Friday 27 August 2010

Beneteau Dock & Go System for Sailboats

Announcing their new 'Dock & Go' system for sailboats, Beneteau will probably go down as changing the face of sailing as Volvo did for powerboating with their IPS system a year or two back.

Initially the 'Dock & Go' will be available in the new Beneteau 50 'Sense' yacht, but shortly after in most of their sailboat range with engines with a rating of 75hp+. No mention as yet if it will be available on the open market. I sense the race will be on now for other manufacturers to come out with a similar system.

Here is a short article from the current Sail Magazine:

'Pretty soon our friends in the powerboating and superyacht community won’t be the only ones with access to joystick boat control.

In a recent press release, Beneteau announced that it has created what it calls its “Dock & Go” system, which employs a joystick to coordinate a pivoting propeller and bowthruster to facilitate easier docking.

According to Beneteau, the “revolutionary” system makes maneuvering even the company’s largest boats so simple that “a child could do it.”

According to Beneteau, “The system makes docking the boat in a restricted space easy and gives a precision of movement that is incomparable.”

The Dock & Go will be available for Spring 2011 deliveries as an option on all Beneteau models equipped with Yanmar 75HP SD engines, including the 50ft Sense, the Oceanis 46 and the Oceanis 50.

Beneteau will officially unveil the new system aboard a 50-footer at the United States Sailboat show in Annapolis, Maryland, October 7-11.

Take a look at this amusing video - it is in French, but I am sure you will get the gist of it!

Here is another article extract, this time from TradeOnlyToday:

'Beneteau is offering docking system for sailboats - Posted on August 18, 2010 Share this: Following the lead of the powerboat industry, which has been offering low-speed maneuvering and docking systems for some time (pod drives and thrusters in various combinations), sailboat builder Beneteau has introduced Dock & Go, a "revolutionary innovation to dock your boat with complete confidence."

The system uses a joystick to synchronize a propeller-driven base unit with a bow thruster to maneuver a sailboat into a berth or mooring.

Here is how it works: A controller synchronizes a 180-degree pivoting Saildrive base and a bow thruster. Maneuvers are carried out using a cross-shaped joystick at the helm, moving the boat 90 degrees to port or starboard, forward, astern and turning on the spot. To go astern, the operator can pivot the Saildrive with no loss of power because rotation is achieved in half a second by an electric motor.

Beneteau calls Dock & Go "fun and very intuitive" and says the system will make "docking the boat in a restricted space easy" with "precision of movement that is incomparable."

The Beneteau system is similar to the ComfoDrive, a German system that was developed for sailboats two years ago.'

Extracts courtesy SailMagazine and TradeOnlyToday. Images courtesy Beneteau photo library.

You can read more about docking and amusing episodes on passage in my ebook 'Voyage of the Little Ship Tere Moana' downloadable from my website

Thursday 26 August 2010

Sailboat Anna Catamaran Capsize and Rescue near Niue South Pacific

The sailing Catamaran “Anna” Capsized While Cruising Near Niue on Augus 2, 2010.

Fortunately the crew, owner/skipper Kelly Wright and his crewman were rescued by the 'Forum Pacific' which was diverted from approximately 80 nautical miles away.

The news of Anna, an Atlantic 57 sailing catamaran, capsized in the South Pacific, was reported yesterday on the Pacific Puddle Jump Cruisers Forum by Scott & Cindy Stolnitz (S/V BeachHouse). Here is the media release from Maritime NZ, pasted from their website:

'Two men have been rescued by a cargo ship after their yacht capsized in stormy seas near Niue yesterday, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) says. RCCNZ detected an emergency locator beacon signal from the American-flagged 57-foot (around 17 metres) catamaran Anna yesterday about 4pm. The signal was coming from a location around 126 nautical miles (around 233 kilometres) west of Niue. Local weather reports indicated heavy seas and storm conditions.

Repeated efforts to contact the yacht were unsuccessful, despite Anna having a range of communications equipment on board.

RCCNZ dispatched an Air Force P3 Orion from New Zealand and the cargo ship Forum Pacific, 80 nautical miles away from Anna, was asked to divert to the signal’s location. The P3 Orion arrived on scene about 11pm yesterday and found Anna capsized and inverted. However, the American skipper and his New Zealand crewman were safe, one still on board Anna, and one in an inflatable dinghy attached to the catamaran. The P3 Orion maintained a vigil over the men overnight while Forum Pacific made its way to the scene.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue mission controller Mike Roberts said the cargo ship arrived about 6am and the two men were now safe on board and en route to Niue. RCCNZ had broadcast a navigation warning to other vessels advising of the location of the capsized catamaran.

Mr Roberts said the fact the beacon was GPS-enabled had greatly assisted the men’s rescue.
“With GPS positioning, we were able to accurately pinpoint the location of the vessel and send the Orion directly to the scene. Given the stormy conditions, the speed that we were able to reach the men made a huge difference to their safety.

“Furthermore, the fact the beacon was registered meant we were able to contact the skipper’s wife and obtain information as to who was on board and what kind of equipment they had with them.”

The catamaran was designed by Chris White, one of the preeminent multihull designers in the world. Anna was built by Alwoplast, located in Valdivia, Chile. Owner/skipper Kelly Wright has about 30,000 miles at sea on yachts and is planning to circumnavigate the world with Anna. Shortly after setting off, Kelly wrote this on his Blog – S/Y Anna:

“In retrospect we really should have undertaken an extra few days of training before we set off from Valdivia. The launching of the boat had been delayed, though, so the sailing season was getting ever shorter as winter set in, and so we eagerly grasped at the first opportunity to leave, due somewhat to the natural impatience of our skipper.

All would have still been fine had we not been supplied with defective turnbuckles that attach the stays and shrouds – stainless steel cable and rod – to the hulls. We would have made the same teething mistakes anyway, getting used to the gear and the layout, but we would not have been put in the situation we are in now, which is pre-crisis, preparing for the worst case of losing the boat, which is a remote possibility.”

The boat and crew endured more than their typical share of storms and breakdowns. This past June, they had to return to New Zealand after having just set off, to make repairs. Here’s an excerpt from Kelly’s Blog:

“The next day passed comfortably enough for us, lying around in the pilothouse, napping, reading, but the winds shifted back to the Northwest and built to over 40 knots – the high was 48 knots – and the seas kept getting larger and larger. It was quite interesting watching them and observing how well Anna responded, riding gently over the breaking crests and down into the valleys, with the wind blowing the tops off the waves, spume shooting almost horizontally. We congratulated ourselves on how well our boat was handling the conditions, and how comfortable we were. Every now and then, however, a big wave would break right on top of us and crash into Anna beam on, knocking us around, spilling all the books from the bookshelves, knocking the dinghy off its chocks on the aft deck, and making a huge roar. It is always difficult to estimate the height of waves from inside a bobbing boat, but our mast rises about 75 feet (23 meters) from the waterline, and it appeared from my vantage point in the pilothouse that the highest waves were approaching half the height of the mast. They were the biggest seas I have ever been in, I think, and quite irregular, coming from several directions.

I suppose it must have been one of those big crashing waves that jerked the rudders in such a way that the steering cables came off, and we were left without steering. It was getting dark, around 1700 (5 p.m.) and I had just gotten off watch and was down in my berth when John informed me that we had no steering, and the rudders were thrashing around madly in the rudder compartments. The starboard rudder had broken its safety line and was totally out of control, even dangerous to try to tame. We stuck the emergency tiller into the head of the rudder post, but the force of the seas slapped it against the bulkhead and broke the tiller in two. Moreover, working in the confined space of the rudder compartments in the thrashing seas was making everyone seasick."

The blog finishes at that point, so look out for more updates from this blog later.

This rescue and the loss of ones own boat highlights the potential dangers that can be encountered at sea. In reading his blog, Kelly admits himself that they left too late in the winter season and that area of the Pacific is notorious for winter storms. Once a catamaran has capsized it will not right itself, so they were stuck and had to rely on being rescued.

They were well prepared for that and had onboard, and were able to activate their distress beacon. This also highlights the effectiveness in the saving of lives of these brilliant pieces of safety equipment.

The video is worth watching to see the rescue technique of the 'Pacific Forum' and the interesting safety line projector used. The seas had obviously abated considerably by the time she arrived on the scene and I would conjecture that 'Anna' would have received much greater damage if the storm was still up at the time.

What the outcome will be regarding the salvage of 'Anna' is still unknown, but in the meantime I think all parties invloved would be very happy that the saga ended with no loss of life.

News extract courtesy from 'Pacific Puddle Jump Cruisers', images courtesy Kelly Wright, video from YouTube.

For further updates on this incident please check out this blog on

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Sailboat2adventure Noonsite Book Review

I was fortunate enough to have my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' reviewed by Noonsite recently. Noonsite is the 'Bible' of websites for cruising sailors and has a massive membership. They receive almost two thousand visits (not hits) per day! The following review is by Doina at Noonsite and here is what she has to say:

'Vincent Bossley has had the interesting idea of compiling a practical list of 101 tips with an account 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' of his four year voyage from the United Kingdom to New Zealand on his yacht.

His account of his voyage is written in a vivid style that sets it apart from a standard cruising ebook, and evokes the many places he and his crew visited, from the crossing of the Atlantic, “that cold, leaden, restlessly heaving and intimidating body” to the delights of the South Pacific Ocean.

Tere Moana under sail
This reviewer rather liked the fact most of the narrative is from the little ship’s point of view, always raring to sail on towards the horizon and yet stoically putting up with her human crew’s foibles, for example as they complete their transit of the Panama Canal:
"Finally, into Miraflores Lock and ... the huge, massively steel strapped and dripping gates crack open to reveal a sliver of ever widening blue which is her first view of the mighty Pacific Ocean. She feels a jet of excitement pass through her and realises that at last, this is the beginning of a great voyage – the crew also seem to be somewhat stimulated and prattle on about how smart they are to get thus far unscathed! Indignantly, she would like to remind them, if it wasn’t for her, they wouldn’t be here at all!”

Finally after two years visiting the Galapagos, French Polynesia and Tonga, they make it to the Bay of Islands but not before riding through a tropical depression en route from Tonga, and a nailbiting account of a near miss from a rogue wave.

The sailing narrative is followed by “101 tips” intended to prepare you for blue-water sailing as well as save money where possible, without compromising on the safety of the boat and its crew. There are tips on what equipment to buy, how best to prepare for or minimise the need for repairs, as well as tips for life on board (watch systems and provisioning), how to make life at sea more pleasant as well as life on shore – Noonsite especially approves of the tip 91, “A Little Politeness Goes a Long Way”:

Robinson Bay, French Polynesia
 “in my early days of planning, a very experienced sailor once told me that when you set sail in your own yacht, you are sailing around the world in a mini consulate of your own country...'.
This places certain responsibilities upon you as a captain, and, that as a representative of your country, you would wish to uphold the good name of that country wherever you go. In addition, it also means that you would observe the protocol and customs of all nations you visit, no matter how tiny or seemingly insignificant they may be. They have their own culture and dignity, and this must be observed. Remembering this course of action, and practicing it, along with a good dose of politeness will serve you well. I will now quote you two occasions, one working, and the other, when not observed, not. The two examples which follow demonstrate that the right or wrong attitude to local officials can have concrete results in the amount of time you may be allowed to stay somewhere or even the amount of fees you have to pay!
Tere Moana at anchor
A useful feature of the book is that the "Tips" are hyperlinked throughout the sailing narrative so the reader can see how that particular tip was used during the voyage.

The package also includes a free six page "10 Point Plan" from an International Marine Surveyor on what to look for when purchasing your dream yacht.

Vincent writes: ”My main thrust is to encourage people to jump that first hurdle in getting started with the planning of their cruising adventure. So many of us say ........"yes, well when I have done this next thing I will begin"........... and then something else comes along, comes along, comes along and then one day we wake up to discover that it is too late. What a terrible shame that is. If I can encourage folks to begin, even in a small way, so that the idea takes seed, grows and grows until it takes on such massive size and passion in their minds, that in the end nothing will stop them, then I will have done my job."

Definitely recommended'.

Review courtesy Doina at Noonsite

You too can read my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' by downloading it from my website