Excerpts from a previous Scuttlebutt issue.
FROM YOUR COMMODORE
Babe Ruth pitched thirteen shutout innings in Game 2 as the Boston Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. Less than a month later, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected as President of the United States. Across the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan, exactly one week later, Maxwell Simkin was born, the son of Russian immigrants.
Max celebrated his 99th birthday at our annual Waterway Radio & Cruising Club picnic at Wickham Park this past year. To me, the highlight of the event was listening to Max describe the problems he encountered in building his 40 foot custom Herreshoff clipper bow ketch in his backyard when he was 40 years old. Max spent 14,000 hours building this magnificent yacht, which he named "Carastee". His friendship with a local judge made it possible for Max to complete the 5-year project before he was forced to move the boat to another location to appease his neighbors. Max and his wife sailed that boat for 28 years before buying a Scheel 45 named Sea Fever.
Max served as a Medical Officer in the 29th Infantry Division, but had a very unique military experience. Max was assigned aboard the HMS Queen Mary, which had been painted battleship grey, and was serving as a troop carrier. On October 2, 1942 about 60km north of the coast of Ireland the HMS Curacoa was escorting the Queen Mary carrying 12,000 American troops of Max's 29th Infantry to join the Allied forces in Europe. Max recalls being on deck and watching the Curacoa zig-zagging, thinking she was a mine sweeper. He went below to his cabin and at the instant he looked out his porthole he felt the huge ship shudder, and saw they had just rammed the Curacoa amidships while making 28 knots, essentially slicing the Curacoa in two. The Curacoa sank in six minutes, about 100 yards from the Queen Mary. Acting under orders not to stop due to the risk of U-boat attacks, the Queen Mary did not assist in rescue operations and instead steamed onward with a damaged bow. Only 99 of the 338 souls aboard the Curacoa survived. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvfOpm2gwno)
Max's interest in amateur radio came through an incident in the early 1980s while cruising in the Abacos. It was on a proverbial dark and stormy night when Max realized their anchor was dragging. Fortunately, Max was able to raft the Sea Fever to a nearby Whitby 42, named "Siri" which was on a mooring in Man O War Cay. The next morning his new neighbors, Jerry & Siri Bernstein (KA4YDV) on the Whitby were talking on the Waterway Radio & Cruising Club net while Max listened in. That ham radio contact made a lasting impression on Max, and he vowed to become an amateur radio operator. After passing the 13 WPM Morse code test, which he admits was a struggle, and breezing through the General Exam, Max was issued call sign N2FCP, a call sign that he maintains today. He also joined the WRCC and has been a member ever since!
We love Marathon, and hanging out on a mooring buoy in Boot Key Harbor. The harbor is full of colorful characters, living on their boats, which range from million dollar ocean cruising sailboats to, well, boats that will never see a cruise. But we all have a common bond, the desire to live aboard our floating castle. That common bond in many ways makes us better people. It seems to me we tend to help others out more often than folks living on land. When we hear of a cruiser or boat in distress, most everyone will drop what he or she is doing and lend a hand to help. This was the case during the Seven Seas Cruising Association's Annapolis Gam when an anchored and unoccupied vessel was sinking. The alarm was called and within minutes cruisers were headed out to the stricken vessel with pumps, generators, and managed to save the boat from going down.
Just today in Boot Key Harbor, a cruiser was returning to his boat from the hospital following surgery. The cruisers organized a team of folks who filled his water tanks, all one hundred and something gallons, using jerry cans. That is nice to see.
It's also nice to see traditions carrying on. Whether it's respecting our national flags by lowering them at sunset, or flying club burgees to support our cruising organizations. We need to have more Waterway Radio & Cruising burgees flying from halyards. That means we need more members. One of the things I would like to help support during this next year is to increase our membership. Here is the challenge. Every member, get a member. Talk with your pals at your radio gatherings, and other amateurs on boats. Encourage boaters who are not hams, to become licensed. Be able to articulate that a VHF radio, or satellite/cell phone is not a substitute for a HF radio aboard a cruising vessel
I look forward to serving the Waterway Radio & Cruising Club over the next year, and helping maintain our tradition of service to the Maritime community for over 52 years.
Glenn Tuttle, Commodore
Last August, Sue calls me over and says "Hey Larry, we just got an e-mail from Dave N4NVI, that Pensacola Yacht Club is hosting a race/rally to Cuba." "Cool, I reply. Wanna go?" "Absolutely!" Sue responded, without even missing a beat.
Seriously, that's how it happened. With Marathon, FL being our home base off and on for many years now, the allure of Cuba, the forbidden fruit, as a place to cruise to just 100 miles away has always been very great, but with our government's position, it has just not been feasible to go. Here was a chance to go legally, even though we had to sail 500 miles to Pensacola, so that we could sail 511 miles to Cuba, to go to an island only 100 miles away from where we were! There's just no way to explain the cruisers mentality sometimes.
