a new welcome mat was ready and operational. Last spring, the new building opened, complete with private showers, a spacious complimentary laundry room, a transient pump-out station and an ice-and-soda machine. Also new last year was harbormaster Charles Kelly, a native of the area who returned to the Eastern Shore of Virginia after a career that included positions as a computer scientist at the National Science Foundation and a regional director for Microsoft.

Among other new touches, Kelly has upgraded the marina's presence with an enhanced website (onancockmarina.com) and a Facebook page (Onancock Town Wharf). "Since my background is in computers, I'm interested in social media and interact with boaters through a variety of ways," he says. "Our webpage includes reviews and thoughts from many of our visitors. Plus we've got over a thousand photos so boaters can get an overview of the marina and town." WiFi service is available for boaters and will improve once a planned broadband system reaches the area.

Onancock is a quiet, tranquil place to visit, Kelly says. The four-mile ride from the Bay to the harbor includes beautiful landscapes, historic homes and is easy for boaters to travel with seven to 10 feet of water up to the harbor and 12 to 14 feet in the channel. An easy stroll brings visitors to the heart of town where they'll find good restaurants (there is also a dockside restaurant), interesting shops, art galleries and lovely old Victorian homes.

For more information or to make reservations, contact Charles Kelly at 757-787-7911 or email manager@onancockmarina.com.

-Bill Sterling


April 9, 2015

Angels on the Bay


What sets off car alarms in a 10-mile radius, shakes folks out of their office chairs, and is a blast to watch from the water-or close to it? Why the U.S. Navy's crack flight-demonstration team, the Blue Angels, of course. The group of six, navy-blue Boeing F/A-18 Hornets will return to Annapolis for the United States Naval Academy's (USNA) Commencement Week activities this year, culminating in a formation flyover at the Class of 2015's commencement ceremony at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at 10:04 a.m. on May 22.

But the day to play hooky from work, untie the boat and head to Annapolis is May 20, when the team will provide a stunning, thundering, acrobatic aerial display in the skies above the Annapolis Harbor and surrounding waters. The show kicks off at 2 p.m., and generally runs about 30 to 40 minutes. The best vantage point, in our opinion, is just off the USNA seawall in the designated anchoring area between Triton and Horn points, but you can also get a decent view from Annapolis Harbor, and Spa and Back creeks. Those poor souls without a boat can get great views from the USNA grounds, but keep in mind that a government-issued ID is required and lawn chairs and coolers are generally prohibited.

While the team does execute practice flights the day before the premier event, the time of arrival for these flights is unspecific (sometime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and again at 2 p.m.), and they might not execute all of their maneuvers. To get the scoop on the Blue Angels show and all of the USNA's Commencement week activities, visit usna.edu/commissioningweek.


April 9, 2015


Photo by Donna Haley

Save Our Shores


Concerned about trash piling up on nearby beaches, Mark and Donna Haley, of Jarrettsville, Md., decided to do something about it. They set up their first Save Our Shores dispenser in 2011, providing trash bags to visiting boaters and encouraging them to help with the clean-up effort. Since then they've established three sites altogether: Fairlee Creek Inlet and north and south of the Worton Creek entrance. "We dispense over three hundred trash bags per season," Donna writes, "and we've seen a significant reduction in the trash along our beaches. We generally install the dispensers in mid-April and remove them by mid-September." If anyone wants to set up similar dispensers in other locations, she adds, feel free to contact her at helpsaveourshores@gmail.com.


April 9, 2015


Photos by Gary D. Crawford

A Fleet, Once Again


Oyster season is over now, but one day back in early February, when a strong northwest wind was lowering the windchill and shoving the water out of the Bay, our oyster fleet was out in the river. After all, this was oystering weather.

Once home to a whole fleet of dredgeboats, Tilghman had dwindled down to two: the Rebecca T. Ruark (Captain Wadie Murphy) and the Thomas W. Clyde (Captain Lawrence Murphy). Then last year, Captain Wade Murphy III (Wadie's son) brought in the Hilda M. Willing, increasing the island fleet to three. That may sound like small potatoes, but keep in mind that fewer than a dozen skipjacks are still operating anywhere on the Bay.

For several winters now, Captain Lawrence dredged down the Bay to Tangier Sound and the waters off Deal Island, along with most of the other remaining skipjacks. Last winter, Captain Wadie tried the Choptank River, around the mouth of the Tred Avon and Castle Haven. He had to be careful, though, because large areas there have been designated as no-oystering zones. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had supplied him with a map showing the location of the forbidden areas, but it lacked navigational reference. It was just lines on a map.

He asked for some help. "You do all that computer stuff," he said. "Can you put this map on top of a navigational chart?" He said he wanted to obey the law, but wasn't just where the DNR lines ran in relation to the buoys and markers out in the river. And being a Tilghman Islander, he knew he'd be slapped with a fine (or worse) if he strayed even a few yards over their imaginary line. I agreed, so we scanned the map and the chart, superimposed the map over the chart, matched up the shorelines, and printed out a page for use on the Rebecca.

This year some oyster beds around the mouth of the Choptank were making a comeback and (amazingly) were not in an oyster sanctuary, so all three Tilghman boats were staying put. But on this February day, I was in for surprise. I counted four (!) masts in Dogwood Harbor. Captain Ed Farley had come down from St. Michaels and joined the fleet with the H. M. Krentz.

After dashing home for my camera, my wife and I drove back to the harbor where I got a few shots. The Rebecca looked very unlike the pristine beauty she is in the summertime when Captain Wadie takes folks out for a sail and a chat. She looked like a working boat, a Chesapeake drudger, her decks temporarily cluttered and rusty gear everywhere.

As I walked over, Captain Wadie was lugging a big boat propeller off the Rebecca. His opening line was, "How much do you think one of these costs?" I guessed $800; he said, "Nope, fifteen hundred!" A line had gotten fouled in the prop of his yawl boat. It wound itself up and yanked the yawl boat partly out of the water, throwing his crewman ten feet in the air and out into the frigid water. The man got back aboard okay though he was mighty cold. Captain Wadie threw the damaged propeller into his pickup.

He asked if we'd like some oysters. He dug around in the hold then handed me a couple dozen in a plastic bag. "They're frozen, now, so let 'em thaw before you start on 'em." Then he waved and climbed back aboard.

-Gary D. Crawford


April 9, 2015


Photo by Wendy Mitman Clarke

Welcome Aboard!


Michael Fiorentino, who has captained the schooner Lady Maryland for the last four years and served as chief mate and carpenter aboard Pride of Baltimore II, in February became the new skipper of Sultana in Chestertown. The change came when Tanya Banks-Christensen stepped down after seven successful years as Sultana's captain, saying it was time for new adventures.

Fiorentino, who holds a 500-ton Master of Oceans license, is the most experienced person ever hired to run the Sultana, the Sultana Foundation noted in a press release. He's also a highly regarded educator.  

Fiorentino says he's thrilled to become part of a strong community-based organization that is rapidly expanding, including construction of a new LEED Platinum-certified education center slated to break ground this year and be completed by early 2016. "I am really excited to be part of that core team that is developing the program and moving it forward," he says.

He's also excited to spend more time on the Chesapeake and take Sultana to places where the deeper-draft Lady Maryland and Pride could never go. "I've never spent the summer on the Bay," he says. "It's going to be hot, but I'm ready! And I'm excited to see more and have more time to explore the Bay."

The new captain will also bring his buyboat, the 82-year-old, Deltaville-built Marion M, to the Eastern Shore where he plans to restore her. Worked until 1999, she was purchased by South Street Seaport, but the museum was unable to use her. "I picked her up for the right price-a dollar," Fiorentino says.

Fiorentino began his career as a theater and set design engineer in New York City (he graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts). He became a schooner captain when the design firm he was working for took on a boat project for a museum. "I thought that was pretty cool," he says. "I knew a lot about carpentry, but I didn't know anything about ship's carpentry." He started researching boatbuilding schools in New England, taking classes at the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, R.I. That led to volunteer work at South Street Seaport in New York and eventually to the Pride of Baltimore II and the Living Classrooms Foundation.

The Sultana Education Foundation connects people to the Chesapeake Bay's history, ecology, and culture, inspiring them to join us in preserving and restoring America's largest estuary. See more at sultanaeducation.org.

-Wendy Mitman Clarke


April 9, 2015


Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Light Craft

Backyard Boatbuilders Unite


Well, the first question you might be asking is, "What the heck is okoume?" And it's a good question, actually. Okoume is a tropical hardwood tree that's native to equatorial West Africa and ideal for manufacturing marine plywood. That marine plywood is a crucial component in the more than 26,000 build-it-yourself watercraft kits that Annapolis-based Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) has shipped over the years. Add in an open house and a rendezvous on a warm, sandy Chesapeake Bay beach where you can try out one of these nifty boats firsthand and you've got OkoumeFest.

The annual celebration starts Friday, May 15, with an open house at CLC's world headquarters in Annapolis, where dozens of fully assembled CLC craft will be on display, ranging from eight-foot Cocktail Class powerboats to the 14-plus foot PocketShip, a cruising sailboat with micro dimensions. And of course, there will be all sorts and sizes of kayaks and nifty rowing craft to peruse.

Interested in getting an inside peek at the company's computerized kit-making operation? CLC staff will be on site to provide shop tours of the various manufacturing areas, as well as to answer your pressing questions about do-it-yourself boatbuilding, the company's kits, kit-building classes, or anything else that's on your mind. There are also boatbuilding seminars scheduled throughout the day that are packed with helpful tips for beginners and experts alike. It's an incredible opportunity to see if a build-it-yourself kit boat might be right for you. The fun starts at around noon, and wraps up with a burgers and brew seminar from 5 to 7 p.m.

The whole operation packs up and moves to Matapeake State Park on the Eastern Shore's Kent Island the next day, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here on the park's sandy beach you'll find a huge collection of CLC craft-from kayaks to prams to skiffs and sailboats. As many as 55 of the craft are from CLC's private collection-and available for folks to paddle and sail-while numerous others are proudly shown off by the folks who built them (many of these boats are true works of art). Awards are handed out for the best-looking builds, but the name of the game is reveling in the rarified atmosphere of beautiful small boats built by the ordinary folks who love them. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit clcboats.com/boatbuilding-news-events.


April 9, 2015

Dabble in Deals at Dealer Days


You may already know Deltaville as a lovely boating destination. But what you may not know is that it's also a beehive of boat dealer activity, with four major new-boat dealerships representing 15 different boat manufacturers. If you're on the hunt for a new or previously loved boat, put this lovely little boating town on your calendar the weekend of May 2-3, when boat dealers in Deltaville, Va., host a two-day event with more than a dozen different boat brands represented.

