Monday, September 25, 2023


 25 September 2023: 

Already September is winding down and October, with all the joys of Autumn, looms! Cooler temps, trees losing their foliage and boats (at least here in the northeast) being hauled and stored for the winter. We have about another 3 to 4 weeks before we put our northern boat away (and get our southern boat ready to go!). So time marches on and it seems faster and faster each year. And speaking of faster, here's a story about "slower" as a follow up to one we posted a few years ago.



This incredible cargo ship can traverse the oceans with its massive, 123-foot sails — and it just took its maiden voyage

The journey will take an estimated six weeks to travel from China to Brazil.

Looking to the past has made a more sustainable future possible in the shipping industry, with the latest wind-powered vessel taking to the seas for its first voyage. 

The Pyxis Ocean from the Mitsubishi Corporation has been retrofitted with two “WindWings” sails — developed by BAR Technologies and produced by Yara Marine — on the cargo ship’s deck. 

Measuring up to 123 feet (37.5 meters) high, the sails have been estimated to allow for up to 30% fuel savings on newly built ships while cutting carbon pollution. 

The ship has been chartered by Cargill. Jan Dieleman, the president of the company’s ocean transportation business, discussed the maritime industry’s efforts to decarbonize. 


“It’s not an easy [process], but it is an exciting one,” Dieleman said in a press release. “At Cargill we have a responsibility to pioneer decarbonizing solutions across all our supply chains to meet our customer’s needs and the needs of the planet.

“A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk, and as an industry leader — in partnership with visionary shipowner Mitsubishi Corporation — we are not afraid to invest, take those risks and be transparent with our learnings to help our partners in maritime transition to a more sustainable future.”

The technology was covered in a CNN report and tweet.

A large red cargo ship named Pyxis Ocean recently set out on its maiden voyage. But unlike most others before it, this one is powered, in part, by wind.

— CNN (@CNN) August 31, 2023

According to the BBC, the shipping industry accounts for around 2.1% of global releases of carbon dioxide (CO2). With that in mind, the sector is trying to reduce the estimated 837 million metric tons (923 million tons) of CO2 it produces, and it aims to be at net-zero for planet-warming gas production “by or around 2050.” 

“If international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore,” said John Cooper, chief executive of BAR Technologies, in the statement. “Wind is a near-marginal cost-free fuel, and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial.”

The journey will take an estimated six weeks from China to Brazil, the BBC said, and Cargill noted the ship’s performance will be closely monitored during that time to see if any improvements can be made. 

But Cooper is bullish about the potential of wind-powered cargo ships, both in terms of lower fuel consumption and reductions in CO2 pollution. 

“The reason I’m so confident is our savings — one-and-a-half tonnes [about 1.65 tons] of fuel per day,” he told the BBC. “Get four wings on a vessel, that’s six tonnes [about 6.6 tons] of fuel saved, that’s 20 tonnes [about 22 tons] of CO2 saved — per day. The numbers are massive.”


So, while it's not 100% sail, it will reduce carbon emissions  by a significant amount. The earlier post we offered appeared to be more conventionally sail oriented (see image): 

 but reducing the carbon footprint is certainly a plus regardless of how they get there!

Until next time,

                                             Fair Winds,

                                                            Old Salt

Sunday, September 10, 2023


10 September 2023: 

 Almost mid September still enjoying summer weather - though some folks are saying it's "too hot!" For those of you sweating it out, try to remember this in February when you complain about the cold! 

September is an amazing month, historically speaking. Memorable dates include:

1st: city of Atlanta falls in 1864 to Union general Sherman , 1980, wreck of Titanic discovered, 1939 Germany invades Poland.

3rd: 1777 Stars and Stripes flag first flown in battle

5th: 1972 massacre at Munich Olympics begins

6th: 1901 U.S. President McKinley shot, 1997 British Princess Di buried

7th: 1977 U.S. agrees to turn Panama Canal over to Panama on 12/31/99, 1940 Blitz begins in London, 1776 first submarine attack (unsuccessful) - Turtle tries to attach bomb to English ship in Hudson River.

8th: 2022 Queen Elizabeth II dies in England, 1942 Japanese plane drops bomb on Oregon forest - fire but no significant damage

9th: U.S wins naval battle on Lake Erie against British in War of 1812

11th: 2001 terrorists attack U.S. by flying planes into World Trade Center and Pentagon

14th: 1814 U.S. repels British attack on Baltimore (War of 1812), Battle of Lake Champlain, Francis Scott Key writes poem "Star Spangled Banner" which will, in 1931, become U.S. National Anthem

And so it goes.....there are more and maybe we'll offer them in the next post, but for now, let's get on to today's offering from Bored Panda:


Right before summer was officially over, a 51-year-old athlete tried to cross the Atlantic in a giant hamster wheel-like contraption, only to get arrested

A Florida man was arrested last month following a peculiar three-day maritime standoff with the US Coast Guard, as he attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean using a hamster wheel-like contraption.


Reza Baluchi confronted federal charges of obstruction of boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order after he was discovered 70 miles off the Georgia coast.

