Maritime Heritage Tourism Events and Public Safety Costs

The Providence Journal reported earlier this week that the Tall Ships event that will be visiting Rhode Island may not receive any support from the state. (Tall Ships event may set sail in July without state money by Lynn Arditi) It seems that the legislature rejected part of the governor’s budget that would have covered public safety and emergency management expenses.

None of this is very surprising but it is pretty sad. As things go its probably as much about Rhode Island politics as anything else and in the end it will probably all work itself out. However, organizing events like this is incredibly stressful and risky and those who work hard in bringing a valuable, contributing enterprise to the state deserve better.

First of all, the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE will draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from outside the state to experience the spectacle first hand. Each of these visitors will spend significant funds in Newport and throughout the rest of the state. It is safe to say that much of this incremental revenue and the attendant taxes would not be earned without the visit of the tall ships. Continue reading Maritime Heritage Tourism Events and Public Safety Costs

"What the Law of the Sea Teaches Us About the Regulation of the Information Ocean"

This morning I came across an interesting post on, a blog by Professor Michael Froomkin of the University of Miami School of Law. What the Law of the Sea Teaches Us About the Regulation of the Information Ocean which was the title of an address that he delivered at a recent conference.

I am always intrigued about the rich metaphorical power of the sea. On the Sea-Fever Consulting website I wrote:

We believe that the sea is a strong and effective metaphor for business. Both present an ever changing environment and those that don’t adjust can find themselves far off course or worse. Successfully sailing across the sea requires teamwork, also a characteristic of high performing organizations.

On Professor Froomkin wrote:

The root causes of these two dangers have much in common: just as the Internet is one of the most exciting and even defining technological developments of our time, so too the sailing ship was a crowning technological achievement of its day. A tall ship is a highly complex machine that requires enormous organization and technical expertise to run properly. In broad terms the same is true of a complex network. Both depend on an extensive external infrastructure, be they boatwrights and ship’s chandlers or fab labs and electrical and telephone networks. (A critical difference, however, is that the tall ship required a well-drilled team to work properly. In a good network the work tends to be more distributed and in a really good network it may be more fault-tolerant as well.)

Not sure if the Professor is a sailor but it sounds like he understands tall ships.

If you are interested in technology and how its rapid and continuous advancement can overtake our ability to manage or regulate it, you will probably find this interesting too.

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Some Good News from North Carolina

Grand NellieYesterday I received an email from my friend Captain Ellen Troeltzsch of the Schooner Grand Nellie with the picture below . If you were around the tall ship fleet on the Atlantic Coast or Great Lakes in the early part of the decade you might recognize this vessel by the unique crew she kept. Her “Skipper” was actually a Dalmatian that epitomized the term “sea-dog.” Guaranteed he traveled more miles under sail than any other dog around. Unfortunately, Skipper passed away last year and will be sorely missed.

The good news out of Oriental, NC is that Captain’s Ellen and Jeff have welcomed aboard a new “sea-dog” named Hoosier. (Something to do with the fact that he was born in Indiana and there is a question about who his daddy might be.) 


Congratulations to the Troeltzschs and let’s get that beautiful schooner back to sea and changing more young lives (including Hoosier’s)!

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North Carolina Maritime Museum Experiencing Choppy Seas

North Carolina Maritime MuseumAn article from today’s The Daily News of Jacksonville, NC reports that the North Carolina Maritime Museum is experiencing some rough seas as a result of hosting last summer’s America’s Sail event.

For the past few years I have been following this event pretty closely as executive director of the American Sail Training Association (ASTA), the organizer of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE, an annual series of Tall Ships races and attendant maritime festivals across North America. Founded in the early 1970’s, in part to bring the 1976 Bicentennial Tall Ships event to North America, ASTA owns the registered trademark “Tall Ships” and therefore is sensitive to events that could potentially damage its brand. Continue reading North Carolina Maritime Museum Experiencing Choppy Seas

Life’s lessons learned under sail

Picton CastleToday I came across a great blog called  MHC at Sea 2007: Mount Holyoke students take to the high seas during January term. It’s a group blog that captures the adventures of a crew of Mount Holyoke College students during a sail training experience onboard the Bark Picton Castle. From their blog:

Thirteen students and Professor Chris Pyle of the Politics Department will book passage on the 300 ton steel barque Picton Castle for a 14-day voyage from Grenada to Martinique, with stops at Cariacou and Bequia. Students will be integrated with the ship’s crew of 16 (on a three-watch system) as sail trainees, and will learn the arts of piloting, seamanship, and tall ship handling, much as sailors did in the late nineteenth century.

This will be a working voyage, not a Caribbean cruise. Trainees will be expected to participate fully in the ship’s operation, working aloft, walking on ropes 80 feet in the sky to set and furl sails, hauling lines on deck, manning the helm, navigating, standing watch, helping in the galley, and doing basic maintenance. Students will also write a running weblog, transmitted daily via satellite phone. Sleeping accommodations are in tiers of narrow bunks; there is no hot water for washing or bathing.

What I find particularly remarkable is that this group of students joined the Picton Castle shortly after Laura Gainey, a member of the vessel’s professional crew, was lost overboard during the transit from their homeport of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to the Caribbean. If you only have time for a few posts, I encourage you to read Laura and Laura in my heart which deal with the loss of a crew member at sea. Continue reading Life’s lessons learned under sail