Diomedea heading East

As part of our “Boat of the Month” series , this month we feature Diomedea on our front page.

Many yachts head North during the Australian winter cruising season, but few venture East across the Tasman to New Zealand. That is of course only a jumping-off point for warmer climes in the Pacific – Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and those further East.

Word is that perhaps we’ll see Diomedea venture further afield over the next 6 to 24 months. Follow them here on Skipr.net and on their Sailblog.

Fair winds, David and Andrea…

Boats of the Month – August

This year, we’ve been showcasing a boat on our front page every month, showing the wide range of activities by Skipr.net users. This month, I felt it was time for the “bigger picture”, highlighting all Skipr.net users, rather than just focussing on one boat and its adventures.

It’s  terrific to see Skipr.net expand to hundreds of boats, reporting back to friends and family across an area covering Australia, South Asia and the Western Pacific. Not forgetting users elsewhere… With lots of stories, it is great to follow so many of you! And of course I would encourage anyone to occasionally use the map’s zoom controls and click on a random boat on our Currently Cruising page and share the experience of others.

Fair Winds to all,

Marius (skipper@skipr.net)

Windflower and the Western Pacific Rally

This month’s Track/Boat of the Month is  Windflower, the lead boat of the Western Pacific Rally which has now been underway since late April. John Martin, skipper of Windflower, heads up the Island Cruising Association out of New Zealand. Their regular track is around the islands (Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu etc.), but this year a longer cruise takes them North to the Solomons and then West to Australia via the Louisiades.

As John cruisies down the East Coast of Australia, he intends to give a series of seminars about Pacific Cruising, not to be missed. In the mean time you can follow along on the Windflower page as it makes it way to Australia.

John uses the Skipr Plus facility to update his position regularly via email. He says it’s a snap to use together with the UUplus service.

Tweeting all the way home

Nick Jaffe Nick Jaffe just cleared customs in Coffs Harbour after a 2 year solo sail from Europe. Apart from being an accomplished sailor, Nick also worked out how to make the Internet work for him along the way.

And not just by getting regular weather reports via a Satellite…

Check out his Website, Blog, his Flickr photostream, his Video and his Tweets. And of course, there is a tracking page.Well done, Nick!

I guess it had to be a 27 year old to show us how it’s done…

Cruising the South Pacific with the Island Cruising Association

by David McKay

Diomedea Andrea and I sailed our 48 foot steel Van de Stadt yacht “Diomedea” amongst the islands of the South Pacific during the winter of 2008.  After leaving Sydney to cross the Tasman Sea in April, Diomedea arrived in Opua, Bay of Islands where we met John and Lyn Martin, directors of the Island Cruising Association. We had joined the ICA so that we could participate in a rally from New Zealand to Tonga in May.

We were provided with a  wealth of information and support prior to departure from Opua, including seminars on weather, safety, passage making, boat preparation and so forth.  Membership of ICA also provided significant discounts on chandlery and other purchases. Our clearance out of NZ was made very easy and quick.  Duty free food, alcohol and fuel purchases were facilitated.

Continue reading “Cruising the South Pacific with the Island Cruising Association”

South Pacific Cruising Communications

by David McKay

[Feb 2009 -This is an updated version of of the item originally published in November 2008]

Andrea and I have just completed a six month cruise through the south west Pacific Ocean in “Diomedea”, our 48 foot steel Van de Stadt. We sailed from Sydney to New Zealand and then onto Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia as part of the Island Cruising Association Pacific Circuit rally. We returned to Australia. During that time we were able to use a variety of communication mediums to keep in touch with those nearby and those far away.

Radio and Satphone

We maintained a blog, which was created using either email or internet. About 99% of the time it was done by email as internet access was very infrequent.

Email entries can be done anywhere and anytime so long as you have either HF/SSB radio with Pactor modem and computer, or, as we did, Iridium satellite phone and computer. One can upload text easily via email but pictures are much slower and more expensive on the satphone. We found the Iridium to be excellent.

We used two ISP’s for email: Sailmail and UUPlus. The former was good to start with but it became increasingly difficult to maintain connections as time went on. The latter was very reliable. The Iridium phone was used extensively to obtain weather information, mostly in the form of GRIB files but also in text forecasts in various countries. Of course, regular emails were sent and received. Occasional voice calls were done as well.(One can also take the phone into the liferaft as the occasion demands.)

Continue reading “South Pacific Cruising Communications”

Keeping up with cruising sites

email.jpgThe observant among visitors to this site will have seen the email subscription option in the right hand column.

Every day the system sends an email which lists newly posted items on a number of relevant Australian cruising sites. It makes for a very convenient way of keeping up with local cruising news.

If you know of other sites which should be included, leave a comment with the site details.

Here are the sites currently “monitored”:

as well as the following weblogs of Cruising boats and their owners

For those “in the know”, this is a “mashup” of Feedburner‘s email subscription service, the Planet aggregator and the sites listed above which all provide”feeds”.

Tracking Snark VII

SnarkVII.jpgGood to see Snark VII set off from Hyeres on the French Riviera to the U.K. Mark is using his Blackberry to log position reports while he is near the coast. Follow their progress here or of course by entering “Snark vii” into the search box on the front page.