Messing About In Ships podcast episode 20

Lou Vest calendar photo Jan 2008 Heather Knutsen - header

Episode 20 of Messing About In Ships has launched.

(46 minutes)

Download MP3: Messing About In Ships Episode 20 (April 24, 2008 )

Subscribe Via iTunes HERE

Shownotes: Messing About In Ships blog

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Sea-Fever Style: Subway Sea Monster by Joshua Allen Harris

I loved Joshua Allen Harris’ earlier creations so much that I posted off topic about them. Now he’s done a Sea Monster which is cool and definitely suitable for Sea-Fever. Enjoy!


Related post: Sea-Fever Style: Air Bear in NYC

Thanks to Wooster Collective

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Northeast Maritime Institute Offers Maritime Career and USCG License Counseling

NMI crest  Northeast Maritime Institute recently announced a new maritime career and US Coast Guard license counseling service to people interested in pursuing maritime careers as well as independent mariners looking to advance in the maritime industry.

Northeast Maritime Institute faculty will be joined by Andrew A. Hammond, a 14 year veteran of the US Coast Guard Regional Exam Center in Boston, MA, at Northeast Maritime Institute’s Fairhaven campus every other Wednesday afternoon to meet with mariners and guide them through the regulatory process of Merchant Mariner Licensing.

An appointment is required. Please call 508-992-4025 to schedule a Maritime Career and USCG Licensing Counseling appointment.

“Northeast Maritime Institute is pleased to offer this valuable new service to mariners,” said Eric Dawicki, Northeast Maritime President and CEO. “The regulatory waters can be complex but this new program will guide mariners through the process and on to successful maritime careers.”

Northeast Maritime Institute provides professional education for mariners and prides itself in being one of the forerunners in private maritime education and training in the United States and around the globe. A specialized agency with an international client base, NMI helps mariners complete the training necessary to receive their U.S. Coast Guard license, Commonwealth of Dominica license, or Merchant Marine document allowing them to work within the maritime community worldwide. Building awareness of safe and efficient maritime operations for both commercial and recreational operators is Northeast Maritime Institute’s highest priority.


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Modern Day Pirates, No Kidding Matter

NYTimes by Matt Rota

While Captains Feathersword and Jack Sparrow may present a friendly face to piracy through kids TV and blockbuster movies, the reality is that modern day pirates are no kidding matter. Make no mistake about it, pirates range from petty thieves to ruthless terrorists but in the end they are all dangerous criminals.

John S. Burnett, author of Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas wrote an interesting Op Ed essay for today’s – April 20, 2008 – Sunday NY Times entitled Captain Kidd, Human-Rights Victim. Please read it.

Burnett compares France’s recent show of force in successfully handling the hijacking of the French luxury cruise ship Ponant off the coast of Somalia to the British Foreign Office’s directorate to the Royal Navy not to detain any pirate because doing so would violate human rights. Pirates can claim UK asylum – The Sunday Times (UK) April 13, 2008.

High seas piracy remains a big problem for mariners around the world. Here’s a link to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau’s Weekly Piracy Report which demonstrates the frequency, seriousness and breadth of this issue. Below you will find their 2008 High Risk Areas. (Click here for direct access to map.)

Piracy attacks map_1208708119171

It’s difficult to understand and tough to swallow the British Foreign Office’s position on piracy. It’s doubtful that a similar position has been established for would be airline hijackers or subway bombers. Why would a current sea power who in previously eras worked so hard at eradicating piracy across the globe express a position that appears to go soft on contemporary pirates (aka terrorists)?

I’m all for protecting human rights, but this doesn’t send the right message to the good men and women who sail the seas advancing maritime commerce or other important global interests.

Related post: Pirates Invade Wall Street Journal! (Nov. 19, 2008 )

Artwork: Matt Rota for NY Times

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The World’s Largest Ship Model

There are many famous ships in the world that have found a second occupation late in life as museums: Cutty Sark, Peking and Balclutha are a few that immediately come to mind. However, there are not many ships that find themselves birthed or berthed inside buildings. Why, that would be pointless and rather silly. Or would it?

New Bedford Whaling Museum

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is about an hour south of Boston and 30 minutes east of Providence. For anyone traveling to Cape Cod from points south, it’s a short hop off Interstate 195. No matter where you are coming from its well worth the trip. It is the centerpiece to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and the largest museum in America devoted to the history of the American whaling industry and its greatest port. It is also the homeport of the world’s largest ship model, the Lagoda.

New Bedford Whaling Museum Lagoda

From the Whaling Museum’s website:

Step aboard the spectacular Lagoda, the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s half-scale model of the whaling bark. Built inside the Bourne Building in 1915-16, with funds donated by Emily Bourne in memory of her father, whaling merchant Jonathan Bourne, Jr., the Lagoda is the largest ship model in existence.

Today, visitors can imagine life on a whaleship by climbing aboard an 89-foot, half-scale model of the Bark Lagoda, which dominates a large gallery at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, with its sails set and gear rigged. It was built in 1916. (more)

The Lagoda is currently undergoing a major restoration. While at first blush this might seem like a reason to postpone a visit to the museum, actually having the chance to see the master shipwright Leon Poindexter and his crew of skilled craftsman in action is worth the price of admission alone.


