The Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay (Newport) held its Season Opening Day on Saturday 10th November. The day dawned fine and sunny, Pittwater was at its best. A great start to what was a fun day, with the Guest of Honour Rear Admiral Geoff Smith AO RAN (Rtd) declaring the Season open in front of members, friends and guests, including the local Federal Member Hon Bronwyn Bishop (herself a member), visiting Flag Officers and representatives of club sponsors.
Sir James Hardy, he of sailing fame, and Lady Hardy were also among our distinguished guests.
Some twenty seven boats joined the sail past that followed the land based activities with the salute being taken by Rear Admiral Smith and attending Commodores aboard the MV Sirdar.
The day drew to a close with members and guests returning to the Clubhouse to enjoy the camaraderie for which the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Newport is well known.
Sally shakes male ocean racing skippers
Hobart’s only female ocean racing skipper Sally Rattle has usurped her male counterparts with a fine IRC win in The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s 60th Maria Island Island Yacht Race, sailed off south-eastern Tasmania.
Skippering her Archambault 35 Archie, the Derwent Sailing Squadron member finished third across the finish line early in the morning, astern of line honours winner Dr Who (Rod Jackman) and Creative Intention (David Rees), both highly experienced ocean racing skippers.
In fact, Jackman was sailing in his 40th Maria Island Race; Sally in her first as skipper of Archie. Her crew included Derwent Sailing Squadron commodore Scott Brain and club manager Andie Davison.
Having completed her qualifying race, Sally plans to skipper Archie in the Heemskirk Consolidated Melbourne to Hobart Race which this year is coming down the Tasmanian east coast after the fleet competes in the Rudder Cup centenary race across Bass Strait.
Archie won the IRC handicap division from Creative Intension and third place going to Asylum, Roy Barkas’s Sydney 38.
The PHS handicap division winner is Kaiulani, Malcolm Cooper’s halftonner, with Sirocco, Leigh Johnston’s Northshore 38, second and Singapore Girl, Todd Leary’s Davidson 34 in third place.
From the 21 boat fleet six retired, including Sarina, Colin Bell’s cruising 46-footer which was dismasted on the Saturday evening.
To find the Annie M. Miller you motor in towards the cliffs not far north of Bondi Beach in about 40 metres of water, lining up the two big apartment blocks in Diamond Bay and sitting the water tower on top. When, off to the northwest, the Hornby Lighthouse at South Head goes behind the cliff, drop your anchor.
Gear up and slip down your warp until, at about 30 metres, you see the remnants of this old collier, which foundered and sank here in 1929, spread over a sandy bottom below you.
On a clear water day – and most days here are clear water now since the outfalls were extended in the 1990s – kingfish will whirl about you as you descend and, as your eyes accustom to the gloom at depth, you’ll see the wreck covered in shoals of glistening golden nannygai and small yellowtail.
A big resident wrasse, which the locals call blue groper, will come to check you out and hang around hopefully for food. If you’re diving in winter large, curious cuttlefish, half a metre and bigger, will investigate you as an intruder – or maybe as a possible mate. At this time of year they mate – and die – leaving only their large cuttlebones to float and be pecked by hungry gulls.
A big boiler and collapsed stern section, with the remnants of a fisherman’s trawl entangled, mark the south end of the wreck and the crumpled remains of the ship, with the main mast lying to the west, stretch to the north and the flattened bow. Despite the depth – 40 metres – it is an easy swim on one dive to cover the length of the wreck and back before falling air reserves and rising decompression penalty draw your dive to a close.
The Annie M Miller is another of the many ‘60-milers’ – little coastal colliers which hauled coal and road gravel up and down the coast to and from Newcastle and Wollongong for many years. Somewhat unusually the Miller was a new ship, about six months into service, which had been sailed out from her builders in Glasgow in the previous year.
She developed a reputation as a ‘tender’ ship; one prone to list and wallow if her coal cargo was not trimmed well. On the night of February 8 1929 as she left Bulli with her holds filled with coal for Sydney the skipper was concerned about this instability. Despite this, and the engineer’s expressed concerns and vocal protests against sailing, Captain Pilling sailed – with hatch openings planked but not secured with tarpaulins.
