Saturday, June 25, 2016


25 June 2016 File this under the heading, Doubtful! When you see the video at the end, you'll probably agree!

Autonomous Transatlantic Self-Sailing Solar Ship Set To Break Records as it Crosses the Atlantic

  Manned crossings of the Atlantic Ocean are not unheard of and in 2007 the Sun21 team took their solar powered catamaran sailing the seas from Basel to New York in the 7000-mile sea mile journey.  Another successful manned expedition was that of the MS Turanor, the largest solar-powered boat in the world, which completed a 37,286 mile trip around the globe.

So these guys have already shown us that it can be possible to travel by solar powered boat while manned with skilled humans, but what about on its own?  That’s what Isaac Penny and Christopher Sam Soon teamed up to do.  In 2013, they formed their partnership with one common goal in mind – to build an autonomous boat that would be able to sail the world unmanned.
Already departed and hopefully on its way to victory by completing the 3,000-mile journey, the Solar Voyager team are waiting in anticipation to see if it is a success.  Several other companies have tried and have failed miserably, so only time will tell if the Solar Voyager can withstand the power of the mighty seas.
The Solar Voyager is 18 feet long and 2.5 feet wide, with most of the upper surface covered in solar panels.  Underneath the deck batteries are stored to ensure the vessel remains running at night.  Without any humans to operate the ship, GPS is used to navigate through its pre-programmed journey and reports are sent back to the team every 15 minutes so they can monitor its speed, temperature, and other valuable information.

Isaac and Sam both have day jobs and built this project from scratch in their spare time.  They expect the 3,000-mile journey to take around four months and are both planning to fly to Lisbon for the grand finale.  If Solar Voyager does make the shore, then this will be a monumental achievement not just for the team, but also for the world of solar power sailing.

Here's a short video of the boat underway.... see if you don't agree with our assessment that completion of an Atlantic crossing is unlikely!


Whatever the outcome of this experiment, we will tell you about it sometime in the next four months! Stay tuned!

Until next time,
                             Fair Winds,
                                   Old Salt

Saturday, June 18, 2016


18 June 2016: On this date, in 1812, James Madison, after receiving approval from Congress, declared war on Great Britain. It began quickly ashore with a dismally failed 3 prong attack into Canada. At sea, the navy had better success, with USS Constitution meeting and besting HMS Guerriere in August. It was here that Constitution won her long standing nickname, Old Ironsides, when her sailors realized that the British iron shot was bouncing off her sides.

Constitution and Guerriere

The war would continue until the two nations agreed to a peace, 24 December 1814 in what is now Ghent Belgium,  but the final battle (land) was fought in New Orleans in early January, 1815.
Andrew Jackson at New Orleans

Word of the peace had yet to reach the United States.

The war really proved little, but it did bring world-wide respect to the fledgling United States when they took on the mightiest nation in the world and fought them to essentially a draw. Our ships were now able to trade throughout the world in safety.

Wellington at Waterloo

And speaking of Belgium, June 18th, but in 1815, also marks another important world anniversary, the Battle of Waterloo. You remember that, right? It was when the Iron Duke, the Duke of Wellington, combined with Prussian General Gebhard von Blucher to finally wind up Napoleon Bonaparte's 100 days of "resurgence" when he escaped from exile and tried to complete the mission he had begun in the late 1799. He was returned to exile, this time in the remote St. Helena, where he died.

Until next time,

                                       Fair Winds,
                                             Old Salt

Monday, June 13, 2016


13 June 2016: A few months ago, we posted a piece about the Hawaiian voyaging canoe which was on a 'round the world' voyage using only rudimentary navigation tools (the stars) - as their ancestors did. Last week, they got to New York City where they have spent about a week, open to visitors. Here is their story, updated, and a few pictures.

A Polynesian crew navigated their wooden voyaging canoe some 23,000 miles to lower Manhattan using only the stars this week, as part of their goal to make the world better.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society has spent the past 13 months sailing the Hokulea canoe from Hawaii to ports around the globe to inspire people to take care of “island Earth” and demonstrate how the seas connect us all.  

They’ve already met with several prominent global leaders and on Wednesday, master navigator Nainoa Thompson will present their message to a World Oceans Day event for the United Nations in New York City.  

The crew has used the same navigation methods as their ancestors did centuries ago to reach lower Manhattan on Sunday, where Native American tribes and New York officials were there greet them — along with thousands of other people, The Associated Press reports. 

Thousands of people greeted the Hokulea crew when they arrived in New York City on Sunday.

The Hokulea has traveled across five oceans, stopping at 55 ports in 12 countries so far, according to the AP. Along the way, the crew has met with Desmond Tutu in South Africa, explored the Great Barrier Reef and had Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, sign a pledge to be a better environmental steward in Samoa.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society estimates the crew has reached more than 47,000 people around the world via the Hokulea, connecting communities across the South Pacific all the way to the Atlantic.
The crew will continue to sail up the New England Coast after the address. They will embark on the last leg of their journey through Panama, the Galapagos Islands and, eventually, back to the Hawaiian islands during the summer of 2017. 
And if photos of their journey thus far are any indication, the Hokulea’s Mālama Honua voyage is one of the most beautiful odysseys of our time.
Indeed it is! And a daring and inspirational undertaking!
Until next time,
                          Fair Winds,
                              Old Salt

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


7 June 2016: Yesterday, 6 June, was the anniversary of D-Day, the Allied landing at Normandy France and the beginning of the liberation of France, followed by the invasion of Germany and the conclusion of WWII in Europe.

