Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Northwest passage

Explorer yacht Pelagic Australis can take up to ten passengers and two crew in comparatively greater comfort and speed. You need it considering where they sail.
In the northern summer of 2005 Pelagic Australis has been contracted by an Italian expedition to attempt the Northwest Passage over the top of Canada during August.
The expedition yacht will now also sail to the West Coast of Greenland, Nuuk to Aasiaat in June and July, then to the Disco Island area of Greenland.
The yacht will then sail from either Alaska or Newfoundland to southern South America depending on success or not on the Northwest Passage voyage.
Then destinations during the austral season include South Georgia, the Falkland Islands, Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego.
Quite an itinerary, hey?

Outright World Sailing Speed Records

The World Sailing Speed Record Council announced the ratification of the following two new World Records:
The Outright World Sailing Speed Record and the 10 sqm Class Record sailed by: Finian Maynard BVI, at St Maries de la Mer. France, 10th April 2005 on a Windsurfer F2/Naish at a speed of 48.7 knots.
Finian Maynard held the previous record of 46.82 knots set in 2004.
The Outright World Women's Sailing Speed Record and the Women's 10 sqm Class Record was sailed by Karin Yaggi at St Maries de la Mer. France, 10th April 2005 at a speed of 41.25 knots
Previous record: Babethe Coquelle F. 40.05 knots in 1993.


In World War 1, the first person killed was a merchant seaman, when his ship, a brigantine, was sunk by gunfire from a German submarine in the North Atlantic.
We in Australia and New Zealand commemorate a day called ANZAC Day, a day that is set aside to remember and to pay homage to our fallen comrades. This day was born out of the Gallipoli campaign, but I wonder how many people are aware of the involvement of the Merchant Navy in that campaign. The merchant ships took all of our troops to Gallipoli, and in many cases landed our troops on the beach at ANZAC Cove in the ships' lifeboats -- manned by merchant seamen, who also came under the deadly fire from the Turkish guns.

In Memoriam
Merchant Navy 1939-1945

No cross marks the place where now we lie
What happened is known but to us
You asked, and we gave our lives to protect
Our land from the enemy curse
No Flanders Field where poppies blow;
No Gleaming Crosses, row on row;
No Unnamed Tomb for all to see
And pause -- and wonder who we might be
The Sailors' Valhalla is where we lie
On the ocean bed, watching ships pass by
Sailing in safety now thru' the waves
Often right over our sea-locked graves
We ask you just to remember us.

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Art prize draw for Oceanic Whitsunday Boat & Leisure Show

From Port Douglas in the far north to Gladstone in the south, Queensland artists and photographers will be able to compete for $6,000 in prize money, at this year's Oceanic Whitsunday Boat and Leisure Show.
The organisers of this annual event, the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach, have again added an Art Exhibition based on marine themes, to their highly popular and well attended two-day boating and leisure show, held at Abel Point Marina, June 11 & 12.
The curator of the exhibition, Mr Tony Fossey, said, "After the great success of last year's exhibition we just had to put it on once again. Anyone within a 500 km radius of Airlie Beach may enter the Exhibition, with marine themes again the subject to portray."
"The majority of visual artists and photographers in far north Queensland should find that no problem, with so many beautiful marine subjects here to portray. We are defining marine as being ' Of, from, beside and for use on - the sea."
"The art exhibition's major sponsor is the PRIVATE RESERVE "Wine by Design" company, a maker of fine wines who specialise in producing personal labels. The mix of marine art and fine wine against a fabulous marina setting should prove to be a highlight of the Show."
Artists from Port Douglas to Gladstone will have a choice of entering into three divisions of the exhibition. An 'Open' class for any age and any medium, an 'Open Miniature' section for any age and any medium, and Photographic.
Entries will be on display at the Oceanic Whitsunday Boat and Leisure Show, from early Saturday morning on 11 June until the following Sunday afternoon.

