LettersGot Soemthing to Say?

Floating wrecks on our waterwaysFloating wrecks on our waterways

I took this photo of a large cruiser moored in Middle Harbour in June last year. She was in a dilapidated, unseaworthy state.
Last month, after heavy rain she sank at her mooring near Seaforth.
She was a disaster waiting to happen, a potential hazard for other vessels and a dangerous source of pollution.
Perhaps it is time for NSW Maritime to reconsider the issuing of mooring licences to the owners of such vessels.
There are now many floating wrecks used as ‘mooring minders’ occupying moorings in demand from caring boat owners who make good use of their vessels and deserve the chance of acquiring a sought after swing mooring.
It is time to rid our waterways of wrecks occupying precious moorings and to enforce the annual maintenance of licenced moorings.
Marine insurers should not accept liability for vessels that are not adequately maintained or are beyond repair and remain unseaworthy.
Let us start a campaign to ‘Clean Up Wrecks On Our Waterways’ … now!
John Vaughan,
Safety check report prior to renewal of mooring licence
I am the owner of the trimaran mentioned in Jonathan Neeves’s letter (Afloat Oct’10).
I can only completely echo his statements. Owning a boat is expensive and time consuming at the best of times. Considering I have spent a lot of my spare time and money doing up my boat, it is heart breaking to see an old hulk attack it and not being able to do anything about, despite witnessing the whole incident.
Add to this the time spent time filling out incident reports, going to Hornsby Maritime, to try to find out the owner’s details (which is difficult, as he is protected under their Privacy Policies), waiting for quotes and insurance assessors and, unlike motor insurance, I have to pay the excess of $2,000 until, and if, the insurance company recovers the $15,000, hopefully, off the uninsured owner.
I am sure that under the leasing agreement, the mooring has to be regularly serviced and the boat has to be of a seaworthy condition. I fully agree with Mr Neeves that a service document be supplied to Maritime, when renewal is due, (similar to the pink slip in NSW for the RTA), to minimise the damage to other boat owners and especially help Water Police and Maritime who generally have to deal with the clean up.
As a foot note, my jetty was also damaged a few weeks later by another boat, whose mooring hadn’t been serviced for three years. Luckily, my boat was on the hard stand at that time, otherwise it would have been in the path of this boat – again. At least this time the owner was insured.
Maritime needs to enforce servicing better.
Robin Ottowa,

BoM forecasts

Just a note about the changes to BoM’s weather forecasts for NSW coastal waters on HF radio … absolutely useless.
What’s the point including more forecast areas and only forecasting two days in advance because of time restraints. Including more forecast areas, eg: Macquarie Coast, may help local fishos out for the arvo in their tinnie, but for commercial or recreational mariners transiting the coast the new forecasts are useless.
What’s the point in obtaining multiple area forecasts for only two days when the average mariner transits two or three of the areas in a 24-48hr period and how many local fishos have an HF radio on board anyway?
Forget this bull and get back to reality BoM. It’s 2010 and we need more than two days forecast in advance on HF. If the BoM can’t do better, sack ‘em. So much for the survey to improve the service. I emailed them about this issue, the response … duck egg!
Scott Alexander,
Church Point

Safety at Sea

While staring aimlessly at the ocean watching all the boats go by, a stray thought disturbed my reverie.
What with OTS, Compass Net, and all the other safety precautions taken by those that go down to the sea in boats, it occurred to me how incongruous it still is that a boatie can go offshore, or up and down the coast in a 5m runabout after having logged-on at say, 0600hrs with ETA 1700hrs, with no intermediate contact required.
They could well have been eaten by a whale or something at 0800, say, with nothing hitting the fan until well after 1700hrs, when reported as missing – perhaps just a tad too late.
Food for thought? Or have I been gazing aimlessly at the ocean for too long?
Karl Audrins,

Cruising the Coasts

Alan Lucas never fails to tell an engaging story and always includes some helpful, instructional info.
Normally I might have passed over the Riding the Flood story (Afloat Nov’10) because the subject didn’t grab me at first, but as usual, with Lucas, once I started I couldn’t put it down.
What a knowledgeable man he is, what a great story teller, and how significant has been his contribution to his fellow sailors over the years.
David Colfelt,

