Sunday, August 7, 2022

DAZZLE CAMOUFLAGE

 7 August 2022: We're a week into August and true to form, the weather is driving everyone crazy. A 1200 year drought in the American West and only a few hundred miles east, devastating rain and serious flooding. And here in the Northeast, heat, humidity and worse, no rain to speak of. My grass hasn't needed cutting in over three weeks and looks like straw; were it a bit longer, I could bale it and sell it for cow/horse feed! 

This week's post is a revisit of one we did several years ago but we found it interesting to many of our readers. This is not a repost, just more on the story with some new images to demonstrate the concept.

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 Historians have classified the invention of dazzle camouflage as a stroke of genius. On the surface, the idea of painting cool patterns over ships and making them stand out sounds absurd, as that would make them an easy target. But in reality, the geometric patterns made out of contrasting colors, curves, and shapes not only helped mask the true size of vehicles, but also confused enemy observes about its true shape and where it was heading when observed through a periscope.


A certain pattern of wavy curves would make the ship look smaller and also shifted the perceived movement into a different direction. All these tricks made it extremely difficult for an enemy to target such camouflage ships with torpedoes. Just the way a modern day sniper studies everything from wind speed to enemy movement before taking the shot, U-boat torpedoes also had to be launched after assessing the size and pace of a ship.

It was less about merely pulling the trigger and more about predicting where the enemy ship would be a minute after launching the torpedo. By camouflaging the ships, it became difficult to pinpoint the relative position of a ship a few minutes into the future. Miscalculating the target's movement by even a few degrees was enough to miss the mark, and this allowed the ships to evade the torpedoes. 

Dazzle camouflage can still be found on ships like the USS Freedom, but its use has drastically reduced in the modern era.

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Makes one wonder why smugglers and drug runners don't use this interesting technique! Maybe it doesn't work so well when viewed from above!

Stay cool, friends.

Until next week, 

                                     Fair Winds,

                                            Old Salt



Monday, August 1, 2022

WOMEN ROWERS SET RECORD

 1 August 2022: August! Summer's half done and flying by! Maybe flying is a good thing the way the world is going! Droughts, heat waves, monkey pox - what's next? locusts? Anyway, a little positive news about four ladies who set a world record doing something most of us mortals can barely comprehend! Maybe you've seen this - it was in the "regular" news, but bears repeating!

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A group of four rowers achieved the seemingly impossible: rowing across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii. Better yet, they did it in record time. On July 26, the Lat 35 team broke the women's world record when they completed the Great Pacific Race in 34 days, 14 hours, and 11 minutes. The rowers — Libby Costello, Sophia Denison-Johnston, Brooke Downes, and Adrienne Smith — launched from San Francisco and arrived in Honolulu, a journey totaling 2,400 nautical miles.

The team amassed quite the following as they documented their voyage. Though the rowers were often seen smiling and singing along to music in their many dispatches, they also battled powerful winds, sleep deprivation, seasickness, salt sores, and other expected challenges that come with that much time in the open ocean. What's more, the team, which is Lat 35's first all-women's, had never rowed an ocean before, making preparation that much more important. 


 

To achieve their goal, the team rowed in pairs for two-hour shifts. They rowed all day, each day, and slept in 90-minute increments. Costello, an environmental engineer and endurance athlete, was the team's lead technician and para-anchor specialist. Denison-Johnston, an Olympic hopeful in flat-water rowing, was the skipper and lead medic. Downes, another Olympic hopeful, served as the lead navigator and second medic. Smith, a triathlete and yoga instructor, was the logistics and campaign manager, as well as a technician.

"The ocean is wild, just like us . . . and we keep rolling with what she gives us with full hearts and lots of laughter," Smith wrote in one of her final Instagram posts before the team made land. She thanked the team's supporters online, adding, "We read your messages as a group and are in awe of how our decision to be in action of living big is inspiring you and your families."

In addition to breaking the world record, Lat 35 used their journey to raise awareness and funds for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. As of July 26, the team had surpassed their goal of $10,000. Ahead, watch the moment the team completed their record-breaking journey, and see notable moments from along the way.

