Merrimac River Sail _ Power Squadron.doc

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					                Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron

 Jack Micklovich, AP
 Commander                      DECEMBER 2008

 Charles D. Boddy, Jr., AP      COMMANDER’S MESSAGE
 Executive Officer
                                First of all, my apologies for not having sent out more
 Administrative Officers        frequent articles, and better squadron communication.
 Charles G. Morris, AP           It probably has also been a tough boating season for
 Education Officer
                                everyone, especially with the incredibly high cost of fuel
 Kenneth J. Backman,            we have experienced. This plus the overall economy has
 Treasurer                      taken its toll on many aspects of USPS. Membership
                                continues to be a major challenge. So, thank you to all
 Barbara Bergin, AP,            of you for hanging in there. I wish there were more
 Secretary                      ways for this squadron to get more actively involved
                                with our membership. We all share that common interest
 Carol A. Backman,              of boating, yet whenever there are any events or
 Administrative Officer         activities; it’s always the same group. We really need
                                your help to get more actively involved with the MR
 At Large Members               Squadron if we are to survive. We have been in
 Bob Martin
                                existence since 1941, so talk about history and tradition.
 Peter Devlin
 Bob Manning
                                The Bridge (executive committee), needs more people
                                to help run and maintain our squadron; we can’t keep re-
                                circulating the same people. We need new and fresh
                                ideas. That’s what keeps us going. So please consider
                                getting more involved with your squadron. Contact us!
                                And if there is any reason for keeping your
                                memberships, check out USPS boat insurance programs.
                                Those courses you take or have taken can be invaluable
                                in getting a reduced premium. I’m speaking from
                                personal experience too! When I recently got a USPS
                                quote, the premium was $500 less than my current
                                policy for the exact same coverage. That is significant.
                                Check it out.

In closing, I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season. And, there’s only about
5 months to go before we start getting ready for next summer’s boating.

Thank you.

                 Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron

                                     Happy Boating!
                             Sincerely, Jack Micklovich, Cdr.

                      2008 Points East Fundy Flotilla
                             Bob and Suzy Martin
                                 m/v SARADAY
                           Grand Banks Eastbay 40

          I always have prided myself in thinking I have at least an average or somewhat
above average adventurous personality. After all, I was a Naval Aviator and until retiring
last year as a commercial pilot had flown to destinations all over the world. Some of the
very remote locations required more than just having the technical and procedural
knowledge for flying into and out of the airport but an additional healthy dose of
adventurism that was not for the faint of heart. However, even with all of that machismo
I still found myself limiting the range of my cruising along the Maine coast to the most
traveled destinations between Portland, ME, and Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert, ME
– hesitant to go beyond my comfort level.

        Among our many yacht club cruising friends we have heard glowing descriptions
of idyllic Roque Is, ME, Grand Manan Is, New Brunswick, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
and the challenges of the Reversing Falls in St. John, New Brunswick. But they were all
beyond my perceived experience level and comfort zone, or so I thought. Enter the
Points East magazine sponsored 2008 Fundy Flotilla. This was the ticket to going
beyond my comfort level by being part of an organized and well planned adventure in the
company of other kindred soles. Crowd psychology plays a great part in our
encouragement to expand our horizons – after all, if they can do it I can do it – besides I
wouldn’t want to embarrass myself by not doing what the rest of my fellow cruisers are
taking in stride.

        The 2008 Fundy Flotilla cruise measured up to every one of my expectations and
goals – great adventures, spectacular scenery, great food and most importantly the
opportunity to meet and get to know a great group of boating friends. As with any
extended adventure its degree of success is in direct relation to the amount of preplanning
expended. And thanks to the planning and experience of Bernie Wideman, cofounder of
Points East magazine and the cruise director, the complete cruise, which included sixteen
sail and ten power boats, went as planned and as far as I know more than met or exceeded
everyone’s expectations. This cruise was something like the eighth flotilla Bernie had
organized so his expertise showed through in spades.

