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Here’s my latest Tech Review in Yachting Times Magazine – America’s Bilingual Boating Magazine – Always available online!

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New Online Seminar – Safety at Sea with Marine VHF Digital Selective Calling

Marathon, FL, (March 21, 2012) – Capt. Marti Brown and Cruising Companion Publications are proud to release the first in a series of online seminars geared to boating safety entitled, “Safety at Sea With Marine VHF Digital Selective Calling.”

As the Coast Guard’s new marine radio network, Rescue 21, becomes operational throughout the U.S., rescue centers will have the ability to receive instant distress alerts from commonly used DSC-capable VHF marine radios; however, approximately 90 percent of VHF DSC distress alerts received by the Coast Guard do not contain position information, and approximately 60 percent do not contain a registered identity. The Coast Guard cannot effectively respond to a DSC distress alert sent from such a radio.

As a result, search and rescue efforts may normally be suspended when:

  • no communications with the distressed vessel can be established;
  • no further information or means of contacting the vessel can be obtained from other sources; and,
  • no position information is known.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Mariners are encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM radio as their primary means of distress alerting on the water. Communication via VHF-FM radio provides superior alerting capabilities over cellular phones.”

VHF-FM radios are manufactured today with DSC which provides the mariner with an emergency feature that will send a distress with the vessel’s information and Global Positioning System (GPS) location at the press of a button. The new safety course describes what Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is, how DSC fits into the US Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, how to program your DSC capable VHF radio and how to use its lifesaving and fun features.

The course can be accessed 24/7, can be viewed at the convenience of the student and is reasonably priced at $24.95.

To access this new and important information and to take the course, go to: http://www.idiyachts.com/online_seminars.htm

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About Captain Marti Brown: Capt. Marti’s widely acclaimed books include three easy to read textbooks on marine communications – Marine SSB Radio For “Idi-Yachts,” HF Radio E-Mail For “Idi-Yachts,” The ICOM M802 Radio Manual for “Idi-Yachts.” Capt. Marti’s books help make sense of marine electronics and keep the fun in boating! Don’t miss her newest book “Murder At Stacy’s Cove Marina,” – a nautical murder mystery.

For More Information Contact:
Capt. Marti Brown – captmarti@netzero.com,  www.idiyachts.com, 1-305-731-7315

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10 Green Boating Tips for Cruisers, Alternative Cleansers, Protecting the Waterwaysgreen-boating-leafboat

1. Choose Green Products: Look for the EPA-certified “Design for the Environment” (DfE) label, which assures you that the product has minimal environmental impact and is safer for the person using it. Benefit: Safer products. Reduce water pollution.

2. Use The Right Prop: Use a prop with the right pitch so your engine reaches its designed wide-open-throttle RPM. An adjustable-pitch propeller allows you to dial in the optimum pitch angle in single degrees. Modular props, let you swap props while keeping the same hub. Benefit: Reduce fuel consumption, improve performance. [ flexofold.com ].

3. Add Alternative Energy: Solar panels and wind generators are getting more affordable and smarter. Most systems can be self-installed and will reduce your fuel costs significantly. Benefit: Reduce Carbon footprint & Reduce fuel consumption. Go to www.emarineinc.com for good comparison of the two options.

4. Keep The Bilge Clean: Avoid the accidental discharge of oily water by using a sorbent in each bilge area. Consider a bioremediation product designed to convert hydrocarbons into safe compounds. Benefit: Safer products. Reduce water pollution

WestMarine.com5. Retire That 2-Stroke Outboard: Although it may be possible to get a few more years out of your old-technology outboard, you’ll be much happier with the reduced noise, fumes, fuel consumption, and pollution of a modern injected four-stroke outboard. For an even quieter ride, try an electric outboard. Benefit: Save gas and reduce water pollution.

6. Recycle your Lead-Acid Batteries: 12V batteries are among the most recycled products in the world. Benefit: Save money and conserve resources. [ earth911.com ].

7. Prevent Fuel Spills: Use or install a device to prevent overboard discharges from your tank vent. Benefit: Save gas and reduce water pollution

8. Use an autopilot: Modern autopilots can steer better than most helmspersons—and they don’t have a limited attention span. Benefit: Reduce fuel consumption

9. Recycle Your Monofilament Fishing Line. If your harbor doesn’t have a recycling location, see the website [ fishinglinerecycling.org ].

10. Eat Responsibly Harvested Seafood: Choose sustainable seafood at a restaurants or grocery stores to ensure that the fish stocks are plentiful for your children and for generations to come. Go to eartheasy.com/eat_sustainable_seafoods.htm  for informational guide.

endangered-planet-foundation

Support Yacht To Be Green!

More Tips:

Clean Boating at BoatUS Foundation


Florida Depart of Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Boating Practices

Vessel Cleaning:

Alternatives to Toxic Products

Product ➛ Alternative
Bleach ➛ Borax
Detergent & Soap ➛ Elbow grease
Scouring Powders ➛ Baking soda, or rub area with one-half lemon dipped in borax, then rinse
General Cleaner ➛ Baking soda and vinegar, or lemon juice combined with borax paste
Floor Cleaner ➛ One cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water
Window Cleaner ➛ One cup vinegar + 1 qt. warm water. Rinse and squeegee
Aluminum Cleaner ➛ 2 Tbsp. cream of tartar + 1 qt. of hot water
Brass Cleaner ➛ Worcestershire sauce, or paste made of equal amounts of salt, vinegar and water
Copper Cleaner ➛ Lemon juice and water, or paste of lemon juice, salt, and flour
Chrome Cleaner/Polish ➛ Apple cider vinegar to clean; baby oil to polish
Stainless Steel Cleaner ➛ Baking soda or mineral oil for polishing, vinegar to remove spots
Fiberglass Stain Remover ➛ Baking soda paste
Mildew Remover ➛ Paste with equal amounts of lemon juice and salt, or white vinegar and salt
Drain Opener ➛ Dissemble or use plumber’s snake, or flush with boiling water + one-quarter cup baking soda + one-quarter cup vinegar
Wood Polish ➛ Olive or almond oil (interior walls only)
Hand Cleaner ➛ Baby oil or margarine
Head & Shower ➛ Baking soda; brush thoroughly
Rug/Upholstery Cleaner ➛ Dry corn starch sprinkled on; vacuum

sailors-wo-borders

Support Sailors Without Borders

Protect the Oceans!

According to the Ocean Conservancy, there are five general ways boaters can protect our oceans and waterways, and conveniently enough, each of the five tips starts with a letter that ends up spelling the word “BOATS”.

Be a leader in your community. Talk about marine litter prevention with members of your boating community, from your neighbor in the next slip to boating clubs and marina managers.

Offer your time. Volunteer in boat and marina cleanup programs, especially at sites only accessible by boat. And participate in Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer effort of its kind for the ocean.

Accidents happen. Be prepared with absorbent pads to clean oil or fuel spills. Dish soap doesn’t work. It just causes those liquids to sink and contaminate the bottom.

Take it all back to shore. Don’t allow cigarette butts to go overboard; small but significant, they are the most prevalent marine litter item found during the International Coastal Cleanup. Dispose of them properly onshore.

Set the pace. Recycle everything you can, from beverage containers to propeller-snarling fishing line or plastic bags.

Read more at the Daily Boater

Of course the greenest thing sailors can do is to just…………Sail!

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The start of Race 1 on day 3

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Day three of the Rolex Regatta found me out on the water again, except I was not on a comfortable cat or a bouncy press boat. On Sunday I got to race! I accepted an invitation to sail on board Northern Child , the 51 Swan belonging to Brit Christian Reynolds and being chartered by Safe Passage Sailing. Though I came to shoot photos, it wasn’t long before I had to trade the camera for a winch handle! Scampering up to the high side as we tacked our way into position for the start of the first race around Pillsbury Sound, completing distance courses that explored the cays and islands off St. Thomas, I recalled my early racing “career” as a pre-teen in the Chesapeake. My Uncle George taught me the fine art of being rail meat, an experience I will never forget! Back then, we new our jobs and tried like hell not to get in the way or worse, yelled at. And that, my friends, is why I only sail with non-yellers!

nothernchild2-pullingThe crew of Northern Child (in the CSA Spinnaker 2 class) – seven very tough gals, were up against some pretty stiff competition. “Sailors came from around the globe, and each class had a good number of boats with impressive depth of competition,” said Regatta Director Bill Canfield. One of only two all female crews in this Regatta, Northern Child had a secret weapon in coach Suzette Smith.

“We’re going to sail a broad reach, so I want you all to think about what has to happen next. How will the sails be trimmed? Where do you need to be?” Suzette called out to us. Her calm tones gave instant clarity and assured us that we did know how to do it. I have to give Suzette tons of credit. It’s not easy to take a group of strangers with varying degrees of experience and turn them into a well-oiled racing team after just two days of practice. Two days! “By Sunday, something clicks in your head and you’re starting to anticipate the next move rather than wait to be instructed,” one participant told me. “It’s too bad we’re not racing next week as well, now that we’ve got it!”

Safe Passage Sailing lived up to it’s mission: To provide opportunities for the intermediate to advanced sailor to participate in celebrated sailing events, around the U.S. and in international waters and to provide an exciting and fulfilling experience for those in pursuit of adventure, knowledge and growth.” After sailing just two races with this crew,it was clear to me that every single one of them had learned something, either about racing or about themselves. Most likely, both!

And the Winners Are…

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Antelope. Photo:N.Birnbaum

With today’s two victories to add to an already perfect score line, Willem Wester’s (SUI) Grand Soleil 43 Antilope made an impressive showing in the nine-boat IRC 2 class, earning Wester a Rolex Explorer timepiece as prize. (Timepieces were also awarded to IRC 1 class, the top performer among CSA Spinnaker classes and IC 24 one-design class.)

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Antelope's Skipper Bouwe Bekking and his wife. Photo:N.Birnbaum

“This was our first time to this part of the world,” said Wester, who has won Cowes Week the last two years aboard Antilope and sailed with a crew from Belgium and Holland that included veteran Volvo Ocean Race skipper Bouwe Bekking, who called tactics, and Olympian Philippe Bergmans, who steered.

For Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.), being a seasoned professional didn’t take anything away from his experience here.  The winning skipper from the 2007 America’s Cup (Alinghi) crewed aboard Richard Oland’s (New Brunswick, CAN) Southern Cross Vela Veloce while Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke steered. The team finished second in IRC 1 class, conceding to Jim Swartz’s (Park City, Utah) TP52 Vesper/Team Moneypenny, which won all but one of six races.

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Elandra of Hamble battles Northern Child & Affinity. Photo:N.Birnbaum

In the CSA Spinnaker 2 class, Calvin Reed’s (Tampa, Fla.) Beneteau First 40.7 Elandra of Hamble won top honors as they fended off who they considered their #1 competition, Richard Wesslund’s (Miami, Fla.) J/120 El Ocaso, which slipped to third place overall after posting a 5-4 today.

Of course, it’s not just about the winners. Northern Child, with their neophyte racers working their magic managed to finish in the middle of the pack. Not bad! Congrats to all of you! I hope I helped a little bit!

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Winner celebrate with watches. Photo:N.Birnbaum

FINAL RESULTS

International Rolex Regatta 2011

Day 3

IC 24 (One Design – 16 Boats)
1. Team INTAC JV, IC 24, William Bailey , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 6, 3, 3, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 6, 2, 4, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, ; 51
2. Orion, IC 24, Fraito Lugo , Ponce, PR, USA – 5, 2, 7, 2, 11, 8, 1, 2, 5, 3, 7, 3, 9, 4, 2, 3, 1, ; 75
3. Soggy Dollar BVI, IC 24, Chris Cuerreri , St. Thomas , USVI – 2, 8, 2, 12, 3, 4, 4, 7, 1, 12, 9, 4, 2, 1, 3, 2, 6, ; 82

CSA Spinnaker 1 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Team INTAC/CROWLEY, Melges 32, Mark Plaxton , Sea Cows Bay, Tortola, BVI – 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, ; 9
2. Budget Marine/GILL , Melges 24, Andrea Scarabelli , Cole Bay, St. Maarten, AHO – 3, 1, 4, 1, 2, 4, ; 15
3. Jurakan, Melges 32, David West , Road Town, Tortola, BVI – 2, 3, 1, 4, 4, 3, ; 17

CSA Spinnaker 2 (CSA – 11 Boats)
1. Elandra of Hamble, Beneteau First 40.7, Calvin Reed , Tampa, FL, USA – 3, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, ; 12
2. Smile and Wave, Beneteau First 40, Jaime Torres , San Juan, PR, USA – 6, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, ; 17
3. El Ocaso, J 120, Richard Wesslund , Miami, FL, USA – 4, 1, 3, 2, 5, 4, ; 19

CSA Spinnaker 3 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Wild At Heart, JOD 35, Timothy Molony , New Orleans, LA, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 7
2. Otrakosa, J 80, Kike Gonzalez , San Juan, PR, USA – 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, ; 11
3. Mag 7, J 27, Paul Davis , Charlotte amalie, VI, USA – 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, ; 21

CSA Non-Spinnaker (CSA – 10 Boats)
1. Lost Horizon, J 122, James Dobbs , Falmouth, ANT – 5, 1, 1, 1, 2, ; 10
2. Cayennita Grande, J 36, Antonio Sanpere , Christiansted, VI, USA – 2, 2, 2, 3, 1, ; 10
3. Bonne Chance, Beneteau First 35s5, Bernardo Gonzalez , Dorado, PR, USA – 1, 3, 3, 2, 3, ; 12
IRC 1 (IRC – 6 Boats)
1. Vesper, TP 52, James Swartz , Park City, Utah, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 7
2. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross 52, Richard Oland , Saint John, NB, CAN – 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, ; 14
3. Interlodge, JV 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA – 1, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, ; 17

IRC 2 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. Antilope, Grand Soleil 43, Willem Wester , Breskens, Zeeland, NED – 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 6
2. Three Harkoms, Oceanis 44, James Hudleston , St. petersburg, FL, USA – 2, 4, 2, 4, 3, 2, ; 17
3. Arethusa, Club Swan 42, Phil Lotz , Newport, RI, USA – 3, 2, 3, 2, 4, 4, ; 18
Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 9 Boats)
1. Universal, Hobie 16, Jorge L Ramos , San Juan, PR, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 6
2. Time Out, Hobie 16, John Holmberg , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 3, 2, 3, 2, 2, ; 12
3. Island Girl, Hobie 16, Teri McKenna , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 5, 3, 5, 3, 3, ; 19

Results and more from Media Pro International and RolexCupRegatta.com.

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YourCruisingEditor onboard Northen Child, 2011

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St Thomas YC

St Thomas YC -Home of the Rolex Regatta

Thirty eight years ago the first International Rolex Regatta took place in St. Thomas and so began a long tradition that endures to this day.  With 71 boats signed up, the 2011 International Rolex Regatta began on Friday, March 25, and ran through Sunday, March 27. Attracting some “Big Guns,” such as Boewe Bekking, Gavin Brady, Ed Baird, Steve Benjamin, Richard Clarke and Chris Larson aboard the keelboats, but those veteran professionals were by no means guaranteed victory-or a good time-in the eight classes, which included two for IRC, four for CSA, and one each for IC 24s and Beach Cats. They were up against some first timers who would give them a run for their money!

First up on the three-day race schedule – some colorful “town races” that started at St. Thomas Yacht Club and finished in Charlotte Amalie Harbour at lunchtime before starting up again for a return to the Yacht Club.

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Kialoa V, Big Booty & Spirit of Juno on downwind run

Getting out in the midst of the action, I hopped on a 26 footer, “press boat” with Capt John and some fellow photographers. With bumpy conditions and a lovely tradewinds breeze, we found a good spot to view the start of the first race, on the east end of St Thomas and just off St James Island. I was attempting to pick out two particular yachts, each racing in different classes and with various start times. It was good to have a seasoned Rolex Regatta photographer onboard with us to help direct, as this was my first time.

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Sailors check the courses at the Yacht Club

The International Rolex Regatta is one of the top sailing events on the island circuit with competitors coming from as far away as the UK and The Netherlands, and sailors lucky enough to win the top classes can also take home a Rolex Explorer watch. Parties are legendary, including a Saturday evening reggae music and food fete at Yacht Haven Grande, adding the requisite luxury backdrop and an unforgettable prize giving event on Sunday hosted by Rolex.  Racing includes a mix of short courses and long distance races that take place off St. Thomas Yacht Club and along the waterfronts of St. Thomas and St. John.

“With dependable trade winds, great racing is assured, and we work hard to make it easy for sailors and their families to participate,” said Regatta Co-Director Bill Canfield, explaining that the St. Thomas Yacht Club is the central meeting place for breakfast each morning and socializing after racing.

“One of our traditions is the ‘town race’ on Friday, where the entire fleet races from the east end of St. Thomas right to the heart of the bustling commercial harbor of Charlotte Amalie,” added Canfield. “Once the fleet has finished, we start them again for the race back home. The spectacle of a mass of colorful spinnakers against the backdrop of the surrounding hills of  St. Thomas makes for postcard perfect photos and give the locals, as well as others who are visiting, an opportunity to see St. Thomas’ beautiful and historic capital in it’s historic racing glory.

spinnakers on the horizon

A Beautiful Day for Racing!

Racing is rounded out on the weekend by a mix of island races and windward/leewards designed to test skills and showcase the stunning shoreline. Classes include IRC, CSA (Spinnaker Racing, Spinnaker Racing/Cruising and Non-Spinnaker Racing), One-Design IC 24s (Melges) and Beach Cats. It has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club since 1974, making it the oldest regatta in Rolex’s portfolio of international sailing events. The Rolex portfolio includes famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

From (in part) Media Pro International and RegattaNews.com.

Photos by Nancy Birnbaum, 2011

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dockwise-sailboats

Photo: Onne Vanderwal

Dockwise Yacht Transport (DYT) will be orchestrating the transport of 20 private cruising yachts from Salalah, Oman to Marmaris, Turkey in April.  The company, best known for its fleet of semi-submersible “float-on/float-off” yacht carriers, also coordinates lift-on/lift-off arrangements with third-party carriers, and logistically can fulfill almost any request, even if it is driven by unfortunate circumstances.

“Due to increased piracy, cruising sailors are altering their plans for getting from southeastern Asia to the Mediterranean,” said DYT President Clemens van der Werf.  “By virtue of their independent and adventurous nature, some of these sailors had not previously thought about shipping as an alternative, but they are thinking differently now.  Dockwise is committed to assisting them in all phases of learning about the process and then implementing a plan so they can ship to designated ports rather than travel through dangerous waters on their own.”

DYT President Clemens van der Werf. Photo: N.Birnbaum

Van der Werf explained that in mid-February four Americans, on board a sailboat hijacked by pirates off the coast of Oman, were killed by their captors, and more recently, Somali pirates took hostage seven Danes, including three children, after hijacking their yacht off the Somali coast.

“These attacks on private cruising yachts are deeply disturbing and are an assault on our collective yachting family,” said van der Werf, emphasizing that for more than two decades, Dockwise Yacht Transport has been working one-on-one with owners, captains and crews to ensure safe and efficient passages by way of shipping.  “We will do all we can to help sailors meet their needs, utilizing extensive shipping routes and schedules used by our own Dockwise vessels as well as our alliances with heavy-lift operators around the world.”

From BYM Industry News

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Commander David G. McClellan, Chief of the United States Coast Guard Prevention Operations Department, has released a statement in response to the incident involving the death of four hostages aboard the S/Y Quest on 18th February 2011.

The statement is directed to all mariners considering, or in contact with, parties planning to sail in the Gulf of Aden or Arabian Sea. It reads:

R 041954Z MAR 11
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CG-54//
TO ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N16210//
ALCOAST 084/11
COMDTNOTE 16210
SUBJ: SPECIAL NOTICE TO MARINER (NTM) FOR US YACHTS AND SAILING VESSELS REGARDING PIRACY OFF THE COAST OF SOMALIA

1. ON 18 FEB 11, A U.S. REGISTERED SAILING VESSEL WITH 4 US CITIZENS ON BOARD WAS HIJACKED BY SOMALI PIRATES IN THE ARABIAN SEA, 282NM SE OF SUR, OMAN.  DURING NEGOTIATIONS FOR RELEASE OF THE VESSEL, THE 4 US CITIZENS ONBOARD WERE KILLED.

2. THE EXTREME HAZARDS OF OPERATING OFF THE COAST OF SOMALIA IN THE GULF OF ADEN AND THE ARABIAN SEA SOUTH TO THE MOZAMBIQUE CHANNEL AND EAST TO THE COAST OF INDIA, REQUIRES IMMEDIATE EDUCATION OF THE RISK TO ANY U.S. REGISTERED PLEASURE VESSEL OPERATING IN THESE WATERS OR U.S. CITIZENS PLANNING TO TRANSIT THESE AREAS ON FOREIGN FLAG REGISTERED PLEASURE VESSELS.

3. A SPECIAL NOTICE TO MARINERS WARNING VESSEL OPERATORS OF THIS RISK HAS BEEN RELEASED THROUGH THE NAVCENS WEBSITE
(HTTP://WWW.NAVCEN.USCG.GOV/) AND THROUGH DISTRICT LOCAL NOTICES TO MARINERS.  THE SPECIAL NOTICE HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO NATIONAL BOATING FEDERATION, NASBLA, US SAIL, BOAT US, US POWER SQUADRON, AND OTHER BOATING/YACHTING ENTHUSIAST GROUPS TO POST OR LINK THROUGH THEIR  WEB SITES OR PUBLISH IN THEIR NEWSLETTERS, TWITTER-FACEBOOK OR BLOG POSTS, OR MONTHLY MAGAZINES.
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4. OCEANGOING SAILING VESSEL RALLIES AND U.S. PLEASURE VESSELS INVOLVED IN CIRCUMNAVIGATION VOYAGES MAY BE UNAWARE OF THE EXTREME RISK TO LIFE AND VESSELS OPERATING OFF THE EAST COAST OF AFRICA.  THE SUBJECT NTM WAS SPECIFICALLY RELEASED TO REINFORCE THESE IMPORTANT CONCERNS AND TO PROVIDE CONTACT INFORMATION TO DIRECTLY SUPPORT THE SAILOR IN THAT THEY MAY HAVE OR PLAN VOYAGES THROUGH THESE HIGH RISK WATERS.
THE WIDEST DESEMINATION (SIC) OF THIS NTM TO THE PUBLIC AND US REGISTERED OCEAN YACHT OPERATORS IS IMPERATIVE.

5. DISTRICT AND UNIT RECREATIONAL BOATING SPECIALISTS, AND UNIT AUXILIARISTS SHOULD ENSURE WIDEST DISSEMINATION/EDUCATION OF THIS NTM AND TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO MEET  WITH  YACHTING CENTER MANAGERS AND  POST/DISTRIBUTE THE SUBJECT DOCUMENT DIRECTLY TO YACHT OPERATORS/OWNERS WHO COULD BE PLANNING FUTURE CIRCUMNAVIGATION VOYAGES.

From www.synfo.com.

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