LettersGot something to say?

New terminal at White Bay –

only for cruise ships that can fit under the Harbour Bridge

It is sad to reflect on the article about the loss to Sydney of the floating crane, Titan (Afloat Feb’11).No mystery surrounds her leaving Sydney. When she lifted the visiting steam locomotive Flying Scotsman onto the container ship La Perouse in November, 1989, it brought an end to a chapter in Sydney’s maritime history. The lift was made from wharf No.13 Pyrmont.
Twenty one years later there is not one wharf in Sydney Harbour connected to the rail network. Also, signage on Titan read “TITAN, COCKATOO ISLAND”. That just about says it all. According to some sources the hammerhead crane at Garden Island was only preserved recently because it was cheaper to conserve it than demolish it. No towing it out to sea on a futile voyage of doom.
In Sydney, heritage and preservation orders mean nothing – protected items are spirited away by removal, demolition and reuse.
The trite excuse often is that land values are too great so transport museum plans in heritage locations (Elstons Carriage Works for instance) become performing arts centres. Elstons was (and still is) linked to the Powerhouse Museum by an existing railway line under Railway Square.
It was to have become the Powerhouse’s transport museum and the railway was to be have been used by heritage shuttle trains.
These sad commentaries on political vandalism are supported by the decision by Planning Minister Kelly (in a prorogued government) on 2nd February to sign off on a $37 million cruise ship terminal at White Bay at the expense of the existing one at Darling Harbour, when the initial redevelopment plans provided for its retention and even expansion.
What better than having cruise terminals in the CBD with close access to rail transport?
What the Hon Kelly has failed to also take notice of is that there are only a couple of cruise ships on the stocks at the moment which will fit under the Harbour Bridge!
He says that it will be capable of berthing “up to 170 ships per year”. With cruise ships having a turn around of inside 24 hours, even if there is only one berth why is it not then capable of 365 berthings per year?
He says that the terminal will double as a function centre when not in use. As if we need another function centre with a 200 vehicle car park and no effective public transport.
Ian Heather,
Blaxland.

Floating cranes

The Death of a Titan by Alan Lucas (Afloat Feb’11) brought back many WWII childhood memories.
As a young country boy I came to Sydney when my late father was appointed foreman of the Penguin, another heavy lifting plant/crane, which used to be towed around the Harbour, unloading ships – the wharves in those days lacking equipment to lift planes, tanks and ‘Ducks’ etc.
My Godmother’s husband, Charlie Newman, worked on the Titan, and as a child he would take me with him from time to time when it was working around the Harbour – wonderful memories – it was stationed at Cockatoo Island and needed two large tugs to move it – probably Fenwick’s.
The Penguin was the hulk of a former Royal Navy sailing ship, used at some stage for surveys, I believe, and had been cut down in size and its masts removed – it had a deep hold for things being lifted from the ships which may have to be taken elsewhere in the Harbour to be unloaded. Sometimes the loads were so heavy it would lean right over.
I recall writing to the British Admiralty in the 1940s, and receiving a story of the Penguin and a sketch of it in full sail – my brother now has the framed sketch and I have an idea the ‘story’ is at the back of the frame! I must check.
When the Penguin was working on an American ship, the Americans always invited the ‘kid on board’ (me) and filled me up with ice cream and all the things that we did not have because of the war – I would return home with many ‘goodies’ for the family.
The Penguin was moored in Darling Harbour at HP Stacey’s wharf in East Balmain (opposite the huge Dalgety’s wharf) just along from Fenwick’s, adjacent to the Maritime Services Board’s yard where they stored the huge tree trunks which would be used to repair and construct wharves.
Around the corner, which was Peacock Point, where rumour had it a grey nurse shark had eaten a young boy (that certainly kept us out of the water … at times), was the small tugboat company which towed the Penguin – I cannot recall its name now.
And there was another floating crane – the Hawk unusually shaped. I do not know what happened to it – the poor old Penguin was sunk off the Heads when it had served its purpose.
It was said that its carved wooden figurehead which had adorned its bow when it was a real sailing ship was at HMAS Penguin.
Happy memories revived by that so interesting article. The Titan, of course, should have been retained as part of our maritime history, as should the Penguin and the Hawk.
Trevor Haines,
Potts Point.

