100 cruising families stranded in Maldives and India...Cyclone Yasi raises marina design questions...ECDIS, one cool gizmo...Sarasota Yacht Club waits for word on Cuba...RYA stomps on unsafe sailing instructors...and much more...

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 10 Feb 2011

Up to 100 yachts stranded in the eastern Indian Ocean

Whether you think they should be there or not, I fear for the safety of the stranded yacht families, mostly European and American, who are trying to get to the Mediterranean and home from India and the Maldives.

One of the cruising sailors I spoke to in the Maldives, Rene Tiemessen, estimates that right now there are about 100 yachts with about 200-250 sailors including many children, stranded on the east side of the Indian Ocean, and rejected for escort by naval authorities.

On the other side of the world, Sarasota Yacht Club is waiting for news about whether they can hold a rally for American sailors this year to Cuba. It's 50 years since American citizens were discouraged or forbidden, but there are hopes that 'this might be the year'. Read why...

In South Africa, a news conference held by the families of kidnapped sailors Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari was mostly a plea for sympathy, but maybe also for the $10million that the pirates are demanding. There's no proof right now that the couple are even alive.

Hinchinbrook Marina today - yachts and pontoons floated up with the water and off the top of the pylons  .. .
Australia's Cyclone Yasi has raised some questions about marina design, as the yachts in the Hinchinbrook marina simply floated up with the water and over the tops of the pylons that held the floating pontoons in place. Whether your area is subject to hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones, the same danger could apply. With seasonal storms continually setting new records, all marinas should consider the issue.

The fact that the Maritime Coastguard Agency in the UK is clamping down on unsafe operators is good news for sailing enthusiasts – and their families - and sends a global message. 'Our concerns are that after unqualified yacht skippers take part in bona fide races they go 'off piste' and take equally unqualified crew into areas they are not trained to venture,' Mark Clark of the MCA told me this week.

Over in Singapore they have just had the best fun of the year by racing (well sort of, as motor boats were allowed) to the equator and back – no, there was no mark, it was all Scouts' Honour.

In practical news, we profile the European Yacht of the Year in the Luxury Cruiser section, the lovely Xc 38. We also talk about the coolest gizmo around for navigators, the ECDIS. The technology is trickling down to superyachts and may one day be standard on a 40ft cruising yacht.

Finally can you sail (not motor) your boat to any given spot, in any wind? If not it's time to learn – one day it could be vital, so read the technique.

Browse down the headlines to see what interests you, and...

Sweet Sailing!

Nancy Knudsen, Cruising Editor

Rally/convoy heading to the Red Sea rejected for Navy escort
Nancy Knudsen,
Britain's Royal Navy has rejected a request by a cruising couple to give a convoy of around 30 yachts escort to the start of the Gulf of Aden, Salalah. Dutch cruising sailors Rene and Edith Tiemessen, who previously sailed with kidnapped sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler, have organised a rally/convoy from Thailand to Turkey and appealed for help from the British Navy several months ago.... [more]
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Marina design questioned after Cyclone Yasi destroys $30m in yachts
Lee Mylchreest,
Marina design has come under the spotlight following Australia's Cyclone Yasi. Floating pontoons in Port Hinchinbrook marina simply floated off the top of the pylons, releasing the yachts to be washed onto the shore and destroyed. This is the claim being made by some owners who lost their boats in the cyclone.... [more]
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ECDIS - cool gizmo for the electronics savvy sailor to pine for
Nancy Knudsen.,
Like good electronics? Eat your heart out for the latest cool gizmo, the ECDIS! Maybe you think you have a good electronic charting system, radar and AIS and an excellent way of getting the weather. Maybe you do, but what if you had them all together in one foolproof system? - It's called the ECDIS, and all you need, apart from perhaps a little more space on the yacht, is money.... [more]
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Sailors missing after capsize - hopes fade
Sail-World Cruising round-up,
A massive search continues, but hopes are now fading to miracle size for two British sailors missing after their yacht Water Waves was struck by a very large wave and capsized in rough seas off the coast of Portugal... [more]
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RYA stomps on unsafe yacht operators
Mark Clark/Sail-World Cruising,
In an action that will send a message not only to the UK yachting scene, but to yacht operators throughout the sailing world, two commercial yacht operators have been found guilty of using unsafe yachts on trans-Atlantic voyages when carrying students signed up for Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training courses.... [more]
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European Yacht of the Year: Luxury Cruiser, the Xc 38
Nancy Knudsen,
This year the European Yacht of the Year Award in the Luxury Cruiser category went to the company with SUCH a brief name, X Yachts, with their new Xc 38. They beat off strong competition from the Contest 57, the Nordship 350, the Sirius 35 and the Sunbeam 42.1.... [more]
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Sarasota Yacht Club holds its breath for permission to sail to Cuba
Des Ryan,
American sailors, in the form of the Sarasota Yacht Club, want to sail to Havana, Cuba. The fact that Cuba has been off-limits to American citizens for over 50 years only seems to make it more attractive, but their hopes will be dashed if they don't get positive word from the US government this month.... [more]
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Dolphin-watch boat sinks students in sailing cutter
Sail-World Cruising round-up,
A group of Outward Bound students on Marlborough Sound in the South Island of New Zealand got more adventure than they signed up for when their small cutter sailing boat was hit by a Dolphin Watch Ecotours boat. After the collision, the boat began sinking and the students ended up in the water, some of them injured..... [more]
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Sailing up to a mooring - practising for MOB
Adam Loory, UK-Halsey Sailmakers/Sail-World,
Sailing is fun and sailing well leads to confidence, safety and more even more fun on the water. A great skill to practice is stopping your boat in a specific location without the engine. This skill is used when sailing up to a mooring, sailing along side a dock, or rescuing a crew member overboard.... [more]
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Kidnapped cruising sailors' families hold news conference
Nancy Knudsen,
Kidnapped cruising sailors Bruno Pelizzari and his partner Deborah Calitz are no nearer being freed after a news conference in Pretoria this week held by Bruno's sister Vera Pelizzari and Calitz's family - her brother and three daughters. The two have been in Somali pirates hands since October 2010.... [more]
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Yacht with steering SOS aids Rowers with food SOS in the Atlantic
Des Ryan,
Call it serendipity or sychronicity, sometimes things happen for a reason. When the yacht White Whisper found their steerage had collapsed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, they thought they should let someone know they were disabled but continuing under a jury rig to their destination of Antigua. As they radioed Falmouth Coastguard, however, they didn't know they would soon be the life-savers... [more]
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Book of the Week: 'Just Sea and Sky' by Ben Pester
Rob Tickner,
Today setting out to sail to the other side of the world without GPS, electronics, radio or an EPIRB would be considered downright irresponsible. This charming, just-published account of the voyage of two men in a small boat half way round the world from Plymouth to New Zealand in 1955 is a rare insight into a time, not long ago, when sailors had none of the mod cons that we take for granted today... [more]
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Roosevelt Island climate evolution project
Matt Vance,
Antarctica New Zealand, a Kiwi-led group of scientists, have just returned from establishing a camp at the remote Roosevelt Island, some 700km east of Scott Base. The Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution project, a seven nation collaboration, aims to quantify how stable the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will be in a warming world.... [more]
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Migration helps corals survive climate change
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies,
The key to preserving the extraordinary richness and beauty of the world's coral reefs through the coming period of fragmentation caused by climate change lies in a better understanding of how newborn coral larvae disperse across the oceans to settle and grow on new reefs.... [more]
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Australia's Category 5 cyclone Yasi a yachting catastrophe
Nancy Knudsen,
Among all the other devastation that Category 5 Cyclone (read hurricane) Yasi wrought on Australia's North Queensland coast in the last days, all yachts and other water-borne craft that could not be moved out of the cyclone area did not escape unscathed. To put the notion into context, Hurricane Katrina which devastated Louisiana in 2005 was also a Category 5 hurricane.... [more]
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Lewmar Limited - EVO winch retail promotion
Emma White,
Lewmar Ltd - For a limited period, Lewmar are offering a free award-winning OneTouch winch handle with every EVO winch purchased at participating retailers.... [more]
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De coral has de rhythm to beat de night-time blues
ARC Centre of Excellence,
The world's corals not only display stunning beauty and diversity – they also have rhythm, man. And that helps to keep them going through the lonely low-­-point of the night, when their partner robs them blind.... [more]
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Neptune Regatta 2011 - Heading south to the Equator
Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia,
The Neptune Regatta fleet is now safely back in the Nongsa Point Marina after a trip to the Equator. It has been an action-packed three days since we left Batam and headed south. For almost everyone it has felt like a week – at least. And that's a compliment.... [more]
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Neptune Regatta 2011 – from Nongsa to Zero to Hero
Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia,
The concept was simple enough – a race to the equator and back. Heck, it's only 72 nm from Singapore as the crow flies. Or 83 nm through the islands of the Riau Archipelago, starting at Nongsa Point Marina. How hard can it be? Well, quite hard actually. There are no support facilities of any sort, let alone a marina, on the islands near the equator - it's a real challenge.... [more]
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