Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Help for Boaties starts on dry land

The Boating Industry Association of Queensland wants boat owners to render assistance to each other during the Christmas/New Year season.
And, the BIAQ says, dry land would be a good place to start.
BIAQ General Manager, Barry Hibberd, said record boat ownership approaching 200,000 would result in a higher than usual number of novice boaties on the water this year.
Mr Hibberd said the large number of local boat owners and interstate visitors would put pressure on launch and retrieve facilities.
"Beginners can have difficulty getting their boats in and out the water and
I urge seasoned boaties to help out the novices," Mr Hibberd said.
"It's a marine tradition to help out someone in distress and this should extend to boat ramps and car parks."
He said a bit of help from experienced hands would get boats moving in and out the water more quickly.
Mr Hibberd also reminded boaties not to get into the Christmas spirits while on the water.
He said the .05 alcohol limit applied on the water as well as on the road.
Mr Hibberd endorsed Marine Safety Queensland's "Go easy on the Drink" safety campaign for the Christmas/New Year holiday season.

Curly Wind Season

We are now into what people in the north of this fine state sometimes call the Curly Wind Season.
Why Curly Winds? Cyclones or Tropical Revolving Storms are accompanied by wind velocities that have a tendency to curl trees, girders, vehicles, houses and antennae - thus Curly Winds.
This means of course that Radio Amateurs throughout the North should have by now ensured that the shack and portable batteries are in good condition and that at least one emergency antenna for each band of operation is kept in a safe place should the need arise to operate on behalf of the community
Everyone should check that their household cyclone kits are fresh and fully stocked and include a radio with new batteries in case of a Curly Wind episode.

The drunken sailor

A case of what do you do with a drunken sailor when police were called to investigate reports of a "body" in a dinghy in Cairns Inlet.
Concerned passers-by called the police when they saw a man lying in a dinghy tied to a wharf near the Cairns Yacht Club.
A 45-year-old man was just sleeping it off after consuming a few too many drinks in the scorching sun.
However, the man wasn't happy to be woken.
After ordering the police off his boat, he untied his dinghy, fired up the motor and sped off across Trinity Inlet.
After an hour-long chase he was intercepted by Police and when breath-tested blew 0.17 - more than three times the legal limit.
Cairns water police Sergeant Andrew Ibell said the man had given officers a mouthful before trying to escape.
"He's done a runner. He tried to get away but his boat broke down," Sgt Ibell said.
"Then he tried to row the boat - fairly unsuccessfully."
"He was in sight of police the whole time," Sgt Ibell said. "The state he was in, he shouldn't have been anywhere near a boat."
The man was charged with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and will face court on December 9.

Dam, fine

Anglers should be aware that fishing without a permit in certain stocked dams in Queensland could attract a $225 fine under a new Fisheries Infringement Notice (FIN) system that came into effect last month.
The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) has 29 dams throughout Queensland listed as part of its Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) Scheme that requires anglers to buy a permit to fish in these waterways.
Senior fisheries management officer Anita Wohlsen said people could incur a fine of $225 for fishing without having purchased a permit and a $150 fine for not having their permit with them when fishing.
"These fines have been introduced to highlight the importance of anglers contributing to the restocking of the SIP dam that they fish in," Ms Wohlsen said.
"By buying a permit anglers benefit directly from their contribution as the money funds the continued work of their local stocking groups who buy fingerlings to stock the dams and carry out other activities to enhance their local fishery."
Permits can be purchased for a year for $35 or $31.50 for concession cardholders or for a week for $7.
"Purchasing SIPs is quick and easy and can be done online through the Queensland Government Gateway - www.qld.gov.au/fishing - before leaving home which gives anglers more time on the water," Ms Wohlsen said.
"To encourage people to buy online, the DPI&F is currently giving away 300 prize packs to anglers who purchase their permit through the website.
"The giveaways include cooler bags, tin mugs, back packs, caps, travel mugs, tote bags and water bottles. Twenty-five prizes are being given away each month until September 2006."
Terms and conditions for the competition are at www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb/17848.html. A random prize draw will be undertaken at the end of each month and the lucky winners will be notified soon after.
SIP permits can also be bought from local businesses near the dams. To locate one of these businesses or for more information on freshwater fishing contact the DPI&F Call Centre on 13 25 23.

Just deserts

First sailor: "Pass me the chocolate pudding, would you?"
Second sailor: "No way, Jose!"
First sailor: "Why not?"
Second sailor: "It's against regulations to help another sailor to dessert!"

Call for First Aid Radio Amateurs

St John Ambulance Victoria is looking for volunteer radio communications operators to boost its participation in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The volunteers will be involved in staffing the new State Communications Centre at Waverley in Melbourne's east and operating radio networks for St John First Aiders.
Experience is welcome but not necessary, as training will be provided. If you're interested and would like to know more, call St John Ambulance State Communications Centre on 03 8588 8367, or send an email to Amateur Radio Victoria arv@amateurradio.com.au

Nurture the soul

"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."
-Rabbi Harold Kushner

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Boat regos up, ramps, marinas needed: Industry report says

Queensland boating registrations are spiralling towards the magic 200,000 mark with the Boating Industry Association of Queensland predicting boat registrations will pass that by February or March next year.
BIAQ General Manager, Barry Hibberd, said Queensland boating registration numbers stood at 197,388 on October 31 and were increasing at an average of 760 per month. He said this growth pattern had been consistent over the past several years, with no sign of flattening out.
"At this rate I expect the 200,000th registration to be logged in February or March," Mr Hibberd said.
"The increasing number of boats on the water brings with it the need for more and better launch/retrieve facilities and marinas and the BIAQ is working with the State Government to ensure supply of facilities keeps pace with public demand," Mr Hibberd said.
"While the economy remains strong and Queensland's population continues to boom, there is no slowdown in sight of the growth in recreational boating."
"One of the main reasons given for interstate migration to Queensland is climate and boating goes hand in hand with outdoor activity generated by a good climate.
Mr Hibberd said the Gold Coast recently had outstripped Brisbane as the local authority with the largest boating population.
"Brisbane has 23,750 registered boats and Gold Coast has 24,581. While Brisbane previously had the biggest boating population, it has now been overtaken by the Gold Coast," he said.
Mr Hibberd said the boom in recreational boating in Queensland was good for the local and state economy, with the manufacture and sale of boats worth an estimated $1.4 billion a year. He said Queensland now was rapidly closing on New South Wales as Australia's premier boating state.
"As of June this last year, New South Wales had 203,393 registered boats," Mr Hibberd said. "While New South Wales has a population 2.7 million greater than Queensland, it has only 6000 more registered boats, a situation which is rapidly changing and being accelerated by interstate migration," he said.
Mr Hibberd said Queensland had 52.2 boats per 1000 head of population while New South Wales had only 31.7.

£1 Million Boat?

Havengore, the Port of London Authority's launch, which carried the coffin of Sir Winston Churchill along the River Thames to his final resting place in 1965, is for sale and expected to fetch £1 million.
During Churchill's state funeral, commentator, Richard Dimbleby, said: 'And so Havengore sailed into history...not even the Golden Hind had borne so great a man.'
The historic boat - which unimaginatively carried out hydrographic research in the Thames Estuary - will go under the hammer on 15 December.

Spanner crabs off-limit

Recreational and commercial fishers are reminded that Queensland's spanner crab closed season starts this month. This species will be off-limits from November 20 (tomorrow) until December 20 this year across all Queensland waters.
The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) senior fisheries management officer Mark Doohan said the annual closed season is aimed at protecting stocks of spanner crabs (Ranina ranina) during their peak spawning period.
"The closed season allows crabs to spawn and stocks to replenish to ensure there are healthy crab stocks into the future," Mr Doohan said.
"From December 21 fishers will again be able to take spanner crabs but everyone should remember that it is illegal to take egg-bearing female spanner crabs and any spanner crab less than 10 centimetres across the carapace in size," Mr Doohan said.

Nares Rock, off Bowen

Isolated Danger light not operational. Mariners are advised that Nares Rock light (Isolated Danger) Fl W(2)5s located in position latitude 19o46.2777S' longitude 148o21.5115E' is temporarily out of operation until further notice. Mariners are advised to proceed with caution when navigating within this area. Chart AUS 852.

What's happening?

"Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, while others wonder what has happened." -Proverb

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Interstate recreational boat licences

Current and valid recreational boat licences, excluding junior licences, issued by an interstate marine authority may be used in Queensland while they remain current. Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) recommends that if you move to Queensland that you obtain a Queensland recreational marine driver licence.
You can obtain a Queensland recreational marine driver licence by going to a Queensland Transport customer service centre with your current interstate recreational boat licence, an application form and $34.85.
You will then be issued with a confirmation report stating that you are the holder of a Queensland recreational marine driver licence.
Expired interstate licences will not be accepted for conversion to a Queensland licence. If your interstate licence has expired, you will need to either renew your licence with the relevant interstate marine authority or meet Queensland's recreational marine driver licence requirements.

