Friday, September 27, 2002

Paddling Through History Festival success

The Paddling Through History Festival was busy for organisers and participants at the weekend.
There were outrigger and kayaker activities on the water, a bush walk on South Molle and a reception and entertainment on Daydream Island. Shingley Beach Resort conference centre was an excellent choice for the celebrity speakers and historic films while Airlie Beach hosted the opening and closing ceremonies featuring a wide variety of music, dancers and speakers right on the beach. The Whitsunday All Over Cruises artistic fireworks on Sunday night were a fine finale.
Help came from all over with Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday providing VMR1 as support vessel for the paddling and as a platform for the Channel Seven news crew. The sailing club gets thanks for the use of the grounds for the fireworks and the use of the tractor and a boat. The police, ambulance and fire service workers didn't have to do anything, so they could relax and enjoy the show. The weather held for a perfect, though warm September weekend.
The Paddling Through History Association thanks everyone who pitched in and sponsored the event. This year was the first time the annul event was focused on the mainland and the committee feels that allowed it to be more accessible and affordable to more people in the community.
Boat searched: No trace of three sailors

Police divers failed to find the three missing sailors under the hull of the stricken racing yacht Excalibur, now drifting about 170km off Newcastle, NSW.
A police spokesman said two water police vessels - Alert and Fearless - left Nelson Bay to rendezvous with Excalibur. He said weather conditions had improved but there was a 1. 5m to 2m swell. Water Police launched a RIB before reaching the yacht to make a full assessment.
After attaching air bags to the vessel as a safety precaution, two Police divers entered the hull where no trace of the bodies of the three missing sailors were found. Conditions prevented a search of the bow area because of the volume of sails and equipment floating there.
The 15.2 metre Lyons Extrem racing yacht Excalibur capsized off Port Stephens on Monday night after the yacht's keel snapped off. Authorities believe the boat had hit a semi-submerged object while returning from racing in the Whitsundays.
Two sailors, Brian McDermott and John Rogers, both wearing life jackets were on deck, wearing safety tethers at the time of the capsize. They were able to cut their tethers and escape to the surface. They survived for more than six hours in difficult conditions with 3m waves and 35-40 knot winds tethered together in the water.
Rogers activated his personal EPIRB and Search and Rescue aircraft saw the blue strobe light being held aloft by McDermott. They were rescued from the water by the 50,000 tonne Swiss bulk carrier Curia.
The body of a third crewmember, Christopher Heyes, 51, was found on Tuesday morning floating near the overturned hull.
Police divers risked their lives later that day to scramble on to the upturned hull of Excalibur and knocked to see if anyone was trapped inside in an airlock. But there was no reply.
The air and sea search was suspended on Wednesday because of the treacherous conditions and a final intensive search was made on Thursday morning before the search was finally abandoned today.
It was not until Saturday morning that the big seas had abated giving divers a safer chance in the search for three missing crew members.
Peter McLoyd, 51, Tracey Luke, 32, and Anne Marie Pope, 30, all from Melbourne were below decks when the capsize took place and water started flooding in the companionway.
A more complete search of the vessel is expected to be made when it is raised from the water by a salvage team in the next few days.

Surveys to protect dugongs

A boat ramp survey of recreational boaters will be held this week by the Hinchinbrook Local Marine Advisory Committee (HLMAC), in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
The survey is part of a monitoring program designed to provide information on the effectiveness of voluntary measures in place to protect dugongs.
Voluntary vessel transit lanes are a key strategy for protecting Dugongs in Hinchinbrook Channel and Missionary Bay.
According to HLMAC, Chair Bill Whiteman, the survey sought to obtain information from recreational users about the distance they travel to make use of the Hinchinbrook area and the types of activities they undertake in the Hinchinbrook Channel and associated waters.
"The survey is also designed to provide information about the effectiveness of recent information campaigns to inform people about management strategies GBRMPA and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have developed with HLMAC to reduce impact on dugong from watercraft," Mr Whiteman said.

Rock light unlit

Mariners are advised that the Fl(2)5s Isolated Danger Mark light in approximate position Latitude 19°46.2'S, Longitude 148°21.5'E which marks Nares Rock has been reported to be unlit. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. Charts affected: AUS 371, 825, 826

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."

