Horror in Paradise...behind a race tragedy, the lessons...Name Australia's baby white whale and win...biobags for a clean ocean...avoid that sinking feeling with a bung hole reminder...and much more...

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 20 Oct 2011

The fatal yacht that flipped and didn't come back

WingNuts  Event Media
We cruising sailors often don't take notice of what's going on in the racing world, but sometimes there are lessons to be learnt.

Looking at the pictures of WingNuts in which two crew died in the Chicago Yacht Club race to Mackninac (see story below) one can't help thinking that, intuitively, this boat would not right itself if it tipped over – yet it passed the required ORR (Offshore Racing Rule) measurement. U.S. Sailing is to make recommendations at the end of this month after three months of research, and the results will be just as relevant for the cruising sailor as for the racer.

Am I imagining it or are the oceans getting more dangerous? We all know that the western Indian Ocean should be a no-go for yachts these days, but just this week the remains of a cruising sailor were found in a camp fire in the Marquesas in French Polynesia, and five scientists are thought to have been the victims of pirates in the seas north of New Guinea. Then there's the debris in the North Pacific that came from the Japanese tsunami earlier this year. It's a real hazard for those wanting to cross the Pacific Ocean in small yachts.

For the rest it's a great pot pourri of contrasting news. Read how the UK and Europe are finally getting together to plan reciprocity for skipper qualifications, and what the polluting of New Zealand's Bay of Plenty with 350 tonnes of oil from a ship is doing to the local wild life.

There are some practical stories too - biobags and drain-hole bung reminders, and some quirky titbits – the true tale of the mother who sent her son to jail because he used the yacht without asking!

Browse down the headlines and find what catches your attention, and...

Sweet sailing!

Nancy Knudsen, Editor

Horror in Paradise - suspected murder of cruising sailor
Nancy Knudsen, BW Media,
When German cruising sailor 40-year-old Stefan Ramin disappeared in suspicious circumstances in Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas and some remains thought to be his were found in a camp fire, it was easy leap for the international press to cry 'Cannibal'**! After all, history tells us that the ancestors of today's easy going and peaceful Polynesians in the islands of the Marquesas were once cannibals... [more]
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Hazard warning for yachts in the Pacific - debris from Japan's tsunami
Our Amazing Planet/Sail-World,
Cruising sailors crossing the Pacific Ocean, particularly the north Pacific, should be aware that floating debris from the devastating tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 is a hazard. The good news is that predictions of the drift are proving accurate. Debris from the devastating tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 has turned up exactly where scientists predicted it would... [more]
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Maritime NZ - Rena Disaster - 19 October: Rena survives the night
Maritime NZ,
Maritime NZ, on Wednesday 19 October: There has been no report of any further movement from Rena overnight. However, salvage company experts will be flying out to the vessel about 7.30am to assess the situation. Weather this morning is poor, with rough seas and a 1.5m swell, decreasing, and strong winds. This will impact upon salvage operations.... [more]
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Exciting on and off the water action at the Tauranga Boat Expo

With exhibitor space sold out and a full schedule of on the water activities, TMIA Chairman Brian Kent is confident the Expo will be a real crowd pleaser. ‘We have a large range of on the watercraft including kayaks, powerboats and jet skis' says Brian, ‘in addition there will be marine suppliers who can give people tips on everything from fishing rods and reels, lures and water safety'.... [more]
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Papua New Guinea: scientists/sailors missing, pirates now suspected
Sail-World Cruising round-up,
Not only Somalia and Nigeria are dangerous for the roving adventurer of sailor. Three scientists missing after setting sail from New Britain Islands in New Guinea are now thought to have been killed by pirates, along with the crew of the boat, with two others are still held hostage.... [more]
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Lake Michigan sailors warned - a 32ft yacht is adrift
US Coast Guard/Sail-World Cruising,
Sail-World warns leisure sailors and other boaters that there is a navigational hazard, a 32ft vessel, adrift on Lake Michigan after the yacht was abandoned on 16th October. Its two male crew were airlifted to safety by an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter.... [more]
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Reciprocity planned for Skipper qualifications - Europe/UK

