Summer is just around the Corner

And a USCG Auxiliary Boating Course may just be the ticket

It’s March, and the weather has reversed itself. March is, if we believe in the old adage, “in like a lion, out like a lamb”, been playing games with us. One day it was 25 degrees cold and clammy, and the next day it was 55 degrees and sunny.

Warm weather days like the one’s we’ve been having make all of us think about getting our boats ready. We start thinking of all the chores involved in making our craft seaworthy for the upcoming season. But of all the tasks that we have on our list, the one that never seems to make its way toward the top is EDUCATION.

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Marine VHF Communications

FCC Rules for Marine VHF and a handy Frequency Chart

When do you need a license? If your boat is over 20 meters (65 feet) long or you are “for hire” you need a license. If you are traveling outside the U.S. or it territorial waters you need a license. Inside the United States and her territorial waters on pleasure craft not for hire and less than 20 meters (65 feet) long you do not need a license to operated a VHF radio.

Everyone on any boat requires a license to operate single side-band radio (marine HF). If you want to operate your HF on amateur frequencies you need a HAM radio operator license.

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Mast Cover

I lost my patience again. After two months the sailmaker still hadn’t repaired my bimini. So I took it back. Asking around the marina didn’t help my mood any. It seems that it’s about impossible to get canvas work done around here.

Like any other ordinary self sufficient sailor I decided to take matters into my own hands. I marched down to the Sailrite store and bought a super duper walking foot sailrite sewing machine (which will double as an anchor in an emergency) and did the job myself. It took one hour, just one hour to read the directions, setup the machine, sew the bimini and put it back up. And I waited two months for this?

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Dodger and Bimini

Well, the time has come to replace my aging bimini. I never liked it. It looked more like a tent than something that belongs on a boat. When I first got Revenge I had to cut down the bimini because I couldn’t sail with it up … and everybody knows I’m much too lazy to take it down and put it back up every time I wanted to sail. Besides, who ever heard of such a thing. But you couldn’t see over it and in bad weather you couldn’t see through it.

Now you all know I bought a sailrite sewing machine last year and I’ve had a little practice with it making a mast cover and other small projects. Making a proper dodger and bimini though, this is a serious project. The materials came close to $2000. Making a mistake could leave me with and expensive pile of junk. I used Sea Mark instead of Sunbrella, more expensive but it should last a lot longer … I hope.

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Knots

The Overhand Knot

You have to start somewhere!

The Overhand Knot is the simplest to tie and the mother of all knots. The advantage of this knot is its simplicity, the disadvantage is that it doesn’t hold very well. Mostly we start with the Overhand Knot to show how all other knots are related to it. As you will see the knots used in boating are just variations on the lowly, basic Overhand Knot.

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The Campaign

Now that the summer is winding down in North America, perhaps this is a good time to start planning next years racing. Taking a systematic approach to your campaign will improve your standings and increase your enjoyment.

Vision

What do you want to do? What is racing to you? Are you a budding young rock star with aspirations of a career in racing? Are you a regional champion hoping to take the next step or are you a club beer can racer just trying to do a little better? Every campaign should have a vision statement, a short phrase that sums up your attitude and aspirations. What do you want from racing? Mad Max has had a wonderful six years racing with the vision, “First is Fun!” We are just local bear can racers, but we have given our best every time we went out. Our Vision Statement says that we intend to try to win this race (yea, like everyone else), but we are not rock stars, we don’t get paid for this, we don’t have careers to further, we are here to have fun.

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