Pirate 'mother ship' spotted

A 'mother ship' is believed to have been used to launch high-speed boats for several recent pirate attacks off Somalia.
Since November 5, when pirates tried unsuccessfully to attack a 440-foot cruise liner operated by Seabourn Cruise Lines, at least five other attacks have taken place, most of them northeast of Somalia, said Andrew Mwangura, program coordinator at the Kenyan Seafarer's Association.
Overall, he said, seven ships and crews have been captured in that section of the Indian Ocean.
Fishermen in the area spotted a "pirate mother ship" drifting off the Somali coast in July, on November 5 and earlier this week, Mwangura said. Only one mother ship has been spotted, but there may be more in existence. Officials think the smaller boats used in attacks are launched from the mother ship, he said.
Earlier this week, the director of the International Maritime Bureau, appealed to vessels off the Somali coasts to come to the aid of ships under attack in a statement citing an "alarming rise" in the number of piracy attacks in the area.
"At the very least," said Capt. Pottengal Mukundan, IMB director, "they can prevent the hijackers from taking these ships into Somali waters. Once the vessels have entered these waters, the chances of any law enforcement is negligible."
Twenty-five pirate attacks were reported in the past six months, the statement said. "In one incident, a ship was lured into danger by pirates firing bogus distress flares."
In the attempted cruise liner attack, pirates were in two boats and armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
Thousands of merchant ships snake down the Somali coast to the Cape of Good Hope every year.
Some of the world's leading shipping bodies called on the U.N. to urgently address the issue.
The piracy watchdog has warned merchant ships to stay at least 200 nautical miles away from the Somali coast -- an admonition that has gone unheeded.
After two years of relative calm, 32 pirate attacks have been recorded since mid-March, including raids on ships carrying supplies for the U.N. World Food Program.
Rival warlords have ruled Somalia since dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991. Many of the warlords are believed to run gangs who smuggle drugs, weapons and people by road, sea and air around the region.
Piracy is a lucrative and growing offshoot of this trade.
On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council criticized Somalia's squabbling government and urged rival factions to work to confront the chaos and piracy plaguing the lawless nation.
The council expressed "serious concern" about the recent wave of pirate attacks off the coast, and urged regional powers and international bodies to address the problem urgently.

Pirates blasted by sonic boom

The crew of a cruise ship attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia used a sonic weapon to help ward off the attackers, the Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line said Monday.
The device blasts ear-splitting noise in a directed beam.
The Seabourn Spirit escaped the attack also by shifting to high speed and changing course, the cruise line said.
The sonic device, known as a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, is a so-called "non-lethal weapon" developed for the military after the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen as a way to keep operators of small boats from approaching U.S. warships.
Makers of the device compare its shrill tone to that of smoke detectors, only much louder.

Prescription Drugs for Yacht Racing Safety Requirements

YA Special Regulation No. 4 (2005 - 2009) requires yachts competing in Cat. One & two events to carry specified prescription drugs. Recently YQ has received enquiries about how to obtain these drugs.
The required drugs can be obtained under QLD law using the provisions of the Health Act 1937 and its subsidiary Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996. The regulations allow the issue and use of controlled and restricted drugs on boats in QLD. Copies of the applicable sections of the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 are attached these are Sections 69 (2) (controlled drugs), 178 (2) (restricted drugs) and 264A (use of the drugs).
The key requirements are: a Doctor must sign the purchase order, the drugs are only for use on the boat, and the drugs must be appropriately secured when on board.
Further information or assistance is available from QLD Health Environmental Health Unit. Issued by the YA Offshore and Safety Committee.

Live bombs advice

Mariners are advised that military aircraft will be conducting air manoeuvres, air refuelling and live bombing within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. In particular, Townsend Island will be active for live bombing.
Danger Area (INDIA) has been declared. The Marine Danger Area is all waters contained within the bounds of Macdonald Point Cape Manifold and listed in the full notice to mariners.
All civil watercraft are prohibited to enter the danger area from 1030 hours, 6 December 2005 to 1830 hours, 16 December 2005.Any person or vessel found within these danger areas will be removed by Australian Defence Force personnel or by Queensland Police. Any costs associated with such removal will be borne by the owner, charterer, hirer or agent of the watercraft. AUS Charts Affected: 367, 822.

Want relish with that?

'A little nonsense now and again is relished by the wisest men'

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

State of the art survey ship visits Whitsunday Islands

Australia's state of the art ocean survey ship HMAS Melville anchored at Cid Harbour, Whitsunday Island this week
HMAS Melville is a hydrographic ship, used to chart the ocean. The ship also performs secondary roles in search and rescue, surveillance and disaster relief.
Two hydrographic ships (AGS) LEEUWIN and MELVILLE entered service in the year 2000. These ships are fitted with the latest multi-beam and single beam echo sounders plus towed and forward-looking sonar. Satellite and terrestrial position fixing equipment has been integrated into a complex survey system suite in these ships.
The Australian Hydrographic Service operates six specialist-surveying vessels and one Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) fitted in a Fokker F-27 aircraft. All units are based in Cairns, North Queensland.
Melville is named after Melville Island, north of Darwin, was launched midway through 1998 and built by NQEA in Cairns, North Queensland.
Melville enables the Australian Hydrographic Service to gather high quality hydrographic information at a much greater rate than the ships they replace. The ship is 71 metres in length, with a beam of 15 metres, and a draught of 5.4 metres, displaces 2,550 tonnes and is manned by a crew of 46 officers and sailors.
A state of the art Hydrographic Survey System (HSS) developed by STN Atlas will integrate accurate position information with data from a multi-beam echo sounder, towed side-scan sonar, single beam echo sounder and forward-looking sonar. The ships also carry three fully equipped nine metre Survey Motor Boats for surveys in waters not suitable for the ships themselves.
The ship is capable of carrying a helicopter to assist in survey operations.

FINS fines for fishers

An expansion of on-the-spot fines for fishing offences in Queensland is set to reduce the number of less serious fishing-related cases taken to court says Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries Deputy Director-General (Fisheries) Peter Neville.
The new fines or Fisheries Infringement Notices (FINS), introduced last week, would cover a wider range of less serious offences in both the commercial and recreational sectors.
"Last year, more than 200 fisheries cases were taken to court - under the new FIN system this number should be greatly reduced," Mr Neville said.
"Under the new system DPI&F Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers will have the ability to give out on-the-spot fines for a broader range of offences that currently have to be taken to court, even where the offender wishes to plead guilty," Mr Neville said
"The fines will still provide an effective deterrence but will spare individuals the need to appear in court.
"The new FINs will also allow QBFP officers to spend more time in the field by reducing the time needing to be spent on preparing court materials. This greater presence in the field is expected to translate to a higher level of deterrence to illegal activity.
"It is also expected that the new fines will allow for departmental legal staff to focus more heavily on the prosecution of serious fisheries offences rather than dealing with minor matters."
Under the new system, the amount of the fine increases depending on the seriousness of the offence. Fines for recreational offences, such as breaching bag limits, range from $75 to $375 depending on how many regulated fish are involved.
New and heavier fines for commercial offences will also be introduced as part of the expansion.
"Previously, fines focused primarily on offences commonly committed by recreational fishers. However, under the new system we are including fines for less serious breaches by commercial operators," Mr Neville said.
"Commercial operators will face fines double that imposed on recreational fishers because they stand to gain financially by inappropriate behaviour."
Offenders will have 28 days to pay their FIN-fine and once the money is paid, the matter is FIN-alised with no conviction recorded.
Anyone issued with a FIN still has the right to elect to have the case heard in court.
Each year about 300 FINs are issued to recreational and commercial fishers. More than 2000 FINs have been written since they were introduced in Queensland in 1999.
The FIN system expansion is enforced by amendments to the State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2000.

Rocket grenade ship cabin

A pirate attack on a ship full of Western holidaymakers, including 22 Australians, has jolted East Africa's bomb-scarred tourist industry.
The luxury cruise liner Seabourn Spirit was attacked Saturday when pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade and machine-guns.
The Seabourn Spirit was 160 kilometres off the east African country of Somalia when the attack took place early Saturday, says Seabourn Cruises spokesman David Dingle.
It has also reminded the world of the threat posed by Somalia, a rouge state awash with weapons.
Andrew Mwangura, program coordinator of the Kenyan Seafarers' Association, said the attack on the Seabourn Spirit could deal a severe blow to tourism in the region, especially Kenya - East Africa's most popular tourist destination.
The 440-foot Seabourn Spirit is an intimate size luxury mega-yacht. Aboard this 10,000 ton all-suite ship, you travel with no more than 208 well-versed voyagers serviced by 150 crew.
Seabourn Spirit arrived in Seychelles on Tuesday and is due in Cairns on January 22 next and should transit the Whitsunday Passage days later as she is due in Sydney on January 28.

Reef fin fish survey

The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries began surveys of coral reef fish in the Swains and Mackay regions this week to collect information about the status of coral reef finfish stocks.
DPI&F fisheries biologist Dr Kerry Neil said the structured line catch surveys are a part of the department's Fisheries Long Term Monitoring Program.
"Long-term monitoring of the State's fisheries resources started in 1999, and the information to be collected in November will further expand the program", Dr Neil said.
The Long Term Monitoring Program contributes to assessing the effectiveness of fisheries management strategies in protecting and conserving the State's fisheries resources.
DPI&F biologists will oversee line catch activities, similar to those used by commercial operations but structured for monitoring purposes and operating independently of the commercial fishery.
"Biologists will be recording information on catch composition, the abundance of each species, size of all fish caught and the age of select target species, including coral trout and red throat emperor," she said.
"This monitoring is part of a larger long-term monitoring program for coral reef fish which relies on the support of the commercial fishing sector for data," Dr Neil said.
The program includes the gathering of data on by-catch in the fisheries through at-sea observers and additional information on the age structure of fish populations from frames collected from fishers.
Information from the program will be used to assess populations of Queensland's coral reef fish species, which are popular amongst commercial and recreational fishers alike.

Gratitude for what you do have

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."

