Tuesday, June 25, 2019


25 June 2019: Generally speaking, when a wooden ship and a steel one collide, the wooden one will come out second best. If it's a wooden sailing ship colliding with a steel merchant ship, it gets even worse (for the wooden sailing ship). This occurred about a week ago in Germany. (Gcaptain for pictures, CNN for article.)

The 121-foot Elbe No. 5 collided with the 466-foot Astrosprinter, a Cyprus-flagged cargo ship, on the Elbe river near Hamburg, Germany on Saturday afternoon, according to Wilfried Sprekels, a fire department official.

Built in 1883, the Elbe No. 5 is Hamburg’s oldest wooden ship still in operation, according to Hamburg Maritime Foundation, which has owned the ship since 2002. The Elbe No. 5 originally operated as a pilot vessel for more than 30 years, but later used as a private yacht, credited with making 13 transatlantic crossings, according to Hamburg Maritime Foundation’s website.

To make matters worse, the schooner had only recently completed a major renovation, returning to its home port on May 29th.
Hamburg Maritime Foundation released a statement reading, in part:
“With great sadness we regret the collision and feel very much with the passengers and members of the ship’s crew who have come to harm. We hope the injuries can be cured quickly.”

As of Monday [10 June] the Elbe No. 5 was awaiting salvage. The Astrosprinter was moored near its destination of the Immingham, England.
The cause of the collision is under investigation.
Eight passengers on board the Elbe No. 5 were injured in the collision at Stadersand, Sprekels told CNN. They were rescued from the boat and taken to different local hospitals.
The Elbe No. 5 is the oldest fully wooden ship in Hamburg.

Emergency services secured the ship because of fears of oil leaks and a rescue company will investigate the possibility of recovering the wreck, he added.

There were 43 people on board at the time, including 14 crew members, according to a statement from Hamburg police.

The cause of the crash is not yet known, but an investigation continues, police said.

After decades as a pilot boat used to guide larger ships into Hamburg's port, the Elbe No. 5 was sold to American journalist Warwick Tompkins, who used it as a houseboat.
In 2002, it was bought by the Hamburg Maritime Foundation and brought home to be used as a pleasure boat for tourists.

The renovation project was announced in September 2018 and on May 29 the Elbe No. 5 returned to its home port, according to a tweet from the maritime foundation.

Just over a week later, the collision wrecked the historic vessel.
Wolfgang Bentz, who was involved in the restoration, told German radio station NDR that he had watched over the wreck after the accident.
"I couldn't sleep all night," he said.

However, Bentz believes the Elbe No. 5 could sail again.
"It's made of wood and had some damage before," he told NDR. "Let's see what further damage is added in the rescue effort."

Ugly business, for certain! 

Until next time, 
                                          Fair Winds,
                                                 Old Salt


Saturday, June 8, 2019


8 June 2019: Several years back (in the mid-'90's), underwater explorers and archeologists found and verified the wreck of Blackbeard's pirate ship, Queen Anne's Revenge off the coast of North Carolina.Over the ensuing years, divers located and recovered many artifacts including a sword hilt, guns, and cannon balls. 

Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, built his reputation as a highly feared pirate in just two years. After the planters of North Carolina complained to the governor his rampaging was costing them money, a British naval ship was sent out to stop him. Which they did, in spades. 

After the fight, Queen Anne's Revenge was sunk and Blackbeard, who had been killed in the action, was decapitated and his head afixed to the bowsprit of the British ship! (I know, gruesome!) The action took place off Ocracoke Island, North Carolina on 22 November 1718. And now, 300 years later, his saga lives on.... see below.


(From USA Today)
WASHINGTON – Argh, matey! The Supreme Court is digging into a dispute over a sunken pirate ship captained three centuries ago by the legendary pirate Blackbeard.
The case, to be heard in the court's next term beginning in October, pits North Carolina against a video production company documenting the salvaging of the shipwreck Queen Anne's Revenge, which ran aground in 1718 and was discovered in 1996.

