Open Water: Lakes Region marinas ready to show boaters the latest & greatest

LACONIA — The boating season has begun and with it marine dealers are offering a fresh array of boats and motors to tempt enthusiasts into upgrading and repowering the fleet that will ply the waters of the Lakes Region throughout the summer.

At Fay's Boat Yard in Gilford mariners can chose between the power of a jet engine or a stiff breeze. "They look just like a regular boat," sales manager Sean Mulligan said of the newest Vortex vessels by Chaparral, noting that at first glance most customers do not realize they are jet powered. Three models are available, ranging from $35,000 to $60,000. The 20-foot boat is driven by a single supercharged 200 hp Rotax power plant while the 22-foot and 24-foot models offer a choice of either twin 200 hp or 250 hp engines. Mulligan said all three "provide instant throttle response and pin-point accuracy on demanding turns.

New at Fay's, the largest sailboat dealer on Lake Winnipesaukee, the J/70 Speedster is a spirited entry in the fastest keelboat class ever granted international status by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). With a 22-foot long waterline and carbon mast and boom, the superior performance and stability of the j/70 lends it character of a much larger boat before the wind.

At Irwin Marine in Laconia, Tara Galligan can hardly take her eyes off the new Sea Ray 350 SLX. "It's the most beautiful boat I've ever seen. The lines on it, the craftsmanship, it's a beautiful, beautiful boat, she said. The twin-engined, 34.5-foot boat seats 18 and comes loaded with everything its passengers could want on a day on the lake. "It's a good size boat, it's got everything, every bell, whistle you could think of," she remarked.

Pontoons preside at Trexler's Marina in Moultonborough, said Scott Trexler, the marina's general manager. Pontoon boats continue to gain in popularity despite a stigma from early pontoon designs. It used to be, Trexler said, that pontoon boats relied on two small pontoons for buoyancy. The bow of the boats would swamp if passengers didn't distribute themselves evenly and the boats couldn't handle powerful outboards.

"These aren't your grandfather's pontoon boats," Texler said about the vessels currently on the market. Modern versions use larger pontoons, often three of them, for excellent flotation and stability on the water. In fact, Trexler said the pontoons he's selling now have better on-the-water manners than conventional v-hulled boats, especially in choppy and rough waters. And, the large platform typical of pontoon boat design makes for great utility.

The power deficit is gone, too. Some of the Crest boats in his inventory come with a 250-horsepower Suzuki outboard, more than enough power to pull a waterskier or tube. "They're a lot sportier, more nimble on the water," he said, than people who haven't been in a modern pontoon boat would imagine.

Personal watercraft — jet skis — are a popular option for boaters with tight budgts. Brian Whalley of HK Powersports in Laconia said that this year SEA-Soo has introduced the Spark, an entry level model with a price tag of just $5,499. At the same time, Yamaha has improved the handling of its line of personal watercraft by offering a dual throttle control on the port side, which enables drivers to shift into reverse without taking a hand off the controls. "All our machines are four-stroke, which means that they're clean, reliable and quiet," Whalley said.

At Thurston's Marina at Weirs Beach, Mark Thurston touted the second generation of Evinrude E-Tec G2 two stroke outboard engines. Introduced last September, he said that the engines are 15 percent more fuel efficient, have 20 percent more torque and dispel 75 percent less emissions than conventional outboard motors while using 44 percent less fuel and 50 percent less oil. "This is a very high tech piece of machinery," he said.

Thurston said that the E-Tec G2 will run for three years or 300 hours before requiring its first scheduled maintenance. Without valves, timing belts or camshafts, he noted, "they're simple and cheaper to live with and the only thing cleaner than an E-Tec is a sailboat." Thurston acknowledged the E-Tec G2 is more expensive than competitive products, but stressed that lower maintenance and service costs soon offset the difference.

Next door, at Channel Marine, sales manager Jay St. Gelais touts the Yamaha four-stroke outboard motors the marina has carried for several years. "It's quiet and dependable," he said, noting that the Yamaha engines are well-suited to pontoon boats, including the full range of Bennington models stocked by the marina. He said that the marina also offers the Black Diamond edition of the Cruiser Sport Service 328 Bow Rider, which earned boat of the year honors in 2013.

Whether jet powered, wind blown, or propeller driven as well as rowed or paddled, boats of all kinds, like migrating birds, will return to the lakes for the summer.

Public comment will be back near the top of the Sanbornton Selectboard agendas

SANBORNTON — Members of the public will once again be able to raise questions or voice concerns at the beginning of Selectboard meetings, according to Chairman David Nickerson.

Nickerson said he was making the change, which will take effect at the Board of Selectmen's next meeting on Wednesday, May 27, in response to criticism he had received from some townspeople who said placing the time for public comment later in the meeting made it more difficult for those who want to raise an issue with the board, but were unable to sit through other, sometimes lengthy, portions of the meeting.

Although not required to do so, public bodies such as school boards and boards of selectmen typically designate a time during the meeting when any member of the public can ask a question or air a concern about an issue that is not already on the agenda for that particular meeting.

Sanbornton selectmen had long placed that time at the beginning of their agenda, immediately after the Pledge of Allegiance. However, beginning with the meeting of March 18 — the first meeting following Town Meeting — the public comment was placed further down the agenda, after new business.

