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How to avoid expensive mistakes when you buy a new or second-hand yacht. 

Available on Amazon here


Icom IC-M35We review the Icom IC-M35 handheld.  Read the full review here.

GMDSS A User's Handbook

By Denise Bréhaut

GMDSS A user's handbook








The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) provides a fast and efficient way of calling for assistance at sea, whatever the size of craft or its geographical position. Since it was first published, this book has helped explain the system for anyone using GMDSS and has been excellent pre-course reading for students.



SafaSail HatThe SafaSail Hard Hat looks just like a sailing cap, but will help protect you if you get a bang to the head.  See our review here


Trinity House shines welcome light on the Future

Trinity House Officer at WorkThree very important documents for leisure yachtsmen have almost slipped un-noticed into publication. The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) plans for the future of Aids to Navigation (Buoys, Lights and other marks), its Joint Navigation Requirements and its Radio Navigation Policy set out the framework for the future.

The sheer professionalism of Trinity House and its companion organisations, Northern Lighthouse Board and Irish Lights shines through every aspect of these plans. Like the Royal Jubilee celebrations, but without the razzamatazz, they make you proud to be British.

They are highly encouraging documents. In the Introduction to Aids to Navigation, the GLAs state:

"The growth in marine leisure activities, the proliferation of high-speed and larger craft and changes in traffic patterns each place new demands on Aids to Navigation (AtoN) service providers. It is recognised that the widespread reliance on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) as the primary means of position fixing has encouraged some mariners to navigate in areas where, and under conditions in which, they had not previously ventured - for example, close inshore, at night and in reduced visibility. More generally, the recognized vulnerabilities of GNSS to interference must be taken into consideration when determining future AtoN provision."

Read more: Trinity House shines welcome light on the Future

Red Diesel Nonsense

Red diesel nonsenseWe agree wholeheartedly with the editorial that appeared in Scuttlebutt, and we are pleased to run it as a Guest editorial.

From the RYA web site we read "The Ministerial statement indicated that, from 1 April 2012, the use of marked 'red' diesel to propel private pleasure craft will be allowed only within UK territorial waters.

Okay but what if we want to go to France, Belgium, the Netherlands or further afield?

As a direct result of the parochial and, some would say jealous reaction by Belgium to the UK's red diesel policy, our HMRC is in process of revising the rules for its use. As from 1st April 2012, i.e. 30 days from now, when buying red diesel we shall be asked to sign a document stating it will not be used outside of UK territorial waters. I guess this means if we are caught in France or Belgium with red diesel then the UK government will prosecute us as well.

Read more: Red Diesel Nonsense

Our unforgiving society

Police in Riot GearThe most recent research into last year's riots has shown that alienation – 'disrespect by the Police' was the term used most often – was one of the most significant factors in the attitude that lay behind the rioting.

Why am I not surprised? England (I can't speak for Wales or Scotland) has increasingly become a society of exclusion; a harsh and even brutal society where growing numbers of people feel they do not belong.

With the intention of preventing wrong doing, we continue to introduce laws, rules and regulations that marginalise and exclude an ever-growing number of people, apparently without any understanding of the damage we're causing. Our cultural attitude, increasingly fed by a fundamentalist media, has become one of suspicion, blame and alienation.

And the reason?

As a society, we have learned how to blame, but have forgotten how to forgive.

Forgiveness is a Christian virtue, but its effects go far beyond mere religion. To forgive is not to excuse. It is to recognise the essential goodness of people despite their weakness and failings, and to deal with their failings in a way that releases goodness and encourages healing and integration, rather than creating exclusion, bitterness and hatred. It is about giving people a new start – about wiping the slate clean, rather than throwing it, shattered, onto the rubbish heap. And it works.

Read more: Our unforgiving society

Four Cheers for the Canal & River Trust

50+ Adventure Club go sailing on the Norfolk BroadsEDITORIAL

There's a kind of myth that has developed amongst sailors that it's really only the Salty Stuff that floats proper sailing yachts. So we are delighted today to report on the £1 billion funding announcement made by MP Richard Benyon for the new Canal and River Trust.

The Inland Waterways of Britain are hugely important, not only as a leisure resource, but as part of our national heritage. Our canal system provides rest and relaxation for thousands, and a long-term home for many. Our rivers, including the Thames, are part of the lungs of the nation. And anyone who has 'ditch-crawled' on the Norfolk Broads will tell you how serene and beautiful that experience is.

It is not often that we praise a member of parliament – the common media perception is of grubby self-seeking. But the Benyon family has a track record, both in parliament and outside it, of wise and generous support for the good of the nation, and Richard deserves our thanks and our recognition for steering this new body into being.

Read more: Four Cheers for the Canal & River Trust

Time to Upgrade your EPIRB?

McMurdo EPIRB (float free)Our West Country correspondend Jeremy Greenaway alerted us to  the delays some people with McMurdo E3 EPIRBs are experiencing when trying to get replacement batteries fitted.   McMurdo is a great company that make great safety equipment.  So it’s always disappointing to hear of people who have difficulties when trying to get their equipment serviced. But we can fully understand McMurdo’s problems in trying to guestimate the level of demand for a battery for an outdated bit of kit.

We completely agree with James Turner of McMurdo when he says “I am of the view that upgrading to a GPS beacon – whether a PLB or EPIRB – is a good thing. A non-GPS beacon requires the pass of 2 satellites, which each derive one position line by Doppler Shift, to obtain a position. Of course as time goes on, more satellite passes will increase accuracy,  but when 2 have passed overhead, taking typically 40 minutes in these latitudes from beacon activation, the accuracy gives SAR people a search area of 28 square nautical miles. A GPS beacon sends precise coordinates within a very few minutes, so not only is the fix tighter, it’s much quicker.”

Read more: Time to Upgrade your EPIRB?

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