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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

E-mail: vtsbrisbane@msq.qld.gov.au.

Read the Deckee crowdsourced cruising guide for Mooloolaba here.

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1 person 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... ⛵

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2 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

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2 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.

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13 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Philip Chandler – Topsail Insurance
Tropical Cyclone Debbie aftermath: Abell Point Marina restoration officially complete
Mike McKiernan
Posted September 13 2017

This week marks the completion of the on-water restoration project at Abell Point Marina in the wake of the Tropical Cyclone Debbie. In the immediate aftermath, 20% of the on-water berthing at Abell Point was damage amounting to approximately 120 berths in this 507-wet berth marina. In a coordinated effort between Superior Jetties, CGU Insurance and Oceanic Marine Risk, the restoration works commenced 3 April, a mere five days after the cyclone passed over the Whitsundays.

In the initial stages of the project a team of volunteers from BIA (Boating Industry Australia) Queensland, arrived on-site to assist with the make-safe stage of the restoration project. Experienced marine trades personnel from marina managers, to pontoon specialists arrived on-site, including representatives from Superior Jetties to offer support and assist with commencing repair works.

Within days a temporary walkway for L Arm and the marina’s fuel dock was fitted, and by week six the walkway had been replaced for new.

With considerable coordination between the Superior Jetties and marina team, commercial operators and private vessels were relocated to the south marina for the pontoon replacement works to commence. Abell Point Marina is the busiest commercial marina in the region and with the Whitsunday region being so reliant on the tourism sector, a priority for the project was to ensure minimal disruption to the marina’s on-water tourism operations whilst the repair works commenced.

Superior Jetties, Project Manager, Ryan Hogan remarked of the project, “This project has been the culmination of our team down south working some very long hours to produce a fantastic product; and outstanding subcontractors who went above and beyond to get the marina operational again. It’s been a real pleasure to work in North Queensland again and with a client that’s dedicated to running a truly world class marina. This has definitely been the best project team I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

From initial damage assessment, to temporary repairs around the marina, from demolition of debris to piling works and the manufacture/ transportation and installation of the new arms – H/ J/ K/ F/ G and A – the team coordinated by Superior Jetties worked tirelessly to restore the marina to 100% capacity. Mr Hogan goes on to give a special mention to services provided throughout the project by Orca Marine Services, Proserpine Electrical, Whitsunday Drainage Contractors and Pacific Marine Group.

With a busy cruising season scheduled, the launch of a new Abell Point Flight Collection from the marina’s heli-pads and the opening of their floating customer lounge Ocean Club, the timing of the project completion was essential to ensure business as usual. To round off a challenging year and give cause for celebration, Abell Point Marina took out the coveted Marina of the Year Award at the Marine17 conference in August.

Luke McCaul, General Manager, Abell Point Marina explains “To have the pontoons replaced and operational in time for our cruising season was essential for the marina, but also for the region. The Whitsundays has bounced back from this weather event in record time and the natural environment around the islands is following suit.” Mr McCaul goes on to say “The start of the year was a challenging time for the marina team including our valued operators and tenants, but the future is looking bright and the completion of the project on time and on budget is a credit to the hard work and commitment of the team, our contractors and our relationship with our insurers.”

The entire restoration project has been captured in a short video.

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16 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Croatia Cruisin'
Steve
Posted September 5 2017

Armed with my newly acquired ICC certification I was able to book a week of cruising in the islands of Croatia.

Dragging my family along we arrived in Trogir on Saturday at about 4pm which is a town about 30 minutes’ drive north of Split. These two are the newest cruising Mecca cities in the Med with hundreds of boats rented each week. Due to an absence of large marinas further south around Dubrovnik most of the activity is from Split, Trogir, Sibernik and Primosten with Zadar further north.

Arriving somewhat sweaty at the marina in about 30C we found our bareboat operator who directed us to “Pia” on pier F our home for the next week, advising us that very soon a member of staff would provide the orientation and checklist.

Pia is a 2009 Dufour 36 with three cabins and one head. It came with a Zodiac tender (three small persons was a squeeze) and a 2.5hp outboard. We stowed our bags and grub and then after waiting an hour and being anxious to get under way to our first top of Necujam on the island of Solta I went in search of “staff”.

“Staff” was found smoking in the office store room and reluctantly dragged his sorry butt out to the pier armed with a clipboard and no clue.

Using his moderate English as an excuse he flipped through the checklist without really explaining anything and certainly not actually checking anything. He did not know how the chart plotter worked, how the auto-pilot worked, how the shower drain worked etc. Quickly realising that this sub-human life form was not the full quid I nodded at everything he mumbled, signed the checklist and sent him packing.

The next issue was getting the boat out of the marina. The usual afternoon Mistral was in full flow of 15 to 20 knots. Also, I was told that the marina being 30 years old had not been designed for boat lengths of 50ft up and so was a bit of a squeeze. I managed to collar a more nautically competent (by observation) chap with the right coloured T shirt on to take us out of the marina and drop him off at a nearby jetty from which we could easily make our egress.

It did not take us long to realise that Pia had experienced a hard life without much TLC. The wind instrument had appeared to have disliked pointing forwards and had slunk to the SW making wind speed and direction readings hopelessly inaccurate.

Pushing on we rounded the rocky headland of Otoc Ciovo and headed for Necujam which was about 3 Nm away. Hoisting what could loosely be described as the sails upped our speed to around 5 knots and using my phone for navigation set a course for the desired inlet and then sat back and enjoyed the scenery.

Coming into the sheltered inlet I followed a couple of other boats and did my best to emulate their anchoring technique (not a forte of mine as you will soon discover). In about 10m of water I hailed “anchors aweigh” and then explained to number one son that this meant let it down. We soon worked out that each 10m of chain was indicated by painted red links and so let out about 30m.

There were about 10 other boats enjoying the spectacle of a rank amateur fumbling around while sipping their pre-dinner cocktails. One of these boats was about a 60ft “Gulet” which is essentially a party boat with skipper and crew that chugs around the islands dispensing alcohol around 18 hours per day with never the Dacron raised up a mast.

