Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clean Marine - Keep Whitsunday pristine!

Clean Marine - Keep Whitsunday pristine!
Next month will see volunteers and boat crews engage in Marine Clean, a new environmental clean up organised by the Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association (WCBIA)
Clean Up Australia has had a tremendous impact over the years, indeed March 7, 2010 will mark twenty years. However, March hereabouts is hot and often steamy with humidity.
Planned to be an annual event, the idea was conceived by the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee of WCBIA.
The broader community is invited to get involved while charter boat crews will focus on island beaches. The award winning EcoKids Reef Guardian Club will support the clean up.
It was felt that besides doing a job that needs doing, guests on charter boats would see environmental action and might get involved themselves.
Marine Clean will pick up from the weekend of September 12/13 until the next weekend. Charter boats and volunteers will complete questionnaires detailing rubbish collected. Details from wcbia@wcbia.com
Perfect clean up
Meanwhile, award winning Eco Barge did a clean up at Double Cone Island and Double Bay on Saturday.
"The weather was perfect," reports Eco Barge captain Libby Edge.
"Volunteers collected seven bags and lots of rope, fishing line and nets which has caught up in the mangroves."
"Seven bags is not a lot of bags, BUT we were picking up a lot of  marine debris that was smaller than a ten cent piece so to fill these bags was a mission in itself.
"After Double Cone Island we headed to Double Bay hut where we had collected the rubbish and glass from our previous trip sponsored by Reef Catchments and the Island Task Force and enjoyed our BBQ lunch funded by Rotary Club of Airlie Beach. 
"It is a great feeling knowing we have removed this amount of rubbish from our islands and I am now looking forward to our next trip to Long Island at Pandanus Bay sponsored by the Island Task Force project from Reef Catchments" Libby added.
Sabot training
Townsville Sailing Club has kindly agreed to host a training weekend for Sabot sailors August 22/23. Ben Callard will do the  coaching.
North Queensland Sabot Assoc (NQSA) President Jeremy Cooper suggests NQSA can attract some of the more senior Sabot sailors and ex-Sabot sailors, and club coaches and/or would-be coaches.
A meeting of Sabot parents on the Saturday morning will address enlarging the NQSA committee and discussing the future of the class in our zone.
Indecently, our Olympic guest and coach at the National Titles in Airlie Beach this year, Nathan Outteridge and crew Iain Jensen have won the 2009 49er World Championships in Riva del Garda, Italy. Congratulations.
Life's a beach
Beach cleaners recently found an Esky complete with beer, although the beer wasn't cold.
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tropical Shirt Meridien Race Week welcome

Tropical Shirt Meridien Race Week welcome
Welcome aboard! It's time to shake off the cold weather of the southern climes, turn out the wardrobe for you loudest, brightest tropical shirt and get ready for some great times in the warm Whitsunday 'winter' trade winds. The Tropical Shirt Regatta is on and racing starts this Friday, August 14 and goes through to Thursday week.
Race Week starts with a welcome party and after each race; there is a party at Meridien Abel Point. On Saturday, there is the annual Parrot Head Party on the Esplanade. On Monday, there is the annual Tropical Shirt Party. On Thursday the 20th, there are the presentations and a party with music by the 'Wolverines'.
Of course, an event of this size needs a dedicated band of volunteers to make it happen and Whitsunday Sailing Club members always rise to the occasion. If you have some free time and want to have fun and help run the event simply contact the WSC.
Volunteer as crew, jump on a spectator boat, or just enjoy the atmosphere at Meridien Marina's Airlie Beach Race Week.
Crew Available
The official web site for Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week includes an online free listing for crew wishing to take part in the sailing action during the week. If you are looking for a spot on a yacht go to airliebeachraceweek.com.au and put in your details and experience. Who knows? You could take your sailing to a completely new level of fun.
Lighthouse celebration
Entries in the 2009 International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend have reached 355 with time to spare before the start time on August 15, well on schedule to equal or better last years total of 406 who entered.
Australia leads the list with forty-six entries followed by Germany with forty-two. Some of the more exotic entries are Egypt, Panama, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Sardinia, Iceland and Namibia.
This event is one of the most popular international events on the Amateur 'Ham' radio calendar and involves the International Association of Lighthouse Keepers. 
The eighth International Lighthouse Weekend intends to raise the profile of lighthouses, light vessels and other navigational aids, promoting our maritime heritage.
Many lighthouses and places of associated interest will be open to the public, and there will be special events at lighthouses and light vessels both at home and abroad.
Also on this weekend, amateur radio operators around the world will be transmitting from lighthouses with the objective of fostering international relations.
In our region, the Townsville Amateur Radio Club will be activating the Cape Cleveland Light.
Permit changes
In response to the outcomes of a feasibility study of all-tide access to Tongue Point, Whitsunday Island, new permit conditions will be implemented to improve access to the site. Operators with permission to access the Tongue Point walking tracks are now able to transit the Hill Inlet Setting 5 area and use, via ancillary vessels only, the intertidal area of Betty's Beach to either load or unload passengers.
When accessing a permitted intertidal area with a vessel larger than 14m, vessels may remain in the intertidal area no longer than necessary to either load or unload passengers (unless otherwise permitted).
The conditions will apply to new permissions for vessel tourist programs and to existing permissions as they are 'renewed'. In accordance with s.26 of the Marine Parks Regulation 2006, existing operators wishing to include one or both for the new conditions on their existing permission prior to its 'renewal' must submit a written application for an amendment.
Vessels are not permitted to "operate" within a Setting 4 area, near Tongue Point for example, unless otherwise endorsed or carrying 15 or fewer. Vessels are not permitted to "operate" in Setting 5 areas unless otherwise endorsed. This includes all forms of passenger drop-off and pick-up.
For more information please refer to the Whitsunday Plan Of Management.
"Life's a reach, then you gybe"
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Airlie Beach Race Week celebrates twenty years

