TELL-TALES

Rod Heikell's very informal site on sailing around bits of the world and an eclectic collection of things nautical or nearly so.

Skylax blog London 2009

This bit of the blog might be corporeally based in London while we get some work done, but I can assure you our spirit is elsewhere, mostly in NZ, but also planning the hops around the SW Pacific to Australia and on up into the Andaman Sea. I'll start a new blog page when we get back to NZ in April.




Pages relating to the Mediterranean on this site will eventually migrate to a new site MEDITERRANEO and when the site is fully up and running the Mediterranean pages here will be closed.

 Like Tell-Tales, this site will contain an eclectic mix to do with things nautical, or nearly so, in the Mediterranean. For sailing outside the Mediterranean stay here on TELL-TALES.

There will inevitably be some duplicaton between the two sites with pages that are relevant to sailing within and without the Mediterranean on both sites. These will all have the same page name so don't worry too much.

02-05-09

Fish & Chip Salad

This is really a Nigel Slater recipe with a few minor changes. It tastes so much better than it sounds…trust me.

For 2

300 gm white fish fillets cut into mouth size pieces

300 gm squid cut into rings

3 medium sized potatoes cut into sauté sized slices and par-boiled

Salad: frisee, other lettuce, rocket, watercress – whatever green leaves you have though including rocket is great

Dressing

4 tbspoons olive oil

Juice of 2 limes or small lemons

Handful of mint

Handful of parsley

Tbspoon Dijon mustard (or other)

Tbspoon capers

4-6 anchovies (if you have them/tinned are OK)

 

Sauté potatoes in pan until cooked and nicely browned. Put aside in paper towel to keep warm and blot up a bit of oil. Turn up heat and put squid rings in. They will crackle and pop. After 3-4 minutes put fish in as well.

Put salad on bottom of plate. Arrange sautéed potatoes on salad. Put squid and fish on top. Pour dressing over.

Dressing

A blender is really necessary. I use the big 12V blender we have on board. Put oil, lemon/lime juice, mint, parsley, mustard, capers and anchovies in and blend to a lovely green mush.

You could conceivably use mint sauce, chop parley finely, and mush it up with the other ingredients with a fork.

For more on boat recipes, provisioning and cooking on board go to Gourmets and Gourmands

01-05-09

MEDITERRANEAN FRANCE & CORSICA 4TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT APRIL 2009

And finally the last of the supplements for now....

Thank you Lu... now we can pack to get back to the girl, a bit of stowing, the usual jobs like cleaning and greasing the winches, sails on, deck gear out and on. ohhh and a little BBQ and a bottle of good kiwi Voignier.

01-05-09

Shoestring Cruising around Italy

The following section on SHOESTRING CRUISING is a rough draft for the next edition of Italian Waters Pilot and will be refined before it goes in the book. I'm putting it up here as I thought it might be useful for anyone cruising around the coast. All the harbours and anchorages mentioned here are in Italian Waters Pilot so I haven't included details on the holding and shelter except in a general sense. Italian Waters Pilot is published by Imray.

 

Sailing around the Italian coast is a bit of a challenge for those on a tight budget and over the years I have pottered in and out of the anchorages along this coast numerous times. Inevitably you will need to stop in a marina here and there and besides it would be a dull thing if you did not. In the high season marina prices can be three times what they are in the off-season and there has been a tendency of late to extend the high season price time so it starts earlier and now to introduce a mid-season price structure covering late spring and early autumn.

 

 In General

Many parts of Italy are expensive to cruise in the peak summer season. High season prices generally run from the beginning of June to the end of August or the middle of September, but in some marinas will run from the beginning of June until the end of October. In some it will be only the month of August. To complicate matters many marinas now have a mid-season rate as well as the winter low season rate. The difference between low and high season rates can be anything from half the price to one third the price for low season compared to high season prices. Mid-season prices are somewhere in between low and high season prices. If this all sounds complicated it is because it is – tracking down prices for marinas is the bane of our lives.

To complicate this the amount charged varies from year to year (and not in line with inflation) and the period of low/mid/high seasons is varied as well. The only way you can find this out is to look on the web site for a marina if there is one and it has been updated with the prices for the current year or phone ahead if your Italian is good enough or there is someone in the marina office who speaks English (or your own language if not English). Phoning ahead is especially important where ormeggiatori run a section of quay or pontoons. Some have email which may be easier if you have time.

My advice is to research on the web and plan the route according to prices in marinas and anchorages available. For example you could cruise the Ligurian coast early in the season and then cross to Corsica and Sardinia for the high season where there are a reasonable number of anchorages which avoids high season prices in marinas. Then at the end of the season cross back over to the Italian mainland coast and cruise down it to whatever your destination is. If you are on a tight budget then avoid cruising areas where the only option is a marina or ormeggiatori leased areas in high season and try to do so in low season or at worst in mid-season. Where there are options for anchoring then you are better off, though in some areas the best areas for anchoring have moorings for which a charge is made. Charges for moorings can vary widely but can be very high in the high season. In addition some good anchorages are buoyed off for swimming areas and this means you have to anchor further out where there is less shelter and deeper depths to anchor in.

In some harbours you will find that there is a ‘Bancino di Transito’. This is essentially a free or moderately charged berth for craft in transit. It’s important to know that it is not solely for yachts. It may also be full of local craft. There always seems to be some confusion when the locals and even the officials realise that you know of the existence of the ‘Bancino di Transito’ and in some cases officials have ordered yachts to leave. Whether this is from associations with the local ormeggiatori or a genuine confusion over whether foreign yachts can use the quay is difficult to know, but probably a bit of both.

It used to be a general rule that the further S you went down the coast of Italy the cheaper marinas and ormeggiatori leased quays and pontoons got. That is no longer true and around Sicily and parts of Sardinia some marinas will charge astronomical fees in the high season. Around the Ligurian coast some marinas have very reasonable charges in the low and mid-season. Although not a general rule, it seems that older more established marinas don’t charge what new-build marinas charge, possibly because the infrastructure for a new marina costs relatively more these days. It’s not a hard and fast rule but might be useful.

 

Shoestring Cruising along the Ligurian Coast

Anchorages

There are not a lot of good natural anchorages around the Ligurian coast although there are a number that can be used in settled weather.... FOR MORE GO TO MEDITERRANEAN SAILING

01-05-09

ITALIAN WATERS PILOT 7TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #3 APRIL 2009

The latest supplement for Italian Waters Pilot is now up on the Supplements page (near the bottom on the menu).

In case you missed it check earlier entries for the latest 2009 supplements to

GREEK WATERS PILOT 10TH ED

IONIAN 6TH ED

WEST AEGEAN 1ST ED

TURKISH WATERS & CYPRUS PILOT 7TH ED.

EAST AEGEAN 1ST ED

There are links in earlier posts to here or go to the Supplements page and look for the latest 2009 supplements. There is one more to go up for MEDITERRANEAN FRANCE & CORSICA which will hopefully go up before we scramble onto the plane with half-packed bags and scrambled brains to rejoin Skylax in NZ. Why has it taken so long ....

 

30-04-08

Contaminated fuel in Sivota on Levkas

This came in from Steve cruising in the Ionian (Greece)

 I had spent the night of the 9th October moored in Sivota at the southern end of Levkas. The following morning before I left, a diesel bowser marked with the name “Spetrol” painted on the side was driving along the road that runs alongside the quay. Although not desperate, I did need some diesel and so since he was adjacent to where I was moored, I called to him and subsequently bought 40 Litres at 1.20€ / litre.Shortly afterwards I left Sivota and motored about ½ an hour before I experienced some erratic running problems with my engine at the bottom of the Meganissi Channel. The engine is a well maintained and serviced Nanni Diesel with some 500 hours logged over 5 years from new. After a few moments the faults seemed to clear and I continued on to Ormos Kapali at the North end of Meganissi where I anchored for the day. During the late afternoon when I wished to leave, the engine started but would not run reliably before cutting out; investigation of the primary fuel filter / water separator showed massive quantities of water. The water separator was drained repeatedly and every time a fresh influx of emulsified diesel would be visible.  There was no wind to sail out and so I had no alternative but to spend the night at anchor in Ormos Kapali; the following morning Sivota Yacht Services attended with a jerry can of fresh diesel and bled the engine of contaminated fuel.. The jerry can was jury-rigged as a temporary fuel tank and the main tank by-passed. Once flushed through, the engine eventually ran smoothly allowing me to get back to Aktion for a winter haul-out. A photograph is attached showing a sample of the fuel in the tank – approximately 50% diesel and 50% emulsified diesel/water.  I am reliably informed that the normal diesel bowser operator in that area is Makis and he drives a truck marked EKO – he has a good and long standing reputation.

I would repeat, the contaminated fuel was from a bowser marked Spetrol – you have been warned!

 This is the fuel! Top yellowy bit is diesel, bottom white bit is emulsified water.

28-04-09

More on overfishing with predictions on the end of tuna fishing in the Mediterranean

This article is from The End of the Line where you can sign up to pledge your support and lay claim to the 2 hectares of ocean each of us is responsible for.

Watch the trailer for the film HERE...

Bluefin tuna fishing season starts in the Mediterranean

With concern over bluefin tuna stocks growing among environmental groups, we round up the latest news at the start of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishing season.

A large tuna is caught by fishermen

A large tuna is caught by fishermen

Reuters report that a new WWF report says overfishing is set to wipe out bluefin tuna in three years.

The news agency says: “Overfishing will wipe out the breeding population of Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the ocean’s largest and fastest predators, in three years unless catches are dramatically reduced, conservation group WWF said.

“As European fishing fleets prepare to begin the two-month Mediterranean fishing season, WWF said its analysis showed the bluefin tuna that spawn - those aged four years and older - will have disappeared by 2012 at current rates.”

Sergi Tudela, head of fisheries at WWF Mediterranean, said: “For years people have been asking when the collapse of this fishery will happen, and now we have the answer.”

AFP report that the season, which is usually two months long, will be cut short by 15 days, as happened last year when quota limits were reached two weeks before the scheduled end.

The AFP story states: “The Mediterranean tuna fishing season will be 15 days shorter this year with quotas and fleets also cut, EU sources said Wednesday: but environmentalists complained it was too little, too late.

“The bluefin fishing season begins officially on Thursday and will end on June 15, two weeks earlier than the scheduled 2008 season.

“At the same time the European Commission has reduced allowed quotas by 27 percent overall. It has also negotiated a cut in fishing capacity for the industrial fishing ‘purse seiners’ which use huge cylindrical nets to scoop up their catch.”

The Times says that the ‘king of sushi’ tuna is on the brink of dying out.

David Charter, Europe Correspondent, writes: “Bluefin has become such a soughtafter delicacy in the Far East that ever higher prices are being paid for one of the ocean’s swiftest predators - and the rich red meat that makes it so desirable.

“But the size of the individual fish caught each year has dropped and conservationists fear that even recent restrictions imposed by the European Union will not save enough adults to keep the bluefin stocks viable.”

Marine conservation organisation Oceana blame the EU for the state of Mediterranean bluefin tuna stocks.

They said: “The bluefin tuna fishing season begins today for the Mediterranean purse seiner fleet, under the auspices of management measures that supposedly guarantee control over the fleet, but in reality ignore scientific recommendations and authorise unsustainable catches.

“In addition, illegal catches abound and Oceana calls for the immediate closure of the fishery to halt the decline of the species.”

See Environmental Issues for more

28-04-09

And some more supplements to books

Thanks again to Lu

Turkish Waters & Cyprus Pilot 8th ed. Also applies to 7th edition

East Aegean 1st ed.

Go to the 2009 supplements in the list below

Supplements to some of my books

This page contains some recent supplements to my books. It is not intended to be all-encompassing and for a complete list of supplements you should go to the Imray site www.imray.com and click on corrections. The corrections on the Imray site are in pdf format whereas these are straight html.

Note: If you want to print off the corrections for a book from here I suggest you highlight the corrections for the book you want and then copy it into a word processor like WORD. If you simply press PRINT for this page it will print off all the corrections - a lot of pages and a lot of paper and ink.

GREEK WATERS PILOT 10TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #1

GREEK WATERS PILOT 9TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #4

GREEK WATERS PILOT 10TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2 APRIL 2009 

IONIAN 5TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #3

IONIAN 6TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2 MAY 2009

WEST AEGEAN 1ST EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2

WEST AEGEAN 1ST EDITION SUPPLEMENT #3 APRIL 2009

EAST AEGEAN 1ST ED. SUPPLEMENT #1 MAY 2009

MEDITERRANEAN FRANCE & CORSICA 3RD EDITION SUPPLEMENT MAY 2007

TURKISH WATERS AND CYPRUS PILOT 7TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2

TURKISH WATERS & CYPRUS PILOT 7TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #1

TURKISH WATERS & CYPRUS PILOT 8TH ED. SUPPLEMENT #1 APRIL 2009

OCEAN PASSAGES AND LANDFALLS SUPPLEMENT #1 (2007)

OCEAN PASSAGES AND LANDFALLS SUPPLEMENT #2 (2008)

MEDITERRANEAN ALMANAC 2007-2008 #2

ITALIAN WATERS PILOT 7TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2 

INDIAN OCEAN CRUISING GUIDE 2ND EDITION SUPPLEMENT #1

28-04-09

Skin cancer and protecting yourself

These has been a good thread running on scuttlebutt about skin cancer and protecting yourself from the dreaded UV. I know a bit about this from an early scare when I was 23 and from recent biopsies and having suspicious bits cut out of me. The scuttlenutt thread is well worth a visit. There are three articles on recent scuttlebutts (24th,25th & 26th April) and some good forum posts on recommending types of sun block. Go HERE for the forum

The following is from my Adlard Coles Book of Mediterranean Sailing

Skin cancer has increased dramatically in recent years, mostly because of the fashion for sunbathing on holiday and returning home with a tan. On a yacht you are at an increased risk of skin cancer because ultraviolet radiation is reflected off the water. Ultraviolet rays in sunlight increase the production of a protective pigment called melanin which gives the skin its brown colour. However, even with the temporary increase of melanin, the tan does not prevent penetration of the skin by UV rays which can be extremely damaging.

There are three types of UV radiation: UVC, UVB and UVA, but it is mostly UVA that we have to worry about. UVA is largely unaffected by the ozone layer and penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB.

The main risk factors for skin cancer are over-exposure to UVA and skin colour. Individuals with fair or freckled skin burn easily. Dark skins are at lower risk although they are still in danger from skin cancer.

There are a number of things you can do to decrease the risk of skin cancer. The Australian slogan 'Slip, Slop, Slap' encapsulates the best advice:

            Slip on a shirt. It is important to know that a lot of fabrics like white cotton do not stop all the UVA hitting you. Darker fabrics and some specially designed shirts will cut out a higher percentage of  UVA.

            Slop on sun-block or sun-tan cream. Depending on your skin colour this should be a high factor SPF cream (at least factor 30 and preferably higher). For areas commonly exposed like the face and hands, use total sun-block.

            Slap on a hat. Wearing a good sun hat with a wide brim should become second nature. There are plenty of hats around with a good brim and a strap to hold it on when there is some wind. Baseball-type caps give some protection but not as much as a proper brimmed hat.

In addition to this advice think about the following:

           On a boat, a bimini protects you from a lot of UVA although some is still reflected off the water. A permanent bimini will radically decrease exposure to UVA in the cockpit.

           In harbour or at anchor an awning cuts down on UVA exposure.

           If you are snorkelling, wear a T-shirt and waterproof sun-block, or your back and the backs of your legs will be grilled. With the water lapping over you and cooling your body as you swim along the surface, it is easy to underestimate how burnt you are getting.

           Stay out of the sun between midday and mid-afternoon. This is the period when UVA radiation is highest. If you are going ashore try to time it for after 1500.

          Some UVA penetrates cloud so even on overcast days there is a risk of UVA exposure and you should 'Slip,Slop,Slap'. 

 Get a good bimini that can be left up when you are sailing as well as in harbour.

27-04-09

Will there be any fish left?

In the Observer an article on the over-fishing going on in most parts of the world highlights an old problem that must be addressed soon. In the Mediterranean I've noticed the number and size of fish, especially tuna and swordfish at the top of the food chain, have dramatically decreased in numbers and size.

The following extract is from the article by Andrew Purvis. To read the full version go to the Observer

Photo by Romass Foord from the Observer

... such gatherings often ride roughshod over the scientists' recommendations - as happened at a meeting of ICCAT (the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) in Luxembourg in 2007, where quotas were being thrashed out for bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean. Scientists recommended an annual catch of 15,000 tonnes a year, with a preference for 10,000 tonnes - but EU ministers agreed a quota of 29,000 tonnes, enough to guarantee the collapse of the species. (Last year, quotas for 2009 were again set far higher than scientists were advising.)

In fact, the real amount of bluefin landed was 61,000 tonnes - four times what scientists had recommended - due to illegal and unreported fishing. Last month, the European Commission implemented a two-year control and inspection programme for bluefin tuna fisheries in seven Mediterranean countries, to clamp down on things such as illegal spotter planes used to track down tuna schools. Globally, black-market fishing is worth US$25bn (£17bn) a year. In Europe, 50% of the cod we eat has been caught illegally.

Those figures, and the Luxembourg debacle, are recorded in The End of the Line - the documentary, based on Charles Clover's book of that name, to be screened in UK cinemas from 8 June. However, the blatant disregard for science it portrays is not an isolated case. "We have analysed the decision-making of European fisheries ministers over the past 20 years," says Professor Roberts, "and systematically, year on year, they have set quotas that are 25 to 35% higher than the levels recommended by scientists."

How can our politicians get away with it? "There is no obligation upon them to take scientific advice," Professor Roberts explains. "What they will tell you is that it is only one of the things they have to consider. While they might be protecting a fisherman's livelihood in the term of one or two years, short-term decision-making like that guarantees stock collapse. It is not just a possibility, it is a certainty. The only uncertainty is how long it will take."

According to Professor Roberts: "What politicians should be deciding is how the catch is allocated within different nations. That is politics. What they shouldn't be deciding is how big the catch should be in the first place. That is science."

27-04-09

2009 SUPPLEMENTS TO BOOKS

I've just posted supplements to

Greek Waters Pilot 10th ed.

Ionian 6th ed.

West Aegean 1st ed.

Big thanks to Lu as always

Below I've pasted the introduction to the supplements page with links to the various books including the new supplements. Please heed the instructions on printing out supplements. Otherwise go to Supplements or to the IMRAY web site and look under corrections.

Supplements to some of my books

This page contains some recent supplements to my books. It is not intended to be all-encompassing and for a complete list of supplements you should go to the Imray site www.imray.com and click on corrections. The corrections on the Imray site are in pdf format whereas these are straight html.

Note: If you want to print off the corrections for a book from here I suggest you highlight the corrections for the book you want and then copy it into a word processor like WORD. If you simply press PRINT for this page it will print off all the corrections - a lot of pages and a lot of paper and ink.

GREEK WATERS PILOT 10TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #1

GREEK WATERS PILOT 9TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #4

GREEK WATERS PILOT 10TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2 APRIL 2009 

IONIAN 5TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #3

IONIAN 6TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2 MAY 2009

WEST AEGEAN 1ST EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2

WEST AEGEAN 1ST EDITION SUPPLEMENT #3 APRIL 2009

MEDITERRANEAN FRANCE & CORSICA 3RD EDITION SUPPLEMENT MAY 2007

TURKISH WATERS AND CYPRUS PILOT 7TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2

TURKISH WATERS & CYPRUS PILOT 7TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #1

OCEAN PASSAGES AND LANDFALLS SUPPLEMENT #1 (2007)

OCEAN PASSAGES AND LANDFALLS SUPPLEMENT #2 (2008)

MEDITERRANEAN ALMANAC 2007-2008 #2

ITALIAN WATERS PILOT 7TH EDITION SUPPLEMENT #2 

INDIAN OCEAN CRUISING GUIDE 2ND EDITION SUPPLEMENT #1

27-04-09

Turkish transit log goes digital

This just in from Yusuf in Turkey

*New Transitlogs on the Way*

According to a communication by the Directorate of Transport (dated
02.04.2009 and number 10859) it is planned that Transit Logs are issued
digitally and vessels will receive only a printout. As of 15 April 2009
arrangements are made at the branches of the Sea Trade Chambers and at
the Harbour Master’s Offices in order to faciltate the required digital
input.

23-04-09

 St George’s Day

I’m not a flag waver and certainly not of the Cross of St George which seems to be worn almost exclusively by jingoistic racist Little Englanders who like to beat up honest fans at soccer matches. What surprises me is that most know little of the origin of the flag. If they did they might decide not to wear it because of what they would describe as it’s 'raghead' origins.

The origin of St George and the adoption of the Cross of St George as the English flag is an interesting one. St George is probably (no guarantees here) a saint buried in the town of Diospolis in the region of Lydia in the Anatolian region of present day Turkey. But that may have been Lydda in Palestine or possibly a place in Syria. He was buried here sometime around 310-550AD. Nope, it’s not possible to be more exact and there seems to be a fair amount of speculation over who George was and the when and where. For now lets run with George in Lydia where he was martyred and buried in a shrine in Turkey sometime around 300-550AD.

Why he became popular is uncertain, but his cult did spread throughout the Middle East and into southern Europe in the Middle Ages. The association of George and the dragon is a later addition and the best interpretation is that it represents the triumph of Christianity over Paganism represented by the dastardly fire-breathing dragon. Bring the dragons I say.

So how did George get to England. In Italian Waters Pilot I included a snippet of historical gossip that might provide a clue.

On the S side of Punta della Chiappa is the small cove of S. Fruttuoso sheltered from all but strong southerlies. A church with a prominent cupola in the abbey of Capodimonte at the head of the cove is conspicuous. There is a corridor for navigation through the marine reserve which may be buoyed in places.

A yacht should anchor fore and aft as there is limited swinging room, or better still anchor off the NE corner and take a line ashore. There are 5-6m depths in the middle and 2m depths until close in. The E bay is administered by ormeggiatori who may restrict anchoring, or may levy a charge. A small quayed area is reserved for tripper boats.

A friend, Jan Roos, when diving in this bay was surprised to find a statue of Christ some 4m high in the water in the position shown. Inscribed on the base of the statue is: II Cristo degli Abissi. The tiny village has long been famous for its monastery and the vaults of the Doria family, and the statue was perhaps placed here by this illustrious family. The church and monastery have recently been restored. Legend has it that Richard the Lionheart shippedfrom Genoa and soon after was caught in a terrible storm. The Lionheart trembled and prayed for deliverance to the nearest sacred object which was the Genoese patron saint mounted on the poop rail, promising that if delivered from the tempest he would make the saint patron of England. The saint was St George. The king was saved, coming ashore at San Fruttuoso.

So Richard the Lionheart brought St George back to England after he had done his thing in the Holy Land and the flag comes from the red cross the Crusaders wore on their tunics. This makes some sort of historical sense as the earliest recorded mention of St George in England is around the 12th century and Richard lived from 1157 to 1199. In the 14th century Edward instigated the Order of the Garter and established George as the English saint.

He is shared by most of the other countries of Europe. Russia has more statues of George than anyone else. The Danish flag is said to be derived from the Cross of St George. And all the Latin and Slavic countries, without exception, honour him. What you can be sure about is that the hagiography is obscure and his veneration a bit mystifying for some of us.

 

23-04-09

A short history of yachting in the Mediterranean

 

 

Such is our insular historical perspective that we like to think that yachting began with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the pleasure craft of Charles II and his cronies, not in the warm waters of the Mediterranean some fifteen hundred years earlier. Certainly the word yacht from the Dutch 'jaghte' meaning a small, fast ship, was introduced in this period to describe the royal pleasure boats, but yachting in this sense and in the meaning it picked up later has been around for longer than this.

Royal yachts have been around since the Egyptians with the earliest known royal pleasure craft belonging to the Pharaoh Cheops. At around forty-four metres (143ft) he used it on the Nile and liked it so much he had it buried with him in the Great Pyramid at Giza. When the Ptolemy’s came along in the fourth century BC a whole fleet of royal yachts were built. Ptolemy IV had big ideas about the sort of royal pleasure craft he wanted and had a catamaran constructed that was ninety-two metres (300ft) long with a deck nearly fourteen metres (45ft) wide and what can only be described as a miniature palace eighteen and a half metres (60ft) high erected upon it. This construction was towed up and down the Nile so that Ptolemy IV could survey and rule his kingdom in some comfort and style when on the move.

Lateen rigged craft are reckoned to have been around for 2000 years by some estimates, though there is some argument about this. But if 2000 years then did Cleopatra drift down the Cyndus on a luxurious version of this?

