Author Archives: Rick Spilman

Sultana Downrigging Weekend — Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festival

Downrigging is one of those necessary chores on a sailing vessel at the end of a season before the winter sets in. The good folks at the Sultana Education Foundation have turned the necessary and often bittersweet chore of downrigging the … Continue reading

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The Old Man and the Schooner — Help Gold Eagle Sail Again

Captain Ron Strathman has cruised the Sea of Cortez for the last 6 years in his 1977 wooden schooner Gold Eagle.  Last month, Hurricane Odile slammed into Mexico’s Baja peninsula with reported winds reaching 100 knots.  At least five died in the storm … Continue reading

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Update: SS Badger, America’s Last Coal Fired Ship No Longer Dumping Ash

Next season, the SS Badger may no longer be the “the filthiest ship on the Great Lakes.”  With the end of the current sailing season, SS Badger will no longer dump coal ash into Lake Michigan.  For years, there has been … Continue reading

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First Annual Fundraiser & Restoring Steam to the Lilac, America’s Only Steam-Powered Lighthouse Tender

If you are in the neighborhood, this is a most worthwhile event.  There is also exiting news. At the fundraiser, the Lilac Preservation Project will announce the launching of a campaign to restore steam to the Lilac, a 1933 lighthouse tender that once carried … Continue reading

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What Happens When You Crack An Egg Underwater?

And now for something completely different — what happens when you crack an egg underwater?  I will admit this hasn’t been a question that has been keeping me awake at nights, but it is interesting, nevertheless. Here is what happens … Continue reading

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Troubled Sisters — Russian Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov & Chinese Liaoning

The Russians and the Chinese each have only one aircraft carrier in service. They happen to be sister ships and both have major problems in staying afloat and keeping the propellers turning.  Both ships were built in the Black Sea Shipyard … Continue reading

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DNA Suggests Ancient Sailors Traveled Between Easter Island & South America

Easter Island, called Rapa Nui by its inhabitants, famous for its massive stone statues, is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world.  It is almost 2,000 nautical miles from the coast of South America and over 1,000 nautical miles … Continue reading

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Dwarf Plant Ceres — More Freshwater Than On the Surface of the Earth

In September, we posted about a recent study that concluded that up to half the water on our planet is older than the sun.  Scientists now speculate that the existence of water may be far more common in the universe … Continue reading

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Swedish Navy Still Hunting Mystery Submarine

Last Friday, there were reports of unexplained underwater movements near the Stockholm archipelago. There were also reports of an encrypted distress call of the sort used by the Russian Navy, leading to speculation that a Russian submarine was stranded underwater. Russian … Continue reading

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“On Board a Man o’ War” – Nelson’s Victory & Death at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805

On Trafalgar Day, the anniversary of Admiral Horatio Nelson‘s victory and death at the Battle of Trafalgar, a ballad describing the battle, “On board a Man o’ War,” sung by Ian Page. Feel free to grab a mug of porter, … Continue reading

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Update: Russian Ship Simushir and Carnival Magic Reach Port Safely

Updates on two stories from the weekend: Carnival Magic Back in Galveston —  (See our previous post.) After being refused entry into both Belize and Mexico, the Carnival Magic is back in its home port of Galveston. One passenger aboard the ship was … Continue reading

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Fire on the Cutty Sark! Again?

There are reports of a “small fire” aboard the 19th-century composite clipper ship, Cutty Sark, in Greenwich, UK.  Firefighters managed to contain the blaze which is said to have damaged a small part of deck three and associated timbers.  The Cutty … Continue reading

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Canoes vs Colliers — Pacific Climate Warriors Blockade Newcastle

Last Friday, at Newcastle, the world’s largest coal handling facility, it was a contest of canoes against the colliers. Calling themselves Pacific Climate Warriors, a group of protesters from a dozen Pacific island nations took to traditional outrigger canoes, kayaks … Continue reading

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Russian Cargo Ship Simushir Under Tow Off Coast of British Columbia

Late Thursday night, the 9,405 DWT Russian general cargo ship Simushir lost power while in a gale off Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. By Friday morning, the ship was drifting in … Continue reading

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PortSide NewYork Fundraiser — Resiliency is our Hook, October 28, 2014

PortSide NewYork is hosting a Fundraiser — Resiliency is our Hook, on October 28, 2014.  There will be smoky BBQ and sizzling Dixieland Jazz by the Red Hook Ramblers.  Good food, good music and good times for a good cause. PortSide … Continue reading

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Belize Refuses Entry to Carnival Magic As Ebola Hysteria Continues

Ebola hysteria continues to spiral out of control. A nurse, who may have handled lab specimens from an Ebola patient at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, is now being quarantined in her stateroom on the cruise ship, Carnival Magic.  The … Continue reading

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Coming Soon: Antoine Vanner’s “Britannia’s X” – Guess the “X” Competition

In December, Antione Vanner’s “Britannia’s X,” the third of his Dawlish chronicles will be published by Old Salt Press.  No, the book’s title will not be “Britannia’s X.” From Antoine’s Dawlish Chronicles blog: The title, for now, is “Britannia’s X” – with … Continue reading

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The Antikythera Treasure Ship and the Titanic

The quote by Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was pure marketing genius.  He said that the Antikythera wreck is “the Titanic of the ancient world.”  The Titanic is, after all, the rock star of ship wrecks. No doubt what Foley … Continue reading

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Murphy Was a Sailor — Lessons from a New York Yacht Club Seamanship Saturday

We all know Murphy’s Law — “That which can go wrong, will go wrong and at the worst possible time.”  Anyone who has spent time around boats or ships also knows that Murphy was undoubtedly a sailor.  This came to … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday US Navy, Not to be Confused with Navy Day or the Founding of the Navy

Happy 239th birthday to the United States Navy! On Friday, October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress voted to fit out two armed sailing vessels to cruise to attempt to seize arms and stores from Royal Navy transports. The rebel forces were … Continue reading

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