Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for February 28, 2014
We don't have much to update on the joint Kiwi-Spanish Volvo Ocean Race entry, expect to say that it appears to be less advanced than many would have you believe.
Rumours fly around the interweb, and Spain is notorious leaks, rumours and speculation.
We have been there before - more than twice, and it is easy to get caught. Although this one does have a few cornerstones, there is quite a way to go. However even the two parties agreeing to have a crack at the project is worthwhile, and would give two ports a boat in the Volvo Ocean Race - which still lacks the spark that this boat could bring to the event.
In Sydney, the first race of the JJ Giltinan Trophy gets underway on Friday, in its perpetual home of Sydney Harbour
We are expecting to have a live feed available - so stay tuned to the home page of Sail-World.com for details.
There are just four NZ 18ft skiffs making the journey across the Tasman. Down from the eight last year - however they are all the top Kiwi boats – and with the recent results against the Australians on the Waitemata, Kiwi hopes must be up. However those results were not against the top Australian boats – and Sydney Harbour is a vastly different to the Waitemata in terms of local knowledge , and where to go.
Featured in this edition of Sail-World is a technical story on the latest NZ 18fter, Knight Frank, which was officially launched earlier this week, but has been sailing since late 2013.
10mm Harken Lead Rings used on our Knight Frank's jib sheet take-up system Knight Frank Racing
She is the latest addition to the Auckland fleet, with Riley Dean on the helm, Matt Coutts on mainsheet and John Little on the bow.
Also featured in this edition is a report from a Weta Regatta in Canberra. In typical Weta style it is a mix of moderately serious racing and plenty of serious fun.
Sailors seem to be a very competitive bunch – try watching them 'relax' around the pool table when there is a rest day on in a major regatta. But Weta seem to have hit the sweet spot in terms of putting regattas together that new sailors, particularly, want to participate in - just for the run of sailing the social side of the sport – which has been on the wane for years.
One of the great things about sailing is the physical challenge – and if you sail a high performance class, just completing the course is a major achievement for many new sailors – particularly if it is honking.
On the subject of personal challenges, and the right to take personal risks on the water, the Auckland Council have a out for public discussion on the mandatory ,b>wearing of lifejackets on all boat, power and sail under six metres.
That would include wearing a lifejacket every time you rowed a dinghy ashore, all the time you were on a boat under six metres, including when it was at anchor and numerous other instances which are commonplace now.
While the New Zealand drowning statistics are horrific, they do cover all situations of which on the water activities are but one. Drown in your bath and you are a counter in the drowning statistics.
Crowded start line - Weta Regatta, February 2014, Canberra, Australia Miranda Powrie
Most are in two minds over the proposed move. While there are a number of needless drownings particularly from tinnies. One tragedy that will never be forgotten is the family that lost three sons, after their tinnie got blown out into the Firth of Thames, and swamped and capsized.
Motoring around the Coromandel area, with half an eye out for a body or two was a sobering experience.
For sure that incident would probably have had a different outcome if the three brothers (in their 20's) had been wearing lifejackets of some description – and had a communication device in a waterproof case.
Another sight that sticks in our mind is of three large Maori fishermen heading out from Takapuna , one August a couple of years ago, when there was clearly a screaming southerly blowing offshore. They were dressed with very warm, heavy gear, including oilskins – but not a lifejacket visible anywhere. Again they were in a tinnie with six inches of freeboard. One assumes they made it back OK.
Ship loses more than 500 containers in Bay of Biscay storm - Shipping container washes up on Devon coast Juan Carlos Cilveti
The other question is why would the Council stop at 6 metres? The statistics they quote show that the majority of the drowning occur in boats of around this length. Another reason cited for the new regulation is because of the number of new immigrants and presumably the need to protect people from themselves.
That is really at the heart of the matter – whether people should take responsibility for themselves, or all people have to be regulated.
It seems rather ironic that one can buy a boat, not need any boating knowledge, or training or certification. The way we will keep everyone safe, despite this shortcoming, is by making everyone wear life jackets if you boat is less than 6 metres.
Why not go the next step and implement boat licencing, and catch these people before they have even gone on the water?
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