Endeavour sails home

Craft of all shapes and sizes will join a big parade up Sydney Harbour on Sunday 17 April to welcome home HM Bark Endeavour.
The magnificent Australian-built replica of Captain Cook's 18th century sailing ship will be completing an epic 5-month sea voyage back from the UK.
Heading the Sunday afternoon parade, she will make her way slowly from Watsons Bay to her home port at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour.
James Cook secured a place in history for the original Endeavour in 1768-1771 when he sailed the former collier from England to observe the transit of Venus across the sun near Tahiti, continued on to circumnavigate New Zealand, and explore the east coast of Australia naming the Whitsunday Passage on Whitsun or Pentecost Sunday, 1770.
The 109-foot (33.3 m) replica, its hull built from Jarrah and Oregon, was constructed in Fremantle WA and launched in 1993.
The replica sailed from Hobart in February 2002 and arrived in Whitby, Cook's hometown on the north-east coast of England, in June that year. Her home-coming will mark the end of that voyage.
The parade will pass Bradley's Head and Fort Denison will fire a 3-cannon welcoming salute, and Endeavour will reply with a 3-cannon salute.
The parade will then pass under Sydney Harbour Bridge at about 2.30 pm. Endeavour will fire a further 3-gun salute between Dawes Point and Blues Point.
Visitors will be welcome at the Maritime Museum to watch Endeavour arrive and berth at 3 pm.

Vessel monitoring confusion

The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries has launched a campaign to reduce confusion about the use of its Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) for marine safety within the commercial fishing industry.
DPI&F Vessel and Quota Monitoring Services Manager Bev Tyrer said a recent coronial enquiry into the sinking of a trawler off north Queensland highlighted the misconceptions about VMS and the role of DPI&F in emergencies at sea.
"The DPI&F acknowledges that the fishing industry has been hit by some recent tragic incidents that have highlighted how dangerous trawling can be. These tragedies have also highlighted the need for appropriate contingency plans and the proper equipment to be in place to deal with such emergencies at sea," Ms Tyrer said.
"As with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries is not a marine safety agency. VMS was introduced into Queensland commercial fisheries for management and compliance purposes.
"While VMS information can be extremely useful to assist in marine emergency situations, it is doubtful if any agency could practically use VMS data alone as an indicator that a vessel was in distress.
"VMS data receipt and processing is largely automated and the system is often unattended. Consequently, it is impractical for DPI&F to have any direct role in monitoring vessels for safety purposes."
Ms Tyrer said some VMS units currently being used in the fishery did have an additional safety feature.
"The safety feature on VMS is limited as it must be correctly activated by an operator. If used correctly, an alert should be received by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
"The correct use, activation and maintenance of this safety feature is the responsibility of individual fishers and their suppliers. In the event that an operator activates their VMS alert function correctly, DPI&F may then be contacted at any time to assist AMSA with an emergency situation."

Hamilton Island Race Week

Entries are flowing in for one of the world's most prestigious sailing regattas, the Hamilton Island Hahn Premium Race Week.
The Hamilton Island Hahn Premium Race Week, which will be held between 20 and 28 August, is an absolute 'must-do' on the Australian yachting calendar.
Each year the event attracts around 170 yachts and in recent years, event organizers have welcomed entries from all over the globe. Earlier this year, the Hamilton Island Hahn Premium Race Week was named as Australia's best significant event at the Australian Tourism Awards.
Regatta Director Warwick Hoban says that sailors are attracted to the event because it offers one of the most competitive racing forums in the southern hemisphere.
"Yachts race in a number of divisions on different courses each day. The conditions in the Whitsundays are warm and pleasant, yet the racing is fierce," said Warwick.
"The short format of racing means that if a yacht has had a bad race that this does not mean their regatta is over. After a bad day of racing, they can just regroup and recover secure in the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day with new points to earn."
The event schedule also features an array of social activities to best allow sailors to enjoy the beauty and relaxed nature of the Whitsundays. This is certainly one sailing regatta where partners are enthusiastic to join-in.
A new-look website has been established at www.hiyc.org.au for online entries. Hahn Premium Race Week 2005 entries close on August 5.

Zonta bootie!

Check out the Zonta car boot sale at the waterfront car park near the Airlie Beach Pub this Sunday morning. Buy and sell yer bootie! Aargh!

Cast a line

"There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot"

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Volunteers save thousands in boating mishaps

Marine Rescue volunteers spend thousands of hours rescuing people who haven't taken basic precautions before leaving shore.
Premier Peter Beattie is imploring boaties to use their heads and spare a thought for volunteer rescuers, as new figures show most boating mishaps are preventable.
"New reports from Volunteer Marine Rescue Queensland and the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard show the bulk of their rescues are sparked by preventable causes such as flat batteries and mechanical problems," Mr Beattie said.
"In the second half of last year alone, volunteers were activated for 1,950 jobs in Queensland, for things such as tow tasks, flat batteries, running aground, and mechanical failures.
"That compares to a total of 2,414 tasks in the second half of 2004.
"These volunteers spend thousands of hours rescuing and advising people who haven't taken basic precautions before leaving shore.
"Boaties must make sure they have enough fuel, radio communications, fresh water, and - for goodness sake - have the appropriate safety equipment on board," Mr Beattie said.

