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

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tropical shirt regatta sails in one week

Two weeks to the start of racing at Hog's Breath Race Week 2005 and entries are still coming for Australia's famous tropical shirt regatta.
"Entries are still coming in with a good fleet expected in all classes. The IRC Racing division looks like shaping up to be the best on record in terms of quality, and may still be broken in to two divisions, depending on final numbers," says Boss Hog, Don Algie
"Breaking news is the appointment of a new Race Director. Our Race Director for the past few years, Andrew 'Dog' Palfrey, is unable to continue in this role due to coaching commitments and his Olympic campaign in the Star class with Iain Murray"
His replacement is Denis Thompson, former director of sailing at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in NSW, who is also a PRO for numerous events. Thompson has been prominent on the One Design circuit, including the recent Farr 40 Worlds in Sydney.
Whitsunday Sailing Club will still maintain the organising role and work closely with Thompson, who starts working on the event from August 1st. Thompson will work in with WSC Commodore Mick Phillips on this year's event before assuming control after the event.
There has been quite a bit of activity at Abel Point Marina, with new marina arms presently having floating pontoons fitted. The Race Week fleet will use arms M and N - the same as last year.
Unfortunately, construction in the vicinity is still ongoing, but there will be some cessation during Race Week. Dredging will be carried out for the new marina arms and the tailing ponds will be fenced off.
The Tooheys marquee will be a bigger show this year, with a stage for the Wolverines inside the marquee, along with the Club's bar facilities.
Abel Point Kiosk will operate from their premises instead of the marquee, making preparation and service a lot easier. Tables and chairs for food service will be adjacent to the kiosk, which will be open for breakfast as well.
Racing starts on Friday August 12, with the opening Cones, Armit Island Race, but documentation, including entry fees, insurance etc, will be carried out on Thursday at Whitsunday SC. There will be a meet the fleet night and briefing at the Club starting at 6.00pm.
Relatives and friends needing to find results should log on to the site for Race Week www.hogsbreathraceweek.com.au.
"Take care while travelling to the event; we look forward to seeing you on arrival" Don Algie added.

Tearing up £20 notes

Sir Edward Heath, British Prime Minister from 1970 and 1974 and a major figure within the international yacht racing community throughout the 1970s, died last week aged 89.
Throughout the period as PM, he found time to sail his series of five Morning Clouds. His racing CV includes winning the Sydney-Hobart Race in 1969 (the last
British boat to do so before Aera last year) aboard the S&S 34 Morning Cloud I and captaining the British Admiral's Cup team to victory in 1971 aboard Morning II. He subsequently competed in the 1973 and 1979 Admiral's Cup aboard Morning Cloud III and Morning Cloud V respectively.
During this time it was Heath who came up with the now famous analogy with which many racing yacht owners will empathise: "ocean racing is like standing under a cold shower tearing up £20 notes".
A man who knew the seafaring side of Edward Heath better than anyone was Owen Parker, Heath's long term skipper and author of the book "Tack Now, Skipper" about his time afloat with the former Conservative leader and Britain's longest ever standing Member of Parliament.
Parker says that Heath used sailing to get away and clear his mind from his troubles ashore.
"There was no politics on the boat, we talked sailing because he loved his sailing. I think it was because there weren't mobile phones in those days and he could really get away from it."


Things kids ask: "I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without all the sponges."

Bowen Main Wharf

Mariners are advised that the special mark buoy Fl. Y 2.5s, defining the shoal water south east of Bowen Main Wharf, in approximate position latitude 20° 01.42' S, longitude 148° 15.15' E, is off station. Chart: AUS 268

Irish humour

"People don't actually swim in Dublin Bay - they are merely going through the motions."
Claimed Irish writer Brendan Behan,

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan