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Letters

 

We voted for change Barry, let’s see it!

I read with concern your fishing correspondent David Lockwood’s comment “National Parks and Wildlife officers are cracking down on dog owners who take their pet pooch ashore in Cowan Creek ... fines are steep.” (Sydney Morning Herald, January 7).
Dogs taken aboard boats are by definition, well-behaved and obedient. Paddling them ashore to permit them a leak has an inconsequential impact on the 154 square kilometres of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. It is not as if they are being released for a week’s hunting of native species.
Memo Barry O’Farrell: you were elected last March to help get government out of our faces in NSW. Who is your minister responsible for these over-zealous fun police? If they have the resources, at holiday penalty rates, to be chasing such small fry, Treasurer Mike Baird is entitled to be taking a closer look here as he strives to carve waste from the state budget.
Then there is J. J. Edwards’ observation about the police emergency mooring located by NSW Maritime on the western edge of the channel off Woolwich Marina (Afloat Jan’12).
This was no doubt authorised through the same office that felt it necessary to instruct BSOs to intrude on New Year’s Eve festivities by ordering vessels on Farm Cove to display riding lights despite having cabins ablaze like the proverbial Christmas Tree; and lying in a designated anchorage (photo), where the greatest hazard was from these very patrols, burning their blinding blue and red lights.
Though seemingly small matters to many, these are emblematic of much of our gripe with the former Labor government … brains left in the car park, and officialdom everywhere you look, regardless of the cost.
We voted for change Barry, let’s see it!

Mitch Geddes,
Glades Bay.

Proud of our Australian Ensign

My wife and friends moored our yacht among the generally well behaved armada of yachts and motor boats that gathered on Sydney harbour to watch the spectacular fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve.
The only disappointment was that only a handful of those yachts and motor boats flew the Australian ensign.
What is wrong with us? Are we ashamed of the Australian flag or do we just not care?
If this had been any other country, flags would have been raised on nearly all vessels. Come on Aussies, come on – be proud and fly the red ensign. Our flag is one of the best and certainly more attractive than those European flashes of three vertical or horizontal colours.

John Hancox,
Wollstonecraft.

Call for changes to the lifejacket regulations when rowing short distances

The Boat Owners Association supports the calls from a number of your readers for changes to the lifejacket regulations for boaters alone in small vessels. Now that the 12-month introductory period for the lifejacket regulations has expired, NSW Maritime should be taking action to remove some of the anomalies, and this requirement is an obvious candidate.
The regulations were developed following a detailed analysis of the risks associated with various types of boating activities. Being alone in a vessel was identified as an important risk factor. But the regulations as drafted assume that being alone in a small vessel is always a risky boating activity. There are many activities boaters engage in on their own where the risk of an incident is so low that there is no justification for the requirement.
Regulations that require boaters to do things that their experience and boating knowledge tells them are unnecessary are not helpful, invite disobedience, and create unnecessary concerns about compliance and enforcement.
Many boaters would consider themselves at minimal risk when rowing a short distance between shore or jetty and a vessel anchored off, in protected waters in a dinghy with buoyancy and in the vicinity of other vessels. A lifejacket might be helpful if they were knocked unconscious, but that seems unlikely in the short row from a boat to the beach, or while fishing near shore in a quiet stream.
The 12-month introductory period has been an opportunity for both the boaters and the regulators to gain experience with the regulations. With that experience behind us, it is time for Maritime to listen to the feedback they are getting and respond accordingly.

Jeff Richard, President,
Boat Owners Association of NSW Inc.

Marine Rescue Operating Budget

During 09/10 the funds provided to the various Volunteer Rescue groups was $4 Million, and thereafter with the amalgamation of these groups becoming Marine Rescue, potential supplementary funding from a new levy was announced.
The Minister’s department sent out a press release 09/11 stating that $1.47 Million would be provided to support the work of this non-government group. However, what is the actual amount Marine Rescue will receive for 2011 / 2012?
During 2011 NSW Maritime introduced a levy of $7.50 for Licences and $7.50 for Registrations pertaining to recreational boaters. So let’s review the potential additional income:-
2010 – Licences 490,000 and Registrations 225,000, being a combined total of 715,000. Let’s multiply the 715,000 x $7.50 = $5.362M.
So what is the actual allocation from the NSW Government / NSW Maritime? $1.47 Million or $5.362 Million?

Dennis Donald,
Croydon.

SS MacDhui.Royal Papua YC flag mast

I read the article by Lance Melbourne on the SS MacDhui with great interest as my grandfather, Les Smith, had served on her pre WWII and made a number of voyages to PNG on her.
I wish I had known, on my travels to PNG and having a beer at the Royal Papua Yacht Club, that the flag mast was from the MacDhui. It would have made my visit so much more poignant.
Above is a photo of her, pre-WWII taken by Les.

Ian Grimwood,
Lennox Head.