Lifejacket type 101

A long time ago I worked in the marine business and was on a BIA safety committee which, with the then MSB, formed a group to set out the rules etc for lifejackets because the market was becoming flooded with jackets which would not save your life.
So we came up with PFD personal flotation devices type 1, 2 and 3. The only ‘lifejacket’ then was a PFD 1; the others were buoyancy vests.
I tried to get from NSW Maritime a clarification whether this has changed, but the person I spoke with did not understand the difference and told me the classification was changing anyway to … 101, 102 and 103. Why do this I would not know, surely 1, 2, and 3 are simpler?
With this in mind I refer to the table in NSW Maritime News (Afloat Nov’10). Also on Maritime’s website go to Safety Campaigns, then Lifejackets Wear It, then Reforms, then scroll down to page 3 and highlighted is: “It will not be a requirement that lifejackets be worn at all times”.
What does this mean? Onshore or driving the car … or is this the buoyancy vest option? It’s silly. Also on page 5 they keep saying type 2 & 3 are lifejackets; then they say they are buoyancy vests. I believe calling type 2 & 3 vests ‘lifejackets’ is confusing and dangerous but their tables do just that.
I think Maritime should have ads in Afloat and elsewhere explaining the ‘New Rules Nov 1, 2001’ not as in their ad on page 65. The ‘WEAR IT’ drawing looks like a type 2 or 3 not a lifejacket PFD 1.
Doug Meek,
Neverfail Bay.

YA about to ban PFD 3

I have been following developments on the proposed ban by Yachting Australia of the type 3 PFDs since I received an audit form from my local club asking me to fill out the details of my Laser dinghy I am racing this season.
Why? Do the YA think they are an authority on lifesaving equipment, when the NSW Maritime Authority has no intentions of banning the PFD 3, in fact their handbook states that the PFD 3 is suitable for off-the-beach dinghy racing in enclosed waters. The audit form states that the YA are going to ban the use of these buoyancy vests for racing in inclosed waters after July 2011, yet they will still be for sale in most marine outlet and suppliers.
This seems very strange to me. I have made enquiries and the YA states that the buoyancy is the problem; but most manufacturers say the buoyancy is the same as for PFD 2 and only the colour may be different.
This information was given to me by the NMSC of Australia as well as most State Authorities. The PFD 2 or 3 in the state of NSW is recommended for use by the NSW Maritime Authority for off-the-beach sailing dinghies and I think we are entitled to an explanation from YA for this ridiculous move. As far as colour is concerned, most of my fellow competitors wear their PFDs under the spray jacket or rash clothing, so the colour is of no consequence.
PFDs are sold in different sizes to suit different weights of persons and naturally a large one has more buoyancy than the smallest vest. The tables for buoyancy for both the PFD 2 and PFD 3 are identical in most catalogues, so I feel the YA has some explaining to do.
W. Bollard,
Daleys Point.

Sydney Harbour’s Road Runners

I refer to the significant number of incidents that have occurred involving Sydney Ferries vessels or vessels under charter to them.
I have sailed yachts on many of the world’s harbours and waterways, and I am on Sydney Harbour at least weekly. I am well used to and respect the fact that vessels engaged in commuter passenger services need to have a right of way over racing and pleasure craft; but nowhere in the world have I seen this right exercised in such a bloody minded manner.
On more than one occasion I have seen Sydney Ferries’ vessels steam directly at a lone yacht, horn blasting, when only the smallest change of course would be required to maintain safe distances. Only this week, on a Tuesday afternoon when the harbour is relatively deserted, I was under sail with a cement carrier to port and a Manly ferry to starboard. Both powered vessels were heading west.
Although there was no collision risk, all three of us were in relatively close proximity. The ferry gave a single blast on its horn (I am altering course to starboard), which surprised me, as I expected it to turn to port to enter Circular Quay. The ferry then proceeded to turn to port.
It seems to me that Sydney Ferries have a culture of arrogance and that their masters lack the most basic disciplines of seamanship.
In particular, it would be desirable if Sydney Ferries were to adopt the following principles:
    •   no right of way is a substitute for basic courtesy and the proactive recognition of other vessel’s capabilities;
    •   the helmsman of an overtaking vessel must be able to anticipate the effect that his wash and windage will have on other vessels; and
    •   the ship’s horn is not the same as that on a motor car, and should not be used to make some general statement of frustration about the world at large.
Stephen Mase,

Our Queen Mary, her name was Tinker Bell. The good looking fellow on the left is my father Ralph, the fellow tucked in behind him is our neighbour (Uncle) Tom (deceased), the bloke on the right with his pants rolled up is my uncle Bill (deceased) and the skinny boy on the front of the boat is me (I am now 52) with my sisters Karen and Julie. My mother is taking the photo.My dad, his family and his boats