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We would not want to challenge any of them to an arm wrestling match! Talk about being in good shape!

Until next time,

                                    Fair Winds,

                                             Old Salt

 

 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

13TH CENTURY WRECK PROTECTED

 24 July 2022: Hope everyone is enjoying the nice warm temps! Beastly hot pretty much everywhere this past week. Friends in the UK (London) mentioned their bedroom never got below 86 degrees F - even at night. Terrible! So, while we're thinking of England the hot temps, here's a bit from the Guardian and a really old wreck - the swim should cool you off!

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Oldest English shipwreck given government protection

‘Exceptionally preserved’ wooden hull from 13th century and cargo including marble grave slabs found in Dorset waters

The oldest shipwreck to survive in English waters, dating from the 13th century, has been given the highest level of protection by the UK government after being discovered in Poole bay in Dorset.

The ship, along with its stone cargo including two beautifully carved marble grave slabs, was discovered by a local charter boat operator in 2020, after storms disturbed the seabed close to a busy maritime route.


 

Excavation revealed the “exceptionally preserved” timber remains of one side of its hull, which had been weighed down and protected by the ship’s cargo of worked and unworked Purbeck marble.

Archaeologists were able to identify that the overlapping timbers were made of Irish oak and – using tree ring analysis – came from trees felled between 1242 and 1265, during the reign of Henry III.

overlapping timbers

[ed: this construction today is called "clinker-built"]

While the sites of a small number of bronze age shipwrecks are known from their remaining cargo, their timbers have long gone, making this the oldest wreck in England whose hull survives. Prior to this discovery there were no known wrecks of any seagoing ships in English waters. “This is a really, really important discovery,” said Hefin Meara, a maritime archaeologist with Historic England, which oversees protected wrecks on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“This is a ship loaded with cargo on its way out somewhere. It’s a cliche but it’s a time capsule – this is a ship doing exactly what it was intended to do. And we can learn so much from that.”

cargo removed from wreck

The two carved grave slabs are similar to examples still seen in churches of the period, but unlike them are in pristine condition, with their chisel marks still clearly visible. Each is decorated with a different style of cross, which until now archaeologists thought dated from different periods, says Meara.

“But this goes to show that actually these designs were contemporary and in use at the same time. And so the question is: are these things that have been made to order? Or are they speculative and being sent out?

“This is evidence of industry – they’re quarrying the stones, carving them, dressing them. And it shows that these are really desirable products [being] exported far and wide, all around the coast of England, to Ireland, to the continent. And this gives us a really interesting indication that it’s not just the stone itself that was desirable. It’s the skills of the local craftspeople.”

Two other newly discovered wrecks have also been given the same level of protection by the government. Both were found on the Shingles Bank near the Isle of Wight, a well-known navigational hazard for ships sailing past the Needles into the Solent. While these wrecks are not as old – dating from the 16th and 17th centuries – they are also “exceptionally rare”, according to Heritage England.

The older ship, labelled NW96, was carrying a cargo of lead ingots dating from before 1580 and stone cannon balls. The ingots, of a fixed size and weight, would have been used as a currency for trade and later made into anything from bullets to lead pipes or roof flashing.

Several cannon were found on the other Shingles Bank vessel, NW68, one of which was cast in Amsterdam between 1621 and 1661. Archaeologists believe the ship was probably Dutch in origin, and may have been involved in the Battle of Portland in 1653 during the first Anglo-Dutch war.

Like the Dorset wreck, both these vessels were found by local divers with a detailed knowledge of the sea, which Meara said was “just really exciting”: “It’s great to have this partnership between ourselves and recreational divers, boat keepers and archaeological companies. It just goes to show what happens when we’re all working together. We make these fascinating discoveries.”

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It is gratifying to recognize that the British government has taken the steps necessary to preserve this archeological treasure trove; how they will enforce it remains to be seen. One might dare to hope the divers would respect the site and the law protecting it... or not!

Until next time,
                                            Fair Winds, 
                                                 Old Salt