Whiskey Galore

Lance Melbourne’s story on the wreck of the SS MacDhui in Port Moresby (Afloat Jan’12) was of great interest.
As an 18-year-old lad serving in the RAN on HMAS Culboa, we visited Port Moresby in late June 1947.
The MacDhui, lying on her side in the harbour, was my first ‘real’ shipwreck. The story around town was that the ship had whiskey among the cargo, and, much as the locals contemplated ‘salvaging’ some of the grog, fear of sharks kept them ashore!
True or false? Who knows? But as an 18-year-old the story sure deterred me!

Syd Asher,
Seelands.

Maritime Services proposal to restrict anchoring at Manly and Quarantine Beach

The Boat Owners Association of NSW (BOA) has recently learned of a decision by Maritime Services (MS) to severely restrict anchoring in the vicinity of Manly and Quarantine Beach in Sydney Harbour.
There has been no known consultation process to support this decision which is seen to effectively destroy safe anchoring, safe access to the beach by dinghy (with children) and an important safety haven for boats to anchor in a southerly.
Areas in Sydney Harbour such as Manly and Quarantine have what is regarded as akin to heritage use and have been enjoyed by countless generations of boaters; to take this away and deny access without consultation is an outrage.
The BOA understands that the matter is now before the minister for his approval; the BOA has written to request Minister Duncan Gay to defer his approval until such time as a proper and transparent public consultation process has been conducted.
On behalf of all boaters, the BOA is most disappointed with the lack of transparency exercised by MS in this matter and calls on all boaters to express their views to any one or all of the following, the BOA, Minister Duncan Gay, their Local Member, Maritime Services, the newspapers and Afloat Magazine.

David G Miles, Vice President,
Boat Owners Association of NSW.

Historic photograph of HMAS Australia

I was extraordinarily lucky when purchasing some fibreglass materials at FGI that they had a number of back issues of Afloat adorning their shelves. One of the previous editions was the July 2011 publication.
I was immediately drawn to Bruce Stannard’s article about the Royal Australian Navy with a picture of HMAS Australia in 1929. In the same article it says that she was scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1924 under the terms of the Washington Treaty.
My father was a RN Officer brought out to Australia by the RAN prior to the beginning of the Second World War to become the Officer in Charge of Rushcutters Bay Naval Base. He was involved in the pre-war establishment of the A/S Branch and its continued expansion.
The old photograph of HMAS Australia that adorned the wall of my father’s office at Rushcutters Bay Naval Base.The earliest mention of a naval base in Sydney Harbour was during the First World War when it was thought that there may have been a danger from German Submarines and that some kind of defence should be prepared.
As a young boy my first memories of my father was of him being a sailor in the Navy and that of Rushcutters Bay. I can always remember returning the salute to the guards as we drove into the base past the figurehead of Nelson at the front entrance. He must have been an important person but I did not have any idea why.
Our family lived in a rented house in Vaucluse. I remember him departing early in the morning by bus to go to work. Later his mode of transport altered when someone driving a private motor vehicle started to pull up outside our house and pick him up from home. This apparently created some major security scare with the authorities as my father was regarded as a security risk and his mode of getting to work was quickly changed.
My understanding was that this caused a wharf to be built at Vaucluse Bay and a Naval Launch to be sent to pick my father up and bring him back home. This also became a wonderful experience for a young boy who was often allowed to steer this lovely craft when the family attended church on Sunday mornings at Rushcutter.
His office appeared to be very large but one photograph of a ship hanging on his office wall always caught my eye. When my father died in 1991 at the age of 91 I found this framed photograph in his belongings in Melbourne.
Knowing that it must have had some importance to him I brought it back up to Queensland where it has been stored in a cupboard ever since. With no name on the back of the framed photograph it was simply kept in this cupboard for the last 20 years until I read with great interest Stannard’s article.
It just seems such a pity that part of our history is lying on the bottom of the ocean somewhere off Sydney Heads and is not now displayed as part of Naval history at Darling Harbour.

Simon Newcomb OAM,
Taringa, Qld.

Pilot Vessel Captain Cook III

Owen Sharpe’s letter re: the pilot vessel Captain Cook (Afloat Jun’11) brought back a memory of the smartest piece of boat handling that I have witnessed.
I was an engineer with the Shell Company in the 1950s and arrived off Sydney Heads early one morning on the Neocardia. Captain Cook was waiting and sent the Pilot across in a boat manned with two seaman rowing and what was I assumed a coxswain sweep.
The pilot ship moved to a position ahead of Neocardia on the starboard side and stopped. I was on deck and saw the pilot come aboard after the boat secured a line to us. I heard our engine room telegraph ring and the engine start. The boat was still secured to us as we got under way.
The seamen shipped their oars and the sweep steered the boat toward the pilot ship. It was a long time ago. However, I do seem to remember the boat reaching the Captain Cook without an oar being unshipped, the line being cast off at some point.
Just marvellous!

Ken Gifford,
Camden Head.

