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Posted March 19 2017

Interested to hear from people with experience of handling drogues . Standard parachutes versus Series .


First Australian Female Clipper Race Skipper Returns For Second Circumnavigation

Wendy Tuck, 52, from Sydney, is set to become the first Australian skipper to complete two circumnavigations with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Wendy, who was also selected as the inaugural Australian female Skipper in the 2015-16 edition, has been named as one of the twelve Skippers for the 2017-18 edition of the eleven month, 40,000 nautical mile ocean adventure, which starts in the UK in August.

Read more


With a cover like this, you know February Cruising Helmsman is going to be good
Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  Posted February 2 2017

You just know you have a great issue of Cruising Helmsman to read when you start with a front cover image like this.

The February issue is out and it includes a update from the venerable Jack and Jude Binder regarding one of their favourite cruising spots: Port Davey on Tasmania's west coast.

This couple continually sail around Australia and publlish DVDs and blogs to assist others to do the same. Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour may certainly be on the wild side of Tasmania, but Jack and Jude provide all the detail you need to make a safe trip for yourself to enjoy this amazing part of Australia.

Read more here


Courtesy and wisdom when anchoring
Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  Posted February 1 2017

Twice in as many days we’ve had big city vessels anchor within a boat length of us on the upwind side when there was heaps of ocean everywhere around us. Why?

This morning’s incident sparked my ire because there was still a strong wind warning issued for winds directly from the direction that they’d put themselves. And although somewhat quiet after a night with the breeze lifting off the land, the full force could return at any moment now that the sun had begun to rise.

Why? Not only does it infringe on our privacy, you could hear their voices and their radio, it also needlessly endangers our vessels. When I called to him and asked if he’d be staying long, and that a strong southerly was still forecast, he remarked, “Oh but you’re on a mooring.” Sure we were on a long lead mooring, but far more important, he was in front of us on an anchor. 

He next said, “I’ll pull some in.” 

Eh gad! Don’t shorten scope and still be in front of me. Just move.

A word to all boat people, give a bit of space. Anchor prudently when in unfamiliar ports and unfamiliar ground. 


A Day in the Life of a Coast Guard Volunteer
Jessica Watson
Posted February 2 2017

The yellow boats, radio towers and squadrons of the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard are a reassuring presence on the coastlines and waterways of Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Between January 2016 and January 2017, the 3,000 Coast Guard volunteers were kept busy undertaking over 7,700 ‘activations’ but, like many of the boaties who are lucky enough not to have required the Coast Guard’s services, I’ve been blissfully unaware of exactly how the Coast Guard go about providing their search and rescue services.

So, in an effort to learn a little more about the volunteers who keep a watchful eye on us, I caught up with electronics technician Marcus Grinblat at the Sandringham Coast Guard squadron and asked him how he got involved.

‘My family had a boat and went out in that fairly often,’ he explains, ‘but I wasn’t particularly interested in fishing. We just happened to be off Mt Eliza and saw a Coast Guard boat go past. I was probably 8 or 9, and I thought that might be something interesting to do.’

Marcus signed up as a cadet in 1971 and has been involved for nearly 50 years since, working his way up to his current role, in charge of communication for Coast Guard Victoria.

He explains that Coast Guard volunteers are expected to undertake significant industry-based training and serve a 6-month provisional term before becoming full members. Many of the land-bound radio operators even undertake sea survival courses so they understand what it might be like on the other end of the radio.

As for a typical day on the water, well, ‘you come on at 8 am and head off at sunset,’ says Marcus. ‘You do a bit of housekeeping, check the weather, then on the boat, really the training starts there.

Crew members run through the opening up procedure, double check, triple check, do an inventory of the equipment, check that it’s all working, which also reinforces where it all is if they’ve got to get it quickly.

By that time, you probably have a cup of coffee, then head out and do some training. Each member has a task book, so they’ll run through it, note the drills undertaken.

October is the busiest month because people get their boats out, they haven’t used them for a long time. The footy is finished, they think about going boating, and they get them out and they’ve got bad batteries and stale fuel.’

I’m happy to hear that the majority of call outs are not for yachts, who Marcus says are typically pretty good at getting themselves out of trouble. Although when a yacht does call for help, it is often for a serious incident such as a medical emergency.

In fact, Marcus goes on to tell me that the Coast Guard is sometimes required to retrieve dead bodies from the water. ‘You don’t get used to it, but you do accept it,’ he tells me. ‘If the police boat is in the area, we just stand by and let them do it, it saves a lot of paperwork, and having to take time off to appear in the Coroner’s Court.’

I ask Marcus what boaties should be doing to make the lives of Coast Guard volunteers easier, and he urges boaties to check their batteries and fuel, telling me that bad batteries, bad fuel or insufficient fuel are the most common causes of breakdowns.

For those boaties who don’t have time to volunteer, a great way to support the Coast Guard is to make use of the radio or marine license courses they operate.

Marcus also encourages boaties to download the Coast Guard’s SafeTrx App, an easy way for boaties to log and have their trips monitored within phone range.

The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard operates in Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria, while Marine Rescue looks after New South Wales. A number of other independent marine rescue services also operate around the country. 


5 Unconventional Ways to go Boating
Jessica Watson
Posted March 9 2017

Image Credit:

Australians are known for not taking themselves too seriously, and this fun-loving attitude is reflected in our weird and wonderful sporting events like cane toad racing and wife carrying. There’s no shortage of whacky events on the water either. Here are five of the most unusual nautical events.

Henley On Todd Regatta – Alice Springs

An iconic Australian event, the Henley On Todd Regatta was founded back in 1962 and is held on Alice Springs’ Todd River. However, the Todd River is usually nothing more than a dry sandy river bed, so participants are required to carry their boats.

Different ‘classes’ that participate in the regatta include the six-person ‘Mini Yachts’, 10-person ‘Maxi Yachts’, ‘Rowing 4’s’ and ‘Kayaks’. There is also a ‘battle of the boats’ with four-wheel drives converted to ships and decked out with water cannons, and a parade of homemade boats down the nearby Todd Mall.

Every August, thousands of spectators gather of watch the event - although the 1993 regatta was cancelled because there was water in the river.

Beer Can Regatta – Darwin

It is reported that half the local population attended the first Beer Can Regatta and with the support of local clubs, media and businesses the event remains popular. As the name suggests, the Beer Can Regatta requires entrants to race boats made from beer cans in Darwin’s crocodile-inhabited waters.

The regatta is governed by 10 ‘can-mandments’ which outline helpful rules such as ‘the craft shall float by cans alone’ and ‘thou shalt not drown’.

Entrants whose boats sadly don’t float also have the chance to race (carry) their boats down the beach. And landlubbers can also participate in tug-of-war and thong-throwing events.

Tuna Toss World Championships – Port Lincoln

Held over the Australia Day long weekend, Port Lincoln’s Tunarama Festival is one for seafood lovers. It features the Tuna Toss World Championships, Salmon Tossing, a prawn peeling competition, along with boat building, sand sculpting, swimming and other competitions.

The seriousness of the Tuna Tossing event shouldn’t be underestimated, with cash prizes on offer for those who throw the 10kg fish the furthest.

Competitors are cheered on by thousands of festival visitors, and even Prime Minister attended the 2017 event.

Dog Race – Scotland Island

Boaties who have visited Pittwater will have enviously admired the houses on Scotland Island. And every Christmas Eve, the island’s residents gather for the annual dog race. Local and visiting dogs paddle the 600m stretch of water between Scotland Island and the mainland with their owners paddling or motoring beside them.

The race allegedly began back in 1974 with beer and dog food given to the winner, and these days the race draws a crowd of thousands to cheer on the ferry competitors.

Tug and Yacht Ballet – Sydney

Finally, there is nothing more unconventional than mixing boats and ballet but that’s exactly what happens during the annual Australia Day celebrations on Sydney Harbour. A fleet of yachts and tugs, accompanied helicopters and jet boats, ‘dance’ up the harbour in carefully ‘choreographed’ formation.

Do you know of any other unconventional boating events? I'd love to hear about them? 


Weather: A Mix of Pattern and Chaos
Jessica Watson
Posted February 22 2017

Favourable weather is a key ingredient to a good day on the water. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that a sailor’s life revolves around the weather. But favourable weather can be elusive and tricky to predict, so I thought I’d ask an expert to explain the mystery that is weather.

And Kiwi Bob McDavitt is a very well credentialed weather expert. He qualified as a meteorologist in 1975 and has been forecasting ever since. He’s a veteran of two America’s Cup campaigns, helped a certain girl in a pink boat sail around the world and was New Zealand’s MetService ambassador for 20 years.

The Art of Forecasting

Bob explains that forecasters firstly gather observations of what’s currently happening. Then he explains, ‘We transfer these into a matrix of dots in a computer model, then use a mathematical model to run an experiment to push the data stored in this matrix one time-step into the future, and again another time step and so forth.

‘A marine forecast is framed in terms of winds, waves, and weather. But these all come from isobars on a weather map, and these isobars are what really capture the pattern of the weather and its changes.

‘Marine forecast come in two timeframes,’ says Bob. ‘One covers today/tomorrow, and the other is an outlook for next few days.’ Because ‘real weather’ deviates from the ‘captured pattern of the observations, the outlook period is always less reliable than the short-term forecast.

‘Thanks to advances in computer processing and mathematical modelling, the accuracy of the forecasts has increased a lot over the last few decades, but this pace of improvement is easing off now,’ he says. ‘Weather forecasting will never reach perfection.

‘The winning formula is to take the forecast and then tweak it – using your own observations to ascertain possible alternatives,’ an approach that Bob tells me is not only common sense but also consistent with scientific principles.

An Inexact Science

However, Bob stresses that weather forecasting is an inexact science and explains that there are two reasons for this. Firstly, ‘the matrix of dots averages out the weather. Any extremes that occur between the dots is lost. And so, as the time-steps get further into the future, this averaging loses the pattern.’

And, secondly, ‘weather is a mixture of pattern and chaos. In chaos theory, slight changes in initial conditions can give result to an ensemble of different outcomes. Each run of a global computer model can only come out with one outcome. We produce an ensemble of outcomes by varying the initial conditions slightly, and these ensemble forecasts explain more of the possible future than does one computer run.’

Bob asks that sailors treat weather forecasts as an ‘idea’ and remember that ‘in the real world the weather will unravel away for the forecast, and after a while, the forecast is no longer what we get’.

Keeping a Constant Watch

Bob suggests that sailors should also establish a routine of watching the environment and can ‘use technology to arrange alarms for any measurable external changes’. The main things he suggests we should watch for are changes in the barometer and the clouds, which he suggests are ‘useful signs as they start changing within hours of wind changes and act as a herald’.

He explains that it’s important for sailors to understand and anticipate ‘events that may do damage’. For example, the conditions that breed squalls are in the forecast. ‘The actual timing or intensity or duration of a particular damaging squall will not be mentioned in any routine marine forecasts.

‘I’m still waiting for someone to invent a barometer with which the user can get target alarms. Meanwhile, we should learn to read the clouds and the colour of the sunrise/sunset,’ says Bob.

Bob offers a weather information service for cruising sailors and is currently helping Lisa Blair navigate the Southern Ocean’s ferocious weather as she circumnavigates Antarctica.  


Newcastle hosting Farr 40s for the first time
Mike McKiernan
Posted January 19 2017

When the Sydney and Melbourne Farr 40s head to Newcastle this weekend, January 21-22, 2017, to join the local favourite, crews will race on open waters outside Newcastle Harbour, something they have tried for all season.

The national body Australian Sailing gave the class pre-season approval to race offshore in a controlled environment, but each time they’ve tried to incorporate an offshore day within a weekend series, high winds have kept the fleet confined to inshore racing.

Saturday’s Bureau of Meteorology Hunter coastal waters forecast is southerly winds 20-30 knots and’s Newcastle forecast is more moderate southerlies easing during the day. The class’ upper limit is a consistent 25 knots. Sunday looks like light easterlies, 8-11 knots.

Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) is rolling out the red carpet for the visiting boats and local Farr 40 owner and business owner Joe de Kock has been instrumental in the planning. “The yacht club is very enthusiastic about hosting the fleet – it’s a big deal and should create some local interest. It’s the first time this fleet has come to Newcastle,” he said.

Like tidying the house for guests arriving, de Kock has made the time to go over his Farr 40 Good Form and take a lot of the heavy safety gear off.

“The previous owner had the boat up to Cat 1 for offshore racing. When we were at the Pittwater regatta in December we had the chance to look at the other boats and knew ours was radically heavier. We’ve since taken a lot of weight out and made it similar to the other boats, so we should be closer in speed this series,” de Kock hopes.

His daughter Karma Randall, a regular crewmember, will be back on board Good Form at the Newcastle One Design Trophy having recovered from a broken leg sustained in a match racing accident.

Opening season points went to Lang Walker’s Kokomo at the One Design Trophy conducted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club in October then at the Pittwater One Design Trophy in December Martin Hill’s Estate Master prevailed. Among Hill’s crew for the coming series is the newly crowned Viper catamaran world champion, Shaun Connor, who alongside skipper Jack Felsenthal beat an international field last Sunday racing at Geelong in Victoria.

Returning to the starter’s list is Sam Hill with Forty and on board will be Rio 470 men’s silver medallist Will Ryan, whose grandfather was a NCYC founding member.

The Newcastle OD Trophy is the final lead in event to the NSW Farr 40 State Title in February and National Championships: John Calvert-Jones Trophy in March.

Locally based race officer Ted Anderson will conduct the eight race series with four races scheduled per day beginning at 1100hrs on Saturday and 1000hrs on Sunday, to give the visitors more time to return home following the trophy presentation.

Newcastle OD entry list:

Double Black – Rob Pitts

Estate Master – Martin Hill

Edake – Jeff Carter

Forty – Sam Hill

Exile – Rob Reynolds

Good Form – Joe de Kock

Zen – Gordon Ketelbey


Topic: The need for comprehensive insurance and appropriate agreed cover.
Posted February 17 2017

Hello members and visitors,

I’m writing about a current insurance issue that I am involved in with my yacht. In this instance I am an innocent third party and it has been of a surprise to me that I’m having to make a claim through my insurer (with all the penalties that go with making a claim) to repair my own boat. The 1st party’s insurer, (one of the biggest) has determined the incident “a weather incident” therefore exonerating their client from liability.

I have had my Yacht on the same swing mooring for at least the past 20 years. Approximately 6 months ago another wooden boat was mooring on the next mooring North of mine. In early October 2016 the site experienced some strong winds. This new yacht dragged its mooring and became entangled with mine. Its bowsprit and starboard hull caused damage to my port side window, hull, rigging, spreader, stanchions and toe rail. The quoted cost of repairs is $17,000.00, excluding yardage.

I contacted the owner of the wooden yacht and sent him the quotation. He subsequently forwarded it to his insurer. They have replied “I mistakenly believe their client to be liable”. I have contacted this insurer and conversed with a very terse, assertive representative who termed this incident a weather event and that I need to prove their client liable.

I do have comprehensive insurance though due to the break up of my policy for hull, spares & rigging I could fall short and will have to bear the cost of these repairs. My Insurer only wishes to repair the damaged areas, the fact that the repaired port side will be a different colour shade to the starboard side, like wise the aluminium toe rail profile could be different is not considered. Not only will I be out of pocket to make good the overall appearance of my Yacht, yet further costs will be incurred by making a claim together with increased costs in premiums over the next three years until I regain my no claim bonus. I have taken legal advice on this matter and going through my Insurer is probably the most cost effect way to proceed with my claim.

I wish to raise this issue of "weather events" that insurers are using to avoid 3rd party claims to the Deckee membership for consideration and information as to what to look for in a policy.

Make sure your policy is comprehensive.

Make sure your policy has an agreed value for components such as hull, mast, spas & rigging, sail, motor and anything else of value.

Try and purchase a policy that covers not at fault claims so that you do not pay an excess of loose no claim bonuses. 


2018 Golden Globe Race: The Ultimate Ocean Adventure?
Jessica Watson
Posted January 18 2017

The Vendee fleet are currently flying around the world, with many of the yachts not just flying across the chart but skimming the water on foils. The America’s Cup sets an incredibly high-tech precedent, and there’s every chance that someone at your local yacht club will be mucking around with a foiling dinghy, wing sail or virtual sailing.

But faced with all this exciting high-tech development, there are plenty of sailors who are feeling a little nostalgic for the days when four knots was considered a respective average speed and when sailors weren’t supported by extensive teams and high-tech weather routing.

Among those nostalgic sailors is Don McIntyre, well known for his Antarctic, solo sailing and small open boat journeys (as well as buying a 16-year-old girl a pink yacht to sail around the world), to name just a few of his exploits. But his next adventure is shaping up to be his biggest yet.

In 2015, Don announced the ‘retro’ 2018 Golden Globe Race and was immediately overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response. The 2018 GGR is a tribute to the Original Sunday Times race on its 50th anniversary.

The original Golden Globe is, of course, one of sailing’s best-known legends. Lured by £5,000 worth of prize money, nine sailors set off. But faced with ill-equipped or designed boats and the challenge of months of complete isolation, the fleet quickly dwindled.

One entrant, Donald Crowhurst, never left the Atlantic Ocean, famously reporting a false course around the world before jumping off his boat. And Frenchman Bernard Moitessier, considered a race favourite, was well on track to claim the prize money when he decided to ‘save his soul’ and continue on a second circuit of the Southern Ocean rather than returning home.

Only one of the original nine entrants, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, finished and became the first person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world.

The 2018 edition requires competitors to circumnavigate as Sir Robin did, in small, sturdy yachts designed prior to 1988 and between 32 and 36ft. No electronic instruments, autopilots, satellite phones, computers or GPS are allowed.

I can’t help but wonder how many of the 2018 entrants will cope with the solitude, restrain themselves from the temptation of pulling into passing ports and avoid gear failures to finish the race.

Clearly, Don isn’t the only one keen to return to what he calls the ‘golden age of solo sailing’. In the months after the race’s announcement, 30 sailors from 13 countries quickly signed up, and a further five have joined the waitlist.

And the French, with their unrivalled passion for solo sailing, have embraced the GGR, quickly becoming the largest nationality represented among the entrances.

Sadly, the entry list’s wonderful diversity of nationalities doesn’t extend to gender diversity with only one girl, 27-year-old British Susie Goodall listed.

The race is about giving the everyday sailor a chance to race around the world, but the skippers are required to have extensive offshore miles under their belt and must be adept at celestial navigation as GPS navigation won’t be allowed.

August 2018 might feel like a world away, but for those with yachts to prepare, time is counting down. Many of the entrants also plan on sailing to the start line in Falmouth, no small undertaking for those like Shane Freeman who is currently sailing from Australia.

I’m enthusiastically following all race updates and look forward to keeping you updated.

You can read more on the Golden Globe website -


Deckee on board to support Lisa Blair's incredible Antarctic record attempt
Jessica Watson
Posted January 11 2017

Clipper Race, Solo Tasman and Rolex Sydney Hobart veteran Lisa Blair is now only days away from setting off on a sailing speed record attempt around Antarctica, a voyage that will be undertaken below 45 degrees south and one that will see her become the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, non-stop and unassisted.

You can read more about Lisa, her boat and preparations in my post here.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, Lisa sailed her yacht Climate Action Now under Australia from Sydney to Albany, where she’ll depart on the record attempt.

With challenging conditions and 60knot winds, the delivery voyage proved to be a great trial run for the boat. Lisa admits that it was also great mental preparation to see herself and the boat confidently handle the conditions.

Just days before the start of her departure as final preparations are made and food is loaded onto Climate Action Now, the Deckee team is excited to throw our support behind Lisa, providing a great website for her supporters to read about and follow the record attempt. is the place to go for blog updates, pictures, a live tracker and social media feeds.

Deckee joins businesses including D’Albora Marinas, B&G, ProFurl, Zhik and Dick Smith Foods who are sponsoring Lisa’s voyage.

Climate awareness is something that many sailors and members of the Deckee community are passionate about, so we’re also proud to help Lisa spread her climate awareness message.

The distinctive hull of Lisa’s yacht is covered in thousands of post-it notes with positive climate action pledges from supporters. You can submit a pledge here.

Lisa will be reviewing some of the equipment she uses for Deckee. It’s hard to imagine a more extreme way to test marine products, so keep an eye out for her reviews in the weeks ahead.

Good luck Lisa! 


Announcing the 2017 Gathering on the Bay event
Mike McKiernan
Posted February 7 2017

On behalf of Women Who Sail Australia, is proud to present the 2nd annual ‘Gathering on the Bay’ in the boating paradise of Port Stephens.

Port Stephens will again play host to female sailors coming from all over Australia who will be treated to 17 seminar presentations over two days, sharing advice and knowledge on a range of topics.

On Saturday evening starting at 6pm, there will be a social dinner event that is open to the broader boating community. This coincides with an expert discussion panel of four special guests – Lin Pardey (USA), Mel Yeomans, Liesl Tesch and Jackie Parry.

Proceeds from seminar tickets will be donated to two important non-profit organisations – Sailors With Disabilities and Volunteer Marine Rescue.

Tickets are selling fast, so to book your place at the seminars (Women Who Sail members only) or the dinner (open to all), click the link below.



Night Lights
Mark Stubbings
Posted January 8 2017

We obviously should all turn on our anchor light at night when aboard, but another nice and easy addition to lighting your boat at night is to install some cheap, simple to operate solar garden lights.

We have added one to each corner of our Lightwave 38 catamaran "Sana Solia". They add to the security of the boat at night, particularly during the week on a swing mooring when people are moving around at night amongst moored boats.

Plus they serve as a nice identifier of your boat when you come back from sundowners or visiting other boats.

$22 for a bunch of ten from any good hardware store.


Catamaran Trampoline repairers
Posted January 5 2017

Hi all

I have an Easy 10.5m Catamaran, the foredeck trampoline appears to be a heat welded plastic

material, that has let go in the edge seams, does anyone know where I might find somebody who can repair these tramps?

Navman Wind indicators. is there an Australian repair option for the fading LED screens? 




5 Questions with Phil Ross, Editor of Cruising Helmsman Magazine
Mike McKiernan
Posted February 8 2017

At what stage in your life did you take an interest in writing, and why?

In sixth grade primary school (the mighty Brighton Beach Primary in Melbourne) I had a teacher Mr. Kilkenny and he was a great pusher of ability, I spent a lot of that year rewriting fairy tales with an Aussie humour twist. He was such a good influence on me I actually became a primary teacher after finishing school.

What is your recipe for a great magazine? How do you assess ideas?

Great question, that whole, esoteric, what makes a good article! I strongly believe that CH is not a 'travel' magazine but an informational one. Therefore I concentrate on articles that provide excellent amounts of information to entice others to follow in the writer's footsteps. To enhance the story, the visuals are very important so I always stress to writers to get themselves a good camera and learn how to use it - then snap, snap, snap! So most articles about a destination or on a practical angle are usually longer than they used to be.

I also believe the editor's 'hands' should not be seen in the magazine. By that I mean the articles should be selected purely on its merit and for no other reason. It is not my position to judge what people want to read.

In recent times, what issue, article or feature are you most proud of?

The rise of production yachts that are easier to sail with minimal crew means more and more non-sailors are getting out there. Not only that but cruisers are reaching into areas previously not explored; the Murray Spence article on Antarctica (August 2016) was a cracker - interesting place and every photo a winner!

On the practical side this also means we are getting more and more articles on how to go sailing with a family, or shorthanded; plus instructional articles on how to set up a production yacht to take you across oceans, or educational articles on various parts of a yacht and its design work.

I truly feel the life of cruising is set to take off amongst the younger generations coming through.

Your three favourite Australian anchorages, and why?

Port Davey: one of the last true wilderness areas left. I first flew in there when I was 16 to do the South Coast Track and fell in love with its harsh isolation. I can certainly see why Jack and Jude Binder love it so much, as seen in our February issue.

Kimberleys: On the diagonal to Port Davey! But provides the same sense of wonder and beauty and isolation (sensing a theme here?) but warmer! My wife and I have also fallen in love with Central Australia for much the same reason, plus the learning and better understanding of Australia's first peoples and how intelligent and resilient they were to thrive in such harsh environment.

Airlie: Why? Party town! Plus close to the Shag Islet Rendezvous and Hamilton Island Race Week. A bloke's gotta have some competitive outlet.

What recent innovations in the marine industry are you most excited about?

The whole advent of electronics and the global internet. Along with the better construction methods of yachts I believe these two things are the instigators of the rise in cruising around the world. While some people may see this as a bad thing and I can certainly sympathise, it is inevitable. Maybe it is for the better if we can get people out on the water in a safe and enjoyable environment and then the sooner we can get people to take better care of this planet.


4 Steps to Starting your Own Charter Boat Business
Brent Vaughan
Posted December 8 2016

For those serious about making a living from the sea, these 4 steps can help ensure smooth sailing.

Have you dreamt of swapping florescent lights with sunshine, the water cooler for the calm blue sea and air-conditioning for a salt filled breeze? Has the same old work routine worn thin and running your own business combined with a coastal lifestyle has appeal? Then you need to read this guide and avoid the three common mistakes of wrong boat, wrong location, wrong marketing.

At this very moment in time, running your own successful charter boat business in Australia has never been more achievable thanks to a booming tourism sector in both our coastal cities and regional sea side towns.

There are several areas that need to be carefully considered to ensure success. These include:

1. Identifying the opportunity in the market

2. Be survey compliant and qualified

3. Profit and Loss Projections and ROI

4. Launching the business and connecting with travel agents


Understanding the tourism industry and the current cycle that it is going through is paramount to your success as a charter boat start up. Currently we are in an growth cycle and over the past 5 years, there has been a strong upward trend in Australian tourism as reflected in Australian arrivals. Source: ABS Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia June 2016

Thanks to the fall in the Australian dollar, international security concerns and a surge in Chinese tourism, the Australian tourism and charter boat industries are booming.

This is reflected in recent research by Tourism Research Australia who note:

“The latest International Visitor Survey results released today by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) show international visitors to Australia spent a record $37.9 billion in the year ending March 2016, 17 per cent or $5.4 billion more than the previous year.” TRA, 1 June 2016

Source: Growth in Tourism Year Ending 2016, Tourism Research Australia

Investment into tourism infrastructure including hotel developments are at a record high which reflects the high occupancy rates that are touching 90% or more in locations including Sydney, Melbourne and Hamilton Island. This is just indicative of the tourism opportunities available while the charter boat industry is slow to respond.

Our top picks of charter boat opportunities include:

Sydney Harbour

Gold Coast

Moreton Bay, Brisbane

Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne

Airlie Beach






Of course there are many more regional locations around Australia that offer good opportunities.

STEP 2: Be Survey Compliant and Qualified

Though many manufacturers and importers will happily sell you a charter boat, most will not guarantee its commercial certification and provide the complete package. Those who do, will most likely provide the boat as a bareboat built only to 4D (hire and drive in partially smooth waters) class survey which uses the European CE standards as a guide.

However if you want to take more than 12 passengers, which is critical for most successful skippered charter boats, you will need either 1E (more than 12 passengers in smooth waters) or 1D (more than 12 passengers in partially smooth waters) which uses the NSCV (National Standard for Commercial Vessels). As these vessels are essentially treated as passenger moving vessels, a much more sophisticated survey build is required. Be sure your manufacturer and importer guarantees compliance to these survey requirements. A common mistake is to buy a used boat built to CE, only to find that literally over $100,000 needs to be spent to convert the boat into the NSCV standards with sometimes years to achieve the result.

If you plan to skipper your own boat you will need to get qualified with the appropriate commercial skippers license. If your charter boat is under 12 metres then you simply need a Coxswains license (Grade 1NC) which is the simplest commercial license that can be obtained by attending a 5 week course. You also need to log a minimum of 30 days at sea on-board a commercial vessel. Many people will initially crew with a skipper on-board their own boat to get these hours logged.

Note: Multihull Central offer a wide selection of both sailing and power catamarans certified to the NSCV rules. The Seawind 1160 Resort is built to 1D survey for 43 passengers and 2 crew operating in partially smooth waters.

STEP 3: Predict a Profit and Loss and ROI

Depending on how hands on you want to get running the charter boat will determine your ultimate ROI. Running on your charter boat business on Sydney Harbour for example can provide returns above 20% ROI. 

Note: If you plan to charter in the Whitsundays, there are limited commercial permits available that are all owned by the major charter companies, so you will need to partner with them.

STEP 4: Launch and Connecting to Agents

Once you boat arrives and is ready for action, plan to launch your boat into the charter industry with a launch party and invite local travel booking agents to inspect your boat, who in turn will promote to their extensive databases. This will ensure your new boat makes it to the market quickly, without you having to spend anything on marketing, other than booking commissions. There are about half a dozen prominent charter booking agencies on Sydney Harbour and others around the country.

For more information on how Multihull Central can help launch a new charter boat business for you, contact Brent Vaughan on 02-9810 5014 or email

Note: Multihull Central promotes new charter boats to an extensive database of customers, booking agents, the marine industry and broader press.

TO read a more detailed article, visit: 

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8 things you need to know about the 2016 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Jessica Watson
Posted December 8 2016

Photo: Andrea Francolini

As Christmas rapidly approaches, the sailing community is also counting down the sleeps before Australia’s most iconic offshore race—the Rolex Sydney to Hobart. With the race in its 72nd edition, there’s plenty of things that remain consistent year after year: the media headlines will warn of wild weather; the cameras will be pointed in the direction of Wild Oats as the fleet leaves the harbour; and Hobart pub Customs House will open for a marathon four days, serving hundreds of bottles of rum to thirsty sailors. But here—in no particular order—are a few unique things you need to know about this year’s race;

1. Adrienne Cahalan sailing for her 25-year medallion

Well‑known sailor and navigator Adrienne Cahalan will this year be setting off on her 25th Hobart, a feat that will see her receive the prestigious 25-year medallion, becoming the first female to do so. She will navigate the TP52 Ragamuffin, a boat skippered by Brenton Fischer, grandson of the famous Syd Fischer.

You can read about how Adrienne likes prepares for the big race here.

2. Super-maxi CQS described as the dark horse

CQS, a super-maxi owned by Scandinavian Ludde Ingvall, is being described as the dark horse of this year’s race. Since the boat won the 2004 edition of the race (then called Nicorette) it has been radically redesigned with a new bowsprit, a longer reverse curve bow and a hydrofoil that works in sync with its canting keel. CQS is a contender that promises to keep the pointy end of the fleet on its toes.

3. Close competition among the nine TP52s entered

Some of the closest racing plays out in the middle of the fleet, and this year that competition is shaping up to be particularly tough with nine TP52s entered. As the TPs are designed for speed rather than strength, the crews will have their work cut out just nursing their boats to the finish line if conditions turn nasty. Chinese Whisper, Ichi Ban and last year’s overall race winner Balance are all tipped to do well.

4. Wild Oats XI back again with Bob’s grandson joining the crew

Okay, maybe this one doesn’t need to be listed. Of course, 8-time (line honours) winner Wild Oats will be back again. In preparation for this year’s race, Wild Oats XI has undone major work giving her a new bow, allowing for the removal of the boat’s retractable horizontal wing and saving 300kg in weight. After the passing of Bob Oatley AO, his grandson Daniel, a merchant sailor, will fittingly be joining the crew.

5. Winning Comanche crew jump ship to join Loyal

With last year’s line honours winner Comanche choosing not to return and defend her title, a number of the winning crew members are reported to instead be joining Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal which will again be raising funds for children’s charities.

6. Sean Langman enters the smallest, oldest yacht

Sean Langman is better known for his high speed sailing on maxis, skiffs and most recently a foiling GC32, but he’ll be entering the fleet’s smallest, oldest and mostly likely slowest yacht. Wooden Maluka is 84 years old and just 30ft long, but she’s reportedly been tuned up and fitted with performance sails.

7. 12 international entries join the fleet

This year’s fleet will include 12 international entries from as far afield as Germany, Sweden, Russia and Korea. The Chinese entry UBOX is skippered by Charles Caudrelier who led Dongfeng Race Team to their third place finish in the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race, and is part of a push to develop offshore sailing in China.

8. 76ft luxury yacht Charlotte promises a civilised ride to Hobart

76ft CNB Charlotte is without a doubt the most comfortable boat in the fleet. Kitted out with all the luxuries you’d expect on a small superyacht, the elegant boat will give her crew a very civilised ride to Hobart—a world away from the damp, hard bunks crews will endure on-board the majority of contenders.  


Aussie icon Dick Smith reveals his favourite boating destinations
Jessica Watson
Posted November 30 2016

Dick scouting for new boating locations from the air over Tasmania

Dick Smith is well known for his love of adventure, as well as his business and philanthropic endeavours, of course. But not everyone is aware that Dick is also a keen boatie. This week I had the pleasure of chatting to Dick, and I was hoping that he’d tell me that he loves boating over all other modes of adventure, but I have to be honest: Dick tells me, ‘Of course I love flying the most.’ However, this aviator has also spent plenty of time afloat. Here’s what he had to say about boating;

Jess: How did you get into boating?

Dick: As a kid I was very lucky. My parents didn’t have any money but my Dad was very charismatic and befriended people who had weekenders at Clair Beach. They would let us stay at their houses, and there I use to sail on a VJ and a moth. And then when I was about 16 or 17, I had a girlfriend whose dad was an enthusiastic sailor. When I was 20, I did my only ocean sailing: I sailed from Sydney to Lord Howe Island to attempt to climb Ball’s Pyramid.

That gave me the idea of boating, and then when I had enough money I built a boat with a helipad on the back, called Ulysses Blue. I had that for about two years, but I didn’t really like it because you had to have a crew and it didn’t really have any privacy. So one day I asked what boat that just a couple take out and it was suggested about a 59fter, so I brought a 59ft Selene.

Jess: How does boating compare with flying and other means of travelling?

Dick: Of course I love flying the most, but boating is different. I think boating’s just a wonderful thing. If you haven’t boated Tasmania and Cape York, there’s something wrong with you.

Jess: What do you look for in a boat?

Dick: I look for a boat that’s quiet. My big boat always had to have a generator going and I can detect the slightest hum. So my last two boats, I’ve had huge battery banks and two inverters. I don’t like automation; I like manual switching of everything because that’s very simple.

Jess: What about sailing boats?

Dick: I’ve always a had a sailboat. I currently have a Hobie [wave]. We’ve got a place at Clareville [Pittwater] so I use the Hobie there. I like it when there’s reasonable wind and I can fly a hull.

Jess: What are your favourite boating regions and locations? And why?

Dick: I’ve been to over 200 of the 300 countries in the world and having flown five times around the world at low altitude. I’ve seen some pretty spectacular boating areas, but I can tell you Australia has some of the best.

One of my favourite places in Australia is Tasmania, Port Davey, and up to Macquarie Harbour, through Hells Gates, far up the Gordon River to moor at Warners Landing near St Johns Falls. That’s a beautiful place to go boating.

The east coast [of Tasmania] is very good, especially places like Wineglass Bay and Maria Island. I love going through the Dunalley Cannel; it’s a bit of a test, as the eastern bar to get into takes a bit of expertise.

I love the area south of Hobart, and we also love to go to the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart, even though we only have a wooden table. We hide our boat around the corner so no one can see it! Generally speaking, Tasmania’s my favourite as there’s not many people.

And Wilsons Prom has some wonderful bays, some of the best places I’ve ever been; also a wonderful place to go boating. Refugee Cove is just the most beautiful mooring.

Then there’s the islands of Bass Straight, especially the Kent group. At Deal Island, walking up to the lighthouse is well worth it.

And Antarctica is one of my favourite places for boating.

Jess: Where’s next? What’s another place you’d like to go boating?

Dick: I flew over the islands in the Spencer Gulf recently, and I’m heading there with the boat February/ March next year. There are some wonderful islands in the Gulf. The Gambier Islands, Wedge Island and Thistle Island look good from the air, so we’ll head there. There’s lots of places you can get protection, lots of little coves that are protected.

It’s not everyone who counts Antarctica among their favourite boating destinations, scouts for anchorages by plane or builds their first boat with a helipad on the back! I owe Dick a big thanks for his insights, and remember you can sign up to Deckee and share your favourite boating locations as well, I’d love to hear from you!


Log Books record your history
Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  Posted November 28 2016

Hello all, Best wishes for Christmas 

Something in the last newsletter caught my eye and while doing a bit of sail work I was struck by the old and new in our industry.

I was working on a sail not used since sailing around the world in the 80s, the sail needing four bronze hanks replaced. And after Jude had chased a few lines of worn stitching, I was lashing new hanks on, going back and forth in the old way of cradling the sail with multiple lashings keeping chafe in check.

In the newsletter, Mike had mentioned an electronic log book app, and following the link and I found the write-up fascinating. Works off the phone GPS, I guess, and plots your course and speed, and you can add photos and send the whole creation off to others. What a blast. Might try it myself because I'm both, a Tec-head and traditionalist

Jude on the other hand is devoted to hard bound log books that stand tall in our bookcase reflecting our travels and accomplishments, so I thought I’d illuminate how we do that.

When embarking on the grandest adventure imaginable three decades ago, we started out with store bought log books, which of course proved too expensive, as did everything, so we soon designed our own master and had it photocopied as required around the world, putting them in folder. Until in Sri Lanka, a 300 page volume was printed for a modest price. It records voyages to Japan, the US, Asia, and a bit of the pacific.

But today, we've refined our record keeping, using lined A4 hardback notebooks that are readily available from most newsagents for about $4 or $5. Jude pens in vertical columns on each page and we record cumulative miles, course steered, miles achieved, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, plus any notes we like to make. The right hand page is for comments; anything to do with sail changes, whatever we like. We might draw a little boat showing the sail plan with wind arrows, or draw/record wildlife seen.Sound like a chore? Not a bit. In fact, when the ship’s bell strikes the hour we relish the opportunity to record our passage.

From Jude's Practical Boat Bits and Tips (electronic)  


Anchoring at Ballina NSW
Mark Ridsdale
Deckee Pro  Posted November 27 2016

I have never stopped in Ballina we can I anchor in say NE 10-12 knot breeze overnight Any suggestions please


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