The Nautical Blog

King Richard’s Renaissance Faire New England Style

KingRichardsFaire_7953When King Richard’s Faire opened in the 1980’s there was nothing like this in New England.  But, with billboards, newspapers, TV, and social media, it didn’t take long to grab New England’s attention.

King Richard’s Faire became such a popular event for Renaissance folks you need to get there early for a good parking space.  Don’t worry though, there’s plenty of free parking.

Every year beginning Labor Day weekend the fair still draws a crowd. “We are an interactive theater,” says Bonnie Shapiro, owner of King Richard’s Faire. “We have very talented performers who come from all over the country.  Some of them have been on Broadway.  Others have won Tony KingRichardsFaire_7924Awards, while others are professionals who act full-time.” For instance, Queen Anne lives in the
Southern Realm of Florida.  She used to visit the Northern Realm many years ago as a young girl, got to know the people who work at King Richard’s Faire. “They were so welcoming and kind,” says Queen Anne, “they made me feel right at home right away. So, after one auditions and deemed worthy, they casted me for the role.”

There are games for children of all ages.  Puppets reach 12 feet in the air.  Other activities include musicians, singers, dancers, mimes, a jousting court, and rides for the kids.  You’ll see lots of cast and characters fully clad in traditional renaissance costumes.  For example, Ryan Hankey who serves pickles, does sketches and sings Shakespeare’s Hamlet pickle song. Not to mention the adults who walk around in their homemade outfits. These are experiences you would not have anywhere else.

KingRichardsFaire_7940  KingRichardsFaire_7931  KingRichardsFaire_7941  King Richard's Faire  KingRichardsFaire_7989  KingRichardsFaire_7945  KingRichardsFaire_7938  KingRichardsFaire_7928  KingRichardsFaire_7923  KingRichardsFaire_7952  KingRichardsFaire_7962  KingRichardsFaire_7960

It’s not just for New Englanders.  Artisans come from all over the world to participate and sell their wares.  There are costume makers, tails, wood crafts, candles, stain glass, and astrology readers just to name a few. For example:

— Julie Sutter, of Pottery by Sutter. Each piece has a personal touch and only sold at Renaissance fairs.

— Mardigan’s Maile Collectables of handpainted Fairies, Dragons and more.

— Mystic Rhythms musical instruments

— Mill’s Wax works

— Even left handed mugs

   KingRichardsFaire_7993 KingRichardsFaire_8000 KingRichardsFaire_7999 KingRichardsFaire_7998     

Offering traditional food fit for a king, there’s a few scraps for those plagued with food allergies.  “We want people to come and forget their problems,” says Shapiro. “Plus be happy here. Our goal every year is to add more gluten free or things for vegetarians.  It’s difficult at a fun-filled grab a turkey leg and potato or chowder kind of festival to supply people with a real healthy alternative.”

King Richard's Faire      KingRichardsFaire_7937

So, if you’re looking for an escape from reality, King Richard’s Faire is the place to be.  You’ll make thousands of memories here in one day.

For more information regarding tickets, dates and times go to:

Five Steps to a Safer and Fun Boating Experience

This article was published in Summer 2016 Nor’Easter for TONE (Tartan Owners Northeast). Inc.

for previous articles go here:

Boating is supposed to be “fun”, isn’t it? Then Stop Yelling! It’s stressful enough for your spouse/ significant other who’s not sure what to do if something happens.

In order to have a successful sail, couples need to learn how to keep boating fun and safe. To do this it’s a great idea to discuss and/or role-play different situations, use laminated cheat sheets, hand signals, etc. Don’t assume anything; even if you’ve boated together for years.

If this is your situation then read on!

  1. Cheat sheets – There is a lot to learn and remember on a sailboat. Seasons in the Northeast are short. If you don’t go out every week it’s easy to forget things. Why not put together a set of laminated cheat sheets beginning with a checklist of how to prepare the boat. This should include starting from the dock, sitting on a mooring or anchoring. Don’t forget how to start and shut off the engine, work the radio, and calling a May Day. Anything specific to your boat that they would need to know.
  2. Hand signals, Use a Walkie-Talkie – When leaving and arriving at the dock, picking up a mooring or anchoring one of you will be at the helm, the other on the bow. Save your voice, don’t yell. Use hand signals or a pair of walkie-talkies to communicate. Make sure if you use hand signals, you both agreed on what they should be and have rehearsed them many times. Same goes with the walkie-talkie.
  3. Classes – Take boating classes together either for the first time or as a refresher. Just keep in mind, you’ll see, hear, and learn things 5 differently. Then discuss what you learned with each other. If there’s a question, ask the instructor.
  4. Practice/role play – This is something that doesn’t always happen. Partially because the spouse/significant other doesn’t feel comfortable with the boat. When it’s just the two of you, practice starting up the engine, opening and closing the head and water. Role-play by each one taking the helm, docking, and picking up a mooring for starters.
  5. Explain things, don’t assume anything – Ask questions first and listen.

