12 Apr 2007




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News from the Doldrums...

Waiting for the Doldrums to pass  BW Media
As this edition sails out through the ether we sit in a clammy cloudy anchorage outside Panama City waiting for the ITCZ (Doldrums to the more imaginatively minded) to go north. Until that happens, there'll be no wind to get Blackwattle to Galapagos.

Reports from the solo adventurers from all quarters: Solo sailor Ken Gourlay from Tasmania still has hopes of breaking Tony Mobray's Australian solo circumnavigator record, and as one solo adventurer Donna Lange nears completion of her brave circumnavigation in a 28ft boat, Malaysia's 'Captain Fin'' is about to start. Also read how one of Sir Chay Blyth's Global Challenge yachts gets a new lease of life and will now be headed to the Antarctic.

On seamanship issues, we analyse a recent rescue off the New South Wales coast and examine what lessons all mariners can glean from the experience. Then there's an article about Amver, that world-wide reporting system which helped rescue ferry pilot Ray Clamback not once, but twice, and has just assisted in the rescue of yet another sailor. Amver is looking for megayachts to register with them, so please spread the word for this worthy voluntary organisation.

Of vital interest to all mariners, sailors or otherwise, is the GPS system, on which more and more navigation depends. Of concern is the fact that solar flares have been interrupting the system, and this week's article ends by suggesting some solutions, none easy. Still on electronics, Globalstar's investment in 48 new satellites should assist all sailors towards better connections, a vital safety resource when at sea.

Meanwhile, the Blackwattle crew have been exploring the world of Panama, including transiting the Canal in company, some of the time, with nothing less than a United States Navy submarine.

Read on, enjoy, and...

Sail safe!


By Nancy Knudsen, Cruising Editor



Frustrating winds, but Gourlay making progress
By Julian Burgess,
Tasmanian yachtsman Ken Gourlay needs to finish his round-the-world voyage before Saturday, May 6, to claim the record for the fastest Australian solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation.... [more]


Beneteau's First 50 arrives in Australia
By Helen Taylor,
Dawn on Easter Sunday usually delivers many presents of varying flavour; milk, dark and white chocolate, marzipan, candy, Fabergé, but the Easter Bunny has arrived early at Rushcutters Bay and delivered us an elegant present designed by Phillipe Briand … the FIRST 50.... [more]


Danes Give Thumbs Up to Family Dinghy
By Sail-World Cruising,
The Danish Sailing Federation's recent order for one hundred RS Feva Xls not only marks the biggest deal in the history of Danish youth sailing, but draws attention to this so very successful youth boat as a great idea when you are thinking of a boat for family sailing.... [more]


Donna Lange, Solo Circumnavigator - Nearly Home.
By Bruce Burdett, EastBayRI.com/Sail-World,
At Sail-World, we've been following the adventure tale of musician/sailor Donna Lange, aboard her tiny (28ft)boat Inspired Insanity, attempting a solo circumnavigation. Now she's in the home stretch.... [more]


Malaysia's Captain Fin in Global Solo Challenge
By Sail-World/Malaysian National News Agency,
As Malaysia gets serious about sailing, one of their best known sailors, Ariffin Abdul Aziz (otherwise known as Captain Fin or 'Masterfin') is getting ready to solo circumnavigate the world, beginning and ending in Miri, Malaysia.... [more]


Disabled Yacht - a Rescue Analysis
By Cruising Editor,
On April 9, Jano Gibson wrote a story for the Sydney Morning Herald about a brave rescue by the Newcastle Water Police of a ketch, stranded with a broken propeller and a jammed rudder 200 km off the New South Wales coast. It's a wonderful account of a ham operator 600 metres up on a mountain who heard the call and the professionalism and bravery of the water police. But in the interests of seamanship, Sail-World Cruising has some questions.... [more]


Globalstar boosts Sat Phone Network with 48 LEO's
By Helen Hopcroft,
LEO is not always a horoscope sign. It also means Low Earth Orbiting satellite. The telecommunications company Globalstar has just signed a contract to buy 48 of them. What this will mean for you is a likely increase in coverage for satellite phones and better call quality in the long term. It also means that future data transfer services will be much faster.... [more]


Largest Ever Wooden Boat under Construction
By IBI News/Mike Derrett,
Mumbai-based Classicraft Marine Works is well advanced in building what must be one of the largest wooden boats in the world, a 49.4m (162ft)-long replica of a 15th Century Chinese Junk. The boat has been ordered by a German client who will use it for charter business in the region.... [more]


Next -Solar weather warnings
By Rob Kothe,
Last December 5th's solar flare caused an intense radio burst that affected GPS systems world wide the following day. Some receivers had a reduction in accuracy while others totally lost the ability to determine position.... [more]


Amver Saves Another Sailor - and wants Megayachts
By Sail-World Cruising,
Last week, Amver was responsible for yet another fast rescue. One of Amver's participating tankers, Tambourin, rescued a lone sailor 330 miles north east of French Guyana, and if you sail on a mega-yacht, Amver wants you to participate in one of the most effective rescue co-ordination systems in the world.... [more]


Blackwattle and the Marina Ghost Town
By Nancy Knudsen,
At first it just appears like an old fashioned building – long and low with wide verandahs, cool looking for the tropics. Then you start to notice other things around this marina – similar buildings on the skyline, weedy bitumen roads into the rain forest, ancient fire hydrants – and you start to realise that you have arrived in some kind of a ghost town.... [more]


Sail-World's Blackwattle transits the Panama Canal
By Nancy Knudsen,
We've heard all the gory stories about the Canal – 'There are many mishaps - they don't really like yachts', 'If you're put against the wall, your mast can collide with the canal walls', 'You'll have to berth with large ships - Watch out for the huge thrust from the ship's engines in front!'... [more]


St Francis Yacht Club Now for Kite Surfing
By Jan Pehrson/Sail-World Cruising,
One of the oldest, most traditional sailing clubs in the US has gone to the extreme sport of Kite surfing in order to stay with the times. Jan Pehrson of marinij.com quotes John Craig, race manager of the St Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco as saying, 'What used to be considered traditional racing is not continuing to grow.'... [more]


Selected Letters from Readers
By Cruising Editor,
Readers Letters: Related News Item: Blackwattle and the Marina Ghost Town... [more]





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