Wednesday, November 25, 2015

All round green light

Spotted on Lake Geneva, an all round green light, as well as a white light, a port light and (not visible in this long exposure) a starboard light. Not how I remember the regs but maybe its a local thing.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lake Geneva mooring

I got the feeling its owner was checking it out prior to winter coming, with flurries of snow on the top of the hills.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Another red boat in Greenland

A bit of a sad sight, beached and with what looked like fire damage.

And yes, I am raiding my photo backlog at the moment.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Sailing in SPAAACE - marks and lines

So how could you have start / finish lines and marks in space where this no up nor down and nothing is fixed?

A couple of ideas spring to mind, but its worth noting that space sailing is likely to be more like America's Cup racing with its virtual course borders, using electronic aids galore. In this case you could (for example) define locations with respect to an Earth Centred Inertial (ECI) coordinate frame.

Other ideas could be to use stations or satellites as marks, together with additional geometric constraints.

One such would be to define a sphere around a point or satellite. For example a race could have start to be the volume within 10 km of the International Space Station (ISS). This is simple to define but could end up with all solar sails clumped at the same, advantageous sector, most likely the point of the sphere furthest from the Earth.

Marks could be define also as sphere - for example, the figure above shows the various Earth-Sun Lagrange points, and you could imagine a race between them, such as:
- Start within 10 km of the ISS
- Pass within 100 km of L4
- Pass within 100 km of L3
- Pass within 100 km of L5
- Finish within 10 km of the ISS

This would allow solar sail craft to slightly cut the corners as they could be within 100 km while not actually going round the mark.

Alternatively the mark could be defined using a combination of distance from point or satellite plus at least as far from the central object (e.g. the Sun in these cases) as the point or satellite. More advanced ones could define solid angles using the line from the relevant central gravitational body to the mark point or satellite.

Therefore it is doable, there are ways to define such as race.

So let your imaginations go, look up at the sky, and imagine the windjammers of the future, tacking their way around the solar system.

Just keep an eye out for solar storms and those pesky space pirates!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Sailing in SPAAACE.... the RULES

The last post included a video that described how to sail in space using solar sails. But if you had two such craft then you could race... but what would the rules look like?

Back in 1992 the International Astronautical Federation proposed a Lunar Cup with a set of rules but I couldn't find them on-line but wondered.... what would they look like? How could port give way to starboard when in space neither concepts make sense?

An alternative could be to use the direction of motion of planets as in:

R1: Solar sail craft which has a thrust vector that when projected into the plane of the ecliptic has component clockwise must give way to those for which it is anti-clockwise (see graphic here)

But what about if they are in the same direction, what is the equivalent of windward / leeward? This is simpler as the solar sail thrust comes from photons from the sun, so that is the equivalent of windward, hence:

R2: Solar sail craft closer to the sun must give way to spacecraft further away

But what if they are on the same "tack" and same distance from the sun. The old rule remains a good one:

R3: Overtaking solar sail craft must give way to those being overtaken

There'd have to be the usual rules for safety of life, keeping watch etc. but also additional ones to handle eclipses, where a spacecraft is behind a planet so has no ability to maneuver, but similar rules to sailing could be used.

But how about marks? How could you define a course in 3D when everything is in motion?

Stay tuned for more...

Monday, November 02, 2015

Sailing..... in SPAAAAACE !

Two space music videos for you. The one above from the Planetary Society includes Carl Sagan talking about sailing.... in SPAAACE!

How cool would that be, tacking and gybing across the vastness of the cosmos.

Also from Public Service Broadcasting a video and song about Valentina:

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The SPECTRE of a blog anniversary

"Ah" says JP, stroking his white cat, "Jolly bloggers, I've been expecting you".

For another year has flown by and it time for yet another blog anniversary, with a whole decade of posting that have come and gone since the first went live.

But rather than sailing I've been to the movies and you can guess what I saw. Good fun it was too, and I  discovered that a race up the Thames is even better at night than daytime - golly the old smoke was looking good.

And you can get your hands on a bit of genuine Bond sailing legend, as the Spirit 54 Soufrière that stared in Casino Royal (above) is for sale!

Alas with the offers asked to be "excess of £600,000" that's a bit out of my price range.

But who knows? 10 years ago I had no idea one day I'd sail double handed to the Arctic Circle or race in the 100th anniversary of the Square Metre Rule.

So here's hoping to "Sail Another Day"...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Picture Puzzle

How does this photo connect the last two blog posts and in particular what you'd find inside?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Three planets and the Cosmonauts

This morning I got up at 05:30 to do a spot of astronomy. It wasn't as bad as it sounds thanks to the hour change, so in BST it would be the more reasonable 06:30.

The light was rather beautiful and I had just a handful of early rising birds for company.

The reason for heading out into the cold was the conjunction in the morning eastern sky of Venus, Jupiter and Mars, making a clear and bright triangle:
There's a nice little gif identifying each and describing their motion to be found here.

There's more space in London at the moment with a superb exhibition of early Soviet / Russian space technology in "Cosmonauts" at the Science Museum:
It was all rather brilliant, with lots of fantastic real engineering, such as Valentina Tereshkova's Vostok 6 capsule. The only downside was KGB levels of scrutiny to ensure that no photos were taken - apparently there were items on display that had to be specially declassified.

Well worth looking up in the night's sky if you have a cloud-free morning or visiting the Cosmonauts if you're in London.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

JP's trip to Greenwich - in video!!

Recently JP returned to Greenwich, taking his camera with him, and you can see (above and below) two of the photos taken.
But what about videos, you might (possibly) be asking? When are we going to see S/V Delos style YouTube clips? And why not start by recording this, the historic maritime heart of London?

Fortunately there is already a video that captures JP's visit if you are prepared to make a few, very minor, mental editorials as you watch it, starting with the gender and age of those involved plus the additional points listed below.

Note that:
  • There was no skipping, dancing, prancing, posing, jumping or spinning around
  • There was a lot less hair, which was not curly but had the odd touch of grey
  • There were no sun glasses or bikes
  • There were no ice cream vans
  • There were no friends present
  • There was definitely no singing
  • There was no jewellery, bracelets, crop tops [Ed: is that right???], skirts, floral outfits, painted nails etc. etc.
  • There was a lot less leg on display (none actually)
  • There was no retro cine camera or hoops
  • There was no "alternative" approaches to purchasing flowers
  • There were no flowers given away as there were no flowers
  • There were no fans, selfies, laughing or waving
  • There were no lottery tickets or money taped to parking meters
  • There were no records, hats, balloons, rescue shelter visits, kittens or cat food
  • There were no dogs 
  • There were no piggy-backs what-so-ever
  • There were no free high-fives or cute post-it notes
  • There was no ice cream
  • There was no chocolate sauce or signs
  • There was absolutely no hand stands
  • There were no cycle rickshaws
  • The sun wasn't actually setting
Hmmm.... maybe this approach to videos isn't such a good idea after all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Keeping plastics out of the Thames

Boo to plastics!! Polluting our rivers and seas!!! Bad plastics!!

But what to do?

The Port of London Authority (PLA) and Thames 21 (as in the Beverley Brook gun incident) have been working together to remove the rubbish from the river for years, but it still keeps on coming.

So they put together this video presented by explorer Paul Rose as part of their "Do the right thing" Cleaner Thames campaign.

Coincidently I was actually in Greenwich while this video was being shot and saw Paul out on the PLA boat. So I kept looking for myself in the background walking along the Thames path, but with no success.

Which Greenwich trip, you might be asking? Was any other video taken?

Good questions....