‘Super-Bug’ Found in Rio’s Dirty Olympic Sailing Waters

riobaytrashLast May, we posted about concerns over high concentrations of sewage and garbage in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay, where 2016 Olympic sailing competitions are slated to be held.  Now scientists at a Rio de Janeiro research institute have found what they call a new antibiotic resistant “super-bacteria” in the same waters. As reported by The Telegraph:

The bacteria is similar to other known strains but is resistant to the usual drugs, said Ana Paula D’Alincourt Carvalho Assef, the coordinator of the study that was published on the Oswaldo Cruz’s website. Continue reading

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Potential Progress in Saving the SS United States

The SS United States Conservancy issued a press release signed by Susan Gibbs on Monday announcing:

Exciting Redevelopment Milestone Achieved

We are very pleased to confirm that we have now entered into a preliminary agreement in support of the redevelopment of the SS United States. Negotiations have been underway for some time, and planning will continue with a variety of stakeholders. While further due diligence is conducted, the Conservancy will receive financial support to cover the vessel’s core carrying costs for at least an additional three months.

It is however not yet a done deal.

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Russia & the French Mistral Amphibious Assault Ships

mistral classBack in 2010, we posted that some members of NATO were uncomfortable with a French contract to build two, with an option for two more, Mistral-class amphibious assault ships for Russia.  The first ship, the Vladivostok, was supposed to be delivered to Russia in October but following Russian actions in the Ukraine, President François Hollande said France would postpone the delivery “until further notice.”  The Russians are demanding that the French live up to the shipbuilding contract.  Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said, “Everything is specified in the contract, and we will act under that contract, just like all civilized people do.”

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Eleanor’s Odyssey — a New Book by Joan Druett

Joan Druett has a wonderful new book out — Eleanor’s Odyssey. Now available in paperback and soon as an ebook.

Eleanor’s Odyssey: Journal of the Captain’s Wife on the East Indiaman Friendship, 1799-1801 by Joan Druett

It was 1799, and French privateers lurked in the Atlantic and the Bay of Bengal. Yet Eleanor Reid, newly married and just twenty one years old, made up her mind to sail with her husband, Captain Hugh Reid, to the penal colony of New South Wales, the Spice Islands and India. Danger threatened, not just from the barely charted seas they would be sailing, yet, confident in her love and her husband’s seamanship, Eleanor insisted on going along. Joan Druett, writer of many books about the sea, including the bestseller Island of the Lost and the groundbreaking story of women under sail, Hen Frigates, embellishes Eleanor’s journal with a commentary that illuminates the strange story of a remarkable young woman. Published by Old Salt Press. ISBN 978-0-9941152-1-8

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Sailing the Pride of Baltimore II

As far as I am concerned the Baltimore clippers under sail are among the most beautiful traditional sailing ships on the face of the watery planet.  As we slip into winter here is lovely video by Pierre Henkart of the Pride of Baltimore II underway.

Sailing the Pride of Baltimore II

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Fake Utah Whale’s Tale Ties Up 911 Dispatch Phone Lines

utahwhaleAnother case of “I read it on the internet so it must be true.” The Internet spoof site, World News Daily Report posted “Mysterious Remains of A Whale Found in a Field in Utah” in which it claims dairy farmer, Michael Woodson, from Farmington, Utah found a 12 meter long humpback whale laying lifeless in the middle of one of his fields. “We have to admit that we find this case very puzzling” said Captain Terry Dawson from the Farmington police.

Of course, there was no humpback whale in the Utah field, nor is there a dairy farmer named Woodson nor a police officer named Dawson. The story, of course, was a joke, a spoof, an attempt at satire. Nevertheless, the Farmington Utah 911 emergency dispatch lines became tied up with calls from residents asking about the humpback whale.

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Captain “Daddy Art” Daniels — Oldest Skipjack Captain Working the Chesapeake

We recently posted about the retired oyster dredging schooners A.J. Meerwald  and the Ada C. Lore.  Here is a wonderful short video featuring an interview with Arthur “Daddy Art” Daniels, a 93 year old skipjack captain, who is still dredging oysters under sail in the Chesapeake Bay on his skipjack, City of Crisfield.  He is the oldest captain still working the Chesapeake. There are only a handful of skipjacks that are actively still working on the bay.  Thanks to Raymond Faulkner for pointing the video out on Facebook.

SkipJack Art Daniels

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Engineer Needed on the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry

This morning we posted that the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry organization is looking for Licensed Mates.  They are also looking for a qualified Engineer.

