Archive for September, 2007

Return to prison hulks?


Back in the good old days, decommissioned but still-floating military ships were used to house prisoners.  This temporary/permanent solution came about first when the American Revolution cut off deportation to the colonies as a method of punishment and ridding society of undesirables.  Could this colorful mode of waterfront living be returning today?

The [UK] Justice Minister was last night deciding which of three suitable vessels will be most cost-effective [to use as a prision ship].

The move was revealed as figures yesterday put the prison population at a record 81,135.  With just 81,915 prison places available in the entire country, it means there is now room for only 780 more lags.  […] 

Last night, the Justice Ministry confirmed The Sun’s victory on using prison ships to ease the crisis — an option pursued by former Home Secretary John Reid but abandoned.

A spokesman said: “We are looking at all the options for increasing the prison capacity, including acquiring a ship or a barge that can be converted into a prison.”


Today’s mermaid


Man drowned swimming to the pub (guess where)

Stock shot of riverside pub.

Evolution in action in the UK?

A man drowned as he tried to swim across the River Lune from one pub to another, an inquest heard.

Brian Woodcock, of Kelsey Street, Lancaster, had been drinking heavily when he decided to swim from the Wagon and Horses to the opposite bank on June 4.

link via Fark

Fark Photoshop Captain Bogg and Salty


There is a Fark Photoshop contest running now using the above pic of Captain Bogg and Salty (not identified as such) as the starting point.  Some of the entries are pretty funny.

Ulua: plankin’ and edge settin’

After a lot of agonizing about the mold positions and their own accuracy, I finally started planking. 


Turning the corner of the stem.


I came up with a Spanish windlass scheme to hold the inner stems on to the stem molds, it worked well.

Seven planks on.

Stern view.

Making up a test panel for fiberglass/epoxy/finish testing.


It’s starting to get tricky.  Above, I am mocking up a scheme to taper every other plank to try to get around the problem I am starting to have with lateral bending away from the sheer, which is getting worse as I go.  The lines seem to also favor doing something along the way to better meet the curve of the rocker as the keel is approached.  There is some discussing of this in the boat’s plans, but I haven’t seen anyone do any thing other than plank her straight up.  Maybe there is a good reason.

A gallery of random images for your Friday amusement

86 images for your enjoyment.  Click on, to see more.

Continue reading ‘A gallery of random images for your Friday amusement’

Today’s mermaid



Vahine paddle buddies



Friendly Tahitian paddlers found over at the very worthy Private Islands Blog.

Aboard S/V The Raging Queen with Michael Palin


Michael Palin on Saturday Night Live, Season 4, Episode 18 

[ open on graphic: “Family Classics” ]

Announcer: Tonight: “Family Classics” continues its second season, with Part II of the new Dickins novel Miles Cowperthwaite.

[ dissolve to copy of book resting on tabletop ]

Miles Cowperthwaite, by Charles Dickins. As told to Robert Louis Stevenson and Rafael Salbatini.

[ hand turns book to first page ]

Miles Cowperthwaite V/O: “The wretched birth, miserable childhood, agonizingly painful adolescence, and appallingly vile and degrading death of Miles Cowperthwaite.

[ turns page to Chapter Two ]

Chapter Two: ‘I Am Nailed To The Hull’.

“It having been determined by my benefactor that a term of service at sea would make a man, I accordingly left Pinckley Hall in the company of Captain Ned, and put out from Bristol aboard his ship The Raging Queen.

Captain Ned, I learned from my shipmates, was a very manly, virile, manful person, and a firm believer in strict discipline, corporal punishment, and nude apartment wrestling. How truly strict he was, I learned on our first day out of port, when out First Mate called all hands on deck for an important annoucement.”

[ dissolve onto scenes aboard The Raging Queen ]

Continue reading ‘Aboard S/V The Raging Queen with Michael Palin’

Today’s (shark riding) mermaid


Man catches 12-ft shark from beach


Danny Ficocello pulled the shark in along Flagler Beach. He told Eyewitness News that just outside the waves there’s a deep spot, with big fish. In fact, it is the same spot where a shark last week bit right through a woman’s surfboard.

The shark measured more than 12 feet long, about 550 pounds, and it’s by far the biggest thing Ficocello has ever seen some out of the water.

After putting out his bait at Flagler Beach Saturday night, he fished for two hours with no bites, but then it hit and he knew it was big.

Full story, via Fark

Mer-guy smashes underwater swimming record

mer-guy.jpgDave Mullins claims he is an “unusually slow” swimmer, but with lungs burning and legs aching he smashed the world record for an underwater swim without a breath not once, but twice.

Yesterday, the Wellington man swam 244 metres underwater on one breath, blitzing a record he set on Friday by 18 metres.

Using a mono fin, Mullins swam nonstop for four minutes and two seconds, completing nearly five lengths of the 50-metre Naenae pool.

[full story]

Building the Drone Hive — Followup on HMS Daring

uxv.jpgBritish-based BAE Systems is proposing a sea-going mother ship for unmanned vehicles (UXV) of various types. A BAE news release sent out a few days ago describes the new warship as “the UXV Combatant, designed to operate in a future battle space dominated by land, sea and air unmanned vehicles. Using a proven naval hull form to launch, operate and recover large numbers of small unmanned vehicles for extended periods, the UXV plays the role of mother ship — a permanent base and control centre for the futuristic unmanned land, sea and air vehicles…”

An artist’s concept of the 8,000-tonne warship shows a low-observable (stealth) design with two large island structures amidships, recessed missile launchers forward, and a large flight deck area aft for operating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The ship’s hull and combat systems will be a development of the Type 45 destroyer.

The first Type 45 destroyer — HMS Daring — is now on sea trials. The Royal Navy plans to procure eight of these ships, which have a full-load displacement of some 7,350 tonnes and are 500 feet in length. The gun/missile-armed ship has helicopter facilities.

The UXV support ship, apparently based on an enlarged Type 45 design, will have a lower hangar deck for storing and maintaining UAVs, while the two flight decks will have a variable ski-jump ramp to accelerate the launch of heavily loaded UAVs.

[Never Sea Land’s post on HMS Daring]

[full story at  via]

Fish of the day — Albino Ratfish


SEATTLE – There may never be a campaign to save the Puget Sound ratfish; no one really loves the ugly fish with rodent-like front teeth. But when a rare albino ratfish was found during a marine survey this past summer, scientists decided it was time to educate the public about the most abundant fish in local waters.

[full story]