Epicurus, Greek philosopher, BC 341-270

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Reel in a Barramundi, despite closed season

Anglers are reminded that Queensland's east coast barramundi closed season began on November 1 which means this species will be off-limits until February 1 next year, except in some stocked dams.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) senior fisheries management officer Anita Wohlsen said the annual east coast closed season is aimed at protecting stocks of barramundi during their spawning period.
"The closed seasons allow fish to spawn and stocks to replenish to ensure there are healthy fish stocks for current and future generations," Ms Wohlsen said.
However, while barramundi will be off-limits in most areas, anglers wanting to catch the iconic fish can still throw in a line at one of Queensland's 18 stocked impoundments where a fisher is permitted to have one barramundi in their possession.
"The exemption recognises the importance of protecting wild barramundi stocks as well as giving fishers the enjoyment of catching stocked barramundi in an impoundment," Ms Wohlsen said.
Throwing in a line at some of these dams may also lead to catching more than just a fish. Anglers who buy their Stocked Impoundment Permits (SIP) online could pick up one of 300 prizes.
Stocked impoundment permits cost $35 a year or $7 for a week and must be purchased in order to fish in the stocked impoundments.
To be in the draw for the giveaways, fishers should buy their permits online at www.qld.gov.au/fishing
A random prize draw will be held at the end of each month during the next 12 month, starting November 9 and the lucky winners will be notified soon after.
Twenty-five prizes will be given away every month.
For more information about Queensland's fishing regulations visit the DPI&F Fishweb site at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb.

At Titanic Wreck Site

Adventurer extraordinaire Fran Capo, a stand-up comedienne, author, motivational speaker and the Worlds Fastest Talking Female, just set a new world record by becoming the first author to do a book signing at the wreck site of the most famous ship in the world - the Titanic.
Fran not only did a book signing for her book Adrenaline Adventures at the site of the famous wreck, but she did something that was long overdue. She became an ordained minister so she could honour the lost passengers of the Titanic.
While at the site, she offered the first-ever consecration of the remains, offering a universal maritime memorial invocation at the wreck site, a special prayer provided by the US Navy chaplain Puttler.
This prayer service was very important to her because it represented an opportunity to pay respects to the victims of that tragedy. It was the first rite she ever performed as an ordained minister, and one she will never forget.
"I as in a very small group of people, and I feel privileged, it was awesome" says Fran Capo.
"Titanic guru Ralph White, a member of the explorers club, related an interesting fact that even though everyone says the order when the iceberg hit was to revers the engine, all dials found o the wreck were in the "slow ahead" position.
"When Ralph was with Titanic 'discoverer' Bob Ballard, Ballard did not release the coordinates of the Titanic. Ralph read the coordinates upside down on a table, memorized it, and was later able to lead others to it. A fact he mentions in a movie, Titanica.
Russian scientific ship Kelydsyh departed the port of St. Johns for titanic wreck site 380 miles Southeast of Newfoundland at 41º44.0 N, 49 degrees, 46.0 West at a depth of 3,790 meters.
"I realized every one of passengers around me are millionaires many times over, yet the common bond is we all love adventure and are to be come part of a unique club - those who visited the Titanic. We are told that more people have gone to space than have visited the Titanic."
"Then we saw it, the bow of the ship. Just like in the movies. It was surreal. Here I was less than 15 feet from the bow with all its rusticles, and yet all I could think was, this was the ship of dreams. A ship that is the death bed of all those victims of man's stupidity- the stupidity of pushing a ship to hard, of not having enough life boats, of not seeing a iceberg in time. This is the famed Titanic."
"Then I said the prayer over the staircase. I figured this is where most of the souls on the ship passed; it would be a good place to do it. It was when I said the prayer, that the hugeness of this all hit me. As I said the prayer images of the passengers that night flashed through my head."
"The ride up I was thinking...this has got to be my greatest adventure. I was 2 1/2 miles down in the sea, a place few have gone. I did the first ever prayer down there. I did a book signing, I saw creatures that I didn't even know existed and I visited one of the most talked about ships of all time.

Report highlights tourism impact

Whitsunday Shire Council has commissioned a report that has revealed people are more likely to meet a visitor than a local in the area.
The Queensland Government office of Local Government and Planning's principal demographer, Allison Taylor, says the council wanted to learn more about the economic contribution of tourism and its social impact.
She says the report shows tourism is a significant industry that influences housing trends.
"It actually is a major employer, far more significant than agriculture, forestry, fishing or mining," she said.
"It obviously creates a lot of jobs for local people, in particular young people.
"There are a lot of visitors in the area and that causes a lot of turnover, a lot of mobility in the population."

All too common

A man on an inflatable lobster rescued a young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth. A coast guard spokesman commented, "This sort of thing is all too common".

Fireworks at Airlie

Mariners are advised that a fireworks display will be held on the Airlie Beach foreshore adjacent to the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Fireworks are due to be set off from the point of Airlie Creek on Friday 4 November 2005 between 1930 hours and 2100 hours. AUS Charts Affected - 252, 253, 370

Harbour light established

Mariners are advised that the lighted Special Mark Buoy Fl.Y.2s has been permanently established at Mackay Harbour in approximate position latitude 21° 07.212'S, longitude 149°15.152'E. Charts Affected - AUS 249, 250, 823

Look on the bright side

"If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought."

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Octopus not on menu for Airlie - too big!

The launch in 2003 of Paul Allen's 127m (416ft) "Octopus" secured its number one position as the world's largest yacht. Octopus is currently visiting in Australian waters.
Allen, called the "accidental zillionaire" in his unauthorized biography, also owns several other large yachts including Méduse which at only 198'10 feet is rate 72 in the top 100 megayachts. Méduse has previously visited Airlie and tied up at Able Point Marina.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen - worth US$20 billion according to Forbes, the third richest man in America and 7th in the world.
Octopus cost Allen over US$200 million and has permanent crew of 60, including several former Navy Seals employed in a security role.
It has two helicopters, seven boats, a 10-man submarine and a remote controlled vehicle for crawling on the Ocean floor. The submarine has the capacity to sleep eight people for up to two weeks underwater. A sixty-three foot tender docks in the transom.
Unfortunately, don't expect to see Octopus dock in Airlie. We don't have the facilities here. So we miss out in more ways that just not seeing her in port. We miss out on a lot of revenue.
On average, owners must spend a minimum of 10 percent of the purchase price every year to keep these yachts in good working condition and cover crew salaries. Therefore "Octopus" which cost Allen US$200 million requires a US$20 million annual budget.
It costs $250,000 to top off the fuel tanks.
Other yachts that have been around the Whitsunday Islands recently include the 231-foot Boadicea.
Eighty-year-old Reg Grundy really knows how to enjoy life. Boadicea which has a cinema and a stage, the Australian media baron has a passion for photography. It's interesting, considering the dark blue of his yacht's hull and her stylish lines make her a favourite of amateur yacht photographers. When he's not onboard, Grundy makes Boadicea available for charter for $420,000 per week.

Reef fish closure starts tomorrow

The first of the annual coral reef fin fish spawning closures starts tomorrow Thursday October 27 and will be enforced for the nine days through to November 4.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries district officer at Yeppoon, Mike Broadsmith, said the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol had been inundated with inquiries from recreational and commercial fishers and charter boat operators regarding the new moon spawning periods.
"Obviously people want to do the right thing and respect the three nine-day spawning closures that have been put into place to protect the coral reef fin fish when they were deemed to be most vulnerable," Mr Broadsmith said.
The next closed period would be from November 25 to December 3 this year.
"The closure applies to all commercial, charter and recreational boaties and even if the reef fish were caught prior to the nine day closure, it is an offence to possess any reef fish species aboard the vessel.
People can still catch fish such as mackerel and estuarine fish species so long as they are not coral reef fin fish such as coral trout, cods and gropers, emperors, parrot fish, sweetlip, tropical snapper and sea perch.
A complete list of coral reef fin fish species together with Queensland's fishing regulations can be found on the Fishweb site at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb or from the DPI&F Call Centre on 13 25 23

Weather gauge

At the height of the gale, reported the Aberdeen Evening Express, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff.

General safety obligation

As the fundamental principle of the Transport Operations, Marine Safety legislation, the general safety obligation transfers the responsibility of safety to owners and operators and encourages risk management. The Act imposes general safety obligations on:
* Ship designers, builders and surveyors about the condition of ships.
* Persons involved with the operation of a ship to operate it safely.
* Owners and masters about safety equipment.
All owners and operators, masters and crew members must ensure the ship is:
Safe, properly equipped and crewed and operated in a safe manner.
In short, these general safety obligations prohibit a ship from going to sea if it is not properly built and maintained, equipped, crewed and operated in accordance with its proposed operating environment.
The Act provides penalties for breach of safety obligations of up to $A37, 000 or one year imprisonment. Should the breach cause death or grievous bodily harm to a person, the penalty is up to $A375, 000 or imprisonment for two years.

Floating obstruction

Mariners are advised that a shipping container has been reported on 22 October 2005 drifting in the area of the Barwon Banks and about three quarters submerged. The reported position was latitude 26° 37.5'S longitude 153° 24.0'E. Mariners are advised to keep a good lookout and report any sightings. AUS Charts 235, 365

Seaforth Creek

Mariners are advised that the lighted buoy that was established at the entrance to Seaforth Creek to temporarily replace the lighted starboard lateral mark beacon has been removed. The lighted starboard mark beacon has not been re-established in position. Charts Affected - AUS 251, 824

Ideal experience?

"Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows"

David Wolf

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Monday, October 17, 2005

Cowboys Reef named to honour our team

'Cowboys Reef' was officially named today in recognition of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys outstanding 2004 and 2005 seasons.
'Cowboys Reef' was the initiative of Member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay, after the team's phenomenal 2004 season. 'Cowboys Reef' will be depicted on all Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning maps in the future.
The Chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Virginia Chadwick and Member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay, announced that a reef located off Townsville, the North Queensland Cowboys home base, would now be known as 'Cowboys Reef'.
"We are absolutely delighted to be able to recognise the magnificent efforts of the Cowboys over the last two years with the naming of a reef in their honour," Ms Chadwick said.
"When Peter Lindsay suggested the idea we got 100 percent behind the initiative. After the Cowboys sensational 2005 season it seems particularly fitting that we can now announce 'Cowboys Reef'."
Member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay, said he was thrilled a piece of the Great Barrier Reef was named after North Queensland's own Cowboys.
"Our community is just so proud of the team and how well they have done over the last two years and I think it is a fitting tribute to have a reef named 'Cowboys'," Mr Lindsay said.
'Cowboys Reef' is located off the coast of Townsville, south of Myrmidon Reef and close to Davies Reef.
Mrs Chadwick said naming a reef is a complex exercise, involving a range of people and organisations.
"Our priority was ensuring we found the closest, unnamed reef to the Cowboys Townsville home base, where the team has such a huge supporter base," she said.

