20 September 2010

Frenchman with amputated limbs completes Channel swim

A Frenchman whose arms and legs had to be amputated following an electrical accident has successfully completed his attempt to swim the English Channel.

Philippe Croizon had set off from Folkestone in Kent at 0645 BST.
The 42-year-old, who swims using prosthetic legs, finished the 21 mile (34km) challenge by reaching Cap Gris Nez in more than 14 hours.
Sixteen years ago, Mr Croizon suffered a severe electric shock while removing a television aerial from a roof.
A current surged through him from a nearby powerline and doctors were forced to amputate his limbs.
Mr Croizon reached the French coast at 2013 BST, far ahead of the 24 hours he had set himself.
His team believe this is a record time for a disabled swimmer.
Mr Croizon told the BBC that at no point did he feel he was not going to make it, despite pains and aches all over his body.
Philippe Croizon's father said his son had had favourable wind conditions and had even had three dolphins swimming alongside him for a period- a "sign of good luck".
Mr Croizon had been preparing for the challenge for two years.
*Doctors were forced to amputate Mr Croizon's limbs following an electrical accident.

02 September 2010

Docking On Command System

When boaters move up into large motoryachts it is only natural that they have apprehensions about docking – particularly in a strong cross wind or cross current situation when there is only 6” of clearance on either side of the boat. The solution was introduced several years ago when Volvo Penta introduced the IPS pod drive system with joystick. Later joystick systems came out for other brands of diesels and then gas engines and still later for stern drives, too. But what wasn’t talked about much was how much more the pods and the joystick technology cost, which was as much as an additional $25k in some boats. Meridian Yachts has had a solution for the last year that solved both the difficulty of docking, and the high cost problem with a system called “Docking On Command.” It is simply a bow thruster and a stern thruster built into the boat with an easy-to-visualize control mechanism at the helm.

01 September 2010

The Secret of the Sea

The Secret of the Sea 
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
   As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
   All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,
   Such as gleam in ancient lore;
And the singing of the sailors,
   And the answer from the shore!

Most of all, the Spanish ballad
   Haunts me oft, and tarries long,
Of the noble Count Arnaldos
   And the sailor's mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
   Where the sand as silver shines,
With a soft, monotonous cadence,
   Flow its unrhymed lyric lines:--

Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
   With his hawk upon his hand,
Saw a fair and stately galley,
   Steering onward to the land;--

How he heard the ancient helmsman
   Chant a song so wild and clear,
That the sailing sea-bird slowly
   Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing,
   And he cried, with impulse strong,--
"Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
   Teach me, too, that wondrous song!"

"Wouldst thou,"--so the helmsman answered,
   "Learn the secret of the sea?
Only those who brave its dangers
   Comprehend its mystery!"

In each sail that skims the horizon,
   In each landward-blowing breeze,
I behold that stately galley,
   Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing
   For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
   Sends a thrilling pulse through me.