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Fire down below
Geoffrey Stait was skippering the Frers 41 Northern Territory
Spirit on the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race around 1991.
Geoffrey was a very experienced seaman and as the yacht was
chartered to an Indonesian Navy crew, the insurance company
insisted that a qualified English speaking person should be the
skipper. The crew arrived two weeks prior to the race and Geoff
took them out on the harbour at every opportunity, to perfect
the hoisting and lowering of all sails, plus trimming and all other
duties associated with blue water yacht racing.
Just after the RAN patrol vessel fired its Bofor to signify the
start, the sou’east breeze freshened and NT Spirit, like all other
yachts, wasted no time in hoisting their largest spinnaker.
Some of the crew on NT Spirit decided that a cup of tea was
in order and as two of them tried to light the kero stove, flames
erupted in the galley. The two crewmen on fire ran up from below
and jumped overboard!
A difficult situation now arises for the skipper. He calmly told
the crew on deck to not take their eyes off the two in the water,
then turned the helm to backwind the spinnaker and as an ex-
highly trained fireman tackled the blaze in the galley.
Geoff said that they acted so quickly that the two overboard
crew were only metres from the yacht and were retrieved, one
with minor burns and one with major. They retired from the
race but one poses the question “How would I have reacted in
that situation? ”
Water pipe at Cottage Rock
Why are we still surprised at many of the actions of National
Park staff and bureaucrats as thankfully reported by Doug Brooker
and Neil Edwards in February Afloat.
Over the decades from National Parks we have been subjected
to a proposed ban on power boats in Smiths Creek and the Myall
Lakes, the removal of the oaks, elms and ashes in Coal and Candle
Queensland boat shows display
more contempt than product
I have owned many boats over the years (several sailing boats
and currently a Riviera) and have attended the Coomera Boat
shows regularly in the past. For many years the Sanctuary Cove
Boat Show (SCBS) was Australia’s ‘main event’ and was a one
stop show for anything to do with boats.
However, over the past several years the concept has morphed
into three competing events at different times of the year – a
disgraceful display of contempt for the boating public.
Riviera, after many years of participating at the SCBS,
commenced their own Festival of Boating across the river at
their factory. This made some sense and was not a burden as
there was a free ferry shuttle between the two events and they
operated seamlessly with little inconvenience.
The Gold Coast City Marina (GCCM) joined the party sometime
later and held their own Boat Show in conjunction with the other
two. But last year the commercial competition between the events
became apparent and there was no ferry to join the two events
and a lengthy road trip was required.
This year, however, the three boat shows have degenerated
into a disgraceful demonstration of the disdain these people
have for their boating customers. This year the SCBS is being
held in May while the Riviera and GCCM boat shows are being
held in March.
The organisers of these events have obviously had some sort
of falling out and we, the boaties, are to suffer this ridiculous
I, for one, will boycott all three events and will refuse to
attend until the corporations get together, leave their various
egos at home, and work on a joint program that places their
customers first – not last.
Spare a thought also for the many suppliers and distributors
who must incur significant additional expense to attend the
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