Author Peter Janssen

Cruising Life
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128-foot Feadship Burns and Sinks Off Nice; All 11 on Board Safe. See Video

It’s hard to think of a lot of things worse than a fire at sea. Perhaps a fire on an airplane? Fortunately for the seven passengers and four crew on board the superyacht If Only, when a fire broke out in the engine room a few days ago the 128-foot Feadship was only a few miles south of the Nice airport on the French Riviera. Someone in the airport tower saw smoke billowing from the yacht and notified first responders. A combination of six boats and 66 firefighters got everyone off the yacht safely, although one firefighter was taken to…

Cruising Life
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Navy Destroyer John S. McCain in Collision with Tanker off Singapore. Ten Sailors Missing.

It’s hard to believe this could happen again. But now, just two months after the Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off Japan, killing seven sailors, another destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, collided with a chemical tanker off Singapore, with ten sailors missing at sea. The John S. McCain is a guided-missile destroyer, with some of the most advanced electronics in the world. It collided with a 600-foot tanker in the highly-trafficked Strait of Malacca. The tanker hit the McCain fairly far aft on its port side. Other American vessels and ships from the Singapore Navy…

Cruising Life
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Navy: Fitzgerald Lost Situational Awareness Before Collision

The Navy is punishing the captain, the executive officer, the senior enlisted sailor and all those on watch on the destroyer Fitzgerald on the night in June when it collided with a freighter off Japan, killing seven Americans. The freighter crashed into the starboard side of the Fitzgerald, its bow penetrating the cabin of the destroyer’s captain, Commander Bryce Benson. It took sailors with a sledgehammer 25 minutes to break down the door to rescue Benson, who was badly injured and hanging from the side of the ship. (His cabin is pictured above). The Navy’s report said “serious mistakes were…

On Watch
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On Watch

Joe Blanchard Has Just About Done It All on His Red Grand Banks 36, but He’s Still Going Strong By Peter A. Janssen If you’ve been cruising anywhere in the eastern half of the United States or Canada in the past few years, you’ve probably run across Joe Blanchard on his red-hulled Grand Banks 36 Firebird. Blanchard has pretty much done it all, mostly singlehanded – the Great Loop, the Down East Loop, the Small Triangle Loop. And he’s still going strong, heading south from the Hudson River for Florida, the Bahamas, maybe Cuba. Now retired after a career in…

Boat Reviews
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Ellis 40 Bowrider Express: A New Approach for a Traditional Down East Boat

You usually don’t think of “lobster boat” and “bowrider” in the same sentence. But now Ellis Boat, which has been building lobster boats (and “lobster yachts”) in Southwest Harbor, Maine, since 1947, has put the two together in its new 40-foot Ellis Bowrider Express. And despite the new seating in the bow, the boat remains true to its heritage. “It’s a fantastic vessel,” says Shane Ellis, the grandson of the company’s founder. “It has a traditional bottom, but with a custom seat on top. We’re a custom builder. We built this for a client who wanted a seat for the…

Cruising Life
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The Thousand Islands: Great Fresh-Water Cruising Destination, but Watch the Rocks

A great fresh-water summer cruising destination, the Thousand Islands dot the St. Lawrence River between New York State and the province of Ontario, straddling the invisible border between the U.S. and Canada. It’s an area where you could easily spend a few days, or an entire summer, navigating – slowly – among the granite islands that have been there since the Ice Age. Some are large, generally meaning a few acres, and some are small; one is the size of a billiard table. Large or small, the rocks surrounding them are real; you definitely want to stay in the well-marked…

Cruising Life
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New Aires Inflatable Kayaks by Walker Bay: Light, Sturdy, Fun

The new Airis Inflatable Kayaks by Walker Bay just look like fun. The fact that they’re light weight, fit into a backpack and are easy to use on the water are all just icing on the cake. The kayaks seem like the ultimate in portability. The three models – Play, Sport and Tandem – fold up and fit into their own backpacks. Then you can stow them in a lazarette or lash them on deck until you’re ready to use them again. They only take a few minutes to inflate, and they have a patented AirWeb high-pressure construction to make…

Boat Reviews
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New Aquila Flagship: Luxurious, Spacious 48-foot Power Cat

The new flagship of the Aquila power catamaran fleet, the Aquila 48 offers a combination of space, luxury, performance and easy living, whether you’re on an ocean cruise or a charter vacation. Designed from the start as a powerboat, the Aquila 48 comes in two versions: one with three cabins and three heads, or the other with four cabins and four heads. In the three-cabin arrangement, privacy is assured, with the owner’s stateroom taking up the entire port hull, with a large en suite head and shower, while two matching guest cabins are in the starboard hull, each with its…

Cruising Life
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Coast Guard Suspends Captain’s License for Taking Cruise Ship Through Crowd of Small Boats

You’ve got to see this to believe it. On a beautiful summer day, the Spirit of Portland, a 150-foot-long cruise ship, navigates through a flotilla of small boats at a Red Bull event on the Willamette River in Portland, actually nudging some of them aside as it continues on its scheduled route while people yell and protest. That was on two years ago. Now, a judge with the Coast Guard ruled that the captain of the boat, Lowell Gillespie, Jr. violated Rule 8 of the COLREGs for failing to take action to avoid a collision. The judge ordered Gillespie’s license…

Cruising Life
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Hybrid Upscale Floating Home To Debut at Fort Lauderdale Show

If you want to live on the water, and your cruising boat doesn’t have enough room to really stretch out, take a look at the Luxuria 1, a hybrid house and boat that floats on a barge and that has two luxurious bedrooms, two baths, a living room (with a 12-foot LED fireplace) and a wine room. Designed by Global Boatworks Holding Inc. and built at the Lauderdale Marine Center, Luxuria 1 is now at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center and will be exhibited there at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, starting Nov. 1. The two-story vessel has floor-to-ceiling…

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