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Rhumb Line, Vol 4 Issue 2 -- New at
March 11, 2016

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 and articles of interest in a brief, easy-to-scan and concise manner. I value not only your interest but also your time.

February 2016                New at Great Lakes Sailing

1. New Ports

2. Clarification

3. MOB Stats

4. Man Overboard

5. Economic Impact of the Soo Locks

6. The Kincardine Nuclear Waste Dump

7. Waukesha WI Water Diversion Request

8. Work Party - North Channel Style

1. New Ports

(a) Main Duck Island, ON

Main Duck Island lies at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, just inside the Canadian border. Today, it is uninhabited.

During America's Prohibition, Main Duck Island was a favoured stop-over for rum-runners, waiting for nightfall before making their dash through American waters to bring their illicit cargo to a thirsty public. Some nights there could be a half-dozen ships riding at anchor waiting to depart with their liquid gold. Today, it is a beautiful, quiet anchorage. Click here to visit Main Duck Island, ON

(b) Turkey Point, ON

Turkey Point is a very small hamlet on the north shore of Lake Erie. It is home to a large, well-managed marina. It is a popular tourist destination due to its large provincial park, terrific beaches and warm Lake Erie waters. Find out more about it here at Turkey Point, ON

2. Clarification

In the January issue of Rhumb Line, I referred to 'fetch' and 'seiche'. Some readers pointed out, correctly, that my wording was clumsy. I have re-read that paragraph and have to agree. It was clumsy and quite imprecise. Let me take another crack at it.

The following definitions are from NOAA:

Fetch The area in which ocean waves are generated by the wind. Also refers to the length of the fetch area, measured in the direction of the wind.

Seiche A standing wave oscillation of water in large lakes usually created by strong winds and/or a large barometric pressure gradient.

Storm surge An abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. It’s the change in the water level that is due to the presence of the storm

In more plain language, fetch is the distance over which the wind can blow unobstructed by land. When a storm moves from west to east along a lake, water is moved from the western end to the eastern end of the lake. The water level in the eastern end of the lake is raised. This is called a storm surge. After a storm moves past the lake and the wind and pressure are no longer pushing the water, the piled up water moves back toward the opposite end of the lake. This is the seiche.

The 'Napanee Tides' are caused when sustained winds blow across Lake Ontario from the southwest. This is a fetch of approximately 100 nm. The effect of this wind is to create a surge on the northeast shore. When the winds abate, the water at the northeast end of the lake pours back towards the southwest end of the lake. This is the seiche. This occurs over fixed period of time, taking about to 2 hours for a one-way surge between Rochester and the Bay of Quinte. The surge and seiche cycle can go on for several days.

3. Some Selected Man Overboard Stats

When I was researching for a recent seminar I did on the topic of Man Overboard, I came upon these stats From the Ontario Chief Coronor's office. I imagine the stats will hold for any jurisdiction with minor variances. The MOB section on the website provides statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard. The over picture is not good. The USCG reports that 84% of those who drowned going overboard were not wearing a life jacket. They also show that 90% of drownings occurred in calm water with waves less than 1 foot / .3 m.

The source document for these stats is Drowning Review: Office of the Chief Coronor for Ontario Boating Immersion and Trauma Deaths: Canadian Red Cross

Ages 20-54 accounted for 48.4% with largest number for 20-24 and 45-54 age groups

Reasons for Boating Deaths: Capsize – 39%, Fell Overboard: 25%, Swamped: 12%, Collision 8%, Other/Unknown:16%

Most Common Activities leading to drowning deaths: Fishing 37%, Powerboating 21%, Canoeing 14%

Risk factors for drowning deaths: Large waves – 23%, strong winds – 19%,

Involvement of alcohol: Age Groups: 15-19 – 63%, 20-24 – 82%, 25-34 – 89%, 35-64 – 55%

4. Man Overboard

Nothing can send a chill down a sailor's neck faster than the cry “Man Overboard”. Someone's life is in imminent danger and it is up to you to save them. This is even more daunting when you consider that most boats are crewed by a couple – leaving only one to manage the boat and effect the rescue. The statistics are grim.