This particular monster had anchored from the front and tied to shore at the back. Being inept I had not realised just how much anchor he must have had out the front and in my over- zealous attempts to snub (tow it backwards to ensure it bites) my recently lowered anchor snagged on his chain. This brought the party animals out for a look with lots of gesticulating, shouting and laughing to follow.

From my vast knowledge of physics I had computed that my 30hp diesel was unlikely to make any headway in dragging the anchors apart so opted to haul mine in until it was vertical and then drop it as quickly as possible while reversing hard. By pure fluke (nautical pun) the anchors separated and we had another, somewhat more successful go at remaining stationary.

A swift dip in the water to cool off followed by dinner restored our equilibrium at least for a couple of hours until the hail of “my device won’t charge” came from esteemed daughter and number two son. So I was charged with the task of investigating this most devastating of findings but fiddling around with the 12v inverter produced no acceptable result.

The drunken residents of the Gulet sung us off to sleep the wee hours and we were greeted with a beautiful morning and enjoyed a refreshing swim prior to breakfast. Despite overnight lows of 20C plus and no fans or AC the boat was still sufficiently cool for a reasonable sleep under a sheet.

For the purposes of brevity I will state for the record that the entire week of weather was 30 to 34 C, clear skies with morning breezes of around 12 knots from various directions and late afternoon Mistrals of around 15 knots from the north dying out at about 7 to 8 pm.

I wanted to further investigate the lack of power from the inverter and so started the engine to see if that made any difference and went below. A minute later there was much shouting in French and as I came on deck saw what looked like their boat coming into us with either a boarding party (I read too much Master and Commander) or a fending brigade. Finally they managed to articulate that it was Pia that was moving because I was in reverse. The gear shift was in the neutral position but sure enough as I pushed it forward it clunked out of reverse and into forward and so thanks to the French awareness we averted an expensive collision. Upon further investigate it appears that the control cables from the throttle/gear lever were not properly adjusted and it proved to be a continual problem trying to work out which gear we were in without revving the engine or looking over the stern; more bad maintenance.

Our next destination was the much lauded beach of Zlatni-Rat which appears on just about every Croatian travel brochure. However the lack of voltage was beginning to cause concern and communication with our charter owner revealed that we needed to go to the town of Stari-Grad on the island of Hvar by Monday lunchtime.

The morning wind sprang up and we attempted to hoist the main sail. Now, on board my S80 I do not have lazy jacks and failed to realise that a batten can get caught in this network of lines. Compound this with a Bimini that meant I couldn’t see the main and number one son who has little sailing experience we indeed snagged a batten and tore the main sail adjacent to a patch that was already there below the third batten pocket (clearly some other mug had the same problem).

It was shortly after this point that we discovered that there was no tank water on board. The water pump was thumping away merrily but to no avail. There were two tanks and no amount of switching between them produced a molecule of H2O.

We had been told by our most esteemed charter chap that there was free water available at every port so we decided to head for the port of Hvar on the island of Hvar. Rounding the north end of this island revealed a passage that was chock full (not sure this is the appropriate nautical term) of vessels ranging from a Zodiac to a couple of cruise ships.

With all crew on the lookout (this was not a problem since there was no charge left in any of their devices) we edged our way into the port of Hvar and it was mayhem. Finally a space appeared on the wharf and we set fenders and drifted sideways and tied up fore and aft. No sooner had we done this we were set upon by a couple of angry chaps in white polo shirts holding VHF radios. The message was clear that we were not welcome, that they had no water for us and to go to the island of Palmizana (pronounced like the meal) to get water.

We were unceremoniously shoved off and on our way for about 30 seconds and then the engine stopped, it would start in neutral but stalled every time we tried to engage a gear. This could only mean that a mooring rope had come astray and got caught around the prop. At this point the white shirt brigade took pity on us and arrange a boat to tow us into the middle of the harbour and raft up to a big old fishing boat.

The next 45 minutes number one son and I dived with a knife and eventually removed the offending rope.

We then arrived at Palmizana and when we pulled up to the jetty were told they had no water. This also happened to be the stop over for one of the huge (and I mean huge) party boat flotillas. I counted at least 60 large monohulls and cats with the “Yachting Week” flag fluttering on their backstays. So we chugged off to the other side of the inlet and anchored in about 15m of water next one other boat.

Using the tender we ferried across to the marina and watched in awe while eating our pizza dinner about 300 party goers get onto large taxi boats headed for the town of Hvar about 2miles to the SE. On our way back along the jetty we could clearly see that there was water coming from the hydrants and so took the opportunity to bring the boat in to fill up. Number one son and I then returned to the boat in the tender and attempted to open the companion way hatch. This was very difficult as the lock appeared to be jammed and was then rendered impossible when the flimsy key broke off in the lock. Luckily one of the hatches had not been locked and we were able to gain access to the boat which we immediately brought into the jetty.

The rear tank filled up in about a minute indicating that there was a fault somewhere in the plumbing. The front tank appeared to be empty so we continued filling until another white shirt arrived with a VHF radio yelling at us for using the water. I relayed our intel that this was supposedly free and so what was the issue. He demanded our boat paperwork and said we would have to pay. So I trudged off to the marina office and handed over Pia’s blue folder. I was then presented with a bill for around AUD 75. After picking myself off the floor I described that only one tank was empty (having been failed to be filled by our charter “staff” but I was met with a shrug of the shoulders and a demand to stump up the cash. At this point I was fed up to say the least and in my best whinging Pom tone described that I had been told by two other “officials” from Hvar and the charter operator that water was free, also I had only one tank filled at the commencement of my journey andthe other tank while full was not working. I said that this was my first trip to Croatia Sailing and certainly was not leaving me with a good impression thus far. This heartfelt diatribe met with some success and she reduced the bill to AUD15. I returned to the boat to find that it had just had the forward tank topped off indicating that it had been completely empty.

