Wanted – A unit dwellers’ dinghy class
With the considerable success of Australian sailors in the recent Olympics, one might be forgiven for suggesting that the future of dinghy sailing is ‘set fair’.
May I venture to suggest that a threat overshadows our sport, unit blocks, or rather the extra difficulties that unit dwellers have to overcome to participate in sailing. Yes, the training classes are full, but after that, the retention rate is low. The group that drops out most consistently – unit and townhouse dwellers.
With governments determining that most of the future accommodation needs in our major cities will be provided as units and townhouses, sailing needs to be open to the members of our community who live in them.
A simple question then; how will unit dwellers store a boat?
Can unit developers include a shed in the strata title? Hardly! The choices for boat storage in units appear to be limited to; (1) Strapped up to the ceiling of the unit’s car space, straight off the roof of a car, or (2) standing it on the transom behind the car.
Suspension from the ceiling would require permission of the body corporate for bolts to hold the system, and this might well not be forthcoming. That leaves standing on the transom, as the most viable option. And all that assumes a garage or parking space. Regulations provide a minimum ceiling height of 2.3 to 2.4 metres, say 8 feet for these floors.
Eight footer classes we have a plenty, Sabots, Optimists, Minnows … but they are all children’s classes and the length was probably determined by the length of a sheet of plywood. Few will perform seriously carrying an adult because they are constrained to a relatively small sail area.
My contention is that we need a class for adults which is also 2.4 metres long. OK, but it needs to perform.
To support this contention, I sail a Firebug. Eight foot long and she planes carrying my 90kg. I will not presume to say that this design (http://www.firebug.co.nz) is perfect, and certainly many clubs regard Firebugs as boats for juniors, but as I sail out onto the Parramatta River and see the march of unit blocks up the railway line north from Strathfield to Rhodes and Meadowbank, I know we need a boat for unit dwellers.
I call on YA to hold a design competition for an adult oriented 8-footer, to enable us to reach out to and retain the unit dwellers of our cities? True, such boats will not have absolute high performance, the Froude number guarantees that, but was there ever a design which was not a compromise?
Such a class will provide a means of participation in early adulthood, when the interests of a lifetime are typically defined. And yes, I will enter my ‘Bug’ if such a competition is held.
Will Push Button boats destroy the Sydney Hobart?
Sean Langman makes some interesting comments (Afloat Feb’13) but I thought the thread that ran through the article of a desire for ‘Corinthian sailing’ might have detracted from some of the message.
“You’re on a sailing boat and yet you rely completely on machinery to go on sailing”, a problem is – where do you draw the line, winches are very fine machines, as are computers (call it a chart-plotter – and it comes in more expensive versions).
But all yachts need power even if only to run the increasingly sophisticated communication equipment now demanded on racing yachts. It’s easy to ban multihulls from races (lots of support from the Luddites), less easy to define when engine power might become an unfair advantage.
I suspect Sean is primarily thinking of the use of power, that is either not produced by muscle or the wind, and that this ‘artificial’ power is being used to offer an advantage to those that employ it.
There is an alternative to the diesel engine for racing yachts, admirably demonstrated on this recent Vendée Globe. Many of the yachts were powered by natural resources (with their engines locked up) using either wind, solar and/or water (the speed of the yacht through the water) and usually a combination of all three. These are 60ft, 8,000kg yachts, commonly with canting keels, circumnavigating the world, single handed in under 80 days and purely reliant on natural resource as a power source.
The main power sources are commonly their ‘Hydro Generators’, they usually carry two, using only the leeward unit. They look a bit like a long, skinny, saildrive. Many units on the recent VG were supplied by a company called Watt & Sea who produce both a cruising and racing version but the race version operates between 7 and 24 knots and produces 500 watts at 12 knots. There is a down side to water-gens, drag – but carrying fuel also produces drag.
I think I’m with Sean on this one, limit the Sydney-Hobart to power from a renewable source (someone with legal skills can work out the niceties).
I suspect there are too many vested interests and Sean and I are simply dreaming.
Motor yachts in a sailing race
Bravo! Sean Langman for coming out and stating what many offshore yachties continue to think.
It still amazes me, several years down the track, that fundamental international Rules of Sailing were specifically altered to allow these 100 foot motor yachts into offshore yacht racing. Their 24 hour a day power-generated canting keel speed allows them to race a totally different (and much easier) race to the rest of the fleet.
This year the 100-footers had finished and didn’t even get a taste of the hard southerly down the Tassie coast that most of the fleet suffered … which to me is a real Hobart. Their inclusion has made attempts to fairly handicap offshore yacht racing close to farcical.