 

For flair and dramatic effect none of the rulers of Egypt could top the performance of Cleopatra. When she was summoned to Tarsus by Antony, Cleopatra intended to create an entrance he wouldn't forget. Plutarch describes Cleopatra's approach to Tarsus in 41 BC:

 

'She came sailing up the Cyndus on a galley whose stern was golden; the sails were purple, and the oars were silver. These, in their motion, kept tune to the music of flutes and pipes and harps. The Queen, in the dress and character of Aphrodite, lay on a couch of gold brocade, as though in a picture, while about her were pretty boys, bedight like cupids, who fanned her, and maidens habited as nereids and graces, and some made as though they were rowing, while others busied them about the sails. All manner of sweet perfumes were wafted ashore from the ship, and on the shore thousands were gathered to behold her'.

 

Cleopatra invited Antony on board for dinner and from there on in he was captivated by the Egyptian Queen and they were rarely separated. They died together, after Antony failed to wrest the Roman Empire from Octavius.

 

If you want the complete version of this go to Nautical Esoterica

22-04-09

Some more on Somali Piracy

This is part of a paper by David H Shinn in the East Africa Forum on piracy in Somalia. It makes for useful background reading. Professor Shim was in Mogadishu in 1969 as State Department desk officer for Somalia and later involved in the state department for this area.

You can read the full paper here

Also look at piracy issues here

Remarks by David H. Shinn
Adjunct Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Who Are the Somali Pirates?
The pirate groups cut across Somali clan lines and tend to live along the coastline. The number of Somalis involved in piracy has been estimated as high as 1,500. The unit operating out of Kismayu in southern Somalia comprises pirates from the Hawiye, Darod and Bantu clans. One of the senior commanders is a Marehan while the Bantu are former fishermen. Pirates operating out of Harardheere north of Mogadishu are dominated by the Suleiman sub-sub clan. They use El Dere and Hobyo as supply bases and the inland towns of Galkayo and Garowe in Puntland as logistical and financial hubs. According to Jane’s, Pakistani and Sudanese nationals help plan the piracy operations out of Harardheere. There are regular contacts between the pirates in Kismayu and Harardheere. Darod groups have a base further up the Indian Ocean coast at Eyl and at the major Gulf of Aden port of Bosasso.

Somalis are exceptionally entrepreneurial. Piracy is a way to make money. There is no evidence that piracy is directly linked to international terrorism, although many Somali groups get a cut of the ransom money. Jane’s has identified a close link between the pirates and the extremist al-Shabab group, which says it has links to al-Qaeda. The pirates in Kismayu coordinate with the al-Shabab militia in the area, although al-Shabab apparently does not play an active role in the pirate attacks. Al-Shabab requires some pirates to pay a protection fee of 5 to 10 percent of the ransom money. If al-Shabab helps to train the pirates, it might receive 20 percent and up to 50 percent if it finances the piracy operation. There is increasing evidence that the pirates are assisting al-Shabab with arms smuggling from Yemen and two central Asian countries. They are also reportedly helping al-Shabab develop an independent maritime force so that it can smuggle foreign jihadist fighters and “special weapons” into Somalia. A link with terrorism is worrisome, but the alliance between the pirates and al-Shabab is fragile.

Pirate Modus Operandi
Although Somali pirates operate from a variety of bases, their methodology is similar. The attack boats are small wood or fiber-glass fishing skiffs of twenty to sixty feet outfitted with dual engines of up to 85 HP. They are often carried and launched by “mother ships,” usually fishing trawlers or dhows that were commandeered or purchased by the pirates. They use GPS devices, satellite phones and some have acquired equipment that enables them to pick up Automatic Identification Signals (AIS) required by commercial vessels. Each skiff contains three to seven pirates. If the attack occurs in the Gulf of Aden, the skiffs overnight off the coast of Yemen and attack when morning arrives at speeds of up to 30 knots in groups of two or three. They often fire automatic weapons and RPGs at the vessel. Ships that stop are more likely to be captured. The pirates use grappling hooks and ladders to board.

Pirates then force the vessel to one of the pirate bases at Bargaal, Eyl, Hobyo, Garaad or Harardheere where they make a ransom demand. The going rate is $1 to $2 million, depending on the ship and crew. The pirates normally receive cash at the point where the ship is being held but sometimes accept payment to a trusted third party outside Somalia. Pirates have always released the ships and the crew after payment of the ransom and have not recaptured the same ship.

The International Naval Response

The sharp increase in pirate attacks in 2008 resulted in the arrival of additional naval vessels from about two dozen countries, most of which are more dependent on shipping through this area than is the United States. Some, such as those from China, Russia and India, operate under their own command but coordinate with other naval forces. Ships from the European Union operate under the command of EU NAVFOR, which began operations in December 2008 to protect humanitarian aid shipments. Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) has had responsibility since 2002 for counterterrorism operations off the Horn of Africa. In order to free up CTF-150 for counterterrorism responsibilities, the Combined Naval Forces established Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) in January 2009 specifically for counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Red Sea. U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Terence McKnight is the commander of the new task force. There are currently only four ships assigned to CTF-151: USS Boxer and USS Gettysburg from the United States, HDMS Absalon from Denmark and TCG Giresun from Turkey. It is impossible for such a small force to operate effectively beyond the Gulf of Aden.

Writing in Stars and Stripes, James Warden has done some excellent reporting recently on CTF-151. He explained the operation as follows. When American forces in the Gulf of Aden find a suspected pirate skiff, the first people to confront the suspected pirates are members of a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment. The U.S. military is handling Somali piracy as a criminal problem, not a military one. The goal is successful criminal prosecution in Kenyan courts, and that requires a team of legal and law enforcement personnel. CTF-151 focuses on criminal prosecution instead of offensive operations. A team boards suspected pirate vessels with the goal of preserving evidence. Any member of the team may be called to testify in Kenyan courts and must be trained in how to testify and what types of evidence those courts are looking for.

The pirates are taken back to the USS Boxer if the task force commander determines that there is enough evidence to detain them. U.S. personnel do not interrogate the suspects because the Kenyans only accept confessions done in front of Kenyan magistrates. The teams do not try to uncover the piracy networks. Their job is only to collect evidence and let the Kenyans get confessions. The USS Boxer acts like a county jail and a moving holding facility.

This approach deserves a chance to succeed and there is one precedent that suggests it might work. In 2006, Somali pirates captured an Indian dhow in international waters. The USS Churchill was in the vicinity, seized control of the vessel and detained the pirates. Kenya eventually agreed to try the pirates, who were convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. This is certainly a better solution than the more common one of capturing Somali pirates and releasing them on the shores of Somalia. This practice virtually guarantees the pirates will be back in business within days. But the Kenyan option needs to be watched closely. How many pirates is Kenya willing to accept? How many will be convicted and held a full term? If the number of captured pirates increases significantly, is the international community prepared to pay the costs of the Kenyan trials? I would also note that Kenya’s record in the successful prosecution of persons linked to international terrorism is poor.

If it becomes apparent that the Kenyan courts are unable or unwilling to deal with the Somali pirate problem, then it is time to confront piracy more forcefully. The U.S. Navy handed over seven suspected Somali pirates to the Kenyan police in March. How Kenya deals with them may be telling. At the same time, there must be a few cases where there is incontrovertible intelligence that certain Somali vessels are operating as mother ships for pirates. One of the U.S. ships in CTF-151 is reported to have a Scan Eagle UAV system to hunt pirate vessels. It can relay detailed pictures that recognize the flags flown on fishing boats. It takes still photos and videos that are instantly sent to the host vessel. With this kind of information, what prevents the international community from sinking a mother ship? That would send a powerful message that piracy is dangerous and expensive. There was one report early this month that an unidentified naval vessel in the Indian Ocean actually sank a mother ship. The U.S. Fifth Fleet command said it had no information about the incident.
It is my understanding that the United States has placed special teams on ships contracted to haul cargo through the Gulf of Aden for the U.S. Navy. When unidentified skiffs approach one of these vessels at a high speed in open water, the response is to fire flares to ward off the skiffs. While this works well for the ship with special teams on board, it simply alerts the pirates that they need to seize another ship. Using live ammunition against fast approaching skiffs in the open ocean would send another powerful message. The pirates will understand this kind of response. Dropping them off along the Somali coast is no deterrent and even leaving them in the hands of Kenyan courts may be insufficient. On two occasions, France successfully captured Somali pirates and brought them to Paris to stand trial. The United States has been unwilling to use this method. But the French navy also reportedly turned over forty-five pirates to local authorities in Puntland. This is tantamount to release. A March 2009 UN report expressed concern about complicity between members of the Puntland regional government and pirate activities.

CTF-151 has no authority to operate on land; it is strictly a maritime force. Bureaucratically, it falls under the U.S. Central Command while Somalia is under AFRICOM, which has responsibility for the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) based in nearby Djibouti. CJTF-HOA has no anti-piracy responsibility and apparently does not conduct operations inside Somalia. There seems to be a bureaucratic disconnect here. Rear Admiral McKnight commented to Stars and Stripes that pirate attacks can be stopped purely from the sea with enough ships. While this may be true in a technical sense, it is unrealistic because all the world’s naval forces do not have enough available ships to protect the 20,000 vessels that pass through the Gulf of Aden annually and the wider 2.5 million square miles of ocean where Somali pirate attacks have occurred in recent years.
Pursuant to a UN resolution, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia held its first meeting in New York in January. Its goal is to facilitate discussion and coordination of actions among states and organizations to suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia. It welcomes participation by any nation or international organization making a tangible contribution to the counter-piracy effort, or to any country significantly affected by piracy off the coast of Somalia. Representatives of twenty-four countries and six organizations attended the first meeting.

 

Spicy Fish

18-04-09

Spicy Fish

For two – double the quantities for four.

This is very easy to make and provides a variation on other fishy stews. Really it is spicy light. You can be creative with the ingredients and even add a few compatible veggies to the basic stew depending on what is on board. We make it without even really thinking about it these days when you don’t want to go to a lot of trouble getting ingredients together or think too much about cooking in general.

Olive oil

250-400 gm cubed fillets of white fish. Whatever you happen to have like snapper, tuna, mahi mahi, cod or whatever.

A large potato cubed into mouth-sized bits

Large onion finely chopped

2 cloves garlic

Tin (400 gm) of diced tomatoes

Teaspoon paprika

Teaspoon ground cumin

Half teaspoon ground coriander

Glug of ouzo, pernod or other aniseed flavoured alcohol or glug of marsala (optional but good)

Teaspoon of sugar

Chopped parsley or coriander (to garnish but optional if you don’t have them)

2 tablespoons flaked almonds (or toasted pine nuts or chopped cashews at a stretch)

 

Sauté onion and then add garlic (I find garlic often burns if you put it in at the same time as the onion). Add spices and stir until well mixed in. Add tomatoes, sugar, ouzo (or alternative), potatoes and a bit of water if necessary. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until potato is cooked. Add fish and cook over low heat for another five minutes.

Serve garnished with parsley and flaked almonds scattered over the top.

Serve with cous cous. When you make the cous cous add a bit of sesame seed oil and a sprinkle of stock powder.

 

For more on food on board go to Gourmets & Gourmands

16-04-09

Turkish Waters & Cyprus Pilot 8th edition

The new 8th edition has now been delivered to Imrays. Try Amazon or Imrays or other shops who should have it pretty soon.

16-04-09

Tonga Volcano

Location: Off Hunga Island at 20.57S 175.38W

Watch video here

The recent eruption (18-03-09) of the volcano off Hunga island out to the west and between the Ha’apai group and Nukualofu is pretty impressive. Before we got here last year I looked on the chart at all the areas marked volcanic activity 1999, 2001, 2005, etc., and there were a lot of them, and worried a little about sailing along the Tonga Trench with undersea volcanoes dotted all along it. Imagine this lot going off under you…

In fact most yachts sailing from the Vava’u group down to the Ha’apai group and Nukualofu are unlikely to be this far west. Conceivably if you are sailing from the Vava’u group to Minerva Reef or NZ you could be close to it.