The weather worsened on the journey north and, near Bondi, the vessel lowered by the head, listed, flooded through the unsealed hatches and sank, taking six of her crew of twelve to a drowning death. A quick-thinking able seaman cut loose the port lifeboat as the vessel sank, swam to it and gradually collected five more of his shipmates.
Nowadays the wreck is an easy dive a short distance from the harbour heads. It has one unusual tendency – it somehow collects golf balls from the Bondi cliff-top golf course three kilometres away!
Sydney Harbour Week Awards call for nominations
Nominations are officially open for the sixth Sydney Harbour Week Awards recognising excellence in promoting the diversity of Sydney Harbour.
The 2008 Sydney Harbour Week Awards, to be held at the start of Sydney Harbour Week in early March, have previously attracted a large number of high quality nominations. The awards aim to recognise the outstanding work by many individuals and groups for their efforts in using or drawing attention to the world class waterway of Sydney Harbour.
To qualify in any of the award categories, an individual or group must prove to have in some way encouraged people to care for and share Sydney Harbour by informing, educating or engaging the community.
Award categories are Artist, Community, Environment, Heritage, Indigenous, Lifetime Achievement and Tourism.
Nominations close Friday, 18 January 2007.
Nomination forms can be found at https://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/
Boating Service Officer (BSO) Graham Forsaith, 62, has announced his retirement from NSW Maritime effective 16th December 2007.
Mr Forsaith joined the then NSW Waterways in 1995 as the first License Testing Officer organising power boat and personal water craft (PWC) license information seminars and testing sessions all over the Sydney basin.
Over this period and during the last 10 years as a BSO based at Rozelle, Mr Forsaith has instructed and tested over 15,000 candidates.
In the closest of finishes, Will MacKenzie and his crew of Jamie Woods and Kyle Langford have won the 2007 Bavaria Yachts International Youth Match Racing Regatta 3-1 against the RNZYS’s Reuben Corbett, Bradley Farrand and Scott Burling. MacKenzie fought all the way through the semis and finals from his fourth place in the round robins before taking the final race by half a spinnaker, sealing victory for the host club CYCA for the fifth consecutive year.
Will Ryan (CYCA) went on to finish third in the sail off for minor placings against Michael Thorpe (RNZYS), again taking the result to the maximum number of races.
MacKenzie and his team, under the watchful eye of coach Dayne Sharp, were the big movers of the regatta. Scraping into the semis on a count back after the double round robin, the team’s crew work peaked in the finals.
RNZYS’s coach Guy Pilkington summed up the day and the regatta saying, “The boats could have been tied together by a bit of string they were so close! A regatta of this level always lifts your game and the RNZYS youth have gained a lot to pass back into the [RNZYS youth] program”.
Jenni Bonnitcha/Lisa Ratcliff
Over 100 people tried their hand at sailing at Concord and Ryde Sailing Club on Sunday 7th November as part of Try Sailing Day organised by the Boating Industry Association and Yachting Australia (NSW).
A gusty 12 knot breeze allowed everyone to enjoy a fast and sometimes wet sail. The smiles on the faces of the participants was an indication of their level of enjoyment as was the fact that over 30 people expressed interest in attending one of the four Learn to Sail Courses run by the club during their sailing season.
The November to December course is fully booked and places are filling for the courses scheduled for the January school holidays and February to March 2008.
Anyone interested in more information on Concord and Ryde Sailing Club’s Learn to Sail program should call David Loring on (02) 9636 4370.
Australian Cape breaks 24-hour record in ’Round World Race
Australian sailor Andrew Cape and his co-skipper Alex Thomson (GBR) have broken the 24 hour distance record for a 60-foot monohull yacht.
Competing in the Barcelona World Race aboard Hugo Boss, the pair covered 500.01 miles nautical miles between 14.15 and 14.15 GMT from 6-7 December, at an average speed of 20.8 knots.
Thomson already holds the 24 hour distance record for a single-handed sailor, having covered 468.72 nautical miles in a day on his previous yacht, which he lost in the Southern Ocean last year.
“The new Hugo Boss is a beast – there’s no doubt about it!” said an elated Alex Thomson. “Four days ago we were 400 miles behind the leader and now we are just under 200 miles behind, so we are slowly reeling them in.”
Hugo Boss is still going strong as she heads further south in the Southern Ocean. Thomson will soon reach the point where his previous boat suffered extreme structural keel failure during the Velux 5 Oceans race last November and he was forced to abandon ship. His situation could not be more different today.
