Archive for » December, 2013 «

Foreign legion swells for Sydney to Hobart

One of the most cosmopolitan and international fleets in the history of the Sydney to Hobart will soon discover the dubious delights of sailing in the Australian summer.

With 22 of the fleet of 94 attached to foreign yacht clubs, its the largest percentage of overseas registered boats in the race’s 69-year history.

While boats from the United Kingdom and New Zealand are no strangers to the race, the 100-foot Zefiro is the event’s first ever entrant from Cyprus.

The foreign legion has been swelled by the 12 boats from the Clipper Round the World Race, which for the first time is including the Sydney to Hobart as part of its 40,000 nautical mile, 11-month odyssey.

Representing six continents, the Clipper boats have drawn sailors from a staggering 42 nations.

Their colourful 70-foot boats have stood out at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and contributed a number of firsts to the Sydney Hobart. Among their crews is the first black African to contest the race and the first Chinese female.

While the Clipper boats aren’t expected to be major challengers for race honours, Hong Kong’s Beau Geste is the boat that has all the pundits guessing.

Only just launched, the 80-foot yacht is an unknown quantity, but seems to be almost everyone’s dark horse for either line or handicap honours.

Owner Karl Kwok is looking to maintain his perfect record in the race, having achieved overall honours with a 49-foot Beau Geste back in 1997.

Australian boats are favoured to collect the main prizes, with Wild Oats XI strongly fancied to score a record-equalling seventh line honours title, with fellow supermaxi and race debutante Perpetual LOYAL considered her main challenger.

As usual there are numerous contenders for the overall prize, with Ichi Ban, Patrice, Wild Rose and Wild Thing among those getting the most frequent mentions.


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Over 2,000 people take part in sailing, water sports activities

(MENAFN – Muscat Daily) More than 2,000 people revelled in the carnival atmosphere of a gala end of year sailing and water sports festival held at Shatti al Qurm this weekend. The event marked a successful conclusion of the 2013 series of the community beach sailing events and youth programme campaigns supported by Omantel and Oman Shipping Company.

Scores of people lined up on Friday to learn about the sport of sailing on boats manned by Oman Sail sailing instructors and everyone enjoyed the windsurfing shows, banana boat, Ringo rides and fun beach games. Sailing was the biggest hit of the event, but popular too was the dedicated children’s area with a bouncy castle, face painting and a range of activities. The event was initially planned to be a two-day family affair that took place on both Friday and Saturday, but as a result of unforeseen wind conditions, the second day of the event was cancelled early in the morning.

Attendance numbers on Friday pushed the total number of people introduced to sailing through the popular grass roots initiative over the last three years to 14,000. This year alone over 3,700 attended the Sohar event at the Silver Jubilee Park beach in October and a crowd of 5,000 enjoyed the first ever beach sailing event in Sur.

Issa al Ismaili, Oman Sail Director of Events, said public participation in the beach sailing events, which promote sailing as a sport and the benefit of leading a healthy and active lifestyle, had gone way beyond all expectations. ”We thank Omantel and Oman Shipping Company for supporting us in rekindling Oman’s great maritime heritage by showcasing sailing as a fun and accessible sport. ”They have also helped us inspire a new generation of young Omanis to take up sailing as a competitive sport and enabled us to identify many talented youth with potential to join the Oman Sail Youth Programme.”

Tarik al Junaidi, acting CEO of Oman Shipping Company said it was great to support the successful series in Sohar, Sur and Muscat during the past three months. Junaidi’s sentiments were echoed by Dr Amer Awadh Al Rawas, CEO of Omantel, who said being involved with the popular 2013 series of Beach Sailing Events had made the company aware of just how widespread the enthusiasm is for learning how to sail. ”


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Yacht race: Malaysian woman, husband in stormy seas drama

MELBOURNE: Malaysian Fay Khoo and her Australian husband Sam Hunt had frightening experiences while sailing in different boats in the 2013 Sydney-Hobart yacht race over the weekend.

Khoo, from Penang, was racing on board supermaxi Brindabella while Hunt was on board Wedgetail, later to lose its massive mast in rough seas.

The iconic 628-nautical mile race started well on a glorious Boxing Day, but it turned nasty when gale-force headwinds and big seas hit the fleet off the Tasmanian east coast on Saturday night.

For Khoo and Hunt, the 30-knot winds gusting up past 50 knots early Sunday was a fearful time.

Khoo told ‘The Australian’ newspaper that at first she was worried the strengthening winds would help push her husband’s boat Wedgetail ahead of Brindabella, but she soon began to be afraid when strong winds turned the ocean into a heaving mess.  

 “I had a bad feeling about this year’s race from the start. But I always thought that if something bad was to happen it would be to me and Brindabella – it never occurred to me that it might be Sam who’d be in trouble,” she said.

At about 4 am on Sunday, Khoo and her crew watched in horror as the gale knocked down Wedgetail’s mighty mast and left it hanging dangerously over the side of the boat, taking the crew about 20 minutes to cut it away.

Hunt, who met Khoo while racing in Asian regattas and events, said he felt good his wife was only half a kilometre away on Brindabella in case of any danger.

 “I was proud of her because she (and Brindabella) went around the corner and on to Hobart with a full sail up, just when we on Wedgetail knew the race was well and truly over for us,” he said.

The line honours went to supermaxi Wild Oats XI for the seventh consecutive time. – Bernama


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Malaysian Woman, Husband In Stormy Seas Drama

By Neville D’Cruz

MELBOURNE, Dec 30 (Bernama) — Malaysian Fay Khoo and her Australian husband Sam Hunt had frightening experiences while sailing in different boats in the 2013 Sydney-Hobart yacht race at the weekend.

Khoo, from Penang, was racing on board supermaxi Brindabella while Hunt was on board Wedgetail, later to lose its massive mast in rough seas.

The iconic 628-nautical mile race started well on a glorious Boxing Day, but it turned nasty when gale-force headwinds and big seas hit the fleet off the Tasmanian east coast on Saturday night.

For Khoo and Hunt, the 30-knot winds gusting up past 50 knots early Sunday was a fearful time.

Khoo told ‘The Australian’ newspaper that at first she was worried the strengthening winds would help push her husband’s boat Wedgetail ahead of Brindabella, but she soon began to fear as the strong winds turned the ocean into a heaving mess.

“I had a bad feeling about this year’s race from the start. But I always thought that if something bad was to happen it would be to me and Brindabella – it never occurred to me that it might be Sam who was in trouble,” she said.

At about 4 am on Sunday, Khoo and her crew watched in horror as the gale knocked down Wedgetail’s mighty mast and left it hanging dangerously over the side of the boat, taking the crew about 20 minutes to cut it away.

Hunt, who met Khoo while racing in Asian regattas and events, said he felt good his wife was only half a kilometre away on Brindabella in case of any danger.

“I was proud of her because she (and Brindabella) went around the corner and on to Hobart with a full sail up, just when we on Wedgetail knew the race was well and truly over for us,” he said.

The line honours went to supermaxi Wild Oats XI for the seventh consecutive time.

— BERNAMA


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SAILING: Khairulnizam not about to slow down


BUSY 2014: Sea Games gold medallist has set his sights on qualifying for Rio Olympics and doing well at Asian Games

KHAIRULNIZAM Mohd Afendy capped a challenging year with a first Sea Games title in Myanmar recently but the promising sailor has already set his sights on  bigger goals next year.

The laser standard specialist said he hopes to secure early qualification to the Rio Olympics with a solid outing at the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander, Spain in September.

It will, however, be a busy period for him as the Incheon Asian Games, where he is likely to be a medal contender, will also be held in the same month.

“My goal is to qualify for the Olympics as early as possible as you never know what will happen in the qualification legs,” said the 20-year-old.

“Only 48 countries can qualify (for Olympics) so I need to finish in the top 30 or 40 in Santander to have a solid chance of making it.

“I also want to do well at the Asian Games but for me the World Championships is more important. It will be tough as the two events are less than a week apart.

“If I am in good form at the time I could be a challenger for the gold (Asian Games) but to be honest I would be happy with a medal any colour there.”

Khairulnizam, who has been training in Croatia under the guidance of former world champion Aron Lolic, added that his victory at the Ngwe Saung Beach earlier this month was a fair reward for the hard work he had put in training this season.

“It was tough for me as I had to balance studying (sports science) and training at the same time but I am grateful that is has all paid off for me at the Sea Games.

“I could not train as much as I would have liked at the start of the year (due to studies) and my performance dipped as a result.

“But I started to pick up later in the year and felt good in my first race at the Sea Games when I had to use a rented boat as my new vessel had yet to arrive.

“I knew then that I could seal the title if I raced to my full potential, especially once I had got my own boat.

“A lot of people expected me to win and I am glad that I lived up to that.”

The Malaysian Yachting Association and National Sports Council had coughed up RM500,000 to equip the sailing squad with new high-end boats and equipment for the Sea Games with an eye on using them in future competitions such as the Asian Games.

The Malaysian Yachting Association and National Sports Council coughed up RM500,000 to equip the sailing squad with new high-end boats and equipment.


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Start of Eastcoaster, Westcoaster and Melbourne to Hobart races

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Sport

Sailing

Date

December 28, 2013

  • (1)


The 27 starters in the initial phase of the Melbourne to Hobart Westcoaster and Eastcoaster and the 2013 Melbourne to Launceston race got a clean getaway on Friday afternoon with a breeze from the southwest at 14 knots.

Simply Fun, which crossed the line third in the Boxing Day Dash, sailed to the front of the fleet. Many other boats used spinnakers but struggled to hold them up due to the wind direction. After the first turn Simply Fun was still in the lead, followed by Shamrock and Spirit of Downunder was battling it out with Gusto for third.

Gusto, which holds the Boxing Day Dash record, was unable to put up its spinnaker as skipper Brian Pattinson is sailing the race two-handed. Pattinson said soon after the start: ”We still got a good start and while both of our hands are full there is no trouble for us yet.

”The conditions are now looking good for us.”

Pattinson is sailing in the Melbourne to Launceston race and will escape the heavy wind conditions set to affect the west-coast boats.

The nine boats in the Hobart Westcoaster will be sailing into heavy weather on Saturday due to a deep low heading across from Adelaide which is expected to bring gale-force winds.

Shamrock was a late withdrawal from the Westcoaster due to the rough sail ahead. Eight boats, now including Shamrock, will be sailing in the Melbourne to Launceston race and the other 10 boats will be sailing in the Hobart Eastcoaster.

 


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Sailing the Majestic Halong Bay

Breathtaking view of Halong Bay from the summit of Ti Top island

Breathtaking view of Halong Bay from the summit of Ti Top island (Photos by Ronald G. Jayme)

Halong BayHalong BayIt was indeed a dream come true for book author and writer Olga Menendez from Mexico to visit Vietnam, especially cruising along the majestic waters of Halong Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Gulf of Tonkin and a three-hour drive from Hanoi.  Together with other 33 guests of different nationalities on board the Paradise Luxury (one of the nine luxury vessels owned by Paradise Cruises), Menendez was truly charmed by Halong Bay’s natural wonders – emerald waters, blue skies, and rock formations (approximately 2,000 limestone islets).

The unique cruising experience typically starts on Tuan Chau Island where guests are welcomed at the Paradise Cruises’ own marina with a café-restaurant-lounge area. It provides passengers with some refreshment and comfort while waiting for their scheduled tour.

“We would like to bring a different image and experience to tourists from all over the world that there are good facilities, excellent services, and distinct hospitality in Vietnam,” shares Nguyen Cao Son, general manager of Paradise Cruises.  “We focus on our clients and take care of their needs.  When they cruise with us, we are not only offering first-rate amenities but also delightful memories and experiences worth their time and money,” he adds.

As the vessel (resembling a traditional Vietnamese boat) sails through the calm waters of Halong or “Bay of Descending Dragon,” a relaxing spectacle of nature’s bounty comes into view inch by inch – a compelling antidote of the capital’s rapidly changing modern landscape.

The three-day-two-night itinerary offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience where every guest can take pleasure in all the essentials for a luxury cruise: hospitable and dedicated crew; wide-ranging cuisines; exciting package of activities and adventure.

Floating Store

Floating Store
Paradise Explorer's sun deck area

Paradise Explorer's sun deck area Paradise Explorer’s sun deck area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Paradise Cruises’ café-restaurant-lounge area provides passengers with some refreshment and comfort while waiting for their scheduled tour.

  • Charming Vietnamese young ladies in traditional dress

  • A secluded lagoon at Luon Cave

  • Ti Top island offers guests with exciting outdoor adventures – swimming, playing around on the beach or a trek to its summit of about 400 steps to have a panoramic view of Halong Bay.

  • Dining inside a cave with Vietnamese Symphony Orchestra is one of the special offerings by Paradise Cruises.

  • Sung Sot or Surprise Grotto has thousands of stalactites and stalagmites along the 500-meter paved passage.

  • Vung Vieng fishing village was established in 19th century. It is now composed of 72 households living in the area.

  • Pearl implantation process

  • A typical floating house

  • A stop at the Dark Cave and Light Cave area where guests can enjoy swimming, kayaking, or be at peace with nature.

ABOUT PARADISE CRUISES

Paradise CruisesParadise Cruises is a Five Star cruise company launched in 2008. It operates in Halong Bay with nine luxury vessels divided into four categories: four Paradise Luxury boats, 17 cabins each (34 passengers per boat); two Paradise Privilege boats, three cabins each (six passengers per boat); one Paradise Peak, high-end vessel, large boat with only eight suites (16 passengers per boat), high level of luxury, spa, massage, fitness, library, one personal butler per cabin, à la carte breakfast/lunch/dinner, à la carte excursions; two Paradise Explorer for day cruising without cabins.

For more information, visit www.paradisecruises.vn or call WLink Travel Manila at (02) 559-8615 / 0917-958-0335 or email info@wlinktravel.com.

 

Vietnam Airlines

(Vietnam Airlines flies to and from Manila to Ho Chi Minh City [Saigon] through a Code Share agreement with Philippine Airlines every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It also flies from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi daily.  For more information, call Vietnam Airlines Philippine branch office at (02) 830-2335 or (02) 830-2336 or visit www.vietnamairlines.com.)

 

When is the best time to visit Halong Bay?

When Is The Best Time To Visit Halong Bay?Halong Bay has a humid tropical climate. There are, however, four seasons in the North. Winter lasts from December to March; temperatures can drop down to 12°C-17°C. Summer is from May until September, mostly sunny but rain showers are frequent as the humidity is higher. Spring and autumn are nicely warm, October to early December being the best time to visit the area.

Travellers to Vietnam and Halong Bay should be aware that the weather is rather unpredictable and can vary greatly even within one single day. However, there is charm and enchantment whether rain or shine: overcast weather and fog make the scenery more mystical and dramatic, bright sun accentuates the various shades of grey of the seascape, etc.
What should I wear on the boat?

No dress code is imposed onboard Paradise boats. It is advised to take light garments in summer, sweaters and/or a jacket in winter as it can get pretty chilly, especially at night. A raincoat will be useful any time of the year.

If you intend to do kayaking, plan to have a change of clothes as you will easily get wet.
As for shoes, choose what is appropriate according to the temperatures and bring along trainers/walking shoes for the excursions (visiting caves, hiking, cycling, etc.). Don’t forget your bathing suit!

If you are cruising for three days/two nights, you will be transferred on the second day, from about 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Paradise Explorer. You can plan to have a small backpack to take to the day boat as you will be able to leave the rest of your baggage in your cabin.

 


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The Oaks Yacht Club gives residents, visitors chance at remote-controlled fun

A light breeze is creating just a ripple on the surface of the big pond at The Oaks. Several sleek racing yachts vie for position to catch the wind.

The “sailors” adjust their rudders and sails to take advantage of the breeze and the race has begun.

The first regatta of The Oaks Yacht Club is underway. Beautifully crafted RC Laser class boats, remotely controlled by their “captains” on shore, race around markers set in the pond and head for the finish line.

James McGee, The Oaks CEO and a sailing enthusiast, came up with the idea of an Oaks Yacht Club when he spotted Oaks residents Tom and Joy Waters, along with their son and daughter-in-law Joe and Linda, sailing remote-controlled yachts one Sunday afternoon.

“I thought the idea of a yacht club at The Oaks would be a good way to engage our residents in an easy to do activity, get them outside and encourage socialization,” he said.

“We purchased several of the RC Laser class sailboats and began to introduce the Yacht Club as another social activity here at The Oaks,” McGee added.

“Sailing these boats is fairly easy,” he noted. “When someone says they don’t know anything about sailing I just hand them the controls, show them how to control the rudder and the sail, and suddenly they are sailing.”

Joe Waters, owner of Waters Sails, said that the “great thing about the RC Laser class of remote-control sailboat is that a person with absolutely no experience can be sailing in five minutes. The sailing concepts are the same. You are just doing it remotely rather than actually being on the boat.”

Over the course of the past summer, a growing number of residents as well as individuals from Columbia, Charleston and Georgia have enjoyed sailing weekends on the big pond at the Oaks.

The inaugural Oaks Yacht Club regatta, held earlier this fall, was won by Oaks resident Ken Horlacher. Ron Loring of Columbia finished second and Nicole Chewning, granddaughter of Oaks resident Boyd Chewning, finished third.

A veteran remote control sailor, Horlacher has been sailing small vessels for years and has been instrumental in organizing and encouraging other Oaks residents to get out to the pond whenever the wind kicks up.

“Participation in our regular races is not limited to Oaks residents,” McGee emphasized.

“We invite anyone in the community who has an interest in sailing and remote-control sailing to come out and spend an afternoon with us,” he explained. “While we don’t have a set schedule because the wind is such a factor in this activity, we do post anticipated ‘sail dates’ on the activity calendar on our website, www.theoakssc.com.

“I encourage anyone or any group with an interest to check the site regularly or give me a call for more information.”


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Sailing-Wild Oats XI seals seventh Sydney-Hobart victory

SYDNEY, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Wild Oats XI secured a record-equalling seventh victory in the Sydney to Hobart ocean classic when it sailed down the Derwent River well clear of its nearest rival on Saturday evening.

The 100-foot supermaxi overhauled Perpetual Loyal early on Friday afternoon after losing the lead in stormy weather late in the night on the opening day of the race before romping to the Tasmanian capital on favourable northeasterly winds.

Having claimed line honours in all but two of its nine attempts to win the 628 nautical-mile (1,163km) race, Wild Oats equals the record of Morna, later renamed Kurrewa IV, which won seven times between 1946 and 1960.

Light winds for much of the race meant Wild Oats was not able to come close to beating the race record of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds, which it set in winning last year.

The supermaxi crossed the line a shade over 54 hours after the race’s traditional start in Sydney harbour on Boxing Day with second-placed Perpetual Loyal still some two hours away from Hobart.

The smaller boats in the remainder of the fleet are forecast to face winds of 40-60 knots and waves of up to 12 metres overnight in the volatile Bass Strait.

A repeat of the major storm that sank five yachts and killed six sailors in 1998 is unlikely, however. (Writing by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)


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Wild Oats XI regains Sydney-Hobart lead

SYDNEY: Favorite Wild Oats XI snatched back the lead from rival supermaxi Perpetual Loyal in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race Friday, with the dueling 100-footers surging ahead of the fleet.
As they passed the halfway point of the 628 nautical miles course down eastern Australia, Wild Oats XI staged a stunning comeback to nose ahead after conceding a 10 nautical mile lead to Perpetual Loyal overnight.
By late afternoon, the two boats had broken away from most of the pack heading into the Bass Strait, which separates the mainland from Tasmania, and Wild Oats XI was leading by five nautical miles.
“This race is so unbelievable,” said Perpetual Loyal’s skipper Anthony Bell.
“Who would have thought that we were winning this morning when we woke up… and how quickly the lead changed when the wind just stopped.” Bell said he was still aiming for victory, but was frustrated by the light conditions, saying that rougher weather would suit his heavier and wider vessel.
“We’ve just got to keep the boat going and stay in contact (with Wild Oats XI) for when some wind does come up,” he said.
“The only difficulty is that it seems like there is no wind anywhere.” Forecasts suggest there will be more light conditions Friday and there is no expectation that the race record of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds — set in 2012 by six-time line honors winner Wild Oats XI — will be broken.
The two supermaxis fronted a pulsating start to the challenging ocean classic south from Sydney harbor under blue skies on Thursday.
Wild Oats XI made it through Sydney Heads first as television footage showed the boats had come very close together.
Perpetual Loyal flew a protest flag after leaving the harbor, but skipper Bell later decided after a team meeting not to proceed with the protest and went on to take the overnight lead.
While Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal remain the frontrunners, they face competition from fellow 100-footers Ragamuffin 100 and Wild Thing, and Volvo 70s Giacomo and Black Jack.
Also ahead of the bulk of the pack are brand new 80-foot Botin Beau Geste and the 60-footer Ichi Ban.
“Just hanging on the coattails of some of the big boats,” said Ichi Ban navigator Will Oxley earlier Friday.
“Looks like a tricky day ahead and we are hoping to hold onto favorable north-east wind (for) as long as possible.
“All going to game plan except for thunderstorms inshore last night which slowed the fleet a bit.” The fleet remains at 92 vessels, with no further retirements after two pulled out shortly after Thursday’s start.
Rough weather is predicted to hit the legendary race on the weekend.
Crews have been warned they face gale-force winds and waves of up to 12 meters when a cold front hits the fleet late Saturday — with the smaller and slower boats likely to experience the worst of the weather.
The Sydney to Hobart — which sees boats track down the Australian coast from Sydney to the Tasmanian capital — is a tactical race through challenging weather systems.
“This is the amazing thing about this race so far, tiny differences in tactics and positions have led to significant gains and losses,” said Olly Cotterell, skipper of One DLL, one of 12 Clipper Round the World boats in this year’s competition.
Wild storms saw six sailors perish in the 1998 edition, with five yachts sinking and 66 retiring from a fleet of 115.


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