We don't often (if ever) post cartoons here at Maritime Maunder, but this one seems so appropriate and hopefully, appeals to everyone. We don't often see these characters "teaching" history. Click the link below:

                                                       Schulz on Normandy

As a matter of interest, Charles M. Schulz was a WWII veteran.

Until next time,
                     Fair Winds.
                        Old Salt

Sunday, June 5, 2016


5 June 2016: At South Street Seaport, New York City, one has long been able to see, visit aboard, and marvel at the two iron-hulled clipper ships moored there as displays. There are several other ships there including a lightship and a couple of schooners still in active use. Shops and inside displays round out the exhibits at this wonderful museum.
Pictured here is an aerial of the Seaport showing the two clippers, Wavertree and Peking, along with the Ambrose Lightship (very small and red at dock opposite the sailing vessels.

During the course of last year, it was determined that both of the ships needed some major refit work.
Peking at her berth in South Street Seaport
 The museum also decided to let Peking find a new home and she will be leaving for Germany (her origins) where she will get the attention necessary to restore her earlier glory and be appreciated by tourists and locals alike. Which left Wavertree as the centerpiece of South Street and needing work.

The following article appeared this past week in the New York Times and was shared by an archeologist, Sarah Ward, from Australia (!).

ABOARD WAVERTREE IN KILL VAN KULL — In the 131 years since the iron-hulled cargo ship Wavertree was built, it has been tossed and tattered — its main mast ripped away in a hurricane, and its role demoted to sand barge.
So when the vessel sailed from the South Street Seaport to Staten Island last year for a mast-to-hull restoration, the crew feared that the extensive damage would draw out repairs and delay the ship’s return to its Manhattan berth.
They should have known better. Wavertree, which has endured no shortage of natural and economic calamity, turned out to be more resilient than anyone anticipated. In September, after more than a year away, she is set to return to the South Street Seaport Museum, mended, gleaming and ready to remind visitors of the ships that define New York City’s history. The 15-month, $13 million city-funded undertaking has progressed ahead of schedule, hastening the goal of once again sailing Wavertree through New York Harbor.

“We were pleasantly surprised,” Jonathan Boulware, the executive director of the seaport museum, said. “It’s a real testament to the era’s wrought iron.”

When it was commissioned in Southampton, England, by R. W. Leyland & Company of Liverpool, Wavertree was among the last large-scale sailing ships fashioned from wrought iron and it remains the largest afloat, according to the museum. Last May, workers brought it by tugboat to the Caddell Dry Dock and Repair Company in the Richmond Terrace section of Staten Island and expected to replace 10 large metal plates on the hull. Instead, the 4 ½-by-20-foot slabs of iron, which sit below the water line, needed only minor repairs.
Wavertree has nonetheless required an ambitious overhaul, carried out by a crew of up to three dozen. The ship spent five months in dry dock, where workers scrubbed away barnacles, seaweed and other gunk before adding layers of protective paint to its underside. The team has also been replacing three decks. The wood that once covered the main deck has been exchanged for steel to keep out water. The poop deck is being repaired traditionally, using wooden planks caulked with cotton and oakum then sealed with pitch. And Wavertree once again has its ’tween deck, a modest level between the main deck and the cargo hold that had been absent for decades.
The most daunting task, workers said, has been the renovation of the ship’s three square-rigged masts and their rigging. For that, Caddell built a pair of basketball-court-size sheds outfitted with both old-fashioned and highly modern tools. Inside one, the crew is building 16 spars from laminated timber. The other has held more than three miles of wire, which was stripped of its old protective coating and wrapped in a new layer of tar-soaked pine and leather.
Though the crew did not expect to fully rig the ship by September, time and money saved on the hull plates accelerated the schedule. “I marvel at how effectively and efficiently we’ve been able to conduct the restoration,” Mr. Boulware said. 

Although its immense iron frame and masts give Wavertree a distinguished profile today, it was a relatively common model when it was built by Oswald Mordaunt & Company in 1885. A plaque identifies the 325-foot Wavertree as the company’s hull No. 231. Mr. Boulware noted that stringers, which fortify the hull, on the ship’s port side dip below those on its starboard — one of several imperfections in the construction.

The cramped quarters once held bunk beds stacked tightly to accommodate a crew of 35 men in the ship’s heyday. Over the years, Wavertree circumnavigated the globe nearly 30 times, ferrying sundry cargo — coal, kerosene, jute, cotton, tea, coffee, molasses, timber. On Jan. 14, 1895, it called on the Port of New York, bearing a load of nitrate from Chile.

In 1910, a violent storm off Cape Horn splintered Wavertree’s masts, ending its cargo-shuttling days. Its owners sold the ship to Chilean businessmen, who used it as a warehouse for 30 years. It transferred hands again in 1947, beginning a career as a sand barge in Buenos Aires. Wavertree was acquired by the museum in 1968 through the efforts of the late Peter Stanford and others who founded the museum after arranging for the ship to be towed there from South America. 
The ship’s homecoming was made possible in part by the impending departure of Peking, another tall-mast sailing ship, which has graced the seaport since 1974. Peking, too, has been battered — by war, by waves and by weather. It suffered through plummeting tourism in Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attacks, and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Faced with mounting financial difficulties, the museum considered dispensing with the four-masted barque, which was built in Hamburg, Germany, in 1911. However, salvation came from the German government, which is spending 30 million euros (about $33 million) to bring Peking home, carried across the Atlantic Ocean on the back of a heavy-lift ship.

“I’ll be sad to see her go, but it’s what’s best for everyone,” Mr. Boulware, said. “It’s about resource allocation.”
We will await eagerly her return to the dock at South Street!
Until next time,
                                  Fair Winds,
                                            Old Salt