The four participating dealerships-Annapolis Yacht Sales South, Chesapeake Yacht Sales, S&J Yachts and Norton Yachts-will open their doors for the weekend not just to give prospective customers a chance to look at shiny new and brokerage boats, but also to allow them to get to know the services and facilities they offer. CBM can also confirm that there is plenty of good food, too, but no, we're not telling you which dealership usually has a slow cooker full of tasty pulled-pork barbecue; you'll have to find that out on your own. Heck, there's even a chance to win cash prizes. The fun runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Go to deltavilleva.com/2015/02/16/dealer-days-2015 for the low-down.


April 9, 2015

Judge Throws the Book at Last "Stripergate" Poacher


Michael D. Hayden, 43, of Tilghman Island, the last of four defendants who were charged and plead guilty to various charges relating to the illegal harvest of 185,925 pounds of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay between 2007 and 2011, was recently sentenced, and the judge showed very little mercy. U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Hayden to 18 months in federal prison followed by six months of home detention for his leading role in the poaching operation. He was also ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution and received a $40,000 fine.

Hayden was considered the leader of a poaching conspiracy that began to unravel when Maryland Natural Resource Police officers found tons of dead striped bass tangled up in illegally set gill nets off Kent Island in February 2011. Hayden received a much harsher punishment than his codefendants primarily because he obstructed justice by threatening a witness.

"Mr. Hayden is being held justly accountable for his role at the head of a conspiracy to plunder protected striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay," says Assistant Attorney General Cruden. "The Justice Department, working closely with our state partners, will continue to protect these shared resources for the law abiding watermen of the Bay with vigorous prosecution of those who do not follow the law." Bad boys beware: the state isn't playing around, anymore.


April 9, 2015


Photo courtesy of CBMM

Rent a Classic


How does the idea of gliding down a picturesque Eastern Shore river in a beautifully crafted wooden sailboat or rowing shell this summer sound to you? (Pretty good, if you ask us.) And if it stirs your inner watercraft nerd as well, you'll be glad to know that the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, Md., is kicking off a brand-new boat rental program that's quite extraordinary.

Instead of curating a fleet of tired old rowboats or aging sailboats, CBMM is populating its rental fleet with a plethora of wooden watercraft that were built as part of the museum's "Apprentice for a Day" program over the last few years. Folks will be able to sail or paddle everything from kayaks and rowboats to all sorts of other traditional watercraft. Starting June 10, you can rent a boat for as little as an hour, or as much as a full day, every Wednesday through Sunday, until August 30.

Hourly rates will be $30 for sailing vessels; $160 per day. Rowing vessels will cost $20/hour; $100/day (museum members get steep discounts). Life jackets are provided. Don't know how to sail? No problem. The museum will provide, for a fee, lessons for those who need a primer on the basics of wind-powered boating. Visit cbmm.org for more details.


April 9, 2015


Photo courtesy of Rappahannock River Oysters

Oysters Galore!


There's reason to celebrate in Virginia, when it comes to the Bay's briny bivalve, the Eastern oyster. Why? Because the Virginia Farm Bureau recently reported that the 2013-2014 Virginia oyster harvest topped 500,000 bushels, making it the biggest haul since 1987, and a 25-percent increase over the 2012-2013 season. The really good news is that experts suggest half of the harvest is coming from oyster farming (aquaculture).

While specific wild-versus-farmed figures haven't been presented, A.J. Erskine, aquaculture manager at Cowart Seafood in Lottsburg, Va., says his business is made up of about a 50-50 mix. "The wild harvest is extremely important," Erskine says, "however the complementary program is aquaculture, and the development of hatcheries out in the Bay and its tributaries provides a multi-pronged approach to recovery for a healthier oyster industry." Today the state has around 200 licensed oyster farmers.

The downsides to oyster farming are virtually nonexistent, and the practice provides lots of positive benefits for the Bay. With some operations having as many as two to three million oysters maturing at any given time, that means 100 to 150 million gallons of Bay water can potentially be filtered daily by such an operation. Also important is that the practice does not involve dredging the important reef habitat provided by oyster bars to other key Bay aquatic species.

That said, some Maryland watermen have voiced concern about the rate at which the state of Maryland is leasing bottom in Chesapeake Bay. They claim that the cages and cultured bottoms used in oyster farming prevent them from running trotlines and pots for blue crabs in many areas.

Farmed oysters are widely available at seafood markets, restaurants and raw bars everywhere in Bay Country-just ask for them.


April 9, 2015


Photo courtesy of Reedville Fishermen's Museum

Start the Somers!


Sidelined due to a lack of funds and adequate crew to manage the century-old skipjack, Claud W. Somers was relegated to being a shoreside exhibit at the Reedville Fishermen's Museum, where she has welcomed visitors aboard for two stationary years. Enter museum member Gerhard Straub, who volunteered to get the boat up and running again with a little help from museum volunteers who just needed someone to spearhead the effort. Join them on Sunday, May 24 from 3-5 p.m. for a gala food- and spirit-tasting party to support efforts to get her under way. Reserve your table today by calling 804-453-6529 or go to rfmuseum.org for more information.


April 9, 2015

PredictWind (ChesapeakeDotCom)


No matter what sort of vessel we use, sail, power or manual, the wind determines what we can do on the water. Wind makes waves and heralds the weather changes we all watch so carefully.

There is an online site that is exceptionally useful, a sort of crystal ball of the air. It's called PredictWind (www.predictwind.com) and it does just what its name says with considerable accuracy and precision.

The free version has enough features to be useful for skippers on the Bay all by itself. I have found the wind forecasts remarkably accurate, and the site gives animated predictions with arrows to show speed and direction for a week ahead.

Subscribe to one of the upgraded services and you get full weather routing that lets you plan everything from the best departure day to customized routes that avoid bad weather. Subscriptions range from $19 to $499 per year, with three-month plans also available. With a subscription plan, you also get progressively higher resolution forecasts and an array of maps showing swell, rain, clouds, isobars and sea temperatures as well as GPS services that will report your location to friends ashore.

There are apps for iOS and Android, so you can retrieve all this data wherever there is a cell phone signal, which should cover the Chesapeake fairly well. PredictWind also integrates with the Iridium GO! System for use offshore anywhere in the world for a reasonable price.

If you haven't explored weather routing services for a few years, prepare to be amazed.

-Tom Dove


March 19, 2015

New Outboard Engine Course


Due to high demand, the Annapolis School of Seamanship has introduced a new outboard engine mechanics course. The two-day session will cover operation, maintenance and basic troubleshooting of two- and four-stroke outboard engines. Register now for the first course, scheduled for May 16 to 17, by calling 410-263-8848 or online at www.annapolisschoolofseamanship.com.


March 19, 2015

Kent Narrows Opened for Oyster Dredging Operations


After having been closed to oyster harvesting for six years due to health reasons, Maryland has allowed shellfish harvesting through the rest of the 2015 season. Read all about dredging on the Narrows here.


March 19, 2015

Oyster Season Extension in the Works


After an icy winter on the Bay, during which oyster harvesting operations were severely hindered, Maryland DNR has requested a two-week extension of the season from the state general assembly's Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee (AELR). The AELR has until March 27 to approve or deny the application. As of now, oyster season closes March 31. Read the full story here.


March 19, 2015

Attention Rockfish Anglers:


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources yesterday announced that the regulations for this year's trophy fishery will include a one fish/person/day catch limit. The fish must be between 28 and 36 inches, or greater than 40 inches. This has been approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Striped Bass technical committee in accordance with Maryland's management proposal. The 2015 spring trophy fishery season will run from Saturday, April 18 to May 15.


March 19, 2015

Fire Extinguisher Recall


BoatUS has announced a recall concerning Kidde Mariner 10, Mariner 110, Mariner 5, and Mariner 5 G model fire extinguishers. About 4.6 million extinguishers are affected that were sold nationwide between August 2013 and November 2014. While it's always worth thoroughly inspecting all of the fire extinguishers aboard your boat at the beginning of each boating season, it will be particularly important this year. Click here for all the details from BoatUS.


March 19, 2015

Pride Captain Takes Another Helm--Jamie Trost heads to Lake Erie to direct the Schooner Porcupine project


Captain Jamie Trost, is heading to his hometown of Erie, Pa., to become Project Manager for the Schooner Porcupine, currently being built at the Bayfront Maritime Center. The next time he sees the Pride of Baltimore, he says, will be from the vantage point of another historically rigged ship. Trost skippered the Pride for the last seven years, sharing the post with Captain Jan Miles. His new command is a replica of one of the schooner-rigged gunboats active in the Battle of Lake Erie (War of 1812). She will become a floating classroom for area school students.


March 13, 2015

Notice to Mariners

Northern Bay Ice Situation Update


Here's a great update from contributing writer Tom Hale about the ice situation on the northern Bay and Coast Guard's safety zone announcement:

As of noon, Friday March 13, 2015 there are US Coast Guard restrictions for vessels transiting the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries above the Bay Bridge except that the Patapsco River is open to navigation for all vessels. Steel hulled vessels are exempted from the restrictions; all other vessels may not get under way without the permission of the Commander of the Port of Baltimore.

The intent of the restriction was to limit the movement of aluminum hulled commercial vessels during the time the ice was particularly severe in Mid February. The Coast Guard did not expect there to be much recreational vessel traffic at that time of year, and so the recreational vessel segment was not considered at the time the restrictions were placed (The restrictions went into effect on February 17). The COPT is aware that there are recreational boaters who wish to be able to go out on the Bay north of the Bay Bridge this weekend.

At this time all recreational vessels must contact COPT at 410-576-2693 for permission to get under way. The COPT is looking at the impact on recreational boaters and expects to have an update sometime this weekend.

The Coast Guard's ice-related vessel and/or waterway restrictions are announced via Coast Guard broadcast notices to mariners, five times daily at 0300, 0705, 1130, 1600 and 2030 local time, on marine band radio VHF-FM channel 22A, and can be obtained via Sector Baltimore phone recording at telephone number 410-576-2682, or online at www.uscg.mil/D5/ICE_REPORT/.

(Note: As of noon Friday March 13 the telephone system recorded ice report was 3 days old and is not consistent with the online data.


March 13, 2015

Notice to Mariners

Northern Bay Ice Situation


Attention Northern Bay boaters, the Coast Guard has announced a temporary safety zone "in ALL navigable waters within the northern portion of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including the western portion of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, between the Delaware/Maryland Boundary Line across the C&D Canal east of Chesapeake City, Md., and a line drawn across the Chesapeake Bay at the William P. Lane, Jr. (US-50/301) Memorial Bridges, located between Sandy Point and Kent Island."