At a recent seminar I gave on Man Overboard rescue, this was a high-priority concern for the couples attending - particularly the female partners in each couple.

One outcome of this seminar and discussion is a new section on the website dealing directly with Man Overboard situations. I really urge sailors to read this information and then carefully consider how they would deal with a Man Overboard situation on their own boat. The section can be found here at MOB !!!

5. Economic Impact of the Soo Locks

Even though we are recreational sailors, we all know that the Great Lakes are a major economic asset to both Canada and the United States. We look at the locks at Welland and at Sault Sainte Marie and quite likely never think about the impact these 2 choke points have on the lives of tens of millions of people. Yet, they play a vital role. These are critical choke points for the thousands of freighter carrying commodities such as iron ore, coal, grain and other goods.

Last summer, The MacArthur Lock at Sault Sainte Marie was closed for emergency repairs. Traffic was routed through the Poe Locks but the delays were huge. In all, 103 ships were delayed a total of 166 hours. All told, some 1.9 million tons of cargo was delayed. The result was losses in the millions.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did a study on the effect of a prolonged closure. The results are stunning. Approximately 75 percent of U.S. integrated steel production would cease with 2-6 weeks of the lock closing. Roughly 80 percent of iron ore mining and nearly 100 percent of North American production of automobiles, appliances, heavy equipment and railcars would then shut down. Almost 11 million people in the U.S. and millions more in Canada and Mexico would be unemployed and plunge the economy into a recession more severe than the “Great Recession” of 2008-2009.

Michigan and Indiana would suffer the highest unemployment rates, 22.6 percent and 22.0 percent respectively. Ohio’s unemployment rate would jump to 17.2 percent. Kentucky and Tennessee would follow at 16.7 percent and 15.3 percent, respectively. California, Illinois, New York, and Texas would each lose more than 500,000 jobs. With the inability to ship coal to power plants around the Great Lakes basin and beyond, the availability and cost of electricity would hit millions of people.

A long long way from the first fur-laden canoes that brought their precious cargoes to market three and a half centuries ago!

In addition to the size and natural beauty that make our lakes 'Great', so too is their economic impact.

6. Kincardine Nuclear Waste Dump

According to recent reports, the new Federal Enviornment Minister has delayed a decision to approve Ontario Power Generation’s plan for a nuclear waste burial site on the shores of Lake Huron. She has asked for additional studies of alternative options as well as additional studies on environment impacts and mitigation strategies. Some are suggesting that this is going to introduce very long delays before OPG gets anywhere close to a decision. Good news for Lake Huron and the 40 million plus people who draw their drinking water from this jewel of a lake.

And a good reason to keep an eye on future developments.

7. Waukesha WI Request For Diversion of Great Lakes Water

Waukesha Wi lies outside the Great Lakes basin. As reported previously, Waukesha has applied for a permit granting it an exemption from the ban on transferring Great Lakes water outside of the basin. The request is moving ahead and this is causing alarm up and down the lakes. Other communities outside the basin are watching this carefully as well. If successful, we can expect more applications to transfer Great Lakes water to destinations further and further away.

The Canadian news organization CTV has a good summary here.

If you want to comment, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors’ and Premiers’ Regional Body and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council will accept comments until March 14th here.

8. Work Party - North Channel Style

Yes – spring is in the air! And these hardy members of the North Channel Yacht Club were busy last weekend readying docks for the season. And yes – it was cold - minus 14c Sunday morning! But the good humour kept everyone warm.

The North Channel Yacht Club is located in Spragge, ON, on the shore of one of the finest cruising grounds in the world - the North Channel.

To learn a little bit more about this club and the area, click here.

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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