G-EOS is pleased to partner with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) on the 2010 'Race to Support OA Research" a campaign to raise awareness about the causes and consequences of Ocean Acidification. As part of this project, we will be sailing aboard Eclipse in the 2010 Newport to Bermuda Race in order to raise funding to support WHOI's research efforts on issues such as Ocean Acidification.
Ocean Acidification (OA) is a change in the pH or acidity of our oceans caused primarily by human fossil fuel combustion. As the planet's oceans absorb 1/3 of all the CO2 that is released into the atmosphere, increases in the amount of CO2 being released into the air increases the amount of CO2 which is absorbed by the ocean which results in lower pH levels e.g. higher acidity. This is a problem because higher acidity levels result in lower calcium carbonate saturation states, which simply stated, changes the environment necessary for the most basic organsms in the food chain (like plankton,molluscs and coral) to be able to grow. OA is an important issue for us all because it is fundamentally impacting the entire marine ecosystem and this will impact the millions of people that depend on its food and other resources for their livelihoods. (Doney, 2008)
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to research and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system, and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society.WHOI website
Elizabeth Kujawinski, an Associate Scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has generously offered her time in support of this project. At WHOI Elizabeth's research focuses on the interaction of biology and chemistry in the oceans, with particular attention paid to the interactions among bacteria, phytoplankton, and chemicals of the sea.
Liz got her PhD in Chemical Oceanography at WHOI in 2000 and since that time, has worked at Ohio State University, Barnard College and WHOI.
Over the years, Liz has pioneered the application of advanced instrumentation to biochemical research questions in marine environments. She is now applying these tools to study the metabolism of marine bacteria and phytoplankton under current and future ocean conditions, including the anticipated impacts of ocean acidification on marine food webs.
14 March, 2010 Stage 1: Preparation & Training
Eclipse's crew's preparation kicked off this weekend at the two day Safety-at-Sea seminar held in Newport. This is an excellent course and we had a chance to meet Bob (Ecilpse's Captain) and Dave (Navigator). The two day course covered gear lists, medical training, crew training & boat prep,communications, weather, navigation and sail selection. The difference between VMG and VMC remains a mystery, but any doubts that off-shore racing is serious business were put to rest long before the mid-afternoon USCG session on what to do if the coast guard helicopter sent to rescue you crashes into your boat and you have to rescue the helo crew....
15 May 2010 Hands on training:
I flew back to Newport this weekend to finish up the hands on section of the ISAF offshore personal survival course run by Dan and Teresa O'Conner at Life Raft and Survival Equipment. Half of the day covered PFD floatation, hypothermia recognition and mitigation, as well as releasing, boarding and righting an overturned life raft. Just 20 minutes inside of a wet, over-crowded raft in a swimming pool was enough to leave us in awe of those souls who have survived days, weeks or months afloat in one of these. They say you should never abandon the boat unless there is no other option; Having seen what you will be stepping into (if you are lucky to be able to get into a survival raft during an emergency) we now understand exactly why...
The other half of the course covered how and when to use Co2 versus dry chemical fire extinguishers against actual fires. Other topics covered include emergency communication protocols, EPIRB deployment, and even a section where we got to fire all types of flares. Overall a great course well worth the time and money.
4, June 2010 Shakedown aboard sailing vessel "Eclipse"
JP on the deck of "Eclipse"
The agenda for our final shakedown run this weekend included crew training of operation of all systems review location of tools, spares, all safety/firefighting equipment, overview of starting line strategy and race rules, setting the watch schedule and crew training on use of navigation system, sailing a compass course, MOB drills, tacking shorthanded, practice gybing with preventer. Saturday morning found us 30 miles south east of Block Island sailing in 25-30 knot winds perfect for Eclipse. Later we got into navigation, weather and gulf stream analysis, MOB, sailing in fog, setting storm sails, reducing sail, preventer use, fire drill, abandon ship review.
With the vessel cleared and certified by the race officials, crew prepped and ready, next stop is the "Race To Support OA Research" fund raiser on June 16th, and then off to Newport for the start of the race.
Wednesday 16 June 2010
Little Compton Rhode Island
The “2010 Race to support OA Research” event held on June 16th featuring remarks by WHOI scientist Liz Kujawinski regarding Ocean Acidification, what it means for the future of our ocean, and the ongoing and future research focused on this topic party was a wonderful success. Over 50 guests attended the event and participated in a lively Q&A session.
