Sep 30, 2010

Classic Jersey Skiff Lands at Sebago.

Chris (at the helm) and Phil Maynard in the new melon seed.
Congratulations are in order for Sebago sailor Chris Bickford who just acquired a Melon Seed Skiff! The melon seed is one of a class of traditional gunning skiffs which evolved on the Jersey Shore around Little Egg Harbor and which also includes the well known Barnegat Bay sneakbox. Noted water craft historian Howard Chapelle, in his book American Small Sailing Craft, speculates that the melon seed was "intended as an improvement" on the sneak box, and that the craft produced was drier, more seaworthy, and better able to cope with the rougher water found in the open bays of the area. Though this notion is disputed by some, the fact remains that the melon seed is an able and quite beautiful boat, a smart sailor, and perfectly suited to her new home on Jamaica Bay.

Lines plan from American Small Sailing Craft by Chapelle.
This particular 'seed was built a few years ago by Phil Maynard of Philadelphia. Phil is a talented boat builder, sailor, and pilot, among other things, and brought to this project a unique take on melon seed construction. Traditionally, these boats were carvel (smooth) planked on steamed frames. Many are now built lapstrake, either cedar on oak or glued lapstrake plywood, with maybe six planks per side. Some are cedar strip planked, and quite a few have been built in 'glass.  Phil built his with three planks per side, in stitch and glue plywood, from lines recorded by Chapelle. The overlaid lines in the body plan drawing show how close Phil was able to come to the molded shape of the original, with an economy of material and effort.  

Red lines overlay the original body plan, and indicate the new plank layout.

The melon seed under construction at Phil's shop.

The melon seed under construction at Phil's shop. 
This boat originally carried a sprit sail, similar to that shown in the Chapelle plan. Phil later changed to a higher aspect bermudan rig, with a wishbone sprit boom (actually a "half-bone" in this case). The sail area is generous, but the sail has two fairly deep reefs, so the boat stays manageable through a broad range of wind conditions. The geometry of the boom, with its upward angle towards the mast from the clew, keeps sail twist under control with no need for a vang.

Phil and Chris rig "half bone" sprit boom before launching.

I'm looking forward to sailing this boat myself, and welcome another traditional small craft to Sebago. Happy sailing Chris! For a full gallery of photos, visit Chris' album.

Sep 27, 2010

Newtown Creek Is Declared a Superfund Site

The Environmental Protection Agency has designated another New York City waterway as a Superfund site, promising a thorough environmental cleanup for the long-neglected Newtown Creek, once one of the busiest hubs of industrial activity in the city.
The designation, which was announced on Monday by the agency’s regional administrator in New York, Judith Enck, means that the E.P.A. will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the severely polluted creek to determine what kind of cleanup is needed and to identify continuing sources of pollution. Community advocates, environmental groups and members of Congress had long sought the designation out of concern about the extent of contamination and its possible danger to residents.

Sep 20, 2010

Changing of the Guard

Newly elected Commodore Tony
Pignatello (right) recognizing retiring
Commodore John Wright (left)

Though I have attended a few Quarterly Meetings of the Sebago Canoe Club, the most recent Annual Meeting was my first. Because it was the annual meeting, the agenda included elections.

After the Nominating Committee reported, nominations, including self-nominations, were accepted from the floor, or in this case, because the meeting was held outside, from the grass. All those nominated stood, in turn, in front of the assembled membership to say a few words about their qualifications and vision for the club.

After their speeches, nominees retired to the clubhouse. With nominees out of earshot, various members offered speeches in support of one nominee or another. Ballots were then distributed and cast. With a tie for the fifth slot on the Board, there was an additional tie-breaking vote.

With New York’s primary election having occurred just five days previous, perhaps the small print New York Ballots were still on the minds of the Nominating Committee when they decided to print the names of all nominees on newsprint large enough for all to see from a distance. With regard to tiebreakers and transparency, I think both Florida and Afghanistan could have learned something from the process.

Although they will not take office until October 1, here are the election results.

Commodore: Tony Pignatello
Vice Commodore: Andrew Sherman
Treasurer: Zachary Abrams
Secretary: Rochelle Rubin

Board members (four for two years, one for one year):
Walter Lewandowski
Pete Peterson
John Wright
Joe Glickman
David Zweighaft

Already serving on the Board and moving into the second year of their two year terms are:
Mary Eyster
Jim Luton
Jerry Dunne

Newly elected Commodore Tony Pignatello duly honored retiring Commodore John Wright, presenting him with a plaque recognizing his leadership over the past several years.

Sep 18, 2010

It was a glorious,




GLORIOUS day we had for the first race of the Fall series.

Sep 17, 2010


ARRRRR! Avast ye scurvy scallywags o' Sebago! I would like to bring t'yer attention that Sunday is not only the day o' th' Annual Meetin', but also Talk Like A Pirate Day!

In honor o' th' arrrrr-spicious arrrrr-ccasion, let's have all debates settled by cutlass and pistol, an' a keelhaulin' or two!

That'll liven things up an' mayhap move things along, too, aye? What think ye me hearties?

Sep 7, 2010

Photography Contest... all about paddles....

Do you have a photo of a kayak paddle or a canoe paddle that is ready for a photo contest? Please enter your photo for a chance to win the photo contest..all about paddles...enter here
You will have to join Red Bubble, but it is worth if you are into photography....
While you are there, check out all the photos of canoes and kayaks....
click here

Sep 3, 2010

Boating laws apply to wakes

This is a letter to the editor from a former member of Sebago Canoe Club, who now lives in Florida and is vice commander of Division 4, 7th U.S. Coast Guard District.

"Use caution on local waterways," stated that he and his children were almost swamped by a high-speed boat while they were kayaking on the Indian River. The writer went on to state there was no law relating to wakes outside of a wake-free or manatee zone.

I can relate to this, having paddled Olympic racing canoes and kayaks for the Sebago Canoe Club in Paerdegat Basin and Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn in the 1960s. My children did the same in the late 1980s. While most boat operators were courteous, there were always a few who had no regard for us or our fragile racing boats. Unlike a regular canoe or sea kayak, if we swamped, we were unable to climb back into the Olympic flat-water kayak or canoe without risking cracking the hull, gunwale or combing.

Fortunately, there are laws relating to the safe operation of a motor vessel. These laws do apply to wakes produced by a boat, regardless if you are in a no-wake zone or open waterway. U.S. Code, Title 46, Section 2302, and Florida Statute 327.33 deal with the reckless or careless operation of a motor vessel. Law enforcement agencies have successfully applied these laws to wakes produced by passing vessels -- where a wake caused an injury, damage to another vessel, someone falling overboard, or caused the swamping of another boat. Depending on the circumstances, it could either be reckless operation -- a misdemeanor, or careless operation -- a non-criminal infraction.

All vessel operators are urged to be cognizant of their wakes, particularly when passing smaller, human-powered vessels. Remember, operators of motor vessels are responsible for their own wake at all times.

Editor's note: Sorrentino is vice commander of Division 4, Daytona Beach, 7th U.S. Coast Guard District.

Sep 1, 2010

Public Meetings Re: The Future of Floyd Bennett Field

Just a quick copy & paste from my email to spread the word.

Please find attached, and below, the information for two upcoming public meetings on the future of Floyd Bennett Field. Please distribute the flyer and this information to your contacts and anyone you think might be interested in attending.
Maya Borgenicht
Regional Plan Association
Governors Island Alliance
4 Irving Place, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 917.652.6359
Fax: 212.253.5666
twitter: @govisalliance
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall invite you to join a conversation on the future of Floyd Bennett Field.
Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Anthony Weiner have formed a Blue Ribbon Panel to provide recommendations on possible improvements to Floyd Bennett Field.

The 1400 acre Floyd Bennett Field, part of Gateway National Recreation Area, is one of New York City’s largest public spaces. It provides many environmental, recreational, and cultural benefits to the people of Brooklyn and Queens and visitors from the rest of the City and beyond. The National Park Service is now drafting a plan to shape the Field’s future. Please share your thoughts on the Field’s current use and potential with the Borough Presidents and other Blue Ribbon Panel members as they develop recommendations for the Field’s plan for the Senator and Congressman.

For more information go to:

Queens Meeting:
September 27th, 2010, 6-8 PM,
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge,
Queens, N.Y.

Brooklyn Meeting:
September 21st, 2010, 6-8 PM,
Aviator Sports, Hangar 5,
Floyd Bennett Field,
3159 Flatbush Ave.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

For more information please contact Maya Borgenicht or at (917) 652-6359.