Update: Replica Continental Sloop Providence to be Repaired

Great news. The replica Continental sloop Providence will be returning to the water. The sloop was seriously damaged when she was blown over in a blizzard in Newport in January 2015.  For some time the future of the vessel was unclear. Recently, the sloop had been listed for sale in her damaged condition on Yachtworld. Now the Associated Press is reporting that Providence is going to be repaired. The owner, Thorpe Leeson, hopes to have the 61′ sloop in the water in a year.

From our post of January 27, 2015: The sloop Providence, a 1976 built replica of the Continental Navy sloop of the same name, was blown off her jack stands while on shore at Newport Shipyard in Newport, Rhode Island on Tuesday in blizzard conditions.  The ship was dis-masted and suffered hull damage when she fell over in winds reported to be gusting up to 60 mph. Thorpe Leeson, the sloop’s owner, told the Associated Press that extra supports were added beneath the ship as a precaution for the storm, but they failed in the high winds. Continue reading

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Freedom Class LCS in Service — 100% Failure Rate in Last Year

freedom2The LCS saga continues. The USS Freedom suffered another serious failure.  There are currently three Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) in service — USS Freedom, USS Fort Worth, and the USS Milwaukee.  In the past twelve months, all three of the ships in service have suffered major engine or propulsion gear failures, an unenviable record.

The Navy announced yesterday that the USS Freedom suffered damage to one of its two diesel engines, which will require either a major overhaul or replacement of the engine.  The Freedom Class LCS are powered by two Colt-Pielstick diesel engines and two Rolls-Royce MT30 36 MW gas turbines driving four waterjets.  The damage to the USS Freedom was reportedly caused by a leak in a pump seal which allowed seawater to leak into the lube oil system. How long the repairs will take and how long the ship will be out of service are unknown.

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Norsepower & Enercon Sailing on Rotors — Future of Commercial Sail?

norpowerrotors

M/V Estraden

Last week, the Finnish marine engineering company, Norsepower Oy Ltd, was awarded €2.6M in funding to further its research and development of the Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution technology. The new models of the technology will include the world’s largest ever Flettner rotor. The funding provided jointly by the European Commission, and the Finnish Government’s funding agency for Innovation, Tekes, will be used to optimize the Norsepower Rotor Sail design.

A Flettner rotor is vertical spinning cylinder which acts as a motor powered sail. When wind blows across the rotating cylinder, lift is developed at 90 degrees to the wind flow by what is termed the Magnus effect. Installed on the deck of a ship, Flettner rotors develop thrust similar to conventional sails, except that they can achieve roughly ten times the thrust per surface area as compared to a traditional rig.  Anton Flettner, the inventor of the rotors, sailed across the Atlantic in a two rotor ship in 1926. Flettner’s ship relied entirely on the wind for propulsion.  Current designs are intended to be primarily motor ships with rotor sail auxiliary power to reduce fuel consumption, with targeted savings from 5 – 30%.

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Red Rock IV in 57 Knots of Wind in the Bristol Channel

A video for a Saturday. Sailing on Red Rock IV  in 57 knots of wind in the Bristol Channel on June 28, 2016. Red Rock IV is a 43 footer designed by German Frers and built by Marland Marine for owner E Mandelbaum, as part of the Argentinian team to compete in the 1979 Admirals Cup.

57 Knots of Wind in the Bristol Channel (sailing from Swansea to Cardiff) from Mpandangare the Great on Vimeo.

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Obama Expands Papahānaumokuākea — Largest Marine Sanctuary with the Longest Name

pmarinemonumentThe Obama administration announced the four-fold expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, a marine sanctuary northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands. The expanded sanctuary will be the largest in the world at more than 580,000 square miles. As noted by the NYTimes: Created by President George W. Bush in 2006, the Papahanaumokuakea monument surrounds the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and is home to an estimated 7,000 marine and terrestrial species, a quarter of which are found nowhere else on earth.