In a survey I did a few years back at several boat shows, I asked both men and women their thoughts to what makes boating fun. Here are the results:

Robin is a published author of Boating Secrets: 127 Top Tips to Help You Buy and Enjoy Your Boat, passionate marine enthusiast and sailor who has interviewed countless industry experts as well as visited, interviewed personnel at, written about, and photographed hundreds of marine ports in the US and abroad. Robin also works with businesses to help them tell their story through articles, customer successes, and videos to name a few. Her current projects include technical writing for B2B. If you’d like to learn more, contact Robin at: Robin @

Suddenly in Command: Engines

This article was published in Winter/Spring 2015 Nor’Easter for TONE (Tartan Owners Northeast). Inc.

for previous articles go here:

Ed.: This article is written for the “First Mate” – if you are frequently out on the water, it is important to know these basic procedures. Use this article to review with your Captain the location of the various buttons and levers as well as the “how to” method for starting your boat’ s engine. It could save a life someday!

Being suddenly in command while under sail is one thing. It’ s another when you have to get the engine started to get you home faster. Just keep in mind that once you crank the engine over you have a different set of rules to follow. Look up “Inland Navigation Rules” in your Eldridge
Tide and Pilot Book.

Atomic 4 Engine

Atomic 4 Engine

Before you turn the key make sure the battery (ies) are on. You’ ll need to turn the big red button

to either “on”, “A/B” or “both” position. This is located down below near the engine.

Below are three types of engines and how to start them up. Plus, any telltales of a problem.


Beta 38 engine

Beta 38 engine

To start the engine, just turn the key. If the engine is cold, or if the temperature is on the chilly side, turn the switch counter clockwise for 5 seconds to turn heat on (the heat we are talking about here are the engine’s glow plugs. They warm the air in the cylinders to make starting easier) then turn the key clockwise to actually start the engine.


Beta 38 engine

Beta 38 engine

Once it starts, add just a little throttle to make sure you’re getting water out of the exhaust.

Now unlock the steering wheel, which is the round brake knob on the side of the pedestal.  With your wheel unlocked you are ready to put the transmission into Forward and begin motoring. Check your volmeter. If it looks like the alternator isn’t bringing your voltage above 12 volts you may have to kick the engine up a notch to get power the batteries.

Volvo diesel

The engine coolant valve needs to be open. Start engine by pushing the switch down to get power. Light the glow plugs for 10 seconds then hit the start button. Push the throttle forward. If you run into problems look for these things: starter, battery power, fuel, fuel filter clogged.

Atomic 4 Gas

Atomic 4 Engine

Atomic 4 Engine

Put the transmission in neutral and then turn the key. Exhaust goes out

the side of the boat rather than back of the boat. If engine is cold, push the choke back in. Don’ t leave the key on when not in use. It will cook the coil.

When turning the engine over if it shuts off immediately you have an electrical

Atomic 4 Engine

Atomic 4 Engine

problem. If it coughs and sputters, you have a problem with the fuel system.
No matter what type of engine you have, it behooves you to have a “Plastic Brain” – with photographs of an open valve, on/off switches, engine coolant, and engine placement (under lazerette or stairwell). Keep the fuel clean and if you need to fuel up – shut the engines off first.

Ladies – Let’s Go Fishing

I’m not one to go out of the way to go fishing however, every gal/lady should learn what it’s all about.  Biggest reason is guys LOVE fishing.  Second reason is men complain we, gals, don’t like it.  Third and most important reason – women get jealous if their man goes fishing and other women are on the boat paying attention to their man.  Work around?  Take a class with/through Ladies Let’s Go Fishing (LLGF)!  It’s the best of both worlds.  Most classes are ladies only; except one or two male instructors.  There’s no yelling and no name calling.  No one tells you you’re stupid.  There is no stupid question.  Just ask my friend Rebecca who took this class with me.

Captain George Mittler taught us about bait and trolling speeds. He commented that you want the bait to be constantly swimming with a natural presentation. Trolling speed is important when it comes to sea weather conditions.  On a flat day you’ll troll about eight knots to keep that bait swimming or just skimming along on the surface. In a 2 – 3 foot sea you’ll possibly drop down to six knots.  If you go any faster than that your bait is going to be flying.  If it’s 4 – 6 foot seas, you’re going to be low and may be going only 3-4 knots.   With that, Rebecca asked if that live bait is dead. Everybody erupted into laughter and she not only made our day but she helped soften the learning.

The week before class begins, Betty Baum (owner of LLGF) sends you a wealth of information for review. This includes: agenda, fishing terminology, knots, information regarding the Friday Party Master Chef Potluck Appetizer Contest, directions for the event and recommended lodging, silent auction, optional fishing for Sunday, and cancellation policy. Basically everything you’ll need to know before class starts.

TheLLGF2015_7117 event kicLLGF2015_7113ked off on Thursday night with an appetizer contest and silent auction.  Appetizers included: mini meatza pies, mock oyster dip, chicken, salsas, stuffed cucumber, and a watermelon boat with little gummy fishes; at the Stuart FL event. Buckets filled with fishing gear, fishing trips, clothing, rods, and jewelry were just a few items in the silent auction.  It’s a great way to network with classmates.

