Saturday, June 18, 2016

2016 Hurricane Season Outlook for Mariners





We have added a news  item with images, movie and links to info from the National Hurricane Center regarding number of storms for the 2016 season, storm surge forecasting and a new low bandwidth page for mariners from the NHC.
http://yachtinsure.com/news-hurricane-forecast-2016-yacht-insurance.html

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Maria #2 IF THE BACKSIDE OF THE MOON HAD A BACKSIDE

So it was, Gloria and I arrived in our VW Bus at 6 p.m.  at the border city of San Luis Rio Colorado, on a Friday night in March of 1974….ready to drive the 4000 miles down to Panama on the Pan Am Highway and inspect this Cheoy Lee sailboat…..Sun was going down and as we went through the border station the dust was so thick from about 500 pickup trucks driving all over you could not see more than a few feet. 


We asked the border guard why so many trucks and he said it was Friday night….all the ranch hands were drinking cerveza and tooling around….He asked where we were going and we said “Panama” and he just stared at us, as if to say “What?” We got this from all the border guards and customs all the way to Panama, as they did not get many drivers to Panama!


 The next day, we were heading down the highway in the Sonoran Desert toward Guaymas, running due south a few miles inland, along the east coast of the Sea of Cortez….we drove for at least an hour south without seeing another car….desolate and dry and quite beautiful…..if the backside of the moon had a backside it would look like this! 

We drove for several hours, seeing only the occasional car…then came upon a sad scene…a car had struck an abutment, and there were three bodies beside the road—a pickup truck had flipped over--and a passing driver had stopped and was covering them with blankets….We learned that driving in Mexico was a very dangerous pastime…and driving at night in Mexico was much too foolhardy a thing to do!


On the way to Mexico City, we drove through an amazing volcano lava field.  It was in huge contrast to the surrounding sunlit area, miles and miles of black rock, through which a road was chopped for passing traffic, such as it was.  We stopped in out of the way places that never see tourists…..played pool and drank cerveza for hours in a small cantina/bar, and the tab came to less than two dollars!  

Just north of Guatemala, we drove along the Mexican coast heading south along the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Anyone who has driven along this 120 mile stretch of lonely road will tell you it is an experience you will not soon forget.  It is beautifully desolate….green and lush but no homes or cities, just a 120 mile long sandy beach . Here the Sierra Madres end just north of this area and the land flattens out and has NO mountains.  So all the wind from the Canadian Rockies on down, is funneled into this opening as it heads south and out to sea in the Gulf.  Winds of 40 to 50 knots or more are a continuous daily occurrence.  All day, all the time!  We thought our VW bus would flip over several times!

Boaters always hug close to the shore here, following along the coast at the five fathom line, not more than 100 feet off the beach. As the wind is ALWAYS from the north here and from the land heading into the bay, there is no need to worry about a lee shore as it never is a lee shore!  Being so close to shore keeps a boat in flat, calm water as there is not enough area to build up any waves…..You can look offshore a mile or so and see all the massive waves and white horses as the wind blows against the ocean. 

A few unlucky boaters have gone offshore a bit too far, got caught in the winds, and wound  up several hundred miles offshore, as there is no way to fight your way back to the beach!  This is considered to be one of the graveyard areas of the Pacific, and even large oceangoing ships will not cut across the bay to save time….they all go several hundred miles out to sea to avoid this area…..


In Guatemala City, we got hopelessly lost in the messy tangle of small streets and could not find our way back to the Pan Am highway….We flagged down a man going by on a Vespa and asked in our rusty Spanish if he knew the way to the Pan Am highway…..he led us for at least 30 minutes through the thick snarl of cars and scooters and finally arrived at the road south….We tried to give him some gas money but he would not take it….All through our travels we met strangers who were so helpful and friendly that it was a revelation….


In El Salvador, we were driving down a lonely stretch of jungle road, when three uniformed men with rifles standing in the road stopped our bus…..They seemed friendly enough, but looking back on it now, with all the violence and killing, we probably should have been alarmed, but we did not give it a thought…

They did have uniforms on and we probably thought they were just army or police….they asked where we were going and when we said “Panama”….they just gave us the same look we always got, which seemed to say “are you nuts?”  They asked for a propina….we looked up this word in our Spanish dictionary and the English word was “gratuity!”  So we asked “Quanto mucho?”  (how much) and they just shrugged their shoulders….We gave them two US dollars and they waved us on……


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Nice Insurance Review for Hodgens Marine Insurance


Recently the website All Things Boat came out with a review of marine insurance companies:
Boat Insurance Comparison: 2016 review
Bluewater Yacht a Hodgens Marine Insurance web site was featured with a positive review.
Find out more at http://www.allthingsboat.com/compare-boat-insurance/
Thank you.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Voyage of the MARIA...All True!

Part one: Panama Bound
March 1974


A Catholic Priest once said that in all the times he visited the dying, he never one heard anyone say that they regretted not spending more time at the office!

Maybe this is why there is something strong and irresistible about boats, the ocean and cruising. If you get the bug, you have the bug, and you can’t get rid of the bug, until you go cruising! How else can you explain why you would resign a high paying sales career so you could sail a small boat across the ocean, and be so much happier than before, even if you were broke! At least you are sailing!

Sent to Southern California by a major corporation to I had just left such a career to sell cruising yachts in a yacht brokerage in Newport Beach CA in 1974, when a client came by the office to look at a new Mariner Ketch we were selling. In passing he showed me a small classified ad in the back of Sailing Magazine.

”For sale in Panama- By a Canal Pilot,  1956 custom William Garden designed Ketch …built by Choey Lee…teak hull and decks…ready to cruise …ask 25K”.


 WOW! How exotic! 

Panama… Choey Lee….teak hull and decks… the Caribbean! The boat was berthed in a place in the Canal Zone in the Caribbean called Coco Solo! What an exotic place that sounded like….Visions of slow turning ceiling fans and Sidney Greenstreet in a while suit!  I was smitten….I must have looked like Mr. Toad in Wind and the Willows when he saw an auto go by…..I sent off a letter to the address in Panama asking for photos and info, and went home and told Gloria about our  new adventure….One thing about Gloria was that she was always ready for an adventure.



Three weeks later, Gloria and I and crossed the border near Yuma AZ and headed south into Mexico….….We learned that VW’s were prevalent in Mexico and Central America so we traded our TR3 Sports car for a VW Bus owned by my close friend Bob Carson and off we went….The VW Bus has as large circle in the front with the VW symbol inside…Bob had removed the VW and painted Mickey Mouse with a smile and outstretched arms inside the circle….It was truly amazing how people old and young reacted when we drove by in the ensuing months……smiles and waves…an amazing ambassador is Mickey!

Next Chapter: Road to Panama

Bill is a yacht insurance broker based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For all your yacht insurance needs please visit WR Hodgens Marine Insurance.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Yacht Fire in the Bahamas






A fire broke out in the engine room of a 115 foot Benetti motor yacht and was a total loss. Luckily, there were no injuries and the crew is safe. Read more on  the page news-yacht-fire-at-sea.html on the W R Hodgens Yacht Insurance web site.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

USS Zumwalt Sea Trials

You will find movies and the story for the sea trials of the new in class navy destroyer USS Zumwalt. The Zumwalt is an extremely advanced ship, first in her class for modern weapons such as lasers and rail guns on a stealthy platform. Read and see the movies on the US Navy Zumwalt Sea Trials page.