Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Photo courtesy VroonVos Voyager, an oil rig support vessel, filmed this in the North Sea in 2011.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Back River dip December 27

Air Temp:46 F
Water Temp: 44 F
High Tide: 14:43 EST  10.1'
Sunset 16:07 EST
Breed: Yellow Lab
Age: 9
James J. Muldoon

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Volvo Ocean Race Female Sailing Team Hopes to Navigate New Path - NYTimes.com

Captain Samantha Davies
Led by Vendee Globe (solo, non-stop) race veteran Samantha Davies  the all women Team SCA is in Abu Dhabi awaiting the January 3 start of the next leg - to Sanya, China.  They are 6th in the 7 team fleet.  (Vestas Wind, wrecked on a reef in the Indian Ocean has just been plucked from the sea).

In Volvo Ocean Race, Female Sailing Team Hopes to Navigate New Path - NYTimes.com

by Chris Museler

In June 2002, the British sailor Abby Seager stepped off a 60-foot sailboat she had just raced around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race, hoping to have paved the way for professional women’s ocean racing.
Enduring professional sailing teams and events have grown twofold in the decade since that race, but there had not been an all-female team since then until Team SCA signed up for this year’s edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 38,789-nautical-mile around-the-world event.
Seager, now Abby Ehler, and her crewmates Carolijn Brouwer and Liz Wardley are the only women on the team who have competed in a Volvo race before, but sponsors and team managers have invested in the goal of creating a competitive women’s team with a long legacy. SCA is only the fifth all-female team to compete in the 40-year history of the event, formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
“For sure we didn’t come into this expecting to be on the podium,” Ehler said in a recent video call from the boat while sailing north through the Indian Ocean on Leg 2 of the race. “This is a steppingstone. SCA’s commitment is unbelievable. We have been training for almost two years, and our physical conditioning is far better than 14 years ago.”
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Sailing World's Conference Rankings, Fall 2014 | Sailing World

Sailing World's Conference Rankings, Fall 2014 | Sailing World

Full rankings:
Coed Rankings
  1. Georgetown
  2. Fordham
  3. Navy
  4. Old Dominion
  5. St. Mary’s
  6. SUNY Maritime
  7. Hobart/Wm.Smith
  8. George Washington
  9. King’s Point
Also receiving votes: U. Penn, Cornell, Hampton, Washington College

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Protected No Longer? Desperate Fisheries Managers Want to Open Closed Areas. – Voices

Carl Safina worries that the federal fisheries will unwisely open groundfishing areas that have been wisely protected.  Dragging damages the sea bottom environment where fish thrive.  - GWC

Protected No Longer? Desperate Fisheries Managers Want to Open Closed Areas. – Voices

By Carl Safina and Elizabeth Brown
By the early 1990’s, decades of heavy fishing had depleted several of New England’s important fish species, including cod, haddock, pollock and flounders (collectively referred to as ‘groundfish’). Fishermen had been catching fish faster than they could reproduce and had degraded fish habitats by dragging nets. To help rebuild New England’s fish populations, managers established several areas where fishing with any gears capable of catching groundfish species were prohibited. These areas were designed to protect both young, immature fish and large breeding adults. Later, in the early 2000’s, several areas both within and outside these closed fishing areas were designated as habitat closures, designed specifically to protect vulnerable habitats from all destructive bottom fishing gears.
Over the last 10-20 years, these protected areas have provided important safe havens for many species and have allowed previously degraded ocean habitats to recover. These protected areas have complex bottom structures and living communities that include kelp, mussel beds, sponges, and more. These areas often contain larger and older fish compared to fished areas. Since larger fish produce many times more eggs than small fish, these large fish are critical to helping populations rebuild1. Protected areas also help create a build-up of fish, which can swim into outside areas, and actually improve fishing there2.
These protected areas have provided many benefits to New England’s groundfish species, including Georges Bank haddock, Acadian redfish, pollock, and white hake–which have all recovered from previously depleted states. They have also benefited other species, like scallops–whose populations are thriving– and many marine mammals.

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by NOAA.
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by NOAA.