Venerable Laser sailors

Good on you Arnold! (Afloat Feb’11). I write on behalf of a few senior Laser sailors who meet adjacent to St George Sailing Club on a Tuesday morning for a social sail followed by a coffee or beer afterwards.
While we are in our mid to late sixties, our sailing experience was gained before Lasers became such a phenomena, as I suspect Arnold Metcalf’s was. It is our goal to keep sailing the Laser as long as we can. Arnold is an inspiration.
If you would like to join us with your Laser, you would be most welcome. Good Lasers can be purchased for a song so if you still have the urge to sail with a likeminded friendly bunch, give me a call. We are not Sailing Instructors so you would sail at your own risk of course.
Jeff Smith,
tel:  0400 399 072,
Mortdale.

Preferential treatment for Sydney foreshore residents

I refer to a recent article published in the The Sydney Morning Herald regarding the subdivision of Sydney Harbour for private interests.
Can somebody please tell me why NSW Maritime is offering 20 year Leases to occupants of Sydney Harbour, while the rest of the State is only offered short term Licences on Crown land?
As a previous resident of Sydney I know exactly what value waterside structures add to a property, regardless of the type of tenure agreement. This is just pure greed to satisfy the minority in securing a registered interest in publicly owned land, not to mention the drain on the public purse and under-resourced public sector flowing from this preferential treatment.
Bring on the IPART review into Domestic Rents. Surely IPART will redress the unfair treatment in the management of waterways between Sydney Harbour and the rest of the State.
Or will it? We all deserve a fair go! Preserve the waterways and foreshores for us all.
Kirsteen Bostock,
Concord.

Dumping in the harbour

I am writing about the lack of adequate sewerage pump out facilities in Sydney Harbour. As summer progresses, thousands of boats are using the harbour, and during Australia Day in particular, the demand for pump out facilities was very high.
According to NSW Maritime, private Marinas are not obliged to provide a pump out service to the general public. The only public pump out facility in Sydney Harbour is located at Blackwattle Bay.
However, before use, the boat owner must register with NSW Maritime for a PIN to operate the pump, only to find that the hose fittings are 70mm rather than the standard 50mm fitting which most boats use.
There is therefore a significant risk that boat owners will not respect the environment.
As a consequence, there is a desperate need for an accessible public pump out facility to service Sydney Harbour.
The old Pilot Station at Watsons Bay is currently vacant, and would be an ideal site. This practical solution could be installed with little effort or cost, as power and water are already available on the wharf.  
It also provides convenient and safe access to vessels heading back after a day out on the Harbour, thus encouraging responsible environmental behaviour.
Rob Mason,
Randwick.

Homebush Bay closed

I have been informed the intentions of NSW Maritime are to disallow all power craft from Homebush Bay.
The great de-contamination project carried out at Rhodes has seen the hot spots removed. This should allow the Bay to recover, and hopefully recreational fishing especially for tag and release as a sport in this area is in the not too distant future.
As a resident I have been watching the work to reinstate the Bay as the gateway to Bicentennial Park with its wildlife and Sydney Olympic precincts.
However, it is what will happen to Homebush Bay that concerns me.
I had requested a mooring at the base of the Bay but was refused on the grounds of the intention to disallow power craft. I feel Sydney has lost by stealth enough facilities like the closing of the upper reaches of the Parramatta River west of Silverwater Bridge without any public discussions.
Homebush Bay is bordered by Rhodes and the new suburb of Wentworth Point, where currently a new marina complex is to be built at an estimated $300 million and is owned by NSW Maritime.
There is a need for safe moorings that can be used as sanctuary and quiet times away from marina berths.
Why, for instance, have the two south western wharfs been fenced off and closed for nine months especially after some pylons had been replaced?
Power craft are a large part of Sydney Harbour and, with its growth, why would any area be considered not shared or isolated when such developments are taking place and being so close to where the Olympics took place with all of its facilities?
Robert J Brandes,
Homebush Bay.

Boat for Vets

Further to Stan Sek’s letter (Extended life for old mooring minder, Afloat Feb’11).
Stan was refused the sale of a boat that was never for sale in the first place. The owner chose to keep his boat so be it, that’s his right.
He then the suggests the 75-year-old owner may be too old to use it or look after it. May I remind Stan that much older people still go to sea and look after their assets.
Stan said it would remove an eyesore ship hazard. How can he make such a comment about the boat being a ship hazard? Wasn’t that boat placed there by NSW Maritime … why would they place it in an hazardous spot?
Being ex-Army myself I believe that Stan’s idea is very good. However, in this case, his thinking is inappropriate.
Stan should look elsewhere for his project. I am sure that eventually he will find what he is after, we have many old boats for sale everywhere.
Claude Mereau,
Sydney.