-Henry Ford

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Two survivors in yacht tragedy

Two Melbourne sailors are the only survivors so far of a yacht that capsized off the north coast of New South Wales on Monday night while on a delivery voyage from the Whitsundays.
The sailors, reported to be life long friends, kept each other awake for six hours until they were pulled from the cold water. They owe their lives to an emergency beacon and their will to survive.
The two men were returning home from the Whitsundays with their four crew mates, two men and two women - all from the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron.
Last night, one man was confirmed dead and the other three sailors were missing, feared drowned.
"The emergency beacon, without any question was what saved their lives," said Ben Mitchell, of Australian Search and Rescue.
A rescue helicopter was unable to get close enough in the conditions to winch the survivors to safety. It was not until 4am that a nearby Swiss merchant ship, the Curia, got close enough to pick them up. It took the ship 10 attempts to get them on board in the stormy weather conditions.
Investigators suspect the yacht hit a semi-submerged object, a whale or a shipping container. The search for the missing sailors began at first light 42 nautical miles from Port Stephens. The body of a male sailor was found floating near the hull soon after.
Yesterday, Melbourne's yachting community expressed shock at the tragic accident. The boat had been returning to Victoria after competing in several sailing regattas in Queensland.
Excalibur, a 50-foot aluminium yacht, which complied with all safety requirements, was launched in July and was undergoing its first racing campaign before entry in the Sydney to Hobart later this year.

Paddling Through History

This weekend will be a busy one with the annual Paddling Through History Festival starting Friday evening on the Airlie waterfront at sunset.
The festival, sponsored by Whitsunday All Over Cruises and Whitsunday Reef Adventures celebrates the maritime culture of the Whitsundays and respect for the multicultural makeup of the region.
When Cook sailed through the area, he saw canoes amongst the islands. These days the Whitsunday Islands as he called them, are alive with watercraft of all kinds and is the focus of the modern popular outrigger culture. Seventy crews attended the Hamilton Island outrigger regatta this year.
If you would like to have a close look at - or even a ride in - an outrigger canoe come down to the Lions Club Airlie Beach Markets Multi-cultural Mardi Gras from 8.30 am on Saturday morning. Paddlers from Outrigger Whitsunday will attend an Aboriginal Canoe Blessing Ceremony at 9 am and display their canoes before heading to Daydream Island Resort and Spa for lunch.
A bushwalk will take about two hours on South Molle Island Saturday morning with traditional owners and the Whitsunday Volunteers. A special event & special price - book with Whitsunday All Over Cruises 4946 6900.
The Sunset Super Auction sponsored by Whitsunday Rent a Yacht on Saturday at the Whitsunday Sailing Club from 6 pm will have something for locals and tourists alike with a wide range of Whitsunday items up for auction by Christie Leet.
On Sunday at sunset the Airlie waterfront will come alive when the Whitsunday All Over Cruises Sunset Fire Ceremony begins on the beach stage.
Music is by award winning Jabaru sponsored by Woodman's Mitre 10. Featuring Karen Dorante of ABC Radio as MC and joined by guest speakers anthropologist Dr Bryce Barker & Ngaro Elder Irene Butterworth, Jan Jarratt MP - Member for Whitsunday representing the Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and Queensland Events Regional Development Program.
The whole family will enjoy the fluorescent outriggers on the water for the exciting Whitsunday All Over/Whitsunday Reef Adventures artistic fireworks feature.
A photographic competition focusing on the festival has $2,000 in prizes with entry forms available from Tropix in Airlie Beach.

All at sea?

The broad-minded vicar was invited by the broad-minded headmistress to talk to her older girls about religion and sex. Not wishing to compromise either his diary or his less tolerant wife, he entered the engagement as "Talk to girls about sailing".
A day or so after his talk the headmistress encountered the vicar's wife.
"So very good of your husband to talk to my girls the other evening. He was quite splendid and so helpful."
"I can't imagine what he knows about it," replied the vicar's wife, "he's only done it twice, and the first time he was seasick and on the second occasion his hat blew off."

Discrimination strikes

Without worrying whether lightning strikes twice, men are hit much more often then women. The percentage of men hit by lightning is calculated to be 83 per cent.

Light replaced

The lighted Port Lateral Mark buoy Fl.R.5s that marks Slade Rock has been replaced in position. Charts affected: AUS 249, 250

"The world is full of willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them."