The safety zone is currently in effect until April 15 (though the CG has said it will modify if necessary). So if you're planning on transiting north of the Bay Bridge best contact the authorities--Sector Baltimore Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone: 410-576-2674, email: Ronald.L.Houck@uscg.mil.

You can read the full notice here: www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-03-09/html/2015-05475.htm


March 13, 2015


Kudos to Annapolis native Terry Hutchinson


Kudos to Annapolis native Terry Hutchinson who has just been named U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. The award is given annually to honor an individual's outstanding achievements in the world of sailing. Hutchinson, who is 46 and serves as Vice President of Quantum Design, premiere sailmakers also located in Annapolis, also won the Rolex award in 2008. According to news reports, he flew straight from the finish line at the Caribbean 600, where his boat, Bella Mente, took overall and class victories, in order to accept this year's award at the New York Yacht Club.

"In some ways, it's not how you get knocked down, but how you get back up that's going to be the measure," he said, after thanking those who helped him along in his sailing career. "It's a testament to the owners and their faith and trust in the process that we apply to win races. What they have placed in my hands and what they have provided me as an opportunity to do on their behalf is not taken lightly."

According to the Quantum website, Hutchinson started sailing in a Dyer Dhow when he was three years old. A 1986 graduate of St. Mary's High School, he was a four-time All American sailor at Old Dominion University where he was named collegiate Sailor of the Year in 1989 and 1990. A 2008 MedCup Champion with Quantum Racing, he won his first Rolex award that same year. In 2014, Hutchinson compiled an even more impressive list of victories on his way to earning his second award.


March 12, 2015


Photo courtesy of BRP-Ecinrude

Biobutanol Delivers


Some lucky visitors to February's Miami International Boat Show got the chance to ride on a Crevalle 25 Bay Boat pushed by a brand-new 300hp Evinrude E-Tec G2 outboard motor and carrying a decal with the legend fueled by biobutanol. Instead of ethanol, the boat was running a blend of 83.9 percent standard gasoline and 16.1 percent biobutanol, a second-generation biofuel derived from the same basic plant "feedstocks" as ethanol but much friendlier to marine engines. This conclusion comes from four years of research by a partnership of engineers from Bombardier Recreational Products (the parent company of Evinrude), the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, Volvo Penta, Indmar, the National Marine Manufacturers' Association (NMMA) and the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC).

Even though the concentration of biofuel powering the big Evinrude was well past what is considered a safe level for ethanol, the engine ran like a top during the show. Jeff Wasil knew it would. Engineering Manager in Emissions Testing, Certification and Regulatory Development for BRP-Evinrude, Wasil has been at the center of the experiments with biobutanol for the past four years, spreading the word about the partnership's research in gaseous and particulate engine exhaust emissions, combustion analysis, cold start, runability and durability. In that time, the team has tested many engine technologies from engine and boat manufacturers including four-stroke carbureted and fuel-injected outboard engines, conventional two-stroke carbureted outboard engines, stern drive engines and E-TEC direct fuel injection outboard engines.

Biobutanol's value in marine engines includes a higher energy density than ethanol, much less tendency to attract and mix with water, less corrosiveness and much better stability. "Boaters had the opportunity to test how the fuel works firsthand here at the [Miami] show, and that's definitely part of the equation in creating interest and demand for this next-generation biofuel," said Wasil. "We've been collaborating across the industry for several years and have published multiple papers on our findings. The data, paired with the experience, will definitely help us move the fuel conversation forward."

Although the availability of biobutanol fuels at marinas and boat fueling stations is expected to take time, sharing marine industry research on biobutanol fuels is essential to creating a market and the adoption of this fuel. What's next? Pushing up the proportion of biobutanol to see how much marine engines can take without damage, both in the lab and on the water. And working with the two current producers of biobutanol, GEVO (www.gevo.com) and Butamax ( www.butamax.com, a BP/DuPont joint venture) on future production plans. Changing the fuels we use nationwide is like turning a very large ship. It takes patience. But BRP, the Argonne Lab, NMMA, ABYC, Volvo Penta, Indmar and their partners are on a promising road. We'll look into the biobutanol story some more this summer.

-John Page Williams


March 12, 2015


Photo by Michael C. Wootton

Historic Skipjack Martha Lewis in Trouble


Twenty years may not seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, but when you're talking about wooden boats, two decades of exposure can have a profound effect on their bones. Such is the case with the skipjack Martha Lewis. Even after a complete refit in 1994, today the graceful old girl is in need of some serious repairs-at least $21,000 worth.

The skipjack's old planks failed to swell enough to sufficiently float her after a routine dry dock visit in Baltimore, which means major bottom work is in order. Plus, a new mast has to be installed, and she may require a new boom and a rigging refit. Unfortunately, the group who cares for the skipjack doesn't have 21 grand lying around.

The Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy (CHC), a non-profit group that maintains the Martha Lewis as an environmental education platform, is asking for donations to help fund the repairs. Donated to CHC in 1994 by Dr. Randy George of Birmingham, Ala., the skipjack was fully restored that same year through a partnership with the city of Havre de Grace and the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum. When she's not under the weather, the Martha Lewis sails the out of Havre de Grace, Md., educating folks on the intricate Chesapeake ecosystem.

One of a handful of skipjacks remaining from a fleet that originally numbered near the 2,000 mark, Martha Lewis was built by Bronza Parks and launched from Wingate, Md., in 1955. Parks also built the skipjack Rosie Parks, which was recently restored by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, and the Lady Katie, now sailed by Captain Scott Todd out of Cambridge, Md.

You can help preserve this bit of Chesapeake history by making a donation to the organization. Visit chesapeake-heritage.org and click on "Donate."


March 12, 2015


Snaggletooth Shark Caught in Fisherman's Backyard


Chesapeake Beach charter boat captain, Shawn Gibson, made the catch of his life last October . . . in his parents' backyard, a quarter-mile from the Bay. The fisherman and his family unearthed the fossilized remains of a 15-million-year-old snaggletooth shark (yes, that's really what it's called) while digging footers for a deck.

The Gibson family home happens to be located on one of the richest deposits of Miocene fossils in the U.S., if not the world, and like many residents of the Calvert Cliffs area, they have always been on the lookout for fossilized sharks' teeth and other marine fossils.

"We were never serious fossil hunters, but we are aware that there are plenty of things to find in the clay and sand," Shawn Gibson said. When his brother Donald was digging footers for the porch, he noticed what appeared to be a vertebra in the dirt pile. "It had rained on the dirt and kind of washed it off," said Shawn. Donald, Shawn and their kids started going through the pile to see what else they might find, uncovering about two dozen vertebrae.

The thing about living in the middle of an epic fossil deposit is that there are plenty of people who get educated on the subject, meaning there is usually someone to call if you find something interesting. Shawn called his mate on Wound Tight, the 46-foot Markley he keeps at Herrington Harbour South. Scott Verdin is an amateur fossil hunter, and he immediately recognized the significance of finding so many vertebrae together. Another friend, Pat Gotsis who volunteers at the Calvert Marine Museum's fossil collection, also came to check out the find.

They dug every day after work, finding three vertebrae in a row, and then a tooth that was an inch and a half. Gotsis immediately identified the tooth as coming from a Hemipristis serra, an extinct snaggletooth shark.

Shawn called the Calvert Marine Museum in nearby Solomons, Md., and spoke with Curator Dr. Stephen Godfrey. "You could tell at first he was a bit skeptical, but interested. By that time, I had learned enough to explain pretty clearly that we had what appeared to be the intact skeleton of a Hemipristis serra with vertebrae leading up to a skull and teeth."

Dr. Godfrey's assistant, John Nance, said that he could tell that his boss was "visibly excited," after the call. Nance, 27, a lifelong fossil hunter from Calvert County had begun volunteering with Godfrey while he was still in high school. Now the two work closely together in the museum's jam-packed paleontology lab. Nance shared Godfrey's excitement, "This is not the kind of call you get every day."

The two arrived at the Gibson house a week after the first vertebra was discovered. Nance says he will never forget the feeling of seeing the semi-unearthed skeleton. "It was jaw-dropping," he says. "I knew immediately I was seeing something that most paleontologists only dream of." The shark appeared to be buried completely intact-a whole skeleton in one place. This is highly unusual, according to Nance, since in a marine environment dead animals would tend to be picked at by scavengers or broken up by the water.

A CT scan of the fossilized remains showed something else that is amazing about the shark: a lot of cartilage in the soil along with teeth and bones. "This tells us that it died and was buried very quickly," said Nance. "Something catastrophic happened."

Nance is currently working to extricate the skeleton from its sandy bed. The Gibson family has agreed to loan the fossil to the museum, where it will ultimately be displayed-after Nance removes the rest of the soil, one milligram at a time.

-Kathy Bergren Smith


March 12, 2015


Courtesy of Annapolis Boat Shows

Bay Bridge and Annapolis Spring Boat Shows Roll into Chesapeake Country


The floating docks at Pier One Marina on Kent Island will fill with shiny new watercraft and white tents will rise into the sky as the Bay Bridge Boat Show gets under way April 17 through 19, at the eastern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Only a few days later, masts will sprout like trees in downtown Annapolis as sailboats roll into Ego Alley for the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show, which runs April 24 to 26. Ah, yes, we can't wait to get a whiff of some of that new-boat smell.

Having a powerboat and fishing slant, the Bay Bridge Boat Show this year will feature 100 new and brokerage boats to board and peruse. The Demo Dock returns, giving prospective buyers a chance to kick the tires and take boats out for a sea trial. You can also take a kayak out for a paddle.

On land you'll find more boats and hundreds of marine vendors-from marinas to marine engine manufacturers-available to answer your questions or sell you the latest in marine gear. There are opportunities to learn something new, with fishing rod building demonstrations by local tackle guru Joe Cap, a how-to on preparing a proper Eastern Shore feast by a local chef, and free seminars on a variety of topics from area boating and fishing pros. Need to bleed some energy off your little ones? Take them to the moon bounce or have an artist dress them up with face paint. If you attend the show on Friday, stick around for the Opening Night BBQ Bash (free for attendees) from 5 to 8 p.m.

But maybe powering away under sail in a stiff breeze is more your thing. In that case, head to the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show, which takes place the following weekend. That's where you'll find nearly 80 sailboats on display in Ego Alley, along with more than 100 land exhibits featuring the latest in all sorts of sailing gear and services. If you're new to sailing and want to give it a try, Annapolis Community Boating will provide free rides on a variety of sailboats from the show docks. Yes, free.

