Berserk criticism...piracy update as seven kidnapped Danes reach never to miss an important VHF message again...and MUCH more...

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 03 Mar 2011

Bad news and good news week...

Somali pirates - they seem to have the upper hand  .
Scandinavian sailors are in the news this week, but sadly all of it is bad. Fast on the heels of the murder of some cruising sailors in the Arabian Sea, now there's news of seven Danish sailors, including three teens, who have been kidnapped by Somali pirates.

It's certainly good news that at least one rally is recognising when discretion is the better part of valour – read how they have decided to get their yachts to Europe safely!

Bad news again is the tragic loss of the Norwegian yacht Berserk, sailed to Antarctic in circumstances which have later been much criticised, and lost along with three of its crew. An analysis of the Berserk's modus operandi by a top Antarctic sailor exposes some serious flaws in the planning.

Still in the Southern Hemisphere, read about the yacht club that has, for the moment, been virtually – and heroically - abandoned by its members in the wake of Christchurch's devastating earthquake; and over the Tasman Sea into Australia, the Lake Eyre Yacht Club has been, extraordinarily, forbidden from sailing on the 'once-every-few-years' yacht club.

The best news of all is from Jack Binder in his story Streaking for Streaky Bay. His vivid descriptions of sailing experiences entranced me this week as he tells tales of his and his wife's circumnavigation of Australia.

Want to sign up for a Safety and Survival course? If you're in Melbourne you're in luck. Finally, this week, you can learn how never, never to miss a weather forecast or a Securite broadcast on the VHF again!

Read on, enjoy, and...

Sweet Sailing!