I knew the wind was forecast to change early in the morning swinging from the N to the SW and I am sure that my highly honed seagoing instincts woke me at 7am the next morning (either that or a full bladder) to find we were slowly dragging anchor and had moved about 30m. Disaster averted we set forth to Stari-Grad to meet our chap. Now Stari-Grad was never on my flexible agenda of destinations for the week and as we plodded into the entrance we were delighted by the spectacle of a beautiful little harbour.

Being only around noon we also were arriving at a time where there is plenty of wharf space.

At this point I will make some observations. We had no choice but to travel to Croatia in July understanding that it is peak season. I had not realised quite what this meant in terms of the sheer numbers of boats that overwhelm the limited wharf and moorings in each port. It became obvious that an early start each day was necessary to get to the next destination as quickly as possible to get a spot. This dashing about was contrary to my desire to peacefully sail to our next place of stay largely determined by the direction of the wind. Once in a port it is extremely busy and noisy with lots of ferry and big boat wash causing the boat to bob around continually.

We therefore determined that the best thing to do was to avoid ports and go to anchorages instead in the many deep water inlets around each island.

However, back to Stari-Grad. More men in white shirts directed us to the place they wanted us to moor on the wharf. With a stiff breeze blowing the fools decided to put us stern in right next to a concrete jetty that was down wind. No great surprises as we drifted toward the jetty frantically putting out extra fenders while they watched apathetically as we bumped the bow into the jetty. Luckily no damage done. It costs about AUD120 for the night to remain tied up to the wharf with water and power and this is a lot more than indicated by the blogs on the internet.

Our charter owner arrived an hour later replete with a fresh inverter and replacement main sail. He also said that the water tanks were prone to air locks and now that both were full things seemed to be working well.

That evening we had a lovely walk around town and an excellent meal.

Number two son managed to get a small electric shock when he touched the shore power cable with wet hands. Close inspection revealed a damaged sheath where someone had trapped it in the locker lid, more bad maintenance.

The following day we finally made it to Zlatni Rat beach on the island of Brac and were quite underwhelmed. I think that in Australia we are spoiled by having such wonderful beaches everywhere. This became a theme in our whole stay in Southern Europe where we learned to treat “there is lovely beach” with a degree of scepticism.

After a glorious two hours of beating (wonderfully cool when it is 34C) into a 12 knot breeze we went in search of a small anchorage further north from Bol and found an idyllic spot with only two other boats. We anchored in 15m of water snubbing until I thought all was firm. In this process number one son was stung by a wasp that looked extremely painful (luckily the wasp was OK). After things had calmed down we saw quite a few more and so kept all food below decks. The swimming was fantastic and the solitude quite marvellous compared to the hustle and bustle of Stari Grad the night before. To be doubly sure of things I rigged up the spare anchor and dropped that from the stern.

Once again my sixth sense (aka my bladder) alerted me to something amiss at about 1am. Poking my head through the front hatch I was aghast to see the rocks a mere 5 m away but still in 25m o water. The wind had changed in the night and dragged both anchors about 75m. The wife and kids were rudely awakened as I started the engine and got out of trouble.

I dove the next morning and saw a line in the sand where the main anchor had dragged. It turned out that the sand was probably only 10cm deep on top of rock.

Another wonderful 2 hours of beating and we arrived at another secluded cove with about 6 boats in it. After a chat with an experienced skipper I laid the appropriate amount of chain, tied a stern line to the shore and didn’t move an inch all night.

I had originally planned to go to the island of Vis to see the blue cave (that at midday shines through a gap and turns the water an eerie blue. However, Vis is quite a long way off and the hordes of boats heading there each morning put us off.

The charter requires that all boats are back in port on the Friday night. We had a lovely 20 knot Mistral to help us home hitting 8 knots on a beam reach.

Stopping at a few nice places to swim we ambled our way back to the beautiful port of Trogir shown below at night.

When we arrived at the refuelling station a huge superyacht was in the way and so I did not attempt to go anywhere near it instead opting to dock the boat and worry about the fuel later. It turns out they have jerry cans for such a purpose and we ended up using only 30 litres of diesel for 20 hours of engine running time which was evidently half of their expectations. I guess most of these charter yachts don’t even put the sails up all week.

Recommendations

• Don’t go in July or August, too busy. September is evidently the best. If you must come in peak season rent out of Sibernik and island hop around there where it is a bit quieter.

• Take lots of provisions purchased from the mainland as the supermarkets on the islands are expensive and have limited range.

• Rent a recent (under 5 years old) boat if you want everything to work and check yourself that everything works as it should before departure.

• Avoid the busy places that charge a lot for mooring and talk to the charter operator about the flotilla schedules so that you don’t go near them. The inlets are plentiful and secluded with very deep water close to shore.

• If you come to Croatia then Trogir and Dubrovnik old towns are a must see but the general advice is not to try and sail there in a week.

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19 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Steve
Tom’s Million-Dollar Initiative for Yacht Clubs
Jessica Watson
Posted August 31 2017

At committee meetings and yacht club bars across the country — and no doubt around the world —there’s a debate that appears to play on repeat: how do clubs boost participation in sailing and grow fleet racing? While the debate rages on, one man has jumped right in and is offering a million-dollar solution.

Tom Pearce grew up sailing dinghies in the UK, but after retiring he made the move out to Australia. Restlessly cheerful and passionate about grassroots sailing, Tom now spends his time volunteering with various sailing charities and importing RS sailing dinghies through his company Sailing Raceboats.

Through Sailing Raceboats, Tom has already helped out a number of clubs with discounts and interest-free payments, and is constantly looking for ingenious ways to help clubs build up their training fleets. But his latest initiative is on a much grander scale. Tom is offering a million-dollar subsidy to allow not-for-profit sailing clubs to receive two boats for the price of one, therefore instantly creating the beginnings of a fleet.

‘There’s still a perception that sailing is a bit elitist, and the high-performance sailing gets all the attention’ says Tom. ‘We want to make it easy to get newcomers into the sport, to have fun on the water and to get them trained up. Discover Sailing and other similar programmes have been successful, but more can be done to get families regularly participating in club events.’

