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July 15, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sailing more cool your way.

It’s on the wind. Rio is still calling!

Sailors, some board, but never bored, are pulling up anchors, stowing duffles, and plotting a run towards Brazil’s Guanabara Bay in August to prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

There’s a great deal of excitement – not just about the competition and races – but about the flotilla on the courses.

1920. Billy Bitzer D W Griffith. film crew of "Way Down East"Wisconsin Center of Film and Theater Research/US PD:

It’s true. They’re cool. (1920 Hollywood movie producer and crew/US PD:

Not just talking trash.

It’s the cow carcasses, refrigerators, and tires.

Those unidentified weird and lumpy floating objects.

Not to mention the invisible swirlings.

Almost 70% of Rio’s sewage – untreated –  pours into the water.

Enough Industrial waste enough to make anyone squirm and itch.

The IOC has confirmed that the Olympic body will not independently test waters to determine health risks for athletes.

Rio is supposed to be doing that.

Nor will the IOC offer any interviews with the IOC Medical Director, Dr Richard Budgett, about potential health risks like Hepatitis A, dysentery, cholera, and more.

Alistair Fox, of the International Sailing Federation, has seen the fecal content reports.

It’s not safe.

Crew getting wet on sailboat.SYCA Training Day on Adela. (

The blast that refreshes – in some waters. (SYCA Screenshot/

If you’re sailing, you’re wet.

How wet? Click here.

The video is of Adela, not an Olympic competitor, but you can see what it’s like even under good sailing conditions. The Adela is a 180 feet/55 meter classic schooner – a predecessor of the J-class America’s Cup racing boats.

Sailors have reasons to worry.

Even on the big boats.

Especially the wind surfers, and small boats skippers that are often in the water, frequently drenched, and splashed in the face.

Not to mention running into a sofa can spoil a day of sailing. (Brazilian reporter/local sailors talk about the conditions. Video)

Starting August 2nd, sailors will be unfurling sails to practice on the five planned race courses: three in the bay and two in the Atlantic Ocean.

The course that will host the medal race which determines who gets the Gold, will be held in Guanabara Bay near Flamingo Bay.

There fans can be close enough to watch the races.

A bit of a concern are the signs on the beach warning the water is unsafe for swimming.

1920. "Blooming Angel" file. Motion Picture Magazine (Feb-Jul 1920)/US

Elephants are cool, yes? No one wants to talk about the elephant in the room, uh, bay. Oh, it was a cow. A bloated up cow. Sorry about that.(1920.US

Hopefully, Brazil is serious about cleaning things up.

China did an outstanding job cleaning up before their Olympic sailing events. Even hiring every little tiny boat in existence there to make sure sailors only had to dodge sea creatures and each other.

Everyone wants to keep Rio’s images of soft winds, graceful beach beauties, and melodies murmuring about icons like Copacabana and Ipanema beaches true and memorable.

Wonder if this next sailor is considered heading his boat to a warmer climate now?

Coast Guard Cutter Healy rescues man on sailboat stuck in Alaskan Ice ( US PD: by fed employee)

Hey, pizza delivery’s here. Who ordered the ice-cold cokes? ( PD: by fed employee)

A 36 foot sailboat got stuck in the ice about 40 miles NE of Barrow, Alaska.

Even in summer, cruising these waters is a little tricky

The trip from Vancouver to Eastern coast of Canada via the Northwest Passage didn’t exactly go as planned.

Freezing water and ice will slowly crush a boat hull.

Distress call sent.

Weather conditions and visibility were too bad for a helicopter rescue.

So the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a polar ice breaker, diverted from its’ NSF supported research mission in the Arctic, sloshed in, freed the boat, and towed it to open water.

Once the sailboat was determined to be seaworthy, and all required emergency equipment was on board, the sailor turned towards Barrow to wait for safer traveling conditions.

Yachting World's sail of Gunboat 66 in Bahamas (YouTube screenshot)

No worries. Be happy. Can do with this one in the Bahamas! Watch the video below. You deserve a super cool vacation. (Yachting World invites you for a test sail/YouTube)

One last cool adventure. The ultimate cruiser.

(You are planning to win the lottery, right?)

This one almost sails itself – at amazing speed for a sailboat: 20 knots.

(Think luxury Winnebago transforming into a Porsche when desired)

Come aboard for a VIDEO sail in the Bahamas.

Ah, cool clear water. Now that’s what the world expects of sailing.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Read more? (Click the “sailing” tag in the sidebar for other posts or try the following articles)


Now this one’s cool. (lantz.golenage



  1. Ally Bean / Jul 16 2014 4:36 pm

    I want to believe that Brazil will do as China did and clean things up. It would seem to me that the possibility of international shaming might make this happen. And how great would that be?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 16 2014 4:52 pm

      Maybe that’s why all this stuff – I mean, information, is currently leaking out. Now that the World Cup is over, perhaps work and business can resume there? Meanwhile, we’ll just gaze at travel pictures and hum those old tunes. Thanks for sailing a comment over.