Engineer Job Description:

OHPRI is seeking an Engineer for SSV Oliver Hazard Perry to join the crew for USCG testing and sea trials in the spring in preparation for our programs starting summer 2015. Our programs include 1-2 week voyages in partnership with academic institutions, as well as teen summer camps and adult voyages. Applicants should have strong communication skills, an active interest in education and be capable of interacting positively with people of all ages.

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Mates’ Jobs on the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry organization is looking for Licensed Mates.  The 200-foot square-rigged tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry  is Rhode Island’s official Sailing Education Vessel, the largest of its kind to have been built in this country in the last 100 years.  A great opportunity for those with the right experience and credentials.

Licensed Mates Job Description:

OHPRI is seeking First and Second Mates for the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry to join the crew for USCG testing and sea trials in the spring in preparation for our programs starting summer 2015. Our programs include 1-2 week voyages in partnership with academic institutions, as well as teen summer camps and adult voyages.

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A Bad Night for the Oyster Schooner Ada C. Lore, Cousin to A.J. Meerwald

Ada C. Lore after the breakwater collapsed

Ada C. Lore after the breakwater collapsed

A week ago at about 2AM, at least 50 feet of the breakwater in Eastport, Maine collapsed into the inner harbor. Pat Donahue, a local fisherman and caretaker of the 1923 schooner Ada C. Lore, suffered minor injuries when the breakwater collapsed. The Eastport pilot boat, Medric, was sunk and another 20 or so boats in the harbor were reported to be damaged. The schooner Ada C. Lore lost both her masts.

The Ada C. Lore has been sailing on whale watching tours out of Eastport for the last several years. Yet, even a passing look tells you that she is not a “Downeaster”.  At a glance, she looks to be a near twin to the A.J. Meerwald, an oyster schooner and the Official Tall Ship of the State of New Jersey.

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Cruise Ships & Sewage — FOE Misses the Point

ship-islandHere is yet another case of the media taking a wildly inaccurate sets of claims about ships at face value.  The news media has been touting a new study by the environmental group Friends of the Earth. The title of the FOE press release of December 4th makes their claim quite clear — Cruise ships flushed more than a billion gallons of sewage into oceans again this year.  And who is FOE? Their website claims that “Friends of the Earth is a bold and fearless voice for justice and the planet.”  They may be “bold and fearless,” but do they have the first clue about ships?  Or are their claims just so much, err… sewage?

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Tall Ships Philadelphia – Camden June 25-28, 2015

phillycamdentsTall Ships Philadelphia – Camden is being held on June 25-28, 2015 on the Delaware River.  Normally I wouldn’t post about an event so far in the future, but the tickets for the event have now gone on sale.  So far the tall ships lined up for the event include the French frigate L’Hermione, the USCGC barque Eagle, the Brazilian Navy Cisne Branco, Philadelphia’s Official Tall Ship Gazela, the globe wandering barque Picton Castle and the schooner Serenity. Quite an impressive line up for being six months in the future.

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Female Officers Secretly Videotaped in Shower on Submarine USS Wyoming

USS_Wyoming_(SSBN-742)This feels like a bad joke, but sadly, it isn’t. In May of 2010, we posted about “Women Submariners – Pioneers Facing Many Challenges.” Of the various challenges we expected women on submarines would have to face, secret shower videos were not the first to come to mind. Now, there are reports that female officers, serving aboard the USS Wyoming ballistic missile submarine, were secretly videotaped undressing to take showers. The videos were then distributed to other ships in the fleet.  News of the videos  emerged when an officer from another submarine received copies and reported their existence.  A 24 year old second class petty officer is reported to be under investigation for making and distributing the videos.  The petty officer is assigned to Trident Training Facility, near the submarine’s homeport in Kings Bay, Ga. according to the incident report.

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The Original Pearl Harbor Attack Emergency Radio Broadcast from Washington DC

In honor of the 73th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Originally posted December 7, 2010.

The Original Pearl Harbor Attack Radio Emergency Broadcast from Washington DC

Thanks to Dave Shirlaw on the  Marine History list for pointing out the video.

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Liberty Ship SS John W. Brown Steaming Home to Baltimore

jownwbrownAfter spending a month on dock at Colonna’s Shipyard in Norfolk, VA, the Liberty ship SS John W. Brown  is now steaming up the Elizabeth River on its way back home to Baltimore.  During World War II, eighteen American shipyards built 2,710 Liberty ships, the largest number of ships ever produced of a single design.  Now, John W. Brown is one of only two operational Liberty ships in the world.  The other surviving operational Liberty ship is SS Jeremiah O’Brien in San Francisco, California.  The Hellas Liberty (ex-SS Arthur M. Huddell) is a dockside museum ship in  in Piraeus, Greece, but is not operational.

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Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests Cross the Atlantic

Since 1990, strange and wondrous new forms of life have been wandering the beaches of the Netherlands, walking on the wind. They are Theo Jenson’s “strandbeests,” self propelled kinetic skeletal sculptures of PVC and fabric. Now for the first time, the strandbeests have crossed the Atlantic and will be appearing this afternoon at Art Basel — Miami Beach.

To understand these amazing creatures, it is best to see them in their native environment. Take a look at the videos below:

Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests

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Vestas Wind, Andrea Doria, USS Guardian, Royal Majesty and GPS Assisted Grounding

Photo: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/

Photo: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/

At least Sir Cloudesley Shovell had an excuse, not that he really needed one. He drowned with the other 1,400 sailors in the Scilly naval disaster of 1707.  The navigators on the four warships that hit the Scilly’s Western Rocks lacked the tools to accurately calculate longitude.  The disaster is credited with inspiring the Longitude Act in 1714, which established the Board of Longitude and offered a large money prize for anyone who could find a method of determining longitude accurately at sea.

Recently, the Team Vestas Wind racing in the Volvo Ocean Race ran aground on the Cargados Carajos Shoals in the Indian Ocean.  In a recent blog post, Elaine Bunting in Yachting World asks the obvious question: How is it possible for a yacht bristling with the latest technology to hit a well-known reef, as Volvo Ocean Race crew Team Vestas Wind did, with catastrophic consequences? How can it happen to one of the world’s top navigators? 

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Update: Queen Elizabeth 2 Rotting Away in Dubai

Since being sold by Cunard in 2007, the classic liner Queen Elizabeth 2 has been the locus of many plans and schemes, all of which have come to naught.  Sadly, the ship has remained tied up at a dock in Dubai’s Port Rashid for the last six years, where she is falling into disrepair.

Purchased by state-run conglomerate, Dubai World, for about $100 million, the ship was moved to Port Rashid in 2008 to be converted to a 1,000 room luxury hotel. After the recession of 2008, Dubai World was staggering under a huge debt load and plans for the QE2 were put on hold. In mid 2012, Dubai announced a more modest hotel plan for the ship, reducing the number of rooms to 300.  By years end, these plans fell apart as well, and it was announced that the ship was being sold for scrap. In early 2013, the Oceanic Group announced that the ship was not being taken for scrap but would be converted to a luxury hotel in Asia.  A year later, these plans seem no closer to fruition than any of the others.

The only recent activity observed aboard the classic liner were workmen in shorts and T-shirts cooking a pig over a barbecue made from half an oil drum.

The Last Eastbound Transatlantic Run of QE2 Continue reading

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Cruising on Foils? Gunboat’s New G4 Flying Cruiser

Gunboat G4 with  J foil daggerboards and T foil rudders

Gunboat G4 with J foil daggerboards and T foil rudders

Very interesting news. Gunboat, builder of high-end racing/cruising catamarans, has promised the G4, a new all carbon fiber 40 foot long catamaran, in early 2015.  The drawings and video have shown C-foil daggerboards and T-foil rudders. C-foils allow “foil-assisted” sailing. The C-foils develop lift and are capable of supporting most of the catamaran’s weight but will not lift the boat entirely out of the water.  Since at least last Spring, however, there have been suggestions that Gunboat has something more ambitious in mind. They may be offering fully-foiling daggerboards, referred to variously as J or L foils, which would allow the G4 to fly like an America’s Cup AC 70, qualifying as the first flying cruising catamaran.  Gunboat’s founder, Peter Johnstone, has said of the G4 — “It’s the baddest-ass coastal cruiser ever.”

In an interview with Sailing Anarchy from last May, Gunboat team member Rudo Enserink revealed the following:

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The Tjipetir Mystery — Gutta Percha Blocks & the Miyazaki Maru

Tracey Williams with two washed-up Tjipetir blocks Photo: Tom Quinn Williams

Tracey Williams with two washed-up Tjipetir blocks Photo: Tom Quinn Williams

For the last several years, and perhaps much longer, blocks of a rubber-like substance have been washing ashore on the beaches of Great Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The blocks are rectangular with rounded corners and about the size of a kitchen chopping block. Each is engraved with the letters “THIPETIR.” Where they came from and how they began washing up on British and European shores has been a mystery.  Now, Tracy Williams, a beachcomer from Newquay, Cornwall may have found the answer.

After finding a “THIPETIR” block while walking her dog on a beach near her home in 2010, Ms. Williams began her own investigation. She learned that Thipetir was the name of a rubber plantation in Indonesia which was in operation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The blocks themselves, however, are not rubber. They appear to be a tree gum known as gutta-percha, which was used as an electrical insulator and an alternative to plastic in the early 20th century.

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