Radio safety supported

Seven members of the Whitsunday Bareboat Operators Association have donated $2360 to VMR Whitsunday to help with the cost of maintaining the VHF radio repeater stations in the Whitsunday area. Further donations have been made by some commercial operators to ensure that these vital radio links are maintained.
For many years the repeaters have been an important link for mariners in the region although many mariners do not realise that they are put in place and maintained by the volunteer group.

Shipyard wins award

The award is made to an individual, organisation, or development team in recognition of outstanding treatment of environmental issues in the context of a development project. Entries were invited from projects that demonstrate environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, the reclamation of contaminated or degraded land, and / or application of leading edge technology to create innovative long-term environmental solutions
Mackay Marina Shipyard is part of the award-winning Mackay Marina Village complex, owned and operated by Port Binnli Pty Ltd. A marine services base for the repair and maintenance of all types of vessels, construction began in 1999 and the Shipyard opened for business in May 2003. The Shipyard and maintenance repair and refit facility has set new standards of compliance with EPA licence requirements. With the implementation of world's best environmental practices the Shipyard is setting benchmark standards for other facilities to follow. The preservation and on-going protection of the fragile eco system that surrounds the Marina complex is of paramount importance for the future of the boating industry.
Jeff Smith, Executive Manager, Property, for Port Binnli Pty Ltd said: "Locally the Shipyard is recognised as a safe, clean place to work and for repair and maintenance on locally owned vessels. Nationally and globally we have attracted boats from world-class Superyacht Nicorette to trawlers, which previously had to travel to Cairns for maintenance.
The $5 million vessel repair and maintenance facilities on the Shipyard are the first stage of an anticipated collaborative investment of $30 million with the Mackay Port Authority aimed at developing Mackay as the premier vessel repair and maintenance facility on the Australian East Coast for commercial and recreation vessels alike.
Mackay Marina Shipyard features the latest in environmental protection systems for the catchment and treatment of all wastewater and pollutants. Environmental considerations have been key to its design. A sophisticated drainage network is in place, providing filtration and treatment for wastewater. Waste oil is collected and recycled by a licensed waste removalist. They also have environmental plans in place to manage surface coating activities; vessel surfaced cleaning, water quality, dust and particle dispersion, noise and waste.
In keeping with world's best management practices, all containments, including stormwater run-off, are contained in underground holding tanks. Pollutants and solids are filtered and separated. Treated clean fluids are then automatically discharged to sewer under controlled conditions. No contaminated water is released into Mackay Harbour waters.
All vessels are positioned into special galvanised steel cradles, within the concrete catchment area, which have been locally designed and manufactured to withstand cyclonic conditions. The cradles feature additional side 'acrow' supports and certified chain, both of which securely 'lock' a vessel in place. This avoids accident in the Shipyard and the spilling of oil etc into the water.
The development of this unique marine industry 'hub' has encouraged many new businesses to locate at the Shipyard. To date, eleven specialist marine companies are now based on site, collectively employing more than 60 staff. As the marine industry in this region is rapidly expanding, future employment growth is assured for the town. The Shipyard has become a marine industry showcase, not only from an economic perspective, but also at the forefront of environmental sustainability.
In addition to the unique filtration and treatment plant, a motorised road sweeper cleans the Shipyard daily. A fully enclosed paint booth allows vessels up to 24m to be spray painted professionally and in an EPA approved unit. Enclosed maintenance sheds are also available for major refit works and sandblasting operations.

Boaties to save water

The Queensland boating industry wants boat owners throughout the state to voluntarily adopt, on a permanent basis, new water restrictions adopted by the Brisbane City Council.
The Boating Industry Association of Queensland (BIAQ) says the new rules, which are already in force in Brisbane, are common sense and would be environmentally beneficial if maintained outside drought periods as well.
BIAQ General Manager, Barry Hibberd, said the changes would impact on boat owners, some of whom would have to change the way they cleaned their motors after use.
"But the proposed restrictions will cut back on water wastage, which is desirable at all times," Mr Hibberd said.
"We will urge the public to adopt the new restrictions on a full time basis right throughout Queensland."
To comply with the new restrictions boat owners can:
* wash the motor with a sponge and bucket of water filled from a tap;
* rinse the motor with a trigger hose, not a twist nozzle; and,
* connect the hose directly to the motor, or via ear muffs, to flush the internal components for the prescribed time recommended by the manufacturer, usually 2-3 minutes.
Mr Hibberd said the main requirement will be that the hose be attended and held at all times.

Freshwater fishing prize

When the offshore fishing is not on, turn to the fresh water for a change. In addition, if you buy your Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) online and you could find yourself kitted out with a swag of fishing essentials.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) are giving away 300 fantastic prize packs to anglers who buy their SIP online.
Policy officer Aimee Moore said the giveaways including cooler bags, tin mugs, backpacks, caps, travel mugs, tote bags and water bottles were up for grabs during the next 12 months. Twenty-five prizes will be given away every month starting in October.
"Buying a permit online is easy and convenient. It saves time as anglers can do it before they leave home, which means more time on the water," Ms Moore said.
"Buying online also means local and travelling freshwater fishing enthusiasts can purchase their permits when it suits them, rather than having to find a permit issuer when they arrive at their favourite stocked dam.
"While online, anglers can also take the opportunity to download the latest fishing news and information from the DPI&F Fishweb site."
Stocked impoundment permits cost $35 a year or $7 for a week.
To be in the draw for these giveaways, fishers should buy their permits online at www.qld.gov.au/fishing. A random prize draw will be held at the end of each month and the lucky winners will be notified soon after.
More than 3800 SIPS for freshwater fishing in Queensland's stocked dams have been sold via the Internet since the online scheme was introduced just over a year ago.
"Freshwater fishing permits allow people to fish in the 29 stocked dams throughout Queensland. Money raised through the SIP scheme provides funding to community stocking groups to buy fingerlings and carry out other activities to enhance their local fisheries," Ms Moore said.
The SIP scheme is proving effective with more than $2.4 million raised since it started in July 2000 with permit sales continuing to increase. More than four million fish have been stocked in the dams since the scheme was introduced and financial benefits to stocking groups are more than $1.8 million.

Fitzroy Reef

Entrance Buoy Replaced. Mariners are advised that the port hand lateral buoy marking the entrance to Fitzroy Reef has been replaced in position latitude 23° 36.6` S, longitude 152° 09.5` E. The buoy is unlit. AUS Charts Affected - 819

A fair breeze

"Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees."
-J. Willard Marriott

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fine weather, few reef fish fines

Near perfect weather conditions on the weekend attracted recreational fishers by the boatload but only a handful chose to ignore the nine-day coral reef fin fish closure period that ends today, Wednesday (October 5).
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries officers have conducted multiple vessel inspections since the new moon spawning closures began on September 27.
Mackay district officer Dan Stampa said that from a significant number of offshore vessel inspections undertaken last weekend, only four fishers aboard two recreational boats were located in possession of reef fin fish.
Yeppoon district officer Mike Broadsmith said field officers had detected three closure offences up until October 3 including one involving the taking of 21 coral reef fin fish species.
Mr Broadsmith said the three nine-day spawning closures introduced for the first time last year had been put into place to protect coral reef fin fish during the spawning period when they were deemed to be most vulnerable.
"The two remaining new moon closure periods will be from October 27 to November 4 and from November 25 to December 3 this year," Mr Broadsmith said.
Mr Stampa said the coral reef fin fish closure applied to all commercial, charter and recreational fishers and it was an offence to have reef species aboard a vessel during the nine-day closures.
A detailed list of coral fin fish species can be found on the Fishweb site at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb or from the DPI&F Call Centre on 13 25 23.

What's the ketch?

So, did you hear the one about the divorcing British couple and the scuttled luxury ketch? The advertised 53-foot ketch 'Rebel' was ("was" being the operative word) valued at between £60-100K, dependent on news source.
Yacht wife advertised it for the low, low price of £40,000. Yacht husband sees the advert, something snaps and he's off to the yacht on Dartmouth harbour in Devon. He then smashes open valves below the water line until all anyone can see of this spectacular bargain are the tops of two masts.
Police were unable to press charges since, technically, the chap still owned the boat. A quayside crane was used to recover it from the water on in an operation expected to cost £10,000. So, yacht husband will cop a bill for the ten grand.
Yacht wife advertised the yacht in the Torquay-based Herald Express newspaper last week for a "quick sale."
The advert read: "Ocean-going 53ft sail boat. Fibreglass. All the extras. Make a nice riverside home. Owner must sell quickly. Hence £40,000. Any quick cash offer seriously considered."
Her husband is then believed to have used an axe to destroy a seacock, a valve to allow water into the engine to cool it.
Yacht wife, a waitress at a hotel in the town, told a newspaper: "There was an argument between us. It was a beautiful boat - and he sunk it."
The yacht had been used to sail around the Mediterranean and as a family home.