Speed Bumps on Rivers

An innovative scheme being trialled on the River Hamble, UK, could see an end to speeding on rivers. A series of pumps and air jets installed beneath the river to create static waves will force boat skippers to stick to speed limits.
Speed cameras along the bank will trigger the pumps, which feed compressed air into pipes on the riverbed. A row of holes in the pipe allows the compressed air to escape upwards, forming a standing wave across the river.
The Hampshire County Council website has fielded the following questions from river users.
Q: I'm worried I may have insufficient power to crest the wave in certain conditions. Can I call to have it reduced? A: No
Q: Does the system work at night? A: Only during a full moon.
Q: Can canoeists use the wave for skills training? A: Only with an instructor and full safety equipment. Contact should be made with the Harbour Office on Channel 68.
Q: I have a Yamaha Jet ski - can a portion of the wave be set aside for me to jump over? A: Yes, call the Harbour Office on Channel 68
Q: What about the affect on the fish? A: We are expecting an increase in Salmon
Former Airlie Beach resident and Boating Oz Editor Kathy McKenzie writes, "This was my favourite April Fool's story"

Around World record

The WSSRC has officially ratified multihull Orange II's round the world record. The official around the world, non-stop, crewed record now stands at 50 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes and 4 seconds.

New rules for Spanish mackerel catches

New regulations for recreational fishers designed to stop the illegal sale of Spanish mackerel came into effect last Friday.
Under the new regulation which has been introduced by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F), recreational fishers must now remove the pectoral fin of any Spanish mackerel in their possession.
DPI&F Fisheries Resources Manager Mark Elmer said the legislation applied to all recreational fishers including people conducting commercial fishing tours and crew members of those tours.
"Recreational fishers must not possess, on board a boat, a dead Spanish mackerel unless a pectoral fin has been removed," Mr Elmer said.
"This provision is intended to make it easier for recreational and commercial catches to be identified."
Mr Elmer said the legislation was brought in following the introduction of new management arrangements in the Queensland East Coast Spanish Mackerel fishery during the past two years.
"These changes raised concerns about the potential for black-market trade in recreationally caught fish which could compromise the integrity of the commercial quota.
"The new legislation, which takes effect from today, was passed in August 2004 requiring recreationally caught Spanish mackerel be fin-clipped to deter black-marketing of these fish. The legislation continues to allow recreational fishers to fillet Spanish mackerel at sea."

Moon & mystery

"Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand."

Astronaut Neil Armstrong

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Queensland cruise record boosts Whitsunday visits

Cruise ship calls to Queensland ports would top the 300 mark in 2005 for the first time, says Premier Peter Beattie.
Mr Beattie said Queensland's popularity as a cruising destination continued to surge.
"It is estimated the cruise industry will inject up to $100 million into the Queensland economy this year - up from $14 million just two years ago.
"We went from around 205 calls to Queensland ports a year in 2001, 2002 and 2003, before 240 cruise ships calls in 2004," said Tourism Minister Keech.
"This year that number has grown to 307 calls - with massive benefits to the state."
P&O Cruises had given the Queensland industry a massive vote of confidence with the announcement it would base the 1400-berth Pacific Star in Brisbane from December.
"The Pacific Star replaces the Pacific Sky as Brisbane's 'own' cruise ship and there is little doubt it is better suited to cruise from Brisbane," she said.
"Pacific Star's manoeuvring capabilities will enable it to berth at Cairns on north Queensland cruises, allowing a longer stay for passengers.
"She will join the Pacific Star and Pacific Sun in P&O's Aussie fleet and boost capacity in the market by 40 per cent," Mrs Keech said.
"P&O says the decision to base the Pacific Star in Brisbane demonstrates the success of the move last year to develop a home port in Queensland.
"The really encouraging news is P&O say they are looking forward to developing the Queensland market further."
Mrs Keech said cruise ship bookings scheduled for 2005 had considerably increased for all destinations due to the positioning of the P&O ships in Queensland for a significant part of the year.
Whitsunday is scheduled to welcome thirty-six cruise ship calls this year.

Designer flares

Mate hadn't had the boat out for a while and bought new distress flares for the weekend. Mum and daughters didn't like the colour selected. The red and orange ones didn't 'go with' the colour of their boat.

