March 2014 - Velos

Keep friends and fellow yachtsmen up to date with your yachting activities – create your own boating website for free. The internet, interweb, world wide web: whatever we call it, it is now ubiquitous. And despite all of its occasional frustrations, it is very useful for us as sailors.

We can access immediate weather forecasts, find out up-to-date pilotage information, discuss issues with other like-minded sailors and even find out racing results if we are so inclined.It’s a great tool, but most of us perhaps tend to be passive receivers of information from the internet rather than active participants.

With the growth of new tools and social media, however, this is a situation that is changing rapidly.Facebook is useful for communicating with friends and family while cruising and keep them updated.

However, you may like to go one step further and set up a website for your boat – and this article looks at easy (and free) ways of doing this.It is easier than you think and costs nothing to try, so why not have a go?

Creating a blog – The tool I am going to suggest for setting up your own website is a blog. This may seem an odd choice, but if we consider that the term blog is an abbreviation of ‘web log’ then we can see that the internet geeks adopted the phrase from us, and it’s time for sailors to claim it back!

There are well over 150 million blogs in existence and as a result there are a wide variety of tools online for creating your own.These tools are sufficiently straightforward to use that you can create a whole website as well.

For example, Google owns the blogging site Blogger ( If you already have a Gmail account or Google account, you can start blogging straight away.

If not, create an account and you can start a blog within minutes.The blogging tool we will focus on for this article is one called WordPress ( WordPress is one of the most popular blogging tools and very straightforward to use.There are more than 73 million WordPress sites in the world, so you are far from alone if you choose to set one up. This means that there is extensive help and support available online.

Read more how to set up your own website at Practical Boat Owner – click here



Categories: Practical Boat Owner

A wealthy man has come forward to claim a luxury boat that has been floating in a Swedish harbour for at least two years, after he apparently forgot all about it. The boat was left with its keys tied to the railings.

The boat’s Norwegian owner says he intended to sell the vessel in 2012 – and was under the impression that he had, Expressen GT newspaper reports. The boat, said to be worth as much as $108,000 (£65,000), was moored in the Swedish town of Stromstad, close to Norway’s southern border. The keys were tied to the railings for all to see.

Eventually, police issued a Facebook appeal for any information about its owner. The appeal was picked up by Norwegian media, including national broadcaster NRK, especially after items such as newspapers and a diary on board the US-made Rinker 342 Fiesta Vee suggested there was a Norwegian link.

Finally on 26 March someone stepped forward, saying he was the owner and had simply forgotten about his boat. “You have to be very wealthy to be able to forget about a boat in this price range,” Swedish police inspector Tomas Andersson told the paper.

The owner now has to collect the boat and also pay harbour dues for the past two years, “a cost he can apparently afford”, the newspaper says.

Read article at BBC news – click here



Categories: Boats

Being hit in the face by a flying fish was ‘a hilarious moment’ – British quadriplegic sailor Hilary Lister and Omani Nashwa Al Kindi sailed into the record books last week with two new trans-ocean records.

Hilary, aged 42, and Nashwa, aged 32, spent nine days aboard a 28ft Dragonfly trimaran, covering 850 nautical miles across the Indian Ocean.

Their voyage started from Mumbai, India on Tuesday 11 March and generally took them upwind with winds reaching no more than 10-15kts, and an average boat speed of 5-6kts.

A 36-hour stop to refuel and carry out a repair to the Code Zero sail delayed their overall finish time but they crossed the finishing line in Oman on 19 March before the official welcome took place at The Wave, Muscat on 20 March.

A huge gathering turned out to honour the two women who now hold records for the first ever severely paralysed woman and the first Arab female sailor to make a trans-oceanic crossing.

Hilary, who suffers from a degenerative disease – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – and who is paralysed from the neck down, had previously set a record for a solo round-Britain disabled voyage in 2009.

The duo sailed with their ‘guardian angel’ Niall Myatt and Hilary’s carer Lisa Blacklocks.

Hilary said: ‘Niall Myatt’s role was tough. As a sailor his brief was to stay out of everything… something I certainly couldn’t do yet! His experience and advice were absolutely indispensable however.

‘We would have been foolhardy to go to sea without someone of his calibre onboard. How he survived nine days at sea with three women who (in Nash’s words) are definitely slightly “Cuckoo-bananas”, I will never know.’

She added: ‘I am obviously delighted to have set this record with Nashwa. It was a truly amazing journey, particularly the arrival into Oman.

