The Journal of the Ocean Cruising Club 1
ADMIRAL Mary Barton COMMODORE John Franklin VICE COMMODORES Tony Gooch Anne Hammick REAR COMMODORES Dick Guckel Peter Paternotte REGIONAL REAR COMMODORES GREAT BRITAIN Jenny Crickmore-Thompson IRELAND John Bourke NORTH WEST EUROPE Claus Jaeckel NORTH EAST USA Denis Moonan & Pam MacBrayne SOUTH EAST USA Bob Frantz WEST COAST NORTH AMERICA Ian Grant NORTH EAST AUSTRALIA Nick Halsey SOUTH EAST AUSTRALIA Paul & Lynn Furniss ROVING REAR COMMODORES David Caukill, Scott & Kitty Kuhner, John & Christine Lytle, Chris Cromey & Suzanne Hills, Simon Fraser & Janet Gayler, Martin & Elizabeth Bevan, Rick & Julie Palm, David & Juliet Fosh, Jack & Zdenka Griswold, Alan Franklin & Lynne Gane
PAST COMMODORES 1954-1960 1960-1968 1968-1975 1975-1982 1982-1988 1988-1994 1994-1998 1998-2002 2002-2006 2006-2009 2009-2012
Humphrey Barton Tim Heywood Brian Stewart Peter Carter-Ruck John Foot Mary Barton Tony Vasey Mike Pocock Alan Taylor Martin Thomas Bill McLaren
SECRETARY Rachelle Turk Westbourne House, 4 Vicarage Hill Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 9EW, UK Tel: (UK) +44 20 7099 2678 Tel: (USA) +1 253 802 0530 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR, FLYING FISH Anne Hammick Falmouth Marina, North Parade Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 2TD, UK Tel: +44 1326 212857 e-mail: email@example.com OCC ADVERTISING Details page 228 OCC WEBSITE www.oceancruisingclub.org 1
Editorial 3 The 2014 Awards 5 Living on the Kedge 29 The Best Laid Plans ... 45 Guidelines for Contributors 54 Northeast Australia 2014 58 A Scandinavian Summer 69 Richard Anderton,.. Club Secretary 2005–2014 79 Baffin, Bears and Bob! 85 Indonesian Update 97 Milky Sea: Observer No. 236 111 Young Larry – Back to Baffin 117 From the Galley of ... 128 (also pages 129, 165 & 226) The Diamond Supplement 131 Spitzbergen 2014 153 Book Reviews 167
A Double Apology Voyage of Egret: Fast-Tracking, Part 1 A Voyage through Papua New Guinea Obituaries and Appreciations Advertisers in Flying Fish Advertising Rates and Deadlines
179 189 202 215 227 228
Rev Bob Shepton Rosemarie Smart Alecio Mike Bickell Julian and Sheena Berney
Steve Brown Phil and Norma Heaton Conor O’Regan Andrew & Máire Wilkes David Blackburn & Julia Aspin, Graham & Avril Johnson, Bill Salvo Bill McLaren Neil McCubbin One Wild Song; Fair Winds and Safe Passage; The Long Way Home; Antarktische Wildnis: Südgeorgien; The Amazing World of Flyingfish; Mediterranean Weather Handbook for Sailors; Rescue Pilot; Granuaile: Queen Of Storms Mark Broomfield Scott and Mary Flanders Katie Thomsen
HEALTH WARNING The information in this publication is not to be used for navigation. It is largely anecdotal, while the views expressed are those of the individual contributors and are not necessarily shared nor endorsed by the OCC or its members. The material in this journal may be inaccurate or out-of-date – you rely upon it at your own risk.
I’ve just realised that this is my 50th Flying Fish as editor, so a short retrospective on how it’s changed and developed over the years seems called for. I took over, at very short notice, in 1990/2 following the death of founder editor David Wallis, and have overseen two issues a year ever since. Flying Fish 1990/2 was stapled (like the recent Members Handbook) and contained 112 pages, 22 black-and-white photographs, four chartlets (which I drew) and seven advertisements. In contrast, the 228 pages of this issue contain 238 photos, five chartlets and 30 pages of advertisements. In the early 1990s the Club was still recovering from its financial problems of a few years previously and the Committee were extremely budget-conscious, so although the Fish grew steadily in thickness, with 152 pages in 1995/1, for nearly a decade colour printing was considered too expensive. The Millennium proved a good excuse for change, the first ‘photo’ cover being of yachts at the Millennium Rally in Grenada, which graced Flying Fish 2000/1. This was accompanied by a few pages of colour photos in the body of the magazine, though the majority were still in mono, as was the cover for the next six issues. The next major step forward came when Flying Fish 2006/2 appeared with a square spine, as it still does. This removed the constraint on thickness – there’s a limit to the number of sheets that a staple will penetrate – and though that issue was quite thin at only 140 pages, by 2007/1 it had grown to 192 pages, including many carrying colour photos or chartlets. Not a great deal has changed since then, though it’s a while now since an issue has contained less than 200 pages. Throughout all my 26 years as editor Flying Fish has been printed by the small Suffolk company of Bungay Printers, and I could not have asked for a more helpful, reliable company. A big thank you to Tony and John! All the issues mentioned above can also be read online, early issues as text only but the more recent ones as PDFs. Current issues are also available as very reader-friendly e-zines – see www.oceancruisingclub.org > PUBLICATIONS > Latest Flying Fish for details. That hasn’t left much room for other matters, except to recommend members with an interest in the OCC’s (fairly) recent history to turn to Past Commodore Bill McLaren’s Diamond Supplement on 131, which takes over where Past Commodore Tony Vasey’s The First 50 Years left off ... and to ask those of you with an interest in cooking to send me your favourite recipes for the From the Galley of ... series – the cupboard is getting bare! Could I also repeat a notice which has already appeared in the e-Bulletin, that the Fish’s ‘unofficial’ e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org has now been discontinued, so please send everything to email@example.com. And lastly the usual reminder, that the final DEADLINE for submissions to Flying Fish 2015/2 is Thursday 1 October – and please do read the Guidelines for Contributors on page 54 if you’re thinking of sending something. FRONT COVER: Royal albatrosses at Stewart Island, New Zealand, photographed by Vicky Jackson. See page 137 3
The complete service for all yachts and commercial craft
Marina berthing and hard standing 70 ton travel lift Reﬁt and repair specialists 10% DISCOUNT Joinery and teak decks OFF FOX'S Spray painting and varnish LABOUR RATES GRP and gelcoat repairs FOR OCC Osmosis and epoxy treatments MEMBERS Electronics supply and installation Marine engineering and installation Rigging for cruising and racing Stainless fabrication – marine and commercial Fox's Marine & Country store T&C APPLY
Fox’s Marina Ipswich Limited Ipswich, Suffolk, IP2 8SA +44 (0) 1473 689111 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE 2014 AWARDS For the third year running the Annual Dinner and the Awards presentations were held aboard HQS Wellington on the River Thames, the latter ably compèred by Paul Heiney – who himself received last year’s Rose Medal for his passage from the UK to Cape Horn and back aboard his Victoria 38 Wild Song. His recently-published book about the voyage, One Wild Song, is reviewed on page 167 of this issue. We were also joined by Robert Stevens, Managing Director of Topsail Insurance Ltd, whose company generously assisted towards the cost of the event. For further information about the Awards, including how to make nominations, please visit www.oceancruisingclub.org/index.php/about-the-occ/occ-awards or e-mail email@example.com. Note, however, that only full members can make nominations, and that nominated passages must have been completed after 30 June 2014 (ie. no more than 18 months prior to the 30 December 2015 closing date). The 2014 Awards were presented in two groups between the main courses of the meal, and are taken here in the order in which they were announced. All photographs are by John van-Schalkwyk unless otherwise credited.
THE ENDURANCE AWARD Readers of Flying Fish 2013/2 will be aware of the history of this unusual award, created in 2007 by Fred Hallett, then Rear Commodore USA South East, to recognise a member who ‘demonstrates indomitable spirit and perseverance in the face of adversity’. Two awards were made this year. Glenn Wakefield spent five years preparing his 41ft Rhodes-designed sloop Kim Chow for a singlehanded westabout non-stop circumnavigation, finally leaving Victoria, British Columbia on 23 September 2007. In April 2008, after 220 days at sea and when 800 miles east of Cape Horn, he was forced to abandon Kim Chow after she was
Glenn Wakefield aboard West Wind II in Victoria, BC. Photo Marylou Wakefield 5
Glenn (left) receives the Endurance award from Ian Grant, Regional Rear Commodore West Coast North America. Photo Marylou Wakefield
rolled and suffered serious damage in 50 knot winds and large seas. Glenn was taken aboard the Argentinian naval vessel Puerto Deseado. Two years later, and still determined to follow his dream, Glenn bought a 42ft S&S sloop, West Wind II. After three years working on her, he left Victoria for the second time on 2 September 2013, to start his second attempt at a westward circumnavigation. On 26 December, 1800 miles west of Fremantle, Australia, he discovered rigging failure on his lower shrouds, which forced him to turn around and nurse West Wind II back downwind to Australia. Read more at http://glennwakefieldaroundtheworld.com/about-glenn/. Glenn and his wife Marylou were unable to attend the Awards Dinner in London, so the presentation was made on 28 February this year at the Pacific Northwest Winter Gathering, by Ian Grant, Regional Rear Commodore West Coast North America. On receiving the Award Glenn wrote: In the true spirit of Shackleton and his famous ship the ’Endurance’, I am deeply honoured to receive this award. It is very much in keeping with the spirit of the founding members of the OCC, who still inspire me to this day. There is nothing as uplifting as being recognised by one’s peers. Thank you.
Bill Marden has appeared in the pages of Flying Fish several times over the past twelve years – his first article, An 80th Birthday Present, appeared in Flying Fish 2013/2 – generally recounting his adventures aboard his 52ft ketch Fancy Free and expounding his philosophy that ‘if you keep it simple you probably won’t have to fix anything’. After losing Fancy Free to ‘thieves’ in Columbia, and by now in his 90s, Bill set about finding a smaller vessel to replace her. After some searching he located a sound but elderly Hans Christian 38 in Long Beach, California, right opposite the Queen Mary. The entertaining story of her purchase and subsequent ‘passage’ back to Bill’s ranch in Texas appeared in Flying Fish 2013/2 under the title An Unusual Voyage, and since then Bill has been working towards her relaunch h despite being in his 93rd year – in the company of his dog and surrounded by his herds of cattle. 6
Bill Marden holding his winner’s plaque and a new OCC burgee, in front of Sea Wind, his Hans Christian 38. With him (left to right) are his wife Annette, Rear Commodore Dick Guckel, and Bill’s neighbour David Bill frequently refers to himself as ‘the luckiest man alive’, and on learning he was to receive the Endurance Award, wrote: As we all know, our world is seven-eighths ocean. This was impressed upon me while navigating a wooden-hulled minesweeper around the Pacific. We were an American warship on loan to the Australians, with three officers and a crew of forty, and had many adventures doing things that today would get you court martialed. It was an anything-goes time, with only one real order: ‘Get the job done’. I was fresh out of officer training school in Chicago and knew nothing about chart making. Our introduction came with the arrival of an Australian frigate, bringing a dinghy full of beautiful bronze instruments, huge books of logarithms, and a New Zealander named Bruce Reves. Bruce was an extraordinary person who, when the War began, was making a primary survey of Borneo for the white Rajah of Sarawak. We now had a teacher, and went straight to work making charts, learning by doing. The transistor had yet to be invented and there was no such thing as a computer – a slide rule was as close as you could get. When we finished surveying an area we had to calculate its latitude and longitude. This was done on the beach at night, using 32 stars and a very fancy Swiss theodolite. Minesweeping came later, when the War was over and we had to find sunken vessels and sweep mines. What little I know about the sea I owe to the US Navy. It taught me the fundamentals and it made it possible to qualify for the OCC! Today’s high-school students have more electronics in their pockets than the astronauts had going to the moon. Now we know what the stars are made of! What a wonderful time to live!
THE DAVID WALLIS TROPHY For the ‘most outstanding, valuable or enjoyable contribution to Flying Fish’, as nominated by the Editorial Sub-Committee. For the first time in its 25 year history the David Wallis Trophy was shared between two members, both of whom contributed fascinating accounts of their 1950s qualifying passages to last year’s 60th anniversary issue, and who received equal numbers of votes from the Flying Fish Editorial Sub-Committee. Founder Member Bill Wise learned to sail at RN College, Dartmouth before the Second World War, then served at sea throughout the War in a variety of ships in the Mediterranean, West Africa, Indian Ocean and finally Pacific theatres. Returning to the UK in 1946 he trained for the new Electrical Engineering branch of the Navy, after which he was entitled to the letters C Eng MIET MBCS after his name! He spent the post-war years sailing as crew and later skipper in naval and ‘windfall’ (ex-German services) yachts and the RORC’s Griffin, as well as crewing in privatelyowned vessels, often as navigator. His races included two Bermuda Races, the Transatlantic Race with which he qualified for both the OCC and RORC – see In at the Deep End, Flying Fish 2014/1 for the full account – a Tall Ships Race from Torbay to Lisbon, several Fastnet Races, and another transatlantic passage. He spent two years as Chairman of the HMS Collingwood Cruising Club, sailing and maintaining the exLuftwaffe 100 Square Metre yacht Wal (later known as Merlin) as club yacht, and gained some square-rig experience with the Sea Cadets in TS Royalist and Centurion. The 1960s saw Bill teaching his own children to sail dinghies, with occasional cruises and races in larger boats. He also served two three-year spells on the OCC Committee. On leaving the Royal Navy in 1967 he joined ICL, handling computer sales and projects throughout the UK, retiring from ICL on his 65th birthday in 1987. He continued to cruise whenever the opportunity Bill Wise takes the microphone to speak to the assembled members and guests at the Awards Dinner as co-winner Dick Davidson looks on 8
arose, including with former OCC secretary Peter Pattinson and his wife Shirley in Kishorn, visiting the coasts of England, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and the Azores. Arthritis now precludes being a working member of the crew, but Bill still enjoys the chance to get afloat occasionally under sail or power.
Dick Davidson still sails out of Dover, where he has been our Port Officer since 1956. He is descended from a long line of seafarers, who ran square-riggers out of Harrington, and it was inevitable that he would feel the pull of the sea. He learned to sail with an uncle in Folkestone, progressing to RNSA 14s with the Royal Engineers during National Service, from which his discharge papers stated that: ‘this man would have been a better soldier had he taken less interest in playing rugby and sailing boats’. He moved to Dover, by this time sailing a 2½ ton Hilliard, and soon met fellow sailor Charles Freeman. In conversation around the bar a plan was hatched for Charles to sell his 20 footer and buy a 25ft Vertue in which they would qualify for the newly-formed Ocean Cruising Club – see Betsinda’s Cruise, 1956 in Flying Fish 2014/1 for the full story.
Dick Davidson receives the David Wallis Trophy from Commodore John Franklin
East Anglian and RORC races followed, and in 1962 David became part-owner of Callisto, a sister ship to the original Guy Thompson £1000 ocean racer. She rapidly became a familiar sight on both sides of the Channel, competing in many offshore races. It was through these contacts that he met many of the leading people in ocean racing, and ended up doing Fastnet, Sydney Hobart, Bermuda and Translatlantic races in some of the best boats in England at the time. Dick also cruised Callisto, which he still owns, joining in the OCC’s 1990 Azores cruise among other destinations. She is still going strong, and looking forward to a few more adventures before answering the call to Fiddler’s Green. 9
THE QUALIFIER’S MUG Awarded for the most ambitious or arduous qualifying voyage by a new member or members, as submitted for publication in Flying Fish or the Newsletter. Like many members, Roger and Audrey Kynaston are notably modest about their sailing achievements, describing the Atlantic circuit for which they received the Qualifier’s Mug as An Unoriginal Cruise and, when told of the Award, replying that, ‘We are feeling overwhelmed with the honour, especially after reading others’ accounts in Flying Fish’. In fact, their 18-month cruise was exactly what many new members aspire to – wellplanned, almost totally devoid of drama, and obviously much enjoyed. When asked to supply a little background information, Roger admitted that he had grown up around boats, both in the UK and then in Sidney, British Columbia. His father worked in the industry, and shortly before the family emigrated to Canada was involved with the launch of the Moody 33, which gave the family the chance to
Audrey and Roger Kynaston are presented with the Qualifier’s Mug by Commodore John Franklin Sarah Giddons, Roger and Audrey’s Rival 34, sailing off Fuerteventura. Photo Stuart Regan cruise an early boat to Holland. While in Canada they made several cruises in a Fisher 37 before Roger moved back to the UK in 1985. That made for fewer opportunities to sail, until the family acquired a Drascombe Lugger, kept in Poole. 10
In contrast, Audrey was born in Dulwich and grew up in Brixton, South London and claims no involvement in sailing at all, beyond taking the tripper boat across Torbay! Roger introduced her to sailing shortly after they first met in 2000, progressing from the family Drascombe to their own Hurley 22, which they sailed out of Plymouth Sound. Following a very wet and windy night in Cargreen, Roger and Audrey decided they would like to sail south at some point – not, as MC Paul Heiney remarked, the first to have made such a decision in such a place. They chartered in the Ionian to see if they would like warm water sailing and decided they did, and a few years later were able to buy Sarah Giddings, their Rival 34, and start planning their blue water cruise. See Flying Fish 2014/2 to complete the story, or visit their blog at http://jollyrogerrants. blogspot.com – or both, of course!
THE OCC AWARD Made to the member or members who has/have done most to ‘foster and encourage ocean cruising in small craft and the practice of seamanship and navigation in all branches’. Doug and Dale Bruce have recently stood down at the end of their term after more than six years as Regional Rear Commodores for North East USA, during which they have done a vast amount of work for the Club, not least organising the extremely popular annual Maine Rally. Doug and Dale have sailed almost all their lives, having met at a junior sailing program in 1961. They married in 1966, and have three daughters and seven grandchildren. Doug worked in advertising in New York City, but took early retirement in 1994 to enable them to go cruising aboard their Tayana 55 cutter, Bluewater. The 1170 mile passage from Beaufort, North Carolina to Tortola, BVI four years later enabled them to join the OCC, Doug Bruce holds up his and Dale’s OCC Award, while Commodore John Franklin looks on ... 11
Doug and Dale Bruce’s Bluewater sailing off St Vincent after which the burgee helped them start making new cruising friends from all over the globe. After moving ashore in Camden Maine in 2000 they became OCC Port Officers, a job held somewhat in absentia for several years while cruising in Newfoundland. In late 2008 they were elected Regional Rear Commodores for North East USA, and organised numerous successful cruises in company in Newfoundland and Maine as well as events from Delaware Bay to the Canadian Maritimes. They won the 2006 Rambler Medal for their circumnavigation of Newfoundland aboard Bluewater, sailing more than 3000 miles and visiting 40 different coves, harbours and anchorages, and the Geoff Pack Memorial Award in 2010 for updating and largely re-writing The Cruising Guide to Newfoundland.
THE OCC PORT OFFICER MEDAL Instituted in 2008, the Port Officer Medal is awarded to one or more Port Officer(s) or Port Officer Representative(s) who has/have provided outstanding service to the Club and the wider sailing community by developing and promoting their port, harbour or area. Our Port Officers give remarkable service to us all. They fix things, they make things work – and if they can’t, they invariably ‘know a man who can’. Amongst the many nominations for individual Port Officers and Port Officer Representatives there were two outstanding candidates, both with multiple nominations, so two awards are being made. That Jesse James is recognised and appreciated in his home island of Trinidad, as well as by the many yachtsmen who nominated him, is evidenced by the fact that the Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Board helped to sponsor Jesse, together with his wife and daughter, to fly to London to attend the Awards Dinner. We were delighted to have them with us. Jesse James has been serving the cruising community in Trinidad since 1997, long before he was recruited as an OCC Port Officer Representative in January 2010. He runs his Maxi-Taxi Service as a family business, offering free supermarket runs and 12
Jesse James with his framed Port Officerâ€™s flag in his native Trinidad...
... and receiving his Port Officer Medal from Commodore John Franklin. Photo Dale Bruce
reliable booked transport elsewhere, but that is only the start, with assistance always available to visiting cruisers faced w i t h a n e m e r g e n c y, whatever the time of day or night. His friendly and compassionate nature has made him many friends. For the past five years he has represented the interests of local yachtingrelated businesses and the cruising community as a whole as a board member of YSATT, the Yachting Association of Trinidad & Tobago. YSATT brings issues faced by visiting yachtsmen to the attention of the government, and encourages policies designed to make Trinidad a premier yachting destination providing top quality service to visiting cruisers. Its successes include increased access for visiting yachts with pets aboard, which are now able to clear in without difficulty; dinghy thefts becoming a thing of the past; and current initiatives to update customs and immigration procedures for arriving yachts, and improve communication between visiting yachts and the local Coast Guard in the event of an emergency. For more about Jesse, visit his website at www.membersonlymaxitaxi.com. 13
The second OCC Port Officer Medal was awarded to Vladimir Ivankiv, who has been our Port Officer Representative for St Petersburg and the Russian Federation since 2003, and is consistently praised by those who venture into the northeast reaches of the Baltic Sea. He was nominated for the 2014 Port Officer Medal for his ‘exceptional assistance to cruisers visiting Russia, particularly during the visit of the 60th Anniversary Baltic Cruise to St Petersburg’, but more than one leading yachting writer has described him more generally as ‘the sailors’ best friend in St Petersburg’. Born in 1954 near Lvov in the Ukraine, then a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in 1970 Vladimir moved to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) to join his grandmother. From 1971 until 1977 he studied mechanical engineering at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute (now the Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University), then after compulsory military service joined the Central River Yacht Club as Chief Engineer. He is an expert at guiding aspiring visitors through the difficult waters of Russian bureaucracy, as well as welcoming them on arrival and ensuring that they make the most of their visit to his adopted city. The OCC is only one of several clubs to have recognised Vladimir’s special qualities – he holds similar honorary positions with the Cruising Association, the Vladimir Ivankiv, Port Officer Royal Cruising Club, the Representative for St Petersburg, on a Swedish Cruising Association, visit to the Isle of Wight in 2014 the Clyde Cruising Club and the Cruising Club of Switzerland. He is married with one daughter, Marina. Unable to attend in person, Vladimir sent a message to be read out at the Awards Dinner: Time passes by rather quickly – it was quite some time ago that I met Mary Barton and she asked me if I would like to become an OCC Port Officer. As you can see, the answer was ‘yes’ and I have never regretted it. Since then I have met many nice OCC people who have made my life much more colourful, but I am not going to give you all their names as the list would be rather long.
Vladimir pictured with his daughter Marina
I am very pleased to share the award with Jesse James, but am sure that many other Port Officers deserve it equally. Thank you so much for your choice and your trust in me, I will do my best to justify it. Congratulations to all the winners! And welcome to Russia!
THE GEOFF PACK MEMORIAL AWARD Presented in memory of the late Geoff Pack, Editor of Yachting Monthly magazine and OCC Rear Commodore 1993–97, for the person (member or non-member) who, by his or her writing, has done most to foster and encourage ocean cruising in yachts or other small craft. Beth Leonard and her husband, Evans Starzinger, completed their first circumnavigation in 1995, a three-year tropical voyage aboard their 37ft ketch Silk. Within months of their return they started planning to head off again, this time to high latitudes. During the four years they spent ashore building their 47ft aluminium sloop Hawk, Beth began sharing what she had learned with others through books, articles and speaking engagements. By the time they set out again in 1999 Beth had completed The Voyager’s Handbook, which has helped thousands of people turn their sailing dreams into reality.
Beth Leonard in Chile in 2008, with Hawk at anchor below 15
Beth Leonard with Commodore John Franklin after receiving the Geoff Pack Memorial Award
Over the course of the next decade, while living aboard Hawk and sailing more than 75,000 nautical miles, Beth wrote two more books – Following Seas: A Voyage of Discovery in 2000, and Blue Horizons: Dispatches from Distant Seas in 2006 – as well as hundreds of articles for more than a dozen sailing magazines including Yachting World, Yachting Monthly, Cruising World, Blue Water Sailing and SAIL – as well as seven articles for Flying Fish – all illustrated by her and Evans’ stunning photographs. She also updated The Voyager’s Handbook for its second edition, adding a half dozen new chapters and vastly expanding the existing material. Her fact-based, analytical approach, combined with an understanding of the many different ways in which people live aboard their boats, allows her readers to find their own best path to realising their cruising dreams. Many people cruising today will have been inspired by Beth Leonard’s writing. For more information, visit www.bethandevans.com. When Beth learned that she had been chosen to receive the Geoff Pack Memorial Award for 2014 she wrote: When I was working on my first book, ‘The Voyager’s Handbook’, I came across Geoff Pack’s ‘Ocean Cruising Countdown’ and was very impressed by his approach, his ability to communicate clearly what it took to go cruising, and his clear organisation. At the time I thought of my book as a learning experience, and had no expectations beyond that. It would never have occurred to me that I would one day receive an award in memory of Geoff Pack. I am truly honoured to be considered worthy of this award.
THE JESTER MEDAL Donated by the Jester Trust in 2006 as a way to perpetuate the spirit and ideals epitomised by Blondie Hasler and Mike Richey aboard Jester, and open to both members and non-members, the Jester Medal is presented for a noteworthy singlehanded voyage in a boat of 30ft or less overall, or an outstanding contribution to the art of singlehanded sailing. Webb Chiles was awarded the Jester Medal for 2014 in recognition of his recent singlehanded passage from San Diego to Opua, New Zealand in his lightweight Moore 24 Gannet, though in many ways it is surprising that he has not won it before. Webb was born in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1942, far from the sea and into a family where no one had ever owned a boat. Even so, he decided in his early teens that he wanted to sail the world and write about it – and he certainly has, with five completed circumnavigations, seven books, and countless magazine and newspaper articles under his belt. His first circumnavigation took place in the mid 1970s aboard Egregious, an engineless 37ft cutter, and took 203 sailing days with only two stops. At the time this held the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation in a monohull, breaking Sir Francis Chichester’s time by more than three weeks. His second circumnavigation was made in an 18ft open boat, a Drascombe Lugger named Chidiock Tichborne after an Elizabethan poet. It was – and may still be – the longest open-boat voyage ever made. His fourth circumnavigation, in a She 36 named Resurgam and accompanied by his then wife Jill, saw him round Cape Horn for the second time. His fifth circumnavigation, in 2008–9, was again made singlehanded, heading westabout from New Zealand in a 37ft sloop, The Hawke of Tuonela. Webb Chiles helming Gannet, his Moore 24
Webb Chiles, winner of the Jester Trophy. Photo Steve Earley In May last year Webb began what, time and chance permitting, will become his sixth circumnavigation, leaving San Diego, California aboard an ultralight Moore 24 named Gannet and reached Opua, New Zealand four months and four stops later. After leaving Gannet in New Zealand for the cyclone season he returned to continue the voyage in March this year. Though best known as a sailor, Webb Chiles considers himself to be primarily an artist. He has written that the artist’s defining responsibility is to go to the edge of human experience and send back reports – for explanation visit his fascinating and diverse website at www.inthepresensea.com. On receiving his e-mail from the Chairman of the Awards Sub-Committee, Webb wrote: ‘Gannet’ and I thank the Ocean Cruising Club for awarding us the Jester Medal for 2014. That this is in a way from one small boat to another is especially pleasing. I have never owned a boat larger than 37ft, nor one costing more than a mid-priced car. I have owned three great boats, and two of them were small – ‘Chidiock Tichborne’, an undecked 18ft yawl built in Devon, and ‘Gannet’ an ultralight Moore 24 sloop from California. I have great affection for small boats, which are capable of far more than many expect, and offer an immediate and intimate experience of the sea – sometimes too intimate – ‘Gannet’ has only 2ft of freeboard. What I like to call her Great Cabin has little more than 3ft of headroom and a maximum beam of 7ft 2in. I am a relatively tall man and can sit upright only on the cabin sole. Solving how to live in that space has been an interesting and satisfying exercise. Thanks in part to technology, I can live indefinitely on ‘Gannet’ and,
Gannet sailing off San Diego in February 2014 18
by my standards, live well. I can sail, write, read, listen to music, take photographs. I can fit every important part of my life aboard, except Carol, my wife, who doesn’t want to fit aboard anyway. Once I likened ‘Chidiock Tichborne’ to a small, brave dog, the terrier. ‘Gannet’ is perhaps most like her namesake birds – beautiful and, as any who has seen them dive knows, capable of stunning acceleration. A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind. I wish all of you the joy of creating your own masterpieces.
THE RAMBLER MEDAL For the most challenging short voyage made by a member or members. The definition of ‘short’ having become somewhat elastic over the years, from 2015 onwards the Rambler Medal will be awarded for voyages of three weeks or less, and covering no more than 1000 miles, though this may form part of a longer cruise. Steve Brown received the Rambler Medal for his 7,000 mile, 3½ month voyage from Camden, Maine to Kodiak, Alaska via the Northwest Passage in his 60ft aero-rigged schooner Novara. This included 3,380 miles and 42 days spent north of the Arctic Circle. 2014 was a particularly bad year for ice, with some Passage variants not opening at all and many yachts having to abandon their attempts or request assistance from ice breakers. Steve’s account of the first part of the voyage, as far as Arctic Bay on Baffin Island’s Admiralty Inlet starts on page 85 of this issue under the title Baffin, Bears and Bob! (see also the Steve Brown holds the Rambler Medal plan on page 30). Steve presented to him by Commodore John Franklin has promised an account of Novara’s transit through the Northwest Passage itself for Flying Fish 2015/2, saying at the Awards Dinner that he’d ‘already written it in his mind’ and now had only to get it down on paper. Prior to almost full-time sailing and climbing, Steve spent more than 20 years as CEO of a manufacturing businesses, ‘retiring’ in 2006 to circumnavigate with his wife Trish in their Oyster 56, Curious. They chose St Katherine’s Dock in London as their point of departure and return in order to cross and – 30,000 miles and four years later – re-cross the 19
Greenwich meridian, their return coinciding quite unexpectedly with HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee regatta. Visit http://blog.mailasail.com/curious for the full story. Their intention was always to head back home and divide their time between their children and grandchildren in France and Britain, and at the same time to find an ‘icebreaker’ which would allow Steve to sail and climb in the higher latitudes, as well as providing a floating base for Trish, family and friends when in warmer climes. Steve describes Novara as ‘an amazing boat, strong and safe and perfect for high latitudes expeditions’. Another of those members who are not entirely sure whether they are sailors who climb or climbers who sail, Steve has first ascents in the Himalayas, Tien Shan and Antarctica under his belt, the latter visited in 2007. He and Trish plan to return to Novara in Alaska after the arrival of their fourth grandchild later this year, and start heading south into the Pacific to ‘sail and climb their way around the Americas’. For more information, visit Steve’s website at www.sy-novara.com.
THE ROSE MEDAL For the most challenging short-handed voyage made by a member or members. Barry and Sue Fuller received the 2014 Rose Medal for their passage from Valdivia to Puerto Williams via the Chilean Channels in their Victory 40 Crazy Diamond, as recounted in Flying Fish 2014/1. Barry and Sue started cruising in 1989 after buying their first keelboat, a 20ft Signet, in which to explore Southern Ireland and the drying harbours of the Welsh coast from their home port of Cardigan. With early retirement in 1997 they had time to venture further afield, and after several winters refitting the 25-yearold Crazy Diamond, by 2001 were ready to expanded their horizons, spending a year in Iceland and cruising up the West Coast of Norway to Svarlbad. They headed south in 2007, passing through the Panama Canal early the following year and Crazy Diamond under sail in New Caledonia. Photo Karen Houston 20
Sue and Barry Fuller taking a break from boatwork, San Fernando near Buenos Aries reaching Tasmania in time to spend Christmas at the home of their eldest son. The following winters were spent cruising the South Pacific, with the summers spent in either Tasmania or New Zealand, but by 2012 it was time to leave, and after many delays they finally left for Chile in September. Being too early in the year to take the direct route across the Southern Ocean, the Fullers meandered through French Polynesia and then visited Easter Island before reaching Valdivia in December – see A Plague Of Gremlins, Flying Fish 2013/2, for the full story. They spent the first six months of 2013 sailing south at a leisurely pace through the Chilean channels to Puerto Williams, described in Land of Fire and Ice (Flying Fish 2014/1) and the voyage for which the Award was made. Leaving Crazy Diamond on a mooring there, they went walkabout in Bolivia and Peru, enjoying some good treks and climbing a 5300m peak. On their return to Puerto Williams they swallowed their pride and booked a four-week trip to Antarctica aboard a charter yacht – not least because of the difficulty in getting permission from the British government to take a yacht to Antarctica, which includes the requirement to carry an ice-pilot. On learning that they had been awarded the Rose Medal, Barry and Sue wrote: We feel both honoured and surprised by this award. We were only doing what we enjoy, wandering slowly in magnificent scenery, away from the crowds, and largely in sheltered waters. There must be other members doing more exciting cruises, so put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and write to Flying Fish to tell everyone about it! We are currently in San Fernando, near Buenos Aries, giving ‘Crazy Diamond’ a long-awaited coat of paint, and hope to be back in the water by the time of the AGM at the end of March. Our plans
then are to fly to Tasmania to see our eldest son, followed by trekking and hopefully climbing some mountains in Peru and Bolivia, before setting sail for the Caribbean in September – or perhaps not. Having been awarded the Rose Medal we feel perhaps we should do something to deserve it, so are considering a route that takes in the Falklands, South Georgia, St Helena and Ascension Island. We write our cruising plans in the sand at low water.
THE VASEY VASE Presented by past Commodore Tony Vasey and his wife Jill, the Vasey Vase is awarded for a ‘voyage of an unusual or exploratory nature’ made by a member or members. Ralph Villiger is thought to be the first OCC member to have cruised the east coast of Greenland, let alone on two successive years and making challenging first ascents on both occasions. Ralph describes himself as a 39-year-old Swiss singlehanded sailor and mountaineer, whose ideal is to combine sailing his 40ft Ntombifuti with climbing in remote areas. He is also a mathematician, and holds an MSc in mathematical finance from Oxford University. He owns his own consultancy business to the pharmaceutical industry, and manages a fund dedicated to the development of cancer therapeutics in the UK. Finally, he is also a wine aficionado, and back in Switzerland runs his own winebar and produces a Swiss blended gin called nginious! Ralph started sailing at the age of 18, without any family background in the sport. In 2003 he purchased the veteran short-handed ocean racer Ntombifuti, an Ed Duboisdesigned aluminium sloop launched in 1983 which has, over the years, completed three Ralph Villiger and Ntombifuti. Photo Bernd Mansholdt
OSTARs, a Two-Star, four Round Britain and Ireland races, and two Azores and Back races. Ralph has always sailed short-handed, but only started singlehanding when forced to deliver Ntombifuti to England without crew due to delays. In the summer of 2013 he took part in OSTAR – his qualifying passage for the OCC – but ten days after reaching Newport he left again to head northeast towards Greenland. He made landfall at Nanortalik in the extreme southwest where he was joined by climbing friend Harald Fichtinger, and they spent the next few weeks sailing and climbing their way up the coast to Umanaq, from which they departed Ralph Villiger holds the Vasey Vase, for Iceland where the boat while Commodore John Franklin angles his over-wintered. In 2014 he was plaque for the camera again joined by Harald. They left Iceland heading almost due north, this time with the intention of making a first ascent of the Kirken, an impressive peak just north of Scoresby Sound. After a few setbacks they achieved their aim, before returning to Iceland and then Scotland. For the full stories, read A Cruise In The North Atlantic and In The Wake Of Two Sirs, in Flying Fish 2014/1 and 2014/2 respectively, and visit Ralph’s website at www.ralphvilliger.com. When asked for his impressions of Greenland Ralph wrote: The passage to Greenland was originally just thought of as the cherry on top of a great sailing summer, when I participated in OSTAR 2013, which was – of course – the main goal. Somehow I had to get the boat back to Europe and, I said to myself, why not via Greenland? That way I could finally visit a country which I had longed to see ever since reading several adventure tales as a child. Sailing singlehanded through the lonely Labrador Sea towards an iceberg-infested coast proved to be more mentally challenging than weeks of beating against the westerlies and the Gulf Stream. But the stunning landscape of eastern Greenland, where you can still be a true explorer and adventurer, exceeded all expectations and called for more. The first cruise sparked a fascination with this wild and untamed coast, with its glaciers, icebergs, fjords and spectacular wildlife; the second proved that linking sailing and mountaineering is possible, even single- or double-handed; and the third cruise is already not too far back in my head.
THE OCC AWARD OF MERIT One or more awards, open to members or non-members who have performed some outstanding voyage, achievement or service to the sailing community. Peter Semotiuk received the 2014 OCC Award of Merit in recognition of his many years of service to sailors transiting the Northwest Passage, supplying valuable weather and ice predictions by radio and organising rescues when needed. As a child in Manitoba, Peter walked a round trip of seven miles a day to school, sometimes in –40° winter temperatures, in a corner of the world with untamed bush and prairie and no roads. Despite – or because of – this he grew up with a fascination for the Arctic. He spent his high school years building and firing homemade rockets,
Peter Semotiuk at his marine radio station... ...and with microphone in hand Both photos courtesy Frederica Semotiuk progressed to the Manitoba Institute of Technology, and then went to work in the aerospace industry. The Far North kept calling to him, however, and he took a job as radar technician on the newly-built Distant Early Warning Line. In his spare time Peter took an interest in the boats attempting to transit the Northwest Passage, and began to keep in contact with them via marine and amateur radio. He learned to sail, and was invited to crew aboard John Bockstoce’s Belvedere when she transited the Passage, a difficult expedition that took five years (1983 until 1988) to complete. With the gradual opening of the ice and the increased traffic in the Passage, Peter realised there was a vital need for sailors to have information about weather and ice 24
conditions – which can change rapidly and dangerously – as well as backup support for supplies, repairs and even rescue. This became a vocation which often required hours of his time each day. From the mid 1960s until 2011 Peter spent much of his time in the Arctic – Resolute, Gjoa Haven, Cambridge Bay (SSB 6224 kHz at 0030Z) – but now lives in Winnipeg, Canada. He still scrutinises the daily ice charts, and continues to keep in contact with boats through radio, e-mail and satellite phone. On learning that he was to receive the OCC Award Of Merit, Peter wrote: Thank you very much for the award and the recognition you have bestowed upon me. It is completely unexpected, especially as there are so many other worthy nominees. I feel fortunate to have had an opportunity to spend so much of my life experiencing a vast and beautiful part of the world few have visited. One of my great pleasures has been meeting many of the sailors who have gone through the Northwest Passage. They are a courageous and eclectic bunch, always interesting, always intrepid, and surely I have met more of them than has anyone else in the world! If I have been of any help to them as they travelled the Passage it is I who am blessed.
