Please select your home edition
Edition
Harken HL Snatch Block 728x90

Solo sailor fined $770 for 'taking 15 minute catnaps'

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 14 Feb 2014
Ex-racing yacht Apollo 3 - her solo skipper admitted to taking naps .. .
Solo sailors anywhere near Queensland beware. According to the Whitsunday Times, a solo sailor in the Whitsunday Islands has been fined for 'not keeping a proper watch' as he admitted taking 15-minute 'catnaps' while sailing a famous ex-racing yacht, the 16m Apollo 3.

Traditional sailors may also want to be aware, because the same sailor was also cited by police for 'not having electronic equipment, no radar and no depth sounder'. According to the report, Police said he claimed he was sailing by chart and dead reckoning, but they 'couldn't find his course marked on the chart'.

Then, looking further, they found that the safety equipment on Apollo 3 to be out of date.

However, because he was solo-sailing, the magistrate ruled that it was only his own life he was endangering, and fined him $770.00 for these transgressions.

But that wasn't the only trouble this sailor found himself in.

Conrad Charles Ross-Smith did plead guilty to failing to register two vessels (his yacht and its dinghy) and operating a ship while it was unregistered, but he also claimed that that situation had been remedied.

Police prosecutor Elizabeth Cassells said Ross-Smith had set out from Airlie Beach on Apollo 3 on January 14, bound for either Townsville or Cairns. He described the weather and sea conditions as 'quite heavy', but said the vessel was easily able to cope.

Ms Cassells said over the course of the voyage he damaged his headsails, was unable to raise the main and had no means of propulsion as the auxiliary engine was also inoperable.

She said he was drifting in this state for about a day and became exhausted. He then spotted a navy ship and let off an orange flare. Ross-Smith said crew from the navy ship came to his assistance and helped him to jury rig the boat. He said he believed he could have made it to shore.

However, at 7pm on January 16, Townsville Water Police were advised by the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre that Apollo 3 was drifting 15 nautical miles east of Magnetic Island and Ross-Smith was eventually towed into Townsville by the volunteer coastguard.

When police caught up with Ross-Smith, they ascertained he had not been keeping a proper watch in accordance with collision prevention regulations. He admitted leaving the vessel unattended while he took 15-minute cat naps.

He also had no electronic navigation equipment, no radar and no depth sounder. He said he had been navigating with a marine chart and by dead-reckoning, however police noticed there was no course marked on the chart.

When the vessel's safety equipment was checked, the emergency flares were all found to be out of date.

On the one hand, Ross-Smith described himself as a 'seasoned sailor' saying Apollo 3, a former contender in Fastnet and Hobart races, was his third yacht. On the other hand, he said it had been 'pretty tough' living on the boat and he put his mistakes down to 'a learning experience'.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said the maximum penalty for unsafely operating a vessel was a $55,000 fine.

Nonetheless he ruled that with no passengers aboard, Ross-Smith was 'the only one that could have perished on this boat' and he imposed the $770 fine.

Nothing was mentioned during the hearing about the time wasted by the Navy personnel and rescue volunteers, but the moral of the story is clear: if you go solo sailing, don't whatever you do, admit to sleeping.
Abell Point Marina Splash 660x82Zhik Yachting 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

2017 Jeanneau Rendezvous at the inaugural Sail Peninsula Regatta
Some photos taken by LaFoto at the 2017 Jeanneau Rendezvous which was part of the inaugural Sail Peninsula Regatta. The 2017 Jeanneau Rendezvous was part of the inaugural Sail Peninsula Regatta from Martha Cove on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. It was a great regatta with a stern chaser race held on the Friday night, followed by a long distance race to Blairgowrie on Saturday in a glamorous five to ten knots, then finally an awesome medium distance race off Safety Beach in 25-35 knots...
Posted on 21 Feb
Super Series Sailing Spectacular
News arrived of at least one Australian outfit going for a new build 52. Someone had to entertain Beau Geste and SMB During the week, news arrived of at least one Australian outfit going for a new build 52. Someone had to keep Beau Geste and SMB entertained at the sharp end of the 52 bracket. Two other camps were linked to other former 52 Super Series craft, Phoenix and Spookie, but the one touted as going after Phoenix has denied it, saying that Hasso (SAP) Plattner of Germany has bought her.
Posted on 20 Feb
More marina space and exciting firsts for GC Boat Show and Marine Expo
More marina space and exciting additions to an impressive Fleet of Firsts have set scene for a colossal marine showcase More marina space and even more exciting additions to an already impressive Fleet of Firsts have set the scene for a colossal marine showcase both on water and on land on Queensland’s Gold Coast from 17-19 March.
Posted on 17 Feb
Tenth blog from on board Perie Banou II
The irrepressible, charismatic and yarn-spinning record-breaker known as Jon Sanders is back sailing the oceans The sailor who cannot garden; the irrepressible, charismatic and yarn-spinning record-breaker known as Jon Sanders is back sailing the oceans he knows so well. After his ribs episode on the quay in Cape Town, and making more friends everywhere he goes, Jon is now making for St Helena. So here, in his typical rapid-fire style are his latest exploits...
Posted on 17 Feb
B&G adds enhanced Navionic functionality to Zeus and Vulcan range
B&G® announces the latest updates will bring PredictWind weather services direct to Zeus and Vulcan chartplotter range. B&G®, the world’s leading sailing navigation and instrument specialist, is pleased to announce the latest in its software updates will bring PredictWind weather services direct to its Zeus and Vulcan chartplotter range.
Posted on 16 Feb
Beneteau Open Day at Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
The Beneteau Team will be exhibiting three new Beneteau models at the CYCA this Saturday. The Beneteau Team will be exhibiting three new Beneteau models at the CYCA this Saturday.
Posted on 16 Feb
Lisa Blair enjoys a sunrise crossing of International Date Line
At sea for 20 days, Lisa Blair, 32 reached a key milestone in her attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica solo At sea for 20 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes and 39 seconds, sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair, 32 reached a key milestone in her attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica solo and unassisted crossing the International Dateline at 16:25:39 UTC (05:25:39 local time) on 11 February 2017.
Posted on 11 Feb
Six weeks to go to 2017’s Gold Coast International Boat Show
Come and see over 600 boats for sale on water and on the land as well as engines, accessories and electronics. Come and see over 600 boats for sale on water and on the land as well as engines, accessories and electronics, live entertainment and boating education every 15 minutes across a giant 3km display circuit.
Posted on 10 Feb
On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.
Posted on 8 Feb
Growing Fleet of Firsts for Queensland’s biggest GC Intl Marine Expo
A very impressive Fleet of Firsts is taking shape even more world-leading marine brands/businesses step aboard this week A very impressive Fleet of Firsts is taking shape as even more world-leading marine brands and businesses step aboard this week with first releases at Australia’s first major boat show of 2017 – the Gold Coast International Boat Show and Marine Expo in March.
Posted on 2 Feb