วันพุธที่ 21 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Sailing couple grateful for Bermuda's role in rescue after mighty sea storm

A French couple forced to return to Bermuda while sailing to the Azores after a violent storm destroyed their sailboat's mast are full of praise for the efforts of Bermuda Radio.

Claude Laurain and wife Sabine Laurain sailed to Bermuda for a 15-day stay on April 21 on sailboat Albatros IV. They departed Bermuda on May 5 to reach their home in France, via the Portuguese islands. But they did not anticipate mother nature's fury.

Prior to setting out, the couple, who have been sailing the world for 55 years, knew that there was a cold front nearby but believed the conditions would be tolerable — but they were wrong.

"The forecast was good," said Mrs. Laurain, 62. "We knew we had to pass through a cold front but the forecast said it wouldn't be too strong and the winds no more than 30 knots (34 mph).

"The first day was perfect as was Tuesday. But the winds became stronger on Tuesday evening and we decreased the size of the main sail... we saw that thunder was coming and that meant that the cold front was too."

During the height of their encounter with the weather, which saw 43 knot winds (49 mph), she described bolts of lightening repeatedly striking the exterior of the boat.

"Thunder was everywhere and we found ourselves under water spouts. At one point we were under this big cloud which brought more thunder and lightening."

วันจันทร์ที่ 19 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Appeal to keep boats on the tarn

BOATING on Talkin Tarn is under threat – with franchise owner Peter Scott looking for a lifeline.

High costs, lack of customers and bad weather could sink the business which is such a feature of the Brampton beauty spot.

Mr Scott took over the franchise eight years ago with the aim of creating a full time job for his 27-year-old son Ryan, a leisure and tourism graduate.

But increasing costs and poor trade have forced Mr Scott to appeal to the city council and local firms to help secure a future for the business.

Mr Scott pays £1,350 a year to the city council for the franchise of the boats.

On top of this he must pay up to £500 public liability insurance.

The cost of hiring a boat for 30 minutes is £4.

He said: “We are really struggling to make a decent wage out of this. Nobody wants to see the boats go but it costs a lot to put them there.

“When people think of the Tarn they think of the boats.”

Mr Scott, who runs an agricultural merchants, said that trade began to fall when the nearby caravan park was closed.

He added: “We used to get people from Northumberland and Hexham using the boats and fishing.

“But this trade has dwindled now and local people do not use the boats which is a shame.”

Mr Scott, who lives in Stanwix in Carlisle, said: “The plan was to have Ryan running the business and then the rest of the family would help out at weekends and holidays when it was busy, but it hasn’t panned out like that.

“It is not easy but I think some people think we are making a fortune.

“During the Easter holidays Ryan manned the boats every day but made very little money.

“But when it is good it is really good – it is a great job and beautiful place to work.”

Mr Scott said that he had appealed to the city council for help but was told that, if the council took over the running of the service, it would only be staffed occasionally, rather than every day.

“The boats would slip back into disrepair and the dirty condition in which we found them, ” said Mr Scott.

“It is a tourist attraction. The boats are very traditional but there appears to be a death knell clanging away.

“If we could attract some help, that would be great – like ask local companies to help sponsor boats for say £500 each. But part of me thinks we shouldn’t have to go cap in hand asking for money.

“The city council seem prepared to just let the business rot.”

Mr Scott has now appealed to Brampton parish council for help and they have invited him to their next meeting to discuss how they could help.

At a meeting last week Councillor Connie Ridley voiced her support for the boats.

She said: “Mr Scott is trying his hardest but finding it very hard.

“We don’t want to lose amenities – we want to keep them.”

County councillor Geoff Prest, said it would be a “great pity” of the boats were not there.

A spokesman for Carlisle City Council said that it supported the boat hire and added that all fees levied were reinvested.

He said: “We have invested significantly in the business in recent years and continue to do so, having provided new jetties, a safety boat and all of its fuel, the replacement of all life jackets, the annual operators licence, advertising in council publications and we meet frequently with the operators to support their venture as much as possible.

“Additionally the city council last year hosted a ‘Have a go Water Sports Day’ to encourage the use of the water sports facilities at the Tarn, which will be repeated this year on Sunday June 8.”

วันพุธที่ 7 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Boat show highlights kayaking

Even before fuel prices went through the roof and the economy dropped like a rock, kayaking was hot.
And Powers Outdoors, a Newaygo-based outfitting business with a store located in Montague, is riding the wave. Its display of more than a dozen kayaks is expected to draw some of the most attention during this weekend's West Michigan Spring Boat Show at Terrace Point Marina.
Powers co-owner Jake Slominski said kayaking has been the fastest-growing recreational sport in America the past half dozen years, with participation growing at more than 150 percent a year. An environmentally sound sport, it provides cheap and easy access to the water for paddlers of all ages and physical conditions.
The cost of a boat ranges between $200 and $2,000 or more, but the typical kayaker spends about $700. And there are no fuel costs, insurance or licenses to worry about, Slominski said.
"Even with the economy, people work all week to play all weekend," said Slominski, who owns the business -- which was started by his grandfather Don Powers -- with his father, Greg. "Kayaking is a sport for anywhere, any time and anyone."
Trends in the sport include smaller, 10-foot sit-in boats for running rivers and sit-on-top boats for fishing.
"We see a lot of those into fishing selling their aluminum boats and fishing off of a kayak," Slominski said. "There is no fuel cost nor license. And, you can get them into anywhere you want."
Ease of use and the ability to launch a kayak into virtually any river or lake -- even Lake Michigan -- make kayaks a popular alternative to bigger boats. Slominski said typical kayakers use their boats much more than power boaters or sailors since the 9- to 16-foot boats can be easily carried on racks atop cars or on small trailers.