15-04-09

El Nino, La Nina and ENSO 2009

The following is from Ocean Passages & Landfalls  setting out briefly what El Nino, La Nina & ENSO are:

El Niño and La Niña

El Niño refers to an above average warming of equatorial Pacific waters and conversely La Niña to a cooling of these waters. El Niño is the name Peruvian fisherman long ago gave to these events and means the 'little boy' or 'Christ child' because an El Niño usually occurs around Christmas. La Niña means the 'little girl'.  A La Niña usually follows an El Niño, but not always. The warming of the waters produces high cloud activity which affects the jet stream high in the earth’s atmosphere and this leads to dramatic weather events as far away as the western Pacific coastline, the Indian Ocean and northern Atlantic. In recent years El Niño events have increased.

El Niño is important to yachtsmen because it disrupts normal weather patterns. In the South Pacific the trades are weakened during an El Niño year. In an El Niño year the North Atlantic is believed to experience fewer hurricanes while the eastern Pacific has an increased number. A La Niña year is believed to give rise to more hurricanes in the Atlantic. Tropical rainfall patterns are disrupted by an El Niño year and there can be droughts in areas like Indonesia and Australia and increased rainfall in normally dry areas like Peru. These changes in tropical rainfall patterns affect wind patterns and can lead to the late arrival of monsoons and to the trades decreasing in strength.

Although the exact relationship between El Niño and La Niña events and world weather are not fully understood, it is only prudent for yachtsmen to monitor whether or not an El Niño event is going to happen and look at possible predictions for out of the ordinary weather events. In a very simplistic sense an El Niño can point to the possibility of fewer early or late season hurricanes in the North Atlantic and light tradewinds in the South Pacific.

 

ENSO

El Niño and La Niña events lead to a seesaw oscillation of sea level pressure in the western and eastern Pacific. This is called the Southern Oscillation (SO). The SO is usually measured between Tahiti and Darwin. Because the SO is related to an El Niño event, the two terms are often combined to give ENSO. Many climatologists agree that the usage of all these names can be confusing and I mention ENSO here because it has become fashionable to use the term to describe what everyone else has been referring to as El Niño and La Niña events.

 

2009

At present we are in a La Nina tending to ENSO neutral phase. Sea temperatures along the equator are still around half a degree Celcius colder than normal but have been tending to normal. (Source NOAA.) In a La Nina year there is an increase in the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic and in the number of Tropical Storms and cyclones affecting the east coast of Australia as well as the South Pacific basin generally.

So what is going to happen in the Atlantic?

The predictions for 2009 are for a normal year or a slight increase in the number of Tropical Storms and hurricanes for the 2009 season. The predictions are for 12 named Tropical Storms, 6 of those becoming Hurricanes and 2 of those Hurricanes becoming Major Hurricanes of around Cat 3 or more. (Source Colorado University – NOAA does not make predictions.)

And the Pacific?

With ENSO neutral or La Nina light the predictions are for increased rainfall in the western Pacific over Queensland, Indonesia and SE Asia. And tradewinds will be about normal or maybe a little less than normal.

This means we will be in for some lighter tradewinds, not a bad thing going into Cairns and up the coast and around to Darwin where the trades can blow more strongly than in the eastern and central Pacific. And it will be wet!

Predictions

These are all predictions. Some agencies are even predicting that in 2009 we will tip into an El Nino event in which case all these predictions can be tipped into the bin and we start all over again.

You might think that the warming and cooling of the waters off Chile have little to do with you. Think again. El Nino and La Nina have an effect out of all proportion to the event affecting the weather in the Artic, droughts in Africa, and even Europe. Think of it like a busy road. Stick up a few road-blocks and start repairing bits of the road and the cars all start taking routes to get around the congestion. El Nino and La Nina events stick road-blocks up in the sky, principally dense tropical rain clouds around the equatorial regions, and so major weather systems get disrupted and take alternative routes. One thing ripples out to another and so weather events in far-flung parts of the world can be affected by El Nino and La Nina.

 

14-04-09

 Donald Crowhurst

There has been a lot about poor old Donald and Teignmouth Electron in the press lately. A new book by Chris Eakin, A Race Too Far, follows on from A Voyage For Madmen and the film Deep Water that I have just watched. But years ago (1992) the American author Robert Stone published a novel, Outerbridge Reach, that is an account of a solo racer taking on a boat that is not ready for a race around the world and producing a fictionalised account of his progress while anchored off in the southern hemisphere. Well worth the read.

 

12-04-09

 Laptops on board

It seems to make sense and for a while I used a laptop for navigation, backed up of course by paper charts. In the bad old days once you had paid your money for the software you were given a key that sat on the hard drive. In Haiti I innocently decided to defrag the hard drive and when I next booted the software (Kiwitech) up a message came up to email the suppliers for a new key. Not to easy in Haiti in those days. Today this problem seems not to exist anymore, but it may be worth checking before you defrag a hard drive.

My laptop was kept secure on the chart table with Velcro and this was fine except when things got really bumpy and the hard drive protested at all the thumping the boat was taking. This can still be a problem and a lot of modern laptops will flash up a warning about vibration affecting the hard drive. A few laptops have cushioned hard drives that can cope with a boat thumping along in a sea. 

In the end laptop navigation was not for me. Kiwitech was bought by Raymarine and I kept up through several versions of the software now called Raytech. There are a lot of functions on Raytech software and this is part of the problem for me. When I was tired and went below to check things I would need to first find my glasses and then attempt to get the cursor over the button or menu I needed. This can be difficult and in the end I found it easier to use a mouse than the touchpad found on most laptops. Software that has the facility to be configured with a few big buttons, the ones you will likely use when at sea, makes it a lot easier and you can always revert to a lot of smaller buttons and more functions when in harbour planning the trip.

I have to confess that I stopped using a laptop and navigation software when at sea and have become a convert to the chartplotter. Its got less buttons, it’s tougher, and its waterproof. We have one at the helm and a small Garmin 276 down at the chart table.

Garmin 3006 at the helm

I still use the laptop and navigation software for some planning, though really I like to get those old fashioned paper charts out and have a good look at where I am going on them. I also use Visual Passage Planner (http://www.digwave.com ) quite a lot for planning longer passages. We do have one computer we use at sea and that is an older tablet PC (with a cushioned hard drive) that is used with a steam-powered Pactor modem and the SSB to download weather GRIB files and to email our position at sea. It’s quite a compact unit that sits on a shelf next to the chart table and has a touch screen and a rubberised keyboard. I doubt it would be fast enough to run today’s processor and RAM hungry software, but you could conceivably run simple navigation software.

Tablet PC on shelf at the chart table - it's steam-powered but runs plenty fast enough for the Pactor modem and other simple functions like tides. Bought on Ebay for £180.

For more on SSB and Pactor modems and the like go to Lu's Radio Page

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02-04-09

Yacht security in Gulf of Aden update

From the Cruising association website

RATS

Yachts to be included in Piracy Deterrence Operations in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia

The Maritime Security Centre, Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) aims to provide a service to mariners in the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin and off the Horn of Africa. It is a Co-ordination Centre dedicated to safeguarding legitimate freedom of navigation in the light of increasing risks of pirate attack against merchant shipping in the region, in support of the UN Security Council's Resolutions (UNSCR) 1814, 1816 and 1838. MSCHOA has been set up by the EU as part of a European Security and Defence Policy initiative to combat piracy in the Horn of Africa. The operation is described at: http://www.mschoa.eu/About.aspx

In consultation with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the EU has offered to include yachts in their piracy deterrence scheme within the EU fleet area of operation, that is to say Gulf of Aden and East coast of Somalia. Yacht skippers should not attempt to ask for a login and password for the official web site before a procedure to authenticate yachts has been put in place. This procedure is now being developed by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) in conjunction with MSCHOA and yachts will be advised of details as soon as possible.

In the interim yacht skippers may inform the centre of their intended plans using the contact details under: http://www.mschoa.eu/About.aspx - Public Access Area, 'Contact us', where you will see a contact telephone number +44 (0) 1923 958545 and email address postmaster@mschoa.org.

More details later

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30-03-09

World sailing records - on the land and on the sea

Ecotricity (who I get my land-based electricity from) has broken the world land speed record with the Greenbird after ten years of trying. Thats 126.4 mph!

Go here for the video of sailing at 126 mph

And MacQuarrie Innovation breaks the water speed record at 54.23 knots!

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28-03-09

 EU regulations on insurance and AIS

Recent decisions by the EU may mean that yachts over 15 metres LOA will have to install Class B AIS transponders. The original directive was mooted in 2002 and again in 2006, before a final December 2008 version (see the summary below). It now appears it will be ratified. The directive is aimed at commercial fishing boats and it has been assumed by the yachting press that it will also apply to yachts over 15 metres LOA. That is not yet mentioned in any of the paperwork put out by the EU committee and I wish certain magazines and certain web sites would stop putting out ill-informed tabloid headlines before looking at the actual EU paper.

The 2006 directive being adopted is summarised below (C6-0004/2006).

In principle we are dealing with a single amendment, but one of great importance which concerns the requirement to equip fishing vessels over 15m in length with Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), the aim of which is to make it easier to locate the position of the ships. Provisions for this at present are undeniably inadequate. The high number of fishing vessels that go undetected by merchant ships has led to many serious accidents, especially in the North Sea, the Baltic and the Mediterranean.

The obligatory installation of these safety systems, as set out in the new Article 6a, is

accompanied by a schedule which aims to have ships over 24m in length fitted out by 2008 and ships over 15m in length by 2010.

 If you want to read the directive (originally 08-12-08) that was adopted on 11-03-09 I have reproduced it below. I'd speed-read it if I was you, it's doesn't make great reading, though I'm beginning to feel like I'm the only one who has looked at it? It still doesn’t mention pleasure craft although there is the possibility that they could be included… though I personally doubt it. The logistics of getting a fishing fleet to adopt AIS Class B is much less work than getting all EU yachts over 15 metres to comply. If it is decided this will happen there will have to be a ‘grace’ period.

The other resolution adopted is that pleasure craft must have 3rd party insurance, something they are already required to have by all the EU states national legislation… so no change there.

 

Resolution adopted 11-03-09

The Commission accepts in full 27 amendments to the common position, adopted by the European Parliament in first reading. These are amendments which:

  • improve the Commission proposal on the question of places of refuge, as regards the plans for accommodating vessels in places of refuge and insurance;
  • relate to the establishment of the LRIT European Data Centre for the long-distance tracking of vessels, the SafeSeaNet maritime data exchange network, fair treatment of seafarers, navigation in ice conditions, and requirements concerning the shipment of dangerous goods;
  • relate to comitology, correlation tables and the entry into force of the Directive;
  • incorporate elements of the proposal for a directive on civil liability and insurance for shipowners, another part of the Third Package which, on the date of the second reading by the European Parliament, had not yet been approved by the Council.

The amendments partially accepted by the Commission are as follows:

  • amendments on the compensation for economic losses suffered by ports which accommodate vessels in distress. The Commission fully supports one of the objectives, which is to stress how important it is that the Member States ratify and/or implement international conventions on compensation for pollution damage. However, the obligation on Member States to reimburse all the costs and compensate for the damage resulting from a decision to accommodate a vessel is excessive and poses legal and practical problems. In the view of the Commission, it is desirable that Member States have a legal framework in place that allows for compensation for such damage whenever necessary;
  • an amendment intended to oblige the Member States to comply with the IMO guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers. In the view of the Commission, Member States should take the guidelines into consideration, but it would be difficult to envisage making them compulsory in Community law, given that they relate essentially to questions of judicial and criminal procedure, and are not directly connected to the objectives of the Directive;
  • an amendment on the scope of the comitology procedure.

Lastly, the Commission accepted in principle and/or subject to rewording, amendments on:

  • incorporating AIS systems for short-distance monitoring of vessels into VMS systems used for fisheries control;
  • the decision-making process for the accommodation of vessels in places of refuge and 'place of refuge' plans;
  • the establishment of the LRIT European Data Centre for the long-distance tracking of vessels flying the flag of an EU Member State and operating off the EU coast;
  • the confidentiality of information obtained under the Directive, whether relating to information sent by vessels using AIS or LRIT systems, or information circulated among Member States using the SafeSeaNet maritime data exchange network;
  • enabling the development of the constituent parts of the SafeSeaNet maritime data exchange network within the content of Annex III to the Directive;
  • the use of information obtained under the Directive for the purposes of maritime safety;
  • strengthening checks on compliance with building and maintenance requirements for navigation in ice filled waters;
  • obliging vessels to inform the coastal authorities of the quantity of bunker fuel, irrespective of the volume on board;
  • strengthening the provisions of the Directive relating to the information to be provided by the shipper when dangerous or polluting goods are offered for carriage;
  • alleviating the burden on scheduled services using Community ports to provide notifications of entry into port.