Friday morning at 8:00am class begins with an introduction to fishing. Captain George clariLLGF2015_7127fies a fishing pole is really called a fishing rod.  Companies make fishing lures for fisherman.  If they catch fish with them, that’s a bonus.  The best place to buy your rod and bait is from a local tackle store.  You get knowledge of what’s biting and the right type of bait to use. A great way to learn what works best with fish for bait is to open the guts of fish you catch and look into their stomach.  For example, if you see squid or shrimp, then you know they’re going deep at night. Cobia loves crab and shrimp.

“You have to learn what to fish with as well as the how-to,” says Jodi Girourd. “There’s three different kinds of reels: bait caster, conventional and spinner.  The waters are tantamount to the way you catch a fish because you need to know the waters and how to read them.”

A bait caster reel is a conventional type of reel for casting lures or bait in both salt and fresh water.  On the conventional reel, the biggest mistake we make is to tighten the drag.  To control the drag on a conventional reel use your thumb.  For a spinner, use your hand.  For example, if the fish wants to take off, release your thumb off the conventional reel or your hand off the bale on the spinner.  According to Captain Melinda Buckley, the moment you drop your tip you’re dropping the tension on the line. That’s why you lose fish. Without tension the hook keeps rocking in the fish’s mouth and falls out. So keep your tip up and wind down.

ALLGF2015_7158LLGF2015_7154LLGF2015_7153dditionally you’ll learn how to: back up a trailer, gaff, and fish in-shore, conserve habitation, and de-hook fish. Plus, how-to put a line on a reel, put the reel on your rod, and how-to dress for fishing success.

On day two, you get to take what you learned and use your new skills on a boat.  So if you’re still undecided if this class is right for you, Jodie would tell you to start small at the beginning and give it a chance. One bite at a time. LLGF takes the stress out offishing and puts the fun back into it. Plus, the girls are supportive of each other. They’re all trying to do the same thing.

At the Stuart class, everyone who went out on the party boat all caught a fish. They caught red snapper, king fish, mutton snappers and Toro (orange) snappers.  Here’s what some of the ladies had to say.  “Don’t get a bird’s nest,” says Denise. “All these years I’ve been fishing I thought you didn’t want the fish to see the hook so I’d been covering it over all these years. This trip I didn’t cover it and caught two snappers.”  Dorothy learned how to throw a net, catch bait and met a lot of nice people. Gail said she loved the casting of the nets and fly fishing skills she learned in the class. Mary commented that though LLGF didn’t catch the kingfish or 18lb mutton snapper, everybody in the ladies group on the party boat did catch a fish.  They used the top dorsal fin of a humbled 8 – 9 ft. squid sliced real thin and cut into strips as bait that was a new experience. Then they used the grunts they caught as live bait and started to really catch fish.  All in all, everyone had a blast.

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Suddenly in Command: Man Overboard

This article was published in Fall 2015 Nor’Easter for TONE (Tartan Owners Northeast). Inc.

for previous articles go here:


by Robin G. Coles

Let me first start out by thanking everyone for taking my survey.  The results were overwhelming.  So much so that I feel I need to do more research to accommodate you.  Therefore, this article is about Man Overboard (MOB). I’ll end the series by taking you home with your engines running.

With that said, MOB is a situation where someone has fallen overboard (off the boat) and now needs help getting back onto the boat. First thing someone needs to immediately yell “Man Overboard”.  If there is someone else on the boat besides you have them locate the person who fell over and keep pointing at him/her until rescued. Also throw a flotation device to the person to help them either grab it or as a second marker.  Also if there is a MOB button on your GPS push that and if your radio has DSC hit that one.

Next, there’s two schools of thought as to whether you should do a rescue under sail or power.  The only concern with being under power is getting to close.  The propeller could do some serious damage if it comes in contact with the MOB.  The lines could also wrap around the propeller.

If strictly under sail the best approach for someone with less sailing skills is to immediately tack the bow of the boat through the wind.  Don’t touch the sails; you don’t want too much speed causing you to pass the MOB.

Check the boat for life sling, MOB buttons on GPS, red DSC on radio, and square flotation device.  Whether you have a life sling on your boat or not, it’s a good idea to take a workshop and learn/practice how to use it.  As for MOB drills, if you plan on sailing often go out and practice MOB drills with a flotation device in the water.  Then practice some type of rescue, under sail and with the engine on.

In either case, using the engine – take the engine out of gear as you approach the MOB then shut it off during the actual recovery.  This helps reduce fumes, noise and allows people to concentrate on the rescue.

A fairly new maneuver is to put the boat onto a deep beam reach (approximately 110 degrees off bow) immediately after the accident.  Sail a few boat lengths downwind and to one side.  This turns the boat around and helps you approach the MOB with better maneuverability.

Robin is a published author, passionate marine enthusiast and sailor who has interviewed countless industry experts as well as visited, interviewed personnel at, written about, and photographed hundreds of marine ports in the US and abroad. Robin also works with businesses to help them tell their stories. Articles, customer success stories, and videos are just a few ways she helps her clients. Her current projects include videos about Boat Safety. If you’d like to get involved in these, contact Robin at robin @

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