Courtesy Moorings

Full marks and good-on-you Graham Forsaith for shifting illegally tied-up boats off the pink Courtesy Moorings near the Spit Bridge (Afloat Feb’11). Keep on doing it please, much more often! Personally, I have found many of the so-called skippers of those illegally tied-up vessels quite intransigent, even belligerent and often bluntly refusing to vacate those Sailing-Vessels-Only moorings!
But no kudos for claiming courtesy moorings are not needed!
Courtesy moorings are highly valued by a great many boaties, whether experienced anchorers or otherwise. Most boaties just love courtesy moorings for their convenience and safety, especially if overnighting on one. And I, for one, am very pleased indeed they have been provided by NSW Maritime, not just around The Spit Bridge, but in other NSW areas as well.
Good-on-you NSW Maritime! Let’s have even more of them in areas where there are either still none, or very few indeed!
The waters on the West side of the Spit Bridge are up to around 20 metres deep, the ‘channel’ there is relatively narrow, the current can be fairly strong and many boaties would find it difficult to properly anchor there, indeed, some may not even carry sufficient equipment to anchor there at all!
Just visualize 8-10 boats waiting for the next Spit Bridge opening and all of them anchored, swinging at different rates and not necessarily in the same direction! What a nightmare! What do the Regs say? Do Not Anchor in Channels.
Would I want to slowly motor in between them waiting for the Bridge to open? No way!
As for mooring minders, you got that one right, absolutely spot-on with your comments. The sooner NSW Maritime become pro-active to get rid of those blights on the water, the better.
NSW Maritime can easily afford to do that without diverting funds from courtesy moorings. In 2009, NSW Maritime paid around $25 million to NSW Treasury. Don’t believe me? Just examine Maritime’s 2009 Annual Report to the Minister for Ports.
Keith de Haan,
Forestville.

Tasman Bridge collapse and the Bruny ferry Melba

Far from “a masterly display of dithering” by the Tasmanian State Government (Catching the Ferry to Bruny, Afloat Jan’11), on the morning following the Tasman Bridge collapse the then Bruny ferry Melba had been re-positioned to Hobart and arrangements made for the historic river steamer Cartela to also act as an emergency passenger ferry.
Within three weeks of the disaster the State Hydro Electric Commission had designed and built very efficient passenger terminals on both sides of the Derwent, for the use of all available vessels, including the small ferries provided by Bob Clifford and other private operators, a structure had been established to co-ordinate and supervise such practical matters as a common timetable, and the supervision and maintenance of terminals etc.
Lady Wakehurst having been chartered from Sydney’s Urban transit Authority, had arrived at Hobart, and was being commissioned, and negotiations were taking place for the purchase of two more redundant Sydney Ferries.
Notwithstanding these decisive arrangements, it was apparent that insufficient passenger capacity was available, and after scouring the world market, the decision was taken to purchase and refit the former Hong Kong Yaumati car Ferry Man On.
The actual refit took place in Hong Kong, and provided in survey capacity for 1,000 seated passengers. When Man On arrived, (re-christened Harry O’May after a former famous local ferry man) the queues which had been an unwelcome feature of the cross harbour commute, disappeared, and it is a fact that without the provision of the three large government ferries, each with capacities of from 740 to 1,000, it would have been impossible to maintain the Trans Derwent links at the level needed.
As a matter of interest, and at the height of the emergency operation prior to the commissioning of the emergency Bailey bridge, 30,000 passenger journeys a day were taking place, by far the largest ferry operation in Australia, and all this from scratch. Not a bad effort by any standards and it is a bit tedious and a disservice to those who laboured so effectively, to have to put up with such uninformed criticism.
David Keyes,
Hobart.

[David Keyes might find it interesting to work his way through the Hobart Mercury for the whole of 1975.
The bridge fell on January 5, 1975. Local private ferries and the Bruny Island ferry were on the job in that same 24 hours.
The NSW government offered the large new ferry Lady Wakehurst and it arrived on January 18 – not quite two weeks on. The two older NSW ferries were bought by the Tasmanian Government and the Kosciusko arrived on May 26 – four months on. By this time the private ferries were in some numbers and very busy. The Lady Edeline was surveyed in Hobart and condemned – an expensive and useless purchase with state money.
The elderly Hong Kong car ferry arrived in August 1975 – almost eight months on. By then the locally built ferries had carried more than two million people. After about three months the old car ferry was sufficiently altered to work … but not very well. It was almost one year after the sinking!
All of this is told in the Mercury. I also suggest Mr Keyes takes time to study his subject. He could try Tom Lewis’s book, By Derwent Divided. — Graeme Andrews.]

