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Displaying items by tag: Jeff Bezos

The story of how the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, is facing problems with getting his new sailing mega-yacht to the sea from her up-river building yard above Rotterdam in The Netherlands has been exercising the international media of late.

The 127 metre (417ft) vessel in appearance has the above-water hull of the 1897 G L Watson-designed 60 metre (197ft) schooner Rainbow, but with a raised deck forward. Above the main deck is a two-storey deckhouse of fairly conservative appearance, while atop that again is going to be a three-masted Maltese Falcon-style Dyna Rig. The complete combination is of course going to be the biggest and the bestest of them all. So if you want that guaranteed, your only option is construction in The Netherlands.

But a building job on this scale is going to take so much time that it would be uneconomical to construct her in an expensive waterfront site, and she has been built at a modern facility well inland. This meant that in order to get to the sea, she was originally going to have to make her way down river and canal through a much-loved steel bridge, with the technically complex but simply-operated rig being installed at some downstream wharf with clear access to open water.

In this video below by Dutch Yachting, the new mega-yacht emerges from the building shed, with her basic above-water hull shape showing an intriguing resemblance to the 1897-built 197ft G L Watson-designed schooner Rainbow (below)

The 1897 schooner RainbowThe 1897 schooner Rainbow

However, anyone who has ever launched an un-rigged new boat in one place, and then tried to set up the rig for the first time in another, will know only too well that the co-ordination involved is dementia-inducing. Even with the smallest boat, the Allen key needed for some small but vital task in setting up the rig at Location 2 will be clipped-in above the bench back in the building shed in Location 1.

Imagine that double-location hassle up-scaled to the new Bezos boat’s rigging procedure? It would involve hiring an entire Dutch Deliveroo team on permanent standby, as anyone trying to move quickly in a van in The Netherlands will inevitably mow down cyclists in their droves.

So as sure as God made little apples, the builders have wheeled out the monster boat, and as cynics expected all along, they’re now saying that the rig will have to be installed at the building yard, and could the council please see about dismantling the bridge when the new yoke it ready to go to sea. After all, it would be a useful training exercise, a sort of reverse-Meccano challenge.

Thus the scene is set, and everyone has a role to play in a superbly scripted and complete little drama so good it might have been in the making from the start. It ticks all the boxes for superyacht owner arrogance and local business versus neighbourhood heritage pride, and the township Mayor has been able to have his say too.

But the box that it ticks most emphatically is publicity. Everybody now knows of this extraordinary vessel’s existence, and everybody knows the maritime industry of The Netherlands is further reinforced in its prime position as world leaders.

Only a complete killjoy would point out that in fact the bridge was disassembled as recently as 2017 for maintenance purposes, and thus the nuts and bolts holding it together won’t even have seized up yet. So here again, a problem becomes an opportunity. The challenge now is to show that when the big boat is finally rigged, the bridge can be dismantled by efficient Dutch engineers in record time.

In fact, it could be made an annual international competition, with highly-trained engineering teams in contest to show that the bridge can be dismantled and re-assembled in a matter of hours. They could have street and boat parties, marching bands, rock concerts, children’s painting competitions, local cookery contests, pensioners dancing in the streets etc etc……

The bridge which has now become the Star of the Show.The bridge which has now become the Star of the Show

This story was updated on December 5th 2022, to include a credit to videographer, Dutch Yachting

Published in Superyachts
Tagged under

#Saturn5 - Hollywood hitmaker James Cameron might have the exploration of the Titanic all sewn up, but Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has just made a deep-ocean discovery of his own.

Reuters reports that a team funded by the online retail boss has pulled up from the depths two engines from the Saturn 5 rocket that sent Nasa's Apollo missions to the moon.

Bezos announced the historic find on Wednesday, explaining how the team found and recovered the two first-stage engines from the ocean floor some three miles below the surface of the Atlantic.

He wrote on the Bezos Expeditions site: "We've seen an underwater wonderland - an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program."

It's not certain what mission the engines were used for as the serial numbers are incomplete, but it's hopeful that their origin can be narrowed down during restoration ahead of their eventual public display.

Published in News Update

RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

©Afloat 2020

Fastnet Race 2023 Date

The 2023 50th Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday, 22nd July 2023


At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 695 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Cherbourg
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

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