FYI: September 2002

By Brad Dunn

Paying the Price for Murder
The bandits who shot and murdered New Zealand yachtsman Sir Peter Blake during a botched robbery last year will have plenty of time to reflect on their deeds in prison.

In June a Brazilian judge found all six members of the "pirate" gang guilty of murder. The stiffest sentence fell on the gang's leader and triggerman, Ricardo Colares Tavares, who will sit in jail for at least 36 years and nine months. The other five each face sentences of no less than 26 years and eight months in prison, according to New Zealand's Daily Telegraph.

On December 5, 2001, the gang boarded Blake's exploration yacht Seamaster with the intent of robbing her while she was anchored at the mouth of the Amazon River. Blake confronted the bandits, however, and it cost him his life. The 23-year-old Tavares admitted to firing two fatal shots into Blake's back. The gruesome crime sent shockwaves through the boating community and sparked public mourning worldwide for the beloved 53-year-old adventurer.

During the trial, the defense claimed that Tavares was mentally ill when he shot Blake, but the judge disallowed the argument. The defense also argued that it was Blake who fired the first shot. The judge struck down the claim as well, citing evidence from the crime scene and the sequence of events that came to light during courtroom testimony. Moreover, he implied that it was ludicrous for the defendants to claim self-defense, since they were the ones who perpetrated an armed robbery. Instead, all six defendants were found guilty of latrocinio, "armed robbery resulting in death."

On Shelves: The Fisherman's Ocean
If you're tired of relying on patience and luck to catch those prized saltwater fish, maybe it's time to let science work for you. The subtitle of David Ross's The Fisherman's Ocean says it all: "How marine science can help you find and catch more fish." By breaking down the myriad factors that affect fish in a variety of saltwater environments, the book presents a refreshingly logical approach to the seemingly chaotic sport of deep-sea angling. Everything from oceanic tides and currents to fish migration and feeding patterns is explained clearly to help you catch more fish. Ross, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, lays off the science jargon and even injects some humor into the subject. His book is a perfect tool for those tired of merely fishing and ready to do some catching.

$19.95, paperback. Stackpole Books.

5-8. The In-Water Powerboat Show in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (757) 727-1276.
7-15. The Pacific Powerboat Expo in Oakland, California. (510) 834-1000.
12-15. The Boat Show in Tampa, Florida. (305) 531-8410.
12-15. The Fall Boat Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. (317) 546-4344.
12-15. The International Boat Show in Newport, Rhode Island. (401) 846-1115.
19-22. The International In-Water Boat Show in Norwalk, Connecticut. (212) 984-7018.
22-23. The Antique Classic Boat Show in Hampton, Virginia. (757) 727-1276.

Remaking a Mint
Talk about sinking money into your boat: A Spanish company is turning old European coins into new boat propellers and other heavy-duty copper equipment.

When the Euro became the official currency of the European Union earlier this year, millions of national coins were taken out of circulation. Since then scrap metal smelter Elmet, based in Bilbao, Spain, has been breathing new life into the old money by recycling coins into basic industrial equipment, including propellers, computer chips, copper tubing, and electrical cables.

Apparently there's plenty of profit in flipping coins into something more useful. Elmet picked up tons of business--35,290 tons, to be exact--last spring by melting down and extracting the copper from millions of Irish pennies.

Scrap coins are not only easy to find in the newly minted Europe, they also promise to yield a pretty good profit, with copper prices hovering around $1,700 per ton. Other smelters are vying to secure deals to purchase old coins in France and Portugal, where millions of tons of retired money are available.

Though the coin-recycled propellers have not yet hit the recreational boating market, there's no telling how far this trend will go. The boat you buy in a few years may be literally propelled by money.

Sibling Revelry
Another year, another tremendous success for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Fishing Tournament. In May the 23rd-annual event attracted nearly two dozen boats and yachts, driving up donations for the Broward County chapter. In fact, 22 volunteer captains and their boats hosted about 65 children who participate in the one-on-one mentoring organization plus their chaperones for a day of wetting lines.

Underscoring the marine industry's support of the event, a dinner dance was held the night before in a section of the covered shed at Broward Marine. According to benefit director John Weller of the Allied Richard Bertram Marine Group, the dinner helped boost interest in the tournament.

PMY Online Poll
Each month at we ask your opinion about hot marine topics. In June it was PWC regulations. We asked if you thought all PWC should be prohibited from certain bodies of water and if PWC restrictions made you feel that your boating rights were being threatened. It was a close race, with 53 percent saying PWC should not be prohibited and 58 percent saying you felt rights were being threatened as a result of PWC restrictions. Visit the Web site to find out this month's hot-topic.

RIB Alert
As the war on terror continues to weigh on the U.S. Coast Guard and the international shipping industry, a recent warning from RIB maker Zodiac to its dealers signals new security awareness within the private sector.

In June more than 300 Zodiac dealers across the country received a letter from the manufacturer informing them that the FBI was concerned that terrorists may try to use inflatable boats to transport weapons of mass destruction.

"Zodiac has been mentioned, specifically and by name, in intelligence reports supplied to U.S. security agencies," says Ed Washburn, Zodiac's vice president of leisure sales, in the letter sent to dealers. "The FBI has requested that we contact our dealer network with this information and ask that you be on the alert regarding any requests that might be suspicious in nature."

The letter also states that the FBI has reason to believe terrorists were planning to attack areas of the marine environment in the United States, with bridges, barges, and ships as possible targets. The agency says RIBs are attractive to terrorists because they can carry heavy payloads, have a low profile, and are easy to hide and launch.

This article originally appeared in the September 2002 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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