Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why wood

Beauty and functionality are two answers.

I'll let Tugster do the talking and the photography. HERE is his spread taken at the Wooden Boat Festival in Mystic, this past weekend - sponsored by Woodenboat.

Above are a rowboat from tugster, and a shot from the dock at Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club of Canvasback. A 100 y.o. (with all original planks!) 48 foot "commuter boat". Wait, I want to go to work that way too.

Volvo: St. Petersburg finish for 37,000 mile race

The Volvo Ocean Race finished yesterday in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). 37,000 miles, 11 legs, 8 boats. (All but Team Russia finished th entire circuit.)

The final event was a parade of boats up the Neva River.

The final account is here.

The skipper of the winning boat is the great Brasilian Olympic sailor Torben Grael. For his sailing bio, see his wikipedia entry here.

Two of the top three teams, including Grael's, were sponsored by Ericcsson. Puma finished second, skippered by Ken Read, and Telefonica Blue, skippered by Boewe Bekking.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Skate Captain Calvert - 1st to surface at the north pole

Those childhood memories of the not so happy 50's were retrieved by news of the death of James Calvert, captain of the nuclear sub Skate, which surfaced at the North Pole in 1959.

Nautically speaking quite the coup.

It was the Sputnik hysteria and the missile gap nonsense that helped elect John Kennedy, and took the Skate to the north pole. No more sled dogs. Soon we would have Polaris submarines - the undetectable threat of massive nuclear retaliation against the Russian surprise attack. The submarines and the stupidity of it all would end the era of band-aids, biscuits, and barrels of drinking water in Civil Defense bomb shelters and elementary school air raid drills, crawling under desks and getting down on our knees with hands over heads in the hallways of the Abbey Lane School in Levittown.

I still believe that no one will use the bloody things again - not the Israelis, not the Iranians, not the North Koreans, not the Indians, nor the Pakistanis, the Russians, the Chinese, and certainly not the Brits. How can we stop any of the aspirants if even we won't give up the strategy of nuclear deterrence?

Anyway, the Times obit for a great mariner - who got to the north pole without the north star to guide him - is here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Galway - Marstrand photo finish

The picture above shows the few yards that separated Boston-based Puma from Irish-crewed, Chinese-bult Green Dragon at the finish of the 415 mile Galway to Marstrand leg. Ken Read, Puma skipper describes the leg and their luck in a way that any round-the-buoys sailor will recognize here.

The fleet is seen above in the Marstrand harbor. It's a beautiful spot, with a 700 year old viking fort atop the small island, which guarded the entrance to Gothenburg (Goteborg) whence Marilyn's grandparents sailed to America. And not nearly as cold as you might imagine. Milder than New York, actually, though dark in the winter - but long days in summer. Volvo is headquartered a few miles away. The fleet has sailed more than a circumnavigation now - with a leg to go.

images: VOR (c) 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Mackerel-crowded Sea: Sustainable fisheries

The evidence at the public landing at Port Clyde on the Gulf of Maine is that there are a lot of mackerel in the sea. And a hook with an eel on it will tell you the same in the East River about the striped bass, and a shiny jig about bluefish. But what about the others? The Times has invited specialists who study the matter to comment here. Among those on the good list: haddock, east coast scallops, and Alaska wild salmon - at record levels now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Scallop draggers - Barnegat Light

"We drag it just above the bottom - the steel rings and fingers scrape em up, into the bag", said the captain of the William & Lauren. "Shouldn't be giving away my secrets - but that's about all there is to it." (click on the 3rd thumbnail to see details)

We never think about scallop draggers until we see a short item about a winter search off the coast of New Jersey or Nantucket. That's why the Coast Guard developed Rescue 21. And that's why there are rigid-inflatable motor life boats with a pair of 200 horsepower engines ready to fly out of the Coast Guard stations at Barnegat Light, Atlantic City, New Bedford and the other fishing ports along the coasts. Speed could save a crew member, like on the F/V NORTHERN EDGE – Dec. 20, 2004, 75-ft scallop boat sank 45 miles SE of Nantucket, 5 lost, 1 survivor.

These shots were taken at Barnegat Light and the Marina at Barnegat Light, a busy fishing port more famous as a summer resort beach town on the Jersey shore 45 miles south of Sandy Hook.

Here is some video of a scallop dragger at work. I know there are people who think it is crude, rapacious, and destructive of the ocean bottom. Maybe but I really don't feel any sympathy for a scallop as I bake it or an oyster as I pop it into my mouth with some tabasco.

Friday, June 5, 2009

400 Years - Henry Hudson and the North River

River Day
For more information, check HERE

Monday, June 1, 2009

Phil Bolger - RIP

He was a
perfectionist, Philip Bolger, dead by his own hand at 81. He couldn't bear the decline of his powers, as his wife and partner Susanne Altenberger and friends recount in this death announcement. He thought boats should do what they set out to do, not do everything. He preferred simplicity - as in the Gloucester light dory (compare it to Winslow Homer's), but he could also manage the complex: as in his design of a replica of a 1757 frigate the HMS Rose.