Freshwater fishing prize

When the offshore fishing is not on, turn to the fresh water for a change. In addition, if you buy your Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) online and you could find yourself kitted out with a swag of fishing essentials.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) is giving away 300 fantastic prize packs to anglers who buy their SIP online.
Policy officer Aimee Moore said the giveaways including cooler bags, tin mugs, backpacks, caps, travel mugs, tote bags and water bottles were up for grabs during the next 12 months. Twenty-five prizes will be given away every month starting in October.
"Buying a permit online is easy and convenient. It saves time as anglers can do it before they leave home, which means more time on the water," Ms Moore said.
"Buying online also means local and travelling freshwater fishing enthusiasts can purchase their permits when it suits them, rather than having to find a permit issuer when they arrive at their favourite stocked dam.
"While online, anglers can also take the opportunity to download the latest fishing news and information from the DPI&F Fishweb site."
Stocked impoundment permits cost $35 a year or $7 for a week.
To be in the draw for these giveaways, fishers should buy their permits online at www.qld.gov.au/fishing. A random prize draw will be held at the end of each month and the lucky winners will be notified soon after.
More than 3800 SIPS for freshwater fishing in Queensland's stocked dams have been sold via the Internet since the online scheme was introduced just over a year ago.
"Freshwater fishing permits allow people to fish in the 29 stocked dams throughout Queensland. Money raised through the SIP scheme provides funding to community stocking groups to buy fingerlings and carry out other activities to enhance their local fisheries," Ms Moore said.
The SIP scheme is proving effective with more than $2.4 million raised since it started in July 2000 with permit sales continuing to increase. More than four million fish have been stocked in the dams since the scheme was introduced and financial benefits to stocking groups are more than $1.8 million.

Windsurfing or Sailboarding?

Sailboarding sounds a little more Olympian than windsurfing, I suppose, which is what it is.
In 1948, twenty-year old Newman Darby first conceived of using a hand held sail and rig mounted on a universal joint, to control a small catamaran. Darby did not file for a patent; however, he is considered the inventor of the very first sailboard.
Windsurfing or boardsailing is a sport that combines sailing and surfing and uses a one-person craft called a sailboard. The basic sailboard is composed of a board and a rig.
Californians Jim Drake, a sailor and engineer and surfer and skier Hoyle Schweitzer received the first patent for a sailboard. They called their design a Windsurfer. The early Windsurfer boards measured 12 feet (3.5 m) long.
Several sailboats and 2 1/2 decades later (1964) Newman designed the first universal joint to go along with a flat bottom sailing scow. This sailboard was fitted with a universal joint mast, a centerboard, tail fin and kite shaped free sail and thus windsurfing was born."
Naomi Darby, Newman's wife, was the first woman windsurfer and helped her husband build and design the first sailboard.
According to the official Windsurfing website "The heart of the invention and patent was mounting a sail on a universal joint, requiring the sailor to support the rig, and allowing the rig to be tilted in any direction. This tilting of the rig fore and aft allows the board to be steered without the use of a rudder - the only sail craft able to do so."
Hoyle Schweitzer began mass-producing polyethylene sailboards (Windsurfer design) in the early 1970s. The sport became very popular in Europe and by the late 70's, windsurfing fever had Europe firmly in its grasp with one in every three households having a sailboard.
The first world championship of windsurfing was held in 1973. Windsurfing first became an Olympic sport in 1984 for men and 1992 for women.

Abel Point tide board

Mariners are advised that a tide board has been permanently established on the starboard lateral mark beacon Fl.G.2s that marks the entrance channel to Abel Point Marina. AUS Charts Affected - 253

Status Quo

Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status. -- Laurence J. Peter

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Reef fishing closure starts

The first of the annual coral reef fin fish spawning closures started on Tuesday September 27 and will be enforced for nine days through to October 5.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries district officer, Mike Broadsmith, said the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol had been inundated with inquiries from recreational and commercial fishers and charter boat operators regarding the new moon spawning periods.
"Obviously people want to do the right thing and respect the three nine-day spawning closures that have been put into place to protect the coral reef fin fish when they were deemed to be most vulnerable," Mr Broadsmith said.
The other two closed periods would be from October 27 to November 4 and from November 25 to December 3 this year.
Closures apply to all coral reef fin fish species on Queensland's east coast in waters north of Latitude 24 degrees 50 minutes South which is located near the mouth of the Burnett River and north of Waddy Point on Fraser Island.
"Our Central region patrol field officers have not had to issue a $300 on-the-spot fine to any recreational fisher either catching or having coral reef fin fish species in their possession during the full moon spawning closures introduced last year.
"The closure applies to all commercial, charter and recreational boaties and even if the reef fish were caught prior to the nine day closure, it is an offence to possess any reef fish species aboard the vessel.
"People can still catch fish such as mackerel and estuarine fish species so long as they are not coral reef fin fish such as coral trout, cods and gropers, emperors, parrot fish, sweetlip, tropical snapper and sea perch," Mr Broadsmith said.
A complete list of coral reef fin fish species together with Queensland's fishing regulations can be found on the Fishweb site at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb or from the DPI&F Call Centre on 13 25 23

Race to aid rescue volunteers

Marine Rescue volunteers from Airlie Beach to Cardwell are to benefit from the 2006 Dent to Dunk Race say organisers, Abel Point Yacht Club.
Eighty per cent of crew fees are pledged directly to the VMR and Coast Guard that will aid in the running of the 2006 Dent to Dunk Island Race in May.
Club officials say the crew fee revenue could be as high as $4,000.00 and feel VMR and Coast Guard could well benefit from the donations.
"The VMR and Coastguard do a sometimes thankless job all year round and then donate time to our event to aid with radio schedules and weather updates. They are directly responsible for making the annual Dent to Dunk Race one of the Safest and most pleasurable yacht races on the East Coast," A club officials says.

Duck vs. Duct

Originally a product of necessity, and still essential, duct tape made its debut in 1942 during World War II when U.S. soldiers needed an all-purpose adhesive tape to keep ammunition cases dry. Available in Army green and referred to as Duck Tape because of its water-resistant qualities, American GIs quickly discovered how useful the versatile tape was for repairs.
During the post-war housing boom, the tape picked up its now familiar silver color, and was used for household applications on heating and air conditioning ducts, which is how it came to be called duct tape.
In 1985, Jack Kahl renamed his product "Duck Tape," and the original name of the grey wonder tape became a household fixer's word.

Duct Tape Effective for Warts

Warts (verruca vulgaris) are a common problem among patients who present in family physicians' offices says Karl E. Miller, M.D.
"Although a significant number of warts will spontaneously resolve over two years, patients frequently request treatment to clear their skin of the lesions.
"Treatments such as cryotherapy (freezing), acid preparations, laser therapy, heat, and tape occlusion have been used in the management of warts, with cure rates ranging from 32 to 93 percent. However, most of these therapies are expensive, painful, or labor intensive.
A few trials have studied the use of tape occlusion in wart treatment, with one study reporting cure rates of approximately 80 percent. Focht and associates compared the effectiveness of cryotherapy with duct tape applied to common warts.
In patients treated with duct tape, 85 percent of the warts completely resolved, compared with 60 percent in the cryotherapy group.
The main adverse effect in the cryotherapy group was mild to severe pain at the freeze site during and after the treatment.
The authors conclude that duct tape occlusive therapy is more effective than cryotherapy in the treatment of common warts. They also state that duct tape therapy is less expensive and has fewer adverse effects than cryotherapy.

Tape has fans

However, under any name, the stuff has gained so much popularity that newsletters, Web sites and a fan club are devoted to it.
Not only is there a Duck Tape Club, currently promoting the 2nd Annual America's Tackiest Room Contest(tm) but it is associated with the Duck Tape University.
If only Shakespeare would have lived to see the Duck Tape University English Department, he would have had incredible inspiration for his work.
"Is this Duck Tape I see before me?"
"What fix upon yonder things that break. It is the Duck Tape."
"This above all: Know thy Duck Tape."
Finally, a mate came up with a Belly Remover after reading the wart study. To remove that middle-aged gut, simply apply a strip of duct tape over your mouth for six days to two months. Success guaranteed, he claims.

QE 2 cruses launched

The QE 2 may not be on the Trans Atlantic run now, but she sails to more ports than ever before.
The Queen launched the new Cunard cruise liner named after her, the Queen Elizabeth 2, at a ceremony on the Clydebank.
Tens of thousands of people crowded the banks of the river as the Queen appeared on a platform high against the bow of the 963-ft (293.5 metres) long liner.
In clear tones, she pronounced: "I name this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God bless her and all who sail in her." A BBC report says.
She then pressed the launching button, and a bottle of champagne shattered against the huge bows of the ship.
The QE2 made her maiden voyage to New York on 2 May 1969.
She became the company's flagship, and one of the most famous cruise liners in the world. After extensive refits over the years, she is now a byword for the ultimate in luxury at sea.
In 1982, she was requisitioned by the British government as a troop transport vessel during the Falklands War.
She began her last season of sailings to New York in 2003 and was replaced in 2004 by Cunard's biggest passenger liner, the Queen Mary 2. The QM2 has also replaced the QE2 as flagship of the British merchant fleet.
She can carry 1,800 passengers and a crew of up to 1,000. She has made more than 500 Trans-Atlantic crossings and passengers consume nearly 42,340lbs of lobster and 2,409lbs of caviar and 73,000 bottles of champagne a year.

What, me worry?

"There are two kinds of worries-those you can do something about and those you can't. Don't spend any time on the latter."
-Duke Ellington

It's been said that worry is like prayer in reverse. The thought, time and energy you spend worrying about something can actually make it worse.

