Monday, 31 July 2017

Tall Ships 2017 - Coming Soon!

The ships of Tall Ships Rendez-Vous 2017 started arriving Thursday night (July 27), and the festival itself officially opened on Saturday morning. Today is the last day to board the ships, and the final sailpast is tomorrow.

All of my effort associated with Tall Ships 2017 thus far has been spent on taking photos (and the logistics of being there to take the photos), and I have only processed a portion of the images to date. For anyone interested, the images will appear in a gallery on my Smugmug site as I upload them. This gallery includes images from ships that arrived earlier in the summer.

USCGB EAGLE approaching the Halifax Seaport upon her arrival.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Harry DeWolf rollout

There's already lots of photos online of the rolled out midships and stern sections of the future HMCS HARRY DEWOLF (AOPV 430), but what the heck, here's mine. Harry DeWolf is the first and name-ship of a new class of Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel, or AOPV. Under the Naval Ship Procurement Strategy (NSPS), Halifax Shipyard is to build up to six of these ships.

The midships section (left) rolled out first. The stern section, shown here in the assembly building, was rolled out afterwards, and has since been mated (though not fully welded together) to the midships section.

The stair tower on the left is used by workers to access the hull.

The hull sections sit on a series of cradles which are picked up by wheeled transporters and moved to the land level transfer facility, where the hull sections are joined.

The bow section has not been completed yet, and will be joined when it arrives.

When you are shooting photos through a chain link fence, you don't always get your choice of viewing angles.

The stern section was still sitting in the assembly building on Saturday morning.
This is the first, and so far only, class of Royal Canadian Navy ships to be named after people. Harry Dewolf joined the RCN in 1918 and served in the Second World War, most notably as the first commander of HMCS HAIDA.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Hebridee II Rechristening and Relaunching

After being relaunched about a week ago, and spending several days alongside in front of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic this week having her masts and rigging fitted, Hebridee II returned to the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Club for her rechristening and relaunching ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 14, 2017. I had expected to miss this event due to some business travel to Ottawa, especially considering my flight arrived 20 minutes late, but my taxi driver somehow delivered me to RNSYS with just minutes to spare. 

Hebridee II on the launchway when I arrived.

General Manager of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Kim Reinhardt, began the proceedings.

Commodore David Stanfield of RNSYS.

Commodore David Stanfield of RNSYS.

General Manager of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Kim Reinhardt.

Grandchildren of a previous owner of Hebridee II were present for the blessing.

Grandchildren of a previous owner of Hebridee II were present for the blessing.

One of the grandsons did the honours with a bottle of champagne for the rechristening.

Shortly after the rechristening was complete, builder Eamonn Doorly and his team of volunteer workers all boarded Hebridee II for the trip down the launchway.

The ladder is removed, and Hebridee II is lowered down the ways.

Launching of Hebridee II.

Feet wet!

Launching of Hebridee II.

Launching of Hebridee II.

The instant Hebridee II floated off her cradle.

Once more in her native element.

Hebridee II backs out of her cradle under her own power.

After launching, Hebridee II headed for her former berth in front of the RNSYS clubhouse.

Hebridee II coming alongside.

Hebridee II coming alongside.

Hebridee II will return to the Halifax waterfront soon, and Eamonn will hopefully soon begin sailing trials.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

12M sailboats "Valiant" and "True North I"

With participating yachts now arriving after finishing the Marblehead to Halifax ocean race, the Halifax waterfront has taken some of the overflow. The race attracts all kinds of boats of all different sizes, and groups them into various different classes based on their size and speed.

While walking home this evening, my eyes fell on the two racing boats that appeared since this morning, and in particular the distinctive bow of a 12 Metre class yacht - in this case, that of Valiant (US 24). One doesn't see many 12 Metre yachts in Halifax, so Valiant stands out.

While boats belonging to the 12 Metre class have all been designed to the same formula, the class is not homogeneous and each one is different. Although dating as far back as 1907, the class is probably best known for its involvement in America's Cup racing between 1958 and 1987. 

Valiant herself was built in 1970 of triple-planked mahagony over laminated oak frames, and is apparently the heaviest ever built. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she was eliminated from the 1970 America's Cup Defender Trials.