Unfortunately, despite these positives, New England fisheries remain in trouble. Some groundfish, like Atlantic cod and yellowtail flounder, remain deeply depleted. Recently, scientists estimated that Atlantic cod in the Gulf of Maine is at a mere 3 to 4% of a healthy abundance level. And the Atlantic cod population in Georges Bank is not fairing much better. Rising ocean temperatures are further threatening New England’s fish populations. Record high temperatures in New England have caused fish to retreat to cooler waters, and can affect fish growth, reproduction, and survival3. In recent years, the federal government has had to fork over millions of dollars to help struggling New England fishermen, who have not been able to catch enough fish to make a living.
New England fisheries are now at a critical juncture. There is considerable debate about how to fix New England’s fisheries—And specifically how to manage New England’s ocean habitats, as managers work on updating their habitat plan for the region.
The fishing industry has been pushing fishery managers to reduce the amount of protected areas [the protected areas that have benefited so many New England species and the fishermen too]. Why? Because they want to have more opportunities to catch fish, to reduce some of the economic burdens they face. They have also argued that many of these protected areas are no longer necessary because they were originally put in place to reduce fishing pressure on depleted species, and now fishing pressure is limited through species-specific catch limits.
New England fishery managers are apparently going along with this idea. Their proposed habitat plan that they released in October primarily includes options for reducing habitat protections4. In nearly all sub-regions, the options put forward are to keep the current protected areas as they are OR to replace them with smaller, patchier protected areas. The only sub-region where managers have proposed to add new protected areas is the eastern Gulf of Maine. Overall, New England could lose up to 70% of their protected areas.***

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Our friend Kathryn Armstrong is going to be southwest bound - from St. Maarten to New Zealand.  She'll be crew on Whizzbang - a boat she and her Dad Jeff have several times brought down to the Caribbean from Massachusetts with Capt. Peter DeWalt.  A late January departure is planned.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wind and current forecasts

Great sites:
windyty wind forecasts

NASA scientific visualization studio

Global Sea surface current and temperature flows     VIDEO

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sean The Seabird | Issuma

Sean The Seabird | Issuma

Dec 19 17:31:00 EST 2014, 
Seen at: 3 30'N:115 29'W
Where the hell is that? About 1,500 miles west northwest of the Galapagos and 2,500 west of the southern coast of Colombia.

Maggie asks: Can anyone identify this bird?

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Hello Tristan and Hello Roaring Forties of the Southern Ocean | Dr. Stanley Paris – Kiwi Spirit, a custom designed 63-foot yacht

Tristan da Cunha

Tristan Da Cunha is the mid south Atlantic island aka St. Helena to which Napoleon was exiled.  It is on the same latitude as Cape of Good Hope.  Stanley Paris - who is in his 70's - is 1/4 of the way on his second attempt at a solo Bermuda to Bermuda circumnavigation.  I envy his cardiac strength, though I have never wanted to sail single-handed for more than a day.


Hello Tristan and Hello Roaring Forties of the Southern Ocean | Dr. Stanley 

Paris – Kiwi Spirit, a custom designed 63-foot yacht: "Good to see an old friend. Yes I am passing by Tristan da Cunha again, a towering volcanic island looking very much like a nuclear power station’s cooling tower. Tristan along with the associated islands of I’Isola Inaccessible and le Isole Nightingale are home to very little other than birds of which I have seen quite a few these past days. They come very close to the boat flying effortlessly rarely flapping their wings. The giant albatross with its seven to nine foot wing span is the most gracious and majestic. The strange thing is that the birds here never seem to plunge into the water to gather food. They just fly and swoop often with their wings tips almost touching the water. They may stop and alight but they don’t seem to gather food. How do they survive and on what?

I am now at latitude south 39 and tomorrow no doubt south 40 – known as the roaring forties. Here I can experience winds with an average strength of 22 knots from predominantly the NW, W and SW. Of course, some winds will be weaker and others stronger. Hopefully we (Kiwi Spirit and I) are ready both mentally and physically."

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Battery Park City’s Populist Sailing School May Lose Lease - NYTimes.com

Battery Park City’s Populist Sailing School May Lose Lease - NYTimes.com

by Anemona Hortecollis 

Dipping into the murky waters of the Hudson River was part of the fun when Diana Tandia’s 10-year-old son, Mohamed, learned to sail on a small boat within sight of Lower Manhattan.

“It’s a bonding thing, getting dirty in the water, eating lunch together,” Ms. Tandia said this week, as she recalled her son’s sailing camp at North Cove Marina, in Battery Park City.

For 20 years, a Battery Park resident, Michael Fortenbaugh, has been a presence at the marina, running an adult sailing school and yacht club with shared boats, and more recently the junior sailing camp that Ms. Tandia’s son attended, a rarity in New York City. Supporters call it a populist outpost, populist for Manhattan anyway, where children can learn to sail for about $400 a week during the summer.

But Mr. Fortenbaugh’s days at the marina may be over. His contract to run the marina expires Dec. 31, and he has been told by the Battery Park City Authority, the agency that controls the land the neighborhood sits on, that he can continue to keep his boats there for 60 more days, but must relinquish control of the marina, which he interprets as a sign that his contract will not be renewed.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Loss of “Team Vestas Wind” //Attainable Adventure Cruising

Twenty years of (mostly) good luck sailing and motoring on the Muscongus and the Penobscot Bay has taught me the luck component.  John Harries of Attainable Adventures, a great cruising blog, has a lot to say about the wreck of Team Vestas Wind on a reef in the Indian Ocean that is oh so easy to find via Google Earth.  - gwc

The Loss of “Team Vestas Wind”:

A huge amount of internet ink has been spilled about the shipwreck of the Volvo 65 Team Vestas Wind. But the significant news amongst all of that blather and second guessing is that the navigator Wouter Verbraak has taken complete responsibility for a terrible mistake.
There is also this useful piece [from Geo Garage Marine with charts, etc.]that postulates that Verbraak made the classic error of not examining his route at a large enough magnification, and thereby missed the shallow water in their path. In my opinion, that’s probably exactly what happened, particularly since Verbraak himself linked to it.
To me there are three things we can all learn from this accident:
  • There but for the grace of a higher power, or luck (depending on how you look at the world), go any of us.
  • The magnification error is a constant source of danger that can trap even the best navigators and we must all guard against it.
  • Electronic data representation has an intrinsic danger: all of us tend to ascribe a higher level of accuracy to the underlying data than is justified.
  • *** click through the headline for a long, smart discussion**

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Searching for the Best Weather App Among Weather Underground, Weatherbug and More - NYTimes.com

Searching for the Best Weather App Among Weather Underground, Weatherbug and More - NYTimes.com:

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Marine miracle: Sailor lost at sea for 12 days rescued off coast of Hawaii - The Washington Post

Marine miracle: Sailor lost at sea for 12 days rescued off coast of Hawaii - The Washington Post:

By Elahe Izadi December 10 "The Coast Guard had called off the search nine days earlier.

The missing boater’s friends had planned his memorial service.

Then, on Tuesday, the unbelievable happened in the waters off the Hawaiian island of Oahu: Ron Ingraham was found alive — and adrift — in his 25-foot sailboat.

It was Thanksgiving Day when Ingraham set sail from his home on Molokai to Lanai, according to Hawaii News Now.

It was a routine trip for the experienced 67-year-old sailor, CNN reported.

But his boat, Malia, began taking on water, and Ingraham made a distress call for help, saying his vessel was in danger of sinking, according to the Coast Guard.

That initial distress call and a second one later in the day prompted a massive search that involved helicopters and planes and covered 12,000 square miles. But nothing turned up.

 A few days later, on Dec. 1, the Coast Guard called off the search.

“When the commanding officer for the Coast Guard told me he was going to call off the search, I said, ‘Man, I don’t think you should call off the search because I don’t think he’s gone,’ ” Ingraham’s son Zakary told Hawaii News Now.

Still, the suspension of the search seemed to signal the inevitable, and Ingraham’s friends began preparations for a memorial service. It was scheduled for this coming Saturday, they told KITV.

 But 12 days after Ingraham dropped off the map, another distress call came through.

“We got a mayday here. Mayday. This is the Malia,” Ingraham was heard saying Tuesday morning. “Anybody picking this up?”

The Coast Guard heard the call, which was made 64 miles south of Honolulu. The USS Paul Hamilton, a guided-missile destroyer, was just 14 miles away from Ingraham at the time, according to the Coast Guard. About an hour after his call for help, the Navy ship reported that Ingraham was “weak, hungry and dehydrated.” But he was alive, and without injuries."

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Listen to the Lion - Van Morrison

I am reading David Burke's excellent A Sense of Wonder - Van Morrison's Ireland
Listen to the Lion is a song I don't know - it's on St. Dominic's Preview (1972) which I have on vinyl but never heeded.Great Vinyl on http://www.vinylrecords.ch this is album cover photo of VAN MORRISON - Saint Dominic's Preview

Greil Marcus has written: "Listen to the Lion is the song of a beast that wants to be calmed, the man that wants to be loved, the traveler who wants to lay down his weary bones someplace where he belongs."

Caledonia is the ancient Roman name for Scotland but for Morrison it's a mystic home where 
...all my tears have flown
All my tears like water flown
And all my tears like water flown
All my tears like-a water flown

For the lion
For the lion
For the lion
For the lion
Inside of me

Listen to the lion 

- George

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Vestas Wind hits the reef - video // Volvo Ocean Race

Team Vestas Wind on the reef.  Video below captures the moment of impact.