        For the first leg, Northeast Harbor, ME to Cutler, ME, I plotted a near shore route
in order to better enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Maine coast. Silly me, little did I
know there would not be any scenery to be seen except for lobster pots as they emerged
out of the fog. Upon exiting Northeast Harbor very dense fog welcomed us to the reality
of cruising in Maine. As long as I have charts for DR, a good chart plotter and radar (at
the helm), fog doesn’t cause me very much anxiety.

                  Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron

        We temporarily broke out of the fog passing Jonesport, ME, which lies at the
midpoint of Moosabec Reach. Approaching the eastern exit of Moosabec Reach the fog
set back in with vengeance. I was doing just fine transiting the very narrow passage
except for one minor little detail – thus my first lesson of many to come. I had the chart
plotter on the 1 ½ mile range verses a more appropriate range of 1 or ¾ mile. With the
smaller scale selected the boat symbol covered almost the complete width of the channel.
As it happened I was about six feet on the wrong side of “9” Fl G 4s marker which is not
a floating buoy but a monument at the end of a pile of granite (riprap) connecting the
monument to the shore. At a distance of about 20 to 30 feet the monument loomed out of
the fog and at five to six knots my confusion and disbelief in what I was seeing almost
proved disastrous. Fortunately I reacted on instinct, rapidly bringing the engines to idle
and simultaneously shifting the transmissions into reverse. The boat stopped about ten
feet short of the riprap.

         The next exciting thing was an obnoxiously loud buzzer alarm which further
added to my adrenalin rush. Due to the rapid movement of the throttles to idle the
starboard engine had stalled resulting in the oil pressure warning buzzer being activated.
In the confusion I didn’t at first recognize what the buzzing was telling me. Meanwhile
the boat had backed away from the riprap but in an asymmetrical direction due to only
the left engine being powered. It finely dawned on me the starboard engine was stalled.
After several failed start attempts I realized something out of the ordinary was going on
because my engines have always started with just a momentary push on the starter button.
In the continued confusion and distraction of the blaring warning buzzer I had not
realized the starter motor was not running when I pushed the start button. Enter lesson
number two – I learned the starter is disabled when the transmissions are in any other
position than neutral. After moving the selectors to neutral the engine started without any
further hesitation.

        By now we had backed away from the danger area with fog again enveloping us,
now I had to figure out our location in order to extract ourselves from further danger.
Fortunately I finally had the sense to select a larger scale on the chart plotter to better fix
my position and navigate the rest of the way to open water. Though I had screwed up,
my extensive training in aircraft emergencies kept me from totally panicking (other than
suffering extreme anxiety when the engine would not start and I could not, at first, figure
out why) and we removed ourselves from what would have been a very embarrassing
accident. This would not have been a simple case of running aground – it would have
been a case of running head on into a granite wall. How does one explain to the
insurance company the damage is to the bow stem not the bottom?

        For all of you Monday morning quarterbacks, I know there are probably as many
‘woulda-shouldas’ as there are readers of this saga. There are any number of lessons that
can be learned from the planning process right through to the argument I should not have
been trying to transit such a tight area under those conditions. Like case histories studied
in law school this would be a good scenario to use as a training tool in a United States
Power Squadrons® navigation course.

                 Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron

Continuing on in the fog it was not until entering the harbor at Cutler the fog lifted
enough for us to see land again. After a very pleasant evening and a great lobster dinner
at the local Methodist church we departed the next morning for Fishermen’s Wharf at
North Head on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada.

        Once again our old friend the fog was waiting for us just outside of Cutler.
Except for tracking traffic on the radar, the trip to North Head was uneventful. One of
the blessings of cruising in Canadian waters during the summer months is the lack of
lobster pots. Canadian fishermen do not have a year around lobster season like Maine –
their lobster season runs from about the middle of November to the middle of June.
Without a minefield of lobster pots to dodge this was one of the few times I have ever
been able to program a complete route into the chart plotter and actually follow the route
from the first waypoint to the last using NAV mode coupled to the autopilot.