In order to go to Cuba legally, there were numerous government approvals and licenses we had to obtain. Most of these pertained to "importing" our boat into Cuba, and others were obtaining permission from the USCG to enter into Cuban territorial waters. Before the race even started, some of these requirements were changed by the government and no longer necessary to get. What was and is still necessary is that you fall under one of twelve categories of why you are in Cuba. These can be journalistic, humanitarian, religious, etc. Ours was an "athletic event", promoting goodwill between Cubans and Americans.
On our way up to Pensacola, we took the opportunity to rendezvous with some cruising friends who own a sister ship to Serengeti. Russell and Lynn Frasier on Blue Highway, sailed out of Naples and met us as we were sailing north. We sailed side by side for the return trip to their home port of Naples, FL, excitedly taking pictures of each others boats under sail, and then followed them into Naples and rafted up for the night. Wonderful to catch up again.
Here's a video link to Serengeti sailing with Blue Highway: https://youtu.be/DWUTFBMFkIk Our sail direct to Pensacola from Naples was not without excitement. Offshore and still a couple of days out of Pensacola, we were advised by our ham radio friends of some bad weather heading our way. The remnants of Hurricane Patricia (the strongest Hurricane on record) was tracking straight for Pensacola. Even though we were sailing along nicely, after a few calculations we opted to crank up the engine and motor-sail to boost our speed by a couple of knots.
This proved to be the right move. As when we arrived at the sea buoy the bands of rain and wind were just beginning. John, W0PBP advised us that the docks at Pensacola YC were not a good option with the impending weather, so we opted to tuck into a safe and nearby anchorage called Big Lagoon. A couple of hours after we got the hook down, the winds and rains just built and built for the next day and a half. It was a fascinating display of nature to watch the 40 - 50 kt winds make the rain fall horizontally!
When the blow finally ended, we pulled anchor and sailed up the bay to PYC. Avoiding the Pensacola Yacht Club's transient dock proved to be a sound decision. Three boats that had arrived early for the race all sustained damage from the storm. The yacht club docks were buffeted in the storm and one finger dock broke loose in the 62 mph winds. Debris lay everywhere.
Serengeti charging out of Pensacola Bay
The Pensacola Yacht Club and it's members, however, could not have been more accommodating and nice as we spent the next few days at the transient dock making preparations before the start of the race. It's a beautiful facility and one we hope to return to again soon. As the race day drew closer, more and more competitors arrived at the transient dock, and to make room for everyone, it was soon necessary to have another boat raft up to us.
We lucked in to having a great crew of guys on the only real "race boat" in this event, a J-130 named Lesson #1, raft up with us. What really got us to know these guys was when the local TV crew showed up wanting to interview us. The reason they chose us from among all the 22 competitors was because, a) we had sailed all the way from the FL Keys to participate in the race, but more importantly, b) because we had a cat on board! Endicott, our 19 year old cat, who has logged a good 25,000 sea miles with us over his lifetime, became the star of the event when it was discovered he was making this trip. We could literally hear the eyeballs rolling into the back of the guys heads from the J-130 crew as we were being interviewed instead of them! Serious racers - 0, Cruisers with a cat -1!
Race Day! Serengeti won the start of our fleet and led the way into the Gulf of Mexico, beginning the true trek to Cuba - 511 miles away. Unfortunately, the wind was right on the nose and already blowing in the mid-20's. The wind continued to blow from the south and build into the night gusting to 35 knots with squalls. These conditions were not kind to some of the fleet. During that first night one boat dismasted and 3 others turned back. Serengeti and her crew persevered, although not without some cursing. When did cruisers start sailing to windward!!!
As we were in a "Race/Rally" event, designed particularly for cruising boats, it was allowable to motor, albeit with a stiff penalty. I believe the entire fleet except one boat took advantage of that tactic to make the trip more comfortable and have a timely arrival in Cuba. Once we started motoring we soon heard the new engine sputtering. Uh Oh! What we discovered was that due to the excessive healing during the previous days high winds, our fuel tank had taken in some saltwater through the tank vent. After a series of filter changes and numerous drainings of the Racor bowl, I was able to get rid of the water and everything ran smoothly again. The fleet split widely with some boats heading east to the West coast of Florida for more favorable wind conditions, and others heading much more westerly hoping to pick up speed from the Gulf Loop Current. With daily check-ins on The Waterway Net, Cruiseheimers net, Maritime Mobile Service Net, and a designated HF race frequency we were always in touch with the fleet and friends.
