In This Issue
• Dueling proposals for Olympic Two Handed Offshore Class
• The Return of Copper Anti Fouling Paints?
• Old Fibreglass Also Resists the Virus!
• Bang a Sailor: Dinghy Sailors have Viral Immunity
• Social Distance Yacht Design
• Radio Control Yachting adds Remote Launching
• The Last Word: Mark Twain
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Dueling proposals for Olympic Two Handed Offshore Class
Click on image to enlarge.
The arrival itself was a little hurried but the opportunity for sailing to showcase the first ever continuous 24-hour Olympic competition is surely not to be missed? The idea that offshore sailing could be an Olympic discipline is not one that drew universal support straightaway, but today the tide is turning.
Following last year's landmark decision, and as details of the new event start to appear, it is becoming clearer that there are important new opportunities with significant benefits to both the sport and the Olympic Games. Indeed, some now believe this new discipline could provide unexpected opportunities for new sailing nations, while paradoxically also having the potential to be more affordable than some existing Olympic classes. The move is also being seen as having potential to open Olympic sailing up to a broader range of competitors.
2024 will surely be a Corona free world, but with boat selection coming soon, and the years of training ahead, there are new proposals to World Sailing to change up the boat well before the Games.
The first proposal is to change it to a singlehanded class (a la Vendee Globe) to show the World Sailing is taking its responsiblity to sailor health and safety seriously. 50% of entries to be female and 50% male, countries to draw by lottery. This would take effect immediately and doubtless influence the boat selection.
The second proposal is less radical: place a perspex bulkhead down below with doors to open allowing minimal close contact between the two sailors. Initially for 2021 but could be removed for 2022 and beyond depending on the world's pandemic situation.
World Sailing's Events committee will make a recommendation this coming summer to be voted on in this year's Annual Meeting in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The Return of Copper Anti Fouling Paints?
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A 2015 study by the University of Southampton is getting new attention in light of the current Corona Virus pandemic:
"Copper can effectively help to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, which are linked to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), new research shows. Animal coronaviruses that 'host jump' to humans, such as SARS and MERS, result in severe infections with high mortality. Researchers found that a closely-related human coronavirus - 229E - can remain infectious on common surface materials for several days, but is rapidly destroyed on copper."
20 years ago a global ban was placed on tributyltin (TBT) antifouling systems as it was shown to be highly toxic towards non-target organisms. Copper was the go-to replacement.
As early as the 18th century, hulls were covered in a thin layer of the compound where, in reaction with seawater, it would form copper oxychloride that deters marine creatures from getting a grip. Now, most antifouling products consist of copper metal oxides in combination with other co-biocides, such as zinc pyrithione or the polymer zineb.
But like TBT before it, copper fell out of favour. Its widespread use in commercial shipping and on leisure boats means worryingly large amounts of copper are leaching from coatings and stoking environmental concerns.
"Antifouling paints that are meant to end up in the water cannot be part of a sustainable future,' says Joke Wezenbeek from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). 'Copper and zinc are among the compounds that most frequently exceed the water quality standards in Dutch national legislation and under the EU water framework directive."
That framework is now under serious pressure, as it's now realized that the copper antifouling makes a liveaboard boat one of the safest places one can be during the current pandemic.
"The tens of thousands of boats parked in marinas, on the hard, or in the water, become an incredible resource for safe social distancing ... and place for health workers and first responders to live so as to not risk infecting their families" said Professor Beaurigard T. "Scruggs" McTavish of Edinburgh's Center for Disease Control. "Slather a coat of copper antifouling paint on any old boat and you have a VERY safe space! The minute copper particles leaching off hulls forms an aura of anti-viral protection that is superior to anything short of a full Hazmat suit".
"We're moving quickly to rescind or amend much of the anti-copper EU regulations for yachts" said Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the hastily formed EU Committee for Marina Shelter. "Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures."
Old Fibreglass Also Resists the Virus!
The priceless Kingfisher 20. Click on image to enlarge.
