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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


Illegal Drift Nets

Drift Net catches dolphinDrift nets are illegal in the Mediterranean.  They are walls of death, deadly to everything that gets caught in their mesh.  Yet fishermen continue to use them illegally to catch migratory species of large fish, such as Tuna and Swordfish. And literally throw away the corpses of turtles, dolphins, sharks, and other innocent species caught in their nets.

Crossing the Strait of Sicily a month ago, I had to avoid one of these deadly nets.  The sea was flat calm, it was evening, and the floats, set at intervals of about ten metres, stretched out in a line towards the island of Linosa. In the distance I could see the trawler that was laying the net.  The radar showed it was about four miles away.  And we had already followed the net for about half a mile, looking for a place to cross.  So the net was at least four miles long.  

Read more: Illegal Drift Nets

Editorial - WiFi and Perham's adventures


At last I know I am not alone in decrying the awful service provided by UK marinas when it comes to the provision of a wireless link for internet connections.  Jeremy Greenaway, one of our new correspondents, has just returned from France, where, he says, WiFi is available, works and is free of charge in most marinas. 

What do we get in the UK?  Mostly rip off prices for a connection that hardly reaches half-way up the nearest pontoon.

Read more: Editorial - WiFi and Perham's adventures

Editorial: New Handheld PLBs

McMurdo PLBThe launch of McMurdo's latest range of PLBs is likely to fuel the debate about whether flares are still necessary. raised the issue in its recent editorial.  Whilst EPIRBs and their hand held cousins the PLBs are one of the most important safety developments for recreational boaters in recent years, we do have some concerns about this latest drive towards small and cheap.

It's a bit like the current alcohol debate. Make the stuff cheaper and more available, and it's more likely to be abused.  There are already a number of false alarms from PLBs that are set off.

Read more: Editorial: New Handheld PLBs

Editorial: Taking your time.

Relaxed at seaSailers has covered a number of safety related topics recently. And this has prompted the question 'What kind of safety do we really want'?  Pete Goss described his decision to take his fourteen year old son Eliot on his epic voyage from Cornwall to Australia, suffering a knock down and crew injury on the way. Would safety considerations have stopped you from doing the same?  And which decision was correct?  You can read his blog here and make up your own mind.

At first glace, staying tied up alongside seems the safest option.  After all, it's unlikely that we will be knocked down by a freak wave in the marina. And we won't get seasick.  Nor will we have to put into practice any of the advice in 'Heavy Weather Sailing', featured this week in our book reviews. 

Read more: Editorial: Taking your time.

Spirit of Mystery

Spirit of MysteryDespite all the media hype and the millions poured into the Vendee Globe and simiilar races, the achievement of three men and a teenager aboard Spirit of Mystery towers above them.

Anyone reading Pete Goss' account of the knock down and the moments following, as the cabin inverted and water poured through the hatchway, will be awed.  Those of us who have weathered violent storms at sea in a sailing yacht will know what Pete means when he talks about the noise as well as the water. The screaming of wind through the rigging is something that you never forget.

Spirit of Mystery is a faithful copy of a Cornish wooden lugger built more than 150 years ago. She is worlds apart from the modern 60 foot open IMOCA racing yachts.  She is slow, but well built.  Pete Goss, well used to running from the path of ocean storms in racing yachts doing between 15 and 20 knots described sailing her as being a bit like a hedgehog caught in the middle of the road.

Read more: Spirit of Mystery

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