‘More than anything, however, this trip has highlighted that longer offshore legs are a lot easier for me than shorter legs where I am constantly getting on and off the boat.’

The team, powered by Oman Sail and sponsored by Mistal and United Engineering Services, with support from Oman Air, GAC Pindar, Harken, Ocean Safety and Raymarine, sailed a specially adapted Dragonfly.

A sip and puff sailing system

This boat incorporates a unique sip and puff sailing system that sends signals to a device using air pressure. By inhaling or exhaling into a straw Lister is able to steer, trim sails and navigate.

Hilary added: ‘Thanks to Roger Crabtree’s simple ‘plug and play’ sip and puff system, I think we proved that a long distance oceanic passage is highly achievable.

‘This particular creation means I can transfer it from one boat to another, which has inspired me to think about future challenges. In the short term, however, it will be a case of trying to help other people with similar difficulties to me, get on the water by making this system available.”

She described a voyage highlight: “Being on the ocean at night was simply sensational. I will never forget the amount of phosphorescence. The boat looked like it was lit up from underneath and, when I put my hand in the water it was still glowing five minutes later.

‘The funniest moment I had was when a flying fish hit me slap, bang in the middle of the face. It was a hilarious moment, and we still laugh about it now. As well as the serious sailing, we had a lot of fun.’

Hilary’s teammate, Nashwa hopes that becoming the first Arab female to set a new sailing record will inspire other women to follow their dreams.

Nashwa, who is a dinghy sailing instructor at Oman Sail, only started sailing in 2011 but instantly adapted to sport and was recognised as the Coach of the Year in Oman Sail’s Sailor of the Year Awards 2013, and presented with the ISAF President Development Award 2013 for outstanding achievement.

She said: ‘I am very happy and proud to achieve this goal. It was always my dream to sail offshore in a big boat.’

Nashwa’s ‘ultimate goal’ is to sail solo around the world.

Commenting on the trip’s most memorable moments, Nashwa added: ‘I will always remember the little chit-chats I had with Hilary on deck at night. She is a good, experienced sailor and she taught me a lot and she is my biggest inspiration.’

The record-breakers thanked the Navy and Yachting Association of India who played a big role in the logistics of the boat’s departure from India, particularly Captain Jaiswal and Malav Shroff. Oman Air’s spacious business class seats were also complimented for allowing Hilary to travel comfortably from Muscat to Mumbai before embarking on the journey.

Read more at Pratical Boat Owner – click here



Categories: Boats

Princess 67 hits Thames Bridge with hundreds of spectators in this week’s Boat Fail.

We weren’t able to not have this video as our boat fail of the week. This chap took advantage of having a beautiful boat on a beautiful weekend, but what happened was far from beautiful.

It appears as the Princess 67 made its was along the Thames to Richmond Bridge, it slowed to take the bridge carefully. However going at the same speed as the tide it was ‘dead’ in the water and lost steerage.
With hundreds of people watching from the banks, the helmsman didn’t back away enough and ended up pinned against the bridge.

See video at Motor Boats Monthly – Click here



Categories: Accident

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has submitted plans today for a new lifeboat station in Scarborough.


The charity submitted the plans to Scarborough Borough Council for a new boathouse to replace the existing building on Foreshore Road in the town.

A larger building is needed to house the new state-of-the-art Shannon class lifeboat.

In 2015, Scarborough RNLI’s current all-weather Mersey class lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs, will be nearing the end of her operational life.  She will be replaced by the newest member of the RNLI fleet.

Scarborough will be one of the first of the charity’s lifeboat stations to receive a Shannon class lifeboat and Supacat bespoke launch and recovery vehicle.

The new plans are designed to offer the necessary extra space required to store the Shannon class lifeboat and Supacat launching vehicle. This will also mean the lifeboat and launch tractor can remain coupled together, which will speed up the launching process. Additionally, a space will be created within the station to enable the charity’s lifeguards to store the equipment for their summer beach safety patrols.

The build is expected to cost around £3million.
It will be funded from various RNLI sources including several generous legacies, donations and money from a variety of past fundraising activities.

Once planning permission has been granted for the new lifeboat station and the contractors have been appointed it is hoped that the build will be completed within a year.

The lifeboat station has been designed by long-established York architects Brierley Groom.

Andrew Ashton, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, said: ‘The new lifeboat station plans were conceived not only to provide the extra space needed to accommodate the new Shannon lifeboat, but also to upgrade the volunteer crew’s facilities to a standard befitting the next generation of lifesavers.

‘The crew will have a superior space for interactive training, and they’ll also benefit from a state-of-the-art drying room for their kit, which will improve their comfort. The building will also utilise the latest eco-friendly technology, including a ground source heat recovery system.

‘Members of the public have always been encouraged to visit the station, but now they will have the advantage of a more interactive experience in the ‘encounter space’, where temporary exhibitions can take place.

‘Visitors will also be able to see the new Shannon at her best from an enhanced viewing gallery. The station shop will be upgraded and developed too, which will make for an improved retail experience.’

John Senior, Scarborough RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: ‘We’re very excited about the plans for the new station, although naturally we’ll be sad to say goodbye to the current boathouse when the time comes.

‘The building has a long and distinguished history, and it has certainly served us well in providing a base for saving lives at sea.’


See article at Practical Boat Owner – Click here



Categories: News, Velos Insurance News

Less than a week after a charter boat was destoyed by fire in Dartmouth a second boat caught ablaze.

Blue Storm, a 25ft Bayliner, caught fire in Dartmouth harbour just five nights after the blaze on the African Queen.

Blue Storm was moored on the Kingswear trots in the harbour, with her owners and their dog on board, when the fire started.

The owners were unable to extinguish the blaze and escaped in their own tender. They were suffering from smoke inhalation but, following an assessment by a local ambulance crew, able to return to Dartmouth to stay with friends.

The fire was reported to the Coastguard from the shore and the Dart inshore lifeboat was launched at 11.34pm on Saturday, 15 March.


After establishing that no one was on board the fiercely burning boat, the RNLI crew took the Dartmouth Fire Commander, Andy Callan, across the harbour to the scene. He ordered the first Dartmouth fire appliance to again be taken on the Lower ferry to the fire.

The Dart lifeboat then escorted two firemen, with their hose running from the appliance on the ferry, as close to the burning boat as they could safely be.

The fire burnt through the Blue Storm‘s mooring lines and she drifted in the light N.E. wind towards the Kingswear shore where she grounded. The nearest boats were some 30 metres away and in no immediate danger.

When the fire was extinguished two of the lifeboat volunteers waded through the mud and secured her to the Kingswear shore.

The operation was carried out at very low tide and the tug of the Lower Ferry briefly grounded before being pulled clear by the inshore lifeboat.

The Torbay RNLI all-weather lifeboat arrived in the harbour at 00.10 but was not able to get close to the scene due to the shallowness of the water. She remained until the Lower ferry was clear of the yacht moorings.

A Devon and Somerset Fire Rescue Service spokesman said: ‘The cause of the fire is believed to be accidential.’
Read more: Click here



Categories: Accident

Practical Boat Owner: For the sixth year running RNLI crew volunteer Marcus Lewis will be hosting a free lifejacket clinic in Fowey on Sunday 6 April 2014.

The event, which will take place from 9.30am until 2pm at the Fowey Gallants Sailing Club, provides the public with free checks of an item of safety equipment that could ultimately save their life.

Marcus, who has been a crew volunteer at the Fowey RNLI lifeboat station for 27 years, is supported by service engineers from Ocean Safety in Plymouth who give their time free of charge to the charity.

Last year they checked 183 lifejackets, of which 13 had to be condemned and around 30% needed replacement parts to ensure they operated properly if used in an emergency.

Marcus said: ‘Last year 56 people visited the clinic in a five hour period and I hope this means the message about just how important it is to have your lifejacket regularly checked is getting through.

‘In 2013 we started the day with a real shock when the very first lifejacket to be looked out had no gas bottle in it, which means it wouldn’t have inflated automatically in a crisis.

These lifejackets could be what saves a person’s life so I can’t stress how important it is to have them checked annually.’

Read article at Practical Boat Owner



Categories: Marine product launch

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall has announced that Sir Ben Ainslie is to become their new Patron.

The Maritime Museum in Falmouth has been home to Sir Ben’s Olympic gold medal winning boats since 2004, when they first took custody of his Laser dinghy, which he sailed to victory at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Since then Sir Ben has famously gone on to win three further golds in the Finn heavyweight dinghy class, at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

The museum proudly displays the Finn, named Rita, in their main hall where visitors can get up close to this iconic piece of British Olympic sailing history.

Maritime Museum Director Jonathan Griffin said: ‘Ben has been a great supporter of the museum for the past 10 years and we are honoured that he has agreed to come on board as our Patron.

‘Having a figure of Sir Ben Ainslie’s stature as our Patron will be of huge benefit as we continue with our campaign to raise £4m over the next decade and secure our future ambitions for the museum.’

Sir Ben said: ‘Like me, the museum has a passion for boats and sailing in all its forms and I am delighted to have been asked to become their new patron.

‘They have been a supporter of mine for many years and I admire their commitment to celebrating the sea boat and Cornwall.

‘I am happy to support their continued work and, who knows, perhaps we can inspire the next generation of Olympic sailing champions.’
Read more: Click here



Categories: marine environment

The largest outdoor sale of boating items in Europe – in the idyllic grounds of the Beaulieu Estate – is set for Sunday 27 April as Beaulieu will be holding its annual Boatjumble.

Now in its 37th year, this Practical Boat Owner-sponsored event remains a key date in the boating calendar, giving enthusiasts an opportunity to snap up nautical bargains ready for the new sailing season.

Thousands of new and used marine and boating items, spread over 1,000 stands, will be on sale at competitive prices, with big name chandleries creating special show offers.The boatjumble is held in the grounds of the Beaulieu Estate, which is situated in the heart of the New Forest National Park, Hampshire.In the Boatmall, new boats from leading manufacturers and brokerages are up for sale, plus all the latest products.

See trailerable boats up-close, try on clothing and tinker with up-to-the minute technology.Or head for the Boatmart, which brings together a wide range of used boats, from classics to nearly new and those in need of restoration, which can be viewed before you buy.In the enlarged Trunk Traders area, amateur jumblers can sell their surplus second-hand sailing items from the boot of their car. Trading is brisk, so get there early.


New for 2014
A new feature for this year’s Boatjumble is the Walkabout Auction. This ‘end of show’ chance to buy and sell offers exhibitors an opportunity to sell off surplus items of stock they don’t want to take home with them.For just £2, exhibitors can buy a box to fill with bits (larger items can go alongside), to be auctioned at the end of the afternoon by a guest auctioneer. It’s a simple and easy way of buying or selling those last bits from the show and there are no auction fees to pay.This innovative concept has been tried and tested at Beaulieu’s Spring Autojumble, and has proved to be a popular addition to the event.

Also new for 2014, a Display Arena will showcase special demonstrations, displays and interactive activities for children and adults. Already booked are the Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth and the Royal Navy Presentation team. Calshot Activity Centre will be running fun activities throughout the day.


Lots to do
The Classic Motor Boat Association will be putting on their traditional display of members’ classic boats and antique outboard engines. Members will also be on hand to talk to visitors about the activities of the Association, whose aim is to promote affordable preservation and enjoyment of classic runabouts, racing boats and engines through active rallies around the UK. At the entrance to the Boatmall, the Association will also be displaying aviation pioneer and yachtsman, Tommy Sopwith’s powerboat Thunderstreak.

The Practical Boat Owner team will also be in attendance with our Project Boat, Hantu Biru, on display, demonstrating how a boat can be bought, restored and launched on a minimum budget.The on-the-day, all-inclusive admission price of £9.70 for adults and £7.50 for children gives entry not only to the Boatjumble, but also to the whole of the Beaulieu attraction. See the National Motor Museum’s stunning collection of vehicles, On Screen Cars, World of Top Gear, Beaulieu Abbey and Palace House.

Advance tickets are available to purchase by telephone on 01590 612888 and online at

Stand prices start at £55 with Boatmart spaces at £30 and Trunk Traders spaces at £32. To book a stand, Trunk Trader or Boatmart space call the events department on 01590 614614, fax 01590 614615 or email

Boatmall and Boatmart are open to visitors at 9am and Boatjumble at 10am. The show closes at 5pm.

Read article at Pratical Boat Owner – click here



Categories: Boat Event

Haven Knox-Johnston, the boat insurer, has estimated that more than 8000 boats have suffered substantial damage or been written off as a result of the winter flooding – and 500 damaged on Thames alone.

The hotspots for the damage are the Medway, Thames and some coastal areas of Cornwall, Dorset and Sussex.

Haven said that typical claims included those arising from hull damage from fluctuating water levels and submergence.

Within the Thames area the insurer predicted that as many as 500 of its clients boats had been damaged or written off.

Antony James of Haven said: “I suspect the damage would have been far worse had it not been for the quick thinking of the local communities in the affected areas. Everyone worked together and in many cases, executed fantastic disaster management strategies.”

Read article at Motor Boats Monthly – click here




Categories: Boat insurance

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