There are two different boats on offer under the scheme: the RS Feva, which is the highest selling double-handed youth dinghy worldwide; and the RS Quest, another double-handed dinghy, well-suited to adults and training. Both boats are designed to be easy to maintain, robust and affordable, and their global popularity is an indication that they are also likely to become increasingly popular here.

Tom’s personal goal is to see 50 new RS Fevers and Quests in Australia before Christmas. Australian Sailing is supporting the initiative, and so far Tom is well on track to meet that goal with strong interest from clubs as far afield as the Whitsundays and King Island. 

Interested clubs can find all the relevant details and an expression of interest form here.

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9 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
10 Questions for Lisa Blair, the First Woman to Circumnavigate Antarctica
Jessica Watson
Posted August 3 2017

After many years of preparation, endless challenges (including a dismasting in the depths of the Southern Ocean) and 104 days at sea, Lisa last week arrived back in Albany, becoming the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, below 45 degrees. I can’t wait to hear her story in more detail, but for now, here are the 10 most pressing questions I had for Lisa:

Jess: Highlight?

Lisa: Surfing waves in the Southern Ocean, and finishing.

Jess: In that order?

Lisa: Yes.

Jess: Lowlight?

Lisa: A lot of people would probably think the dismasting, but I actually think that it was the container ship collision [as they attempted to transfer fuel to Lisa after the dismasting, see Lisa’s blog about the incident here]. It just simply shouldn’t have happened. That would probably be the lowest lowlight.

Jess: What about the voyage surprised you?

Lisa: The amount of time that I would spend inside the boat. I thought I’d spend on deck but given the cold, I was indoors about 23 hours a day, I’d spend maybe an hour on deck, and that was broken up. I was surprised by how much my world shrunk to about 10 square meters.

Jess: At what point did you feel the coldest?

Lisa: When I sailed across the demisting track after the repairs had been completed in Cape Town, I got hit with a blizzard. I had about 2 inches of snow on the deck in a couple of minutes.

Jess: Was there anything you’d wished you’d packed?

Lisa: For the first half of the trip, a hard drive with all the DVDs that were left behind in Albany. That would have been really, really nice. I wish I’d had more variety in the meals I liked. Then just a few spares for the boat such as electrical switches, some heat shrink, electrical tape; I wish I’d packed more of stuff like that.

Jess: What was your favorite food while at sea?

Lisa: A freeze-dried dinner which was a bare burrito, and porridge. Love porridge; the way to my heart it through a nice hot bowl of porridge.

Jess: What did you crave most while at sea?

Lisa: I use to get really excited when I’d do radio interviews and things like that because I’d have a conversation with someone new. Good conversation was the biggest thing I craved. It really makes you aware of how much you rely on conversation.

Jess: What will you miss most about life at sea?

Lisa: Just the peace, even in a storm; sailing in the middle of nowhere, in the open ocean, on your own is a peaceful experience.

Jess: Would you do it again?

Lisa: In a heartbeat.

Lisa will be speaking at the Sydney International Boat Show this weekend, so make sure you head along to ask any questions of your own.

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26 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Boat improvements and repairs
Chris Van Vuuren
Posted July 9 2017

I have recently moved to stink boat after 37 years competition yachting ( deckhand , winch , trimmer , ) also racing Thundercats , building a twin 200!  Tunnel hull 21 ft Liberator  my empathy for boat owners is squared upwards. Due to health reasons I was off work after I bought a boat 32 ft Diesel fuel in Queensland . I have no idea how anybody working could ever get honest service while they are not present . I had the the boat surveyed before purchase but miraculously shower , basin , hot water does not work now . Radar is U.S. O.k. I get it . Old boat, poo happens . The diesel also got to be a milkshake after truck transport . 

Now before I whinge too much , I bought a nice little pump for     the tank . Now I have 150 litres of fuel I can't get rid of . I built two hatches , one on deck and one on the fuel tank for about  $120 in parts . The tank hatch is a beautiful stainless piece that I used a technique I learnt on bicycles fitting an engine and rear cogs . You cut the inner ring solid seal in half to get it in the tank. Now I could sandwich the rubber seal between solid inside ring  and the inspection hatch. This little process had a quote of $ 2500 from diesel cleaner and Shipright. I cleaned the tank with a cloth and the so called sludge I was promised was nowhere to be found. 

May I add that it amazes me how a boat with 300 litres of diesel fuel can have so many corroded outside metal  fittings and cables  unlubricated ! 

I have spent hours of  enjoyable hours adding and modifying fittings to my taste . I think the Maritime system of swapping my old crappy life jackets for self inflating yokes was a pearle. It may behove our fellow boaties to remember that a yoke with no crutch strap and strong screw shackle is a potential risk. 

In the fatal  Fastnet race exhausted sailors fell out of the life jackets getting winched in to choppers . Also a c-shackle can twist open if you fall overboard and hook up for retrieval . It's amazing how exhausting it is . It is also important if you hoist somebody into your boat to simply cross your arms. The refugee gets lifted and lands on their bum on the rail or Marlin board . Next as far as tooling goes a little spray paint on metal tools helps prevent rust and corrosion.  I find 4x 4 superstores have some nice goodies often in s/s or ally.  LED lighting strips . I prefer the solid more costly bars . They have many configuration options . The flex have very light shitty wires and joins. I am a sucker for cigarette sockets . Buy quality plugs that have solid wire screws , good fuses . You can then flip circuits and usb,s on and off knowing if something is suspicious you pull the plug .  For awnings and sunshades , non slip floors and kitchen utensils you can't beat  4x4 . Use your imagination with S/S piping in rod holders and quality bungee chords , tent guy ropes , and cargo netting (catamaran bow nets ) hammocks . Use disposable gas cannisters on heaters , stoves , and have gas lighting if batteries kark it . 

