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In Praise of the Deckee Insurance Finder
John Storey
Posted April 20 2018

I have recently purchased a Wharram Tiki 30. This is a fibreglass and plywood composite catamaran that is not an easy boat to find insurance for.

On many of the Wharram forums I have read have threads decrying the difficulties of obtaining suitable cover.

As a result of this, many sailors are out on the world’s oceans with little or no insurance cover.

This is not acceptable to me or to my family, so I rang the company with whom I have had marine insurance for fifteen years (Club Marine), they declined to insure the boat.

I then spent a couple of weeks ringing around the usual suspects; big companies, little companies and many middling companies.

I spoke with several brokers who each assured me that they would find cover - but only one did.

That broker obtained a quote through QBE but, when I accepted it, QBE withdrew it!

I couldn’t even get third party cover for the four days of the delivery voyage to where I could get the boat surveyed.

Then I remembered that Deckee had a section on insurance. I pressed the “Get Free Quotes” button, filled in a simple online form, sent it off and waited.

I didn’t have to wait long until I was contacted by a charming lady called Lisa O’Sullivan. From the moment Lisa had my details, she was on the case.

The result? A fully comprehensive policy, a temporary waiver of the survey so that I could move the boat from Grafton to Brisbane, and a very reasonable premium.

I am a simple pleasure-boater, I have no connection to Deckee, or the insurance industry. I am writing this article solely in gratitude to the efforts and professionalism of Lisa O’Sullivan.

Thank you.

John Storey

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank John Storey
Vintage boat review: Haines Hunter 650SF Encore
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted April 19 2018

1998, June; Jumpinpin, Gold Coast: A big sister to Haines Hunter’s 585SF Seeker BIAA Boat of the Year, this facility-rich 680SF Encore had a pair of very efficient 115 hp FICHT outboards for grand performance - including on just one!

Twin engines have been always been a serious safety consideration for those looking to range far offshore for their fishing expeditions. If one engine failed, you always had the other to get home. The disadvantages though were higher fuel consumption and the fact that many twin engine boats had abysmal performance on only one.

These days however, the advent of higher technology in outboards has considerably reduced those disadvantages. That was shown with clarity during our run aboard this rather superb Sports Fishing (hence the SF in the model name) boat from Haines Hunter. With OMC owning both the boat and engine companies (at the time of review), the package was well integrated and nicely rigged.

Power came from a pair of the new V4 115 Evinrudes with OMC’s unique FICHT direct fuel injection system. These two-stroke powerplants offer an excellent power-to-weight ratio that I’m sure was a factor in the performance, including the way the 680SF ran on one. The FICHT technology also offers excellent fuel economy with the factory claiming tests prove a saving of around 35% against older outboards, and some 80% reduction in emissions. The full benefits of these latest outboards have been well documented elsewhere, so we won’t go through them again here.

From a practical viewpoint of everyday use, the advantages include instant starting, smooth idling cold or hot, the ability to idle and troll for as long as you want with no oiling of plugs or other side effects, instant acceleration at any time, greater cruising range, lower cost of operation, and no smoking. It was the latter as much as anything else that used to annoy me when running an outboard.

The Evinrude 115s have a displacement of just over 1.7 litres (105.4 cubic inches) and produce 85.8 kilowatts (115 hp) at 5,500 rpm. Running four-bladed Renegade Offshore stainless props with 17 inch (43 cm) pitch, the Evinrudes smoothly spun to 5,900 rpm on the 680SF for a top GPS-confirmed speed of 36.8 knots (68 kph). As that’s 400 rpm above the rated maximum revs of the engines, I’d say a slightly bigger-pitch prop would see even better performance. Even so, that’s an excellent result from two 115s on a big, fully-equipped hull measuring nearly 24 feet (7.3 metres) overall.

With one Evinrude intentionally stopped and trimmed up, the other had no problem in bringing the 680SF on plane. It then easily revved to 5,000 rpm and had us ripping along at 25.5 knots (47 kph) which is a remarkable speed from one half of a twin-rig of this type. The 115 did this with such aplomb that I had to keep looking aft to remind myself that one engine was up and off. Those slightly-underpitched (for maximum speed) four-bladed Renegade props would have helped this aspect of the Haines Hunter’s performance and, for serious offshore use, would be an intelligent choice.

The hull design helped performance too. A typical Haines Hunter 21 degrees deadrise on a rounded keel gave a controlled and soft ride, with good lateral stability when running and when at rest. We stopped broadside-on to a fair swell rolling in through the Jumpinpin Bar, and the 680SF held as steady as you could wish. Taking the seas on any quarter from ahead or astern proved no trouble, and this would be a wonderful boat to cruise in most any offshore conditions.

The dash layout is unusual and works exceptionally well. Right in front of the skipper was a Lowrance Global Nav 310 and matching X85 Fishfinder for the key information needed to navigate and watch for quarry. There was space for more electronics, and a neatly moulded panel for two additional circular gauges top left. A Ritchie compass was mounted on top while the main gauge panel ran vertically just to port of the wheel where both the skipper and first mate could watch everything. The key dials of speedo, tachos, fuel and trim gauges were uppermost where they were more easily monitored, then below that were water pressure and volts gauges plus hour meters.

The throttle/shift binnacle was to port too, again allowing either the skipper or first mate to operate those controls, while two switch panels were to either side of the wheel. The stereo cassette and 27 Mhz radios were located just inside the cabin -- I’d mildly prefer the 27 Mhz unit (and a VHF radio) to be at the helm.

The hydraulic steering was a bit heavy, and I suspect some tuning of the installation may have given an easier task at the wheel. Nonetheless, the helm gave quick and precise response. With both props spinning in the same direction, there was some torque effect that tended to run the boat with a slight list. However, trimming the engines a little asymmetrically overcame that and had the 680SF cruising with good balance. Optional trim tabs would achieve the same result, and possibly a trifle more efficiently. The Evinrudes quickly lifted the hull on plane, and optimum speeds for comfort and range appeared to be from 4,000 to 5,000 rpm when the Haines Hunter was recording 26 to 32.5 knots (48 to 60 kph).

The layout onboard is great, not only for fishing which is clearly the intended focus, but for cruising and family use as well. There’s what amounts to a full width boarding platform immediately forward of the engines, with a transom door to port. The cockpit is roomy with a fold-down aft three-quarter lounge and lots of stowage. Big underfloor kill tanks will hold the catch for you, and there’s bait prep facilities aft and on the side decks.

A couple of steps lead down to a quite roomy cabin with a vee berth, good sitting headroom, storage areas and a concealed toilet (a holding tank for the latter is optional). Courtesy lights are fitted throughout the boat. The fit and finish everywhere is top class, and the whole rig felt nice and tough when running through some chop and swells.

The 680SF has been around for a while, and the company has continually refined its design so that the current generation of the model is very well sorted in every aspect of space utilisation, onboard facilities and performance. It’s a big boat when the bow sprit and boarding platform/engine pod are included, for the 6.8 metres implied by the 680 designation is significantly shorter than the actual overall 7.3 metres.

The walk-around cabin style is perhaps the best for offshore fishing. You get more protection and more cabin space than with a centre console, yet you still have good (fast, safe) access all around the boat, and a secure forward position from which to fish or handle anchoring duties. It’s a good looking boat, in a chunky, tough manner, with above-average freeboard and well-above-average rough-water abilities.

The boat is rated up to 300 hp and can take single outboards or sterndrives as well as the twins.


Overall length: 7.30 metres

Beam: 2.50 metres

Weight (approx): 1,300 kgs

Deadrise: 21 degrees

Fuel: 270 litres standard, 350 litres optional

Power (as tested): Twin Evinrude 115 FICHT

Price (as tested, at time of review): $79,500 ready-to-run on trailer

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
Jessica Watson: 6 crucial factors for passage planning
Jessica Watson
Posted April 16 2018

People are often surprised to hear that I’ve never been motivated by an adrenaline rush or thrill-seeking of any kind. During my solo around the world voyage and all the sailing I’ve done since, I have enjoyed hair-raising days of surfing huge Southern Ocean waves and pushing boats to their limits in the name of speed. But the moments I really cherish are the ones when I’ve felt complete confidence in the boat under me and the crew’s ability to handle any situation. It might not sound very exciting, but it’s an incredible feeling when you’re in the middle of an ocean, days from help but completely comfortable and self-reliant.

It’s also a feeling which is only achieved with equally unexciting, occasionally tedious and very thorough preparation. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a truly experienced sailor who doesn’t take preparation seriously. There’s nothing worse that setting off on a sailing holiday, only to be interrupted by broken equipment or unexpected dangerous weather. So if you’re heading out to sea, I’m going to assume that your boat is sound and well maintained and run through a few things you’ll want to consider.

Keeping Watch

Depending on the number of crew and their ability to handle the boat, you might choose to keep watch alone but preferably you’ll share watches with at least one other. The crew’s ability and weather conditions will also dictate the length of watches. The least popular watch is, of course, the early hours of the morning before the light of the new day. If you draw that short straw, make sure your pockets are stashed with sweets and there’s caffeine on hand.

The change of watch is another thing to think about. After hours of cold and wet, those last few minutes of a watch can drag by. Even the most patient sailor will be agitated as the new watch slowly struggles into their wet weather gear, so think about how long it’s going to take to get ready and ask the previous watch to wake you with enough time. Some sailors like to sleep in their boots and can be ready to go on deck in a few short minutes, but there are those who like to take a full 20 minutes to find fresh socks and make themselves a coffee before clocking on. I’m one of those who prefers to sleep in all my gear, happy in the knowledge that I can be on deck in a heartbeat. The discomfort of sleeping in a harness is far outweighed by the comfort of knowing you won’t be caught off guard.

Please don't do anything crazy like take sleeping pills off watch. Problems at sea are challenging enough without being drugged into a dopey state when the skipper calls for all hands on deck.

Sea Sicknesses

A stomach-churning topic but not one you’ll want to leave to chance. Be wary of anyone who says they don't get seasick; maybe they don't, or as many an old sailor likes to say, maybe they haven't found themselves in a big enough sea in a small enough boat.

Seasickness isn’t unusual and it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Some of the world’s best sailors get a little green at the gills, and I know someone (Cas!) who kayaked across the Tasman despite being prone to chronic motion sickness. When I was younger I would spend the first few days of a passage pretty green, but with a bit of discipline to keep myself hydrated I could do everything necessary.