       The harbour at North Head would be our first destination in Canada so clearing
customs would be our first obligation (besides hoisting the Canadian flag when crossing
into Canadian waters) after getting the boat securely moored inside the protected harbor.
Clearing customs, whether Canadian or U.S., can be a hassle or a breeze and much of it
depends on the professionalism in which the boat, ship’s stores and crew information are
organized and presented.

        Grand Manan’s economy primarily revolves around fishing and the maritime
trades, however, in the summer the population just about doubles with the addition of
tourist and summer residents. This is where many of us first learned about fish weirs.
Fish what? Fish weirs! The history of fishing weirs can be traced back as far as the
Romans and medieval England, but of more significance to our history has been their use
by American Indians to trap fish and there are as many designs as there are local
conditions dictating their construction. Far and away most of the weirs we encountered
were round with an offset overlapping opening that allows the fish to swim in but not out.
The structural part of the weir usually consists of fairly substantial poles driven into the
sea bottom near the shallows of a shore with smaller sticks or brush filling in the gaps.
Most of the operational weirs are marked on the navigation charts and as you can imagine
avoiding getting tangled up in a weir would be about as important as not running aground
or into a granite wall.

        However, one of the boats in our flotilla almost learned their lesson the hard way.
They departed Grand Manan for an intermediary overnight stop at Dipper Harbour
enroute to St. John, New Brunswick. After arrival and successfully setting their anchor
they were about to kick back for a well deserved happy hour, dinner and restful evening
on the hook when a local fisherman came alongside and suggested this would not be a
good place to spend the night. When asked why, he said they were anchored right over
an old weir and with the falling tide there stood a good chance their boat would become
entangled. Needless to say they moved. In their defense the weir that almost skewered
them was out of commission and not marked on the chart, therefore due to their arriving
at high tide not visible.

                 Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron

To be continued in the next issue of The Toothpick.

                      FOUNDER’S DAY DINNER

        The Merrimac River Sail and Power Squadron is an unincorporated association
comprising a division of the United States Power Squadrons. Although not incorporated,
the squadron functions pursuant to bylaws patterned after a model developed by the
national organization. The Merrimac River bylaws have not been updated since 2001.
Recently, the Squadron Commander charged the Law Officer with reviewing the current
Merrimac River Sail and Power Squadron Bylaws and comparing them to the current
national model. The ultimate purpose was to determine whether the current bylaws
paralleled the national model, and to recommend any changes. Because our bylaws were
not updated, they fail to correspond directly with National Bylaws, and were overdue for
amendment. The national model had been completely revised and reformatted since
        The Rules Committee worked with the Commander and the Bridge to completely
revise and update our bylaws. The resulting proposed bylaws correspond with national
bylaws and with the Model Bylaws for Squadrons, and, yet, still maintain those
individual bylaw provisions that make Merrimac River Sail and Power Squadron unique.
        You are asked to review these changes, and, at the Founders’ Dinner, will be
asked to vote to adopt the changes. Because mailing a complete copy of the proposed
bylaws to each of you is cost-prohibitive, a copy of the bylaws is available for review at
the Commander’s home, and at future bridge and squadron meetings. Most of the
changes were to better coincide our bylaws with National Bylaws, and were not

A list of substantive changes are as follows:

Sections 3.2: Apprentice members were added to the list of membership classes.

Section 5.1.5: Which prohibited a member from being eligible to serve as a Commander
for more than two consecutive terms of one year is removed, as it was in the Model

Section 5.9.1: Language was added to obligate the Membership Committee to keep new
members aware and involved.

Section 6.6.3: Language was added to obligate the Treasurer to make financial records
available to the Auditing Committee.

Section 9.5: Special membership meetings may be called by 10% of members but not
less than six members. Our current bylaws allow such meetings to be called by ten

                 Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron

members. This proposed change will bring our bylaws into conformance with the
National Model Bylaws.

Section 9.6.1: This new section is added to allow notices to be served by electronic
means (email, fax) upon members who consent to such service.

