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freshly dead

The Environment From a distance, a seal appears to be napping on the rust-colored rocks; members of its small colony grunt at one another as sea spray brings some respite from the searing midsummer heat. But on closer inspection, one of the seal’s eyes is open and pointing vacantly at the sky. Tess Gridley bends over the dead animal, and instructs her university students and volunteers to check for parasites. Fewer bugs means a fresher carcass, which is what these researchers are looking for. Binoculars pressed to her face, Gridley scans the rocky outcrop and finds five more bodies, which the students line up on the rocks in a funereal procession. “A colony of this size, you wouldn’t expect to see so many freshly dead,” she says. Read on....

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scotw

Our Sailor Chicks of the Week are the crew aboard 2Xtreme, winners in Div 1 at the 30th Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta. Check out those smiles! Photo by Andrea Francolini. Results here....

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axisymmetric

In a new study on ocean wave breaking, researchers have demonstrated that the breaking behavior of axisymmetric "spike waves" is quite different to the long-established theories on the breaking of traveling waves. Traveling waves break when waves become so steep that the crest is no longer stable. This leads to a breakdown of wave motion and energy loss. As a result, the height of the wave is limited by the breaking process. "Much of our understanding of wave breaking is routed in theories developed and experiments carried out in two dimensions when waves are moving in one direction," explained lead author Dr. Mark McAllister, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. "However, wave breaking in the ocean is a three-dimensional process." Read on....

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the boys are back in town

Lookie here who’s just turned up at Woolwich Dock in Sydney. The yacht formerly known as Comanche – now re-named andoo – has arrived on her third visit to Australia since her launch in 2015. The VPLP/Verdier supermaxi completed the delivery voyage from Antigua with just one pit stop in Tahiti. Now chartered to local sailor John Winning Jnr (reportedly for two years, with an option to buy) the 100-footer will contest the major East Coast offshore races, including the Sydney-Hobart. At the welcoming function, observers noted that champion Australian yachtsman Iain Murray attended wearing andoo livery. Murray has been associated with Wild Oats XI campaigns for more than a decade but now appears to have jumped ship.  Space alongside at the Woolwich Dock facility will soon be at a premium. Another 100-footer, LawConnect, already lives there and Wild Oats XI is due to come out of the shed in preparation for the trip North to the Hamilton Island Regatta. Black Jack makes up the quartet of supermaxis who will now compete for line honors glory in the Australian offshore racing program.  (Title inspiration thanks to Thin Lizzy)...

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a shot in the dark

AIS tracking partnership Global Fishing Watch has expanded its reach with what it believes to be the first ever publicly-available worldwide map of "undetected dark fleets" - vessels that do not broadcast AIS. Using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 satellites, coupled with machine learning algorithms, Global Fishing Watch has figured out how to automatically track vessels without the use of satellite AIS. By analyzing the entire archive of Sentinel-1 radar imagery, Global Fishing Watch has isolated 20 million data points showing the movements of sea-going vessels over about 30 feet in length. It matched up these radar returns to 100 billion GPS position data points from vessels broadcasting their position over AIS. By correlating the two, the NGO's system is able to track many vessels even after they "go dark" and attempt to evade detection. Read on....

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dock walk talk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXlsKruweBg Conrad Coleman takes you on a tour of the IMOCAs that will be sailing in the Vendée Arctique which starts this Sunday. Conrad will be sailing his boat, Imagine, a 2007 VPLP design  The course leaves Les Sables, goes around Iceland(!), and then finishes back at Les Sables....

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britannia waives the rules

My colleague Shanghai Sailor is offended that anyone should have the temerity to describe the British monarchy as “antiquated and irrelevant”. Perhaps he’s been singing God Save the Queen so loudly he’s become deaf to both history and reality. Like all hereditary monarchies, the House of Windsor (whose real surname was Battenberg) is an inbred collection of entitled spongers who’ve lived luxuriously off the public purse and their largely stolen private wealth. They are a high-end form of showbiz. In the UK they are the nation’s primary tourist attraction. They have no actual authority over anything other than their own pampered lives.  The whole notion of a hereditary monarchy is ridiculous. Installing someone as Head of State purely on the basis of who their parents happened to be is as nonsensical as accepting a hereditary brain surgeon. Donald Trump was a dangerous dingbat but at least he was elected by the citizenry (who could then un-elect him when his unfitness for the presidency became obvious). British and Commonwealth subjects have no such choice. They must cop whomever the “line of succession” delivers next. These have included a madman, assorted sybarites and spendthrifts, and a woman who preferred to speak German. The only recent senior British royal to earn any respect from the sailing community was Prince Phillip, a Greek who “married in”, taking the current Queen Elizabeth as his bride. He served in the Navy during WWII and was a keen yachtsman, racing his Dragon classer Bluebottle and an offshore yawl Bloodhound. Phillip can be seen, above, helming the UK 12-metre Sceptre with Uffa Fox calling tactics. (A sceptre is the ancient ceremonial staff of imperial authority carried by a monarch.) Sceptre challenged for the America’s Cup in 1958 and was trounced 4-0. Says it all, really.  – anarchist David ...

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you’re next

In a newly-filed appeal to EU decision-makers, Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov has attempted to distance himself from Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian energy sector in an effort to secure the return of his megayacht, the Luna. It is a rare example of a disavowal of Putin's administration from a member of the Russian elite, who have so far been loathe to break ranks in public. In a filing recently obtained by The Times, Akhmedov appealed for relief from European sanctions related to the invasion of Ukraine. His yacht, the 380-foot expedition class vessel Luna, is undergoing a refit in Hamburg and may be subject to control measures by German authorities if his sanctions listing is not removed. Read on....

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you’re gone

After weeks of legal wrangling, the Russian-owned megayacht Amadea has been seized by American authorities, reflagged in the United States, re-crewed with new mariners and sailed out of the harbor at Lautoka, Fiji. The Amadea is a 350-foot motor yacht built in Germany in 2016. U.S. authorities believe that her beneficial owner is the sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, a billionaire with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. When Amadea entered Fijian waters in mid-April, the U.S. filed a request for her seizure with local courts and sent FBI agents to carry out enforcement.  Read on....

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