THE BARTON CUP The OCC’s premier award, recognising the most challenging voyage made by a member or members. The Rev Bob Shepton was awarded the Barton Cup – for the second time – for a succession of challenging Arctic expeditions, taking in Greenland, Baffin Island and a double transit of the Northwest Passage in consecutive years, the return year a particularly difficult one for ice. After 20 contributions to Flying Fish in the past 24 years – and another starting on page 29 – there can be few members unaware of the amazing Dodo’s Delight among the icebergs at Uummannaq, Greenland in 2014. Photo Ben Ditto
‘Reverend Bob’ and his Westerly Discus Dodo’s Delight (or more accurately two yachts), but for those few, here goes... Bob Shepton, who turned 80 a few days before the Awards Dinner, has been a Royal Marines officer, a full time youth leader in London’s East End, and Chaplain to two schools. In 1993–1995 he circumnavigated via Antarctica and Cape Horn with a crew of school-leavers, and has also made 14 Atlantic crossings – so far. In addition to sailing as skipper and/or Arctic advisor on superyachts, in recent years Bob has concentrated on leading his own Tilman-type expeditions to Greenland and Arctic Canada, sailing and climbing from the boat. Bob is adding the Barton The Rev Bob Shepton holds the Barton Cup – 19 Cup for 2014 to a remarkable years on from the previous time he won it – as collection of accolades. Last year Commodore John Franklin looks on he was voted YJA Yachtsman of the Year, and has also received the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal, the Royal Cruising Club’s Goldsmith Medal for Exploration and Tilman Medal, the latter twice, our own Barton Cup for 1995, and the Vasey Vase three times. In 2011 Bob and his crew, aka ‘The Wild Bunch’, also received the prestigious mountaineering award the Piolet d’Or from the French magazine Montagnes, for their ‘Greenland Big Walls’ expedition. For more information visit www.bobshepton.co.uk. Bob’s autobiography, Addicted to Adventure, received a glowing review in Flying Fish 2014/1 and is highly recommended, though unfortunately it ends prior to Dodo’s Delight’s return through the Northwest Passage – time for a second edition, maybe? The last word goes to the man himself: Awards are great, but life goes on. The plan this summer is to sail down the west coast of Greenland (the boat is wintering in Sisimiut), taking in some new rock routes on the way south and perhaps at the southern tip in the Cape Farewell area too. The aim then is to sail ‘Dodo’s Delight’ back across the Atlantic to Scotland, ‘the meanest Atlantic crossing of them all’. This might be a suitable way to celebrate my 80th year after all. There is a small chance too of South Georgia later in the year, on someone else’s boat. Great that life begins at 80...
Go ahead Enjoy your boating lifestyle
We offer worldwide cruising solutions. Donâ€™t hesitate to ask us for a quote.
P.O. Box 1148 9701 BC Groningen The Netherlands
t +31(0)50 - 313 08 60 firstname.lastname@example.org www.yacht-insurance.nl
Chart apps for the iPad Developed in partnership with Tucabo, Imray charts are available as apps for Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod devices. This app provide a fully functioning chart navigation package using high quality raster images of Imray and selected official hydrographic office charts of additional areas. The free Marine Imray Charts App available to download through the iTunes app store, contains the GPS software and navigation tools. It comes with demonstration versions of charts of the English Channel which will allow users to assess the software before purchasing chart areas. The inâ€“app chart store is accessed through the free app, where charts covering the areas illustrated may be purchased and downloaded.
Marine Imray Chart apps feature Waypoints Routes: distances, targets, bearings Position and destination Course to steer, speed and bearing Magnetic compass Distances, bearings from any point to any point Electronic bearing line GPS and instruments AIS and NMEA functions Tides with full functionality from Tides Planner from Tucabo
SMA Sweden East
Import / export function for waypoints and routes
SMA Sweden West Marine Imray Charts: North Sea
Aerial photographs (subject to coverage) and harbour plans
Marine Imray Charts: Western UK & Ireland
BSH North Sea
Tracks that you can share
BSH Baltic NL1800 Netherlands
Coverage also includes chart sets for the Caribbean Sea and East and South Australia
Marine Imray Charts: English Channel
SHOM Biscay / Gascogne SHOM French Mediterranean
Marine Imray Charts: Central Mediterranean
Marine Imray Charts: Western Mediterranean
Marine Imray Charts: Atlantic Europe
Marine Imray Charts: Eastern Mediterranean
LIVING ON THE KEDGE Rev Bob Shepton (What is there left to say about a member who was last year’s UK Yachtsman of the Year and this year received our premier award, the Barton Cup (for the second time)? Not a great deal, really, except to recommend that those new to the club set the scene by also reading Bob’s two most recent contributions to Flying Fish – Nome from Home and Second Time, Lucky? – in Flying Fish 2013/1 and 2014/1 respectively. I can also recommend Bob’s recent book, Addicted to Adventure, plus any or all of the other 18 articles which he’s written for us since 1991! His very first, incidentally, was entitled Never Again... – not entirely accurate, I fear! The stunning photographs are courtesy of Ben Ditto, Nico and Oli Favresse, Bob Shepton and Sean Villanueva.) An advantage of following Tilman’s genius of climbing from a boat in remote areas is that you are not restricted to one locality, where you have been dumped by some fishing boat for a given period of time. This summer we were able to sail and climb in two continents, arctic Greenland and arctic Canada, with three and four-day sea passages across Baffin Bay in between, and then to extend our time at our convenience, so much so that we missed making the Atlantic passage home! Greenland It was with the Wild Bunch again, those talented climbers who had done such mighty deeds on the west coast of Greenland from the boat in 2010, and made the remarkable film Vertical Sailing – which you really should watch if you haven’t already (or failing that at least read Greenland, Horizontal and Vertical from Flying Fish 2011/1, on the OCC website). So Nico and Oli, Sean and Ben came Dodo’s Delight on the move in Greenland 29
Whales put on a show for us outside Aasiaat out to Aasiaat in early July. I had arrived earlier to prepare things, which was just as well as there was some damage from having had to leave Dodo’s Delight to over-winter afloat, but it was reasonably easy to repair. We set off for the Uummannaq area three or four days later, enjoying a spectacular display from a pod of whales just outside Aasiaat and squeezing past the two hidden underwater rocks in the channel into Kronsprinsen Ejland in Disko Bay for the night on the way. The following day, perhaps emboldened by this, the skipper went the wrong side of the rock in the channel into Fortune Bay on Disko Island, but with some difficulty we managed to turn round when we started bouncing on the rocks below, and so passed the correct side. A day or so later, making up the northwest corner of Nugssuaq, we were fighting on the engine against a strong easterly wind in thick mist. Not enjoying it, I studied the chart-plotter and took the boat towards a possible indentation on the coastline. Remarkably, we suddenly broke out into calm water and sunshine shielded by this feeble looking indentation, with the mist and wind still visibly raging past outside. We made our way to the village of Ikerasak, to the southeast of Uummannaq. Here we were accosted by Jack-in-the-Box, as he introduced himself, who told us how in 1986 he had met aliens from outer space, and whose forte was to draw maps on large pieces of brown paper showing where he had met them and where they lived now under the ice, especially ‘the women’. The problem was, he really believed it. If that was akin to the miraculous, try this one: there was a lot of ice in the fjord by Ikerasak, fortunately mainly towards the other side. But at anchor one day a large ice floe or bergy bit came and grounded over our anchor. If I can chop some bits off this floe, I thought, it may lighten it sufficiently to float it off and get our anchor back. So I took an old hand axe I had found abandoned in an Inuit campsite – it is not in their culture to tidy up or preserve things at all – and chopped away at an overhanging extrusion. A pleasing lump fell off, submerged and plopped up again. I chopped again with the same result. “I think I would move away now, Bob, it’s beginning to tilt”. One more hasty chop, and then a huge round ball of ice shot up from the depths right in front of me, nearly capsizing the dinghy with me in it, and at that moment the whole ice-floe exploded with a huge bang, shattering into a thousand bits. “He is like Moses, after all”, shouted Sean, (a reference to a joke about the Reverend parting the icebergs on previous climbing cruises). I rowed back to the boat, somewhat shaken, but we had got our anchor back. 31
The iconic peak above Ikerasak which gave two new extreme routes But we had come to climb, and whilst here the team climbed the ridges on the left and right sides of the main face of the iconic peak overlooking the settlement. The new, left-hand route is reminiscent of a classic Alpine ridge, the other, Crocodiles have Teeth, is harder, steep and sustained, with a two pitch overhanging crack line to finish. We met up with two locals, Lewis and Lars, both of whom kindly invited us to their homes and allowed us to use their wifi, which was a great boon. Both also enjoyed the musical ‘jam sessions’ from the lads, who had again brought their musical instruments with them. Though an essential ingredient of any expedition as far as the Wild Bunch are concerned, this year they did not actually take them up the climbs themselves owing to the nature of the climbing. We continued our explorations and found some pleasant unrecorded anchorages. Again in two pairs, the team made two new Extreme routes on a buttress which we Ben and Oli on top of Married Mens’ Ridge, Ikerasak Peak
Climbing on Goliath Buttress named Goliath – big, bold, brazen and blocky, on the southeast corner of Qaqugdlugssuit. We went round to the north side of the island to an inviting-looking slot but which I named Windy Gulch – strong katabatic winds, and all the shores were steep-to. In the end we anchored between the main island and an outlier, with an anchor down, a line ashore and the kedge on the opposite side in case the wind went round – which it did, round and round. We had quite a job picking it all up again when we left in strong winds: first the line ashore, then the anchor and then the kedge, and as we exited through the channel to the north were hit by a 42 knot gust for good measure. Later, passing the north east corner of Qaqugdlugssuit, we noticed a pleasant-looking anchorage where a couple of local dories were moored, and stopped for lunch. The skipper was having a wee doze below when he heard the continuous scraping of the anchor dragging, and rushed up on deck just as a huge gust threw the boat on her beam ends against a submerged rock. I started the engine, at the second try, and gunned the boat out into deeper water. The crew were rather shaken and blamed the skipper for dozing below. That was fine – he blamed the two fishing on deck for not taking any action. It was all very amicable, and once again we survived. We continued searching, and motored across to a big slot on Agpat to the north marked as an anchorage, but it was far too deep for a small boat such as ours. Eventually we went across to Uummannaq and, approaching West Bay, noticed a mast already there. I called on the radio, “I have not been into West Bay before and there are these outlying rocks and reefs. Which is the best way in?” “Keep close to the shore line and come in round that way”, came the answer – which we did and found it a very pleasant anchorage, with reasonable depth for getting our anchor down at last. Next morning the crew of Frances B passed and hailed us. “Good morning, I was still in bed” I said, as I clambered on deck in my long johns with ladies present. “But look at the time!” they said. “That’s early for this crew”. Later they came aboard, and just 33
Anchored in West Bay, below Uummannaq mountain
managed to fit in and stand two tunes and songs from the Wild Bunch, but doubtless noticing the squalor of five climbers living on a small boat suggested that we came over to their boat for lunch, which we duly did. They seemed to much enjoy the full concert we gave them there. The skipper gets to play the dog dying in ‘The Irish Rover’, and is a dab hand with the shaker. There was one more new route climbed in this area, on the northwest side of the large island to the north of Ikerasak. A fine line, steep, varied, technical and sustained but also with a lot of loose rock, not lost on our American particularly in his accounts afterwards. The pleasant bay to the north gave good fishing – you could see shoals of them in the clear water and could almost pick out which one you wanted to catch. We ate well. There was good ‘bouldering’ nearby for the climbers, too! Whilst there, we went across to the southern promontory of the island to the north, where three local
Dodo’s Delight looking for climbers on Funky Tower near Uummannaq 34
A happy crew return to the boat settlements, including Ikerasak, get together for a festival each year. We took our musical instruments ashore just in case, but felt that Irish folk and the like were not really appropriate to the mood of the distinctive Inuit singing, so we just observed. I think the fact that we had visited was appreciated, though early the next morning we found ourselves entangled with the anchor warp of a local dory. We managed to free ourselves and the dory, and beat a hasty retreat. All this time we had been receiving ice reports from my â€˜man in Scotlandâ€™ of the situation over at Clyde River on Baffin Island, where ice was remaining stubbornly attached to the coast. Ice can move very quickly, we told ourselves. We had already had evidence of this when, on one visit to Uummannaq the harbour (below) was completely choked with ice floes, and a week or two later was completely ice free. But it was not shifting from Clyde River. We had to wait.
Polar bears on an ice-floe as we approach Baffin Island
At last it seemed to be moving. We set sail, or rather motored from Uummannaq, dropping anchor for the ‘night’ on the way out by a dried-up stream near the small settlement of Niaqornat. Some bergy bits drifted rather close during the night, but we finally clearied the Nuussuaq peninsular next morning for the 350 mile passage across the Davis Strait to Baffin Island. Being out of practice, with all that motoring in the Northwest Passage the previous year, the skipper had forgotten that you could reef sails, so we spent a lively night with too much sail up, before settling down for a fine but brisk sail for the next two days. We were surprised when, early on a misty morning and still 70 miles from the Baffin coast, we encountered a huge field of ice – obviously the ice was at last moving out from the coast. Fortunately the wind and swell had broken up the 10/10ths pack ice and we could weave our way through between the floes. There was then a gap of clear water before we encountered another huge arm of this old ice field. Our American counted no less than eight polar bears on the floes; they are not used to that sort of thing in California.
That was a wee bit close
Baffin Island That evening, in clear water now with the occasional iceberg visible, we sailed down towards the fjord which leads up to the Clyde River settlement, with the arctic sun setting towards the north. “This is magical,” said Nico, who was on the helm, and it was. We even indulged in a tacking battle in increasing wind to pass an outlying island on the way. But when we reached Clyde River there was a strong westerly wind and a lot of ice in the bay, and we had to go back a mile to find a clear patch off the west shore to anchor for the night, keeping an anchor watch. The next day we checked into Canada with the police, and bought our permit for this year for the rifle. We were soon on our way for the 100 miles to Sam Ford Fjord for the climbing. This was a primeval, remote land of tremendous rock
A lively sail in Sam Ford Fjord sculptures, undisturbed and so with clear evidence of how the glaciers had receded over the centuries, and more recently. Dramatic, desolate, a hard place, even brutal at times. We were living on the edge, or ‘living on the kedge’ as the lads put it, sometimes literally when the wind went round in the anchorages and it was the only anchor holding us. I had also to learn anchoring in much deeper water than I was used to, letting out still more chain, with the occasional line ashore and a kedge out astern just in case. It did not help that by this stage the electric anchor winch had sheared its drive shaft, so all anchoring, up and down, was done manually. It is not easy to raise 40m of chain by hand from depths of 10–15m ... lucky I had fit young climbers on board, who used the exercise to further tone up their climbing muscles. 37
Fantastic rock sculptures in Sam Ford Fjord Our first anchoring in the inlet beside the Walker Citadel spur was fortuitous, to say the least. We had traversed round the steep-to shores of the inlet looking for depth, and at last stumbled on a slightly shallower section close to shore. At this point the engine ran out of fuel (my reckoning was obviously out). We almost literally threw the anchor overboard and fortunately it held. This toe-hold by the shore became our anchorage for quite a while. Somebody looks after me! Some climbing was attempted from this base, buoying the anchors and motoring across the fjords where necessary. The first of these was perhaps more wine-induced than well-planned – Steve and his smart yacht Novara with its aero rig – unstayed carbon fibre masts and booms that revolved with the mast – had come to see us, and they gave us a splendid supper with wine. The lads played their musical instruments and we sang as usual of course. On returning to the boat they decided to go climbing right now in the daylight night. The first party were successful and climbed Up the Creek without a Paddle across the fjord – they lost a paddle landing on the rock from the dinghy, which ironically they saw floating back again on the current when they were three pitches up. They climbed so fast that when they got back down they had a 15-hour bivouac under a boulder in a gully in the mist and rain before we came next day to collect them. Trying to repair the broken anchor winch 38
Made it! On top, Walker Citadel
Nico and Oli were not so successful, and were defeated by bad weather on a route they had attempted on the Walker Citadel. Altogether, four new extreme climbs were done here, but the weather was extreme too. Snowing on them in August? And strong winds ... picking up Nico and Oli and their gear at sea from the dinghy in 30 knot winds after a notable first ascent of the Turret – the first route ever on its east face – was a little too exciting, for them and me. Dodo’s Delight and the east face of the Turret, climbed by Nico and Oli
And we thought we were alone! Recent polar bear prints at Swiss Bay We had another visit whilst in Walker Inlet, from friends in Arctic Tern I, but no singing as the team was not complete; Sean and Ben were out climbing, and were in fact soon to become stranded at the bottom of a climb they had to abort because of loose rock. The wind and waves became too vicious to pick them up, though we made an attempt. Fortunately they had a tent and food. We had moved to Swiss Bay by then, a more friendly anchorage with line of sight to their cliff, and so were in radio contact. Eventually calm ensued and we could pick them up. After another night in Swiss Bay, chilling out and allowing them to recover somewhat, we went round to Gibbs Fjord some 80 miles further north. Impressive rock scenery again, and better weather, but there was an impression that a lot of the rock was loose. However, after camping overnight at the bottom, a classic, technically hard line was established by Nico and Sean and named Walking the Plank. Some sections were snow-covered, but on excellent rock as it turned out.
No wonder the polar bears kept their distance.... 40
The things climbers get up to ... on ‘Walking the Plank’, Gibbs Fjord, Baffin All these climbs in both areas were done completely free, without the use of any artificial aids, a notable achievement and a point of climbing honour with us all. We had found the anchorages in Gibbs Fjord to be better, but the distances from climb to anchorages were great, and as we had time to kill and Oli wanted to sail in spite of little wind, progress was slow... In one of these anchorages, whilst Nico and Sean were climbing, Oli and Ben went for a walk up the hill. They had grown over-confident – we had seen no polar bears or any trace of them in these parts – and didn’t take the rifle. They reached the summit, admired the view and started down. Suddenly from behind a boulder appeared a large polar bear, “15 metres away”. They froze, but they had been talking loudly and coming down towards the bear, which is perhaps why it turned and ran away ... but then who would want to eat thin and wiry wraiths like Oli and Ben? They returned to the boat chastened and in sober mood. We had extended our programme into September, and the weather was closing in again. We made our way, fortunately on a calm day, at least in the fjords, round towards Clyde River. At sea there was a fresh northwest wind and we rolled towards Clyde River broad reaching or goose-winged. We hove-to in the darkness – the nights were dark by now and there was ice around – and so to Clyde River. There was an intriguing incident while we were there. The scene was reminiscent of a western film, with four of us walking in line abreast like gunslingers down the straight deserted street, when out of his house rushed the RCMP policeman, not to 41
A curious place for a musical jam session (Clyde River, Baffin) contest our entry but to ask, “Will you sign your book?”! I was very gratified that he had bought a copy out there in Baffin Island, though I had dropped the odd hint on the previous visit of course. Homeward Bound There was something of a crisis on the passage back to Greenland. The vent from our fresh water tank had deceived us into thinking it was full, and on the evening of the first day out we ran out of drinking water. We surveyed what we had in spare containers on board, and had just rationed ourselves to one litre each per 24 hours when somebody suggested, “Would it be worth going over to that iceberg?”. When we got there we found that bits had obligingly dropped off it, and one large bit had obviously recently exploded scattering hundreds of smaller bits into the sea, which we were able to hook aboard in buckets. Pack ice is frozen salt water; icebergs are from glaciers formed on land from frozen freshwater precipitation. We were saved. Unfortunately we had no whisky for a wee dram to celebrate, as the 25,000-year-old glacier ice with its trapped air would have fizzed away in the glass. The last 30 miles of the passage were difficult. The wind headed us and increased. We made toward a fjord for shelter, but there was a break in the weather and wind direction so we tacked and sailed along the coast, but as we made the final rock-strewn approach to Sisimiut we were hit by a gale with winds up to 40–44 knots. The seas grew immense – at one point there were huge Atlantic-type rollers from the south – and we were practically laid on our side in a 44 knot gust, hard on the engine with triple-reefed main as a steadying sail. Fortunately I had some ski goggles on board, or the helmsman would not have been able to keep his eyes open with the spray and spindrift full in his face. But at last there was some shelter from an island to the south, and with relief we made it into the 42
Journeyâ€™s end. We made it into Sisimiut harbour, Greenland well-protected harbour of Sisimiut, where the boat was to winter, it being too late in the season to cross the Atlantic. It was a fitting finale to a tough but successful expedition. We are very grateful to the Gino Watkins Memorial Fund for generously supporting this expedition.
HALF-PAGE ADVERT 01
Worldwide service and warranty
Lowest DC power consumpƟon
Rugged reliability and easy operaƟon
The Spectra units are by far the most energy eﬃcient on the market. This combined with ease of use, a worldwide service network and frugal DC power consump on that blue water cruisers demand. Spectra make units for all applica ons so for more informaƟon, pricing or spares please contact us or visit our website.
+44 (0)23 9266 8621 email@example.com www.furneauxriddall.com 44
THE BEST LAID PLANS… Rosemarie Smart Alecio (Since first appearing in Flying Fish 1995/2, shortly after setting off on their extended circumnavigation, Rosemarie, Alfred and their 38ft gaff cutter Ironhorse have featured in 18 Fishes, several of them twice. Rosemarie is also the only person to have won the David Wallis Trophy (see page 8) on two occasions, in 2005 and 2011. Read on and see why...) Perhaps it was just not meant – our moving on westward after several years of enjoying Southeast Asia. Towards the end of 2012 we had set our plans in motion with a prepassage haul-out in Thailand, mostly for a ‘bottom job’. Because of this we had firmly rejected an invitation to join our Aussie friend in crossing Australia in his new mobile home – purchased with the proceeds of the sale of his yacht. He had bought it in Melbourne, and was to take it across the country to his home in Perth. The yacht sale agreement required him to deliver his old yacht from Thailand to Freemantle and he stopped by en route. During the three days he was with us we weakened, and opted to delay our passage for another year. (Suffice it to say that we had a wonderful few months of travelling almost 14,000 km of his fantastic homeland, living in the most luxurious conditions and certainly have no regrets.) What we couldn’t have imagined was that, hauled out for a second ‘bottom job’ just before Christmas 2013, our planned passage would not happen the following year either. Launched, and continuing our preparations in Langkawi, two totally unexpected events occurred in quick succession. First we were hit violently on our stern by a yacht leaving her berth. In one fell swoop a solar panel was smashed, our SSB aerial crushed, and our brand new – as yet unused – outboard motor heavily twisted on its mounts, damaging the leg. The engine compartment in the cockpit was open at the time, as Alfred was in it effecting repairs, and the impact caused me to overbalance and fall into the void, hurting my back and damaging my feet and legs quite badly. Nothing was broken, but as I nursed my bruises the following day, wondering how long it would take for me to be fully active again, we had news from home of illness in the family, which took Alfred back to assist before the end of the year. I remained with Ironhorse in the hope that we might still be able to leave to make the passage on time, sometime around April 2014. This was not to be and, although it did allow us the opportunity to enjoy the Southampton Boat Show and the OCC dinner there for the first time in twenty years, it was not for another eight months – in late 2014 – that we were able to resume our plans. Returning to Ironhorse to get her ‘in gear’ again after the neglect of all those months, we discovered a worrying patch of soft wood which had manifested itself at the base of the mast. Perhaps there was more? We had already booked for our third (in three years, and a record for us) ‘bottom job’ before Christmas 2014, and realised this problem needed further investigation while we were in the boatyard. We wondered whether our 34-year-old solid wooden mast would need to be replaced – and if so, how long it would take, bearing in mind our target leaving date of March/April 2015. 45
Zak and Muz removing the wet wood In fairness, no time was lost in beginning work on the mast. The crane arrived early, and the mast was laid partly, but not totally, protected from the regular heavy rain showers which frustrated much ‘outside work’, despite it being the beginning of the dry season. Before day’s end Alfred and I, exhausted but pleased with our work, had not only undressed it (after taking loads of aide-mémoire digital photos) but had labelled and stowed all the appendages and rigging. Besides the mast base there were several other small areas which needed investigating, and we employed two very good carpenters who immediately began work on removing wood so that we could make a decision as to whether or not to have a new mast built – and if so with what, there being a distinct lack of Northern European pine in the Satun region of Thailand! By the end of the second day of actual work – the preparations having taken almost a week – we were getting a clearer view of the depth of the problem. Although the base was badly affected the other areas were not, and Oon, with years of experience in yacht work, urged us to repair. Our carpenters worked out the quantity of wood required, and Jia, the yard manager, delighted us by sourcing sufficient pine (much lighter) for the job to be executed. The carpenters worked well together, and we had a fascinating time watching various quantities of our mast wood being removed, leaving perfectly cut shapes for the skilful scarfing of new pieces which were then finished to blend in almost imperceptibly. For ten days they worked, the final few days spent almost rebuilding the lowest couple of feet. We were impressed. A tiny, suspect piece on the bowsprit was also treated, before Alfred completed the job by applying layers of protective Cetol. We also opted to replace all the through and ring bolts, most of which were as old as Ironhorse, even though the removal of the old showed not a great deal of wear. 46
The new wood in, glued and clamped This unexpected work had cut into our budget considerably, but the results gave us renewed confidence that our hard-working mast was now good again. We left it to dry over a couple of days, during which we continued with the more mundane necessities of routine maintenance to Ironhorse such as applying a fresh coat of non-slip on the decks, and anti-fouling. Everything which was to be returned to the mast and bowsprit had been washed/cleaned by yours truly – every halyard, bowsprit net and endless other ‘bits’ – while Alfred had cut a new backing for the gaff collar from an (expensive) piece Alfred finishing the mast with protective coats of Cetol before it is dressed
All you need is eight strong guys and a team leader like Oon! of Teflon, which we hoped would glide up and down the mast more smoothly than the original, heavily greased, leather. Since the crane had had so much difficulty in placing the mast within the shed, we wondered if, before we dressed it, it could be moved out to be nearer Ironhorse. It was no surprise when Oon simply gathered eight of his strong workers, and within minutes we were watching this hefty creature being transported with apparent ease and laid next to Ironhorse. It would never have happened like that in Europe! Finally we were dressing it again which, whereas the undressing had been completed in a single working day, took us more than twice that â€“ much of it spent ensuring that the stays, shrouds and halyards were kept Dressed, stepped and so to finish... 48
Precariously perched but confident, local ladies working on the trawlers clear of one another, then finally tying the various groups so that they did not become muddled. We were now ready for the crane to put it back in place, but had not counted on the Thai New Year traditions. Whereas most workers happily worked through national holidays, absolutely none were to work over 31 December and 1 January. It was a frustrating period, with â€˜nothing doingâ€™ in the yard and no crane until 2 January. We badly needed to launch on the next big tides in less than a week, and until the rigging was sorted and back in place our final jobs could not be completed. Actually, this circumstance forced us into enjoying a few changes of scenery. The mast work had been intensive and we had given little time to any other more pleasant distractions, either in the yard or in the small village on the outskirts of which the yard is set. Other work in the yard was always fascinating, whether it was the ladies filling, caulking or painting the trawlers, fearlessly balanced on planks several metres above the ground; or the artists employed Cutting and shaping â€“ and not a sign of a tape-measure! Ensuring good luck on the bows solely to paint on the bows the most beautiful and colourful logos of mystical dragons or the like (for luck in fishing, or to ward off bad spirits?); or maybe the skills of cutting and shaping with noisy chain saws (with no obvious means of measurement except by the judgement of eye and experience) great planks to repair their trawlers. 49
Wherever there were workers, there were their caged songbirds warbling away, their cages carefully hung close to their ownerâ€™s work. Later each cage would be shrouded in a bright, Bird cage maintenance during a break
Competition birds and cages in the boatyard made-to-measure cover before being speeded off on its ownerâ€™s motorbike (one hand for the bike and the other tenderly treasuring the cage) to its next competition. These took place during lunch Setting up the competition site in the village
breaks with quite large amounts of money at stake â€“ not only for the best song, apparently, but also for the best cage, many hand-made with great skill and patience. 50
Helping Daddy mend nets Then there was the colourful Thursday market where local fish are landed and where we could watch nets being repaired, seafood being sorted, and even bird’s nests fibres being separated from the sought-after saliva which binds it all. (Whereas in the past these expensive items have always been the result of fishermen risking life and limb to collect – steal? – them from high up in offshore island caves, we were told that a number of empty buildings have now been set up on the coast to attract the nesting birds to more convenient collection sites. Such is progress…) Over the several years we have been visiting, the yard has developed socially – possibly due to the arrival of Julie who, with husband Jia (son of the owner), now manages it. A number of social events are organised for the workers, most of whom live in accommodation next to the yard – a great New Year party took place while we were there this time. Also, to our delight, there was a ‘proper’ wedding party to which we were invited, following the marriage of two young workers. So there was no shortage of distractions, but never for long if we were to launch on time... Sorting the catch
Launching Ironhorse, complete with traditional Thai firecrackers and bow decorations Finally it all happened and we were back afloat, launched with the traditional but excruciating sound of firecrackers – but the surprises were not yet over. Motoring gingerly away from the yard to get over the bar before the tide turned, suddenly we had red flashing lights on the console. Alfred had the engine cover off in a trice, only to be showered with water spurting violently from the heat-exchanger (replaced 18 months ago). Curses galore. Stop engine. Close seacock. Down anchor. Whereas within 20 minutes we’d have cleared the bar, now we were on a falling tide with only inches beneath us, consoling ourselves that it WAS only sand and mud ... and that we HAD stopped the flooding! It was all due to a corroded cap bolt – presumed to have been bronze, it clearly wasn’t ... but luckily we had a stainless one of the right size. We vacuumed out as much of the sea water as we could, then set off, still able to The prettiest anchorage in Langkawi, in the Kilim Geoforest Park
clear the bar, and headed to the nearest (and prettiest) anchorage in Langkawi, within the Kilim Geoforest Park. There, instead of moving on to collect a waiting parcel, we spent the whole of the next day washing out the bilges and their contents with fresh water, drying and re-packing them. No fun. The deck-wash pump had also given up the ghost, as we had discovered when we lifted the anchor to leave the main harbour (fortunately it was only in need of a new fuse); then the watermaker refused to start (forgotten completion of wiring job); and finally the new Furuno radar – for all its clever ‘tricks’ – was not giving us radar, the one thing we required of it. We couldn’t help thinking that the gods were conspiring against us ... but okay, par for the course, as all cruisers know. Eventually we were in business again, taking off for more ‘Ironhorse shopping’ in Thailand, and were rewarded with the best sailing we’ve had in Southeast Asia. Some compensation, indeed! Wouldn’t it be good if our preparation path continued s m o o t h l y, and we could finally fulfil our plans? Watch this space...
A great sail at last!
GUIDELINES FOR CONTRIBUTORS ELEGIBILITY: space in Flying Fish is limited, so publication is normally limited to articles written by members (including associate members), their spouses/partners, or their long-term crew. CONTENT: anything which is likely to be of interest to other members – cruise and liveaboard accounts (including humour), technical articles, recipes, letters, book reviews and obituaries. Please check with me before to submitting the latter two, and also tell me if you’re sending the same piece elsewhere, inside or outside the OCC. Finally, please ensure that all personal, boat and place names are spelt correctly, in both text and captions. I can’t always check them and errors can offend! LENGTH: no more than 3500 words and preferably under 3000, except in very special cases – and normally only one article per member per issue. I dislike having to cut other people’s writing and generally throw overlong offerings back to the author for amendment, so if your efforts are lengthy, please allow extra time. FORMAT: MS Word (any version) or PDF, with or without embedded photos (though see next page), sent by e-mail or on CD. With prior warning I’m willing to scan good quality typescript, but Flying Fish no longer accepts faxed or handwritten articles. If sending by snailmail a warning e-mail is helpful, and sets bells ringing if the envelope doesn’t follow. (If posting in the UK, please check the thickness of your package – an ordinary letter must not exceed 5mm, which catches many people out.) Back to electronic submission, and if place (or personal) names need accents which don’t feature on the electronic copy, please include a list at the end. Something along the lines of ‘the A in Mogan and the I in Bahia both need acute accents, and the N in Montana needs a tilde’ (aka a squiggle above it) works well. Please don’t spend time on fancy formatting – it won’t import into my layout programme. Stick to a standard font such as Times New Roman, Ariel or Calibri, and limit yourself to capitals, italics and bold. Finally, PLEASE BE ORGANISED! If the text you send is not intended to be your final draft please make this clear in your cover note. It’s frustrating to spend time editing only to receive a new, and very altered, version a month or two later. Minor amendments or corrections are fine, however, either made using the ‘tracked changes’ feature in Word or typed into the previous version in RED and then highlighted – though note the deadlines near the bottom of page 56. ILLUSTRATIONS: please send photos in JPG format by e-mail, Dropbox or similar, or on CD, though by arrangement I’m willing to receive prints for scanning (most often to accompany obituaries). If sending the latter, never write the caption on the back in ink or ball pen as it often smudges onto the next photo. A self-adhesive sticker on the back bearing a pencilled caption is much safer. Watercolour paintings or black-and-white line drawings (including cartoons) make an interesting alternative should you or your crew have skills in that direction, in which case you may prefer to send a high resolution scan to avoid parting with the original. 54
PLEASE DON’T SEND MORE THAN 20 PHOTOS MAXIMUM – while you’re submitting a single article, I receive at least 20 for the average issue, which means around 400 images to juggle. My filing system is legendary, but it has its limits! Some contributors also send a Word document or PDF showing where the photographs should fall. This can be very helpful, but please don’t forget that I’ll still need the photos as individual JPGs. Although it’s possible to extract pictures from document files, the quality suffers dramatically. To reproduce well, photos need to measure at least 16cm wide at 300 dpi or 67cm wide at 72 dpi (the default setting for most cameras). If this means nothing to you, please send your photos EXACTLY as they were downloaded from the camera – even opening and saving under another name will degrade the quality. Like all editors I detest times and dates embedded into photographs – of course they can be painted out, but it takes time – and even worse are embedded captions. The former are generally added by the camera, the second by a software programme, but both can and should be turned off. When sending photos by e-mail, manually attach no more than three per e-mail (do NOT use the ‘attach to e-mail’ facility available in many image programs, which compresses the file data). A label in the e-mail’s subject line – ‘CAPE HORN article; e-mail 1 of 6; pics 1 to 3 attached’, for example, ensures that I know what I should recieve and you know what you’ve sent. Then round off with a final e-mail, with no attachments, confirming how many e-mails and photographs are on their way. I try to acknowledge articles and photos within 48 hours, but like most of us I’m sometimes away from a wifi signal, so don’t panic and start resending until at least five days have elapsed. If using Dropbox etc please don’t be tempted to send enormous TIFF or RAW files. I sometimes use mobiles wifi, and the photos for one article can gobble up a month’s quota in half-an-hour. If you work on your photos in TIFF (as I do), please save them as high-res JPGs before sending. Note also that whatever the order in which you upload your photos, they’ll download in numerical or alphabetical order – not a problem so long as they tally with the captions ... see next paragraph. CAPTIONS: please provide a list of captions in the order they relate to the text. Don’t spend hours renumbering or re-titling the photographs themselves – I’d much rather receive captions in Word than have to extract them individually from each photo’s file title. Something along the lines of: Photo 1 (DCM 3285) Getting ready tfor sea Photo 2 (DCM 3321) Leaving Lajes, Flores, John at the helm Photo 3 (DSP 00045) The whale! (photo Sue Black) is perfect and gives me all the information I need. For a five-star rating, indicate in the text approximately where each picture should fall – ‘...We arrived in Horta (pic 5) and promptly started our painting on the breakwater (pic 6) ... etc’. (Not necessary if you’re also sending a PDF or Word documents with the photos in place, of course). CHARTLETS: if relevant, please include a rough chartlet of your travels, showing your route and all places mentioned in the text. Don’t worry if the map on which you draw your route (on paper or computer) is copyright, or if your efforts are a little 55
untidy – Flying Fish chartlets are nearly always redrawn for us, overcoming both of these problems. Google satellite images, as featured on pages 60 and 65, are among those covered by copyright, but their ‘Permission Guidelines’ (see www.google.com/permissions/ geoguidelines.html) allow reproduction in order to ‘demonstrate product use’. LAT/LONG POSITIONS: if your article includes cruising information useful to others, please include latitudes and longitudes where appropriate, preferably as a separate list. Although unlikely to be included in the printed version of Flying Fish they will normally be retained on-line. They can also be very useful in locating outof-the-way harbours and anchorages if a chartlet is being drawn. COPYRIGHT: please ensure you either own the copyright of photos or have the photographer’s permission for them to be reproduced on the OCC website as well as in Flying Fish. A credit will be printed if included with the caption, but Flying Fish cannot pay reproduction fees. Note that if you hope to sell your work to a commercial magazine you should do this first, as most will not even consider an article which has already appeared elsewhere, even in a humble club journal. Flying Fish, on the other hand, is generally happy to print articles which have already appeared commercially, and can often feature them at greater length and with far more photographs. I take great care of prints and original artwork and return them after use, but neither Flying Fish nor the OCC can be held responsible for loss or damage. USB sticks will normally be returned after the contents have been downloaded, but CDs and hard copy will not be returned unless specifically requested. DEADLINES: Final submission deadlines are 1 OCTOBER for publication in December, and 1 FEBRUARY for publication in June. An issue may be closed earlier if it becomes full, however, in which case the pieces last to arrive will be held over for the next edition. I always appreciate prior warning that an article is imminent – doubly so in the weeks immediately preceding a deadline – and though this won’t guarantee space in a crowded issue it will certainly increase your chances. Anne Hammick, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
AND FINALLY, A NOTE FROM OUR LEGAL TEAM ... You should not submit material for publication which is in any way confidential, defamatory or knowingly inaccurate. By submitting material for publication, you warrant that either you are the copyright holder or you have the copyright holder’s permission to use the material without restriction and further, that you have the authority to and do grant to the OCC limited licence to publish the material in its publications and on its website. 56
NORTHEAST AUSTRALIA 2014 Mike Bickell (Mike and his Crealock 34 Alchemi have featured a dozen times in Flying Fish since making their debut in 2002/2. Now in his late 70s, Mike is nearing the end of his second circumnavigation but does not appear to be slowing down! He prefaced this account with a short explanation: ‘This account was prepared as part of a post for my blog ‘Grandpa’s Voyages’, which was still in preparation at the time this excerpt was submitted to Flying Fish. A full version will appear in the blog in due course, as will a similar account of Alchemi’s continuation of her 2014 voyage southwestwards along the Kimberley Coast from Darwin to Dampier.’ The name Australia is derived from the Latin word australis meaning southern, and legends of Terra Australis Incognita – ‘unknown land of the south’ date back to Roman times. Human habitation of the continent is estimated to have begun about 45,000 years ago, possibly by migration across land bridges from southeast Asia or by short sea crossings, with these early settlers being ancestors of the indigenous aborigines. Reports arise from time to time suggesting the first Europeans to locate the continent were Portuguese, but in this period the Dutch had established their colonies in the East Indies and started developing a capital at modern day Jakarta, then known as Batavia. So they were well placed to explore nearby waters, and in 1606 William Janszoon sighted and landed on the west coast of the Cape York peninsula. His journals are the earliest authenticated record of European discovery of the continent. In the same year Luis Vaz de Torres, possibly of Portuguese origin but employed by the Spanish crown, and captain of one of the three ships that discovered and named Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, continued alone with the intention of reaching Manila in the Philippines. Diverted south by bad weather, he instead discovered the eastern and southern coasts of Papua New Guinea and the straits between them and Australia which still bear his name. Some forty years later Tasman set out from Batavia on an exploratory voyage that took him first to Mauritius, where he was able to renew his stores, and then east in the Roaring Forties. He passed to the south of the continent, but reached first the island now bearing his name (although he called it Van Diemen’s Land) and then the west coast of New Zealand. Sailing north, he reached Vanuatu, from which he returned to Batavia by sailing north of New Guinea. A second voyage saw him sailing east along the Indonesian island chain to the southern coast of Papua New Guinea and thence to the west coast of the Cape York peninsula, from which he followed and mapped the north coast of the Autralian continent all the way round to its western extremity. An English seaman and explorer who made significant geographical and botanical discoveries in Western Australia at the end of the 17th century was that amazing man, William Dampier. Buccaneer, botanist, naval captain, navigator and first man to circumnavigate the world three times, he wrote journals about his adventures and discoveries which influenced many better-known historical figures and authors – his ocean current and wind data were used by Nelson, Cook and others; his casting away of Alexander Selkirk on islands off Chile became the likely model for Defoe’s story of 58
Robinson Crusoe; he was an inspiration to Jonathan Swift, who mentions him by name in Gulliver’s Travels; his description of breadfruit led indirectly to Bligh’s expedition in the Bounty; he was shipmates with Simon Hatley, who shot an albatross off Cape Horn and became a model for Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner; his botanical notes were used by Wallace and Darwin in developing their theories of evolution – and there were many more. So by 1700 the northern and western coasts of Australia – then called New Holland – were quite well known, and Tasmania was known to exist, but the southern and eastern coasts had yet to be visited by Europeans. It wasn’t until 70 years later that Cook sailed along and charted the east coast of the continent and, at Possession Island in the Torres Strait, claimed British sovereignty over the lands along the entire coast, which he called New South Wales – disregarding the fact that they were already occupied by an indigenous population, perhaps because they were nomadic rather than having European style towns, cities and forms of government. The American Revolutionary War was fought between 1775 and 1783, and perhaps it was the loss of the North American colonies that led to the British Government deciding to create a colony in the lands newly discovered by Cook. Certainly it was in 1788 that a camp was set up in Sydney Cove by Captain Arthur Phillip on 26 January – a date that subsequently became the national holiday known as Australia Day. Further exploration and colonisation proceeded apace, stimulated first by use of the new colony as a convenient territory to which criminals could be sent, and later by the establishment of vast grazing lands for cattle and sheep, the discovery of gold and other minerals and so on. It was quickly realised that the continent was so large, and distances between habitable regions so great, that separate colonies were necessary, each with their own political and civil service institutions. By the late 1800s it was realised that a continental government would be more efficient than direct oversight of separate self-governing colonies from Britain, so a constitutional act was passed in the British Parliament and on 1 January 1901 – Federation Day – the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed, governed by a Federal Government. During the 20th century some powers were gradually transferred from the individual states to the Commonwealth, but even now, in the 21st century, the states retain considerable independence with their own legislatures and other institutions. One consequence is that very large numbers of Australians are civil servants of one sort or another, and many visitors consider the country to be over-governed and bureaucratic. Cruisers experience this in the form of intricate and costly multi-agency controls, vigorously enforced that include being ‘buzzed’ by Coastwatch planes even when far out at sea in international waters. Alchemi’s and my experiences I first visited Australia in the early 1970s because my employer owned a subsidiary company in Sydney that needed my technical support, visits which continued at intervals over the years. In addition, my daughter decided to emigrate and marry in the country. Initially my daughter and her husband lived in Brisbane, later moving to Melbourne where they had two daughters before divorcing. She and my two granddaughters still live there, and I often visit them by air. Alchemi has visited Australia twice, sailing from Bundaberg around Cape York to 59
Alchemi under sail in 2005 Darwin in 2005 and again in 2014. There was, however, a major difference in how the voyage was accomplished on the two occasions, as will become apparent. My annotated Google Map of the region illustrates both voyages, with most of the yellow pins constituting the 2005 day-sailing route and the orange line that taken in 2014. Since the account of the 2014 passage is much the shorter, Iâ€™ve put that one first.