On April 15, 2008, The Standard Times had a very interesting frontpage article about this project this week. Shipwright finds inspiration in museum’s Lagoda. (Slide show) Poindexter explains that since the model was built at the end of the whaling era by the same workers who built the actual whaleships that sailed out of New Bedford. Today we are fortunate that it exists in a kind of time capsule within the museum’s Bourne Building preserving the near century old arts and techniques of shipbuilding.

While I often write about my high school years aboard the sailing school vessel Tabor Boy being the catalyst for my maritime career, the original spark for my passion for the sea was ignited by my childhood experiences aboard the Lagoda. Growing up across the river in Fairhaven, there were many family visits and school field trips to the museum and for a pint sized sailor, a half size ship model was the real deal. Here was something in a museum that a kid could actually touch and even climb on. These are the experiences that cultivate dreams.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and until 9:00 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. (telephone: 508 997-0046) (Google Map)

Photo and video credits:

Whaling Museum exterior: Moacir de Sa Pereira / moacirdsp on

Lagoda model: National Park Service

ST Video on YouTube

Leon Poindexter by Peter Periera for The Standard Tiimes.

Lagoda video Second Story Interactive Studios

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Nautical Stock Tip of the Week – FrontLine LTD

Thanks to Wallstrip, Howard Lindzon’s hip Internet stock picking vidcast hosted by Julie Alexandria, you might want to buoy your portfolio with Frontline LTD (FRO), the world’s largest tanker company which has been benefiting from the rising tide of oil prices.

In 2006, Frontline has started a new Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) project, which is something John talked about this week in episode 19 of Messing About In Ships podcast.

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Messing About In Ships podcast episode 19

Episode 19 of Messing About In Ships has launched.

(49 minutes)

Download MP3: Messing About In Ships Episode 19 – April 17, 2008

Shownotes: Messing About In Ships blog

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The Tabor Boy Project Celebrates Its First Birthday!


The Tabor Boy Project is one year old!

It all start after attending a Headmaster’s Council meeting at Tabor Academy on April 14, 2007. I have always felt incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to Tabor but that day really brought it home for me. While It is great to catch up with a few of the Council members that I went to school with or which I knew from living locally, the real inspiration came from the camaraderie and fellowship that spanned across the decades represented that day.

Last April Drs. John Crosby and Karl Kistler made a great presentation during the Headmaster’s Council meeting that became the inspiration for the first post on The Tabor Boy Project. Teaching Ocean Science at Tabor. Last Friday, April 11th, Dr. Crosby, this time with 5 Tabor students, made another fascinating presentation about the Caribbean studies program that took place aboard SSV Tabor Boy this winter. Clearly for me the highlight was listening to the animated young students tell stories that will stay with them for a lifetime. It’s great to know that at her advanced age, Tabor Boy still has it in her to excite young people, foster real learning and transform adventurous adolescents into young adults. Check out the Caribbean Studies section of Tabor’s website.

My mother found the these two photos in a shoe box last week. In the top one, that’s me on the left handing Captain George Glaeser a present. To the right of Capt. is Billy Rose, also Class of 1977 and First Lieutenant on Tabor Boy. For a little spooky foreshadowing, I’m wearing a t-shirt from the American Sail Training Association, an organization that I would go on to lead 24 years later. (2001-2006)

To me the above picture really captures the essence of my experience at Tabor. There’s Capt. and Mrs. G. sitting around with us boys and a couple of dogs: one big happy family. Of course, we all had our families at home but this was our Tabor family all brought closer by our shared experiences aboard Tabor Boy. For me The Tabor Boy Project has extended that family even farther.

I started using Google Analytics to track activity on The Tabor Boy Project in August 2007 and thought you may be interested in some of these statistics:

  • 109 Crew members
  • 425+ photographs
  • 2,812 visitors
  • 1,783 absolute unique visitors
  • 19,144 page views
  • 53 countries
  • Dozens of blog and forum posts and replies,
  • Countless messages between members

More important than any of these numbers is that The Tabor Boy Project, through words and pictures, tells the incredible story of this amazing ship that has changed so many young lives over the years. It has reconnected lost shipmates and been the catalyst for new friendships.

I had very few expectations when I launched The Tabor Boy Project on April 15, 2007. It was simply an experiment in using web 2.0 / social networking tools. One of the exciting things about it is you just don’t know what somebody will contribute. I sincerely thank all who have done so over the first year and I look forward to welcoming aboard more new members, reading more sea stories and viewing more old photographs over the next year. The Tabor Boy Project comes to life through your amazing contributions. Let’s keep telling the story together.  

Cross posted in The Tabor Boy Project and Sea-Fever blog.

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11:40 PM April 14, 1912 – Titanic Meets Iceberg

Photograph of an iceberg in the vicinity of the RMS Titanic’s sinking taken on April 15, 1912 by the chief steward of the liner Prinz Adelbert. (via Wikipedia)

 In Weak Rivets, A Possible Key to Titanic’s Doom – NY Times (April 15, 2008)

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