Quotulatiousness

February 12, 2013

The Bluenose II in court

Filed under: Cancon, History, Law — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:14

The descendents of the designer of the original Bluenose are in court to demand the “copyright, and the moral rights in the copyright work” of the vessel which probably should be called the “Bluenose III“:

The Bluenose sank to the bottom in 1946; the replica Bluenose II was built in 1963, and then rebuilt in recent years and launched from the Lunenburg wharf this past September amid much fanfare and, as the province’s accountants could tell you, serious cost overruns.

No matter. This was a gala affair. Only Joan Roué and her father, Lawrence J. Roué — grandson of William J. Roué — were not among the smiling guests and proceeded to file suit against the province, the boat designers and boat builders in October, alleging that despite “the province owning the vessel … Joan and Lawrence Roué allege that they are respectively entitled to the copyright, and the moral rights in the copyright work” associated with the latest incarnation of the famous schooner.

To which the province responded — and I am paraphrasing here — “are you people kidding me?” while contending in court filings that William J. Roué’s storied original design perhaps wasn’t all that original to begin with, and, even if it were a singular masterpiece, that he had already been paid for it decades ago.

I posted about the “new” Bluenose II last year, explaining why I think they should have incremented the number in the vessel’s official name:

Wooden sailing ships are subject to far more wear and tear than modern vessels: they’re like the old tale of the farmer’s axe (even though everything’s been replaced over time, it’s still the same axe). This means that heritage sailing ships need lots of careful maintenance throughout their lives, and major re-builds at long intervals. In the case of Nova Scotia’s iconic Bluenose II, however, it’s sometimes more than a “rebuild” […] So, just to sum up: she’s being built to a different design (even though outward appearance is much the same), using different materials. In what way can you call her the same ship? The point made in the article, that the masts and sails were some of the “originals” being re-used is odd: those are among the parts that need replacing more often. And the mahogany and walnut saved from the last boat are almost certainly decorative elements, not structural ones.

December 19, 2012

ARA Libertad finally free to sail home from Ghana

Filed under: Africa, Americas, Government, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 15:05

If you’ve been following the debt-related travails of the Argentine navy’s flagship, you’ll recall that the ship was impounded on a visit to Ghana back in October. The BBC is now reporting that the ship has been released, and Argentinian sailors will be able to take the frigate home after a UN court decision:

The Libertad set sail from Ghana’s main port of Tema after a United Nations court last week ordered its release.

Argentina sent almost 100 navy personnel to man the three-masted training ship.

It was impounded after a financial fund said it was owed money by Argentina’s government as a result of a debt default a decade ago.

[. . .]

In November, sailors on board the Libertad reportedly pulled guns on Ghanaian officials when they tried to board the vessel to move it to another berth.

The lengthy diplomatic row began when the ship was prevented from leaving Ghana on 2 October, after a local court ruled in favour of financial fund NML Capital. The fund is a subsidiary of US hedge fund Elliot Capital Management which is one of Argentina’s former creditors.

Initial report on the seizure here and here.

October 25, 2012

Follow-up – Argentine flagship’s crew to fly home after three week delay

Filed under: Africa, Americas, Government, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 00:01

I originally found this story at the beginning of the month, and after all this time, the bulk of the Argentinian crew finally fly home. BBC News has the update:

Almost 300 sailors left on an Air France plane chartered by the Argentine government.

A skeleton crew is staying on board the three-masted Libertad to maintain it.

The tall ship was prevented from leaving Ghana after a local court ruled in favour of a US fund.

The fund, NML Capital, argued it was owed $370m (£231m) by Argentina’s government as a result of its debt default a decade ago.

[. . .]

An earlier plan for the sailors to fly back on an Argentine plane was scrapped because of fears that the aircraft might itself be impounded as part of the debt dispute.

On Tuesday, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner condemned the Libertad’s seizure and made it clear there would be no negotiations with creditors.


Photo by Martín Otero, 7 April, 2007

October 7, 2012

Flagship of Argentinian Navy seized for unpaid government debt in Ghana

Filed under: Africa, Americas, Government, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:38

If I were you, I’d avoid investing in any Argentinian business (or businesses which have significant operations in Argentina), as the government is doing everything it can to prevent the flight of capital. Some of the debt holders are getting quite creative about finding ways to put pressure on Argentina to pay its debts:

If pirating didn’t work out, Capt. Jack Sparrow would perhaps have made a savvy hedge fund manager.

A New York hedge fund boss is being dubbed a real pirate of the Caribbean after seizing the flagship of the Argentinian navy in an attempt to settle some of the country’s huge debt.

Billionaire Paul Singer took control of the tall ship the A.R.A. Libertad with a court order in Ghana this week.

The triple-mast frigate, which stopped in the African country as it trained naval cadets, is valued at $10 million and is the ceremonial flagship of the Argentine fleet.