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26 Hours of Information Recovered from El Faro Voyage Data Recorder

El Faro, Photo: TOTE Maritime

El Faro, Photo: TOTE Maritime

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced Wednesday that they had successfully retrieved 26 hours of information from the El Faro Voyage Data Recorder (VDR). The VDR was recovered earlier in August in 15,000 feet of water.  The US flagged cargo ship, El Faro, sank during Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015, with the loss of all 33 aboard, northeast of Acklins and Crooked Islands, in the Bahamas.

From the NTSB  press release:

About 26 hours of information was recovered from the VDR, including bridge audio, weather data and navigational data. Investigators examined the VDR, found it to be in good condition, and downloaded the memory module data in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended procedures. Continue reading

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Latest US Attempt to Invade Canada Fails Again

porthuronfloatdown2On July 12, 1812, General William Hull led a force of roughly 1,800 US militia across the Detroit River to invade Canada. It did not go well. Within days Hull and his forces were driven out by British, Canadian and Native American forces. By August 16th, Hull surrendered Fort Detroit to the British without a fight.  This weekend, there was a sort of accidental re-enactment of Hull’s invasion, by an estimated 1,500 Americans on the nearby St. Clair River. Instead of being dressed as militia, however, most of the invaders were wearing bathing suits, were floating in tubes and rafts, and many were reported to be intoxicated.

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An Underwater Microscope Views Coral Up-Close

microcoralCoral are individual invertebrate polyps living in communities, which can grow to become vast reefs. Until recently, there was no way to examine the living coral polyps in their own habitat. Now, researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC–San Diego have developed an underwater microscope that that makes that possible for the first time. As reported by Slate:

The first-of-its-kind microscope has two parts: a computer with a diver-friendly interface, and a microscopic imaging unit. It sports an electronically tunable high-magnification lens, a ring of LED lights for fast shutter speeds, and fluorescence imaging. “The system is capable of seeing features as small as single cells underwater,” according to one of its designers, Ph.D. student Andrew Mullen.

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U.K. Approves Hornsea Two, World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

hornseaRecently, we posted about the first offshore wind farm in the US — the Deepwater Wind Project which is installing five turbines with an installed capacity of 30 MW off Block Island, RI.  While this is definitely progress, it is also a reminder of how far behind the US is in developing offshore wind power as compared to the rest of the world.

Last week, the UK approved Hornsea Two, the second phase of the world’s largest wind farm. The 300 turbine project by Denmark’s Dong Energy is fifty-five miles off the coast of Grimsby and is expected to deliver 1.8 gigawatts of clean electricity to 1.8m UK homes.  With the 1.2 gigawatts developed by phase one of the project, Hornsby One, the combined project will supply 3 gigawatts, enough to power 2.5 million average (U.S.) households. If the third phase of the project is completed, Hornsea will have a total capacity of 4 gigawatts.

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Windjammer Peking Returning to Hamburg from New York in the Spring

German media is reporting that sometime next spring, the historic Laeisz Flying P-Liner Peking is expected to leave New York harbor, where she has been a museum ship at the South Street Seaport Museum for over 40 years. She will be returning to her home port of Hamburg, where she was built, 105 years ago. In no condition to travel on her own bottom, the grand old windjammer will be carried across the Atlantic on the deck of a heavy lift ship. Prior to her trans-Atlantic passage, she will move from the South Street Seaport to a local shipyard to be made ready for the voyage.

The Peking‘s new owner is the Hamburg Maritime Foundation. The ship will be part of the a new Hamburg maritime museum, which is under construction.

On August 26th, as part of their “Free Fridays” program, the South Street Seaport Museum will be honoring the Peking with participatory sail-raising aboard the barque, printing demonstrations at Bowne Printers with Peking themed take-aways, and a special screening of Around Cape Horn. Click here to register for the screening.