No amendments were rejected.

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27-03-09

Piracy in Thailand

The attack on the yacht Mr Bean in the Butang Islands just N of the Malay-Thai border has been broadcast around the world and few people can have missed it. I picked up the following letter off the web by a close friend of the late Malcolm Robertson who was brutally murdered in the attack. Given the horrific circumstances the letter avoids the hysteria which the world's media has whipped up and maintains an even keel despite the savagery and tragic outcome of the event. It is, as any of us know who have cruised around this area, a rare event in these waters, but that will be little comfort to Lindy Robertson who survived the attack and her family and friends. Let us hope the Thai authorities keep a closer eye on things though the letter does praise the help that Lindy received from the police and other authorities.

It is in a state of grief and disbelief we write this account of the recent tragic event which culminated in Malc's murder, to inform mutual cruising friends as well as others sailing these waters. Some of you may have read media reports but this is a succinct version of Lindie's own story.

On Tues 24th March Mr Bean was lying to a buoy off the SE side of Koh Adang in the Butang Group (20nm NW of Telaga, Langkawi). At around 00.30 three teenage, illegal immigrants from Myanmar swam out and climbed aboard, where they attacked Malc in the bow incapacitating him, then Lindie in the aft cabin. She was trussed with rope. Malc subsequently came round and challenged them, telling them to get off the boat. Lindie heard a scream then nothing more.

They eventually came to get her to assist in starting the engine. As she went through the saloon she realised that the sticky substance beneath her feet was a large quantity of thick blood. She was returned to the forepeak. They stormed off at full throttle for around six hours probably heading east around the north of Koh Tarutoa before anchoring in a bay on a small island about 1nm off the Thai mainland near Langu. There they trashed the boat before leaving at around 10am in the dinghy with an unreliable 2HP engine. Lindie managed to escape, start the engine and get up the anchor before they could paddle back to Mr Bean.

She went to a nearby fishing fleet to get help and when the Taratoa Park Rangers and police arrived they took-off and quickly arrested the attackers. Lindie was detained in hospital, very distraught and bruised by hammer blows and bindings. We think Malc's body was thrown overboard within an hour of the boat setting off and it has not as yet been found. The hammer an knife used in the attack were both from Mr Bean.

This we believe may be a one-off in special circumstances where the three Myanmar culprits escaped from a Thai fishing boat where they were been treated as slaves. How what they claimed was a raid to get food went so terribly wrong we will never know. They were all in their teens, the youngest being 15. Perhaps a return to the Caribbean tactic of locking yourself in at night when in remote anchorages should be considered.

Words cannot describe the exceptional support that Lindie has received from the British Embassy, Royal Thai Police, Hospital and Tourist Authority. There have been countless expressions of kindness from every quarter.

We were involved when, along with the family, Lindie told the embassy staff of Dave & Di on Amoenitas in Phuket. The local Honourary Consul traced us to the hardstand at the Royal Phuket where the teak decks are being replaced. We took-off in a car on a seven hour drive to be with her for the day before their four children arrive.

This is a very brief description of a long and harrowing experience during which Lindie spent the whole night pleading for her life. There is much, much more to tell but not in this format.

May you always cruise in secure tranquility,

Butang Islands are just above Langkawi and W of Tarutao bottom right on map. Ko Adang is the E island of the group.

© Indian Ocean Cruising Guide

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Passage Weather

25-03-09

Passage Weather

Can't think why I've left this out of useful weather web sites as we use it all the time when we have a broadband connection. So go to

www.passageweather.com for what it says it does: PASSAGE WEATHER

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Turkish storm

10-03-09

Turkish storm

A friend, Paul Donnerup, sent these photos of a bad storm in Turkey and the damage it unleashed in Yat Lift, a yard in Icmeler near Bodrum. There is some concern that the yachts were not properly supported and braced. I believe there was also some damage and yachts tipped over in Marmaris Yat Marine, although whether from this storm or another I'm not sure. Make sure your yacht is well propped and braced...

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08-03-09

Panama Canal Yacht Club - this photo says it all

Photo from YBW

And less than a year ago we were sitting here drinking beer, planning the transit through the canal, gassing, getting taxis into town and the supermarkets, filling up the water cans... less than a year ago and now this club, loved by yachties over its 80 year history, is gone.

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08-03-09

Cyclone Hamish in Queensland

 Map from Australian Bureau of Meterology

I have friends who have holed up in various places along the Queensland coast that are statistically pretty safe from cyclones. Not 100%, but close. Now Cyclone Hamish, billed as a once in 30 years event, is hammering down the coast. It's been category 5 with gusts in the centre of over 155 knots. That's an inconceivable amount of wind. I can't even get my head around category 4 Hurricane Ivan and the 140 knot winds that devastated my own seven tenths in Grenada in 2004.

So is the increased severity of cyclones in the South Pacific related to global warming? That's inconclusive but climatologists think so.

For more on climate change go here.

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04-03-09

Plastic water bottles again

Now heres a man after my own heart, hates all those plastic water bottles that yachties seem to think they have to stock up on for an ocean passage, and this guy is collecting all the bottles to build ....... a catamaran

The most startling feature is that the twin hulls of the catamaran will be made of 12,000 to 13,000 plastic bottles, the kind soft drinks come in. So far the expedition has 6,000 or so.

The decks and cabin of the Plastiki are made of self-reinforcing PET, a woven fabric made from plastic. This material, which can be made hard as nails, is also being used to build the rigid skeleton, ribs and bulkheads on the boat.

Read more here

My thoughts on bottled water... read here

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03-03-09

Panama Canal Yacht Club is closing

There will be a lot of sad cruisers around when the news that the PCYC is closing, nay has been demolished by the port authority, and officially will exist no more from April 1st. Even sadder is that new cruisers will have little alternative to Shelter Bay Marina now PCYC has gone. Where will cruisers anchored in the Flats Anchorage be able to leave their dinghies safely? Or have a beer, or an all-day breakfast or chilli beef, or talk and trade...

Go here  to the SSCA forum for the whole sad story

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 02-03-09

The piracy question in the Gulf of Aden

Foremost on most cruisers minds is piracy in the Gulf of Aden. At the outset its important to stress there have been no reliable reported cases of piracy on yachts in India/Maldives or the Red Sea. Piracy is an issue in the Gulf of Aden and specifically off Somalia. There has been a lot of uninformed reportage on yacht piracy in the Gulf of Aden (and elsewhere), much of it just plain wrong. While there is a risk in the Gulf of Aden, there are higher risks of yacht piracy in other parts of the world, notably Venezuela. In 2008 29 yachts were attacked in Venezuela, 3 people were killed and 5 badly injured (data from the Caribbean Security & Safety Net). In 2008 there were 3 incidents of yacht piracy off Somalia and none off the Yemen with no-one killed or injured (according to MAIB statistics). It’s also interesting to note that two of these yachts were close to the Somali coast which has always been a big no-no in this area for fifty years and more. There have been other incidents in the Gulf of Aden in previous years and it is a worry for anyone transiting the area. That said there needs to be more objective assessment of the situation rather than the scare mongering so evident in the yachting press and on internet sites.

 

There are problems making these sort of comparisons. Some of these are outlined in the section on Piracy in the Introduction. Basically piracy is armed robbery in international waters as opposed to armed robbery at, say, an anchorage. The distinction is to some extent irrelevant as the outcome can be the same: injury, death and loss of possessions. Its not much help talking about piracy in this theoretical sense when the outcome can be so dire for yachts on passage and at anchor. None of us want to be the victim of piracy and for most the chances are slim. Some 250-300 yachts transit the Red Sea every year and for most the real concerns are the age old ones of cruising sailors, namely wind, sea and weather in general.

 

Some yachts will get together in Salalah and sail in convoy down into the Gulf of Aden to Aden or Djibouti or sometimes straight through to Eretria. Yachts wanting to sail in a convoy with other yachts must be able to do a similar speed under sail and power. Generally a diamond-shaped convoy shape with a yacht at each corner is favoured. There can be real problems here when yachts cannot make the same speed as others in the convoy and the group must slow down. General rules are that yachts do not show lights at night, VHF communication is kept to low power only, and some even take down the radar reflector.

 

Recently the increased piracy against merchant shipping (the real targets for pirates) in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Africa has prompted the EU, USA, Russia, China and India to increase the naval presence in the area. A safe corridor has been established where the chances of a naval vessel being nearby is increased when using the corridor. The joint command cannot guarantee you will be safe in the corridor, but the odds are that you will be. The safe corridor is shown below and west bound ships will use the northern side and east bound ships the southern side of the corridor. Each separation lane is 5 miles wide and the two separation lanes are separated by a 2 mile buffer zone.

 

The location of the corridors is as follows

West bound northern corridor: 14°30’N   053°E   14°25’N   053°E   course 252° to 12°00’N   045°E   11°55’N   045°E

East bound southern corridor:  11°53’N   045°E   11°48’N   045°E   course 072° to 14°23’N   053°E   14°18’N   053°E

 

Recommended communication procedures are

  • Call for help on VHF Ch 16 and MF/HF DSC.
  • Contact UKMTO phone +971 50 552 3215   Email UKMTO@EIM.AE

If no answer call Marlo Bahrain +973 3940 1395  Email ARLO.BAHRAIN@ME.NAVY.MIL

TOP

27-02-09

Skylax tentative itinerary

Putting together an itinerary for cruising can be a daunting process, but it does concentrate the mind on timings for seasons, passages and whether or not you are going to arrive in time to connect up with something you really want to do in a country at a certain time. For us the juggling was looking at whether we could hook up with the Sail Indonesia Rally which does all the paperwork for you and has connections in Jakarta which mean that the 2004 law on temporary importation is not applied. I mean the value of the bond you have to put up is 45% of the value of the boat so forget. See BELOW for the latest details.

Anyway it would all just be too much of a rush to get to Darwin by July 18th when the rally leaves and that seems a bit like turning your cruising into a working schedule and missing out on too many good things along the way. So after I had looked at passages and timings and left a little bit of leeway for bad weather, we decided to we would head for Darwin at our own pace and get the agent at Bali Marina (he has a good reputation) to do the paperwork and trust that the temporary import duty won't be applied. That may seem a bit rash, but I'm sure that in reality you can work these things out. I guess you will find out and anyway rallies are not our thing, though getting to Malaysia for the Raja Muda and to Phuket for the Kings Cup is our thing.

The Indian Ocean is a lot more familiar to me as I've sailed there a few times before, but even so its interesting working out passage times with a new boat. I had to go back to the log to make sure some of our average passage times were correct and even then I've subtracted a chunk. I mean did we really average 164 miles a day over 3025 miles from Galapagos to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas - without trying too hard. It seems a hell of a lot of miles now, the daily run I mean, as we had a week of lightish winds in the middle. And I might add, its down to the boat and not us. As the mans says, what you learn out there is a lot of respect for your boat.

So heres the Skylax very very tentative itinerary.

 Skylax very tentative itinerary for 2009-2010.

 A lot of this itinerary is speculative, just like banking, so in the same way don’t rely on it. Principal problem areas are getting the CAIT paperwork to get through Indonesia without paying temporary import duty, sorting out whether the Andaman Sea Rally is still running, and beating back up the Red Sea.

 

 

NZ to Darwin

2009

May 16th Opua

May 18th Leave Opua 1100NM

May 26th Suva Fiji

 

June 10th Leave Fiji for Port Vila Vanuatu 525NM

June 14th Port Vila

June 24th Leave Vanuatu for Cairns 1300NM

 

July 4th   Cairns

July 10th Leave Cairns to potter up to Torres Strait 500NM

July 24th Thursday Island Torres Strait

July 27th Leave Thursday Is for Darwin 720NM

 

August 8th Darwin

 

Darwin to Phuket

August 20th Leave Darwin for Bali 880NM

August 26th Bali

 

September 1st Leave Bali to cruise Indonesia: Sunda, Komodo, Sulawesi, Borneo, Riau Islands.

September 25th Riau Islands

September 28th Singapore

 

October 2nd Leave for Port Dickson

 

November 14th Raja Muda leaves from Port Klang

November 22nd Raja Muda finishes in Langkawi

 

December 2nd Kings Cup in Phuket

December 9th Kings Cup ends.

 

2010

January 2nd Andaman sea Rally (if it is running 400NM)

January 6th Port Blair Andamans

January 12th Port Blair to Galle Sri Lanka (815NM)

January 18th Galle

 

February 1st Galle to Cochin (360NM)

February 4th Cochin

February 16th Cochin to Uligan Maldives (260NM)

February 18th Uligan

February 22nd Uligan to Salalah Oman 1260NM

 

March 1st Leave Salalah for Aden/Djibouti 750NM

March 7th Djibouti

March 14th Djibouti to Massawa Eretria 420NM

March 18th Massawa

March 25th Massawa to Suakin Sudan 270NM

March 29th Suakin

 

April 2nd Port Sudan

April 5th Port Sudan to Port Ghalib Egypt 400NM

April 10th Port Ghalib

April 15th Port Ghalib to Hurgadha 110NM

April 17th Hurgadha

April 20th Hurgadha to Port Suez 200NM

April 28th Suez

 

May 1st Suez Canal

May 3rd Port Said

May 5th Port Said to Kas/Finike Turkey 325NM

May 8th Kas

May 15th Bodrum area.

 

 

27-02-09

Indonesian Import Duty

For a while there have been lots of rumours flying around about Indonesian Import Duty being charged in yachts visiting Indonesia. It's been difficult to get to the bottom of it, but our old friends at the Darwin Kupang Rally (as was, it is now called Sail Indonesia) seem to have the best info on it. The rally will not be going to Kupang in 2009 because of these difficulties and will instead have a different itinerary.

There is one major change for 2009. Because of the uncertainties of the Indonesian Customs Import Duty and the problems in Kupang in 2008 Kupang will NOT be visited this year, for 2009 when the yachts leave Darwin on July 18th there will be two destinations offered for your first port of call in Indonesia, the first will be Saumlaki and the second will be Ambon.

Option 1
You can to go first to Saumlaki 290 miles north of Darwin at S 7° 57’ E 131° 19’ then you can either go north to Sail Bunaken or west to follow our traditional route known as the Western Passage which will take you through to Batam just south of Singapore.
Option2
You can go first direct to Ambon 600 miles north of Darwin at S 3° 40' E128° 10' finishing at the village of Eirie on the south side of Ambon Bay, then on to Sail Bunaken or if you wish you may choose then to go south to Flores and meet with the Western Passage.
The Sail Indonesia website also has the best info on the CAIT and procedures in Indonesia. Here is there take on the new interpretation of the rules on import duty in Indonesia.

Indonesian Yacht Import Duty Information update at December 2 2008

The current situation is that the Indonesian Customs offices in some ports are enforcing a 2004 regulation that state foreign flagged yachts must pay an import duty on arrival in Indonesia based on a percentage of the value of the yacht which is refundable when the yacht leaves Indonesia.
The regulations state that yachts are to be treated as luxury goods when they arrive in the country and can be subject to a 45 percent import duty.
As the yachts are in transit this import duty should be paid at the first port of entry in Indonesia and returned to you at the port where you check out from Indonesia.
However the system is totally unworkable as some Customs offices are enforcing it while others are not, also the process for paying this duty and obtaining a refund when the yacht leaves the country is not clear as there is no centralised reporting system and most banks are not able to accept any money that this system demands so the officials in some ports occasionally misuse this difficult situation.

We at Sail Indonesia are aware of these regulations and their complexities, however as in past years we have signed an agreement with Indonesian Customs Central Office in Jakarta and as such our rally yachts are NOT affected by this regulation and Sail Indonesia participants DO NOT have to pay this import duty as we have high level Indonesian Government support for our events.

As intending participants will have no doubt heard there were some delays in Kupang in 2008. This is in part true and the yachts were delayed for one extra day and required to negotiate a bureaucratic procedure with each participating yacht being asked to pay Rp50,000 (or around $5 US) for their "Duty Exemption Certificate", after this was completed they were then free to travel anywhere in Indonesia.
Yachts that have arrived independenty in Indonesia at both Kupang and Bali have reported that they have been asked to pay this import duty.
 
For more info go to the Sail Indonesia site
 
 

19-02-09

 It’s a gas gas gas

We’re talking cooking gas here. One of the problems that doesn’t usually get a lot of thought when arriving in a new country is how easy, or not, it is to get gas bottles filled. In a significant number of countries you effectively need to get a new gas bottle that conforms to the regulations in that country so you can have gas on board. The reason for that is that to get an old bottle certified can be next to impossible and even if you manage it, the cost of certification will often be more than the cost of a new bottle.

Most cookers will run happily on propane or butane. Propane cookers running on butane will give out slightly less heat than when on propane, but for the most part you won’t notice the difference. Butane is stored at a lower pressure than propane so you should never fill a butane bottle (such as Camping Gaz bottles) with propane. In lots of places, Tonga and NZ are examples, the gas is actually a mix of propane and butane.

Once you have a new bottle then there is the matter of connecting it. The fittings for bottles in different countries vary and the chances are that you will not have a fitting for the local bottle. We have just bought the kit that Hayward (whayward@onetel.com ) makes for cruising boats which has a permanently mounted marinised regulator that can cope with propane and butane and a fittings kit with all the connectors you are likely to come across around the world. We will check it out but the quality of the kit looks good and though it’s not cheap, it’s going to be cheaper than trying to buy fittings and a regulator in another country.

Skylax is in NZ at the moment and we have bought a new bottle there ($NZ50) because they won’t fill any bottles we already have. The regulator to fit on the top of the bottle would cost $NZ40 so we have saved that much already, or should I say it’s gone towards the Hayward kit. When we get to Australia it’s the same story all over again and we will likely need to get a new bottle. The thing you do is sell any old bottles en route, once you have got the other bottles you have on board filled somewhere. Since we are going to Fiji its likely we will take the NZ bottle there because they will be familiar with them. Once we get to Vanuatu and New Caledonia we can get the Camping Gaz bottles filled, but will probably hang onto the NZ bottle to see if we can get it filled in Aus. Complicated huh! But where would you be without that old cooker.

All the components of the kit are sold separately so the thing to do is get in touch with Will Hayward at the email above and tell him where you are going. We have the ‘world’ kit and the marinised regulator which comes out at:

Universal gas system.

 

The adapters in the  kit 4018 @ £85.99 connect to one end of a 22" or 33" high pressure hose 4017 @ £10.99 the other end of the hose connects to our 4006 bulkhead mounted regulator @ £20.99 which has a 1/2" BSP low pressure outlet.

There are six adapters in the kit.

20mm clip on

Primus swivel valve

Camping gaz swivel valve

BSP male Propane pol.

NPT male pol  

G4-8 left hand EU

2 X Stainless steel spanners.

 

Jan 09

The wonderful Bob (and Liz too) drew this cartoon for me. Bob has published a book with all his cartoons from the Med and a wise and witty text to go with them and some of the extracts have also been published in Yachting Monthly. Go here to find out more about the book.

http://www.freewebs.com/onthenose

14-02-09

Telefonica Blue runs aground

From the Volvo Ocean Race website. You may not have much interest in the race, but this incident at the start could be an example of something I've bored the pants off everyone for years... well it keeps happening. Is this another (and there have been lots in the last year with cruising boats, large and small) example of someone using electronic charts on a chartplotter or laptop and assuming that the chart is somehow correct because it is up there with all the bells and whistles and especially a little boat icon showing where you. I don't know if this is the case here, but how did they know they were exactly 110 metres from the shallow spot. A measuring tool on the navigation software? For more on GPS and charts (paper or electronic) go to here

Helena de la Gandara/Volvo Ocean Race

From the Volvo Race site. For more go here

Telefonica Blue’s bid for a third straight leg win hangs in the balance after a collision before the start gun left them with serious damage to their keel fin.

The team had been jostling for position at the pre-start when they seemingly ran aground, causing the boat’s speed to drop suddenly from seven knots to zero.

They attempted unsuccessfully to diagnose the problems on the water, but after suspending racing and returning to shore the boat was hoisted out and it emerged there was a crack on the port side of the keel fin.

Bekking, who is gunning for his third straight leg win, has now revealed the team will remove the keel bulb for inspection and repairs could take up to 24 hours.

“We can’t take any risk on a 12,000-mile leg so we just have to take a real thorough look at it now to see what the consequences are. We need to give it a good look.”

The incident came as a surprise to the crew, most notably because they were sailing in depths of 11 metres and the nearest chartered shallow area was 110 metres away.

“We were in the middle of the ocean and we knew there was one shallow spot that is charted at three metres, but we were 110 metres away from that,” Bekking added. “We went from 11 metres of water to full stop. There shouldn’t be any reason for that.

“Everyone just looked at each other, I was driving at that stage and we knew we were away from the charted shallow spot. We tried to send one of the chase boat guys over to look but the water is so murky it was not possible to see so we came back.

“We suspended racing two and a half minutes before the start.”

TOP

10-02-09

Turkish Waters & Cyprus Pilot 8th edition

The new 8th edition of Turkish Waters & Cyprus Pilot will be out sometime in mid-summer. Go to the Imray site for details. Below is the preface for the new edition.

 

Preface TW&CP 8th edition

Turkey has emerged into the 21st century as a very different country from what it was in the 20th century. Gone is the rampant inflation, up to 60% at times, and in its place is the relatively stable ‘new lira’. Gone is the moribund manufacturing industry. It no longer makes counterfeit jeans but instead manufactures the real thing. Perini yachts, including Maltese Falcon, are built in Tuzla near Istanbul. Everywhere you look ashore there is increasingly modern infrastructure with newer cars on tarmac roads and service stations seemingly every few miles or so.

The new infrastructure ashore is mirrored around the coastline with many recent new developments. New marinas have been built and older projects are being completed. Some of the new marinas like Alanya are the completion of projects which began nearly a decade ago. Others like Didim Marina demonstrate the speed with which new projects are being completed. Like all marinas in Turkey the facilities and services are first class and the coastline boasts some of the finest marinas in the Mediterranean. And of course prices have gone up.

Along with our expectation of 5-star facilities is the growing assumption of an equally proficient repair and maintenance side. By and large this is true, with skilled teams producing top-quality work, but as you find anywhere in the world, there are exceptions and it is up to the individual to choose who to trust your pride and joy to. The best recommendation is from a recently satisfied customer.

With the 21st century has come the nascent environmental movement in Turkey. While Special Environmental Protected Areas have been established in a few places over the last decade, the reality is that there has been little support for the projects and they have produced little in the way of real conservation or environmental benefit. A recent new initiative from conservation group SADAFAG hopes to involve the government Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), and the Environmental Protection Agency for Special Areas (EPASA). This project, based in the Gulf of Gokova will hopefully mark the beginning of real progress in developing sustainable conservation and fisheries management, and as such should be supported.

SADAFAG has also been deeply involved in the protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal. ‘Badem’ is a young seal that has been recently released back into the wild, and may be seen around the Carian coast. While Badem remains unafraid of humans, she (or any other seals for that matter) should not be approached as continued contact with humans will not help her rehabilitation, and may well prove to be her ultimate undoing. For more information on SADAFAG and Badem see www.sadafag.org

Yachtsmen should be amongst the first to embrace these environmental initiatives and most do. One of the questions I’m most often asked is whether holding tanks are mandatory in Turkey. Well for private yachts they are not, but you can face a substantial fine if you pump out black water (toilet waste) or the bilges within three miles of the coast and few yachtsmen can disagree with this requirement. Who wants to go swimming or boating in someone else’s toilet waste. It’s likely in the future holding tanks will be made mandatory on private boats and most of the new marinas are installing pump-out facilities as a matter of course. Other environmental regulations are also being introduced. In the Gulf of Fethiye you may be fined if you take a rope around a tree and bollards have been installed around many of the bays and coves so the trees are not damaged by ropes.

This new edition includes all of the changes we have been able to find out about. Inevitably we will have missed some. Many of the new projects are still being built so it is difficult to judge when they will be finished and just what they will look like in reality. For this edition there are over forty new aerial photographs from Kadir Kir and our thanks to him for his time and devotion to yachting in Turkey. Hasan Kacmac has as ever provided lots of new information, especially on marina developments east of Antalya, and continues to promote yachting in Turkey with fervour and good humour.

For the cruiser on a shoestring budget the new marinas are not the bargain they once were, although they still represent very good value for money. Part of the reason for British yachtsmen is that at the time of writing the weak state of sterling against just about every currency in the world makes cruising anywhere outside the UK more expensive. It’s a matter of pulling in your belt and being a bit more picky about where you eat and what you spend your money on. And in any case you don’t have to go into a marina if you don’t want to. There are still all those anchorages along the indented coastline and in the deep gulfs. Municipal harbours offer good value without the five star service. And a lot of restaurants around the coast provide jetties and moorings for yachts to tie up to. Oh, that restaurants in other Mediterranean countries would do the same.

Finally, we hope you enjoy cruising the Turkish coast, whether long term or on a short visit, and find this book useful in your travels. As always we welcome any correspondence from readers which will help to keep the information as up-to-date as possible for everyone.

Fair winds, warm seas and calm anchorages.

Serefe!

Rod Heikell & Lu Michell

London, January 2009.

09-02-09

Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup in Auckland

Just to make me feel better (I don't think) friends who have been out watching and helping the Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup series have sent me some photos and emails telling me how great the sailing is, what a buzz there is around the Viaduct and just to rub it in while I am iced in here working away, how great the weather is. With friends like that ...

The latest results are below

Alinghi, Switzerland, def. Luna Rossa, Italy, by 23 seconds.

Damiani Italia Challenge, Italy, def. TeamOrigin, Britain, by 24 seconds.

BMW Oracle Racing, United States, def. Team New Zealand by 24 seconds.

Final Standings

(After second round-robin series)

1. Alinghi 4 points.

2. Oracle 3.

3. Team New Zealand 2.

3. Italia Challenge 2.

5. TeamOrigin 0.5.

6. Luna Rossa 0.

 

Silver Fleet

9th/10th place sailoff

Greek Challenge def. Team Shosholoza, South Africa, by 29 seconds.

 

31-01-09

Last weekends hurrucane force winds in France & Spain

The hurricane force winds that ripped through France and Spain last weekend caused the deaths of 11 people including the captain of a Portuguese ship off the north Atlantic coast of Spain. These pictures were taken of a Beneteau running into the harbour of Zumaia on the Basque coast of Spain just after the storm.

Incredible shots. Go to the Spanish Natural Surfing website to see the full sequence of shots

http://naturalsurfing.es/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=268&Itemi 

29-01-09

Who killed the electric car?

I watched this dvd on board Skylax in the Pacific and it shocked me what perversity and deceit infected this whole project. Lu reckons I'm a closet petrol-head and she may be right. Below is the trailer from You Tube but I'd suggest you buy or rent the dvd. It will change your perception of the electric car and provides some pretty shocking facts about the industry. By the way one of the electric cars does 0-60 in a around 4 secs...

27-01-09

 CREDIT CRUNCH BLUES

 PART I   Doing your own engine maintenance

So now its official, we are in recession going into depression and we’ve all got the credit cruch blues. A few years ago, quite a few years ago, Lu gave me a cheer-up card when seven tenths had been damaged in Hurricane Ivan and things looked blue. The card was a whole spectrum of blue hues and said there are different shades of blue, different hues, there is no ‘blue’ blue, and looking at blue demanded something different, something I gueseed to be along the lines of ‘Zen and the Art of Sailboat Maintenance’. So that’s what we are doing, tightening the belt, cutting out the non-essentials, and structuring our cruising to our budget – which is less. For cruisers from the UK sterling has declined against all the major currencies and most of the minor ones, by 30%-40% in some cases. Maybe sterling should enter the currency circles as the North Atlantic peso.

When this happens you need some Bhuddhist calm. Stewie with Corinthian and the keel after Hurricane Ivan in Grenada 2004.

So what to do for this sailing zen. Well quite a lot really. We are cutting back on items that we deemed essential for the New Zealand to Mediterranean trip and which once you make the cut, don’t seem that essential at all. We have always done most of our maintenance, all the winterising, most of the repairs within our ken, and all the day-today-day chores. Below I have listed what we do anyway and which most cruisers, with a little gumption and an oily rag can do themselves. A lot of you do your own maintanance already, though it surprises me how many don’t take engine, sails, running gear, electrics and plumbing and boat cosmetics seriously in as much as it will save money, prevent breakdowns in places where things can’t get fixed (well most of the time), and keep the boat running smoothly through ocean swells and calm lagoons.

So we’ll start this off with the noisy thing that lives under the steps and which can consume much of our time… if we let it. It doesn’t take too much maintenance to keep a diesel chugging along happily and a bit of maintenance now and then is a lot cheaper than the sponduliks an engineer is going to charge you or, heaven forbid, the cost of a new engine. 

The basic tenets of looking after a diesel are pretty simple. It needs diesel and air to run. It needs cooling water (usually sea water cooling a closed system with fresh water). It needs electrics for the starter motor and alternator. And you need to make sure nuts and bolts don't undo and hoses don't chafe. Get the torch out and have a look around the engine with the basic manual that tells you where the bits all are. Have a fiddle with it and look for any tell-tale oil leaks or wear that shouldn't be there. Get to love your diesel.

PART I   Basic diesel maintenance

From my Mediterranean Cruising Handbook

Diesel Engines

Engine checks

Before starting check:

1.            Battery switch is on engine battery or reserve (non-
domestic battery).

2.        Oil level.

3.     Fresh water coolant level.

4.     Raw water cooling inlet is open.

Immediately after starting check:

1.            Oil pressure gauge or oil pressure warning light.

2.     Raw water is coming out of exhaust (unless a dry
exhaust system).

Every week check:

1.            Pulley belt tension. Normally belt should depress
14mm (0-5”) at slackest but check with manual.

2.     Raw water inlet strainer.

3.     Gear-box oil.

4.     Inspect fuel filter. If there is water/contamination in
the  bowl  then  run  off until  clean  fuel  comes
through.

Rough guide to engine troubleshooting

Engine won’t turn over

Batteries low or flat

          check battery switch is on.

          check battery switch is  on  engine  battery or
reserve battery.

          check voltmeter or battery condition meter or
check specific gravity of electrolyte with hygrometer.

          Turn a light(s) on and when you try to start
the engine if the light(s) dims excessively  the battery is low.

Starter motor problem

          ignition circuit faulty. Bridge the battery and
switch terminals on the starter motor - if the
engine cranks there is a problem in the ignition
circuit. Check for loose wires or connections.

          solenoid sticking (doesn’t click). Tap solenoid
gently with a small screwdriver head. Don’t hit it
hard as modern solenoids have delicate electronic
circuitry.

          starter motor sticking (solenoid makes a solid
click but starter motor doesn’t turn). Try tapping
starter motor case gently with a small wrench.
Note engine may be seized so be gentle.

·         starter motor defective or ring gear worn.
Engine seized

·         try to turn a small motor by hand either with
engine starting handle or by pulley belts. If it
doesn’t turn over it is seized. For large engines try
lifting decompression levers and turning over. In
any case of a seized engine seek help. Engine may
be heat-seized, may have a major mechanical
failure, or may have water in the cylinders.

Engine turns but doesn’t start

Engine turns slowly

·         batteries low. Turn a light (s) on and if it dims
when you try to start the engine the batteries are
low. Check battery switch is on the engine battery
or reserve battery. Recharge batteries.

·         engine cold (unlikely in the Mediterranean Tropics and in the
summer). Follow glow plug procedure if fitted.

Fuel starvation

          check throttle lever is half or more engaged,
check fuel level in tank. Check fuel tap is open. Some engines like the throttle to be wide open on starting, but throttle right down once started.

          visually check fuel lines and connections for a
leak.

          check for ‘diesel bug’ in the tank and fuel filter
(system must be totally purged of fuel if ‘diesel
bug’ is evident in any quantity).

          loosen injector connection nut and turn engine. If
no fuel spurts out check fuel line, filter(s), and
tank for obstructions. Bleed engine.

Air starvation

          check air supply is unobstructed. Often there are
ducts in a cockpit locker or elsewhere that may
have been accidentally covered.

          check air filter. Clean if necessary.

 

Engine runs but is underpowered

Check fuel

          check fuel lines visually. Check for ‘diesel bug’ or
water in the fuel filter. Clean fuel supply and
bleed.

          if there is white smoke there may be water in the
fuel.

Air

·         check air supply is unobstructed and air filter is
clean.

Propeller fouled

·         check propeller is unobstructed. Plastic or rope
may be fouling the propeller. A bread knife or
other knife with a serrated edge is good for cut­
ting away rope or plastic. Engine must be turned
off;  ensure  no-one   goes   anywhere  near  the
ignition key.

Mechanical defect

          if there is excessive white smoke the head gasket
may be blown.

          if there is excessive blue smoke the piston rings
may be worn or stuck or the valves and guides
may be worn or stuck. Major mechanical repairs
will be necessary to remedy the fault.

          if there is excessive black smoke under normal
loads the injectors, high pressure fuel pump, or
timing may need attention. Try bleeding in case
one injector is out. Otherwise consult for more
specialised attention. Injectors and high pressure
pumps are finely tuned pieces of equipment.

Old engines

·         turn off auxiliary equipment: refrigerator/radar/
lights/radio to take any alternator or mechanical
compressor loads off the engine.

Engine runs but overheats

If water is not coming out of exhaust

          check water inlet. Is the sea-cock open? Is the
hose to the water pump intact? Is the inlet water
strainer clear of obstructions?

          is the water inlet blocked on the outside? Plastic
or weed can easily be sucked onto the inlet and
block it.

          water pump.  Check impeller.  Check pulley if
applicable. Check for other mechanical defect.

Fresh water coolant

          check coolant level.

          check fresh water system plumbing for defects.

Bleeding a diesel

Some engines are self-bleeding and after turning over the engine for a bit the fuel system will bleed itself. Some are not. Check manufacturer’s handbook for advice.

          quick bleed (never recommended but we all do it,
though it doesn’t always work). Ensure throttle lever
is engaged. Back off injector nut (on fuel supply
line) while turning the engine over by hand or on the
starter motor until only fuel comes out (no  air
bubbles).  Tighten nut while still turning engine
over. On a four cylinder you may get away with
doing only two injectors. Do a full bleed later.

          A lot of modern engines will self-bleed. Yanmars are particuarly good at this. Just turn the engine over a few times and it will probably chug into life. New engines with software controlling the fuel supply can have problems in the hardware or software. On some you can bypass the hardware controlling fuel. We did this for a Volvo in the Cape Verdes where there was no chance of getting the hardware/software problem sorted. It went all the way across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and back up to Maine with the hardware hot-wired.

          full bleed.  In order bleed the low pressure fuel
pump, high pressure fuel pump, and each injector in
turn until only fuel comes out. Try not to spill diesel
everywhere by putting rag waste under connections
and in the engine bilge.

Smoke signals

White smoke may mean

1.            Water in the fuel.

2.            Blown head gasket.

3.            Air in fuel.

Black smoke may mean

1.            Improper injection, timing, or high pressure fuel
pump settings.

2.            Overload. It is common for a bit of black smoke on
start-up but once warm the engine should be backed
off from excessive revs which produce black smoke.

3.            Air starvation or filter/turbocharger problems.

Blue smoke may mean

1.            Mechanical defect, commonly worn or stuck piston
rings and/or valves and guides.

2.            Too much oil in crankcase. Check oil level.

    

Suggested minimum engine tool kit

Complete socket set, metric or imperial depending on

your engine.

Set of open-ended or ring spanners, metric or imperial.

Large adjustable spanner (big enough for the propeller

nut and sea-cocks).

Medium and small adjustable spanners.

Medium and large mole-grips.

Medium pipe wrench.

Set of Allen keys.

Set of normal and Phillips screwdrivers.

Pliers - normal and needlenose.

Ball-peen hammer.

Set of feeler gauges, metric or imperial.

Brass bristle wire brush.

Suggested minimum engine supplies

Engine oil.

Gearbox oil.

Appropriate greases.

WD40 or equivalent.

Insulation tape and self-amalgamating rubber tape.

PTFE tape.

Selection of stainless steel jubilee clips.

Silicone sealant. Petroleum jelly. Gasket goo (for emergency gasket repairs).

Suggested minimum engine spares

Oil filter.

Fuel filters.

Top-end gasket set (or at least a head gasket).

Several impellers for raw water cooling pump.

Pulley belts as required for engine.

Injector sealing washers.

O-ring kit (as required).

Spare engine key.

More extensive engine spares kit - add:

Spare injector or nozzle.

Injector liner and washers.

Water pump spares kit.

Lift pump diaphragm.

Thermostat.

 

Winter lay-up engine check-list

1.                Run the engine to operating temperature. Drain or
pump out the engine oil. Refill with fresh oil. I’ve
 tried various oil pumps from the straight pump-out ones (hard work), electric oil pumps (good, but prone to giving up), and vacuum pumps like the one opposite (the best solution I’ve found).