In early April, town resident Bill Whalen wrote a letter to The Daily Sun criticizing the change and urged selectmen to reconsider.

"I've had about eight or 10 phone calls," Nickerson said about moving the public comment to later in the meeting, prompting him to place public comment back where it had been. "I'll let anyone speak at the beginning of the meeting who wants to."

Nickerson said it is the chairman's prerogative to set the order of agenda for the selectmen's meeting. "It was my call to change it," he said of the decision to move public comment back to the first part of the meeting.

He said he understood that some people who want to bring a matter to the selectmen's attention have other commitments, and so might find it a hardship to sit through other parts of the meeting when discussion can sometimes drag on.

"They're the residents. They're the ones you sent us here. Whatever they want is fine with me," said Nickerson.


Memorial day services planned monday across lakes region

LACONIA — Memorial Day, a federal holiday for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed services, will be observed throughout the Lakes Region on Monday with parades and ceremonies .
Formerly known as Decoration Day, the holiday originated after the Civil War to remember the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that war, the most deadly in American history, which claimed over 600,000 lives.
The origin of the practice of decorating the graves of soldiers who died in that war is traced by many historians back to the early days of that war in the southern states and it was established as a national observance by General Josh Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1868.
According to the on-line Wikipedia encyclopedia the first widely-publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War took place 150 years ago in Charleston, South Carolina on May 1, 1865.
The article states ''During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Hampton Park Race Course in Charleston; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled "Martyrs of the Race Course." Nearly 10,000 people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children, newly enrolled in freedmen's schools, as well as mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field. The site of the remembrance celebration would come to be called the "First Decoration Day" in the North.''
The Lakes Region Memorial Day ceremonies are as follows:
The Laconia VFW Post #1670, in conjunction with the Wilkins-Smith Post #1 American Legion will be having a Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 25 at 10 a.m.
The parade will be starting at Wyatt Park on South Main Street and marching up Main Street, ending at Veteran's Square, where there will be a ceremony as well as guest speakers, including Laconia Mayor Ed Engler.
The Town of Gilford observance will be held Monday, May 25 with the parade organizing at the Community Church parking lot at 9:15 a.m. The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. and proceed along Potter Hill Road for observances at the World War I & II Veterans Memorial and then onto Belknap Mountain Road for observances at Pine Grove Cemetery.
MEREDITH — American Legion Post 33 has announced the schedule for Memorial Day services on Monday, May 25: 8 a.m. Oakland Cemetery, Meredith Center, with service by Rev. Robert Lemieux, 9 a.m. Meredith Village Cemetery, Rte. 3, with service by Rev. Dennis Audet, 9:30 a.m. assemble at Post 33 parking lot on Plymouth Street, 9:50 a.m. parade to library for 10 a.m. ceremony.
10:15 a.m. ceremony at Swazey Cemetery, Lang Street, 10:30 a.m. Hesky Park band stand; 10:45 a.m. POW/MIA Memorial with speech by Bob Jones, 11 a.m. back to Post #33 for ice cream for scouts and lunch for everyone.
American Legion Post #58 in Belmont announced that this year's Memorial Day parade and ceremonies will be held on Monday, May 25 at 1 p.m.
The parade route runs from the Belmont Middle School parking lot down to Main Street and then along Main Street to the Veterans Memorial by St. Joseph's Church, where there will be a ceremony and guest speakers.
Post 58 and Jordan's Ice Cream are once again providing tickets for an ice cream cone to all children 12 and under who attend the parade and ceremonies.

Center Harbor's Memorial Day parade will be held on May 25 at 12 noon. The parade will start at Chase Circle and stops at three points: the library, the town docks and the Congregational Church. Wreaths will be laid at the library monument and at the old church cemetery. At each stop, there will be remembrance services conducted by various Center Harbor religious affiliations.

The annual Memorial Day parade starts at 10 a.m. at Blake Road near Moultonborough Central School and continues down Rte. 25 to the Town Hall. The celebration will include a medley by the Moultonborough Academy and a speech by Jim Duddy of the Marine Corps.

Alton will hold Memorial Day services on May 25, with marchers gathering at Monument Square at 9:30 am to line up in the order of marching. There will be an Invocation, and the parade will start at 10 am. and go to Riverside Cemetery for brief remarks and a firing detail and playing of taps. The procession returns to Monument Square to conclude the ceremony. There will be placing of the wreaths on the war memorials, as well as readings and music from the Prospect Mountain High School band.

Tilton's Memorial Day parade will form at 8:30 a.m. in the student parking lot at Winnisquam Regional High School and get underway at 9 a.m. with ceremonies at Park Cemetery, the Winnipesaukee River and at the monument in front of the Tilton Town Hall.
There will be a coffee social at the New Hampshre Veterans Home at 10:15 a.m. and a Memorial Day ceremony with guest speakers at 11 a.m.


The Newfound Lake area will celebrate Memorial Day with a traditional parade in Bristol on May 250. According to commander Ron Prebble, the parade gathers at the Freudenberg parking lot on Rt. 104 and proceeds at 9:30 nearby Homeland Cemetery for a laying of a wreath and a brief ceremony. The parade then proceeds to Musgrove Bridge for a firing detail and wreath laying. The parade will then proceed to Newfound Middle School.