Airlie Beach Race Week celebrates twenty years
Is it twenty years  . . . already? Yup, sure is. Sailors of a certain age keep coming back and more join in the trek north for the Tropical Shirt Regatta.
The 20th annual Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week, is just over a week away with a record or near record fleet. 
Away with Ye, cold vile southern climes, Whitsunday beckons with fair winds, sun and fun. Where would you want to be? Put doom, gloom behind Ye, and get a Tropical shirt on yer back.
Regatta Director Denis Thompson expects the overall fleet numbers to be similar to those of 2007 with a top class Grand Prix fleet and a record Sports Boat fleet, and with an impressive number of Performance Racers, IRC Cruisers and Cruising entrants.
The list of sports boats is growing with these exciting boats tipped to enjoy the biggest Sports Boat fleet in Australia.
Race Week activities will start on Thursday August 13 and sail until Thursday August 20.
Hosted at Meriden Marinas Abel Point marina, entries close this Friday afternoon.
The southern fleets are heading north, more of these yachts are expected to complete their paperwork this week, along with more Whitsunday locals who are usually (notoriously?) late with the paperwork.
Whatever suits
Never far from controversy, swimming legend Laurie Lawrence says swimmers should go back to the original Olympic Games and wear no swimsuits at all.
Says Laurie, "They'd have to build bigger swimming stadiums" as the sport of swimming would be even more popular and fair.
Hay Point tour
The Whitsunday Local Marine Advisory Committee joined with members of the Mackay LMAC and people from Marine Teachers Association of Qld, Mackay Conservation Group, Eco Barge Volunteers, DPI Fisheries, GBRMPA and Maritime Safety Queensland last week.
The group first toured the Hay Point coal loading terminal and REEFVTS Vessel Tracking System control centre south of Mackay.
There were forty-eight ships in the queue and port operators are looking forward to a bumper month in September. Operators are expecting to ship 88 million tonnes this year, an increase of over ten million tonnes over the past couple of years.
The ships get loaded quickly and the port is very well organised. The VTS Vessel Tracking System can tell if the ship is ten metres off course in the channels - pretty good for a ship with over 30 meter beam (wide). The VTS is in two parts - the port including Dalrymple Bay facility and then other sections of the reef.
An erroneous report said this facility would close and moved to Townsville - only the section that monitors the northern reef areas will move. The Hay Point / Dally Bay section stays.
Then back to MSQ workshops in Mackay where Senior Maritime officer Ashley Titmarsh gave the group a very through presentation of pollution control equipment.
Then regional Harbour Master Captain John Ellyet gave a presentation regarding the operation of the pollution incident room and the high level of preparedness of the marine authorities for a pollution incident.
We are indebted to committee member Phil McDonald (MSQ) for organising the day and driving the bus.
Hesket Rock light
Mariners are advised that the lighted South Cardinal Mark beacon Q(6) + LFl.15s which marks Hesket Rock east of St Bees Island has been re-established in the charted position. AUS charts 251, 823, & 824.
Storms of life
"'Tis the set of the sail that decides the goal, and not the storm of life"
 Ella Wheeler Wilcox American poet and writer 1850-1919
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan