USS Fitzgerald Update — Ship Returning Home, Sailors Disciplined, Navy Report

The USS Fitzgerald, seriously damaged in a collision with a container ship on June 17th that killed seven U.S. sailors, will be transported back to the United States for repairs. The destroyer will be transported via heavy lift ship between mid-September and the end of October, Cmdr. Clay Doss, a 7th Fleet spokesman, told Stars and Stripes

The BBC reports that the US Navy has announced that about a dozen sailors are to be disciplined on the USS Fitzgerald due to the collision. The deputy chief of naval operations, Admiral Bill Moran, said the commanding officer and two other senior crew would no longer serve aboard the ship.

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Quadriga — Lloyd’s Register Joins Project to Build Sailing Car-Carrier

Lloyd’s Register (LR) announced recently that it has joined the Quadriga sustainable shipping project – an initiative from Hamburg-based Sailing Cargo, which aims to build a sailing car-carrier, which would be the world’s largest sailing cargo ship. The 170-meter long design features four DynaRig masts with a sail area of 5,000 M2 and would be capable of carrying between 1,700 to 2,000 cars. The ship will be powered by sails and diesel-electric engines with an initial design speed of 10-12 knots, with the goal of achieving 14-16 knots in the next few years as the design is developed.

In addition to LR, Sailing Cargo is also partnering with ship operator, Peter Döhle Schifffahrts KG, naval architects, Dykstra Naval Architects and SDC Ship Design & Consult GmbH, hydrodynamicists, Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt, and sailmaker, North Sails GmbH

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Time Short to Save Battleship USS Texas

For several years now, we have followed the progressive decline of the battleship USS Texas, commissioned in 1914. She is the only remaining World War I-era dreadnought battleship and is one of only seven remaining ships and the only remaining capital ship to have served in both World Wars. The USS Texas, now berthed in the salty waters of the Houston Ship Channel, continues to be losing a battle with time and corrosion. 

As reported by the Houston Chronicle: “We pump about 300,000 gallons of water a day out of the Battleship Texas,” said Bruce Bramlett, executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation. “There are places on the ship where the hull is so thin you can poke your finger through it. So we’re constantly pumping water out and patching holes and the water is constantly seeping back in.”

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Sailing Great, Edward Allcard, Dies at 102

Edward Allcard, an English naval architect, marine surveyor, yachtsman and author, died at the end of last month at the age of 102. We will probably be best remembered as the first person to sail solo across the Atlantic in both directions, voyages he undertook on his 34-foot yawl, Temptress, in 1949 and 1951.

Between 1957 and 1973, he would undertake an extended solo circumnavigation on Sea Wanderer, a 36-foot ketch, which he had bought as a derelict hull abandoned in the mud in the Hudson River in New York in 1950 for $250.

Allcard met his future wife, Clare, in 1967. Their daughter, Kate, was born in 1969. The family moved aboard and extensively sailed the 69 ft gaff-rigged ex-Baltic trader Johanne Regina, built in 1929.  Edward Allcard continued sailing until the age of 91.

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The Submarine is Raised but the Mystery Deepens — Where is Kim Wall?

Missing Journalist Kim Wall and Submarine UC3 Nautilus

On Saturday, we posted that the Danish inventor Peter Madsen has been held on suspicion of murder following the disappearance of Kim Wall, a Swedish journalist, and the sinking of the privately owned submarine UC3 Nautilus on Friday off Denmark. Madsen claimed that he dropped Wall off on an island before the submarine sank. Wall, however, remains missing. She was last seen with Madsen on the privately-owned submarine. 

The Danish police suspect that Madsen sank the submarine intentionally. The Guardia reports: Police spokesman Jens Møller Jensen said on Sunday that the submarine had been raised from the sea bed and searched but no body had been discovered. The search for Wall in the water, from the air and on land, continues. Møller Jensen added that there were indications that Madsen deliberately sank his submarine.

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Mystic Seaport Antique & Classic Boat Parade 2017

Here is some lovely drone footage of the boat parade from the 2017 Mystic Seaport Antique & Classic Rendevous.  The recently restored 1908 steamboat Sabino leads the parade.

Mystic Seaport Antique & Classic Boat Parade 2017

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The Strange Saga of UC3 Nautilus — Sub Sinks, Inventor Held for Murder — Updated

In a bizarre and developing story, the Danish inventor Peter Madsen has been held on suspicion of murder following the disappearance of a Swedish journalist and the sinking of the privately owned submarine UC3 Nautilus on Thursday off Denmark. 

