Thursday, February 21, 2008

Broken boat? Build a new sleek craft at Rotary challenge

After a week of broken boats it’s time to look to the future and the upcoming Oceanic Whitsunday Boat and Leisure Show held on the June long weekend.

At a meeting a couple of years ago, Ian ‘Stack’ Hudson of the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach listened to Ian Roebuck and your Waterfront writer talk about a boat building competition held at a wooden boat show we had attended. The rules, from memory, were that your crew was given a sheet of plywood, some Sikaflex glue, nails, hammer and a saw to build a boat.

Oh, yeah, you also got a lifejacket as you had to float yer boat around a course in the marina, some craft sliding gracefully beneath the water before finishing the course.

Was it fun? You bet!

So here’s a sneak preview of a proposal for a boat building competition for this year.
1. The boats must be designed to row/paddle and sail. 2. Apart from one pre built component, (not a hull), the boats, spars etc. must be built from materials provided.
3. Crew/team of two must also operate (get wet) the craft for the on water racing.
4. Supply tools including battery operated portable tools. 5. Plans and cardboard templates allowed. 6. Construction time is two hours.
Awards will be given for - Best Boat - Boat quickest around the race course and Overall Winner. More info Stack Hudson of the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach on 4946 5333 and there may also be an opportunity to compete at the Sydney International Boat Show.

Romance CQ Rescue record?

Question. Last week on Feb 12 the CQ Rescue helicopter winched 37 people from the shipwrecked schooner “Romance” at Hook Island. Is this the most people rescued by helicopter from a single vessel in Australia?

Dear Cap’n Dan, "Thank you for your inquiry. Over the last three years during my time at AMSA [Australian Maritime Safety Authority], there have been a number of rescues involving multiple people taken off vessels. AMSA was involved in the rescue of 10 crew members off the Wunma, a 113 metre motor barge caught in bad weather about 80 kilometres off Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria on 7 February 2007. At the end of April 2006 we also coordinated the rescue of 16 fishermen off the Taiwanese registered vessel San Chi No. 12 that had grounded in the Torres Strait.
It is my recollection that 21 crew were removed from the Pasha Bulker after she grounded at Newcastle last year. The response to this incident was coordinated by local police as was the response to the Romance incident in the Whitsundays.
While I cannot give a definitive answer as to whether the Romance rescue involved the most number of people being removed from a vessel, it would certainly rate quite highly. As indicated above, however, while AMSA does many rescues, police agencies around Australia also coordinate these on occasion and you would need to check with them regarding previous incidents."
Kind regards, Tracey Jiggins, AMSA PR Manager
(Note: More on this later. Cap’n Dan)

Stand out to sea

“It is better to meet danger than to wait for it. He that is on a lee shore, and foresees a hurricane, stands out to sea and encounters a storm to avoid a shipwreck”

Charles Caleb Colton

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap’n Dan

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Surfs up as wild weather buffets Whitsunday waterfront

An intense low pressure weather system swept through Whitsunday on Monday night leaving the dawn light to show the extent of the damage left in its wake.

For shear numbers of damaged yachts, the wild weather achieved a cyclonic result.

Recent talks with Whitsunday Water Police Sergeant Graeme Pettigrew about issues put mooring maintenance near the top of a list for public information. Not hindcasting, but the weather beat us to it.

Many vessels had moorings still attached and showed evidence of dragging into other yachts on the way to the beach or rocks.

While there is millions of dollar of damage, the main thing is that there were minimum injuries to the public and service personnel. How can the community ever thank enough those that spring to action to help without regard to time of day or comfort? A big sincere salute to all those who do such a wonderful job.

A bad day of yachties and the boating public, although on the bright side some of our local surfers can stop complaining that we never have any surf.

We truly try to do something for everybody.

First, the bad news

In the aftermath of Christmas 1990 Cyclone Joy your waterfront writer was single handing a client's yacht to Airlie from Hamilton Island when during a marine VHF radio contact the words "Do you want the good news or the bad news" came across.

Hey, I know this, "OK Give me the bad news, over"

"Your yacht is parked on Mandalay Road, though it seems in pretty good condition, over"

"OK what's the good news, over?"

"You didn't get a parking ticket, over" Har, Har, Har.

