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Jessica's potentially fatal mishap - no justice, just survival

Silver Yang - could take many nautical miles to effect a change in course - that's if it even tried to  .
Sadly, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson's collision with a ship at sea in a shipping lane is just ordinary inexperience. I could have recommended her to my four-part series of articles in Sail-World Cruising on the subject (Search 'Container Ships and the Cruising Sailor'), just one among many in other publications by more worthy writers.

On a yacht at sea you can NEVER depend on a ship seeing you(for a whole range of reasons), or having a senior officer awake who speaks English at the bridge, or being able to effect a change of course within about five nautical miles, depending on the style of ship. Not desirable, perhaps, but fact.

A ship such as the 63,000 tonne Silver Yang in the normal course of events would feel nothing and know nothing until they found some paint on their hull at the next port. As to their reported attempt to 'hit-and-run', the whereabouts of all ships are so well known in Australian waters that this can be discounted.

No doubt this has taught her, in a most unfortunate way, to take FULL responsibility, as every yacht skipper must, for the avoidance of ships at sea. This is not a matter of justice, just survival.

The good news is that Jessica's attempt to become the youngest solo non-stop and unassisted circumnavigator will not take her through many shipping lanes; and it is true (from personal experience) that surviving a potential fatality at sea can add confidence and grit for the onward voyage.

While the newswires seem to be full of the achievements and woes of ambitious sailing teenagers at the moment, there IS a lot else going on on the world's oceans.

Frantic behind-the-scenes negotiations are now in train for three Seychellois cruising sailors from the catamaran SV Serenity, who have been held since March 09 by pirates in Somalia. It's a tale worthy of a James Bond film, and is still going on after their aborted escape attempt this week.

Down in Tonga they are holding their very first 'annual' Regatta in Vava'u, Balvenie is still doing it tough sailing in the Mediterranean (that's just jealousy speaking) and some hardy seamen are about to replicate Captain Bligh's amazing 4000 mile sail in an open whale boat in 1789.

Dinghy sailors can benefit by reading the recommendations that the RYA made after two dingy fatalities in the middle of an innocent afternoon race, and there's another in our Sailing Incident Series, with the opportunity to guess the lessons that MAIB deduced.

Are you sure you 'know-it-all' in yachting theory? There's a great new – and free – online theory course for old and young sea dogs alike.

Read on, enjoy, and

Serene sailing - and keep away from ships!


Nancy Knudsen, Cruising Editor



Solo teen sailor 'tried repeatedly to radio the ship.'
BW Roundup,
Local Australian news media have been full of solo sailor Jessica Watson's collision with the 63,000 tonne Japanese cargo vessel Silver Yang on her first night at sea. The 34-foot Pink Lady, the boat in which Jessica hopes to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the world non-stop and unassisted, is now back in Southport on Queensland's Gold Coast.... [more]
Onsend this story


Solo 16-year-old sailor hits merchant ship
BW,
Jessica Watson, 16-year-old who had set off from Mooloolaba to Sydney on a leg which was to be a precursor to her attempt to solo sail the world non-stop and unassisted, has hit a cargo ship less than 24 hours after leaving port.... [more]
Onsend this story


Swap deal fails for cruising sailors held by pirates for seven months
Nancy Knudsen,
A deal to swap three crew of the cruising catamaran SV Serenity and held by Somali pirates for seven months, with 23 prisoners accused of piracy, has come unstuck soon after the three had boarded an aeroplane to freedom. The plane was in the process of refuelling when halted by Somali authorities who also took the aircraft crew into custody.... [more]
Onsend this story


Free online theory course for old and young sailors
Blackwattle Studios,
Whether your ambition is to be the best racing sailor that ever graced a foredeck, or the safest ocean cruiser with the best seamanship skills in the world, you need to know your theory, and that's where the online Aztec Sailing Theory courses come in.... [more]
Onsend this story


Incident No. 10 - Dangers of rotating machinery
MAIB/Sail-World Cruising,
The best mistakes to learn by are other people's. This is especially so with sailing. In this anecdote, the tenth in the series, we present a real sailing situation which was investigated by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), and THREE lessons deduced. Can you identify the lessons? (Find answers at the end of the story)... [more]
Onsend this story


A Sea Change: The world without fish - is it possible?
Blackwattle Studios,
The oceans of the world are not only important to sailors and fishermen, but to most people on earth, whether they realise it or not. 'A Sea Change' is a poignant film which tackles the probability of a world without fish should humans continue to act and behave environmentally as we have for the past century.... [more]
Onsend this story


Tonga holds its first 'Annual Regatta Vava'u'
Matangi Tonga/Sail-World Cruising,
It is this time of year that many of the great migration of circumnavigating cruising boats pass through Tonga, so the timing of Tonga's first 'Annual Regatta Vava'u' couldn't be better.... [more]
Onsend this story


Sailing with Balvenie - ancient Trogir in Croatia
Amanda Church and Mark Farrell,
Amanda Church and Mark Farrell continue their tales of sailing the Mediterranean on their 47ft yacht Balvenie. Our early morning arrival in Trogir was very welcome after our unplanned night at sea avoiding the lightening strikes and high winds.... [more]
Onsend this story


Mike Perham signed up for the Bounty Boat Expedition
Nancy Knudsen,
The Bounty Boat Expedition has just scored a coup as Michael Perham, the seventeen-year-old who has just become the world's youngest solo circumnavigator, has signed on as crew for the expedition.... [more]
Onsend this story


Beneteau - sales down but 29 new models announced
Sail-World Cruising,
The Bénéteau Group, that doyenne of the yacht manufacturing world, has announced that its 2008/9 sales are down 30-40%, is expecting to contract by 10-15% in the coming months, but is reacting in a typically aggressive fashion by announcing 29 new models (21 renewals - 8 range extensions)for the 2009/10 year.... [more]
Onsend this story


Sail in a real Viking sailing craft? - yes YOU can do it!
Sail-World Cruising,
...but you first have to get to Denmark. In most maritime museums round the world you will find fascinating old craft, faithfully restored, but mostly you can't go sailing in them. Not so with the Viking Ship Museum on Roskilde Fjord in Roskilde, Denmark, just 30 kilometres west of Copenhagen.... [more]
Onsend this story


Dinghy sailing fatalities and the lessons learned
Sail-World Cruising,
In July this year two dinghy sailors from the same family lost their lives in a capsize. The incident happened in Keilder Water in Northumberland UK, but the lessons deduced by the RYA for dinghy sailors are applicable worldwide.... [more]
Onsend this story


Australian teen set to depart on solo round-world sail
Nancy Knudsen,
Acquisition of new sponsor Ella Bache has brought Australian 16-year-old Jessica Watson's attempt to sail solo non-stop and unassisted round the world closer. She is now expected to depart from Queensland in the next few days, always weather permitting.... [more]
Onsend this story
 


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