The Australian Wooden Boat Festival

Hobart, Tasmania – 6-9 February 2009

   Hobart is home to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, a spectacular 4-day celebration of maritime culture and craftsmanship.
  In February 2009, over 500 wooden craft of all shapes and sizes will congregate on the city’s historic waterfront for the eighth festival.
  Housed over two acres of water and dockside venues, this spectacular scene of colour and activity provides the perfect setting for an extensive program of entertainment, music, demonstrations, and displays. Opening with the Parade of Sail on Friday, there is action aplenty on the water throughout the weekend including wooden surf boat racing, a classic 18ft skiff challenge, and the ever-popular ‘Quick-‘n’-Dirty’ kids boat building and race.
  More than 50,000 visitors, boat owners and enthusiasts are expected to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this unique event. From model boat sailing to clambering around a tall ship; from watching shipwrights at work to cheering on the community boat building teams; from handling the latest products in the maritime marketplace to having a go at parbuckling, there is just so much to see and do!
  The variety and quality of boats on show is matched only by the generosity and passion of their owners. The Festival is a collection of boats, skills and people who share a desire to protect our environment, resources and our maritime, craft, fishing and wood-working culture – their stories and experiences are of enormous value.
Westwind  Eagerly anticipated is the arrival of Westwind, a 36ft double-ended Huon Pine cutter. Not only because it will be her first visit home in 69 years, but she was the first big boat built by the legendary Jock Muir. Jock began building her in 1935, for himself, in his parents’ back-yard, but in 1940 she sailed to Sydney and was sold. Up until at least 1956 she was still racing successfully on Sydney harbour. Details of the next 40 years are sketchy, but in 1997 she was ‘rescued’, rebuilt, and will be sailing to Hobart from north Queensland after a recent trip up the east coast.

Passenger deals for festival-goers

  A very big boat owner, TT-Line, has offered passenger discounts on the Spirit of Tasmania for travel between 24 January and 1 May 2009 for festival-goers travelling across Bass Strait. AWBF Organisers are negotiating with an alternative commercial carrier for a rate on trailers/boats (no passengers).

Veteran skipper shows no signs of slowing down

  Revered offshore skipper Lou Abrahams showed no signs of wilting or any sort of mercy to his younger counterparts in Round 1 of the prestigious Club Marine Range Series last month.
  Sailing off the waters of Royal Victorian Yacht Club, Sandringham Yacht Club’s Abrahams, who entered illustrious octogenarian status just two months ago, proved a record sixth Series victory in 11 years was exactly what he is after.
  In his Division 1 keelboat Challenge, the 80-year-old led the 28 boat fleet across the line, securing handicap honours in the process, sending an ominous warning for the remaining six rounds of the series.
  Abrahams won the Club Marine Ranges Series last year, setting a new record of five wins in 10 years, since its inception 16 years ago.
  RVYC Captain David Ellis was full of praise for the veteran skipper.
  “I really admire Lou’s ability to get together eight or nine crew on a regular basis and to put it all together so well, so often,” Ellis said.
  Abrahams now heads into Round 2 on November 8 at Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club, leading the series ahead of Royal Brighton YC’s Reverie, skippered by Alan Woodward, ahead of RYVC’s Greg Tobin skippering Bombora in third spot overall.
  In another result that failed to shock anyone, it was RYCV’s captain Ellis on board his Division 2 yacht Surprise, who will take a well-deserved lead into Round 2 of competition.  It was Ellis who managed to handle the light shifty winds on his home course the best and took out both the IRC and AMS sections of the event.  “This year there has been a substantial change in the format of the racing with separate courses for each division – which I think is definitely a good change and will only help progress this event even further,” Ellis said.
  Following two wins onboard SYC’s Cougar II, skipper Alan Whiteley leads the Division 0 IRC series, ahead of the Kate Mitchell skippered Goldfinger and RYCV’s Robert Hanna and Shogun.
  In Division 3, RMYS’s Avanale, skippered by Phil Battey leads, ahead of RBYC skipper Nick McGuigan and Magazan 53, with Battey’s clubmate Ian Ewing skippering Spellbound into third place.