An 1800 mile dash from Bundaberg to Darwin The overall voyage plan for 2014 was to reach South Africa before the cyclone season started in the Western Indian Ocean, without running into any cyclones at the tail end of the season in Australia. That made available roughly six months from mid-April to mid-October for a voyage of approximately 8000 miles. Another factor which complicated the planning was the three month per visit limitation of my ETA* visa. I reckoned I didnâ€™t really have time to break my voyage in order to fly out of the country and return for another, separate three months â€“ by leaving the boat in Darwin and going to East Timor or Bali for a short visit, for example. Nor did I want to apply for a different type of visa permitting a longer visit, because if one is over 70 the application process is much more long-winded and would probably involve a medical examination by a government-selected doctor, resulting in potential complications and delays due to pre-existing conditions. I also thought it would be much more interesting to spend time in the Kimberleys and Western Australia than to revisit the Queensland coast which I had already cruised back in 2005. All these factors combined made the decision easy â€“ get to Darwin as quickly as possible, in order to see at least some of the Kimberleys and reach a departure port in Western Australia within the three months allowed by my visa. Bundaberg to Portland Roads Alchemi had been stored on the hard at Bundaberg Port Marina since arriving in 2013, and the yard manager had arranged for most maintenance jobs to be done before I arrived back in town on 2 April 2014. Even so, it took another two weeks to get everything ready for a departure which, in any case, would have been delayed by the presence of cyclone Ita, which swept ashore over Lizard Island and Cooktown (destroying an historic pub in the town), then curved south down the coast before eventually going southeast and out to sea again not far from Bundaberg itself. It left a disturbed weather pattern in its wake, which blocked the normal trade winds and resulted in quite a bit of motoring when Alchemi finally left port on 16 April. Lady Elliot Island marks the southern limit of the Great Barrier Reef, and Curtis Channel offers unobstructed passage between that island and the reefs off Sandy Cape at the north end of Fraser Island. By passing through this channel Alchemi gained access to the open ocean outside the Barrier Reef, making night sailing safer and thus creating an opportunity to make a good distance in a short time. All went well for the first 48 hours, as Alchemi made distance northeast to pass between the reefs northwest of Dixon Cay and the Suarez Reefs farther out. Dixon Cay is roughly 200 miles off the mainland, and the reefs running due north from there broadly represent the boundary between coastal and oceanic waters. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this boundary is a rich fishing ground and we spent most of the third night dodging trawlers as they pursued their typical erratic courses. The winds remained very light for the next 24 hours, so more motoring was needed until Alchemi passed Elusive Reef. There the trades started to become re-established and it was possible to make progress in a northwesterly direction, remaining outside the Barrier Reef but with other isolated outcrops still to avoid farther out. * Electronic Travel Authority in this instance, and nothing to do with estimated time of arrival! 61
Whilst planning the passage I had considered returning inshore again via the Raine Island Entrance, but decided against it as it would leave too long a passage through rather narrow channels before reaching safe anchorage behind Cape Grenville. I entered instead via the Second Three Mile Opening, which offered a shorter distance to the inside shipping channel and anchorage at Portland Roads. This worked well, and Alchemi came to a halt in this somewhat restless anchorage ten days and 800 miles after leaving Bundaberg.
Portland Roads anchorage
Portland Roads to Seisia It is well known that the Torres Straits, at the boundary between the Pacific and Indian oceans, have many shoals, reefs and islands in shallow waters and are thus a region with fast currents and many hazards for shipping of all types. Additionally, it is an area with two Coastal States as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (COLAS), but agreements over jurisdiction and the laws governing the area are very complex. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Australia used its political and economic weight (backed by its greater military capacity) when the Torres Straits Treaty was negotiated in 1978. One outcome is that the international boundary between Australia and Papua New Guinea is farther north than would have been the case if methods of determining had been those used elsewhere in the world. In addition, some islands in the Straits, as well as the sea and seabed a short distance from them, are regarded as Australian territory despite lying within Papua New Guineaâ€™s national boundaries. This gives rise to all sorts of potential difficulties in relation to rights including: citizenship and land title rights of the indigenous islanders; fishing rights; mineral rights; rights relating to shipwrecks; transit rights for international shipping, and innocent passage rights through national waters for international shipping. The latter two issues are the ones most likely to affect cruising yachts. 62
Broadly speaking, transit rights for international shipping are recognised for the main channel from the Bligh Entrance in the east to the area beyond Hammond and Prince of Wales Islands in the west, but even here Australia has enacted national laws imposing reporting and monitoring requirements on ships above a certain size (not mandatory for most yachts, although voluntary reporting is encouraged). Innocent passage rights also exist in the shipping channel which passes up the Queensland coast and joins the transit channel north of Wednesday Island, as well as in Australia’s coastal waters outside of the main channels. The Australian Government has also declared a large area in the southern half of the Straits to be a Special Quarantine Zone (SQZ) – a declaration which does affect cruising yachts, since they are required to report and subject themselves to inspection at Thursday Island on entering the zone, and again if re-entering after visiting the mainland. The latter is especially significant. The zone does not extend all the way to the mainland coast, so it is possible to avoid entry and the associated reporting and inspection requirements by hugging the shore. That does increase the navigational hazards of a passage round Cape York, however, since the currents are especially strong and there are so many additional reefs and shoals close-in. But I’m getting ahead of myself in this narrative, so let’s return to Portland Roads and resume the story from there. Cape Grenville to Margaret Bay The leg from Portland Roads to Cape Grenville is just under 50 miles if made along the Inshore Shipping Channel through the narrow gap between Piper and Inset Reefs and outside Clerke Island. It might be possible to shave a little off this distance by cutting across open water in one or two places, but most cruisers are likely to decide they don’t have enough local knowledge to do this. Certainly, when Alchemi made the passage in 2014 she stuck to the main channel, and was relieved to have done so when hit by a prolonged period of strong wind and blinding rain. (Had she spent another day outside the Great Barrier Reef, and approached via the Raine Entrance, she would have experienced the same conditions in the long and narrow Blackwood and Pollard Channels, another cause for self-congratulation.) The anchorage in Margaret Bay was excellent, with more protection and less movement than in Portland Roads.– Bushy Islet The same cannot be said about the next stop, off the northwest corner of Bushy Islet about 48 miles further north. This has some shelter from the prevailing winds but is still quite exposed, resulting in a fair bit of swinging about accentuated by the tidal currents which sweep along both sides of the island and part or meet in the area around the anchorage. The holding is good, however, and Alchemi stayed there without incident. On leaving this anchorage in 2005 Alchemi went outside Albany Rock along the Inshore Shipping Channel to an anchorage off Adolphus Island, before continuing to Thursday and Horn Islands. But that was before the declaration of the Special Quarantine Zone (SQZ), which now contains most of the anchorages and waters visited that year. As the voyage in 2014 needed to be made in as short a time as possible, I decided to go around Cape York by passing through the Albany Passage and to stop at the well-known anchorage just south of York Island, thereby avoiding the SQZ. 63
Albany Passage Itâ€™s essential to get the timing right when using this passage because of the very strong currents developed within it. Alchemi therefore left Bushy Islet at 0430 and reached the entrance some 30 miles farther north around 1030. As we motor-sailed towards the entrance I could see a long line of breaking waves stretching more than halfway across the gap from the southwest to northeast corners and, as I wanted to remain in the deepest part of the channel, steered to go through the last of them towards the northern end.
Suddenly, while going through the waves, Alchemi changed direction to port through almost 90Â°. She didnâ€™t broach, and responded to the wheel to resume her course after what seemed like a lifetime but was probably less than 30 seconds. Sideways currents continued to displace her in one direction or another, but I soon found myself in the centre of the channel making about 9 knots over the ground. My tidal calculations had been correct and we were going through at high speed. 64
Approaching Albany Passage
9 knots over the ground in Albany Passage
Passing Port Albany ...
... and weâ€™re through
Cape York and the passage behind Possession Island After being ejected from Albany Passage, and as the boat rounded the Cape, I noticed the current was still very strong. “Perhaps high tide occurs later as one goes west,” I thought, “perhaps I should go on instead of making for the anchorage to the south of York Island ... but I can’t go north of Possession Island as I would like, because that would take me into the SQZ – oh, sod it! let’s give it a go”. The stretch from Cape York to Peak Point passed without incident, but then it was necessary to turn to port and go down the narrower channel towards High Island and then inside Roko. That offered some exciting moments, as I frequently found Alchemi going in a different direction to where she was pointing both upon entering the channel and at the turn to port around High Island. The current was still in the right direction and strong as I swept past the anchorage in Simpson Bay and struggled to make crabwise progress towards Dayman Island, before turning to port and to reach less current-swept waters and the anchorage off Seisia, south of Red Island. So ended an exciting day in which we covered 60 miles over the ground in less than 12 hours. A termite mound on Possession Island in 2005 66
Seisia It wasnâ€™t difficult to get ashore at Seisia, and I found little had changed since 2005. The notice on the beach warning of crocodile attacks was still there, as was the camp for four-wheel drive enthusiasts. The filling station was still happy to provide a lift with full jerry cans back to the beach and the supermarket still had a surprisingly good range of supplies. I wished I could have stayed longer. The Southern Endeavour Strait The natural line of geographical departure from Seisia is to go north of the Wallis Islands, where there is deeper water than in most places, and then go due west until clear of all shoals, but that would take me into the Special Quarantine Zone with its attendant delays and reporting requirements. Instead I elected to depart farther south by leaving the area through one of the charted but unbuoyed channels, as though I were headed for Weipa and the Bay of Carpentaria. I had no problem leaving Seisia and moving down to a temporary anchorage off the Jardine River, where I could wait for the right tidal conditions. Then at 0545 the following day I weighed anchor again and carefully continued west until I finally left behind me this area of fast currents, reefs and shoals. The voyage continued to Darwin as planned, with no special incidents but involving a longish period of motor-sailing against headwinds across the Van Diemen Gulf. We arrived on 8 May, so the total distance and time was 1850 miles in 22 days.
Anchored at Seisia
ON-BOARD POWER GENERATION You’ve been out sailing all day and you arrive in a lovely bay with only a few other boats. You drop the anchor, switch on the anchor light and settle down for a well deserved drink when you hear the battery alarm go off. The wind has dropped and the sun is setting so your wind generator and solar panel are useless. Your only option now is to run your engine for a few hours, ruining the relaxing atmosphere and disturbing your neighbours. Sound familiar? Fuel cells offer the perfect solution to the ever growing need for on-board power. Unlike solar and wind they run throughout the day and unlike your engine, they’re near silent. To ﬁnd out more and how we can help please visit our website.
MARINE FUEL CELLS
A SCANDINAVIAN SUMMER Julian and Sheena Berney (Based on the east coast of England, Julian and Sheena have logged around 40,000 miles in the 17 years they have owned their Sigma 41, Houdalinqua II. More details about both yacht and owners will be found at the end of this article.) A clockwise circumnavigation of Sweden is as much about tidal estuaries, canals, lakes, and islands as it is about the open sea. Bear in mind three other things – clarity of light, natural wonders of the world, and a good engine. The rationale for this trip was to visit old friends from our years living in Sweden, and to cruise in the Stockholm Archipelago. Furthermore, Sheena and I decided that we should revisit the Göta Canal, affectionately known as the divorce ditch, presumably to test our marriage again! To ease that path a new engine was installed to celebrate Houdalinqua’s 30th birthday. With four of us – William Pennefather, Roger Pennock, Jonathan Hudson and myself – on board we set off from North Fambridge, Essex on the ebb tide for the first leg to the Baltic via the Kiel Canal. A shakedown sail and the first night in harbour is a good way for a new crew to settle down, so we berthed at Levington before heading east across the North Sea in calm conditions to the naval base of Den Helder. The tides around the Dutch and German Friesian islands are pretty fierce, so timing is important, but the harbours are all very pleasant and accessible. It is interesting to take the inner channels, but we draw 2∙20m so that option is not for us. My three previous encounters with the Elbe set my view that it is the devil’s sailing cauldron – wind-swept with very strong tides – so we decided to time our tides from Helgoland and romped across the short detour in good breezes. This extraordinary island was heavily bombed in World War Two, but is now known for its sanatorium, wind farms and tax savings. Although the Elbe shipping lane is narrow, twisting, shallow at the edges and full of ships transiting Hamburg, Cuxhaven is a useful oasis with a very congenial yacht club. Nevertheless, we set off early on the tide with a small flotilla heading for Brunsbüttel and the entrance to the Kiel Canal. Imagine my surprise as Fishermen off the Dutch coast
Houdalinqua at Rendsburg we sailed with the spinnaker up on a glorious day, all with a fair tide under us – the devil caught napping for once. The huge lock gates opened after a short wait and we were on our way up the 90km canal, opened in 1895 to take the trade and battleships of the German Navy. The Canal itself is straightforward, and allowed us to drive our new engine for a few hours in flat water, 2000 rpm giving 7–7∙25 knots of boat speed. Instead of pushing hard to complete the Canal in a day, it is worth stopping for a night or two, as the canal countryside is attractive and the harbour at Rendsburg delightful. The Kiel Fjord is the southern entrance to the Baltic, passing the British Kiel Yacht Club to port and the Laboe monument to the German Navy to starboard; next stop some of the southern Danish islands en route to Copenhagen. Copenhagen itself has many very beautiful buildings, and an attractive waterfront with a choice of marinas or canals close to the city centre in which to berth. Shipping in the Kiel Canal
Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen
The Baltic is an odd place really; negligible tides, but currents, wind-drift and depths affected by barometric pressure. It makes for good sailing, but there is something frustrating in not having six hours of fair tide to help against contrary winds. And northerly winds is what we got – light as we made our way to Copenhagen, and then heavy as we beat north in squalls gusting 40 knots past Hamlet’s castle at Helsingør in the steep chop of the Kattegat towards Göteborg. With only two on board (Roger and myself – the others had departed at Kiel) we decided to shelter at Höganäs. Denmark and southern Sweden use box berths; these are difficult in strong cross-winds and few take our 3∙9m beam. A thick rope laid along the widest part of the hull is the best fender for ‘those posts’. The harbours are automated for paying dues and getting access to showers and wifi codes, leaving no-one to take lines or talk about the weather. Impersonal but efficient, in a Scandinavian way.
Squalls off the Swedish coast
Denmark generally gets similar wind patterns to the North Sea, hence the changeable weather that stayed with us all the way to Marstrand, north of Göteborg and the yachting Mecca of the west coast of Sweden. The sail north from Varberg, the Swedish ‘Riviera’, is a foretaste of things to come – a coast littered with rocks, islands and archipelagos. Occasional wrecks remind you never to forget where you are. Göteborg, the second city of Sweden, is alive in summer, especially during the long balmy evenings. My crew thought he was in heaven as a long procession of young ladies tottered past him while he had an (expensive) pint. By the early hours heaven had turned to hell as the thumping dance music vibrated up the keel.
Rocks and a wreck on the west coast of Sweden We were joined in Göteborg by our wives, Ruth and Sheena, and soon it was time to leave and head for Stockholm. The route across the middle of Sweden runs through the heart of the country. It starts with the Trollhätte Canal – part river, part canal, and quite commercial – which leads directly into the great lakes of central Sweden. Lakes Vänern and Vättern are two of the largest freshwater lakes in Europe. The famous Göta Canal links with the eastern shore of Vänern, and is part canal and part smaller lakes, all filled by the higher altitude lakes and, reportedly ‘the tears of the shareholders’. The fees for the Göta Canal are high for the short distance, but it is beautifully kept, run by efficient students throughout the short summer months. You could spend a season in the lakes and the canal but time, the enemy of the cruising yachtsman, pressed us 72
A Göta Canal quayside
A vintage cruise ship on the Göta Canal The flight of locks at Mem
on, until after nine days we reached the flight of locks at Mem and exited into the delightful and lightly-inhabited archipelago south of Södertälje. The beauty of Swedish islands is the remote anchorages and the right of access to all land.
Steep rocks only, please!
The sail north becomes tricky if the winds remain persistently northerly, as the current is also against you and there is the small matter of beating around the great headland of Landsort, in my mind the entrance to the northern Baltic. The weather patterns in Russia and northern central Europe determine the weather patterns for this part of the Baltic, and generally you can expect southeasterlies in the summer – but not when we were there! Still, Houdalinqua has a great tradition of beating (and running) so soldiered on until we reached Nynäshamn – under sail, the engine having overheated after accusations of cruising with a little too much attitude! The Stockholm archipelago (or skärgård) is a natural wonder in this world; an archipelago of some 25,000 islands. We started and finished our archipelago cruise at Saltsjöbaden, headquarters of the Kungliga Svenska Segel Sällskapet (KSSS), the Soft summers, icy winters
Royal Swedish Yacht Club, which is extremely welcoming and helpful. From here (joined by Clive and Christian Forestier-Walker) we sailed a circuit to include Dalerö, Utö, Sandhamn, Lilla and Stora Nassa, Lidingö and back to Saltsjöbaden, spending an almost idyllic week out on the islands. Generally the sea is akin to liquid ice, but this year the swimming was great until a toxic algae appeared – blame the Russian pollution say the Swedes. Once in the skärgård the seas are gentle, the anchorages excellent, the sunsets spectacular and the nights short.
Sheena helming in the skärgård We had to return home in August, and left Houdalinqua for a month on a KSSS mooring. Autumn comes quickly, however, and I was anxious to get out before the winter months. The places to which we sailed can freeze over, and the interior of the boats can drop to –25° in midwinter. With a crew of three (Adrian Biggs, OCC, Donald Hughes and myself) we left Stockholm in early September, expecting headwinds nearly all the way home. In fact the weather was very quiet, and we motor-sailed most of the way to Kalmar, where we refuelled. The cruise had become a delivery trip, so there was no stopping, even for World Heritage sites. From Kalmar we headed directly for the Kiel Canal, and once through were into the Elbe again, where the devil had awoken from his nap. With 30 knots of wind over a strong tide we beat down the channel, averaging 9 knots over the ground, before entering Cuxhaven Marina (the gap needs good timing to avoid being impaled on the sea wall). Worrying that the weather would deteriorate I consulted three different forecasts, all of which suggested the wind would go northwest, north and then northeast – I couldn’t believe my eyes! 75
Up early next morning, we beat in gusty conditions to the northwest entrance, then bore away a few points onto a fetch and then a reach as the wind veered. In 1–2m waves we charged along the German and Dutch Friesian islands in 20–25 knots, covering the 150 miles to the turning point north of Vlieland in 21 hours. There we bore away another 25°, hoisted the asymmetric on the spinnaker pole, and creamed across the North Sea. You could be forgiven for thinking the North Sea is becoming a floating industrial estate, but we had a glorious sail through the night to the Shipwash until the wind fell away. After a civilised breakfast we negotiated the high-speed channel out of Harwich and the edge of the Sunk roundabout, before gliding gently up the Crouch to our mooring at North Fambridge. Job done – almost 900 miles in 6½ days, by three men in a boat (no dog and I was the youngest!). A ‘one in a hundred’ voyage. We had completed a round trip of some 2330 miles through four countries (twice), visiting many harbours and anchorages, but at no time did anyone ask for our passports or ship’s papers – wonderfully free of bureaucracy. Houdalinqua was away for three months. It was one of the most hassle-free and enjoyable cruises for many a year, all in the hottest summer for 25 years. What more could we ask for? Julian anticipating a Saltsjobaden sundowner Houdalinqua II is a David Thomasdesigned fractional rig Sigma 41, built in 1984 by Marine Projects. On this cruise we carried a fully-battened main, a trysail with a dedicated track, four headsails including storm jib, a 0∙9oz spinnaker and a 1∙5oz asymmetric which can be used as a heavy spinnaker. The new engine is a Beta 50, substantially increasing our power and charging at lower revs. We also changed from a CQR to a Rocna anchor. Plans for 2015 include southern Ireland via the north coast of France. I have had a wonderful lifetime with boats, and since childhood have sailed out of Findhorn on the Moray Firth and on the Blackwater Estuary at Maldon, Essex where we live and where we still race dinghies. From the mid 1970s Sheena and I have owned boats in which we have cruised and raced, logging some 100,000 miles since those early days of East Anglia Offshore and RORC races. My longer voyages have included three Fastnet Races, thrice across the North Atlantic and two voyages in the Pacific – one from the Marquesas to Tahiti via the Tuamotu Islands, and the second from Auckland to Cairns via New Caledonia and Vanuatu. I have also enjoyed numerous cruises taking in the Baltic, the North Sea, Channel Islands, Biscay, Portugal, Western Mediterranean, Canaries, Caribbean and the Azores. Sheena and I are particularly fortunate that our three children, William, Jessica, and Hugo, are all very able yachtsmen who often sail with us, and that Houdalinqua continues to serve us well. 76
MailASail are Specialists in Wifi, 3G and Satellite Onboard
Unbeatable Prices on Wifi & Satellite Comms • • • •
Iridium 9555/9575 Handhelds Inmarsat FleetBroadBand FB150 / FB250 Iridium Pilot Wifi Boosters
World Class Backup & Support • • •
Friendly after sales service Global delivery and technical support Who else will you call mid-Ocean?
Joining the Dots • • • •
Email Compression Services Blogging and Position Tracking Weather Services Firewalls to control spend
Buy from the Market Leaders in Communications
(Don’t forget to ask for your OCC Discount!)
Top Rated Provider for 2 Years Running! 2/3rds of ARC 2010 participants chose MailASail
95 yachts selected MailASail and rated it joint highest in user satisfaction, making Ed Wildgoose’s service (and Las Palmas support) once again by far the most popular marine-based e-mail provider
+44 20 70432832 www.mailasail.com 77
OVER 2000 PROPELLERS
d ou nee y n e h w eller in p o r p a RY a HUR
• 2 & 3 Blade • Alloy & Bronze • Fixed & Folding • Shafts, Seals & Sterntubes • Prop Protector Rope Cutter
STERN DRIVES & SAIL DRIVES • 10 to 160 hp • Custom Sizes • Electric up to 8 Kw • Cat Drives up to 37 hp MARINE SILLETTE PROPULSION
email@example.com www.sillette.co.uk 020 8337 7543 78
RICHARD ANDERTON OCC Club Secretary 2005–2014 (Richard was our Club Secretary from June 2005 until his sudden death on 27 October last year, but even those of us who worked with him throughout that time knew little about his life. The following is based on the homily given at his funeral by the Reverend Canon Denis Mulliner, Canon of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal. Other material was collated and edited by Jenny Crickmore-Thompson.) Richard thought he was a Yorkshireman, and he was one by paternity, but he was actually born in Bournemouth, on 23 September 1946. In 1951, when he was five, his father was posted to Korea during the Korean War, and his mother lived in Hong Kong to be near him. Richard went to prep school in North Yorkshire, so he breathed his ancestral air at an early age, before going on to Sherborne School in Dorset for the rest of his schooling. When he wasn’t away at boarding school Richard lived with his uncles and aunts at Martlets near Fleet in Hampshire. When his father came home from the Far East he was appointed Commandant of the Star & Garter Home on Richmond Hill, so the family moved to Ancaster House by the Richmond Gate of Richmond Park. Richard loved cycling in the Park, collecting mud from Pen Ponds, and wiring up electric bell and wireless circuits in the garden shed. He much admired Mr Taylor, an engineer who worked at the Star & Garter, and as an engineer himself later in life he followed the example of Mr Taylor’s habitual untidiness, which Richard concluded was the proper behaviour for an engineer! At Sherborne Richard enjoyed both sailing and doing the lighting and sound for school plays and concerts, including making a recording of his friend Jeremy Irons singing rock music in the boys’ bathroom! The Signals section of the Sherborne School Combined Cadet Force gave him the chance to tinker with the field telephones, and even to talk on the wireless to the British Forces stationed in Germany. When his parents moved to Lymington he joined the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. He had his own GP14 dinghy, and sailed with his friend Howard Gosling in a regatta: they won their race, which was reported in The Times because they were the heaviest crew and the only ones who didn’t capsize in the strong winds! Richard read electrical engineering at Imperial College at the same time as working in industry with EMI. He got his private pilot’s licence and would fly from time to time as part of his job. While still with EMI he worked on various defence projects including military thermal imagers, and was assigned in that capacity to the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980. His work was classified as secret – he went regularly to a military base in the Outer Hebrides, and for security reasons was not allowed to go to Ireland during the troubles there. Another side of Richard’s character was revealed by his interest in choral music. His sister Mary introduced him to the Hampton Choral Society while he was still at university, and he sang with the choir for the rest of his life. He was Chairman of the Society from 1973 until he died, and arranged tours to France several times in those years. Richard met Sue in 1972 and courted her assiduously and successfully, wining and dining her, and driving her around the country in his TR6 sports car. They were 79
married two years later, and celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in June last year with a big garden party. Sue Anderton tells of their first sail together: I met Richard a few weeks after my 21st birthday, and within a few months he had chartered a 28ft Tomahawk for a sailing holiday. It was my first sail. There were four of us, Howard Gosling, his then girlfriend Patsy, Richard and I. We set off from a boatyard in the Solent, heading to Le Havre. It was quite an experience, as Richard and I did a night watch through the main shipping lanes of the English Channel with huge tankers crossing our path. Richard did tell me how many miles it took a tanker to stop, but I forget what it was now! After lovely food in Le Havre we continued to Alderney, a beautiful, rocky island. We were stormbound there for several days, but had a great time eating
Dervish racing at Cowes in 1974
wonderful seafood, watching other boats coming and going, and catching up on sleep on the beach during the day as it was too rough, even in the harbour, to get much sleep on board at night. When we got back Howard and Richard decided that they had enjoyed the sailing so much that they would buy their own boat. They asked Pip, a great family friend, to join them. Richard’s parents lived in Lymington and so a berth at the brand Richard new Lymington Yacht aboard Dervish Haven was acquired. The boat we bought was ‘Dervish’, a beautiful Northney 34 of Holman and Pye design, with a GRP hull and plenty of varnished wood. To start with we all sailed together, Howard and Mary, Pip and Diny, and Richard and myself. Later we brought friends down to sail with us as well. We enjoyed weekend sails around the Solent, the Isle of Wight and to Studland Bay, and a longer trip to Salcombe. I have lovely memories of sun and wind and good fun, though being England it must have rained as well! We completed several Round the Island Races, equipping ourselves beforehand with T-shirts and Guernsey jumpers embroidered with our boat’s name. Some of these races were more successful than others. One was so windless that we watched the Wimbledon finals on a television we’d brought along; another was so windy that as we came round by the Forts* the wind caught a much lighter boat just in front of us, turning her right round. She came straight back towards us, our crosstrees missing by literally millimetres! Our children all started sailing when they were babies and thoroughly enjoyed their weekends at the boat, but as they grew older family weekends became full of ballet and judo and birthday parties and homework, and then there were school fees to consider as well. So very reluctantly Richard and I decided that the time had come to withdraw from the partnership, though Richard still sailed in ‘Dervish’ and other people’s boats for many years.
For 13 years Richard worked with Plessey Radar and the defence and civilian radar system at Fareham, but left them to be his own boss in various consultancy projects – which included pioneering web-based stocks and shares trading systems such as the web engine underlying Barclays’ present stockbrokers’ system. In 2005 he became * The three 19th century offshore forts which ‘guard’ the eastern entrance to the Solent. 81
Secretary of the Ocean Cruising Club, which suited his life-long passion for sailing and, as Past Commodore Alan Taylor explains, he did much to modernise its organisation: When the previous Club Secretary unexpectedly left her post, as Commodore I was left with the task of keeping the ship on an even keel. Fortunately, Howard Gosling came up with the suggestion that we ask Richard Anderton if he could help out, as he was very computer savvy and spoke in a language that left us all bewildered. Martin Thomas and I interviewed Richard, and came to the conclusion that he could admirably take on the role. He picked it up immediately, and set about improving the systems, including collecting subscriptions, very efficiently. He also updated the membership database. We soon discovered that we were in safe hands, and I was pleased that Richard was able to fulfil this task without fuss and drama. The Commodore’s worst nightmare is being left singlehanded without enough hands to keep the ship afloat.
Sue Anderton adds: Richard really enjoyed working for the OCC. He had wonderful conversations with people all over the world and made many good friends. He was an IT expert and so was able to update the database and bring in many processes that improved security. He had decided that he was ready to retire soon and leave the role to someone younger when fate stepped in.
Richard’s diabetes, which had been with him for 27 years, had begun to wear him down in his last few months, though with his usual determination he did his best to remain busy and active. To some his resolve may have seemed like sternness and severity, but those close to him knew that underneath he was really very kind and a big ‘softie’! Commodore John Franklin takes up the story: I was shot in as Commodore with only three months Committee experience before inauguration, knowing very little about the OCC Committee workings or the other Committee members. I am sure Richard found my endless questions infuriating, but he didn’t show it and was always there to help with his indomitable unbiased, non-political opinion, even if it was short verbally! Richard’s economical style with words could appear terse, and was interpreted by some as unsuitable for good member relations. However, the flood of appreciative messages from members on his death revealed the real depth of feeling with which he was regarded. He was a private person with a large heart, shown in a myriad of unexpected ways. Over the last couple of years Richard’s ill health began to show. One could see that he was keeping going only with great difficulty and because of a deeprooted sense of duty and love of the Club. He and I had many conversations about his retirement, but it was only a few months before his unexpected death that he came round to accepting that retirement in 2015 would be good for him. Unhappily, he was not to live to enjoy it.
Richard died peacefully, as he had lived: he was a discreetly devout man, and a regular communicant in the Chapel Royal. His was a traditional, intelligent and straightforward faith, and the bond between him and his merciful Saviour is now, we may be sure, even closer as he rests with Him in paradise. 82
Germany > Estonia > Russia > Finland > Sweden > Denmark 1
ARC Baltic Sailing rally through the Baltic in summer 2015. Includes St. Petersburg & Swedish Archipelagos.
Make new friends and discover new places with World Cruising Club’s ARC Baltic Rally. Planned for summer 2015, the rally takes you on a 1,500nm voyage of discovery through Europe’s “east sea”, combining days of social cruising with exploring the Baltic’s fascinating culture and history ashore.