On the 4th day at daybreak, Serengeti finally spotted Cuba's mountains in the distance. As we got closer, we saw two very large US Coast Guard cutters lurking at the 12 mile mark - their bows pointing ominously towards Cuba. We fully expected them to call us on the radio, but we guess now that they were aware of who we were (due to our AIS signal) and knew that we had all the necessary paperwork and permits registered with them for this trip. We sailed by without any incident. 12 miles out, we called Marina Hemingway and notified them of our position. They in turn let Hemingway International YC know where we were and they sent a race committee boat out to the sea buoy to take our finish time. We were the 4th boat to arrive in Cuba. There was also a press boat taking photos along with more TV cameras on shore. After crossing the finish line, which was right outside the channel into the Marina, the committee boat led us in and directed us to the Customs dock.
The Customs folks were very official and plenty in number, but pleasant and would not even accept a Coke from us. They went through the boat with a dog and an electronic wand of some sort. Each of us had our temperature taken by medical examiner and we had to fill out all kinds of paperwork. They asked us if we had a Satellite phone on board, to which Sue responded yes, and somehow they ended up taping our regular cell phone up in a plastic bag so that it could not be used before we checked out again. We figure they thought that was the sat phone by mistake. The Satellite phone was in the aft cabin in a drawer.
After clearing Customs, we proceeded to our slip where we were met by more officials. First the dock master checked us into the marina, then an agriculture official checked our food and finally a vet checked our cat's papers. These officials and the top marina staff blatantly asked for "A Tip", to help feed their families.
We rested for a bit the first day, but did find the Hemingway International Yacht Club later in the day for rum drinks and some local eats and entertainment. The following day we headed into Havana to explore. Our goal was to ride around in one of the great old cars we all hear about in Cuba. We lucked into a wonderful old 1956 Ford Customline convertible whose 3rd generation owner spoke English and was a terrific guide for us. We ended up hiring him for other outings also - so we got to see all the famous and some not so famous sites. A shocking observation was the condition of complete decay of many of the buildings in Havana. Such disrepair that we thought balconies could fall away at any moment - yet people were living there evidenced by laundry hanging to dry.
Serengeti crew posing by the 1956 Ford convertible
We found the Cubans that we met to be very friendly and quite fond of Americans. Most of those that we were in contact with would be considered to be at least middle class. As we travelled to and around Havana, it seemed like everyone was out on the streets. These folks seemed to be going about their business with little or no expression on their faces. Police or some army types were on every corner and each time we stopped in the car, our driver would have to give someone a few pesos.
Over the next few days the rest of the fleet trickled in and we all enjoyed some fun parties while re-living the race at the very cool Hemingway Int'l YC. With the "athletic event" over, the legal reason we could be in Cuba, it was time to say goodbye to new friends and sail home. We are certainly looking forward to when all the red tape is stripped away, and we and all American sailors can easily go to Cuba and really cruise around this spectacular island that is so close to the United States.
'Tis the season to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I want to thank the outgoing officers for all their hard work, and I look forward to working with the new officers for 2016. And, a special thanks goes out to the volunteers who keep this club in line. Thank you Art (SB Editor), Bill (web), Debbie (Sunshine), and all of the Net Controllers and Weather Reporters.
Let's get some new members for the club. We currently have 231 paid families, and 223 who still owe dues for 2016. I have waited until now to send out a Bill in the mail, hoping that most of you would have sent it in already, and I guess I was correct. Thank you to all who have sent in your dues. If you are unsure, please don't hesitate to contact me, and I will let you know. I will send out the remaining Bills after the New Year.
In past issues of the Scuttlebutt I have written about illnesses, and sanitation problems. It's time to share some ideas about getting well and staying well. The buzz word these days is "wellness". It is the concept of things we can incorporate in our daily living that will improve a variety of factors in our bodies to hopefully improve body functions and stave off a number of illnesses. Wow, it's a big subject, and deals with mental health, addictions, immunity to infections, stamina, cancer prevention, cardiologic problems, skin problems, etc., ad infinitum. While we can't deal with all these here let's focus on mental health (that feeling of 'well being'), nutrition, cancer prevention, and cardiovascular health.
Mental health is that attitude toward self that gives us the urge to get up in the morning, do our chores, meet our family, our friends and fellow boaters with some energy and optimism. OK, how to get it ? Firstly, adopt a predictable daily schedule, as much as possible. Our "net time" at 07:45 eastern time is a help here. It is predictable (unless we have magnetic storm or menacing QRM). A daily schedule helps establish an unconscious biorhythm that improves sleep patterns, digestive success, and that mental feeling that things are working out as they should. Having a project like replacing those missing teak plugs in the deck or the ship's sole, or checking the acid level in the battery cells all give a feeling that life is successful and we can enjoy the 5 o'clock cocktail. Some of us like to do various types of yoga, either alone or in class. Others read scripture or that favorite novel, or do SUDOKU. All are laudable for mental and/or spiritual health. Do it! Do it routinely, predictably!
