Point Pleasant Beach is a few miles south along the New Jersey shore from our office, which is where, on February 12, 1900, the County of Edinburgh ran aground.
The vessel had very little damage, but then, as now, the stranding quickly became a tourist attraction.
The year is not quite over, but, since I wrote a 2012 top 10 Maritime Things blog, I now feel somewhat driven to think about a 2013 top 10. Like last year, the subjects I am picking may not be entirely 2013 subjects, but they certainly came to the fore to me in this year.
So here it goes in no particular order of preference:
1. MARITIME STEM
STEM education, which stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math education is the really big thing in education in the United States in 2013. Incredible amounts of money are spent to figure out ways to teach STEM more effectively. Meanwhile some schools and educators are shrugging their shoulders about STEM because they already know how to do it and are not struggling at all. Those schools are the maritime high schools and maritime academies. Those schools have developed seamless programs that integrate STEM in the normal course of the day simply by placing the students in a maritime setting. Since maritime education is deeply cultural it actually has already driven past the STEM concept and more accurately operates in the STEMPHLA arena where Science Technology Engineering and Math are tightly integrated with Philosophy, History, Language and Arts education. read more »
Boat shows tend to depress me. It is important to stay up with the latest trends, but most boat shows focus so heavily on consumer products that it is difficult to extract real joy from them. My friend and fellow boat lover Captain Dannie Schade, owner of Classic Boat Rides, convinced me and our wives to take a roadtrip to Portland ME last weekend to attend the Maine Boatbuilders Show.
This is the show for real boat lovers. If you ever feel jaded or depressed about the looks and quality of today's boats, even a few minutes at this show proves that all is well in boatland. Great people, great boats, great setting, great food, great innovations and pure joy. I'll let the pictures tell the story.
At the end of 2012 we can look back and see it has been another interesting year in our industry.
Here are ten things, in no particular order of importance, that stand out for me:
1. Planet Solar
There is no doubt that we can get around the world by sail, but what if we were to use the other sustainable technology, photo voltaic solar power? The math for PV is much more difficult than sail. By comparison, sun light has much lower power densities than wind. It is very difficult to fit sufficient PV areas on a ship and still have it move at a reasonable speed. But can it be done? It was proven to be possible with Planet Solar. It certainly was not fast, but extremely low weight and very high efficiencies with regard to drag and propulsion made it work and in 2012 she completed her first PV powered circumnavigation.
2. Vestas Sailrocket 2
On November 24, 2012, the Vesta Sailrocket 2 set an outright sailboat speed record of 65.45 knots. This is a doubling of the outright sailboat speed record since 1977 when it was 31 knots! Remarkably this increase in speed was almost entirely achieved by very careful optimization after 35 years of continuous experimentation.
3. CMA CGM Marco Polo
It is not entirely clear if she is even the largest container vessel today, but she is proof that the growth trend for super large container vessels has not yet stopped. Bigger boats from Maersk are expected next year. Remember these vessels are the longest vessels currently plying the oceans, because ULCC’s like Seawise Giant have been scrapped.
High tech comes in many flavors. Some of it is just completely new like the Lever building in New York City or maybe an IPad, but I like high tech when it reaches back and reaches forward. In yacht design occasionally I get to see such instances. I particularly like those designs that use wood in novel ways. Last week I finally got the chance to sail on a 1980's Dick Newick wooden trimaran that has been taunting me on its mooring on the river near my house for many years (I am digressing a little here, bear with me).