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The reality, and some good solutions

by John Curnow, Editor, 13 Feb 21:00 UTC
Debris lining the shores of an inhabited island © Jenevora Swann

If you read these pages, even irregularly, then you'll know we are more than onto the scourge that is plastic. Our good friend from the Ocean Cruising Club, Daria Blackwell, is more than aware of this. So when they got behind Steve Brown's Coastal Clean-Up Campaign, we were more than happy to spread the word.

So having kicked off, with the website now live, the first real test was the OCC Suzie Too Rally in the Western Caribbean. Suzanne Chappell, the organiser of the second rally from Curacao to Panama confirmed the participation of the 60 yachts and their crews in the Coastal Clean-up initiative.

Jenevora Swann was one of the participants in that rally and the clean up. She also came up with and documented some terrific ways to deal with the issue of what to do with all the waste once it had been collected, which is the biggest problem facing cruisers who help out. In addition to that, her impassioned plea to consider your greater presence on this earth is a lovely, timely, inspiring and motivating read.

Like all things, you often take away one thing from something you attend or read. For me, the use of one plastic bottle to hold all the wrappers and other plastic waste was such a clever and simple solution, that I was partially annoyed that I had not thought of it myself. Yet the dedication and work that they did in collecting, sorting, cleaning and then transporting waste to the appropriate facility is not only commendable, but in a way seems like mandatory work for cruisers.

Yet it was the insightful look into the practices of burning off, by both cruisers and local communities alike that really got me thinking. Yes, paying local youths to attend to your rubbish is a good thing economically, but when they either just dump it again further down the beach, or worse still, actually pour it into the ocean, then really, what are we achieving?!

I remember many cruisers making their own yoghurt in recyclable containers, and now with beeswax-imbued cloths more readily available to replace cling fling film, then the reality is we should not be leaving that much behind ourselves. That we have to clean up after others is a debate that will rage on. Just ask any dog walker about not only picking up after their dog during a walk on the beach, but someone else's too, and then there's the rubbish left by non-locals/ice cream lickers, which fills another bag.

Still, if we are to be lucky enough to be in these types of places, enjoying all they have to offer, then maybe it is just a small tax we have to pay to assist with the greater good.

At any rate, thanks Jenevora. I loved your take on it all, which you can read for yourself in, The Plastic War In San Blas.

Finally then, in addition to the website, there is also the Coastal Clean-up Facebook page, and it now seems that the Down Under Rally has also joined the Coastal Clean-Up programme, so I reckon there will be some news on that soon enough. Daria tells me that, "They've come up with a great slogan with which to hook cruisers into helping out." Sounds good to me. Thank you to all for making a difference.

During the course of the last week, we had a comment on one of our videos, which formed part of the full review of the terrific Seawind 1260. PJ Lee asked, "What an awesome cat John. These Seawinds are truly some thing to see. I'm told they sail exceptionally well too. I have my eye on one of these for sure. One question for you. When sailing at night is there a problem with the lights in the saloon reflecting off windows and diminishing visibility in general? Do you have to sail at night with lights off? Is that a problem when sailing most catamarans? Thanks for your thoughts in advance."

I replied with, "Hi PJ Lee. Thank you for watching and asking a question. The Seawind 1260 is fitted with red night-lights that are turned on for night sailing. These do not noticeably reflect in the windows. Thanks!"

Brent Vaughan from Multihull Central added, "If you want to try it out, we sail weekly on a new Seawind 1260 on Sydney Harbour for our twilight races. We also have sail training run by a local sailing school here too. Please contact us if you would like to come along." Multihull Central's catamaran specific sail training is run by the RYA-endorsed Pacific Sailing School. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, then please check with your local distributor or cruising association for an approved course near you.

OK. Today you will find that we have information for you about whales in the Atlantic, Red Roo is in Morocco for Winter, ARC, ice sheets and weather changes, Matthew Flinders grave is located in London, Women's Sailing Conference, island time at St Maarten, as well as much more.

So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other Hemisphere, go to the top of the Sail-WorldCruising home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

In the meantime, do you love being on the ocean? Well remember to love them back too. They need our help. Now more than ever! Until next time...

John Curnow

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