Madsen denies the charges and claims that he dropped off the female journalist, Kim Wall, 30, on Refshale Island on Thursday evening before the submarine sank suddenly sometime early Friday morning. Madsen has said that the submarine sank in roughly 30 seconds due to a problem with the ballast system.  Madsen and the journalist are reported to be the only ones aboard the Nautilus when it sailed from Copenhagen Harbor around 7 PM on Thursday. 

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Pen Hadow’s Expedition to Sail to the North Pole


In 2003, Pen Hadow walked to the North Pole. He became the first person to trek to the Pole solo without being resupplied. Now, Pen Hadow is returning to the North Pole, but he won’t be able to walk. The Arctic ice pack has become too thin to repeat his previous expedition. So, he will soon be setting off with a crew of ten in an attempt to sail two yachts to the Pole. The expedition will set off from Nome in Alaska in early August. The expedition team will not see land again for six weeks and is expected to cover about 3,500 miles by the time they return to Nome in mid-September. They will be sailing the 52′ Bagheera and 49′ Snow Dragon II, two ice-strengthened sailing vessels.

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TBT — Pinky, Albino Pink Dolphin in Louisiana, Doing Fine

Updating a previous post for Throw-Back Thursday. Two years ago, we posted about “Pinky,” a pink dolphin that was seen swimming in the Calcasieu River in Louisianna. Pinky is believed to be an albino and was first sighted in the area in 2007. We are pleased to have learned that Pinky appears to be doing well, having made a recent appearance again in the Calcasieu Ship Channel.  A second pink dolphin was also reported but not photographed.

While Pinky appears to be a rare albino bottle nose dolphin, there are naturally pink fresh water dolphins in the Amazon River. Locally known as botos, the dolphins are typically gray when young and grow more pink with age. The pinkest are often mature male dolphins.  No one knows why the dolphins are pink although there is speculation that it helps the dolphins to blend in with the red river mud bottom. 

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4,000 Ton Steam Generator Sails Slowly Down the Hudson River

Rivers have always made the best highways. On Monday, a massive heat-recovery steam generator left the Port of Coeymans, near Albany, on the Hudson River, on a barge bound for a new power plant under construction in Sewaren, NJ. The generator weighs in at an impressive 4,000 short tons, is 130 feet tall and costs $195 million. 

The generator was welded to the deck of a 400′ long deck barge with a 100′ beam and was taken under tow down the Hudson River.  Once in New York harbor, the barge was towed up the Arthur Kill to Sewaren.  The pace of the voyage was determined by the currents and several bridges, including the Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge, which the generator could only pass under at low water.  

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Pilot, New Schooner Restaurant/Bar Opens in Brooklyn to Cheers and a Few Jeers

Highlander Sea Under Sail, Photo:

Pilot, a new seasonal restaurant and bar on an historic schooner has opened in Brooklyn, NY, off Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 on the East River. The opening has been met with cheers and a few jeers. The cheers are from those who enjoy the opportunity to dine on the water, and jeers from those who would prefer that the Highlander Sea, ex-Pilot, be restored and continue sailing.

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When Crustaceans Attack — Did Sea Lice Chew Up Australian Teen’s Legs?

Australian waters can be dangerous. Over the years we have posted about attacks by crocodiles, sharks and deadly jellyfish.   This hazard, however, is new, at least to us. Recently, Australian media was flooded with photos of the bloodied legs of a teenager who emerged bleeding from the waters of Dendy Street Beach in Brighton, near Melbourne, Australia. He is believed to be the victim of an attack by some very hungry sea lice

Sixteen year old, Sam Kanizay had sore legs after a football match and wanted to soak his legs at the local beach.  When he came out of the water his legs were bleeding heavily and when the bleeding did not stop, he was taken to a local hospital  where he is recovering.

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How Whales Change Climate

Here is a fascinating short video that discusses “trophic cascades,” “poo-namis,” ocean mixing and how whales have a positive impact on climate change.  Worth watching. 

How Whales Change Climate

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Not All Rescues End Well — the Death of Anne Dufourmantelle, Risk-Taker

In mid-July we posted about a group of 80 strangers who formed a human chain to rescue 10 people carried out in a rip current into the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City Beach in the Florida panhandle. All ten were saved. No one was seriously hurt.