Victor Kovalenko.The ‘Medal Maker’ named inaugural Sail Melbourne Ambassador T INSURANCE

  Known simply and affectionately as ‘the Medal Maker’ among those in the sailing world, Australian Coach Victor Kovalenko is about to realise yet another dream within in his sport.
  The Ukrainian born Australian citizen has managed to stack up Olympic medals for his adopted country since his arrival in 1994, leading Australian athletes to medals in every Games since, except Athens in 2004.
  However, his role as Ambassador for the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup – Sail Melbourne is what he describes as “a dream come true.”
  “This is not even my dream … I could never even imagine this happening in my life,” Kovalenko said from his Sydney base.
  “I am so proud and so happy to be the Ambassador for Sail Melbourne … the home of sailing is in Sydney but the spirit of sailing is much stronger in Melbourne,” the affable coach added. Kovalenko said while the Australian Sailing Team is based in Sydney, it was Melbourne that produced the unique sailing conditions and offered a true test of your sailing ability.
  “Sail Melbourne is a true test of seamanship – you have to be a very good sailor and top top to win in Melbourne,” he said.
  Kovalenko said he could see the Sail Melbourne regatta growing as the only Grade 1 event in is part of the world.
  “Sydney has all the money but they don’t do anything like this – to be the only World Cup event in the Southern Hemisphere is unbelievable,” Kovalenko spruiked.
  It is a great coup for Sail Melbourne organizers to have Kovalenko as the inaugural World Cup Ambassador with the event running from December 16-21 this year out of Sandringham Yacht Club.
  Kovalenko, as Ambassador, will be available as a mentor for all competitors throughout the event.

Sailing industry’s annual ‘Try Sailing Day’ attracts record club support

  Now in its twelfth year, the annual ‘Try Sailing Day’ for 2008, scheduled for November 2, has attracted more supporting clubs than ever before, with 32 yachting, sailing and skiff clubs across NSW and the ACT confirming their involvement.
  An initiative of the Sailing Industry Association, a hardworking sub group of the Boating Industry Association of NSW (BIA), the Try Sailing Day program has introduced many hundreds of people to the thrill of boating under sail.
  Respected industry identity (and Life Member of the BIA), Mr Bob Basham, has been a driving force behind the program.
  “We’re extremely grateful to the clubs and their members for the support we receive, because let’s face it, without that backing there would be no Try Sailing Day,” he said.
  “This program provides an opportunity for anyone with an interest to actually come aboard a sailboat and try their hand at boating ‘under canvas’ while enjoying a great day out,” he added.
  Try Sailing Day is arranged through the supporting clubs with members providing their own craft and acting as instructors for the day.
  Craft on hand range from tiny Moth class through to superquick catamarans and offshore keelboats.
  Domenic Genua, Marketing and Event Manager for the BIA, which administers the day for the Sailing Industry Association, said the annual program had unearthed many new members for the supporting clubs.
  “We know of rank beginners who had their first taste of sail during a Try Sailing Day who have gone on and become regular and competitive club members,” he said.

Clubs supporting the 2008 Try Sailing Day comprise: Sydney metropolitan area:

  Abbotsford 12-foor Flying Squadron
  AllSail Sailing School, Church Point (must be over 18-years)
  Balmoral Sailing Club
  Chipping Norton Sailing Club
  Concord and Ryde Sailing Club, Putney
  Kogarah Bay Sailing Club, Blakehurst (10am-2pm only)
  Kookaburra Sailing School, Pyrmont
  Manly Yacht Club
  Middle Harbour Skiff Club/Northside Sailing School, The Spit, Mosman
  Middle Harbour Yacht Club, The Spit, Mosman  Narrabeen Lakes Sailing Club
  Pacific Sailing School, Rushcutters Bay
  Port Hacking Open Sailing Club, Yowie Bay (10am -1pm only)
  RANSA/Sailability, Rushcutters Bay (10am – 2pm only)  Yarra Bay 16ft Skiff Sailing Club, Phillip Bay

NSW regional areas:

  Budgewoi Sailing Club
  Gosford Sailing Club
  Manning River Sailing Club, Taree
  Oak Flats Sailing Club
  Port Kembla Sailing Club, Berkeley
  Port Macquarie Sailing Club (9am-1pm only)  Royal Motor Yacht Club/Toronto Amateur Sailing Club  South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club, Sunshine
  Taree Aquatic Club
  Wallagoot Lake Boat Club

ACT area:

  Canberra Yacht Club, Yarralumla (10am-1pm only)
  Lake Burley Griffin Sea Scouts, Yarralumla
  Lake Ginninderra Sea Scouts, Belconnen
  Lake Tuggeranong Sea Scouts, Greenway  Navy Sailing (ACT), Yarralumla
  Sailability (ACT), Yarralumla (1pm – 4pm only)
  YMCA Sailing Club of Canberra, Yarralumla Bay.

