Dock Line Death Test

25 Jan

In the book The Bad Girl, by Mario Vargas Llosa, a character named Arquimedes has a preternatural ability to tell where breakwaters and groins should be built. He can tell just by meditating on the sea whether the breakwater will serve its purpose or make matters worse. The best hydrologists and engineers in Lima always hired Arquimedes, because if they didn't their projects often ended up as expensive failures.

Pier 39 Marina, where I keep my boat in San Francisco, did not hire Arquimedes. It's hard to figure out the mechanics, because there are breakwaters and sea walls every which ...

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Pirate Smackdown! (Grab Your Popcorn)

25 Jan

Courtesy of the US and Royal Navies.

It's hard to know what the Volvo Ocean Race suits were so worried about, when you have these guys on the scene. Check out this video of the RN Fort Victoria and the USS Carney forcefully putting a gang of Somali pirates out of business. (Note to pirates: a hail of bullets means "STOP")

I have to admit the the determination of the pirates in the face of machine gun fire and two warships is pretty

impressive. But this was never a fair fight, and the result was 13 pirates retired to ...

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10-0 Vote But . . .

25 Jan

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night voted 10-0 to reject two appeals against the America’s Cup Environmental Impact Review.

Though not until the AC Event Authority agree do re-site its JumboTron from a barge anchored in Aquatic Park – where swim clubs argued it would stir up toxic silt – to a spot on land instead.

The vote does not preclude civil action, but I note that certain parties to the appeal, such as the Sierra Club, are on record as wanting the America’s Cup to be sailed on San Francisco Bay. Things need to get moving ...

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The Foul Taste of Antifouling Legislation

24 Jan

So I’m a little behind on the times but I recent heard about California Senate Bill 623 and Washington Senate Bill 5436 both regulating the use of copper in antifouling paints. The WA bill became law in May of last year and will effectively ban (less then .5% versus the 40% plus common now) copper in antifouling paints by 2020 while the CA bill is a bit less specific and is not yet law. These bills reflect growing momentum to regulate copper-based antifouling paints. Across the pond in the EU many localities have made it illegal to scrub such paint ...

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Royal Royal Yacht?

24 Jan

Well, seems the English people, or at least the Daily Mail, yearn to see their Royal Family once again conducting their royal business from aboard a Royal Yacht.

So the Daily Mail is campaigning to build a new Royal Yacht that, I have to admit, is veddy, veddy, impressive. And if only the Queen will give her endorsement, the Royal Mail will magnanimously gather a wide assortment of donors and build her Royal Highness a new barky.

Here's the Daily Mail, waxing romantic about its patently self-promoting, I mean patriotic, idea:

It will be a great tribute to one

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AC Priorities: View from Down Under

24 Jan

Howzabout a little guest editorial from someone who has made the rounds of America’s Cup. You should know the name Keith Taylor. If not, what’s below is self-explanatory. Keith’s missive arrived at San Francisco City Hall yesterday, in advance of today’s hearing before the Board of Supervisors – the hearing to decide the fate of an appeal to the America’s Cup Environmental Impact Review:

Supervisors . . .

I urge you to hew to the greater good when considering the challenges to the America’s Cup Environmental Impact Report. Yes, you should respect the environment, but that’s not a mandate to ...

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Laura Dekker: Teen Circumnavigator (For Real)

24 Jan

Forget about whether Guinness and other record-keeping organizations will "officially" consider Dutch teenager Laura Dekker the youngest person ever to sail a boat around the globe. The race for "youngest ever" was getting silly, and even a little dangerous, so perhaps that's understandable (though when did it become a record-keeping outfit's responsibility to decide what is dangerous and what is not?).

Instead, focus on the fact that late last week Dekker, just 16, completed a remarkably seamanlike, and drama-free, solo circumnavigation in just under one year. How many 16-year olds do you know that have the

skills and maturity to do ...

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The Cup

23 Jan

One of my takeaways from a heap of 2011 trips to San Francisco City Hall was a higher opinion of city government than I had when I started. Knowing that some of the best minds in what they call down there the “city family” have spent the last year working with the America’s Cup Event Authority to develop a plan that will work for 2012-13, it strikes me as almost an insult (though it’s inevitable, I suppose) that an appeal has been filed against the Environmental Impact Report recently approved by the SF Planning Commission.

The San Francisco Board of ...

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