Nancy Knudsen, Editor

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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After the earthquake: Christchurch Yacht Club reports
Nick Richardson,
This season has been eventful in that we opened the season without sailing because of contamination from the September quake. A fortnight ago we had a sewage line break. But we have tried to keep sailing. Tuesdays quake has left our storage shed on the brink of falling into the sea. So we have evacuated the yachts. Rescue boats been removed from our very badly clubhouse.... [more]
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The tragic loss of the Berserk - an analysis
Nancy Knudsen,
Skip Novak, renowned round world racing sailor and with 24 years of experience sailing in Antarctica, has questioned the wisdom of the yacht Berserk entering the Ross Sea. He says he advised skipper Jarle Andhoy strongly against sailing there, saying, 'It was not safe for small yachts at any time of year.'... [more]
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Lake Eyre Yacht Club - no sailing, says traditional owners
Lee Mylchreest,
One of the most unusual yacht clubs in the world, Australia's Lake Eyre Yacht Club, surrounded by thousands of miles of desert, with water only every few years, is now stopped from sailing by the objections of the traditional owners of the land around the lake. For many years, whenever the Lake has water, yacht owners stream in from all over the world to sail on her, but no more.... [more]
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GME heralds the amazing G-Com marine VHF handheld radio
Matthew Heap,
GME, Australia's leading marine electronics company, will shortly broaden their product portfolio with the introduction of the amazing G-Com GX660 marine VHF handheld radio.... [more]
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Danish yacht with three kids, four adults, seajacked as Rally mourns
Nancy Knudsen,
It was happening while 65 cruising sailors, members of the Blue Water Rally and others, were holding a Memorial service in Salalah for the four American sailors aboard Quest recently murdered by Somali pirates. Denmark has confirmed the appalling news that a Danish family of five and their two crew, travelling on sailing vessel Ing, have been seajacked by pirates along a similar route to the Quest... [more]
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Adventures of Banyandah: Streaking for Streaky Bay
Jack Binder,
Jack and Jude Binder are circumnavigating Australia on their yacht Banyandah, and they are currently sailing along the southern coastline of Australia, getting nearer to their crossing of the Great Australian Bight. Here they take us with them for part of their adventurous way, heading for Streaky Bay in South Australia:... [more]
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Quest incident - the final moments
Des Ryan,
What happened on the death yacht the Quest to cause the pirates to kill the hostages may never be known until a trial or an inquiry establishes the facts, but that does not stop claim and counter-claim by those involved on both sides. Some aspects of the case are, however, becoming clearer.... [more]
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Vale - 'Met Area VII' voice silenced
Nancy Knudsen,
There is nothing more precious and confidence-building when the weather is foul and the wind screaming than the sound of a familiar calm voice on the HF radio doing a 'sched'. So when one of those voices goes silent we feel we have lost a real friend. Alistair Campbell, one of South Africa's greatest radio amateurs, has gone 'silent key'.... [more]
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Yacht Berserk lost in Antarctica – safety measures questioned
Nancy Knudsen,
As the search for three missing crew of the yacht Berserk is abandoned serious questions are being asked about the safety measures of their expedition to Antarctica. The three crew tragically lost to the Antarctic Ocean have been named as Norwegians Robert Skaane, 34, and Tom Gisle Bellika, 36, and sole British crew member Leonard Banks, 32.... [more]
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Christchurch Earthquake: Donation details - Official Fund
Richard Gladwell,
Sail-World has spoken to one of the assessors on the still shaking ground at Christchurch. He advises that the damage in Christchurch is far, far more serious and extensive than the previous earthquake in September, and the situation is ongoing. The New Zealand Government has this morning established an official disaster fund for assistance of the people of Christchurch. Here's how we can help... [more]
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Product of the Week: Hailer/Horn Speaker for VHF radios
Martin Flory/Sail-World Cruising,
Do you sometimes have trouble picking up what the VHF says? - not because of clarity but because of volume? Dependent on your set location and how much wind, engine, ocean or sails noise there is, you could be in a far away section of the boat and miss a Securite announcement - or you could miss a weather report. The solution is in this week's Product of the Week... [more]
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Variety Splash postcard perfect day 2
Portia Dixon,
Variety Splash participants aboard the 17 competing power and sail boats enjoyed a postcard perfect day yesterday on Port Philip Bay for the 5.6 nautical mile route from Queenscliff to Mornington.... [more]
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Innovative sails for container ships - in development
Sail-World Cruising,
In the effort to find alternative ways of moving our ships around the oceans of the world with less, or without fossil fuels , there have been many experiments, the most publicised being the German efforts to use high flying kites. But now a Japanese company has been coming up with some imaginative sail solutions, the most interesting of which is a retrofit for existing ships.... [more]
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Solo teen sailor goes home to raise money
Nancy Knudsen,
Laura Dekker, 15-year-old Dutch solo sailor embarked on a round world adventure, is returning home. No, she hasn't give up her journey, she's doing what many cruising sailors do during their voyages, return home for one reason or another. Many go to see their children and grandchildren. Some go home to work for a while to pay for their next leg. For Laura, also, it is a question of mone... [more]
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First harmful Algal Bloom genome sequenced
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - The microscopic phytoplankton Aureococcus anophagefferens, which causes devastating brown tides, may be tiny but it's a fierce competitor.... [more]
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Variety Splash sets sail
Teri Dodds,
Melbourne's waterways are alive with activity for a few days, as Variety Splash, raising money for special-needs kids, takes to the water again. Over 150 guests including boat owners, corporate teams, Variety Ambassadors, Variety supporters and celebrities warmly welcomed the start of Variety Splash 2011 Friday night at an Official Welcome dinner.... [more]
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The Ego - new toy for exploring underwater with dry feet
Lee Mylchreest,
Love to explore the underwater world from your sailboat but don't want to get your feet wet? Want to give granny or the kids a real thrill? Here's something you could trail behind the yacht for an underwater weekend that you'll remember forever. It's not out until October, and we don't have a price-tag, but what a blast!... [more]
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Ocean Racing Club of Victoria sailing and training safety class
John Curnow,
Ocean Racing Club of Victoria - The ever popular and always sold out ORCV Sea Safety and Survival Course has begun, yet again. The February course was designed to help those on the wait list and also ensure that Skippers wanting to head to King Island next month, could have the greatest number of SSSC qualified souls on board.... [more]
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Hopes fade as missing Antarctic yacht's empty liferaft found
Sail-World Cruising round-up,
Hopes are fading for three crew missing on yacht Berserk in Antarctica after searchers found the boat's only life raft damaged and covered in ice, but unoccupied. Jarle Andhøy, Berserk's captain, phoned to say he is on the ice travelling back from his expedition to the South Pole.... [more]
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World circumnavigation rally cancelled nine months out
Nancy Knudsen,
Evidence that voyaging through the Indian Ocean is getting just too hard for the cruising sailor, if you didn't already believe it, is underlined by the fact that one of the best known world circumnavigation rallies has been called off nine months before it is due to begin.... [more]
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Windfarms, Yachting on a collision course - this time in Scotland
Forargyll/Sail-World Cruising,
Britain's Royal Yacht Association (RYA) has taken up the cudgel to support traditional sailing routes when those wanting to build wind farms place them across areas of water frequented by sailing boats. This time the issue is in Scotland, the proposed Kintyre Array of offshore windfarms, which will lie across acknowledged yachting routes.... [more]
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Swan Bay boost for boaties
Jasmine Sussex,
Swan Bay - Boating enthusiasts will gain a $135,000 upgrade to their facilities this autumn with the installation of a new landing jetty beside the Swan Bay boat ramp.... [more]
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Two of five crew on missing yacht Berserk located in the Antarctic
Sail-World Cruising round-up,
The two crew who had landed on the Antarctic to make an overland journey to the South Pole have been located and are now in contact with those searching for their missing yacht. Jarle Andhøy, Berserk's captain, phoned to say he is on the ice travelling back from his expedition to the South Pole.... [more]
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AAkron Inflatables are great but this is ridiculous!
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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