For further information contact Justine Merrony, telephone (02) 9438-2077 or visit

18ft skiffs – Life Members Trophy

Rag & Famish Hotel – skipper John Harris, sheet Scott Babidge, bow Peter Harris.  Active Air-2UE scored an amazing win when she took out her second consecutive victory of the 18ft Skiff season on Sydney Harbour.
  Matthew Searle, Dan Wilsdon and Archie Massey officially crossed the finish line 51secs ahead of Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) in the Life Members Trophy but the margin doesn’t reflect the chaotic nature of the win.
  It was one of the most amazing finishes in 18ft Skiff history.
  Active Air-2UE
and Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) raced alongside each other down the final leg of the course with each striving to gain the best angle to the line.  Under the pressure of the situation, Searle appeared to lose site of the finish as he steered Active Air-2UE to the wrong side of the line.
  Just as everything seemed lost, Gotta Love It 7 then capsized as the team gybed to the finish line, leaving Active Air-2UE to calmly sail back and through the line. Southern Cross Constructions (Euan Mc Nicol) finished a further 21secs back in third place with Gotta Love It 7 recovering to take fourth place ahead of Ssangyong Yandoo (John Winning) and Keith Piggin Estate Agents (Peter Morrison).
  Rookie 18ft Skiff skipper Bruce Savage (Thurlow Fisher) capsized on her gybe at the wing mark leaving Fisher & Paykel and Gotta Love It 7 to fight out the lead.

Cruise to Hobart

  The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, with the cooperation of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, has announced details of an organised Cruise to Hobart to take place in January – February 2009.
  A non time-based voyage from Sydney to Hobart, the Cruise has been organised to follow a set of communication and safety disciplines with a designated arrival time in Hobart no later than midday on 5 February 2009.
  The arrival date is set to coincide with the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, which will be held from 7-9 February, as well as the 2009 White & McAllister Van Diemen’s Land Circumnavigation Cruise which departs Hobart on 11 February 2009.
  “There will be no speed or timed distance reporting required. The objective is to perform excellent seamanship, navigation and communication disciplines.
  There will be no advantage achieved by, or any need for competitive speed during the cruise,” CYCA Vice Commodore and Sailing Committee Chairman, Garry Linacre said when launching the event.
  “Entrants will be encouraged to make the 628 nautical mile voyage in company and may proceed at any time under sail or power,” Linacre added.
  “Some may say this is the way the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race started out, however, the Board of Directors agreed that the CYCA should always look at ways to enhance our sailing calendar.
  “If demand exists from our members to participate in an organised cruise to Hobart that coincides with a number of planned social and sailing events, then we should provide such an event,” the Vice Commodore said.
  Details of the 2009 Cruise to Hobart can be found in the Cruise Directions which are available to download online at under the Cruising pages.

Will Ryan and crew lead Quartly in the fi nal.Ryan takes out Youth Championship

   CYCA’s Ryan was highly favoured to win his second consecutive Australian Youth Match Racing Championship (AYMRC) title and had some tough competition going into the final with RSYS’s Quartly in top form.
  Race one saw Ryan look to attack Quartly early. Ryan, benefiting from being in this position before, forced a nervous Quartly into a costly penalty during the pre-start routine.
  Quartly did his best to try and catch Ryan, but it was Ryan who led from start to finish.
  A much tighter race two saw both competitors throw everything they could at each other in the pre-start, Quartly trying to force Ryan into a penalty during a tacking duel off the back of a spectator boat. Ryan was fortunate to be given the green flag and worked his way to the start line.
  Ryan got the better of the pin end of the start line, and took off up the course with a slight lead. He continued to build on the lead throughout the race, to eventually defeat Quartly by 38 seconds to go two-nil up in the best of five series.
  Race three proved to be a fitting finish to the AYMRC 2008. Quartly chose to split from Ryan after the start and headed off on the port side of the course – a decision that nearly paid off. The two boats crossed within inches around the top mark, but it was Ryan who took the lead yet again.
  In the final downwind leg, it was Ryan who proved his skill as a downwind sailor, extending his lead to a sizeable margin, defeating Quartly by 16 seconds and taking his place on the podium as back to back AYMR Champion.

Jay Griffi n, Elise Ryan, Ted Hackney and Will Ryan.Results:

  1st - CYCA/YNSW Ryan;
  2nd - RSYS/YNSW Quartly;
  3rd - CYCA/YNSW Searle;
  4th - DSC/YNT Whitty;
  5th - RSYS/YNSW - Chapman;
  6th - RFBYC/YWA - Brown;
  7th - MDSC/YQLD – O’Rourke.

Australian win at Etchells North Americans - Roulette, skippered by Jud Smith with crew Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot.
   Sydney Fleet Etchells sailors Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot have teamed up with champion US helmsman Jud Smith to score an historic win in the 2008 Etchells North American Championship sailed on The Chesapeake off Annapolis last month.
  Their victory, sailing a new boat, Roulette, representing the Sydney Fleet and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, is part of an extensively planned program aimed at winning the 2009 Audi Etchells World Champion in Melbourne in March next year.
  With Jud Smith, a five-times Etchells North American champion, 2006 World Champion and several times Worlds placegetter, steering and Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot as crew, Roulette had a scorecard of 4-1-5-1-1-2 to finish with nine points.
  This left the RSYS entrant eight points clear of the champion Canadian sailor Hank Lammens, an Olympic representative and two-times Finn Gold Cup winner, and a formidable 30-boat fleet that included past Olympic and America’s Cup sailors as well as former Etchells champions.
  “When you look at some of the past Etchells North American champions, Hans Fogh, Dennis Conner, Jud Smith, Russell Coutes, John Kostecki, just to name a few, this is a most prestigious event,” an elated Mark Johnson said after returning from the USA.