I know Elon Musk is a genius but I have almost had my head blown off by an exploding Lipo . They are so handy for quick lightweight power . I use remote control toy 18v to power all sorts of 12v gadgets  Be careful with chargers .  There is no substitute for an inline pump to get into  tight wet holes hard to reach with a thin splinted hose . Make sure the pump is robust , easy to get to the impeller and self priming . If not , a  petrol line bulb is good . Just make sure the pump doesn't  empty it faster than you can squeeze . Also an easy way to start a syphon .

My other use of off the envelope shopping is a big truck supply company . Diesel filters , (with bleed valves and water Windows ) turbos , inter coolers , etc   Why not mount an intercooler under your Marlin board for extra power.  Compression testers . Note that diesel injectors are no different in trucks . They cost a fortune to replace . Send them to reconditioners that spray test and measure in micro mm. Also don't forget Jaycar. Wonderful for switches , relays , solenoids , all sorts of solar and security devices .  

With our marvellous  free trade agreements I have bought S/S props from Propshop , jack plates , steering systems , even rubstrake , and engine blocks, from US dealers . Look at Pirhana props if you boat near rocks . You simply replace the plastic blades. They don't muck you about with out of stock sobstories . One week it's on your doorstep . 

My current mission is FLIR .  I don't want to get my props foiled with fish traps and invisible obstacles . Found a nice system on Ali Baba . Watch this space . 

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8 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Chris Van Vuuren
Border to Border VHF Marine Network
Richard Burgess
Posted July 3 2017

A new VHF network is in the commissioning stage which will provide a monitoring capability on channels 16 & 67 as well as DSC channel 70.

The network will be monitored by Kordia out of Canberra. 

Coverage is expected to be from Portland to Mallacoota to approximately 30 Nm to sea.

The Volunteer Coast Guard will continue to monitor the repeater network.

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11 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Richard Burgess
Did we Give the 35th America’s Cup the Attention it Deserves?
Jessica Watson
Posted June 29 2017

©ACEA 2017/ Photo Ricardo Pinto

As all sailors would be well aware, the Kiwis have just snatched the America’s Cup (affectionately known as the Auld Mug) back off the Americans. The foiling cats provided a great spectacle, flying over the aqua waters of Bermuda, and the design and innovation bar was again lifted. From a viewer’s perspective, the TV graphics were fantastic, and many a non-sailor told me the races were thoroughly watchable.

Throughout the qualifying series and challengers’ playoffs, the racing was competitive and at times dramatic. Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) capsized in the semi-final and Nathan Outteridge, the Aussie skipper of Artemis Racing, fell overboard, something that is reported to cause quite an impact at the 30 knot plus speeds these boats travel. Admittedly, ETNZ was a little dominate in the finals, but after Oracle's incredible comeback during the last cup, I don’t think anyone relaxed till ETNZ was safely across the line for the last time.

But despite the great spectacle and ETNZ’s great underdog story, it didn’t exactly feel like there were many people avidly following the Cup back here in Australia. Certainly, the Australian sailing media did a great job of their coverage, but beyond keen sailing fans, there weren’t too many people who knew what was going on.

It didn’t help that races kicked off at 3 am Australian time and were only televised on pay TV, but given the substantial number of fantastic Aussie sailors across the boats, I had thought that there would be a little more fuss made. While all the major TV networks did run a respectable package on the day of the final race, I was surprised that ETNZ’s victory didn’t warrant a mention on the morning radio sports headlines.

In contrast, the interest that Kiwis take leaves me feeling pretty envious. Every Kiwi, whether they are a sailor or not, seemed to know exactly what was going on. And while a few commentators have pointed out that ETNZ skipper Glenn Ashby is an Aussie, our lack of protest has, to some extent, allowed one of the world’s top sailors to be labelled a Kiwi by default.

I’m disappointed that the Cup didn’t give sailing a more substantial moment in the spotlight because events like this do a wonderful job of promoting sailing. It appears to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation: you need to be a sailor to take an interest, but spectacles like this are needed to drive interest.

Fingers crossed that there’ll be a competitive Australian challenge next time and that Australia will really pay attention.

Did you enjoy following the Cup? Do you think Australia was a little disengaged?

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31 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Lisa Blair departs Cape Town to complete Antarctic Circumnavigation
Mike McKiernan
Posted June 12 2017

Sydney- based solo sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair (32) will recommence her attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica and will depart Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town at 1100 (CAT) on Sunday 11 June 2017 (1900 AET).

At approximately 0300 (AET) on Tuesday 4 April 2017 Lisa issued a PAN PAN 895nm south of Cape Town (048:38:384 S 022:31:430 E) when in 40 knot winds and 7m swell her boat Climate Action Now was dismasted after the port shroud broke.

Lisa was on her 72nd day at sea attempting to be the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo and unassisted.

It was decided safe that Lisa would make for Cape Town for repairs. Lisa received fuel from M.V. Far Eastern Mercury on 7 April and travelled the remainder of her journey under motor and jury-rig until she reached Cape Town on 12 April 2017.

She has spent the past two months preparing Climate Action Now so that she can complete her circumnavigation, including the installation of a new mast and repairs to the hull and electrical and navigation systems sustained during her dramatic dismasting.

“I am so excited to finally be sailing again. The conditions this time of year will have their own challenges and the biggest one is going to be how I cope with the cold conditions” said Lisa.

Lisa will once again be required to traverse the perilous Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas – where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans officially meet. Sea temperature is expected to be approximately 3-5 degrees Celsius making conditions difficult.

“I have now been away for about five (5) months so it will be so great to sail back into Albany and see my family again.

I especially want to say a thank you to the sailing community and the wonderful people of Cape Town for their support, hospitality and hard work in getting Climate Action Now back on the water. Whilst my stop was unscheduled I could not have asked for a warmer welcome and will be forever grateful.” She said.

Lisa will return Climate Action Now to below Latitude 45 degrees South and remain there for the duration of her journey to Albany. This is a requirement for her circumnavigation record.

She will attempt to reach Albany and complete her journey in approximately 32 days.

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8 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
5 Sailing YouTube Channels to Tune Into
Jessica Watson
Posted May 24 2017

Sailing vlogs (video blogs) are having a moment. In the last few years, there’s been an explosion of sailors documenting their adventures as they sail the world, and there’s no shortage of armchair sailors tuning in to share their adventures.

