Saturday, November 25, 2017

Y40 jump: Guillaume Néry explores the deepest pool in the world

On a single breath of air, Guillaume Néry explores the deepest pool in the world in Italy: Y40.
The action is filmed on breath hold by his wife Julie Gautier. 
"We are trying to have a new approach to underwater films. I like to play, walk, run, jump and fly underwater, you won't often see me just swimming and that's why I don't use fins," he confides. 
"I feel like I'm floating in space, without gravity."

Friday, November 24, 2017

New Zealand Linz layer update in the GeoGarage platform

12 nautical raster charts updated

'Planet is doomed' unless ocean health improves, says yachtswoman

The 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean race is under way with a united push for increased global sustainability and an improvement in ocean health
"If we actually don't do anything about it, our planet is doomed" said Caffari, talking about the impact of plactic pollution and global warming.

From CNN by Rob Hodgetts

She's witnessed awe-inspiring sights at sea, but yachtswoman Dee Caffari has also been left "dumbfounded" by the vast floating islands of plastic and rubbish she has seen in the world's oceans.

As the first woman to have sailed single-handedly around the world in both directions, Caffari has seen up close the harmful effects of man's activities, from global warming and the northward drift of icebergs in the Southern Ocean to the plastic pollution that is threatening ecosystems and impacting on the human food chain.
To help raise awareness of declining ocean health and add some science to the debate, Caffari is skippering the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat in this year's Volvo Ocean Race, sailing's premier around-the-world competition.
"I feel very privileged to have the ocean as a playground and a work office, and yet I can see first-hand some of the damage we're doing," Caffari told CNN Sport.
"It's a realization by so many more people now that it's critical. If we actually don't do anything about it our planet is doomed."


According to the Ellen MacArthur foundation,
8 million tonnes of plastic waste reaches our seas each year.

'Get worse'

According to the Plastic Oceans website, 550 million plastic straws are thrown away every day in the US and the UK, while worldwide more than 500 million plastic bottles are used every year and more than one trillion plastic bags are discarded.
More than eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF).
About 50% of it is used once and then discarded, and 91% never recycled.
"We've created this problem for our planet and unless we actively do something about it or stop using it or make manufacturing change it's only going to get worse," says the 44-year-old Caffari.

The 2016 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the EMF said that if this trend continues at the same rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050.
Britains' Prince Charles told delegates at the recent Our Ocean summit in Malta it was crucial to create a circular economy that allows plastics to be "recovered, recycled and reused instead of created, used and then thrown away."

Caffari's team will monitor daily water quality and micro-plastic levels on their 45,000 nautical mile trip around the world


'Plastic is on the menu'

Much of the plastic waste in the world's seas tends to collect in one of five ocean gyres -- huge areas of circulating current and winds in which trash gathers.
During a recent race from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Caffari's boat skirted the edge of the North Pacific Gyre, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
"Every single day we were passing pollution, which was like having trash just thrown in the ocean, like fishing nets, floating crates, washing bowls, chairs, all sorts. It's sad," said Britain's Caffari.
"We're talking full islands worth, we're talking avoiding the area.
"The Americans with me were saying that it was better than it has been in the past but I was dumbfounded. It's ridiculous."

As well as the visible trash, scientists and environmentalists are worried about the level of micro-plastics in the ocean, minute pieces of plastic less than five millimeters in diameter.
These come from sources such as cosmetics, clothing and industrial processes as well as the breakdown of larger plastic items.
Fish, other sealife and birds mistake it for food. In turn, this plastic enters the human food chain and is ingested by us.

Micro-plastics are small (less than 5 mm in diameter) pieces of plastic which are eaten by fish and other sea life ad birds in mistake for food.
It eventually ends up in the human food chain.
By 2050, there could be more plastic in the sea than fish (by weight), according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

"Plastic is on the menu," warned Prince Charles in his speech in Malta.

To collect new data, Caffari's team will take water samples each day as they race 45,000 miles around the world in 11 legs across four oceans.
The exact location of each sample will be pinpointed by GPS and the results analyzed to build up a global map of micro-plastic concentration levels in the oceans.
"This real data has to be acted up on," says Caffari.
"We often pay lip service to a lot of things, but hopefully this will be proactive and make change happen."

