Saturday, 15 September 2007


Business news about yacht is now in one place.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Female gondolier attacks 'greedy' male rivals

Venice's first female gondolier has claimed that her male counterparts have abandoned tradition and are ripping off tourists.

Alexandra Hai, 40, said many were greedy and had forgotten the noble art of steering their craft around the city's waterways. Instead, she said, they mass-loaded tourists on to their gondolas and ferry them "a couple of times around the block".

Technically, the price for a gondola trip is £55 for 40 minutes, but tourists rarely get the full time for which they have paid.

"It used to be a privilege to be a gondolier," said Miss Hai. "They were called the princes of Venice. Now they do not even keep their gondolas clean."

Miss Hai has been fighting a decade-long battle to be accepted by the city's all-male gondolier guild. But being a woman has not been her only disadvantage. She is German, a fact resented by many of the other gondoliers, who are all Venetian.

Aldo Rosso, a judge in Miss Hai's gondolier exam, admitted that the cartel was more or less closed to outsiders. "The tradition is to keep this from father to son," he explained. "A gondolier only makes so much money. If he has a son, to whom his licence can be passed, that furnishes him with a pension."

However, Miss Hai said that tradition now counted for little among modern gondoliers. "They are also supposed to study three languages in the gondoliering school but they do not bother anymore," she added.

"Basically, to be a good gondolier, you should spend two years learning the waterways, where you can go in high and low tide, and where the underwater currents and eddies are.

"But you also need to know how to treat your customers politely. There is no romance in a gondola trip when your gondolier does not shut up on his mobile phone."

She said that gondolas originally designed for a couple and their servant are now loaded with as many as six people sitting on the sides of the boat.

In addition, they usually travelled in convoy, rather than offering visitors the pleasure of a solitary and tranquil journey.

"Day-trippers are part of the problem. They do not want to pay much, so it works out cheaper for them to go for rides in mass groups. And then there are about 40 of them so they all want to go together," she said.

Miss Hai, who has eschewed the stripey shirt as a modern gimmick, wears an 18th century uniform and has replica 15th century ironwork on her craft.

She said she had been threatened several times, and that her gondola had been stolen from its moorings and left elsewhere in the city.

The Venetian Gondola Association was not available for comment.

(By Malcolm Moore in Venice Last Updated: 4:02am BST 20/08/2007)

Friday, 17 August 2007

Around The World in 58 Hours

A journey home from an Archaeological holiday in Cyprus and Istanbul. I flew from Istanbul-Athens-Larnaca(Cyprus)-Dubai- Bangkok-Sydney!
It took 58 hours, I saw 3 sunrises and ate 8 meals!

Round the Island Race 2007

We have spaces left on our Bavaria Match 38, a very fast and competitive yacht. Join the boat on Friday 22nd June 2007 at 10am for a day's intensive race training from your professional skipper and crew, who will guide you through the intricacies of gybing the spinnaker and trimming the main to build a team capable of sailing this yacht to its limits.

After an overnight stay in Cowes Yacht Haven we will head for the start line and discuss our tactics for the race before the gun goes off at around 7am on Saturday 23rd of June.

Boat speed, wind angle and collision avoidance are then our main priorities as we battle with thousands of other yachts to reach the Needles. Once around the Needles it is usually time to launch the kite, and we can enjoy the race around St Catherine's point, before tacking our way back through the Solent to the finish line.

After the race we can all enjoy the superb hospitality and night life that makes Cowes great, before a gentle cruise back to the mainland on Sunday morning.
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Thursday, 16 August 2007

Gulf Stream in Winter

Marc Kraft wrote big story about his sailing trips. I cut s0me words from there:
The Bahamas were so quiet and calm, compared to Florida’s chaos. You merely had to make it across the Gulf Stream to get to the tropical oasis. I had a charter that morning for 7 days from Florida to the outer islands of the Bahamas. My job description was to take people to these tropical islands and play with them all week in the warm, turquoise waters: fishing, sailing, diving, eating, etc….. I was looking forward to going to some of my favorite islands, finding a private cove with water so clear you could see the white sand and coral below massive schools of tropical fish. My passengers would work very hard deepening their tropical suntan (burns), thereby proving their vacation fun to their friends back home. I’d disappear to my favorite private spots with my writing pad to work on my unfinished adventure novel. Occasionally, I would imagine Earnest Hemingway writing or dreaming up scenes right where I was sitting and doing the same thing. (He had a home there in the Bahamas where he was a drunken legend).

The Gulf Stream section of the Atlantic has swallowed many a vessel and airplane. When you leave Florida, the Atlantic starts out mildly, with less than a half-knot current going north toward Greenland. In the middle of the Gulf Stream, the current can reach over 3.5 knots. A seasoned navigator can determine position by testing the water temperature. You have to really know your set and drift formulas with this changing current coming across your beam. You may also experience confused seas when the Gulf Stream and winds are going in opposite directions. Back then; all we used for electronic navigation was a Radio Direction Finder, now obsolete.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Guide for beginners

I’m at a point in my life when it’s time to live the dream that I’ve had since childhood and that’s to sail across the Atlantic single handed. I’m a complete beginner to sailing. I’m currently doing a skippers course which will take me up to advanced cruising, coastal navigation and radio operation, although blue water cruising is not included since I’m based in Montreal..

I know it’s an achievable dream but I need to put some reality to it, your help and advice will be greatly appreciated. Where do we start; my guess is boat selection? My plan is as I will be working in Boston next year to get a boat live on it, and get as many hours sailing as I possibly can. I’m not after a big boat, 24 – 27 feet will do but obviously sea worthy.

Your project will be a substantial challenge but, nonetheless, we think it is doable.

While boat selection will be important, I think the first and most important order of business is to map out a program that will give you the experience and confidence to make your voyage both safe and enjoyable, not an ordeal. I think the key to this will be for you to get as much experience as possible in conditions like those you will face on your crossing. While the course you are doing in Montreal and living on a boat in Boston will provide a start, both areas have much more benign conditions than those you are likely to face in the North Atlantic, even in summer.

First off, we would suggest working toward a British Royal Yachting Association Yacht Master Offshore certificate, see it. Although you can take the courses leading to this qualification in the USA, we would recommend doing them in UK waters where you will get exposure to the strong tides and more challenging weather that you will face toward the end of your trip. There are many good UK sailing schools that provide intensive residential courses leading to the Yacht Master.

After, or possibly concurrently with, the above, it would be a very good idea to do at least one substantial offshore trip on another boat before setting off on your single handed voyage. The bottom line is that there is just no way to know what it is really like offshore without going there. There are several ways to do this, including just hanging around the docks in places like Newport when boats are looking for crew for the annual fall migration to the Caribbean. However, the problem with this approach is that you might end up going to sea with an inexperienced crew or on a poorly prepared boat. A better, albeit more expensive, approach might be to do a crossing on a boat that takes paying crew. We can recommend Hamish and Kate Laird on “Seal” or John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal on “Mahina Tiare”. We have also considered taking paying crew on “Morgan’s Cloud” but have not yet made a decision on that.

The other advantage of all this is that it will expose you to several different boats; experience that will be invaluable when the time comes to pick and fit out your own boat.

Trip of Viking ship

By Reuters // Tuesday August 14, 11:05 PM // By Jonathan Saul

DUBLIN (Reuters) - A reconstructed Viking ship pulled into Dublin on Tuesday nearly 1,000 years after the original sank off Denmark's coast, with its crew retracing the gruelling voyages made by marauding Nordic raiders to Ireland.

The Sea Stallion's weather-beaten, 65-member team set sail from Roskilde in Denmark on July 1 using oar and sail power, journeying over 1,000 nautical miles and aiming to address unanswered questions about Viking ship-building and travel.

Church bells rang out and a flotilla of sailing boats greeted the ship's entry into Dublin's port on Tuesday.

"You have come here on a voyage of discovery," said Dublin's Lord Mayor Paddy Bourke as the vessel and its volunteer crew of men and women docked.

Crafted from the wood of 300 oak trees, the 30-metre (100-foot) long, 4-metre wide Sea Stallion is the world's largest reconstructed Viking vessel, its builders say.

The original ship was built in Dublin in 1042 but sank 30 years later in Roskilde fjord, around 30 miles (50 km) south of Copenhagen, and lay there until excavation began in 1962. The Sea Stallion was completed in 2004 after work started in 2000.

The Sea Stallion's voyage aimed to mirror the conditions faced by the feared Nordic warriors who unleashed bloody raids on Ireland and England 1,000 years ago.

The ship's Danish captain, Carsten Hvid, said the toughest moment was coming into the Irish Sea, when high winds and 5-metre waves battered the boat.

"We put on our survival suits and prepared the life rafts," Hvid told reporters after arriving in Dublin. But he added that no one was washed overboard.

The vessel was towed for a small part of the trip. Most of the voyage was spent braving the elements on an open deck, with just a square metre of living space for each crew member.

Some of the assembled team spent stints on a support ship due to hypothermia or minor injuries.

"You were so tired, but you still had to work together. It has been a great experience," said Hvid.

In the old Viking sagas, it was not uncommon for captains to spend weeks, months, or even an entire winter waiting for the weather to shift in their favour.

"There was cold, lashing rain on some days from the morning until the following morning," the ship's project manager Prieben Rather Sorensen told Reuters.

"We did not have the time that the Vikings had as we had to be here today," he added. "That was one of the challenges."

Researchers will analyse film and computer data gathered during the voyage, and the vessel will go on display this month at Dublin's National Museum until next year, when a crew captained by Hvid will make the return voyage home.

Sorensen said he was already counting down the days to setting sail again. "It is like a narcotic -- you can't live without it," he said.