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Race to aid rescue volunteers

Marine Rescue volunteers from Airlie Beach to Cardwell are to benefit from the 2006 Dent to Dunk Race say organisers, Abel Point Yacht Club.
Eighty per cent of 'crew fees' is pledged directly to the VMR and Coast Guard that will aid in the running of the 2006 Dent to Dunk Island Race in May.
Club officials say the crew fee revenue could be as high as $4,000.00 and feel VMR and Coast Guard could well benefit from the donations.
"The VMR and Coastguard do a sometimes thankless job all year round and then donate time to our event to aid with radio schedules and weather updates. They are directly responsible for making the annual Dent to Dunk Race one of the Safest and most pleasurable yacht races on the East Coast," A club officials says.

Sports passion?

Share your passion for sport and volunteer your services as art of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Sport Development Volunteers Program.
The Australian Sports Commission, on behalf of the Victorian Government, is inviting suitably skilled and motivated people to volunteer their expertise for the Sport Development Volunteers Program.
This is a unique opportunity to be involved in an off-shore program associated with the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and to contribute to the development of the Commonwealth Community of Nations.
Volunteers will be required to provide leadership in areas such as federation management and governance, sport administrator development, talent identification and development programs, coach education, junior, women's and disability sport.
Placements are between one and six months. Volunteers will receive a living allowance and will have expenses associated with the placement paid. Applicants should possess a current passport.
To apply for a specific volunteer placement or simply register your interest, visit www.australianvolunteers.com

2006 Queen's Baton Relay

With 175 days to go, the baton has left the European, African, Caribbean and Americas nations participating in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Now in Asia, and having visited Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, the Queen's Baton is in Sri Lanka.
The baton will travel more than 180,000 kilometres and visit all 71 nations of the Commonwealth in one year and one day. This is a world first, as no Games relay has ever visited all member nations. This makes the Melbourne 2006 Queen's Baton Relay the world's longest, most inclusive relay.
The Queen's Baton Relay Community Runner Program has announced that it has received phenomenal 15,600 nominations for the 1,925 relay runner positions available for the Australian sector of the 366-day odyssey of the baton.
Ambassador for the Queen's Baton Relay, swimming legend Duncan Armstrong, said nominations have been flooding in since the launch of the program on 29 April 2005.
"The response to the Queen's Baton Relay Community Runner Program from the Australian public has been nothing short of amazing," Mr Armstrong said.
Local judging panels have been established in communities across the country to select the relay runners, with the list of successful nominees to be released on 10 November 2005.
The relay will begin the final 50-day Australian on 25 January 2006.

This Week in 1955: Britain claims Rockall

Fifty years ago Britain annexed a rocky islet 300 miles (483km) west of Scotland to stop the Soviets spying on missile tests.
The Admiralty has announced that the UK formally claimed uninhabited Rockall, which is just 70ft (21m) high, on 18 September at 1016 GMT.
Two Royal Marines and a civilian naturalist, led by Royal Navy officer First Lieutenant Commander Desmond Scott, raised a Union flag on the island and cemented a plaque into the rock.
The islet is within reach of the planned guided missile range in the Hebrides and the British government feared foreign spies could use it as an observation post.
Queen Elizabeth authorised the annexation on 14 September.
Her orders stated: "On arrival at Rockall you will effect a landing and hoist the Union flag on whatever spot appears most suitable or practicable and you will then take possession of the island on our behalf."
The first person to set foot on Rockall since the British Navy landed in 1862 was Royal Marine Sergeant Brian Peel, an experienced rock climber.
The earliest recorded landing on Rockall was in 1810, by an officer called Basil Hall from the HMS Endymion.
Royal Navy surveyor Captain ATE Vidal first chartered its exact position in 1831.
In 1972 the Isle of Rockall Act was passed, which made the rock officially part of Inverness-shire, Scotland.
However, the rights to any resources discovered on the ocean floor surrounding the island are disputed between Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Iceland.
Rockall is probably most famous for being an area in the BBC Radio 4's shipping forecast.


Which breakdown service do pirates use?

Mariner notices

Unlit marker buoys have been established in positions on Black Island Reef, Langford Island Reef, Hook Island between Stanley Point and Cockatoo Point and at Stonehaven Anchorage to mark fringing reef. Mariners are advised to update their charts and navigate with caution in this area. Charts: AUS 252, 254, 370, 825

The secret to the universe:

"Our thoughts create our reality-where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go." -Peter McWilliams

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bowen Fishing Classic this weekend

Billed as Australia's Biggest Family Fishing Classic Bowen's beautiful Front Beach comes alive again this weekend for the 14th year.
The Fishing Classic and Wet Weekend has something for the whole family.
Wet a line and have a chance to win a prize. Don't wet a line and still have a chance to win a prize. You can't beat that. Two fishing boats are up for grabs and a block of land worth $120,000.
Fish, music, tagged fish, beer, weighed fish, cake eating contest, spunky jelly babies, fireworks, eating fish, dash for $500 cash, silliest fishing hat contest, sandcastle comp, lolly drop, beach wear, prawn eating comp, and did I mention fish?

O'Connell River investigated

The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries are investigating several alleged illegal clearing activities involving marine plants along the O'Connell River and adjoining tributaries.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol Whitsunday area district officer Rob McDonald said the department was concerned at the amount of unlawful damage to mangroves and salt couch that was occurring in the area.
Mr McDonald said marine plants played a vital role in maintaining a sustainable fisheries resource by providing marine life with food and shelter and acting as breeding and nursery ground habitat.
"Disturbing and destroying marine plants and the reclamation of tidal lands could have serious long term effects on recreational, commercial and traditional fisheries," Mr McDonald said.
"Marine plants are protected in Queensland under the Fisheries Act 1994 and prior approval is required before any works or activities are undertaken where marine plant disturbance is proposed. This protection applies on all lands including freehold and leasehold properties."
Mr McDonald said marine plants were defined as any plant - dead or living - on or adjacent to tidal land. These plant areas include mangroves, seagrass, algae, salt marsh, saltpan and even tea tree or melaleuca forests.
"More than 75 per cent of commercially caught fish along the Queensland coast utilise mangrove, seagrass and salt marsh areas for some period of their life cycle," he said.
Mr McDonald said fish stocks and marine plants were a shared community resource and needed to be protected by the community to ensure there was a future fishery.
"We encourage the community to remain vigilant and report unauthorised works in and around local wetlands and waterways to the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 017 116."

Fun Race results

Whitsunday Sailing Club 2005 HOT FM Great Whitsunday Fun Race September 3, 2005.
Overall Fastest: Spud Gun P Millar, Whitsunday.
Div 1: Millennium J Clayton, Hamilton Island 1,Holy Cow J Clinton, Sydney 2, Maravu L Jarred, Whitsunday 3.
Div2 A: Zulu Yacht D Simpson, Mooloolaba 1,True Love R Down, Whitsunday 2,
Still Dangerous C Nichol, Pittwater 3.
Div 2B: Pianola 111 D McMahon, Whitsunday 1, Bullrush A Robinson, New Zealand 2, Surefoot R Sawyer, Whitsunday 3.
Div 3A: Wobbly Boot B Roser, Whitsunday 1, Linga Longa D Hardman, Victoria 2, Second Wind J Latchford, Whitsunday 3.
Div 3B: Lorna Rose Too P Mitchelson, Whitsunday 1, Quantum Leap G Hammond, Whitsunday 2, First Star R Wilson, Victoria 3.
Div 4A: Predator B Anstee, Mooloolaba 1, Wahoo N Hooey, Sydney 2,Knot the Dart T Edwards, Whitsunday 3.
Div 4B pickle forks: Spud Gun P Millar, Whitsunday 1, Wild Thing K Roberts, Whitsunday 2, Overdrive R King, New Zealand 3.
Div 5 Traditional rig ships: Schooner Friendship D King, Whitsunday 1, Ileola M Bocchini, Whitsunday 2, Flying Cloud, Cap'n Dan Van Blarcom, Whitsunday.

Innovation is catching on

Four commercial fishers are taking a fresh approach to catching prawns and bugs after being granted new developmental fishing permits by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F).
DPI&F Fisheries Resources manager Mark Elmer said the permits allowed innovations in prawn and bug trapping that have big potential for industry and the environment.
"It is encouraging to see commercial fishers who have industry experience and a sense of innovation volunteering to take part in this trial," Mr Elmer said.
"Under the developmental fishing permits operators can use up to 300 traps in rows - or trot lines - at any one time. They may also use a bait attractant to lure prawns into the trap.
"Previous attempts at prawn trapping have not been successful but our fishing industry is constantly looking at ways to improve their catch. Trailing the traps in a commercial environment ensures they have the best possible chance of success.
"Like trawler operators, the prawn and bug trapping fishery operators must adhere to seasonal closures.
"The main benefits of the new traps are that they fish passively and are designed to break up if lost, with no other impacts on the environment," Mr Elmer said.
"It also means the prawns and bugs are harvested alive, which can translate into higher prices on local, national and potentially overseas markets.
"The challenge for operators will be generating the quantities needed to compete and be financially viable but if successful this trial could reap enormous rewards.
"The four permit holders will have three years to trial their trapping equipment and techniques. During this time the DPI&F will also assess the sustainability of the fishery.
"Conditions of the permits have been set by DPI&F in consultation with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)."

The Road Not Taken

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference".
Robert Frost

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Monday, September 05, 2005

Fun race closes winter sailing season

With Fun Race this Saturday the Whitsunday winter sailing season draws to a close.
What a year it has been, with record fleets campaigning at both Airlie and Hamilton Island.
The Annual Hog's Breath Race Week has really matured in the sixteen years it has been raced.
Race founder and Boss Hog Don Algie says the event will just get bigger and better.
"I am just pleased that a thousand sailors and a hundred plus boats have been able to share this great sailing venue with us." said Boss Hog.
Hamilton Island has built on its success year after year but with the island's new owners, the Oatley family keen to promote the sport they love; only great things lie ahead for the affectionately known 'Hammo'.
The Whitsunday Multihull Rendezvous conducted by Abel Point Yacht Club was also considered a huge success, with a record fleet of 27 boats featuring boats from as far as New Zealand and Victoria.
The events at both venues need improved facilities to bring and support these and larger fleet in the future.
The good news is that improvements and new facilities are in the pipeline.
Early years at Hamilton Island stretched the available facilities to the limit. Get up early for a shower, grab a meat pie or two and go sailing kept your Waterfront writer happy. Late risers stood in line for both.
When Hog's was conceived in the late 1980s, Airlie Beach did not have facilitates to support the event. Sixteen years have seen quite a few changes as Airlie and the event have grown together.