-Robert Frost

Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Tragic start to summer boating season

With the loss of four people in two boating accidents last weekend as the summer boating season gets underway, the Boating Industry Association (BIA) is calling on boat operators to place a greater focus on the basics of boating safety.
Two Victorian men, aged 54 and 62, were seen leaving a beach in worsening weather on Friday. Their upturned boat was found on Chinaman's Long Beach. Police received reports of a flare being sighted off shore.
Another police search for a missing man after a speedboat accident that left one man dead at Lake Eildon, north-east of Melbourne. Two men were thrown from the speedboat, and witnesses raised the alarm as the men disappeared.
"This is the worst start on record to the beginning of the summer boating season!" The BIA's CEO, Mr Lindsay Grenfell said.
"Sadly four people have been lost because boat operators may have put to sea in craft unsuitable for the forecast conditions or their boat may have needed equipment maintenance. People in small boats should wear a lifejackets and despite boat operators being required to get a licence for the first time for the second part of this season effective from February 1 2003 and numerous practical boating courses being offered, it appears that in at least two cases the best safety practises are clearly not being applied."
It is recommended that before departing on a boating trip and when out on the water weather forecasts should be monitored and acted on. The BIA recommends that boat operators should check the weather conditions and have their vessel inspected and serviced by an expert.

Cold fact

The average iceberg might weigh twenty million tons. Now, if you put that much ice in drinks, how much booze would you need?

What gear?

Cruising sailors asked recently which electronic instrument would they rank as the most important for cruising. They chose the following: 6% Radar; 38% Depth sounder; 48% GPS; 4% Wind speed and direction gauge and 4% log for boat speed. Total sample: 1541

Gallipoli Yacht Rally 2003

A yacht rally along the Aegean Coast of Turkey to end in Anzac Cove for Anzac Day. The rally in chartered yachts is off the main tourist trail and the ports of call offer a special opportunity to visit unique historical sites and experience Turkish culture, hospitality and cuisine. The Anzac Day Dawn Service and the Australian Commemorative Service at Lone Pine will be followed by overland transportation to Istanbul for a two-night stopover, followed by an optional tour to Cappadochia in Central Anatolia. Non sailing partners can follow the route by air-conditioned coach.

Writing Competition

Founder of Boating OZ and former Whitsunday resident Kathy McKenzie, is conducting a writing competition to encourage budding boating writers.
'We often receive stories from people about their experiences on a boat which are informative or funny and very personal. I would like to encourage these writers and reward them for it,' said Kathy.
" I am inviting readers to enter our Writing Competition sponsored by Boat Books Australia. I would like to encourage these writers and reward them for it. We want to hear from serious racers, Olympic campaigners, cruisers and anyone who just likes messing around in boats, whether power or sail."
The first competition closes on November 15 with prizes awarded by both a judging panel and Boating OZ readers. Boat Books Australia is sponsoring the competition with $300 of prizes.
Conditions of Entry are a limit of 1,500 words of a past or recent anecdotal story that is boating related. Submit a 60-80-word summary of your story. No references to commercial enterprises. Must be original unpublished work. Entries will be published on and if it is a Whitsunday story, the Guardian.
There are hundreds of dollars of prizes you can win just by putting pen to paper.

Sailing Club AGM this Sunday

This Sunday morning at 10 am members of the Whitsunday Sailing Club will meet at the clubhouse for their AGM.
There will be the usual reports and elections and news about the proposed Port of Airlie marina development is expected.

Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Friday, September 06, 2002

Fun Race physics lesson for sailors
Fun Race skippers gave the world a physics lesson on Saturday to sail, on average, faster than the 6 to 8 knot wind during the annual Great Whitsunday Fun Race. Entries from Germany, China, Italy, New Zealand and around Australia were given a fair flogging for the rum prizes by heaps of local knowledge aboard the fleet of about 100 yachts.

While the maxi yacht fleet roared around the Pioneer Bay course, several smaller boats with considerable local experience aboard gave them a run for their money. Most yachts had a combination of speed and form with lots of experts and great white pointers on deck to enjoy the fine weather and light sea breeze.

Equipped with the infamous un-faired spotted gum 'secret weapon' rudder under the water, Craig Piccinelli and the crew of Wobbly Boot turned in an almost magical performance. Dubbed the mini-maxi chaser, the Whitsunday crew is reported to have averaged 7.65 knots on all points of the course.

Local Brian Gills drove the high performance Sydney 38 Hidden Agenda at an unbelievable reported average of 8.06 knots to win the Division 2 class.

There was plenty of fun on the water with participants and observer craft cranking up their fire hoses to dampen down the opposition in the bright sunshine. David Edge's Union Star is one formidable vessel when it's looming alongside, pump running. Schooner Atlanta proved that her pump could shift quite a lot of seawater and her crew did not lack the will or skill to gain the weather gauge to rain down on wet t-shirts, if worn.