The Volvo Ocean Race boats are doing more than just racing around the planet – they’re dropping drifter buoys to facilitate the collection of valuable scientific data which will be used by experts around the planet to better understand the oceans and what’s happening in some of the world’s most isolated places.

'Irony'

Caffari's entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, backed by principal partner the Mirpuri Foundation and the Ocean Family Foundation, is a vehicle for the United Nations Environment's Clean Seas campaign.

It is one of three entries -- alongside Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, and AkzoNobel -- that put sustainability at the heart of the race, say organizers.
"Highlighting it and raising awareness is one thing, driving industry and government to legislate to make differences is another aspect and then increasing people to raise awareness of their own behaviors and making simple changes such as don't use straws and refill water bottles -- that kind of simple action cumulatively makes the big impact," says Caffari.

The irony of a race sponsored by a car manufacturer -- which flies people and equipment around the world, and which builds boats made of carbon -- is not lost on Caffari.
But she maintains the race itself is working hard to minimize its impact and leave a legacy, from not having straws, single-use water bottles, plastic cutlery or cable ties in the various global race villages, and proper rubbish recycling, to Volvo using a proportion of each sale of its new hybrid car to funding the study of micro-plastics at sea.

The race has pledged to reduce single-use plastic at its race villages by 80% this edition and ban it completely by 2019/2020.

At the recent America's Cup, Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR, with 11th Hour Racing as a principle partner, were vociferous campaigners of the sustainability and clean seas message, but the disparate ambitions of the fiercely competitive teams meant the message was not broadcast on a united front, despite the high profile of one of sailing's most prestigious events.

Given the Volvo Ocean Race is something of a "closed environment," Caffari insists the sustainability message is easier to project.
"They risk being looked at very critically, so they have to deliver," she says.

"I feel very privileged to have the ocean as a playground and a work office, and yet I can see first-hand some of the damage we're doing" Caffari told CNN

Time to act

The seven teams entered in the race are made up of mixed crews after a new rule for this edition of the race handed a numerical advantage to line-ups including women.
Caffari's 10-person crew is the most cosmopolitan with a 50-50 split of men and women.
The focus is on youth, with six of the 10 never having sailed in the notorious Southern Ocean.
But for Caffari, who took part in the last edition of the race as part of the all-female crew on Team SAC, it is the youth of her team that is the most energizing, particularly in terms of raising awareness of ocean health.
"The synergy is very nice with this Turn The Tide on Plastic team with the focus on youth sailors," she says.
"They realise it's their generation and their children that are going to have to action something to make a difference for the future."

The Volvo Ocean Race began with leg one from Alicante, Spain to Lisbon in Portugal on October 22.There are also stopovers in Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Auckland, Itajai in Brazil, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg with the finish in The Hague in June 2018.

Links :

Thursday, November 23, 2017

US NOAA layer update in the GeoGarage platform

5 nautical raster charts updated

Why ancient mapmakers were terrified of blank spaces

Sea monsters (circled) abound on this 1558 world map by Caspar Vopel.
COURTESY OF HOUGHTON LIBRARY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

From National Geographic by Greg Miller

Inventing cities, mountains, and monsters to fill the empty spaces on maps is a centuries-old tradition in cartography.
The Indian Ocean is teeming with sea monsters in Caspar Vopel’s 1558 map of the world.
A giant swordfish-like creature looks to be on a collision course with a ship, while a walrus with frighteningly large tusks emerges from the water, and a king carrying a flag rides the waves on a hog-faced beast.

Ships and large boxes of text also help fill in the Indian Ocean on Vopel’s map.
COURTESY OF HOUGHTON LIBRARY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY
In contrast, the only real geographical information in the Indian Ocean on Vopel’s map are three groups of islands (but only the ones at the top actually exist).
COURTESY OF HOUGHTON LIBRARY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Vopel, a German cartographer, left behind no explanation of why he added these things to his map, but he may have been motivated by what art historians call horror vacui, the artist’s fear of leaving unadorned spaces on their work.
Chet Van Duzer, a historian of cartography, has found dozens of maps on which cartographers appear to have filled the empty spaces on their maps with non-existent mountains, monsters, cities, and other gratuitous illustrations.

