They have been dueling without boats and without salt water in their faces for nearly three years. Instead of the customary helmsmen and bowmen, the combatants in the 33rd America’s Cup have been the lawyers and public-relations specialists pushing the opposing agendas of the team owners Larry Ellison of BMW Oracle Racing and Alinghi’s Ernesto Bertarelli, who said this week that he would forfeit the Cup if he lost his latest court battle.
This article is depressing on so many levels. Putting aside the disastrous impact it is having on the Americas Cup, the image this creates of sailing is terrible.
The NY Times rarely writes about sailing but most of the few articles in the last year have been about this fiasco. Is there any other sport, that just before its pinnacle event,two of the leaders of the sport would be so embroiled in a vicious court battle that even if the event does take place, it will have no credibility?
Over a few beers last week, one of my sailing buddies, David Duquette and I were chatting about things nautical, as you do on a wet winter's evening. We got to discussing books about the sea. I was blathering on about all my sailing books and the merits of Robin Knox-Johnston versus Moitessier. A long discussion about Patrick O'Brian's masterwork ensued. David then said: "..and of course there's Melville." "Ah, yes", I said sheepishly inspecting my shoes.
Pregnant silence. I had to confess that I have not read Melville or the "Greatest American Novel", Moby Dick. Embarrassing really, for a so-called lover of books about the sea.
I grew up in England and it was not on the curriculum at school. We had Dickens, Jane Austen and that crowd rammed down our throats. I am sorry, it was hard for me to enjoy something that's supposed to be a pleasure when it had a test at the end of it. This was made worse in my case as I went to a French school (it's a long story) and I was forced to read Balzac, Racine and Flaubert at gun point. Like many teenagers, the force-feeding and subsequent interrogation put me off great literature.
Since I moved to the US, I have often heard people talk about Melville with the same facial expression I reserve for George Eliot. They were forced to read it as teenagers, so the vast majority think of Moby Dick as an alternative to water-boarding.
David waxed lyrical about Melville - the story, the adventure, the sea, blabla. I am at a vulnerable moment right now. I have three books on the go and none of them compelling enough to want to commit to. It sold me on giving the Big Fish a go.
He suggested that I start with Billy Budd, one of Melville's later works - a short story about life in the 19th century navy. If I liked that I should take on The Whale. I took his advice and bought both on Amazon. Moby Dick arrived first and it is a beautifully published edition with a wonderful foreword by Nathaniel Philbrick, so I got started on that first. Four chapters in and so far I am genuinely enjoying it. Only another 131 chapters to go.
I am a notoriously slow, highly distractible reader and find long books intimidating. As a child, I was traumatized by being made to read any book longer than a hundred pages. My mother and sister still tease me about this.
I will take my time. I may stop and come back to it if it starts to feel too much like homework. It could be a long time before I find out if Ahab kills the fish. Please don't spoil the end for me. I will need something to keep me going.
NOAA will provide data from its various ocean-science programs and Google will build tools to visualize that information, the two organizations announced Tuesday. The deal extends a collaboration that began when Google built NOAA’s underwater topography into Google Earth. The two entities have continued to work together on other projects, such as incorporating satellite measurements on coral-reef bleaching.
This was sent to me by Boat Insurance, a site dedicated to boating insurance, not surprisingly. I don't normally post stuff sent to me by a commercial outfit but I thought this was very useful and they also asked very nicely. (Please note I received no remuneration for passing this along and nor would I). Hope you find it useful too.