Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bridge Height, Smidge Height

Brave the perils of the sea? I don't have to.

Sure, I know that along the 3,000 miles of America's Intracoastal Waterway there are bridges that limit passage, forcing tall-rigged boats to sail offshore instead.

That is so five minutes ago.

Here's a boat with an 80-foot main mast approaching a bridge at Vero Beach, Florida . . .

A bridge that is only 65 feet off the water . . .

Each bag weighs 2,000 pounds, so I'm told . . .

The pics have been bouncing around and were forwarded by my friend, Jack Reichel, along with someone's editorial comment: "What a treat to watch the crew execute!"

So, what's the effect on the structure of 4,000 pounds of undistributed load? Since I don't know how the weight is attached, I can't properly frame the question, and that's just as well because, as engineers go, I'd make a better fry cook. I'm still trying to figure out how they weight goes from hanging vertical to being, shall we say, way out there. This doesn't appear to be a Photoshop job, so your enlightenment is welcomed.

Or Is That Just My Mother Talking?

First it was Artemis Transat leader Sébastien Josse hitting something with BT and turning for home. That opened the lead of the singlehanded transatlantic race to Vincent Riou and PRB, and then Riou hit something and was sufficiently concerned for the keel that he politely requested rescue. Riou left PRB on Tuesday afternoon to join Loïck Peyron on Gitana Eighty, and Peyron is now the leader and is he worried that things happen in threes?

Dunno. But here's what his people are putting out:

At the 1800 UT position report, Gitana Eighty had a 29 mile lead over Armel Le Cléac’h. Now, along with time lost in the rescue
—which will be redressed following evaluation by the jury—Loïck Peyron will have to get used to a new configuration.

The reluctant stowaway, Vincent Riou, will not be able to help his host under any circumstances, either in his manœuvres or in his choice of course. During the remaining 830 miles (three days more at sea), the skipper of Gitana Eighty will have to consider himself as being alone aboard. Peyron says, “It's the first time I’ve ended up in such a situation: sailing double-handed in a single-handed race. It’s disconcerting as I was into a precise rhythm, making decisions automatically and with a set routine. Now I have to regain focus to tackle the next stage, which promises to be fairly complicated. However, the essential thing was to recover Vincent.”