My father has been reading Afloat for a long time and I’d like to share a story about him with your readers. Hopefully he will be surprised to read this article in your magazine.
I would like to recollect my father’s history with his family and the family’s boats that he purchased, made and repaired with very little funding but a lot of imagination, perseverance and scraping together of a few dollars at a time.
Early in the 1960s Dad got a canvas-covered canoe and did a few repairs and added an outrigger for stability for us kids. After much family fun and a few leaks we purchased a small open boat with a small motor to get around with. We thought it was terrific, we would spend almost every weekend on the Nepean River at Penrith. We launched the boat at the old ramp near the weir and then motored up to the foot of the mountains and would camp on the small beaches and rocky shelves. We camped and swam and fished and learned … we kids were in heaven.
Then Dad thought he, with our small but enthusiastic hands, would build a boat in our back yard from plywood. He purchased some plans and with help from relatives and friends and family members (us kids) built our Queen Mary. It was 14 foot 6 inches long and we could actually walk around the boat instead of just sitting in it. We spent many years with that boat on the Nepean River, Sydney Harbour, Windsor River and Broken bay.
He taught me to fish and to clean those fish; he taught me rope work, navigation and how to drive a boat and to enjoy the water. It must have made an impression as I joined the Navy when I was older.
After we grew up, he purchased a larger boat and spent a lot of time in Broken Bay, with friends and family, I then took my own children on board his boat and they loved every minute of it.
My parents spent many a day in their boat travelling around Broken Bay with friends on their own boats, and many visitors staying on board my parents’ boat.
After a few years my parents decided to move to Goulburn to live and so had to sell their beloved boat.  
Thanks Dad for a great childhood.
Greg Dunnicliff,

Delayed Licence and Registration Renewals

Currently there is a significant problem within NSW Maritime in that they have not been able to send renewals for licences and registrations prior to the actual renewal date, thereby skippers could be manning their craft without a current licence or registration.
I received by post 20th October 2010 the renewal notice for my licence. The licence had expired on the 6th October. The date on the renewal notice was 11th September.
During the time frame between the 6th and the 20th October I had skippered by boat, hence I was unlicenced.
I called NSW Maritime on the 20th October expressing my concerns that I had been operating a boat without a current licence, and was told, “That is not a problem providing that you did not exceed 10 knots.”
I asked what would be the outcome if I was exceeding the 10 knots within this period. “You would be fined,” was the reply.
I then asked who would be liable if I had an accident within the unlicenced period: “You would be liable as you did not have a current licence.”
I indicated that for more than 15 years I have received renewals from Maritime normally one month prior to the expiry date: “It is your responsibility to ensure that you renew your licence prior to the expiry date, not NSW Maritime.”
There is a recorded message during business hours which indicates that NSW Maritime are experiencing difficulties with renewals, however, the message does not remind callers that if their licence has expired they must adhere to the 10 knot speed limit.
There was no covering letter with the renewal advising to renew promptly, due to the licence or registration being already expired.
I believe that staff are so frustrated with the implementation of the new system, that they have walked out on a couple of occasions, and apparently have no faith in the new system.
Basically there could potentially be hundreds or thousands of boaters without current licences or boats unregistered.
I have spoken with Michael Chapmen (BOA) and they are aware of the situation and although they have written to Steve Dunn and Howard Glenn no reply has been received.
Dennis Donald
[More in NSW Maritime News]

Skiff racing in Brisbane

The article ‘Skiffs a remarkable progression of Miller’s ideas’ (Afloat Jul’10) mentioned the Taipan and similar type 18-foot skiffs in Sydney.
In Brisbane, the 18-Footers Club has been sailing skiffs that were built slightly later (from 1970s-early ’80s) as a ‘Classic’ class since February 1994, as being a way to have these boats out of sheds and sailed for relatively low cost compared with competitive winged skiffs.
Some are plywood, some are glass, and there are a variety of hull shapes. They can be put together by back yard boatbuilders at a fraction of the cost of the modern winged 18s and offer exciting racing and can be crewed by a wider age and fitness range.
Many of those that are sailing them are fellow members with Graeme ‘Fergy’ Ferguson in the Australian Historical Sailing Skiff Association;
The Brisbane 18s also having regular races of the 10ft Historical skiffs that compete annually in a national regatta which alternates between Sydney and Brisbane.
Thanks for continuing to put together a quality magazine.
Michael Glancy, Secretary,
Brisbane 18 Footers Inc.

Boat cabin fansBoat cabin fans

Just finished reading Kurt Küpper’s article about interior cabin fans (Afloat Nov’10).
Noisy interior cabin fans are a problem when trying to sleep in a small area. I solved my fan/noise problem and it may apply to other smaller cruiser cabins like my Bayliner 265.
Purchase two computer console cooling fans, you can pick them up secondhand or new for about $10-$15. They’re in a 80cm square housing. Wire them up to your cigarette lighter outlet, red+ black-.
In my boat, the fan housing fits into a small oval-shaped side window, the glass window pane folds down on top of the fan housing and holds it in place. No mounting bracket needed. Not sure of the volume of air per minute the fans put out, but it only draws a small amount of current.
They are whisper quiet. With one each side of the cabin you can sleep with fresh air coming in on those hot humid nights … and no noise.
I also put one in the small toilet/shower. Just turn the fan around and you have a small extractor fan, although you will have to wire this up through a separate switch.
Barry Warn,
West Pennant Hills.