Starting a day before the show and running until the last day is Cruisers University, a program that teaches attendees everything from diesel mechanics to navigation and air-conditioning to anchoring. Tuition packages range from $190 to $590, depending on the number of days and types of classes you choose. It's a great way to learn from the pros. Lastly, if you find yourself at the show on Friday afternoon, make a beeline to the Opening Day Celebration, which will feature live entertainment, a cash bar and complimentary hors d'oeuvres from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Bay Bridge Boat Show runs from April 17 to 19. Parking is available on site with a $3 donation to the Kent Island High School Athletic Boosters.

The Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show is open April 24 through April 26.

Both shows are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, except for Sunday, when the shows wrap up at 5 p.m. Adult tickets are $12 each; $19 for a two-day combo pass. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free.

For more information, visit annapolisboatshows.com


March 12, 2015


Courtesy of Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery

New Marina! More Oysters!!!


The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery opens in April, part of the new Oyster Farm at Kings Creek (formerly Bay Creek Marina).

Robert Occhifinto, who purchased the defunct marina property in 2013, is creating a large-scale oyster farming operation on site and plans to make his home-grown oysters the restaurant's main focus (along with other savory seafood dishes under the guidance of chef Shelly Cusmina). Oyster cages measuring 20 inches in diameter and six feet long, each with 10 compartments, will line the sides of the marina docks, producing oysters Occhifinto has dubbed "Kings Creek Salties."

Marketing consultant Hope Lawler said the idea is to have an interactive, festival-like environment on the docks, with hands-on demonstrations of oyster growing, oyster shucking and the process of getting the tasty bivalves from the water to the palate. "We want it to be very family-friendly," Lawler adds. Patrons of all ages will be able to interact with the oyster-farming process.

The same atmosphere will be true for the restaurant, which Lawler describes as "casual plus." The space will include a 20-foot-long fish tank filled with stingrays, as well as a tank with fresh lobsters and crabs. The oyster bar, besides serving oysters on the half-shell, will offer up a zesty line of oyster-based cocktails.

The marina will continue to offer transient slips to boaters moving around the Bay (MLW 6 ½ to 7 ft, electric, WiFi, laundry, showers . . . ). www.theoysterfarmatkingscreek.com; for slip reservations call 757-331-8640.

-Bill Sterling


March 12, 2015


In Memoriam:
RICHARD SCHWARTZ


BoatU.S. Founder Passes Away

Richard Schwartz, chairman and founder of the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatU.S.), passed away February 11 after a brief illness. He was 85 years old.

Schwartz grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., the son of a service station owner. He attended Princeton University, and then studied law at Yale before going on to practice anti-trust law in the Washington, D.C., area.

Schwartz founded BoatU.S. in 1966 after an eye-opening boat ride on Chesapeake Bay aboard a friend's boat, according to a profile on the BoatU.S. website. The U.S. Coast Guard boarded them, and after a safety inspection Schwartz's friend was cited for having an inadequate engine room ventilation system. What shocked Schwartz was that the manufacturer of his friend's boat couldn't be held liable for not following U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Likewise, the U.S. Coast Guard couldn't force the manufacturer to abide by those same rules.

After learning that there were no groups that served as a voice for boaters, Schwartz founded BoatU.S. Schwartz's subsequent testimony and work on Capitol Hill helped lead to the passage of the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971. The legislation gave the U.S. Coast Guard the authority to hold boat manufacturers accountable for certain boating safety standards and created the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety.

BoatU.S.'s further advocacy under Schwartz's leadership would result in the passage of the Recreational Boating Safety and Facilities Improvement Act of 1979, which dictated that taxes and fees paid by boaters should support boating programs; the adoption of the Wallop/Breaux Trust Fund Amendment in 1984 that today returns more than $600 million annually to boating and fishing programs; and the repeal of the luxury tax on boats in 1992 and the diesel fuel tax in 1997.

BoatU.S. grew far beyond Schwartz's advocacy over the years, providing boat and towing insurance for boaters; operating discount retail locations around the country; developing the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water; and producing the largest boating publication in the country, BoatU.S. Magazine. Today the organization boasts more than 500,000 members and insures thousands of boats worth a combined hull value of more than $8 billion.

Schwartz retired from BoatU.S. in 2013 after 47 years of work saying, "We've become the largest boat owners organization in the United States and fought major boating battles along the way, making life better and safer for boaters, all the while creating the services that make the boating experience better. Boating should be a pleasure-not a hassle. I am proud to have led this organization."


March 12, 2015

It's Tax Time: Look to Your Boat for Deductions


If this magazine is sitting on your dining room table next to a pile of 1099s, W-2s, 1040s and other miscellaneous tax forms, it's likely you haven't done your taxes yet. Lucky for you, we're here with some sweet relief-that is if you're a boat owner whose boat and personal income meet some specific requirements.

First of all, the federal tax deduction for state sales taxes, including those paid on boats, was extended for the 2014 tax year under the Tax Increase and Prevention Act of 2014. According to BoatU.S., "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. State sales taxes are entered on IRS form Schedule A, line 5b. For state tax deduction information, download Publication 600, which also includes state-by-state tax tables."

Next up, boaters who have a secured boat loan may deduct the mortgage interest paid from their federal income taxes. Again, BoatU.S. has the rundown: "Taxpayers may use the home mortgage interest deduction for (a single) second home in addition to their primary home, and must itemize deductions on their returns. A boat is considered a second home for federal tax purposes if it has a galley, an installed head and a sleeping berth. For more details on the mortgage deduction on boats that qualify, go to irs.gov and download Publication 936 or the Fact Sheets."

OK, that's the good news. The bad news is folks who fall under the pesky Alternative Minimum Tax rule are generally ineligible for these deductions. Shucks. For more information, download the forms above, or consult your tax preparer.


March 12, 2015

Kinder, Gentler Registration


In December, Washington, D.C., joined Virginia and Connecticut in adopting the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act (UCOTVA), a law aimed at making vessel registration simpler and more uniform throughout the United States. The Act is designed to unify procedures and titling laws between different states and brings state boat registration laws in line with the modern Uniform Commercial Code, which governs security interests and the sale of goods in all 50 states.

In addition, vessels titled in states adopting the Act should eventually be eligible for what are called "preferred ship" mortgages that would take precedence over any additional liens. (Under current federal law, preferred ship mortgages are only available for U.S. documented vessels, not state-titled boats.) Both Virginia and D.C. passed the Act with a provision that "brands" titles of vessels that have been significantly damaged by a casualty or sinking. Now boat buyers in Virginia and D.C. will be forewarned if a vessel has had significant damage, and brokers selling boats with a clean history can clearly demonstrate that the vessel they're selling is shipshape.

-Greg Singer


March 12, 2015


Photo by Robert Stefan Bartgis

The Last Battle, Again


Shots rang out over the waters of the Little Choptank River early in February when over 40 reenactors gathered to commemorate the skirmish known as the Battle of the Ice Mound, the final conflict in the Chesapeake during the War of 1812.

In the weeks before the ratification of the Treat of Ghent the British schooner HM Dauntless sent raiding parties into the communities and farms of Maryland's Eastern Shore. On February 7th her tender became trapped in the ice near Taylors Island, where she was discovered by a patrol from a local detachment of the 48th Maryland Militia. They made their way onto the frozen river, found a mound of ice to use for cover, and opened fire with their muskets. 

The British returned fire for nearly two hours before they surrendered. Sixteen American privates captured two officers, three Royal Marines, thirteen sailors and two African Americans-plus their weapons: seventeen muskets and a carronade.

Two hundred years later the commemorative "battle" drew over 500 spectators who watched as reenactors portraying the British struggled against very real ice in three reproduction wooden boats under a steady stream of American militia "fire."

Mark Dubin, a member of the militia unit the Chesapeake Independent Blues and part of the event's planning committee, was excited that so many people came out for the only 1:1 reenactment of a battle to take place during the War of 1812 Bicentennial. His militia's adversaries were portrayed by Ship's Company Living History (shipscompany.org), which offers unique volunteer opportunities with historic sites and wooden boats in the Chesapeake for those who want to experience history first hand.

-R. Ben Bartgis


March 12, 2015


Photo by Amber Hart

Loons Spread the Good News about Menhaden


Autumn brings all manner of migratory waterfowl to the Bay, loons among them. They are the size of a goose, and are partial to the Bay's annual crop of "peanut" menhaden nurtured on plankton in countless creeks over the warm summer.

By fall, these fish are about five inches long, and already they form dense schools. The newly arrived loons practice an "intercept fishery" on the peanuts, forming noisy cooperative flocks in the lower reaches of some Bay tributaries. They act like a live fishing net, most of them underwater at any given time, surfacing only to gulp air for a second then dive again.

The water is dense with plankton, and the diving loons often push their prey toward the surface for easier visibility. Gulls know all about this, and several species hover to take fish at the surface, benefitting from the loons' expertise.

After awhile the loons surface to breathe and digest. That's when an observer realizes that what looked like a dozen loons is actually a flock ranging from 30 to 80 birds.

What you're seeing here are cooperative predation tactics by highly intelligent, long-lived water masters who know how to make the most of their annual Chesapeake stopover. But, for this to work, the peanut menhaden prey base must be abundant, and that has been deficient for some twenty years.

Since the early 1990s, menhaden have been overfished. One indicator of that was the reduction in the Bay's annual loon count. The big musical autumn loon flocks I witnessed on the Bay in the 1980s gradually dwindled to a fraction of their former size.

When the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission finally moved in 2012 to institute a biologically realistic cap on the menhaden harvest, I had hopes that my lifetime studies of bird monitors such as Chesapeake loons and Connecticut River ospreys would demonstrate menhaden recovery. I am pleased to report that 2014 observations of both species' abundance say a resounding yes!

For the first time in two decades, I tallied 400 loons on a calm afternoon last November, most of them in feeding flocks of 30 to 110 birds on the Choptank River and Eastern Bay.

This is excellent news for all of us who live along the East Coast. Ecologically speaking, menhaden spin straw into gold. As our civilization drenches our coastal waters with nutrients, plankton populations swell, ultimately depleting dissolved oxygen and creating biological hazards like dead zones and red tides.

Menhaden is a filter-feeder, meaning that it virtually sucks up plankton and passes it up the food chain. Which happens to be our food chain-menhaden are prime prey for rockfish and bluefish as well as loons and osprey (not to mention its local value as crab bait). It is the basis of many of the small businesses that benefit from the Bay, from restaurateurs to charter fishing fleets, and its regenerative qualities will have a far-reaching impact both economically and environmentally.

-Paul Spitzer, PhD


February 20, 2015

CBM Wins Big at Annual Boating Writers International Awards


Congratulations to Chesapeake Bay Magazine's winners in this year's Boating Writers International competition. The awards ceremony was held February 13 at the Miami Boat Show and Chesapeake Bay Magazine's writers nabbed six awards. Here is the list of winners; click on the highlighted story titles to read!

