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Posted by on Feb 25, 2009 in Booze, Gunkholing | 0 comments

Hope they don’t lose their heads over this…

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei — It was a beer run on the high seas.

Brunei’s customs officers arrested two men who tried to smuggle 1,382 cans of contraband beer by boat into the Muslim-majority country, a news report said Wednesday.

The men entered Brunei’s waters from a neighboring nation Tuesday but tried to flee when they realized they had been spotted, the Borneo Bulletin newspaper reported. It did not identify the neighboring country, but Brunei shares borders with two Malaysian states on Borneo island.

Customs authorities foiled the escape after a high-speed chase, making their biggest seizure of alcohol this year, the report added.

Brunei’s laws ban the public sale and consumption of alcohol, though non-Muslim visitors are allowed to bring in limited amounts for private consumption.

Representatives of Brunei’s Royal Customs Department could not immediately be reached. The men are expected to be charged with alcohol smuggling, which is typically punished by a fine.

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Posted by on Feb 23, 2009 in Excursions, Gunkholing | 0 comments

Kidney beans again?!

A British couple was rescued from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean by an Italian tanker after spending 40 days lost at sea.

Stuart Armstrong, 51, and his partner Andrea Davison, 48, are heading back to Britain on board the supertanker Indian Point.
Although unhurt, they were tired, exhausted and grateful to be returning home after their six-week ordeal in which they “stared death in the face.”

The drama began on Jan. 9, six days after the couple left the Cape Verde Islands off the West Coast of Africa on board their yacht Sara.
They were headed for Antigua where they intended to anchor until April. But, midway through the 2,550-mile journey disaster struck and the rudder on the yacht jammed to starboard. Attempts to fix it were useless. At this stage the couple, who live on the yacht in Majorca, were in the middle of the Atlantic, 1,200 miles from Antigua, five days sailing time away and out of range for any rescue attempt. “In effect we were sailing round and round in circles as the rudder was stuck all the way over,” Armstrong said, speaking from the Indian Point. “We tried to counteract this by putting droves over the side to try and help point the boat towards land but we didn’t really have any great success.”

“At first we were not too bothered as we had a good supply of dry provisions, the usual things you have on a boat – pasta, kidney beans, biscuits, rice and soya. There was also plenty of water to keep us going, the radio was still working and we had power so there was no need to be too worried.” He continued, “I have crossed the Atlantic seven times and this was Andrea’s fourth so we are pretty experienced and for the first few days it was a challenge and a bit of an adventure.”

“We alerted the coastguards in Britain and America and we also let our families know. I spent a good few days trying to fix the rudder as well but I just didn’t have any luck.”

Their first problem was around 10 days or so later when the alternator broke which meant they had no power. “All that we had was a small solar panel which gave us enough to fire up the satellite phone but we had to ration it,” he said. “The loss of the alternator also meant that we could not use the desalination unit which turns sea water into drinking water so we also had to start rationing that as well.” The American Coast Guard monitored their position but because of their remote location a rescue attempt was impossible and the couple simply carried on drifting with the current pushing them slowly towards the Caribbean.

During their weeks at sea the couple’s yacht was battered by storms but they managed to escape unscathed. However, as they neared the Bermuda triangle after more than a month at sea conditions began to worsen. The reduced electrical power meant that Armstrong could only talk to his daughter once or twice a week and it was the same for Davison and her two children. “At first they were OK with our situation because they know Stuart is a good sailor but I think as time moved on they started to get more concerned and so did I,” said Davison. “We kept getting hit by storms but we managed to get out of them with no real problems. But I knew we were riding our luck and we wouldn’t be able to go on for much longer.”

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Posted by on Jun 27, 2007 in Gunkholing, Technology | 0 comments

A thing of beauty

The Chesapeake Bay is a beautiful and historically significant sailing destination. It’s also home to the Skipjack, a sail-powered oyster boat known for its functional durability;  some stay in service for 75 years or more.

The Chesapeake Bay is shallow and can be quite temperamental when the winds blow up.  The Skipjack’s low profile and a shallow draft are designed to keep her on the Bay working, not tied up at the docks.  An excellent example of early American engineering.

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Posted by on Jun 21, 2007 in Excursions, Gunkholing | 2 comments

One/Two: Newport to Bermuda

Doug Campbell, a writer and editor for Soundings magazine, is participating in the annual Bermuda One/Two race.  Starting in Newport, sailors race their boats singlehanded (alone) to Bermuda, and at the turn, pick up a crew member and run back to Newport.

Doug’s keeping a blog along the way and it’s absolutely brilliant. This particular post gives insight into why sailors dream of offshore passage.

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