Nautical News: For the week of May 25, 2014


The Coast Guard has confirmed they have found the overturned hull of the British sailboat named the Cheeki Rafiki. A surface diver looking for any signs of the 4 missing sailors noticed the life raft was still secured aboard the capsized sailboat indicating that it was never used. The surface swimmer also confirmed the name on the boat was the Cheeki Rafiki. He banged on the hull and got no response. The boat apparently sank after its keel broke allowing water to pour inside. A Coast Guard spokesman said unless they find evidence that there was a second life raft on board, the four sailors are deemed lost at sea and the search for them is over.



A catamaran sailboat caught fire on the Weweantic River in Wareham, Massachusetts, after its mast struck overhead high power lines. The high-power lines cross the river from Marion to Wareham. Two people were on board the sailboat, but neither was injured. One jumped overboard while the other stayed on board to fight the fire. The Wareham Fire Department, the Wareham Harbormaster, Marion public safety officials, and the Coast Guard all responded to the scene. Luckily the boat drifted to the Marion side of the river and went aground in the marsh, so no other boats were in danger. After the fire was extinguished, Sea Tow was called to salvage the boat which was a total loss. Oh, the name of the boat? The Hot Tamale.



Memorial Day weekend is a dangerous time for recreational boaters. During the past three years, Progressive Insurance received an average of 69 boating claims a day, but during the week before and after Memorial Day, there were more than 2000 claims reported a day. Also boatowners should guard against theft of their boat, motor, and/ or trailer during this time. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that on average 106 boats were stolen each week in 2013.



This past week at a Boston Harbor Islands National Park Partnership meeting, it was announced that a dinghy dock would be installed on George’s Island giving recreational boaters who anchor or moor access to the island. It was also announced that Rita’s Catering would be the new vendor on Georges and Spectacle Island, replacing Jasper White’s Summer Shack.



The Coast Guard announced this week plans to begin its $1.1 million project to repair and renovate structures at Boston Light. The project is intended to preserve the structural integrity of the lighthouse tower and surrounding buildings and assist in preparing for the light station’s upcoming tricentennial celebrations in 2016. The plan includes an underground storage tank remediation, a new exterior coating to the lighthouse, new cedar roofs on all structures, new windows in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters, and painting of all structures. Boston Light was America’s first lighthouse. The original lighthouse was built Sept. 14, 1716. In 1989, Congress decreed Boston Light be permanently manned, so today, it remains the only U.S. Coast Guard-manned lighthouse in the country. Because of the construction, Boston Light will not be open for public tours this summer.



The season for whale watching has gotten off to a great start. Humpback whales, minke whales, fin whales and North Atlantic right whales have all been spotted. There are so many whales off the coast of Massachusetts this season, that some whale watch boats report seeing 20 to 30 whales every time out. That is a big increase over the two or three whales that are usually spotted per trip. Marine biologists say the whales are here feeding off the unusually large number of sand lances which look like baby eels that are in the area. Humpback whales eat about a million of the 6-inch fish per day. However, the large presence of the whales doesn’t surprise the director of the north Atlantic whale research program the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. Stormy Mayo said that the number of whales may be exciting to the whale-watchers, but are not unusual in the waters around Cape Cod.



The world’s last wooden whaleship departed Mystic Seaport Saturday to begin her 38th voyage, the first since 1941. The Charles W. Morgan, a National Historic Landmark vessel, was towed down the Mystic River and over to nearby New London, Conn., the first stop on what will be a nearly three-month journey to historic ports in southern New England. The ship, which has not left Mystic Seaport since it arrived on November 8th, 1941. Several hundred people greeted her as she arrived at City Pier in New London. In a tragic twist to this story, a spectator who was sailing in a processional behind the Morgan fell overboard and is missing. Coast Guard planes, boats and helicopters searched for 19 hours, before calling off the search. The Charles W. Morgan will be open to the public when it makes its stops in Newport, R.I., Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, and Boston.



And last on today’s nautical news, a person in Norway with so much money thought he had sold his 2012 34 foot express cruiser and never realized he never got the money. The buyer of the boat had changed his mind about the purchase and walked away, never realizing that he probably could have taken the boat without paying for it. Meanwhile, the boat sat at the marina for two years with dock fees accruing. An appeal for the owner of the boat to come forward was made on Facebook and eventually the story about a boatowner who forgot he owned a boat was broadcast on national media in Norway and Sweden. The story caught the embarrassed boat owner’s attention. He came forward and paid all the dock fees. He said he honestly thought he had sold the boat and didn’t know he was missing the money.

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