Newsletter – August 2007


Congratulations and many thanks to all you Members who took me up on my crazy offer last month – we had an amazing response! The average take up offer is 0.5 to 1% with internet sales, so your response of over ten percent was quite phenomenal and proves without a doubt that people need to see a website or an advertisement more than once before they purchase. So any
others of you that are thinking about buying my ‘101 Dollar Saving Tips for Sailors’ you m ay like to take another trip to my site again

Remember, in addition to the ‘101 Tips’ you also get my 135 page ebook of the ‘Voyage of the Little Ship Tere Moana’, all the back copies of Newsletter, plus FREE, the ‘Ten Point Tips’of what to look for when buying your dream sailboat, presented by Mark Clarke, International Marine Surveyor and USCG Captain.

Mark really knows his stuff and his report could save you many hundreds of dollars or maybe even thousands of dollars in making the correct decisions for you when inspecting vessels you are interested in buying.

So take a look at my site
again and lets begin our adventure/voyage together.


Two weeks ago we had the 40the. Anniversary Sydney Boat Show. It was quite an event, bigger and better than ever. The boats on display were bigger than ever as well! the equipment that so many yachts come with nowadays is mind blowing. Electric winches are standard on many yachts now and the electronics, navigation gear and computer software level has increased
exponentially. But once in awhile a breakthrough product comes along and creates a quiet revolution. GPS did that back in the early nineties. This time it is LED lighting. The proliferation of this evolutionary lighting is quite something. Many new vessels had it fitted for navigation lights topsides, but it was also very evident in lighting below decks.

The current draw is so much less from your batteries and it also gives a clean light – bright or dim, the purity of colour is not affected. LED lighting is of particular interest to sailors for passagemaking because of this reduced drain on the boats batteries when on a long passage. Many of them are solar powered, so can be completely separated out from the ships
normal circuit. There are so many variations available and on the market already it can be somewhat confusing as to which ones are best for you. The ones I thought were especially cute are the touch sensitive variety that turn on when you touch the lens with your hand and turn off again with a touch as you leave. This eliminates the necessity of switches altogether and
is a neat solution to turning them on and off. This is especially useful for reading charts below at night – instead of searching around for a switch in the dark, you just brush the unit with your fingers and on it comes – magic!

Because of the number of types available you need to do your homework carefully, so here are a few websites you can research and bone up on your LED light knowledge before you buy:

And the Daddy of them all is an electronics ‘junky’ heaven website looking at and testing all things electronic marine in great detail and exhaustive depth(dished up with a touch of humour) and excellent HD images –

Wikipedia also has some relevant technical data on LED’s.

Two LED’s set in foredeck – very handy at night

Here is my latest article published as an ezine article on the internet. It is my impressions of Bora Bora in French Polynesia approaching it for the first time – hope it gets your imagination up and running!


Poking his head out of the hatch, the salty blast of breeze slaps her captain in the face. Laden with moisture it fingers his face, threatening rain. Lead like, the southern sky is an endless flat grey expanse from the horizon up. Either she is sailing into a weather system, or it is another local anomaly.

Running a printout from the weather fax shows no major system in their slice of the ocean. Remembering a similar situation on the run down to the Tuamotus’ when she lost her shroud, her crew take a reef into her mainsail just to be sure. Mid afternoon sees the cloud shredding into blue, and, with the sun streaming through, the breeze frees again to the ‘Trades’. Her
crew shake out the reef and in no time at all she is barrelling along again in fine style, at her customary seven to eight knots. Her waterline, scrubbed before leaving Raiatea, has the water bubbling gaily along her sleek, fulsome waist and sides she feels great.

Making their goodbyes earlier in Raiatea, the arrangement is to meet up again in Tonga, if not before. Both ships are taking the same course, visiting Niue on the way, but with vhf having a range of twenty five or so miles only, it will be difficult to keep in contact with their friends. Passing out of Raiatea, she had headed around the top end of Taaha Island, and looking in one of the ‘Passes’ our crew beheld one of the most wicked
surfing breaks imaginable. Curling in at the point of the Passe, rising up onto the reef, the glassy black rollers boom onto the jagged coral, snow white spray leaping high. A few surfers are actually riding them, taking their life in hand every time they catch one of these monsters. Our crew could hear the whoop of the occasional surfer brave enough to try and
ride it out, surviving.

Her captain, gazing at the sea, is once again struck by the multitude of different moods she parades herself – revealing all, but revealing nothing. Every day is different, from blazing blue through to stone grey, sometimes even almost black – from calm to rough and sometimes tempestuous, and back to calm again – sometimes sparkling and sometimes threatening – constantly changing, so that even a half hour can make a difference. The one constant is constant change. No wonder that artists always struggle in their daubs to capture the true image of the sea. She is so elusive, even in a fractured
moment, too much for the artists eye. Capture it on film ok, but transfer that with medium to canvas or paper and something is always missing. The restlessness on a human face can be conveyed in a portrait, but the heaving, ongoing, never stopping restlessness of the ocean is beyond our capabilities.

The best the artist can hope for is a fairish representation of this element that covers seventy percent of the planets’ surface. That statistic, plus the fact that our bodies are seventy two percent water, gets him wondering if there is any connection between the two, and in the end, we are all mixed in together, as in a giant washing machine, and part of this huge juggernautical whirlpool called life. Whatever it may or may not be, water, in all its forms, fresh or salt, sea or lake, river or pond, has a colossal effect on our lives as joint occupants of this Earth.

Wafting up the companionway, a redolent whiff of fresh baking rouses him from his musing, and his thoughts turn to a more basic requirement – food.

‘Insufferable glutton!’ she taunts her captain. ‘That’s all you think about – filling your belly!’

There are few things more pleasurable than demolishing several hot buttered scones in the cockpit of a yacht on a fine breezy tropical afternoon, and washing them down with pure drinking water with a touch of lime, from the watermaker.

On to Bora Bora, our little ship cruising quietly now as the breeze moderates, notices an increasing number of glutinous floating objects gliding by. These are the jellyfish of the round, mushroom shaped, transparent type with four darker rings placed precisely in their centre. By the time our crew notice them they have multiplied to legion proportions and her bow is slicing through them, shoving them aside in their hundreds.
They travel like this for some thirty minutes and during this time the animals are so thick that they have a deadening effect on the surface of the water, smoothing it down from a regular light to moderate breeze wavelet surface, to a gently undulating mass of these strange creatures.

How far they stretched away from our little ship on either side, they cannot tell, but taking into account the time it takes for her to sail through them, the shoal must number in the multi millions. Our crew wonder idly if these animals have any natural predator – maybe they are whale fodder, and because there are less whales now, the jellyfish has prospered. With
this gummy carpet of living jelly heaving all around them, even though the breeze is still there, a kind of eerie stillness pervades the scene. She is ploughing through them at around five knots, but leaving no trail. Her cutwater shovels them aside and they slither along her sides, the full length of her hull, to immediately close up again as they pass under her
stern. There is no trace of where they have been a few moments before. The phenomenon begs the question, why such a concentration of these animals right here? What are they doing here? Are they going anywhere? Or are they just drifting on the ocean currents of the globe? Are they here in preparation for mating? If so, there is no shortage of choice! Nature takes
care of her own, keeping a balance, and she no doubt has them here as part of her master plan. Breaking out the other side, the diminishing numbers are shaken off and she surges forward, and away from the mass concentration. Some several minutes later, she has cleared most of them and they have reduced to the occasional laggard slipping by and into her wake.

The twin peaks of Bora Bora are climbing out of the forward horizon and the island is taking shape exactly as described in the pilot. Part of her captains’ mind is always surprised at how the geographical features of a new destination, viewed for the first time, are a faithful replica of a printed or photographic description, as if there is the possibility of there being some change or difference, or that the cartographer got it wrong! And so there is this mild feeling of surprised satisfaction that the real thing matches the representation and it has been chronicled correctly. The leisurely approach of a sailing yacht enhances this feeling and gives our crew the opportunity to study this island jewel closely as they draw nearer. Bora Bora is known as ‘The most beautiful’, and from this distance it is shaping up to its reputation. James A Michener immortalised it in his ‘Return to Paradise’ with the following : ‘I first saw it from an airplane. On the horizon there was a speck that became a tall, blunt mountain with
cliffs dropping sheer into the sea. About the base of the mountain, narrow fingers of land shot out, forming magnificent bays, while about the whole was thrown a coral ring of absolute perfection, dotted with small motus on which palms grew. The lagoon was a crystal blue, the beaches were dazzling white, and ever on the outer reef the spray leapt mountainously into the

On this perfect South Seas day, the sun casting its flawless, radiant light into the mountain tops of the island, it is indeed the embodiment of paradise. Blazing white of sand under, the delicate pale aqua of the lagoon is reflected upward onto the underneath of the fluffy white clouds around the twin peaks, creating a unique and dazzling display, floating and turquoise in the skies. The coral reef surrounds Bora Bora like
a necklace in that it is almost perfect in its symmetry and equidistant from the main island. Fortunately there is a Passe, the only one, on the western side of the reef. It is named Passe Teavanui and leads into a magnificent deepwater bay right under the splendid, towering twin peaks for which Bora Bora is renowned. Our little ship sails easily through this wide Passe,
across the bay and right up to the Bora Bora Yacht Club, nestled in a cove about one and a half kilometres north of the main town, Vaitape. The water off the clubhouse is a dark, still, fifteen fathoms, dotted with vessels of various description and vintage. In addition, there are a number of
orange mooring buoys in the bay and, to one of these she heads rather than dropping anchor in this deep water.

‘Take the least line of resistance when offered’. She thinks, her captain concurring directly.

She judges it perfectly – no wind here – they hook on, her captain shuts down the engine and she settles to rest in this, another corner of paradise.

Extract from the ‘Voyage of the Little Ship Tere Moana’


“The whole nine yards”

In the old sailing days a typical ‘square rigger’ had three masts or spars. Each mast had three yard arms for the sails. So, when under full sail with all up and sailing hard they used the expression ‘the whole nine yards’, meaning the ship was using everything she had.

Next month is going to be a dead set serious Newsletter and we are going to look at some safety procedures at sea.

Till then – happy dreaming and planning – how’s your bowline coming?

Cap’n Vinnie