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Monday, September 30, 2013

LAST CRUISE OF THE SEASON

We didn’t get nearly as much boating in this past summer as we had planned. Too many work and family commitments. When the weather turned sunny with light winds, we couldn’t resist taking the time off work to get a few days out on the boat. Our last fix before the boat goes away in October 2013 not to be returned to her slip until May 2014.

We had already had the winter service done to engines and we had already resigned ourselves that we wouldn’t get anymore trips out of the marina this year. Were we glad we grabbed the window of weather and got out to an anchorage. We didn’t go far. Just tucked into Hockey Stick bay at the west side on Bone Island.

At this time of year ... midweek, we had the whole harbour to ourselves. On the second day a couple of sailboats showed up but we were a comfortable distance away from each other. A couple of ultra light planes dropped in and cruised around the harbour and took off again. We swam (just a bit chilly), we BBQ’d, we drank good wine and we read without distraction. Most of all we enjoyed the tranquility of the anchorage and soaking up the rays of the early fall sun. By lunch it was bathing suit weather. Beautiful sunsets at dusk. Nights were cool and great for sleeping. Mornings we were enveloped in fog as the heat exited the water into the cool morning air. The fog quickly burnt off giving rise to bright sunshine – the temperature a few degrees above seasonal and very nice for the end of September. The leaves were changing colour but not at their peak yet. Maybe this was our Indian Summer? When we returned to the marina the boat seemed to thank us for that one last trip before a winter of solitary confinement.

  

   

Posted by at 10:50 AM
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Monday, September 23, 2013

The Season Winds Down

The older you get the faster the summers go by. Ask anyone over 50 living in Canada and all would agree with that statement. The boating season here on Georgian Bay is pretty much a wrap. We are going to try and get one more trip in this week to anchor out as we have a window of sun and low wind days coming up. Albeit the nights will be chilly and the water is border line swimmable. October 4th the boat gets hauled and into winter storage it goes. It makes me sad just to think about it. In a few months time as winter sets in I will be wishing so bad that I had not taken a few more trips this past summer or stretched that extra trip on Thanksgiving weekend ignoring the obligatory turkey dinners.

Robert N. Rose once wisely said, “Ships are the nearest thing to dreams that hands have ever made”. Boating is a magical thing that reenergizes the soul. For me the winter can only be made bearable by including a few southern boat shows and at least one cruise to somewhere hot for a dose of sun and sand. Logically or perhaps illogically ... we would be heading south on the boat for the winter – but alas work and family obligations always seem to get in the way. I’m always thinking maybe next year. My New Years resolution is already carved in stone – take more time off work and do some extended cruising next summer.

Posted by at 2:29 PM
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

COSTA CONCORDIA TO BE RE-FLOATED

Two years after the Costa Concordia went aground near an Italian island killing 32 people, Italy has now given the go-ahead for an attempt to right the ship in preparation to move it by tug. The Concordia has lain partially submerged off the island of Giglio since Friday January 13, 2012. The national Civil Protection agency said Friday the operation will be carried out later this month, once final safety certificates are issued. The exact date depends on calm seas near Giglio.

If engineers and crews succeed in righting the Concordia, the vessel will be eventually towed to a port for dismantling.

The manslaughter trial of the Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, resumes on Sept. 23. When the ship struck a reef, took on water and listed badly before capsizing off Giglio's port, the Captain and some crew abandoned ship ahead of many of it’s passengers. Prosecutors alleged Schettino steered the boat too close to shore. Schettino claims the reef didn't appear on his navigational charts. Four crew and one company administrator have already been tried and sent to prison with sentences ranging from 18 –34 months.

For a full account of what happened on the Costa Concordia including a GPS recorded account go to the article on our Message In A Bottle page titled Not Enough Courage HERE

Posted by at 11:28 AM
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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

ACCORDING TO TOM

There are a lot of mixed messages out there on boat sales going up or down. Many wonder about the impact of US lawmakers ending the second residence tax deduction for boats equipped with accommodation. We are seeing good value used boats move here in Canada at a faster pace. You couldn't say things are on fire though ... and it appears that it is still a buyers market, although the giveaway deals on good boats ended a long time ago.

One of our US broker friends Tom Jenkins of Allied Marine is very optimistic on the boat sales market. He is experiencing folks that come out of nowhere that want instant showings and go for quick sales. Tom said this in his last newsletter “As I explained last month, the market is poised to break loose and it looks more and more likely that the Fort Lauderdale Show may be the spark that lights the fuse to a blowout season”. Tom sells a lot of boats – not runabouts but leaning more to high end inventory like Bertram, Perching & Ferretti in the 40 – 120 foot range. Economically things are moving along in the US ... and money is still cheap. I think Tom may be on to something. I also get the sense that the market may be ripe to break out and good used boat sales could turn the tide from a buyers market to a sellers market by next year. Time will tell.

One thing I am told repeatedly is that the bigger yacht owners are not worried about the tax credit ending. Most of them are registered offshore and are not claiming the credit anyways. The small boats without accommodation don’t qualify and the mid range 34 – 50 foot boats are they only target group that may feel the pinch. It is also said that boaters shop on emotion ... and if the moneys there, then a tax deduction won’t make or break the market. So like the Jimmy Buffet song says, “I don’t know, I don’t know” but indicators from the big US brokers are that things are likely to look a lot better sooner than later.

Posted by at 4:23 PM
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