JUST IN CASE you guys haven't been following my cousin Nick's cruise to the east coast Greenland like I told you to, I thought I'd import an entry from the ship's blog so you can get a taste of how things are going aboard S/V Teddy. Nick, unfortunately, came down with the shingles, but is recovering; meanwhile, he and the crew have had little trouble catching cod to eat. The text that follows is by Nick; the fantastic pix, evidently, are by Ben Yeager.
Took 4.5 days to cross the Denmark Strait to Greenland. Little or no wind for the middle half - a damn lot of motoring.
We entered the ice field 3x. By ice field I mean vast regions of concentrated floes & bergs. The Danes (the colonizers of Greenland) call this the stori, the until recently impenetrable ice fields coming down from the polar basin year round. This pattern dramatically changed in the past decade, due to global warming I guess, and small boats like mine can enter a month or two a year. Two locals told me that 5 sailboats come in each year, in August.
News & Views
HERE'S A POSTSCRIPT to a sad story. Triple Stars, the Island Packet 380 from which cruiser Jan Anderson was lost overboard last November, was towed into Bermuda last week by a fisherman. The boat has been adrift ever since Jan's husband Rob abandoned it about 285 miles northwest of Bermuda, after a search for Jan was called off. As you can see in the photo up top, taken at Ely's Harbour in Bermuda last Thursday (by Glenn Tucker, for the Bermuda Royal Gazette), the boat looks to be in reasonably good condition. At the time she was abandoned, there were reportedly problems with her autopilot and in-mast furling mainsail, but she was otherwise operable.
AS A SAILOR I can't help but be intrigued by the notion that the commercial cargo carriers of the future will be sailing vessels. Or at least motor-sailing vessels. Environmentalists, and even a number of normal people, increasingly decry the fact that contemporary cargo vessels have absolutely enormous carbon footprints, and every other month it seems some idealistic non-profit or pie-in-the-sky corporate entity circulates drawings of a sailing cargo carrier and announces the concept is "in development." Up top you see one such suspect, a cool-looking Dyna-rigged ship designed by Rob Humphreys for B9 Shipping.
The party line here is that the Dyna-rig will provide 60 percent of the vessel's motive energy; the rest will come from biomethane-fueled engines. The methane will be produced from recycled waste (remember the power-generating pigs presided over by MasterBlaster in Barter Town in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome?).
BIG NEWS HERE SPORTS FANS! NASA announced last week that its Cassini probe has established that Saturn's moon Titan (seen in that sexy NASA/Cassini photo up top) experiences significant tidal bulging that must be caused by an ocean of liquid water trapped beneath the moon's solid surface.
And you're wondering: what has this to do with the sport of yachting???
AFTER 20 MONTHS IN CAPTIVITY a South African sailing couple, Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz, who were taken hostage by Somali pirates off the coast of Tanzania, have finally been freed. It's unclear how this happened, but according to the most detailed report I've seen, it seems the Italian and South African governments (Pelizzari holds dual SA/Italian citizenship), with help from other interested governments, brokered the release. Though the Somali government has meanwhile claimed it freed the couple in a military operation, Somali expatriates within South Africa have denied this. It seems a ransom of approximately $500,000 to $700,000 may have been paid, with the bulk of the funds provided by the Italian government and Somali expatriates, but this has not been confirmed.
NO DOUBT YOU'RE WONDERING what happened with my cousin Nick Kats, who was planning to transit the Northwest Passage from Ireland to Oregon this summer aboard his steel ketch Teddy. In the end he decided to punt and cruise to the east coast of Greenland instead. He and his young crew (pictured up top) took off from Clifden in county Galway bound for Iceland last Friday.
Coincidentally, one member of his crew, Sam Berner, who just graduated from high school, is the son of Tania Aebi, ex-teen sailing prodigy. I met Sam and his mom the summer before last in New York, when they joined me and Hank Schmitt in greeting Reid Stowe on his return from his non-stop 1,152-day voyage around the world.
THIS YEAR'S BERMUDA RACE, which starts today out of Newport, is looking to be a fast one. That wind chart for this afternoon you see up top is representative of the predicted conditions--moderate to strong northeasterlies right on the beam--from now until Sunday. Already the pundits are speculating that the fastest boats may finish in less than 40 hours, shattering the Open Division record (48 hours and change) set by Hasso Plattner on Morning Glory back in 2004.
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