the boat broke! lol... I think if it was a naval vessel we would have sailed.
July 7, 2004
Angels fly thanks to Sassy substitute
Yacht steps in after cutter breaks down
By VANESSA McCRAY
Record-Eagle staff writer
TRAVERSE CITY - A snafu almost snuffed out the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Saturday air show, one of the most popular attractions at the National Cherry Festival.
The Coast Guard cutter Acacia, which usually acts as the pilots' main eyesight target in the bay, broke down Saturday hours before the pilots were to take off. A private pleasure craft was called in to take the Acacia's place.
The Blue Angels can't perform their high-flying antics without a center point mark.
Victor Brabble, of the Blue Angels public affairs office, said the pilots use the mark to guide their maneuvers. The cutter marks the center of a five-mile airspace blocked off by the Federal Aviation Administration for the show and, without it, pilots can't judge the distance needed to perform tricks.
"On land, we use buses, tractor trailers, I've seen Coast Guard cutters - obviously something sizable," Brabble said.
The 180-foot cutter Acacia travels from its Charlevoix port to Traverse City to act as the "show center" during festival air shows, said Lt. Murray Dunlap, public affairs officer for the Coast Guard's Traverse City air station.
Air show practice on Friday went as planned, but Saturday a shaft bearing broke around 10 or 11 a.m. and the Acacia couldn't move to its position 2,500 feet out in the bay, Murray said.
"It was a really big deal - without a center point boat you can't do the show," Dunlap said.
Air show organizers scrambled to find a replacement boat that would meet the Blue Angels' requirements. They called Harbor West Yacht Club and the Clinch Park Marina looking for a big enough boat.
Within a half an hour they located Sassy, a 70-foot private yacht from Fort Lauderdale docked at Clinch Park. Sassy's captain agreed to let her fill in, and everyone rallied to get the yacht out in the bay and find the markings, said festival spokeswoman Susan Wilcox Olson.
She said the air show began on time at 12:30 p.m.
"No one knew anything," Wilcox Olson said.
The Acacia was repaired and out in the bay for Sunday's air show, though the Blue Angles canceled their encore because of cloudy skies and the threat of rain.
All is good though, my hookup will be there until 2007 so we are good for the next show...
Oh yea, at the place I wound up at, there was much more to see than airplanes, but, no place to stand. There was easily 400,000 people at the Saturday show.
[Edited 2004-07-09 05:41:38]