Marty LeGrand won First place in the Ethics & Environment category for her story "Thar She Blows," which covered the controversial process of sounding for oil in the Atlantic, which potentially harms marine life.

Wendy Mitman Clarke won Third place in the same category for her story "Long Way Home," which details the life cycle of the American eels that depend on the Bay.

Jody Argo Schroath earned a Second place spot in the Destinations category for her story "Cherries Jubilee," about her cruise up the Potomac River to visit Washington, D.C. to see the cherry blossom trees in bloom.

Michael Fincham won First place in the Seamanship, Rescue & Safety category for his "Remembering the Cuyahoga" story, about the collision between U.S. Coast Guard cutter Cuyahoga and a 512-foot freighter, and the Cuyahoga's subsequent sinking and rescue of its crew.

Wendy Mitman Clarke also won a Certificate of Merit for her column, Weather Eye; and Tim Sayles also earned a Certificate of Merit for his destination story "Three Days Before the Museum," a three-day adventure at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels.

Congratulations to all of our winners!


February 11, 2015
Notice to Mariners

MD Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Eastern Channel: Submerged object


The Coast Guard has received a report of a submerged object located near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The object is reported to be a sunken vessel, 32-35 feet in length, in an upright position on the bottom in approximately 89 feet of water. The object is located approximately 100 yards north of the north (westbound) span of the bridges, northwest of the Eastern Channel, in approximate position latitude 38°59'27.0528"N, longitude 076°21'37.1880"W (Lat. 38.990848 Lon. 76-360329). The object is reported to be drifting southward along the bottom, as indicated by the presence of drag marks. Interested mariners can contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Baltimore at telephone 410-576-2674.


February 10, 2015


Photo by John Bildahl

Tie One On at TieFest


If there's a superhero equivalent to Superman in the world of fly-fishing, it's Maryland's own inimitable Bernard "Lefty" Kreh. Now touching 90, yet still traveling the world honing his craft, Kreh is almost universally regarded as the founding father of saltwater fly-fishing-and the Jedi master of the sport in general. In fact, many refer to him as the "Yoda" of fly-fishing.

If you'd like to meet Kreh, have him sign one of his many books, or see him give one of his not-to-be-missed fly-casting demonstrations, be sure to tick off Saturday, March 7 on your calendar. That's when Kreh will attend his namesake fly-fishing event, Lefty Kreh TieFest, at the Prospect Bay Country Club (313 Prospect Bay Drive West, Grasonville, Md.) between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) members get in free, while $10 gain admission and a one-year CCA membership for all others.

Now in its 14th year, TieFest is organized by the Maryland chapter of CCA as a grassroots effort to further fisheries conservation and foster all types of angling on Chesapeake Bay. In addition to Kreh, the venue will be packed with other fly-fishing luminaries including Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics, Brad Buzzy, Steve Silverio and Blaine Chocklett, who will give face-to-face fly-tying demonstrations and be available to chat it up with attendees.

That intimacy is unique, explains Tony Friedrich, CCA Maryland's executive director. "This is a small venue. Unlike many of the large fishing shows, where it's almost impossible to speak with or ask questions of these legends, at TieFest, these guys are totally accessible to attendees," Friedrich says, adding, "It's all for a good cause. These guys aren't paid to be at the event, but feel strongly about furthering CCA's conservation causes and promoting the sport of angling."

For more information, visit ccamd.org.


February 10, 2015


Photo courtesy of MTAM

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho!


I, your humble scribe, am a pretty good example of someone who didn't belong in, or want to attend college right out of high school. Which, of course, terrified my parents. No, I was filled with wanderlust, hoping to travel the globe in my small, 27-foot sailboat instead.

Luckily for me, I ended up first at a marine supply shop that recognized the potential to turn my passion for boating into a career. And that's a great aspect of the marine trades: Most anyone who works hard and has a certain knack for boats and boating can do very well in a marine trades career. While I eventually went to college later in life, that early job pointed me in a sustainable career direction that's lasted for 25 years.

The Marine Trades Association of Maryland (MTAM) is celebrating this theme in 2015 by working with Maryland-based marine businesses to kick off what it hopes will be an annual program of six-week paid internships. "The idea is to provide a stepping stone for anyone interested in a marine trades career," says Susan Zellers, who is heading up the program for MTAM. The internships are being funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation's Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) program, which is designed to create career paths to quality jobs within the state.

Working with more than thirty industry organizations, including the magazine you are now reading, MTAM is hoping to place qualified candidates into a diverse field of positions, with a focus on jobs that involve repairing and servicing boats, marine engines and electronics as well as support jobs in IT and marine business management. "These are great positions for people looking for variety in their everyday work life," Zellers says. "No two days in a boatyard or marina are ever the same. One day you might be peeling away the layers to diagnose a complex onboard electrical problem while the next you might be repairing a structural issue with epoxy resin and carbon fiber."

Candidates accepted into the program will first attend a three-day orientation at Camp Letts (on the West River), May 1 to 3, where they will attend workshops covering topics ranging from basic boat handling to job readiness and customer service skills. Attendees also will visit a nearby boating facility for a tour. Accommodations and meals are included. "Upon successful completion of the immersion program, internship candidates will be placed with our industry partners around the state, with most of the internships beginning after the busy lead-up to the Memorial Day weekend," Zellers says. "The hope is that many of the candidates will further move on to permanent positions within the marine industry as a career," she adds.

For full details about the program or to fill out an application, visit the MTAM website at mtam.org/jobs-career-training/training-for-the-marine-trades/application.


February 10, 2015


Photo courtesy of Deltaville Maritime Museum

Deltaville Maritime Museum's Oar House Grows


A new 24-by 48-foot expansion will form workspace where boat shop volunteers will restore and build classic Chesapeake workboats for display and use. More details at deltavillemuseum.com


February 10, 2015


Photo courtesy of Costal Conservation Association Maryland

Poachers Face the Music


You may remember the pictures from February 2011, which show a sickening pile of thousands of pounds of dead striped bass tangled up in illegal gill nets that had been retrieved by the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) just south of Kent Island, Md. Justice was finally served to three of the four individuals responsible not only for those fish, but also a broader poaching scheme.

Commercial fishermen William J. Lednum, age 41; Michael D. Hayden, age 43; Kent Conley Sadler, age 31 (all of Tilghman, Md.); and Lawrence "Daniel" Murphy, age 37, of St. Michaels, Md.; all pleaded guilty in 2014 for their parts in a scheme to poach approximately 185,925 pounds of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay between 2007 and 2011. The federal charges were a result of a larger investigation that fired up after the discovery of the aforementioned illegal gill nets in February 2011.

According to a Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) release, "From at least 2007 to 2011, Lednum and Hayden engaged in a scheme to illegally poach at least 185,925 pounds of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay. In an effort to conceal their crimes, Lednum and Hayden admitted that they falsified paperwork related to their harvests and submitted those falsified documents to the state of Maryland. Lednum and Hayden shipped and sold the striped bass to wholesalers in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, receiving a total of $498,293.47 for the poached fish."

Lednum was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett on December 17 to one year and one day of prison, followed by six months of home detention and three years of supervised release. He must also pay restitution in the amount of $498,923 plus a fine of $40,000. Lednum could have faced up to five years in federal prison, the maximum sentence for the offenses.

Murphy, who played a smaller role in the crimes as a "helper" aboard one of the vessels used for poaching the striped bass, was sentenced on December 19. He received probation and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $30,000 in restitution, according to court documents. Murphy could have faced up to five years in prison. A Baltimore Sun article explained that while a court-appointed attorney claimed Murphy earned only about $16,000 from the illegal poaching, Judge Bennett said he wanted to send a message to other watermen that poaching is a "very, very serious matter."

Sadler, also a "helper," was sentenced on January 7 to 30 days in jail, a $5,000 fine and restitution of $20,000.

Hayden's sentencing was scheduled for February 27, after this issue went to press. His sentencing was delayed so the judge could assess several additional counts that he allegedly obstructed justice by intimidating witnesses related to the poaching case.

"We are very pleased with today's court decision," says DNR Secretary Joe Gill. "These individuals were stealing from Maryland citizens and law-abiding watermen. We are proud of the great work done by NRP officers." Chesapeake Bay Magazine was unable to reach Maryland Watermen's Association president Robert T. Brown, Sr., for comment on the sentencing at press time.


February 10, 2015


Cover image courtesy of Shawn Kimbro

Chesapeake Fish Whisperer Publishes Second Book


Angler extraordinaire Shawn Kimbro is at it again. He has just published his second book, The Right Stuff, in which he talks about some of the intangibles that can make Chesapeake anglers successful.

The book's subtitle tells a lot: Gear and Attitudes for Trophy Light Tackle Fishing. The "gear" part is an evolution of the material found in Kimbro's first book, Chesapeake Light Tackle, which is based on his Chesapeake Bay fishing experiences. The fishing gear aspect of Kimbro's first book is solid, but it's there in a supporting role. In his new book, it's the lead character.

What is unique about The Right Stuff is the way Kimbro brings his fishing attitudes and thought processes down to earth both clearly and passionately. Even better, Kimbro intersperses chapters such as "Haunted By Waters," "Strike Triggers," and "The Right Stuff: Creativity" with entries and on-the-water observations from his popular blog at chesapeakelighttackle.com.

The book's two final chapters delve articulately into deeper waters: "The Right Stuff: Dedication" and "The Right Stuff: Giving Back." The book is a well-crafted blend of practical suggestions grounded in time on the water and philosophical concepts about which Kimbro has thought deeply. It's a great gift to the Chesapeake's angling community.

Kimbro's book is available for purchase at many Bay-area tackle shops and outfitters, as well as from his website, chesapeakelighttackle.com.

-John Page Williams


February 10, 2015


Calling All Pines


You'd be tired, too, if your bottom was 126 years old. That's how long it's been since the Chesapeake Bay bug eye Edna E. Lockwood's pine-log bottom first touched the Chesapeake Bay at Tilghman Island in 1889. Today, her original bottom needs replacing.

A National Historic Landmark, the Edna E. Lockwood was donated to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in 1973 after working a lifetime on the Bay dredging oysters and serving a brief stint as a pleasure vessel. In 1995, she was completely stripped down to her original nine logs and reconstructed from the bottom up.

Perhaps six lifetimes old in bugeye years, the bugeye's 126-year-old bottom now needs to be completely re-crafted from scratch. But finding the right Southern pine logs (locally known as loblolly pine) for the job is turning out to be quite a challenge. Even sawmills and lumber brokers are having a difficult time finding the dozen Southern yellow pine logs needed for the task. The logs must be three to four feet in diameter and at least 52 feet long.

