A Pox On Our Waterways?
I was sorry to see you glorify wakeboarding in your December
issue without exploring the negative side of this “sport.” Over
the years, I’ve run into every conceivable form of self-centered,
destructive, unsafe, and obnoxious behavior on the water, but
wakeboarders take the cake. The intent of these boats is to make
the largest wake possible, and they do. These wakes capsize other
boats, and ruin and destroy shorelines, and other people’s property. They’re loud and obnoxious, blasting their music at levels that
would get them arrested if they played it that loud on the street.
They’re a pox on our waterways. These boats need to be used in
specially designated areas, where they can play to their hearts’
content without ruining everything for everyone else.
— Chris Kieffer
Our family of five participates in a variety of watersports, so
we totally connected to your story on wakeboarding. Reading this
kind of article gets us fired up to get out on the water and we’d
love to see more articles in this vein. We also really liked the fishing
series; we fish on the Strait of Juan de Fuca a lot. It’s great to see
such variety in BoatU.S. Magazine articles. Keep up the good work.
— Colby, Jessica, Aurora, Mira & Zane Mackley
Port Angeles, WA
A Kernel Of Truth Emerges
The same day I received my December issue, with the article
on page 16 about the problems with using ethanol-blend gasoline
in marine engines, was the same day former Vice President Al
Gore said that he’d originally pushed ethanol while running for
president in a bid to support farmers and secure votes in his home
state of Tennessee. He didn’t realize then that the conversion of
corn to ethanol would account for 41 percent of the corn grown
in the U.S.. Our tax subsidies are paying for the destruction of our
marine engines. — Lenny Shaffer
Editors’ Note: Mr. Gore made these remarks in November, 2010, in a
green-energy conference in Athens, Georgia, where he discussed his original optimism for the biofuel 12 years ago, and his evolving position since
then, which he’s also discussed at length in his 2009 book, Our Choice.
“First-generation [corn-based] ethanol, I think, was a mistake,” he said.
“The energy-conversion ratios are at best very small. It’s hard, once such
a program is put in place, to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”
I read with great interest “Great Books About Boating And
The Sea” (Nov. 2010). But you missed the best book of all: William
Albert Robinson’s “ 10,000 Leagues Over The Sea”. As a young man,
Robinson sailed his 32-foot John Alden ketch Svaap around the
world in 1928-1931, the smallest boat to circumnavigate at the
time. His book, a lyrical narrative of a brilliant circumnavigation,
became a bestseller. Robinson, for reasons I don’t understand,
has disappeared from our collective memory. He was a prominent
1 Aptly Named: Less than three hours after adopting Amber, the Cowan
family had her on their boat Sunken Treasure in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey.
The boat got its name because 12 hours after they bought her, it sank, due
to a leak in the bellows. Happily a whole new engine has resulted in many
great times aboard in the seven years since. Though they laugh about it now,
the Cowan’s say it wasn’t funny at the time!
2 Too Much Sun And Sea? Never, say Heather and Cullen Sheward,
pictured here relaxing on the bow of their family boat The Refuge, tired but
happy on their way home from Catalina Island, California.
3 Let Them Eat Cabbage: Ed and Barb Holmes regularly take their
25-foot Glastron on boat trips with the South Gulf Cove Yacht Club in
southwest Florida. This photo was taken on an outing to Cabbage Key,
a historic restaurant with a panoramic view of Pine Island Sound.