Sailor to anchor Hamo

Glenn Bourke, the former CEO for the Volvo Ocean Race round the world and the man credited with delivering the world's best ever Olympic sailing regatta, is to become the new Chief Executive Officer for Australia's premier tropical island destination, Hamilton Island.
Chairman of Hamilton Island Enterprises, Mr Sandy Oatley, said he was delighted that Glenn Bourke had decided to take up the position.
"Glenn will bring to Hamilton Island exceptional business acumen along with proven experience in the successful organisation and presentation of major international events," Sandy Oatley said. "The island is enjoying remarkable growth and Glenn's ability will further enhance our plans for it to become a truly world class tourist destination and residential precinct."

Glenn Bourke said that he was enthusiastic about working with the Oatley family and taking on the many ventures that will come with his appointment.

"I am very much looking forward to the opportunity and challenge that the Oatley family has afforded me at Hamilton Island," Glenn Bourke said. "I have always enjoyed the camaraderie that comes through working with large teams that hold great vision and clear ambitions, and my role at Hamilton Island promises that.

"My new position will also bring a significant change in life that I am really looking forward to. I will no longer be travelling the globe continually, as I have been for the past seven years. Instead every day will see me appreciating the sheer beauty of this tropical island and the magnificent region that surrounds it."

After coordinating all aspects of the sailing regatta at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Glenn Bourke became the CEO of Australia's leading ocean racing yacht club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, in Sydney. His business and sailing talents then led to him being appointed CEO of Germany's Illbruck Challenge which won the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002, and the following year Volvo lured him into the position of CEO for the actual event. In that role he propelled the race into an exciting new era and reinforced its status as the world's most successful long distance ocean race.

As a yachtsman Glenn Bourke has won seven world sailing championships including, remarkably, three consecutive world titles in the Olympic Laser dinghy class, in 1988, 1989 and 1990. He represented Australia in the Finn dinghy class at the 1992 Olympics, has sailed in the America's Cup and Admiral's Cup, and was named Australian Yachtsman of the Year in 1989 and 1990.

Glenn will be based on the island and be responsible to the Oatley family for all island operations. He will take up his appointment in March.

Queens coming to Sydney

Cunard's 90,000-tonne Queen Victoria, is making her way to Australia on her maiden world voyage, along with her elder sister, Queen Elizabeth 2, who is sailing on her final world voyage. Their meeting on Sydney Harbour on February 24 will attract lots of interest and spectators.

Both liners left Southampton in January on their historic journeys, which saw the two ships meet again in New York with their big sister, Queen Mary 2, on January 13 and then again in Sydney Harbour on February 24.

Queen Victoria and QE2's Royal Rendezvous in Sydney will mark Queen Victoria's first visit to the harbour city and QE2's final call - thirty years to the day since her maiden visit.

The Queen Victoria will transit the Whitsunday Islands on February 28 enroute to Port Douglas.

Queen's curtain call

QE2's final Sydney visit marks her 24th call to the city since her first arrival in 1978. During her 40 years of service, the 70,327-tonne QE2 has carried more than 2.5 million passengers and sailed almost 5.5 million nautical miles - more than any ship in history.

Driftwood Bay depths

Driftwood Bay on the southern shore of Hamilton Island has been resurveyed with changes to depths and contours refer Chart AUS 252 Notice to Mariners [511/2007].

It's natural

"In physics, you don't have to go around making trouble for yourself - nature does it for you"

Frank Wilczek, Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist, who is very interested in the quantum theory of black holes.
And we thought it was about the weather.

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Whitsunday Navy Cadets homeless

The Whitsunday unit of the Australian Navy Cadets (ANC) are homeless due to space restrictions at the Cannonvale SES building.
The Cadets met last Friday evening for a social parade at the Whitsunday PCYC and discussed their future with parents and community members.
Local businesses and especially building owners will be approached with a view to the short term use of premises while long term plans are made.
The Whitsunday unit, part of TS Pioneer based in Mackay, has been operating for about four years and take part in community activities such as Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and Vietnam Veterans Day.
Nationally, the ANC comprises around 30% of Australians in Naval uniform. While not part of the Australian Defence Force, as part of the Navy family Cadets have a significant role to play in linking the Australian community to the RAN. Cadets provide a positive focus on the RAN in the eyes of the public.

Cadets crew Young Endeavour

The ANC/Young Endeavour Voyage Scheme is a sailing program for Australian Navy Cadets aged 16 and over, focused on building leadership, teamwork and communication skills through sail training. This scheme is being sponsored by the RAN and will extend to 24 Australian Navy Cadets and three ANC staff members to participate in two dedicated voyages on STS Young Endeavour.
Sponsorship will cover all voyage fees, airfares and accommodation. Nominations will be sought from cadets over the age of 16 years and placement will be offered to the top 24 cadets who can demonstrate outstanding personal and leadership qualities and who have made a valuable contribution to their local community during the past 12 months.