Boxed in on Boxing Day

I’m sure I will not be the only reader firing off a letter in response to the diatribe from Margaret Wynette-deSloop (Afloat, Feb’11), who by now is hopefully back in Dorking, UK, where she belongs.
Perhaps her letter should have been directed, not to the wider boating fraternity via your excellent magazine, but to her son-in-law at Castle Cove, for failing to brief her on the realities of watching a Sydney-Hobart start from a vessel in the spectator fleet.
Everyone knows – or should know – that Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day is mayhem, and yes, the spectator craft are indeed herded back into their designated areas to give the racing yachts room to manoeuvre (and precious little, as it is).
When Ms Wynette-deSloop goes to Royal Ascot to watch the gallops, I wonder, does she spread out a picnic on the turf in front of the starting gates, or complain when asked to move to the grandstand?
She complains about not having been able to see anything, but what did she expect, being among a crowd of other spectator craft all on the same level? If she had wanted to study the racing yachts’ manoeuvres in detail, she should have arranged with her son-in-law to be somewhere elevated, like Middle Head or North Head (but then we’d have had complaints about the traffic jams).
Better still, she could (and obviously, should) have stayed home and watched it all on television, chilled glass of wine at her elbow.
After jostling with the spectator fleet of an event which brings more pleasure boats onto the harbour than probably any other event of the year, our Pommie mariner is then surprised to find her lunchtime anchorage near Manly (presumably Store Beach) “rowdy” and “crowded”.
Well, where did she think all those other boats were going to end up for lunch? And whose fault was it that her lunch consisted of take-away chicken and salad (sans cutlery) and warm white wine in plastic cups? Sydney Harbour’s? The Cruising Yacht Club’s? The Aussie Test side, perhaps?
Memo to son-in-law: Next time the old girl comes out, don’t let her anywhere near our harbour.
Peter Austin,
Mount Victoria.

A broad abroad

I thoroughly enjoyed the thoughtful letter from Margaret Wynette-deSloop from Dorking United Kingdom (Afloat, Feb’11) about her assessment of the start of the Sydney Hobart and her warm white wine and finger-licking chicken takeaway adventure at Manly.
I just bet her ‘loveable larrikin’ son-in-law can hardly wait for her next visit and constructive commentary on his ‘share-boat’.
Of course he now knows how letdown she felt at the disappointment of the day. Do you think just maybe she won’t re-visit?
Albert Ross,
Milsons Point.

What’s in a name

Is someone from Dorking called a ‘dork’?
Tony B,
Rushcutters Bay.

The Old Man and the Sea

Paul Talbot’s interesting review of The Penguin Book of the Ocean contains one error which should be corrected. According to Mr Talbot, The Old Man and the Sea “sheds light on the trials of a Mediterranean fisherman”.
Not so. Ernest Hemingway’s classic, his last great novel, is all about Santiago, a poor Cuban fisherman and the respect he comes to have for the dying dignity of the great Black Marlin he catches, but cannot land.
I fished the waters of the Great Barrier Reef many years ago with the Academy Award-winning actor, Lee Marvin. Like Santiago, Marvin hooked a huge Marlin which was very close to being a world record. Like Santiago, the great fish jumped only once and to quote Hemingway, hung in the air “like a trophy on a wall”.
The epic struggle to land him took six exhausting hours and at the end of it the noble marlin was close to death. Lee Marvin looked as if he was not far behind him.
As the great fish was hauled aboard the boat through the transom hatch, its huge black liquid eye was fixed on the grey-bearded sportsman. Marvin lit a cigarette and looked away into the tropical sunset.
He had killed a magnificent fish and yet, like Santiago, he seemed consumed by regret and not a little guilt. So much so that he could not bring himself to look him in the eye at the moment of his death. I asked him why.
“If our eyes met,” Marvin said, “that would be the end for me. I would never go fishing again.”
Bruce Stannard,
Shell Cove.

Afloat Kudos

I picked up my first copy of your wonderful magazine Afloat (February 2011) while passing through Batemans Bay last month. While I am not a boatie, I just want to congratulate the team on a very chatty and well-written/presented magazine that holds interests for many people.
For instance Alan Lucas’s fascinating well-researched story re the disgraceful NSW Government decision (do they ever make good decisions?) to dispose of the Titan floating crane, was a gem.
And I was only talking to my wife about how I crossed the Hawkesbury River in 1962 at Wisemans Ferry … just two days prior to reading Graeme Andrews’ feature in your magazine.
Keep up the good work and I do hope I see another copy in due course while I travel.
Leon Oberg,
Goulburn.

Rowing boat ferryRowing boat ferry

Noel Schofield in Afloat February comments on the small ferry that was run by Hector Bailey at the Abbottsford Boatshed on the Parramatta River. Above is a picture of the 26ft Kinka, built in 1925 and in commercial ferry use until about 1940. In the 1950s she was in use as a private launch.
Graeme Andrews,
Koolewong.