There’s a very long list of great sailing video bloggers out there, but I don’t want to overwhelm you if you're new to vlogging. Here are a few to give you a taste of what’s out there and get you started;

Sailing La Vagabonde

I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard of these guys. They’re Aussies and some of, if not the most watched sailing vloggers. Starting out as sailing novices, Elayna and Riley have become experienced sailors as they crossed the Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Recently they’ve upgraded their 43ft Beneteau for brand new 45ft Outremer catamaran to continue their adventures.

The quality of their video production has improved since then, and it’s tricky to pick a favourite, but I’d recommend starting with episode 1.

SV Delos

The skipper of SV Delos, Brian, brought the boat in Seattle back in 2008, the original plan was just to cross the Pacific. But the adventure has grown far beyond the original plan. In addition to Brian, Brandy and Kazza sail the boat full-time and are joined by a revolving crew of fun-loving sailors. 

It’s easy to get hooked on any of their videos, but why not check out their lengthy Facebook Live interview with Lisa Blair when they caught up with her in Cape Town after her dismasting.

Monday Never

Will and Cat left their jobs in San Francisco and set off around the Caribbean in their 36ft yacht Paradox. These days they mix sailing adventures with land-based adventures on a motorbike, complete with sidecar.

Start with this video where the crew rescue a family that were forced to abandon their yacht in the middle of the ocean. It’s a video that’s hard to stop watching and provides some great insights into boat-to-boat transfers at sea.

Shaun & Julia Sailing

Canadians Shaun and Julia have been documenting their sailing adventures in amusing YouTube videos since 2012. Starting out on a modest 25ft yacht, many of their videos feature passages through the Great Lakes and down the Intracoastal canal systems.

A great place to start is with this video in which Shaun gives an entertaining insight into the world of vlogging.

Salt&Tar

This one’s a little different as these guys are still building their boat. Garrett and Ruth are documenting the build of their 35ft wooden gaff rigged ketch in Washington. Their videos offer all the satisfaction of building a beautiful wooden boat without the hard work!

A good place to start is with episode 1. and the very beginning of the build.

Another great place to see some fantastic sailing on screen is the inaugural SEAbbatical Short Film Festival held on the opening night of the Sanctuary Cover Boat Show this Thursday. Tickets are free, and all sailors and aspiring sailors are encouraged to head along.

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15 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Deckee and Mysail partner up to make crew management simple
Mike McKiernan
Posted May 17 2017

Here at Deckee we are dedicated to helping boaters make better decisions. Every month thousands of Aussie boat owners use Deckee to find and compare local marine services, insurance providers, destinations and anchorages, boats, products and gear.

Today we are excited to announce a new partnership with MySail, an Australian-owned crew management platform, to help our community in even more ways than before. You can access MySail by clicking on the new Crew link in Deckee's main menu.

MySail is great for two reasons. As a skipper, you can use MySail to manage your race team and find crew members matching your requirements.

As a sailor looking for crew opportunities, you can use MySail to connect with yacht owners.

A recurring issue for many racing yachts is getting their crew sorted. Many yacht owners or crew managers spend countless hours trying to organise their racing crew through spreadsheets, phone, text, and email, often having to follow-up with crew constantly to find out who will be there on race day. Many yachts also find themselves short of crew and have trouble finding the right people to join their team.

For experienced sailors who are in high demand, keeping track of their race schedule can be a headache, and for new sailors, it’s often not easy to find yachts to race on.

Deborah Dalziel is the founder of Mysail and a passionate sailor. We have got to know Deb lately and we really believe in her vision to create a tool that can eliminate all of these hassles so yacht owners, managers, and their crew can focus on sailing.

MySail is currently free to use, so please check it out and let us know your feedback!

deckee.link/crew

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15 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Drones on Boats
Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  Posted May 17 2017

I'll admit to being smitten by our newest addition on board Banyandah. Jude's may be our resident photographer, snapping upwards of seven thousand each year, plus hours of video, but they're all at ground level! 

We tried an experiment three years ago, tying our GoPro to a kite then flew it above an isolated sand island alive with thousands of sea birds. Although the stills are spectacular, the video made us seasick. Later that year I watched a man in Albany WA fly his drone so high it was lost to sight, and then persuaded him to show us the footage. Well, amazed we were! 

Finding the coin to finance our new love took until last winter, when we took the plunge, investing around $1800 on a Phantom 3 Advance, spare battery, iPad mini, and case. Our first flights had us trembling thinking our very expensive camera would crash or fly out of sight. This must have appealed to our lust for adventure because in no time at all we were driving to the most beautiful, isolated locations to fly our drone. Then we took it sailing.

There are several important  points to remember when flying off a ship. The "Return to Home" facility is your enemy, not your friend. Boats move - GPS home positions do not. Taking off, and landing in a confined space filled with rigging is also a tad bit difficult but we have found a good place to launch, and hand retrieve. A smidgen dangerous that, but isn't all life afloat a bit that way. Lastly, these highly technical drones do not like metal as it upset their inbuilt compass - our take off site is atop our solar panels on the aft tower.

We are real nature lovers - can't get enough of the great outdoors, and now with the drone we're keenly looking for truly beautiful sites to fly - tis fortunate we're presently down here in Tasmania.

In fact, we've just used the drone for our reconnaissance and search of a very isolated area. The farm in Farm Cove began in 1825, growing mainly potatoes and pigs for the Sarah Island Penal Colony until it closed. The farm was abandoned by 1832, when it was described as ‘fast relapsing into its original state of wild luxuriance.’

This state of wild luxuriance prevailed until the fires of 2016

After those fires were extinguished, each time we’d sail past those burnt hills we wondered what historical treasures might be revealed. A few other members of the Friends of Macquarie Harbour held a similar view and together we mounted an expedition to look for the farm last in use nearly 200 years ago. 

Here's the aerial footage on Vimeo

If you want to view the whole adventure, go here to see the complete video and read the history of this amazing place.