“It is very ironic to think that this time last year I had just arrived in Cape Town having been rescued by Mike Golding, and here I am a year later having set a new world record,” said Thomson. “We have slowed the boat down now to take the pressure off a little. This is about winning a race and not about breaking records. We must keep the boat together if we are to be competitive.”
After 31 days, Hugo Boss is in third place, 183nm behind leader Paprec Virbac 2 (FRA), and 79nm behind Veolia Environnement (FRA). After two weeks in the Southern Ocean the fleet will pass through the Cook Straits between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The boats will then head to Cape Horn and finally north up the Atlantic to the finish in Barcelona. The 25,000 mile race should take three months to complete, finishing in February 2008.
Lipton Regatta 2007
Living Doll a Cookson 50 skippered by M. Hiatt from RYCV eventually emerged as winner of this year’s Lipton Regatta staged over the weekend 17-18 November. The Royal Yacht Club of Victoria event which was sailed in breezes from 5 knots on Saturday with the third race of the day being abandoned due to lack of wind.
In contrast the 25 knots to 35 knots on Sunday gave the Living Doll crew some indication of their likely performance in the Sydney to Hobart after a complete rebuild of the yacht over the last six months including a conventional keel to improve their IRC handicap. Hiatt said that there could be some improvement in crew work as they sailed well in some patches and not so well in others.
Afterwards, the yacht headed north to Sydney for the Rolex Cup to warm up before the Hobart.
Also heading north was the second placed Chutzpah from RYCV which was competing in her first major regatta and feel that the boat is starting to come together after a few RYCV club races and SYC races. They were also competing against some class racers including Sydney 38 Challenge skippered by veteran Lou Abrahams another Sydney to Hobart contender which came first in all three heats of the regatta in the Division A 38 class.
Record results from Victoria’s Go Sailing day
The Ridgeway family from Pascoe Vale were one of thousands of people who flocked to 13 yacht clubs around Victoria in November to try their hand at sailing and discover how easy and inexpensive it is to join the on-the-water lifestyle.
Young 13-year-old Phil Ridgeway who had never stepped on a keelboat before said, “I had a real ball! I got to steer Western Morning from Williamstown to St Kilda and we had a great view of the city as we crossed Hobson Bay.”
His father Phil said after their trip on the on the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria 34-footer Western Morning, “Our family is now more interested than ever to do some more sailing and we enjoyed the hospitality and the set-up at the club.”
Clubs reported record walk-up Go Sailing numbers, far larger than any previous year and there was greater interest in taking up sailing.
Albert Park Sailing Club’s secretary Bill Avallone said, “This is our most successful event ever with interest well up on previous years, driven by Yachting Victoria’s excellent organisation and its promotion especially on 3AW which has worked very well.”
At Royal Brighton Yacht Club, numbers were double last year’s according to its general manager Clyde Batty. “We were overwhelmed from before our 10am start time and we had more families than ever before taking to the water in keelboats and off the beach dinghies.
Royal Yacht Club of Victoria’s membership chair and co-ordinator for the day, Deanne Colledge said, “We had an awesome Go Sailing day which was our best ever. We had a total of 116 walk-up visitors who registered … and most importantly 80% said afterwards they now have a real interest in taking up either twilight sailing on Wednesdays or joining our junior program.”
You can still arrange a free introductory sail at a time that suits by visiting www.gosailing.com.au and contacting a participating club.
Hayden Wants Skippers to Take the Lead
Australian Test cricketer Matthew Hayden, has thrown his support behind the National Marine Safety Committee’s latest boating education campaign – so that he can pass on to boaters the lessons he has learnt the ‘hard way’ about skipper responsibility.
The 2007/08 summer campaign – “Lifejackets – Skippers Take the Lead”, aims to motivate skippers to wear lifejackets and asks them to encourage their passengers to do the same.
“When you go out boating, and I have been in this same mindset, it’s easy to think ‘Oh, nothing is going to happen today, so the “x” factor gets removed’,” said Hayden. “Not only do incidences happen, they happen really quickly and you have people’s lives at stake,” referring to the day a few years ago when his boat hit a wave, capsized and sank off North Stradbroke Island.
