60 knots almost within reach...SOS goes two-way by satphone...vital Marine First Aid course this Sunday!...7 steps to safer navigation...cruising sailor forced to abandon yacht...frigging in the rigging saves beached yacht...and much more...

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 08 Dec 2011

Sailor forced to abandon boat by Coast Guard

Dennis Howard - should he have been forced to abandon his boat to the sea?  .
The biggest issue of the week's news is the story of a cruising sailor, just set off on a around-the-world solo sail when the Coast Guard forcibly removed him from his yacht, which was then abandoned to the sea. Why? Because he had a broken boom and is legally blind.

The very experienced Californian sailor had deployed a sea anchor and was preparing for an arriving storm. He still had his jib in good working order and was intending to wait out some bad weather and then sail to the next port under headsail. He had NOT activated his EPIRB.

Would the US Coast Guard have forced him off the boat had he been fully sighted? When DOES an Australian rescuing authority have the power to remove you from your own yacht? What qualifies them to determine whether it is necessary or not? These are issues that emerge time and time again in jurisdictions right around the world without resolution.

Several years ago the New Zealand government introduced necessary qualifications for both boat and crew before leaving New Zealand waters. Foreign cruising sailors visiting New Zealand were understandably miffed that they had successfully crossed the Pacific only to be held hostage in New Zealand. Led by a visiting English cruising sailor/lawyer, a group challenged the governments authority in the matter and the ruling was overturned.

On the other hand there are numerous instances of our own volunteering Australian rescuers putting their lives at risk to save the lives of sailors who have left port either unprepared for the conditions or clearly incompetent. These are conflicted issues that it would serve the cruising community well to take a lead in resolving.

You'll need to hurry if you want to register for the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's Marine First Aid course - it could save you a life one day, but it's on this Sunday!

Since the Global Financial Crisis it has been a growing trend for Australian sailors to purchase yachts overseas much less expensively than are available in Australia, and then sail them home. However, there are pitfalls, as Multihull Solutions describes. This is not to say 'don't do it', but rather to make sure you know the score in advance.

In other news, an honorary life membership is a rarely bestowed honour, but Yachting Victoria has found a deserving recipient. Satphones have finally reached a new peak of usefulness for the cruising sailor with Iridium's introduction of two-way SOS communication on the Iridium Extreme phone. The Product of the Week allows you to check the anchor without getting wet; two rallies are in the news – Darwin to Bali and the World Rally for Oysters; a small lesson on how to get your yacht off the beach with the help of a lot of friends; and a spectacular little sailing craft which has been in orbit for over a year has successfully, but sadly, returned to earth and burned up.

Much more too, so browse down the headlines to find your interest.

Sweet sailing!