Alas, I don’t see this position changing, the strength of the lobby group behind these boats is so strong that I regret to say they will continue to enjoy their inequitable advantage.
Well said Sean Langman!
There should be separate divisions or, if you like, two different races. The present race is just a joke and I think many yachtsmen agree with Sean. It’s a farce.
It is just so depressing to read that Wild Oats XI has a 150hp engine running 24/7 when racing to Hobart, and without it she can’t sail. Why bother with sails at all? Surely an engine defeats the true spirit of the Hobart. As I understand it, some boats in the first Hobart race hove to and enjoyed drinks and dinner.
In 1986 we took our 27-footer in the first Atlantic Race for cruisers (now a rally). It was a never-to-be-forgotten feeling of camaraderie – 260 cruising boats full of gear, people and pets, racing across the ocean for the grand prize of a tin of antifouling and a bottle of rum. The one boat that got rid of its cruising gear and flew in a crack German racing team was pipped at the post by a cruising family … and we were delighted.
As Maluka skipper Sean Langman says, it’s about priceless shared experiences and sailing, pure and simple.
It’s time for the Hobart race to return to its roots.
I agree entirely with Sean Langman about push button or power-assisted racing. The engine on a racing yacht should remain an auxiliary, for charging batteries for radio scheds and otherwise for emergency use (such as when the mast falls over).
I have nothing against Bob Oatley, I met him once and he is a top bloke and his Tik Tok Pinot Grigio is a fantastic drop, but this new ‘motor’ sailing is not how it should be for racing.
I fully agree about the wonderful camaraderie of sailing to Hobart. I have done it five times and he is right. It takes three days to get into it; and then you feel the rhythm of the watches and you could go on for … well actually it’s quite good to get there. The trip back can be magnificent.
I would like to have two Hobart races, the Main Event for the ordinary sailors who rely on the wind and their wits to get to Hobart, and the Maxis and their likes.
With the old Hobart races, the public were all involved following the race to hear how their favourite boat was performing.
The race is a non-event now – you blink and it’s over and who cares who wins.
I completely agree with the sentiments of Sean Langman. Sailing is a challenge to travel from point to point on the water, strategically utilising the natural forces of the wind to propel the vessel. Many sailors would I am sure appreciate the parallel objective of solar car racing, that uses only direct solar energy impinging on the vehicle to drive it.
When Hans Tholstrup created the World Solar Challenge from Darwin to Adelaide in the 1980s, the rules specifically stated that no other external energy source could be used. The only exception being that cars can start with a charged battery of very limited size, and small embedded batteries for electronic navigation and communication devices can be used; all strictly scrutineered and enforced.
Yachting’s advances such as winged keels, composite reinforced sails and perhaps even powered winches all contribute to the efficient performance of the vessels, but do not introduce additional “non-natural” energy for propulsion. In this regard a 150hp diesel engine driving the hydraulic canting keel would appear to be totally against the pure principles of sailing, just as recharging a solar car from the mains electricity overnight would be.
A sceptic might suggest to simply hook the engine up to a propeller as additional propulsion, (or have a strong crew and a lever system to move the keel manually), both of which would seem equally ridiculous, and inconsistent with the essence of yacht racing. The yachting world should review the rules of yacht racing.
No refuge from heavy metal
Refuge Bay in the Broken Bay, Hawkesbury River area north of Sydney is a sheltered bay with dozens of moorings that are used by all types of vessels for overnight stays. In the school holidays and weekends it is crowded with yachts, cruisers and fishing boats enjoying the tranquillity of the national park, swimming and fishing.
One boat owner picked up a mooring, and as the sun got lower and the drinks became more frequent, started playing extremely loud music, accompanied by a laser light show and topped off with a smoke machine. He obviously thought it was very cool to bring his night club out on the water. When the surrounding boats asked him to turn down the music, the volume was increased and this carried on until 4am.
I thought this was an isolated incident until a Friday night two weeks ago I was in Towlers Bay, Pittwater. It was extremely crowded with a lot of families on a variety of boats. Every mooring was occupied by at least one boat and in some instances, up to three. Just on twilight, a boat left and was immediately replaced by a blue hulled, unnamed Sunseeker 49 with two men and a young woman on board.
When their music started it was akin to a V8 Super car being tuned … eardrum shattering. The trio were joined by another two men on a flybridge cruiser. As the alcohol took effect the “F” words got louder and the whole bay, mums, dads and kids where subjected to this barrage of noise and swearing. As it got dark the laser show started which projected lights onto the sides of nearby boats. The lights synching with the music.
