sailor's life lost after losing keel...Coalition Warships to protect shipping...but pirates captured another French yacht...avoiding fire on your sailing boat...and more

04 Sep 2008

Diary Dates


Editorial: Another Keel Gone, another Lost Life

Yachting tragedy. Time To Burn capsized 11 nautical miles off the coast of New Zealand when the keel fell off early Sunday morning. One crew member died the other was rescued.  .
Warmer weather and the opening of the sailing season means our yachting waterways will be happily bulging with sails again – both racing and cruising boats. However, it's tragic that the onset of Spring has coincided with another yachtsman losing his life because the keel fell off his boat. His traumatised and grieving crewmate–and fellow owner–said they hit a 'discarded spinnaker from another yacht'....and this collision was enough to remove the keel? I don't think so.

However, the ultimate killer appears to have been the fact that the life jacket the drowned seaman was wearing was too large, and obviously lacked a crutch strap. I hope this is the last time anyone will hear complaints about crutch straps on life jackets.

The inevitable enquiry by Maritime New Zealand will be held, but cruising sailors, who often venture too far from land for an early rescue, will, at their peril, ignore the need for a robust keel design.

The Coalition Task Force, already present in the Gulf of Aden for the 'War on Terror', has finally included safeguarding of shipping as part of its brief. That's the good news, but it was sadly not in time to save two French sailors, who were kidnapped yesterday after another pirate attack off the coast of Somalia.

In happier news, it's that time of year when many dozens of international cruising boats are passing through Australian waters. The round-world Blue Water Rally is currently heading from Mackay to Darwin, while the World ARC has just left that port sailing for Bali. There's also an amusing tale (if it's not your yacht) of sea-lions who are sleeping on decks in such great numbers that they are sinking the boats.

On a practical note, my 'Product of the Week' is the 'One-Touch' winch handle – no more thumb fiddling to get the wretched thing to dislodge – and there's some valuable hints on how to make sure your yacht is as fire-proof as possible.

Lots of other news too, so read on, enjoy, and.....

Sail Safe!

Nancy Knudsen, Cruising Editor

Pirates Capture another French Yacht off Somalia
AFP/Sail-World Cruising,
Pirates have seized another French yacht off Somalia's northern coast. The French foreign ministry said two French nationals were aboard the yacht that was seized in the Gulf of Aden, where hijackings of vessels have increased in recent months... [more]

Sea Tragedy:Life-Jacket,Seaboots Ultimate Killers?
Marty Sharp,,
An ill-fitting life jacket (or maybe lacking a crutch strap) and the weight of wet weather gear may have been the ultimate cause of the death of a sailor who lost his life when their yacht Time to Burn lost its keel off the coast of New Zealand.... [more]

Avoiding Fire on your Sailing Boat
Nancy Knudsen,
Report of an explosion on board a sailing catamaran moored in Pwlheli Harbour in North Wales this week raises the question of how to keep one's yacht safe from fire. The two crew were taken to hospital after the Holyhead coastguard received a 999 call. The cause of the blaze was under investigation according to the coastguard. The 8 metre catamaran was about 100 metres off shore at the time.... [more]

Quiet Weekend Sailing over as Sydney Racing Begins
Peter Campbell,
The quiet weekend sail is over for another season. Sydney Harbour again will be a sea of sail next Saturday, 6 September, when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and Middle Harbour Yacht Club begin their club yacht racing programmes for the summer of 2008-2009. For the Squadron, this will be its 147th season on the Harbour.... [more]

Product of the Week: 'One-Touch' Winch Handle
Nancy Knudsen,
Having to use two hands for removing a winch handle from a winch can pose a problem for the cruising sailor who is likely to be sailing short-handed or alone - you may need the other hand for steering, for holding on in a bucking sea, for controlling another line, in fact any number of scenarios.... [more]

Elan Crossovers wins at Hammo, Cowes & One Star
Gael Moldan,
The Rob Humphreys designed Elan Crossovers have been proving just how perfect a yacht they are for the cruising sailor who still wants to be able to win a race or two. A Race or Two? These have been doing much more than that - they have brought home a fine collection of silverware, not only from Hamilton Island, but also from Cowes Week and European Simrad One Star and Watsky Two Star Races... [more]

The Blue Water Rally Goes 'Over the Top End'
Peter Seymour,
The more than thirty yachts which left Gibraltar in October 2007 in the Blue Water Rally are currently cruising between Mackay, just south of Australia's most famous cruising grounds of the Great Barrier Reef, and Darwin, that northerly outpost of the 'Top End' of the Australian Outback. Here Organiser Peter Seymour reports on the progress:... [more]

New: Coalition Warships to Focus on Pirates
Des Ryan,
It's finally happened, and it's good news for cruising sailors heading for the Red Sea. Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, the multi-national force that has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden for years, will now patrol a 'maritime security patrol area' in the waters between the coasts of Somalia and Yemen with a focus on pirates and are asking cruising convoys to contact them... [more]

Australian Customs Saves German Sailors from Reef
Australian Customs,
The crew of the Australian Customs vessel (ACV) StormBay have plucked three German men to safety from their stricken yacht in waters near the Raine Island entrance to the Great Barrier Reef.... [more]

124th Season opens for Royal Queensland Squadron
Haydyn Johns,
Celebrating 124 years of sailing in Brisbane, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on Saturday 6 September celebrates the opening of the 2008/09 Sailing Season.... [more]

Cruising to Guatemala - the Wheeler Family on Mima
Mark Wheeler,
We continue the story of the Wheeler Family, Mark and Susan with their children Marshall and Amy in their yacht Mima. They are heading for Guatemala from Belize where they will remain for the next three months. Here they continue their tale of sailing as a family, with distance schooling and a journey rich with life experiences:... [more]

North Sails Hamilton Island loft great success
Bob Maxwell/Susan Veal,
On Friday the 15th of August, the North Sails Sydney team loaded up a trailer full of sewing machines, sail repair cloth and service materials to send north to Hamilton Island's Endeavour Room as the temporary sail repair centre during the 2008 Hamilton Island race week.... [more]

Sea Lions Sink Boat,
Sea lions without fear of humans might entrance sailors who pass through the Galapagos, and delight tourists who see them in California, but the locals are saying 'Enough is Enough', when there are so many of them they start sinking the boats they sleep on.... [more]

Sail North West Passage?Now you'll need Permission
Canadian Press/Sail-World,
With the North West Passage becoming more and more accessible to vessels of all kinds, there are sure to be adventurous cruising sailors undertaking the journey more frequently in the future. However, they will have to register with the Canadian Coast Guard in order to obtain permission, which, until an announcement by the Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper this week, was optional.... [more]

Valhalla cruises to Audi A4 Avant win at Hamilton
Rob Kothe,
A long term cruising plan for winter in the tropics had an unexpected bonus for Peter and Paula Cox, when they won an Audi A4 Avant at Hamilton Island, from the cruising Non-Spinnaker divsion... [more]

India, Yemen Act to Combat Pirates,
If a proposal by the Indian Navy to its government is accepted, soon the Indian Navy could be patrolling the dangerous pirate zone in the Gulf of Aden, the critical pathway to the Red Sea for cruising sailors, and Yemen has announced extensive cooperation with other countries to end piracy.... [more]

New Kid On The Block
Susan Veal,
LIf you're a resident of the Lakes region of NSW, you may have noticed a something new recently at the Newcastle cruising marina and shipping port. East Coast Marine has just opened its doors to the Newcastle region as the new North Sails service and sales agent.... [more]

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