Mooloolaba’s new Commodore

In his column Latitude 28 (Afloat Nov’10), Ian Grant stated that Bob Robertson was re-elected as the Commodore of Mooloolaba Yacht Club.
This is incorrect. The new Commodore is Trevor Parkes. Bob (Robbo) is our past Commodore. We have a new executive team which will guide the club through various regattas and club sailing.
I back up Robbo’s comments in Ian Grant’ article.
Trevor Parkes,

Nav lights on the Spit Bridge

Has the Spit Bridge run aground? Especially after sunset.
I became intrigued by the red and green lights on the Spit Bridge. Not the ones that control the cars, but the ones that show the skippers where the pylons are. These are fixed lights that don’t flash!
Our harbour has a myriad of flashing red and green markers to guide boats. The navigation marks flash, but red and green lights on boats do not flash.
These navigation lights on the Spit Bridge are on all night and do not flash. Does this mean that the Spit Bridge is pretending to be a ship? Is the bridge anchored, or is it staying in one place because it has run aground? If so, then there must be some extra lights or shapes that should be shown from the top of the bridge.
Or, is it simply that the lights on the bridge are wrong?
Bob McClung,

Cartela’s blind pianist

The Hobart ferry Cartela (Afloat Oct’10) has special memories.
I was been born and bred in Hobart and, as a youngster during the latter part of WWII, Cartela was our main form of transport to an uncle’s holiday shack at Opossum Bay.
This was before the floating pontoon bridge was built across the Derwent, and when my father used horses and carts for his business as a corner store grocer and firewood merchant (to be replaced by a former Army Blitz wagon after the war), so we were dependent on public transport.
We caught the trolley bus from our home in Newtown to the city, carried our suitcases to the nearby wharves, loaded them on the ferry, often the Cartela but sometimes the Excella, then carried our suitcases from the wharf at Opossum Bay to the shack – fortunately at the end of the beach closest to the wharf.
A special memory is the musical entertainment on Cartela, with a blind pianist leading a singalong. We had some great holidays there, often waking to find a friend had left some freshly caught flathead on our back door step for breakfast, and seeing the Sydney-Hobart yachts (especially Morna) sail up the river under spinnaker.
Peter Forster,

Female Commodores

I wish to inform your writer Patrick Bollen (Afloat Oct’10) that my wife, Veronica Burgess was Commodore of Bendigo Yacht Club 2000-2002. Not only was she Commodore, she was the first woman Commodore since the BYC’s founding in 1961.
I must say that you are a very brave man taking on those formidable ladies who broke through the bastions of a male dominated sport and, incidentally, did such a great job.
By the way, two of the ladies you mention in your letter of apology, namely Lyn Wallace and Wendy Luck are well known to my wife and I, and both continue to be great ambassadors for our sport.
John Burgess, Past President,
Yachting Victoria.


Lost HalvorsensLost Halvorsens

I am sure many Australians remember those lazy hazy days mucking around aboard a Halvorsen.
If it wasn’t hired from the old Halvorsens Boat Shed at Bobbin Head it was usually onboard a friend’s privately owned Halvorsen. Yes, so many good times.
I am trying to source information about those boats that were lost. Where did they sink, the circumstances and any other details that may assist in compiling a record of events?
If you have any old photos of your Halvorsen adventures and any background in a few short words, it would be greatly appreciated.
I am also looking for any old Halvorsen memorabilia that you may have, wish to sell or no longer want, photos, crockery, books, fittings, anything at all.
Peter Arnold,

George Holmes and the Donnelly

I was hoping one of your readers may know something of skipper George Holmes and his boat Donnelly.
This was not the only craft George sailed. He had six sons all racing on the water. Together with Mark Foy, he established the l8-footers, which you have previously mentioned in an article in 2007.
Any further information on George, his sons and his sailing racing prowess or his boats including the Donnelly would be most welcomed.
Carolyn Dunn (Great granddaughter),

Jean Roux yacht designer

I always read your magazine when it comes out and am amazed at the lost information that can be found by your readers.
I was wondering if there is any information out there about Jean Roux or Ruea or even John Roethat.
I’m told one of these men could be the yacht designer of a 48ft Ferro ketch of his design called Absconder I’m looking at. So far all my searches have yielded nothing positive; and information from a number of brokers who list her are not conclusive.
I’m hoping  one of your reader may have some information that might be able to help me out.
Isabell Straughan,
mob: 0439 674 202

Varnishing Rosie

We have had many enquiries about the varnish used on Rosie’s woodwork. It is Werdol available from Scomar. Call Matt on (02) 9981 7444. Elbow grease has also been lavishly applied.