Now for physical activity. (I know that sentence lacks a verb.) Physical activity is more than just good for you. It is necessary, yep, necessary. Without regular physical exertion our bodies grow progressively weaker, our metabolism slows, our minds become morose. Our sleep patterns deteriorate. We get constipated, etc., etc. It has been convincingly shown that regular exercise helps to lighten the load of mental depression, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood sugar, improves sluggish intestines, and helps to establish diurnal biorhythms. Well, for you intellectuals, physical exertion prompts our bodies to produce an outpouring of circulating endorphins, that body generated narcotic that makes us feel good. Regular exercise done over extended periods of our lives reduces the risks of arteriosclerosis, and, in fact, may actually improve both mental and physical heath, and strengthen us against infections.
On a personal note, I tripped over a curb while running, yes running, last August. I broke my hip and got it fixed, of course. The enforced bed rest, some delays in rehab', and my own laziness weakened my thigh muscles and only by shear will power am I now getting that 'old strength' back. It would have been prudent to have started the rehab' more diligently early on. For those folks with a bad heart it has been shown that even sick hearts can be improved by physician prescribed exercise. Ask your cardiologist.
Now let me share some thoughts on nutrition before I run out of space. Living alone, cooking alone, and eating alone is bad for your health. Older folks who live alone tend not to cook properly for themselves. Eat with your mate, or your family. Eat a variety of foods, carbohydrates, proteins and a limited amount of fats. There are a multitude of opinions about fats but one solid fact is that fats slow digestion. If we get some fat in the meal we don't get hungry so quickly, and that's good. Do avoid trans-fats if possible. Vegetable oil is good. Bacon, butter, ham and beef are bad in this regard. Eggs now are coming off the "don't touch" list but being overweight remains a threat. Unless you are going to run a marathon, or swim to Havana don't over indulge in carbs. Do have plenty of veggies. They are generally low in calories, nicely filling, have vitamins in them and contain needed fiber.
Finally, as the New Year begins, resolve to work on your "wellness". Read, participate, ask, do it!
Jim C. Hirschman MD, K4TCV, details in the roster.
At the picnic:2015 is over and the WRCC annual picnic has come and gone. All that attended I'm sure had a good time and enjoyed the food and beer [when it finally got there ha ha] Among the 118 people there was a good group of Land Cruisers mingling with their water cruising brethren. Meeting old friends and meeting new. The highlight, for me at least, was listening to Mac [N2FCP] as he explained his secret to making it to his 99th Birthday. Hope to see you next year Mac for the big 100!!!!
Happy New Year to all on land or at sea. See you on the radio.
73s KM4MA Paul
Dr. Maxwell Y Simkin, N2FCP, explains to Ron Knaggs, N1GYX, about how to live a long life. Just build you own boat and keep active. This was his 99th birthday.
Ridge Gardner, N3JUY, at the Melbourne GAM WRCC table explaining how it really works.
If it's Sunday it's Tom K4WJC as net control even if he is at the annual picnic
W4AXR Bob foreground & WS4Y Bill. Bob's beautiful land cruiser in the background
Ridge N3YUY & Kathy KA3WKH in front of their Airstream
Not all land cruisers have wheels as Tom K4WJC shows us
Gene KF5QB cruised up the Florida coast to join us.
The following members or their families have recently received cards or flowers from the Sunshine Fund.October
Dr. Jim Hirschman K4TCV SurgeryNovember
Jay Stormer AE4MZ Surgery
Be sure to send any Get Well or Silent Key requests or notices to Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Lerner KD4GRR
Some web sites for help in determining what is going on around the waterways this season:
Salty Southeast Cruisers Net: www.cruisersnet.net
Waterway Guide: www.waterwayguide.com
Active Captain: www.activecaptain.com
It was nice to meet the WRCC members who attended the picnic in Melbourne. We are now back in Indiantown, Florida at the Indiantown Marina where we were only going to spend a few days before continuing on to Fort Myers. However, the bimini decided that it was old enough and needed to be changed. I spent two weeks sewing a new one. Then the battery charger decided to fail once again. Three times in 10 years is enough with a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) of a little over 9,000 hours. Time to get a different brand! I ordered from a company in Oregon and then the order got hung-up in the Rocky Mountain snow storms. Are we having fun yet!
So it is stay in Indiantown till mid January now, since I have a ski trip planned with my daughter in early January. Come on snow!
It is nice to check into the WRCC net each day. I will try to stay in contact whether on the land or water. Thanks to all the WRCC Net volunteers. Nice job!
Please continue to share your news, stories, photos, items of interest, comments and suggestions. Send them to:
Scuttlebutt is published quarterly to inform members about Waterway Net news, activities and items of interest. Email your material to the Editor for possible submission.
What to Send
Send Silent Key and obituary notices to our Sunshine Lady.