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Letter of the month
The Editor ’s choice for letter of the month will
receive a 28" Yachtsman’s Waterproof Bag.
Made from tough double
coated PVC fabric with
seams sewn and tape
welded the Burke bag is
This month’s prize goes to
from Balgowlah Heights, NSW.
Got Something to Say?
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liable to sub-editing at the Editor ’s discretion.
Middle Harbour Yacht Club
Parriwi Rd Mosman 2088
P 02 9969 2144 E email@example.com
Arends 33 - $75,000
Eastcoast 31 - $45,000
Martzcraft 35 - $79,000
Bavaria 38 - $119,000
When is a bowsprit not a bowsprit?
Forget the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The most
hotly fought-over territory among the yachting super-powers these
days, is the pointy bit that sticks out from your bow.
Racing sailors do not have priority
over other sailing vessels
I have been working as a sailing instructor and charter skipper
on Sydney Harbour for over four years and have been finding it
increasingly hard to show my clients and students a good time.
Why? Overall, lack of courtesy from other boaters, specially racing
sailors on the weekends. On Saturdays you have dozens of sailing
clubs going about their weekend racing over their courses across
all available channels.
What bothers me is that because these vessels are racing they
feel entitled and expect all other vessels to stay out of their way.
Most of the time, even when I am the stand on vessel – on
a starboard tack or leeward – I try my best to be courteous and
keep clear of racing vessels. However, that is not always possible
due to the sheer number of boats racing or hazards to be avoided.
Racers need to bear in mind that in the IRPCS (if they know
what that is) there is nothing that states that a racing vessel has
priority over other sailing vessels. On a Saturday afternoon, if a
cruising or training vessel had to keep clear of all racing vessels,
then they might as well not go out – and that is not fair.
Most of the time, as a training boat, I have inexperienced
crew onboard, so it takes quite a bit longer to chuck in a gybe
or tack to move out of the way of racing boats. Not once has a
racing boat been courteous enough to recognise that and the
usual response is a grumpy bugger on the boat yelling, “Move
out of the way, we are racing!” Racing for what? A cheap bottle
of wine? I ask. Often, my students have no idea what is going
and ask me why sailors are such a selfish bunch.
I have decided now that when I am the stand on vessel, I
am doing what the rules tell me to do – maintain course and
speed. And if someone asks me to move out of the way because
they are racing, I will respond with, “ You move out of the way,
we are training.”
In the meantime, I will continue preaching half-heartedly to
my students that sailing is friendly and inclusive.
Ivan B. Signorelli,
Balgowlah Heights, NSW.
For centuries it was a piece of wood bolted or lashed onto
the bow of square-riggers to give them a hint of what a fore-and-
aft sail could do to boost their speed. But after a brief flirtation
during the first half of the 20th century, bowsprits were consigned
to the dustbin of history as being distinctly old fashioned. When
suddenly, a few years ago, someone re-discovered them as a
way of cheating the traditional IRC rules – which did not include
‘bowsprits’ in the LOA rated measurement.
And so, like experts in tax-avoidance, modern designers
have re-birthed the bowsprit as a means of gaming the system.
The recent kerfuffle over Wild Oats’ visit to the cosmetic
surgeon is a case in point. She’s had two metres off her bum
and two metres added to her pointy end – or that’s what her
marine certifier would have us believe. But exactly where do
you measure her bow starting and her bowsprit finishing (or is
it the other way round)?
With her beautifully faired clipper bow look, you could drive
a bus through wherever the bow/bowsprit demarcation point is.
To complicate measurement matters (perhaps deliberately), the
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