So another year has passed and we've probably done more celebrating in Australia than almost anywhere in the world. In this week's edition of Sail-World Cruising's news magazine, we review some of 2012's significant happenings or people round the world – the most memorable rescues, the most remarkable adventurers and the most innovative or practical of products.
As to the adventurers, probably the most significant was the sailing of a 31ft fibreglass yacht , Belzebub II, through the most northerly strait in the Northwest Passage, significant because it graphically demonstrated just how fast the polar caps are melting. My personal favourite is Matt Rutherford who completed a non-stop circumnavigation of the Americas in a 27ft boat in ten months, braving both the Northwest Passage and the Horn in a boat that probably should have stayed in enclosed waters.
Belzebub II and glacier
I must mention the oldest and the youngest solo sailors – Laura Dekker was many months younger than any of the other would-be-youngest sailors when she completed her circumnavigation, and then simply kept sailing, 'home' to New Zealand. The oldest – the oldest woman to complete a solo circumnavigation, Jeanne Socrates - achieved that this year and is still out there sailing in another attempt to do it non-stop.
Laura Dekker on arrival in New Zealand
The rescues we chose are significant either for the foolishness or bravery and good seamanship of the skipper and crew, for the importance demonstrated about the use of PLB's or EPIRB's, and especially for the pivotal role that AMVER is taking in the rescue of many sailors who otherwise may have perished. The most dramatic, tragic and emotional for Australians who remember her well, was the sinking of the Bounty off the east coast of America in a hurricane.
AMVER rescue - yacht beside
As for the products, the innovation and creativity of sailors who are also designers continually gives rise to new products to make the life of the cruising sailor easier or safer. It was very very difficult to choose the ten, but there's a great range of products you should consider when fitting out your boat.
So that's a little of what 2012 has brought us. Browse down the rest of the headlines to see what's been making news while the rest of us have been celebrating, and here's wishing you the best 2013 that you could dream for yourself.