Archive for » September 24th, 2013«

Rome Sailing Club members earn wins in Dauphin Island Race

The four competed against 166 other boats from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida.

Expert sailor Norbert Falk won first place in the Catalina 22 class. His 2013 win was his fourth in the Dauphin Island competition. Falk has been an ardent fan of and participant in sailing since childhood.

Tony Cellamare earned the first-place trophy in his class at the race for the second time. An expert boatbuilder, Cellamare has been a crew member on many large boats for races throughout the world, Falk, an officer of the Rome Sailing Club, said.

Randy Rutledge earned first-place status in his class. The win was his first in the Dauphin Island race. Rutledge is retired from his career as an inside engineer/troubleshooter for the National Cash Register Co. He relates that he sails almost every day when the weather is good.

Tom Long rated second in his class at the Dauphin Island race. His win brought his second trophy. He won first place a few years ago.

The International Rules of Sailing are followed by competitors in the Dauphin Island race. Cellamare, Rutledge and Long were in the division using the Portsmouth Yardstick.

The Rome Sailing Club had its beginnings in Rome, Ga. However, for the past 40 years, the club has had its headquarters on Weiss Lake in Cherokee County. For the first part of the four decades, the club’s boats were anchored near Cedar Bluff, then at Bay Springs Marina. In 1990, the club moved to its current location, a short distance off Cherokee County Road 44 near Leesburg.

The club property now includes 2 acres along the lake, a clubhouse, a pavilion, a grand gazebo and several piers along which 52 sailboats are secured. Several other boats are dry-docked on the club property.

Each year during the third weekend in August the club sponsors a major regatta. The 2013 event drew 30 boats from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. Trophies are presented to the top three finishers in each class, Catalina 22 gold and silver and cruisers class.

In this year’s Weiss Lake Regatta, three club members earned trophies in the cruisers class — Linda Cellamare, first place; Jamie Hooks, second, and Tom Lang, third.

The club also stages 27 races throughout the year for club members only.

The regattas and club races are open to public viewing. Signs direct visitors from County Road 44 to the club site.

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September 24, 2013

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Tony Abbott will soon discover that to stop the boats he will have to work closely with our neighbours.

Illustration: John Shakespeare

While there are few consolations for no longer being in government, one that will appeal to Labor is that it no longer has to deal with the asylum-seeker problem. It’s now up to Tony Abbott to ”stop the boats”. As Labor’s perceived failures in this area were Tony’s ticket to the Lodge, it’s unlikely the electorate will allow him to forget his promise.

Whatever he comes up with, it is unlikely that any specific solution will work for long. This is because the situation itself is constantly changing: the refugee problem reflects the human costs of a world that is increasingly violent and unpredictable. There are not only questions of values at stake. For any Australian government, giving effect to our right to control who comes into the country poses some difficult administrative problems.

Despite the apparent technological sophistication of modern government, in reality we have only relatively crude policy and administrative instruments with which to respond to the needs of millions of desperate people. Most of the time, public administration works by (metaphorically) chopping people up. The state classifies us in order to tax us, pay us pensions, licence us to drive, and enable us to vote.

The problem with classification, of course, is that we human beings are complex creatures who rarely fit into the categories we devise for ourselves. We are also most inventive: we delight in either wriggling into or wriggling out of any specific category, depending upon what is in it for us.

No category is more troubled (or troublesome) that that of refugees. When conflicts break out, civilians are displaced from their homes, winding up either in camps within their original country, or across the border in neighbouring countries. Most of these unfortunate people want just one thing – for the situation to settle down sufficiently for them to return home. Many do return, others – having given up on their homelands – are eventually resettled elsewhere.

In times of global instability, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – the international agency charged with assisting refugees – struggles to meet the demands placed upon it. Cases are resolved at a much slower rate than new cases arise, so the backlog of people in camps increases.

Each conflict produces its own pattern of misery. Many Palestinians have become lifelong refugees, either internally displaced within Israel or the occupied territories, or forced to flee to neighbouring states such as Jordan. Theirs is possibly the saddest story of all. In the years since the Six-Day War, as Israel has entrenched its occupation of Palestinian lands, they have watched their hopes of a true homeland to return to turn to dust.