If you have any comments, concerns or questions regarding these revisions, please feel
free to contact Charles Boddy at 978-420-5162 or

       The Merrimac River Sail and Power Squadron annual Founder’s Day Dinner is
Scheduled for February 7, 2009 at the Village Restaurant, 472 StateRoute 111,
Hampstead, NH. Social Gathering will Commence at 17:30 Hours. Dinner and the
squadron annual dinner will follow at 18:00 Hours. Voting for the next bridge will be
conducted along with the Squadron’s Change of Watch. Voting will also take place on
changes to the Squadron’s Bylaws. We can expect an exciting presentation by our guest
speaker. See details below:

                      ANNUAL FOUNDERS DAY DINNER!
                    Participate in an Annual Favorite Etc. Etc.
DATE:                       SATURDAY, 07 February, 2009

WHERE:                        One Eleven Village Square Restaurant
                              472 State Route 111; Hampstead, NH 03841

TIME:                         0600ish to 1000 ish

WHO:                          All Squadron members and their guests are invited

COST:                         $30.00 per person

FORM BY:                      Monday, Feb, 2 2009 (Hurry, limited to first 35

EQUIPMENT:                    Bring your significant other or borrow a friend

QUESTIONS:                    Call Carol Backman at: 978-667-2907

                    Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron

                       Menu selection
          Chicken Parmesan w/angel hair pasta/salads
          Honey Baked Haddock/baked potato/salads
          8 oz. Prime Rib of Beef/baked potato/salads

           Chocolate Mousse & Coffee          $30.00 per person (tax & tip included)



PHONE #: _______________

MAIL TO:             MEMBER(S) Selection:________ x $30.00 = ________
Carol A. Backman
3 Lawrence Street       GUEST(S) Selection:________ x $30.00 = ________
N. Billerica, MA 01862
                      TOTAL ATTENDING:---- ________ =$_________

~Please Make Check Payable to Merrimac River Sail and Power Squadron


                               EDUCATION REPORT CARD
           Educational opportunities are ramping up. On November 17th, MRSPS offered a
   public seminar in using GPS. Charlie Morris taught the class that had 6 squadron
   members taking and auditing the course, and had one public participant.

           Dex Hyland is teaching three courses that are just beginning: Junior Navigation
   for those who have graduated from the Advanced Piloting Course, and Start
   Powerboating Right for those wishing to pursue Inland Navigator Certification, and
   the Advanced Piloting Course, for those who have earned the grades of Seaman and
   Pilot and wish to pursue further navigational knowledge! The Advanced Piloting
   Course will be begin on Wednesday, January 6, 2009 at 6:30pm in Dex’s State Farm
   Insurance Office. The Junior Navigation Course will be begin the following night,

                 Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron

Thursday, January 7, 2009 at 6:30pm in the same office. Please contact Dex at 603-329-
5162, if you would like to join your fellow members on one of these quests for
knowledge! C’mon, isn’t it time you advanced a grade??

        Instructor Certification is needed for all who teach boating courses. We need
you to share your knowledge with others! Please consider taking the certification course.
If you are already certified, then check your certification expiration date. Many of our
current certified instructors are set to expire and will be taking the recertification

       Details of Spring program offerings will appear in the next Toothpick!

     FOR MARCH 21, 2009. It will be held at the STARBOARD
                      GALLEY, 55 Water St
                     Newburyport, MA 01950
                         (978) 462-1326
                         Get directions

We are lining up a great agenda with some excellent speakers.


We recently had a Fall Conference that combined 4 Districts. We had the honor of Chief
Commander Creighton Maynard attend. I had the honor to meet him at a dinner
reception. There were 4 days of activities and meetings at the Ashworth Hotel in
Hampton, NH. In spite of the unfavorable weather conditions, we had a great turnout.
Again the common theme was declining memberships. However, there also appeared to
be a very strong commitment to the education programs, and a focus on on-water
certification and kayakers.


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