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Soundings May 2020

Soundings is the news and feature publication for recreational boaters. Award-winning coverage of the people, issues, events -- and the fun -- of recreational boating. Check out our generous boats-for-sale section and our gunkholing destinations.

United States
Active Interest Media
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
pelagic meets plush

I remember my first ride in a center console. It was in 1986, aboard an Aquasport in the 20-foot range powered by a 90-hp Yamaha. Like a lot of fishboats built at that time, it was pretty basic. The deck was completely open, with no overhead protection from the sun, water or wind. If seas kicked up, the driver could turn his baseball cap backward and duck behind a small windshield to keep dry. There was a leaning post, but it was just a hard bench propped up on stainless rails that straddled an old Igloo cooler—our refrigerator. Four of us were heading out to find bluefish off Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Other than the leaning post, there were no seats on the boat, so the three people traveling with me crowded…

2 min

LIFE LESSONS Mario Vittone makes several good points about life rafts in his column “The High Cost of Waiting” (March). I’d like to provide a few more pieces of advice for those who want to learn how to use this critical piece of gear before they need it. Always make sure that before inflating a life raft you have made its painter secure to the boat; otherwise, it could blow away and out of reach in a heartbeat. Also, a life raft needs to be serviced every one to three years, depending upon its type. A raft that remains folded up for several years is likely to develop creases in the material, and those creases can weaken it. In addition, moisture wicking inside from exposure to the weather could corrode metal…

4 min
shoreline squabble

When Chris Edmonston, president of the BoatU.S. Foundation, heard last year that lawmakers in Georgia were debating legislation to restrict overnight anchoring in all kinds of places where boaters enjoy cruising, he was frustrated, but not surprised. “This isn’t just a Georgia thing,” Edmonston says. “We’re seeing proposed anchoring rules in other places too. In Florida, we see municipalities trying to make rules that only affect their municipalities. We’re seeing problems on the West Coast.” Two issues are combining along both of America’s coastlines, he says, in a way that has lawmakers listening to requests for restricted anchorages. The first issue is abandoned and derelict boats, the result of people dropping the hook and walking away—creating an eyesore and a problem for government that nobody defends or condones. The challenge of…

6 min
to each his own

Few things polarize recreational boaters more than the topic of electronic versus paper charts. It’s safe to say that electronic and paper charts should both be viewed as position-fixing tools. Most of us employ some version of electronic chart systems these days, ranging from inexpensive handhelds to standalone GPS chartplotters or costly arrangements integrated with AIS, radar and more. Commercial ships almost universally now use the Electronic Chart Display and Information System, which is computer-based satellite navigation integrated with position information, an array of other navigational sensors, and Automatic Radar Plotting Aid. Its users have to be trained and certified. Recreational boaters don’t have electronic charts that complex, but the technology we do have access to can make folks realize that it’s wonderful to have the world at one’s fingertips. Electronic charts…

1 min

1. NAVIGATION: Which nautical charts are intended for coastwise navigation outside of outlying reefs and shoals? A. Approach charts B. General charts C. Sailing charts D. Coast charts 2. NAVIGATION: Which buoy may be even numbered? A. Mid-channel buoy B. Unlighted nun buoy C. Lighted green buoy D. All of the above 3. NAVIGATION: Chart legends printed in capital letters show that the associated landmark is: A. inconspicuous B. a radio transmitter C. conspicuous D. a government facility or station 4. NAVIGATION: The shoreline shown on nautical charts of areas affected by large tidal fluctuations is usually the line of mean: A. lower low water B. low water C. tide level D. high water 5. NAVIGATION: On U.S. charts, you can tell if a named feature such as a rock (i.e. Great Eastern Rock in Block Island) is submerged by the: A. color of ink used to print the name B. style…

5 min
no small feat

Last October, Randall Reeves completed what he calls the “Figure 8 Voyage,” circumnavigating Antarctica and all of the Americas. He sailed five oceans around three continents, passed Cape Horn twice, and covered almost 40,000 miles. To put that in perspective, the Earth’s circumference is less than 25,000 miles. Reeves wanted to do something that had never been done. Others had sailed the “Five Capes” and the Northwest Passage, but nobody had done both in the same trip. “I think it’s the first time anyone has done it,” Reeves says, “solo or with crew.” The 57-year-old Reeves completed the trip in what he calls “one season.” He had to time his arrival in Antarctica for a southern summer circumnavigation, then make it up to the Arctic for the northern summer, and then get…