That distinctive 12M bow.

12M boats weren't really designed with multi-day overnight ocean racing in mind, so I'm not sure I would want to be one of Valiant's crew in such a race. Compare the IRC-2 division Valiant to a more modern ocean racing yacht like the ORR-1 division Siren below.

Nova Scotia isn't a complete stranger to 12M yachts, mind you, with True North 1 having been built just outside Bridgewater in the early 1980s by Crockett-McConnell Inc., with the intention of participating in the 1987 America's Cup. As a boy, I remember attending the launch at the Government Wharf in Bridgewater, and somehow I managed to find the photos in time for this post.

True North I arriving at the Government Wharf on a trailer, and being lifted by a crane into the waters of the LaHave River. The tarpaulin is covering the keel - after Australia II's winged keel helped her win in 1983, the keels were a closely guarded secret.

True North I being lowered into the water. The while aluminum speedboat in several photos was also built by Crockett and McConnell Inc.
True North I alongside with the tarpaulin removed. 
Unlike Valiant, True North I and contemporary 12M yachts were built of aluminum.

Alas, True North I never had the chance to participate in the America's Cup. Both the True North and Canada II camps ran into financial troubles, and merged. As I recall, True North I and Canada II raced against each other off California to determine which was the fastest - as True North 1 was optimized for the heavy winds of Fremantle, she lost out to the light-wind optimized Canada II. Canada II subsequently lost out in Fremantle for the America's Cup, in conditions that might have favoured True North I. We'll never know now.

As with Valiant, True North I and Canada II are still sailing - the latter two are even available for charter.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Floating Boardwalk Installation

With construction of the new Queen's Marque development going full bore between the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Cable Wharf, a portion of the Halifax waterfront boardwalk is no longer available for pedestrians looking to walk the waterfront and see the sights (and avoid the bottleneck that is Lower Water Street in summer). 

Waterfront Development has therefore been working on a solution to bridge the gap, and a new temporary floating boardwalk runs from the south side of Cable Wharf to the wharf where CSS Acadia is berthed. 

The new floating boardwalk stretches south from the Cable Wharf to a point just forward of CSS Acadia.
A row of steel piles provides lateral anchorage for the connected boardwalk sections, and they slide up and down these piles with the tide. Gangways at each end ramp down to the boardwalk, and provide accessible access for everyone to enjoy this new waterfront feature, regardless of the water level. I haven't tried the boardwalk during inclement weather, and I wouldn't be surprised it is closed altogether if the wind and waves don't cooperated, but I was pleasantly surprised at how stable it was.

Local contractor Waterworks used their base in Woodside as a staging area, from which the boardwalk floats were put in the water and towed to Halifax. The floats were also used to provide a free ride to the piles required to hold the whole thing in place.

A boardwalk float is towed from the staging area.

The float and "tug" seemed awful small in the middle of the harbour, especially with Maasdam as a backdrop.
Construction started at the Cable Wharf end, and continued south to the Maritime Museum. 

The pile driver sits on the shore side of the floating boardwalk, driving piles from north to south. On the left is the imaginatively named "Pontoon 1", which is the former Woodside Ferry Terminal float (minus its superstructure). Waterworks replaced this pontoon in 2014 with a new concrete version, and evidently kept the old steel one for themselves.
The boardwalk sections are held together by bolted steel connections, and the gap between each float is bridged with a hinged metal connection.

The two connectors are visible on either side of the raft.
Railing posts were installed on shore, but the in-fill between each post was added once everything was in place.

The public making use of the completed floating boardwalk.

Another view of the completed project.
Once complete, the Waterworks pile driver and barge Commdive II were towed back to Woodside.

Commdive II under tow of a small Dominion Diving tug, and Waterworks I following along behind - presumably used for steering.
The floating boardwalk will remain in place for the summer months, and will be dismantled for the winter. Presumably the steel piles will remain in place, but I'm guessing. The boardwalk is open during the day, but appears to be closing around dusk each evening, so it isn't open around the clock.

Sailing Yacht "Louise"

The sailing yacht Louise has been on the waterfront in front of the museum for the last week or so, and so here are the inevitable reflection photographs.

For those interested in the actual yacht, I will start with these: