Volume 12, Issue 41 ~ October 7 - 13, 2004
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Dock of the Bay

This Week You Can Dream — and Even Buy — Big

Somewhere among the 250 sailboats luring you to City Dock this week is your dreamboat. If you dream big, it might be the Trintella 65, brought to life by Ron Holland, whose Mirabella is the world’s largest sailing yacht.

If you dream classic, it might be the 43-foot Hinkley Daysailer, so luxuriously understated in its seamless perfection that Jay Gatsby must have had one at his dock.

If you dream exotic, it might be the Charter Cats Jaguar 36, from South Africa. How fast and sleek that one must be, you can imagine by name alone.

If you dream of luxury and stability, it might be the new Eleuthera 60, the flagship of the cruising fleet by French catamaran builder Fontaine Pajot.

But can you sail any of these home with you?

That’s between you and your banker.

Annapolis Bank and Trust’s Susan Smink said taking out a loan to buy a boat — a popular request this time of year — is like “any other process.” You go into the bank, bear your soul and turn in your application and financial profile.

If the bank approves the loan — roughly $325,000 for the Catalina 470 this reporter chose — you can take home your new boat.

For most, buying a boat is not so simple.

“We get a lot of people who come out with the intention of buying,” says Peter Roth a boat broker from West Palm Beach, Florida, who came to Annapolis early to scout the merchandise. “The problem is, they don’t know how much one of these actually costs.”

Most dealers will show their boats to buyers who aren’t sure they can afford to buy, because banks are willing to go longer terms to keep monthly payments low. “You can get boat loans that are like mortgages now,” adds Roth. “Thirty-year loans for boats.”

Roth warns the faint-of-heart to avoid looking at the price tags or to start small. Some boats represented at the show run in the “high hundreds of thousands,” he warns.

A 27-foot Hunter Deluxe starts at $62,900 from local dealer Tidewater Marina in Bay Hills. Or you can chose a 1985 30-foot Catalina for $32,500.

To immunize yourself against sticker shock at the boat show, experts advise you to find out in advance what you’re qualified to borrow. “Always get pre-qualified,” says T.S. Winslow, a boat show regular from Norfolk. “If you know how much you have to spend, it’s a lot easier when you step onto a boat. You can admire the ones you’d love to have and focus your real energies on the one you can have.”

You don’t have to buy a boat to enjoy looking.

“The whole point of these shows is to dream,” says Roth. “Some people can afford their dreams; some can’t. Either way, it’s fun.”

Both brokers agree that the majority of visitors attend the show to window shop. Neither has a problem with that.

“Its not easy to sell a $300,000 boat,” laughs Winslow. “But anyone that comes out just to purchase is missing the fun, the spirit of the event.

That spirit is the dreaming.

Anyone can slip off their shoes, step aboard and enjoy the dream. You can step into sailboats with teak trim, couches and captain chairs in the salons — plus sinks, bars, stereos the creature comforts to rival all the luxuries of home.

The 47-foot Catalina even comes with a workroom to store tools and to do repairs on long voyages.

On gadgets alone —state of the art navigational systems, upgraded amenities — you could spend tens of thousands.

Or you can just enjoy an early fall day out on the floating piers, gazing at the beautiful boats and planning that trip around the world when you retire.

If you still dream rich but buy poor, you can settle for a Sunfish or shop the 50-plus vendors on hand.

This reporter? He plans to buy a pair of Seabagos, a bright red Henri Lloyd ocean racer jacket and a pair of Gill floatable racing sunglasses. If he can’t afford to be a sailor captaining a Catalina 470, he can at least look like one.

—Louis Llovio

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As Presidential Race Heats Up, Soccer Moms Battle It Out
Two Local Mothers’ Groups Stand by Their Man

In the presidential campaign of 2004, there’s no stronger partisans than mothers, who know the decision they make November 2 will shape their children’s lives now and far into the future.
Whether they fight for President George Bush or Sen. John Kerry, local mothers have translated their feelings into action.

From Annapolis, two armies of mothers are mobilizing nationwide.

Begun in June, WISP — Women in Support of the President — is now in 22 states. Older MOB — Mothers Opposing Bush — started in January and now boast more than 8,000 members in 48 states.

The two 527 Political Action Committees fight their battles by sponsoring voter registrations, networking on-line and preaching their message — not only at monthly meetings but also at the car wash and grocery store.

