Monday, April 13, 2009

Cruising Mainsheet - May 2009; Looking After Our Bay!

Well, sailing season must actually have started. I have lost my first hat over the side – and recovered it. Time to get out the hat leashes.

The boat is in the water, although still a bit forlorn and naked without the sails on, and the first Association events are approaching. The Early Bird Cruise on the 18th, and the Spring Rendezvous at the end of April will have happened by the time this is published. The next big event is the Memorial Day Cruise (and race). For our family this has generally been the first real over nighter. And while I have enjoyed the race, the kids have really enjoyed the visit to St Michaels, and the following day up the beautiful Wye River. If you look on my web site (, and follow the people pics link, you will get to the pirate pictures from last year – great fun. I hope to see people there.

On a different and more serious note, I want to make a comment about the Chesapeake Bay, and the way we are approaching the environmental issues that face it. Last month, the Annapolis Capital reported that the State had allowed construction of piers to start in Sullivan’s cove off Round Bay on the Severn River. On the same day, it reported that the construction on Dobbin Island in the Magothy River, that had been completed by a construction company owner without many of the required permits, could remain. Clear evidence has been presented that the single biggest contribution we can make to the health of the Bay is to protect the critical shoreline areas that contribute significantly to controlling run off. However, it appears that if you have money to hire lawyers, you can get de facto waivers to the laws that were established to control this very issue. I corresponded with a number of our legislators, and my conclusion was that with the profusion of laws, it is possible – and often politically expedient - for politicians to claim that the issue is out of their jurisdiction. One can make the case that our legislators have passed a number of laws geared towards protecting the Bay – just recently they passed a septic pollution bill. However, rarely have they acted to uphold or put any teeth to the legislation.

This has been on my mind recently. Not only because the weekends on Sullivan’s Cove have been marred by the sounds of trees being cut down, and pilings being driven into the wetlands through old White Cedar stands, but also as I have worked with members to plan the summer cruise. We will be cruising on the Upper Western Shore – an area of natural beauty. I have not been there by water for about 20 years, and I look forward to going again. I know there will be incredible change that has occurred, and I am hoping that it has happened in a responsible and controlled way. Development must be balanced, and promoted in a way that does not harm land owners, or stifle change. We know how to do this, it just takes a well educated and vigilant public, some leadership from our elected officials, and a focus on what is good for all – not just those that can afford the lawyers.

As an Association, we benefit from what the Bay has to offer, and owe it to ourselves and our fellow sailors to be vigilant and persistently communicating with our elected officials. Numerous sites can direct people to the appropriate governmental agencies. Because I live off the Severn, I am most familiar with the site for Sullivan Cove: However, I know that the many of the communities have web pages that can provide information on what is happening and how to get involved. I encourage you to sign in and engage!

This topic has been fairly emotional for many. If you have comments or would like to provide feedback, please feel free to do so. I know that there are a number of people within the Association who are knowledgeable and engaged on this topic. I look forward to hearing from you and learning about what we can do as responsible “consumers” of the Bay to make sure we do our part to look after this nautical playground. Feel free to contact me by email -

See you on the Bay!

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