A simpler time

We look forward each month to reading Afloat, but sometimes feel sad after reading the Letters section.
Thor Lund’s letter ‘Sydney Harbour Dreaming’ (Afloat Jan’12) reminded me that Sydney Harbour isn’t the harbour we knew, mapped and loved in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. No, that’s not quite right … the world’s best harbour hasn’t changed, those who control it and navigate it have.
I was walking my regular 5km track around Paradise Point on the Gold Coast when I spied the ideal working person’s houseboat.
That was before Christmas, a few weeks earlier we went a camping up at the Town of 1770, where my urge to record on film things nautical came to the fore. Last year, all of us evacuated 1770 the day before it started to flood.
Photo 1: Take the deck off a sturdy runabout, add a superstructure giving full headroom, fit it out as a houseboat and suddenly find it’s top heavy – so what do you do? Add floats each side and voila! You have created a smooth-water live-aboard craft to explore and enjoy the Southport Broadwater. This creation was photographed at Paradise Point Harbour this December past.Photo 1: Take the deck off a sturdy runabout, add a superstructure giving full headroom, fit it out as a houseboat and suddenly find it’s top heavy – so what do you do? Add floats each side and voila! You have created a smooth-water live-aboard craft to explore and enjoy the Southport Broadwater. This creation was photographed at Paradise Point Harbour this December past.
Brisbane 'bay' boatsPhoto 2: Brisbane ‘bay boats’ from a past era are seen everywhere in Queensland. These three beauties live together at Paradise Point Harbour. Note the individual differences in hull and superstructure … and looks.
Gladstone City Council launching rampPhoto 3: Queensland has some really good launching ramps. The Gladstone City Council is justly proud of this one at the Town of 1770 and its parklands along the foreshore. The photographer’s group used this ramp to launch its 6m cruiser for a quick dash up to Bustard Heads on a day when powerboats should have stayed at home.
GeckoPhoto 4: Gecko was cruising south when she dropped anchor at 1770 for a break before Christmas 2010. All manner of aquatic explorers break their voyages in 1770 or Pancake Creek, about 15nm north. An English naval lieutenant named Cook did too! Gecko wasn’t alone – days later the floods came and isolated 1770.

Paul Hopkins, (ex-editor Seacraft magazine),
Paradise Point.

Lord Howe on a 21-footer

It was with interest I read the accounts of the Restricted 21s and their antecedents by Colin Grazules (Afloat Dec’11).
In 1965 I acquired the 21 Tassie III which had originally been brought to Brisbane by the commodore of RQYS Alf Huybers.
She had won the Forster Cup in Hobart in 1938 after capsizing in the preceding invitation event.
When I bought Tassie III she had been converted by the addition of a small cabin and a fixed keel. We immediately started to compete in bay races and modified her for cruising.
During the Christmas and New Year of 1966/67 we cruised to Lord Howe Island. In Sylph’s Hole on the island we welcomed aboard the legendary Tasmanian ‘Rubber’ Kellaway the sailing master of Morna and other Sydney Harbour ‘cracks’.
We were subsisting on OP rum in those days and Rubber was most appreciative of the libations. He was a great raconteur and it was a grand afternoon hearing him describe Harbour battles of Rawhiti, Morna etc.
We left the Lord Howe leads and 83 hours later we were abeam of Cape Moreton after dropping our genoa for a cotton 18-footer jib half way. With her 14-inch freeboard she had the rail under most of the way.
The crew for the cruise was Doug Kippin , Scotty Allen, Geoff Fulcher and myself.

Tim Cassidy,
by email.

R.S.V.P. MartindaleMartindale

In reply to Des Sherlock’s letter regarding Martindale (Afloat Jan’12).
Martindale was built in 1932 in South Australia for the Mortlake family. During WWII Martindale had an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the deck and conducted air sea rescue up in the Pacific islands. There are many records of this ship in the Navy archives at Garden Island leading to considerable reason why this ship should be restored.
Michael York alongside Martindale’s new engine. It was recovered from a sunken vessel by Sean Langman and donated to the Museum. It was then restored by volunteers and had its first start up last November.Martindale is presently owned by Victor Nash and there is need to form a syndicate of owners for the extensive restoration required to restore her to her former glory. A syndicate of six including Victor Nash is being established at the moment with two or three presently joining. The funding will go to support the Sydney Maritime Museum and the restoration will be done by the volunteer work force who have already restored the 8L3B Gardner Diesel engine which will be installed shortly.
If readers are interested in owning a part of this heritage vessel for a very small outlay, or if they are interested in being a volunteer with the Sydney Maritime Museum, or can contribute by donating parts for the restoration such as masts 40-50 foot long, galley equipment, sink, stove, refrigerator, navigation lights, engine controls, life rings, life jackets, flags, ventilators, or any items suitable for such a vintage vessel please contact the writer.

Michael York,
tel: 0401 751 363; email: mjyork@bigpond.com
Sydney Maritime Museum.