News & Views

CHEMINEES POUJOULAT: A Broken Monohull and Flipping Trimarans

Trimaran capsize

Even if you leave out the America's Cup, there's no way you can say sailboat racing is boring these days. The fastest boats are now so powerful and so fragile, you never know what's going to happen. Witness this year's holiday season disaster in which Bernard Stamm and Damien Guillou were rescued off the British coast on Christmas Eve after their Open 60 Cheminees Poujoulat broke in half and sank. Stamm and Guillou, who just finished fourth in the Transat Jaques Vabre, were delivering the boat back to France and were sailing conservatively in a 45-knot gale when the hull slammed off a steep wave and cracked open just forward of its daggerboards.

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UNTIE THE LINES: Weekly Video Series for Sailors With a Dream

Nike Steiger

Here's a bit of holiday inspiration for those of you thinking of blowing off the rat race to go cruising. Nike Steiger, a 32-year-old German woman, recently quit her marketing job, bought a 37-foot aluminum Reinke Super 10, and has been fitting it out for an open-ended adventure that may (or may not) take her to the fjords of Chile. She has been maintaining a well-produced video diary and posts short updates each week on her YouTube channel. So far the plot line has focussed mostly on the process of cleaning up and refitting her boat Karl (and its very recalcitrant engine) and on cutting ties with her old life, but now it seems she's about ready to move on.

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STANLEY PARIS: His Geriatric Circumnavigation

Kiwi Spirit underway

We should note that Stanley Paris, after a bit of a weather delay, finally got away from St. Augustine, Florida, 11 days ago on a solo non-stop round-the-world voyage aboard his custom-built 63-foot cutter Kiwi Spirit. Paris, age 76, is trying to beat the "ghost" of Dodge Morgan by getting around in less than 150 days. He also wants to be the oldest to pull off a non-stop circumnavigation and is trying to do it while burning zero hydrocarbons.

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DEADBEAT CRUISERS: Primadonna Leaves Oriental

Primadonna under tow

Let the record reflect that Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann, the deadbeat French sailors who have plagued the otherwise cruiser-friendly community of Oriental, North Carolina, for the past year have at last moved on. Or rather, they've been dragged on. As has been reported on Oriental's fantastic community website, TownDock, Ott and Christmann and their decrepit steel ketch Primadonna were towed out of the anchorage last month (see photo up top) by a transient Dutch cruiser, Martijn Dijkstra, who left them on a mooring at Morehead City. Most everyone in Oriental was happy to see the last of Primadonna, except for chandlery manager Pat Stockwell, who got stuck with a bad check passed by Ott and sued in small claims court to recover $2,480.42 he lost in the transaction.

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VINCENT TANGORRA: Sailor Towing Jet-Ski Missing Off New Jersey

Vincent Tangorra aboard Polaris

Here's a puzzle. It seems Vinnie Tangorra, age 56, an ex-NYC bus driver from Bethpage, Long Island, was en route last week from New York to North Carolina aboard Polaris, a 37-foot sailboat, and was towing a jet-ski, which, according to his brother Ray, was serving as his liferaft. Ray spoke with Vinnie on the phone Wednesday and received a text message Thursday evening, in which Vinnie stated he was off Cape May. Ray tried calling back, but couldn't get through. Friday morning the jet-ski was found adrift off Cape May; later the Coast Guard found Polaris, nine miles from shore, with no one aboard. Coast Guard helicopters and a cutter searched the area Saturday, but found no trace of Vinnie.

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STUFF TO WATCH FOR: Sub Launched Aerial Drone

 

Sub launched drone

Coming soon to stretch of horizon near you. The U.S. Navy has just announced that it has successfully launched an aerial surveillance drone from a submerged submarine. The way it works is this: a) the drone is inserted inside a "Sea Robin" launch vehicle, which in turn is inserted into a Tomahawk missile canister; b) the Tomahawk canister is placed inside a torpedo tube and fired off; c) once outside the sub, the Sea Robin is released from the Tomahawk canister and bobs to the surface, where it looks like a common spar buoy; and finally d) the aerial drone (known as an Experimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System, or XFC UAS, in Navy-speak) shoots off into the air from the floating Sea Robin (as seen in the photo above).

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AMAZING RESCUE VIDEO: Man Trapped in Sunken Tug For Three Days

Yowza! You don't see something like this every day. This was shot in May, when a team of divers went down 30 meters to a sunken oil-rig service tug that capsized off the coast of Nigeria. The mission was to recover bodies, but it turned out one body wasn't dead yet. The ship's cook, Harrison Okene, who had gone to the head and was wearing only his boxer shorts when his world turned upside down, survived three days in an air bubble and found some Coca-Cola to drink to keep himself alive. Harrison heard the divers when they came into the tug and grabbed one, scaring the bejesus out of him. The close encounter starts at about 5:30.

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OCEAN CURRENTS MAP: Some Nifty Animation

Current Map Gulf and East Coast

I'm not sure what to make of this, but it sure is fun to look at. Click through to this Ocean Surface Currents Map website, and you'll see this image is actually animated. It just covers areas around the United States, but still gives you a very good idea of just how dynamic the ocean really is.

Off the East and Gulf Coasts anyway. What most surprised me is how little current action there is off the West Coast.

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OCEAN CURRENTS MAP: Some Nifty Animation

Current Map Gulf and East Coast

I'm not sure what to make of this, but it sure is fun to look at. Click through to this Ocean Surface Currents Map website, and you'll see this image is actually animated. It just covers areas around the United States, but still gives you a very good idea of just how dynamic the ocean really is.

Off the East and Gulf Coasts anyway. What most surprised me is how little current action there is off the West Coast.

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