February 22, 2010

School Ship Concordia Sinks Off Brazil

For nearly 20 years, Concordia has sailed the world, educating young trainees along the way.

© 2010 Class Afloat

As the 188-ft barquentine Concordia sailed down the South Atlantic last week, Captain Bill Curry warned his crew, and the 44 high school and college-age student sailors aboard, to prepare for unsettled weather. Little did he know, however, that an intense vertical downdraft would soon knock down his globetrotting steel-hulled vessel, sending her to the bottom within a half-hour.

When the tragedy occurred, the Barbados-based three-masted tall ship was sailing south, roughly 300 miles off the Brazilian coast, en route from Recife, Brazil, to Montevideo, Uruguay, as part of a 10-month Class Afloat educational voyage. At about 2:30 p.m. last Wednesday the ship was hit by what the captain later characterized as a "microburst" — a sudden, powerful downdraft — which apparently knocked the boat onto her beam ends, where she began to flood and never regained equalibrium. Having drilled for emergencies as part of their on board routine, all students and professional crew were able to evacuate safely into three large liferafts, which were lashed together as they awaited rescue. The ship’s EPIRB had been activated, but high frequency radios were rendered useless by the knockdown.

The fact that these student sailors were well-trained in safety procedures undoubtedly helped them survive the sudden tragedy.

© 2010 Class Afloat

The 64 survivors drifted together for at least 40 hours before being rescued by the 662-ft merchant ship Hokuetsu Delight and the 688-ft tanker Crystal Pioneer. A later attempt to transfer the survivors to the Brazilian naval frigate Constituicao had to be abandoned due to the rough conditions. All crew and students arrived at Rio de Janeiro Friday, happy to be alive, but deeply saddened by the loss of their floating home, which has served as a school ship since 1992.

Shown here booming along downwind, Concordia will be sorely missed in the tall ship community.

© 2010 Class Afloat

"The story that is slowly emerging from our students and professional staff is of the heroic communal effort that saved all aboard," said Nigel McCarthy of Class Afloat. "That all were saved is a testament to the training, equipment and professionalism of our shipboard community."

Abby Crosses Equator

As Aussie Jessica Watson, 16, nears South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and settles into the second — and arguably more difficult — half of her nonstop solo circumnavigation, Southern California’s Abby Sunderland, also 16, has crossed the equator. Around 3 p.m. on Friday, Sunderland’s Open 40 Wild Eyes drifted across the line . . . then stayed there. "I was a little worried that I would end up crossing the equator twice in one day," she wrote in her blog. "I had hardly any wind getting across. About a mile over the equator the wind died completely and all I had was a current pushing me backwards!" In fact, according to her position tracker, Wild Eyes has been within 100 miles of the equator for the last five days!

Despite frustratingly light winds and slow progress, Abby Sunderland keeps on smiling.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As happens to anyone when they’re alone with themselves for an extended period of time, Jess Watson appears to be getting a little introspective after four months alone. "Seeing as we’re now over halfway around the world, I thought it might be a good time to have a bit of a re-think about exactly what I am doing out here and whether or not my expectations have changed at all," she blogged today. The result is a charming, heartfelt and nearly teenage-angst-free account of why she’s ‘out there’. Whether you think she’s the best thing since the block-and-tackle or you believe her parents should be thrown in jail for letting her leave, Watson’s blog is a must-read.

Corinthians Winners Decided

This weekend marked the final installment of the Corinthian Midwinters, and much like last month’s, featured a wet day and a dry day. The rain held off on Saturday, and in its place was breeze reported to be in the 15- to 18-knot range. Sunday was wet, wet, wet.

We’ve been holed-up in the office trying to wrap-up the March issue of the magazine and weren’t able to make it out on the water or over to the club like last month. Do you have a good second Corinthians story to tell? We’d love to hear it in words and/or photos! In order to get it in the March issue, we’ll need it by tonight. In the meantime, here are the cumulative winners:

IRC — White Dove, Beneteau 40.7, Mike Garl
PHRF 1 — Racer X, Farr 36, Gary Redelberger
PHRF 2 — Encore, Sydney 36 CCR, Dan Woolery
PHRF 3 — Baleineau, Olson 34, Charles Brochard
PHRF 4 — White-Jacket, Etchells, John Sutak
PHRF 5 — Wuda Shuda, Soverel 26, Craig Page
PHRF 6 — Can O’Whoopass, Cal 20, Richard vonEhrenkrook
NON-SPIN 1 —  Min Flicka, Hanse 370, Juelle Le’Vicki
NON-SPIN 2 — Harp, Catalina 38, Mike Mannix
NON-SPIN 3 — Meritime, C&C 30 Mk I, Gary Proctor
MULTIHULL — Lanikai, Catamaran, John Brady
BENETEAU 36.7 — Wilson, Joel Davis
EXPRESS 37 — Bullet, Michael Maloney
J/105 — Donkey Jenny, Shannon Bonds
MOORE 24 — Scarlett, Beau Vrolyk
ALERION EXPRESS 28 — Ditzy, Ralf Morgan
CATALINA 34 — Jet Lag, Torin Knorr

Judge an Island by Its Magazines?

Based on our opinion, you can tell a lot about an island by the magazines that get distributed to the visitors. Some are all about rental cars outlets and bars, others are about cheap hotels and jungle trips, while others feature overpriced watches, expensive jewelry and jets for rent.

In today’s ‘Lectronic, we’re challening you to guess the island by the cover and some inside photos of Pure, one of the island’s many free magazines.

The editor of Pure promised everyone that he wouldn’t do it again. But he, apparently like Tiger Woods, couldn’t resist the women.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Yes, we noticed that the woman on the cover has no clothes on. In fact, the publisher of the magazine addressed the issue of the plethora of photos of naked women in his lead editorial:

"Every year people ask me if I am going to fill the pages of Pure with nude women yet again, and every year I promise that this time I won’t. But I can’t help it. I photograph what I see, and what I see is that ‘St. Somewhere’ is a sexy island, one of the most sensual spots in the world. I am pleased to live in a place where people feel free to take off their clothes, and I am proud to celebrate that fact on the cover of the magazine. But nudes are not the only thing that Pure is interested in . . ."

While the last line may sound like a lot baloney, based on the terrific interview in the same issue with the straight-talking President of the island, the editor wasn’t kidding.

There’s is no denying it, the skill of the photographer and the model are of very high quality — as is the blue of the water!

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The technical quality of photography throughout the magazine is very high, and in the case of the photos of the women, all of whom are locals, they are much more sensual than sexual. And for the protection of Latitude readers, we’ve not included the ones that some residents found to be controversial.

Some will say that such photographs degrade women. But there are two reasons to believe that this might not necessarily be true. First, of all the islands of the 10 countries in the region, ‘St. Somewhere’ is the only island where women can walk safely anywhere at anytime of day and night. And yes, that rules out Antigua. Second, if women want to dress a little saucy for the fun of it, they are showered with compliments instead of insulted by catcalls and whistles.

Naturally, we didn’t come to investigate the relationship between editorial content and islands, but are on a mission for Latitude — to interview one of the world’s biggest skin-flint circumnavigator/cruisers. Expect to see that feature in a future issue of Latitude.

While waiting for the new iPad to be released, this model occupies her mind with what’s on her Mac laptop.

©2010 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Anyway, your challenge, after carefully examining the evidence, is to guess the island where Pure is distributed. (Update: Thanks for all the guesses. Read February 26’s ‘Lectronic for the answer!)

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