Seatime to Dunk

Marine students interested in gaining open sea time or people who would love the opportunity to experience an offshore race on a classic Australian boat now have a chance.
Airlie Beach charter boat operator OzSail have announced the entry of the beautiful "Enid" in the upcoming 2005 Dent to Dunk Race. The 72-foot John G Alden ketch, Enid was built in 1961 and has competed in four Sydney to Hobart races, 15 Brisbane to Gladstone and won line honours in the first Sydney to Mooloolaba race. She was restored in 2002/2003 and now conducts charters in the Whitsundays. She is a fantastic yacht with an excellent chance of winning the classic yacht division.
OzSail have 12 spots available for students and guests to sail in this unique race.

One year to go!

One year to the Opening Ceremony at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that will kick-start the XVIII Commonwealth Games.
In London last week, the Queen's Baton began its epic journey to the Games. The Queen handed the baton to the first of many thousands of relay runners that will have the honour of carrying it to the Opening Ceremony, supermodel, mother, entrepreneur and Australian icon Elle McPherson.

Good shot!

On March 8, two sailing yachts, Mahdi & Gandalf, were moving SW 30 miles off the coast of Yemen proceeding to the port of Aden from Salalah, Oman.
Two outboard powered boats passed off our stern moving south at about 25 knots. These boats were obviously not engaged in a normal activity such as fishing, etc. The area around Al Mukalla is well documented as being a piracy problem area and we started watching carefully for anything out of the ordinary.
Later two different boats approaching us head on from the SW. These boats were 25-30 feet long, had higher freeboard and diesel powered. They were coming very fast directly at us. There were four men in each boat. The boats separated at about 200 yards, one boat ahead of the other, coming down Mahdi's port side and firing into the cockpit. The other boat was firing an automatic weapon at both Gandalf and Mahdi from ahead, more at Gandalf. These guys were shooting directly at the cockpits, and obviously intended to kill us. The first boat swung around behind Mahdi's stern to come up and board us.
At that point aboard Mahdi, I was armed with a 12 gage shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot and started shooting into their boat. I forced them to keep their heads down. I could see the driver of the boat crouched down behind a steering console. After firing three shots at them, their engine started to smoke and I swung around to shoot at the boat ahead. At that point, I saw Jay Barry on Gandalf ram that boat amidships almost cutting it in two and turning it almost completely over.
I turned back around to shoot again at the boat behind Mahdi and that is when they turned away from us and headed toward the stern of Gandalf, about 100 feet away.
The bow of the pirate's boat came right up against Gandalf's stern and two men stood up on the bow to board Gandalf. That was a serious and probably fatal error on their part. I shot both of them. That boat then veered away and I shot the driver.
Both yachts kept going at full speed to put as much distance between the pirates and us as possible. As soon as we were out of rifle range, we looked back and both boats were drifting and appeared to be disabled.
If Jay on Gandalf had not had the presence of mind to veer over into one boat and ram it, the outcome of this attack would have been very different. All they needed to do was stand off a ways and shoot us to pieces with automatic weapons. We were extremely lucky.
The pirates were well organized and well armed. Good thing we were armed as well. Report: Rodney J. Nowlin, USN Retired, Master S/V Mahdi

Flying fish?

The crew on board Southern Cross Yachting's Jeanneau 40 in Morton Bay landed a fish without tackle or even being on deck! The crew reported a loud thud on the deck while anchored off the beach at Horseshoe Bay, and upon investigation found a decent size mackerel on the deck. Not sure if it fell from the sky, but they certainly enjoyed the fresh fish for lunch the following day. Report: Southern Cross Yachting's newsletter.

Hook pass light fixed

Mariners are advised that the lighted South Cardinal Mark Q(6) + L.Fl.15s off Hook Island in the Whitsunday Group has been restored to normal. Charts: AUS 252, 824, 825
Bird Island light
Mariners are advised that the Fl.W.R sector light in approximate position Latitude 20°05.4'S, Longitude 148°52.21'E on Bird Island in the Whitsunday Group has been replaced by a West Cardinal Mark Q(9)15s light. Charts: AUS 252, 254, 825
Bait Reef beacon
Mariners are advised that a Starboard Lateral Mark No.1 beacon has been established in the position of (Chart Datum WGS 84) Latitude 19°48.5613'S, Longitude 149°03.7779'E to mark the entrance into the lagoon at Bait Reef. Charts: AUS 254, 825

Live it up

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying"

Woody Allen

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan