view counter

Features (Boating)

Get help, for free, from techies smarter than you

As soon as I purchased my new skiff some three years ago, I had to have the latest and greatest fish-finder/GPS machine. I got it installed, but once I turned it on, problems followed. The software on my machine had some initial problems that were later corrected. Still, I needed to load a new version of the operating software.
    That simple operation involved downloading the updated system from the manufacturer’s Internet site onto a computer, transfering it to a storage device and plugging that into my finder/GPS unit for automatic update. I somehow botched the operation and had to send the unit back. The manufacturer reloaded everything and promptly returned it.
    Doing some Internet research on my new unit, I quickly set a few basic parameters and barely touched the settings again. It worked well, much better than the 15-year-old unit I’d had before, but I couldn’t help thinking I wasn’t using the machine’s full potential. This winter I decided to fix that.

Beneath the Iceberg
    The electronic fish-finder is the most revolutionary tool available to anglers. It’s a tool with a story that dates back to the sinking of the Titanic.
    The part of the iceberg hit by the cruise ship was underwater and unobservable to the navigating crew. After that disaster, work immediately began on how to detect below-surface objects. First developed was an echo-ranging apparatus based on the navigational methods of dolphins.
    Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian working for a U.S. company in Boston, patented the first workable sonar —Sound Navigation and Ranging — device in 1912. Submarine warfare in the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II greatly accelerated its development, first by Britain, then the U.S.
    The fish-finders we use today are spinoffs of that defense technology. Over the years, they have become so accurate and complex that they are prohibited from export by U.S. law. They’re so sophisticated that many anglers — I being a poster boy — fail to get the most from their units. There are just too many options for a simple fisherman like me to comprehend, let alone remember how they interact.

Learning the Machine
    There is, however, a solution for us technologically inept. Almost all retailers of such units have at least one employee expert in their setup and use. In talking to a number of them over the last week, I have found them all eager to help, especially during the slow times of winter. Just disconnect your unit from the boat and take it to the store.
    The expert there can hook it up in-house and go over the settings, explain the options and suggest changes for your type of fishing.
    There also may be software upgrades available from the manufacturer. These are generally free and can be downloaded pretty easily.
    It is wise to call ahead to make sure that the right technician will be on hand and that they service your brand.
    If you have a GPS (the satellite-based Global Positioning System) unit combined with your fish-finder, you can review it as well. You can also discuss aftermarket products, such as navigational map overlays.
    Wintertime is slow for both marine stores and anglers. Availing yourself now of the expertise that the stores offer will pay off in fish in the box and fun on the water in 2014.

Jan Miles was bred to captain Maryland’s ­historic clipper ship

The man who grew up to be the captain of Pride of Baltimore II, one of the great tall ships of our age, started his sailing career in Annapolis in the late 1960s.
    Jan Miles grew up in a family that sailed for fun, mostly overseas where his father was stationed as a foreign service officer. When the family retired to Annapolis, the teenage Jan had trouble adjusting to life in the states.
...

Frostbite sailors stay home

Not cold, wind nor snow deters Frostbite sailors. But ice does.
    Most years, the Annapolis Yacht Cub’s Frostbite Sailboat Racing series would be in full swing.
...

It wasn’t so long ago that boating shifted from a way to earn a ­living to a sport and pastime

With sailing the rage all over the Chesapeake, waterfront communities organized sailing clubs, fleets and regattas for sport and competition.
...

Almost 100 years ago, peolpe were astounded to find such large fish

When Lester Trott, 95 years old this year, was born in Annapolis, the capital city had scarcely 9,000 residents.
...

Three boys in the summer of 1940 try to salvage an abandoned skipjack

Around and about the Sailing Capital of America, pleasure sailing is a way of life.
    Yet it’s a recent invention, relatively speaking.
    It took hold in one community in the summer of 1940, when Paul McDonald was an admiring 10-year-old summering on the Chesapeake in Fairhaven, way down south in Anne Arundel County. The late McDonald’s memoir, written 69 years later, takes us back to that summer.

...

How to get the most from the U.S. Boat Shows

Annapolis may call itself the Sailing Capital of the World, but the United States Boat Shows make it the Boating Capital.
    The Sailboat Show came first, introducing Chesapeake Country to in-the-water boat shows in 1970. The Powerboat Show came in 1972. For 40 years, the Sailboat Show has traditionally led, with the boats arriving the first full week of October.
...

Study safe boating — online and free

Every voyage can lead to Scylla and Charbydis. Mariners have always known that monsters of the sea are both real and hungry. Smart — and lucky — mariners live to tell the tale.
    That’s the kind of boater you want to be.
...

The last place in the world you want to take your boat

by Sandra Olivetti Martin with Doug Roberts

September 7, 2012

...

Head to a new place, and the fishing gets better

It was in the middle of the week and we had our Norfolk spot for live lining caught by 7am. Jumping up on plane, we headed toward the Bay Bridge. It was already too late. The concrete supports where we had had such great luck a day earlier had two skiffs anchored at each, and our third and fourth choices were being eyeballed by a couple of approaching charter boats.
...