Blog October 2020

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PUMPKINS AND HALLOWEEN

Posted On: October 29, 2020

Pumpkins and Halloween


The origin of Halloween dates back at least 3,000 years to the Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced "sow-ain"). The festival was held starting at sundown on October 31st and lasted until sundown on November 1st. It was similar to the modern practice of the New Years celebration.

On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits. Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.

Samhain was not the name of a "Lord of the Dead", no historical evidence has ever been found to back this up, it was simply the name of the festival and meant "Summer's End". It was believed that the souls of the dead were closest to this world and was the best time to contact them to say good bye or ask for assistance. It was also a celebration of the harvest. It is still treated as such today by those who practice Wicca or other nature based religions. It has absolutely nothing to do with satan, who was a creation of the Christian church.

When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in America they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier to carve and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns. Halloween didn't really catch on big in this country until the late 1800's and has been celebrated in many ways ever since!

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WHAT EXACTLY IS SCOPE

Posted On: October 27, 2020


The Scoop On Scope

Scope is often defined as the ratio of the length of deployed anchor rode to the depth of the water. Wrong! Scope calculations must be based on the vertical distance not from the sea bottom to the surface of the water, but from the sea bottom to the bow chock or roller where the anchor rode comes aboard. For example, if you let out 30 feet of anchor rode in six feet of water, you may think you have a 5:1 scope, but if your bow roller is four feet above the waterline, your scope is actually 3:1.

Scope is required to keep the pull on the anchor horizontal. The more upward pull on the anchor, the more likely it is to break free. Minimum scope for secure anchoring is 5:1. Seven-to-one is better where you have the room. A length of chain between the line and the anchor (at least 20 feet) also helps to keep the pull horizontal.

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FALL BOATING DRESS TO IMPRESS NOT DISTRESS

Posted On: October 22, 2020

Fall has arrived. Boating weather may range from freezing conditions for New England frostbite to very hot and humid tropical weather for offshore fishing in Miami or cruising in California. Staying comfortable means staying safe.

Wearing layered clothing helps keep you dry and comfortable, because each layer is only required to do one thing well. A hydrophobic wicking layer of long underwear worn next to the skin disperses perspiration outward. A middle insulating layer traps warm air, providing a barrier from cold outside air or fabric, and helps funnel moisture to the weather protection layer. The breathable outside layer uses hydrophilic, water vapor absorbing coatings or microporous membranes like a heat-driven water pump, allowing water vapor molecules to escape. Solid water molecules are blocked, along with wind, from entering. With each layer performing its designed function you stay dry, warm and alert, however hostile the outside environment.

Many boaters have no incentive to spend more for high-tech synthetic socks, and will instead wear cotton. The problem with this approach is that cotton retains moisture, and it is this moisture that causes friction and blisters. For years, many in the healthcare field recommended all-cotton socks to prevent foot problems. This is the biggest myth out there! Cotton absorbs moisture and in socks, that moisture stays next to the foot creating an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow, and for blisters to form. Stay away from all-cotton socks!

The extremities, especially the head and neck, are where most of the body's heat loss takes place, so protection is critical for the head, neck, hands and feet as well.

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ENJOY FALL BOATING BENEFITS

Posted On: October 20, 2020

STILL SOME TIME TO ENJOY FALL BOATING

Picturesque landscapes

We can all appreciate green trees, white sand and a bright blue sky… but there’s something really special about cruising amongst the rich orange, red and yellow trees fall is known for, too! In most places, there will be a noticeable difference in the look of your surroundings in the coming months, so that’s something to look out for. Some boaters will even take their fall excursions a step further and plan a destination trip specifically to see these beautiful autumnal changes! If you choose to do this, just be sure to check your destination’s color change “peak time,” since somewhere like Georgia may see fall leaves come in later than, say, Maine. In colder climates, this is a great time to go out and enjoy the changing landscape before winter rolls around.

 

More comfortable cruising

Whether you live up north or down south, you’re probably ready to say “goodbye” to at least one part of summer: high temperatures! The start of fall means the start of a gradual cool-down trend that we can all enjoy… at least for a little while! Those farther to the north can use the next month or two as a pleasant bridge into cooler, less boat friendly days; meanwhile, those who live in warmer climates can enjoy the cooler (but still bearable) temperatures to come. There’s nothing like crisp autumn air to make us excited to be outside!

 

Quality time

Between kids’ school days and your own work commitments, you probably have more time to boat during summer than in fall—but during the fall season, you may find that your love of boating and family time grows even more. The activities that were so easy to do in summer—weekend cleanings, spur the moment getaways, simple time spent with family—suddenly become all the more special.

Speaking of quality time… less time on the boat doesn’t have to be a negative! Use your added downtime to catch up on your favorite travel or boating magazines, brush up on key skills or get some cleaning in.

 

Better deals

The boating off season comes with one big bonus—better deals! During the fall months, be sure to visit boat shows and expos and take a look at what seasonal sales may be going on. You may be surprised to find that your dream boat is a bit more in reach than you previously thought!

While we traditionally think of warm fires and pumpkin picking when it comes to fall, we as boaters know there’s so much more to the season! What are your favorite parts of fall? Be sure to let us know in the comments as we prepare to make the seasonal switch!

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WINTERIZING TIP - NOT ALL ANTI FREEZE IS EQUAL

Posted On: October 15, 2020


Antifreeze

Photo of a bottle of marine antifreeze

Antifreeze is antifreeze, right?