What is the real shape of raindrops?

Although teardrops are often used to depict falling rain, raindrops are never shaped like that. The shape of a falling raindrop assumes is determined by surface tension and air pressure. Surface tension squeezes the drop into its smallest surface area: a sphere. Air pressure pushing up against the bottom of a falling drop causes it initially to flatten and then to bulge upward in the middle. If the drop is large enough and its fall speed is great enough, it eventually shatters.

Ship's Log - VMR

The new VMR Whitsunday KevlaCat is under construction and should be delivered here late September or early October, reports Publicity Officer Malcolm Priday.
"If the performance of the smaller temporary replacement vessel is any indication, we are onto a winner when we take delivery of the new boat. The temporary vessel has had a rough induction to the Whitsundays over the last couple of weeks in what were at times very trying conditions, and it acquitted itself very well despite being smaller than our former rescue vessel" he said
Recent incidents attended include a 42-foot sailing vessel that lost its rudder in the Whitsunday Passage off South Molle.
VMR went to the vessel's assistance in 20-25 knots of south easterly. The stricken vessel was towed to Abel Point for repairs. We must express our thanks to Sunsail and Whitsunday Rent A Yacht for their assistance, and to the racing yacht Alabaster who diverted from the race to ensure the vessel in distress was safe. At one stage, the vessel reported that it was drifting in about 55 metres of water and was in no immediate danger of running aground - but it had a great view of the Hogs Breath fleet racing by!
On August 27 VMR radio base personnel were able to respond to a Pan Pan call and coordinated the airborne medivac of an injured crewman from a racing yacht that was directed to Daydream Island to meet the CQ Rescue helicopter. The crewman had been hit by the boom in what could only be described as boisterous conditions, and was bleeding and lapsing into unconsciousness.
On the same day, VMR were called to tow a 32-foot trimaran reported with a broken rudder, with the position reported a near Defiance Reefs in Repulse Bay. Conditions were very rough en route; steep 2 metre plus seas reducing VMR1's speed to 10 knots and less at times. Updated reports placed the vessel drifting closer to the Proserpine River and now taking water, so the decision was made to continue to the location rather than turn back to Abel Point, but when VMR1 arrived and contacted the owner by phone - his radio was unserviceable without an aerial - he reported a position 1 mile west of Conway Point - 8 miles in the direction that we had just come! While pounding back into the short steep seas VMR1 was advised by radio from shore that the vessel was in fact in the mouth of the Proserpine River, so VMR1 retraced its tracks and located the trimaran in about 3 metres of rough water, under anchor. The vessel was towed to deeper water and then to Laguna Quays Marina, a difficult tow in the prevailing conditions, finally reaching the shelter of the Marina at 8:45 pm after a 3-hour plus tow at 4 knots. Help and support from the Laguna Marina staff was invaluable, as was the pump and staff from the local fire service. VMR1 spent the night at Laguna Quays Marina and returned to base at noon the next day - a 22-hour callout.
Boaties are once again reminded that they must not rely upon mobile phones for emergency coverage, and in this case if the boat's radio had been operational his call would have been answered by the shore station and assistance would have been much more readily available. Accurate position reporting would also have made the process quicker.

Disabled woman sets solo record

Hilary Lister yesterday sipped and puffed her way into the record books, becoming the first quadriplegic to sail solo across the English Channel.
Lister, who is able to move only her head, eyes and mouth, used two straws to navigate her eight-metre (26ft) boat Malin through one of the busiest and most dangerous shipping channels in the world.
By sucking and blowing on the straws in her specially adapted boat, she was able to adjust the sails and tiller of the boat.
Lister, 33, who lives with her husband Clifford in Canterbury, Kent, yesterday completed her journey from Dover to Calais in six hours and 13 minutes, setting a record for the world's longest solo sail by a quadriplegic.
She was greeted in France with a champagne reception. "I am just thrilled. I can't tell you what it feels like," she said.
Lister took up sailing two years ago as a way to boost her self-confidence.
She was diagnosed when she was a teenager with the degenerative disease reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which causes exaggerated and painful responses from normal sensations. She had lived an active life until the disease took hold and gradually deprived her of most of her normal functions.
Lister added that, by completing the voyage, she would challenge the public's perception of disabled people: "I want to get able-bodied people to rethink their views about the disabled.

Full moon reef fish spawning closures

It is time for charter boat operators, recreational anglers and commercial fishers to plan ahead for the three coral reef fish spawning season annual closures during nine day periods in September, October and November.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries district officer Mike Broadsmith, said coral reef fin fish stocks were particularly vulnerable during the nine day new moon spawning periods and all fishers need to respect the closures.
"Our Boating and Fisheries Patrol field officers will be enforcing the spawning closures from September 27 to October 5; October 27 to November 4 and November 25 to December 3 this year," Mr Broadsmith said.
The closure applies to all coral reef fin fish species along Queensland's east coast in waters north of Latitude 24 degrees 50 minutes South which is located near the mouth of the Burnett River and north of Waddy Point on Fraser Island.
"Fishers can still catch other non-coral reef fin fish species such as mackerel during these three closed periods," Mr Broadsmith said.
Coral reef fin fish species include coral trout, cods and gropers, emperors, parrot fish, sweetlip, tropical snapper and sea perch. A complete list of the coral reef fin fish species and Queensland's fishing regulations can be found on the Fishweb site at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb or from the DPI&F Call Centre on 13 25 23.

Biggest recorded ocean wave?

One of the largest waves (not a tsunami) ever encountered was recorded by an officer aboard the US navy tanker USS Ramapo on 7 February 1933 while on a voyage from Manila to San Diego. This wave was estimated to be 33.5 meters in height.

Hazard near Slade Rock

Mariners are advised that a floating log has been reported approximately 0.63nm east of Slade Rock in approximate position latitude 21°05.10'S, longitude 149°14.94'E. The hazard is reported to be approximately six metres long, 500mm in diameter and floating about 500mm above the waterline. Charts: AUS 249, 250


"Always leave yourself an escape path!"

Adventurer Don McIntyre

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wind & no wind, big tides for big fleets

Sailors have experienced the gauntlet of wind conditions during the two weeks of racing that will finish, with wind, this Saturday.
Bags of breeze greeted the fleet at the Airlie Beach Hog's Race Week followed by some drifting in weak erratic breezes around tidal currents, whirlpools and wind shifts at Hamilton Island. However, weather forecasters say the breeze will kick in for the remainder of sailing.
It was a great debut for the world's newest super maxi yacht, New Zealand's Alfa Romeo. Built totally of carbon fibre featuring a canting keel and twin rudders fore and aft of the keel, launched in Sydney only four weeks ago, she sailed away from the fleet and declared handicap winner of the IRC division to the surprise of her owner/skipper Neville Crichton.
Michael Spies and his crew on Dimension Polyant took out three races in a row in the IRC Cruising class at the Hamilton Island Hahn Premium Race Week.
Hamilton Island, Sydney Yachts and the Sydney 38OD Association launched the Inter Nations Cup 2006 yesterday at the Hamilton Island Hahn Premium Race Week.
The Inter-Nations Cup is the first international event for the Sydney 38OD Class and
The first event will be held March 9-13, 2006, to be hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club and will be the largest One Design Offshore Class to compete on Sydney Harbour in recent times. In 2007, the event will move to the sponsor's home ground at Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday's.
The Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week ends on Saturday, with the 22 nautical mile South Molle/Daydream Island Race

Hog's results suit locals

Local skipper George Challoner sailed his Silent Night, the former Madame Farge, to victory ahead of Greg Tobin and Charlie Preen. In third place Chris Nicholls; Sandpiper.
Series Results in performance handicap class 1 SILENTNIGHT George Challoner WSC; 2 DEHLER MAGIC Greg Tobin Charlie P WSC; 3 SANDPIPER Chris Nicoll WSC; 4 IDLE TIME Kevin Fogarty WSC; 5 PIANOLA Hayden Turnbull WSC; 6 GRIZZLY Chris Jiggins WSC.

Inland fishing hook a money spinner

A Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and Central Queensland University joint study just published has shown that stocked freshwater fisheries can provide a significant injection of funds to their local communities.
Associate Professor John Rolfe of the Faculty of Business and Law of Central Queensland University said it was interesting to find that while the diverse locations and fisheries studied in the project demonstrated quite different results, each brought a significant economic boost to their local region.
"It demonstrates that the work of community groups in stocking impoundments over recent years are clearly benefiting the surrounding areas and while there were differences between the locations studied, in all cases the benefits are worth the effort." he said.
"It is hoped that this information can be used to further plan and expand the already popular stocked impoundment fisheries throughout the whole of Queensland."

Fisheries investigator

One of six newly appointed statewide fisheries investigators has been positioned in Mackay district as part of the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries commitment to combat criminal activity across the fisheries industry.
DPI&F regional director Paul Walmsley said the recruitment of specialist investigators would enable the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol to conduct and coordinate complex and lengthy fisheries and marine resource offence investigations.
"Part of the driving force behind the appointment of these investigators has been the 2003 introduction of the Fisheries Coral Reef Fin Fish Management Plan and the complex legislation involving quota management arrangements," Mr Walmsley said.
Mackay's new investigator is Gavin Burnett who has spent the past six years in Mackay as a Queensland Police officer including the past 30 months as a prosecutor.
Mackay was also listed in the 2005-06 State Budget QBFP vessel replacement program as one of four bases that will acquire a 7.5m patrol vessel valued at $155,000 and another small craft for inshore and inland waterway surveillance.

