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 10 Mar 2011
 


The inspiration, the horror, the education - a cruising sailor's world

Alex Whitworth - recognised by the Cruising Club of America  .. ©
The news that floods in every week about what cruising sailors are doing on the world's oceans comes in many hues. There are horror stories, epic adventures and inspirational tales. There are also vital informational articles that we ignore at our peril.

Inspiration is at the top of the list, and it's Bravo to Alex Whitworth, that self-styled 'old geezer' hardly recognised in Australia, who had just been awarded the Blue Water Medal, not by an Australian organisation, but by the prestigious Cruising Club of America. Alex has more blue water miles under his keel than most more famous sailors, and his quiet achievements are a great inspiration to those of us who follow him. He was officially awarded the Blue Water Medal for his circumnavigation which included sailing the North West Passage.

Horror stories this week come from several quarters – scant but chilling news about the whereabouts of the Danish family kidnapped by pirates; and the further reconfirmation, this time in an article by that Antarctic veteran Don McIntyre, that the crew on the yacht Berserk had been embarked on a mission so foolish as to be suicidal.

The other growing horror story is the worsening news from the world's most respected scientists that the polar ice sheets are melting at an even faster rate than calculated previously – and we haven't even convinced the ostriches yet that it's happening at all, let along doing something about it.

Closer to home I was dismayed to learn that according to the US Coast Guard, 90% of DSC enabled VHF radios on yachts have not been connected to the GPS. 'It couldn't happen to me,' must be the attitude. If it's that way in America, it's probably the same in Australia. Is it connected on the boat you sail on?

Talking of GPS technology, this week there's an old story with a new twist. The cruising sailor who takes a sextant to cruise the oceans has become something of a rare beast, but now one of the world's most respected British academies has warned explicitly of the dangers to all mariners of relying solely on GPS – not by inaccurate charting, but by faults in the software.

Product of the week is a really excellent mooring line tensioner system, and the best news of the week is the 'never-say-die' solo sailor Frenchman Thomas Coville, so lagging behind in his round world record attempt, has rounded the Horn, not only in good shape, but back on track for the record. Read why...

Sydney-siders you may have to be careful where you sail on Sunday - the water will be full of swimmers...

Many more stories of interest too, so browse down the headlines to find your own interest.

Sweet sailing!


