Volcanic Activity May Force America's Cup Venue Move
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"No one welcomes this level of natual threat... but at least it's come to our awareness in 2016 rather than 2017... we have options now that we would not have mid-event next year" said one America's Cup official speaking at a hastily convened press conference at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
The unusually warm waters in Bermuda this spring were thought to be the results of El Nino, global warming and some cyclical changes in the direction of the Gulf Stream... but scientists have now warned that several sea vents just outside the reefs at the south side of Bermuda are also in play and are sending much larger amounts of superheated water up from the deep.
"This is an indication that the long dormant volcano which created Bermuda eons ago may be stirring" said Peter R. Vogt from the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara. "We're sitting on a geologic lava lamp... and a big blog may be headed up."
While much of the geological history of [Bermuda's' igneous activity is reasonably well known, the underlying geophysical processes are subjects of long-standing and ongoing debate:
For example, is the apparently "unifying hypothesis" valid--that both features are caused by mantle plumes/hotspots, differing only insofar as the Bermuda "plume" is more like a lava lamp, with intermittent blobs of hot mantle (e.g., Morgan, 1972; Crough, 1978).
We are closely monitoring the situation, said an official at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (http://www.bios.edu).
"And we're checking out Italy, I'm on my way to Milan to speak with Patrizio Bertelli", said Russell Coutts. "Assuming Vesuvius stays quiet, perhaps we can move the Cup competion to the Gulf of Naples. Here's hoping I only have to kiss his ring."
Olympics Postponed, Venue Change Sought
Rio, Brazil: Citing bacteria and virus levels that threaten not only the health and well being of athletes but of the entire planet, the International Olympic Comittee has taken the unprecedented step of cancelling the 2016 Summer Games and is actively seeking alternatives for 2017.
Brazilian Olympic officials angrily responded: "OK, so we have had some delays in building permits, designs, land leases, construction contracts, work permits for foreign contractors, materials shipping, substandard materials, widespread bribery, theft of heavy equipment, inadequate transportation, lack of water pipes and sewage treatment, inaccurate land surveys, deed restrictions, airport security issues, coliform counts in the water that are off the chart, Hika Virus running rampant... but where else can you get a decent Caipirinha?"
"IOC is talking about a return to London... would you prefer Brazilian beaches with topless young girls the color of peanut butter or pasty bloated English harridans? Moqueca, churrasco and acaraje or fish and chips, boiled beef and figgy fu**ng pudding?"
Embattled President Dilma Rousseff, speaking at a hastily convened press conference near Guanabara Bay said "the waters here are good and getting better, this is all overblown by the press". To demonstrate she walked to the shoreline, dipped a glass into the water, and drank it in full view of cameras.
Shortly afterwards, Rousseff's staff cancelled all remaining schedule appearances for the day. "She was planning on a few days off anyway" said her newly hired PR abydocomist Alastair Campbell. "Nothing dodgy here at all...."
Sharpen Your Foils, Moth Sailors
Hayama, Japan: The sponsorship of this year's Moth Worlds in Hayama by engine maker YANMAR is fortuitous is more than one way. In addition to financial support Yanmar has donated the use of a number of specialized on the water engines and systems to counter an unusual problem for a race venue: an eel invasion.
"While no direct causal link has been found between the Fukishima nuclear reactor meltdown and the immense growth in eel populations... keep in mind that the cities are less than 200 nm distant. What's more shocking is the levels of mutations observed... one eyed eels, immense teeth, unusually long overall length... and colors not normally found in nature" observed Japan Sailing Federation Secretary General Masakazu Omura.
Yanmar's marine division head of Asian Operations Shiga Kawamichicho has generously donated the use of some unique equipment that local sailors have dubbed "eel grinders". Nearly 40 feet in length, they are hovercraft with what appear to be adapted seaweed rakes combined with industrial wood chippers.
"A few passes across the bay with a fleet of the boats will, we estimate, remove thousands of eels from the bay" said Kawamichicho.
"Don't be downwind from the eel grinder" said visiting 470 Scottish 470 sailor Beauregard "Scruggs" McTavish. "It smells like a fish market that lost power for 3 days during a heat wave. God help the men and women onboard ... a hovercraft filled with eels is not a nurturing environment."
Copyright On Racing Rules Of Sailing Overturned
A shocking legal development in a ruling from the US Second Circuit court in New York City today has stripped World Sailing (formerly ISAF) of it's copyright claim to the Racing Rules of Sailing.
World Sailing has claimed copyright since the RRS was first written. And while the full history is long and complicated (see this article by Mark Rushall ) IYRU rules were defined in 1907. According to the plaintiffs, under both US, UK and International Law, a document written in 1907 has passed into the public domain.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in NYC affirmed district court judge Valerie Caproni's decision after plaintiffs showed significant textual input in the early 1900s from the New York Yacht Club's rule developments.
World Sailing has long claimed that its revisions to the RRS over the last century has extended copyright from each date of revision. The court rejected this argument, citing the percentage changes as similar to edition alterations and "spelling, punctuation and grammar" changes.
Claiming long overdue vindication was Terry Harper who in 1999 spoke of taking some legal action against then-ISAF webmaster David McCreary for putting the Racing Rules of Sailing online at sailing.org (at the direction of ISAF Pope Paul Henderson).
"That damned Canadian plumber was wrong then and World Sailing is wrong now... the loss of income to US Sailing from downloads of the RRS is incalculable. While I am no longer affiliated with the organization, I"ve heard from back channels that the firm of Dewey, Cheetham & Howe is looking into a retroactive lawsuit. We have yet to determine what, if any, statutes of limitations apply to our grievous financial harm."
IRC Rating Office To Refuse Weighings Friday Morning Due To Jovian - Plutonian Gravitational Wave Effect
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RORC IRC Rating Office in Lymington have announced measurers will not carry out weighings in Europe on Friday morning for IRC endorsed certificates, following NASA press release below as a result of recent research into gravitational waves.
IRC measurer Hugh Jaynus said - "The advice we have received from NASA and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich , is that the planetary alignment on Friday morning will create an exceptional gravitational wave which will cause over-reading on our load cells. Whilst IRC is a "secret rule" there are times when we have to draw the line."
"Yachts weighed on Friday morning in Europe would end up with unfair certificates", he added.
NASA press release shown below:
NASA and the Royal Observatory have announced following recent combined research into gravitational waves , that Friday morning an extraordinary astronomical event will occur over Europe.
During the morning the planet Pluto will pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to the Earth. This rare alignment will mean that the combined gravitational force of the two planets will exert a stronger gravitational pull, combining with the Earth's own gravity and making objects weigh more. NASA call this the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect.
Astronomers have long been aware that there would be an alignment of the planets on Friday morning, when Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto would be on the same side of the Sun, within an arc 95 degrees wide. Now the effect could be expected as the gravitational effect of the other planets on the Earth's crust is maximum even at their closest approach.
New Format For The Vendee Globe
Course Map. Click on image to enlarge.
Big changes in store for the next Vendee Globe scheduled to start Sunday, 6 November 2016. Or rather... WAS scheduled to start then... but now the start time is open from 6 November to 5 December, at the decision of the individual skipper.
"For many years we've scheduled a start... and in a few instances changed it due to extreme weather conditions in the Bay of Biscay. We've watched the Atlantic to make sure we're not sending these brave men and women into a maelstrom." said Vendee Globe Directory General David Brabis.
"While we use the best of weather forecasting data from myriads of satellites... ALL we've focused on is the Atlantic. The internet provides us with global information both in terms of current conditions and the forecast. Computer modelling can present many new tactical situations, we wish to add those to the mix for this year." added Brabis. "Sailors will now have to analyze the weather forecasts and modelling for most of the globe and then decide when to launch in our month long window. One must now balance start line boatspeed with what one will encounter a month away.
Some competitors have welcomed the change... others, not so much. Marc Guillemot: "In both my previous Vendees I just had to settle on a fixed start time and that often meant a decent departure but then horrific conditions in the Southern Ocean... or a huge hole in the Doldrums. My computer now becomes an important tactical weapon... and a marketing one too. Who doesn't want to sail off the start line in sunshine, perfect for sponsor representatives on yachts waving us goodbye? Leave the grey, non-photogenic skies and rough seas until we're well offshore. Three years ago two of my premiere sponsors spent the entire afternoon of the start vomiting over the rails of the hospitality yacht due to the difficult conditions. Try selling THAT experience again..."
Michel Desjoyeaux is unimpressed: "I hope and trust that nearly everyone will start on the first day. Staggering out the start is poor marketing, who's going to hang around the race village for a month and a half? Fans? Sponsors? Not even my wife and kids would want to do that! And now the decision of when to start is dependent on 30 day weather forecasts for thousands of miles of ocean? Ridiculous! What will we do for the 2018 race, throw rune stones to pick a departure?"
Iceboats For 2918 Winter Games
The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as PyeongChang 2018, is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to take place from 9 to 25 February 2018, in PyeongChang, South Korea. It will be the first winter Olympics to be held on mainland Asia.
For the first time, with full medal honors, icesailing will be included. There will be a test trial in early 2017 in Newfoundland Canada, with all costs borne by Molson Coors Brewing Company.
Long pushed by former ISAF President Paul Henderson, Ice Sailing is popular across Europe and North America, but little known on other continents.
World Sailing will conduct trials for a one design iceboat and has invited a number of builders to submit both existing designs and new.
"While we love the old DN Class, we are really looking for a more modern design. One that will reach speeds of at least 100 miles per hour. A builder who incorporates a full Formula 1 style driver containment cage and can demonstrate survivability in head on crashes will clearly have a leg up" said a World Sailing official speaking off the record.
"We clearly don't need flame retardant clothing, but something akin to a body bag should be considered. With the top mark closing speeds of iceboats like the Skeeter, the required protective suits will make the helmets and body padding worn by foiling AC45 teams look like footy pajamas".
The Last Word
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -- Douglas Adams