Ahoy! Sailors wanted
The Whitsunday Sailing Club needs some help to run races this year starting off this weekend, so it is a great time to get out on the water and see what sailing is all about.
A variety of races will tempt and test sailors this weekend with a longer race around a few of the islands on Saturday. On Sunday two races on Pioneer Bay in front of Airlie will decide the Home Hardware series with the usual rum skylarking, re-racing and hind-casting at the club afterwards.
If you would like to try something different and get out on the water, give Whitsunday Sailing Club Sailing Development Officer Tim Parker a call and check out the club on Friday night where there will be a briefing at 7 pm. You never know what might happen.
Australia's Olympic and Paralympic sailors will be given more support to aim for gold and chart a course to success with the upgrade of the National Training Centre at Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
The $1.3 million redevelopment funded by a Federal Government grant will improve training facilities for our sailors and fully integrate the Olympic and Paralympic programs.
"Our sailors achieved outstanding results at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and this redevelopment will ensure they remain on course to win gold in Rio and pursue continued success on the water," Senator Lundy said at the launch.
"The team's outstanding achievements at the London Games were a direct result of the hard work and determination of our athletes, coaches and support staff. But we know that there's still room to give our sailors a boost on the water and ensure smooth sailing to Rio in 2016.
Phase two will include a large rigging deck space and crane access to provide disability and wheelchair access allowing for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes and coaches to fully integrate.
Improvements will also enable the yacht club to run community Sailability disabled sailing programs, expand its youth dinghy training and Learn to Sail programs.
After a harrowing three day climb across South Georgia's mountainous interior, expedition leader Tim Jarvis and mountaineer, Royal Marine Barry Gray were exhausted, severely weather beaten but elated to reach the old whaling station at Stromness on February 10 where Shackleton and his men raised the alarm that the crew of the Endurance needed rescue, almost 100 years ago.
Their arrival marks the achievement of "the double" for the intrepid crew of Shackleton Epic, the ocean crossing 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island to South Georgia and the mountain climb across South Georgia which Shackleton completed in 1916.
In late January the 'Shackleton Epic Expedition' shoved off from Elephant Island in the lifeboat Alexandra Shackleton, in an attempt to re-enact the incredible 1916 voyage of Ernest Shackleton and his six man crew in a decked-over lifeboat, across 800 miles of the Southern Ocean to South Georgia Island.
During the expedition, the team have braved Southern Ocean swells in excess of eight metres, gales packing 50-knot winds, sleep deprivation, seasickness, dehydration and hunger, being constantly wet and cold in the Antarctic's freezing temperatures and having no room to move or stretch out while cramped aboard their 22.5' lifeboat.
"These early explorers were iron men in wooden boats; I hope we've been able to emulate some of what they achieved. There's no doubt in my mind that everyone has a Shackleton 'double journey' in them and I hope we've inspired a few people to find theirs," Jarvis said.
Marine radio change
With 58 per cent of VHF marine radio owners unaware that a radio operator's certificate is mandatory, it would appear that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been unsuccessful in properly informing the community of radio operator certification requirements to date.
It is intended to implement an Australian Waters Qualification (AWQ) for recreational boaters operating their radios within Australian Territorial Waters.
The introduction of the AWQ represents the first significant change to the Radiocommunications (Maritime Ship Station - 27MHz and VHF) Class Licence since it was introduced in 2001 that removed the requirement to register VHF ship stations on recreational boats.
It will be interesting for users of marine radio to follow progress. The VHF AWQ will not be recognised overseas where hiring a boat especially in Europe will still require the full qualification.
Fair winds to Ye!