I'm still a P-plate flyer and am sure my grandkids could make it do loops - and here's an example of what can be done when proficient. Search for Lost Track. Compare that with my best so far - Kelly Basin .

You can see that drones are a powerful tool, great for enhancing story telling, and perfect to capture views otherwise not available to us mere mortals.

If we can be of any help, keeping in mind I'm a P-plate flyer, just drop us a line at capjack2j@gmail.com

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14 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jack and Jude
Lisa Blair update: Just Another Bump in the Road
Jessica Watson
Posted May 11 2017

Midway through her attempt to become the first female and fastest person to circumnavigate Antarctica, and nearly 1,000nm south of Cape Town, Lisa’s voyage came to an unexpected halt when her boat was dismasted last month. Jury-rigging her boat and taking on fuel in a hazardous operation at sea, Lisa made her way into Cape Town where she’s spent the last few weeks repairing the damage and sourcing a new mast before she restarts the record attempt.

If she wasn’t already, Lisa is fast becoming known for her incredible dedication and ability to push through setbacks. With repairs well underway, I caught up with Lisa and was keen to hear about how she’s coping mentally with this latest challenge.

Jess: How did those first few days back on land feel?

Lisa: [laughing] I’m trying to remember! It was bizarre because I was straight back into it. I didn’t have that time to reflect. Even the night that I arrived when everyone whisked me off to a pub where we had dinner and a few beers, it sort of felt like I hadn’t even left or that I’d just spent a few weeks at sea. In my head, I’d never really got the impression that I’d been at sea for two months straight, on my own. It never felt like that.

Jess: Where are you finding the strength to rally again, put in all this extra work and keep going?

Lisa: When the mast came down, the first few days I was quite depressed about the whole thing. Obviously it felt like two years of hard work down the drain. You know the story, you sacrifice so much during that time to make it possible, so I was really disheartened that it had come to that end.

I’d worked so hard in my preparation to try to avoid that result. It was also really out of the blue; it’s not like we’d had a knockdown, or that I was pushing the boat. It wasn’t until I started thinking about restarting the record that I got the energy to keep going. As soon as I had something to work towards, I knew I could make it happen. I don’t like to dwell on the past. Yes, I had my moment, my cries, then I got over it.

Jess: The support you're received in Cape Town looks like it’s been pretty amazing, what’s that been like?

Lisa: It’s so overwhelming and humbling when you get so many people who you’ve never met before all trying to chip in and help out. I didn’t get a chance to read the comments on the blog till about a week later. My eyes were watery; I don’t get those comments while I’m at sea. That sort of gives you energy as well. Everyone’s seen the effort, the preparation, the safety aspect, so there’s only been really supportive positive comments.

You can see the full list of Lisa’s sponsors here.

Jess: So what’s it going to feel like when you do set off again? Will it be a relief to be on the way again? Or will you be nervous heading back into colder waters?

Lisa: There’s a level of nerves because I am heading back down to no man’s land, and before I even turn left to start heading back to Australia I get almost 1,000nm from land. So there is trepidation, but the boat has performed so amazingly well though all of this trip to date so I really don’t have any qualms. I think it will also be a relief to be going and finishing this.

Jess: Did you ever think it would be this hard? To have to overcome another huge setback like this?

Lisa: It’s another battle. It has been hard, but it’s been such a rewarding challenge. It’s just another bump in the road. I still know I’m going to finish the trip. I don’t really stop and think about it too much; I just keep going.

You can read details about the repair work, the fantastic support of all those helping her and Lisa’s time in Cape Town in her latest blog here. You can also revisit Lisa’s extensive preparations before she left Sydney in this post here.

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23 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
The Whitsundays: Australia’s Best Boating Destination?
Jessica Watson
Posted April 20 2017

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Whitsundays. You can spend months taking in and exploring every detail of the greater Whitsunday region, but the area is equally suited to a quick visit to tick off the highlights. Growing up, I spent many months in the Whitsundays with my family, and over the years I’ve been back countless times to race and most recently to charter a yacht last week.

While there is no end to amazing destinations around the world, one of the Whitsundays’ key drawcards is its accessibility. And that’s certainly not to say that the region doesn’t hold its own in terms of scenery; it’s just that the many great anchorages and the short distances between them make it a perfect boating playground. For those new to boating, it’s a great place to dip your toes in the water, and for the more experienced it’s a lovely cruising ground that reveals its true gems to those who take the time to explore in detail.

While there’s nothing quite like your own boat, I believe chartering is an underrated option for even the most experienced sailors. The convenience of chartering is hard to beat for the time poor. Charter boats are restricted to the main island group, but this won’t be a hindrance for the majority of charters who’ll only have a week or two in the area, and the most popular attractions are all situated within the charter zone.

On arrival to the area, your visit should be planned around the weather forecast. The prevailing winds are southeasterlys and, later in the year, northeasterlys. So when the forecast gives you anything else, particularly light conditions, make a beeline for the eastern side of the islands. Even if you’re lucky enough to have quite some time in the Whitsundays, you’ll want to be ready to take advantage of calm conditions that bring out the best of some of the most scenic yet exposed anchorages and outer reefs.

On the subject of weather, while the winter mouths are the ideal time to visit I don’t find the summer months unpleasant with plenty of breeze on the water to keep you cool. There’s an increased chance of rain over summer, but the upside to this is that the islands’ many creeks and occasional waterfall will run.

Of course, the region was also hit hard by Cyclone Debbie. A significant percentage of trees aren’t their usual vertical selves or have been stripped of leaves, and tragically there are still quite a number of boats sitting high and dry on rocks. Most early reports suggest that the reefs fringing the islands haven’t fared too well, but there are some more positive stories emerging. While the damage to the reef is devastating, the area’s many other merits still warrant it a spot at the top any boatie’s bucket list.

Visiting only a few weeks after the cyclone, I was impressed to find that almost all the facilities that a boatie would usually expect in the area were available. The local community has to be applauded, and I suspect that the Whitsundays will recover swiftly and emerge better than ever.

