Archive for the ‘Grab Bag or Miscellany’ Category

Giant wave

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Normally we don’t discuss wave height – particularly in a bar – because there is hardly ever any real proof of what is usually a subjective statement.

However, this wave is well-documented by respected authorities.

Here’s where you can read more about the 67 foot (20.4 metre) wave off Ireland.

I know a fair proportion of our readers sail only in protected waters. We’re not trying to frighten those who go to sea but as you’ll see this is what can happen out there.

Another Challenge

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Another Challenge, owned and skippered by Chris Lewin, has won the Sydney 38 division of the Sydney-Gold Coast yacht race. This is the yacht that Jessica Watson is taking in the Sydney-Hobart this year with a young crew and she was aboard for the experience.

They raced with a combined crew – some of Chris’s regulars and some of Jess’s team preparing for the Hobart. They finished one hour ahead of second-placed Wizzard but were penalised 10 minutes for missing one HF position report. We haven’t heard any reason for this.

The three other Sydney 38s finished within two hours of the winner, with Eleni being awarded two hours’ redress for standing by Wasabi, who lost its keel about three miles offshore.

Water-ballasted, Wasabi was able to stay afloat and was escorted in to Camden Haven.

Bill Ford, legendary stalwart of RANSA

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
Bill Ford

Bill Ford

We don’t usually use personal experiences in our newsletters unless they have to do with the sea and safety. This time we want to make an exception and tell you about a truly exceptional day – last Sunday.

Annie and I and about 50 other people were at our yacht club, RANSA – Royal Australian Naval Sailing Association – at Rushcutter’s Bay in Sydney. We were all there to celebrate the 95th birthday of a legendary stalwart of the club, Bill Ford. Bill, born in England, was a chippy in the Royal Navy before and during WWII. After the war he came to Australia.

During his long membership of RANSA he held the position of Rear Commodore for so many years that eventually he was made Honorary Life Rear Commodore. It is impossible to describe how much he meant to the club and how much the club meant to him.

When we arrived Bill wasn’t there and we heard a bit later that he had been unwell the previous day and because of that, he wouldn’t be coming to the party. He’d really been looking forward to seeing all his old friends, who he knew would be gathered to see him. It was a shame that he couldn’t because it was an absolutely magical Sydney winter’s day, the sort that is a jewel in the memory. Cloudless sky, a little warmth in the sun glistening on the harbour and a sharp breeze for the yachts of the neighbouring club during their winter races.

A little later as we were sitting down having our celebratory lunch, we learned that Bill had died. It was an amazing feeling that all the people who loved him and that he loved were there gathered when it happened. Fortunately his son and daughter had been urged to leave the party and were with him when he died.

Needless to say, we all spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening reminiscing.

At sunset, by the water’s edge, a very moving ceremony was performed, led by a former Commodore, Max Kean. The flag, which had been at half-mast, was raised to the truck then lowered by Bill’s son-in-law. One of our members then recited “Lest We Forget”. 

Sad as it is, Bill was fortunate to suffer no longer.

An interview with Bill Ford that was published in the RANSA Sep 2008 Newsletter will tell you more about this wonderful man.

In their own words: Bill Ford

In the RANSA newsletter interview Bill was asked:
“Any advice for the younger sailing generation?”

His response:

Start sailing as early in life as you can. It’s a sport for all ages and not over physical. Be competitive but don’t overdo it. The water is there for all to enjoy and sailors are generally good sports and make great friends.

(Photo courtesy RANSA website.)

“Out, damned spot! out, I say!”

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Yes, that’s a quotation from Shakespeare’s Macbeth – Lady Macbeth, in fact. She had blood on her hands and was trying to wash it off. 

But what about when you get blood on your sails? What’s the best way to clean the blood off sailcloth? Find out how in our latest newsletter – How to get blood off your sails.

And while you’re there, why not subscribe so that you never miss another edition?

April Fool and Father’s Day

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Each week we include a nautical quotation in our newsletter. The one in this week’s issue is by Hugo Vihlen, who crossed the Atlantic twice – once each way and 25 years apart – in yachts, pictured below, not as big as our old dinghy!

April Fool, sailed by Hugo Vihlen across the Atlantic in 1968
Photograph courtesy of Hugo Vihlen

Father's Day, sailed by Hugo Vihlen across the Atlantic in 1993
Book cover from

Australian Youth Sailor of the Year

Monday, October 18th, 2010

On Saturday night Jessica Watson was named Australian Youth Sailor of the Year in recognition of her single-handed circumnavigation at the age of 16. Jessica’s mother, Julie, collected the award on her behalf.

The young achiever is being kept busy overseas by her publishers – she’s currently promoting her book in Brazil. She’s already launched True Sprit in Los Angeles and New York, London and Paris where the book has been translated into French. Her trip also took in Cannes where she promoted her documentary.

Jessica Watson signing her book, True Spirit, at the Sydney International Boat Show 2010
Photograph © Bevanda Pty Ltd, 2010

Our picture is from day one of this year’s Sydney International Boat Show. Annie immediately spotted another ‘leftie’.

Both of us wonder how much her signature has changed since that first day she spent autographing her book.

Sale! The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship is on sale!

Monday, June 21st, 2010

The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship

This month you can buy The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship and save:

NB: Prices in Australian Dollars Was Now
The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship
Boat Handling 1 and 2
Navigation and Passage Planning
Safety and Emergencies
Skipper and Crew, Knots and The Language of the Sea

Remember, this special offer expires on 30 June 2010.

Don’t miss this great opportunity. Use the ‘Share This’ button to tell your friends.
Click to get yours now – The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship.

Earth Hour 2010

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Next Saturday 27 March is Earth Hour. This event, which began in Australia in 2007, is now supported worldwide. It’s an opportunity for all of us to take action for the good of our environment and a timely reminder to make sure we turn off any appliances that are often left on stand-by, as well as unnecessary lighting, to reduce our carbon footprint.

Annie and I have observed this event each year since its inception in 2007. You, too can join us this year by signing up, below.

We’re planning to spend the evening in candlelight. We envy those of you who will be out on a yacht.