วันอาทิตย์ที่ 4 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2551

Parents despair at speedboat tot death trial

Heartbroken: The Gallaghers
PARENTS of a toddler killed when he was hit by a speedboat as he slept on a beach have been forced to give up their six-year campaign for justice.Andrea and Paul Gallagher from Orpington were heartbroken when three men accused of their son's manslaughter were cleared at a Bahamian court last Tuesday.The couple have fought for six years and spent £50,000 of their life savings to get justice for two-year-old Paul after he died of horrific head injuries when a speedboat crashed into the beach where he was sleeping in August 2002.However, after Judge Elliot Lockhart dismissed the case against boat driver James Bain and company owners Clifford Nottage and Evangeless Williamson, the couple were foced to give up their fight when they were told they had no right to appeal.When Judge Lockhart cleared the trio, despite evidence that the boat that killed their son was unlicensed with no insurance, Mrs Gallagher, 41, wept and a furious Mr Gallagher had to be ushered from the building as he shouted at the defendants.Mrs Gallagher said: "It was like a physical blow. "I was stunned. I started shaking and collapsed to the floor, crying. The last bit of strength I had mustered up to enable me to come to the courtroom, to face them, was knocked out. I literally had no energy left to hold myself up. "We thought it was an open and shut case. We wanted justice, but also to make the beaches of the Bahamas safer for other holidaymakers. "Now the judge has given out a firm message - you can break Bahamian law and get away with it." Mr Gallagher, 43, added: "We didn't expect it at all. "Even though I thought throughout that the judge seemed more sympathetic to the defence, we still thought the ultimate decision would be in the hands of the jury. "Even if the jury had decided against us, we would have been able to accept it. But by ruling that there was no case to answer, the judge took that away from us. "Now it is almost as though we have had no trial. We feel as if we have been through all this for nothing." The court heard that Mr Bain had been towing an inflatable banana boat when a wave hit his speedboat, knocking several people into the water. His defence counsel, Henry Bostwick, said Bain was trying to help a woman panicking in the water when a second wave hit the boat and he slipped. He became tangled in ropes and was unable to stop the boat heading at full speed towards the Atlantis Resort beach, where it struck the child as he slept on a sun lounger.Mr Bostwick said: "It cannot be said that in trying to assist a trapped woman while he was in the area designated for water sports there was an obvious risk to a person on the beach."Mrs Gallagher said their latest visit to the Bahamas has brought back memories of the horrific accident.She said: "As we got off the plane, memories of that holiday came flooding back to me - little Paul digging in the sand, then, after the boat hit, our baby lying on the beach with a big chunk of his skull missing - the sand red with his blood."I certainly never want to set foot on that island again. But I do think our fight has been worthwhile. We may not have got the verdict we wanted, but we have achieved a hell of a lot. "Since Paul died, new water safety laws have been brought in to make the Bahamas safer. Now we can only pray the new laws are upheld and no family will ever have to suffer the way we have.

At the ‘Ready’

New lifeboat on the way to Delta
Help is on the way for the Roberts Bank Lifeboat Society. Thanks to securing a sponsor to cover the transportation cost of the group’s new vessel—the M.V. Ready—is on the way from Invergordon, Scotland.
The journey started in early April and the boat’s progress can be tracked by visiting the Coast Guard station’s web site at www.robertsbanklifeboat.ca.
The vessel is now heading through the Caribbean towards the Panama Canal, and should arrive at Fraser Surrey Docks in May.
The new vessel’s passage was made possible through a fortunate turn of events. Local artist Lennart Osterlind heard in a conversation at a Longhouse Art exhibition that the Roberts Bank Lifeboat Society, was trying to find a sponsor to bring the boat to Delta on a freighter.
The artist, as it happened, is an insurance broker with connections in the shipping world. Within a couple of days, Osterlind had everything arranged through a friend, Staffan Melin of the Delta Research Corporation, who uses a freighter service based in Norway.
Star Shipping of Bergen, Norway, generously agreed to bring the new Lifeboat gratis to Delta. Their freighter on which it will travel is the M.V. Star Java.
The journey started last month in Invergordon, Scotland, where the local volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution helped to prepare the M.V. Ready’ for the journey.
The firm that the boat was purchased from, MacDonald Ferries, kindly built and donated a steel cradle to carry the vessel for the long journey. She was then trucked to the North Sea port of Hull, where she crossed to Rotterdam and finally arrived in Vlissingen where all of the loading and securing was donated by Verbrugge Zeeland Terminals which is the local port authority. 
For those interested in being a part of the volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary team, or to make a donation, visit the web site at www.robertsbanklifeboat.ca or call 604 943 9171.

The statistics show that boat owners are happy

A survey carried out by a leading US boat insurer has revealed that boaters put their vessel ahead of many other major life purchases, such as a house or a car, and are happier for it.In a recent survey of more than 1,000 boat owners, nearly half said they bought their boat before they purchased a car or a home.More than a third disagreed with the statement: "a boat owner's two greatest days are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells it" with an overwhelming majority saying they 'love boating' and wish they had more time for it. It seems that many boaters surveyed got into boating during more carefree times in their lives. Nearly a third of boaters surveyed said they bought a boat before they got married (28 percent), had children (30 percent) or finished university (19 percent).Carried out by the insurance company, Progressive, the most revealing statistic was perhaps the attitude towards insurance. While 70 percent of boaters say they know they should have insurance, even in the off-season, 29 percent admit to having no boat insurance at all.Meanwhile, twenty percent of boaters said that they would NEVER sell their boat and six percent went as far as to say they would only sell if threatened with physical harm. And for all the politicians out there.. heed this: 15 percent of boaters say they're more likely to vote for a political candidate if he/she is a boater.