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National Ocean Policy

The following is reprinted from the recent BoatUS e-newsletter. It highlights ongoing planning that can affect recreational boating. Right now the focus is on the Northeast. Expect that to expand – an issue worth watching….


Over the last two years, BoatUS has been working on the National Ocean Policy, set in place with an Executive Order from President Obama. How could this affect your access to the water, and on the water?

Early on recreational boating was not being adequately considered, so BoatUS took every opportunity to speak up for our favorite pastime, which now is included in their plans as a key “stakeholder.”

As part of this work, a study is now underway in New England to measure the economic impact of recreational boating. (Boaters can participate in this study by clicking here.) Be on watch for similar studies and planning that could affect boating in your region and please let us know when you see things starting to happen in your area.

As Ryck Lydecker, Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs, says “Now that policy makers recognize us as “stakeholders” let’s make certain to stake our claims,”
For more background on this topic, click here.

Trashing the Bay

Having just returned from a sail from Annapolis to Baltimore and return, I was pleased to read in the Bay Journal about efforts to keep trash and other debris out of the waters.  Lara Lutz wrote about the Anacostia litter cleanup.  While the Anacostia contributes to the Potomac and is down Bay from where I normally sail, similar issues exist for all the rivers and streams within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Not only is trash in the water unsightly, it is also unhealthy and presents hazards to navigation. In just a few hours of travel we encountered lumber, logs, and other hard debris that can cause damage to boats – potentially creating safety issues. Other forms of trash were common and likely originated from careless disposal. For a more detailed look at this issue, pick up the June issue of the Bay Journal, or follow the link to read on-line –

The Bay Journal reports on all things relating to the Chesapeake Bay including current events and more in-depth information about progress in improving Bay health. As sailors on the Bay, we all should keep a close watch, and lend a hand when and where ever we can.

Sailabration: Boats, Planes & Fireworks!

Similar wind conditions prevailed on Friday as we headed on north and into the Baltimore Harbor. It was an early run, as the Coast Guard imposed a ‘closure’ on the entrance over which the Navy’s Blue Angels would be performing low level maneuvers.  We made good time, again motor/sailing, and were secure in our marina slip by 0930, a full half-hour before the closure.

Friday afternoon provided a preview as the Blue Angels were making practice runs – lots of pictures with the camera set on action settings and with a long lens. Dinner and a fun happy hour aboard another club boat made for a full day.

Navy’s Blue Angels

Saturday offered time to walk the board walk that followed a twisted path to the Inner Harbor where the Tall Ships were berthed – also provided good exercise! That afternoon we watched the air show, enjoyed happy hour (again) at the marina’s sailors’ lounge, with an evening fireworks display to cap off the day. It was special to see the Elf – a restoration project by a fellow SOS member —


Sunday morning we made an early start for home. – again, to slip out of the harbor before the closure was in force. We raised the main sail heading down the Patapsco River SE into the wind. Once clear of the closure and past the Key Bridge, we turned south and managed to sail with reduce engine speed and soon shut it down. Although the wind was variable in speed and direction, we sailed most of the way to the Bay Bridge then motor/sailed across the Magothy bay.  With sometimes 10-12kts 45os off the port bow, we sailed at 5-7kts, and then drifting as the wind died to a 2-3kt breeze.

By pure chance, as we approached the Bay Bridge, the USCG Barque Eagle caught up and we got this nice view as she cleared the bridge – a fitting end to a great four-day sail.

USCG Barque Eagle

Click of the link to see the SPOT track

A Great CCYC cruise

It was a great three days on the water.  Sunday morning after the post-wedding breakfast in Williamsburg, I drove to the boat in Annapolis and headed out to find the Catalina Club folks at their destination in Shaw Bay a bit north of St Michaels.  It was a pleasant sail/motor down Bay and I caught up with them just in time for dinner – adding my boat to the four-boat raft. The day was hot and very little wind, but as the sun went down it became comfortable to sleep in the cockpit. A wake disturbed the raft in the early hours or I’d have missed a spectacular view of the starry night sky!  Morning came soon enough, and I watched the work boats head out.

