90% of VHF radios not connected - new finding...heavy warnings about sailing the Indian Ocean after American deaths...French solo sailor rounds the Horn in good shape...and much more...

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 10 Mar 2011

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

GPS vulnerability - Academy warns about too heavy reliance  .
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.

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 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. 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 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...

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

Sweet sailing!

Nancy Knudsen, Editor

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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New discovery from Antarctica's ‘ghost mountains'
British Antarctic Survey and Lamont-Doherty Observ,
The discovery of numerous large ice structures within Antarctica's Dome A region, the site of the buried ‘ghost mountains', reveals new understanding about ice sheet growth and movement that is essential for predicting how the ice sheet may change as the Earth's climate warms.... [more]
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New Arctic sea-ice information service launched
British Antarctic Survey,
British Antarctic Survey remote sensing expert Andrew Fleming is part of a new European project to aid ships' navigation in ice-infested waters in the European Arctic and the Baltic Sea that is launched this week... [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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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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Coastguard Boating Education: ICC now available to NZ Citizens
Coastguard Boating Education,
The International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft (known as an ICC) is now available to New Zealand citizens (before March 1st 2011 ICCs were only available to UK citizens or residents). ICCs are awarded following a short practical and knowledge assessment through an RYA Training Centre.... [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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Superyachts raise $55,000 for Christchurch Earthquake Appeal
Ellie Brade,
On the 22nd of February at 12.51pm, a shallow earthquake of 6.3 magnitude, rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, leaving the city devastated. With the need to help the many affected by the disaster apparent, the superyacht community in New Zealand rallied. On Thursday night in Auckland a fundraiser, organized by YachtAid Global and Superyacht Support Ltd saw around $55,000 raised for the cause.... [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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Britain phases approach for new waterways charity
Emma Slater,
Following the British Government's decision in October 2010 that the canals and rivers currently managed by British Waterways (BW) will be transferred to a new third sector charitable organisation, the Government announced on Monday (28 February) that it has decided the Environment Agency's navigable waterways should also transfer to the new charity... [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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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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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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