 Peter Campbell

  Over 600 boats, and more onwater, marquee and hardstand displays than ever before, saw 21,000 people enter through the gates for the 2008 Club Marine Mandurah Boat Show in WA last month.
  Despite the economic downturn, positive reports from those involved proved that the small drop in numbers didn’t stop sales and strong leads from being made, with some enquiries becoming closed deals. Sunseeker Australia featured their biggest ever collection of boats than any other show in Australia as part of the on-water display, which this year featured a record 175 boats.
  Other distinguished on-water guests included; Riviera, Bertram, Princess, Meridien, SeaRay, Fairline and Haines Hunter just to name a few. Showgoers flocked to the jetty system to see all the brands on show and were delighted at the addition of newcomers, Horizon and Bella Marine, who made an appearance for the first time ever at the show.
  Challenge Marine’s Business Development Manager, Stephen Wren, also commented on the considerable sales made at this year’s event.
  “The show was very successful and worthwhile with the number of large boat sales over 25ft well up on last year’s,” Stephen Wren said.
  Both the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club and Premier Events were delighted to bring to the public another exciting and successful show, with plans for next year already underway.
  Thousands of patrons made use of the new Perth to Mandurah rail line with a complimentary shuttle bus service that was put in place, as well as the option to fly into the show via Rotorvation Helicopter Services. The ease of access to the event this year proved to be a success.
  With so much going on this year, the show attracted great national media presence plus a delegation visiting all the way from China who came to see what the largest boat show on the South West coast of Australia had on offer.

Scientific hunch poised to save thousands from toxic fish poisoning

  A neuroscientist at UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute has found a way to combat a debilitating illness that affects an estimated 50,000 people a year in tropical regions.
  Ciguatera poisoning – which often results in acute nausea, vomiting and painful gastrointestinal episodes – is caused by eating fish that have fed on a micro algae that are toxic to mammals and often associated with large algal blooms known as red tides.
  Cases of ciguatera poisoning have been documented for more than 200 years – and were recorded and described by Captain Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific in 1774.
  Recently, scientists have discovered that the patented compound brevenal could be used to make an effective treatment for neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP), a condition related to ciguatera poisoning.  Acting initially on a hunch, QBI neuroscientist Associate Professor Fred Meunier hypothesised that brevenal could be adapted to combat ciguatera poisoning.
  Simultaneously, and unbeknown to Dr Meunier, Dr Dan Baden at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (USA) was also considering adapting brevenal to fight ciguatera.
  The two scientists soon became aware of each other’s interest and began discussing the possibility that the compound active against NSP could have the same therapeutic effect on ciguatera toxins.
  Along with Dr Dan Baden, Dr Jordi Molgo (National Centre For Scientific Research, France) and Dr Richard Lewis at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Dr Meunier pressed on to obtain a small batch of both ciguatera toxin and brevenal to test their hypothesis.
  One of the main problems with ciguatera is that there are few, if any, effective treatments for the acute impact it has on the health of humans and marine mammals.
  “There is one drug available for ciguatera sufferers but a randomised trial conducted by another research group in 2002 found it to be no better than a placebo,” Dr Meunier said.

Transfusion wins Peppers Anchorage Farr 40 regatta


Transfusion wins Peppers Anchorage Farr 40 regatta

  The battle lines were drawn early with two races remaining in the 2008 Peppers Anchorage Farr 40 regatta and Guido Belgiorno Nettis’s Transfusion was leading by 10 points from Estate Master and Hooligan both on 24 points.
  Lisa and Martin Hill’s Estate Master displayed some fantastic sailing skills as they led the fleet after a great start to win race eight and did a repeat performance in the last race of the regatta to display the Boat of the Day flag for the second time in this regatta.
came close to letting the win slip through their fingers but recovered well in both races to eventually win the regatta by two points. In race nine Transfusion’s spinnaker touched Hooligan as they rounded the top mark and Transfusion took their penalty turn and managed to sail up the positions from seventh to fifth giving them the overall win.
  In race eight Farr 40 class stalwarts Lang Wa l k e r ’ s Kokomo and Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan demonstrated why they have both been crowned Australian Farr 40 Champions with both boats crossing behind Estate Master within 19 seconds.
  Ivan Wheen’s Sputnik had a great race picking the shifts to sail through the fleet from sixth position and finish in second place just ahead of Kokomo.

Sam Crichton