Matthew had gone out for a relaxing day of fishing with fellow cricketer Andrew Symonds and friend Trent Butler, when in a matter of minutes, they found themselves in the water without lifejackets on.
“We were in a position where mistakes exponentially mounted and suddenly we were hit by waves, there was engine failure, we were sitting on the bar right on the crunch zone and we got smashed.”
It took the trio an hour to swim to shore, battling currents, crashing waves and eventually, shock and exhaustion. For details go to www.nmsc.gov.au or www.safeboating. org.au.
A re-launched inter-school teams championship targeted at all Victorian state and private secondary colleges has been announced by Yachting Victoria.
Sponsored by Lend Lease’s Victoria Harbour and the City of Melbourne, it is to be staged over three weekends at Docklands and will be Victorian sailing’s equivalent to rowing’s prestigious Head of the River.
The Victoria Harbour Schools Teams Racing Championship includes invitational trials in February and March 2008 with the finals to be sailed off in April.
“We have elevated and re launched our teams championship to give state secondary and private school sailors throughout Victoria the opportunity to race in teams of three boats for the right to become Head of Victoria Harbour and to represent the Big V at next year’s Australian Schools titles,” said Yachting Victoria’s CEO Ross Kilborn.
Schools nominating teams won’t need to find boats because fully equipped two person Pacer yachts (similar to those pictured) will be provided for the entire competition. Contact Yachting Victoria’s Schools Teams Co-ordinator John Middleton tel: 0411 453 127.
Pittwater Interschools Sailing
Ideal sailing conditions set the scene for the Pittwater Interschools Team Racing Regatta in November. Some early light misty rain was overridden by some fairly consistent southerly breeze averaging around 8 knots. There was great camaraderie amongst all schools in attendance.
The racing was clean and fairly incident free which was a great relief to all those who carry out maintenance on the boats.
All teams sailed 10 races each with the following results: Mater Maria – 9 wins; Knox A – 8; Pittwater High – 6; St Lukes Grammar – 4; Knox B – 2 and Abbotsleigh – 1.
As this is a two-day regatta, all of these results will roll over to round 2 which will be held on 8 March, where it will be hoped that all students will find similar sailing conditions and the opportunity of racing another 10 races each to determine the Pittwater champion school.
A fine Tasmanian sailor
On Saturday, 20 October, Tasmanian yachtsman Bruce Calvert, proudly skippered his sports boat ABN Amro Morgans with its brand new mast for the first time in the Derwent Sailing Squadron’s pennant race on Hobart’s Derwent River.
Just four weeks later, on 20 November Bruce died, six and a half months after being diagnosed with cancer. It was his final sail at the age of 43.
More than 500 family and friends gathered in Hobart’s St David’s Cathedral to remember a fine family man, businessman and an outstanding sailor and member of The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania since a lad. He was also a member of the Derwent Sailing Squadron.
Bruce was a son of Don and Jill Calvert, Don a past Commodore of the RYCT, and with his brother David had taken over management of the family plastics packaging business down the d’Entrecastreaux Channel.
He leaves his wife Philippa and three young children, Jock (10), Angus (8) and Abbey (5), both he and his father Don delighted to see the two boys sailing in Sabots, the class in which Bruce started at the RYCT at about the same age.
“His first Sabot was called Inflation – because you couldn’t keep up with it,” Don Calvert recalled with pride.
From Sabots, Bruce went on to sail Cadet dinghies, representing Tasmania in the Stonehaven Cup, then Fireballs and International Dragons in which he sailed Jock Robbie to an outstanding victory in the Prince Philip Cup, the national championship for the class in 1997.
Bruce went with his father to England as a member of the crew of Don’s One Tonner Intrigue, Tasmania’s first member of an Australian Admiral’s Cup in 1985. He also contested a number of Sydney-Hobart Races, including the stormswept 1998 race aboard the Tasmanian yacht Computerland.
Bruce was renowned for his seamanship and boat handling capability when the going got tough. As John Saul, skipper of Computerland in the ’98 Hobart, said at his funeral, the only time he could sleep was when Bruce was on the helm – and they had a reasonable crew! Such was the trust in his ability to steer a boat.
His brother-in-law, Matthew Knight, who sailed with Bruce a lot, agreed. “There was no one more controlled on a boat. I never heard him raise his voice in anger,” Matthew said. “Bruce had the utmost respect for his crew and being able to do every job on the boat himself, he recognised when someone was under the pump or had made an error and never berated them for it or lost his cool. He just got on making the most of the situation. He was like this in life, too.”