You might think, "Why the heck don't they just use shorter pieces and plank them together?" Because that's not how log-bottomed bugeyes were built. Chief curator Pete Lesher explains: "Log construction was a hallmark of Chesapeake boatbuilders. They would flatten the sides of the logs and join seven, nine, or even eleven logs side-by-side and hew them to shape with axe and adze. Entire bottoms were fashioned from solid chunks of wood in this manner. The largest and longest log was used for the center, and the hulls were sharp at both ends-like an oversize canoe."

Once the proper logs are secured and funding acquired, the bugeye will be pulled up on the museum's marine railway so that the restoration can be done in full public view.


February 10, 2015


Photo courtesy of Haptic Labs

A Patchwork Bay


You might think a quilter would be the last career diversion an architect would take, but according to the New York Times, that's exactly what Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Emily Fischer did when she was laid off from her architecture job in 2009. Today, the company she founded, Haptic Labs, produces quilts, kites and furniture that represent the natural and manmade world. Now she's turning her creative eyes toward the Chesapeake.

Her company is releasing a line of "Coastal Quilts" that will include a 54- by 72-inch representation of Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay quilt joins several other quilts including representations taken from satellite images of Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod and the Great Lakes. The handcrafted works are accurate down to their individual threads, which represent the major roads and interstates that crisscross each area.

The idea for the quilts started right here in Chesapeake Country, says Fischer. "A client of mine lives on Tangier Island and encouraged me to design a collection of coastal quilts; the entire series really started with a Chesapeake quilt I made back in 2012."

The Chesapeake Bay quilt retails for $289 and is expected to be available in March or April, with preorders being shipped first. For more information, visit Haptic Lab at hapticlab.com.


February 10, 2015

Tohatsu Marine To Stop Producing Nissan Outboards


The Tohatsu brand and product line will live on, however. Company cites declining powerboat sales in Japan as primary factor for nixing Nissan-branded outboard motors.


February 10, 2015


In Memoriam:
JANE ROBINSON HARTGE


Sailor, Author, World Traveler, Homemaker
Chesapeake Bay sailor Jane Robinson Hartge died on January 13, 2015, in Eustis, Florida.


Born in 1919 in Cincinnati, Jane spent a long lifetime happily centered on family and boating. At age 13, she began writing maritime articles for the Miami Herald, reporting on the comings and goings of yachts large and small. Three years later she sailed with her father on his yacht to Venezuela and back through the Caribbean, keeping a journal that would later inspire her book, The Way They Were: With Cachalot to the Caribbees. At 19, she skippered the family's 40-foot schooner Windstark from Florida to Maryland. The crew of four included her 17-year-old sister Mardi.  

In 1941 she married Chesapeake Bay boatbuilder and designer Ernest "Captain Dick" Hartge, and started their family in Galesville. While her husband was designing and building boats, Jane began her own business, renting out a small fleet of sailboats. Following their move south in 1961, Jane and Captain Dick created a similar fleet on Lake Eustis, Fla., sparking a great sailing tradition that continues today as the Lake Eustis Sailing Club.

In her later years, she enjoyed writing of her life experiences. She was known until the end of her years for her astounding memory, with the tiniest details, especially of boats and boatyards, available instantly and completely.

Over her life she traveled, mostly by sea, to Europe, Canada, South and Central America, and her beloved Man O' War Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. Captain Dick passed away in 1979.

Burial will be later this year in St. Mary's City, Md.

CBM gratefully acknowledges the Lake Eustis Sailing Club for this information.


February 10, 2015


Building a Better Mousetrap Life Jacket


Do you remember the last time you wore a life jacket while boating? Yeah, me neither. That's the problem with most life jackets (also known as personal flotation devices, or PFDs): their bulky, uncomfortable attributes often prevent people from actually wearing them. And for a device that's supposed to save your life, that's a huge design flaw.

The BoatU.S. Foundation is hoping to take a step forward in solving this problem. Last fall the organization announced its 2015 Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition, which promises $10,000 to the best new life jacket design or concept. Anyone can enter and the organization is encouraging entrants to "think outside the box," meaning the more unconventional the better. The hope is that a life jacket design may emerge that revolutionizes PFD usage among boaters and, in turn, saves lives.

A panel of boating industry experts will judge the entries based on a number of factors. Those interested can find complete details and an entry form at boatus.org/design. The deadline for entries is April 15. Winners will be announced in September at the International Boat Builders Exhibition and Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.


February 10, 2015

ActiveCaptain


A good cruising guide is a wonderful thing. It can entertain, direct and enlighten. While a printed guide can't be beat for easy, quick, reliable access to information in busy conditions, providing the Big Picture of an area in any kind of on-going up-to-date format is trickier. That's where web-based data shines.

ActiveCaptain (activecaptain.com) is the 500-pound gorilla of online cruising references. Its reach and depth are astonishing. I looked at places around the world where I have sailed and found all of them covered thoroughly: The entire East coast of the U.S., Alaska's Inside Passage, all the Caribbean islands, the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France and even southern Turkey. It's a worldwide cruising community newspaper. And it's free.

ActiveCaptain is crowd sourced. Skippers chip in with their comments on anchorages, marinas, obstructions and anything else that they consider pertinent. This is its strength and its weakness. Like anything else online, the data are only as good as the sources, so any prudent mariner will cross-check several references to a spot before accepting a comment as fact.

The Interactive Cruising Guidebook section shows charts, on which users set markers. As the site says, "You can edit the data in any marker as well as create and delete markers. This is your guidebook that is a shared resource with every other cruiser. All updates and additions are verified and validated and don't become part of the full database until we review them. What we're trying to do is capture the normal dock conversations that happen about good facilities, problem anchorages and other cruising information. When you add it to ActiveCaptain, you're making it available to the whole community."

Updates are continuous and older comments remain. This lets you look back to see if conditions have changed, such as ownership of a marina, date of channel dredging, closing of restaurants, new sandbars and so on.

Like a standard nav program, you can create and edit routes. You can also share your routes or copy any of the thousands already online. You can edit those for your own use, but you can't change them on the site, which preserves the integrity of the data.

A new function is the ActiveCaptain Companion, an iPad app. With it, you can download charts and cruising data at home, then use it when you are away from a WiFi connection. This is invaluable for real-world cruising.

Many nav system companies have integrated ActiveCaptain into their products and there is software for Mac, Windows, IOS and Android that include the data from the site.

ActiveCaptain is huge, useful and entertaining. Spend a few hours exploring it.

activecaptain.com


February 10, 2015


Photo courtesy Captain Kane Bounds

Angler Catches "Togzilla" off Ocean City, Md.


New York fisherman Kenneth Westerfeld lands a 28.8-pound tautog that could set new all-tackle International Game Fish Association record.


February 10, 2015


Photo courtesy of Lisa Suhay

Hampton Roads Laser Sailor Nails Guinness World Record


Robert Suhay sailed 283.5 miles around the Bay in a 13-foot, nine-inch long sailboat to receive recognition for "the longest single-handed distance sailed in a dinghy by a male."


February 10, 2015

Last Call for Safety at Sea


Event highlighting offshore safety takes place at U.S. Naval Academy March 28-29. Visit mtam.org/industry-events/safety-at-sea for details.


February 10, 2015


Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

Tall Ship Eagle Gets the Spa Treatment at Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay


There's no doubt that $28 million is a lot of money, but when you're talking about a four-year complete refit of the U.S. Coast Guard's 295-foot tall ship USCGC Eagle, maybe it seems like a relative bargain. And that refit is taking place right here on the Chesapeake Bay, at the U.S. Coast Guard's Curtis Bay Yard in Baltimore.

The three-masted barque, originally built in Hamburg, Germany, and surrendered to the United States in 1946 as part of reparations for World War II, slid into dry dock at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay this past September, after taking part in the Star-Spangled Banner Spectacular festivities in Baltimore Harbor. Once she settled down into a custom cradle, the steel-hulled giant was rolled ashore by diesel tow tugs and locked in place so that the $7 million first phase of the refurbishment could begin.

The most laborious and time-consuming aspect of the first phase is removing all 200 tons of the sailing ship's lead ballast, coating it to protect crew members from lead poisoning, and then returning each lead ingot to where it came from within the ship. In addition to the ballast work, crews also will strip down and recoat the USCGC Eagle's three 137- to 147-foot tall masts, rework her steering gear, and assess the condition of her hull. Additional projects to add another 30 to 40 years to the ship's life will continue over the next four years at the yard as she sails in the summers and is taken out of service during the winter months.

The USCGC Eagle is no stranger to the U.S. Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay. She was in the yard for repairs there as recently as 2011, and was in dry dock more than 30 years ago for the last major refit to extend her useful service life.



January 18, 2015

Annapolis sailor Terry Hutchinson is US Sailing's Yachtsman of the Year


Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, Md., and Stephanie Roble of East Troy, Wis., have been named US Sailing's 2014 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. A total of ten men and seven women had been shortlisted for the 2014 honors based on nominations submitted by members of US Sailing, with these two sailors then selected for the distinction by a panel of sailing journalists.

In 2014, Hutchinson reached the top of the leaderboard at major regattas more times than any other American sailor. The 2014 award is Hutchinson's second; he previously earned the honor in 2008 following his win of the TP52 World Championship.
As tactician on Alex Roeper's Plenty, Hutchinson won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. He also won the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship and the California Cup and took class honors at the Rolex Big Boat Series. He also reclaimed the World Championship title in the TP52  class, collecting a class win at Quantum Key West Race Week as well as the TP52 U.S. Championship title. His success in one-design classes did not stop there. In the RC44, he won the Oman Cup as tactician; in the J/70 class, he drove to the win of the Fall Brawl in his hometown; and he finished second at the Melges 32 Gold Cup, again as tactician.

In winning the Yachtwoman of the Year award, Roble was cited as a member of the Etchells World Championship winning team. She also crewed on the seventh-place finisher at the J/70 North American Championship, and the fifth-place finisher at the Melges 20 North American Championship.  As a skipper, she won the U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship and placed third at the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship.  Based on her 2014 match racing results, she begins the New Year as the top American match racer, with a ranking of number three in the world.


January 16, 2015

Angler Lands Record Chain Pickerel


Long-time chain pickerel fisherman, Lee Haile III, of Towson, Md., was fishing on a pond near Salisbury, Md., when he landed "the big one," an eight pounder-a new Maryland record. Haile was using light spinning tackle with eight-pounded braided running line, a 20-pound monofilament leader, and a minnow/jig combo lure. The previous state record-holder was a seven-pound, four-ouncer caught in 1976 and the world record is nine pounds, four ounces (caught in Georgia in 1961).