WHOI's Dr. Mark Behn, host Ralph Watson, Dr. Kujawinski and JP
Friday 18 June 2010 Newport
Race Day is finally here. After many months of boat prep and crew training we are all set. Eclipse is moored at Casey’s Marina in Newport (Casey is a helluva a guy).
Bottom F.L.T.R: Bill Casey, Captain Robert Cavanagh, Ralph Watson, Sarah Cavanagh (Watch Captain), Mimi Whitmarsh (Watch Captain), Jason Paterniti, Top row: Allison Cavanagh, Leea Cavanagh (Watch Captain), Dave Grote (Navigator)
The Eclipse a beautiful 59' Hinkley is available for fully catered charters:Sakonnet charters
Race committee boat and start line
At the Starting line
Eclipse at the start line
On the Rail
Next stop, Bermuda
Saturday 19 June 2010 0810 hours N40°01’57 W70°26’20
16.5 hours in we covered 100 miles. Since our division’s race started at 430pm on Friday we have averaged 7.5knots through 5am this morning. Nice weather throughout the day.
However when I came on watch at 2am we were down to 3.5knots with a 10 knot southwesterly wind. By 6am we were totally becalmed drifting at less than .5knots. Contemplating our progress relative to the fast boats running up to 30 knots is not a happy thought at the moment. We did enjoy a visit with 5 to 7 northern bottle nosed whales which swam around our boat. Later in the morning, we sailed right through a British naval exercise around 150 miles off the coast of the US. Harrier jets screamed around us and later landed on the deck of a large warship.
Sunday 20 June 2010 1700 hours N38°06’49 W69°15’41
Heading 130° 255 miles from Newport at a moving average of 5.2 knots. Mid-day we come close to a large cargo ship which crosses our bow at 20+ knots.
Stories of sail rigging dangling from the anchors of these behemoths circulate round to cheer us up. Around 5pm Casey gets a bite on the line he has been trailing since Newport. Just as he is reeling in the lure a tuna bites, he drops the lure back in the water and less than 2 min later we have a 50 lb yellow fin tuna on deck. Captain Bob (a commercial fisherman) has it cleaned and filleted. 10 min later we are enjoying the freshest tuna tartare one will ever eat.
Monday 21 June 2010 1400 hours N36°03’2 W67°39’72
We have now covered 404 miles. Its 268 nm from our present position to Bermuda. We have found the meander running parallel to the rhumb line and hit a top speed of 12.1 knots which brings our overall average up to 5.5 knots.
Image courtsey of Rutgers University
Our navigator wants to run about 30 miles west of the line which puts us just 50 miles over a straight rhumb line approach.
Moving along at 10+ knots SOG
Tuesday 22 June 2010 1537hours N33°35’99 W65°43’24
584 miles covered 92 miles to go along the line. After 24 hours of a steady 8 to 10 knots SOG our moving average has improved to 6.1 knots. With the favorable winds we had caught up and passed 5 lighter boats on Tuesday evening.
Overtaking Shearwater(?) at dusk
Eclipse takes advantage of the strong winds to pull away from the competition at sunset
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
We sited Bermuda in the early am watch. By 4 am we had picked up the northern most buoy.
This being our Bermuda first race we took a wider more conservative approach around the top of the island whereas the other boats “cut” the corner at Kitchen Schoals closing the gapon all of the distance we had fought for overnight.
Bermuda in sight
Around 6am we were in sight of the finish line but a backing wind and increasingly strong current required we tack back and forth. It took us almost 1.5 hours to cover the last mile of the race. At 8am, after 109 hours from the start, we just managed to slip round the finish line buoy covering 683 miles at an overall speed of 6.1 knots.
We finished 3rd in our division on unadjusted time but 5th adjusted.
No one on our boat has ever competed in the NBR before, in fact our captain was honored by the committee in being allowed to enter a boat without having participated in a race before only because of his 40 + years of offshore experience.
JP& Captain Bob at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club
JP,NVW, Sarah and Bill
While we didn’t win our division it was wonderful to see that the Cavanagh family did win the overall cruising class William L. Glenn Family Participation prize and our WHOI Ocean Awareness project got off to a great start.