Somehow, in co-operation with countries prepared to accept them, the UNHCR must create and sustain a humanitarian system that reflects the best the international community can offer. The processes employed must be both humane and effective – and they must also, as far as possible, be fair.

Clearly, the basis for making the assessment as to who qualifies as a refugee is critical. As most people know, the Convention on Refugees defines as a refugee a person who has a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of nationality, on the basis of race, religion, nationality, social group or political beliefs. Given the fragility of some states, a good proportion of their entire population would qualify as refugees.

Ironically, though, many of the people who are most in need are still located in their original countries, because they are not allowed to leave. Some countries are prisons, others (such as Iran) do not allow unsuccessful asylum-seekers to return.

The situation is constantly changing. Afghanistan at the moment is considered to be stable. Were the Taliban to gain control, one would imagine the entire female population would have a reasonable claim to refugee status.

So, where does this leave Australia in relation to asylum seekers? The evidence suggests that if deterrence is cranked up to sufficiently high levels, it is possible to stem the flow of so-called

irregular maritime arrivals. But all this tells us is that, if we remove the prize of resettlement in Australia, even the most desperate will give up and stay where they are.

So, in a sea of need, how do we choose? Or rather, when do we stop choosing? Unlike Australia’s economically based immigration programs, numbers in the refugee program are capped for any given year. Once the cap looks like being reached, the department can slow the pace at which it processes registered refugees offshore.

The skilled immigration program, on the other hand, is essentially demand-driven, with governments changing the number and kinds of acceptable classifications in order to keep a rough control of the numbers. In times of high economic growth, more people are brought in by employers prepared to sponsor them. When growth falls, so does the demand for labour. The migration intake is therefore adaptive to this degree.

But adaptation is not the only issue. Australian governments know that if the migration program is not seen to be fairly run, it will lose support from those already here. This is why the refugee intake is particularly sensitive.

If asylum-seekers are found to be refugees, they displace others who come through the usual channels. So, do we expand numbers in the intake to accommodate asylum-seekers? This would be one option, but in invoking it, we risk setting up a feedback loop that would quickly overwhelm any nominal cap.

An analogy might be helpful here. In trying to envisage the immigration problem we tend to think in terms of turning a tap on and off. But the reality is much more like a system – a complex one, with many interconnected parts. A system of this kind can be pushed in a certain direction, but ultimately, will tend to push past attempts to control it, as the agents within it modify their behaviour by learning. The Papua New Guinea solution will slow the arrivals, at least for a while. But then a tipping point will be reached.

We won’t have much chance of coming up with humane responses if we don’t understand a good deal more than we apparently do about the asylum seekers themselves. These are rational people, but the situations in which they find themselves are difficult for many of us to imagine.

Moreover, the people smugglers are more than capable of gauging the likely cumulative impacts of their trade.

The Gillard government policy implemented in mid-2012, for example, which sought to equilibrate asylum-seeker incentives against those of conventional arrivals, was superbly rational. But its rationality was not the rationality of the people smugglers, who could see the advantages that sheer numbers might bring. From a policy-making point of view, it is understanding the nature of the feedback loops that counts.

In a world of increasing flows and porous borders, money moves, goods move, and people move. Common sense suggests that the problem of asylum seekers will be resolved by working on many fronts simultaneously.

Although this is a highly politicised issue, it cannot be handled in a political way. Patient work with neighbouring states is the only way to stem the tide.

Jenny Stewart is professor of public policy in the University of NSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

45 comments so far

  • With all due respect Jenny, you do sound like academia, that is, you do not understand the real issues and merely rely on so called literature. In fact your perception of issues is naive.
    You say the situation itself is constantly changing – this is not correct. Humans are breeding like rats and destroying the world upon which we live. Why, well basically because of tradition and religious beliefs that provide permissions to act in an immoral, unethical, and totally selfish manner. Everywhere in the world this is unequivocally a core reason for human destruction of the world. Essentially religion and traditions are failing humanity, and unfortunately encouraging the very practices that humans should avoid. This is a fact.
    You mention the prize of resettlement in Australia. That is exactly the target of asylum seekers. They are encouraged to leave their country (which of course only serves to support the elitist running those countries) by the perceive belief the Australian taxpayer will support them upon arrival, and they can easily bribe their way through Indonesia, which of course they can. Even worse is the Australian Navy taxi waiting for them. The previous Government policy actually reinforced the belief Australia was open for business, and to that extent they are directly responsible for the death of many boat people.
    The problem with so called refugee advocates is that you fail to address core reasons as to why so called refugees exist in the first place, never offer solutions, just criticism of current systems. To that extent you are a cause of the problem, and far removed from being the answer, not with standing your vain belief you are doing something good. You have to face reality, no matter how bad it is.

    John Ralph
    Date and time
    September 24, 2013, 10:15AM

    • John I agree we have left a huge sign out over the last 6 years saying Australia is open. The Rudd Government did what governments do when they get into power, they is dismantle what ever the other loot did previously. What we are forgetting though is the people who claim to be desperate have to come through other safe countries looking for the pot of gold that is Australia, where we will give them a roof over their head ,free food, Foxtel and even a Lawyer, things a lot of Australians can’t get and we live here. What happens to the real refugees in border camps over the world and due to their desperate life’s have no money, do not have access to lawyers, but are however waiting for a safe haven. These people get to near the top of the queue only to be thwart by people so desperate they have carefully thought out ways to the land of milk and honey. Do we know or care how many of the economic refugees who come to Australia , gain citizenship then go back to where they originally came from ?

      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 10:56AM

    • What utter rubbish. What do you think for those Hazari’s escaping the Taliban or Iranian citizens fleeing Iran that they have great big posters of Australia imploring those people to leave for a life here. Man you need to travel.
      For refugees the travel is a struggle. Australia was built with Refugee labour whether it be the Russians escaping the Reds in the 20’s the Jews in the late 40’s the Italians from the Croats in the 50’s 60’s and Greeks and Cypriots from the Turks in the 60’s. Its funny how quickly we forget even more so that many years ago the poor old Irish escaping British oppression left those shores to Australia and the USA to be initially considered lower than the low. And now we have a PM of Irish stock.
      The mantra that the LNP played was that refugees are illegals. Well sorry they are not and often they are the cream or the intellectuals of a Country. Look at the Poles in WW2 who were killed, the Army Officers the Intellectuals, Doctors Lawyers Judges and Teachers. When Iran does its purges who do they attack. They attack the intellectuals at the University, Teachers and Doctors, when the Taliban impose their will its the health services and teachers that are attacked. So can we please think again about just what being a refugee is and how much hardship they endure to get anywhere. besides I don’t think too many Aussies would survive a Somali Refugee camp or for that matter any Refugee Camp they are not exactly easy places to live.

      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 11:05AM

    • That’s rubbish. If you had a processing centre in Indonesia you could figure out straight away if the person was an economic refugee or a legitimate refugee fleeing persecution. Then you only need to accept the people that are legitimate and all the rest are rejected. And anyone that turns up by boat is also rejected. The total cost is less than any of the current boat people plans, and no one has to travel by boat only to die by sea.

      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 11:05AM

    • I disagree John. Your emotive opening statements illustrates your own bias (‘Humans are breeding like rats’). Your rhetorical slap against religion and tradition misses the point that conservative politics (world-wide) provides the same permissions for immoral, selfish, and unethical behaviour. This is also a fact.

      Oh, and where was your solution?


      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 11:13AM

    • Wow, you say with “all due respect” than go on to say that the writer relies on “so-called literature” and implies that they are merely sitting isolated from the world in their ivory tower of academia. How utterly disingenuous. Is this is to say that you have hands on practical experience with asylum seeker boats approaching Christmas Island?

      The author is trying to say that asylum seeker flows are directly related to the wars and conflicts that occur overseas. The more war and conflict, the greater number of displaced people seeking asylum. Your counter-argument is weak at best.

      I’m not sure I can agree with anyone that states “this is a fact” – as if you are the arbiter of the truth. Lets ask some questions that underpin your “work”. Whom is encouraging people to leave their countries? How does this serve the “elitist”(s) that run the country? Which country do you refer to? You are aware that the Australian taxpayer supports foreigners in this country through reciprocal relationships? That New Zealanders are free to work here and claim welfare? Are they different to boat refugees because they’re white, or because they fly here?

      You simplify the experience of the Navy (except of course it sounds like you have first-hand experience, so correct me if I’m wrong) – from what I’ve seen, the people smugglers are prepared to sabotage their boat in order to get rescued by the Australian Navy. What would you propose in this scenario? That we leave them to drown? How will this new policy of the new government ameliorate this scenario? I think you can blame people smugglers and those whom get on the boats for the deaths – they would not be blind to the risks. Surely this highlights their desperation.

      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 11:39AM

    • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. If you want a race to the bottom… guess who setup the mandatory detention policy? No, it wasn’t John Howard. It was Paul Keating – in 1992.

      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 12:17PM

    • @John. Oh dear. I think your comments are laced with hyperbole and emotion, and a desire to somehow blame everything on the former government. This well written and obviously well researched article is all about the bigger picture, and this issue has been with the world for years, and with Australia, before we went into an illegal war against Iraq under John Howard, which only exacerbated the problem. I support what @Lindsay, @Tone and @JMG JMG are saying and perhaps you should re look at the article, with a slightly cooler head….. Oh, and the new fabulous LNP government won’t tell us if there are deaths at sea under their policy…..that is truly open and transparent government for you. Good luck with that. Thanks Jenny for intelligence and insight.

      one term government

      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 12:18PM

    • “intellectuals” Lindsay, I thinker you have identified exactly why the LNP and their xenophobic strapons are so set against asylum seekers.


      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 1:17PM

    • Well said Lindsay +10 -

      J.F Fan Club

      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 2:40PM

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America's Cup: Oracle are sailing faster and smarter but NZ can still bring it home

Emirates Team New Zealand are still capable of grabbing that frustrating point. Photo / AP

Is Oracle Team USA’s boat faster? Or are they just sailing better? Or are Team New Zealand just not sailing well?

The answer is all of the above. However, there are other considerations which show Emirates Team New Zealand are still capable of grabbing that frustrating point.

Oracle have re-engineered their boat and are significantly faster than they were earlier in the regatta.

The best analysis suggests changes they may have made include:

Altering their wingsail so it has more of a twist in it, as Team NZ’s does. This gives the boat more power.

Re-jigging their daggerboard systems and got it working perfectly.

Improving buoyancy of their bows, allowing them to skip over the water better and not be so bow-down.

Being more astute about setting their boat for the conditions.

This is one of the trickiest parts of the 34th America’s Cup.

The teams do their weather forecasting and set up their boats accordingly and Oracle have been doing both things better lately.

Increasing acceleration to the first mark, giving them a head start in making it first to the vital bottom mark.

This has been apparent throughout the match but was best seen yesterday in race 15 when Dean Barker led Jimmy Spithill over the line but Oracle sprinted away to round the first mark three seconds ahead.

In boat handling terms, their biggest weakness was their tacking. That has now been corrected and they are highly competitive in that department.

Spithill is now also clearly out-thinking Barker in the starts.

The Kiwis have two port entries to the start box today and it will be vital for Barker to make a mark there. Literally.

In a day with tricky and flukey winds, the Oracle crew also did better picking the wind shifts and staying out of wind “holes” that see boats stop like a bicycle with a flat tyre.

But that’s sailing – one day you are a wind wizard, the next a blowhard. Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies found some big winds yesterday but also fell into some holes as Aotearoa two or three times seemed set to reel in Oracle.

So the lesson is that no one should be banging their head on the table and bemoaning that Oracle are set to make the comeback of the century.

They may well do – but here’s what Team NZ have to do to win that last, final, elusive and heart-breaking point today:

Mode their boat for the conditions – expected to be 10-14 knots.

Win the start.

Be first to the bottom mark at the end of the downwind leg.

Pick the wind shifts better.

By Paul Lewis Email Paul

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