If you think you've got a winning catch, contact DNR at 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325. The agency recommends anglers "keep their fish immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, which can be done at a seafood retailer, a grocery store, or tackle shop with a certified scale." The Maryland State Record application and a list of records can be found at http://dnr2.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/default.aspx


January 16, 2015

A Prize Bite


Much to her delight and amazement, when Virginia Beach resident Karen Morelli bit into a littleneck clam purchased at the Great Machipango Clam Shack in Nassawadox, Va., she realized there was a prize inside-a lovely, lavender 4.5-carat pearl worth about $3,000. The grower, Billy Bowen of B&E Seafood in Willis Wharf, Va., says he has never seen a pearl in an aquaculture clam in his 25-year career, though they are not that uncommon (at least small ones) in natural clams. He estimates the age of the clam to be one-and-a-half to two years old. Like the shell of a clam, a pearl is composed of calcium carbonate that has been deposited over a period of time in concentric circles. Natural, non-cultured, gem-quality pearls are quite rare, regardless of what species of mollusk produces them.


January 16, 2015

Marine Trades Summer Internship Training Program


The Marine Trades Association of Maryland is offering a pre-apprentice program for the summer of 2015. The program includes a maritime immersion workshop taught over the weekend of May 1-3 at Camp Letts in Edgewater, Md. Following the completion of the weekend course, applicants will be eligible for placement into a six-week paid summer internship that will start at various times after Memorial Day, depending on the discretion of the hiring organization. Information and application at http://www.mtam.org/jobs-career-training/training-for-the-marine-trades/application.


January 16, 2015

Discount on Maryland Fishing License


If you haven't bought a tidal or nontidal fishing license in Maryland since 2011 now's the time to dust off the tackle and buy a license for the 2015 season with a special 50% discount from MD DNR. The promotion is designed to promote all the great fishing to be found in Maryland waters. You'll have to move quickly though-the offer expires January 31. http://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2014/12/19/7807/


January 11, 2015

Here is some very timely advice from CBM contributor Tom Hale:

Cold weather leads to shore power cord damage and boat fires

During the cold weather this week there have been several boat and marina fires including one in Kinsale, VA. The cause has been attributed to the heater in the boat.  The heater is probably not the real culprit. The culprit is the heater and all the other devices in the boat drawing a lot of current through a corroded shore power cord inlet. I urge each of you who live aboard, to go outside and check your cord.  The end of the cord should be no warmer than the ambient temperature.  Put a hand on it.  If it is warm, you have a problem.  If the dock end overheats and catches fire, you MAY have a marina fire.  If the boat end overheats and catches fire your boat WILL burn! Please check it right now.  Check it again this evening when the day cools off and the heaters kick on.  Check it again in the morning when the heaters have been running all night. The cord end should not be getting hot!  While you are out checking, check on your neighbors' cords too.  The boat you save may be your own.

The pictures attached show a hull inlet that is melted and burned.  The other shows a dock receptacle that has started to show discoloration.  This receptacle has already experienced some overheating.



 

January 10, 2015

Boats lost in Port Kinsale (Va.) Marina fire

A fire early Friday morning destroyed a number of boats under a cover-dock at Port Kinsale Marine on the Northern Neck of Virginia. Here are some of the details from Terry Moss. The photo was taken by Jeffrey Moss.

Four boats and the covered boat shed were destroyed. Only one of the boats, the sturdy old wooden SUBEK remained above the waterline after the fire, according to Moss. Investigators began work Saturday morning.

Two Moss family boats were destroyed, SUBEK and Pamela Sue.


The SUBEK was built in Deltaville, Va., in 1961 for Jimmy and Scottie Moss's Uncle Ben Moss.  Ben's brother, Joe Bill Moss, and then Scottie Moss carried fishing parties on SUBEK for many years.  She was signed over to Jimmy after her commercial use was discontinued. Since then, family and friends have enjoyed fishing parties aboard her. SUBEK was named for Ben's daughter Susan and his collie, Becky.  "The boat is a big part of the Moss family's heart So many good memories," Terry said. Scottie's current fishing boat, the fiberglass Pamela Sue, also was lost in the fire.  

According to Terry, two of the other boats that were burned were a vintage Chris Craft called the Pentimento, owned by the late Peter and Julia Williams, and Revelation, owned by Bob and Hollie Lovelace.

Terry said the fire was contained to the covered boat shed with no damage to the campground, the Mooring restaurant, the Skipjack Inn or therental units for rent thanks to the efforts of a pump-boat from Cobb

Island, the fire boat from Kinsale, Kinsale firefighters and firefighters from Callao and Montross.




January 7, 2015


Photo courtesy of Shawn Kimbro

Rockfish Roundup

Spawning Numbers Remain Below Average, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Cuts Harvest

Commonly known around much of the Chesapeake Bay as "rockfish," the striped bass (Morone saxatilis) has had good years and bad all along the Atlantic coast since a moratorium on the harvest of the species ended in 1990. Ask pretty much any angler about the state of the fishery during the last five or six years, however, and the response you'll likely get is, "Meh." Two bits of recent rockfish news generally support Chesapeake anglers' apathetic views of the fishery.

On October 20, 2014, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released its Juvenile Striped Bass Index, which measures the spawning success of the fish in Chesapeake Bay by collecting and counting juvenile striped bass from beach seine nets each year. Although the DNR described the index results as "healthy," the numbers actually show below-average reproduction. The 61-year average for the DNR index is 11.7, while the 2014 index clocked in at 11.0. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science's similar Juvenile Striped Bass Seine Survey returned slightly better results, showing 11 fish per seine haul versus the historic average of nine. While scientists generally agree that striped bass reproduction is highly cyclical, there have been more below- than above-average years over the last decade.

News that might help reverse that trend came on October 29, 2014, when the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Council (ASMFC) met in Connecticut. The ASMFC is made up of commissioners from every Atlantic Ocean state and is tasked with managing 25 near-shore fish species, including striped bass. ASFMC commissioners voted to cut the Chesapeake Bay striped bass harvest by 20.5 percent in 2015. The goal is to return the striper population to target levels within two years.

The decision was based on the last scientific stock assessment, which was completed in 2013. It confirmed that overfishing of the species had been occurring at least six of the previous nine years. What this likely means for recreational anglers in Maryland and Virginia is a bump in the minimum harvest size of 18 inches to 20 inches with a two fish per angler/per day limit during the regular summer season. Maryland and Virginia have differing geographic, harvest and minimum size regulations in the spring and fall seasons, but expect to see changes to those regulations, too. Most notably, the minimum 28-inch size for stripers during the Maryland spring trophy season will likely go up to 36 inches.

The harvest restrictions will affect only the 2015 fishing season for both the commercial harvest and recreational anglers. Both Maryland and Virginia were supposed to submit plans for new regulations for approval by late November. Finalized size and harvest regulations were expected to be out in December.


January 7, 2015

Bay Restoration Worth Billions to Chesapeake Economy


It turns out that restoring the Chesapeake Bay is worth more than $22.5 billion to states in the Bay Watershed annually, according to a recently released, peer-reviewed Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) report. And the benefits to your own wallet just might surprise you.

So what, exactly, is that $22.5 billion number all about? The numbers in the report assume the successful and complete implementation of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The Blueprint is an effort by the District of Columbia and the six states (Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) that lie within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to reduce the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediments that flow into the Bay. The Blueprint's goal, CBF says, is to "Ensure pollution reduction and result in the 'fishable, swimmable' waters promised by the Clean Water Act of 1972." All six states and the District of Columbia signed the Blueprint agreement last year.

In 2009, before the Blueprint was put in place, the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed provided natural economic benefits worth $107.2 billion annually. Successfully implement the Blueprint and that number goes up by $22.5 billion, the report says. It's that simple. Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania would benefit the most-by $4.6, $6.2 and $8.3 billion per year, respectively.

Other benefits would include improved water filtration, increased agricultural and seafood production, and enhanced property values. Pre- serving and augmenting wetlands and woodlands would help filter out airborne pollution and contain floodwaters and storm runoff. For boaters, the benefits include safe and pleasant waters. Anglers and crabbers would enjoy better fishing.

The report states that if we simply maintain a "business as usual" stance, maintaining the current, pre-Blueprint level of Bay restoration, the economic value of the Bay watershed will decline by some $5.6 billion.

While the report addresses the benefits, not the cost of implementing the Blueprint, CBF reports that an earlier estimate pegs Blueprint implementation at roughly $6 billion per year. Given that the do-nothing approach costs the region almost the same amount, doing the right thing seems like a no-brainer.

For more information visit cbf.org.


January 7, 2015

A Note from Jody


As Moment of Zen was pulling out of Golden Isles Marina on St. Simons Island, Georgia, this winter, I spotted a well-worn steel workboat with a Tarpon Springs, Florida, homeport. A long way from home for a sponge boat, I thought. Aqua Quest, I soon discovered, was far more interesting than a sponge boat. "We're diving a wreck here," crew member Kelly "BooBoo" Garrett told me. Turns out they are treasure hunters! And rather well-known ones at that. "Aqua Quest International has dived wrecks from coastal Maryland to Bimini," Garrett said. The wreck they were diving off St. Simons was called the Elizabeth City.

"Maybe you read about us or saw us on television," Garrett continued. "We were put in jail in Honduras for diving illegally, even though we were asked by the government to come."

Aqua Quest president Bob Mayne took over at this point and explained that they had been in Honduras to dive river oxbows, looking for the lost cargo of old ships bound for England. "The ship timbers are long gone," Mayne said, "but their cargo of mahogany, which was harvested to rebuild London after the fire, is still there and more valuable than ever." The wood becomes even harder and more beautiful for its time in the water, he said. "Each log is worth about $30,000." (They'll be heading to Honduras again.) If you'd like to read more about Aqua Quest, go to aquaquestinternational.com.

-Jody Argo Schroath, Moment of Zen


January 7, 2015


Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

Tall Ship Eagle Gets the Spa Treatment at Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay


There's no doubt that $28 million is a lot of money, but when you're talking about a four-year complete refit of the U.S. Coast Guard's 295-foot tall ship USCGC Eagle, maybe it seems like a relative bargain. And that refit is taking place right here on the Chesapeake Bay, at the U.S. Coast Guard's Curtis Bay Yard in Baltimore.

The three-masted barque, originally built in Hamburg, Germany, and surrendered to the United States in 1946 as part of reparations for World War II, slid into dry dock at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay this past September, after taking part in the Star-Spangled Banner Spectacular festivities in Baltimore Harbor. Once she settled down into a custom cradle, the steel-hulled giant was rolled ashore by diesel tow tugs and locked in place so that the $7 million first phase of the refurbishment could begin.