Box Jelly danger

Luckily Whitsunday has recently been free of Box Jellyfish envenomation incidents recently, but recent rains have flushed the deadly creatures from their breeding grounds into the sea where they will develop into potential killers.
Surf Life Saving Queensland is warning swimmers that this is the time of the year when they are most likely to be stung by box jelly fish.
Dangerous Marine Creatures Program coordinator Melissa Cowlishaw says there have been 12 stings across the north since mid October.
But she says scientists are predicting a record season this year.
"It's really important that they swim within the red and yellow flags and within the stinger resistant closures, but it's important to remember that those enclosures don't stop the Irukandji jelly fish from coming through, just the larger box jelly fish," she said.
"We ask people to also wear some form of personal protective swim wear that covers 75 to 80 per cent of their body."

Pest fish

Steps to control the spread of pest fish stepped up this week with more than 6,000 Tilapia eradicated from two farm dams.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) fisheries biologist Malcolm Pearce said following the recent publicity about a tilapia infestation in the Endeavour River, a number of land owners had contacted DPI&F with concerns their dams contained the pest fish.
"From the size and location of the tilapia we found in the Endeavour River, it is more likely that the pest fish were illegally released into the area prior to Christmas from a home aquarium," Mr Pearce said.
Under strict conditions, Rotenone (poison) was used to kill the fish in the farm dams before they were cleaned up by DPI&F officers and disposed of away from the water.
"We are urging people who think they have tilapia or other pest fish in their dams or in their homes in an aquarium, to contact DPI&F for advice and possible assistance with disposal."
"It cannot be overstated how important it is for people not to move tilapia and that they need to be disposed of away from the water," Mr Pearce said.
"Female tilapia may carry eggs in their mouth, and these eggs can survive long after the adult fish is dead.
Under Section 89 of the Fisheries Act 1994 a person must not possess noxious fisheries resources or release noxious fisheries resources into Queensland waters.

Pest fish in Qld

Noxious pest fish in Queensland include Carp, Piranhas, Tilapia, Electric Eel, Largemouth Bass, Mosquitofish and Nile Perch.

Barra back on bite

The end of the closed fishing season for barramundi on both the east coast of Queensland is expected to draw keen anglers to local fishing hot spots.
The East Coast season opened at midday February 1.
The closed season is set aside each year to help protect barramundi during spawning which is a vulnerable time in their life cycle.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) senior fisheries management officer Anita Ramage said annual seasons are in place to not only protect our fish species, but to ensure that there are enough stocks to cater for Queensland's keen fishers.
"The closures allow fish to spawn and stocks to replenish to ensure there are healthy fish stores for current and future generations of Queensland anglers," Ms Ramage said.
"The closures in the Gulf vary from year to year and are always timed according to lunar and tide cycles coinciding with spawning peaks, so it is important for fishers to check when the season falls each year.

Barra Rules OK?

In the open season there is a possession limit of five barramundi per person. Minimum and maximum size limits also apply.
If fishing in one of Queensland's 18 impoundment areas that have been stocked with barramundi, one of the five barramundi you can keep can be greater than the maximum size limit of 120 cm.
A Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) is required to fish in many impoundment areas that are stocked with barramundi so anglers should ensure their permits are valid. SIP cost $35 a year or $7 per week and are available from local businesses in the vicinity of each of the dams on the scheme, online or over the phone.

It's that simply

Occam's Razor: "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate."
Translation = "Avoid complexity when other options are at hand."
William of Ockham (1285-1349)

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan
2008 to mark 25 years for Hamilton Island Race Week

The significance of the 25th anniversary edition of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week has already led to the Farr 40 class planning to make a welcome return to the event, which will be staged between August 23, and 30, 2008.
Regatta organisers are making a special effort to have as many yachts that have competed over the past 24 years part of the historic silver jubilee celebrations.
There will also be a special division for classic yachts.
These participants will be part of an anticipated record fleet of 250 from Australia and abroad that will be racing at what has become Australia’s most successful and highly awarded regatta for offshore keelboats.
In preparation for such a remarkable fleet, Hamilton Island management has announced plans to undertake a major expansion of the harbour marina.
“We were caught a little by surprise by the record fleet of 217,” in 2007, said the chairman of Hamilton Island Enterprises, Sandy Oatley, “so we couldn’t provide the marina facilities we would have liked for everyone. Our plan is to complete an entire new marina arm before Race Week 2008 so that the number of yachts that will have to raft up will be kept to a minimum.”