ABN Amro Morgans broke her mast at the end of last season and 20 October was Bruce’s first and last race with the new rig. His health declined rapidly thereafter.
Geoff Lee sails his final voyage
Prominent Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron member, yachtsman and yachting benefactor Geoff Lee AM OAM has died after an extended illness.
Geoff was the immediate past chairman and a life member of the Australia Day Regatta and was instrumental in maintaining its status as the world’s oldest continuously conducted sailing regatta. Geoff had been a member of the RSYS since 1964 and was also a member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and a past flag officer of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. He donated many perpetual trophies to sailing, including one for line honours in the Australia Day ocean race to Botany Bay and return.
Over many years of active sailing, Geoff raced a succession of yachts named Taurus in ocean races and, in latter years, in harbour racing with the RSYS Division 1. Geoff was also involved in supporting many other activities, including the Scouting movement where he was Vice Chairman of the Lord Baden-Powell Society Management Committee. For over 50 years, Geoff Lee contributed to Scouting through leadership and fundraising. Geoff received the World Scouting Bronze Wolf in recognition of his service.
This is the highest award in World Scouting.
He was Governor of the Sydney Heritage fleet and Board Member of the Heart Research Institute.
A Memorial Service celebrating Geoff’s life was held at St Mark’s Church, Darling Point on 4 December.
The world’s oldest ‘cold case’
From the frozen landscape of the Italian Alps comes a story 5,300 years in the making … it’s the story of Ötzi, a neolithic man discovered in a melting glacier 16 years ago.
Iceman – the story of Ötzi offers visitors to the National Maritime Museum a rare but detailed glimpse of life in the Copper Age.
These school holidays the museum also invites kids to join in on a crime scene investigation … and piece together the story behind the world’s oldest ‘cold case’.
The museum’s school holiday program is themed around its major new exhibition which looks at the discovery of a 5,300 year-old-mummy in an Italian glacier 16 years ago.
Ötzi is the oldest known wet mummy in the world, having lived between 3350 and 3100 BC. Discovered by hikers in 1991, he was nicknamed ‘Ötzi’ after the Ötztal Alps where he was found.
The exhibition has been assembled by the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology at Bolzano in northern Italy, where the mummy is now permanently conserved in a special refrigeration chamber.
It combines video footage, reproductions of objects and clothing found with Ötzi together with original Copper-Age objects, photographs, and interactive stations to shed light on how Ötzi lived … and died.
Ötzi has been viewed by many as the ultimate ‘cold case’… was he murdered, and if so, why? The exhibition will review the forensic investigations into his death … investigations which continue today and offer some answers.
The results of x-rays, CT scans and endoscopic examinations will be featured in the exhibition, providing detailed information on what his diet was like, where he lived, how old he was when he died and what injuries caused his death.
Iceman will also give visitors a fascinating glimpse of life 5,300 years ago. Original Copper Age objects lent by archaeological institutions in Italy and Switzerland will travel to Australia for the first time.
On display will be flint arrowheads, copper based axes, and flint daggers, all similar to objects found with Ötzi. The selection of everyday objects including original neolithic jewellery, fish hooks, sewing tools and ceramic pots, show that life in the Copper Age was quite sophisticated.
Reproductions of clothing and weaponry found with Ötzi such as his longbow, arrows, dagger and sheath all reveal amazing details of technology in neolithic Italy and the skills and craftsmanship of people at that time.
While the mummy is too fragile to travel, it is represented in the exhibition by a full-scale replica half encased in ice, as it was found. A life-size figure, fully dressed, shows how Ötzi appeared as he walked in the Alps prior to his death. Iceman – the story of Ötzi, the travelling exhibition of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, will remain on view, admission free, until 17 February.
Wetworld is back this summer with a brand-new ‘Super Soaker Action Zone.’ It’s bigger, brighter and double the fun with more places to hide behind and take aim!
Full of fun, watery games for kids aged 3-9 years, Wetworld returns with the intriguing Wet Lab and its host of splashy experiments, fun river boat races and scaleddown canal system and the popular, custom-built Water Piano. Kids can expect to get wet so it’s a good idea to dress for the occasion.