Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
The Volvo Ocean Race resumed last Sunday afternoon, following the brief stopover in Newport. Family, friends, and sailing enthusiasts gathered from around the world to show their support before the teams embarked on their final ocean crossing of the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race. If you didn’t get a chance to visit the Race Village or see the boats sailing around Newport Harbor, it was a truly special experience. The number of visitors was reported to be almost 125,000 (more than 5 times the entire population of Newport) and the marine traffic in the harbor was arguably denser than ever before. With a bit of good luck on the weather front and some seriously impressive organizational efforts spearheaded by Sail Newport, we can’t be the only ones hoping for Newport to be the North American stopover again in the 2017-2018 edition.
Don’t forget to track the boats here and root for our home team, Alvimedica.
Photo by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
The 20th edition of Charleston Race Week takes place this week, with racing set to kick off today. Over 2,500 competitors are expected to participate; among them, our own Kristen Buckley. She will be racing on J22 Wild Goose with an eager fan base cheering her team on from Bristol. For more information on the event, including results and live streaming action, click here.
Our replica of Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome is on display in Miami’s Design District and is getting lots of attention! Check out this story from The Architect’s Newspaper’s Blog and this one from the Curbed Miami website, both posted last week.
Earlier this month, Bermuda was announced as host of the 35th America’s Cup, scheduled to take place in 2017. Though there are mixed feelings about the viability of the remote island hosting the event successfully, the America’s Cup has taken an important turn with an increasingly promising future.
From its inception in 1851, when the American (and only non-British) contender won the trophy, the America’s Cup’s home was New York. Through nearly a century-and-a-half of advances in naval architecture, the US maintained their solid lead. In 1983, however, an Australian challenger broke the longest winning streak in the history of sports, 132 years. While the developments in maritime engineering before the fateful 1983 race were significant, the revolutionary winged keel sported by the Australia II set a precedent for America’s Cup contenders leading the charge for faster and stronger boats.
Since 1983, no country has been able to successfully defend the Cup more than twice. Court battles over the Deed of Gift, drastically different boat designs competing against each other, and record numbers of challengers have dominated the America’s Cup for the past 21 years. The introduction of the AC72 marked a sharp turn that the entire sailing industry would take. It became clear that hydrofoiling catamarans were not only fun and interesting for sailors, but for non-sailing spectators, too.
Ever since the first glimpses of the AC72s foiling, we have seen hydrofoiling catamarans cropping up in more and more places. The Nacra 17 was adopted as the newest Olympic class, the Great Cup 32 Racing Tour was introduced, and both the A-Class and C-Class Catamarans adapted their older designs to incorporate foiling.
The slightly smaller AC62 that will be used in the 2017 America’s Cup is being designed specifically to foil and is expected to reach speeds similar to the AC72s’. The AC45 that debuted in the first ever America’s Cup World Series, and made a second appearance in the first ever Youth America’s Cup, will be used again for the second edition of both events, only this time they will be foiling as well. While there are many design constraints in place for both classes, there is plenty of room for variability. The next few years are sure to be full of secretive designing and trialing processes and we can’t wait to see the results!
Photo Credits – Photographer: Bradley Maule and Artist: Jody Pinto
Less than a year after the project’s groundbreaking, the Washington Avenue Pier (Pier 53) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania opened to the public on August 15th. In conjunction with the Delaware River Waterfront Commission and designer Jody Pinto, Goetz Composites fabricated the translucent FRP beacon that serves as the park’s focal point.
Paying homage to the 19th and 20th centuries’ large scale immigration via Pier 53 is a public boardwalk featuring an installation called the “Land Buoy.” It stands 55 feet tall and looks east over the Delaware River. Though only one third of a nautical mile wide at the Land Buoy’s location, the river – and Pier 53, specifically – served as the gateway to well over 600,000 immigrants from the time of its opening in the 1870s, until it was demolished in 1915.
In designing the Land Buoy, it seems Jody Pinto envisioned a final navigational marker after a long journey from Europe. The solar-powered blue light topping the installation provides a unique beacon on approach to Pier 53. The Philadelphia Inquirer commends Pinto for “simultaneously conjuring a ship’s crow’s nest, a lighthouse, and the spiral stairs of an immigrant rowhouse – approach, arrival, settlement, all rolled into one powerful form.” The newly restored wharf provides an appropriately simple setting for peaceful remembrance of the site’s eventful past.
Following our post last month on the kick-off of the 2014-2015 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, Team Alvimedica arrived in Cape Town, South Africa and secured a fifth place finish. Despite being on terra firma once again, their hard work did not stop (except maybe for a quick round of showers that I can only assume were much needed).
During the team’s time in port, they underwent medical tests performed by researchers hoping to make developments in the field of heart health. By allowing the doctors to run the tests immediately before and after the leg from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa, they are hoping to learn about how stress can manifest itself in cardiovascular system functioning. Findings will not only help to prove (or disprove) the researchers’ hypotheses, but will also provide information to the sailors that could help them to perform more successfully.
November 19th marked the beginning of the Volvo Ocean Race’s second leg as the sailors set out for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in some exciting conditions. With breeze ranging from 5 knots to 40 knots, it’s hard to imagine there was not a significant effect on the sailors’ heart rates.
Click here for related video.
The movement toward modern composites emerged in the marine industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Carbon fiber was first patented in the latter decade and has been used experimentally and commercially in boatbuilding ever since. Composite manufacturers in Bristol, RI are responsible for much of the improvement and innovation in the field, and Eric Goetz has been a key player along the way.
Click here to check out last week’s spotlight article on the Rhode Island Composites Alliance – including a video interview with Eric Goetz – on the RI Foundation’s In Our Backyard to see where the composites industry is now.