People trying to sleep or get their tired children off to sleep after a day in the sun had a snowball’s chance … in fact it was more like hell than a peaceful bay on a summer night in Pittwater.
How can these people be so self-centred that they don’t give a damn about anyone else and think the world is just for them?
What are our rights when these inconsiderate morons disturb the peace in this way? If it were a house in your street, you could call the police who might come by and get it under control but there are no police around at night in Broken Bay or Pittwater.
What are our options? Do we have any rights? What can we do?
Buying boats overseas
Having taken the plunge and bought sight unseen (apart from photos) a powerboat from Japan, I was glad (after finding a few problems) it was able to sit long term on a hardstand rather than the cost on a slipway requiring multiple launches and retrieves.
There were multiple inspections and cleans required to satisfy AQIS before the boat was passed, even though the boat looked clean in the pre-delivery photos. I think the break bulk cargo method wasn’t helpful in keeping the boat clean with stevedores climbing all over the boat during loading.
Now I find other issues that need fixing, including an overheating outboard.
I think that a pre-purchase inspection, test drive and shrink-wrapping are necessary prior to purchase even at the expense of an overseas airfare if the final cost still comes in ‘under budget’ compared to a local buy.
It remains to be seen as to the final response from the agent in Japan who so far has been very apologetic. I will be recommending to them that they water-test any boats they are exporting overseas.
I still feel I have bought well as the boat (a Suzuki Centre Cab) is well built and suits my purpose, just I could have done without the additional costs.
I read your February editorial criticising proposed Helicopter activity on Sydney Harbour with some dismay.
While you may have the ear of some Afloat readers, you certainly do not have mine for a start.
The tone of your editorial echoes of conceit. What makes you think that you and your ilk have any more right to the harbour than anyone else – including jet skiers? (Jet skis are now generally 4-strokes by the way and no noisier than the other boats equipped with motors).
Your’s is the mentality of the Luddite.
If you find Sydney Harbour so obnoxious, go and live on the beautiful Pittwater. Oops, sorry – they too have those “infuriating” jet skis up there!
Gunhild Swietoslava makes a telling point about Road and Maritime customer service and the fact that we boaties aren’t customers we are revenue producers with no choice (Afloat Jan’13).
We recently sold our boat to a Victorian buyer. The NSW registration expired three days before handover. A phone call to RMS advised me that temporary registration was not possible but once the boat got to Melbourne and was registered in Victoria, I could get a refund of most of the annual fee. I duly re-registered.
Some weeks later after another conversation with a disinterested RMS employee, following her advice, I submitted the application for refund, copies of contracts of sale and payment receipts and the Victorian registration certificate in the new owner’s name.
Then began a process reminiscent of Yes Minister. By email I was informed that as I no longer owned the boat the new owner would have to make the claim. The new owner obligingly submitted the same paperwork only to be informed that a copy of the NSW certificate – the one we wanted a refund on – was required.
This was on the boat moored in the marina. But of course it was in my name. You can begin to see where this is going!
So now RMS needed proof that the boat was the same one we were seeking a refund on. The $212 NSW certificate uses a Hull Identification Number (HIN) but the $80 Victorian one does not. Makes you want to be a Victorian boat owner! Without a HIN on the Victorian certificate the RMS felt that it wasn’t sufficient proof that the boat had been re-registered.
Facing the prospect of Stat Decs and even further elevated blood pressure to compound the new owner’s existing travails, I told him to forget it. RMS had won and the NSW treasury coffers will be $180 better off. Maybe they can use it to fill a pothole.
Ex-First Light; Now Next Light.
Roads take-over of Maritime cuts jobs and services
As we know NSW Maritime was absorbed into Roads & Maritime Services.
What we do not know is …
Maritime was forced into becoming a fully self-funded government department which it did very successfully. It established corporate headquarters in Kent Street, Sydney, a building which was owned by Maritime which funded itself with Maritime using part and leasing out the rest.
It purchased all its own equipment and established regional offices that could handle the daily requirements of the area, and with intimate knowledge and given authority, run and control the regional demands with a governance that was highly complimentary.
It provided and participated in major maritime pursuits (and the pollies turned up for the glory and photo shoots). It provided quality employment opportunities and brought together maritime documents and history under one roof.
It provided on-water safety advice and services and kept safe the public with BSOs who intimately get to know their regions and are transferred around to share their in depth knowledge and skills and to bring freshness of oversight to each area.
The BSOs were not only appreciated for their discretionary foresight in dealing with those really trying to do the right thing and not getting it quite right, but were also appreciated for bringing to heal those hoons who flaunt the law and in doing so disrupt the safety and environment of all others. The BSOs were also a good money earner for Maritime (some would say ‘revenue raiser’) but if you stayed within the safety of the law you had nothing to fear and enjoyed your boating.