• Led by experienced Baltic sailors • Guidance and assistance on route • To Saint Petersburg and back
• Six capitals in six weeks • Join for all or part of the route • Crew finder service
July & August 2015 More at www.worldcruising.com/arcbaltic or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1983 296060 83
BAFFIN, BEARS AND BOB! Steve Brown (Steve and Trish took early retirement in 2006, selling their business and commissioning a new Oyster 56, which they named Curious. Departing in May 2008, they made a four-year circumnavigation covering some 30,000 miles, starting and finishing in London’s St Katherine’s Dock ‘so that we could cross and re-cross the Greenwich Meridian’. Steve sums it up as ‘a truly golden time for the two of us, giving us memories and friends that will last forever’. Visit blog.mailasail.com/curious for the full story of those four years, or www.sy-novara.com for their more recent adventures. All the photographs are courtesy the Novara archives other than where credited. Much of the route covered in the following account can be followed on the plans on pages 30 and 118.) With the completion of our four-year circumnavigation and the arrival of multiple grandchildren necessitating a change in our cruising lifestyle, it was time for Trish and me to look to the next phase in our lives. The opportunity to combine my love of the mountains with a part-time cruising life, and to visit some of the remote places I had read about as a kid – to follow in the footsteps/wake of people like Nansen, Amundsen, Shackleton and Tilman – would be a dream come true, and so a new plan took shape. Mitigate the effects of age and altitude, explore and climb from sea level! My search for a boat suitable for high-latitude cruising had begun well before we had completed our circumnavigation and had ranged far and wide, but with Curious, our Oyster 56, as yet unsold, I was unable to make any progress on any of the half dozen or so boats that I thought might fit the bill. Still, it kept me busy and helped build up my knowledge of what would be important. Then at the end of 2013 things fell into place, a deal was done to sell Curious, and Novara was bought, all within the space of a few weeks. An aero-rigged, Bestevaer 60C schooner, designed by Gerry Dykstra and built in Holland by Damstra, Novara is quirky and unique. Commissioned by her first owner for high latitude cruising she has many of the attributes that I was looking for, and after a ten week refit with the help of CEO Susan Howland and the fantastic Novara ready for launching. The little fin team at the Wayfarer Marine visible under her quarter is one of a pair boatyard in Camden, Maine, of dagger boards which improve tracking Novara would be ready to go. downwind when the centreboard is raised 85
Trish stands in front of Novara at Wayfarer Marine in Camden, Maine But go where? Head south to Patagonia, Antarctica and South Georgia? Northeast to Norway, Lofoten and Svalbard? Or north and into the famed Northwest Passage and the ghosts of Parry, Franklin, Cook, Amundsen et al? Decision made – north it was to be – friends Phil, Terje and Ding were recruited, a plan developed and contacts established. A search for an updated list of successful Northwest Passage transits led me to John MacFarlane, who had been compiling information on behalf of Nauticapedia [www.nauticapedia.ca/] in British Columbia. When I asked why the list stopped in 2006 he told me, ‘that although a notable maritime and personal achievement, a successful transit of the Northwest Passage was no longer historic!’ A quick look at the current list bears this out – 126 vessels through in the 100 years following Amundsen’s first transit, and almost 100 in the next eight years! With no masters to satisfy, no fame or fortune to be sought, we were going anyway. Not by the usual route, however, following the north-going current along Greenland’s west coast. We would sail up the east coast of Baffin Island and against the Labrador current – Greenland could be left for later. Amongst many new friends made during our time in Camden, Regional Rear Commodores Doug and Dale Bruce, together with old cruising friends and OCC members Bill and Jo Strassberg, convinced me of the benefits of OCC membership and Novara proudly flew the Flying Fish burgee as she left Penobscot Bay. With summer approaching and the sea ice beginning to recede, there was no time for any meaningful sea trials following the refit. We would have to shake down any bugs and learn to sail Novara as we headed north. With beautiful anchorages, historic
Fishing boat and iceberg off St Anthony, Newfoundland
Novara’s motley crew – Steve, Terje, Ding and Phil – at Nain in Labrador sailing communities and welcoming OCC members and Port Officers, the journey from Maine to Halifax, Nova Scotia and on to St Anthony, Newfoundland was notable for some great sailing conditions and short, relaxed days. Labrador was an altogether different kettle of fish. Flat calms and fog obscured the coastline throughout the passage north, and it wasn’t until we were well into the crossing of the Hudson Strait that we caught our first glimpse of the rugged coast in our rear view mirror. The overnight passage was uneventful, and with a detour into Cumberland Sound and north to the National Park headquarters at Pangnirtung crossed off once we realised that the Inuit hamlet was 110 miles away and it was 170 miles to the head of the fjord! It was our first taste of the sheer scale of Baffin Island, the fifth largest island in the world. Novara’s super strong construction, centreboard design and forward-looking sonar would be put to good use to explore Baffin Island’s deeply indented coastline, enabling us to poke our noses into remote corners and find hidden anchorages. The first night on Baffin Island I wrote: ‘THIS IS WHAT WE CAME FOR ... UNEXPLORED ANCHORAGES, SPECTACULAR SCENERY AND POLAR BEARS. CLEPHANE BAY IS ONE OF THE SMALLER FJORDS/BAYS ALONG THE COAST BUT EVEN SO THE SCALE OF BAFFIN ISLAND IS BEWILDERING. THE RIVER THAT RUNS INTO THE HEAD OF CLEPHANE BAY IS OVER 40 MILES LONG ... IF WE ONLY HAD MORE TIME!’ 87
In fact, with the weekly ice reports showing a late melt further north, and boats that had followed the Greenland coast now sitting in Dundas Harbour waiting for conditions to improve, we did have a little time to explore. Another long day sail took us to a good, secure anchorage 15 miles north of Cape Dyer, and by keeping close to the coastline we had the benefit of a north-going counter-current. It was now 4 August, and perceived wisdom suggested we should be at the northern end of the island and not still below the Arctic Circle with lots of coastal ice in between. Despite updating and testing both systems our Iridium and SSB e-mail capability had ceased to function. This called for another early start, as we wanted to reach the Inuit village about 90 miles north of Cape Dyer in time to get internet access and download weather and ice files as well as e-mail family and friends. There were a lot of large ice-floes aground at the head of the bay, and we motored through our first real patches of brash ice as we left. We continued under engine, with the hills rising sheer from the sea close to port. Out to sea was ice as far as the eye could see – we thought this was the ice tongue that had been clinging to the coast from about 30 miles south of Qikiqtarjuak to 100 miles to the north. It was mainly of 7/10ths and 9/10ths ice, and was studded with icebergs to add to the vista. The only information we had was via sat phone, and Fred (our shore support) told us that this ice tongue, almost 60 miles across, had started to break away from the coast so if we hugged the shore we could get into Qikiqtarjuak from the south ... fingers crossed. We wouldn’t know if we could get out to the north until we saw the latest ice charts. The ancient mariners had no such technological luxury, but on our way north we passed an aluminium speedboat full of fishing tourists with a local Inuit guide. He told us that the route to the north was opening up and by hugging the coast we should be able to avoid a long detour. We were made welcome by the people of Qikiqtarjuak – other than a fuel tanker assisted in by a Canadian icebreaker we were the first boat into Qik that year. Like each of the Inuit hamlets we visited it is well-served by air links (although flights are very expensive), Re-fuelling in the tiny harbour at Qikiqtarjuak
Up close and personal with the Coronation Glacier
medical facilities, a community-owned supermarket and a small hotel where we were able to get internet access and a good breakfast the following morning. Armed with the latest ice charts we were able to see that our route along the coast was blocked north of Cape Hooper by a combination of first year fast ice clinging to the coast and a large tongue of multi-year ice extending far offshore. So we left Qik the following morning and headed back southwest into Coronation Fjord and up to the glacier at its head. We found a shallow patch at the base of a stream where we anchored in about 15m with good holding, surrounded by high rock walls and within touching distance of the glacier. The following morning we took the opportunity to get up close and personal with the ice and take some great shots of Novara under the glacierâ€™s 150ft calving face ... after which we headed back to Qik for the night. I have a real dislike of obtaining diesel in 20 litres cans and ferrying them back to the boat in the dinghy, so once again we put Novaraâ€™s attributes to good use and were able to inch our way into the very small harbour at Qik and go alongside a 30ft temporary floating pontoon to refuel. We were mobbed by local kids, who were invited on board for a look around and handouts of chocolate, before we headed north and into Okoa Fjord for the night. Okoa Fjord
Novara playing tag with a couple of small chunks of sea ice at Clyde River After motoring up to the face of the glacier we again used the technique of looking for alluvial flats created by the run-off from streams and rivers to find a suitable place to anchor. The weather was settled, and the scenery spectacular with huge rock walls on both sides, and we dropped anchor below a deep gulley with a small hanging glacier high above. With conditions deteriorating we went to our bunks with one weather eye open, to be awakened just after midnight by thunder, lightning and torrential rain. Our gulley had become a torrent, the water running through the boulders beneath us sent vibrations through the boat and, realising it would be somewhat ironic for a mountaineer to be avalanched in his boat, we decided to raise anchor and find a safer spot. Our second anchorage out in the islands proved no more reliable as a sudden change in wind direction put us on a lee shore, so once again we upped anchor and headed north to find a spot on the south side of Cape Hooper. Strong winds created big downdrafts from the high mountains, giving us an uncomfortable night with the skipper up hourly to check things out. By 0400 we had had enough, and left once more to try to head north. Ice and strong headwinds blocked our way, however, so we retreated to the far more snug anchorage in North Harbour on Cape Hooper. With our ice charts now three days old we put in a call to Fred, our Iceman, who told us that there was a way through to the north. Unfortunately his information was 18 hours old and did not take into account the strong westerlies that had developed overnight. Heading out we encountered ribbons of ice. We were able to cross the first few of these, getting into clear water each time, but as we pressed on they became more frequent, the ice was packed more densely and the clear water choked with brash. After a few encounters with ribbons made up of floes ranging from the size of dinner tables to football fields we decided enough was enough, and headed back to our safe anchorage somewhat chastened but â€“ having broken through a few of the ice ribbons 90
by riding up on the floes and breaking them in two to create a passage – more confident than ever of Novara’s safety and strength in these conditions. Another call to Iceman Fred told us that the latest ice charts showed that the older, thicker ice had broken away and headed south, and that the ‘fast’ land-ice was breaking up. It was this thinner ‘fast’ ice that was flowing in ribbons out of the bay and out to sea. We were just 18 hours too early, and the following day re-crossed the now icefree areas we had so much trouble with the day before and headed on a direct course to our next waypoint off the Henry Kater Peninsula. It was unbelievable how 100 square miles of ice could break free and disappear from view within just a few hours, driven by wind and currents into the Davis Strait. There were still some remnants of the fast ice out to sea, and in the morning sun this ice created something of a mirage, appearing to be an endless line of high ice walls when in fact it was chunks of ice and bergs creating a multi-horizon effect which deceived the eye. The same phenomena had deceived Parry in the early 1800s when he thought he saw land in front of him in Lancaster Sound. If he had listened to two of his officers, who disagreed with him, he might well have carried on and been the first to transit the Northwest Passage almost 100 years before Amundsen! Motoring across Home Bay with the remnants of the ‘fast ice’ ribbons, we encountered lots of increasingly large bergs en route to Cape Raper. In the fading light and increasing fog we arrived off the Inuit hamlet at Clyde River at 0300, having covered 139 miles in all. After a good night’s sleep we headed to the small North Hotel to get internet access for e-mails, ice reports and weather files. We had expected to be the first boat into Clyde River, but were not surprised to find that the remarkable Bob Shepton had sailed his Westerly Discus Dodo’s Delight from Greenland and had left to explore Sam Ford Fjord. I had heard on the mountaineering grapevine that Captain (The Reverend) Bob might head to Baffin Island after spending some time with a big wall climbing team in Greenland. Sam Ford Fjord was to be our next planned destination, so we hoped to meet up with him there.
Sam Ford Fjord panorama It was 14 August and we were supposed to be in Pond Inlet by now, but the coastline is so incredible we could not pass by Sam Ford Fjord without stopping to take a look. The Fjord is almost 60 miles long from its head to the entrance, and the middle 25 miles have some of the most incredible rock/mountain scenery I have ever seen. We 91
Dodo’s Delight beneath the towering cliffs in the Citadel anchorage searched three possible anchorages deep into the fjord and close to the big walls that we knew the crew of Dodo’s Delight would be interested in, but saw nothing. In the third we found only deep water, but as I turned the boat to leave I spotted a mast beneath a huge wall of rock over 3000ft high, with massive loose flakes threatening the tiny boat below – the 33ft Westerly Discus, Dodo’s Delight! It would be an understatement to say the anchorage was marginal, even with Novara’s excellent ground tackle.
Novara and Dodo’s Delight at the Citadel anchorage We hailed them as we motored slowly by, Bob and the boys emerged on deck and promptly invited themselves over for coffee, following which we invited them all for dinner. Shaun, Ben, Nico and Ollie – ‘The Wild Bunch’ – are world-class big wall climbers and have found a soul mate in the Reverend Bob Shepton, a legend in the sailing and climbing world and still going strong in his 80th year. Their 2010 trip to Greenland won them the coveted Piolet D’Or for putting up a number of leading-edge routes in great style, and a great team spirit that saw Bob establish a new first ascent and be included in the climbing award. The boys are renowned for their singing and song-writing as well as their climbing abilities, and all came aboard to give a virtuoso performance. A truly memorable night! Nico, Bob, Sean, Ollie and Ben, aka ‘The Wild Bunch’
As we left the anchorage the following morning we saw Ben and Shaun two-thirds of the way up an intimidating new big wall route, having started the climb at midnight following our evening together on Novara. Ollie and Nico were on another big wall within the anchorage. A remarkable and talented group of young men. Having used up all our spare days we now had to crack on and get north quickly. With a reasonably favourable weather forecast we planned to be in Pond Inlet by the evening of the 16th and then Beechey Island by the 21st/22nd. This would put us in place to make our attempt on one of the possible Northwest Passage routes. Heading north, we were roused on deck by a shout from Phil and I reached the cockpit Novara leaving the Citadel anchorage, as seen from in time to see the head high up on a new big wall route. Photo Ben Ditto of a very large polar bear just off our stern. Phil had almost run it over, and the first he knew of it was the bear growling at him from alongside. So much for being on watch! Roadkill
As we approached Pond Inlet the sun came over the horizon in the north-northeast at just after 0300, towards the end of my last night watch. A spectacular start to a beautiful Arctic day – no wind, and mirror-like seas with whales and seals showing clearly all around us. The recent bad weather that had brought northeasterlies down from the high Arctic had covered the mountains of Baffin and Bylot Islands with fresh snow, with the dozens of glaciers standing out as they flowed down to the sea. The day continued bright, clear and still and the journey from the Inuit settlement at Pond Inlet, along Bylot Island’s south coast and up Navy Board Inlet was stunning. If Baffin Island is a rock climber’s dream, then Bylot is an alpinist’s Shangri-La, with hundreds of unclimbed mountains crammed into an island measuring around 60 miles by 60 miles. But ... it is a short climbing summer (new snow on 17 August), access is lengthy (by boat) or expensive (by plane), but for those willing to commit the first ascent rewards are considerable. I was also on watch as the sun set in the north-northwest at just after 2300. Had we been there a few weeks earlier it would not have set at all. Time to relax
With no sign of an improvement in ice conditions in the main north/south passages the decision was made to head into Admiralty Inlet and visit Arctic Bay, the last of our Baffin Island destinations. Once again we made use of our shallow draft capability and nosed onto the end of the harbour mole to refuel. Baffin Island had more than lived up to our expectations, leaving us with a longing to return and explore, as well as many memories that will stay with us forever. With over 3500 miles covered we still had the same distance to go, and it was now time to commit ourselves to the Northwest Passage – but that is another story altogether...
noonsite aims to provide a one-stop website featuring essential information on all matters of interest to sailors planning an offshore voyage anywhere in the world, whether already underway or still in the preparatory stages.
193FRXQWULHV 1785porWV ClearanceForPDOLWLHV VisaRequirHPHQWV FHHV RHSDLUFDFLOLWLHV6SHFLDO(vHQWVWHDWKHU0DULQHDQG6KRrH6Hrvices
Ocean Crew Link Specialising purely in ocean sailing opportunities, OceanCrewLink.com is an online directory of sailors and sailing opportunities, which aims to connect boat owners with offshore sailing crew.
Find Boats Meet Crew
Now with over 4500 sailors signed up and more than 150 opportunities to sail, oceancrewlink.com offers a unique meeting place for those who love ocean sailing.
Create your sailing proﬁle now at...
INDONESIAN UPDATE Phil and Norma Heaton (Phil and Norma left Northern Ireland at the end of May 2009 aboard their OVNI 395 Minnie B. Later that year they sailed to West Africa and Brazil as part of the Rallye Iles du Soleil, then visited the Caribbean and spent a season in Canada and the USA. They continued westward across the Pacific in 2013. Visit their blog at www.sailblogs.com/ member/philandnorma.) Having read an article about the Sail Indonesia Rally in Flying Fish 2010/1, and had a good experience with the French-organised Rallye Iles du Soleil, we opted to join the Sail Indonesia Rally (SIR) [http://www.sailindonesia.net/home/home.php] for the Australia to Malaysia leg of our 2014 passage from New Zealand. Another company was offering an alternative rally for 2014, Sail2Indonesia, but our choice was based on the route, the timetable and SIR’s 14 years of experience. The 50 boats from 13 different countries (well down on previous years – there were 132 boats in 2009) were headed for Kupang or Saumlaki, with the majority to the former. At our briefing in Darwin, four days before departure, we were told that for a first-time visitor Indonesia can be summed up as ‘total hospitality, total chaos’. This turned out to be partly true but also partly misleading. We were also told that the published route was being changed and the ‘milk run’ from Alor via Pantar, Lembata, Adonara, Flores, Komodo and Rinca, Sumbawa and Lombok to Bali would not be supported by the rally organisers, who were instead organising a route to Sulawesi: Wanci, Ereke, Buton, Bau Bau, Benteng and Taka Bone Rate to Bali. It seems this change had also been made the previous year. There were some very unhappy customers who had arranged crew changes based on the advertised route. We were unimpressed by the descriptions of some of the proposed locations – anchoring in over 30m, or being quite exposed to southerly and easterly winds. However, one of our principal reasons for joining the rally was the facilitation of visas and a cruising permit, and sure enough all went smoothly in Darwin, where the Customs and Border Protection Service were highly efficient as well as being friendly and helpful. The 476 mile passage across the Timor Sea from Darwin to Kupang took us four days, leaving on 26 July. We were able to sail most of the way, with periods of motoring in the faltering wind which ranged from east-northeast to south-southeast at between 2 and 15 knots. The anchorage at Kupang is rather open but has good holding – which is necessary, as the afternoon sea breeze can exceed 20 knots. Customs, Immigration, Health and the Port Authority were well organised, and our inbound clearance proceeded smoothly. A local entrepreneur organised a shore crew to help land and launch dinghies for a fee of £3.80 per day. Here we experienced our first welcome dinners with displays of dancing and music – all quite charming. We enjoyed an outstanding bus excursion to the interior of Timor organised by Pae Nope, a prince of the Amanuban Nope royal family who spotted a gap in the tourist market [email@example.com]. It included visits to Soe, None and the market at Niki Niki; meeting Halena, the local midwife, at her ‘beehive’ house; touring an ancient village where warriors and villagers were fearsome-looking from 97
Minnie Bâ€™s crew at the festival at Lewoleba, Lembata chewing betel nuts; and having lunch at Paeâ€™s home followed by afternoon tea with the Crown Princess at the Royal Palace. Our next stop, 130 miles further on, was at Kalabahi on the island of Alor, where our visit coincided with a local festival. We were given honoured places and enjoyed the range of music and the many costumes, from head-hunters to American marching bands. The few days in Kalabahi gave participants the opportunity to decide on their plans and routes. Only a dozen or so boats chose to follow the revised itinerary, with the rest sticking with that originally advertised. The village at Pulau Besar, a small island north of Flores
Boats formed and re-formed different sailing companionships as we moved westward, an SSB net, mobile phones and VHF keeping people in touch and providing an information exchange. For example, the people of Lewoleba on Lembata were organising a festival for the anticipated Sail Indonesia Rally participants, so some 17 boats assembled and the crews were treated royally, with dancing and music displays and a splendid dinner. All supremely joyful and the hellos, smiles, handshakes and photographs were almost overwhelming. The islands in this area are very striking, with perfect volcanic cones some of which display red glows at night, which is mildly alarming at first. We anchored in a channel near the northeast corner of Adonara island – a beautiful, quiet spot, but with a fierce current. From there we sailed, motor-sailed and motored along the north coast of Flores, stopping at small villages until we reached Maumere where we anchored off Sea World Resort. On arrival at an anchorage the usual format was for local children to come out in dugout canoes, calling ‘Hello Mister, Hello Missis’, ‘What is your name?’, ‘Where are you from?’, or ‘Pens, books’. We had small gifts on hand, and talked to them as they were keen to practise their English. All were very polite, respectful and full of life. While at Maumere, we and others took a trip to the three spectacular volcanic crater lakes at Gunung Kelimutu, admiring the elaborate terraces growing rice and other staples. On 26 August we reached Labuan Bajo near the west end of the island and anchored off Eco Lodge, where we could leave dinghies ashore and the management took our rubbish and organised cars for us to visit the town. We arranged permits to visit Rinca island and its Komodo dragons (actually large monitor lizards), but our windlass was working poorly and we were having to raise the anchor manually – not safe when in 20m with little swinging room at some anchorages – so decided Rice terraces, Bali 100
Hoping it stays sleepy, Rinca to have a quick visit to see the dragons and then head directly for Bali in search of a mechanic. We encountered two female dragons guarding eggs, and then a group of lazy males and juveniles which couldn’t be bothered to go out and kill a buffalo but rather hung about the rangers’ compound feeding on scraps. Not quite what we expected. From there we continued along the south coasts of Sumbawa and Lombok to Bali, taking advantage of the southeast winds and west-going current, and completing the 284 miles in 34½ hours. Arriving at Bali Marina at 0845, the mechanic was on board by 1000 and the fully-repaired windlass was back within 24 hours. Not total chaos then.
Gunung Kawi, Ubud, Bali
Pura Besakih, Bali Exotic and famous Bali exceeded our expectations, from the overcrowded westernised Kuta, to the myriad Hindu temples and the majestic Gunung Agung mountain and Gunung Batur crater. Bali Marina is a bit run down and in a busy port area, but the staff were incredibly professional and helpful and we would recommend it. We then spent a few days on a Royal Bali Yacht Club mooring at Serangan. What’s in a name? Well, helpful staff speaking good English, a tiny office and a shed ... but located among bars and restaurants, and with pontoons to which the dinghy could be safely tied. Our dash to Bali had put us ahead of most of our ‘not the rally’ rally friends, so we decided to rejoin them at Medana Bay on the northwest coast of Lombok. This involved going northeast through Selat Lombok, the strait which lies between Bali and Lombok. The Southeast Asia Cruising Guide Volume II* has very helpful chartlets showing the tidal stream for the Southeast Monsoon, with times in relation to the upper and lower transits of the moon. From UT/LT to UT/LT +10h they show a southerly flow of water – that’s all the time for nearly 60 miles. However, the chartlets also show a slackening and then counter-flow very close to the Bali coast from UT+6 to UT0. On 10 September, our departure day, UT+6 was 0644 so we were off the mooring at first light and out through the channel. Initially we made only 1∙9 knots over the ground – an estimated passage time of more than 30 hours! – but then tucked in to within 1400m of the coast, though we had to move in closer to maintain speed. We hugged the coast for 20 miles to Pulau Gilitepekong, and at 1100 took the rhumb line for Gili Air, continuing to motor-sail to keep up speed as we were unsure of the current. We discovered later that we could have done it without the engine, as * By Stephen Davies and Elaine Morgan, published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson Ltd in 2008, ISBN 978-1-8462-3042-4 102
Displays of stick fighting, fan dancing and drumming, all at Medana Bay, Lombok we met the Bharadaya – the southwest wind which gets up around 1100 and blows at 25 knots – around the Gili Islands. The south-facing pass at Gili Air and the mooring pick-up were not attractive, so we chose a mooring at Teluk Kombo, a couple of miles to the south, crossing the following morning to Gili Air in flat calm. After a few days
in the islands, with good snorkelling and diving opportunities, we pressed on to Medana Bay where once again a great show was put on by the local Regency, despite not being an official SIR stop. This included stick fighting, much gamelan music and complex story-telling dances, a buffet and a superb evening of dancing to blues and rock’n’roll music from the Lombok Blues Community. 103
Mount Rinjani, Lombok At 3726m, Mount Rinjani in northeast Lombok is the second highest mountain in Indonesia. Our guide book says it is a ‘difficult climb’ and ‘not for amateurs’, but this includes the final 1100m of loose, scree-like volcanic gravel. We went with Abul Trekking, a company that prides itself on bringing down everything that goes up – mountains tend to accumulate plastic garbage left by climbers and porters – and they were great. We chose a 36-hour trek to the crater rim which promised an excellent view of the mountain, the crater lake, Danau Segara Anak (Child of the Sea) and a new volcanic cone growing at the side of the lake. Collected by car from Medana Bay, we stayed overnight in a b&b at Senaru, having visited the waterfalls in the afternoon. We started our 2040m (6700ft) climb at 0700, with our guide, Full. Our two porters,
Fishing boats at Pulau Bawean 104
Mul and Bidok, had already set off with our tents, sleeping bags and mats, food, water and other drinks, carrying the 35–50kg loads on bamboo poles and wearing flip-flops. Climbing first through coffee plantations and then forest, both providing good shade, we emerged onto what they called savannah but is mostly scrub and stunted trees with evidence of recent scrub-fires, and dusty, gravely terrain. Finally we reached a rocky ascent and saw our tents, knowing it was the end of our day’s trek. It had taken less than 7 hours of actual climbing. The view was breath-taking – apologies for the cliché. Our guide and porters rustled up afternoon tea with fried bananas covered in chocolate sauce, and later a delicious green curry with lemon grass, washed down by one can of Bintang beer. Full came to sit with us and tell us about the history and myths of Mount Rinjani. Magical. Our return trek the next day took five hours. In procession with other trekkers going down, the clouds of dust necessitated wearing a face mask and we were glad we had worn our gaiters as they kept the loose stones and gravel out of our boots. So how was it on these ageing legs? Going up our legs were like lead. Going down they ended up like jelly. Lead is better. It was, though, an experience to treasure. Next back to Balin and Lovina Beach, where the Sail Indonesia Rally was due to assemble for visa extensions. This did not go smoothly, and ten rally participants were fined AUS $250 each for not getting their visas extended in time. One of the highlights of Indonesia is the opportunity to see orangutans, so we headed across the Java Sea for Kumai on Kalimantan, stopping en route in a sheltered bay at Pulau Bawean. Reaching Kumai on 3 October after one of our best sails since the Gulf of Carpentaria, we anchored in the tidal river, which has good holding so one can be confident in leaving the boat with a guard. Together with an Australian couple we hired a local boat (a klotok) for two nights, and visited the three viewing sites in Tanjung Puting National Park. Our klotok had three crew, a guide and a cook. It was another A cluster of klotoks in Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan
Orangutans at Camp Leakey, Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan outstanding experience, with the semi-habituated orangutans swinging through the trees to feeding platforms where they peeled and gobbled bananas provided by the rangers. There were also lots of proboscis monkeys and macaques beside the river, gibbons, caimans, owls, kingfishers, hornbills and eagles. Then, on a night trek in the forest, our guides lured some tarantulas from their nests for us to see. The food on the klotok was excellent and an enormous coolbox with a block of ice kept our beer and wine nicely chilled (Kumai is a ‘dry’ town so you have to take your own). Our next stops were SIRorganised at Manggar and Tanjung Kelayang on Belitung. At both places the hospitality was boundless – we particularly enjoyed visiting Tanjung Pandan, where we were mobbed like celebrities when we visited a school (below), then ate a traditional wedding lunch in a Long
The village at Pulau Lingga anchorage
House where we also met the Vice Regent. Continuing northwest, we stopped briefly at anchorages in the Lingga and Riau group of islands: Pulau Pekoang, Pulau Lingga, and Pulau Masanak. This gave us a taste for a slower cruise through these islands when we return for our passage to the Sunda Strait and on to South Africa. At our sixth crossing of the line we had a small libation, gave Neptune his share, thanked him for calm seas and asked for safe passage in the future. Our final call was Nongsa Point Marina, Batam where we cleared out of Indonesia. This is a fine place to relax for a few days, and store up with good produce at low prices before crossing the Singapore Straits. So what are our recommendations? Well, for what they are worth: Join a rally for sailing in Indonesia – despite the negatives it is still the best way to go, and people on a number of boats that were cruising independently said they wished they had joined a rally. Some people opted to coat-tail the rally and gatecrash events, and this caused a ripple of muttering and sharp intakes of breath, but mostly these people were ignored. Access to visas, permits and clearance is much easier, and access to cultural events is mostly via rallies past or present. In addition, there is more information available about anchorages etc, and you get to meet other cruisers and can join an SSB net; Be very circumspect about what the rally organisers tell you – it is not always the reality and often there are gaps in the information provided – and do not be surprised if the communications from rally organisers are poor. As them to confirm that the route to be followed is that advertised; Expect procedures for clearances and visa extensions to vary, so patience is likely to be needed; 107
A fish-netting platform at Pulau Masanak anchorage
Expect the warmest of welcomes, and sheer delight from local people that you are here; Enjoy the music, dancing and cultural displays of which the Indonesians are justly proud; Eat local – the food is tasty, healthy, cheap and plentiful; Leave the fishing tackle in storage – buy from local people; Expect to see a lot of FADS (fish aggregation devices) in all shapes and sizes and in all depths of water – so keep a sharp lookout and have faith at night; Expect a lot of fishing boats at night, ranging from ones lit up with football stadia floodlighting to one-person boats with a light that comes on as you approach; Learn to live with Indonesian ‘colregs’ – the more lights, the more colours, the more flashing, the better; Go your own way – the revised SIR route bypassed Komodo and Rinca, which would have meant missing this unique area which also has excellent diving and snorkelling; Expect a lot of motoring – winds are light and for much of the area are also local; Carry plenty of fuel filters and pre-filters, and increase the frequency of change. You will get very dirty fuel, so filtering diesel before it goes into the tank is important too; Be prepared to anchor in 20m or more, and in some fairly open roadsteads; Carry small gifts for the children who visit you at anchor; Take time to stop and chat – people want to practise speaking English; Get used to the 0400 muezzin call to prayer in Muslim areas; Don’t be too dismayed by the litter – things are improving, albeit slowly; Stock up on wine and spirits before leaving Australia – both are hard to find, and wine is expensive; Enjoy one of the most fascinating countries in the world! 108
FEEL THE FREEDOM With a completely independent self-steering windvane AND Emergency rudder... in place and ready to go Your best crew member - doesnâ€™t eat, sleep, or talk back! No power consumed - less reliance on charging at sea No problem to install off center - keep your davits or platform Have confidence in case of main steering or rudder failure
Hallberg Rassy 352
Jeanneau SO 54
Wauquiez PS 40
Marine Fuel Cell
STEERING THE DREAM
sailingrallies.com A fresh approach to global sailing
Antigua 2 Falmouth Transatlantic to UK via Azores - 8th May 2015
Christmas Caribbean Rally Lanzarote to Antigua - 6th Dec 2015 | 4th Dec 2016
Baltic 4 Nations Rally Discover the Southern Baltic - 25th July - 8th August 2015
Spanish Rias Rally Explore the Spanish Rias - 26th July - 9th August 2016 Preparation at the
Transatlantic and Baltic Forums t i o n s Ra l
i a s Ra l ly hR
r i b b e an
20 1 5
Ch r i s t m
2 Fa l m o u t h
Held in London February/March 2015
Discounted entrance fees for OCC members Discover more at www.sailingrallies.com firstname.lastname@example.org +44(0) 845 2575004
MILKY SEA: OBSERVER No. 236 Conor O’Regan Seeing a display of nature for the first time can often be an unforgettable experience. However, seeing a phenomenon when you have no idea what you are witnessing is unnerving. Describing it, having no parallels, is confounding. As we began our Indian Ocean crossing in August 2006, we saw something quite extraordinary. That year’s sailing began in July when Henrietta and I left Opua in Pamina, our Rival 38. We had sailed to New Zealand in late 2004 and, some months later, left Pamina for about a year while we returned to the UK to work. Returning in June 2006 we prepared Pamina and got ready to leave. The plan was to cross the Indian Ocean before the cyclone season, and since July is a late start from Opua, we had some miles to make up. We first sailed to Vanuatu, and then on to Port Vila. Leaving Vila on 21 July, we left our destination open, waiting to see what the conditions would bring. The first few days were fairly bumpy, winds on the beam in the 25 knot range with an awkward swell, but progress was reasonable. At mid-morning on 1 August we entered the Pandora Passage, part of the Torres Strait. HMS Pandora was the ship sent to recover the Bounty mutineers, but she foundered while looking for a passage through the Great Barrier Reef. The eight hours until dusk were quite easy, as winds were light and we were sailing ‘fast and free’. At sunset we began the south-southwest leg through the strait’s Deep Water Passage, which brought us close-hauled for the next 100 miles or so. The channel is well marked and, with calm seas, sailing was pleasant and fast. Shortly after daybreak we could see the large ship wrecked Pamina in the Chagos Archipelago 111
on Bet Reef – ironically providing great assistance to other navigators. As we passed Kircaldie Reef the wind freed off, and with lots of islands, reefs and even the Australian mainland in sight, it felt like a day sail through the green water of the strait. That evening we shot through the Prince of Wales Channel, and a fantastic sunset welcomed us to the Gulf of Carpentaria. We had blustery, squally conditions in the gulf, but fortunately the wind was aft of the beam and the swells were generally not large. Speeds were good. One surprising thing about the gulf is how green the water is. Even when rough it is a turquoise colour, a great contrast with the deep ocean blue of the Pacific. By 6 August we were 40 miles east of the longitude of Darwin where we might have stopped, but having no need of a break, or water, or other supplies, we pressed on. About 500 miles west of Darwin lies the uninhabited Ashmore Reef. We decided that what we needed was an inhabited island where we could go ashore and stretch our legs – and that meant Christmas Island, 1000 miles to the west of Ashmore Reef. Sailing was fast, pleasant and, pulled by our twin headsails, the miles were rolling by. During this week we recorded a noonto-noon run of 182 miles over the ground – a record for Pamina. However, the passage would become memorable for another reason. With 500 miles remaining to Christmas Island we saw a very strange effect. It was sunset and it was my watch. The moon was in its third quarter, so would not rise for another six hours or so. As the sun went down and my eyes began to adjust, it became clear that the sea was brighter than the sky. The guardrails and lower rigging were faintly, but clearly, silhouetted against the sea. As the sky got darker, the light from the sea became more obvious. The entire sea was a faintly glowing green as if lit from below. It was like sailing over The ‘milk sea’ in a composite satellite image Steven Miller, Naval Research Laboratory an illuminated swimming pool. It wasn’t a phosphorescence effect as it was persistent – in fact the phosphorescence from our wake was barely visible against the ‘backlight’. I called Henri up as she had only just gone off watch, even though, as a rule, she does not like ‘eerie’ – which this definitely was. The light persisted for all of my watch, during which the winds were quite light and the sailing pleasant. When Henri came up for her watch it was about three hours after sunset, but the horizon was still visible 112
because the sea was brighter than, and delineated from, the sky. We had a quick chat about it – me from my bunk and Henri from the helm – where she asked if it had changed at all in intensity (it hadn’t), if the contrast in the west, where the sky was blackest and the sea greenest, was due to the moonrise (still three hours away) and so on. Then, in the course of our conversation, she said, ‘it’s gone’. We had sailed right out of the glowing water as suddenly as we had sailed into it. From then, until the moon came up on my watch, we had ‘normal’ phosphorescence. The following night, not sure what to expect and looking forward to our strange light show, we (of course) got nothing. The last 1088 miles took less than seven days, which included one night hoveto in order to make a daylight arrival in Flying Fish Cove, which we reached on Thursday 17 August. The 3882 mile passage from Port Vila to Christmas Island had taken us 26 days and 17 hours. Some two weeks later, while en route to Cocos Keeling, we saw the effect again. It was less visible, as it was a much fainter glow, and was soon ‘quenched’. However, having now seen it twice we at least knew it was a real effect! It would take a while to find out what we had observed – we tried to discuss it a few times with fellow cruisers, but after a while we stopped raising the subject, as we struggled to describe it and most thought we were describing some kind of phosphorescence. A description of what we had seen would have to wait another year, by which time we were settling back into life ashore in Dublin. Bizarrely, I was watching the movie Heat when the De Niro character – looking out at the lights of Los Angeles – drew a parallel with Fiji where they have ‘iridescent algae that light up the sea for miles, they come out once a year, that’s what it looks like out there’. Prompted by this, I spent some time searching the internet to see what descriptions of glowing water I could find. I quickly established that the De Niro line was a bit of screen-writer hyperbole, but I found several accounts matching what we had seen, including this superb description from a God-fearing Captain Kingman, sailing south of Java in June 1854:
‘The whole appearance of the ocean was like a plain covered with snow. There was scarce a cloud in the heavens, yet the sky ... appeared as black as if a storm was raging. The scene was one of awful grandeur; the sea having turned to phosphorus, and the heavens being hung in blackness, and the stars going out, seemed to indicate that all nature was preparing for that last grand conflagration which we are taught to believe is to annihilate this material world.’ There was also this more prosaic description from the northwest Indian Ocean on 13 August 1986: ‘The entire sea surface took on an intense white glow which was not unlike viewing the negative of a photograph.’
In fiction, Jules Verne referred to the phenomenon in his 1870 classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, leading to a conversation between two crew of the submarine Nautilus: ‘The 27th of January, at the entrance of the vast Bay of Bengal ... about seven o’clock in the evening, the Nautilus ... was sailing in a sea of milk ... Was it the effect of the lunar rays? No: for the moon ... was still lying hidden under the horizon ... The whole sky, though lit by the sidereal rays, seemed black by contrast with the whiteness of the waters. “It is called a milk sea,” I explained. “But sir, can you tell me what causes such an effect? for I suppose the water is not really turned into milk”. “No, my boy: and the whiteness which surprises you is caused only by the presence of myriads of infusoria, a sort of luminous little worm, gelatinous and without colour, of the thickness of a hair whose length is not more than seven-thousandths of an inch. These insects adhere to one another sometimes for several leagues”. “... and you need not try to compute the number of these infusoria. You will not be able, for ships have floated on these milk seas for more than forty miles”.’
By this point it was clear that other observers have either been treated to a much greater degree of light, or are blessed with greater descriptive powers. It was also clear that the phenomenon is reasonably well described and is known as ‘milky sea’. According to research by a Professor Herring at the University of Southampton it has been reported 235 times since 1915. 171 of these observations have been in the northern Indian Ocean and 40 off Indonesia. What once had sailors reaching for metaphysical explanations is now explained by ‘free-living bioluminescent bacteria, sometimes present in such enormous numbers that they literally light up huge areas of the ocean’. An analysis of a particularly vivid event described by a merchant ship led a researcher to review satellite imagery and capture a stunning satellite photograph of the effect off the Horn of Africa, which proves we were not all hallucinating. Many references to the ‘milky sea’ effect are to be found online, with particularly good articles at http://archives. microbeworld.org/news/ articles/LightoftheSea.aspx and www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC1448986/.
Are there only white fish in the milky sea? Image created by Slinkachu 114
YOUNG LARRY – BACK TO BAFFIN Andrew and Máire Wilkes (Andrew and Máire Wilkes have circumnavigated both North America (via the Northwest Passage) and South America (via Cape Horn), as well as cruising in the Caribbean, Baltic and European waters. Their cruises have varied in length from a summer season squeezed between work commitments to a three year cruise. Young Larry is a 44ft steel gaff yawl, designed and built by Dick Couture in 1996, which Andrew and Máire have owned since 2010. They describe her as ‘beautiful, very strong and a good passage-maker’. Following several seasons sailing in the Arctic, Andrew was asked to write the RCC Pilotage Foundation’s Arctic and Northern Waters, which was published in 2014 (and reviewed to acclaim in Flying Fish 2014/2). The book draws from cruises to the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Alaska, and the contributions of a number of other high latitude sailors.) Our plan for 2014 was for Máire and me to to sail Young Larry, our 44ft steel gaff yawl, from Lymington, on the south coast of England, to Baffin Island by way of Ireland, Scotland, the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland. We would return by Labrador and Newfoundland. Baffin Island is the second biggest island in the northern hemisphere. The land area is about 2½ times the size of the British Isles, but it has a population of less than 17,000, of which 7000 live in the capital, Iqaluit. Everybody else lives in one of seven other settlements. There is no road network. In the winter the entire coastline is surrounded by fast pack ice, and 117
Young Larry’s berth at Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland even in summer the water temperature is often below 0ºC. In some places ice may remain the year round. We had cruised the northern and eastern parts of the island in 2008 and 2010, and now we wanted to explore the southeastern part. We left Lymington on 4 May and, after a happy interval of two weeks in Dungarvan on the south coast of Ireland, sailed north to Mull and Stornaway, our departure port for the Faroes. It is 216 miles from Stornaway to the island of Suðuroy in the Faroes, which we sailed in 39 hours, an easterly force 3 giving us a fine reach all the way. On arrival in Trongisvágsfjørdur we quickly cleared customs in the officer’s car on the quayside. He was having home-reared roast lamb for Sunday lunch, but the shops were closed so we had pasta. Time was short and we only had time for one other port of call in the Faroes, and chose Tórshavn. Little had changed since our last visit – it was still charming, and there were enough puffins left to feature heavily on the restaurant menus. The 405 mile sail to Iceland took us four days: a day sailing on the wind, a day and a half motor-sailing in light airs, and finally a broad reach into Vestmannaeyjar. The following day we moved on to Grindavik on the Rejannes Peninsula. Grindavik has a lot going for it – in particular a friendly bar on the quayside which made us very welcome thirty minutes after making landfall at 2230. There is also an interesting 5km walk, partly through lava fields, to the famous Blue Lagoon, where one can swim in the thermal pool and exfoliate skin in silica mud. After a couple of days we sailed on to Reykjavik, where we berthed at the very hospitable Brokey Sailing Club. I was invited to race on a Secret 26, a racing boat designed for Icelandic waters by David Thomas – the race was wet, windy and a lot of fun. We finally left for Greenland on 25 June. Vessels are advised to stay well south of Cape Farvel, the southern tip of Greenland, because of the bad ice (storis) and weather conditions there. The route from Iceland tempts one into these waters, however, and we met with uncomfortably strong winds. 119
We hove-to for a day, the 1000 mile passage from Iceland taking 11 days in all. We made landfall on 6 July at Arsuk, which was the first port accessible through the storis ice. We sheltered from strong winds at Küngnat for a day, then motored past the former Danish naval base at Grønnedal in Arsukfjord to a ‘new’ anchorage at Ellerlie Havn, a beautiful land-locked bay complete with noisy waterfall. The Grønnedal naval base was closed a couple of year’s ago and, prior to that time, navigation in these waters was restricted. From Ellerlie Havn we used the inner lead routes to day sail north to Nuuk, anchoring overnight at Smalleshund Havn, Paamiut, Avigait and Qeqertarsuatsiaat. Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, was another sociable stop-over as we met several boats there, some of whom were planning Northwest Passage transits. We spent a few relaxing days cruising in the fjords east of Nuuk, then Máire flew back to Ireland for a week to attend her niece’s wedding. We were not happy to leave Young Larry unattended, so I stayed and continued northward to Sisimuit, mainly through the ‘inner-leads’. It is a wonderful cruising ground, with lots of interesting pilotage and beautiful anchorages. There is an archipelago along most of the coast where a boat has to dodge a lot of rocks and squeeze through the odd mountain pass. The inner lead route from Håbets Havn to Tovquassaq was a little too interesting, as I hit a rock – twice. The first time was because I was not paying attention, the second was because the rock was not marked on the chart. I decided to re-trace my steps after that and sail offshore for this section of the coast. I generally came across two or three boats each day – either small boats with a single man with a rifle hunting for seals, or slightly bigger boats with families on their way to a hunting camp. Everyone waved cheerfully. One day I saw a seal surface Refuelling at Arsuk, our Greenland landfall
Among the Greenland ice
between me and a hunter. The Greenlanders are very observant and superb shots, so he could easily have shot the seal – had he missed, however, he could have hit Young Larry. He was polite enough not to try. Máire rejoined in Sisimuit, and a couple of days later we sailed and motor- sailed across the Davis Strait in a light northerly, which faded away as we approached Baffin Island. The fog which had come upon us about halfway across the 200 mile strait stayed for the remainder of the passage, but we knew when we had reached the shores of Baffin Island by the welcoming committee of seals, guillimots and fulmars – as well as by the radar, of course. We could see no more than a few metres and, even though we were within a cable of the shore, we saw nothing. The echo sounder showed depths greater than 180m. The Canadian Sailing Directions paint a very ‘broad brush’ picture of the Baffin Island coast, and the few anchorages mentioned are more suitable for ships than smaller vessels. Of more use were the accounts by Willy Ker, OCC, and Hugh Clay, OCC, of their cruise to Exeter Sound in Willy’s Contessa 32 Assent in 1995*. The chartplotter offset was variable, generally off by about half a mile and, not being able to see in the fog, we navigated by radar. The shores are mainly steep-to and backed by high mountains. We passed by the anchorage used by Willy and Hugh on the unnamed island in Exeter Sound, as finding a small cove in the fog would have been difficult. Instead we made for the anchorage at the head of Totnes Roads and beneath Mount Raleigh, used by John Davis in 1585. This anchorage had the advantage, in the fog, of being relatively open. We hoped that the two rivers and relatively shallow, sloping * These appeared in the Royal Cruising Club’s annual Roving Commissions for that year, Volume 36 121
mountains indicated a gently sloping sea bed and good holding â€“ this proved to be true and we anchored in 15m over sand. Davis describes the anchorage as follows:
Te coast is very mountainous, altogether without wood, grass or earth, and is onely huge mountaines of stone; but the bravest stone that ever we saw. He goes on to write:
So soon as we were come to an anker in Totnes rode under Mount Raleigh we espied four white beares at the foot of the mount; we supposing them to be goats or wolves, manned our boats and went towards them; but when we came near the shore we found them to be white beares of a monstrous bignesse. We being desirous of fresh victuall and the sport began to assault them, and I being on land, one of them came downe the hill right against me: my piece was charged with hailshot and a bullet: I discharged my piece and shot him in the necke; he roared a little and tooke the water straight making small account of his hurt. Then we followed him with our boat and killed him with boare speares, and two more that night. We went to sleep for a few hours and woke to find that the fog had lifted and we were anchored in a stunning anchorage surrounded by high mountains. A lone polar bear was shambling along the beach. The following day another polar bear and her cub were nearby on the rocky western shore of Totnes Roads. We motored south between the mainland and the unnamed island in the centre of Exeter Sound, rounded the bold headland of Cape Walsingham and crossed Clephane Bay. We were in need of an anchorage for the night and hoped that we might find protected and relatively shallow waters at the head of Inglis Bay. Fortunately we did, and anchored in 14m and mud. West of Angijak Island the next day we motored for about a mile past an area of small ice floes. There were several hundred walruses on, and swimming close to, the floes and an enormous whale breaching nearby.
A few of the many walruses we came across west of Angijak Island, Baffin Island
With no obvious anchorage indicated on the chart, we turned to Hugh Clay’s account of his travels aboard Assent in 1995. He mentioned a ‘nice sheltered pool in the middle of Ilikok Island’, so we made for it. We made an educated guess about exactly where the spot was and gently sounded our way into a landlocked haven where we anchored in 10m over mud. I then had a very pleasant afternoon being rowed around the ‘harbour’ by Máire while I took soundings with the lead line. This was followed by a climb in the hills above the cove, taking care to look out for hungry polar bears.
The ‘nice sheltered pool in the middle of Ilikok Island’ The light winds and calms we had experienced since our Baffin Island landfall were forecast to change to increasingly strong southerlies over the next few days, so we made an 0400 start on Tuesday 5 August to cross the 50 mile wide mouth of Cumberland Sound before strong headwinds set in. About 6 miles south of Muingmak Island the depths, which had until then been over 60m, rapidly shelved to 6m. There were a lot of icebergs in the vicinity and I suppose they had all run aground in the shoal water. One cannot blame the hydrographers for an incorrect chart because, like everywhere else we had sailed over the previous few days, there were no soundings marked. We motored across Cumberland Sound in light winds and made for Vivi Harbour a few miles to the west of Cape St David. In the absence of any other information we had chosen this anchorage because its name included the word ‘harbour’. Even by Baffin Island standards, the person who first named the inlet had a loose understanding of the word. We motored up and down the inlet hoping to find somewhere which would 123
be protected, have some swinging room, and be less than 30m deep. We eventually anchored on a small moraine in the middle of the bay in 12m. A restricted, sheltered pool with a waterfall at the head of the inlet looked promising, but the forward-looking echo-sounder predictions were not hopeful. A small boat could perhaps anchor and take lines ashore to find a snug berth, but it was midnight and we were not in the mood for experimenting. After a peaceful night, we left Vivi ‘Harbour’, motored around Cape St David and entered the Anderson Channel. The Sailing Directions are brief, merely noting that the shores are high and rugged, and that there is a drying rock in the narrowest part of the channel. Since the channel is 25 miles long and it is impossible to tell from the chart where the narrowest point is, more information would have been helpful. We found the rock, which was awash – it is at 63°43’∙6N 64°35’∙5W – and did not hit it. There would have been no point in investing in colour film to photograph the parts of Baffin Island we had seen so far – the landscape was black, white and shades of grey. There were lots of vertical cliffs, lunar-like terrain and snow-filled gullies. Now, in the Anderson Channel, we saw areas of land which seemed to be covered in green moss or lichen. We came across a lone polar bear making his way along the shore parallel to us. He was travelling over rough, bolder-strewn ground at about the same speed as us – 5 knots – and although he was on quite steep ground, uphill or down, his pace did not alter. Then he swam for a while at about the same speed, effortlessly entering and leaving the channel from rocks about 2m above water level. We had planned to anchor that night in a promising-looking bay on the shores of Brevoort Island, but when we got there someone had scattered a few handfuls of rocks and islets which were not shown on the chart, so we decided to push on to Winton Bay. After another midnight survey we anchored in 25m near the head of the bay. 124
The following day we made Robinson Bay on the north side of Loks Land. An old helicopter fuel dump comprising four large rusty tanks was installed at the head of the bay, which is probably why there is a detailed chart of the area – the rocks at the entrance and centre of the bay made us glad that we had invested in it. We anchored in 12m, close to a waterfall, for a couple of days spent sheltering from strong southerly winds. There is a passage inside Loks Land which leads to Frobisher Bay known as Bear Sound which is used by shallow-draft Inuit boats, but the Sailing Directions were discouraging. We hated doing so, but decided to take the ‘safe route’ around Loks Land – an additional 42 miles. We were bound for the peninsula which forms the southwest side of Frobisher Bay, which was named the Meta Incognita Peninsula by Martin Frobisher in 1576 and was the outer limit of the Elizabethan known world. At the time, Frobisher thought he had discovered the Northwest Passage and the bay was called Frobisher Strait. It was not until 1861 that it became apparent that the waterway was a bay and not a strait. Frobisher also thought he discovered a gold mine, but when he returned to England from a second expedition with a cargo of the ore it was found to be pyrite, or ‘fool’s gold’. The mistake cost Frobisher dearly, and he only avoided the debtor’s prison by turning privateer. We left Robinsons Bay at 0400 and, 100 miles later, gently sounded our way into an anchorage in Jackman Sound using echo-sounder and radar. It was midnight, very dark, and there were rocks to be avoided. When motoring out next morning we saw two lone polar bears as well as a mother and cub. I believe hungry male polar bears have been known to attack and eat cubs, so I hope this did not happen after we left. When I woke up Máire at the change of the watch she informed me that I smelt like a polar bear – perhaps not too surprising because, by this stage, the bears and I shared much the same diet and hygiene habits! We seemed to be in the habit of arriving at anchorages late in the day, and our arrival at Daniel Island Harbour, 70 miles to the north, was no exception. The entrance is easy, however, and we anchored in 22m south of a drying isthmus in the western part of the harbour and remained there for two days while a strong westerly blew itself out. Frobisher Bay runs to the northwest, and the waters north of Daniel Island Harbour are encumbered with a number of long islands and shoals running in a northwest/southeast direction. There are several passages, some of which are subject to tidal streams of up to 7 knots, but we took the Pike–Risor channel, the main shipping route, and had an uneventful passage to the settlement of Iqaluit at the head of the bay. Iqaluit is the ‘capital’ of Baffin Island – we had hit the bright lights. Almost 7000 people live there, about half of whom are indigenous Inuit while the rest came north from southern Canada. Prior to 1987 the settlement was known as Frobisher Bay, but in 1999 the new territory of Nunavut, which means ‘Our Land’, was formed from part of the Northern Territories. Iqaluit was selected to be the capital partly because the airport, which had evolved from an old US airstrip, would be of key importance to the new Territory. The government administration offices are still growing and they are a big employer, as is the construction industry which is working hard to house government employees. Property prices are high. There are no permanent harbour facilities – cargoes are discharged from ships at anchor onto barges, which are beached on the sand foreshore either side of high water – the tidal range is the second largest in North America, and reaches 12m at springs. 125
Low tide at Iqaluit, where tidal range can reach 12m, and a sledge abandoned until winter
Tracked vehicles drive onto the sand as the tide recedes, and unload the barges at low water. The process is known as ‘sea-lift’, and can only take place in the summer when ice conditions permit. Cruising yachts rarely visit Iqaluit – we were the first yacht to be handled by the customs officers there. A sociable lady, who came by to bid us welcome and give us some fish, said that the last yacht to visit was a small, dark green one, skippered by an older man. That would have been Willy Ker and Assent during their 2004 cruise. Since leaving Greenland 18 days previously we had seen no boats and no people, but lots of polar bears, hundreds of walruses, a couple of whales, numerous seals and lots
Máire repairing sails in Newfoundland
Andrew attempting (unsuccessfully) to catch a fish
of bird life. Shortly after anchoring I proudly told a local man about our sightings. He wanted to know if I’d done any hunting, so I asked him which species we should have ‘harvested’. “All of them!” he said – I don’t think he was very impressed with me. We spent four days at anchor off Iqaluit. The highlight was meeting Glen and Rebecka Williams and their lovely family. Glen is an Arctic hunting expert whom we had first met at Pond Inlet in 2010 when he was supervising a bowhead whale hunt. Rebecka obviously agreed that I smelt a bit ‘bearish’ as she insisted we have long hot showers before she fed us. Before leaving our supplies of diesel and stores were replenished, various people gave us Arctic char, which is a bit like salmon, and Rebecka presented Máire with an ulu, the Inuit ‘woman’s knife’ to eat them with. We were sorry to leave Iqaluit, but time was pressing on. Day-sailing south through Frobisher Bay, we stopped overnight again at Daniel Island Harbour and Jackman Sound, where we saw nine polar bears ashore; one with a cub, the others on their own. That was our last port of call on Baffin Island. The sailing season in these waters is very short, and on 19 August we set sail for Cartwright in Labrador, where we met Angela and Clive Woodman, OCC, in Cosmic Dancer. In the pub, Máire played her concertina and led a sing-song with itinerant fisherman who, like us, were weather-bound for a few days. We were given a couple of huge turbot which, later aboard Young Larry, fed the yachting population of Cartwright plus a visiting fishery protection officer. They are big fish and I suspect the 5000 were fed with turbot. We rushed along the remainder of the Labrador coast on our way to the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club, a few miles west of St John’s, where we were made extremely welcome by the staff and members of this very friendly club. We spent ten days stripping the rigging and sails, varnishing, and winterising Young Larry’s various systems before flying back to the UK. There are so many beautiful anchorages to..... see in that part of the world and we look forward to returning in 2015. 127
FROM THE GALLEY OF ... Bill Salvo, aboard Cascade II Smoked Salmon with penne (serves two) • penne pasta Ingredients • 3 tbs tomato paste • 1 medium onion, finely chopped • 100 g smoked salmon (for 2) • chopped parsley • 120 ml cooking cream • a little milk • a few dried chopped chilli peppers Cook the penne in salted water until al dente. Sauté the onions in olive oil until clear, and add the smoked salmon cut into pieces. Add the cream, tomato paste and dried chopped chilli peppers. Simmer lightly, adding milk to reach the desired consistency. Mix with the penne and top with chopped parsley.
FROM THE GALLEY OF ... Graham and Avril Johnson, aboard Dream Away Creamy Chicken Curry Ingredients • • • • • • • •
chicken or turkey (off the bone) chicken stock onions, chopped garlic butternut squash or pumpkin in small chunks madras curry powder or paste cream cheese (Philadelphia or similar) oil for frying
Fry the onions and garlic, then add the peeled and chopped butternut squash and enough chicken stock to cover. Curry can be added at the very beginning, or at this stage, depending on preferences. Add raw or cooked chicken, and adjust cooking time accordingly. The cream cheese should be added in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Other curry flavours can be used, but we find that Madras balances well with the sweetness of the butternut squash and the creaminess of the cheese. I often make my own yogurt, then add 1 tsp salt to one litre and strain it overnight through muslin or cheesecloth to make my own cream cheese.
ADLARD COLES NAUTICAL THE WORLDâ€™S LARGEST NAUTICAL PUBLISHER
Subscribe to the Adlard Coles Nautical newsletter and receive additional content and exclusive discounts throughout the year, by visiting
THE DIAMOND SUPPLEMENT Bill McLaren, Commodore 2009-2012 A history is both a narrative and a record of the past. But a good history goes further; it tells you why and how the story developed; it speaks of the dreams of the players and of their triumphs and disasters. And an honest history washes the odd bit of dirty laundry as well. Tony Vasey’s The First Fifty Years, written and published in 2004, did all that brilliantly. He told of the small beginning of Hum’s Chums, of extraordinary adventures, of the near disaster of the Great Schism of the 1980s, of steady development, of more extraordinary adventures, and finally of a mature club seeking to adjust to the huge changes which have taken place in the cruising world. This Diamond Supplement takes the story on a further ten years. There have been more adventures, some big changes in the Club, and no shortage of problems to work our way through. And all this has been against a backdrop of changes in the cruising world of which our founders could not even have dreamed. Founder member Ben Pester put it well in Flying Fish 2004/1, when he told of his 1953 passage from Plymouth to Auckland in Tern II, which in her 54th year had never known ‘the electric’:
I wonder what he would say if he were writing now.
Tern II, in which Ben sailed out to New131 Zealand in 1953
Ben Pester, shortly before his death in 2010
There are, perhaps, two histories to recount – parallel universes, if you like. Firstly there is the history of the development of the Club, of AGMs, Committees, money and so on. Secondly there is the much more interesting history of the real world of ocean cruising and the adventures of our members around the globe. Both universes have been busy over the last decade. In 2004 Alan Taylor was Commodore and Erik Vischer Vice Commodore. Erik had become Vice Commodore in 1999 and, due to the ‘clock’ re-starting with Alan Taylor (left) with his successor, Martin Thomas Erik Vischer with Admiral Mary Barton in 2007
the incorporation of the Club, was to remain in post until 2009 through the reigns of four Commodores. This shows stamina, and Erik must often have gritted his teeth as he trained up the new man. Alan presided over the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The first major event was the Golden Jubilee Dinner in March at which our Admiral Mary Barton was the principal guest. Several Founder Members were present, and the comment was made that our founder, Hum Barton, would have been proud of his club after 50 years. 132
Alan and Jenny travelled widely – mainly, as he puts it, in their second yacht, By Air – attending rallies in Australia, New Zealand and North America, as well as the major and successful Jubilee Azores Rally. It was a good year and it is invidious to single out any special event, but perhaps the prize goes to the British Columbia rally, under the brilliant organisation of Andy and Liza Copeland, which mustered 39 boats and 139 participants at its peak point.
The final party at the British Columbia Rally in 2004, and a big thank you to Andy and Liza Copeland
Two other events dominated Alan’s period as Commodore. Firstly, the Club was incorporated as a company under UK law. This formalised the Club’s structure and forced a more rigorous approach to its way of doing business. The object of the exercise was to limit liability of the Club and its officers, which is clearly necessary in this modern, litigious age. Although the Club was now formally governed by a Board of Directors whose duties were defined by UK Company law, it made little difference to the day-to-day activities of the Committee. It was, however, a defining moment and was, perhaps, the beginning of the trend towards the more business- and serviceorientated style that we see today. The second problem he faced was a total restructuring of the Club’s administration. For more than a decade the roles of Club Secretary and Membership Secretary had been separate, and at that time were filled by Anthea Cornell and Colin Jarman respectively. Anthea also edited the Newsletter. This arrangement had served the Club well, but came to an end when Anthea’s forthcoming marriage meant she needed to leave at short notice. This led to something of a hiatus, which was resolved by the employment of Richard Anderton as Club Secretary, combining the two jobs, while Colin took over as editor of the Newsletter, which he has taken from strength to strength over the years. This situation remained unchanged until late October 2014, when Richard suddenly and tragically died. He had served the Club well for some ten years and had built 133
Richard Anderton waiting for the April 2013 AGM to begin an administration system capable of running a small country. He will be much missed and his successor, Rachelle Turk, who took over in mid-November, has faced a steep learning curve. Meanwhile folk were going sailing, and as always our members were out there exploring faraway places. In a brief history such as this one can only cherry-pick, and where better to look than the winners of our most prestigious award, the Barton Cup. Irishmen Jarlath Cunnane and Paddy Barry won the Barton Cup in 2005 for the first-ever polar circumnavigation by a yacht. The voyage began in 2001 when they traversed the Northwest Passage in the purpose-built Northabout. After two seasons exploring the Pacific Northwest, in 2004 they embarked on the challenge of the yet more demanding Northeast Passage. They didnâ€™t make it through that year, wintering Northabout in Siberia after being halted by ice, and completed the Passage in 2005. In Flying Fish 2005/2 Jarlath tells of the support they gave to fellow adventurer Henk de Velde in Campina, who was attempting the passage singlehanded. His boat was damaged, and Northabout towed her to a rendezvous with a ship which lifted her onboard. It was quite some tow, enlivened by one of Northaboutâ€™s famous Irish music jam sessions while moored to an ice floe. As an aside, Jane and I enjoyed a similar evening, without the ice flow, when alongside Northabout in Kodiak, Alaska, but that was a much more civilised affair as the pub was just around the corner. Campina under tow in the Northeast Passage I asked Jarlath to tell us of a special moment and he chose to go back to the beginning: 134
Jarlath carrying the framework of an Aran Island currach – one of the many boats he has built over the years Jarlath Cunnane at the Annual Dinner in 2014 135
2005 saw the first mention of the Cruising Information Website, and George Curtis joined the Committee with responsibility for its development. It was a natural development of the old paper-based system that had existed for many years, and George was to devote an enormous amount of time and effort to the project. The Committee of the day agreed that it should be generously funded for several years, which was to lead eventually to some difficult discussions over our future website policy. In 2006 Martin Thomas took over as Commodore and George Curtis became Rear Commodore. Martin tackled the job with his usual ebullient style, and set about an exercise to chart the future course of the Club. The results of this survey were published in December 2007 and identified seven main ambitions: • To enlarge the membership • To improve the Port Officer network • To be more recognisably international • To improve the website • To reduce the average age of membership • To encourage young people to sail oceans. Martin Thomas with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who was elected an Honorary Member in 2008 But in the real world none of this mattered. Tom and Vicky Jackson were sailing their beautiful, varnished Sunstone enormous distances in pursuit of their combined cruising and racing adventure, and in 2007 won the Barton Cup for their ten-year circumnavigation via the southern Great Capes. They sailed some 80,000 miles 136
Sunstone rounding Cape Horn. Photo Kevin Ruscoe
to achieve it, including sailing clockwise round the Pacific with visits to Japan and Alaska. But they also enjoy shorter sails in the far south of New Zealand, and chose to tell us of a special day:
SATISFACTION Sometimes ‘a cruiser’s got to do, what a cruiser’s got to do’. In this case, it meant a short sleep and rising at midnight, to up anchor and grope our way in pitch dark out of the narrow entrance of Lake Cove at the north end of Chalky Sound in New Zealand’s Fiordland. Though we knew it was coming, it was still a shock to feel the wind climb from a gentle zephyr to 30-40 knots in a matter of minutes – fortunately from astern. With some help from the radar we found our way down the Sound, scudding along with just our No.4. Outside it was blowing hard as we headed more southerly to round Puysegur Point, the South Island’s southwesterly tip. With dawn the wind eased and we set a reefed main. The rising sun lit a dramatically clouded sky and silhouetted the jagged Solander Islands to port. In the afternoon, as we approached the western reefs of Stewart Island, the wind eased further and came more easterly until we were motor-sailing toward the rocks of Southwest Cape, one of the five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean. As the wind died the seabirds gathered, until we were surrounded by huge flocks of soaring petrels, shearwaters and terns. Tiny storm petrels danced on the waves, while beneath and through those waves seals and dolphins cavorted. However, the best was to come as we rounded the Cape and headed along the south coast of Stewart Island towards the shelter of Port Pegasus. More and more albatross began swooping around Sunstone, singly and almost in formation. The huge, elegant Royals soared along the troughs and tipped over the top of the swells, while the smaller Bullers mimicked their flights at higher speed. Vicky’s camera ran hot as she darted from one side of the boat 137
to the other, determined to catch every moment and every movement. As we approached the southern entrance to Port Pegasus the wind died almost completely and we motored through flotillas of gently paddling albatross looking hopefully at Vicky’s bowl as she ate dinner in the cockpit. With just enough light remaining, we backed our way into a familiar spot in the appropriately named Evening Cove, dropped anchor, and rigged our stern-line to the fishermen’s fixed mooring rope. We had earned our tot. As a short passage it had everything – some challenging weather and pilotage, dramatic scenery, wonderful wildlife, rarely Peace and quiet in Evening Cove, visited anchorages, a famous Port Pegasus, New Zealand cape rounded and a passage plan that worked. You could hardly ask for more. In 2007 Martin took his classic Charm of Rhu to Antigua for an OCC rally and the Antigua Classics, and surprised himself by winning his first race in the Classics regatta (left). Meanwhile the Committee was getting on with implementing the seven ambitions, and Mark Holbrook was working on expanding the Port Officer network. This has always been a key element of the Club and Mark was to do sterling work in its development. At the AGM that year, Treasurer David Caukill – who had a reputation for somewhat lugubrious financial reports – was unusually upbeat, admitting that the Club was in good financial health and that money could be spent. A major update on the websites was authorised, and 138
the Youth Bursary scheme was inaugurated. This was intended to help young people with the costs associated with ocean passagemaking, but was to encounter problems over the years to come due to difficulties in finding members who could provide berths for applicants. Meanwhile, back out in the real world, another great adventurer, the Reverend Bob Shepton, was busy throughout the decade. He had won the Barton Cup back in 1995 and in the new decade he seemed to treat Greenland like most of us do the Channel Islands. He has spent many summers sailing and mountaineering in those waters, collecting in the process several prestigious sailing and mountaineering prizes. More recently he has taken to the Northwest Passage, firstly as ice pilot in a superyacht and then with a double traverse in his own 33ft Dodo’s Delight, for which he was voted UK Yachtsman of the Year in 2014 and received the Barton Cup (again!) for the same year. He tells his story in his ‘must Bob Shepton in Baffin Island in read’ book Addicted to Adventure (reviewed 2014. Photo Oli Favresse in Flying Fish 2014/1). In answer to my request for a cameo he tells us about the Arctic, a place he knows well:
Cold conditions in the Northwest Passage – the morning after escaping from the gale in Fort Ross Dodo’s Delight serving as ‘base camp’ for climbers scaling Seagull’s Garden on Red Wall, Greenland 140
In late 2008 I received a call from Martin Thomas suggesting that I should become Commodore. This was out of the blue, and reflected the fact that none of the existing Flag Officers or Committee members were willing or able to take on the job. Nevertheless I swallowed the bait, and took over in April 2009. Clearly it is far better if a new Commodore comes from a background of involvement in Club affairs, but I was greatly helped by the huge experience of key players Erik Vischer, David Caukill and long-serving Committee member Howard Gosling. Both Erik and David were to leave after my first year, following many years of great support to the Club, with George Curtis taking over as Vice Commodore and Sally Currin becoming Treasurer. Committee meetings were still face Bill McLaren, Commodore from 2009 to face over the table, but towards the until 2012 and author of this account end of Martinâ€™s time as Commodore Richard Anderton had introduced telephone conference facilities and we were just beginning to experiment with the new technology. Regional Rear Commodores had always, automatically, been Committee members and this allowed their voices to be properly heard for the first time. The technology progressively improved, initially using Skype and then a commercial internet-based conferencing system, and by the end of my time as Commodore remote attendance had become routine and has now been enshrined in the rules. It was a valuable change and opened up the Committee to fresh thinking. The Regional Rear Commodores from the USA took a prominent role and started a debate that was to consume much time and energy during my time in office. The websites were the issue and the question was asked whether the development programme was heading in the right direction and whether we were getting value for money. It was a fair question which needed answering, and we spent some two years at it. George would be the first to agree that he defended his position vigorously and the challenge was equally determined. Things were said that would have been better left unsaid, but the energy of the debate demonstrated loud and clear that people cared about their Club. I reported at the 2011 AGM that the debate had been fractious and had led to the break-up of the Website Sub-Committee. I said that the only way forward was to go back to basics and have a formal review of website policy â€“ as if we were starting from scratch. Rear Commodore Mark Holbrook drew the short straw, took immense pains to gather opinion, and wrote a report which was fully accepted by the Committee. It was a good job and I was able to announce at the 2012 AGM that we had an agreed policy which has formed the basis of the websites we see today. 141
Not everybody in the OCC does high latitude adventuring or wins the Barton Cup, and like most members Avril and Graham Johnson have generally stuck to less demanding waters – though their passage through the Chilean Canals was a major exception to this rule, for which they won a well-deserved Vasey Vase. I asked them to tell us a tale of peace and tranquillity:
THE CRUISING DREAM The Cruising Dream of picture postcard-perfect South Pacific islands populated by welcoming, friendly people – myth or reality? The idyllic island of Kia lies inside the Great Sea Reef, 10 miles off Vanua Levu in northern Fiji. It is a small island, supporting three villages. We anchored off the smallest, lying in an indentation on the west coast, sheltered from the prevailing trade winds. Ashore, a group of folk looking suspiciously like a welcoming committee were gathering on benches under a woven palm frond canopy. We dressed up, Av wearing her sulu (ankle length skirt and long tunic top), G in his sulu vakataga (formal wrap around), gathered up our gift of kava root, and rowed in. We were greeted by an attractive Fijian girl who escorted us to a simple sevu sevu ceremony which welcomed us into the small community. Mela took us to meet her mother, Maqi, and family at their nearby home. They were our hosts in the village, immediately making us feel extraordinarily welcome. Very few yachts travel this area and we were the first cruisers to arrive correctly dressed for the sevu sevu – they were obviously impressed.
Sunday lunch on the island of Kia, off Vanua Levu, Fiji
Life fell into a relaxed pattern. Each morning we went ashore The kids loved to enjoy a breakfast of to be invited tea with doughnuts or onboard fritters. We supplied pots of jam, which had about two days life expectancy. Plans were discussed. If we were exploring we often had company; sometimes we just went to the nearby bay with its tiny off-lying islets which promised brilliant snorkelling; other times we stayed aboard, entertaining the adults and distributing largesse in return for their generous hospitality. Mid-afternoon found us ferrying the kids out after school to dive and cavort around the boat. In the evening peace reigned. Sitting in the cockpit, enjoying sundowners, we watched the great golden orb sinking into the sea in a spectacular display of radiant colours. The time came to move on. We spoke of this to Maqi, and that evening were invited to eat with the family. We were amazed to find the floor of the large family room in their simple wooden home covered with a long cloth, woven palm mats all around the edge, with the entire extended family and many other friends all sitting around. Maqi made a short welcoming speech, then invited her elder daughter Anna to deliver a wonderfully prepared speech, so full of warmth and affection that both she and several of the assembled guests were in tears by the end. We responded emotionally, telling them how they had touched our hearts, forming a unique bond with their kindness, generosity and love. Plates of beautifully prepared food were laid out on the cloth and over the course of the feast more villagers drifted in to wish us well. As the meal ended Maqi signalled and everyone stood up and gathered in front of us. They burst into the traditional Fijian farewell song for those about to depart their shores. The soaring harmonies, rhythmic swaying and symbolic arm movements were magical and totally spellbinding. It was an unforgettable experience to have such a great tide of love and affection wash over us, one of the pinnacles of our cruising life. Yes, the Dream CAN become reality! 143
Some things never change and one of them is the key role that our publications play in our Club. The two membership surveys carried out in the last decade both showed clearly that Flying Fish and the Newsletter were of first importance â€“ indeed for many retired cruisers they are the primary reason for retaining membership. I have already
Colin Jarman (left) receiving the Endurance Awards for 2013, seen with previous recipients Wolfgang Reuter and Rebecca Shaw
mentioned Colin Jarmanâ€™s Newsletter, which he has edited with great flair and style since 2006, including over the past few years while battling serious illness. This Herculean effort was recognised by the presentation of the Endurance Award for 2013. The flagship publication, Flying Fish, has also gone from strength to strength. Browsing back numbers shows a panorama of cruising adventure which truly reflects the extraordinary membership of the OCC. As well as the fascinating content, Flying Fish has been upgraded with new printing and binding technology making it a great resident in the bookshelf. And this is all the work of long-term editor Anne Hammick (right) to whom the Club owes a huge debt, and who received the Ocean Cruising Club Award for 2013. Woe betide any Commodore or Committee which messes with Flying Fish or the Newsletter! By 2012 the Club had come a long way from its early days. The OCC was always an international club, but now it was run internationally with enthusiastic input from Committee members around the world. We had begun to think in 144
modern management terms, and to talk of services to our members and of marketing strategies and public relations. Not everyone was comfortable with this and there were rumblings that the Club was drifting away from its core values. There was talk of modernisers versus traditionalists, and this was clearly a balance which had to be addressed. I commented that the modernising trend was right and inevitable, but that we had to remain in the comfort zone of the majority of the membership – we must not move too fast. One of our members, South African Ralf Dominick, moves very fast, however. He only joined the OCC in 2010, so winning the Barton Cup for 2011 may be something of a record. He took his steel-built Imvubu through the Northwest Passage in the very short time of 24 days. It was a classic example of good planning and, as so often in life, that brought the good luck needed for a fast passage. Ralf wrote to me from the other end of the world, and tells of his struggle to reach the Antarctic circle:
DISAPPOINTMENT AND KINDNESS IN THE ANTARCTIC Early on 8 January 2014 we departed the anchorage at the Ukrainian Vernandsky base in the Argentine Islands on our quest to get to the Antarctic Circle, knowing full well that our chances were slim. Even though it was already halfway through the Austral summer it had been reported that there was still a significant amount of sea ice south of the Penola Strait. By midday we were heading north again while threading our way through large ice floes in the Grandidier Channel, after having aborted this attempt to get to the Antarctic Circle. Fortunately the dull headache caused by excessive consumption of homemade vodka while celebrating the Orthodox Christmas with the Ukrainians the previous two evenings had abated by this time. At the entrance to the Meek channel, which leads to the Ukrainian base, we spotted the ‘James Clark Ross’, a British icebreaker registered in the Falklands. The vessel was hove-to while a shore party was visiting the base. I immediately thought that this might be our ticket to get to the Circle but alas, they had just returned from the south where they had re-supplied the British Rothera base. In response to my request for updated weather and ice information - our primary satcom had failed as we passed Cape Horn - they invited us to come alongside to collect the requested printouts. The British icebreaker James Clark Ross 145
Placing a yacht alongside an icebreaker in even a slight swell is somewhat daunting. I approached at 90io and held position with our bowsprit a metre or so from this sheer steel cliff. Fortunately our bowsprit is a heavily-constructed U-shaped affair that can, and did, absorb a knock or two. As soon as we were in position the first bag was lowered. As I was about to back away they shouted: the from s “Wait there’s more”. Three more bags t n e s A pre Clark Ros followed, containing fresh fruit, a case of s Jame fresh milk and a couple of loaves of freshly baked bread. This unexpected and generous gift makes one proud to be part of the seafaring community. Heeding the advice of the icebreaker’s watchkeeping officer we headed west through French Pass, anchored in the Betbeder Islands for the night, and then continued o southeast through the South Wind Passage. This time we made it as far as 65i48’S, a mere 55 miles from our target, before being thwarted yet again. The following day we tried going around the outside, west of Renaud Island. The ice pack forced us in a o northwesterly direction, however, and by the time we reached 67iW it was time to throw in the towel. At this rate it appeared that we would be circumnavigating the Antarctic continent while being exposed to the full force of the next, imminent, frontal system. Although I am disappointed that I could not add the Antarctic Circle to my conquest of the Arctic Circle in 2011, I am forever reminded of the kindness of the crew of the ‘James Clark Ross’ whenever I walk past a bakery. And this is the essence of cruising - those special encounters that live in our memories forever.
