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houseboat expo new

Jan. 18, 2010
Vol 1, No 2-10

Wet pups to jump in Chicago, Louisville, and St. Louis

DockDogs is a dog-jumping contest in which canines from around the country compete in three events, including Big Air, Speed Retrieval and Extreme Vertical. And boy, are they ever fun to watch, as crowds at each show attest.

Here's a picture of a competitor at the St. Louis Boat & Sportshow last year:

Photo courtesy NMMA

Dock Dog

I hope you caught the action if you attended the Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show that ended yesterday, or plan to go to the Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow that runs Jan. 20-24, or to the St. Louis Boat & Sportshow, February 10-14.


Show attendees can bring their pooch to the show to compete or just watch the pros in action. For information regarding pre-registration and scheduled events, visit DockDogs.com. Here are some YouTube.com video highlights from past DockDogs competitions, too.


And remember last month when we talked about how boat shows were working to make boating more affordable? Now comes news from Malibu Boats about their Winter Blast Boat Show Savings Event. Additionally, the Mid-America Boat & Fishing Show, Jan. 15-24, has teamed with the Cleveland Foodbank to offer free admission to every attendee that brings four cans of food tomorrow, Jan. 19. It's Food Drive Tuesday. On Thursday, it's Put-In-Bay Day, and admission is only $5 after 5 p.m.

Also, Strictly Sail Chicago, opening in 10 days, Jan. 28-31, writes that it's offering more than 200 educational seminars to let novices learn basics, and veteran sailors find out about new techniques. Physicist Scott Welty becomes Capt. Science to talk torque, hull speed, and lightning. Wow, fun and education--that's what I call a great value.


Looking ahead, the NMMA has set date for next year's New Orleans Boat & Sportshow. It will take place Jan. 27-30, 2011.

Newsletter column debuts

HeartLand Boating's fully equipped Web site includes a Message Board for reader queries, but traffic to it tends to slow down in the winter when most boaters are storing their craft.

You're the expert in this column! Please use the e-mail link and subject headers to send us suggestions for questioners, and we will pass them along. Here for your consideration are two questions posed by readers.

Question No 1:

I have a pontoon conversion. It is called a houseboat at the marina, but it is more like a camper. As the economy turns, we are looking at a real houseboat, maybe a large sailing cruiser, and so we may need another marina. We are currently on Clearwater Lake near Piedmont, Mo. If we get a larger boat, we need a marina with a houseboat community. There are no houseboat-size marinas on Clearwater.

We reside in the Missouri Bootheel. We started on Bull Shoals Lake, but that was 4 1/2 hours away. Kentucky Lake is a two-hour drive, like Clearwater. Norfolk Lake on the Arkansas-Missouri boarder is 3 1/2 hours. I am not sure about the distance to Heber Springs and Lake Ouachita, north of Little Rock in Arkansas.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Have a good day.

Aside from suggesting consultation with Quimby's Cruising Guide, HeartLand Boating hesitates to suggest a specific marina. But we would like to know what you think. Reply to lbraff@heartlandboating.com with "Question 1" in the e-mail's subject line, please.

Question No 2:

I am looking for input from someone to help me size a boat, primarily for river navigation and some open water. I have had numerous open-bow boats and taken trips down the Intracoastal Waterway (Chesapeake Bay to Savannah, Ga.). Recently we went down the Monongahela River (Fairmont, W.V. to Pittsburgh, Pa.) and the entire Ohio River (Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill.), all in a 21-foot open-bow boat. The trips were both very enjoyable and I would like to do more rivers, but more comfortably.

I am now looking to sell the 21-footer and purchase a larger boat that I can use to take longer river trips and that I can sleep aboard. Ideally I would like to sleep four adults, but still keep the boat on a trailer when it's out of the water. I have large trucks that I can use to pull a heavier boat-trailer combination.

Can you recommend an individual to assist me in not only sizing a boat, but also suggesting styles and brands? I find that dealers often are more interested in selling me what they have, not necessarily what I need. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Well, I suppose you can't blame a salesperson for talking up his inventory, but I think everyone understands your frustration. What about it, readers? What's the next logical step for this boater? Reply to lbraff@heartlandboating.com with "Question 2" in the e-mail's subject line, please.