Nancy Knudsen, Editor



CCA Blue Water Medal presented to Alex Whitworth
Kirsten Ferguson,
Alexander Whitworth (Sydney, Australia) has accepted the CCA 2010 Blue Water Medal from Cruising Club of America Commodore Sheila McCurdy and Awards Chair Bob Drew at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.... [more]
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Earth's ice sheets melting sooner than expected: New Study
Nancy Knudsen,
Unless you live in the Maldives you may not be able to sail down your main street any time soon, but it's undeniably getting easier to sail the North West Passage. Sadly, all credible scientists are in agreement that Global Warming, the reality we all shy away from facing, is coming to an area near you soon. The bad news is that according to a new credible study, it will be sooner than expected.... [more]
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Sodebo rounds the Horn - in good shape for a record
Kate Jennings/Sail-World Cruising,
Thomas Coville, earlier lagging behind in his attempt to be the fastest solo sailing adventurer around the world because of contrary wind and weather, is still in there with a chance. He has just rounded the Horn with great excitement and in good shape, and is now on target to achieve a new record. Read on to see why...... [more]
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Academy warns on GPS unreliability
Sail-World Cruising,
Leisure sailors and other mariners could find themselves in trouble if they rely totally on GPS systems a British Academy of Engineering has warned. The report finds that the real threat lies in 'dangerously misleading' results which may not seem obviously wrong - a ship directed slightly off course by faulty data could steer it into danger.... [more]
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Boating changes for Sydney Harbour swim event
Penny Robbins,
NSW Maritime advises boaters that parts of Sydney Harbour will be inaccessible for the duration of a swimming event on Sunday, 13 March.... [more]
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Don McIntyre: On the loss of the yacht Berserk in the Antarctic
Don McIntyre,
Sailing adventurer Don McIntyre, who has made nine sailing voyages to and through Antarctic waters, here comments on the tragic loss of the Norwegian yacht Berserk in the Ross Sea in the Antarctic. The steel yacht was skippered by Norwegian television personality Jarle Andhoey. On land trying to reach the south pole, he survived the sinking that cost the lives of three of his crewmates.... [more]
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Danish hostage sailors 'deep into Somali mountains'
Nancy Knudsen,
Recent media reports that the seven Danish cruising sailors kidnapped by pirates are held on a ship are inaccurate, say piracy-watch group Ecoterra. They claim that another seajacked vessel, the M Ems River, was first used to tow the yacht and then refuel it before it was itself released after the payment of a ransom. In the meantime, the seven Danes were taken and held on land.... [more]
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Appalling DSC numbers - 90% not connected
Des Ryan,
Both professional and volunteer coast guards who watch the ignorant and the irresponsible sail out on our oceans, call for help and then put rescuers lives at risk when they get into trouble, are continually seeking ways to educate boaters. In the USA this week the US Coast Guard have requested the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) to develop a new GPS product to improve safety.... [more]
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MSCHOA and ISAF - still giving pirate advice to yachts
Nancy Knudsen,
It's curious that in spite the Somali pirate killing of four American cruising sailors, the recent kidnapping of seven Danes and the disappearance since October 2010 of two South African sailors, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and the Maritime Security Cerntre (Horn of Africa) (MSCHOA) continue giving guidance about what to do when you sail through the pirate area around Somalia... [more]
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Smith Family kids sail in Sydney Harbour Regatta
Nicole Brown/Sail-World Cruising,
There's nothing like a day sailing to blow away the cobwebs and give you a new perspective on life, and that was the idea behind the Smith Family's Learning for Life program last week when they took a bunch of young people sailing on Sydney Harbour.... [more]
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A business profile: Great bags out of old sails
Lee Mylchreest,
The last good use we heard of for the old sails from your boat was to send them to Haiti for the survivors of their catastrophic earthquake. Now there's another, and so good we wonder why every country - even state - in the world doesn't have a business like this - stitching old sails into bags! and how many thousands of those are lying around in lockers or garages?... [more]
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Online then Sailing Holiday - the newest way to learn to sail
Lee Mylchreest,
One way to learn to sail is to turn up regularly at the local sailing school. Another is to turn up at the local yacht club every sailing day and hope a yacht is missing crew. But if neither method is practical for you, there's another way, growing in popularity. It's the 'Online and then take a sailing holiday' way - time efficiency combined with exotic holidaying in a fabulous sailing location.... [more]
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Product of the Week: Mooring line tensioner
Sail-World Cruising,
SwissTech is the source of our 'Product of the Week', a mooring line tensioner, introduced this year at the Dusseldorf Boat Show, BOOT.... [more]
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Solo sailor circumnavigator still can't take a trick
Nancy Knudsen,
French solo sailor Thomas Coville, trying to be the fastest to sail around the world solo, just can't seem to take a trick. It's the weather - but isn't that all the time? Weather is god on the ocean, and sometimes it's just weather-luck that makes the difference between a mundane voyage and a spectacular one.... [more]
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Christchurch Earthquake: A sailor's view of the damage and aftermath
Sail-World correspondent,
One of the New Zealand sailing fraternity is working on at Christchurch and reports on the scene: 'I haven't made any contact with any of the Clubs around the region, but the re is severe damage all around the waterfronts. Christchurch and Mt Pleasant club site look bad, no word from the Harbour and I haven't been over to Lyttelton and south yet, where reports are of serious damage. Not enough... [more]
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Dutch crew escape pirates - US Coast Guard warns Americans away
Sail-World Cruising,
Just as a private security firm has warded off another pirate attack on a large yacht in the Arabian Sea, the US Coast Guard has joined the call for Americans to stay away from waters anywhere within reach from Somalia - and that's a long way these days.... [more]
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Falmouth's roaring Sea Shanty Festival to raise money for the RNLI
Sail-World Cruising round-up,
The age of the Sea Shanty might be gone, but the ringing rhythms never lose their allure - and what better way for raising money for the volunteer organisation which saves of lives at sea? This year again in the UK's Falmouth, one of the most engaging festivals will again take place, the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival. If you can be anywhere near to Cornwall in June this year, it's a 'must see'!... [more]
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Multihull Solutions: premium difference in choice and service
Tracey Johnstone,
Multihull Solutions' approach to customer service and cruising catamaran product packaging breaks new ground and sets the business ahead in the tough Australian yacht brokerage market.... [more]
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Boat licence testing at Rosehill Trailer Boat Show
Penny Robbins,
Boat licence testing will be available at NSW Maritime's stand at the Rosehill Trailer Boat Show on 5 and 6 March. Customers are also able to pay for renewals online at www.maritime.nsw.gov.au... [more]
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AAkron Inflatables are great but this is ridiculous! + Video
Lloyd Darroch,
Aakron Boats have just released a new 4.2m alloy RIB which features a floodable keel chamber. 'While the concept is not new we didn't realise how good it would work for a light alloy RIB', says Lloyd Darroch. 'Normally such a boat is too light to have a deep V hull. The buoyancy of the V will lift the RIB too far out of the water so it becomes unstable when stationary.... [more]
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Somali piracy developments -yachts go by ship, Danes reach shore
Nancy Knudsen,
Somali piracy has hotted up enough in the past month to cause yachts now in Salalah to ship their vessels to Europe. After the murder of four cruising sailors last month, there have been nine pirate attacks in the last week in the Red Sea itself, and one successful attack within 30 miles of the normally safe Salalah area of Oman. Captured Danish family have now reached the shores of Somalia.... [more]
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New Ultrascan PC180 Forward Looking Sonar now available in Australia
Jane Arakawa,
Interphase, the leader in award-winning and affordable phased array forward looking sonars for the recreational and light commercial market, introduces a new ultra fast multibeam sonar to the Australian market through Coursemaster Autopilots dealer's. Working like an acoustic underwater radar (except much faster), with a 180 degree view up to 360m ahead and to each side and to the bottom.... [more]
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Sailing Sourcebook - works like a charm
Sail-World Cruising,
When you know what you want and your local marine store isn't being helpful, it can be quicker and easier to buy chandlery and other items online. All you needed is a catalogue, their free-call number or Skype to place an order. Now that process has just gotten a vast amount easier, with a new development. A leading online marine store has introduced a new E-catalog that works like a charm.... [more]
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Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta Maritime Safety alert
Penny Robbins,
Sydney will be a 'city of sails' this weekend with 300 sailboats contesting the annual Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta. 'Every skipper, of every vessel – both racing and non-racing - must observe the rules and regulations for safe navigation' said NSW Maritime Chief Executive Steve Dunn.... [more]
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