Nancy Knudsen, Editor

Cruising at 50 knots - Paul Larsen, after a record
Nancy Knudsen,
'She cruised at fifty knots like a car down a highway...but we are after bigger game here!' Australian Paul Larsen and his team are in Walvis Bay in Namibia trying to break the world speed sailing record with SailRocket 2 and achieve 60 knots of speed by sailpower alone. Here are excerpts from Paul's log book, and the exhilaration and frustration are palpable:... [more]
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SOS two-way communication now on Iridium Extreme satphones
Nancy Knudsen,
Another level of safety has been added for leisure sailors who have an Iridium Extreme phone. It is a free GEOS emergency response service, meaning that, once you touch the SOS button on your phone, you have two waycommunication with the International Emergency Response Coordination Center all the time the emergency lasts.... [more]
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Yachting Victoria: life membership for volunteer
Charlotte Azzopardi, Macedon Ranges/Sail-World,
Fewer than 20 people have been awarded honorary life membership in the 100-year history of Yachting Victoria, and John Burgess is the latest. Burgess's years of dedication have been rewarded the rare honour. The Sunbury resident's love of the sea led him to working for them as a volunteer for more than 50 years.... [more]
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Product of the Week: Check your anchor without getting wet
Des Ryan,
It might be greatly enjoyable to dive on your anchor to check it when the water is warm and the anchorage is not too deep - but what about when you arrive in a 35 knot gale, it's the depth of winter and you're in 15m? There are dozens of examples of when this product of the week could be useful to the cruising sailor. Explore ponds, lakes, seas and oceans without getting wet! It's called HydroView... [more]
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Coast Guard forcibly removes circumnavigating sailor from boat
Lee Mylchreest,
Does your Coast Guard have the right to remove you from your sailing boat even though you don't want rescuing? A recent incident off the coast of Mexico raises questions that have long been asked by cruising sailors. Dennis Howard, experienced sailor but legally blind, had long planned a life-affirming solo circumnavigation on his 20ft sailing boat, Avalo,but it was cut short by the Coast Guard... [more]
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Back to basics: Seven Steps to Safer Sailing Navigation
John Jamieson,
If you are anything like me, says Captain John Jamieson, it's easy to forget your sailing navigation basics in exchange for the effortless nautical GPS or chart plotter. But if you want to excel as a sailing skipper, you need to keep a basic navigational chart plot going--just in case a spark blacks out your trusty black boxes!... [more]
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Royal Prince Alfred's vital Marine First Aid Course, 11 December
Mitch Watkins/Sail-World Cruising,
There's nothing more important for sailors than the ability to take care of an injured or sick crew member, and the skills required vary greatly from those from a normal first aid course. That's why, if you are anywhere within reach of Pittwater north of Sydney, the course being offered by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) could be vital one day when you least expect. Read on to see why... [more]
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Overseas boat ‘bargains' hurting Australians with hidden costs
Multihull Solutions,
Industry leader, Multihull Solutions reports a shocking increase in stories of people being stung by the pitfalls of purchasing alleged ‘bargain boats' from overseas.... [more]
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Navico introduces advantage service program
Sandman PR,
Lowrance, Simrad Yachting and B&G customers are set to benefit from a new customer support program, which is to be introduced in the New Year.... [more]
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Darwin Dili Yacht Rally will celebrate 10 years Independence
Nancy Knudsen,
There are now three rallies for yachts wanting to leave Darwin to explore Asia in 2012. There is the Darwin Dili Rally (first run 1973), departing Darwin on the 14th July, the Darwin Kupang Rally (started 2011 and 107 yacht participants in 2011) departing on 28th July, and if you are too late for those there's the Darwin to Ambon Rally (first run in 1974), departing this year on the 25th August.... [more]
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2013 Oyster World Rally
Nancy Knudsen,
There's nothing more rewarding than sharing the joys, the issues, the solutions and the sheer camaraderie of swapping information and friendship with those who have the same boat as you. So it's calling all Oyster owners...What you do next could change your life forever and there's plenty of time to plan. You could add 'circumnavigator' to your name. Read on, for how... [more]
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French Polynesia: Cruising sailor's alleged murderer turns himself in
Sail-World Cruising round-up,
The man has given himself up, but the warning to cruising sailors to be cautious in remote locations remains. A French Polynesian goat hunter, who has been on the run in the Marquesas since he allegedly killed one cruising sailor and sexually abused another, has turned himself in to police.... [more]
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Seawinds enjoy the wind at Moreton Bay Regatta
Brent Vaughan,
The fifth annual Seawind Moreton Bay Regatta enjoyed some fresh conditions this year with a 15-20 North Easterly blowing the fleet of a dozen Seawind catamarans around the Bay, to the thrill of all the owners and crew onboard.... [more]
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Frigging in the rigging saves yacht in Phuket
Sert Tongdee, Alan Morison/Sail-World Cruising,
Phuket Wan Tourism News caught these images as an informal group of volunteers comprising tourists and Navy personnel left the beach in Phuket and entered the surf to rescue an Australian racing yacht from a very embarrassing pickle by 'frigging in the rigging' in a race against an ebbing tide... [more]
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Nanosail, solar sailing craft, returns to Earth
Digital Journal/Sail-World Cruising,
It was sailing craft that took us beyond our horizons to discover the New World and it's sailing craft that are leading the way into space. NanoSail-D2, the solar sail satellite deployed in low-Earth orbit since November 2010, (see Sail-World Cruising story) has successfully reentered into the Earth's atmosphere.... [more]
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UK-Halsey move brings better value for Melbourne, Australia.
UK-Halsey Sailmakers,
Sam Haines and his team have joined the UK-Halsey Sailmakers group. While name changes seldom mean much to clients, Haines is confident his customers are going to enjoy this one.... [more]
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New Sailing Manager for Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania
Peter Campbell,
Sydney yachtsman Chris Oh has been appointed Sailing Manager of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. Chris this week took up duties at the Derwent-side club, taking over from Richard Scarr.... [more]
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Piracy fears drive yachts away from Oman and Yemen
Nancy Knudsen,
Oman and Yemen, used to greeting around 200 cruising yachts a year who pass through their waters to reach the Red Sea, are suffering because of the persistent danger of piracy which has now spread right across the Arabian Sea. Fear of piracy has forced cancellation or rerouting of yachts and yacht rallies, say rally organisers.... [more]
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