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Faroe Islands SheepView 360

screemcam360One day, I would love to sail to the Faroe Islands. The Faroes are an archipelago of eighteen strikingly beautiful islands between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland, and 200 miles north-northwest of mainland Scotland. Given how remote the islands are, it may not be surprising that Google has not yet sent their 360 degree cameras to map the islands for Google Street View on Google Maps. The Faroese, however, are a creative lot.

The islands are an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark with a population of around 50,000 people and around 80,000 sheep. Indeed, the Danish name, Færøerne, translates as “the islands of sheep”.  What does this have to do with Google Street View?

If the Faroese did not get Street View, they could set up their own mapping with SheepView 360. As reported by the Guardian, with the help of a local shepherd and a specially built harness built by a fellow islander, Durita Dahl Andreassen of Visit Faroe Islands has fitted five of the island’s sheep with a 360-degree camera.

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Crystal Serenity, RRS Ernest Shackleton & the Northwest Passage — What Could Go Wrong?

cserenityiceThe 1,070 passenger 68,870 GT cruise ship Crystal Serenity is arriving in Nome, Alaska on Sunday, August 21st, before continuing on in a 1,500 km voyage to transit the Northwest Passage via Canadian and Greenland. The 32 day voyage, which began in Seward Alaska, is expected to arrive in New York on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Accompanying the Crystal Cruises ship will be the RRS Ernest Shackleton, a vessel built for and operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). During the Antarctic winter/Arctic summer, the ship is available for commercial charter.

The Crystal Serenity is not the first cruise ship to transit the Northwest Passage but is, by far, the largest. Continue reading

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Tall Ships Duluth 2016

duluth2016Tall Ships Duluth 2016, billed as the “Greatest Spectacle on Lake Superior,” kicks off this morning at 11AM and runs through Sunday, August 21th. The festival features eight tall ships including El Galeon Andalucía, the US Brig Niagara, and the schooners Pride of Baltimore II, Mist of Avalon, When and If, Denis SullivanAppledore V, and Zeeto. The “World’s Largest Rubber Duck” will also make an appearance. The festival offers ship tours, day sails, educational programming, food and beverage, entertainment and fun for all ages.

This year, the festival has partnered with Art in Bayfront Park to create an event within an event including 150+ high quality art vendors.

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Fire on Passenger/RoRo Ferry Caribbean Fantasy Off Puerto Rico, 500 + Evacuated

caribbeanfantasyA fire broke out on the passenger/roro ferry Caribbean Fantasy as she was approaching San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning. A reported 512 passengers were evacuated from the burning ship, roughly a mile off Puerto Rico’s north coast. The fire was said to have started in the engine room and to have spread. Thus far only four injuries to passengers and crew have been reported and no one has been reported to have died or to be missing.

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Manatee Orgy Stops Traffic in Florida, Again

Recently, what is being described as a “manatee mating ball” stopped traffic on the Courtney Campbell Causeway between Tampa and Clearwater, Florida. Dozens of people abandoned their cars to line the shore to watch manatees having sex. Video after the page break. This wasn’t the first time that manatee sex stopped traffic on the causeway.

Manatee mating herds are infrequent but not that unusual, occurring every three to five years on the Courtney Campbell. In 2012, we posted Mating Manatees Stop Traffic on Tampa Bay Causeway about the last time when a manatee herd mated at just about the same spot. In 2004, another group of mating manatees drew a reported 500 onlookers to the Courtney Campbell.

So, what is happening? Save the Manatee Club has an Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Manatee Mating Herds (but were afraid to ask”) page to explain it all. Continue reading

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First US Offshore Wind Farm Off Block Island, an Island with a Long History of Wind Power

Last November, we posted Wind Power Returns to Block Island about a planned offshore wind farm.  The installation of America’s first offshore wind farm has finally come to pass.  America’s very first offshore wind turbine was erected recently off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island. Perhaps paradoxically, while the new wind turbines are the first offshore wind farm in the United States, wind power is not by any means new to Block Island.

The new Block Island wind farm is a five turbine 30 megawatt project which developed by Deepwater Wind, which should provide most of the power required for Block Island, an island in the Atlantic thirteen miles south of the coast of Rhode Island.  Compared to European wind farms with an installed capacity of over 6,600 MW, the Block Island installation is tiny. Nevertheless, it is a start.

Block Island, however, is no stranger to wind power. Continue reading

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Orca “Granny,” 105 Years Old, Still Swimming the Pacific

Photo: Leigh Calvez

Photo: Leigh Calvez

Orcas live in complex multi-generational pods led by a matriarch.  In the pod that scientists have labeled as the “J pod,” the matriarchal orca, designated as J2, also-known-as “Granny” was recently sighted swimming with her pod off the coast of Washington. Remarkably, Granny is believed to be oldest living orca at 105 years old. If so, Granny was swimming the Pacific when the Titanic was launched.

As reported by the SF GateThe 105-year-old whale nicknamed “Granny” was seen on July 27 swimming with a few other whales, and seemed to be in “high spirits,” according to a whale-sighting report shared by Orca Network. Continue reading

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Etched Into Art: Scrimshaw at Mystic Seaport

mysticschrimshawA new and fascinating video from Mystic Seaport Museum. From their website:

From the history and lore inspired by whaling in the 19th century, it can be hard to imagine the whalers being idle at sea. However, whaleships were often at sea for months or even years, leaving the crew with an excess of downtime. Much like hobbyists today, sailors tried to keep busy by making use of what they had available onboard their ship. Using crude tools, sailors etched designs into whale teeth, bones, and baleen to create intricate and often useful pieces of art.

Scrimshaw, as these pieces are known, is thought to come from the Dutch for “idle fellow.” The term has come to include anything made out of marine mammals. While the craft was certainly useful for occupying the ship’s crew on long voyages, it also serves as visual history of the whaling. Sailors often depicted nautical motifs inspired by things they experienced during their voyage, giving a glimpse into their daily life at sea. Continue reading

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Falls of Clyde Ordered to Leave Honolulu Harbor

Sad, if not surprising news. The Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division (HDOT Harbors) has ordered that the 138-year-old sailing ship Falls of Clyde be removed from Honolulu harbor. Previously, in a letter dated June 15th, the Harbor Division had given the Friends of the Falls of Clyde, the current owners of the ship, 30 days to remove it from Pier 7 in Honolulu harbor, where the ship has been berthed, free of charge, for the last seven years. In the letter, the Harbors Division cited safety concerns. “The condition of the Falls of Clyde poses an unacceptable risk to navigation in Honolulu Harbor and a safety and security risk to harbor users.

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Wavertree — Stepping the Final Mast Before Returning to South Street Seaport

wavertree2

Photo : John Wisniewski

Forty six years ago yesterday, the  full-rigged iron sailing ship Wavertree, arrived in South Street Seaport after being towed from Argentina. The 1889 built windjammer had languished as a sand barge in Argentina for decades, before being purchased and partially restored by the South Street Seaport Museum.  In May of last year, the ship was moved to Caddell’s Drydock in Staten Island to undergoing a major $13 million restoration and refurbishment.

Next Tuesday, the Wavertree‘s third and final mast will be stepped. From the Seaport Press release: The event begins at Noon on Tuesday, August 16th, 2016 and culminates in a coin-placing ceremony at 1pm. Following maritime tradition, a coin is placed at the base of the mast for good luck. The mast is then “stepped” or installed. In attendance at the August 16th ceremony will be Seaport Museum co-founder Norma Stanford, Peter and Norma Stanford’s three grandchildren, and Joan Davidson, a former Seaport Museum trustee. Before the mast is stepped, an 1885 Maundy Fourpence coin will be placed at the base of the mizzenmast by Joan Davidson and Peter and Norma Stanford’s grandchildren.

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