Is Dutch Teenage Sailor Laura Dekker too young to sail the world?

June, 2010, as expected…a court in The Netherlands has decided that Laura Dekker, 14, is too young to try to sail around the world by herself.

3 months later, she was finally allowed by a Dutch court to sail away from Holland on a solo voyage around the world. Yesterday she set off with her father on a test and delivery sail to Portugal, from where she will begin her great adventure. Over 100 well wishers gathered at the dockside of the southern Dutch harbour of Den Osse to wave goodbye to Laura and her father.

From Portugal, she will begin her solo voyage, and head to the Canary Islands. Then across the Atlantic later this year after the hurricane season ends. Just last week, Miss Dekker won a bitter legal fight to overturn a child protection order that had placed her under the guardianship of social workers to stop her setting sail last year, aged just 13.

Whilst not get much press coverage in Australia, the Dutch girl, Laura Dekker, is making steady progress on her solo around the world yacht navigation. Update as of 19 January 2011, is that she is in the Caribbean, but doing it a lot easier than our Jessica Watson. But unlike Jessica, Laura is stopping off at many places. So, the Caribbean is not a bad place to lay up…

An unusual fog – Sailing in Sydney on Australia Day

On day two, Eastcoast Sailing was amongst the thousands enjoying the water. But how about the bizarre weather? We were cruising north from the Eastern suburbs, heading towards Quarantine beach. Not really that far… So, we had South Head (to the south), North Head to North, Middle Head to the West. But we could NOT see land – anywhere.

There was an unusual sea fog that enveloped the northern parts of the harbour till late morning. Met Bureau advises that it was very humid warm air passing over cold ocean water causing the moisture to condense. With our trusty compass, we managed to find land again…Thank God we’re ALIVE!

What is the most common yacht that sails the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race?

So what is the most common yacht that sails in the annual Sydney to Hobart race? Maxis? Custom? Nope – in this year’s race Beneteau was equal first with Sydney at 9 yachts apiece. Followed by Reichel Pugh at 5 yachts, and then Maxi at 4. Within the Beneteau and Sydney yachts groups, the most common model was Beneteau 40.7 First, and Sydney 38 respectively.

With a fleet of 86 yachts, the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race will be a truely spectacular sight as usual. Of course the high profile, big dollar maxis, like Wild Oats, Lahana, Ichi Ban and Investec Loyal take the headlines as the favourites for line honours. Unfortunately, the world’s youngest solo Sailor to navigate the globe – Jessica Watson has been deemed “Too Young” to compete in Australia’s premier Yacht Racing event or else I’m sure she will be the headline among the headlines.

I’ve also discovered there is an excellent web site to track the Sydney to Hobart yachts. It has info on all yachts, realtime updates, and good chart graphics for yacht location. Visit and track their movements in real-time!


The bi-annual Wooden Boat festival is a great event for yachties, and landlubbers alike. Stunningly restored wooden boats are on display dating back some 80 years. Halvorsen Boats are well represented as usual, with a good mix of cruisers and sailing boats.

Enjoy the classic lines, and the glorious timberwork evoking romantic memories from a gracious era.

Click here to view more photos on Flickr by Australian National Maritime Museum .


Hamilton Island Race yacht week is a fabulous yachting event in the warm Queensland Whitsundays Islands – lots of racing, socialising, and partying if you are inclined. The week consists of racing every day around the beautiful Islands with over 250 yachts sailing. It is a unique chance to really hone your Sailing Skills amongst experienced and friendly skippers and crew.

EastCoast Sailing can arrange crewing on some competitive boats, offer a “live on board” experience for many customers and facilitate accommodation on the Island. Call Kylie on 0459 060 011 to book your crewing spot on a lovely yacht.

By July 30, 2010 Blog Comments Off

Sydney International Boat Show 2010

As usual, the Boating Industry Association’s, Sydney International Boat Show was impressive, fun and is highly recommended.

In the sailing world, some of the new cruising yachts from Jeanneau and Beneteau were amazing in somehow providing both large cockpits, and roomy cabins. The new “First” racing yachts from Beneteau were very sleek and promised continued race favouritism.

And the catamarans… Seawind continues to impress by finessing their new models to provide unbelievable deck and cabin space. For the Seawind 1250, bigger than most people’s apartments.

And in the power boat sphere, (and lets say under 45 ft for those who don’t own a bank), check out some lovely new models from SeaRay and Bayliner. Like the cruising yachts, clever configurations maximising space for both the cockpit and cabin.

By June 17, 2010 Blog Comments Off

Young sailors attempt to beat Jessica Watson

After  Jessica Watson made history and become the official youngest ever solo sailor circumnavigate history by Sailing into Sydney Harbour Saturday morning (15th May 2010), there were a couple of teenagers around the world who wish to beat Jessica Watson record.

A YOUNG Californian sailor – Abby Sunderland was one of them who unfortunately failed in her attempt to beat Jessica watson record to be the youngest person to sail around the world solo. US teenager, Abby Sunderland dream came apart when she was forced to radio for emergency help when her yacht was dis-masted in huge storms in the Indian Ocean. She was later picked up by a French fishing vessel, and ultimately abandoned her stricken yacht.

Watch rescue efforts underway as the 16-year-old abandons her round-the-world quest:

By May 16, 2010 Blog Comments Off


Jessica Watson is now officially the youngest ever solo sailor circumnavigate history by Sailing into Sydney Harbour Saturday morning (15th May 2010) at approximately 1 pm. There was a huge number of yachts and boats to greet her. An official welcome was given by none less than the Prime Minister of Australia, Hon Kevin Rudd.

By May 13, 2010 Blog Comments Off


Jessica Watson known as the youngest to sail solo and unassisted around the world is poised to make history by Sailing into Sydney Harbour. Get yourself on a boat or yacht and greet her coming in through the heads on Saturday morning (15th May 2010) at approximately 11am. There is expected to be a huge flotilla of watercraft to welcome her.

Day 103  –

Christmas message from Jessica

By April 6, 2010 Blog Comments Off


Casino magnate James Packer’s new boat, Z Ellerston, has recently arrived in Sydney Harbour. It is a stunning 165ft Yacht manufactured by Italian shipbuilders, Mangusta, 50 metres long and capable of 37 knot speeds…the largest open-style motor yacht in the world!

James bought the second Mangusta 165 to come out of the Italian shipyard last year and after a summer cruising the smartest ports in the Med, the giant open yacht has NOW reached Australia.

According to, this stunning motor yacht was spotted heading out of Newcastle this week after being recommissioned following its voyage as deck cargo on a freighter from Europe. The yacht is expected to be permanently based Sydney but will probably be seen up and down the east coast with the changing seasons.

Named Z-Ellerston after Packer’s Hunter Valley property and his world-class polo team, the 165 foot yacht is driven by three, 4446hp engines that give it a top speed of 37 knots.

While he was waiting for the $50 million yacht to be launched, Packer was given a Mangusta 107 by the building company to keep him happy. The smaller boat is now expected to sold on the Australian or Asian markets rather than being shipped back to Europe.

From a distance, it looks like a sleek sports cruiser. It is only when observers get closer that its vast size becomes apparent. There are enormous deck spaces for entertaining, dining and sunning — but below there is another world. Don’t you wish you were in that boat now?