In a stunning new development it's been discovered that not only can old and new anti-fouling paint protect against COVID-19, but that the virus has been active in the world's oceans for years, with algae, krill and plankton absorbing it and developing their own antibodies. Those antibodies wick into the porous hulls of old fibreglass boats, with the hulls themselves able to repel and kill the Corona virus.
"This is a game changer" said Len Bippiett of British Marine's Yacht Harbor Association. "All those countless ancient clunkers in the boneyards of marinas are now worth thousands of pounds. Most have been abandoned for years to avoid paying storage fees that accrued and it was just too expensive to cut them up and put them into a landfill. We've seen a flurry of legal paperwork to seize titles due to abandonment, and some big money changing hands for what have been the homes of small woodland creatures for 20 years."
Evidence points to a particular type of keelboat as having superior wicking/immunity properties: those with bilge keels. It's the proximity to the the water and the muck, even when they're just standing in a field or a high tidal effect mooring, that pulls the most anti-virals into the hull. There are reports of Kingfisher 20s selling for over 25,000 GBP, complete with inches of rodent droppings all through the interiors. "They always sailed for shite but they're pure gold now" said one pleased marina owner.
This is also a win-win for many small towns who've faced huge costs of removing abandoned yachts from backwaters and rivers. "We don't have to deal with haulout, demolition, dumpter and hauling costs any longer" said the city manager of Hampton Virginia. "Hundreds of derelict boats have disappeared overnight, and we're certainly NOT going to have the police chase down the thefts of derelicts. It's when the fiber-thieves start going after proper yachts that we'll have a problem"
Fat chance of that, as it seems the older the boat, the thicker the fibreglass and the more porous it is from old age, the better and hence the more valuable the hulls are for anti-virus protection. "Find me an old lumbering seafaring pig the shape and size of a Presbyterian church, with half inch thick waterlogged fibreglass and I'll show you the next Mayfair-priced survival bunker" said one boneyard scavenger.
Bang a Sailor: Dinghy Sailors have Viral Immunity
At your service. Click on image to enlarge.
Olympic sailors who rightly complained about dodging dead animal carcasses and rivers of human effuent at the Rio games are now reaping an unexpected windfall. Those same fetid waters were prime anti-coronal breeding grounds as scientists discovered this week while investigating the extraordinary anti-viral properties of algae blooms and their effect on fibreglass.
Sailors who have had prolonged exposure to water, particularly foul, nasty water, are Corona immune after absorbing the anti-viral properties of the waters.
The more crap in the water, the bigger the battle between microbial sealife and Corona, and thus the higher the levels of immunity granted as a result of that epic unseen battle.
"We just recently figured this out" said Vera Oliveira, head of water monitoring for Rio's municipal environmental secretariat. At the time officials are not testing viral levels at the Olympic lake, the water quality of which is the city's responsibility. This caused no end of outrage at the time, and the late discovery of a potentially planet-saving solution to the pandemic is again shining a harsh light on Rio's indifference to sailor well being at the time.
The RYA, ISA and US Sailing have been in talks with the European Union and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) about donating sailor's plasma to innoculate vast numbers of the populations of nations. "This could be the silver bullet for our species" said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the Center for Disease Control in the USA.
Other bodily fluids from sailors may be the true golden bullet, as it were, and another unexpected but sure to be VERY welcome aide in these trying times: Sex with current and former dinghy sailors is safe, even for those quarantined with the virus.
MSF staff have developed a series of tests to determine the level of immunity: it seems as though the more water one's been splashed with in fetid sailing areas, the better. Hence Rio dinghy sailors and others that sailed extensively in other open air sewage venues are prime specimens, but also those on very 'wet' sailboats like the VOR 70s and 60s, Velux 5 Oceans, even old Whitbread yachtsmen who endured endless dousings in the Southern Ocean.
This virus has lived in the oceans for decades; even those who sailed Finns, Fireflys and Sharpies years ago have built up immunities.
A new RYA program entitled "Bang a Sailor" has been hastily formed to provide partners for liasons with shutins. Famed Lymington sailor Peter Berry has been brought in to develop the "moral framework" to insure that only un-married sailors are coupling with the un-married quarantined. "Sorry ladies, Sir Ben's not on the menu" said Berry. "We always knew that sailors were the best lovers, now it's a medically proven fact."
Olympians are deemed to be the most desirable bangables... young, fit and used to casual sex. The IOC had to stock over 450K condoms for the 2016 Games. "We're ready, willing and VERY able" said one British Sailing Team member.
Hundreds of sailors have already signed up to "F**k for Humanity" and will be available for application by men and women of all ages who are quarantined and deprived of sexual congress during the pandemic.
Senior sailors whose immunity has been established will also be visiting retirement homes to comfort the elderly in their time of need. "We can all take one for the team, for Britain and Planet Earth" said a famed solo round the world sailor and senior citizen on condition of anonymity.
Social Distance Yacht Design
The Judel-Vrolijk TP52 Platoon is typical of the ligher, full-stern hull form that the SYF is working to assess more accurately as the old narrower and heavier hull model becomes less relevant. Click on image to enlarge.
"Cramped cockpits are SO pre-pandemic" says Ron Holland. "I never enjoyed rubbing up against crewmates in the cockpit, banging knees with the person sitting across from me. And in a time where experts want everyone to stay six feet apart, the current trend towards superwide cockpits and transoms looks prescient."
As part of the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation "Wide Light" project, chaired by Andy Claughton of the Wolfson Unit, the hydrodynamic effects of semi-planing hull forms, immersed transom effect, spray creation, keels operating close to the water now take on an additional aspect: keeping sailors separated as well as keeping them continually sprayed with enough seawater to insure proper anti-viral coating.
Juan K says: 'As you know, I used to be very involved in the Volvo Ocean Race. Now, after a one-design was introduced, we're not involved in the race any more. But there really was a lot of knowledge and information, a lot of experience that was built up with the V070s during the last few races. Not just by us, but by all the designers who were involved. And I think quite a lot of it actually can be used in more conventional boats. The V070s were quite extraordinary boats, and I think many of them will continue to be sailed for years to come. In terms of outright pace they will be competitive for many years yet ...
'Chines and wide sterns were [an] important dividend from the V070 era.
'When the boat heels the chine helps in balancing the boat. It's good for safety as well. On a boat with a wide transom and a single rudder, the rudder has to be very far forward on the hull to stay in the water when the boat is heeled. That reduces steering moment, and to overcome that it's necessary to make the rudder bigger. Which gives you more drag. But even now, with the rudder moved forward on the hull, you will find it very difficult to press the boat hard, because the boat will lose balance with a lot of heel.
'Putting the chine in the water helps balance the boat back. It's almost like having an extra rudder in the water.
Radio Control Yachting adds Remote Launching
Leave it to the Italians to find amazing ways to keep communities feeling positive. In Riva del Garda, that includes the radio controlled sailing community. The Fraglia Vela Riva sailing club has set aside its boat launch and parking lot for radio controlled sailing... and launching!
"We've commissioned a group of local artisans and electronics experts to build us a dozen radio controlled boat trailers for our city's RC yachting community" said the club's outreach director Ilona Staller.
Positioned at the top of the boat ramp, the boats can be launched, then sailed, then placed back on the club lot from as far as 200 yards away... enabling devotees of both sailing and motorized RC yachts to launch and race from their own apartment balconies and rooftops surrounding the club.
The events have caught the attention of city managers throughout Europe. "Such a small investment for such safe and enjoyable sport in times of social distancing"", says Amsterdams sports director. "We are looking into a full summer schedule of RC events in the canals and the Seine throughout the quarantine period" noted France's Sports Minister. "We're all going a bit stir crazy... even for those who'd just watch the races on television, this is a marvelous way to distract from the hellscape that is sentient life on earth this year."
The Last Word
April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four. -- Mark Twain
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