Wrong.

Not only are there different kinds, the temperature at which they freeze is different, too. And that's important because if they do freeze, your boat is likely to be damaged.

Antifreeze for winterizing engines and freshwater systems is not the same as the coolant you put in your engine's heat exchanger (the boat equivalent of a radiator).

Ethylene glycol, the chemical used in coolant, is highly toxic, and winterizing antifreeze must be nontoxic because it goes in drinking water systems and may eventually go overboard.

The antifreeze you use in your engine and plumbing systems aboard must also have the proper freeze protection to keep your systems safe at the lowest possible temperatures your boat may face.

Choose antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe and tasteless, and one that has rust inhibitors for engine protection. Most importantly, check the freeze rating, but be aware that the numbers used don't correspond to what you may think. A typical antifreeze labeled for minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit will only protect PVC water pipes from bursting down to about minus 10 degrees and will actually begin freezing at about 15 degrees above. At 50 below, it's a solid chunk of ice, capable of cracking an engine block. Play it safe and use an antifreeze that is rated well below any temperature you're likely to experience.

Most winterizing antifreeze must be used full strength — don't dilute. When pumping antifreeze into your engine or freshwater systems, don't shut down as soon as you see the antifreeze come out of the faucet or engine exhaust. The antifreeze first mixes with the water already in the system and has to displace all of it before the antifreeze can protect fully. It's better to invest in a couple of extra gallons than end up with a cracked block at the beginning of next season.

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TAKING YOUR BOAT OUT OF THE WATER?

Posted On: October 13, 2020


8 Essential Questions To Ask Your Yard

What's the cost of hauling and relaunching? Some yards quote just the haulout price and some include the relaunch in their price. Usually haulouts are charged based on length of boat, but not always, so ask.

Can I work on my boat myself? Not all yards allow you to work on your own boat, often citing insurance concerns. Check on what's allowed if you plan on doing any work yourself.

Are there any "lay days" included? If your boat will only be out for a few days, there may not be any storage charges, but some marinas charge by the day, week, or month as soon as the boat is blocked in the yard.

Is there a fee to bring my boat to the haulout well, and how much is it? If you need the yard to move your boat because you're not able to, there'll most likely be an additional charge. If you're a long-time customer, though, you may be able to get it waived. Bimini or backstay removal may come with an extra fee.

Does the cost include a high-pressure washdown? Most marinas provide this service as part of a haulout, but ask, don't assume.

Where will you put my boat? After hauling, your boat will be blocked ashore. In a large marina, that could mean a long hike from the office or chandlery, and worse, possibly too far from electrical power or water, which you might need.

Can I bring in outside contractors? Marinas want you to use their services and may charge you a fee or even a percentage of your outside contractor bill. Most will require the contractor prove he's properly insured. Some prohibit outside contractors altogether, citing liability, though there is little risk to the marina if you and your contractor have the proper insurance.

When will my boat be relaunched? If you hope to use your boat the next weekend, you could be disappointed if the yard tells you it could be several extra days. Let your yard know in good time when you'd like to go back in the water, but be aware that sometimes tides and weather may preclude you from getting your ideal time and date.

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MARINE SURVEYS 101

Posted On: October 08, 2020

Not all surveys are the same, but they generally begin by describing the boat overall.

This part of the survey lists the year, make, model, hull identification number (HIN), and the basic specs of the boat, such as length, beam, and weight. It should also explain the scope of the survey, which describes the limitations. For example, it may say that hard-to-access areas were not inspected, that electronics were only powered up and not tested, or that engines were not part of the survey

From there, the survey goes into meatier stuff. It will document the condition of structural components, such as hull and deck, running gear, bulkheads, and engine beds. Things like the fuel, plumbing, and electrical systems are inspected and discussed with respect to relevant standards; living spaces are inspected; and safety items are noted, such as the existence — or the lack — of carbon-monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers.

A good survey is more than just an inventory of the boat's equipment. The surveyor will comment on each section of the inspected boat. Finally, near the end of the survey are the recommendations, arguably the most important part.

Don't select a surveyor on price alone; find one that has experience on your type of boat and one with whom you feel comfortable.

1. Boats don't pass or fail a survey. The buyer determines if the boat is acceptable or not, and the insurance company will list what must be done in order to provide coverage.

2. Even a brand-new boat will almost certainly have some recommendations from the surveyor, though most of them should be addressable through the builder's warranty.

3. Surveys include an approximate current fair-market value for use by lenders and insurance companies. This can serve as a price negotiation tool.

4. A survey is a useful guide for planning upgrades and repairs and allows you to prioritize your budget.

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PUMPKIN HISTORY

Posted On: October 06, 2020

It's that time of year and the orange orb is appearing all over.

But how did it get here?

A Short History of the Pumpkin


Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico dating back to 7000 to 5500 B.C.

References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." "Pepon" was changed by the French into "pompon." The English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion." American colonists changed "pumpion" into "pumpkin."

Native American Indians used pumpkin as a staple in their diets centuries before the pilgrims landed. They also dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. Indians would also roast long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and eat them. When white settlers arrived, they saw the pumpkins grown by the Indians and pumpkin soon became a staple in their diets. As today, early settlers used them in a wide variety of recipes from desserts to stews and soups. The origin of pumpkin pie is thought to have occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and then filled it with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in the hot ashes of a dying fire.

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