A new force in this election, 527 Political Action Committees — so named because of the tax code that governs them — are not limited in the money they can spend to support their cause and candidate. Like the now-notorious groups Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and MoveOn.org, MOB has sponsored television commercials, including one on the Larry King Show. But it fights most of its battles on the smaller field of its websites where the motto running across the masthead is Because Mother Knows Best.

“Our mission is to get out the message and get this administration out of office,” say Ginger Woolridge, mother of three and president of MOB.

This bipartisan MOB bases its opposition to the president on what they see as his two fatal flaws: running up the national debt and making the U.S. a target for future terrorist attacks because of policies in Iraq.

“We teach our children not to be bullies,” said Woolridge. “How can we point to the leader of the free world and say what he is doing is okay?”

Not to be left behind, Bush supporters began their own group in June.

Also using their website and word of mouth, WISP touts the president’s policies. Like MOB, the mothers of WISP believe their man makes the world safer for their kids.

“Anybody who has children has to look out to protect them,” said WISP member Gina Ramsey of Arnold, a mother of five. “With George Bush in office, we are more secure.”

As well as securing the nation, Bush’s policies are taking the country in the right direction, Ramsey says. “He knows what he’s doing,” she said. “He sees what small businesses need, he understands how to pool health insurance so it’s cheaper and available, and he’s done a pretty good job, in spite of the war and 9/11, fighting off a recession.”
Echoing national polls, she also says that she trusts the president. “He does what he says,” she added. “And trust is a big factor. If you trust your kids, you give them more space, even when they make mistakes. It’s the same with the president. I trust him even if he’s made mistakes.”

Fighting for a better future for their children is one issue the mothers of MOB and WISP can both agree on.

“We are Republicans and Democrats, but we are bound by a common heart,” said Woolridge. “Our maternal instincts are telling us to stop complaining and get out there and fight for our children’s future.”

—Louis Llovio

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Ask the Plant Professor

Outfoxing Varmints

Q A groundhog has dug tunnels under our front porch, and we are concerned that it is undercutting the porch support. What should we do?

A Groundhogs often burrow under outdoor structures such as sheds or porches. They can burrow fairly deep into soil. Encourage them to relocate by shoving rags soaked in household ammonia down all the tunnels you can reach. If this doesn’t work, consider trapping. For additional information, contact the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife
Hotline: 877-463-6497.

Q Squirrels eat all the apples on my dwarf tree. I tried covering the tree with bird netting with no success. I also tried deodorant soap bars. Any suggestions?

A Squirrels are hard to deter. Try a sticky substance such as Tanglefoot, which sticks to their feet. Wrap masking tape on a segment of trunk, then apply Tanglefoot to the tape. Do not apply directly to the trunk. In order for this to work, the squirrels must not be able to avoid the trunk by leaping to the branches. Another alternative is the repellent Deer-Off, which is labeled to spray on fruit to control squirrels. Some commercial growers cover their individual apples with small paper bags to reduce pest problems.

Ask the Plant and Pest Professor is compiled from questions sent to the website of the Home and Garden Information Center, part of Maryland Cooperative Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland. Ask a home gardening or pest control question and find other help: 800-342-2507 (Mon.-Fri. 8am-1pm) • www.hgic.umd.edu.

Way Downstream

From Boston, we’re learning that the infection that has struck Chesapeake Country football players in Huntingtown is not isolated. According to reports delivered last week at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, antibiotic-resistant germs are increasingly causing skin infections and pneumonia in healthy people. It is particularly bad in Corpus Christi, Texas, where 459 cases were reported last year …

In the Potomac River, scientists’ worst fears have come true: The Northern snakehead is reproducing, a sign that the voracious predator surely never will be contained. Proof came when a fisherman near Fort Belvoir last week noticed a three-inch fingerling, confirmed as a juvenile snakehead by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries …

In Minneapolis, General Mills has taken the whole-foods plunge. The cereal giant announced last week that it will start using whole grains in all of its breakfast cereals rather than grains that are milled or otherwise refined and in so robbed of some of their healthful ingredients. The company said it had been using whole grains in about 60 percent of its cereals …

Our Creature Feature comes from Aspen, Colorado, where a paralyzed man listened from his bed while a bear who goes by the name Fat Albert tore up his kitchen in search of treats. Among other things, the sweet-toothed, 500-pound invader consumed four pounds of chocolate while smashing dishes.

Fat Albert, it seems, is incorrigible. He’s done this before at the home of Tom Isaac, paralyzed from a ski accident, and once ate so much that he had to take a nap in Isaac’s dining room. Isaac told Reuters that he doesn’t want to see the bear harmed, but he worries about the safety of local residents.

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