I'm on the ARC beat in St. Lucia again this week, chilling with my SAILfeed compadres Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson and stalking the pontoons checking out all the peeps and boats that coagulate here in Rodney Bay as the world's biggest bluewater cruising rally comes to an end. It was a rougher ride than usual through the trades from the Canaries to the W'Indies this year, but spirits are high and the energy, as always, is very positive.
Boats & Gear
It seems to safe to say that the 2012 North Atlantic tropical storm season has come to end, so I've been pawing through the sat pix I've collected trying to choose my favorite for the year. In terms of storm intensity, it was a rather poor season, so the pickings are a bit slim. Consequently, my number one choice isn't actually a satellite image. What you see up top, a pictorial rendering of the locations and intensities of all reported tropical storms and hurricanes since 1851, was published by John Nelson of IDV Solutions on his UXBlog on August 20.
It is quite beautiful, but also a bit counter-intuitive in its presentation, as the map is Antarctic-centric. To view the image full-size, you can check out John's original post, which offers numerous display options.
News & Views
AS I NOTED in my last post on the loss of HMS Bounty during Hurricane Sandy, one of the big unanswered questions is: why was the ship taking on so much water? That she was leaking enough to sink is especially puzzling in that just 11 days earlier she'd been relaunched at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in Maine (see photo up top) after spending a month in drydock for repairs. It may or may not be relevant, but my eyebrows did rise up a bit when I learned this week that the very same yard got dinged in federal court earlier this year for over $400K in damages for shoddy work performed on Shenandoah, a 108-foot schooner, back in 2008.
OH NO! (Not ANOTHER cruiser-got-busted story!) Just six months ago, Debbie Calitz, a South African sailor taken hostage by Somali pirates with her boyfriend off the coast of Tanzania, was finally released after 20 months in captivity. In little more than a week her book about her ordeal, 20 Months in Hostage Hell (see image up top), is scheduled to be released by Penguin Books. Right now, however, she's up to her eyeballs in legal trouble, as she, her two children, and six others were arrested in her Pretoria apartment last Friday for possession of marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
The Catalina 42 was introduced in 1989 and was one of the first mass-produced American boats to feature both a sugar-scoop transom with a swim platform and a three-stateroom layout with two aft cabins under the cockpit. It was very much a response to similar boats that first appeared in Europe in the mid-1980s, but unlike its contemporaries it stayed in production for over 20 years. Over 1,000 were built, making it one of the most successful cruising sailboats of its size ever created.
Boats like this have long dominated the mass-production market, but what distinguishes the Catalina 42 from more modern boats is its moderation. Where many contemporary mass-production boats now have rather exaggerated shapes to maximize interior volume, the Catalina 42 has a much more balanced form. Its bow is well raked and has a clean entry, but its waterline is not too short. Its beam is carried well aft, but not excessively so, and tapers quite a bit at the transom, so the boat does not gripe too much sailing hard to windward. Freeboard is not too high, the coachroof lines are crisp, and the boat has very clean, handsome profile.
SAY WHAT??? Has my esteemed SAILfeed colleague, the mysterious Mariner, been spending too much time sniffing go-juice fumes? I eagerly dove into his post yesterday, in which he hailed and linked to "the first detailed journalistic account" of the loss of HMS Bounty, but was sorely disappointed by what I found. The account in question, currently bouncing around the Internet in various (often unattributed) iterations, was originally published by Spiegel Online and is barely coherent in places and doesn't even pretend to address some of the biggest questions raised by the tragedy.
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