The state, which owns the pirate ship and its artifacts, posted video and photos shot by Nautilus Productions as part of its tourism efforts. It enacted a statute, known as "Blackbeard's Law," to convert the salvage effort into public record.
More than 300 items from the sunken ship are displayed at the state-owned North Carolina Maritime Museum, including a 2-ton cannon. The state holds annual pirate festivals to mark the famed pirate's notoriety.

Although federal law protects such copyrighted material from infringement, a federal appeals court agreed with North Carolina that states are immune under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution from some private copyright infringement claims. The ruling did not extend blanket immunity to states for all copyright violations.
That didn't sit well with the videographers, who resorted to a play on words in their Supreme Court filing.
"After Nautilus spent nearly two decades creating works by photographing and filming (at considerable risk) underwater excavation of Blackbeard’s famed Queen Anne’s Revenge, the state brazenly pirated them," the company protested.

There is sure to be more on this in the autumn when the Supreme Court of the United States hears the case and we will try to bring you their decision. 

Until next time, 
                                       Fair Winds, 
                                             Old Salt

Saturday, June 1, 2019


1 June 2019: It doesn't matter if you have a big boat or a little boat, a giant motor yacht, or a huge racing sailboat. Generally, that boat-yacht-dinghy is the apple of your eye and, if you are like most of the boat people we know, the recipient of a lot of love and care. Here's a tale for the books - and a sad one indeed. 

The 130-foot My Song, designed by Reichel / Pugh and built in 2016 by Baltic Yachts, had been known for her glorious looks and race-winning performance. Not long ago she had set the Monohull Record during the 2018 RORC Transatlantic Race, but now she is lost freight in the Atlantic. 

The superyacht fell off a cargo vessel during her transportation from the Caribbean to the Balearics. During Saturday night (May 25) she was lost in the Mediterranean before reaching the Balearics, where she was due to be unloaded in Ibiza ahead of her appearance in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta on June 4-8 in Porto Cervo, Italy. 

Her owner Pier Luigi Loro Piana had arranged for My Song to take part in the event he hosts, the 2019 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, where she was a returning winner. Pier Luigi is an heir to the high end clothing company Loro Piana, which was founded in 1924 by his grandfather Pietro.
My Song was a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Her full-carbon hull displacing 105 tons (including the 36-ton lifting keel) was powered by a 56-metre-high Southern Spars rig with North Sails, propelling her to maximum speed of over 30 knots. Now she is road kill.

It is a sad end for the illustrious yacht that was the belle of the ball at the 2017 World Superyacht Awards, awarded the trophy for Best Sailing Yacht of 30-metres to 39.9-metres. With an interior and exterior styled by Nauta Design, she was packed with cutting edge design and technology and served as a comfortable yet feature-filled cruising yacht.
My Song had been declared Boat of the Year at the Italian Sailing Federation’s Sailor of the Year awards, a title she appears now unable to defend.
An Italian billionaire has likened losing his $58m superyacht to having his house burn down.

Last December My Song set a speed record in the RORC Transatlantic Race, completing the 3,000 mile race between Lanzarote and Grenada in an elapsed time of 10 days 5 hrs 47 mins 11 secs, shaving 1hr 19mins 48 secs off the previous monohull record.

Built by Baltic Yachts in Finland and launched in 2016, the state of the art monster is also a "best yacht" winner at the World Superyacht Awards.
Reports have put the superyacht's value at £30M.
The yacht was seen partly submerged and a salvage operation launched while Peters & May, the experienced logistics company in charge of transporting the yacht, confirmed an investigation was under way to determine how the incident happened.

David Holley, chief executive of Peters & May, said in a statement: "The primary assessment is that the yacht's cradle (owned and provided by the yacht, warrantied by the yacht for sea transport and assembled by the yacht's crew) collapsed during the voyage from Palma to Genoa and subsequently resulted in the loss of My Song overboard."

Now that's sad.

Until next time, 
                                          Fair Winds, 
                                             Old Salt