The Sailing Information Center computer bulletin board, offering lots of goodies for local and regional sailors, has been open for several months and is going stronger than ever.
It has become very popular, not only with local sailors but also with callers from across thenation and as far away as Nova Scotia. It has proved an excellent means of posting race results, providing yacht club information, calendar announcements of upcoming events, and even entertainment and sailing-related software, as well as many other useful features.
General national news, as well as specific sailing news features,also are on-line at the bulletin board, and users can share their own sea stories or enjoy those of other users in a special section.
It is supported by a "Marine Mall" feature listing regional marine-related businesses with details about those businesses in a kind of detailed computerized "yellow pages" format.
The bulletin board is physically located in Stevensville on Kent Island, so its direct-dial phone number is a toll call for most Anne Arundel sailors.
For manyusers who stay on line for short periods during off-prime hours and don't call every day, this is not a real hardship.
For others, however, particularly those whose interest in computer bulletin boards generally goes beyond this single-subject/location facility, a new service will allow local calling to a direct-dial phone number in Annapolis, or one of seven other Maryland cities to access the Sailing Information Center.
The bulletin board now is connected to a separate service, Accu*Link, which provides telephone access for transmitting data virtually anywhere in the United States, and access to more than100 general and special interest bulletin boards around the nation as a local call, for a membership fee of $20, a $10 monthly fee and time-on-line charges of $4 per hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Sailing Information Center remains free of charge to users, however, except for whatever long-distance bills a user's local phone company charges, and it is not necessary to sign up with Accu*Link to use the sailing bulletin board.
"By utilizing Accu*Link, you have local calling access to hundreds of on-line services all over the country," explained Sailing Information Center's Darren Albert. "You willsoon discover that many on-line services charge users by the minute,by how much they download, and every other conceivable method, so beware.
"(But) the Sailing Information Center is a truly no-cost system to sailors, and we intend to keep it that way.
"If we had 800 numbers, it would be better, but we would also be forced to pass suchcosts off on to users. As the advertising base grows, we will be able to support 800 lines from advertising revenues, but this is something that will come in the future."
If you haven't already discovered this new bulletin board, hook up your communications software, using any baud rate up to 9600, and make a call to (410) 643-1466 (8-N-1)to check it out.
The directions for use by new callers are clear and easy to follow, and Albert has provided detailed information on how to reach and sign up with Accu*Link for those who want it -- just remember to open a log to download what you want, so you don't have to waste long-distance time.
The Sailing Information Center is a great service that constantly is improving and increasing its value to sailors of all interests. Check it out while you have some time over the holidays.
Fawcett Boat Supplies has announced a new series of product and technical seminars to take place over the winter at the store on City Dock in Annapolis.
The seminar series, which begins Jan. 7 and runs into the first week of April, covers such wide-ranging topics as plumbing, electrical systems, rigging/sailboat hardware, anchors and windlasses, and lots more.
The series will be conducted by product representatives for each line.
During January, Fawcett's will offer seminars on fire extinguishers, LPG lockers, sailboat hardware, electrical wire and terminals, resins and glues, and waste systems.
The February lineup includes Lewmar windlasses and winches, Acco chain, Pro Mariner battery chargers and corrosion test meters, Shields hose, MMM materials, Newmar electrical systems, and Harken hardware, with plenty more of interest set for March.
The seminars are free, but reservations are a must.
To sign up for one or more, call Fawcett's at (800) 456-9151 or, locally, at 267-8681.
Watch this space for detailed monthly listings as the season progresses.
in January at Fawcett's
* Jan.7, 5:30 p.m.: Sea Fire fire extinguishers, product rep John Stewart.
* Jan. 14, 5:30 p.m.: Marine Energy Systems LPG lockers, product rep Bruce Dinning.
* Jan. 21, 5:30 p.m.: Schaefer sailboat hardware, product rep Dick Purdy.
* Jan. 23, 5:30 p.m.: Acor wire terminals, product rep Rob Miller; and Kardol Resins resins and glues, product rep Kevin Williams.
* Jan. 28, 5:30 p.m.: Raritan waste systems, product rep Bryce Kell.