Van Duzer, who presented some of his findings at a recent cartography conference at Stanford University, says that some scholars have been skeptical that this aversion to blank spaces has been an important influence on map design.

But Van Duzer argues that horror vacui was widespread among cartographers, especially during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Vopel’s map, for example, includes not only sea monsters and ships but also boxes of text describing features of the land.
Vopel could have put this information around the margins of the map, but he chose instead to use them to fill in the oceans.
All together these elements take up at least as much space as the part of the world that’s actually being mapped (the second image in the gallery above shows them all highlighted).

Decorative cartouches fill much of the Southern Ocean and the interior of North American on Pieter van den Keere’s 1611 map.
Compass roses, sailing ships, and cartouches are among the decorative elements on Pieter van den Keere’s 1611 map. 
COURTESY OF SUTRO LIBRARY, CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY

One reason mapmakers may have done this is to hide their ignorance, says Van Duzer.
When the Dutch mapmaker Pieter van den Keere made a world map in 1611 (see above), the interior of North America had yet to be thoroughly mapped.

The cartouche covering most of North America is decorated with plants, animals, and famous explorers.
COURTESY OF SUTRO LIBRARY, CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY 

Instead of leaving it blank, van den Keere filled the space with an elaborate cartouche, a decorative oval shape surrounded by alligators, birds, and foliage.
At the top of the cartouche, explorers Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan and Amerigo Vespucci pore over a map.

The interior of Africa was not well mapped either at the time, but there were texts available that described it in detail—albeit speculative and unreliable detail—and van den Keere likely relied on these to fill in the interior of that continent, Van Duzer says.
According to the map, for example, the Niger River flows underground for 60 miles and then re-emerges in a lake.
In reality it does no such thing.

Mapmakers may have also been motivated by the market for their work.
Aristocrats and other wealthy patrons who commissioned the most expensive maps would have expected lavish decoration.
On the Italian cartographer Giovanni Battista Cavallini’s 1640 colorful nautical chart of the Mediterranean sea below, the surrounding land is filled with cities, mountains, and far more scale bars and compass roses than necessary—or even helpful.

Giovanni Battista Cavallini’s 1640 map of the Mediterranean sea is filled with decorative elements, including 15 cities (circled in red), most of which don't represent real cities.

The map also includes 15 compass roses, added purely as decoration.
 Cavallini also included scale bars, mountain ranges, and a couple palm trees—together these decorations take up most of the land area on the map.
COURTESY OF GEOGRAPHY AND MAP DIVISION, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Unfortunately, the real motivations of these mapmakers are mostly lost to time.
Van Duzer has so far found only one text by a cartographer that discusses horror vacui, although not by name.
It’s a small note on a 1592 world map by the Dutch cartographer Petrus Plancius, in which Plancius says, in effect, that he went out of his way to research the constellations of the southern sky for a small celestial map he drew in one corner, “Least the South part of this Hemispheare or halfe Globe, should remaine voide and emptie.”

“The stars of the southern hemisphere were not well known in Europe in the early seventeenth century, so he is proud that he has sources that will enable him to fill in what might otherwise be a blank area,” Van Duzer says.

Even in its heyday, horror vacui seems to have afflicted some cartographers more than others, Van Duzer says.
But by the middle of the 18th century, more and more mapmakers were keeping their embellishments to the margins and leaving the seas and unexplored continents unadorned, he says.
“Cartographers started to conceive of maps as something more purely scientific.”

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Argentina's missing submarine: what we know

 A vast search by a multinational taskforce for an Argentinian submarine that went missing in the South Atlantic with 44 crew members four days ago has failed to provide details of its possible location.
A total of 13 ships and six aeroplanes are braving strong winds and high waves over an area of 66,000 sq km (25,500 sq miles) more than 400 km (250 miles) east of the bay of San Jorge off the coast of Patagonia in southern Argentina.
Argentina’s navy said it was not sure what had happened to the submarine but said it was now convinced the ship was beneath the surface and not adrift on choppy seas, as was previously thought Search for missing Argentinian submarine fails to find any clues

From CNN by Euan McKirdy

Efforts to locate an Argentine submarine that has been missing since last week have been ramped up dramatically by a multinational search team of boats and planes, the country's navy says.
"We have tripled the search effort, both on the surface and underwater, with 10 airplanes," said Gabriel Galeazzi, a spokesman with the Mar Del Plata Argentine naval base.