With the surge in the number of superyachts in the world those who love a working life on the sea can find their niche as crew or captain of larger yachts. Now, the harmonisation of captain's licence acceptance for small commercial vessels across Europe will make a real difference.... [more]
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In too deep - Behind the Race to Mackinac tragedy
Dawn Reiss,
While Sail-World Cruising does not usually cover racing events or their aftermath,this story and analysis by Dawn Reiss, Chicago-based journalist who researched the article for six weeks, is relevant for all sailors whether cruising or racing, because of the issues that are raised by the circumstances of that tragic capsize:The Chicago to Mackinac race had never seen a racing-related death... [more]
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Biobags for cruising sailors - helping towards a cleaner ocean
Lee Mylchreest,
Every cruising sailor agrees that our ocean is precious and under more and more pressure from garbage, from overpopulation and acidification. However, plastic seems to be an inevitable part of the modern world, and they are apt to end up in the ocean. But here's a practical way that YOU can help to keep your part of the ocean clean - by using and advocating Biobags.... [more]
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Book Feature: 'The Somali Pirates' aka 'Deadly Waters'
Sail-World Cruising,
Are you fascinated by modern-day pirates? Then this might just be the book for you. Somali pirates have for many years terrorised long range cruising sailors with robbing and looting, but the game changed radically in the last year or two, with kidnapping, ransom demands and murder. Author Jay Bahadur, who has spent months infiltrating the world of the Somali Pirate, gives us a close-up look... [more]
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Product of the Week: Avoid that sinking feeling - Drain Plug Reminder
David Pilvelait/Sail-World Cruising,
Have you ever launched the dinghy from the boat and then, in horror, watched it start gurgling to the bottom? Or slid the dinghy down the beach, waved goodbye to your friends, pushed off and got your feet wet as you paddled away, sinking fast and feeling stupid because you forgot to replace the bung? This Product-of-the-Week will ensure that you'll never have that sinking feeling again.... [more]
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Student takes family yacht for a spin, jailed for 8 months
Mailonline/Sail-World Cruising,
In an extraordinary case in Britain, a university student who took his family's 30ft yacht for a sail without permission- and knew little about how to sail it - has been jailed for theft after being reported to police by his mother... [more]
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Pesky Caribbean rock 'n roll monster!
John Jamieson,
Friends of mine returned from a two-week sailing charter in the crystal-blue waters of the Lesser Antilles--a chain of pristine islands in the Caribbean. On a typical day, they'd get underway right after a nice, lazy breakfast. Get onto a reach and sail across the northeast trades to the next island down the chain and find a protected spot to drop the hook.... [more]
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Name Australia's new baby whale and win a sailing holiday
Tourism Whitsundays,
Every sailor loves spotting a whale, but it was a fisherman who first spotted Australia's amazing new baby white whale. Now the baby whale needs a name. Following the spectacular sighting in the Whitsundays two weeks ago, a campaign has been launched to name the baby.... [more]
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Cruising Croatia: Lightning strikes twice
Jean de Keyser,
Captain Jean de Keyser, who led the American Sailing Association (ASA)'s 2011 Croatia flotillas and operates the affilliated Gulfcoast Sailing School, recounts the story of the ASA's second Croatia Flotilla for 2011, he and his wife/first mate sailing the Ana B. If you have never joined such a flotilla or rally, this description may give you a picture of what you are missing:... [more]
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Disaster clean up begins in earnest around Rena wreck
As winds and seas calm around the Astrolabe Reef, Tauranga, the New Zealand authorities are focusing their efforts on the clean up operation as 350 tonnes of oil and 70 containers make their way ashore from the stricken container ship Rena. A large exclusion zone has been declared around the Rena... [more]
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