Archive for June, 2019

America’s Cup:a guide for landlubbers

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Team USA makes it 8-8


It all began in 1851 when the schooner America, representing the New York Yacht Club, won the 100 Guinea Cup that was held off the southeast coast of England and the Isle of Wight.

The victory symbolised the changing of maritime power from the old to the new world. On its return to America, the syndicate donated the trophy to the New York Yacht Club with the decree that it be awarded to the winners of a “perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations”. From then it would be known as the America’s Cup.

The series has gone through various incarnations since the first challenge by Englishman James Ashbury in 1870, with a challenger series introduced for the first time to decide the boat that would go on to face the defending yacht club.

Australia II in 1983 became the first boat to beat the Americans in 132 years, winning the series 4-3. The trophy did not stay in Australia long, however. Dennis Conner regained it for the Americans with Stars and Stripes in 1987.

The series then became bogged down in legal challenges as New Zealand forced San Diego Yacht Club to defend the trophy in 1988. A farcical series eventuated in which two different styles of boats raced each other – the Conner-led American syndicate using a catamaran to embarrass the New Zealanders, who had shown up with a mono-hulled 27-metre-long boat.

In the years since, the Cup has shifted between New Zealand, Europe (with the Swiss-backed Alinghi syndicate defending the trophy in Valencia, Spain) and America.


The boating classifications have changed over the years from the original schooners, to the J-Class boats (1930-1939), to the 12-metre class introduced in 1958 when the series restarted after World War II, to various styles of catamarans culminating in the high-octane AC-72’s, which can reach remarkable speeds on the San Francisco Bay course.

With wing sails and hydrofoils, AC-72 catamarans are designed for speed, but their complexity and cost – team budgets are about $100 million – have deterred contenders.

There was also a concern about their safety when in May 2013, Sweden’s boat capsized in San Francisco Bay and a crew member died.

Australia II

A sporting legend worthy of then-prime minister Bob Hawke all but declaring a public holiday was created in 1983 when Australia II and its mysterious winged keel, skippered by John Bertrand, designed by Ben Lexcen and funded by Alan Bond, became the first boat to prise the America’s Cup from the New York Yacht Club in 132 years.

The Australians fell behind Liberty 1-3 in the series before rallying and then winning a thrilling deciding race when they claimed the lead on the final spinnaker run and held off a series of desperate challenges over the final minutes.

This series

The 2013 series will come down to a dramatic final race on Thursday (AEST) on a five-leg course around San Francisco Bay. Team New Zealand has for the past week been marooned just one win from claiming the mug as its 7-1 lead has been steadily whittled away by the Americans.

Now the series is levelled at eight-all, although Team America, skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill, has actually won two more races. (It was handed a two-point penalty for illegally modifying its boat during the warm-up regattas.)

To add to the drama, Team NZ was denied the chance to seize the Cup when race 13 was abandoned with it well ahead in light wind. In the resailed race, Team New Zealand began their winning streak.


1870 Magic (US) def Cambria (England) 1-0

1871 Columbia (US) def Livonia (England) 4-1

1876 Madeline (US) def Countess of Dufferin (Canada) 2-0

1881 Mischief (US) def Atalanta (Canada) 4-1

1885 Puritan (US) def Genesta (Britain) 2-0

1886 Mayflower (US) def Galatea (Britain) 2-0

1887 Volunteer (US) def Thistle (Scotland) 2-0

1893 Vigilant (US) def Valkyrie II (Britain) 3-0

1895 Defender (US) def Valkyrie III (Britain) 3-0

1899 Columbia (US) def Shamrock (Ireland) 3-0

1901 Columbia (US) def Shamrock II (Ireland) 3-0

1903 Reliance (US) def Shamrock III (Ireland) 3-0

1920 Resolute (US) def Shamrock IV (Ireland) 3-2

1930 Enterprise (US) def Shamrock V (Ireland) 4-0

1934 Rainbow (US) def Endeavour (Britain) 4-2

1937 Ranger (US) def Endeavour II (Britain) 4-0

1958 Columbia (US) def Sceptre (Britain) 3-1

1962 Weatherly (US) def Gretel (Australia) 4-1

1964 Constellation (US) def Sovereign (Britain) 4-0

1967 Intrepid (US) def Dame Pattie (Australia) 4-0

1970 Intrepid (US) def Gretel II (Australia) 4-1

1974 Courageous (US) def Southern Cross (Australia) 4-0

1977 Courageous (US) def Australia (Australia) 4-0

1980 Freedom (US) def Australia (Australia) 4-1

1983 Australia II (Australia) def Liberty (US) 4-3

1987 Stars and Stripes (US) def Kookaburra III (Australia), 4-0

1988 Stars & Stripes (US) def New Zealand (New Zealand) 2-0

1992 America 3 (US) def Il Moro di Venezia (Italy) 4-1

1995 Team New Zealand (New Zealand) def Young America (US) 5-0

2000 Team New Zealand (New Zealand) def Luna Rossa (Italy) 5-0

2003 Alinghi (Switzerland) def Team New Zealand (New Zealand) 5-0

2007 Alinghi (Switzerland) def Team New Zealand (New Zealand) 5-2

2010 Team US (America) def Alinghi (Switzerland) 2-0

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LIVE Party Pix – September 26