The key is to find what works for you. There are some great products available so shop around and test them out before you leave the dock. A few of the tablets I’ve taken have been incredibly effective; however, their effectiveness was largely thanks to their ability to put me to sleep, so be wary of side effects.

You can read more about managing Seasickness in this post. Please share your tips and tricks with us!

Keeping warm and dry

If you’re planning a passage in the tropics you can skip this section, you lucky thing!

Having grown up Queensland, I don’t handle the cold well so I appreciate quality wet weather gear. Take your time trying on jackets, and think about the benefits of a smock versus zip front. When it comes to sea boots, the cheapest option is often surprisingly sufficient. But to get the very best, you’ll need to spend top dollar.

Some ladies like to wear drop seat overalls, but there’s a reason why many of the world’s top female sailors don’t wear them. The benefits just don’t weigh up against the risk of any water getting in.

Keeping your hands warm is tricky because they will be wet, working with lines and even the most expensive ‘waterproof’ gloves are unlikely to be 100% effective. After years of asking professional sailors, cruisers, and Southern Ocean fishermen, the only two things I would recommend are well-fitted neoprene diving gloves or sturdy plastic washing up gloves. The later are my personal preference, worn with a light lining glove if really necessary. Of course, they’ll wear through pretty fast but till then they’ll keep the wind off and won’t break the bank to replace.

Mental Preparation

This isn’t something that is normally mentioned in passage planning discussions, but I believe that it warrants some thought. Your average sailor, boatie or Aussie isn’t typically keen to talk about feelings. But faced with challenging weather, little sleep and cramped living conditions, your crew’s headspace is critical to the success and enjoyment of your passage.

I’d recommend talking to experienced sailors, as knowing what to expect can be comforting and learning about the way others deal with challenges may be helpful. Choosing crew who have proven to be resilient in tough situations is important as you may not have the luxury of pressure testing every crew member. But if the crew member understands the challenges they may face and is still determined to come, then there is every chance that they will perform well.


As soon as word gets out that you’re planning a passage, you’ll be swamped with suggestions on what food to pack and how to prepare it so I won’t say too much on this topic. You’ll need to think about your own preferences and the facilities you have to work with. Some boats are lucky enough to have large fridge and freezer capacity, ovens and microwaves, while others may only have a little single burner.

Remember that anything more complex than reheating food will be messy and possibly hazardous in rough conditions. I’d highly recommend a good travel mug; in big seas, it’s the best thing to use to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. The ideal mug will have a wide base and secure lid. Be wary of cheap plastics that hold the flavour of your previous meal or drink.


When it comes to offshore sailing or boating, a cautious approach is never a bad idea and in my experience can even prove beneficial to a racing sailor. During the 2011 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, my youth crew discovered that reefing early improved the boat’s performance in a steep sea and we were able to make gains on many of the experienced inshore sailors who flew more sail.

On the subject of sails, storm sails absolutely must be hoisted before heading out to sea. Many sailors have storm sails, still crunchy and new, but surprisingly few of these sails have been fitted in a way that will allow the crew to safely use them in the conditions they are designed for. As for more general safety equipment, put together a solid first aid kit and a grab bag in case you have to abandon ship. Tie wooden bungs next to your seacocks and check that your life raft is very well strapped down. Every boat and sailor will have different communications equipment and preferences. Of course you’ll need to cover the essentials like EPIRBs and VHF radios, but after that it’s up to you. The important thing is to have multiple options and backups.

A man overboard drill is another critical exercise that I’d highly recommend practicing more than once. Rather than meticulously preparing for the first drill, try catching your crew off guard and then build on what you learn. Think carefully about the placement of clip on points and jacklines to allow you to move easily around the boat. Clipping on needs to be stamped into your muscle memory. You should feel naked without your harness and lanyard.

Also, sorry to mention such an unglamorous subject, but I have a problem with guys “visiting” the side of the boat. I’ve heard many tragic stories which resulted from this habit. So guys, please remember to tell someone what you’re doing, clip your lanyard on and be cautious—even on a nice day.

There are a million more things I could mention in regards to safety, but you’ll be fine if you value seamanship above speed, luxury or ego.

Weather and Navigation

When you’re at sea, you are completely at the mercy of the weather. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of good weather forecasting available. Pilot charts showing seasonal averages are a great place to start. Based on your experience and the capability of your boat, you’ll need to consider your limits and decide what conditions you’re prepared to deal with. On Pink Lady, the boat I sailed around the world, I was happy to (well, maybe not happy to, but prepared to) face over 60 knots of wind and 10 metre waves, but on your average club racer I’d be terrified to leave smooth water.

When it comes to navigation, you can choose from a chartplotter or any of the software available. But you’ll get your best information from cruising guides and up-to-date local knowledge like that shared in Deckee’s location guides. It’s important to again have contingencies for navigation. Paper charts are of course a good backup, but more and more boaties are also using Navionics on their iPhones and iPads.

With all this talk of cold, seasickness and sleep deprivation, I hope I haven't made offshore passages sound terrible. I’ve always found it better to tackle the tough stuff head-on so you can get on with enjoying the passage. At sea you’ll soon adjust to haphazard sleep, find your sea legs and come to appreciate the simplicity of life at sea.

Other helpful articles:

Essential Sail Maintenance Tips

The Basics of Shorthanded Sailing

9 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Vintage boat review: Cruise Craft Caprice 550
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted April 12 2018

1996, October; Moreton Bay, Brisbane: The Brisbane-based boat-building company of Nichols Brothers celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1996, and any firm that can prosper through fifty years in the tough arena of Australian recreational boating has to be doing the right thing. To make last year extra special, the company took out the Boat of the Year Award with its Cruise Craft Outsider 650, and founder of the enterprise, Roy Nichols, celebrated his 75th birthday.

All the boats are built under the Cruise Craft brand with some 18 models ranging from 4.7 to 7.5 metres. The Caprice is a development of the Cruise Craft Capri 533, with a bit of extra room on board to make things more comfortable. The style is quite classic half-cab with somewhat angular lines to the deck coamings and cabin, but with a good balance and with pleasing style.

The transom is uncluttered with small boarding steps either side flanked by handrails that curve to follow the gun'l line. The engine well is comparatively large, but allows (smallish) quarter seats either side that are nicely upholstered and that give a good ride. A clever idea has a lift-up panel across the front of the engine well that doesn't intrude on cockpit floor space when it's down (and when it also conceals most of the aft bilge area), but then quickly lifts to form a table for snacks, drinks (two drink holders are neatly fitted in its front corners), games or whatever you'd like.

With the table up, vision and access into the aft bilges is a snap. The finish is splatter-fibreglass which is easy to keep clean, and the visible engineering is neat and strong with the battery mounted to starboard and the oil reservoir to port.

The cockpit floor is carpeted with removable panels over the 112 litre aluminium fuel tank. Capacious sidepockets would soak up a lot of your onboard bits and pieces, while more storage is in the moulded base of the driver's seat (accessible from the front, and at two levels to keep things separated). Underneath the first mate's seat is located a huge cooler. I think that this is a good approach, making it convenient to take the cooler inside at home, load it up with all the human sustenance and lubrication needed for the voyage, then lift it onboard where it is securely held in floor-mounted brackets out of the way under the seat. Beside both the front seats are higher level stowage pockets.

A slight step takes you down into the cabin which feels very light and roomy. The entrance is wide and clear, and big windows in the sides and front let in stacks of natural light. A forward removable centre section of the vee-seating would enable you to hide away a portable toilet. Room under the side seats would take bulky items such as lifejackets, and sidepockets give even more storage space. An overhead hatch is big enough to give quick access out to the foredeck.

The seats are long enough for sleeping overnight, and are upholstered in a pleasant fabric. Incidentally, the sidepockets run across the front of the cabin for a little bonus storage.

The area behind the dash and gauges is covered by a hinged panel that keeps things tidy most of the time, and yet that makes it easy to check wiring and other bits for maintenance work. Below the panel was mounted a GME 27 Mhz radio with its mic clipped to the dash. Whilst putting the radio in the cabin keeps it out of the sun and any spray, it makes it a bit inconvenient to use when you want to change channels or adjust controls. On balance, I think I'd prefer it to be mounted closer to the wheel where its controls could be more easily seen and used whilst sitting/standing to drive. However, that's a personal thing that could be set to suit your individual preference.

I found the steering position to be comfortable. Our particular boat didn't have an adjustable seat (but that can be arranged), so I found the reach to the wheel just a bit long. However, sitting to drive was still enjoyable, as was standing when I found I had plenty of room. We ran with the canopies up, which is more often the case these days in times of ozone holes and stronger sun, but I still had full standing headroom at the wheel, and there was even more further aft. Vision forward through the screen was excellent.

The gauges are mounted in an angled panel nicely above the wheel so that, sitting or standing, they were easy to view. We had a tacho and speedo with gauges for fuel, trim and volts plus an hour meter down lower behind the wheel. A Lowrance X25B sounder was mounted to starboard in the corner of the screen. A big grab rail across the wide opening into the cabin was handy for the first mate.

The Caprice was easy to drive and not at all sensitive to trim. I found I could leave the Johnson around the quarter trim mark and that allowed smooth cruising as well as smart acceleration on plane from rest. On the other hand, using the trim when you wanted did allow fine-tuning the boat's performance. Turning the wheel brought the Caprice around predictably and smoothly with good manners. Into a punchy Moreton Bay chop, the Cruise Craft hull did a great job with a solid feel and a smooth ride; stability was pleasing too when running as well as when stopped or drifting.

The V4 Johnson was straight out of its carton so was still tight. Nevertheless, it ran with vigour to push the Caprice to an indicated top speed of 64 kph at 5,200 rpm. Intermediate cruise speeds were most pleasant with the speedo showing 34 kph at 3,500 rpm, 45 kph at 4,000 and 53 kph at 4,500 rpm. Performance could only improve as the Johnno clocked up a few more hours. That's a pretty neat set of results from 115 hp, and says a lot about the Nichols Brothers' ability to match good design and hull balance with an optimum power unit.

All that 50 years of Nichols Brothers experience help to make the Caprice a strong and well-mannered boat that is targeted at the family market, but that would be welcome in just about any boating application. It's ideal for newcomers with its easy handling and maintenance, although more experienced boaties would also appreciate its stability and performance.


Overall length: 5.36 metres

Beam: 2.28 metres

Deadrise: 20 degrees

Weight (approx. boat only): 612 kgs

Fuel: 112 litres

Power as tested: Johnson 115 hp

Top Speed: 64 kph

Price (at time of review): $32,950 on trailer

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
Sail Port Stephens: Showtime steals the show in Cup finale
Mike McKiernan
Posted April 12 2018

On the third day, the wind gods summoned a cracking breeze for the Sail Port Stephens fleet contesting the Commodores Cup – a 6-knot northerly at the start, building to around 18 knots mid-race as a remnant and reminder of summers past.

Course 9 was race officer Denis Thompson’s call, sending the largest-ever Cup fleet running down harbour under spinnakers and full sun, past the picturesque Anchorage Marina, then onto a triangular track in Salamander Bay.

After two days of relatively light airs and chop, it suited those with longer waterlines and a penchant for power reaching. Crew work also came to the fore as the 78 yachts descended on the marks in tight packs.

Starting the final day of Commodores Cup action, the Division 1 ball was firmly in the court of Pittwater flyer Showtime after two commanding and consecutive line-honour/handicap doubles, with daylight second.

Today, the Ker 40 had a slowish start at the breakwall end of the line but used its speed dominance to quickly slip through the field. When they saw the stronger breeze coming in they tactically gybed over to it and virtually ran to the leeward mark.

The crew tuned the boat into overdrive for the final beat, hitting 8.2 knots upwind.

“The guys did very, very well all three races,” co-owner Mark Griffith said. “We’ve started celebrating already down on the dock – I think we’re up to our sixth bottle of champagne and the music is blaring. Having a good time.”

Showtime was 12 minutes clear of Margaret Rintoul V across the line, and they finished the same way on PHS overall. Warwick Millers Beneteau 50 Lumiere, with Alby Pratt and Mitch White calling shots, took the win today to move into third overall.

Other bragging rights today went to Schouten Passage, with an all-women crew representing Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, finishing second from Brendan Gregg’s Quest 3.

Dennis Cooper’s Sydney 36 Amante, the overnight clubhouse leader in Division 2 with a slender 4-point margin, also became slightly buried at the start before edging into clean air. Nearest rival Austral, a Sydney 38, got away cleanly and the building nor-east seabreeze also brought third-placed Northshore NS-X Excapade well into the frame.

Austral, a Lake Macquarie yacht owned by Peter Mayo, finished sixth today to take the overall spoils. The Beneteau Oceanis 45 Antipodes stretched its legs to win the day and grab the second podium place, while Excapade held on for third.

“It feels great to be a winner after quite a few years here,” Mayo said. “It certainly wasn’t a forgone conclusion at the start of the day, but fortunately we put enough distance between us and Amante, while Antipodes came out of the blue to win.

“We sailed so well today, really coming into our own on the last beat and passing a lot of the Division 1 boats ahead. The week’s only half started for us – we’re also sailing on the weekend in Performance Racing.”

The Division 3 stage was primed for an upset as the two leaders, the Spider 22 Black Sheep and 26-foot Elliott 780 Clean Sweep would both struggle uphill against boats with 20 years less age and 10 feet more length. As a member of Port Stephens Yacht Club, Clean Sweep skipper Steve Liney at least had local knowledge on his side.

The twin-ruddered Sunfast 3200 Steadfast, representing Cronulla Sailing Club and Royal Motor Yacht Club Port Hacking, eventually came from the clouds to lead the division home and take overall handicap honours. Skipper Glenn Smith savoured a quiet rum with his crew immediately afterwards.

“The first day was frustrating, the second day was fun and today was smiles all around – not just because of the result but the fact we had a great breeze,” Smith said. “We finished first across the line in our division because the Sunfast loves going to windward in a breeze.

“Macscap was less than a minute behind at the finish, and that was the first time we’d seen the bow of his boat all day.”

Peter McClelland’s Macscap moved to second place overall with a 16th today while Derek Sheppard’s Blacksheep tied for 3rd place on 27 points with David Sanders’ Savarna

The 14-strong Jeanneau fleet competed for their own class trophy with great camaraderie both on and off the water. Macscap led overnight from Frank Milner’s Sun Odyssey 349 Pinta Bay but Steadfast overtook both.

Newcastle yacht Scuffy (Richard Fleck) took Division 3 handicap win from CYCA yacht Hector (Bertrand Philippe)

Thursday April 12 is a layday, then Sail Port Stephens puts on its serious face from Friday to Sunday. The on-water program includes the Garmin NSW IRC Championship, starring Wild Oats X, Hooligan, Quest, Nine Dragons and Philosophers among the 21 starters.

There’s also the Australian Sports Boat National Championships, Super 12 State Championships with a record fleet of 15, plus a Performance Racing and Performance Cruising Series for the Port Stephens Trophy.



2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Five things you can do to stop the spread of dangerous marine pests
Jessica Watson
Posted April 11 2018

Commercial shipping and the water ballast systems aboard large ships have long been identified as responsible for the spread of marine pests that can wreak havoc on our marine ecosystems. As home to the port of Melbourne – Australia’s busiest container port – and to the Port of Geelong, it’s therefore no surprise that Port Phillip Bay is riddled with marine pests.

The most common of these is the highly invasive and predatory Northern Pacific Seastar, Asterias amurensis. Parks Victoria’s State-wide Leader – Marine and Coasts Mark Rodrigue describes the seastars as ‘voracious’. ‘They will eat essentially anything that’s not bolted down,’ say’s Mark. And, horrifyingly, at their peak there was a greater mass of the seastars than fish in the bay. Other invasive species, such as Wakame, Undaria pinnatifida, are also thriving and competing with native algae for habitat.  

Wakame growing on a boat in Port Phillip Bay. 

Roellen Gillmore, Marine Communications Officer for Parks Victoria and a keen sailor, only recently realised the extent of the problem, and what she describes an ‘opportunity to contain the marine pests’. ‘As sailors, we just aren’t aware,’ says Roe. ‘We don’t really think about what’s going on below, but there’s a whole new world under our keels.’

She explains that Wakame, Northern Pacific Seastars and their microscopic offspring can easily become attached to boats and marine equipment and spread to new waterways. While Roe jokes that she now has an environmental incentive for washing her boat down, she’s deadly serious when she says that she wouldn’t want to be the person who causes the spread. ‘Once they become established, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them,’ say’s Roe. ‘The best management option is to prevent the spread, and it’s the human factor that we all can control.’

A Northern Pacific Seastar found by Marine Ranger Chris Hayward in Tidal River in late 2017. 

Thankfully these marine pests have, to date, been largely contained to Port Phillip. While some natural dispersal is unavoidable as it occurs with the tidal movements, in Victoria, New Zealand, and across the world, there is an increasing recognition that there is a danger of all vessels, including travelling boaties, unintentionally spreading pests. Past outbreaks of pests at Apollo Bay and Wilsons Promontory indicate we’re only just keeping a grip on the issue.

So while there’s already plenty on our minds as we prepare to set off through Port Phillip Heads or travel to another waterway or coastline, we also need to ensure we’re not taking dangerous stowaways with us. Here are the key things we need to do to avoid spreading marine pests;

1. Use fresh water to wash all equipment. Everything from kayaks, fishing equipment, diving gear, fenders, and anchor chain.

2. Ensure that all equipment, including sails and lines are dried as microscopic offspring can survive for long periods in the damp.

3. Yacht owners should ensure that their antifoul is kept up to date and that hulls are checked for attached marine life.

4. Sewage and bilge water should be emptied at an approved facility, and any saltwater systems on board should be flushed out or treated regularly.

5. Keep your eyes out for these pests beyond Port Phillip Bay and report sightings to 

Parks Victoria divers removing Wakame at Popes Eye, Port Phillip Bay.

While any opinions expressed by the author are absolutely her own, this article has been produced in collaboration with Parks Victoria. For more information on how boaties can prevent the spread of marine pests and to report any sightings, please see Parks Victoria’s website.

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Vintage Boat Review: Integrity 380 Flybridge
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted April 5 2018

2014, September; Pittwater, Sydney: It’s always very pleasing to report on an Australian success, and especially so when that has been achieved during the recent tougher-than-usual economic times. Around a decade back, Gold Coast-based marine-industry entrepreneur Brett Flanagan found a common theme amongst clients. They mentioned that they liked a particular feature from one boat but another feature from a second boat and a third feature from elsewhere - and wouldn’t it be great if they could all be combined in one vessel?

Brett assembled this litany of desirable attributes and sought an established boat-builder who could bring the resulting design into reality. Brett’s wife Brenda is part of the team and develops the interiors for the boats. They commissioned the Guangzhou Jianguha Marine and Engineering Company Limited to use its existing expertise in top-quality trawler-style hulls and thus was born the Integrity marque. It has since seen more than 50 motor yachts cruising inshore and coastal waters in the hands of enthusiastic owners.

The first Integrity was the 350 Flybridge with subsequent models featuring an open connection between the cabin and cockpit to maximise space and to create an al fresco indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Larger versions followed too as market response to the new line of boats proved strong with the 380 and 440 Sedans coming on stream. The range now tops out with a 490 Flybridge and a 650 Pilothouse whilst this elegant 380 Flybridge makes for an ideal balance of capabilities and easy handling.

Featuring a generous beam of 4.11 metres, the 11.7 metre (38.5 feet) 380 offers a great deal of onboard room, especially as the flybridge has its own aft deck that extends back over the cockpit. With a basic theme of reliable simplicity, the Integrity packs a lot of standard features into its base price of $549,000 which, at the time of review, included a host of options such as aircon/heating, flat-screen TV, an outboard-powered RIB tender, an Onan 4kva generator, upgraded ultra-leather upholstery, teak and holly flooring, Corian counter tops, cockpit seating, camping covers and much more.

Power comes from a John Deere six-cylinder turbo-diesel rated at 168kw (225hp) that cruises the 380 at a comfortable seven or eight knots and can run up to around 10 knots. Twin fuel tanks provide 1,135 litres for extended voyages at an average 8 litres/hour and the hull design can easily handle offshore conditions. A full keel protects the prop and rudder and delivers directional stability even in difficult quartering seas. The standard feature of bow and stern thrusters make manoeuvering around marinas and jetties easy and relaxed.

Stepping aboard the Integrity gives the first clues as to its remarkable liveability as wide side decks below properly sized bulwarks, and with clip-out sections of the strong guard rails, make it safe and convenient to board or disembark from directly alongside. The full beam boarding platform offers an equally viable alternative (at a lower level) with another central guard rail across the back and a small step up into the cockpit through a starboard entry port in the transom.

The cockpit leaves plenty of floor space even with L-shaped lounges in the port quarter and a reclining lounge to starboard. Under the sole is a sizeable lazarette for storing bulky items such as fenders, and indeed throughout the whole of the 380 storage capacity is beyond generous.

Stainless-framed glass ‘hopper’ doors can seal off the main saloon but when opened – the lower door slides away and two upper doors hinge upward – they leave an unrestricted flow between saloon and cockpit. The galley is L-shaped in the aft starboard corner of the saloon so anyone prepping snacks or meals is right in the centre of both the saloon and cockpit for conversations and social mingling; any gregarious chef can prepare their masterpieces whilst still leading interactive entertainment amongst guests. A two-burner electric cooktop on the side Corian-topped work area is behind large sliding windows that admit all the light and fresh air you could want, whilst twin sinks in the work area facing the cockpit can be partially covered by a removable Corian panel. In craftsman-finished cabinets above and below are a microwave and fridge/freezer with doors and drawers opening into plentiful storage areas. For longer cruises, a second freezer can be fitted.

It was pleasing to see that the Corian worktops had integral fiddles which, although small, would help to keep things rolling off. The corners of the tops were thoughtfully rounded too for safety. Opposite the galley another L-shaped lounge forms a dinette around a table with fold-out panels so it can either be a compact coffee table or a full-size dining table. That area also converts to a double berth – as does the lounge/table combination in the cockpit. A large section of the beautifully finished teak cabinetry flowing back from the port front quarter lifts to reveal a flat screen TV. There too is a recessed area for keeping remotes and similar items.

The blend of cream-coloured acoustic vinyl in the overhead panels, the ultra-leather upholstery and the teak/holly flooring is both traditional and very appealing. The neutral tones mean that owners can create their own colour accents with cushions and other accessories, and also that it would be easy to change the accent and tone from time to time without having to amend the underlying finish. Integrity can provide alternative timber finishes such as Cherrywood or American Oak if required.

Deep and wide windows down the saloon sides and large screen panels across the front make the entire area light, bright and airy; blinds and curtains can turn the saloon into a more intimate setting in the evenings.

The main helm position is in the starboard front quarter of the saloon. It is both efficient and stylish with a stainless ship-style wheel and clearly-sighted dash panel. An overhead cabinet holds the stereo system control unit and a Raymarine VHF radio. There is plenty of space to add navigation electronics and a sliding door gives immediate access to the side deck and up to the foredeck for mooring.

Entry to the engine room is under the sole of the saloon. For routine checks, two panels in the floor lift on gas-assist struts and hinge to starboard for an easy step-down into a spotless engineer’s delight. For more serious work, another panel under the saloon table can be lifted. All the wiring and hoses were properly secured and – very impressively – there were clearly readable labels to quickly identify what was what. A non-mechanical owner or a technician new to the boat would soon find their way around. A level of redundancy is built in with the twin fuel tanks feeding through independent water-separating Racor filters and plumbed so that the engine can feed from either or both tanks. Should one tank or filter become clogged, it would be a moment’s work to switch to the other.

Also easily checked were the large raw-water filter and the shaft drive coupling. Aft was the Cummins Onan 4kva generator, and the battery boxes were properly installed with a beautifully made electrical connections bus-bar. The John Deere turbo-diesel was immaculate; these engines have a reputation for low maintenance and solid reliability. Because of that, they are often the preferred brand for commercial trawlers.

Back in the saloon, three steps centrally forward lead down to the staterooms and bathroom. There used to be two steps, but comments from owners indicated they were too steep, and so Integrity changed to the more easily-negotiated triple steps – an example of the company’s keenness to listen to feedback and to move quickly to adapt under a philosophy of continual improvement. To port is the guest cabin with double berth, hanging locker and other storage compartments whilst opposite that is the bathroom with electric toilet and separate shower area.

Further forward is the owner’s stateroom with island double bed, cedar-lined hanging locker, angled corner shelving and more stowage capacity as well as the second flat screen TV. All these accommodations are well lit through large portholes and, for the main stateroom, a screened overhead hatch. The quality finish of trim and timber with, for the bathroom, shiny white easy-clean surfaces and non-slip teak-grate under-foot platforms is welcoming and comfortable.

Put together, the interior of the 380 Flybridge is hard to fault for live-aboard enjoyment and relaxed entertaining. The two staterooms and the two convertible double berths in the saloon and cockpit mean you could sleep four couples, and there’s enough room for that to remain uncrowded over a weekend or so. The wide beam of the 380 not only adds to the interior spaciousness, but makes the Integrity very stable when moored. Two couples could enjoy life afloat for as long as they want; there are two fresh water tanks totalling 780 litres and the holding tank is 115 litres with Y-valving for discharge into shore facilities or overboard when out at sea.

And that’s before adding the extra space of the commodious flybridge which is reached up a set of rail-protected teak steps from the cockpit. Once aloft, a large floor space extends aft over the cockpit while forward are L-shaped lounges each side of a central helm chair. Triangular tables are perfect for holding snacks and drinks, and there are stacks of stowage spots under seats and in the front of the flybridge main moulding.

Overhead is a bimini for sun protection whilst the helm is a full duplicate of the one below with all the same instrumentation, although with the added benefit from the higher vantage point of a great view across the foredeck and the surrounding waters. The layout allows the skipper to be surrounded by crew and guests in a very convivial setting, and the aft extension allows for a quite separate group to mingle if required.

Matching all the upstairs/downstairs amenities, the anchoring/mooring facilities are well thought out with a strong power winch and plenty of room in the anchor locker. Those excellent wide and protected side decks mean getting around from cockpit to foredeck is safe even in a seaway, and the deck hardware is intelligently located and well-sized to take care of the boat in all conditions.

A smaller 340 Integrity was delivered from the Gold Coast to Cairns between two cyclones by Adam Workman from Integrity’s Sydney dealer Performance Boating. Adam noted: “I wanted to see what it was like as a true offshore boat. You wouldn’t imagine a 34 foot boat as being good to do it in when we went up with two cyclones north of Mackay. We had three to four metre seas on the beam and on the quarter and I was imagining we were going to slide off waves, but it just tracked so true – the keel helped and the low centre of gravity. We had one night where we had a beam sea and we thought we are just going to rock and roll and rock and roll – but really it wasn’t that uncomfortable at all.”

Accompanying Adam on the delivery voyage was Dale Cuthbert, a life-long boating man with plenty of experience. He added: “I was very impressed with the way it handled seaways; I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was and was pleasantly surprised. The beam-on seas threw everything at us as we dodged a couple of cyclones, but the Integrity ticked every box as far as I was concerned. It proved very reliable and was quiet and extremely manoeuvrable with the bow and stern thrusters – it’s just a great all-round boat.”

Dale’s wife Maureen has also been aboard countless craft and runs a business ‘Styling Boats For Sale’ which has given her a wide perspective on what appeals to boat buyers, especially for women. After our run aboard the 380 Flybridge, Maureen commented: “I think it’s the perfect marriage of the ultimate man’s toy and traditional lines whilst not compromising on modern luxury. Women are less wanting to cater and entertain at home, but on a boat it’s an icebreaker and on a boat this size you can have a lot of people and it’s not crowded. Where Integrity has been very smart is with the choice of wood and leather - with this boat every six months I could have the feel of a brand new boat just by changing the cushions.”

Maureen also noted: “The walk-around island bed and the head height downstairs is fabulous – and the size of the shower. The other thing is with the format of inside-outside, I’m not stuck in a downstairs galley away from my guests, I can actually talk while I cook and entertain.”


Overall Length: 11.73 metres

Beam: 4.11 metres

Draft: 1.12 metres

Weight (dry): 10,000 kgs

Fuel: 1,135 litres

Water: 780 litres

Power: John Deere 6-Cylinder Turbo Diesel 225 hp

Top Speed: 9.3 knots

Price (approx. at time of review): $549,000

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
Vintage Boat Review: Arvor Weekender
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted March 28 2018

November 2011; Middle Harbour, Sydney: Boat designers are becoming additionally clever every year at fitting more into less, and here’s a prime example. This seven metre Arvor Weekender can sleep five people and provide them with a compact galley and separate toilet compartment as well as a good-sized self-draining cockpit, safe walk-around side-decks and a commendable foredeck with proper anchoring facilities including a power winch!

Now it is true that if the five people weren’t close friends before, they would certainly know each other very well after a weekend onboard together. But it could be done in fair comfort, and those that are a family group, or indeed already good mates, would have great fun. For a couple, or a typical family with two or three youngsters, the accommodations would be wonderful for this easy-to-handle-size boat.

Until this model, Arvors have been fishing-oriented craft with a strong following attracted by their ruggedly honest approach to design and construction matched with a contemporary-adapted traditional style. Whilst fishing was the ‘raison d’etre’ (reason for being – Arvor is French!), the boats still proved family-friendly although with some lack of enthusiasm on occasion from the distaff side.

Peter Collins has been the Australian distributor for Arvor since 1998 and is one of those valued sellers-of-boats who takes the time to ask what a client is looking for before trying to market his product to them – or not, in the case they want something he doesn’t sell. It’s an old marketing technique not seen so much these days called qualifying the client, and it can save a lot of wasted effort for both parties. Peter has observed many a gentleman see an Arvor fishing boat by himself on Friday at a boat show and be as keen as mustard to buy it, only to bring his wife on Sunday who takes a look, shakes her head and walks away.

That’s fair enough too if the lady of the house wants to share her husband’s passion for boating, but also wants him to share her needs and wants afloat. So Arvor decided to adapt its proven hull designs and has introduced this new Weekender model to better suit the male-female balance with a very comfortable enclosed cabin, dinette area, two-burner stove, sink, fridge, separate toilet and so on – it genuinely lives up to its name! Plus it’s still a beaut fishing boat.

Originating in France and built in Europe, Arvor boats are designed to handle the often rough conditions of the English Channel and similarly demanding northern waters. That makes them ideal for Australian conditions too. The hull design has strong forward sections with plenty of buoyancy and with a full keel plus a skeg that continues underneath the prop for protection. The amidships mounted diesel engine with conventional shaft drive gives an excellent balance to the boat and the power plant’s deep-in-the-hull position keeps the centre of gravity lower which adds further to the Arvor’s renowned performance in a seaway.

The fishing Arvors range from 20 to 28 feet and the over-350 sold in Australia through Collins Marine are solid proof of their acceptance in our market. This new Weekender model has much the same seaworthy hull design although the beam is carried further forward for more interior space.

The boarding platform has a couple of useful features with a drop-down swim ladder and an integral bracket for an owner-supplied auxiliary outboard. Even better is the stowage neatly moulded into the back of the boat for fenders – two either side of a central walk-through into the cockpit. A pull-out shower is housed in the side of the walk-way with pressure (cold, fresh) water for convenient use after a swim. A drop-in panel closes the walk-way when required. Grab rails curve around each aft corner of the boat and have thoughtful padded sections that act as backrests for the rear seats in the generously sized cockpit. More seating is to port with stowage below, and in the starboard front corner is a step up to the pleasingly wide side decks. Under that step is a storage locker that could hold a barbecue which would neatly clamp to an aft rail for convenient operation.

The sole of the cockpit has imitation teak decking which looks good and which will never need re-oiling or other maintenance. The cockpit is well above the water line and is self-draining for convenience and safety. A large hatch in the sole gives access to the fuel tank, transmission and other ancillaries, plus has room for storage. A table is provided that mounts into a bracket in the floor. Adding to the versatility of the cockpit, the rear seats can convert to a double-berth-sized sunlounge – good for relaxing through the day, and for sleeping on calm nights beneath the stars. Peter can optionally provide a shade cover to owner requirements extending out from the back of the cabin.

A sliding door in the cabin bulkhead makes it easy to move into the interior of the Weekender where there’s a dinette to port and a small galley to starboard. The dinette has L-shaped lounges around a table which lowers to form a base that, with an extra cushion, converts the area to a double berth. More storage is under the back seats, and there’s a hatch nearby that lifts for day-to-date engine checks and maintenance.

The driving position is forward on the right and the back of the seat cunningly folds forward to reveal a sink with pressure water supply. Aft of that is a slide-out marble-look work bench over a two burner methylated-spirit stove with a locker for kitchen goodies underneath. Aft again is the 12 volt fridge with a small food preparation area above. The galley is compact and positioned a bit lower than usual, but it’s entirely workable and makes excellent use of the available space. For a seven metre boat it’s very good indeed.

Large windows bring lots of natural light into the cabin with an overhead hatch and a sliding starboard window for ventilation. An angled panel centrally above the windscreen contains a standard-equipment VHF marine transceiver and an AM/FM/CD stereo system playing through speakers beside the panel plus another pair in the cockpit.

The overall cabin layout works very well with up to say four people able to sit around the dinette and keep the skipper company. Anyone could sit facing the skipper for easier conversation, or relax facing forward with legs stretched out along the side lounge to very comfortably watch the world go by, or maybe to read a magazine – or even to study a chart and navigate for the helmsperson. The area also means everyone has great views whilst dining.

A step-down takes you into the forward cabin with a separate toilet compartment on your right. That has a portable loo, a basin with pressure water and a storage locker plus a porthole for light through the day. Down the left side of the cabin is a three-quarter berth, and there’s an extra cushion so it converts to a double berth when required. As well, unexpectedly, there’s another single berth running back under the seating of the dinette – a great spot for kids to use as a cubby-house through the day, or for one of the crew to sleep. In front of the toilet compartment is a storage cabinet, and a shelf down the port side would take smaller bits and pieces. An overhead hatch brings in light and fresh air, whilst there’s a mirror on the bow bulkhead. A balanced blending of carpet, fabric and woodwork makes the cabin quite welcoming, and it’s also imminently practical and low-maintenance – as is the whole boat.

The engine is a Cummins CMD 150 hp four-cylinder turbo-charged common rail diesel that is surprisingly smooth and quiet. It operates a traditional straight-shaft drive through a hydraulic forward- neutral-reverse gearbox with a 2:1 reduction ratio.

The helm station is neatly set out with a handsome wood-rim wheel. A small, slightly recessed dash panel in front of the wheel houses an analogue tacho with an inset multi-function digital display that cycles through read-outs for engine management such as fuel flow, total fuel used, volts, water temperature and oil pressure. There’s also an analogue fuel gauge plus, on top of the dash and a bit further forward, a magnetic compass. To the right of the wheel is a bank of switches, and up a bit is the control for the standard bow thruster – that’s impressive in this size of boat, and very useful too.

The thruster is another good example of the boating philosophy espoused by both Peter and Arvor - make it easy to use and the owner will happily use it more often. It’s not always effortless to dock or moor a boat, especially with stronger winds or currents, and a skipper that can more precisely position his boat with a bow thruster so that his crew, often his wife, can quickly and easily secure the lines is well on the way to having an enthusiastic crew, or wife! They’ll be keener to go boating, and everyone feels good about the way they can handle the boat.

To the left of the wheel are two more controls for happier boating – a set of rocker switches for the standard trim tabs and a rotary switch for the electric anchor windlass. The anchor self-stows on the bow roller and can be seen from the driving seat, so it’s a snap to lower and retrieve it.

The helm seat is deceptive as it looks a bit small, but it’s comfortable with a very supportive back that wraps around more than most to keep you feeling secure. Neither the wheel nor the seat is adjustable, but their relationship was close to being right for me. I had to lean forward slightly, and the throttle/shift control on the side panel was just a tad too far away, but anyone with marginally longer arms would find it perfect. There’s no drink holder for the skipper, but it would be easy to fit one.

Visibility is excellent, and the quarter frames in the screen are further aft than in most boats, so the view forward is panoramic. The steering is light (five turns lock to lock) and the trim tabs are effective without being sensitive. You don’t have to use the tabs, but they do lower the bow a bit at higher speeds which can give a more comfortable view ahead, and they’re handy for balancing the boat laterally if one or more of the crew are heavier and sitting to one side.

The Weekender was a pleasure to drive and could idle along at 6 knots to admire the scenery or charge along at up to just on 21 knots if you’re in a hurry to get home before a southerly buster comes through. The hull responded quickly to the wheel and could turn as tightly as you’d want – warn the crew before you try full lock at speed! The gearshift was very smooth, as was the ride of the boat through wakes and wash. We didn’t have a chance to run outside, but the Arvor reputation and the feel of the boat during our run are clear indications of the Weekender’s ability to take care of itself, and its crew, in rougher waters.

On longer cruises when you’re likely to want to move around a bit, you could stand to drive for a while, either in front of the seat, although that’s a bit of a tight fit, or standing in the centre of the cabin where it’s still easy to steer and operate the controls.

From that carefree ‘take your time and admire the views’ 6.3 knots at 1,600 rpm, the Cummins diesel lifted the hull on plane and ran on to 10.2 knots at 2,800 rpm whilst a very enjoyable cruise speed was found at 3,200 rpm and 13.4 knots. Top speed was 20.9 knots at 4,100 rpm and even then noise levels in the cabin were low enough for normal conversation. Sound reducing foam under the engine hatch, and some fabric-covered panels on the cabin sides helped in that regard, and it means the Arvor would not be tiring on long cruises. Just the opposite in fact – this is a boat you could cheerfully cruise all day with the economical diesel, an efficient hull and a comfy cabin.

The Weekender was priced at the time of the test at around $115,000 depending on the exchange rate, and that’s very good value for all the inclusions and quality hardware. You’ll need to factor in the price of an anti-foul if you’re keeping the boat in the water, or a trailer. With a beam of 2.78 meters, the Weekender would need a Wide Load permit and sign to tow, but lots of other boats this size do that without trouble.

Our review boat had been sold before it even hit the water. A couple loved the style and are planning to put it to good use with their family and grand-kids. Peter is expecting a number of current Arvor fishing boat owners to make the changeover to take advantage of the better family-orientation offered by the Weekender. The Arvor catch-phrase is ‘Comfort, Safety, Style’, and this boat delivers on all three counts. Go see for yourself!


Hull Length: 6.96 metres

Overall Length: 7.65 metres

Beam: 2.78 metres

Draft: 0.85 metres

Weight: 2,300 kgs

Fuel: 135 litres

Water: 100 litres

Power: Cummins CMD 150 hp

Top Speed: 20.9 knots

Price (from, at time of review): $115,000

2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
Buizen 40 & 48 Pilothouse Yachts Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted March 20 2018

January 1999; Pittwater, Sydney: When I checked on how to pronounce ‘Buizen’, the advice was to remember it starts like ‘beautiful’. That made it easy, and the adjective is totally appropriate for these Australian-made luxury pilothouse yachts.

We all visualise it from time to time. Cruising the Australian coast, the Barrier Reef or even around the world in a superb yacht that’s both fast and stable. The comforts of home are along for the ride with a spacious interior, exquisite woodwork, a fully-equipped kitchen, a couple of bathrooms, and private cabins for ourselves and our guests.

Unlike most yachts though, ours has a saloon with large windows that dazzle all aboard with a never-ending parade of spectacular views across limitless seascapes, tropical islands, exotic ports or the entrancing shoreline of a secluded bay. Being on the same level as the cockpit, our saloon allows guests to relax inside whilst still being able to watch us in the cockpit, and we can all chat easily as the yacht cruises along.

However, there’s plenty of room around the big wheel if everyone wants to be out in the open. As a counter-point, we can use the inside helm when it’s too hot or cold or rainy, or when we’d simply prefer to be close by our friends as they lounge around on the leather-upholstered settees in the saloon. Everyone feels more relaxed knowing we can cruise just as efficiently under power as sail, especially if the wind or the sea gets up, although there’s nothing quite like the exhilaration of spanking along with a good breeze filling the sails and with the whole boat alive and responsive.

And all of this would be just perfect aboard one of the Buizens presented here. In fact, there’s a 48 cruising the world right now that is already carrying trophies for taking out events in the Med and across the Atlantic.

There’s a couple of other international connotations for these boats, but the wonderful fact is that they are totally designed and built in Australia. From a largely self-contained facility in the northern Sydney suburb of Terrey Hills, Eddy and Frits Buizen produce a limited number of craftsman-built yachts that Eddy commissioned Queensland-based naval architect Paul Stanyon to design.

One international connotation is that the Buizen family originally came from Holland where Eddy started his years of training and apprenticeship when only 12. Migrating to Australia in 1953, Eddy set up a carpentry and joinery business that flourished and subsequently (around the late ‘70s) attracted attention from Bill Barry-Cotter who was then building Mariner power cruisers out of Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches. (Bill, of course, went on to remarkable success with Mariner, Riviera and Maritimo luxury cruisers).

