France introduces 'pay for your own rescue' legislation...yachting perspective on Gulf of Mexico oil disaster...16 sinking Swedish seas couts saved at sea...Plastiki on last leg...and much more...

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 08 Jul 2010

Paying for your own rescue - coming soon?

Would France's potential new law encroach on the freedom of the sea?  .
The most significant news story of the week for cruising sailors – whether you enjoy day sailing or are in the middle of a circumnavigation – is France's move to ask dangerous risk-taking adventurers, including sailors, to pay for their own rescues.

Certainly there is a frequently expressed opinion among experienced sailors, that if you venture into remote waters, you should not expect rescue, and should be able to deal with any emergency. Landlubbers, too, are often asking why their hard earned taxes should be used to assist those who consciously put themselves in the way of potential harm.

The devil, as usual with such grand concepts, is in the detail. How do you establish that an adventurer is taking an unnecessary risk? Abby Sunderland's recent exploits may be easy to identify and condemn because she is a minor, but what about Isobel Autissier, who had to be rescued multiple times from the Southern Ocean? Or Tony Bullimore, for whom the Australian Navy sailed to unprecedented latitudes to effect his rescue? Both of these were engaged in formally approved races.

Similarly, there may be no issue with the crew of the French yacht Tanit, whose crew were kidnapped in Somali waters, a crew that were repeatedly warned against their journey, and whose risky adventure resulted in the skipper's death from friendly fire. But Life is risky, so assessing the cut-off point between responsible risk-taking and irresponsible risk-taking will be a thorny path for those who try.

France is the first country to approach the issue, and legislation, passed by the Senate, is still in the process of being considered by France's government. However, if it is enacted successfully, how long would it take to spread to other countries? It has the potential to change irrevocably the way that we sailing wanderers voyage on the world's oceans. With the lives of citizens bound more and more tightly in a regulatory framework, the Ocean has been our last great freedom.

As for the rest of this edition, as usual there is a wildly varied collection of news about the activities of cruising sailors worldwide – the news of the day, the rescues, the dilemmas, tales from the adventurers, and information that you will find useful in your sailing life.

Read on, browse the many headlines to find those that interest you, and...

Sweet sailing!