Boeing maritime broadband service

In a pioneering move, the Connexion by Boeing broadband service, already offered by several airlines, was launched for maritime use in 50 ships operated by the London-based Teekay Shipping Corporation.
Teekay has a fleet of 140 ships and transports 10 percent of the world's oil, the company said.
"Maritime operators will be able to benefit from the same high-speed connectivity service that is revolutionising the way travellers and airlines communicate in-flight at 30,000 feet,"
"The trial gave us a glimpse of the future where our vessels will become a virtual extension of our offices ashore," said Graham Westgarth, a Teekay executive, in a statement.

Vic to Vanuatu race

A first-ever ocean race is to be sailed from Melbourne to Vanuatu's capital Port Vila in July next year.
And within a week of announcing the 1885 nautical mile event (3,200kms,) sixteen yachts have already been signed-up to take part, with owners of another fifteen expressing interest.
"It's a great acknowledgement of the attraction of Vanuatu as a sunny South Pacific haven during the Australian winter," said Marketing Manager for the Vanuatu Tourism Office, John Cvetko.
"We're anticipating a lot more yachts will be entered, and there's also interest from New Zealand in a parallel event, with yachts from both countries then competing against each other in a race from Vanuatu to Queensland for the annual Whitsunday winter regattas."
The Vanuatu Cruising Yacht Club will be host club for the finish of the race, and is planning a number of local and inter-island races, competitions between the Australian, New Zealand yachts, and others from around the world that will be in Port Vila over winter 2006.

DNA to catch illegal fish

Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) researchers have received funding to develop a new field-usable 'dipstick' test that can rapidly identify fish species from just bones or a fillet.
DPI&F senior molecular biologist Dr Jane Oakey said the 'dipstick' style field test would allow fish species to be identified from any part of the fish that has cells.
"Without a head, skin or other discernable features of the fish remaining, determining the species from fillets in an ice box is a difficult task," Dr Oakey said.
"Fish fillets are often the only evidence that DPI&F's Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers have to work with, so being armed with this type of technology would certainly assist in enforcing fish catch limits."
Dr Oakey said the test uses molecular genetic DNA markers that are unique to each fish species.
Dr Oakey and her team used this technology in what was believed to be a world-first last year when they helped Federal authorities to prove remains found on an illegal Indonesian fishing boat were from illegally caught dolphins.
"It is a bit like a road-side random breath test for blood alcohol. The breathalyser is used for both random screening of drivers, as well as those that a police office suspects is driving under the influence of alcohol.
The project is expected to have a dipstick test ready for use during investigations within two to three years.

Gloucester Passage navigation

Mariners are advised that the West Cardinal Beacon No.3 has been re-established in position latitude 20° 03.4905' S, longitude 148° 26.5463' E. The temporary buoy has been removed.
The East Cardinal beacon No.1 has been replaced and altered in position to latitude 20° 03.5147' S, longitude 148° 27.0411' E.
The Port hand buoy No.2 has been altered in position to latitude 20° 03.2759' S, longitude 148° 28.1460' E. Chart: AUS 268

That sort of thing

"For those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like."

Abraham Lincoln once wrote,

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Exciting windy week greets regatta sailors

The record 157-boat regatta fleet is a celebration of sail that is focusing the attention of the sailing world on Airlie Beach this week for the Hog's Breath Tropical Shirt Race Weeek.
Whitsunday trade wind sailing has been a wee bit cooler than most might like but at least the wind is hanging in most days.
If sailors have time for such things, there have been many whale and dolphin sightings in the Whitsunday Passage and around the islands.
Mixing the old with the new, the beautiful Eun na Mara, a 98 year old timber sloop designed by the famous Scottish naval architect William Fife showed the more exoticly constrcuted newcomers that there was still plenty of life in the old girl in the windy Whitsunday Passage on Tuesday.
Onshore, eating establishments seemed to be doing a good trade most nights and rum sales are also reported to be surgeing.
On Friday the focus will shift to the record 205-boat Hahn Premium Race Week fleet at Hamilton Island.

Couple, lost at sea for weeks, 'may be alive'

There is a faint chance an Australian man and his girlfriend lost in the Pacific Ocean for nearly seven weeks may still be alive, New Zealand rescue authorities say.
Australian Gary Cull and his New Zealand girlfriend Verona Hunt left her home in Nelson, on South Island, in 12.6-metre trimaran Manoah on June 8 for a trip to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands that should have taken about five weeks.
They were heard from once, the day after they left, but there has been no sign of them since.
There have been no messages on the yacht's emergency beacon and the couple's food has probably run out.
Hunt was due to begin a job in Nelson weeks ago and she would have contacted her family if she were able to, rescue authorities said.
The NZ Rescue Coordination Centre ordered an air force Orion into the air this month but it returned with no clues after combing 100,000 square nautical miles of ocean.
Centre spokeswoman Heidi Brook said there was little else it could do but the couple could yet provide one of New Zealand's most dramatic sea survival stories.
There was a faint chance they may have been dismasted or capsized and may be drifting, she said.
Rescuers remain hopeful, remembering the remarkable saga of the trimaran Rose Noelle, she said.
Rose Noelle capsized in a storm east of Napier on June 4, 1989, and drifted upside-down for 119 days before washing up on Great Barrier Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.
The survival of the four men on the Rose Noelle made headlines around the world as all hope for them had been given up.
The immediate family of Verona Hunt, the Nelson woman on board the overdue yacht Manoah, have asked the Rescue Co-ordination Centre to issue the following statement on their behalf:
"We wish to thank all those people, both friends and well-wishers, who have been so supportive over the last two weeks."
"It has been a very stressful time, but we remain optimistic that Verona and Gary will eventually turn up safely in Raratonga. We take it as a very positive sign that the emergency locator beacon that they have on board the Manoah has not been activated."
"Both Verona and Gary are incredibly resourceful people and have enough provisions on board the Manoah to keep them going for another couple of weeks."

Real courage

"Real courage is moving forward when the outcome is uncertain."

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ahoy sailors, Welcome to Whitsunday

Sailors and their families are welcomed to Whitsunday at the start of a busy couple of weeks. Record fleets will sail at the Tropical Shirt Hog's Breath regatta and at Hamilton Island Race Week.
"This is now a key event on the Airlie Beach Sports calendar with thousands of sailors and their families enjoying the Whitsunday coast", Don Algie, the founder of the Airlie Beach event said this week
"'The growing popularity of Australian mid-winter racing in the Whitsundays is certainly very gratifying with record fleets for both regattas this year."
"'We have 156 entries for the 16th annual Hog's Breath Race Week, a 30% increase on last year's fleet. We will have 130 keelboats and 26 International Formula 18 catamarans racing on Pioneer Bay this year. The quality of the fleet is the best we've ever had, the battle on the Grand Prix IRC start line will be quite amazing with a world class group of 60 footers, some launched just in time for this event, battling out with the Australian 2003 Admirals Cup winner Wild Joe.'
Sailors who would like to get involved can check out the Hogs Breath and Hamilton Island Race Week web sites for Crew wanted section or contact the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

Seriously Ten line honours Southport- Mackay

The line honours winner for the 2005 Southport to Mackay Blue Water Yacht Race is Seriously Ten.
Skipper Shaun James steered his Volvo 60 across the line at the entrance to the Mackay Boat Harbour at 9.46am Sunday morning. His elapsed time was 1 day, 22 hours, 46min 24sec. Wedgetail (Bill Wild), Club Marine ASM (Andrew Short) and Living Doll (Michael Hiatt) arrived in Mackay in a bunch between midday and 1.00pm Sunday.
It was a wild and woolly ride for the lead yachts in south to sou'east winds that gusted up to 40 knots. The crews of Seriously Ten, Club Marine ASM and Living Doll battled with broken battens, tangled spinnakers and other gear breakages reports George Brown.
Seriously Ten snapped a spinnaker pole and Shaun James was washed off the steering wheel twice when the boat was swamped by waves. Living Doll and Club Marine ASM were forced to stop when spinnakers wrapped around their keels.
'At one stage off Morton Island we were going backwards before we managed to untangle the kite,' said Hiatt. His new Cookson 50 was put to the test in the conditions after only its second race. 'Overall, I am very pleased with the performance,' he said.
Andrew Short had to send a crew member overboard to free the spinnaker from the keel just before the start. 'I thought oh, oh, it is going to be one of those races,' said Short, who at this stage is leading on IRC handicap. A late challenge could come from Roger Hickman's Wild Rose.
'It was a vastly different race from last year,' continued Short, who won line honours in 2004 with a different yacht. 'Last year we came up inside the reef in light winds, and saw plenty of wildlife. This year, we kept outside the islands and reefs and saw very little.
Despite the conditions, I still think this is a fantastic race,' he said Wedgetail, the Queensland entry which was built by skipper Bill Wild and his friends at the back of a wreckers yard in Brisbane, proved a dark horse. Launched only a week ago, the Wellbourne 42 set a cracking pace on her maiden voyage after the bowman fell overboard at the start of the race. 'We were doing 15 - 20 knots most of the way,' said Wild. 'We had a great race.'

East of Slade Island

Lighted buoy reported unlit. Mariners are advised that the lighted East Cardinal buoy Fl.W.3s in approximate position latitude 21° 06.2588' S, longitude 149° 15.4721' E, on Slade Island Reef has been reported unlit. Mariners should navigate with caution in this area. Charts: AUS 249, 250

"The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It is the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun."

Author Napoleon Hill (1883 - 1970)

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan