The new owner has done some wonderful things with a Marina since he acquired it, including the construction of a new club house. What is not commonly known locally is that there have been various issues regarding the local sailing club’s use of the facility which despite the club having relinquished its  old “shed” some time ago, had not been formally resolved with Marina owners as landlords. As a lay club member, I had no direct involvement in that.  Late last summer, The Marina quite rightly required the sailing club to finalise and formalise  arrangements. I will not go into detail here but the proposal was such to incite me as a member to attend the club’s AGM in November and express my strong dissatisfaction with that proposal, which I did. The AGM subsequently resolved to agree to an alternative financial proposal tabled at the AGM by the Marina which was far more acceptable.

Also at the AGM, the officer elections required the posts of the Commodore, Vice Commodore and two of the three Rear Commodores to be elected / re-elected. All of the incumbents declined to stand for re-election. A past commodore  (with some reluctance) volunteered to stand temporarily (1 year) as commodore and I (again reluctantly in glaring absence of any other volunteers) took on the role as his Vice. The other two roles were also “reluctantly” filled eventually by volunteers from the assembly but it would be true to say that there was generally no enthusiasm involved despite the large AGM attendance.

At the first meeting of the new committee, as VC I proposed that the relationship between the sailing club  and the  Marina owners should be put onto a more formal legal basis that the previous “handshake” type arrangement that had existed with regard to the old club house. Again I will not go into detail here but there was a certain amount of objection to the concept from one of the Flag Officers and one of the lay committee members in particular. The Marina owners were subsequently asked to provide a document outlining their requirements for the relationship which was duly received a few days later along with an invoice for the club house use. No problem there except that certain statements within the proposal indicated to me that the committee should discuss the content and its implications prior to finalising the agreement to ensure that the interests of the sailing club were not being compromised etc. i.e. Ensuring that the interests of the sailing club members were being protected so far as possible.

The commodore was abroad for medical treatment but saw the same implications as I and left instructions that the committee should consider and debate the contents of the document. This is where the problems began.

As VC it was clearly now my responsibility to organise the Commodore’s sensible direction. To facilitate this (early December) I wrote to the committee (by email) with my personal analysis of the document in the hope of generating some sort of email correspondence group debate. In view of the nature of the subject, I intentionally (and stated as such in the letter) omitted the  Marina owner (who at that time sat on the committee as a lay member) from the circulation list owing to the clear (in my view) conflict of interest.

What I then received was a series of abusive, slanderous, character assassinating emails from one of the Flag Officers. As result, I declined to attend the following committee meeting unless I received an apology, which I did not (neither have I since). I was then asked to attend a further committee meeting which I again declined as it was clear that the individual’s actions were not going to be challenged in any significant way by the committee in general. I should state at this point that the Commodore and various other committee members did agree with my perspective but (for reasons which again I shall not state here) were not able to strongly and effectively voice their views.

Thus I was left with no other option than to seriously consider my position within the sailing club. Membership renewals are due by 1st January. Having delayed my renewal pending the outcome of this matter, I reluctantly decided after 19 years of membership that the only course of action open to me was to decline the renewal invitation and consequently void my role within the committee. It is important to understand that from my perspective, I have not resigned from the sailing club, I was constructively removed from the membership by the unacceptable actions of the flag officer in question.

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Cheating Sleep – Tips To Stay Awake
Published: January 16th, 2010 by John | SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Let’s face it, mariners need to be experts in sleep and be able to stay away on even the longest watch. From split watch schedules to operations requiring “All hands On Deck” sleep not only comes at a premium but is a critically important factor in accident prevention and remaining healthy. To highlight these issues we have brought you many articles on the subject including the popular “Night Shift A Cause Of Cancer” and “Get Some Sleep! Accident Photo Of The Week“. We will continue the series with tips on how to cheat sleep.

Editorial Note: Sleep loss and driving ships is a deadly combination. We don’t suggest you ever attempt to cheat sleep, we simply hope to broaden your knowledge in the subject.
The Basics Of Sleep

Quality not quantity. No matter how much your mother tells you that you need eight hours of sleep, if you’re not tired and you can’t truly relax, your sleep time will be worthless.

The key factor is the number of complete sleep cycles we enjoy. Each sleep cycle contains five distinct phases, which exhibit different brain- wave patterns. For our purposes, it suffices to say that one sleep cycle lasts an average of 90 minutes:

* 65 minutes of normal, or non-REM (rapid eye movement), sleep
* 20 minutes of REM sleep (in which we dream)
* Final 5 minutes of non-REM sleep.

Source: CentACS


00-04 Watchkeepers: Maximize “Core Sleep”

“Core sleep” is a variant of Uberman sleep that adds a block of sleep, usually several hours, to the Uberman schedule, replacing one or two naps. (This term is also sometimes used to describe accidental oversleep by someone following Uberman, though one will more likely see the term “crash”, and occasionally “reboot”.) Another variant is called Everyman sleep schedule. Buckminster Fuller advocated Dymaxion Sleep, a regimen consisting of 30 minute naps every six hours. A short article was published about this schedule in the October 11, 1943 issue of Time Magazine. According to this article, he followed this schedule for two years, but after that had to quit because “his schedule conflicted with that of his business associates, who insisted on sleeping like other men.”

Source: Wired How-To

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Keys to the Midday Nap

A successful midday nap depends on two things: timing and (no kidding) caffeine consumption. Experiments performed at Loughborough University in the UK showed that the sleep-deprived need only a cup of coffee and 15 minutes of shut-eye to feel amazingly refreshed.

1. Right before you crash, down a cup of java. The caffeine has to travel through your gastro-intestinal tract, giving you time to nap before it kicks in.

2. Close your eyes and relax. Even if you only doze, you’ll get what’s known as effective microsleep, or momentary lapses of wakefulness.

3. Limit your nap to 15 minutes. A half hour can lead to sleep inertia, or the spinning down of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which handles functions like judgment. This gray matter can take 30 minutes to reboot.

Source: Wired

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Tips To Optimizing Sleep Value

* Do not take sleeping pills. This includes over-the-counter pills and melatonin.
* Don’t go to bed until you’re sleepy. If you have trouble sleeping, try going to bed later or getting up earlier.
* Get up at the same time every morning, even after a bad night’s sleep. The next night, you’ll be sleepy at bedtime.
* If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep, get out of bed and return only when you are sleepy.
* Avoid worrying, watching TV, reading scary books, and doing other things in bed besides sleeping and sex. If you worry, read thrillers or watch TV, do that in a chair that’s not in the bedroom.
* Do not drink or eat anything caffeinated within six hours of bedtime.
* Avoid alcohol. It’s relaxing at first but can lead to insomnia when it clears your system.
* Spend time outdoors. People exposed to daylight or bright light therapy sleep better.

Source: Live Science

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Foods For Sleep

An all- carbohydrate snack, especially one high in junk sugars, is less likely to help you sleep. You’ll miss out on the sleep-inducing effects of tryptophan, and you may set off the roller-coaster effect of plummeting blood sugar followed by the release of stress hormones that will keep you awake. The best bedtime snack is one that has both complex carbohydrates and protein, and perhaps some calcium. Calcium helps the brain use the tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.

These are foods high in the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan:
# Dairy products: cottage cheese, cheese, milk
# Soy products: soy milk, tofu, soybean nuts
# Seafood
# Meats
# Poultry
# Whole grains

Foods that are high in carbohydrates and calcium, and medium-to-low in protein also make ideal sleep-inducing bedtime snacks. Some examples:
# apple pie and ice cream (my favorite)
# whole-grain cereal with milk
# hazelnuts and tofu
# oatmeal and raisin cookies, and a glass of milk
# peanut butter sandwich, ground sesame seeds

Meals that are high in carbohydrates and low-to-medium in protein will help you relax in the evening and set you up for a good night’s sleep. Try the following “dinners for sleep”:
# pasta with parmesan cheese
# scrambled eggs and cheese
# tofu stirfry
# hummus with whole wheat pita bread
# seafood, pasta, and cottage cheese
# meats and poultry with veggies

Source: Dr. Sears

Cheating Sleep Tips To Stay Awake
Become an Early Riser

It’s hard to become an early riser using the wrong strategy. But with the right strategy, it’s relatively easy.

The most common wrong strategy is this: You assume that if you’re going to get up earlier, you’d better go to bed earlier. So you figure out how much sleep you’re getting now, and then just shift everything back a few hours. If you now sleep from midnight to 8am, you figure you’ll go to bed at 10pm and get up at 6am instead. Sounds very reasonable, but it will usually fail. The solution is to go to bed when you’re sleepy (and only when sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). I always get up at the same time (in my case 5am), but I go to bed at different times every night.

After a few days of using this approach, I found that my sleep patterns settled into a natural rhythm. If I got too little sleep one night, I’d automatically be sleepier earlier and get more sleep the next night. And if I had lots of energy and wasn’t tired, I’d sleep less. My body learned when to knock me out because it knew I would always get up at the same time and that my wake-up time wasn’t negotiable.

A side effect was that on average, I slept about 90 minutes less per night, but I actually felt more well-rested. I was sleeping almost the entire time I was in bed.

Source: Steve Pavlina

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Sleeping Blogosphere Posts:

* Top 10 Ways to Sleep Smarter and Better
* Everything You Wanted To Know About Sleep
* 40 Amazing Facts About Sleep
* Funny Sleep Photos
* Sleeping In Airports Guide
* Night Shift Cancer Concerns
* Do Whales Sleep?

Sleep Reading List

* Nature on Sleep
* How Stuff Works: Sleep
* The Sleep Industrial Complex
* Lifehacker’s Sleep Posts

Sleep Gadgets

* The Sun Alarm
* Sleeptracker Watch
* Dreamate Biofeedback

The case for derating risk
The captain of an aircraft would never have found himself in the position of a master or pilot in these marginal conditions because he would have had the decision taken by others
Michael Grey – Monday 3 August 2009

AS HAD long been expected, John Cota, the San Francisco Bar pilot who was on the bridge of the Cosco Busan when it collided with the Bay Bridge on November 7, 2007, has been sentenced to 10 months in a US federal prison.
He is, of course, no longer licensed and cannot pilot any other ship, while his professional and personal ruin is self-evident. The custodial sentence might be thought of as the icing on the cake by those in California who have been loudly demanding societal vengeance for this man’s environmental crimes. Many of them will consider the term ridiculously lenient. The managers of the ship, Fleet Management (Hong Kong), are yet to stand trial under the same environmental indictments, along with charges of false statements and obstructing justice. They will have their time in court in September.
Capt Cota, whose long piloting and seafaring career has ended in such an inglorious fashion, might be thought of as just one of the many people who have seen their careers and lives blighted by this marine accident, a word which has ceased to have much meaning these days. The clear and perfect wisdom of hindsight granted to all sorts of seers, experts, environmental groups and politicians after the incident on that fog-shrouded day distributed the blame widely. From the bridge team aboard the containership to the US Coast Guard officers responsible for the reaction and clean-up, all saw their actions publicly condemned.
It is always dangerous to comment on these cases from a distance, but with all the remarks by prosecutors and lawyers emphasising the depth and degree of the pilot’s guilt, there appears to be a certain lack of understanding of what it is actually like to be involved in the acute balance of risk that is part and parcel of many maritime manoeuvres.
I would like to be assured that the lawyers, who are not involved themselves in a risky profession, can actually comprehend something of what passes through the minds of pilots and shipmasters as they weigh up commercial against actual risk on a daily basis. There is clearly little or no understanding in the wider world, from the aggrieved Bay inhabitants who fail to make any connection between the ships that come through the Golden Gate and the goods that they buy in their malls. They think that ships handle like cars and anyone who threatens the life of a Brown Pelican should be in Alcatraz for life. Politicians pontificate and greens rage.
I would like to think that there was rather more understanding in the minds of judges and prosecutors about the sort of consensual processes involved in the master/pilot relationship, which is often really quite complex. I sailed with masters who were determined to be old rather than be bold, but that was another age, when the decision of the master was never questioned by some young twit in an office, wanting to know when he was going to sail, and possibly even uttering threats against the master’s continued employment. When a decision to slow down in fog was accepted completely, regardless of how many gangs of dockers were going to be idle, or the number of disappointed consignees waiting anxiously for their cargo might be. Life regrettably has moved on from that halcyon age.
Capt Cota and the master of the ship, it is revealed from the transcripts of their conversations (which I did read), agreed to sail that ship on that foggy morning. Capt Cota may have made incorrect judgements about the fog, but the two of them seemed to agree that the risk was an acceptable one. They made this judgement in good faith; after all, the pilot had operated in the Bay since 1981 and knew his harbour like the back of his hand, so any sensible modern-day master, burdened with 21st century pressures, would have judged.
I guess we will have to wait until the trial of the managers to get their side of the story. Certainly the official accident investigation seems to distribute the blame rather wider than the pilot, with issues of language and communication, equipment unfamiliarity and the adequacy of the bridge team all being regarded as contributors. But we don’t need to go there today.
My over-arching question after the conviction of the pilot, and which is not unassociated with the widespread enthusiasm for criminal proceedings in such accidents, is that if individuals are to suffer so greatly for taking operational risks once considered normal, isn’t it high time that these risks were de-rated?
Turning to aviation as a comparator, the captain of an aircraft would never ever have found himself in the position of a shipmaster or pilot in these marginal conditions, because, quite simply, he would have had the decision taken by others. Fixed criteria would have determined the opening or closure of an airfield for that particular aircraft, and there would have been no argument, no matter how angry the airline or passengers were.
You might say that harbourmasters are already given wide powers to close their ports in conditions that they believe to be dangerous. But where in the case of aviation, the control tower makes the decision and brooks no interference, the harbourmaster is in not such a happy situation.
Perhaps it is the culture of the risk-taking shipping industry, but if a harbourmaster takes the decision to close a port, you can guarantee all sorts of people who know better than he will be demanding that a special case is made for their ship. I am not exaggerating either. I have chapter and verse from a harbourmaster friend who relayed to me the actual threats made to him by some important customer who was outraged when he closed the port because of very severe weather. If he did not open the port, he was likely to lose the not insignificant amount of business from this important owner. And if you read this, chum, I know who you are!
So perhaps harbourmasters, pilots and shipmasters all need unequivocal protection against those who would apply both overt and insidiously implied pressure to the judgement of professionals. Whatever else it did, such would enable them to derate the risk and increase safety margins. Let’s face it, we are surely in less of a rush than we were in November 2007. But I fear that we would have to make it a crime to apply such pressure, to stop the people putting on the squeeze in accordance with the prevailing industry culture.
BUT there are other issues that come to the fore in the aftermath of the prosecution of Capt Cota. There are ports elsewhere in the world which would routinely provide rather more positive advice about the wisdom of setting sail, and which have Vessel Traffic Services able to provide ongoing assistance in a poor visibility passage, working in a co-operative advisory stance with the moving ship, the identity of which is made happily clear by AIS.
There are ports where the pilots carry their own lightweight, self-contained navigational systems, with dynamic traffic and tidal conditions not perhaps available to the ship’s equipment. This equipment has come a long way since the enormous and heavy navigation systems that were helicoptered out with the pilots to the very large cruise carriers arriving at Rotterdam.
There has been a lot of argument about liabilities and whether the ship’s team is disenfranchised by the pilot’s laptop, but I suggest that the balance is heavily weighted in its use. Such is the variety and complexity of ship systems, made infinitely harder by the wide variety of electronic charts and integrated navigational systems in use, that the pilot’s box of tricks, which he is able usually to check by looking out the window, is surely preferable to a confused conversation with an officer over whether the radar is tuned properly, or the identity of the symbols on an electronic chart that the pilot has never seen before.
So there are possibly things that can be done to make ships safer in hazardous situations, and help to reduce the risk to the individuals who will suffer if things go wrong. But until those things are in place I don’t think that people like Capt Cota ought to go to prison for their mistakes. A pilot, swinging a gigantic ship off a berth in a wind and a tide, is making dozens of judgement calls every minute, just as is a master feeling his way into a crowded anchorage. They are in the risk business and it is a bold prosecutor who would suggest that their actions have been negligent or irresponsible.
The trouble is that there are indeed legions of bold prosecutors, fired up by greens and politicians, who are anxious to demonstrate their zeal at bringing these maritime malefactors to book. They see these prosecutions as a duty, but are really reflecting the changing mores of society, which mariners badly need to realise and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
“The court’s sentence of John Cota should serve as a deterrent to shipping companies and mariners who think violating the environmental laws that protect our nation’s waterways will go undetected or unpunished,” said US Attorney for the Northern District of California, Joseph Russoniello. Did Capt Cota and the master of the Cosco Busan really consider whether they were violating the environmental laws when they took the decision to leave the safety of the berth? I would venture to suggest that they thought the risk of getting the big ship to sea without bumping into anything was reasonable. As for a deterrent, I would suggest that many professionals would merely agree that the custodial sentence is both pointless and cruel. Nice soundbite, but pull the other one, Joseph.