Maritime also put $15 million into government coffers. All staff were ensured of continuing employment.
ALL GONE! The pollies and their underlings have dealt from the bottom of the pack again and are still continuing to do so. They are not satisfied with the performance and $15 million. They want it all.
Headquarters has been disassembled and staff scattered to the four winds. The building now taken over by the pollies for their own purposes. Records have been scattered, stored in old shipping containers and many reportedly shredded … lost to history forever.
Combined 8,000 staff of RTA and Maritime to be reduced to 4,000 by the end of 2013. Regional offices closed and attendents at selected RMS offices have no working knowledge of maritime requirements with all paperwork sent backwards and forwards to Rozelle Bay (efficiency?).
BSOs to be replaced with water police with no extra funding or support and without the years of training and experience that the BSOs have. It will be interesting seeing water police sort out mooring disputes ... as if they don’t already have enough to do.
Staff returning from their Christmas break to Rozelle Bay had no idea where their department was located … and no need to talk about morale, for there is none. Nor about the morals in Macquarie Street.
RAMS alcohol obfuscation
Don’t you love it when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing?
I remember Little Bear at the CYC. When he passed his beer from his left arm to his right, after a few beers he forgot one of his arms had been amputated. We all got wet feet when his schooner hit the deck.
Sounds a bit like Roads & Maritime. Last month, you published the response from a spokesperson from Transport for NSW (oxymoron), which I guess is newspeak for the old MSB. Anyway, he says that RBT does not apply for boats moored, berthed or at anchor.
That’s the left hand. The right hand, the boating officers, rightly in my opinion, say that if you are at anchor, you are at risk of needing to shift and therefore you need a skipper. Otherwise as that risk arrives, you are in peril of either commanding a vessel whilst under the influence, or letting your boat slide onto the beach.
As I understand it, Maritime want to follow the overseas example. Unless at a berth (and that is a permanent berth) or a mooring, the vessel is at risk of having to move and you need a skipper.
If at anchor, unless you are absolutely sure of your footing, don’t drink!
Two of your correspondents, Mr Carl Safina and Ms Judy Ebner (Afloat Feb’13) have taken issue with me because I suggested that the science was not settled insofar as the many matters surrounding climate change are concerned.
Mr Safina asserts that there is no debate going on between scientists but rather it is between ‘politicians, corporations and their media hacks who are not in a position to offer scientifically informed or objective opinion and scientists’.
This assertion is readily contradicted by visiting the many websites which provide a huge variety of informed scientific contrary information on climate change and related matters.
Ms Ebner accuses me of ‘specious’ arguments for suggesting that the science is NOT settled. My argument is readily validated as I have previously explained.
The websites are, among many, Watts Up With That, (WUWT), Bishop Hill, JoNova and Climate Etc. There are also a number of books by scientists on this subject. For Ms Ebner’s further information, I am a sailor; I trust she transports herself on land by bicycling and encourages others who use our ferries to row to work.
West Pennant Hills.
Maritime and boaters have a dual responsibility for clean waterways
On Sydney’s second hottest day this January (38.9°C), being Tuesday 8th, I sought refuge from the heat at Little Pittwater in Broken Bay – a most beautiful setting, with the beach rising from the bay surrounded by magnificent bush.
The only other boaties in the bay at this time included a small group of fishermen who left shortly after I arrived and a family who were enjoying a picnic on the beach. At around 5.00pm, the family started to pack their belongings. Their boat was too small to take the whole party home so two trips were made – presumably to Parsley Bay boat ramp.
After the family departed, the magnificence of this small area was further enhanced by the resulting peace and quiet and the appearance of more of the local wildlife including a little rock wallaby which, along with four very deliberate monitor lizards, was foraging on and near the beach. This was a very special time for me to savour such beauty and peace.
I then noticed (for the first time) a WWII bunker and went to explore. It was on my return from this bunker that I came across the rubbish – plastic bags torn open scattering an array of paper, packaging and plastic containers. It was disgusting and abusive.
The rubbish was not too difficult to clean up but, during that process, I stumbled on a monitor lizard. Sadly, apart from the movement of its eyes, it was quite still. With its nose in the middle of the picnic remnants of a chick pea and parsley salad, the lizard was clearly unable to move. And it made no attempt to resist me when I picked it up to place it in a more comfortable and better protected location. A very sad finish.