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Kay Caban, of Eleebana, and Leonie Jack, of Shoal Bay, at Steve Clisby at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 20. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers Deb Hawcroft, of Highfields, and Amanda and Andrew Milne, of Sydney, at Steve Clisby at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 20. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Angus and Linda Frazer, of Singleton, at Steve Clisby at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 20. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

at Steve Clisby at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 20. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Christine and Damien Muir, of Kotara, at Steve Clisby at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 20. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Tom Woods, Cheryl and Peter Drinkwater, and Alison Woods, all of Coal Point, at Steve Clisby at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 20. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Linda Martin, of Port Macquarie, and Joel Oakhill, of New Lambton, at Steve Clisby at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 20. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Don and Donna Edwards, of Belmont, at Steve Clisby at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 20. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Taylah Duncan and Stewart Bryan, of Glendale, at Jason Byrne at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on September 21. Picture: Peter Stoop

Allan Carius, of Sydney, and Madeline Haydon, of Charlestown, at Jason Byrne at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on September 21. Picture: Peter Stoop

Karen Thomas, of Wallsend, and Melanie Mills, of Cardiff South, at Jason Byrne at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on September 21. Picture: Peter Stoop

Michael Abbott, of Camperdown, and Amber Sutton, of Cardiff, at Jason Byrne at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on September 21. Picture: Peter Stoop

Jacqueline Coombe and Matthew Tam, of East Maitland, at Jason Byrne at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on September 21. Picture: Peter Stoop

Aaron Miller and Melissa Smith, of Maitland, at Jason Byrne at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on September 21. Picture: Peter Stoop

Lauren McEnearney and Luke Shearer, of Caves Beach, at Jason Byrne at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on September 21. Picture: Peter Stoop

Matthew Thompson runs with the Blood God: Epilogue reading

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Please enable Javascript to watch this video AUTHOR: Matthew Thompson

Matthew Thompson interview

Prologue reading

Kosovo reading

MATTHEW Thompson’s new book,Running With The Blood God, will not leave a footprint on your brain – it will leave a bootprint, indelibly inked in your subconscious.

Thompson, who holds a doctorate in creative arts, is a part-time firefighter in Dungog, where he lives with his wife Renae and daughter Avalon. He is also a guest lecturer at universities and writes freelance articles.

Five years ago he published his first book,My Colombian Death, an intense non-fiction account of his six-month journey to the exotic, drug-laden South American country full of characters and character.

Blood God, his second book, charts a course through even more dangerous territory.

He spends time in Iran, avoiding the ever-probing eyes of soldiers, police and shady operatives who are constantly arresting, harassing and torturing ordinary citizens who dare to disobey the strict Muslim covenants set by then leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He journeys to the Philippines, secretly visiting guerillas in the jungles north-west of Manila.

He takes a jolting road trip from Serbia to Kosovo with hard-core Serbian nationalists.

And finally, a stop in Portland, Oregon, to hang out with counterculturists and Native Americans in one of the most alternative major cities in America.

The book is subtitled ‘‘down and dirty with freedom fighters, rebels and misfits’’ and Thompson certainly gives his subjects, who come from all walks of life but have common ground in fighting against governments they consider unjust, a fair chance to explain themselves.

‘‘It’s more of a literary work,’’ Thompson says, comparing it to his first book. ‘‘It’s still adventure, gritty, real things. But I decided to leave a fair bit up to the reader. T

“Too much interpretation is taken from the reader these days, too many opinions are pushed on people.

‘‘My book has more respect for the reader. People all around the world, in dictatorships, cracked-up states, lost countries .. A huge variety of people, they all have the urge to live freer than their societies will allow. It’s up to the reader to decide how they fit into that .. what’s life add up to in the end.’’

In between philosophical discussions about the purpose of government, the value of civil disobedience, the role of religion and the like, Thompson indulges in opium (in Iran and the US), marijuana and cocaine, drinks everything from Portland’s boutique beers, to Serbia’s home-made plum brandy to contraband vodka and wine in Iran, all with the locals, of course.

‘‘When in Rome … do as the Romans do,’’ Thompson says.

‘‘I go for a month [to each location] and I see them and we get trust. I don’t agree, but I’m listening, so they open up. That’s what it takes. … It takes time with people. There is something to respect about drinking with sources. It’s a respectable occupation. It may not suit people prone to alcoholism, but you train, get into the field and go hard.’’

There is constant personal danger in Iran, the fear of being detained. In Kosovo one of his travelling partners is seriously stabbed in a confrontation and Thompson steps in, surrounded by Albanian thugs (saving himself by yelling ‘‘Leave him! Get off him! I’m Australian! I’m f–––king Australian!’’)

For Thompson, it’s all about living life to the fullest.

‘‘I don’t take stupid risks. I take them a calculated way,’’ he says. ‘‘I don’t want to shy away from the world and its wildness.’’

He thinks everybody should pause to consider that concept.

‘‘Adventure is healthy. Sure, it’s injurious at times, put things under strain. So does long-term decline. The people I’m meeting, the spirit of the book: wake up and become who you are!’’

Violent rampage: McDonald’s staff aid police arrests

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Keen-eyed employees at a fast food restaurant have helped police catch two people suspected of going on a violent rampage across Sydney on Monday night, during which a hotel and cinema were robbed and an elderly man was carjacked.

Staff at a McDonald’s outlet in Kirrawee, south of Sydney, called police just before midnight on Tuesday night after they noticed a 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman acting suspiciously

The pair allegedly attacked police officers who attempted to arrest them and continued to kick, punch and bite officers at Sutherland Railway Station.

Officers searched the couple’s bags and found a shortened shotgun, cash and clothing that prompted them to contact detectives investigating armed robberies at the Roseville Cinemas and the Revesby Pacific Hotel on Monday night, in which staff and customers were threatened with a sawn-off shotgun.

A string of charges were laid against both on Wednesday afternoon for the two robberies and a carjacking in Lane Cove earlier in the night in which an 87-year-old man’s car was stolen and used as the getaway vehicle.

The man’s charges include seven counts of assault police, one count of unlawfully take/drive motor vehicle, one count of possess unauthorised prohibited firearm and two counts of robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon.

He was also charged with intimidating a police officer, assaulting a police officer and having a knife in public area during an unrelated incident in Dee Why on September 19.

During Monday night’s rampage, the pair allegedly stole the 87-year-old man’s car from his driveway before driving to the Roseville Cinemas.

Four thieves ran into the cinema about 8pm and threatened to shoot and kill a number of cinemagoers if they did not hand over their wallets, before stealing about $1000 from the cinema box office.

The thieves then fled in the stolen car and drove to Revesby, where they allegedly carried out another armed robbery.

When police attempted to arrest the two suspects at Kirrawee McDonald’s, the man allegedly punched a constable in the face and the woman kicked another officer twice in the head.

He then allegedly bit the first officer on the hand before running from the restaurant. He was arrested a short time later in Monroe Avenue.

More officers who were called to the fast food outlet were allegedly assaulted by the woman, before both were taken to Sutherland Police Station.

Police will also allege the woman scratched and punched the custody sergeant at the station.

Both are expected to be refused bail and will appear in Sutherland Local Court on Thursday.

Police are still seeking to identify two other men believed to be involved in the robberies.

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Thomas the Tank Engine rescued from drug lab

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Thomas the Tank Engine is welcomed back to safety by Goulburn Council’s Julianne Salway, acting Local Area Commander Evan Quarmby, Mayor Geoff Kettle and Goulburn Police crime manager Detective Inspector Chad Gillies. Photo: The Goulburn Post The last sighting of Thomas during the 2010 December floods. Photo: The Goulburn Post

Goulburn’s missing Thomas the Tank Engine – washed away in floods almost three years ago – has been found by police during a search warrant of a suspected drug lab in the east of the city.

The popular kids’ play equipment used to sit at the Goulburn Historic Waterworks Museum on the banks of the Wollondilly River but was last seen floating down the river during the floods of December, 2010.

Goulburn detectives located the bright blue engine, measuring 1m by 3m, during a search warrant at a house in Eastgrove last week.

Police had executed the search warrant on suspicion the house was being used to manufacture drugs but they instead found Thomas in a carport.

NSW Police issued a statement saying Thomas was ‘‘currently assisting Goulburn police with their inquiries into his whereabouts for the past three years’’.

He was ‘‘expected to make a full recovery and will receive a fresh coat of paint by council staff at the depot before he rejoins his steam train friends at the local Waterworks in a couple of weeks’’.

Goulburn Acting Local Area Commander Superintendent Evan Quarmby said it was great Thomas could be returned to the local community and the case of “Where is Thomas?” resolved.“My officers did a great job executing the search warrant and inquiries are continuing into that case. As a bonus, we solved the three-year mystery surrounding Thomas,” Superintendent Quarmby said.

Goulburn-Mulwaree Council had conducted a ‘‘Where’s Wally?’’ style campaign to locate Thomas.

Mayor Geoff Kettle said Thomas, made by volunteers,  had originally been located in the town’s Belmore Park, and then relocated to the Waterworks Museum.

‘‘I was on my way to Sydney and I got a call from the local area commander who told me, ‘We’ve solved  Goulburn’s biggest mystery. We’ve found Thomas’,’’ Mr Kettle said.

‘‘And I said, ‘Where did you find him?’. And he said, ‘Well, you won’t believe this’.’’

Mr Kettle said Thomas was now safely located at the council’s depot and would soon be returned to the waterworks museum.

Superintendent Quarmby said enquiries were continuing into both about how Thomas ended up in the house and the suspected drug-related issues.

‘‘It’s a great win for the Goulburn community,’’ he said.

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