R.S.V.P.

SOS for abandoned dinghies

1st Mosman Scouts has recently acquired use of boatshed and has the ability to introduce both boys and girls to the joys of sailing. The one thing that is holding the young sailors back is the lack of basic, easy-to-sail dinghies.
We aim to standardise on Laser Radials (to accompany the fleet of one donated boat). We are looking for pre-loved boats that may not be getting as much sail time as they used to as your kids have grown up or you have upgraded to a faster boat. These boats will be primarily training boats so a couple of dings will only add to their character.
The scout troop is the oldest scout troop in Australia and has a proud history promoting community spirit and adventure through outdoor activities with Australia’s youth.
If you have an old dinghy, especially if it is a Laser, that has not been used for a while but still has some good sailing days left in her hull, we guarantee your old boat will be helping to get the next generation of sailors on the water.

F N Allsopp Builders & Designers

I am searching for any information relating to my grandfather Frederick Norman Allsopp.
Frederick Norman (aka Norm) began his boat manufacturing business at Kogarah NSW in approximately 1948.
His builder’s plaque read: “F N Allsopp, 16 Kitchener St Kogarah, Boat Builders & Designers, phone LW 5644”.
I am interested in the whereabouts of any wooden clinker launches that my grandfather built. He placed his builder’s plaque near the back tiller on the right side, unless the owner of the launch requested somewhere else. They were usually installed with 5hp Simplex motors.
I believe some of his launches were used in RSL hire fleets in the St George/Kogarah regions and the Sussex Inlet regions. Some of his business associates were Hunts Marine, Humphrey’s, Chapman’s, Kemp, Sydie Price, Herbie Jones Bros and Kopsens of Sydney.
Norman retired to Sussex Inlet in the late 1960s where he participated in boat races. In his later life he was often seen towing his boat to the boat ramp (near the old saw mill) spending his hours black fishing.
Christine Hodge,
tel: 02 4975 2993
email c_hodge_oz@hotmail.com

Fantasia anchored on the Hawkesbury in typical Halvo style.Halvorsen Boats – an Australian way of life

I would like to thank all those people that responded to my request for information about those wonderful Halvorsen boats (Afloat Nov’10) that so many of us enjoyed and that have been part of the Australian way of life for so many years.
Photos were submitted from far and wide with people reminiscing about their school holidays spent on a hire boat, from Halvorsen apprentices and shipwrights to people restoring a Halvorsen and also previous owners enquiring if I knew where certain boats may have ended up.
In particular, thank you to Phil Dustin whose family owned Fantasia in the mid 1960s and all the great photos he submitted not only of Fantasia (anchored on the Hawkesbury River in typical Halvo style) but also so many shots like the one of Vim undertaking her sea trials and being followed by another Halvorsen cruiser.
Vim undertaking her sea trials and being followed by another Halvorsen cruiser.I have also asked the Halvorsen Club of Australia to be the custodian and to put the photos on their website. These will be posted shortly on the club website at http://www.halvorsenclub.com.au/
Meanwhile, please continue looking through your old photo albums and be part of preserving this archival record of our maritime history.
Thank you to Afloat magazine. Your wide distribution has made the task so much easier.
Peter Arnold,
notgroveholdings@bigpond.com
Chatswood.

Compressed Natural Gas

I am one of an increasing number who decided to import a boat from America. I hasten to add that I did this not so much to save money, but to get the boat I wanted. I fell in love with the Hunter Passage 42, which were never sold new in Australia, so there are very few here (so far, only three that I know of).
One of the features I like about my boat is that it has CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) fitted instead of the usual LPG.
I like this because unlike LPG which is heavier than air and sinks to the bottom of the bilge and becomes a time bomb, CNG is lighter than air, so if there is a leak, it simply floats away – SAFELY.
Problem is, I am finding it almost impossible to get my tanks filled here. Does any reader know of anywhere in Sydney where I might be able to get my tanks filled please?
Really love the magazine – congratulations, please keep up the great work!
Eian Mathieson,
Tel: 0418 811 182;
eian@issc.com.au

Yacht Meteor

In 1897 the Charles Bailey-designed gaff-cutter Meteor was shipped to Sydney for a series of races against Australia’s crack yachts. The campaign did not go well and she was subsequently sold to Dr J.F. Elliot of Balmain.
Is Meteor still with us? Anyone who knows her fate is invited to contact me through info@afloat.com.au.
Bruce Stannard,
Shell Cove.