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28 Nov 2013
Sat search and rescue,yachts challenge oil drillers, Chalong Bay stars
When Sir Robin Knox-Johnson made history as the winner – and only finisher – of the 1968 solo round the world yacht race, he was out of contact with the world for months at a time. No-one 'back home' knew what was happening to any of those competitors unless a sailor ran across a ship mid-ocean and sent back a message. How things have changed!
First it was the invention of the GPS, to make celestial navigation something rarer and rarer among cruising sailors, while encouraging a new crop of sailors to take the big step and go over the horizon. That has brought its own set of problems, as while GPS might be accurate, many of the world's charts certainly aren't.
Then followed a spate of inventions, the AIS, vessel tracking technology, the EPIRB and the PLB all taking some of the fear from being alone on an ocean, and encouraging yet more sailors to set off for distant ports.
Now some technical experts are suggesting that instant satellite imagery, so far normally in the possession of government agencies only and impossible to access quickly, might soon be used for search and rescue operations.
While you can't deny the advantages of this, there's something about it that makes me slightly uncomfortable. Will cruising our seven oceans soon become like accessing a superhighway? Where's the adventure? The freedom? Will my ex-spouse soon be able to track me even if I take off in a sailing boat?
Read excerpts from Bruce Dorminey's article on the subject, inspired by Robert Redford's latest 'shipwreck' movie (which won't be released Downunder until February 2014) and the recent real tragedy of the loss of the schooner Nina with seven crew in the Tasman Sea.
A great collection of other news again too: Read about how six yachts are challenging the might of the deep sea drilling industry in the Tasman Sea. The Atlantic Rally is off again with no less than 11 Downunder boats (See if you know anyone), World Oceans Day is appealing for funds and Greece has slapped a new huge tax on cruising boats. The yacht of the week is the Hanse 415 and the book of the week comes from inveterate engineless sailors Lin and Larry Pardey, who will be appearing at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Pittwater on 6th December - no doubt to a sell-out house.
Talking of yacht clubs, it's good to see that Middle Harbour Yacht Club has scored a 'clean' award from the Marina Industries Association.
181113. News. Photo: Supplied
The Oil Free Seas Flotilla at the site where the ship Bob Douglas is going to be starting exploratory drilling in the next few days. .. .
It's always heart-warming to see sudden acts of kindness from other sailors, and the small incident we describe in Chalong Bay in Thailand this week is a reminder of generous spirit that usually pervades the world of the cruising sailor.
Chalong incident - but some muscle is needed .. .
Finally, if you, or someone you know is between 16 and 23 years and love adventures and sailing, think about applying to be crew in the Young Endeavour in 2014. Wish I were still 22!!
Much more to read too, so browse down the headlines to find your interest, and...
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