The most laborious and time-consuming aspect of the first phase is removing all 200 tons of the sailing ship's lead ballast, coating it to protect crew members from lead poisoning, and then returning each lead ingot to where it came from within the ship. In addition to the ballast work, crews also will strip down and recoat the USCGC Eagle's three 137- to 147-foot tall masts, rework her steering gear, and assess the condition of her hull. Additional projects to add another 30 to 40 years to the ship's life will continue over the next four years at the yard as she sails in the summers and is taken out of service during the winter months.

The USCGC Eagle is no stranger to the U.S. Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay. She was in the yard for repairs there as recently as 2011, and was in dry dock more than 30 years ago for the last major refit to extend her useful service life.


January 7, 2015


Photo by Mark Talbott

Progressive Insurance Baltimore Boat Show Rolls into Charm City


If you're like most Bay boating enthusiasts, winter likely has you looking for an excuse to get out of the house. Lucky for you, the Progressive Insurance Baltimore Boat Show is on the way, filling the Baltimore Convention Center with boats, fishing tackle and all things nautical from January 29 to February 1.

Now in its 61st year, the 2015 show promises to be bigger than ever, thanks to the efforts of show manager Tara Davis, who has managed to build the event into one of the fastest growing marine shows in the country. Her innovative touches include establishing on-site opportunities to "get your learn on," with seminars and workshops covering everything from fishing tips and tactics to sessions on seamanship and diesel mechanics.

Meanwhile on the showroom floor you'll find displays from major boat, gear and marine electronics manufacturers, as well as representatives from marine services companies like insurance and finance providers. It's also a great place to shop for a place to keep your boat, plan your next charter vacation, or get your boating questions answered by the pros.

Admission to the show is $12 for adults; children 15 and younger are admitted free with a paid adult admission. Show hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. January 29 and 30, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. January 31 and February 1.

Pre-purchase tickets at baltimoreboatshow.com with code CBM and receive a 33% discount!


January 7, 2015


Photo courtesy of L'Herminone Project

Frigate L'Hermione to Visit Five Chesapeake Bay Ports This Summer


Five Chesapeake Bay ports will play host this summer to the newly commissioned French tall ship frigate L'Hermione, an accurate replica of the same vessel that carried Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette to America in 1780. In total, the 213-foot ship will visit 12 North American ports as part of a voyage that takes her from the coast of France across the Atlantic Ocean, up the Eastern Seaboard from Yorktown, Va., to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then back to Brest and Ile d'Aix in France.

Construction of the replica ship took 16 years and was completed using drawings taken from L'Hermione's sister ship, La Concorde. More than three million people have donated funds to support the ship's construction and voyage across the Atlantic.

The voyage is a celebration not only of the ship, but also of Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, known more familiarly as Marquis de Lafayette, the French major general who volunteered his services to the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Both L'Hermione and Lafayette played many roles in the war, particularly in and around the Chesapeake Bay region.

Of particular note, Lafayette and L'Hermione participated in the Siege of Yorktown, in which Lafayette organized guerilla attacks against British supply units. The subsequent naval blockade squeezed Cornwallis and his troops to the point of surrender after the defeat of the British Navy in the Battle of the Chesapeake, which took place near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in September of 1781 (the struggle is also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes).

L'Hermione will embark from the mouth of the River Charent in Port-des-Barques, France, on April 25, 2015, arriving in Yorktown around June 5. The ship will then visit four additional Chesapeake ports before heading to Philadelphia and New England.

For more information visit hermione2015.com.

L'Hermione's Chesapeake Ports of Call: June 5 to June 7: Yorktown, June 9: Mount Vernon, June 10 to June 11: Alexandria, June 15 to June 17: Annapolis, June 19 to June 21: Baltimore


January 7, 2015

Goooo Team CBM!


November is tournament rockfish season here on the Bay and this year Chesapeake Bay Magazine got in on the action! The magazine sponsored a team of anglers from Annapolis to fish in the annual Fish For a Cure Tournament ( www.fishforacure.org), which raises money for the DeCesaris Cancer Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis (and raises quite a lot of it . . . over $250,000 in 2014!).

Our crack team consisted of Captain Tom Weaver, Captain (and boatowner) Dave Wood, Ian Gordon, Scott Snyder and Matt Beck. Fishing from the Eastport 32 Sea Toy Jr., Team Chesapeake Bay Magazine reeled in the tournament's 7th place rockfish, which weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces. The anglers, who have fished together for six years in tournaments around the Chesapeake and beyond, also raised an impressive $3,050 to support the DeCesaris Cancer Institute. The group was proud to donate the funds in the memory of Captain Steve Dodson, a friend and fellow angler who passed away this summer after a battle with brain cancer.

Team CBM wasn't the only member of the magazine family out fishing for a cure that day-our favorite fishing guru John Page Williams also participated, snagging the tournament's top ranked perch!


January 2, 2015

Kent Narrows Bridge security zone


Mariners are advised that to facilitate planned bridge repairs to the Kent Island (MD-18B) Draw Bridge, a Coast Guard safety zone will be established in Kent Island Narrows from December 15, 2014, through on February 16, 2015. The work involves the removal and replacement of the bascule span bracing members and retrofit the bascule span stringers located over the federal navigation channel.

The safety zone includes all waters of Kent Island Narrows within an area bounded by position latitude 38°58'14.5"N, longitude 076°14'50.2"W; thence easterly to position latitude 38°58'14.1"N, longitude 076°14'48.4"W; thence southerly to position latitude 38°58'12.3"N, longitude 076°14'49.0"W; thence westerly to position latitude 38°58'12.8"N, longitude 076°14'50.8"W; thence northerly to the position of origin, located in Queen Anne's County, MD (reference Datum NAD 1983). This area, which applies to the entire width of the federal navigation channel, allows for the placement of marine equipment that will remain in the federal navigation channel 24 hours per day for the 63-day period. This safety zone will be enforced from 6 a.m. on December 15, 2014 through 6 a.m. on February 16, 2015.

With the exception of Maryland State Highways Administration support vessels, entry into or remaining in this zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Baltimore. Persons desiring to transit the area of the safety zone must first obtain authorization from the COTP Baltimore or his designated representative, which can be contacted at telephone number 410-576-2693 or on Marine Band Radio VHF-FM channel 16. Vessels and persons transiting Kent Island Narrows outside the safety zone do so at their discretion. It is crucial mariners operating near the work site eliminate wakes.

During the period of the bridge repair project, USCG bridge opening regulations for the draw bridge will remain unaffected. Interested mariners can contact the Kent Narrows Bridge Tender via marine band radio VHF-FM channel 13 or at telephone (410) 643-5963. Coast Guard Sector Baltimore Waterways Management Division can be contacted at telephone (410) 576-2674 or (410) 576-2693. Charts 12272, 12270.

Coast Guard proposing to add AIS Synthetic Aids to Navigation in the Chesapeake


The U.S. Coast Guard is proposing to add AIS Synthetic ATON marks to the following aids:

CHESAPEAKE BAY (VIRGINIA) - CHESAPEAKE BAY ENTRANCE - CHESAPEAKE CHANNEL Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 13 (LLNR 7105) at position 37-02-26.000N / 076-04-17.000W

CHESAPEAKE BAY (VIRGINIA) - CHESAPEAKE BAY ENTRANCE - CHESAPEAKE CHANNEL Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 14 (LLNR 7110) at position 37-02-31.001N / 076-04-02.876W

SEACOAST (VIRGINIA) - OCEAN CITY INLET TO CAPE HATTERAS Chesapeake Bay Entrance Lighted Whistle Buoy CH (LLNR 405) at position 36-56-08.329N / 075-57-26.543W

SEACOAST (VIRGINIA) - OCEAN CITY INLET TO CAPE HATTERAS - CHESAPEAKE BAY SOUTHERN APPROACH Chesapeake Bay Southern Approach Lighted Whistle Buoy CB (LLNR 410) at position 36-48-59.743N / 075-45-36.013W

CHESAPEAKE BAY (VIRGINIA) - CHESAPEAKE BAY ENTRANCE - CHESAPEAKE CHANNEL Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 40 (LLNR 7240) at position 37-21-49.490N / 076-04-27.768W

CHESAPEAKE BAY (MARYLAND) - COVE POINT TO SANDY POINT - CHESAPEAKE CHANNEL Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 78A (LLNR 7682) at position 38-34-42.000N / 076-25-53.000W 

CHESAPEAKE BAY (MARYLAND) - SANDY POINT TO SUSQUEHANNA RIVER - UPPER CHESAPEAKE CHANNEL Upper Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 45 (LLNR 8870) at position 39-22-10.839N / 076-07-45.462W

CHESAPEAKE BAY (MARYLAND) - SANDY POINT TO SUSQUEHANNA RIVER - UPPER CHESAPEAKE CHANNEL Upper Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 46 (LLNR 8875) at position 39-22-05.831N / 076-07-41.366W

CHESAPEAKE BAY (MARYLAND) - SANDY POINT TO SUSQUEHANNA RIVER - UPPER CHESAPEAKE CHANNEL Upper Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 47 (LLNR 8895) at position 39-22-50.744N / 076-06-10.205W

CHESAPEAKE BAY (MARYLAND) - SANDY POINT TO SUSQUEHANNA RIVER - UPPER CHESAPEAKE CHANNEL Upper Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 48 (LLNR 8900) at position 39-22-45.337N / 076-06-07.068W

CHESAPEAKE BAY (MARYLAND) - SANDY POINT TO SUSQUEHANNA RIVER - ELK RIVER CHANNEL Elk River Channel Lighted Buoy 1ER (LLNR 8925) at position 39-23-51.238N / 076-03-16.828W

What is an AIS ATON?

AIS is an internationally adopted radio communication protocol that enables the autonomous and continuous exchange of navigation safety related messages amongst vessels, lifeboats, aircraft, shore stations, and aids to navigation (AIS ATON). AIS ATON stations broadcast their presence, identity (9-digit Marine Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number), position, and status at least every three minutes or as needed.

Synthetic AIS ATON's signal can be received by any existing AIS mobile device, but they would require an external system for their portrayal (i.e., AIS message 21 capable ECDIS, ECS, radar, PC). How they are portrayed currently varies by manufacturer, but the future intention is for the portrayal to be in accordance with forthcoming International Standards (i.e., IEC 62288 (Ed. 2), IHO S-4 (Ed. 4.4.0)).

Comments on this proposal in writing, either personally or through their organization, may be sent to: Commander (dpw)

Fifth Coast Guard District 431 Crawford Street, Rm.100 Portsmouth, VA. 23704

Or email to: CGD5Waterways@uscg.mil




Go to Bay News 2014