Photo by Martín Otero, 7 April, 2007

September 13, 2012

Cutty Sark now housed in “worst new building in Britain”

Filed under: Britain, History — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:33

Andrew Gilligan tells the sad story of the Cutty Sark‘s new “home”:

The architectural trade journal, Building Design, has announced that the historic tea clipper is the 2012 winner of the Carbuncle Cup, the wooden spoon for the dregs of British architecture.

The architects, Grimshaw, have taken something delicate and beautiful and surrounded it with a building that looks like a 1980s bus station. Clumsy and ineptly detailed, their new glass greenhouse around the Cutty Sark totally ruins her thrilling lines, obscures much of her exquisite gilding and cynically forces anyone who actually wants to see her to pay their £12 and go inside. The sight of people pressing their faces forlornly against the smoked glass to try to see something of the ship is one of the sadder in London.

Grimshaw have also punched a shopping centre-style glass lift up through the middle of the ship — and put two more lifts in a new square building, the size of a small block of flats, next to and towering over the ship herself. They’ve plonked a glass pod on the open main deck for a staircase (the old housing was wood, but that’s so nineteenth-century). They’ve installed lights on the masts which make it look like a Christmas tree. Above all, of course, they’ve hoicked the ship up on girders, dangling above the dry dock to create an “unparalleled corporate entertaining space” underneath — an act of vandalism that prompted the resignation of the chief engineer, who said it would place the vessel under unacceptable strain and end in its destruction.

Cutty Sark was severely damaged in a drydock fire in May 2007.

July 6, 2012

If it’s being “rebuilt” to a different design, with different materials, it’s not the same Bluenose

Filed under: Cancon, History, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:43

Wooden sailing ships are subject to far more wear and tear than modern vessels: they’re like the old tale of the farmer’s axe (even though everything’s been replaced over time, it’s still the same axe). This means that heritage sailing ships need lots of careful maintenance throughout their lives, and major re-builds at long intervals. In the case of Nova Scotia’s iconic Bluenose II, however, it’s sometimes more than a “rebuild”:

She is a celebrity, immortalized on the back of our dime and presently parked beneath a big white tent in the Lunenburg Shipyard, awaiting finishing touches and the order to set sail.

Built in 1963, Bluenose II was effectively scrapped in the fall of 2010. A small percentage of the old boat, including the sails and masts and some of the mahogany and walnut from the hull, were saved for use in the rebuild. The bow-to-stern reconstruction had the legend at points looking more like a whale skeleton beached on the Lunenburg wharf, with her ribs exposed for all to see.

Some purists, including Ms. Roué, a great-granddaughter of William J. Roué — the naval architect responsible for designing the original Bluenose, which launched in 1921 and achieved lasting fame by hauling in massive catches on the Grand Banks and beating American schooners in ocean races — view the “restoration” tag as a semantic stretch.

They see it as a sham concealing the fact the boat being built and expected to launch this summer under the Bluenose II banner was not built according to Mr. Roué’s original designs. It is not the Bluenose II but a new boat altogether.

You could make the case that this is merely a look-alike, rather than a replica. In fact you’d pretty much have to say that:

The original Bluenose was made from Nova Scotia oak, while its second incarnation blended local and South American oaks.

The latest edition consists of laminated angelique, a bulletproof teak from South America. Meanwhile the engine bed, stern frame, floors and fasteners holding the whole shebang together are steel, where once they were wood.

Any boat, especially a boat named Bluenose, is more than the materials it is made of or the sum of its designs. It is a piece of living history and its identity derives from the stories attached to it and in the recollections of those that sailed aboard her, some accounted for, others lost at sea.

So, just to sum up: she’s being built to a different design (even though outward appearance is much the same), using different materials. In what way can you call her the same ship? The point made in the article, that the masts and sails were some of the “originals” being re-used is odd: those are among the parts that need replacing more often. And the mahogany and walnut saved from the last boat are almost certainly decorative elements, not structural ones.

July 10, 2009

Sunken 1812 vessel may be HMS Wolfe

Filed under: Cancon, History — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 13:13

An interesting article in the Ottawa Citizen about a recently discovered wreck near Kingston, which may be the remains of HMS Wolfe:

A team of divers is set to plunge into Lake Ontario near Kingston, Ont., next week in a bid to confirm the discovery of a legendary Canadian-built ship from the War of 1812, the HMS Wolfe.

In collaboration with marine archeologists from Parks Canada, the divers plan to take detailed measurements, drawings and photographs of a sunken wooden sailing vessel that appears to match the size and last known location of the famous 32-metre sloop: the flagship of British naval commander James Yeo and star of a dramatic 1813 battle west of Toronto that helped thwart the U.S. invasion of Canada.

The suspected discovery comes just three years before the 200th anniversary of the war, adding urgency to the efforts to identify a possible new showcase relic for bi-national commemoration activities.

(Cross-posted to the old blog: http://bolditalic.com/quotulatiousness_archive/005570.html.)

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