Year of the Reef

Ten years ago, 1997 was declared the International Year of the Reef (IYOR). The first IYOR campaign was initiated in response to the increasing threats and loss of coral reefs and associated ecosystems, like mangroves and sea grasses. IYOR 97 was a global effort to increase awareness and understanding of coral reefs, and support conservation, research and management efforts.
IYOR 97 proved to be very successful, with over 225 organizations in 50 countries and territories participating, over 700 articles in papers and magazines generated, hundreds of scientific surveys undertaken, and catalysed conservation and policy initiatives, as well as numerous local and global organizations dedicated to coral reef conservation.
Recognizing that ten years after IYOR 97 there continues to be an urgent need to increase awareness and understanding of coral reefs, and to further conserve and manage valuable coral reef and associated ecosystems, the International Coral Reef Initiative designated 2008 as the International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2008).

IYOR 2008 will:

* Strengthen awareness about the ecological, economic, social and cultural value of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
* Improve understanding of the critical threats to coral reefs and generate both practical and innovative solutions to reduce these threats
* Generate urgent action at all levels to develop and implement effective management strategies for conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.

Tip of the Day:

Be a marine debris crusader! In addition to picking up your own rubbish, carry away the anything that others have left behind. More than just an unsightly nuisance, beach litter poses a significant threat to the health and survival of marine organisms, which can swallow or get tangled in beverage containers, plastic bags, old rope and other debris.

Cliff drop for drunk

In California, witnesses say an out-of-towner had been partying with friends. After drinking a few mixed cocktails, they say he "took off running toward the ocean" -- apparently unaware of a steep drop-off. The 19-year-old male fell from a cliff onto a beach below. After his tumble, witnesses called for help to rescue the injured man.

Eco yachting

Chartering with Queensland Yacht Charters has became more eco-friendly. QYC has gained its Advanced Eco-Certification, which recognises that the company has achieved best practice in ecologically sustainable tourism.
The award recognises QYC’s primary focus on experiencing natural areas and fostering environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation. The certification also recognises their contribution to local environmental groups.
Adrian and Suzette Pelt, owners of QYC since 1988 and their crew - Kellie & Kristin in Reservations and Terry, Phil and Tanya in Operations, will personally ensure that you have a wonderful holiday.

Yacht rescues fisher

World ARC yacht Tillymint, an Oyster 82 taking part in World Cruising Club's round the world rally, has been involved in the dramatic rescue of a stranded Caribbean fisherman whilst on route to Panama.
The small open fishing vessel, the Vegas from St.Lucia, had been drifting for 20 days without a serviceable engine. In the early hours of Saturday January 26 (local time), at approximately 80 nautical miles off the island of Aruba, the on-watch crew of Tillymint heard faint cries for help from close by, though they could not see another vessel. In the time it took the crew to drop sails, turn the yacht around and get back upwind against 25 knots to the incident position, the crew of the Vegas had started a small fire to attract attention. The fishermen were in a desperate situation, since despite passing close to other vessels they had been unable to raise a distress call.
Unfortunately, their signal fire got out of control and before Tillymint reached their position, the crew had to abandon the vessel and jump into the sea to escape the fire. One crewmember was rescued and taken onboard Tillymint. However, in the darkness and weather conditions prevailing at the time, they were unable to locate the remaining three fishermen.
All World ARC yachts have now resumed their course for Panama.

Vessel lost

Mariners are advised that the 8.90m vessel "Elsie 2" has been reported missing. The vessel was last seen moored near the entrance of the Pioneer River, but may have drifted or sunk during recent inclement weather. Mariners are advised to proceed with caution when transiting this area. AUS chart: 249