2.       Drain the raw water cooling system. Flush through
with freshwater.  The easiest way to do this is
usually to stick a hose in the water inlet or remove
the inlet pipe and stick it in a bucket which is
refilled by the hose. Run in 50-50 water-antifreeze
mixture  at  the  end  to   coat  waterways.   Drain
system including low spots. Plug the water inlet
with oily rag.

3.       Drain freshwater cooling system and replace with
water-antifreeze mixture as per handbook.

4.       Drain water-trap box in exhaust. Clean up anti-siphon valve and make sure the siphon hole is not blocked up with crusty salt bits. Plug exhaust with oily rag.

5.                Remove  and  grease  waterpump  impeller with
petroleum jelly. Leave it out to replace on launching (don’t forget).

6.                Check any anticorrosive zincs and replace if nec­
essary.

7.       Clean fuel filters and drain water out if necessary.

8.       Grease any appropriate points, not forgetting the
Morse controls.

9.       Spray WD40 or oil into inlet manifold and turn
engine slowly (without starting) to coat cylinder
walls.

10.    Turn engine to compression stroke.

11.    Fill fuel tank to avoid condensation.

12.           Wipe engine with an oily rag or a mixture of
petroleum jelly dissolved in petrol or spray with
WD40, to avoid external corrosion.

13.    Clean engine compartment. Be careful not to leave
oil and diesel in the engine bilge.

14.    A custom-made winter cover for the deck or the
whole boat will repay the investment by keeping
the sun and dust off the boat while it is laid up. In
many yards there can be a fair bit of dust blowing
around and when it settles and then it rains, the
result is later baked by the sun to a red-clay finish.
The cover will also prevent UV damage to fittings
and brightwork.

 

 

 

23-01-09

Levkas Canal

The north end of the canal is being dredged at the moment. The sand bar is being partially removed and the entrance deepened. The last time they did this the sand was taken away and dumped further west off the beach. The currents here then brought it all back and dumped it in the entrance to the canal. Guess what, they are doing exactly the same again and no doubt the entrance will begin to silt again pretty soon. Anyway the photo below from a year or so ago shows it how it was. Give it a year or two and it will look similar again. Thanks for the info Joe.

23-01-09

Preface for the 8th edition of Turkish Waters & Cyprus Pilot

Due out May-June-ish 2009  See http://www.imray.com

 Photo © Kadir Kir

Yassica Adalari in Skopea Liman. One of Kadir's pics in the new edition.

Preface TW&CP 8th edition

 Turkey has emerged into the 21st century as a very different country from what it was in the 20th century. Gone is the rampant inflation, up to 60% at times, and in its place is the relatively stable ‘new lira’. Gone is the moribund manufacturing industry. It no longer makes counterfeit jeans but instead manufactures the real thing. Perini yachts, including Maltese Falcon, are built in Tuzla near Istanbul. Everywhere you look ashore there is increasingly modern infrastructure with newer cars on tarmac roads and service stations seemingly every few miles or so.

The new infrastructure ashore is mirrored around the coastline with many recent new developments. New marinas have been built and older projects are being completed. Some of the new marinas like Alanya are the completion of projects which began nearly a decade ago. Others like Didim Marina demonstrate the speed with which new projects are being completed. Like all marinas in Turkey the facilities and services are first class and the coastline boasts some of the finest marinas in the Mediterranean. And of course prices have gone up.

Along with our expectation of 5-star facilities is the growing assumption of an equally proficient repair and maintenance side. By and large this is true, with skilled teams producing top-quality work, but as you find anywhere in the world, there are exceptions and it is up to the individual to choose who to trust your pride and joy to. The best recommendation is from a recently satisfied customer.

With the 21st century has come the nascent environmental movement in Turkey. While Special Environmental Protected Areas have been established in a few places over the last decade, the reality is that there has been little support for the projects and they have produced little in the way of real conservation or environmental benefit. A recent new initiative from conservation group SADAFAG hopes to involve the government Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), and the Environmental Protection Agency for Special Areas (EPASA). This project, based in the Gulf of Gokova will hopefully mark the beginning of real progress in developing sustainable conservation and fisheries management, and as such should be supported.

SADAFAG has also been deeply involved in the protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal. ‘Badem’ is a young seal that has been recently released back into the wild, and may be seen around the Carian coast. While Badem remains unafraid of humans, she (or any other seals for that matter) should not be approached as continued contact with humans will not help her rehabilitation, and may well prove to be her ultimate undoing. For more information on SADAFAG and Badem see www.sadafag.org

Yachtsmen should be amongst the first to embrace these environmental initiatives and most do. One of the questions I’m most often asked is whether holding tanks are mandatory in Turkey. Well for private yachts they are not, but you can face a substantial fine if you pump out black water (toilet waste) or the bilges within three miles of the coast and few yachtsmen can disagree with this requirement. Who wants to go swimming or boating in someone else’s toilet waste. It’s likely in the future holding tanks will be made mandatory on private boats and most of the new marinas are installing pump-out facilities as a matter of course. Other environmental regulations are also being introduced. In the Gulf of Fethiye you may be fined if you take a rope around a tree and bollards have been installed around many of the bays and coves so the trees are not damaged by ropes.

This new edition includes all of the changes we have been able to find out about. Inevitably we will have missed some. Many of the new projects are still being built so it is difficult to judge when they will be finished and just what they will look like in reality. For this edition there are over forty new aerial photographs from Kadir Kir and our thanks to him for his time and devotion to yachting in Turkey. Hasan Kacmac has as ever provided lots of new information, especially on marina developments east of Antalya, and continues to promote yachting in Turkey with fervour and good humour.

For the cruiser on a shoestring budget the new marinas are not the bargain they once were, although they still represent very good value for money. Part of the reason for British yachtsmen is that at the time of writing the weak state of sterling against just about every currency in the world makes cruising anywhere outside the UK more expensive. It’s a matter of pulling in your belt and being a bit more picky about where you eat and what you spend your money on. And in any case you don’t have to go into a marina if you don’t want to. There are still all those anchorages along the indented coastline and in the deep gulfs. Municipal harbours offer good value without the five star service. And a lot of restaurants around the coast provide jetties and moorings for yachts to tie up to. Oh, that restaurants in other Mediterranean countries would do the same.

Finally, we hope you enjoy cruising the Turkish coast, whether long term or on a short visit, and find this book useful in your travels. As always we welcome any correspondence from readers which will help to keep the information as up-to-date as possible for everyone.

Fair winds, warm seas and calm anchorages.

Serefe!

Rod Heikell & Lu Michell

London, January 2009.

Photo © Kadir Kir

Sigacik, another of Kadir's pics in the new edition.

12-01-09

Andy heads for Antartica

Andy who I wrote Ocean Passages and Landfalls with is now heading down to Antartica. At present he is waiting for a weather window at Caleta Lennox. To follow his progress you can go to

http://andysailor.blogspot.com/

 

 

06-01-09

Gulf Harbour Marina (Auckland)

Gulf Harbour Marina is situated on the Whangaparoa Peninsula about 1-11/2 hours by car from downtown Auckland. The marina also operates a ferry service to Auckland and back. It is a bit out of the way and is really more of a safe place to leave a boat in or out of the water while out of the country. You will need a car to get around and even just to pop into Whangaparoa to get supplies.

The yard has pretty good services with a 20 ton and 100 ton travel hoist. There is a riggers, paintshop, boatbuilders, mechanics and fridge engineer, canvas shop, and a cafe. Outside contractors can also work here.

TOP

05-01-09

Ragtime

In the 08 blog I put up a piece on the incredible 1964 Spencer design Ragtime (ex-Infidel). Well she went over to the Sydney Hobart and here is what she did.

Ragtime Net Results:
First to FInish - IRC Division 2
First on Handicap - IRC DIvision 2
First Foreign Boat to Finish
11th Overall IRC
19th Overall Line Honor

To read more go to the Sailing Anarchy site

 05-01-09 I'm putting this up again as it is important for anyone heading to the Gulf of Aden and into the Red Sea this year

21-12-08

Pirate Alley

'Safe' corridor set up by combined task force through the Gulf of Aden

 As the waters of Somalia pop up in the news every day with yet another ship hi-jacked by pirates operating out of Somalia, it’s interesting to take a look at the piracy map from the IMB (International Maritime Bureau) and the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. There are a lot of ships out there getting hi-jacked and a lot more attempts. (Note: I find the map a bit clunky and slow, but it may just be my computer.)

More

03-01-09

Wifi

Almost as important as a secure berth or anchorage these days is access to wifi. An increasing number of places broadcast wifi over a marina and an anchorage and although we are not talking the sort of speeds you get from broadband at home, there is usually enough to get email and browse slowly. To some extent it is a matter of picking a time when there are not a lot of other people trying to use the wifi signal – that can be early in the morning, at lunchtime or around dinner time, it’s a matter of experimenting in the location you are in.

In a marina or especially at anchor one of the problems is to get a good signal and for this you need an external aerial you can poke outside.

The first external aerial I used was simply a USB dongle taped into a colander (thanks for the idea Jack) that acted as a dish to amplify the signal. It works so so.

The second one I got is a Hawking dish aerial that we nick-named ‘mini-Jodrell Bank’. You can get two types. One plugs into the wifi card via a coaxial cable. Most laptops don’t have this option. The second plugs into a USB port. You simply install the software and the rest is pretty seamless. What you will need is a USB male/female extension cable so you can park the dish up out of a hatch or somewhere on deck so it has an easier time picking a signal. Jodrell worked just fine but it has a couple of drawbacks.

The first is that it needs to be aimed approximately towards the transmitting aerial. When you are swinging around at anchor this means that signal strength goes up and down and sometimes disappears. The second drawback is that it is not waterproof and the little PCB inside doesn’t like to get wet – not even moist. Does this sound like the voice of experience? Oh yes, one little tropical shower and Jodrell was dead though he still valiantly tried to light up the LED’s on the front. No amount of drying him off and spraying the insides worked. Jodrell is a dead parrot.

Hawking hi-Gain antenna (USB)

So what’s next? A couple of other boats used an outdoor omni-direction rod aerial. With an extension you can hoist this up on a flag halyard and get better signal strength. You can even further weatherproof it by sticking it in an old plastic water bottle with a bit of silicone around the neck and hang it up that way.

I’ve tracked down a omni-direction outdoor job for a tad over £60 and given the Hawking was around £40 that seems OK. The picture below is from the internet site which majors on bad English but hopefully has a good techy background.

 WiFi Link

 

Wifi locations Greece to NZ

From Greece to NZ on this trip we got wifi in the following locations. For many of these services you could sign up using Paypal or a credit card and be up and working in no time at all. Only in a few cases was there a conflict or a glitch.

 

Spain (Almerimar): Via the marina company or from Centrepoint (travel and real estate co.) within the marina. Relatively cheap and reliable service.

 

Gibraltar: Fairly expensive system in Marina Bay with Yachtconnect. Good signal. Yachtconnect also operate in other Spanish marinas along the coast.

 

Lanzarote (Puerto Calero): Good system in the marina and reasonably priced.

 

Cape Verdes (Mindelo): Only in the ‘Yacht Club’ restaurant.

 

Antigua (Jolly Harbour): Good signal and not too expensive by HotHotHotSpot. Also provides services in other islands down the chain (so you can use any credit in other spots): Prickly Bay in Grenada, Admiralty Bay in Bequia, Falmouth Harbour, English Harbour in Antigua, Union Island, Deshaies and Isle de Saintes in Guadeloupe, Portsmouth and Roseau in Dominica.

 

St Maarten (Lagoon Marina): Reasonable signal and not too expensive.

 

Panama (PCYC Colon): Cheap wifi but not useable in the anchorage. Patchy in the YC. Sign up in the YC.

Panama (Balboa YC): Free wifi with good signal though moorings are expensive here.

 

French Polynesia: Iaoranet provides wifi in Nuka Hiva, Rangiroa, Tahiti, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora. Its not cheap but works reasonably well. Another service called Hotspot also operates in French Polynesia.

 

Tonga (Neiafu): Weak wifi in the anchorage from various bars on the waterfront including the Mermaid (free) and the Aquarium (you pay but it is a better service). Other bars have wifi in the bar/café.

 

NZ: Wifi in Opua Marina. Wifi in Gulf Harbour Marina.

  

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