Not all rescues end well, however, and while it is more pleasant to focus on those that do, I think it is also important to look at those whose outcome can be tragic. 

Anne Dufourmantelle, 53, died recently attempting to rescue two children in danger, swimming off the coast of Pampelonne beach, near St.-Tropez, France. Ms. Dufourmantelle was a highly regarded philosopher and psychoanalyst, known for her work that praised living a life that embraced risk.  

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Navy Finds Captain “Ultimately Responsible” for USS Antietam Grounding in Toyko Bay

These have been rough times for US destroyers and cruisers deployed to Japan. The US Navy has found that the former commanding officer of the USS Antietam, Captain Joseph Carrigan, was “ultimately responsible” for the cruiser running aground and spilling roughly 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into Tokyo Bay in January.  

The command report issued in April was obtained last week by Stars and Stripes though a Freedom of Information Act request.  The grounding took place on January 31st. Captain Carrigan was relieved of his command on March 1st.

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Dredging Portsmouth Harbor — Cannon, Anchors, Bombs and a Skull

When dredging a harbor with as long and rich a history as UK’s Portsmouth, there is literally no telling what you may find.  The harbor is now being dredged to deepen and widen a four-mile channel to allow the the navy’s new 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, to dock. In the process of completing this work, the BBC reports that 20,000 items have been discovered, ranging from a human skull, to cannon, to shoes, anchors, clay pipes, and sea mines.  The artifacts are believed to range in age from the 18th century to the recent past.

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Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft — ” I Will Not Break Faith” with Transgender Coast Guard Personnel

Recently, Lt. Taylor Miller of the U.S. Coast Guard was featured in an article in the Washington Post. Lt. Miller is transgender and after a series of early morning tweets by the current occupant of the White House announcing a ban on transgender personnel in the US military, she said, “I feel very unwanted. Mortified and embarrassed.”

USCG Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft reached out to Lt. Miller and to other twelve transgender members of the US Coast Guard to express his support. As reported by The Hill: Zukunft said he contacted Lt. Taylor Miller, the Coast Guard’s first openly transitioning officer who was featured in a Washington Post article last week.

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Inaugural World Naked Sailing Day — Sounds Like a Bad Idea to Me


A group in Buffalo, New York is sponsoring the first World Naked Sailing Day today. Buffalo is on Lake Erie so there are no shortage of sailboats for those who wish take “bareboating” to a whole new level. The organizers suggest that August 1, or 8/1, is an auspicious date as the number 8 turned sideways might suggest a woman’s breasts, while the number 1 is the most phallic of Arabic numbers. Apparently, the event was inspired by World Naked Bike Riding Day and World Naked Gardening Day.

World Naked Sailing Day seems like a remarkably bad idea to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like naked. I have spent considerable time on nude beaches appropriately déshabillé and will do so again as the opportunity presents itself. Nevertheless, I don’t think I will be sailing nude anytime soon, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with modesty.  First, I burn easily and applying sun screen effectively everywhere that can burn takes time and care.  It is amazing how much the parts you miss can hurt when they do inevitably burn.   

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“Rebuilding” Bluenose II — 7 years & $24M

The best thing that can be said about the “rebuilding” of the Canadian schooner Bluenose II is that is it is over and that the Bluenose II is a lovely vessel.  Unfortunately, it took seven years and cost C$24 million (around US$ 20 million) to complete the “reconstruction and rebuilding,” which, in fact, was effectively the construction of a wholly new schooner. 

The original Bluenose was a Canadian fishing and racing schooner from Nova Scotia built in 1921. The schooner became famous for winning the International Fishing Challenge Cup off Gloucester, Massachusetts for many years.  The Bluenose is considered by many to be an iconic symbol of Canada.  The schooner appears on the Canadian dime and the current Nova Scotia licence plate.

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Draken Harald Hårfagre: A Viking Long Ship at Mystic Seaport

Following its epic voyage across the Atlantic, with stops in visiting Iceland and Greenland, the Draken Harald Hårfagre, toured the Great Lakes, traveled down the Erie Canal, stopped by New York City and then wintered at Mystic Seaport Museum. This summer, the largest Viking long ship built in modern times has been on display at the Seaport museum.  A US East Coast tour in 2018 is currently being planned.

Draken Harald Hårfagre: A Viking Ship at Mystic Seapor

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