A highlight of my most recent visit was a lovely night anchored at Whitehaven Beach. For me, it was a reminder of just how lucky boaties are. As the afternoon drew to close, tour companies ferried visitors back to their boats. Slowly the beach and anchorage emptied, leaving just a handful of yachts to enjoy a gorgeous sunset over one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches.

You can read about a few of my Whitsunday highlights in my checklist here. I’d recommend a copy of the Whitsunday ‘bible’ 100 Magic Miles. Of course, you can also read other boaties’ advice on the Whitsundays, and contribute your experience to Deckee’s crowd-sourced location guide here.

Tourism Whitsundays and the GoBareboating initiative were kind enough to supply a boat for Jessica’s most recent visit to the Whitsundays, but all opinions expressed here are very much her own. 

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2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Australians take on the World at the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland
PaulW
Posted April 5 2017

Seven Wetas, including Paul White's brand new birthday boat still in gift wrapping, appeared at Port Kembla Sailing Club for the Lake Illawarra Weta Camp - the final training weekend to share knowledge and help bring the Australian Weta Team up to the same high standard before the boats are shipped to Auckland for the World Masters Games regatta in April.

There are 17 Australians out of 72 Weta entries for the World Masters Games sailing regatta which takes place in Auckland, New Zealand from 22-28th of April - with competitors from all over the world sailing both solo and with two crew.

Multihull guru and Hobie World Masters Champion, Rod Waterhouse and John McClaren also appeared with borrowed boats so they could get some practice before they pick up their charter boats at the WMG.

"Great fun" said Rod after a day on the water "The Weta sails like a monohull but gives the speed and stability of a multihull".

Auckland is the home of the New Zealand-designed Weta. "We're very pleased to see someone of Rod's calibre racing the Weta", said Roger Kitchen, MD of Weta Marine.

About the Weta Trimaran

Conceived and designed in New Zealand, over 1,200 Weta trimarans have been sold worldwide since Weta launched with a splash over 11 years ago.

Hand-crafted – this is no “machine-built boat” – the fibreglass/carbon composite construction delivers the perfect pairing of rigidity and lightweight performance. Expertly made for maximum enjoyment and minimum fuss, whether you’re sailing all out and solo, mixing it up with the family or teaching the kids to sail, the Weta is simple to sail, surprisingly quick, and an absolute ton of fun. Fun, fast and easy, life's better with a Weta!

More at weta.com.au

About the World Masters Games

With more athletes than the Olympics, the World Masters Games is the single biggest multi-sport event on earth. Now in 2017, the event will come to Auckland New Zealand, a must-see destination renowned for its stunning natural diversity and vibrant social scene.

More at wmg2017.com

About the World Masters Games Sailing Regatta

The World Masters Games sailing regatta takes places at Torbay Sailing Club just north of Auckland. The event features the Laser single-handed and Weta - the only qualification is that you must be aged over 35. The Weta class allows for single and double-handed boats which will sail together with medals awarded separately. Both Lasers and Wetas will sail typical Olympic-style courses but the Weta competition also includes some distance races to test navigation skills, explore the stunning location and take advantage of the Wetas' proven distance racing ability on events such as the 300 mile Everglades Challenge.

More at tinyurl.com/wmg2017sailing

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4 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank PaulW
Highlights from Women Who Sail Australia’s 2nd annual ‘Gathering on The Bay’
Jessica Watson
Posted April 5 2017

Women Who Sail Australia’s second annual Gathering on The Bay has exceeded the high standards set the previous year. With two days of seminars, a lineup of inspiring speakers, 120 attendees, social events and even a morning yoga session the gathering offered members of the thriving online Women Who Sail Australia community to catch up offline.

While the entire gathering was jam packed with conversation, inspiring stories and learning here’s a few of the highlights;

Cruising legend Lin Pardey kicked off the first session by providing invaluable tips on handling storms at sea.

Well-known safety expert Genevieve White provided a fascinating history of women on boats before sharing advice on personal safety at sea.

Melanie Piddocke shared her impressive plans to sail against the winds, west-about around the world in 2018.

Travel writer Jackie Parry stressed that the key to happiness and contentment on the water is having a boat you trust.

International sailor Kristi Foster encouraged the room to ‘truly live, not just exist’.

Karen Oberg made everyone’s mouths water while sharing her tips for healthy, fresh provisioning for passages, and stressed the importance of packing a mountain of toilet paper!

Kerry Tait also shared dozens of providing tips and advised that an Indian grocer is a treasure trove of great dried products.

Claire Heenan shared seriously envy-inducing pictures from adventures sailing in the med.

And among other fantastic stories deck hardware, flairs, diesel engines and international arrivals and departures where will also covered.

Deckee was again thrilled to co-host the Gathering which raised over $7,900 for marine charities.

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3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Sailor Lisa Blair heads to Cape Town under motor following dismast
Mike McKiernan
Posted April 4 2017

2030 Tuesday 4 April 2017 (0030 SAST)

UPDATE

Australian sailor Lisa Blair has assessed the damage to her yacht Climate Action Now after being dismasted 895 nm south of Cape Town in 40 knot winds and 7 metre swells earlier this morning.

A PAN PAN was called at approximately 0300 (AET) / 1900 (SAST) signalling an urgent threat to her safety and this remains in place.

Climate Action Now has suffered significant damage to the mast and rigging.

Lisa intends to step the boom and install a jury rig with a small storm sail in place which will assist in her journey to Cape Town under motor.

A Hong Kong registered vessel has been requested to rendezvous with Lisa to provide fuel and other items to assist with repairs if required.

It is anticipated that Lisa’s journey to Cape Town will take approximately 10 days travelling at an estimated speed of 4.5 knots. Lisa continues to experience swells of approximately seven (7) metres. Once there she will complete a full evaluation of the damage to the yacht and determine what repairs can be made.

Lisa remains well and uninjured.

The incident occurred whilst Lisa Blair was on her 72nd day at sea attempting to be the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo and unassisted.

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9 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan

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