The US Coast Guard cutter Valiant, patrolling the area at the time, detected the 51-year-old and successfully intercepted him. When questioned during the incident on August 26th, Mr. Baluchi claimed that his plan was to travel 4,000 miles all the way to London.[ed: never ceases to amaze]

When Coast Guard officers informed Mr. Baluchi that his voyage, deemed “manifestly unsafe” due to the contraption’s reliance on “wiring and buoys,” was being terminated, he responded by threatening to hurt himself with a 12-inch knife if anyone attempted to arrest him. Additionally, he claimed to possess a bomb on board, as indicated in the complaint filed in the US District Court in Florida.

On August 28th, following numerous attempts over several days to persuade Mr. Baluchi to abandon his mission, the Iranian American finally acknowledged that he did not possess a genuine bomb. Then, a day later, officers successfully convinced him to surrender.

 However, this wasn’t the only instance that the Iranian athlete-cum-activist tried a similar feat. Baluchi gained nationwide attention in 2021 for his endeavor to travel from Florida to New York in the Hydro Pod, but his journey came to an abrupt end when he washed up ashore just 25 miles later.

“I don’t have a car. I put everything in my life in it,” he told the New York Times at the time, saying “Now, I’m dead,” upon learning that his contraption would be confiscated, much like what has happened this time around.

The self-made machine, which costs thousands of dollars to make, was afloat as a result of wiring and buoys and has a hammock inside

According to earlier interviews, Mr. Baluchi cited his motivations for these voyages as raising funds for multiple causes, including initiatives aimed at helping the homeless and – ironically – supporting the Coast Guard.

“My goal is to not only raise money for homeless people, raise money for the Coast Guard, raise money for the police department, raise money for the fire department,” he told WOFL-TV in 2021.

According to court documents, Mr. Baluchi was granted release on Tuesday after posting a $250,000 bond. The documents explicitly state that he “may not go to the ocean or board a vessel on to the ocean.”


Amazing indeed! As for us, we prefer a sound, well-found vessel! 

Until next time, 

                                 Fair Winds,

                                             Old Salt            


Friday, September 1, 2023


 1 September 2023: 

My goodness! What happened to August?! The time seems to have accelerated beyond any reason! September already and cooler weather in sight. After, of course, the obligatory hurricanes lurching about the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean! Florida just got whacked again (your humble scribe escaped this one, thank goodness!) and hopefully, there's an end to it! In any case, we seem to have deteriorated to a semi-monthly posting schedule rather than the previous one of weekly posts - in spite of the time and calendar racing by, I seem to slowed down some. But we're still here, slogging away with what we hope are interesting bits and pieces! The following is from FOX NEWS and while the other news media seem less interested this year, some of us sailors are still paying attention the the America's Cup run up (to 2024).



August 22, 1851, schooner America wins first America's Cup trophy

The trophy and entire competition were named in honor of the schooner

The schooner "America" won what would become known as the "America's Cup" race on Aug. 22, 1851.

Known at the time as the "Hundred Guinea Cup," referencing the value of the trophy, the race was sponsored by the Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain. It consisted of a race around the Isle of Wight.

"America," a 100-foot schooner built by George Steers and William H. Brown — and entered by the New York Yacht Club — won the event, said Encyclopedia Britannica. The trophy was renamed "America's Cup" in its honor. 

Schooner America
 The trophy then became a "challenge trophy" and is now open to "sailing clubs of all nations," said the website of INEOS Britannia, a British sailing team.

While countries are free to enter ships, "each competing vessel must be designed, built, and, insofar as possible, outfitted solely in the country that it represents," said Encyclopedia Britannica. [ed: that seems to have changed in the more recent years to a "whatever we need" policy including international crews]

The second awarding of the America's Cup did not occur until 1870. 

That race, too, was won by the New York Yacht Club.

The New York Yacht Club also won the next several races. 

"American teams representing the New York Yacht Club successfully defended the Cup against all challenges for 132 years – the longest winning streak in sport – until an Australian team won in 1983," said INEOS Britannia. 

The magnificent J class (no relation to the current J boats)


The Australian victory in 1983 changed the race into a "truly global phenomena," said INEOS Britannia.

The winner selects the location for the following America's Cup

It has been held "in locations spread around the world – Cowes, New York, Newport RI, Fremantle, San Diego, Auckland, Valencia and San Francisco," said INEOS Britannia. 

Even though the U.K. originated the race, a team from the United Kingdom has yet to win. 

The modern iteration of the America's Cup is a far cry from the race around the Isle of Wight in 1851. 

Now, instead of all entries racing at once – a "fleet race," as it was in 1851 – the America's Cup is decided in a series of matches. 

These matches are held in the year leading up to the final, which features the defending champion of the previous America's Cup against the winner of the elimination matches earlier that year, said Britannica. 

The 37th America's Cup will be held from Oct. 12 through Oct. 20, 2024, in Barcelona, according to the website for the event. 

How did we get to this?

Preliminary matches start in September 2023. 

Emirates Team New Zealand is the defending champion

Challengers for the event include Switzerland's Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Italy's Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, United States of America's New York Yacht Club American Magic, the United Kingdom's INEOS Britannia and France's Orient Express Team. 


Even though the boats and racing is more in keeping with NASCAR on the water (see image above), there is still some national pride - and bragging rights - involved for the winner. Boat speeds in excess of 50 knots, small crews, and fragile vessels can make for some spectacular sailing!As a matter of interest, the Cup is named for the vessel, not the country as many folks believed after America (the country) had dominated the races.  

Until next time,

                                               Fair Winds,

                                                      Old Salt