Saturday, February 23, 2008

A new puzzle

Every morning we walk to the beach on the ocean side of Manjack Cay. While on the beach, we pick up all the plastic garbage that has floated in with the wind and tide. This item looked like it qualified in the plastic division, but on examination, it did not. Definitely a natural substance. What is it?

Finally, the Mystery Boat Revealed

Congratulations to Micheal Parente, who had the most accurate answers.

Cloudia is a prototype catamaran designed to test the tall red and white towers, called Flettner rotors, which were first describe 80 years ago The outboard motor is used as an auxiliary, to move the boat into position for the tests. A small electric motor spins the rotors. The spinning rotors then develop lift similar to the lift produced by a spinning curve ball thrown by a baseball pitcher. The lift produced provides the boat's propulsion through the water. The rotors need to spin at approximately 3 – 5 times the wind's speed. A beam reach is the best point of sail for this rig. Cloudia successfully completed her sea trial last month.

Cloudia's two Flettner rotors are built of carbon fiber and foam. The taller tower is approximately 18 feet and 300 pounds, the shorter is approximately 14 feet and 275 pounds. The pattern of interrupted red stripes was used to help film the towers' speed of rotation, which can be 180 RPM in 5 knots of wind.. The black scores on the horizontal base of the rotors were used to accurately measure the rpm of the rotor using a stroboscopic device. The metal fences in the cockpit were built to give the appearance safety for the film. Unfortunately the movie's narrator chose to stand next to the spinning rotors with the safety grids behind him.

Cloudia was built to only test the use of Flettner rotors, but her name refers to the environmental goals of a much larger project to combat global warming developed by Steven Salter, a professor and researcher at Edinburgh University. The goal is to have enormous, unmanned sail boats propelled by Flettner rotors in the oceans, generating clouds to cool the earth. Turbines dragged behind the boats and solar panels will produce the electricity needed to aerosolize sea water, perhaps using ultrasonic humidifiers. The cloud making technology for this project is being developed at other research sites. The next step in the project is to build a 60 foot catamaran with the capability to easily disable Flettner Rotors, perhaps using towers that can be inflated and deflated.

This research project is supported by the Discovery Channel and will be featured in their series on Global warming. Cloudia's sea trial was filmed by Impossible Pictures. We wrote this explanation based of a conversation with Captain Bill who was responsible for Cloudia's electrical engineering and captained her sea trial.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Question 4:

Does the name "Cloudia" have any significance?

Question 3:

Why did they paint black lines on the bases and red stripes on the columns?

Question 2:

Why does the boat have those fences in its cockpit?

Question 1:

What are those towers for?

The mystery boat

We returned to our boatyard and found a mysterious trimaran. Here Vinnie moves in closer to examine it.

The Challenge

After being embarrassed by our lame explanation for the previous marine challenge, we've been more serious in our research of this year's entry. If interested in competing, examine the pictures and respond to the questions.

Running to the boat

Perhaps it was the freezing temperature, or the piles or snow, or our lack of cold weather outfits; something sent us hurtling south and ended our 9 months of land life. We've had a wonderful time. Our recent adventures have not been of storms or islands. Instead we navigated our way on a map of the lives of our friends and family.


It seems that another hip New Yorker is in the world. Ethan is already developing an acute sense of fashion and style.

Test Drive

Ethan also was exploring the world. He loves the swing.

Snow Angel

The family gathered to welcome Ethan. Chiara and James brought Norah, just in time for a snow fall and a chance for Norah to enjoy her new suit.

Welcome to the family

We're glad she chose the baby. She and Jim got the handsome Ethan James Bradford on January 11, 2008.

The dilemma

Alessia was faced with a difficult choice, keep the very handy snack shelf or have a baby.

New developments

We returned to Grand Rapids in late December as Alessia and Jim were growing great with child.

What's this?

Next we traveled to Cape Cod for a visit with Meg and George. There our camera decided to began its creative phase and we returned it to Canon for a tuneup and return to realism.

Christmas in New York

We traveled to New York for a Jasinski family Christmas. We each took numbers and waited for our turn to hold Thomas or William. Most photographs of the celebration includes a baby. Claire, Luisma, and Martin as usual made the record for longest distance to the party since they traveled from Spain. Here Luisma visits with Syd and holds William, or maybe Thomas.

Marco moves to the Big Apple

In early December, Marco left the quiet parochial farms of Grand Rapids for the gritty urban world of New York. Here he shares an exciting party night with his cousin Anna Claire and the boys.

How life changes

Leaving the womb, the boys have entered a new world. It looks like Nellie has too.

No hurry

In early December Nellie's impressive profile could part raging waters. It deflated when she gave birth to two beautiful boys, William and Thomas. Already they are negotiating issues of dominance and precedence.

Avian Spelling

It is well known that geese fly in a V, but the formation in this picture has not been widely observed. Recent research by the Audubon Society, however, has determined that only Michigan geese have the required linguistic aptitude, explaining the rarity of this Geese behavior. Little Vinny always knew that the New York geese were trying to spell his name.


We returned to Michigan for Thanksgiving and found that Nicholas has a new friend. Welcome to our madhouse Sunny.

Radiant Norah

As we were traipsing around the country, Norah was growing in beauty and insight.

Vinnie in Washington

On land, as on the boat, the traveling team of Vinnie and Maria live as though they are welded together. This photograph in the Washington Post is evidence that Vinnie's doppelganger is leading a secret and happy life on a motor boat. He must be the Captain.

The Surprise

All of dad's sisters, Claire, Eulalia, Suzanne, and Daphne, arrived from across the country to help us celebrate his life with memories of his life from childhood to 80 years.

Back in Atlanta

In early October Stuart had his 80th birthday. Instead of dancing girls and elephants, the family decided to have a surprise birthday party. Dad was surprised, nearly laid low with surprise.

Good times

The visit to Iowa was also a chance to enjoy the company of Francesca and her friend Jarrod. Here they get into the party spirit with Norah.


The baptism must have worked, shortly afterward Norah turned into a flower.

Norah Claire

In late September, Norah Claire Hemsley was baptised. We joined family from across the country came to Iowa for the ceremony.

Vinny Meets the Catapiller

Although we missed the event, Little Vinny's visit to Uncle Tony and Aunt Joan was big news. His love for serious machines must be an inherited personality trait since Uncle Tony has it too. They did wheelies with excavators and races with backhoes. Who could ask for more?

If not for them....

As in past years, in early September Mom and Dad forgot their anniversary. Fortunately, their children and grandchildren did not. We all have a reason to celebrate their 52 years of marriage. .

Climbing the Peaks

For their summer vacation, Karl, Katherine, Antje, and Joe went to Mount Ranier for their adventures. Despite the warnings of anxious observers, they crossed a snow field and reached high altitude.

Lexi Learns to Swim

During the summer, Lexi left behind all fears and anxieties in her sure determination to not only swim, but join a swim team. We're not sure if she made the high school cut, but she did master the finny arts.