As expected, and as a result primarily of the world trade centre terrorist attacks, the Global Insurance Industry has bunkered down in an attempt to re-group and recover from a disaster that has and will affect us all in more ways than just the cost of our various insurance policies.

Paul Wilson In our case it is the International Reinsurance Industry that is calling the shots, as they are the ultimate 'risk takers' or the group that suffers most when disasters either natural or man-inflicted occur.

As far as Australia is concerned, we are very small players in the global insurance market and, as such, generally have to go along with what is determined by the much larger United Kingdom, European and North American Insurance Industries.

So at this point in time I can tell you that, yes, the Australian Insurance Industry has been hit by massive increases in the price of our reinsurance premiums and, yes, it would appear that very soon, if not already, we will be issuing policies that will be specifically excluding terrorism and other similar type risks.

At Club Marine, with effect from 1 January 2002, we were required to increase rates to all clients. But in defence of the move, and due to the faith reinsurers have in the Club Marine account, the increases were really very minor when compared with other sectors of the industry that were required to increase rates in excess of 50 per cent or more.

Some specialist fields have experienced reinsurance rate increases in excess of 400 per cent. These increases of course have to be passed on to the end consumer.

Regrettably rate increases of this nature have seen businesses go under, and event participation costs increase dramatically. Closest to home has been the liability insurance costs for the Club Marine-sponsored Southern 80 Water Ski Race. The increases were so great that the organisers initially had to cancel the event, which would have been an absolute tragedy for what has become the largest water ski race in the world.

Unfortunately, Club Marine cannot provide this form of liability cover, so the race appeared to be very much at risk of extinction.

So I'm very pleased to say, that through much hard work and negotiation by all concerned, the Southern 80 is now definitely on again, and scheduled to be run over the weekend of the 20-21 April. Be there if you can, but if you miss the action we will, as usual, be covering the event in all of its power and glory in the pages of Volume 17 No. 3 of Club Marine magazine!

On another matter, we received an amazing response to the theft article we published in Volume 16 No.6. So much so, that we will be running regular updates on theft and what is available on the market as a theft deterrent. Any feedback on this or any other matter is always appreciated. Either write, fax, or e-mail us.

Also in this issue is our coverage of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the Volvo Ocean Race Round The World; Andy Belcher visits Ontong Java, three-days-sailing from the Solomon Islands, and returns with more stunning photographs; our Top End correspondent, Steve Timmons, takes part in the annual Darwin Beer Can Regatta and we drive a ski-boat powered by a diesel inboard engine.

Enjoy the magazine and remember that your safety is our top priority

Paul Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Club Marine Ltd.