Ships and aircraft from at least seven countries are scouring the southern Atlantic for the submarine ARA San Juan, which was last seen Wednesday.
"We have 11 ships from the Argentine navy, from municipalities, and from countries that have collaborated with research ships such as Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Peru, the United States, and (the UK).
"These ships are following the submarine's planned route, (and are) sweeping the whole area and we also have navy ships sweeping from north to south and from south to north."

 Argentine ship the Comandante Espora, part of the fleet searching for the ARA San Juan, sails from the Mar del Plata naval base on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017.

Here's what we know -- and don't know -- about the disappearance of the ARA San Juan:

How long could the crew survive?

In a "worst-case scenario," the missing sub could run out of oxygen in two days, Argentine navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said Monday.

Under normal circumstances, the vessel has sufficient fuel, water, oil and oxygen to operate for 90 days without external help, said Balbi, and the vessel could "snorkel" -- or raise a tube to the surface -- "to charge batteries and draw fresh air for the crew."
If the sub is bobbing adrift on the surface and the hatch is open, it will have an available air supply and enough food for about 30 days, he said.
But if it is submerged and cannot raise a snorkel, its oxygen may last only about seven days.
When the sub last made contact on Wednesday, five days ago, it was submerged, Balbi said.
"This phase of search and rescue is critical," he said.
"This is why we are deploying all resources with high-tech sensors. We welcome the help we have received to find them."


When was it last heard from? 

The submarine was heading from a base in southern Argentina's Tierra del Fuego archipelago to its home port in Mar del Plata, about 260 miles south of Buenos Aires.
It was scheduled to arrive there Sunday.

The San Juan was last spotted Wednesday in the San Jorge Gulf, a few hundred kilometers off the coast of southern Argentina's Patagonia region and nearly midway between the bases.

Localization with the GeoGarage platform (NGA chart)

The submarine has a crew of 44.

On Friday, the navy said they were "conducting operations to resume communications with the ARA 'San Juan' submarine," according to a tweet.
On Saturday, seven communication attempts were recorded and were initially believed to originate from the ARA San Juan. But on Monday, officials said the radio calls did not come from the missing sub.
The frequency used for the calls was similar to that used by ARA San Juan's, said Balbi, the Navy spokesman, at a press conference in Buenos Aires.
"We do know they have an emergency satellite communication system," William Craig Reed, a former US Navy diver and submariner, told CNN.
"That is a buoy that will pop up to the top. They can send signals from this. They believe that might be the case. Although, unfortunately, it's not panned out. They have not been able to triangulate the signals. There's no way to confirm that they came from the submarine."

 National and international media deployed
for the search and rescue operation of Submarino ARA SanJuan

Any progress in the search?

Argentina's navy on Monday picked up what were thought to be noises from the missing submarine.
The sonar systems of two ships detected noises sounding like tools being banged against the hull of a submarine, according to a senior US Navy official familiar with the Navy's assistance in the search for the vessel.
The official said that crews of submarines in distress often bang on the vessel's hull to alert passing ships to their location.
The Argentinian navy was able to ascertain the rough location of the sounds and is now concentrating its search in a 35-square-nautical-mile area approximately 330 miles off the coast of Argentina, the official said.

A US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft, also known as a submarine hunter, is now assisting in the search area.
The official said that the waters of the Atlantic Ocean where the sounds originated are extremely deep and that search efforts thus far have yet to locate the submarine.
However, analysis of the file determined the noises were not from the missing vessel, Argentine navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said from Buenos Aires.
The noises were possibly from the ocean or marine life, Balbi said.

What could have happened?

