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Rhumb Line, Vol 3 Issue 2 -- New at
February 28, 2015

Rhumb Line

a course that keeps a constant bearing

The Rhumb Line for Great Lakes Sailing is clear: to provide a comprehensive listing of ports around the Great Lakes basin and articles that cover a broad range of topics of interest to sailors.

The purpose of Rhumb Line is to keep you up-to-date with new additions to Great Lakes Sailing in a brief, easy-to-scan and concise manner. I value not only your interest but also your time.

February 2015                   New at Great Lakes Sailing

1. New Ports

2. Toronto Boat Show

3. An Iconic Rifle

5. Ice Cover on the Great Lakes

5. Sailing Preparations - Some thoughts from John Rousmaniere

1. New Ports

(a) Wallaceburg ON, near Lake St. Clair, is a sailor's hidden gem, located 9nm up a river that meanders through a very rich agricultural area. Established in 1804 as the Baldoon Settlement, it is named after one of Scotland's greatest heroes. It was sponsored by Lord Selkirk. The community struggled, especially during the War of 1812. Selkirk himself gave up on the settlement - but, luckily for us, the settlers themselves did not. Click here to visit Wallaceburg, ON.

(b) Gary, IN located in the southeastern part of 'Chicagoland' - the huge Chicago metropolitan area, is a valuable harbor of refuge in a serious emergency. The harbor is privately owned by the United States Steel Company. It is very busy and care must be taken due to continual commercial use by large freighters. Click here to visit Gary, IN.

2. Toronto Boat Show

Once again, I spoke at the Toronto Boat Show. My seminars were well-attended and the written comments afterwards were quite positive – which is always nice. I had the opportunity to meet a number of readers and chatting to them about their experiences sure underlined the many many ways sailors can have adventures on the Great Lakes.

As they did last year, The Nautical Mind offered a gift certificate and this year the winner was Bryan Kelley from Toronto. My thanks to Bryan for coming out and The Nautical Mind for providing the gift.

3. Lee-Enfield Rifle

If the terms 'emily' or smellie' have some resonance with you, you likely served in the infantry. These terms refer to the iconic Lee-Enfield rifle. Over 16 million Lee-Enfield rifles were manufactured for mostly Commonwealth soldiers, although they were also carried by troops from many other countries.

What may surprise readers is that this enormously successful rife was developed in Ontario – in the workshop of John Lee and his brother James Paris Lee. Their workshop was located in Wallaceburg, ON and the first shot from the first prototype was fired in 1878. The prototype can be found in the Wallaceburg and District Museum.

It could be be fired rapidly – 20-30 rounds per minute - what was sometimes referred to as the mad minute. The record is 38 rounds in a 12 inch circle at 300 yards in 60 seconds. It can still be found with militaries and police services around the world and is carried by the Canadian Rangers in the high arctic.

(Note: “emilie' comes from MLE – Magazine, Lee-Enfield; 'smellie' comes from SMLE – Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield)

4. Ice Cover on the Great Lakes

As we slip through the deep freeze of February, it might be instructive to get a glimpse of the ice coverage on the Lakes. Here is a chart of ice cover and average temperatures and a satellite image of the Lakes:

Its brisk out there!

5. Sailing Preparations - Some thoughts from John Rousmaniere

John Rousmaniere is an acclaimed sailor and author of 29 books on sailing – including a key reference work – The Annapolis Book of Sailing and Seamanship. He states in it that 'taking seriously the possibility of emergencies required a cautious state of mind known as forehandedness'. He described four specific rules to avoid such emergency situations:

1. Prepare the Boat: Look at everything from a 'worst-case' perspective
2. Prepare the Crew: Assign responsibilities and make sure everyone knows how things work and what do do when things go wrong
3. Choose a Safe Route: Avoid bad weather and seasons, make sure charts, etc are on board and have a fall-back plan – a Plan B
4. Prepare for Emergencies: practise, practise, practise. If you can't do actual, hands-on practice, do mental practice

Rousmaniere then goes on to outline his Formula For Disaster. These, he says, are the repeated patterns of behaviour that appear over and over again in boating emergencies or losses.

The Seven elements in his Disaster Formula are:

1. A rushed, ill-considered departure. This is common to virtually all bad accidents. It occurs where scheduling vs weather conditions dictate departure.

(as a footnote to this, in the Feb 24 web issue of Ocean Sailing magazine there is an article on the hazards, often fatal, of freezing spray at sea. The build up of ice is so enormous that a boat can capsize easily. Death is often the result. The writer suggests that sailing in this weather should be avoided BUT – and I quote - “there may be times when a delivery needs to be made at a time of the year when ice accretion could occur”. This is schedule being given priority over safety. And people wonder?????

2. A dangerous route that has predictable hazards such as shoals, reefs, lee shores or heavy commercial traffic.
3. No Plan B. If Plan A falls apart, no plan has been made for an alternative route or harbour.
4. The crew is unprepared. The crew may be shorthanded, fatigued, inexperienced or simply hasn't practised any of the essential skills necessary for safe sailing.
5. The boat is unprepared. Charts are lacking, boat equipment is in disrepair, tools and supplies are in short supply or non-existent.
6. The crew panics when someone is injured. Lack of knowledge on how to deal with the injury is compounded by the fact that the boat must still be sailed, now shorthanded.
7. Poor leadership. The Master (that's you) is weak, ignorant (as in unknowing) or aggressively assertive. Regardless, the Master fails to inspire confidence in his/her crew and to use their talents to the best end.

Taken together, his 4 rules of forehandedness and his Formula For Disaster give a pretty good idea of the things to have foremost in your mind as you prepare to cruise.

Thanks for reading Rhumb Line. Your opinions, thoughts and comments do matter. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me here at Rhumb Line or at Great Lakes Sailing.

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Fair winds and following seas.

Michael Leahy, Publisher

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