Thursday, July 2, 2009

up in the air

I had to take a helicopter ride today for work and it was a nice day to be up in the air.  That is Chesapeake Bay with Willoughby Spit in the foreground.  You can also see Harrison's Fishing Pier, rebuilt as the Ocean View Fishing Pier after Hurricane Isobel, off to the right.  A few miles down the shore is Little Creek Inlet and a couple of marinas.  I really do need to trailer over there and launch for some sailing on the Bay.
Making some progress getting ready for the ChesBay 150.  The food supply is coming along fine, I've been tossing packs of fruit cups and tuna fish lunches in the basket whenever I go shopping.  Also got my AMB powder and my 24 pack of GU Energy Gel Pack (I went with the variety pack that had eight  - I think - different flavors.  I got some good advice from SandyBottom and Kiwibird on the flavors, but figured we would give all the varieties a try).

The latest issue of BoatU.S. Magazine came in the mail with an article about Spot vs. EPIRB's.  In short their conclusion seemed to be that Spot was good for inshore, EPIRB's good for offshore.  The sentence that caught my attention was....

"SPOT provides a new way to stay in regular contact with friends and loved ones and , for Boat U.S. members, will even provide a quick way to reach BoatU.S. Towing Services - an extremely useful function."

That was good news to me.  When I first got my Spot I called BoatU.S.  and asked them if they would respond to a non-specific request for help.  In my case, my "need assistance" Spot message asks all recipients to contact my brother (I don't want eight differents requests for help ) to make sure he is contacting BoatU.S. with my member number, my location and a request for help.  The request for help would not be specific - they would not know if I needed a tow, fuel or whatever, they would know only my location and that I needed "assistance".  Would they respond to that?  I was told that they would.  This article seems to confirm that.  So there is a little more peace of mind.  Love that SPOT.

I've been a member of BoatU.S. for about five or six years and have found it to be a pretty good deal.  I have never used the on the water service, but I have used the trailer service on two occasions.  Both times, at very low tides, I had hooked my tires off the end of the ramp (you would think I would have learned after the first time!).  Each time the cost of the tow truck exceeded the cost of the annual membership.  For each of the two calls I came out $80 or more dollars ahead.  Can't beat that.
I also have full insurance on Spartina through BoatU.S.  With two years of labor plus all the marine grade plwyood, epoxy and hardware I want to make sure I'm protected against any loss.

Harborfest tomorrow, the big waterfront festival in Norfolk.  Too crowded for me to be on the water, but I'll drop by and check out the tall ships.


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