The Maritime Executive Magazine :: Game Changer: Reflecting on the COSCO BUSAN Debacle ::

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UK minister weighs in on pilotage standards
Sandra Speares, Lloyds List- Wednesday 29 July 2009
HARBOUR authorities have no legal requirement to provide pilotage services to the “highest possible standard” at all times, according to UK shipping minister Paul Clark, writes Sandra Speares .
Responding to concerns raised on the issue of safe pilotage by Barrie Youde of solicitors RA Wilkinson & Co, Mr Clark said the Department for Transport “does not accept that there is a legal requirement for all competent harbour authorities — a harbour authority that runs a pilotage services — to provide this service to the highest possible standard at all time, with no exemptions or scope for compromise”.
The minister made his remarks in a letter to shadow shipping minister Julian Brazier.
The phrase “highest possible standard” was used by Mr Justice David Steel in his judgment in the Sea Empress trial in Cardiff Crown Court in 1999.
The minister said that given the context, it “seems unlikely” that the phrase was “intended to set a common law precedent for all harbour authorities, in the way that Mr Youde suggests”.
In his 1999 judgment, Mr Justice Steel identified a particular obligation to compulsory pilotage, Mr Youde said in his reply to Mr Clark’s letter.
The judge said: “The significance of these matters is all the greater in the context of a scheme of compulsory pilotage. Shipowners and masters must engage a pilot. They have to take the training, experience and expertise of the pilot provided at face value.
“While the master remains nominally in command, it has to be recognised that the pilot had the ‘con’ and a master can only intervene when a situation of danger has clearly arisen. The port authority imposes a charge for pilotage but in the same breath has the added advantage of the pilot being treated for the purposes of civil liability as an employee of the shipowner.
“All this calls for the highest possible standards on the part of the port authority.”
According to Mr Youde, breach of the obligation was identified by the judge as “the primary aggravating factor in assessing the penalty, as a matter of strict liability, in the criminal prosecution of the port authority”.
Milford Haven Port Authority was fined £4m ($6.6m) after the Sea Empress spill, although this amount was reduced on appeal.
Mr Youde maintains the judge’s observations “identified a general rule of common law, in specific terms and with reasons fully and clearly explained. It obviously cannot be said that the same principle should not apply with equal effect in other pilotage areas.”
In his letter, the minister said that while maintaining high standards should be the goal of all harbour authorities, “these can only be determined given the variety of the ports that employ pilots on a case-by-case basis”.

95% of the worlds trade is conducted by sea.
clipped from uk.youtube.com

Practical Methods of sailing Traditional Maltese Craft

By Ian Kingsley-Brown.

This link will enlighten you if you have any interest in the operation of traditional sailing vessels.