Three days of trailer-sailer fun

cruise in company to Papua New Guinea

An experienced cruising yachtsman from Cairns, Guy Chester, has announced plans for a Louisiades Rally later this year.

The rally is being organised with the support of the Yorkeys Knob Boating Club and the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority.

“After sailing in the race from Cairns to Port Moresby in 1991 we cruised a small section of the Louisiades and despite cruising around much of the Pacific and SE Asia over the last 20 years the lure of the untouched Louisiades has remained,” Chester said.

“We spent a month sailing in the Louisiades in 2007 with the idea of arranging a rally for 2008. The local people were so enthusiastic we knew we just had to make it happen.

“We have made arrangements for some great events, from traditional dancing, a skull cave visit, a traditional sailing canoe regatta, school visits and many other events. The locals are very keen to host the rally, already they provide a great welcome to the cruising yachts that visit the islands.”

The Louisiades are 500nm from Cairns, which equates to a two to four-day passage for most cruising yachts.

“We are providing support such as arranging customs clearance and flying in the PNG customs officer to the yachts,” Chester said.

“We will have safety briefings and provide weather and safety reports for yachts. This allows sailors who have not yet ventured offshore to have the confidence to give it a go.

“I first sailed offshore in the Darwin to Ambon race many years ago, and I know the benefit of venturing out for your first bluewater passage in the company of other yachts.” 

The rally will start on September 20 and take yachts in company for four weeks to many island destinations. Yachts may then chose to carry on cruising the beautiful islands of PNG, head off to the Solomon Islands or cruise in company back to Cairns.

The rally has as a major aim to contribute to the communities visited, where people live in a subsistence lifestyle and even the basics of health and education are not guaranteed.
For more information contact Guy Chester on ph 0407 391 211.

Dent to Dunk puts on a cap
Be in quick if you want to join the Dent Island to Dunk Island Race and Rally this year: organisers have capped entries to 60 because of the overwhelming popularity of the event.

“The spirit of this rally is to foster fun, good fellowship, enjoyment of sailing and to introduce sailors who have not cruised these parts before to the beauty of the region,” a spokesperson said.

“They will become familiar with the islands and anchorages, in company with other cruisers who know the area.”

“Each day the event will end at a protected anchorage. Some nights there will be an organised dinner and presentations. Other evenings, you will be on your own. “There will be themed nights (Blues Bros, Hawaiian shirt, etc) and quiet nights. Some days you will sail in company (this could be interpreted as seeing who sails their boat better) and other days you can sail on your own if you wish.”

This year's race and rally will run from May 17 to 27, with the race division starting on May 24 and going non-stop to Dunk Island.

For more information visit APYC.yachting.org.au.

Geelong puts out the welcome mat again

Geelong will once again come alive with trailer-sailers later this month.

The 2008 Trailable Yacht Festival is being staged at the Geelong Trailable Yacht Club, St Helens, from April 25-27 and promises to be the best yet.

The guest presenters are exceptionally well qualified for a trailable yacht event: Eric Gibbons and Flo Barnett from Fremantle WA live on their Court 750 Erflo for 6-9 months each year as they travel around Australia, trailing and sailing as they go, using their boat as both a caravan and a bluewater yacht.

Their adventures off the Kimberley coast read like some boys-own adventure story: loading up their boat with three months of food and water, towing a plastic dinghy whose double skin is filled with outboard fuel, beaching their boat on deserted islands, travelling up river systems until the first waterfall to collect fresh drinking water and battling huge tides with horizontal waterfalls.

The festival is a good opportunity for fellow trailer-sailors to find out how they prepare their boat, what equipment they think is essential (and what is not) and how they manage to live on their boat for such long periods ð in short how they maximise the use of their trailable yacht. They will speak at the Saturday-night dinner.

As in other years there will be a cruise on Corio Bay, information sessions on trailable yacht specific products and equipment, best-presented boat competitions plus fun activities for all and of course, time for everybody to meet and talk about cruises taken and cruises planned.

The festival is open to anybody with a trailable yacht. To register contact Rob Ballard at the Geelong Trailable Yacht Club on ph (03) 5243 0239 or point your browser to www.tyfestival.com.au

Court upholds fine – that will be $20,000, thank you
An overseas couple has been left with a huge legal bill running into the tens of thousands of dollars as a result of failing to pre-notify Customs of their arrival in the country.

The Brisbane District Court has ruled against an appeal by James Manzari against a $4000 fine, awarding a further $15,000 in costs against him.Manzari and wife Dorothy, of US and Swiss nationality respectively, failed to pre-notify Customs of their arrival after a passage from Noumea and Jim was charged with failing to adequately report.
The Manzaris argued they had been give out-of-date information by the Australian Consulate in Noumea that told them to pre-notify by 48 hours instead of the 96 hours required today. They also understood the directions to mean they had to report at exactly 48 hours, when in fact pre-notification can be done up to 10 days in advance. Because they had only a VHF radio with a very limited range and no satellite phone or email it was impossible for them to make contact 48 hours out, and they did not do so until they anchored outside a Bundaberg marina, when they radioed the VMR.

Fijian time-limit slashed

The Fijian government has restricted cruising yachts to a three-month visit extendible up to a maximum of six months – halving the previous permissible stay.

Cruising website www.noonsite.com said Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry had stated the policy change was forced on them by “systematic abuse” of regulations by people on yachts, alleging that they had been suspected of a range of crimes, from drug smuggling and prostitution to involvement in contraband of endangered species of flora and fauna.

“Reaction from those whose livelihoods depend on the custom of cruising yachts has been a mixture of disbelief and anger,” noonsite said.

“Only last year the Fiji Visitors Bureau stated in its tourism master plan that catering for the yachting industry and developing local yachting tourism held 'great potential'. All this seems in jeopardy now as marinas have been laying off staff and putting development projects on hold as yachts cut short their stays or don't bother to come at all.

“According to Mr Chaudhry Fiji was losing millions of dollars in duty from people who were abusing the system for their own interests, stating: 'A total of six months in the country is more than sufficient.

People come and park their yachts here for months at a time, they do business in Fiji, own residences and use Fiji as a duty-free base to fly out and do business elsewhere.' “

Noonsite said at present there seemed little likelihood the government would change its mind and it remained to be seen whether yachts would still continue to stop in Fiji or avoid the country all together.

“Certainly Fiji will hold little attraction now as a destination for completing lengthy repair work while its growing reputation as a safe base during the cyclone season seems in tatters,” noonsite said.

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