The vessel could have suffered some sort of "catastrophic failure," Reed said.
But, he added, it also "could be something minor that has caused them to either be hung up somewhere or they are on the bottom."
The country's naval spokesman, Galeazzi, said Monday the captain of the San Juan reported a "failure" in the vessel's battery system shortly before it disappeared.
After the captain reported the sub had experienced a "short circuit," he was told to "change course and return to Mar del Plata," said Galeazzi, speaking from the naval base in Mar de Plata.
This type of damage is considered routine and the vessel's crew was reported safe, he added.
The navy had one more communication with the captain before the sub went missing, said Galeazzi, who did not mention the content of that final communication.
Because the San Juan is a diesel submarine, not a nuclear-powered one, "it has a limited life underwater," Reed said.
Time is ticking for the 44 submariners on board.
While submarines of this size and class can stay at sea for around a month, that doesn't mean they have 30 days underwater.
"It's dependent upon the last time they actually recharged their batteries, how long ago they refreshed the air, what's inside the submarine," Reed said.
"We just don't know."
If it had sunk but is still intact, the crew will have about a week to 10 days of oxygen, said Peter Layton, a visiting fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute at Griffith University, in Australia.

How often would the crew usually be in contact?

From a crew comfort point of view the sub would very likely travel submerged around 50 meters (165 feet) below the surface, Layton says, only coming near the surface to "snort" -- replenish its oxygen, recharge the batteries by using the diesel engines, and send radio signals -- around once every 24 hours.
However, that could depend on whether it was a straightforward transit or if the sub was engaging in other operations en route, Euan Graham, director, international security, of the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney told CNN.
"Obviously the Falkland Islands are an intelligence target for Argentina," he said.
"There is no reason to suggest that it was engaged in this but still a possibility. If so it would need to stay out of detection envelope."

This 2013 photo provided by the Argentina Navy shows the ARA San Juan, a German-built diesel-electric vessel, near Buenos Aires, Argentina.
 
How hard is it to find a sunken sub?

Finding a vessel that is designed not to be found is more difficult "by an order of magnitude" than a surface vessel, Graham said.
"In general terms they're designed to be stealthy platforms," he said.
"They are difficult to detect underwater... by an order of magnitude."
Finding large objects on the sea bed is problematic, Layton said.

They are usually found by listening passively to hear the engines, or by active sonar.
"If you're sitting at bottom of ocean, you're probably not making a lot of noise," Layton said.
"You can't recharge oxygen, can't run too much equipment."
Sonar is only really effective when you're looking for a sub "between the sea floor and the surface," he added.
"What you need is something that maps the sea floor," similar to the devices used in the MH370 search, he said.

What sort of shape is the sub in?

The San Juan is an old diesel submarine, built in Germany in the mid-1980s, but was refitted with new engines and batteries around five years ago, Graham said.
The hull dates back to 1985, but due to the recent refit "it shouldn't lose electric power catastrophically," he said.
"A total loss of power is highly unusual as redundancy is (factored in) to naval designs."
Because of the expansion and contraction of the hull as it ascends and descends deep below the ocean's surface, the sub is designed to have a shelf life of around 30 years.
That shelf life has expired, Layton said.
Assuming the hull is still intact, it can withstand ocean depths up to around 500-600 meters -- German-made subs set the crush depth at double their test depth, which is set at 300 meters, Layton says.
If it's resting on Argentina's continental shelf, it is likely in waters shallower than this, but if it's further into the Atlantic Ocean it likely sank below its "crush depth" -- the depth at which the hull buckles under pressure.

This undated photo provided by Argentina's navy shows the ARA San Juan near Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Is anything hampering search efforts?

Southern Argentina's Patagonia coast is notorious for strong storms.
"Currently a powerful low-pressure system is causing wind gusts in excess of 70 kph (around 45 mph) and churning up the South Atlantic Ocean with swells equivalent to a two-story building.
This weather will hamper the search efforts for at least the next 48 hours," CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.
Given the submarines range, the search area could comprise "thousands of square kilometers," said Layton.
"If satellite signals are from sub this whittles things down, gives (search and rescue) a great chance."

Can't they send another submarine to find it?

"What is needed is what is in the area, above all, boats with multi-beam sonar, to be able to do the search properly," Argentine naval captain Hector Alonso said.
"Sending a submarine to the area to perform some type of search wouldn't add anything because they don't have the technology or the elements to be able to do an underwater search."
However, at least one specialist rescue sub will be required if the San Juan is found with the crew still alive.
The US is sending a rescue submersible to the area to help if needed.
Assuming the sub is found, how will crew members be rescued?
Even if the sub is located it could take several days to get a rescue vessel there, Graham said.
This is problematic when oxygen supplies are diminishing, especially when surface conditions are so rough.
"It's difficult to operate in 8-meter (26 feet) waves," he said.
Adding to the difficulties of a rescue, we currently "don't know what depth it is located, (and) how precarious the state of the hull could be."
The condition of the sub, assuming its resting on the continental shelf, is also of key concern.
"The sunk submarine needs to be sitting upright -- or nearly so -- on the sea floor so the rescue hatch(es) can be easily reached and docked with," Layton said.
"The sea floor, though, is not flat. If the submarine is lying at an acute angle, docking could be hard." Reed says that the US' Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM) rescue sub "can dock with a (disabled submarine) up to a 45˚ angle."