The actions of these people, who so needlessly dumped their rubbish instead of taking it with them, are quite reprehensible. Acts of selfishness at and around our “water-only” access beaches not only creates a terrible eyesore but also an acute danger to fauna and all levels of water life.
The Boat Owners Association promote “education before regulation” as a primary objective but, notwithstanding, boat owners must be responsible and there are no excuses for the selfishness of the boaters I saw that day in Little Pittwater.
On another level, there are no garbage facilities on any beaches in Broken Bay, the Hawkesbury and Cowan Creek. While garbage facilities are not called for, the BOA continues to object to the decision in 2009 by NSW Maritime and National Parks to remove the garbage barge in Refuge Bay.
With adequate funding from boat licences and boat registrations, Roads and Maritime Services is failing to maintain clean waterways and, consequently, failing to represent stakeholders.
David G. Miles,
Boat Owners Association of NSW.
Blind followers of ‘legislationitis’
I’m sad Alun Hughes ‘Acting the Goose’ (Afloat Feb’13) that you see reckless wrongdoing from both adults and children jumping from death defying heights into the turbulent, life-taking waters of Cockle Bay without a lifejacket.
I shudder to think what these jacketless miscreants do at the beach! What I see are kids having fun. Time honoured, well-tested and honest skylarking. Would Alun prefer these kids were at home on X-Box, blowing the heads off their enemies in Battle of Zombies or whatever?
Have we become desensitised blind followers of ‘legislationitis’ where every step of our lives has some law attached or some compliance requirement to abide by?
Witness the drones driving at just a fraction of the speed limit for fear of a gazillion dollar fine; school zones on six lane highways with not a child in sight; billboard-size signs at beaches telling us the prohibitions on our visit; a licence for this, compulsory insurance for that. Personal responsibility obsolete. And still we call for more! Now I need a lifejacket for my 25 metre row from boat ramp to moored boat …
It appears to me that governments of all flavours try to convince us (with great success it would seem) of their worth by the amount of new rules they have implemented and the countless pages of legislation passed. I’m sure I’m not Robinson Crusoe in smelling a big, pungent rat, with ever increasing fines, levies and premiums to pay. Any punter will tell you … follow the money!
I say good onya kids, and what a great photo Alun has sent in. The only thing missing from the shot are the adults with a frostie in hand rejoicing in their kids’ enjoyment. Ok, maybe not the skipper, he should have a spritzer, no preservatives, appropriate sodium levels and no refined sugar, definitely no trans fats!
Motor sailors on the nose
It is all very well for sail boat people who don’t like motor boats to complain Judy Ebner’s letter (Afloat Feb’13).
Recently when moored in Coaster’s Retreat (The Basin) in my 30ft Mariner, I counted nine sail boats as they came in to pick up a mooring. All but one of these large sail boats still had their sail covers securely and neatly in place. Only one of these nine boats had sailed there.
And they have the hide to call us ‘Stink Boats’.
To say that motorised pleasure craft are having an affect on climate is not very well thought out. When you consider the number of cars, trucks, etc on the roads for many hours each day, a generous average of say two hours per month per pleasure motor boat pales into insignificance.
Take your covers off and sail your yachts.
The fat lady things
What would we all prefer ?
Why can’t these ugly and mostly unreadable signs be placed on the Port marker already there?
Harbour policing gone overboard
At about 0900 on a quiet Sunday 9 February, I heard a siren bleeping from the harbour.
Observation revealed that pilot vessel Alvina was closing in on a sailing boat under sail several metres to the west of Fort Denison.
Alvina was leading the 311m floating city, Voyager of the Seas, into Sydney Harbour and, having determined that the sailing boat was in the way, ‘heavied’ the skipper shouting through a loud hailer, “Clear out of the way! You are a hazard to navigation!” until the boat tacked around 180 degrees and sailed away towards Garden Island.
If the bloke doing all the yelling had used his nous he would have realised that Alvina was so far ahead of Voyager of the Seas, at least 500 metres, that the boat would have been well clear of the liner’s path had it maintained its original course.
There was simply no need for the nastiness emitting from Alvina, a pleasant “Good morning, are you aware of the liner approaching?” would have done, but no, the bloke had the “power” to police and wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to use that power.
Anyway, what are they doing on a pilot boat if they can’t assess closing speeds and angles?
Vale Jack Dempsey
Jack Dempsey, past Commodore, Abbotsford 12ft Flying Squadron passed away on the 2nd February, 2013.
Jack was always happy and contented when working for our wonderful club, and when sailing in general. His dedication will be missed by many around the sailing fraternity … particularly Abbotsford.
Patron Abbotsford 12ft Flying Squadron.