The ice that stopped us 146
As my time as Commodore came to an end the Committee was again faced with the problem of finding a successor. Once again he came from outside the Committee, and John Franklin took over at the AGM in 2012. His time in office has been marked by successful ongoing development of the Club and its management, but also by ongoing controversy. I had believed that the website debate – which colloquially had become known as the Great Website Spat – had been consigned to history, but that was not the case. The debate continued, and was centred on the future of the Cruising Information site to which George Curtis had devoted so much time and effort. He had worked hard to persuade other cruising clubs to co-operate in sharing data, and he was a passionate advocate that the information should be generally available to the public in recognition of the founding aim of the OCC of ‘fostering and encouraging ocean cruising in small craft’. However the plan of co-operating with other clubs fell through, leaving the OCC shouldering all the costs and potential liability should publicly available data prove incorrect or outdated. The Cruising Information service was, in fact, used by a relatively small number of members and it was arguable whether the costs and risks could be justified. There was much debate, once again with strong opinions being strongly expressed, and sadly the fall out John Franklin, Commodore since 2012 was the resignation of George Curtis as Vice Commodore, who thought the Committee was losing sight of the founding objective quoted previously. By the end of 2014 the Cruising Information service had been moved back within the members only section of the main website, and various options were being explored as to how it could best be provided in the future. Another strand to the development programme has been the Port Officer network. Always an important element of the Club, it has grown significantly in recent years and the worldwide coverage is now extensive. We now have some 178 posts in 66 countries, a marked increase since 2006 when there were 92 fewer posts. Much of this 147
recent activity is thanks to Jenny Crickmore-Thompson who took over the role of Port Officer co-ordination in early 2013. John set up a Strategy Team which produced an excellent paper, A Vision for the Future, which describes exactly what the OCC is all about. It is on the website and well worth reading. The last two years have seen many other management initiatives, from a major overhaul of the Articles of Association, largely by John Whyte and Terry O’Brien, and the parallel development of Policy Documents and membership rules. The changes to the Articles, which are the legal document underpinning OCC Ltd under UK Company law, were largely technical but also recognised that the Committee had become unwieldy with up to 25 members entitled to attend via video link from all over the world. The changes removed the automatic committee membership of Regional Rear Commodores, thus reducing the numbers, and were seen by some as introducing a democratic deficit. However the changes were duly approved at the 2014 AGM despite some strongly felt objections, which included concerns that the process was being unnecessarily rushed and members had not had sufficient time to fully assess the changes. Finally we have one more Barton Cup winner, that awarded in our Diamond Jubilee year. Jeanne Socrates shows great tenacity, and it was not until her third attempt – and her third circumnavigation – that she achieved her ambition of making the entire circuit non-stop, singlehanded and unaided. She tells us of rounding Cape Horn, with the memory of her previous attempt fresh in her mind:
RETURN TO CAPE HORN RETURN TO CAPE HORN ‘Nereida’ and I were on our third attempt at circumnavigating the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted, and were approaching Cape Horn for the second time in two years – but the previous rounding had been traumatic, to say the least. With a nasty knockdown on 5 January 2011 causing too much damage to ‘Nereida’ to be able to continue, we’d limped in to Ushuaia for repairs and had been forced to stay there for over two months in order to get basic repairs completed before being able to head off again... Nereida’s broken boom, January 2011 148
Things are looking up!
Would we get around safely this time? The Vendée Globe racers were not far from ‘Nereida’ as we neared the Horn – Alex Thompson was south, within 100 miles, and Mike Golding was well off to the west. Friends sent me daily updates on the racers’ positions and Mike Golding’s team put me in touch with the Race Management in Paris, who sent me the same daily Ice Reports being sent to the racers. Several large icebergs were in the area, with lots of less easily seen ‘bergie bits’ for quite a distance d‘ownstream’ of them ... all to be avoided, if possible... Cape Horn was finally rounded well off, close to the date of my previous knockdown – there was to be no celebrating until I was safely well beyond. Amazingly, I was positioned between two nasty weather systems at that time, with little wind but plenty of fog. Keeping an overnight lookout for one particular iceberg, Our route into Ushuaia in 2011 reputedly right in my path, was tiring and rather difficult. In the event I saw nothing of concern, but needed to keep a careful watch on weather, ice and routing through the eastern portion of Drake Passage, where nasty seas occur when the weather is bad. My route had to keep us well off the extensive shoal area of Burdwood Bank, east-northeast of Cape Horn and south of the Falklands – a friend had recently got into bad trouble there when 149
the wind got up as he crossed the Bank and the seas started breaking – but at the same time I had to try to avoid the seamounts of the Scotia Ridge, slightly further to the east. My resulting path was a winding one, trying to keep safe in case of bad weather, but we finally made it safely into the South Atlantic and on towards South Africa, with just the occasional heaving-to needed in stronger conditions as we headed to pass south of the Cape of Good Hope... Finally, no history of the Ocean Cruising Club can be complete without a mention of Mary Barton, our Admiral. A member since 1970, shortly after she married our founder Hum Barton, no-one better embodies the soul of the Club. She led the Club as Commodore during the difficult times in the 1980s, and has been Admiral since 1994. An extraordinary ambassador, she travelled widely to Club events until recent years but is now very frail and no longer plays an active part in our affairs. I think her last major expedition was a Scottish cruise aboard Vagrant in 2010, when she joined Jane and me to take part in an OCC rally and to attend the Clyde Cruising Club’s centenary celebrations. All the leading cruising clubs were there – everybody knew Mary and Mary knew everyone. Vagrant had a constant stream of visitors and almost sank under the weight of the well-wishers. So has all the hard work and debate over the last ten years born fruit? If a club’s success is measured by the number of people wanting to join then the Admiral Mary Barton aboard Vagrant in 2010 answer is a firm yes. In 2004 there were 1685 members and at the end of 2014 there are 2046. Much of the increase has been over the last three years, which is directly attributable to the efforts of John Franklin and his team. So at sixty the OCC is fit and well, but like all sixty year olds we have our issues. None of them really matter, however. The Club is different from other cruising clubs. It does embody the ethos of our founders and does attract the ocean adventurers who seek out the more distant parts of our world. It’s a good place to be, the OCC, and so it will continue to be as long as the Flying Fish is to found at yardarms.. and mastheads in anchorages and harbours wherever you may sail. 150
PURE BY NATURE. AWARD WINNING SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY FROM THE ISLE OF ARRAN.
San Francisco World Spirits Awards – Double Gold Medal, Islands San Francisco World Spirits Awards – Gold Medal, Islands
Distillery & Visitor Centre Lochranza, Isle of Arran KA27 8HJ Tel: +44 (0) 1770 830264 www.arranwhisky.com
1 1 15 151
01243 377 333 email@example.com twitter @MultihullWorld
EUROPEâ€™S NUMBER 1 BROKERAGE FOR
OCEAN CRUISING MULTIHULLS
Visit our website and browse through our catalogue of over 200 used multihulls. OUR SERVICES: Brokerage New Boat Sales Technical Deliveries Friendly Service
NEW BOATS SALES - UK agents for: Broadblue Catamarans Outremer Yachting Seawind Catamarans Astus Trimarans
Maverick Yachts Corsair Marine
SPITZBERGEN 2014 Neil McCubbin (Neil last wrote for Flying Fish five years ago – welcome back! – when he described Milvina’s Atlantic passage towards his native Scotland (having lived in Canada for 45 years). On this occasion he and Helen were joined by Denis Moonan and Pam MacBrayne from Camden, Maine, our recently appointed Regional Rear Commodores for North East USA. Milvina is an interesting boat – a Passoa 47ft aluminium centreboarder, designed by Philippe Harlé and with hull and deck built by Garcia in France. She was finished by Neil and Helen in their back yard in Quebec, and launched in 2004. Cutter-rigged, she displaces about 14 tonnes. Go to http://mccubbin.ca for more details.) We had originally planned to cruise the Norwegian coast in 2013 and pay a short visit to the Lofoten Islands, then head south. However, we liked Norway so much that we kept on going north. When our untrusty Volvo failed for the eighth time in ten years, in a remote fjord 50 miles north of Tromsø, we decided to put it out of our misery. After extensive research, we had a Beta 60 installed in Tromsø in early 2014, and it’s been great. It always starts first bang, even in temperatures of minus 2°C, without ever using the glow-plugs, and ran reliably all summer. Now we had a reliable enough engine for Spitzbergen, and we knew we would never be so close again. As we would be in tricky waters far from support we wanted additional experienced crew members, so of course turned to OCC friends. Our first phone call was to Denis and Pam – before we finished explaining details, schedule etc, we had a “We’re in!”
Milvina anchored in Dahlbrebukta
An old boiler which drove a winch at the former whaling station at Kvalrossbukta When we told others that we were planning to head to Spitzbergen, the first question was usually “where the heck is that?’ Our answer – go to the north end of Norway and then halfway to the North Pole. Spitzbergen is the principal island in the Svalbard archipelago. This is a politically interesting area as it is not part of any country, though it is governed by Norway under a treaty signed by over 40 countries. The Syssleman (Governor) is appointed by Norway and governs Svalbard according to Norwegian law. The region is patrolled by the Norwegian Coast Guard, but is separate from Norway and outside both the EU and the Schengen area. After leaving Tromsø we stopped in the fishing village of Skjervøy to meet a Norwegian friend who had offered to loan us one of his guns. Skjervøy is a good jumping-off spot, having fuel, groceries and chandlery all very close to the friendly marina. We headed offshore for Bjørnøya on 24 June, in brilliant sunshine but lumpy seas. The box in the tide tables that normally shows time of sunset and sunrise said simply: ‘The sun does not set today’. It was nice not to have to think about how to schedule to avoid a night-time landfall on the unlit shore of Bjørnøya. We saw the island from over 40 miles away in the clear air, but then it disappeared into a fog bank. We found a good anchorage in the southern bay of Sørhamna, under the waterfall that Nansen had used to water his ships on polar expeditions more than 100 years ago. Next day we moved a couple of miles up the east coast to Kvalrossbukta. Going ashore to see the remains of an old whaling station and for a hike on the barren but beautiful hills was easy, but launching the dinghy off the beach required stripping off, and getting wet and cold. After a short visit to the friendly staff at the weather station on the north coast of Bjørnøya we had an easy sail for 165 miles to the southern tip of Spitzbergen. It was ice-free, unlike in most years, so we did not need to detour to the west as most boats do. We had planned to anchor in Hornsund, the southernmost fjord, but heard another yacht on the radio advising the Polish research station in Hornsund that they were leaving because of an extremely strong east wind and moving ice. Hornsund almost 155
Approaching Hornsund with Helen at the mast cuts Spitzbergen in two, and is notorious for gales blowing out of the entrance even when the conditions outside are okay. Instead we picked Vestvika Bay, a little further south, and found a calm, secure anchorage there. We could see reindeer grazing ashore, but low cloud hid the hills. Next day we motored the few miles to Hornsund and anchored off the Polish research station, experiencing our first ice, which was calving from the nearby glacier. Lots of football-sized chunks were floating around, and a few larger ones, but nothing that looked dangerous. The friendly Poles were only a few days away from boarding their relief ship to take them home after a year on Spitzbergen. If you request by VHF, they will give you a tour of the station and explain their different projects. We hiked up to have a look at the colony of 400,000 or so little auks, each not much bigger than a human fist. For some reason they all congregate on one scree slope, although there are several others available, and it was easy to find them by following the noise as we got close to the hill. They nest in holes too small for the arctic foxes to plunder. We also saw small groups of Two curious reindeer
grazing reindeer, which were quite tame, as well as an arctic fox carrying an egg about as large as that from a turkey. He was very shy, burying the egg before disappearing. Presumably he came back for it later, to feed young in some unseen den. From Hornsund we motored all the way to Recherchefjord, the southern extremity of Bellsund, the next large fjord north of Hornsund. There were a number of Russian fishing boats transferring their catch to one vessel, all under the watchful eye of the Norwegian Coast Guard. It is a very safe anchorage and the location is beautiful, with six hanging glaciers close by, but the weather was dismal. In a wander ashore we saw an arctic fox and a number of stocky Svalbard reindeer, noticeably smaller and much lighter in colour than their mainland cousins.
A reindeer calf eyes us with curiousity. Photo Denis Moonan After a meal and some sleep the weather kept us moving north. We had a good sail for several hours, then motored for a few more to Barentsburg. This is a Russian coalmining town, inhabited by about a dozen Russians and 200 Ukrainians employed on two-year contracts. It has a very ‘Soviet’ atmosphere, mostly depressing but including excellent cheap beer from the local brewery. It makes nonsense of the publicity in Tromsø that encourages cruise ship passengers to buy from ‘The most northerly brewery in the world’. The Russians have Tromsø beaten by about 500 miles. It was interesting to see this relic of the USSR but we would not bother to return – not to mention that the whole dock area was black with coal dust, and even being careful we had a mess on the deck. After a few beers we motored the 28 miles to the much more welcoming ‘capital city’ of Longyearbyen. Like Barentsburg it was a coal-mining town, but is now the administrative centre for the Svalbard archipelago and a small tourist hub, with interesting museums that are well worth visiting. The small yacht harbour is good, reasonably priced and welcoming, with showers, laundry and duty-free diesel. ‘Downtown’ Longyearbyen, with 157
Denis and Helen motor through a peaceful Forlandsundet about 2000 inhabitants, is a mile or so from the harbour and sports a good supermarket (the only provisioning in Svalbard), cafés and restaurants (too pricey for this Scotsman who had two excellent amateur chefs on board), a bar with over 300 single malts and excellent wifi, as well as some nuts-and-bolts repair shops. Longyearbyen is a fascinating place to visit, and was the only place where we met more than one other yacht. All crews are required to visit the office of the Sysselman to complete the entry paperwork etc, and we were told that 38 visitors’ permits were issued for 2014, apparently a typical number. Longyearbyen is also the only place where visiting cruisers can rent a firearm – it is not permitted to go ashore without a gun capable of stopping a polar bear! While lugging groceries and beer back to Milvina, in slowly collapsing cardboard boxes, a fellow yachtsman drew alongside on a bicycle and said “Allo, Neil”. It was Christophe Vanquathem of Sillage, another Passoa 47, whom we had met four years previously in the Shetland Islands. He loaded most of our beer into his large pannier basket and delivered it to Milvina. Of the ten yachts in the harbour the majority had metal hulls, and one had wintered ashore in Longyearbyen. While a metal boat is certainly desirable for these waters it is not essential – Judy Lomax, author of the RCC Pilotage Foundations’s Norway*, has sailed there in a 36ft Beneteau, in which she and her husband circumnavigated Spitzbergen. After a few enjoyable days in Longyearbyen Sillage and Milvina headed north together to our next anchorage, at Framhamna, where a lone Norwegian hunter called Andreas lives with his dogs, making a living by providing seal meat to the restaurants in Longyearbyen. Here we saw a variety of birds we had never before seen on shore. Andreas told us that he frequently saw polar bears eating the seabirds’ eggs, but that they ignored the seal flippers * Norway, by Judy Lomax, published by the RCC Pilotage Foundation / Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson Ltd. ISBN 978-1-8462-3284-8 158
he had hung up to dry. He said that if a bear was not too hungry he would eat only the fat from a seal and ignore the meat. N e x t d a y, w e motored on up Forlandsundet (between mainland Spitzbergen and the long offlying island of Prins Karls Forland) in nice flat water, sunshine and spectacular scenery. We did a A bull walrus in Poolepynten anchorage, lot of motoring in with the two Passoas behind Spitzbergen. Judy Lomax had told us to look out for walrus at Pooleypynten, a sandbar leading off Prins Karls Forland, and sure enough, there were over thirty either in the water or on the beach. We dinghied ashore quickly, hoping the walrus would not leave, but we much over-estimated their energy level. They regarded us with lazy indifference, and happily carried on sleeping or taking occasional pokes at their neighbours with their formidable tusks. One walrus took about ten minutes of heaving and panting to cover the 20m or so from the waterâ€™s edge to his pile of friends. These animals are apparently the males from a breeding colony on Nova Zemlya, 600 miles to the east â€“ it seems they are much better swimmers than hikers. The walrus we saw in the water looked fairly agile, but I doubt they could match the tricks seals are taught to do in the circus. After an interesting couple of hours wandering amongst the walrus, we motored over A seal drifted by, quite happy on his ice-floe
Denis, Pam and Helen on the white beach in Magdalenfjord to a glacier that is not mentioned in the cruising guides. We found a secure anchorage in Dahlbrebukta, among drifting ice that calved from the glacier nearby. Helen was by now into her daily routine of wiping condensation from the bilges. Milvina is well insulated above the waterline, but in the cold water, especially where there is ice around, there can be a litre of water in the bilge every day. The sun came out and we had a brilliant day and night there, with a good hike ashore. No bears or reindeer, but plenty of eider ducks and a very laid-back seal. We moved on north to Engelskbukta under power, to avoid a forecast gale, and although we anchored in calm it blew hard later. The bay was unremarkable but provided excellent shelter. Christophe aboard Sillage and Patrice, a Belgian singlehander in Mai, joined us there. Next day we moved on early, Sillage and Mai planning to follow an hour or so later, but when Patrice called on VHF to ask how we were managing to display 11 knots on his AIS receiver, and we replied ‘double-reefed main and no jib’, they decided to stay in shelter a little longer. We sailed round into shelter at Ny-Ålesund rapidly and easily, and dropped the hook just outside the harbour. Being Scots, we wanted to avoid the harbour dues, but were charged anyway when we left even though we had not used any services. Ny-Ålesund is another former mining community, but is now populated entirely by 100 or so scientists from fifteen Arctic research institutions from as many countries, including India. There was a small cruise ship in when we visited, its passengers wandering ashore with little to do except dodge the terns. These little guys nest in silly places, even on the road, although there is a vast uninhabited area all around, and get VERY noisy and aggressive when approached. Unfortunately the museum was closed for renovations, and the souvenir shop was overrun with people from the cruise ship. 160
We were in luck, as it was Wednesday and the local bar opened for its twice-weekly evening. We enjoyed a few beers and chatted with scientists from several countries, who got out their musical instruments and gave us all some great entertainment. Norwegians like to keep their houses clean, so most people take shoes off on entering. It seemed strange to see a hundred or so pairs of shoes outside the pub, but it all worked out okay. The mossy grass was so sparse that I worried the grazing reindeer might prefer my shoes, but fortunately they were not interested. When we came out of the bar around midnight it was a brilliant Arctic evening. Sun up, of course, several glaciers in sight, icebergs drifting quietly by, and reindeer grazing happily. Unfortunately, my camera was still on Milvina. Next we sailed and motored on north to Magdalenefjord, where we found a secure anchorage and walked on beaches much whiter than any we have seen in the tropics. Still no bears, however! Continuing north through the archipelago at the northwest tip of Spitzbergen we saw one more yacht, and then anchored in Holmiabukta on the north coast, reputedly popular with polar bears. The weather was dismal with light snow, but the anchorage was secure. Next morning we saw a bear eyeing us from the rocks above. After a while he wandered off over a ridge – I guess he’d decided we would make a poor
At last – a bear on the skyline lunch. We gave chase by dinghy but never saw him again, though we did see another bear on an islet just to the north. We h a d r e a c h e d 79°48’N and I was keen to sail on the 80th parallel, but that risked a mutiny so we headed south again through enormous snowflakes, ice pellets, and heavy overcast. After anchoring for a sleepover amongst some islands we continued, under power again, to the network of fjords just north of Ny-Ålesund. Our first anchorage in 14th July Fjord had a rather active glacier, which was calving and filling the anchorage with ice, so we moved a short distance away to Kongsfjord. Here we met Sillage again, and enjoyed a good hike ashore on an old whaler’s path. The weather improved, and we had some great sightseeing around glaciers in the neighbouring fjords, still under power in flat water. Denis made a great find – the biggest pair of reindeer antlers so far on the trip. 161
A glacier in Mollerfjord off Kongsfjord We also found the rock where Tilman painted the name of his Bristol Channel Pilot cutter, Baroque, in 1974. In those days, and with his very old, marginally-equipped wooden boat, it was a major achievement to get to Spitzbergen. The Sysselman sees this rock as a historic monument and recently, when the crew of an American yacht added her name, they were fined heavily and hit with a cleaning charge. The Sysselman has obviously never seen the harbour wall in Horta. We had a brilliant, sunny, all-night sail to Longyearbyen, with a few calm spells. There we were joined by Frederique, who had sailed up from France on Sillage with the intention of catching a flight from Ny-Ă…lesund to Longyearbyen and then home. It turned out that the shuttle flight from Ny-Ă…lesund to Longyearbyen is for scientists only, however. Sillage was heading north to attempt a circumnavigation of the whole Svalbard archipelago, so preferred not to backtrack, but Frederique was great company so it all worked out well.
Denis and the author at Tilman Rock
After an equally brilliant sunny night in Longyearbyen we continued south, in calm, to Bellsund. Once again, a secure anchorage but dismal weather. The only excitement was getting the anchor up – after much puffing, cursing and heaving with our manual windlass, we raised by far the largest ball of kelp that any of us had ever seen. A bash in a nasty chop eventually took us back to the Polish research station in Hornsund, where the new team made us welcome. A nice breeze heading south through Forlandsundet
We h a d a couple of days there waiting for favourable wind to return t o N o r w a y, so took the opportunity to motor a few miles across to the former whaling base at Gashamn on the south side of Hornsund. The remains of the Russian ‘Degree Measurement Expedition’ of 1899 are now only a pile of bricks, broken up by the frost, but the whalebones from an earlier whaling station – some more than 300 years old – are massive, showing how large the whales were in those days. The terns there were particularly vicious, and weeks later I still had a bump on my head from where one had taken a good-sized bite. We left Hornsund a couple of days later and had a good sail back to Norway – where we were greeted by trees, green fields and our sunburnt Norwegian friends complaining about their recent heatwave. The practicalities of sailing to Svalbard • A permit from the Sysselman is required – easy enough if you apply several months ahead. Details at http://www.sysselmannen.no/en/ • You have to filter out the requirements for yachts from those for airline and ship tourists, and from those who want to live or work there. • The requirement to carry a firearm while onshore is rather difficult, unless you already have one on board. Foreigners are no longer allowed to rent a firearm in Norway, and though we were told that it was possible to rent a rusty old ∙303 rifle in Longyeabyen, that means sailing over 100 miles past the southern tip of Svalbard before you can land. We were lucky, as a Norwegian friend lent us a shotgun with 163
heavy single-slug ammo. Americans reported problems, because the rifle renter wanted a permit to own a firearm from their home country. In the US there is no such thing – you just buy the gun. • The Sysselman requires that visiting yachts carry search and rescue insurance. We found that switching our insurance to Pantaenius was the best move, as they include up to $40,000 SAR insurance and their policies suit our needs for the foreseeable future. • Most electronic charts stop at 80°N; some at 70° or other arbitrary latitude. We saw no reason to carry paper charts. • The temperature is mostly between –2°C to –10°C, and only the super-tough will be happy without a heater. We have an Eberspächer hot-air unit, and also a home-made one that uses engine heat, just like a common car heater. Both are useful. • Leaving a yacht in Norway for the winter is now quite easy, as the regulations were simplified about three years ago.
• Our magnetic compass was sluggish, but with GPS that is not very important. Our Raymarine autopilot worked fine.
OCEAN PASSAGE MAKING TIP NO.1 Don’t wait for the rain. Fit a Watermaker from Mactra Marine Yacht watermakers and equipment for serious blue water sailors & livaboards Mactra Marine Equipment Unit 20, Worle Industrial Centre, Weston-super-Mare BS22 6BX 164 Tel: 00 44 (0) 1934 517288 Fax: 00 44 (0)1934 520684 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.mactrashop.co.uk
FROM THE GALLEY OF ... David Blackburn and Julia Aspin, aboard Daq Attack. A cautionary tale... Flying Mince Ingredients • • • • • • • • • •
good quality minced beef onions, chopped garlic mixed herbs a tin of chopped tomatoes seasoning potatoes milk butter heavy weather
Our usual practice before an ocean crossing was for Julia to pre-cook, vacuum-pack and freeze at least twenty main meals. In this case the pack was just labelled ‘minced beef’. We had spent the previous week flying eastwards under staysail alone, and after a single day’s respite were 250 miles short of Horta, treble-reefed and bashing into a rising southeasterly. Normally we would heave-to to cook and eat in such conditions, but Horta beckoned invitingly. Under difficult conditions Julia re-cooked the mince in one pan and produced mashed potatoes in another, and was just transferring our lunch into three bowls when Daq Attack, a Peterson 44, was hit by two extra-large waves. The first one she coped with, but the second one stopped her dead and she just fell sideways into the hollow behind. She probably went over to about 60° from the vertical, and I certainly saw the tops of the stanchions disappear under water. There were three metallic clangs as three bowls flew across the saloon, followed by two bongs as the saucepans followed. A couple of seconds later there was a loud ‘Ouch!’ (and worse) as Julia followed too. We hove-to immediately. Luckily Julia was unhurt apart from bruising, but she was completely covered in food. The starboard side of the saloon and navigation area were almost unrecognisable, with mince and mash plastered everywhere. Julia and I spent the next two hours doing our best to clean up while John, our crew, looked after the boat. Two days later, in gentle breezes, we spent another half-day cleaning. Even so, once in Horta we could see patches of mould establishing itself where food was still lodged, so there followed another thorough washing down. Four weeks later – by which time we were in the Balearics expecting guests – the patches of mould were still appearing, so it was back to washing down yet again. When I wrote this in April 2012 it was ten months since the incident and I was in the process of re-painting and re-varnishing Daq Attack’s interior. I was about threequarters of the way through the job, and the last area to be tackled was the navigation area. The mould was back and having a field day! Whatever had Julia put into that mince and mash?
She made decent head-way to windward (not always the case with sailing inflatbles a true all-rounder...
Sailing Inlatables The DinghyGos have a daggerboard case builtin (not leeboards) and a very solid mast step for the freestanding, quick to assemble rig. They are also great quality practical inlatables for everyday use, with huge carrying capacity and the ability to plane using motors up to 8hp. Two sizes, 220 and 270cm, with prices (including rigs) from ÂŁ2299.
Handles like a standard RIB... more stable than a simple inflatable boat...
Folding Hard Floor RIBs
Genuine hard-bottomed RIB performance and stability, storage requirement similar to dinghies with inlatable loors. The 275 (9ft) version can plane at speeds over 20 knots, and its folded size is just 80x80x35cm. Larger models also available, with prices from ÂŁ2216.
DinghyGo & F-RIB available from:
Nestaway Boats Ltd, Christchurch, UK 07768 600595 / 0800 999 2535
ONE WILD SONG – Paul Heiney. Published in hardback by Bloomsbury [www. bloomsbury.com] at £16.99. 230 234mm x 153mm pages, with 16 pages of colour photos and two of mono plans. ISBN 978-1-4729-1948-9. Kindle B00U0YXV6G Paul Heiney has been a TV and radio broadcaster for more than 30 years, in addition to being an organic farmer, an adventurer, a sailor, and the author of books as varied as his life has been – Home Farm (a practical guide), Nuts and Bolts of Life (about the invention of the kidney dialysis machine), The Last Man across the Atlantic (about his Singlehanded Transatlantic Race), and now One Wild Song. This latest book is an honest and thought-provoking account of a passage made from Falmouth to Cape Horn and back, a voyage which took him not only to unknown places and into unknown waters, but also allowed him to experience times of incredible peace and understanding. The name of the book, and indeed of Paul’s Victoria 38 Wild Song, is taken from one of the last poems written by his son Nicholas, who took his own life at the age of 23. The story follows Paul as he struggles to see the deeper meaning in Nicholas’s poetry, something he calls a Rubik’s Cube in his pocket, to be played with until a greater understanding falls into place. “Many people sail in the wake of their heroes,” says Paul, “and Nicholas would be mine. I was sailing to achieve the high standard he had set...” This is not an emotional story of grief: rather it is a series of insights, through a sailing adventure, of how voyaging should be more than tourism, it should be a quest. Venturing forth in Nicholas’s wake, what perhaps began as a pilgrimage becomes a deep desire to both achieve a deeper understanding of his son and to find places of his own by invoking Nicholas’s spirit and courage: “to hear the silence at the song’s end, with its promise of a world to come”. Paul’s journey takes him to the Cape Verde islands, where OCC Port Officer Kai Brossmann has created a haven in a harbour which previously had little to offer visiting yachts, through the Doldrums with all the mishaps these can throw at you, to Fernando de Noronha, a group of islands 200 miles off the Brazilian coast, where he meets up with Chris and Suzanne aboard Whanake (OCC). His refreshingly honest impressions of Brazil when he finally reaches the mainland are not encouraging to cruisers planning to visit! Paul’s sailing credentials are excellent, and he brings to life the daily existence aboard as he bewails the rotting of supposedly fresh vegetables and the UHT milk going off. His descriptions of breathtaking entrances into spectacular anchorages, the excitement of passing through the Beagle Channel and around Cape Horn, the unpredictable weather, his solo return sail on the non-stop 9000 mile run back up from Piriapolis to almost-casualty in the Azores – all this combines to keep you turning the pages. 167
An extremely readable and thought-provoking book, and one which does far more than just explore places or explain sailing techniques – it encourages the reader to look for a deeper meaning in the ordinary things we see around us. Well worth reading! JC-T (Paul’s account of A Quick Trip Round the Horn – a taster for One Wild Song – appeared on pages 80–87 of Flying Fish 2014/2.)
FAIR WINDS AND SAFE PASSAGE – Linda Lane Thornton. Published in paperback on the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform [www.createspace. com/] and available from www.amazon.co.uk at £24.99 or www.amazon.com at US $48.99 (though both may be discounted). 266 152mm x 229mm pages, including many with colour photographs. ISBN 978-1-4974-5953-3 Linda and Andy bought Coromandel, a Nicholson 35 launched in 1973, in 2006 and left their home port of Blyth, Northumberland the following year. They completed their circumnavigation in exactly five years, crossing their outward track in Grenada in 2013 (see No Big Deal in Flying Fish 2013/2). Linda had three other articles published in Flying Fish during this time, and this book greatly expands on them. Plenty of photographs illustrate the narrative, but I did miss the chartlets that are such a help when following a cruise account. The cover picture previously appeared as the cover of Flying Fish 2010/1 (the superior version – who was the designer who lost Linda’s name among the foliage on the book cover?). Fair Winds and Safe Passage is packed with lots of detail. Linda has an eye for art, architecture, geology, crafts, textiles – pretty well everything in fact, and in the hands of a less skilled author this could become tedious, but Linda’s writing style is easy to read, evocative and witty. Experienced cruisers will enjoy being reminded of places they’ve visited – often with information that makes one think ‘drat! we missed that’ – while newcomers will realise what a treat awaits them, along with some good ideas about what to look out for along the way ... and what to avoid! Linda doesn’t shy away from being critical; getting work done in Thailand gets the thumbs down, as does sailing in the Caribbean. They experienced the same feeling that many others do now – that it’s not like it was in the 1970s or ‘80s, let alone earlier. There are far more yachts and fewer places to anchor, it’s no longer free, and marinas are very expensive. Coromandel’s crew were happy to head for Panama, where a delay in their transit which left them insufficient time to cross the Pacific that season led instead to them exploring Ecuador and Peru for five months. Linda and Andy took every opportunity to get off the beaten track, at sea and ashore and, as experienced hill-walkers, to head for the mountains. Linda is also an authority on quilting and describes sewing her ‘journal quilts’ at sea, a challenging pastime with the boat rolling! But nowhere in the book do we find a photo of this unusual way of documenting one’s voyage – luckily you can find plenty on their website at www.linandy.co.uk/, and I was fascinated by them, particularly those in the Second Series. 168
Coromandel’s crew thoroughly enjoyed their time in the Pacific, exploring the islands, meeting old friends (including other OCC members), and getting to know the locals, often lending a hand to fix broken items in exchange for fruit and vegetables. Andy’s engineering background and a good set of tools were invaluable whenever an islander’s high-tech piece of equipment stopped working. Six months in New Zealand followed, including a visit to Te Kouma Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula, then on to Australia, followed by Indonesia. I particularly enjoyed this section, which brought back memories of our three-month cruise through that area 22 years earlier. The land of ikat, batik, nasi goreng and cheap Bintang beer definitely appealed to Linda and Andy! Fair Winds and Safe Passage continues to entertain throughout the remaining pages – South Africa, Namibia, St Helena, Brazil (where Linda’s account of muggings, theft and poverty, particularly in Salvador, is an interesting contrast to other writers, who mostly sing the praises of the country), north to Trinidad and finally Grenada. To sum up – an excellent read which I thoroughly enjoyed. Coromandel continues on her travels so I’ll be looking forward to the sequel. EHMH
THE LONG WAY HOME – Stuart MacDonald. Published in paperback by CompletelyNovel [completelynovel.com] at £9.50. 234 140mm x 216mm pages, including 3 sketch charts and 15 b/w photographs. ISBN 978-1-8491-4605-0. Kindle B00Q38BXP4 ‘... all journeys have to start somewhere’ ... and OCC member Stuart MacDonald’s started in January 2009, when he took the decision that, 18 months later, saw him set out on a circumnavigation. Like so many of us, he had spent his life doing what he felt he had to do; marriage, kids, work – now he wanted to do pretty much what he wanted. That was to let things take their course, to keep going until he’d had enough. Setting sail on a well-built and maintained Comfortina 38 built in 1991, Stuart took the traditional route across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, then on through Panama to start the big adventure across the Pacific, ‘to step out into a new world’. Predominantly singlehanded, joined occasionally by friends, his daughter or the love interest in the story, an Argentinian singlehanded racer, this story traces the long lonely days when the wind died and the main decision was whether to start the engine and use up fuel or simply drift, spiced with exhausting days of heavy winds and large seas when the fear of breakage or disaster was uppermost in his mind. But he also traces the joy of reaching a safe anchorage, the pleasure of meeting up with fellow cruisers: ‘it was a rare privilege to be accepted as a part of such a rather special band of wanderers ... I felt good to be part of this wonderful tribe of wandering sailors, the Bedouin of the watery desert, gathered at yet another peaceful oasis,’ as he puts it. As a professional editor I did find the lack of attention to detail in proof-reading increasingly irritating, especially when the sentences ran into each other with no full stops or commas, unfortunately a common problem with self-published books. I also had difficulty with the chapter on crossing to the Marquesas, which is effectively a 169
series of logbook entries. When the rest of the book reads easily and well, why do this? It soon becomes boring, and I have to confess to skipping to the next chapter. In contrast, Stuart’s descriptions of the islands and the local people are vivid and informative. Likewise, his descriptions of life aboard Beyond give both amusing and sad insights into the life of a singlehanded sailor. It shows his determination to complete the passage, even when at times he was overwhelmed with a feeling of uncertainty and insecurity about his ability to do so. All in all, it is an honest picture of life alone at sea on a small boat, where niggling worries become large but serious problems are admirably handled. Particularly recommended to members who may be considering a similar challenge! J C-T
ANTARKTISCHE WILDNIS: SÜDGEORGIEN – Thies Matzen and Kicki Ericson. Published in hardback by Mare Verlag Gmbh [www.mare.de] at €58.00 / £34.64. 144 270mm x 304mm pages, many carrying superb colour photographs. ISBN 978-3-8664-8230-2 When we were asked to review a book written in the German language we wondered about presenting such a book in Flying Fish with its mostly English-speaking audience, but we were assured that, if requested, the book will come with an English-language insert. In fact the authors actually write in both languages, Kicki in English and Thies in German, and then translate vice versa. Learning that the authors have owned the famous Wanderer III for the past 25 of her 62 years, and sail her to the most remote places on earth, we were very curious. No surprise, then, that even before the book arrived we looked for some of Eric Hiscock’s old books on our bookshelf, just to have a closer look at Wanderer III from our modern and somewhat decadent perspective. Wow, what a basic, tiny boat in which to spend two winters in the Antarctic! When the book arrived we were both more than impressed by the absolutely stunning photography. But as we soon realised, describing it as simply a magnificent photo collection would be far off the mark. Antarktische Wildnis: Südgeorgien brings across the very character of South Georgia, its remoteness, today’s rare absence of human interference, the animal colonies, and their cycle of life and death. You have to take the time to delve into it and start dreaming with the authors; you find a collection of diary excerpts between enticing pictures, all reflections on special moments on the island. There is no narrative, no timeline. Turning a page sends you to a different place at a different time, but it all converges on a few things – South Georgia is one of the very few places on earth where you can still experience a world before the human population grew exponentially, changing everything. Consequently, the authors are in love with the southern winter more than the summer, as it is the time when human interference on the island is at its minimum, when hills and plains are snow-covered down to the shore and longer excursions on skis become feasible. You learn that two consecutive winters can be quite different, and how much animal populations can vary from year to year, all depending in some way on krill density. 170
The wildlife takes centre stage in this book, bringing vibrant life to shores and hills. For many shots, the infinite white of the South Georgian winter provides a studio-like backdrop to the colourful king penguins, while sea elephants linger in derelict whaling stations or seals eye you from the water. Even the derelict remnants of a long-gone whaling era add to the scenery and photos, and in the epilogue we learn a bit about this part of the island’s history and the near-extinction of several rare species. While the book doesn’t follow a narrative, we can, from many little remarks and stories, paste together a picture of this incredible adventure in the tiny and fragilelooking Wanderer III. From time and energy-consuming mooring, to extreme winter storms, to ice or the exploring of the unprotected southwest shore, Wanderer III appears to be as basic as she always was, with no concessions made to modern technology. We learn that Thies and Kicki were cut off from any weather forecasts, and always had to assume the worst would come the next day or even earlier. Heating, we understand, was no problem, the cabin being kept warm by a wood-burning stove with ample fuel available from an old bridge. They also claim never to have had any shortage of food, having started out with a good supply and friends on charter yachts bringing in some more for the second winter. There are, however, some fantastic pictures of Wanderer III surrounded by ice, or heeled over in heavy gusts while held by a dozen ropes to the shore. Others show a relaxed couple reading books in a cosy cabin far from the busy world we usually live in. Antarktische Wildnis: Südgeorgien (Antarctic Wilderness: South Georgia) is a book which lets your mind immerse itself in another world for several hours, a little treasure for those of us who enjoy time away from civilisation. Highly recommended. HS & BS
THE AMAZING WORLD OF FLYINGFISH – Steve N G Howell. Published in hardback and eBook by Princeton University Press [http://press.princeton.edu/ titles/10221.html] at US $12.95 / £8.95. 64 210mm x 160mm pages, with many illustrations and more than 90 colour photographs. ISBN 978-0-6911-6011-5. Kindle B00S6ZRKGS Sailing in tropical waters cruisers often encounter flying fish, those fascinating, elusive creatures that end up on deck shimmering in the early morning light. One thing that has been even more elusive is an illustrated guide to flying fish (or flyingfish, spelled as one word by biologists). There are more than 60 species worldwide, and when Founder Member Colin Mudie was asked to design the OCC burgee and tie he made two visits to the Natural History Museum in London to study flying fishes. He was surprised to find about ten varieties represented, from among which he selected one which seemed to be ‘an admirable flying fish in every way’. I was delighted when I came across this title entirely by chance. It is a beautiful little book, containing more than 90 stunning colour photographs. Anyone who has tried to photograph these tropical marine marvels knows how difficult it is – one is nearly always left either with a photo of empty water or with wings partially lopped 171
off as the fish soars past the lens. The closest most of us come to a successful image is by photographing the ones collected from the deck in the morning. The Amazing World of Flyingfish is just 210mm (8 inches) wide by 160mm (6 inches) long – fractionally larger than our own Flying Fish – and a perfect size for stowing on board. It is well written, in simple lay language that explains the basics: what flying fish are, where they live, how many varieties there are, how big they can grow, how (and why) they fly, and how to identify them. It answers these questions succinctly but with reverence and style. I was able to read the entire book in under an hour. Biologists believe there are between 60 and 70 different species of flyingfish in our oceans – all belonging to the family Exocoetidae – but no one knows for certain. What was particularly startling to me was to learn that flyingfish come in twowinged or four-winged varieties and a magnificent array of colours. The colours are described as ‘fugitive’ because they disappear within minutes of death. Interestingly, most illustrations of flyingfish in resource books were drawn from preserved museum specimens and do not accurately reflect their true shape in flight nor their true coloration while alive. Furthermore, because the juveniles appear so different from the adults they were often been labelled as distinct species, which is now being discovered have been incorrect. Clearly there is much work to do in elaborating the natural science of flyingfish, and there exists an unfilled niche for a field guide that represents flyingfish as observers may see them in the wild. Nevertheless, Steve Howell does a fine job in describing the issues and instilling a sense of wonder about this furtive companion of the remote blue waters. Maybe a field guide will follow. Born in Wales, Steve N G Howell is a senior leader with WINGS, an international birding tour company. His books include A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, Rare Birds of North America and Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America (the latter both Princeton University Press). He has spent a total of almost four years at sea, and is a renowned expert on pelagic species. He claims that he has encountered more than 95% of the world’s tubenoses during his time on the oceans (tubenoses are the old name for an order of seabirds, Procellariiformes, which include albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels). It seems natural that he made this transition from flying birds to flying fish. We are glad he did. DOB The Amazing World of Flyingfish is available to OCC members at 40% discount (+ postage & packing at £3.70 for UK). Either telephone 01243 842165 or visit the Princeton University Press website overleaf. Please quote code FLY01. TO THE FLYING FISH When I have seen thy snow-white wing From the blue wave at evening spring, And show those scales of silvery white, So gaily to the eye of light, As if thy form were formed to rise, And live amid the glorious skies; Oh! It has made me proudly feel
How like thy wind’s impaƟent zeal Is the pure soul, that rests not, pent, Within this world’s gross element, But takes the wing that God has given, And rises into light and heaven! But, when I see that wing, so bright, Grow languid with a moment’s flight AƩempt the paths of air in vain, And sink into the waves again; Alas! The flaƩering pride is o’er; Like thee, awhile, the soul may soar, But erring man must blush to think Like thee, again, the soul may sink. Oh Virtue! When thy chime I seek, Let not my spirit’s flight be weak; Let me not, like this feeble thing, With brine sƟll dropping from its wing, Just sparkle in the solar glow And plunge again to depths below; But, when I leave this grosser throng With whom my soul has dwelt so long, Let me, in that aspiring day Cast every lingering stain away, And, panƟng for the purer air, Fly up at once and fix me there. Thomas Moore, 1840
MEDITERRANEAN WEATHER HANDBOOK FOR SAILORS – Roberto Ritossa, second edition. Published in paperback by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson [www.imray.com] at £12.95. 128 246mm x 189mm pages with many full-colour diagrams and plans. ISBN 978-1-8462-3597-9 This little book of only 128 pages is chock-full of information. It is also very well organised, and is full of maps that follow the text. One quirky choice which took a little getting used to, however, was that Ritosso consistently uses the hectopascal (hPa) for barometric pressure instead of the more commonly used millibar (mb), though both units are equal. The Mediterranean Weather Handbook for Sailors begins with a general review of Mediterranean ‘Climatic and seasonal weather patterns’, showing diagrammatically average winds for the entire Mediterranean basin for winter, summer, spring and autumn (in that order, curiously). Atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity for the four seasons are also discussed. 173
A full chapter is devoted to those ‘Pressure Features’ that cause low pressures to form in the various geographical regions of the Mediterranean – eg. the Genoa, Balearic, Ionian Sea and North West Africa (NWA) lows. One half of the chapter is devoted to numerical forecasting which I found useless, but the accompanying maps dramatically show the evolution and direction of these lows. The next chapter is devoted to the Mediterranean ‘Winds’. Each of the major winds is named, and their formation, direction, strength and area of influence are elaborated. The Mistral, Sirocco and Levante are discussed in great detail, with many accompanying maps, though the author has less to say about the Tramontana and the Gregale. I found the chapter detailing the eight ‘Sea Areas’ to be both the most interesting and potentially the most useful. The chapter begins with a macro map of the Mediterranean showing the sea areas demarcated: Strait of Gibraltar–Alborán, Western Mediterranean, West Central Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian Sea, Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean. Then each area’s geographic features are discussed, followed by a seasonal weather overview covering types of winds and low pressure systems (again the author begins the four seasons with winter, followed by summer, autumn and spring). The West Central Mediterranean–Golfe du Lion, Adriatic and Aegean are, rightly, covered in great detail. The ‘Surface Sea Currents’ chapter begins with a macro map of the entire Mediterranean from Alborán to the Eastern Med. This map shows primary and secondary currents, mid-scale meanders and wind eddies. Each of these parameters is shown on maps, including two four-colour maps, for the various sea areas. The information in this chapter would be very useful indeed to any cruising sailor either transiting the areas or cruising within them. The last part of the book is the Appendices: I, II and III. It must have taken the author years to amass all this information. • Appendix I concentrates on ‘How to get weather information’. All the voice radio sources are listed for each major sea area, starting with France and continuing through Italy, Malta, Algeria, Tunisia, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Libya, Israel and Syria. Included are the VHF frequencies and sea areas used by each country, and the UTC broadcast times for each area. Navtex is covered next, with a useful list of standard Navtex abbreviations. Radiofax (better known in the UK as Weatherfax) is covered next, with schedules and frequencies, followed by Radioteletype (RTTY). Internet sources are covered in incredible detail. ‘Buoys and Other Realtime Devices’ are listed, along with the Internet sites where each are found. A good discussion on GRIB files follows, and finally ‘Text Bulletin Examples’ are given, plus times, locations and frequencies. • Appendix II contains the wind roses for each of the sea areas for the twelve months of the year, which could be very useful for planning purposes. • Appendix III comprises a dictionary of meteorological terms. This little book contains a plethora of useful information, and should be on the book shelf of every Mediterranean sailor. WJS 174
RESCUE PILOT: Cheating the Sea – Jerry Grayson AFC. Published in hardback by Adlard Coles Nautical [www.adlardcoles.com] at £16.99. 236 232mm x 150mm pages, plus eight pages of colour photos. ISBN 978-1-4729-1783-5. Kindle B00T00UCWC The life of a Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter pilot may seem to be a strange book to be reviewing for a club whose membership is largely made up of those who venture or aspire to voyage beyond the reaches and potential assistance of such aircraft. Having said that, the greatest risk to seafarers exists when in close proximity to the land, where rescue by helicopter may provide the best or possibly the only means of survival. Jerry Grayson has given a ‘bird’s eye view’ of what is involved in Air/Sea Rescue, having been trained by the Royal Navy and honoured for having been what might be termed an ‘ace pilot’. What comes over loud and clear is his ability to see the funny side, as well as having the discipline to remain focussed on the many and varied critical issues that present themselves in a life threatening situation. I have always had respect for those who regularly fly these wingless aircraft over my home near Falmouth in the UK, preferring to keep my feet closer to the surface of the earth. However, having read Jerry’s accounts of his airborne activities, that respect has turned to admiration with an element of awe. Rescue Pilot is a well-written book, with a forward by HRH The Duke of York, which brings tears of laughter as well as pride and other emotions as one reads Jerry’s observations and descriptions of the sea rescues in which he has been involved as a pilot. These include the infamous Fastnet Race of 1979, and an incident when a car flew over his helicopter during a very intense cliff rescue – you will have to read the book to find out more on that one. Semi-autobiographical, Rescue Pilot is more a series of chapters in the eight-year Naval flying career of Jerry Grayson, each chapter covering a separate incident, but what it does do is make the reader appreciate the dedication and skill of the Search and Rescue pilot. He vividly describes how it is necessary to maintain a constant height above a casualty, which in gale force conditions and 40ft waves means synchronising the helicopter’s rise and fall with that of each wave. If I should ever be in the unfortunate position of finding myself in difficulties at sea I know who I should like to have in the cockpit of the helicopter in the sky above me. Towards the end of the book there is brief mention of Jerry Grayson’s subsequent career in the film industry, including a James Bond film, and in the future I should not be surprised to see a sequel covering his cinematic escapades. Rescue Pilot is a very enjoyable read, as well as providing an insight into the nature of Air/Sea Rescue and providing a few do’s and don’ts for the seafarer in a distress situation as seen from the perspective of the rescuer. PJM
GRANUAILE: QUEEN OF STORMS – Dave Hendrick and Luca Pizzari. Published in paperback by The O’Brien Press Ltd [www.obrien.ie] at £9.99 / €12.99. 64 168mm x 259mm pages, in full colour throughout. ISBN 978-1-8471-7671-4 175
It’s rare for Flying Fish to carry a review of a book for young people, but the first graphic novel presenting the story of Granuaile, the ‘pirate queen’ of the west of Ireland, deserves the attention. The 16th century in Ireland was a turbulent time, with clans living and competing under Brehon law, invasion from the east by the British, and plunder along the west coast by the Spanish. Born in Co Mayo in 1530, Granuaile (known in English as Grace O’Malley) was the daughter of a Connacht seafaring chieftain and grew up wanting to sail with her father aboard his ships. He forbade her to board, citing (according to legend) her long fiery hair which could get caught in the ropes. She defied her father by cutting off her hair and dressing like a boy to stow away on one of his voyages. Granuaile honed her seamanship and fighting skills, and eventually took her father’s place at the head of his fleet, leading men and ships into battle against neighbouring clans and plundering Spanish ships plying the coast. She fought for her country, to protect its customs, culture and traditions against the encroaching rule of those who sought to destroy it. Along the way, she married and bore at least four children, while never relinquishing her leadership and establishing strongholds in several locations along the west coast, especially in counties Galway and Mayo. As the rule of the English Empire under Elizabeth Tudor spread west, Granuaile’s strength was deemed to be a threat. To keep her in check, the English attacked and took her family as hostages. Granuaile, who ruled the seas and risked her life to protect her family and her way of life, sailed up the Thames and negotiated with Queen Elizabeth for the return of her family.* In exchange, Granuaile promised to maintain peace with the English while allying with them against the Spanish. The tale of Ireland’s Queen of Storms is brought to life in this astounding and sometimes tragic, yet historically accurate and stunningly illustrated, full-colour graphic novel. It takes us on an exciting and sometimes gruesome adventure alongside the brave and fierce woman whose passions, motivations, tragedies and triumphs are brought to life. A warrior and leader of men, defiant Granuaile became the most revered woman in Ireland for generations to come. Teens and young adults are likely to find this book both entertaining and informative. A native of Dublin, author Dave Hendrick’s previous work includes The Symptoms and Short Sharp Schlocks. Luca Pizzari is a freelance cartoonist, currently living and working in London. DOB * This meeting with Queen Elizabeth, which took place in 1593, is well documented in English historical records. It is said the two women conversed in Latin, as Granuaile spoke no English and Elizabeth spoke no Irish.
10% discount for OCC members
Cruising sails that set beautifully and are built to last Sanders Sails - the OCC preferred supplier visit us at
www.sanders-sails.co.uk for the full story
Alcedo sails, upholstery and covers by Sanders
SANDERS SAILS BATH ROAD LYMINGTON HAMPSHIRE SO41 3RU t 01590 673981 f 01590 177 676026 e email@example.com
A DOUBLE APOLOGY Mark Broomfield I have been graciously allowed back into the ranks of the OCC after a 30 year absence, and I feel that a double apology is needed from me; first for leaving so soon after I joined, and second for the fact that this article is not really about the cruising that many other members do. I joined in 1985 when, as a student, I helped my father deliver his Vancouver 27 from Gibraltar to Falmouth. My previous experience had been in dinghy and small yacht racing, but I thought that this trip would be an easy second introduction to the effete pastime of yacht cruising... (My first introduction was spending a week with my then wife-to-be, circumnavigating Corfu in a Wayfarer. Pulling a fully laden Wayfarer up the beach every night and sleeping next to the centreboard case was not exactly heaven, however, so a proper yacht sounded like luxury). How wrong I was. We left Gib in beautiful weather, turned right, and then the weather totally changed, with strong headwinds and cold temperatures. The cooker gimbals broke and we could not cook any meals in the big seas. The windows leaked, so after each night watch I had to climb into a wet, cold sleeping bag. By the time I finally stopped shivering it was time for my next watch. And V27s are so slow to windward! My father had been a Royal Navy officer on the Murmansk convoys and shrugged off the discomforts easily; I am sure he would have done Tillman proud. He would do a watch in filthy weather at night without waterproofs, come down below in a soaking wet guernsey, and then pour himself a large G&T that would have killed a herd of elephants. I tried to learn how to do a noon-sight with a sextant, but for me it was impossible with the waves and total cloud cover. However, despite fog in the English Channel, my father managed to put us into Falmouth purely on dead reckoning after eleven days at sea, a navigational feat that still impresses me. Following that I graduated, got married, and had twenty years of sensible jobs, mainly in academia, with some limited cruising. I resigned from the OCC because the first few years were financially tight and membership did not seem relevant to my circumstances at the time. My sailing graduated from gravel pits near London to windsurfing on the Clyde. I then sailed on a few friends’ boats at Troon, and finally decided to get my own – an old Hunter 19, in which I took my brother to Northern Ireland. This was almost pre-GPS days and I was confident with my Wasp trailing log, sextant and compass. However I lost the log spinner, and in bad weather with low visibility when we eventually saw the Irish coast I had no idea where we were. I had to enter an unknown harbour in an onshore force 6, then walk to the post office to find out where we had landed. My brother was most unimpressed, and now for some reason prefers fly fishing in the rivers of Clackmannanshire. I also vowed never again to sail a boat with a non-self-draining cockpit, as the water down below was up to bunk level. I later bought a Hustler 30 which was held together with string and duct tape. By this time I had three kids, so I had to add an extra bunk. Every year for six years I sailed her from the Clyde to Brittany with my friends; my wife and kids would then drive there via the ferry and join me for two weeks of cruising. It was a bit cramped on board, and I don’t think they were very happy when my awful sea toilet packed up one morning 179
and I had to unbolt it and carry it through the cabin slopping effluent everywhere. Some of the delivery trips to and from Brittany were effectively singlehanded as my crew were seasick, and the trips were either non-stop or else a one night beer stop in the Scillies. The Hustler was a great heavy weather boat, but not the best choice for a family of five, though I did manage 10,000 miles in the seven years I owned her. I also served a stint as commodore of the local sailing club. Having had enough of a sensible job, eleven years ago I decided to become an aid worker and joined a well-known international humanitarian organisation, so the Hustler was sold. It was a bit of a culture shock to go from a cushy university job to Afghanistan, where rockets would scream over the house at night and guns get pointed at you in the streets. We were very privileged there however, and saw sights that were definitely off the tourist trail â€“ such as the detention centre at Bagram Air Force Base where I met Taliban and Al Qaeda suspects. It made me realise how lucky I was to be born in a stable western country.
Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. A large percentage of the Afghan population are disabled due to thirty years of war. There is still a big landmine problem, which affects women and children as they have to walk to water pumps and markets to get water and food After the delights of Afghanistan, several other countries followed. In Ethiopia I discovered horse riding, which is very similar to sailing fast dinghies in that you are never in total control. However, being landlocked there was no chance of sailing unless you counted a dug-out canoe. I then went to its neighbour, Eritrea, which as far as I know is the only other country in the world to follow the North Korean 180
Outside my house in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan political philosophy of Juche (self-reliance). I was in the capital, Asmara, and needed a special pass to leave the checkpoints and go to the Red Sea port of Massawa. There the scenery and islands were stunning, but Massawa was still damaged from Ethiopian air raids and economically a basket case. I know that some adventurous cruisers go Damage in Massawa from the 1990 war of independence, during which the Ethiopian airforce bombed the city. Seventeen years later the Eritreans had not rebuilt anything and people were still living in the ruins
A wooden Eritrean fishing boat ... but no fuel to run the engine
there, but at the time I visited there was severe food and diesel rationing, so your boat must also practice Juche. Definitely a destination for the future. In Gaza there was a harbour, but it was underdeveloped and the Israeli gunboats three miles offshore made sure it was kept that way. Wooden fishing boats were built on the slipways, but fuel was always a problem for them. With regular Mediterranean sea-breezes I would have thought that sail was a good answer, but the necessary skills seem to have been lost. Many fishermen used stand-up paddle boards or small outboardThe Al-Qassam Brigade (the military wing of Hamas) in Gaza. They loved to fire rockets into Israel, and wondered why they got bombed in retaliation. (My first and, I hope, only experience of being on the receiving end of an air-raid)
On horseback in the Gaza strip. They were badly trained Arabian horses and a bugger to control – look at the foam on its mouth. I managed to break three ribs when one of them threw me off! powered skiffs, but the polluted, over-fished inshore waters ensured that their catches were never that good. A colleague brought a kite-surf board, but the Israelis made it very clear that the kite would not be tolerated on Gazan waters. I will always treasure racing a Hamas mounted policeman along Gaza beach on galloping horses, both of us yelling ‘yalla, yalla’*. He had a gun strapped to his chest, so naturally I made sure he won. The horses were smuggled into Gaza through the tunnels from Egypt, which must have been a frightening experience for them. Gunfire and explosions did not worry them at all, however. I had a short mission in Khartoum, Sudan, and on making my way to the Blue Nile Sailing Club was made most welcome. The clubhouse was the old British gunboat Melik which was built in 1897 and had been beached following a large flood in 1987. This probably saved her, as she would have sunk eventually due to corrosion. The Commodore took me out in his boat and told me that if I was a good crew, then after a year I could graduate to helming. Two weeks later he gave me sole use of her, which was a most generous gesture. He constantly teased me about being British, and delighted in pointing out where the Madhi’s forces fought General Gordon and later Lord Kitchener. I mentioned that the Melik could do with some care and attention, but he said that the Melik came to kill the Sudanese and this could never be forgotten. However Khartoum has precious few relics of the past, and I feel that the Melik could eventually be made into a paying tourist attraction. * A common Arabic expression meaning ‘come on’ or ‘hurry up’. 183
Sailing a Khartoum One Design on the Blue Nile The sailing was in Morgan Giles-designed Khartoum One Designs, which date from the 1930s. They are 18ft steel dinghies which sail surprisingly well and have lasted in the harsh Sudanese climate. However a lack of maintenance and spares (international sanctions made importing chandlery almost impossible, let alone the cost) had made their mark, and many boats had leaks from corrosion of the steel plates. The Commodoreâ€™s boat had an old 470 mast from South Africa, which had been sawn in two and lengthened with a section of wood rammed between the two sections. If you pulled a sheet or control line too hard something w o u l d invariably break, and the centreboard Another, equally battered, Khartoum One Design 184
winch was perfectly designed to amputate fingers. Sails were left loose stowed in the sun without covers, and suffered from the intense sunlight. Many sails were painted as a protection. The Sudanese were superb sailors and knew every inch of the Blue Nile. The sailing was tricky with bridges, wind shadows, strong currents and constantly shifting sand banks, let alone the 40°C heat. Not to mention crocodiles, but that discouraged one from capsizing ... I managed to sail a few times across the confluence of the Niles and the change in water colour and current was amazing. After every race, a communal meal was held in the club grounds and foreigners were always made most welcome. A superb experience, and I would love to return someday. North Korea followed, but I quickly learned that we could not call it North Korea – it was the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). I was never very sure where the ‘democratic’ description came in, but in the DPRK you don’t ask too many questions unless you want to be on the next flight to China. Here we were totally micro-managed and had almost zero social contact with the locals, but I was free to drive around Pyongyang and visit most restaurants that served the elite. It was good fun to spot our spy on outings, and we occasionally had some sport by splitting up or driving too fast for them. I had previous experience of being followed in Quetta, Pakistan, where the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and Taliban sometimes shadowed us – they were both much more professional than the Koreans. A street scene in Pyongyang, North Korea. Propaganda posters and martial music were everywhere
My Korean colleagues at the military prosthetic limb centre in Pyongyang I did once see the DPRK sailing squad on the river, in old 420s and Lasers probably imported from China. Their standard of sailing was extremely poor and it was frustrating seeing some of them stuck in irons at every tack, or sailing to windward with loose sheeting. I asked my ‘translator’ if I could join them, but was firmly told ‘no’. I asked where they were normally based, but no answer was forthcoming. It was most likely that they were from the Korean People’s Army. As foreigners our movements were restricted, but we were sometimes allowed to the west coast at Nampo. This was the main shipping port, where the North Koreans exported coal to China and China sent oil in exchange. The DPRK ships were small coasters, and judging by the lack of antennas and lights were probably run on a shoestring. I also suspect that the DPRK government did not want the ships to navigate too far from home waters and never be seen again. Local fishing boats were mostly about 10m LOA and built of steel, and again seemed underequipped. Despite an interesting coastline and a small but rich elite, there was no leisure sailing at all, sailing squad excepted. The country is on a permanent war footing and a lot of the coast is out of bounds – even a short walk on the beach caused problems with angry armed soldiers escorting me off. If the country opens up it could become a most interesting cruising destination and, to cap it all, the food and beer are superb. Now I am back in Afghanistan, so zero chance of even seeing some water. The security situation has sadly diminished and conditions are tougher than before. We are not even allowed to walk in the streets of Kabul, let alone go to restaurants, so the thought of sailing and its attendant freedoms is extremely alluring. Retirement 186
National flower day, commemorating the Dear Leader is looming in a few short years and, via the internet, I am already planning my next boat and cruising destinations. So maybe a third of a century after first joining the OCC I will finally fly the burgee!
VOYAGE OF EGRET: FAST-TRACKING Scott and Mary Flanders (Members who enjoyed reading Scott and Mary’s account of Egret’s visit to Stewart Island, New Zealand in Flying Fish 2013/2 may recall that it took place during her westabout circumnavigation via the Five Great Capes – the first by a small powerboat. Her longest individual passage was from Western Australia to Mauritius, and it is at the former that we rejoin them now). After spending 14 months in New Zealand, two months in Tasmania and seven months in mainland Australia, it was time to move once again with the seasonal weather. MY Egret, our little white fibreglass ship, enjoyed her final six months in Southwest Australia berthed in Fremantle, the port for Perth. She left on 1 September 2010 for Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island east of Madagascar. The 3365 miles were beyond the comfortable range of her tanks – Egret carries 1000 US gallons (3800 litres) in two tanks, and averages a little over 3 miles per US gallon at ocean crossing speeds of 6∙3–6∙4 knots. Throttled back to 5∙5 knots her range would be nearer 4000 miles. But we don’t take chances ... ever ... and when Egret left for Mauritius she carried three aircraft-quality fuel bladders on deck as well as an assemblage of jerry jugs – even the diesel heater gravity-feed tank was filled to the top. Everything was filled but the kettle. The total fuel on board was 1360 US gallons, or 5168 litres. A southbound current flows offshore down the west coast of Oz, but there is a countercurrent flowing north tight to the beach. Our plan was to run north to the southern MY Egret in front of the convict colony at Port Arthur, Tasmania. She is a 46ft Nordhavn flybridge trawler, built in 2001 and powered by a single Lugger 130hp main engine that has never missed a beat in its 13,479∙2 hours. Egret is a proper little ship and has been our only home for more than 13 years
Mary reading in the early morning. During the 23 day passage we only had 2–3 days of ‘bounce’. The balance of the time the crossing was much as here Fuelling at sea, using a garden hose and a Jabsco Water Puppy pump to transfer fuel from the bladders into the main tanks. On the fill end we double filter using a Baja filter end of the Abrolhos Islands near Geraldton, then turn left and ride the southeast trades to Mauritius. Egret wallowed north with full fuel, deck fuel and very heavy provisions like the overweight pig she was. All went as expected, then she turned west. The trades were supposed to begin a day offshore, but even though the pilot charts for September said the trades began 150 miles further south, we didn’t enjoy them for a single day during the entire trip. Instead of a welcome surface current and wind from astern, there were numerous counter-currents and variable winds. After emptying the deck fuel we increased rpm a bit and her 190
The inner harbour in Mauritius. The affluent section ended a block behind the buildings in the distance, and inland from there was very different. Mauritius seems to be a much ‘older’ island than La Réunion, 150 miles away average speed increased, particularly as her fuel burned off. The passage took 23¼ days with an average speed of 6∙03 knots, which included waiting for 12 hours offshore in order to enter in daylight. She arrived with 255 US gallons (969 litres) remaining – a 25∙5% reserve – having averaged fractionally under 3 miles per US gallon. Mauritius is interesting. Here east meets west. Arriving in the harbour, to starboard there were large fleets of Asian fishing boats that appeared to have been designed by a kindergarten committee, to port is the modern yard built by the Chinese to service their fleet, and at the far end is the Customs berth. Clearing was quick and professional, and once cleared we backtracked to the small boat harbour and managed to find an alongside berth. We spent ten days in Mauritius exploring, rented a car for a few days, and had a good time. The best part, however, was meeting a group of westbound international cruisers. We felt Mauritius itself was okay, but nothing more. This Mauritian lady was waiting for a ride home after a day in the fields. Mauritius has a large Indian population from its former days of British influence 191
Saturday market in La Réunion, with French bread of every description sold by the kilo – in this case it is €5∙55 per kg. Mary loaded up with bread, fresh fruit and other goodies. She even got fresh flowers from her hubby Despite reaching Mauritius with 255 US gallons of fuel, we’ve learned over the years to top up the tanks whenever we can, because you never know... Mauritius was a perfect example. The commercial fuel dock would not sell Egret fuel – they said they were saving it for the fishing fleets, but in reality the price was going up and they were waiting for the increase. They suggested we carry fuel from the gas station – thanks but no thanks. Departing Mauritius on an overnighter, Egret arrived in the first world French island of La Réunion. What a difference! We LOVED La Réunion. It is a volcanic jewel in the middle of a very large ocean. Customs was quick and easy, unlike the usual friendly, laid-back but tedious bureaucracy to be found in French islands. The markets were vibrant, with real French bread and fresh tropical fruit as far as one could see. The island is a potpourri mix of tropical areas, volcanic fields of jet black lava, jagged mountains and flat agricultural areas covered by sugar cane. The population is a mix of natives, ex-pats from France and owners of vacation homes – French citizens enjoy inexpensive flights from France, and mainlanders own roughly half of the homes on the island. Of course where there is sugar cane there is rum, so we took advantage and loaded up with high quality grog as well as duty free fuel. There are reefs on the windward side, backed by shallow bays. The local fishermen typically use skiffs around 20ft long, in which they motor out to the reefs with tiny outboards during the morning calm and ride the sea breeze back in the afternoon under a single jib. There are usually three or four fishermen to a boat. On a rental car trip two days before departure we were with a group of yachties who thought it would be a good idea to hike to the top of a semi-dormant volcano which 192
The mountainous interior of La RĂŠunion. There are scattered inland villages, such as this one built where runaway slaves fled many years ago to hide inside an ancient volcanic caldera The captain of a small offshore skiff with the catch of the day, while an Asian buyer waits patiently with his scale. Once the price was settled and the captain paid, the buyer went pedalling away on his bicycle, hawking the fish and octopus as he went. The meagre payment was split between the captain and four crew
had last erupted a few years previously. So we did, and even walked half way around the caldera. The night before our departure it erupted, and red lava was flowing down the west side – we could see it from the marina. Yikes! (Soon after departing Iceland this year another volcano erupted ... humm.) La Réunion was a treat and one of our favourite island stops anywhere, but it was time to move on. Egret was part of a small group moving west. The World ARC was right on our heels, and being organised (unlike normal world cruisers) they had reserved ahead, meaning our group was invited to beat feet before the ARC yachts arrived. Weather is a Big Deal around Africa. In Egret’s travels the only guaranteed mushing that could not be avoided was along the Argentine coast ... so she got mushed and that was part of the deal. However, I believe there is a difference between a routine mushing and danger. The usual sailor’s wisdom is to stay 125 miles south of Madagascar before turning towards Richard’s Bay. (RB is the preferred choice to land on South Africa’s east coast these days because Durban is not as safe.) This is the route the sailors in our small group took, and they left a few days before Egret with a fair wind. Egret doesn’t need wind to sail so we waited for the high to move in with light winds. We looked at the C-Map charts of the area south of Madagascar to lay out a course, and ultimately went against convention. In a nutshell, at the southern tip of Madagascar there is a shallow area extending 45 miles southwards. From the drop-off there is 40 miles of very deep water, and south of that begins shallower water with a ‘broken bottom’. Being long-term recreational fishermen we look for broken bottoms mixed with current because that is where the bait is disrupted and the food chain moves in to take advantage. Mixed with the southbound Agulhas Current and heavy wind from the south or Like most cruisers we pull a bait during daylight hours, fishing for food. We caught few edible fish in the Indian Ocean and were bothered by pesky billfish like this blue marlin
southwest, however, the area can become super nasty. Of five boats leaving La Réunion within a two-day period one singlehander arrived unscathed, a second singlehander was knocked down by a large rogue wave in just 25 knots of wind, a couple were knocked down several times and had their spray dodger and solar panels ripped off, and the fourth boat also lost their dodger and panels and was forced to run for Durban trailing warps. Egret arrived without spray on her pilothouse glass for two reasons: she left later, pushing through light and variable winds, plus she split the 40 mile difference in the deep water south of Madagascar* and avoided the broken bottom. Another advantage to this route was that she angled south towards Richard’s Bay with a current push instead of beating into the Agulhas Current. (The traditional route north of Madagascar is off limits these days because of piracy within the Mozambique Channel. We met several cruisers in Richard’s Bay with very sad stories, including that of a crew taken hostage.) Egret spent 2½ months at Zululand Yacht Club in Richard’s Bay with the west-bound fleet, along with the ARC boats which arrived a couple of weeks later. We rented cars and drove into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Park, the oldest in South Africa. The park was empty for the most part except for the critters. Mary and I enjoy photography, and we rode around for days with Mary in the back seat shooting from both sides of the car and me driving doing the best I could. It was great fun. My favourite photograph from the park is a bit unusual. We’ve all seen tons of great photographs of African animals, but for me one stood out. The park opens at 0500 and shortly after that we were driving slowly along a dirt road when we spotted a small round ball inching across the road. We stopped and watched for a bit, then figured out what it was. It was a pair of dung beetles. Papa was standing on his hands pushing the ball of stuff with his legs, while Mama was riding on the side of the ball like a hubcap going round and round in an elliptical circle!
A happy little dung beetle family. This must be a young couple just starting out. We’ve heard of dung beetles rolling balls of stuff the size of tennis balls, but this was only the size of a golf ball 195
This impala mother and her young froze in position as we passed slowly in the rental car just after daybreak. A few seconds later they were gone These colourful South African ladies were walking to the next village with what appeared to be market goods
How could you visit Africa without a zebra shot? Zebras in soft afternoon light are photographer’s eye candy. This one was shot from the car with a telephoto zoom During our time in Richards Bay we kept looking at the weather. Every now and again a large five-day high would move in from the southwest with light and variable winds. We knew when a high moved in it was our chance to have a calm weather trip to Cape Town. Our dock neighbour was an Afrikaner who had been sailing the coast for years, including time on a salvage vessel. He passed along words of wisdom we had not read before: stay within the 200m line even though there is more current flow to the east; outside the 200m line are more than occasional rogue
A weaver bird seen at Richard’s Bay. The male weavers like this one weave a nest for Mama. If Mama doesn’t like the final offering she turns it down and he has to build another
waves; if you get caught in any appreciable wind from the southern quadrants and you can’t make port safely, head for the beach and ride the counter-current north with the wind and waves until you can tuck in. Armed with that information and a big high, Egret headed for Cape Town before Christmas. We knew there was a fast-moving front pushing through, followed by more days of calm. The timing was perfect. When we reached Mossel Bay we tucked in and anchored off the beach. It blew 40 knots, then by morning was down to 25 knots, so we left and rounded the Cape of Good Hope in no more than 12 knots. There was no more wind until Table Mountain, where the Cape Doctor Was In – with 55 knots sustained on the beam. It was a four-hour rock job. There was little fetch, it was warm, the sun was out and heavy spray was going over the boat. It was great fun. We were very excited to arrive in Cape Town, but the RCYC was full of World ARC boats and we had to anchor off the beach for four days until after a local holiday so we could fuel and clear. The next portion of the trip was magic. Egret’s destination was Walvis Bay (Whale Bay), Namibia, and the conventional routing is to give the coast a considerable offing because of fog and weather. In fact it was oily calm for the entire trip with zero fog. Egret ran up the coast, keeping just outside the surf during the day and moving a few miles offshore at night. Once she reached the sand dunes of Namibia it was so beautiful you can’t believe it, particularly in the early morning and near sunset. It was the layers of light that were so special – light green ocean, dark green surf, tan sand dunes and the dust haze above them. Early one morning we moved back inshore and came across our personal skeleton along the Skeleton Coast. In 1914 a German ship supplying a coastal diamond mine was driven ashore by an inebriated captain trying to negotiate a sand spit a little further south. The crew made it ashore without incident, only the ship and the captain had a problem. Below the transom was a large and noisy sea lion colony. Egret’s personal skeleton on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast
We parked the truck one afternoon to race the sun to the Dead Vlei area about two miles away. Mary stayed in the car shaded by a large bush. This oryx wandered over and fed on the opposite side of the bush. After spotting Mary it walked back to its afternoon shade Egret arrived in Walvis Bay and anchored off the yacht club. What a great bunch of folks â€“ as soon as we hit shore in the dinghy a member picked us up and drove us to the various offices to clear. Then it was back to the club to meet the members and have a touch of spirits. What a pleasure to meet such a friendly group. Namibia is best explored inland, but Brad and Angelina were holidaying in the next town north and their entourage had sucked up every rental car not taken by tourists. There wasnâ€™t a single car to rent in the country, but fortunately we were able to procure a four-wheel drive pickup from a yacht club member and off we went. The first trip was a run south along the beach to a shallow water pool full of flamingos, where a small whale was feeding on baitfish just outside the surf. We felt we could have waded in and touched it. Nearby was an abandoned home nearly swallowed by sand. Namibia is one of the few countries in the world which is growing, rather than losing shoreline to rising water. The dunes are constantly moved west by the wind and slowly gaining land along the coast. The next few days were some of the best in our travels. Driving the truck inland we wound our way over washboard gravel roads to the Namib Desert. There had been scattered sprinkles of rain, and portions of the desert had a slight green patina from grass shoots. The desert animals had moved in for the feast. There were several types of antelope, including oryx and the giant kudu, as well as ostriches. We were not to know just how close we would get to an oryx a few days later. 199
The crown jewel of the Namib Desert is an area called Sussusvlei. Mary and I got one of the last rooms available at the ultra resort, Sussusvlei Lodge – the crew of Egret were living like Big Dogs ... like Brad and Angelina without the baggage. Anyhow, it was nice and the best part was the meals. Dinner was a self-serve mix of local wild game plus the trimmings. Zebra was the best. Kudu and oryx weren’t bad either.
Namibia has the most beautiful sand dunes we have ever seen. Looking at the photograph you can feel the isolation and dryness of the landscape – the small tree must struggle to survive. This is an afternoon shot; in the morning the sun shades the opposite side of the dunes Sussusvlei has the most magnificent dunes we’ve ever seen. They are spectacular as they change colour during the day and the shadows move from one side of the dune to the other. We could spend weeks there photographing, but only real Big Dogs have that privilege, not pretenders like ourselves. So we did the best we could with the time we had. The best of the best were two mad dashes to the Dead Vlei area (Afrikaans for dead – ie. salt – pan). The latter part of the journey to Dead Vlei from the resort consists of several miles through soft sand by four-wheel drive, followed by a couple of miles through soft sand on foot. The acacia (camel thorn) trees were cut off from water by sand dunes aeons ago and have become petrified in the desert air, standing like sentinels over the former wash. We were fortunate enough to shoot them one evening and again the next morning. And there, for the present, we must leave Egret and her crew. The story of the final part of their circumnavigation will appear in Flying Fish 2015/2. 200
Join us for our latest news
UK OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Lymington United Kingdom Phone 0044 01590 679 222 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
I N T E R N AT I O N A L YA C H T B R O K E R S
Golfe-Juan France Phone 0033 493 636 680 Email email@example.com
Rhode Island USA Phone 001 401 846 8404 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
‘i start from the premise that no object created by man is as satisfying to his body and soul as a proper sailing yacht.’ Arthur Beiser 1978, The Proper Yacht
A small selection of proper sailing yachts available for sale via Berthon Synonymous with Yachting since 1877
A VOYAGE THROUGH PAPUA NEW GUINEA Katie Thomsen (Since transiting Panama in 2010 Katie and Jim have been exploring the Pacific aboard their Hallberg-Rassy 40 Tenaya, chronicled in both the 2013 editions of Flying Fish. Like many OCC members, they make a particular effort to meet and interact with local people, both assisting and learning from them. Visit www.tenayatravels.com to read more.) Where to next? Jim and I had been in Australia for six months and were ready to move on. Most voyagers go north to Darwin, join a rally to sail through the red tape of Indonesia, and continue on to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. From there they can cross to South Africa or ship their boats to the Mediterranean – the Somali pirate situation is too dangerous to consider sailing through the Red Sea. Although we enjoy the company of other cruisers, exploring new places with dozens of others only to see ‘local life’ staged for our benefit does not appeal to us. We were not sure how we would proceed, until friends suggested sailing through the remote islands of Papua New Guinea. Although PNG has a reputation for violence, they assured us these stops would be safe. Papua New Guinea ... the name conjures up images of fierce warriors dressed in paint, leaves and shells, wielding dangerous projectiles and living in huts deep in the jungle. Reality, I imagine, would be quite different. But what would the people be like on these isolated islands? What would we learn there? It is a boisterous, five-day, 682 mile passage from Cairns to the Louisiade Archipelago, 120 miles southeast of mainland Papua New Guinea. I never find my sea legs, so am thrilled to clear the uncharted pass through the reef at Panasia and slip into serenity. ‘Pana’ means ‘island’ in the local language, ‘sia’ means ‘rock’. It describes the island well. Limestone peaks tower above the shimmering lagoon while dense bush clings to all but the steepest walls. Palm trees shade the sandy beach in the crook that forms the protected anchorage. Kids on the beach and Tenaya at anchor 203
Jim on Nivani Island getting ready to check out the Japanese Zero just off the beach (right). The islands of PNG saw a lot of action in WWII As the anchor sets, a man appears on the beach and waves his arms enthusiastically. We go ashore and meet John, Gwen and their family. John says to stay as long as we’d like, and sends us back to Tenaya with four lobsters. The next day a steady stream of visitors arrives by sailing canoe – most come from Brooker Island, ten miles across the lagoon. A sailboat means trading opportunities, and a marvellous cornucopia is loaded onto our deck: delicious pawpaw (papaya), sweet bananas, yams, potatoes, pumpkins, green coconuts, limes, eggs, baskets, clay pots and beautiful shells. How do they transport fresh eggs on a leaking, bouncing sailing canoe? In a bowl of sand! Linda digs out six hen eggs and one bush fowl egg – she is amazed I do not know this trick. Clothing tops the list of requests and our bags from St Vinnies* are soon gone. Why the early missionaries convinced people living in an ideal climate to wear modest western apparel is beyond me. There are no stores here, and it doesn’t appear modern missionaries make regular clothes drops. Sailing canoes are sailaus in the local Misima language, and are built by master craftsmen on Panaeti and Panapompom further north. Keen to learn more about * The St Vincent de Paul Society of Australia – see www.vinnies.org.au 204
Linda shows how to transport fresh eggs island style them, we sail 31 miles to Panapompom in slight seas and southeasterly winds of 11â€“17 knots. Bommies (coral heads) are clearly visible 9m below as we approach the anchoring waypoint between Nivani and Panapompom, but then a man in a dugout canoe intercepts us and guides us to a spot he insists will protect us from the prevailing southeast winds. Once the anchor is set, Martin comes aboard to share banana bread and stories. People in PNG love to tell stories! Milia instilled the idea of locals respecting visitors and their boats. His rules â€“ do not steal things, offer to trade if you want something, do not ask for too much, do not Gwen is from Brooker where the women make pottery to trade with other islanders
A sailau tied to Tenaya at Panasia
let your canoe touch the sailboats, be polite. One of his sons, Ishmael, is the new Ward Councillor. He is kind, soft-spoken and eager to liaise with the government to help the people of Panapompom. Julie Tobby is the head teacher at the elementary school â€“ she wishes there was enough money for each child to have a simple desk to keep their notebooks off the dirt floor.
Trading for bananas with Olivia
HEX sails by Tenaya “Are there crocodiles here?” Jim asks Tobby, Milia’s son and Julie’s father. “No, the boys shoot them.” If there were crocs they would be in the river that must be crossed to reach the school, so when Roseanne’s dog bounds into the water and emerges on the other side unscathed, I am pleased. It’s hard to believe that six- to ten-year-old children make this hour-long trek through the forest twice each day. As we near the
View of Nivani Island from Panapompom
three school buildings built of bush material, we hear excited voices repeating, “Dim Dim!” That’s what white people are called. Dozens of kids scurry about as Julie gives us a tour. We are impressed by her dedication and competence, and to see phonics written on one large blackboard and arithmetic on another. Education is important on Panapompom, and the kids are already learning English. Children at Panapompom Elementary School Money, called ‘kina’, is hard to come by. In the past people produced copra, but now the prices are very low. Men collected bêche-de-mer (sea cucumbers), but that is banned for the foreseeable future to counteract overharvesting. Because they need kina to pay school fees, parents sell intricately carved wooden spears, detailed model sailaus, lovely baskets and treasures from the sea to the few boats that pass through. Jim tells Martin that he repaired two sewing machines on Panasia, and it turns out that Martin has a broken Singer hand-crank too. Jim takes his tools in and together they fix it. Martin had been an equipment repairman when the mine was operating on Misima. He’s sharp. His ancient machine was welloiled. Over the course of our stay, Jim repairs several more sewing machines, a water tank, and provides the parts to repair a sailau. It seems the people know how to fix things but lack the materials to do so. Kids love to see themselves on the camera screen 208
Martin paddling at Panapompom It is a five-day, 664 mile passage north from Panapompom to Kavieng at the tip of New Ireland. We could stop at Budibudi Atoll, which has a safe anchorage and welcoming people, but we keep going. For safety reasons we pass by Kokopo and checkin at Kavieng. The plan is to refuel, restock and be on our way in a few days, but we stay three weeks. The anchorage is calm, wifi is available, the people are friendly, the diving is spectacular, and there is a bar and restaurant at the eco-resort ashore. Jim fixes Gwenâ€™s hand crank sewing machine
Dorothy works in the kitchen. Her father carves the evocative masks displayed in the thatched-roofed, dirtfloored, open-air restaurant. Bruno Mondo’s quick wit and quirky art are captivating. When he offers to whittle a face with a long tongue especially for us, I am delighted and give him a big hug. On the way back from Panakondo village we walk along the shore, introducing ourselves to those we meet. Our story goes something like this: “Hello, we are Jim and Katie from the yacht. We are Americans but sailed from Europe. The yacht is our home. We live on it all the time – for seven years now. Thank you for letting us park our home in your bay.” They ask questions about us; we ask questions about them. We invite them to visit and are surprised to hear we are the first to do so. They assure us that Tenaya is safe. No harm Masks by Mondo at Nusalik Island will come to her. near Kavieng Even in town, people are nice. Many say hello before we do. When Jim asks about buying 300 litres of diesel, Malcolm says he will find a boat and bring out a 200 litre drum with a pump, and cans holding the rest. It’s clear that he doesn’t trust Jim with his precious pump. He comes the next morning and is happy to be invited aboard for a cold Coke – he has never seen the inside of a yacht before.
Malcolm did not trust Jim with his pump so brought the fuel out himself
Dorothy’s husband offers betel nut to Jim. He forgets to tell my adventurous husband to keep the mustard seed, which is dipped in lime (the mineral, not the fruit) away from his tongue and only poke it into the pulp wedged into his cheek. Jim’s tongue hurts the rest of the night, but it is red, like the locals’, and he is happy. Each time we part company with our new friends we say “Mi lukin yu behaen” – ‘I’ll see you later’ in pidgin. When we leave for the last time Jayne says, “Mi It’s a start, but Jim still does not completely lukin yu no mo”. Tears roll fit in on Nusalik Island down my cheeks. There is no wind during our three-day motor west to the Hermit Islands. They are surrounded by a barrier reef and the island of Luf, our destination, is wrapped in its own reef. It is shaped like a barbell, with bays on both sides of the narrow bar. The village is built along this low section, while at each end hills burst with palm trees and thick foliage. We hope for good light, but dark clouds roll in as we enter the lagoon. Thunder rumbles in the distance. We head for Carola Bay, on the south side, and choose the beefiest looking mooring. It is very close to a reef. No sooner have we strung our lines through than a squall hits and blows over 25 knots. I hunker down at the bow in pelting rain watching our position to shore to be sure we don’t blow down on the reef.
The village on Luf in the Hermit Islands
The next morning two young women in a leaking canoe paddle out to greet us. Lorraine teaches sixth grade and Baxter runs the dispensary. We ask about buying diesel, and they say Matthew will be leaving shortly for Manus Island and will be back in two days. Heâ€™ll take our containers. We passed Manus but did not stop because it is not a safe place for yachts or their crew. People give us delicious pawpaw, mangos, pineapples, bananas and oranges, and ask for basic food items in return. We accept only what we can eat, because big rats recently escaped from a Malaysian fishing boat and are ravaging the gardens. I tell Baxter and Lorraine about my failed attempt to bake cassava. It is usually cooked in the ground with hot stones, but a friend in Vanuatu said I could use my oven. It was a disaster. In Tenayaâ€™s galley, I learn the secret is to spoon plenty of coconut milk over the top of the grated cassava to keep it moist. I teach them to bake banana bread, and package up two bundles of ingredients before we enjoy a delicious lunch together in the cockpit. Jim and I do the 60 miles to Ninigo Atoll as an overnighter to clear the outer reefs of each island group in daylight. No sooner has the anchor set than Thomas and several others zip up in a fibreglass boat with four drinking nuts to welcome us. Joseph glides by in his sailing canoe and waves. Speaking softly and looking into our eyes, Thomas says that Mal Island is a safe place. The people may offer to give us things but we are not to perceive Joseph waves hello at Ninigo 212
that as trading. We are 150 miles north of the mainland. It is October, and we are the fourth yacht to visit this year – good thing they aren’t looking for trading opportunities. In the end we give our new friends clothes, sandals, a daypack, binoculars, fabric, sewing supplies and all the flour, rice and sugar aboard. We are headed to Palau, which enjoys free association with the United States, so will be able to restock. A sailing canoe is called a ‘wa’ in the Seimat language of Ninigo. They are different to those in the Louisiades – these sails are rectangular, and the platforms are less intricately constructed but more finely finished. Paulyn and Mollina show me how to make coconut oil Thomas says he is building a new one and invites us to watch while he puts the hull on the keel. We take hundreds of photos while asking nearly as many questions. There are two kinds of coconut oil – fresh and overnight. Fresh is better as the coconut is scraped and cooked at once. In addition to cooking with it, coconut oil can be used to heal wounds. Mollina and Paulyn teach me to make it: we squeeze milk out of handfuls of coconut shavings over a strainer into a big pot, the pot goes on the fire, the milk boils, and eventually oil forms. It boils until the clear oil separates from the ‘poss’ – poss can be used like butter and is a rich snack on its own. Our journey from one end of Papua New Guinea to the other lasts nearly three months, and we see no other sailboats the entire time. Travelling off the beaten path allows us greater opportunities to interact with the locals, and we find those experiences the most rewarding and exciting of this cruising lifestyle.
A gift idea for you and your friends…
Ocean Cruising Club Ͳ In celebration of the 60 years we in the OCC have been caring for and feeding crew on the world’s oceans, and following on from the Flying Fish series by the same name, we have compiled our members’ favourite recipes to share among our friends. The result is a grand collection of recipes shared by OCC members from around the world for all to enjoy. From the Galley of... includes well over 250 recipes that are regularly prepared on small sailing boats. Whether in distant lands where familiar ingredients are unavailable or in local harbours sharing potluck with fellow cruisers, this is a collection of recipes for cooking meals both underway and at anchor. They can, of course also all be done in a proper kitchen. Being 'boat recipes' they are by and large simple to cook, tasty, and nutritious. Let the feasting begin in celebration of the Jubilee! From the Galley of… is available online in Print and Kindle format through OceanCruisingClub.org and Amazon worldwide. OCC members receive a 20% discount on the print edition. List price is £10, member price is £8 with discount code: ND7BUQZ3 when ordered through the OCC website only. See the member section for details. Get your copy today and please help spread the word! The cookery book is available for members and non-members to purchase. All proceeds go to the OCC. 214
OBITUARIES & APPRECIATIONS Desmond Marcus Stewart Hampton Vice Commodore 1982-1988 Desmond was born on 31 August 1940, son of a master at Winchester College, and grew up in the New Forest. He was educated at St Swithun’s, Horris Hill and then Winchester College, and in 1957 was offered a place at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, to commence in 1959. He had elected to study Estate Management, and spent the intervening year gaining practical experience on the Haresfield Estate. The owner, Tim Heywood, was said to be far more interested in training Desmond to become a firstclass deck hand on his 43ft cutter Donella than teaching him hedging and ditching. Tim was a profound influence on Desmond’s life, and friends report that he filled the gap following the death of Desmond’s father in 1963. Having rowed at Winchester, on arrival at Cambridge Desmond joined the Trinity Hall Boat Club. He rowed in a number of successful Trinity Hall boats during his time there, with a style described as ‘a series of powerful jerks, interjected with a rich vocabulary of Anglo Saxon if things were not going according to plan’. Having attained his BA, Desmond moved on to London University’s Wye College where he completed a post graduate diploma in Farm Business Administration. He embarked on his professional career in 1962, joining Cluttons, where he qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and in 1968 became an Equity Partner. He progressed via Managing Partner to Partner, and on retirement in 2001 became a Consultant. As OCC Vice Commodore from 1982 to 1988, he several times invited the Committee to meet at Cluttons, the thick carpets and dark oak panelling adding suitable gravitas to the Committee’s deliberations. Desmond was highly respected for his work with many of the old institutional and charity landowners, including the Church Commissioners and the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, where for many years he provided independent valuations of their estates. His client list was truly diverse, however, and his skills also attracted major developers and house builders. He was a founder member of the Expert Witness Institute, specialising in rural property valuation, a member of the RICS Expert Witness Registration Scheme, and for a surveyor had an unrivalled knowledge and understanding of the intricacies of associated areas of law. Holidays during the 1960s saw Desmond gaining experience aboard Donella, accompanying Tim Heywood on summer cruises to Brittany and Scotland. Tim’s stepdaughter, Kitty Cadbury, was often among the crew and in 1968 she and Desmond married. They had two daughters, Emma and Vanessa, whom they took cruising in their first family boat, a Westerly. Desmond’s first experience of ocean sailing was aboard Gipsy Moth V in 1977, crewing for his friend Giles Chichester on a fully-crewed race to the Azores. This became his qualifying passage for the OCC, which he joined the same year. In 1979 the Westerly was replaced by Wild Rival, a Peter Brett-designed Rival 34. Wild Rival had won the 1978 Observer Single Handed Transatlantic Race on handicap, and after the sale Peter 215
told Desmond that she was already entered for both the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the 1979 Azores and Back Race, “so you’ll have to do them”. Following AZAB in 1979 Desmond again crewed for Giles Chichester aboard Gipsy Moth V, this time on the Parmelia Race which followed the track of the square-rigger Parmelia from Cape Town through the Southern Ocean to Freemantle in Western Australia. The next year he completed his first singlehanded race, sailing Wild Rival from Plymouth to Newport, RI in the 1980 OSTAR. By then hooked on singlehanded ocean racing, in 1982 Desmond chartered Gipsy Moth V from Giles Chichester for the inaugural BOC Singlehanded Round the World Race. The first singlehanded race around the world – The Golden Globe – had taken place in 1968, and only Robin Knox-Johnston and Suhaili had managed to finish. It was therefore considered particularly hazardous, and it took considerable courage for an amateur yachtsman with a demanding, full-time job to enter. In the event, Cluttons not only gave him leave of absence to take part but even offered some sponsorship.
Desmond (fourth from left) among the BOC skippers in 1982 When asked why he decided to do the race, Desmond replied that it was the romance of the thing that attracted him. He commented that there was nothing to equal being perched on the crest of a huge sea when running in the Southern Ocean and seeing the crest of the huge roller ahead, an immense distance away in the moonlight. Sadly, disaster struck when he was lying second. He had set course to pass Gabo Island off the southeast corner of Australia but, having turned in for some rest, the wind shifted and the yacht hit the island head-on. Gipsy Moth V became lodged between two huge boulders and eventually broke up, bringing his race to a premature end. Over subsequent years a succession of single and double-handed races followed, including numerous OSTARs, TwoStars, AZABs and Round Britain and Ireland Races. Wild Rival was swapped for Panicker, designed and built by Robert Nickerson, a Lincolnshire farmer and himself an accomplished short-handed racer. Panicker was a particularly uncomfortable boat to sail, described by Giles Chichester as ‘like being in a lightweight cigar tube under a cold shower’. In 1986 Desmond and Giles entered for TwoStar, but on the sixth day of bashing to windward the mast came down due to rigging failure. It took them fourteen days to sail back under jury rig. 216
In 1994 Desmond acquired his last boat, Roc. Built in 1986, she was a 40ft waterballasted one-off, built of aluminium and optimised for short-handed racing. That year also saw Desmond and Kitty separate, and they later divorced. Two y e a r s l a t e r, a g e d 56, Desmond came second in OSTAR’s 40ft class, ahead of Desmond talking to Gaye Sarma (now Orr) a number of younger at an OCC event, thought to be at professional skippers Gins Farm on the Beaulieu River in newer, faster boats and despite having to hand steer the last 500 miles after Roc’s self-steering gear failed. In 1993 Desmond joined the Serpentine Running Club and running became another great passion, though he was sometimes able to combine the two. The Universal 500 Sailing and Running Race, comprising a yacht race over 500 miles and a series of cross country races, was tailor-made for him. On most boats the crew did the sailing and specialist runners did the running, but Desmond often did both. His stamina was a revelation to his running club colleagues; on one Universal 500 not only did he do virtually all the sailing, he also did all three runs. Desmond first met Susan Greville while they were both competing in the Universal 500 aboard different yachts, then in 1995 Desmond invited her to race with him in Roc, and in 1997 they married. They had a daughter, Claudia, and bought a family home in West London. 1997 also saw Desmond taking part in the Bermuda One-Two, in which he raced singlehanded from Newport to Bermuda and then two-handed back to Newport with his daughter Emma. Roc was not the most comfortable boat, but that didn’t deter Desmond and Sue, with Claudia, cruising in her on both sides of the Atlantic. She was also pressed into service every year to take the family down to their holidays ashore in Tresco, loaded with bicycles, boat parts, provisions and wine for themselves and their friends there. Then in 2010, aged 69, he took Roc – with what was effectively an all family crew – on the Three Peaks running and sailing race, skippering the boat throughout and ending by running up Ben Nevis. He also ran four London marathons, and represented the Serpentine Running Club in a number of cross country races, winning a medal in the Southern Counties Master’s Championship at the age of 70. Desmond was a great competitor, always ready for a challenge, and until Roc was sold in 2011 he continued racing with the Singlehanded Offshore Racing Club (previously the Petit Bateau), and two-handed in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Fastnet and La Rochelle races, among others. 217
In addition to serving as a Trustee and Flag Officer of the Ocean Cruising Club, Desmond was a member of The Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Cruising Club. In his personal life he was a man of absolute integrity, and is remembered by all who knew him as being steadfast, loyal, totally dependable and immensely generous. He will be much missed, and it is tragic that he became a victim of pancreatic cancer when he still had much to give. He died on 11 October 2014, and is survived by his wife Sue and his three daughters. The collection taken at Desmond’s memorial service in January has very generously been donated to the OCC’s Youth Sponsorship Programme. This will enable several young people to follow in his wake, making their first ocean passage and, hopefully, gaining something of Desmond’s passion for ocean sailing. With thanks to Susan Hampton, and many others among Desmond’s family and friends
Major John (Jock) Kenneth McLeod Jock McLeod died on 23 December 2014. He was a third generation child of the Raj, born in 1929 in what is now Pakistan. The McLeods being an old Skye family, he was brought up at Redcliff near Portree and schooled at Cargilfield Prep School before going on to Wellington College. On leaving school he joined the Seaforth Highlanders, reaching the rank of major, but was invalided out of the army in 1961 because of a congenital problem with his hip. He will be best remembered as a cruising yachtsman, a singlehanded transatlantic sailor and a great advocate of the junk rig. He was a member of the Ocean Cruising Club for nearly 50 years, having been elected in 1965 following a passage from Newport, RI to Ireland the previous year aboard the 56ft Kytra. Jock McLeod and Blondie Hasler aboard Jester in 1961. Photo Bridget Hasler 218
Perhaps Jock’s most long-lasting and influential friend was Blondie Hasler. They first met in 1961 at Muirtown Basin at the east end of the Caledonian Canal, when Blondie was looking for someone to help him investigate the Loch Ness Monster. Jock joined Blondie for a two week recce on Loch Ness in his junk-rigged Jester, Jock McLeod aboard Ron Glas at the start of OSTAR and the two of them immediately clicked. The following year Jock sailed to Brazil with Peter and Anne Pye in their 30ft Polperro gaffer Moonraker of Fowey. Many of the odd jobs on this 15,000 mile voyage fell to Jock – rigging awnings in the ‘inferno’ of the doldrums, climbing the mast in mid-ocean to re-reeve the topsail halyard, and plugging the many leaks in Moonraker’s ancient decks. On his return, Jock joined Blondie as business partner. Jock was a very precise mechanical draughtsman and was adept at assembling Hasler windvane selfsteering systems out of countless parts manufactured by Mike Gibb. For a while he lived and worked at Blondie’s house, The Old Forge, near Southampton. He was often to be found crouched under the low attic roof, sitting on a little wooden stool with ‘STOREMAN’ painted on it, wearing an authentic storeman’s brown cotton coat. Windvanes were supplied to Francis Chichester and Alec Rose, and they worked on a wide range of projects including Blondie’s revolutionary floating breakwater. Blondie was the creative genius and practical engineer – which Jock recognised – but the partnership endured as Jock brought a trusted, disciplined and capable pair of hands which enabled the business to expand and have greater reach. He became an enthusiastic disciple of the Chinese lugsail rig, and together they refined its design and practical application. Later they co-authored the definitive Practical Junk Rig: Design Aerodynamics and Handling which remains in print and has even been published in Chinese! In the late 1960s Jock commissioned Angus Primrose to design a large junk-rigged schooner for easy singlehanded ocean sailing. This was a significant project, as at 47ft she was the largest junk-rigged vessel in the UK. She was designed to be sailed entirely from the cockpit, which was only a few feet long and could be completely covered by a sliding hatch with a cupola, which was a great improvement on the systems used by both Jester and Galway Blazer. The Hasler self-steering was expected to do the majority of the steering – just as well, as the rudder bearing was stiff, making 219
Jock McLeod aboard Ron Glas in Millbay Dock, Plymouth, before the start of OSTAR
hand-steering via the tiny wheel hard work – and the halyards were four-part, to hoist the heavy sails and full-length battens. The design brief below was for space and comfort, with deep bunks and leeboards which did not need to be disturbed to sit around the saloon table. The new boat was launched in 1970, and named Ron Glas. Jock made six Atlantic crossings in her, two of them in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Races of 1972 and 1976. One of his reasons for entering OSTAR was to promote his junk rig designs. Ron Glas could be managed entirely from undercover in wet weather, and Jock once boasted that he could cross the Atlantic in his pyjamas and slippers. The press promptly dubbed him ‘Pyjama Jock’, and he gained his desired publicity for the junk rig! Although Ron Glas was built for comfort and easy sailing – many skippers cast covetous eyes over the ample supply of the amber nectar that found its way into her bilges – she managed 24th out of 55 starters in the 1972 OSTAR and 45th out of 125 in 1976. Jock also competed in the 1974 and 1978 Round Britain and Ireland Races, taking 30 days each time. The 1978 RBR was to be Jock’s last serious race, but the fact that he started and completed four major yachting events without serious incident is a testament to his seamanship and, probably, his sense of humour. In 1982 he again crossed the Atlantic to participate in the Cruising Club of America’s 60th anniversary muster in Maine, this time taking Roddy Mackenzie, fresh out of school, as crew. In mid Atlantic Jock insisted on holding a dinner to coincide with his Regimental Dinner. Fine food and good wine to toast Her Majesty were followed by a hilarious speech by the President (Jock) and a March Round, though (sensibly) neither ventured on deck. 220
Over the next twenty years Jock explored the rugged and remote coastlines of the Western, Northern and Faroe Isles, as well as making several notable cruises to Norway during which he explored nearly all its coastline from Oslo to the Lofoten Islands. Jock finally sold Ron Glas in 2009, retiring to live a quiet life on Ross-shire’s Black Isle but remaining a great raconteur to the end. He was buried on the Black Isle in a grave overlooking the Moray Firth, after a service attended by many of his sailing friends. With thanks to Mark and Sarah Bucknill, the RCC and the Junk Rig Association
Robert (Bob) S Erskine Jr Bob Erskine passed away in Essex, Connecticut on 20 December 2014 at the age of 88. Born in Bronxville, New York to Robert and Marguerite Erskine, Bob attended Deerfield Academy and Harvard University before earning his Joint Degree from Columbia Law School in 1952. He served in the Merchant Marine, then in the US Army until 1954. He spent his entire legal career at Carter, Ledyard and Milburn in New York City, becoming a partner in 1964. Bob grew up sailing at the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, first in the Bullseye class, and then aboard his family’s Alden Coastwise Cruiser. In 1950 he was invited to join Rod Stephen’s crew aboard the NY 32 Mustang, and remained an active participant in racing on and off the water for the next fifty years. During that span he sailed multiple Block Island, Vineyard, and Bermuda Races, raced across the Atlantic many times, and won the Fastnet Race in 1959 and again in 1963. He also was active in smaller boats, racing IC dinghies and Shields at Larchmont Yacht Club and Sunfish in Nantucket. Off the water, he served as the counsel to the Cruising Club of America, Secretary of the New York Yacht Club from 1975–1980, and as one of five members of the arbitration panel selected for the millennium America’s Cup. Bob was proposed for election to the Ocean Cruising Club by Founder Member Harvey Loomis, and joined in 1982 citing a transatlantic passage made more than twenty years earlier – from Bermuda to Marstrand, Sweden aboard the 48ft Anitra in 1960. A very clubbable man, he was also a member of the American Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Storm Trysail Club and the Nantucket Yacht Club. In addition, he was a founding Commodore of the Shimmo Yacht Squadron. He shared his love of being on the water with his family, and following retirement cruised extensively with his wife Barbara aboard their 32ft powerboat Olympia, covering the entire eastern seaboard of the US from the Bras d’Or Lakes to Key West. He is survived by Barbara, daughters Eliza Drummond and Anne Black, and son Thomas. With thanks to Scuttlebutt Sailing News Magazine 221
Peter Leslie Ogilvy-Stuart Peter Ogilvy-Stuart, a member of the OCC since 1986, died on 21 February 2015. Born in Vancouver, Canada in 1927 he was the second of four children, but suffered early tragedy when his mother died in childbirth. His father Edward, a serving Canadian Mountie, returned to Britain with the children. At school he attended a talk given by a recruiting officer for the Gurkhas and was inspired to join, becoming one of their youngest-ever officers. This was at the time of Indian independence and the separation of Pakistan, and one assignment saw him – at the age of 17½ – as commanding officer of a train full of Sikhs who were returning to northern India to avoid potential slaughter as tensions rose in the newly-created Pakistan. At the end of his service with the Gurkhas Peter disbanded from the army in Hong Kong, where he was offered a job by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. So began a career that was to last over thirty years, in various parts of the Far East and Europe. Whilst in Indonesia he married his childhood sweetheart, Paddy. His eldest daughter Mandy (also an OCC member) was born there and Ali and Nonnie were born in Hong Kong, while Angus, his fourth child, was born in Scotland whilst Peter and Paddy were on leave. Throughout his time abroad Peter never forgot his Scottish roots, and was heavily involved with the local Caledonian Society wherever he went. He would organise Burns’ Nights and New Year’s Eve parties wherever he was living at the time. On New Year’s Eve 1985, having just completed his first Atlantic crossing, he persuaded the Antigua Yacht Club to pause the reggae music while he got everyone doing something vaguely resembling an Eightsome Reel! From the moment he was introduced to the sport Peter was a passionate sailor. While living in Hong Kong he entered the South China Sea Race, and his ambition was to sail around the world when he retired. He initially retired from the bank in 1978, aged 51, but was persuaded to open a new branch in Gibraltar where he bought a 33ft yacht called Utopia. In this unlikely boat he became the record holder of the Alboran yacht race. We believe he still holds the record today! He later sold Utopia to buy a 44ft Laurent Giles-designed ketch called Cougar, in which to realise his dream of circumnavigating. He set off from Beaulieu in 1985, having ensured that his stores included plentiful supplies of Teachers Whisky (in case he ever became shipwrecked!). He sailed to the West Indies via Gibraltar and the Canary Islands, passed through the Panama Canal, sailed on to Galapagos, Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia, then crossed the Indian Ocean to South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. A second transatlantic passage took him across to the West Indies, with a third on his way home to Lymington. He was met by a flotilla of yachts containing family and friends to welcome him home, some of whom had joined him for various legs of his journey. He always made everyone extremely welcome aboard Cougar, and impressed them with his seamanship. He navigated his ocean crossings using a sextant, and claimed that he always knew where he was! Peter took great delight recalling details of this magnificent adventure and would often put on a slide show and talk for interested parties. This included details of seeing a giant squid reach its long-tentacled arm terrifyingly over the boat as he was sailing in 222
Peter Ogilvy-Stuart aboard Cougar calm seas. In another episode near the coast of Venezuela, a suspected drug trafficker flying a light aircraft circled Peterâ€™s yacht several times before crash-landing into the sea. The plane sank in front of his eyes before anyone was able to escape. Peter reported the incident to the British Embassy in Panama. On the last leg of his circumnavigation he was hit by a force 10 gale in the Bay of Biscay. A huge wave capsized the boat and caused considerable damage and Peter, who was on watch at the time, would certainly have been swept overboard if he had not been properly harnessed on. As Cougar slowly righted herself it took several long moments for the water to clear the closed washboards before his crew could see, to their relief, that he was still with them. Peter later took Cougar back to the West Indies, and then to the Mediterranean where he subsequently spent most of his summers. While at home in the UK he enjoyed playing golf at his club in Brockenhurst and bridge and chess with his friends in Lymington. Peter was the kindest of gentlemen, who will be very sadly missed by his family and many friends. With thanks to Amanda and Alasdair Ogilvy-Stuart
Austin Lowell Whitten Austin died in the Palliative Care Unit of Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto on 10 December 2014 at the age of 72, after a lengthy battle with metastatic melanoma cancer. He was born in Chicago in 1942 and brought up by his mother, but after 223
completing high school and one year at the University of Chicago he moved to California to stay with his aunt. He used his experience working in a food market in Chicago to start work in Los Angeles as produce manager at a supermarket, where he met Aideen. They moved to New York for two years, then in 1967 emigrated to Toronto to escape the draft for the Vietnam War. Austin didn’t agree with America being involved in Vietnam, and felt he couldn’t go to fight and kill Vietnamese. After two years in Toronto Aideen became homesick for California and returned there after a ten-year relationship with Austin. Austin loved Canada, and became a Canadian citizen as soon as it was possible. After working as produce manager for an IGA Supermarket in Etobicoke he took a two-year computer course, and on completion began working at the Toronto Board of Education, eventually becoming Manager of Technical Services in the computer department working with big IBM mainframes. He remained with the Board of Education for 16 years before leaving to go cruising. In 1977 Austin met Patricia, a Registered Nurse working at Sunnybrook Hospital, at Harbourside Sailing Club. They married in 1979 and lived at Harbour Square, the first condo on the waterfront. They sailed Bluenoses from Harbourside Sailing Club for pleasure and then started racing. But it wasn’t long before they began to think of quitting their jobs and going off cruising, and reading Donald Hamilton’s Cruises with Kathleen about his passage from Vancouver to California and Mexico in his Vancouver 27 encouraged them to choose a sistership, built by Pheon Yachts at Newhaven on the south coast of England. Austin gained ocean sailing experience by crossing the Atlantic with five other men aboard a 45ft custom-built yacht owned by Peter Menzel, who was en route to the Greek Islands. Austin reached Newhaven just in time for the launching of their own boat, Discovery II. Sailing became the focus of Austin and Patricia’s life, and Discovery Austin and Patricia bring Discovery II out of the entrance canal to Cuba’s Marina Dársena de Varadero in March 2012
And a few seconds later, with Discovery II sharing the frame... II their second home as they cruised the Mediterranean for 3½ years. Austin cited the Canaries–Barbados leg of their 1987 homeward passage across the Atlantic as his qualifying voyage, joining the OCC four years later. After 2½ years earning money back in Toronto, Austin and Patricia began planning their Pacific crossing. Taking off in 1991, they sailed down to the Caribbean and passed through the Panama Canal into the Pacific, where they visited the Galapagos, the Marquesas, Tahiti, the Society Islands, the Cook Islands and Tonga. On reaching New Zealand in 1996 they decided to take a break, and lived and worked there for five years, becoming New Zealand citizens. In 2001 they left for Australia, sailing across the Tasman Sea to Sydney, where they ended up living and working for another five years. During these years Austin became an expert sailor, exhibiting impeccable judgement – not least in interpreting the weather – and they enjoyed a wonderful cruising lifestyle free of major mishaps. It was an exciting life, but in 2007 they decided to retire from offshore cruising and return to Toronto, so Discovery II was shipped to Ensenada, Mexico by freighter. Austin and Patricia sailed her up to San Diego, then had her trucked to Chicago, where she was relaunched. They sailed through Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and the Welland Canal into Lake Ontario, bringing Discovery II home after 14 years away. However, winter in Toronto soon drove them to have Discovery II trucked to Florida, where over three years they explored both coasts and in 2012 visited Cuba. Another aspect of Austin’s life was his activism. Not only did he protest the Vietnam war, but also the Iraq war and the war in Afganistan. He was out protesting on the street for many hours. He was against unjust wars. He also spent many hours protesting 225
the Occupation of Palestine. He championed the humanity of mankind. He was for protecting the environment, eating produce that was grown locally, and supporting local businesses as opposed to the big chain stores. This brought him into contact with Kathleen Mackintosh, whose company Culinarium only sold items grown and produced within 100 km of Toronto. He delivered orders to customers of Culinarium by bicycle, finally buying an electric bike to make things faster and easier. Austin was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in June 2013, and with metastatic melanoma cancer the following March. Discovery II was again trucked back to Toronto a month later, but the cancer limited Austin’s chances to sail. After treatment failed to slow the growth of the melanoma in his hip, he elected at the beginning of November to be transferred to the Palliative Care Unit at Sunnybrook where he received excellent care until his death. He took his diagnoses in his stride, never complaining and researching all aspects of his illness and the treatment options. Austin lived by his ideals. He read extensively, sometimes having more than one book on his active reading list, and attending both fiction and non-fiction book clubs at Mt Pleasant library. He had strongly-held opinions, but his ideals were always based on what he felt was rational thought. Kathleen put it very well when she wrote, ‘the world is a less bright place indeed now that his generous spirit has left us’. With thanks to Patricia Sadleir
FROM THE GALLEY OF ... Bill Salvo, aboard Cascade II Penne Arrabbiata (Angry Pasta) alla Lidia da Villa Margarita Ingredients • • • • • • • • •
penne pasta tomatoes (fresh or tinned), finely chopped garlic to taste, finely chopped a little olive oil parsley, finely chopped fresh basil, chopped hot red peppers, finely chopped salt grated cheese
Cook the penne in salted water until al dente. Sauté the garlic, and add the tomatoes and a little salt. Add the finely chopped hot red peppers. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Mix with the penne and top with grated cheese.
ADVERTISERS IN FLYING FISH Adlard Coles Nautical (nautical almanacs, books and guides) ............................. 130 Allspars (marine and architectural rigging) ............................................................ 57 Astilleros Lagos (full service boatyard in NW Spain) .................... inside front cover Berthon International (international yacht brokers) ............................................ 201 Bruntons Propellers (feathering propellers for sailing yachts) .............................. 115 Fortress Anchors (lightweight yacht anchors) .........................................................43 Fox’s Marina (chandlery, boatyard and marina; Suffolk, UK) ...................................4 From the Galley of... (OCC cookery book) .......................................................... 214 Fuel Cell Systems (supliers of fuel cell technology for yachts) ............................... 68 Furneaux Riddall (Spectra Watermakers – desalinators for cruising yachts) .......... 44 GN Espace (performance galley innovations) ........................................................128 Greenham Regis (marine electronics – sales, installation and service) .................. 84 Hydrovane Self Steering (wind vane self-steering systems) .................................. 109 Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson (charts and cruising guides) .................................... 28 Isle of Arran Distillers (malt whisky distillers – The Arran Malt) ........................151 Istec AG (innovative downwind sails – Parasailor) ................................................188 Mactra Marine Equipment (watermakers, Aries self-steering, wind generators) .... 164 MailASail (e-mail and satellite communications) .................................................. 77 Marine Insurance International (yacht insurance brokerage) .................................27 Mid Atlantic Yacht Services (services & chandlery for yachts in the Azores) ...... 129 Multihull World (specialist multihull broker) ...................................................... 152 Nestaway Boats (nesting, sectional and folding boats) ......................................... 166 Noonsite (World Cruising Club – blue water cruisers’ information site) ............... 96 OCC Regalia (UK) ................................................................................................ 116 Ocean Crew Link (connecting owners with offshore sailing crew) ........................ 96 Sailing Rallies (sailing rallies to the Baltic and Caribbean) ................................. 110 Sanders Sails (sailmakers) ...................................................................................... 177 Scanmar International (wind vane self-steering systems & anchor trip device) .....178 Sevenstar Yacht Transport (yacht transport by sea) ....................... inside back cover Ship to Shore (mail forwarding, scanning and holding service for cruisers) ............187 Sillette Sonic (marine propulsion specialists, custom engineering) ........................78 Topsail Insurance (yacht and travel insurance specialist) ............ outside back cover World Cruising Club (sailing rally specialist – ARC, Malts Cruise, etc) ...................83 Please support advertisers by giving consideration to their products or services, and mention the OCC and Flying Fish when replying to advertisements. Details of advertising rates and deadlines will be found overleaf. 227
ADVERTISEMENTS RATES Advertising is sold on a two consecutive issues basis Inside pages Full page colour ...................£280 (for two issues) Half page colour...................£170 (for two issues) Cover pages Inside front cover colour ................ £525 (for two issues) Inside back cover colour ................ £525 (for two issues) Outside back cover colour.............. £840 (for two issues) A 10% discount is available to OCC members
COPY Copy should be supplied as a high res PDF, JPEG or EPS file, at a resolution of 300 dpi (118 dpcm) at finished size Full page : 188 x 120mm (type area); 214 x 145mm (including 2mm bleed area) Half page : 94 x 120mm (type area); 107 x 145mm (including 2mm bleed area) Alternatively, copy can be typeset by our printers, but additional costs may be incurred
DEADLINES Advertisements are accepted for inclusion on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Space may not permit all advertisements to be accepted, but please try! Latest dates by which orders must be received are: 14 October 2015 for Flying Fish 2015/2 14 February 2016 for Flying Fish 2016/1
ENQUIRIES AND ORDERS e-mail: email@example.com
Printed by Bungay Printers, 4b Market Place, Bungay, Suffolk NR35 1AW Tel: (01986) 892913, Fax: (01986) 896600, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 228
Ship your yacht from Asia, Australia, New-Zealand or Caribs back home!
For many years Sevenstar Yacht Transport is the cruising worldâ€™s shipping partner to ship your yacht back home after cruising. We offer regular sailings utilizing our 125-carrier fleet, including 2 semi-submersibles, to more than 50 destinations throughout the world. Just about where you are.
Sevenstar Yacht Transport,
ER DISCOV UTES
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Phone +31 20 448 8590
Published on Jun 7, 2015