Links :

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The America's Cup AC75 boat concept revealed

Here it is! The ground-breaking new #americascup class race boat concept.
The #AC75 is the bold new high performance fully foiling monohull.
Former America's Cup skipper Chris Dickson says the new foiling monohull yacht design released by Team New Zealand today will help make the event more relevant to ordinary sailors.

An exciting new era in America’s Cup racing has been unveiled today as the concept for the AC75, the class of boat to be sailed in the 36th America’s Cup is released illustrating a bold and modern vision for high performance fully foiling monohull racing yachts.

The Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa design teams have spent the last four months evaluating a wide range of monohull concepts.
Their goals have been to design a class that will be challenging and demanding to sail, rewarding the top level of skill for the crews; this concept could become the future of racing and even cruising monohulls beyond the America's Cup.

The AC75 combines extremely high-performance sailing and great match racing with the safety of a boat that can right itself in the event of a capsize.
The ground-breaking concept is achieved through the use of twin canting T-foils, ballasted to provide righting-moment when sailing, and roll stability at low speed.

The normal sailing mode sees the leeward foil lowered to provide lift and enable foiling, with the windward foil raised out of the water to maximise the lever-arm of the ballast and reduce drag.
In pre-starts and through manoeuvres, both foils can be lowered to provide extra lift and roll control, also useful in rougher sea conditions and providing a wider window for racing.

Although racing performance has been the cornerstone of the design, consideration has had to be focused on the more practical aspects of the boat in the shed and at the dock, where both foils are canted right under the hull in order to provide natural roll stability and to allow the yacht to fit into a standard marina berth.

An underlying principle has been to provide affordable and sustainable technology ‘trickle down’ to other sailing classes and yachts.
Whilst recent America's Cup multihulls have benefitted from the power and control of rigid wing sails, there has been no transfer of this technology to the rigs of other sailing classes.
In tandem with the innovations of the foiling system, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa are investigating a number of possible innovations for the AC75's rig, with the requirement that the rig need not be craned in and out each day.
This research work is ongoing as different concepts are evaluated, and details will be released with the AC75 Class Rule before March 31st, 2018.

The America's Cup is a match race and creating a class that will provide challenging match racing has been the goal from the start.
The AC75 will foil-tack and foil-gybe with only small manoeuvring losses, and given the speed and the ease at which the boats can turn the classic pre-starts of the America's Cup are set to make an exciting comeback.
Sail handling will also become important, with cross-overs to code zero sails in light wind conditions.

A huge number of ideas have been considered in the quest to define a class that will be extremely exciting to sail and provide great match racing, but the final decision was an easy one: the concept being announced was a clear winner, and both teams are eager to be introducing the AC75 for the 36th America's Cup in 2021.
© Virtual Eye
The AC75 class rule will be published by March 31st 2018.

GRANT DALTON, CEO Emirates Team New Zealand:

“We are really proud to present the concept of the AC75 today. It has been a phenomenal effort by Dan and the guys together with Luna Rossa design team and there is a lot of excitement building around the boat in the development and getting to this point. Our analysis of the performance of the foiling monohulls tells us that once the boat is up and foiling, the boat has the potential to be faster than an AC50 both upwind and downwind. Auckland is in for a highly competitive summer of racing in 2020 / 2021.”

DAN BERNASCONI, Design Coordinator Emirates Team New Zealand:

“This design process has been new territory for the team, starting with a clean sheet to develop a class - and we've loved it. We wanted to see how far we could push the performance of monohull yachts to create a foiling boat that would be challenging to sail and thrilling to match race. We're really excited about the concept and can't wait to see it on the water. We think we have achieved these goals - thanks also to the constructive co-operation of Luna Rossa design team - as well as the more practical detail to consider in terms of cost management and logistics of running the boats.”