Bill asked Eddy to produce interior cabinetry for his Mariners and started a sequence of events that saw Eddy concentrating on producing high-quality timber interiors for several local builders including Cavalier and Northshore Yachts. Along the way younger brother Frits had joined the company, by now named Boat Interiors Pty Ltd, and the firm grew to some 28 staff that produced up to 200 boat interiors in one year.

The involvement with yachts led Eddy to believe there was a market opportunity for a carefully-built pilothouse cruiser, so he asked Joe Adams to design a fast cruising hull. That became the successful ‘Zeston’ yacht which Eddy made in two versions at 36 and 40 feet through the early to mid ‘80s. In 1988, some corporate changes saw the company re-named as Mastercraft Marine Pty Ltd, and the totally new ‘Buizen 48’ pilothouse cruising yacht was launched.

Paul Stanyon’s design for the new 48 was Eddy’s vision of the best possible cruising yacht with responsive performance under sail and power, superior seaworthiness, splendid accommodations, and flawless construction and rigging. A 40 foot version of the design followed later.

The second of the international connotations I mentioned came into play through a continuance of the ‘European-style’ pilothouse layout that had been apparent with the earlier ‘Zeston’ cruisers. For easy on-board living and entertainment, as well as provision of an efficient inside helm position to make cruising in adverse conditions more comfortable, the pilothouse approach has many benefits. It is just so convenient to have the main saloon at the same level as the cockpit, rather than down an often steep companionway as is the case with most sailing yachts.

Aboard both the Buizen 40 and 48, the saloon is more akin to the main cabin of a luxury power cruiser with large windows that give wide-screen 360 degree views both whilst cruising and when moored. Despite the added height of this style, clever design and a most beautiful curve and rake to the saloon’s forward windows give the pilothouse a low-profile sleekness that in no way impairs the flowing lines of the yacht’s overall profile.

Whilst the big wheel in the cockpit will always be the main helm used most of the time, the fully-equipped inside steering position offers an alternative with a great deal of flexibility and convenience. Holding a steady course on a cold night or in rain can be much more comfortable when sipping a mug of coffee in a warm and dry cabin. Also, when idling along under sail or power, the skipper might well prefer to share the company of guests who are relaxing on the settees in the saloon or dining at the table.

Even when at the main wheel in the cockpit, it’s great to be able to easily see and talk with family or guests in the saloon, rather than wonder who’s doing what below whilst shouting down a companionway. Typical of innovations throughout the two Buizens, the saloon door has a fold-down top that enables the bottom half to be closed for partial protection against adverse elements for those inside, whilst still enabling relaxed communication with others in the cockpit.

The big wheel is a focal point of the cockpit, and it’s surrounded by a most efficient arrangement of (powered) winches and controls, and with plenty of seats and storage. Rather a favourite spot is the teak seating mounted either side on the solid stainless frame of the aft safety rails. From these seats you get a sensational view along the full length of the boat, and they are perfect for ‘non working’ guests to be close to the skipper and all the action whilst not being in the way at all.

The side decks are nice and wide, with a good non-slip surface moulded in the ‘glass (laid teak is optional). Quite high safety rails run the length of the yachts and the whole approach is for easy handling by a couple or even solo. As you’d expect, an electric winch takes all the effort out of anchoring at your next port of call, and a full complement of electronic navigation aids is provided as part of the high standard of factory fit-out, subject to individual owner input and requirements.

The masthead rig has a genoa on a furling headstay, and both the 40 and 48 I had the pleasure of sailing aboard had been optionally fitted with another clver Australian invention - Joe Brookes’ ‘furlboom’ system. This enables the skipper to raise, stow or furl the mainsail with the touch of a button on the helm binnacle. A clever electric-hydraulic system manipulates the mainsail which is neatly stowed within the boom when down or partly furled. In-mast furling is also available.

The Aussie-made theme is further augmented with sails from Hood in Sydney, and spars from Yachtspars in Queensland.

The two lengths of the Buizen share the same hull except for scale, with a medium displacement design that performs well across a wide range of wind and sea conditions. By no means a race boat, but certainly a fast cruiser, the hull form is easily driven for good speed under sail. The yachts can also perform well under power with cruising ranges at around 8 knots of 1,000 nautical miles for the 48 and 500 nm for the 40.

Accommodations are similar for the two Buizens, although obviously there’s more space aboard the 48 and that allows an extra guest cabin so that seven can comfortably sleep overnight. Interior cabinetry and craftsmanship are most delightful, with carefully selected teak timbers that are beautifully finished and fitted. The main saloon has a dining table and settee to port, with a nifty extendible table on the 48 that features a folding hide-away centre-section.

The inside helm position is forward to starboard in front of another lounge running down the starboard side. On the 40, the front cushion of that side lounge lifts and swivels in a most ingenious arrangement to form the inside helm seat, whilst the 48 has a dedicated seat for inside-helming. Two large overhead hatches provide additional light and very welcome through-flow ventilation to make the saloons a most pleasant combination of luxury, comfort and practicality.

The galley is forward and down to port with plenty of work space and all the facilities of an upmarket apartment. The owner’s stateroom is right forward and has several alternatives in layout. On the 40, as well as a double berth and plenty of storage spots, the stateroom has a most useful ‘office’ area aft and to starboard where matters that couldn’t be escaped over a long weekend or extended cruise can be attended to with privacy and efficiency. Either of two ensuite layouts can be provided instead of the office.

On the 48, the stateroom has an island double with an ensuite to port. Both yachts have the main bathroom to starboard, just across and slightly forward of the galley. The extra guest cabin on the 48 is forward of that bathroom and can sleep two in upper and lower berths. Both Buizens then have two guest cabins down and aft of the main saloon, with a double on one side and a single on the other, so the 40 can easily accommodate five overnight.

Pricing (in 1999) for the 40 ranged from around $445,000 with the boat I was aboard adding various options to take it to $465,000. The 48 came to $716,000 with options and a very luxurious level of fit-out. The 48 was proving the most popular at the time.

I was privileged to be shown over the two Buizens by Eddy himself, as well as by Bill Rowell who provides the main sales outlet for the yachts from his office at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Sydney’s sparkling Pittwater. When considering any boat, let alone yachts of the calibre as these, it’s always just as important to assess the people behind the boat as much as the craft itself. You won’t find anywhere two more “gentlemen of the sea” than Eddy and Bill. Quietly professional and competent, their pride and enthusiasm for the Buizens comes across very clearly, and the careful attention to detail shown in every aspect of the yachts reflects their attitude and approach to life - and to building beautiful boats.

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
Jessica Watson receives award from the Cruising Club of America
Mike McKiernan
Posted March 1 2018

Article via Cruising Club of America

"Given for the first time in 2017, CCA’s Young Voyager Award, recognizing “a young sailor who has made one or more exceptional voyages,” goes to Jessica Watson. Watson, now 25, completed a southern hemisphere non-stop around the world voyage – solo and unassisted – at the age of 16.

“With the club’s impressive history and award alumni, it's humbling to receive this award,” said Watson. “If you truly want to live life, you have to get involved, pursue your passions and dream big.”

Watson was born in Queensland, Australia to a sailing family. Sailing lessons at an early age and living aboard a cabin cruiser no doubt set the stage for what was to follow. A bedtime story about the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, read to her at age 11, sparked her desire to do the same.

Five years later, after intense preparation, Watson left Sydney Harbor in her Sparkman & Stephens 34 Ella’s Pink Lady. Watson headed northeast and crossed the equator near Jarvis Island, rounded Kiritimati, and then headed southeasterly, rounding Cape Horn on January 13, 2010. East of the Falkland Islands, Watson suffered her first of four knockdowns. She rounded the Cape of Good Hope on February 24 and continued without incident until she was south of Australia where she experienced at least three more knockdowns. Watson continued sailing south of Tasmania, and then turned north to Sydney, completing in 210 days her southern hemisphere around-the-world voyage three days before her 17th birthday. She had indeed done it solo, non-stop and unassisted.

Watson was named Young Australian of the Year 2011 and led the youngest ever crew to participate in the challenging Sydney to Hobart Race, finishing second in her division. She was awarded the Jane Tate Trophy for being the first female to skipper a boat in the race."

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Cruising North East Tasmania - Publication
Tony Peach
Deckee Pro  Posted January 25 2018

Some brief information follows in relation to a new publication that provides cruising and anchorage information to pleasure boats that may be transiting from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane to Hobart via Tasmania’s east coast. In Stock A guide to the waterways and anchorages of North Eastern Tasmania from Wineglass Bay to Port Dalrymple. Edition 1 2017. This guide provides an excellent reference to the anchorages and "must visit" locations around the NE coast of Tasmania, including the Hogan, Kent, Furneaux and Waterhouse island groups.

The guide was created because many Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania (CYCT) members are enamoured by the area’s pristine waters, superb diving and fishing, stunning panoramas and general uniqueness. It is anticipated that any user of this guide will also become entranced with the area.

The guide, unlike many others available, has had almost every anchorage visited by one or more CYCT members, or, in a few instances, verified by a professional skipper who is acquainted with the area. The waters surrounding the north-east coast of Tasmania, the Furneaux Islands and islands of the Kent and Hogan groups provide some unique sailing or power boating and a range of beautiful, safe anchorages. The areas detailed within this guide include some of the most remarkable cruising grounds anywhere in the world, and the more adventurous boaters are slowly discovering the pristine character that envelopes the area.

It is equal in detail and quality to the publication ’Cruising Southern Tasmania’ and it will quickly gain a reputation as the go-to reference for skippers cruising these waters.

If you visit the areas within this guide, we are sure you will find this guide an indispensable reference to have aboard, or at home when planning.

Copies may be purchased from the CYCT at “STOREFRONT”, (

Price: $39.65 each, plus postage of $10.95 for Australia domestic postage and handling, or contact the CYCT quartermaster at

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Tony Peach
Mitigating fatigue at sea
Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  Posted December 20 2017

"They’ve upgraded their warning. The storm's going to be a lot worse." And so starts the drama of staying alive in “The Martian,” which is one of our favourite movies because not only are the effects impressive and the acting convincing, but also because crossing an ocean aboard a small boat is something akin to being isolated on a faraway planet. Help can be a long time coming so self-sufficiency is paramount to our safety. Jack and Jude have crossed a lot of oceans and have survived some horror situations, and so following on from last week’s great article on storm tactics by Jessica, I thought I’d record what I think is equally important. That is fatigue.

Shorthanded crews thinking of sailing the world as well as coastal sailors will find tips here on how to mitigate fatigue and survive. So here goes.

Preparing for an extended voyage is daunting. It’s a tiring task ensuring everything is in good working order, then gathering long lists of provisions and getting them aboard. Doing so takes heaps of mental concentration that’s sometimes not evident until the lines are cast off, when relief floods the mind as we slump to gaze at the land slipping astern.

Take all the rest you can get

In our earlier days of sailing when we took other people across oceans, we’d often have to tend to their mal d’mer or keep them company with their amazement or anxiety. Or they’d slump below and fall asleep because the sudden never ending motion simply knocked the last bit of energy right out of them. So the rule is. Take all the rest you can get.

From firsthand experience, fatigue deepens over time and that can cause bad judgment and the inability to focus on a problem. In the extreme, I’ve even hallucinated, when one night I imagined that a passing vessel had turned about and thought they were pirates, only to find it was another craft.

Sea berths and hammocks

So, rest all you can, even if it’s just a lie down. Falling asleep is a bonus. A good sea berth helps. One that is low, fore and aft, and a tight fit so you don’t roll back and forth. Stuffing cushions in around your body and head helps. I sometimes use our hammock. They take a bit of getting used to, but once you’re asleep, it’s like being on solid ground, so much so, getting out can be tricky. There’s a reason the navies of the world had their crews in hammocks besides saving space.

As the days go on and on, our set routine for off time is invaluable. I generally always lie down. Even if I do not sleep, just lying horizontally polarized gets me ready for my night watch. In rough conditions I might go two or three nights without sleep and I find lying down, mind as blank as I can, refreshing.

Prepare as much as you can before departure

Another point is to prepare as much as you can before all the rocky-rolling action begins. Jude prepares meals in port and stores them in the fridge, which is so handy the first few days out when we’re at our lowest. Tasty prepared food is also available off the shelf, very handy for a single late night meal.

On board Banyandah, unless the wind is expected to lessen, we’ll put a reef in the main during the midnight changeover, ensuring the off watch doesn’t have to get up if conditions freshen.

Learn to hove to

For us, crossing an ocean is not a race, so the next tidbit is to learn to hove to. It’s a handy technique to avoid arriving in darkness as well as getting much needed rest. Therefore, when you get buggered battling the bad stuff, take a break and be refreshed. Just so you know, at the other extreme, when there’s no wind, we mostly drift. Why spoil all that peace and isolation with a noisy engine. While drifting we’ve had the most magnificent seabirds paddle up to us, looking for a hand out.

That favorite movie of ours ends with the hero standing in front of a classroom of new recruits delivering a humorous, yet serious monologue that we all could follow.

“When I was up there stranded by myself, did I think I was going to die - yes, absolutely. And that's what you need to know because it may happen to you. This is space. (pencil in ocean) It does not co-operate. At some point, everything is going to go south on you, everything. And you're going to say, this is it. This is how I am going to end.

Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That's all it is. You just begin. You solve one problem. Then you solve the next one. And the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

From our blog

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jack and Jude
Boat insurance tips: Save time and money with an expert broker
Mike McKiernan
Posted December 18 2017

Finding a knowledgeable and experienced boat insurance broker is the critical first step in protecting your investment so that if disaster strikes, you will be prepared and confident knowing that your claim will be handled expertly and quickly.

This peace of mind means you can enjoy your time on the water with a big smile on your face, knowing that you can leave your worries on dry land!

Why Use a Broker?

Using a broker is a wise choice because a broker will negotiate with insurers to get the best prices and the most comprehensive cover for their clients. Deckee’s broker partner can custom-design an insurance package that covers what most important to you, according to your financial needs, your tolerance for risk (or your ability to stay afloat if your insurance doesn’t cover everything); and your personal goals.

Here are four things to look for from a boat insurance broker:

1. Specialist. Boat insurance is different from home insurance or auto insurance, and you want to work with an industry specialist who understands your needs and has the experience, insight, and knowledge to find the best cover for you. Work with a broker who understands the unique challenges of marine insurance.

2. Integrity. Avoid working with brokers who say “yes” to you too much. It’s better to hear the truth instead of what you want to hear, because nothing will be left to guesswork or doubt and when it comes to claims, you will know exactly what to expect. Work only with a broker who has demonstrated integrity.

3. Responsiveness. What is a broker’s response time? Does they eagerly, kindly, and helpfully answer all questions, even “stupid” questions they’ve heard a thousand times? Do they make you feel like a valued customer? Do you enjoy interacting with them, or do you feel rushed or dismissed? Work only with a broker who is professional, empathetic, and prompt.

4. Persistence. If they can’t answer a question immediately, do they do what they must, to find it? Do they persistently seek to find the best solutions for you on an ongoing basis? In a claims dispute, are they on your side and commit to doing what’s right for you, or do they just say, “sorry, there’s nothing I can do”? Work only with a broker who has your back at all times.

Working with a good broker is priceless. A good broker is your champion and your advocate - and you will enjoy the peace of mind knowing someone has your back and is working tirelessly on your behalf.

As the new year approaches, now is the perfect time to review your current policy and get more information about your options available to you. Submit an enquiry to Deckee’s trusted broker today, and protect you and your watercraft from stem to stern!

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
How To Compare Boat Insurance Policies
Mike McKiernan
Posted December 12 2017

“Being on a boat that’s moving through the water, it’s so clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what’s important and what’s not.” –James Taylor

Bliss, isn’t it? Of course we all think of ‘safety first’ when out on the open water - we’ve got our life vests and navigation systems - but it’s easy to forget that properly insuring the boat itself can save you a boatload of problems in case of a claim.

If you’re new to boat insurance, these pointers will help you navigate these complex waters. If you have existing boat insurance, it might be the perfect time to talk to your broker to make sure they’re up-to-date on any changes that need to be made - or to guide you in a better direction if options have opened up. 

A common question from first-time boat owners is, “Doesn’t my homeowner’s policy take care of it?” Most homeowner’s policies have significant restrictions and exclusions for boats and personal watercraft. Your homeowner’s policy may cover inexpensive, slow, and small craft (canoes, kayaks, dinghies, etc.)  but when it comes to personal watercraft like Wave Runners/Jet Skis, any watercraft that can exceed 40km/h, large sailboats or yachts... DO NOT assume that your boat, guests, or personal property are covered by your homeowner’s policy!

Good comprehensive boat insurance will protect your investment, as well as safeguard you from liability claims from injury or property damage. Rather than listing each individual element of boat insurance here, it’s best to consult with a knowledgeable broker who will help you understand exactly what you can expect to be covered for in case disaster strikes. Generally, anything that is permanently attached to the boat is covered; but don’t guess. Ask.

Make sure you understand the two types of cover available, and the risks associated with each:

Actual cash value pays the value of your boat at the time of the damage/destruction. The insurance company determines its market value.

Agreed amount value. If the boat is destroyed, the insurer pays a previously-agreed amount. If it can be repaired, old items are replaced with new without deducting for depreciation.

There is more to consider when choosing a policy, including the intended use of your boat (personal or commercial); its size and horsepower; where you will be using it; whether operation requires a license; and whether you’ll be participating in racing of any kind.

You will also want to consider the risk you are comfortable carrying as well as costs (lower deductibles/greater cover, or higher deductibles/lower premiums).

So… how do you choose the best policy for your boat? Our best tip is:

DO NOT base your cover on price alone. Consider the intended use and what you want to be covered for, the risk you are willing to assume, and talk to a knowledgeable broker who will help you navigate the intricacies of boat insurance and help you choose the best cover for you.

Now is the perfect time to get more information about your options or to review your current policy to see if it still meets your needs. Check out our free Boat Insurance Comparison Tool – just submit a quote request and our expert brokers will find the best policy for you at the best possible price!

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Finding difficult to find spares
Posted December 8 2017

I would like to give a business a huge shout out...Fenquin Pty Ltd.

I am a proud owner of a 20 year old Hunter Passage 42, she was built in the US and as such often sourcing replacement parts has been challenging. Recently, we had an issue with our onboard generator set. We worked out that we needed to replace the two belts. I tried a number of stockists, and provided the model number and specification from the gen set manufacturers plate.

This proved quite difficult as according to a number of businesses it didn't exist, please insert a 'frowny face and despair ' here!  I spoke to a fabulous man called Alex Rump at Fenquin, Ingleburn, NSW. He said he would investigate, and he did.  Over a couple of weeks and a few emails later he has managed to source the spares and the 'sea kit' for this generator.

Alex Rump, was a very friendly, knowledgeable person and very willing to 'go the extra' mile in his search for spares for my non-existent generator. I cannot recommend Fenquin P/L highly enough.

One very happy customer

3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank spiriani42
What Antarctic circumnavigator Lisa Blair can teach us about resilience
Jessica Watson
Posted December 1 2017

Since my own circumnavigation, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many of my own sailing heroes. But of all the circumnavigators and professional sailors I’ve met, there is one that stands out as the most determined. As you are probably well aware, Lisa Blair completed a solo circumnavigation of Antarctica earlier in the year, becoming the first woman to do so. I’ve had the pleasure getting to know Lisa over many years, I followed her Antarctic circumnavigation closely, and I’ve found myself constantly impressed by Lisa’s relentless determination.

Lisa has campaigned for many years to win backing, took on a daunting workload to prepare her yacht, and the Antarctic circumnavigation itself proved to be a challenge well beyond what could be expected of such a voyage. (You can read about her dismasting here) Throughout it all, Lisa maintained an impressively positive attitude, and I’m keen to understand the key to her resilience. So I sat down with Lisa to see what she could teach us;

Jess: What can you share about managing your head?

Lisa: It was three and a half years of visualising the circumstances, the worst possible scenario that I could imagine; so rollovers, knockdowns, pitchpoles, broken legs, head injuries, hypothermia, the worst things I could encounter, then going out and living it. I’d sort of mentally braced myself to go through that.

You need to visualise what it’s going to be like. If I hadn’t done that, I think I would have let the fear override the logic.

Jess: Was there ever a moment when you had to give yourself a good talking to?

Lisa: There was a good 5,000 nm solo under my belt before I left on the [Antarctica] trip, so by this stage I could recognise the signs of when I was going into that emotional state. I would feel furiously angry over nothing.

I would have to tell myself to get a grip; then I would make an effort to get a bit more rest. I always noticed that [these moments] were related to how much sleep I’d had.

I did learn to notice the cues a lot more and understand that it’s because I was tired. It’s an emotional tiredness.

Jess: What did you learn about fear after the dismasting?

Lisa: I had to ask myself was this something I wanted to finish, and my drive to finish the record overrode the fear, but it didn’t make it any easier in the storms. I was combating that fear constantly.

Jess: What do you think it takes to be a solo sailor?

Lisa: I think I was quite the introvert before I left. I love people and I’m very bubbly and sociable, but I also really like my alone time. I think you’ve got to be happy with your own company and able to enjoy yourself alone before you go.

I don’t think I’m anything special, anything unique, but I have always had those tendencies to be happy on my own.

The very first ocean crossing I did was quite confronting because you have so many hours to look at yourself, to analyse and ask yourself do you like yourself. So if you can get through that, then you’re okay, but I think a lot of people struggle with that.

Jess: How did you keep finding the strength to keep going?

Lisa: I’m passionate enough about what I’m doing to not give up on it. When I find something I’m passionate about, I don’t quit. I’ll just keep bashing away at that brick wall.

I’m just passionate enough about it that I believe wholeheartedly that I can do it, so I go out and I find a way.

Keep an eye out for Lisa’s book, to be published by Australian Geographic in 2018 (you can pre-order a signed copy here) and as she competes in this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart with the first all-female crew the race has seen in 16 years. 

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Notice to Mariners: Mooloolah River Bar
Mike McKiernan
Posted November 22 2017

Maritime Safety Queensland has issued a Notice to Mariners (465(T) regarding the Mooloolah River Bar.

Anyone using the coastal bar is advised that a hydrographic survey of the Mooloolah River and its coastal bar on Thursday 16 November showed a shoal patch extending from the end of the eastern breakwater in a westerly direction past the centreline of the channel. The shoal has a least depth of approximately 1.6 metres at low tide on the entrance channel's centreline, as well as a least depth of approximately 1.5 metres at LAT, towards the channels eastern edge.

There is deeper water to the west of the channel's centreline.

Map S11-369 above shows the extent of the shoaling.

The cutter suction dredge Saibai will continue dredging operations until further notice. The dredge will exhibit day shapes and lights as required by the Collision Regulations and the dredge master will maintain a listening watch on VHF Channels 73, 12 and 16.

Mariners must carefully consider the position of the Saibai and its floating pipeline when navigating the bar. Contact the dredge master if you have any concerns about the safe passage of their vessels past the dredge.

Mariners should navigate with extreme caution in the area and also remain mindful of their wash and the operational speed limit of 6 knots in the vicinity of anchored vessels.

Masters of smaller recreational boats, personal watercraft and passive craft like kayaks and canoes, must remain mindful of the heightened risk to larger vessels navigating the river entrance and coastal bar. Except for entering and departing the river, these smaller vessels and passive craft should keep well clear of the coastal bar and not use it for recreational purposes.

Mariners must remain mindful that coastal bars are dynamic in nature with conditions constantly changing. Mariners must plan their crossing of the Mooloolah Bar, having careful consideration to prevailing conditions, the state of the tide, and the draught of their vessels.

The coastal bar must be navigated with extreme caution.

Mariners are also reminded that the Mooloolah River entrance is defined as a coastal bar. This means that each person on board an open boat less than 4.8 metres in length must wear an appropriate life jackets while the boat is crossing the coastal bar.

Charts affected: 235

Latitude and longitude positions are on WGS84 horizontal datum and are compatible with GDA94 datum.

Phone: 07 3632 7500


Read the Deckee crowdsourced cruising guide for Mooloolaba here.

2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
The Deckee Drop – A special gift for Deckee's best contributors
Mike McKiernan
Posted November 20 2017

Who feels like a glass or two? 🍷😉

We have an incredible community of boaters on Deckee. They have now contributed over 1900 reviews in an effort to help one another make better decisions!

But a select few of our Deckee Pro members have really gone above and beyond to share their boating knowledge and experience. So we thought it was time we organised a very special gift for them.

The Deckee Drop is soon to be recognised by skippers as Australia's and indeed one of the world's finest red wines. Perfect for sunset cruises or entertaining friends on board. 🙂

How can you get a bottle? Start adding reviews of your own and share your experiences with the community! We'll be keeping an eye out for awesome contributors... ⛵

16 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
White Bay 6 Marine Park turns pink to support breast cancer research
Mike McKiernan
Posted October 16 2017

Now here is a great initiative from one of Sydney's leading boatyard and storage facilities! 

For the month of October, White Bay 6 Marine Park will become Pink Bay 6 Marine Park while supporting breast cancer. Throughout the month of October the White Bay 6 team will be holding various activities such as a Sydney Harbour Boat Storage wash day including BBQ’s and giveaways, an online auction with items such as an entire Antifoul up to 80ft thanks to our suppliers PPG Marine Coatings, Double passes on Australia's BEST jet boat adventure thanks to Oz Jet Boating and various other items, with all proceeds going to the McGrath Foundation.

Deckee members can easily donate online here

6 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Marine Travel Insurance: What’s all the fuss about?
Philip Chandler – Topsail Insurance
Posted September 28 2017

This article is a guest post from Philip Chandler, Senior Travel Underwriter at Topsail Insurance. Philip has 6 years’ experience as a Travel Underwriter in the Lloyd’s of London Insurance Market, and recently moved to Sydney to work for Topsail Insurance, the highest rated marine insurer on Deckee at the time of writing.

We all know that talking about travel insurance isn’t the most enticing topic. Take it from someone who works in the industry – it frequently kills the conversation as soon as it’s brought up. However, as with most insurance products, travel insurance is often hugely undervalued until such time as it’s really needed, and as a result I believe it’s important to share the reasons why it is essential to have a suitable travel policy in place before you embark on a trip, whether that includes a boat or not.

Why should I buy travel insurance?

When you travel abroad or away from home, travel insurance provides you with financial protection and medical assistance to mitigate against a variety of unplanned events which would otherwise leave you significantly out of pocket or worse, in severe debt, and/or in a medical emergency without help.

One of arguably the two most important sections of a travel policy is Emergency Medical Expenses, which usually covers you up to 5 or AUD 10 million, and will pay your medical costs if you are accidentally injured or become ill whilst on a trip. In my career, I have had many customers ask me why this limit is so high, and the simple answer is that medical costs can be extortionate. For example, the average cost of an appendectomy in the US is AUD 42,000 (at current exchange rates), but this can rise to over AUD 200,000 in rare cases. More complicated procedures can cost significantly more, which is why arranging medical expenses cover via your travel policy is vital to avoid incurring those huge costs yourself.

The Cancellation Section is often viewed as the second key component of a travel policy, and will reimburse the costs you have already paid towards your trip (or the remainder of it) if you need to cancel or curtail. For example, if a close relative passed away and you needed to cancel your holiday or business trip, you would be able to reclaim the cost of your flights, hotels, car hire and other un-used bookings so that financially you are no worse off. Depending on the trip and how many people are going, these costs can escalate quickly into the thousands, so it’s important to make sure that you buy a travel policy with an adequate limit and as soon as you start booking flights or hotels.

Most travel policies will also have some combination of cover for Baggage, Legal Expenses & Personal Liability, Personal Accident, Money & Credit Cards and Hi-jack, as well as many others which have varying degrees of value depending upon your circumstances.

Traps to look out for when buying travel insurance

Travel insurance policies are complicated and there are many different products available, so it is important to understand exactly what you are covered for (which can be easier said than done) and not to just focus on the price.

A key pitfall to look out for is ensuring medical conditions are fully covered. Insurers usually apply a ‘pre-existing medical condition exclusion’ which means they won’t pay for claims arising out of any existing medical conditions you already have, unless you declare them and get them specifically included. You don’t need to declare medical conditions if you don’t want them to be covered, but if you do then make sure you declare these fully and honestly and you have written evidence they are included in the policy.

The variety of polices available means some only offer meagre covers and limits, so it is important to find the right policy for you and your circumstances. Some examples of things you may want to look out for include ensuring you are covered fully for any activities/sports you are doing on your trip; you are not outside the age limit; your destination is included in the covered area of travel; and that you can read and fully understand the policy yourself.

If you have any questions about the policy at all, you should ask the insurer or broker before you purchase.

What about if I’m sailing or on my motorboat?

People will often have travel insurance included as part of their bank account or credit card, but check carefully if you’re going on the water as most of these policies will have strict restrictions or limitations when boating, even if you’re just within a harbour, close to shore or chartering a boat.

Who are Topsail and what is Yachtsman’s Travel Insurance?

Topsail Insurance was launched in 1996 in the UK and since then has provided specialist Yacht, Motorboat and Yachtsman’s Travel Insurance to a worldwide marine community, backed by Lloyd’s of London Insurers. Topsail Australia opened in Perth in 2015 and was set up by Mark Ainscough and Cathy Charlick, who themselves are both ‘cruising yachties’ and enjoyed a 4 year sailing adventure around South East Asia prior to setting up the Company (more info).

Topsail’s Yachtsman’s Travel Insurance has been specifically designed to address the lack of suitable travel insurance for mariners, by imposing no restrictions or limitations whilst aboard yachts, motorboats or Tallship’s, and by including other benefits such as Yacht Charter Excess Waiver.

Full cover is also given for ‘non-marine’ trips that do not involve any sailing or boating, meaning that an Annual Multi-Trip Yachtsman’s policy can cover all your trips you take whether you are sailing/boating or not.

As well as offering this cover at a competitive price, Topsail’s Yachtsman’s policies also offer:

• Full worldwide, offshore cover

• Onshore racing cover as standard

• Search and Rescue, Yacht Charter Excess Waiver and Crew Replacement

• Annual multi-trip polices (as little as $150) or single trip policies (as little as $40)

• Ability to cover groups or families under one policy

• A straightforward, easy-to-read, 20 page Product Disclosure Statement

• Full cover for non-boating trips

• Ability to cover anyone up to 79 years old, or higher with referral

• Discounts if you also purchase boat insurance with Topsail

• A quick and simple online quotation tool, meaning you can find a price within minutes

To summarise, make sure you have adequate travel insurance and that it is suitable for your needs. You’d be surprised at the peace of mind it will give you.

14 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Philip Chandler – Topsail Insurance

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