Nancy Knudsen, Editor

Ady Gil skipper anti-whaler Pete Bethune, gets suspended sentence
Environmentalist and anti-whaling campaigner, Pete Bethune, gets suspended sentence. 'All I wanted was justice for the loss of my boat, the Ady Gil, and the attempted murder of my crew.' The trial in Japan of environmentalist and anti-whaling campaigner, Pete Bethune, 45, reached its conclusion today... [more]
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Responsibility at sea - global conversation hots up
Nancy Knudsen,
The global conversation about responsibility at sea is hotting up, with the French Government about to enact a bill that will require adventurers to pay for their rescues, and an ex-White House aide asking why Abby Sunderland's parents should not be sued for Child Endangerment... [more]
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Sailing in Oil - yacht perspective on the Gulf of Mexico disaster
Capt. Tom Serio, The Triton/Sail-World Cruising,
There's a new vocabulary developed since the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. There are 'tar balls, plumes, slicks and sheens'. Here Captain Tom Serio tells The Trident the perspective for yachts these days in the Gulf. Oil doesn't belong in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but it continues to spew out of a broken well pipe a mile below the surface and 41 miles off the Louisiana coast... [more]
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Sixteen Sinking Swedish Sea Scouts saved by quick acting Brits
Sail-World Cruising,
THE crew of a Scandinavian yacht, including a party of teenage Scouts, were rescued yesterday after their vessel threatened to sink in heavy seas off the north east coast of Scotland. All 16 crew on board the Swedish training vessel, Biscaya Av Vindalso, made it safely ashore on board their yacht following a rescue mission involving an RAF search and rescue helicopter, a lifeboat and a North Se... [more]
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Sailing Tip of the Week: Slow tack or fast tack - which is faster?
Grant Headifen,
Here Grant Headifen discusses the theory of changing course by tacking in the fastest, neatest possible way - relevant for every sailor, whether cruising or racing, and no matter how many crew you have: I once sailed with an ex-submarine captain who would turn the boat through a tack extremely slowly. When asked why, he had several good reasons.... [more]
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Abby Sunderland - the final minutes
Sail-World Cruising roundup,
Sixteen-year-old adventure sailor Abby Sunderland told the detail of her rescue to the world's press when she arrived back in Marina del Rey in Los Angeles this week. She described how she blacked out when a giant wave smashed her yacht's mast to pieces in the remote southern Indian Ocean.... [more]
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Plastiki - Sydney, here we come!
Nancy Knudsen,
Plastiki, the catamaran made of recycled plastic that is sailing across the Pacific Ocean to draw attention to the surfeit of plastic in the world, arrived in New Caledonia this week for what is scheduled to be its last port call before its final destination of Sydney, Australia.... [more]
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Jeanne Socrates over the equator - again
Nancy Knudsen,
Solo sailor Jeanne Socrates has just emailed us saying she has crossed the equator - again! So how many times is that? When one is a passionate sailor like Jeanne Socrates, it's probably easy to lose count. Jeanne, in case you haven't heard of her, at 60-something, is building to be the female answer to Japan's eight-time-circumnavigator and 76-year-old Minoru Saito.... [more]
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A Cardboard Yacht Race - cheaper than Disneyland!
Des Ryan,
On the west coast of the USA they have always been up to some pretty amazing feats, so when they declared a Lake Sacajawea cardboard boat regatta in Washington State, more than 50 crews entered, and a large crowd gathered to watch the spectacle.... [more]
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Somali pirates move north towards the Red Sea:(ISAF reaffirms warning)
Sail-World Cruising,
Once cruising sailors had sailed the Gulf of Aden and reached the vicinity of the Strait of Bab el Mandeb, in reach of Red Sea waters, they would sigh with relief, as this was the sure signal that they had passed the dangerous pirate zone... but no more.... [more]
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Hit in the face with the boom - dramatic rescue
Sail-World Cruising,
This photo of a rescue in action was taken during a Medevac operation on the Atlantic Ocean after a swinging boom caused a crewman a severe injury. Helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod was called to the rescue by the yacht Bombardino off the coast of Massachussets this week. A satellite phone was used for the rescue call.... [more]
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Five Boating Safety Tips - check them out
BoatUS Foundation,
With the number of emergencies still very high as a result of boaters not observing the basic safety rules of good seamanship, the BoatUS Foundation has five good tips for boating safety. But safety isn't a national issue, so no matter which country you sail in, how do you measure up?... [more]
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Fringe dwellers hold secrets of survival
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies,
Corals right out on the exposed edges of the world's great coral reef zones may hold an important clue to the survival of coral ecosystems facing intensifying pressure from human activities and climate change.... [more]
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'Plastic bag man' Australian circumnavigator will try again
Zac Bailey, Whitsunday Times/Sail-World,
A solo sailor dubbed the 'plastic bag man' has set one record for circumnavigating Australia, but will try for 'the big one' next year. Ian Thomson's new record of 42 days, 5 hours, 33 minutes lopped a massive 26 days off the previous record. He had hoped to do the voyage unassisted and non-stop but gear malfunctions off the south-west of Australia forced him to go ashore for repairs.... [more]
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The World's most sailing-mad city
Sail-World Cruising,
Which IS the yachting capital of the world? Is it Cannes? Annapolis? Sydney? No, Marblehead locals claim that it's Marblehead in Massachusetts USA, on the basis that, in a population of just over 20,000, the sailing mad town has no less than six yacht clubs. That's one for every 3,333 people. Is there a city in the world that can do better than that?... [more]
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New Zealand's Waikato Boat Show: Building up the boating business
Waikato Boat, Fishing & Leisure Show Media,
In New Zealand, the Waikato Boat, Fishing & Leisure Show is the only marine exhibition in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty area. To be held on the 15-17 of October 2010, the event is on track for another successful year. Emerging out of an economic strain, the 2010 event is set to be paramount in paving the year ahead for the marine industry.... [more]
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SKIPPER! Visibility's poor, can you plot us a course home from here?
Coastguard Boating Education .,
If you're an experienced skipper you'll appreciate the value of knowledge at sea, especially when situations change. On Coastguard Boating Education's Boatmaster course you'll develop skills for sail navigation by day or night, strengthen your knowledge on dealing with emergencies, boat handling, and the rules and regulations. This comprehensive 30 hour course is also very flexible,... [more]
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AHOY SKIPPER - Do you know your knots?
Coastguard Boating Education .,
Join Coastguard Boating Education's Day Skipper course and you'll learn how to tie a range of knots and find out which knot to use in different situations, the equipment you need, the rules of the road at sea, essential boat handling tips, what to do in an emergency and much more to assist you in having an enjoyable time at sea. The Day Skipper course is only 15 hours... [more]
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