PATRIZIO BERTELLI, Chairman of Luna Rossa Challenge:

“The choice of a monohull was a fundamental condition for us to be involved again in the America’s Cup. This is not a return to the past, but rather a step towards the future: the concept of the new AC 75 Class, which Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa design teams have developed together, will open new horizons for racing yachts, which, in the future, may also extend to cruising. It is a modern concept, at the high end of technology and challenging from a sporting point of view, which will deliver competitive and exciting match racing. I would like to thank both design teams for their commitment in achieving, in just four months, the goal which we had established when we challenged”.

MAX SIRENA. Team Director of Luna Rossa Challenge:

“As a sailor I am very pleased of the concept jointly developed by both design teams: the AC 75 will be an extremely high-performance yacht, challenging to sail, who will require an athletic and very talented crew. Every crew member will have a key role both in the manoeuvres and in racing the boat; the tight crossings and the circling in the pre-starts – which are part of the America’s Cup tradition – will be back on show, but at significant higher speeds. It is a new concept, and I am sure that its development will bring interesting surprises”.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Floating cities, no longer science fiction, begin to take shape

A rendering of the Floating Island Project in French Polynesia.
Blue Frontiers will build and operate the islands, with the goal of building about a dozen by 2020, including homes, hotels, offices and restaurants, at a cost of about $60 million.
CreditBlue Frontier
From New York Times by David Gelles

It is an idea at once audacious and simplistic, a seeming impossibility that is now technologically within reach: cities floating in international waters — independent, self-sustaining nation-states at sea.

Long the stuff of science fiction, so-called “seasteading” has in recent years matured from pure fantasy into something approaching reality, and there are now companies, academics, architects and even a government working together on a prototype by 2020.

 Seasteading is accelerating.
News reports can't keep up and frankly don't have a clue.
Want the real story?
Want to know who, why, and how?
Meet some of the leading seasteaders making it happen.
It's even more exciting than you think.
Joe Quirk is solely responsible for this video's content, especially the crazy stuff at the end.

At the center of the effort is the Seasteading Institute, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco.
Founded in 2008, the group has spent about a decade trying to convince the public that seasteading is not an entirely crazy idea.

That has not always been easy.
At times, the story of the seasteading movement seems to lapse into self parody.
Burning Man gatherings in the Nevada desert are an inspiration, while references to the Kevin Costner film “Waterworld” are inevitable.
The project is being partially funded by an initial coin offering, a new concept sweeping Silicon Valley and Wall Street in which money can be raised by creating and selling virtual currency.

And yet in 2017, with sea levels rising because of climate change and established political orders around the world teetering under the strains of populism, seasteading can seem not just practical, but downright appealing.


A fully autonomous floating city was once just a libertarian fantasy,
but is now just a few years shy of becoming reality.

Earlier this year, the government of French Polynesia agreed to let the Seasteading Institute begin testing in its waters.
Construction could begin soon, and the first floating buildings — the nucleus of a city — might be inhabitable in just a few years.

“If you could have a floating city, it would essentially be a start-up country,” said Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute.
“We can create a huge diversity of governments for a huge diversity of people.”


The term seasteading has been around since at least 1981, when the avid sailor Ken Neumeyer wrote a book, “Sailing the Farm,” that discussed living sustainably aboard a sailboat.
Two decades later, the idea attracted the attention of Patri Friedman, the grandson of the economist Milton Friedman, who seized on the notion.

Mr. Friedman, a freethinker who had founded “intentional communities” while in college, was living in Silicon Valley at the time and was inspired to think big.
So in 2008 he quit his job at Google and co-founded the Seasteading Institute with seed funding from Peter Thiel, the libertarian billionaire.
In a 2009 essay, Mr. Thiel described seasteading as a long shot, but one worth taking.
“Between cyberspace and outer space lies the possibility of settling the oceans,” he wrote.

The investment from Mr. Thiel generated a flurry of media attention, but for several years after its founding, the Seasteading Institute did not amount to much.
A prototype planned for San Francisco Bay in 2010 never materialized, and seasteading became a punch line to jokes about the techno-utopian fantasies gone awry, even becoming a plotline in the HBO series “Silicon Valley.”

