Archive for » December 4th, 2014«

Afloat: Fenwicks set pace in dinghies

WITH the autumn series at Weymouth Sailing Club completed, efforts are now being focused on the Winter campaign.

In the dinghy fleet, four races have taken place. There is a clear leader in Mike and Penny Fenwick who have collected a fantastic four first places.

This series will continue until Saturday, December 20.

Meanwhile on Sunday mornings, the yachts are out in strong force.

In the NHC Fast fleet, there have been more than 20 different boats competing.

After just three races, Richard Woof is currently leading the fleet with six points.

Very close behind, with nine points, is Saskia VII helmed by Mark Bugler and in third is Foxed II.

This series will end on Sunday, December 21, so there is still time for the leader board to change.

In the NHC Slow fleet, Paul Barford on Sole Bay is holding his lead ahead of Katrina, helmed by Roy Shelley.

The Squib fleet racing continues to be popular.

On top again is David McCune on Inky Finger with three first places.

In second is Simon Vines on Quantum with three second places.

With three races to go, it will be a close series.

Everyone at Weymouth Sailing Club is very much looking forward to the 2015 season.

In particular, the dinghy fleet are very excited with the thought of being in contention to win £100.

The idea from Phil Ashworth, the new Dinghy Class captain, is designed to encourage more participants in the weekly Club racing.

It will be a best points series with the person with the most number of points taking the win.

Weymouth Sailing Club has so far enjoyed a very good 2014 sailing year with very few races being cancelled due to the weather conditions.

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Genuine question: what shall we do with the drunken sailors?

If you’ve ever wondered what keeps harbour masters up at night, then news from Fowey in Cornwall today brings the answer. “One of the plagues of harbour masters,” says Captain Paul Thomas, comes from the “would-be sailors” who buy boats on auction sites online. “People can be seduced into buying a boat really easily, often late at night and maybe after a few drinks.”

Ouch, Captain Thomas! No word on how he came to this rather judgmental conclusion, but the burden of these alcohol-induced decisions is, apparently, all on him. The irresponsible idiots “don’t realise how expensive it is, can’t afford it, and then we get left with the boats and the costs,” he complains. They only want proper boaties in beautiful Fowey. “We don’t want derelicts,” he sniffs, “making it look untidy and causing a possible environmental hazard.”

Actually, I have some sympathy for the captain. Underneath the yachtie snobbery (and there’s certainly plenty of that in the boat world), he has a point. There’s no sadder sight for boatlovers than an abandoned boat. And it’s a very common sight. Boats appeal to everyone as a status symbol, from the filthy rich with their super “yachts” in Monaco (technically right, but they’re more mini cruise ships than yachts) to the newly minted, who race out to fulfil their lifelong dreams with the speedboat equivalent of the flashy convertible car. The most abused of all is the ultimate romantic dream – the traditional wooden sailing boat, whose maintenance requirements means it gets used once every three years and lies rotting the rest of the time.

Whether these purchases are made after a few tipples or not, booze and boats do often seem to go together. I’m a bit of a safety bore myself, never drinking at sea. But as I also live on a boat (old, wooden, regularly sanded and painted, Captain Thomas), I must admit to a sometimes-irresponsible attitude vis-a-vis alcohol consumption on board. I blame it on the daily romanticism of living afloat. After all, the draw and drama of boats after a few drinks can prove magnetic for the landlocked as well. Last year, 60 miles east from Fowey, the coastguard and RNLI in Dartmouth had to contend with a woman who, at the end of a two-day Lambrini bender, stole a 100-seat passenger ferry, apparently intent on heading for St Tropez. She was heard shouting “I’m Jack Sparrow” and “I’m a pirate” as she careened into other vessels “like a pinball machine’’. Perhaps Captain Thomas should count his blessings.

Boaters driving under the influence of alcohol can, in theory, be prosecuted under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 “if their actions on the water are seen to be endangering other vessels, structures or individuals”. In practice, its enforcement would empty most pontoons faster than a colony of drywood termites at a vintage boat club. After all, surely the first thing you do, after smashing a bottle of champagne on the stern of your new Sunseeker, is crack open the gin for a sunset GT? There’s a reason these things are called gin palaces. Proper yachties often prefer a dark and stormy at the end of a day’s sailing, perhaps harkening back to the days of piracy, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. Whisky is a popular night cap for salt-crusted crews sharing confined spaces.

For many, a day sailing, fishing or generally mucking about on the water is not the same without a few cold beers. But actually, for a lot of people the pleasures of owning a boat and having a nice drink on the deck are enough that they never leave the harbour. Thus a lot of drinking happens in the (relative) safety of the marina. After all, the phrase sea legs can take on a new meaning when a bit of misfooting ends up in an unexpected sobering in the drink.

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Dubai sees large increase in boat ownership

Posted on December 3rd, 2014

Increasingly scarce boat berths in Dubai are driving prices up and prompting yacht owners to dock their boats in neighboring areas, sparking more development of accommodations in the region.

The emirate’s economic rebound is boosting boat ownership as more people take to the water on weekends, but a shortage of berths and the cost of maintaining a boat is holding potential customers back, according to the United Arab Emirates-based publication The National.

“I bought a new boat last year and wanted an 11-meter berth in Dubai Marina Yacht Club, but they were completely full,” Pooyan Farnam, a sales director in Dubai, told the publication. “So we got a berth for 14 meters and are paying Dh65,000 a year (about $17,700). I know many people who have moved their boats to Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain because it is too expensive in Dubai now.”

A wave of waterfront development under way across the emirates and the wider region is set to improve the availability of berths for boat owners. The number of operational marinas is expected to reach 85 by 2016, increasing the number of berths from 9,000 to 16,000.

But the current lack of spaces in Dubai is pushing boat owners to seek berths elsewhere in the UAE, such as Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah. Umm Al Quwain’s Marine Club charges Dh330 — about $90 at today’s exchange rate — per foot each year

“The shortage is there. Dubai requires more spaces,” said Abdulla Ali Al Noon, marina operations manager at Dubai Creek Golf Yacht Club, which hosted the fifth Dubai Pre-Owned Boat Show last weekend. “There is room to create more mooring spaces and I think the government is aware of this, so they are building more.”

The Dubai Marina Yacht Club has four main berthing facilities starting from Dh2,000, or $544.50, per meter annually for boats ranging from 8 to 13 meters. That increases to as much as Dh5,500, almost $1,500, per meter for boats that range from 18.1 to 60 meters.

Projects such as Dubai Maritime City, Dubai Canal and The World are expected to push up the number of spaces, as well as demand for boats.

“When people are buying boats their main concern is the berthing,” said Nour Al Sayyed, architect and head of design and production at Al Marakeb, a Sharjah-based boatbuilder. “With more spaces opening up, not only will there be more vacancies, but it might push up boat sales.”

Many owners previously used their boats for fishing, but buyers are increasingly looking for larger vessels.

“In recent years there has been a slight change in trends,” Al Sayyed said. “People want weekend boats, so they prefer to have a cabin to stay out at night. This is something that is new here and becoming very popular.”

The Dubai Pre-Owned Boat Show attracted more than 8,000 visitors this year and displayed more than 90 boats.

“We have noticed that a lot of people are buying newer pre-owned boats from 2010-11. In the past few years it was a bit different, where customers were trying to find boats from 2006 and up,” Al Noon said. “We’ve had a lot of boats come in from New York to local owners over here that have established boat-selling companies.”

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