Archive for February, 2010

Full Report on the Flinders Islet Yacht Race, 9 October 2009

Friday, February 26th, 2010

The 86-page Internal Report prepared for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) has been released publicly. Its authors, Rear Admiral Chris Oxenbould AO RAN (Rtd), Past Commodore David Kellett AM and Past Commodore John Brooks reviewed reports from and interviewed surviving crew from PWC Shockwave, skippers and crew from yachts involved in the search and rescue (SAR) as well as CYCA staff and race management volunteers.

Interviews were also held with the hydrographer of Australia, members of the Marine Area Command of the NSW Police and staff from Australian Maritime Safety Authority who were involved in the SAR. Information on the reliability of GPS systems was provided by a representative of Garmin Australia.

In addition to investigating the PWC Shockwave incident, the Inquiry Committee interviewed and reported on the recovery of the man overboard from Patrice VI and communications difficulties experienced by crew of that yacht.

There is lots of information in the report that is relevant to all who sail offshore anywhere in the world, whether cruising or racing.

I recommend you download and read the findings of the Flinders Islet Yacht Race Inquiry, in particular the recommendations on pages 55-59. Your life may depend on it.

So-called sailboats

Monday, February 15th, 2010

It wasn’t hard to choose my subject in response to Tillerman’s current group writing project, “Worst Sailing Invention Ever”.

Motor boats, and, get me right, by this I don’t mean vessels that use motors as their only method of propulsion, but so-called sailboats that have to run their motors 24/7 to support an ever-increasing range of equipment – canting keels, water ballast, button-controlled winches, etc.

Now, if people want to take these motor boats cruising, then that’s ok by me, or they can race each other. But if they want to race them against my friends and me who are sailing on traditional yachts I don’t want anything to do with them. I want to be in a race where competitors rely on the manual exertion of their crews.

It’s not that I’m against engines: I am for them when they are used as auxiliaries. Engines are great for maintaining battery power for navigation lights, communications, navstation equipment and house power.

And I’m not against having a well-chilled beer at the end of a race.

Charles Darwin’s Birthday

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Today is the 201st anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, ‘Father of Evolution’. His voyage on HMS Beagle from 1831-1836 is being retraced by Randstad Clipper Stad Amsterdam, with his great-great-granddaughter Sarah Darwin and a group of scientists and researchers aboard. This beautiful clipper arrives in Sydney tomorrow for a four day stay.

Avoid penalties by reading the Sailing Instructions

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Three competitors in the Clipper Round the World 2009/2010 race have each been given a 60-minute time penalty. In breach of the Sailing Instructions, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, Cape Breton Island and California entered the Singapore Traffic Separation Scheme at the start of the current leg from Singapore to Qingdao.

In the first leg Hull and Humber and Cork were penalised for a similar offence, which should have made all the competitors especially careful. I was glad, however, that there were no repeat offenders – impossible in the case of Cork, who was abandoned after running aground on the Fremantle-Singapore leg.

The advice to READ THE SAILING INSTRUCTIONS is particularly important if you only race occasionally or are participating in a special regatta. You may find that marks you normally pass to starboard are designated to be left to port. This is to be expected if the race has been organised by a club other than your own.

You can’t win races unless you sail the proper course and you shouldn’t rely on following other yachts. What will happen if you are in the lead?