New marina for Old Hickory Lake


Contributor Bob Duthie www.greatloopcruising.com

writes us with news about what was up on New Year's Day. This photo

smaller black jack

shows "the new marina that replaced Lakewood Marina on Old Hickory Lake. The new marina is called BlackJack Cove. The restaurant is the Black Pearl and by all accounts is very good. There is also a shop, bait store, fuel dock (gas and diesel) and lots of transient space," Duthie said.

            Thanks for the update, Mr. Duthie. We're always glad to hear news about marinas.


Loran-C signal ends soon


The director of prevention policy for the U.S. Coast Guard has announced plans to stop broadcasting North American Loran-C signals on Feb. 8. Both Joan Wenner, in her September Waterway Law column titled "EPIRB Facts & Rules to Know," and Patti Clausen in her October beacons roundup, have discussed newer, more advanced rescue technologies now available to boaters as a replacement. Neither the armed forces nor the nation's transportation sector uses the terrestrial-based Loran-C system anymore, according to the news release.


Grand Lakes Yacht Club scores for Ronald McDonald House


Reader Leslie Goodman writes to tell us that the Grand Lakes Yacht Club collected 249-plus pounds of tabs during 2009. Members counted how many were in a pound, and discovered it took 1,475 tabs to make that weight. One of the club members presented the tabs the tabs in to the Ronald McDonald House in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 6. Well done, Grand Lakes Yacht Club!

            About the club itself, Goodman says "We are boaters from Lake Barkley Marina, Buzzard Rock Marina, and Kuttawa Marina on Lake Barkley and GTB Marina, Kentucky Dam Marina, and Kenlake Marina on Kentucky Lake. We don't actually have a clubhouse. But we have super club afloat parties at different marinas throughout the summer. We also have one heck of a good time with other boaters."

The club's new commodore is Michael Swinea, who boats at Kenlake Marina.


Houseboat on Fox River prompts neighborliness


Contributor Jeff Yates sent in this link about a Wisconsin man caught both by ice and by the economy, in his houseboat. His story took a surprising turn a couple of weeks ago.

Praise for the calendar

Mark Gentry, the advertising representative for HeartLand Boating, reports that the calendar made a big hit at the Nashville Boat & Sportshow, and readers appear to agree.


J. Cecil Smith, who often contributes to "Heard From the Heartland," writes, "I got the calendar; I'm really proud of it!  For a first effort, it has great personality!  Stunning pictures!  Glad to see Cliff and Freckles again."
              That February calendar picture of the Kingscraft houseboat is exactly and precisely like the one that I had two of. Our tornado of 1974, which killed 31 people in our town of 1,700, also destroyed my 1972 Kingscraft, which was in winter storage on barrels. A total loss. So I found one just like it, same year and everything. Insurance bought it for me."

Those who don't know better sometimes declare, "There's nothing to do during the winter in the heartland!" But the inventive Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau declared this past Saturday and Sunday as "Let's Paint the Town" weekend.


What a great idea. And there's no better place to find out what's happening in your neck of the woods than by consulting the HeartLand Boating Online Calendar.


Right here in greater St. Louis, for example, Alton, Ill., is sponsoring Eagle Meet and Greet Sundays all month, plus the first Sunday in February. See a live bald eagle up close, and learn about the species. Call 1-800-ALTON-IL (258-6645) or click here for details.


The last Saturday of January, the "city of festivals," St. Charles, Mo., puts on the Fete De Glace (Festival of Ice) on North Main Street, near the mouth of the Missouri River. Watch professional ice carvers compete using chain saws, power grinders, sanders, cold chisels, handsaws, and irons. The crowd judges the results. Coffee, hot chocolate, and fire pits warm up everyone.


And finally, if it's January, can Mardi Gras be far behind? St. Charles, Mo., parades alcohol-free for Mardi Gras the first Saturday in February; New Orleans, of course, celebrates on the day itself.


Just think of Mardi Gras as the first day of very early spring.



Lee Braff 

HeartLand Boating
Editorial Department


1999 78' X 16' SUMERSET - Excellent condition. Located in Ohio. Only 7 days to Pittsburgh, Charleston, or Louisville by water. Every option from (A) Anchor windlass to (Z) Zodiac Yachtline.

For details, email dan@carskaddenoptical.com
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