Many local traders said they were fairly busy and that the weekend takings were up.

There is probably a report about drunkenness somewhere in the paper, but it seemed that everyone managed to have a good time and will no doubt do it all again next year.

Wetlands watch

Last weekend five horses, 14 people and a dog staged a protest at Bedford's Paddock near Mackay. They were opposed to the Mackay Port Authority's plans to fill and destroy 70 hectares of wetlands.
"Despite the MPA's suggestion that this is only one of several options for dredge spoil disposal, we believe that it is this wetland they have targeted for destruction," said Ian Sutton, spokesperson for MacWATCH a community group formed to fight for our coastal environment.
"It would be an act of extreme environmental vandalism, when they already have enough land."
"Motorists gave their support by honking and waving" Mr Sutton said.

On the beach . . .

The Minister for Defence Robert Hill was unable to tell the Senate whether the government knew about the US submarine 1km off the Gold Coast last weekend, or whether effective safety measures were in place.
Senator Hill said that he would not disclose details of the location or number of nuclear vessels close to Australia's coastline, nor would he comment on inadequacies in safety contingencies required in the event of an accident.
Senator Kerry Nettle asked the minister; ". whether he was aware of the movements of the USS La Jolla off the Gold Coast this weekend? Movements that led to a nuclear powered vessel surfacing just 1km of the populated coastline. Can the minister explain the current safety measures in relation to potential nuclear accidents at sea, and how this vessel would have been be covered by these plans?
"This does nothing to allay the concerns of the 396,000 residents of the Gold Coast who have been surprised to find that nuclear submarines are now anchoring off their beaches" Senator Nettle said.
"The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has recognised that Australian emergency planning in regard to nuclear accidents at sea needs addressing, but still these subs are anchoring unsupervised close to populated areas." Senator Nettle added.

Heading south?
Mariners are advised that a military exercise involving live firing will be conducted in the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area from 0600 hours on Tuesday, 3 September until 2359 hours on Friday, 20 September 2002. The danger area is defined as the waters of Shoalwater Bay south of a line from Mooly Creek in approximate position Latitude 22°26.08'S, Longitude 150°19.15'E across to East Creek in approximate position Latitude 22°30.55'S, Longitude 150°33.85'E. Raspberry Creek, Oyster Creek, Shoalwater Creek, Georges Creek and Head Creek are in the defined danger area. All civil vessels are prohibited from entering the danger area during the above period. Charts affected: AUS 367, 370, 822

Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> race results >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Full Results: Hot FM Great Whitsunday Fun Race Overall winner, Southern Cross Sailing Team, Boomerang, David Haines; British Defender, Brendan Wickens; and Siska IV, Damien Suckling.

Fastest Monohull: Boomerang.

Fastest Multihull: Emultihulls Flat Chat, Keith Roberts.

Maxi Yachts: Boomerang 1, British Defender 2, Ragamuffin, George Canfield, WSC 3.

Div 1 Cruising: Sydney, David Sampson, NSW 1; Intrigue Of Stornaway; Gary Foster, China 2; Millennium, John Clayton, NSW 3.

Div 2 Racing Class: Hidden Agenda, Brian Gills, WSC 1, Sandpiper, Bob Spearman, WSC 2; Pianola, David McMahon, WSC 3.

Div 2 Cruising Class: BYO, David Turner, NSW 1; Kundiawa, Greg Drewer, Qld 2; Longnose, Andrew Stransky, NSW 3.

Div 3 Racing Class: Wobbly Boot, Craig Piccinelli, WSC 1; Breakaway, Rob Davis, WSC 2; Chrysalis, John Barry, Vic 3.

Div 3 Cruising Class: Out Of Africa, Dave Dellow, WSC 1, Bus Stop, Vic Brown, WSC 2; No Compromise, Chris Baillie, Qld 3.

Div 4 Racing Class: e Multihull Flat Chat, Keith Roberts, WSC 1, Wahoo, Neville Hooey, Qld 2; Sirocco, Michael Eaton, Qld 3.

Div 4 Cruising Class: Windsong, John Kestle, Qld 1; Spirit, David Mitchell, Qld 2; Freyja, Don Kitson, Qld 3.

Div 5 Gaffers and Luggers: Centurian 1, Solway Lass 2, Wyuna 3. (Schooner Atlanta sailed the course)

>>>>>>>> ends >>>>>>>>>>>