Sunrise at Shaw Bay

Crabber heading out

A plan was made to break the raft at 0930 and head north, through Kent Narrows draw bridge, then on up the Chester River taking the branch up the Corsica in hopes of finding a jelly fish- free area. No brag, but my smallish 30ft managed to keep pace with the other 40ft boats

Resolve just astern

– although I found the view more often of their sterns…..

CCYC fleet heading for Knapp’s Narrows

We found a pleasant setting to raft for as swim and dinner. The weather forecast  was calling for possible thunder storms and rain over night and on Tuesday. Caution suggested we break the raft before dark and anchor separately.  That worked well for me since I needed to leave the group and head back to Annapolis for a Wednesday appointment. After a great meal and fun conversation, we drifted apart and anchored for the night.

Brunelle at anchor

As it turned out, no rain during the night, and I slept again on deck till early morning. The day’s forecast remained ‘wet’ with thunderstorms spaced through the day. I picked an early window, hauled anchor and headed down river against a south wind. After rounding the bend, the run up the river, downwind to Love Point was a great motor sail making 6-7kts. Turning down Bay at the Point was another story………

As I headed down toward the Bay bridge, several miles off, the seas grew quickly to 2-4ft with consistent 18-24kt wind just off the port bow. It was a great ride! Dodged the bigger waves and made 3.5 to 6kts depending on small changes in the wind and waves.  I still carried a reefed head sail for stability, and when I was not head to the wind, got a good lift. Approaching the Bay bridge and crossing over to Annapolis was a challenge. By then I had life vest on and tether at hand. The boat bucked and dived into oncoming waves, but kept about a 5kt pace. Sorry, no pictures as I was pretty busy………

The sea calmed and wind died down a bit as we got in the lee of the land, and it was an uneventful coast into the slip in Back Creek – even had a friend on shore to lend a hand with the lines.  Just as I finished adjusting the dock lines, the rain started. As I write this, it is a steady, heavy rain. But I’m in the slip with boat secured, good music on and a glass of Williamsburg Winery’s finest in hand! All in all, a great trip!

And there’s more to come — a day as sailing intstructor for a corporate group and then a cruise north to Baltimore for the OpSail event with the Tall Ships – later posts!

A brief note on environment and economics


Maryland Department of The EnvironmentA recent Baltimore Sun editorial highlighted the Bay restoration effort and its link to the economy. “Efforts to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay too often are cast as environmentalism versus economic opportunity. Whether it’s restrictions on poultry waste; increasing the “flush tax” to pay for upgraded sewage treatment; or requiring new, more effective septic systems, opponents can be counted on to complain of “job-killing” regulations or tax increases. But that’s not really true — and a fish kill in the Inner Harbor demonstrates why. It’s not just the health of fish or crabs that’s at stake, but the livelihood and well-being of people.”


The Baltimore Sun is to be commended for addressing a very complex issue and framing it against a simple example – a fish kill in the Inner Harbor. Clearly, a bad smelling environment is not conducive to high customer traffic.

How to rationally balance the need for a clean and healthy environment against legitimate economic objectives when those goals appear to be in conflict is not always so simple, and is not a trivial question. Proposed solutions that address either goal, absent consideration for the other fail the rationality test.

Too often cases are made by advocates that environmental goals trump any economic considerations. After all, who could argue against a clean environment?  Economic interests point out that associated costs may be beyond their capacity to absorb, and jobs may be lost and businesses closed. Seeing such issues as either/or choices is polarizing and can unnecessarily generate conflict. The fish kill example shows one instance where investment in environmental improvements can also yield economic benefit. There are certainly many other such examples if we have the will to look.

Yet, one size does not fit all, and regulations that do not recognize diversity of conditions rarely produce anything but more conflict. Traditional advocacy approaches, which often lead to litigation, are usually the least cost-effective paths to broadly supported solutions. In the worst case, litigation can leave it to the courts, which have the least relevant expertise, to craft solutions.

The important message is be sure we support cooperative processes that create effective collaboration between those with environmental and economic expertise. Invariably, when such collaboration occurs, open-minded individuals can find and agree to sensible and cost-effective solutions. Each case, where conflicting interests occur, merits such consideration. And, sufficient regulatory flexibility should be provided to allow for unique and imaginative resolution to those conflicts.