But over the years, the core idea behind seasteading — that a floating city in international waters might give people a chance to redesign society and government — steadily attracted more adherents.
In 2011, Mr. Quirk, an author, was at Burning Man when he first heard about seasteading.
He was intrigued by the idea and spent the next year learning about the concept.

Based on designs by DeltaSync, a Dutch engineering firm specializing on floating urbanization, this video by Roark3D at Fort Galt illuminates our plan for the Floating City Project, the first floating city with significant political autonomy.

For Mr. Quirk, Burning Man, where innovators gather, was not just his introduction to seasteading.
It was a model for the kind of society that seasteading might enable.
“Anyone who goes to Burning Man multiple times become fascinated by the way that rules don’t observe their usual parameters,” he said.

The next year, he was back at Burning Man speaking about seasteading in a geodesic dome.
Soon after that, he became involved with the Seasteading Institute, took over as president and, with Mr. Friedman, wrote “Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore The Environment, Enrich The Poor, Cure The Sick and Liberate Humanity From Politicians.”

Seasteading is more than a fanciful hobby to Mr. Quirk and others involved in the effort.
It is, in their minds, an opportunity to rewrite the rules that govern society.
“Governments just don’t get better,” Mr. Quirk said.
“They’re stuck in previous centuries.
That’s because land incentivizes a violent monopoly to control it.”

No land, no more conflict, the thinking goes.

Even if the Seasteading Institute is able to start a handful of sustainable structures, there’s no guarantee that a utopian community will flourish.
People fight about much more than land, of course, and pirates have emerged as a menace in certain regions.
And though maritime law suggests that seasteading may have a sound legal basis, it is impossible to know how real governments might respond to new neighbors floating offshore.

Mr. Quirk and his team are focusing on their Floating Island Project in French Polynesia.
The government is creating what is effectively a special economic zone for the Seasteading Institute to experiment in and has offered 100 acres of beachfront where the group can operate.

Mr. Quirk and his collaborators created a new company, Blue Frontiers, which will build and operate the floating islands in French Polynesia.
The goal is to build about a dozen structures by 2020, including homes, hotels, offices and restaurants, at a cost of about $60 million.
To fund the construction, the team is working on an initial coin offering.
If all goes as planned, the structures will feature living roofs, use local wood, bamboo and coconut fiber, and recycled metal and plastic.

“I want to see floating cities by 2050, thousands of them hopefully, each of them offering different ways of governance,” Mr. Quirk said.
“The more people moving among them, the more choices we’ll have and the more likely it is we can have peace, prosperity and innovation.”

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Seafarer mental health


It is estimated that 90% of global trade is carried by ship, but little is known about the lives of the thousands of people who work in shipping and at sea.
Now new research suggests that the rate of suicide is increasing among seafarers.
This film shows the pressures faced by people working at sea, an industry that employs more than 1.5 million people globally.
If you, or someone you know, have been affected by issues in this film, the following organisations may be able to help.


The BBC has produced a film that looks at the pressures faced by people working at sea, expressed through the eyes of an Ethiopian seafarer.

In the storyline, Amaha Senu left his home in Ethiopia to become a merchant seafarer, attracted by the financial opportunities.
Soon he began to regret his decision and considered taking his own life.

Suicide rates among seafarers have more than tripled since 2014 and are now the most common cause of death at sea, according to figures from the UK P&I Club.
Crew deaths attributed to suicide have increased from 4.4 percent in 2014-2015 to 15.3 percent in 2015-2016.

Between 2001 and 2005, merchant seafarers scored the second highest level of suicides amongst all professions, after coal miners, according to research published by Swansea University in 2013. Today, the rate of suicide for international seafarers is triple that of shore workers, according to the IMO.

ISWAN offers immediate response to seafarer calls via its 24-hour multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp, which has recently been made available on mobile messaging service WhatsApp.

A publication Managing Traumatic Stress – Guidance for Maritime Organisations is available online to provide top-level guidance to senior management to help improve the mental health of seafarers.
It offers education and evidence-based approaches specifically designed for the maritime industry.

The guidance is authored by Professor Neil Greenberg, Managing Director of March on Stress and Professor of Defence Mental Health at King’s College London and published by The Nautical Institute in partnership with the charity Human Rights at Sea.