Point to ponder

“On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time”
- George Orwell

Fair Winds to Ye!
Cap’n Dan
Taste of cyclonic weather rains on Whitsunday

With the huge rains this week and the hovering monsoon lows that sometimes become cyclones, it might be a good time to revisit a storm called Ada.
The deadly cyclone with an unimaginative name Ada hit the Whitsunday islands and mainland on January 18/19 1970.
"Cyclone Ada – Queensland's first for the year – was moving in from the Coral Sea last night, headed directly towards the glamour island resorts in the Whitsunday Passage," a newspaper reported in 1970.
"The islands and towns along the coast were on full alert but the weather bureau said the cyclone was not expected to cause major damage."
However, it was not the best call by the Bureau of Meteorology They got it wrong.
Twenty-four hours later: "Gigantic seas and 100-mile-an-hour winds (160km/h) smashed through Great Barrier Reef resorts leaving 75 per cent of buildings flattened on Hayman Island and 'utter destruction' at Daydream."
The following day the toll was counted; fourteen people dead, mainly fishing or boat crew; some caught in mainland floods. Damage to property, estimated at today's values, was about $500 million.
Almost totalled were Daydream, South Molle Island, Happy Bay, Palm Bay on Long Island. Lindeman Island was wrecked and all its boats sunk.
Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and Cannonvale on the mainland, had damage to 80 per cent of the buildings.
Wreckage of the trawler Whakatane washed-up, three children and four adults were recorded as lost at sea.
Ada was a "small" cyclone when calculated by diameter size, which was about 20km at the eye.
But it carried a severe punch with winds that stripped the leaves every tree.
However, there are always stalwarts, a Hayman Island legend says the bar stayers sang along to We Shall Not Be Moved.
"It wasn't until bottles began crashing from bar shelves, the glass wall started to bend inwards and the roof lifted with every gust that people agreed to be ushered into the dining room," says a newspaper report written on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.
"Almost on cue, the bar roof peeled off and the crowd was bustled further back into the kitchen."

Historical Fact:

Tropical Cyclone Ada hit the Queensland coast on January 17th-18th of 1970. She was listed as a category 4 cyclone and damaged the Whitsunday Islands and areas near Proserpine. Fourteen people, mainly marine crew died as a result.

Sabot Nationals

“Well, it had to come to an end! After a fantastic regatta held on Sydney Harbour, all the Sabots are on their way to their home states, including 'Madness', sailed in the regatta by Klaus and Eva Lorenz from Whitsunday Sailing Club. Klaus and Eva picked up a trophy for second place in the orientation race, held on the first day, but fared less well in the rest of the series, coming 11th overall in the end. Notwithstanding this disappointing (for them) result, they had a great deal of fun and made or renewed many friendships.
“The organisation of the regatta was faultless, the host clubs, Vaucluse Amateur -foot. Sailing Club, and Vaucluse Amateur Yacht Club doing a great job fully utilising their wonderful location in Watson’s Bay.
Whitsunday Sailing Club, in conjunction with North Queensland Sabot Association will jointly host the event next time, from 27th December 2008 to 5th January 2009.
The regatta will cap off Whitsunday Sailing Club's proposed "Year of Sail", which begins in the new school term with learn-to-sail courses for students of Cannonvale State School and Whitsunday Christian College.

Soylent Green Racer

EarthRace is set to take off on its ultimate goal: The motorboat round-the-world record.
The EarthRace boat isn't some Greenpeace sponsored, tree-hugging tug. No! It's a carbon/Kevlar-hulled, 1080-Horsepower, 78 foot speedboat with a sharp bow meant to harpoon waves.
The new twist is a somewhat disgusting one - Captain Pete and two of his volunteers underwent liposuction recently, dumping the fat that doctors removed into their fuel tank. It's certainly an interesting way to show how versatile their propulsion system is.
Demonstrating commitment to the cause, Bethune underwent liposuction and donated enough to produce 100ml of biofuel, while two other, larger volunteers also had the procedure, making ten litres of human fat.
This in turn produced seven litres of biofuel, which could help the boat travel about 15km.
EarthRace is fuelled on 100 per cent biodiesel and has a net zero carbon footprint.
Circumnavigating the globe represents the pinnacle of powerboat challenges, and more than 24,000 nautical miles is the world's longest speed challenge.
Peter Bethune is attempting his second circumnavigation of the planet in EarthRace, a boat that is powered by biodiesel fuel as an alternate to fossil fuel. In order to draw attention to the trip, he and two other crew members received liposuction and collected about 2.5 gallons of fat from their bodies. That’s enough to go nine miles. In all, the ship carries 3,000 gallons of fuel and can go up to 2,800 miles on a full tank. It can withstand heavy winds and 50 ft. waves. The trip has been estimated to take about 65 days.

Surprise Rock beacon

Surprise Rock beacon east of Hamilton Island is reported destroyed. Mariners are advised that the lighted isolated danger mark beacon Fl(2)6s in approximate position latitude 20° 21.28' E, longitude 149° 01.6' S which marks Surprise Rock east of Hamilton Island is reported as destroyed. Mariners should navigate with caution in the vicinity. AUS charts affected 252, 253, 371 and 824.

Have a go!

“When someone tells you something defies description, you can be pretty sure he's going to have a go at it anyway”

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap’n Dan