We're not talking the old-style, Blackbeard era of piracy. We're talking the modern pirates who have become a deadly and important threat to shipping and crusing on many of the world's oceans.
Mostly we hear about the effort to fight them off. We rarely hear about who they are, why they are out there, and how their pirate world works. So it is fascinating to see a film-maker who managed to get a peek into that world and take us on an inside tour.
The film-maker is called Thymaya Payne, and the Stolen Seas website is here.
There's a lot to learn from the film. Here's what one reviewer had to say about the environment that brought forthMiscellanypiracySomaliashipping
Okay, on behalf of everyone who is having a hard time seeing a guy puking over the rail prominently featured every time they visit SAILfeed, I am throwing up (get it?) this relaxing, idyllic video of racing cats in St. Bart's.
Ahh, that's better (sorry, Charlie).RacingMiscellanycatamaran racingSt. Barts
Ouest awoke this morning and before an hour had passed she had on her Carnaval hat and mask and was waving around her wand wanting to go on a walk—still in her pajamas. So yeah, that was twenty pesos well spent.
For anyone who cares about what happened to the HMS Bounty and why, Outside magazine has a nicely detailed investigation:CruisingBoats and GearHMS Bounty
Another beach day. Found a good spot just three minutes down the road by bus and down an alley from an OXXO—meaning convenience store hot dogs, iced coffee, and beer for Ali and I, and peanuts for the kids. Our day at the beach is sort of a Mexican version of a day at Twins stadium in Minneapolis.Categories: Cruisingmexicochildren
Well, glad to see they sorted that out. But how well have they mastered it? How long can they sustain it?
Hard to say. That is the lone shot from recent testing that shows Oracle's AC72 up on its foils (gallery here).
This recent America's Cup update from Bloomberg TV, with some great shots of Emirates Team New Zealand, shows how far they have to go.
Racingamerica's cupTeam OracleAC72foiling
How many times have you tried to come up with a similar innovation to promote comfort at sea?
Sailors have a lot of free time during a long passage, and sometimes they sleep, sometimes they write, and sometimes they tinker. Here, Ryan Breymaier, onboard the VO70 Maserati (which is skippered by Giovanni Soldini and deep into an attempt to break the NYC-San Francisco record), takes us through a little project he cooked up:
Anyone who has ever been on a VO70 knows how depressingly wet they are. So I'd say Breymaier and the
crew will be pretty chuffed if this little mod works.
Here's more about Ryan, who is establishing himself as America's premier offshore racer.
When I started reading Blue Latitudes I thought the author was a poser. Here he was retracing the voyages of the great Captain Cook, and he flew to most of the destinations. Aside from a week on the Endeavor replica and a few weeks on some charter sailboats, Tony Horwitz isn’t a sailor. He is, however, a great writer, formerly of The New Yorker. Blue Latitudes is researched meticulously and Horwitz succeeds in giving us a more human portrait of Cook.
I thought I was into Captain Cook, but now realize I’m a complete dilettante. The Captain Cook Society publishes a quarterly newsletter, members exchange research, and several historians have devoted their entire lives to Cook. Most of my knowledge comes from various cruising guides and general histories. Like many sailors, I’ve come to admire the man through sailing in his tracks, visiting his landfalls, and trying to imagine being the first European to reach many of these places. Earlier this year my wife and I made a little pilgrimage to the site of his death in Hawaii:
It turns out Cook-ophiles are nothing new. Cook’s journals were published after his first voyage, and his tales of Tahiti and the Antipodes captured Europe’s imagination. By the time he started his third voyage he was a celebrity. As Horwitz points out, this fascination has continued into modern times, with Star Trek being a thinly disguised modernization of Cook’s voyages: Captain James Kirk for Captain James Cook; a five-year mission to discover new lands; the Enterprise instead of the Endeavor; a gentlemanly Dr. Spock standing in for the aristocratic Joseph Banks; and a whole legion of nameless “expendables” meeting their dooms in far-off lands. Even Star Trek’s intro, “…to boldly go where no man has gone before,” mirrors Captain Cook’s most famous quote, which still sends shivers up my spine knowing its emotional and geographic circumstances:
“Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.”
The difference in Horwitz’s book is that he travels to many of Cook’s landfalls to ask how he is perceived today. The answer is seldom pleasant. Native peoples throughout the Pacific regard him as an invader who brought misery. Since Cook’s crews carried syphilis, tuberculosis, and smallpox, it wasn’t long before these native populations died off to half or less of their pre-Cook populations. While Cook was generally thought to be diplomatic and kind in his dealings with native peoples, Horwitz points out that he was probably starting to lose it toward the end, and he may have brought his violent death upon himself.
Some island nations still cringe or glory in the original names Cook gave them: Tongans love to be “The Friendly Isles,” but the Niueans can’t shake “The Savage Isle.”
If we can set aside Cook’s diplomacy and the fatal impact that followed his and all European contact with the New World and the Pacific, and just look at him as an explorer, sailor, navigator, and mapmaker, he still deserves the respect of all sailors: Until Star Trek becomes a reality, no man can touch him.PeopleCaptain James CookBlue Latitudes
I've never gone iceboat sailing, though I know many people who love nothing better than sailing on hard water in frigid temperatures. And I often wonder what it would be like.
Willy Clark recently lost his iceboat virginity. Here's what it looked like out there:
Willy also wrote up his thoughts on the experience. Here's what you need to know:
After a few scratch races Oliver gave me the chance to take his DN for a spin. It was a new experience in every sense of the word. The first thing that jumped out to me as odd was that you can’t see the puffs coming. Ice doesn’t ripple the way that water does, so you have no warning of the puff. It’s just there all at once and you had better react fast. This makes it an even more intuitive sport than “conventional” sailing already is. You can’t see what is happening. Even your tell tails aren’t all that helpful. You just have to feel it.
The other thing that really got to me is that you can just stop. When you go for a sail even when you let out your sails and are just waiting around luffing you are still sailing. You don’t stop sailing until you are back on land. Ice boating isn’t like that. You can just get out whenever you want. If the wind gets to high or too low once can simply take the sail down and walk home, and the idea of doing that really gets in your head. Going for a sail in an ice boat really isn’t like spending an afternoon sailing. Yes that is the activity, but the fact that you can just stop for 15 minutes in the middle makes it very very different. It’s a hard thing to wrap ones head around.
During my brief spin in the DN I got hit by two very large puffs. The wind was extremely spotty that day at Squam Lake, with 15 knot gusts oscillating up to 45 degrees. The first one hit me and the boat took off so fast that I simply had to wuss out. I dropped the sheet and headed up until I felt under control again. However when I felt the second one hit I knew I had to put the bow down and see what it could do, so I gripped the sheet, held the tiller rock steady, and just hung on for 30 seconds of pure terror. It was very clear, after my heart had descended out of my throat, why people get into this – the speed is something else. Nothing can really compare to it. However it wasn’t just the speed that was different, the whole experience was totally unrelated to anything I had done in my whole life of sailing.
And, of course, there always the speed freaks:
Boats and GeariceboatingDN iceboatWilly ClarkClarkSail