  2. katecrimmins / Jul 16 2014 5:33 pm

    I was in Rio many, many years ago. There’s a lot of stuff I loved but the difference between rich and poor was enormous. The poor lived in cardboard huts much like our homeless. The wealthy were incredibly wealthy. There was such a class difference that I was very uncomfortable about it all. Hopefully they will pull it together.


  3. EllaDee / Jul 16 2014 8:55 pm

    There’s a paradox that these big events bring people and money to the locations but at a cost because the infrastructure requires so much preparation for the event. The upside is when it’s accomplished properly there’s the possibility of ongoing benefit. But it’s an iffy premise. A bit like the water. Yuck.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 16 2014 9:22 pm

      It is a puzzle. Certainly the events bring money in and create jobs, but the average resident who deals with the chaos before and crowds during grumble. You can only hope it does benefit them long term. But there’s already questions about where has the money targeted to get ready for the sailing events gone. Interesting their own sailors are unhappy. Thanks for splashing down with a comment


  4. PiedType / Jul 17 2014 2:55 am

    Ugh. Just the thought of sailing through those polluted waters is nauseating. Of course the crews will get wet. You can’t sail boats that size without getting wet.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2014 1:00 pm

      There’s enough natural weird stuff in the ocean that gets pitched aboard without guck tossed in from land. Competitors shouldn’t have to hope their wet suits shed crud, their vaccinations are sufficient, their immune systems working – and a couch won’t be between them and the finish line. There’s still time before the actual Games, but people don’t realize many competitors move to locations and practice well ahead of events. Health drinks and vitamins for all! Thanks for swimming a comment over


  5. gingerfightback / Jul 17 2014 6:52 am

    Yuk. Why does it take billions of pounds spending on a sports festival to highlight this? Just think of all the shit around the globe that is poured into the oceans…..


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2014 1:05 pm

      People who don’t live near oceans and walk the beaches don’t see the junk that washes up. All those hurricanes/typhoons drag all that man-made/household stuff and livestock around like souvenirs. And there’s the fluids no one wants to talk about. OUt of sight, out of mind. Better to be mindful. Thanks for floating over such an astute observation


  6. shoreacres / Jul 17 2014 12:22 pm

    i’ll never forget the accounts of friends who were in Phuket during the tsunami. That was one story, of course, but when they finally left on the next leg of their circumnavigation, they were astonished at all the debris in the Andaman Sea, The waves that went inland pulled all that “stuff” with them when they receded, and my friends were sailing among stoves, refrigerators, cars, and rooftops, along with smaller debris.

    Of course, that’s not precisely the issue for the Olympics. I did hear a report some time ago that sailors had been warned not to touch the water. Say, what?

    (In the meantime, while we criticize, we’re letting loose in this country a public health horror. Where, I wonder, is the CDC? Why so silent? Perhaps they’ve been threatened, too.)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2014 1:28 pm

      Stuff from major storms and ocean temper tantrums washes up for the longest time – all over the place. Hey – even the ocean is trying to hand off the hot potato junk.
      These articles are the second batch of alerts about water conditions – and of course the practice runs start first week of Aug. People are now saying,”Where did all that clean up money go?” There’ll probably be a rush just before the real Games to get it all “pretty.”
      Here? Remember when it was always said (even during last flu season) “If you are sick, stay home and don’t spread it?”…like TSA requirements for photo ID? Only for US citizens?
      Read ABC’s interview with HHR/ immigrant shelter officials let slip. Sick with high fever on planes and shipped from shelters to shelters: (airports not too good for health in several additional ways now?) CDC comments, too (you know the ones who can’t handle their own labs properly….)
      Sheila and the Feds took a 3rd tour of Terrell Middle School yesterday…that building that was closed 14 years ago as it was unfit for students…used for storage and closed up for 14 years in this wet humid climate without functional heat/AC..can you say “toxic mold”? not to mention the asbestos of that era which started flaking hey, yeah, stick crowd of exhausted people with weakened immune systems in there. (We do have national health care now, right?) Not to mention it’s in a minority neighborhood who want that neighborhood school reopened for their own kids – but the district said, “no – it’s too old”.
      The mayor gave a weak “Houston is not a good place for shelter” comment yesterday…weakly…we already have several “official”shelters in Houston (and lots of unofficial ones hiding illegal immigrants who escaped the border patrol), 2 in Galveston CO, 1 in Brazoria CO. Hey, we took in a large number or the Vietnamese boat people, Katrina victims, and are the #1 chosen spot for legal immigrants, but really, we need to share with the rest of the country. It’s only the friendly thing to do?
      Thanks for sailing in to chat.


  7. Kourtney Heintz / Jul 18 2014 2:37 pm

    It’s unfortunate that it took a big event to shine a light on this. Hopefully it will get more attention and be dealt with.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 18 2014 3:54 pm

      While some shrug and say the ocean moves and more will flow in from elsewhere, clean-up has to start somewhere. Money has been earmarked for it there. Besides couches make such dents in boats. Thanks for floating a comment over. Have a great weekend


  8. roughseasinthemed / Jul 21 2014 8:24 pm

    Bah! It will be a quick fix and back to normal pollution. Grouchy cynic here.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2014 10:22 pm

      Oceans aren’t carpet and don’t hold still…but they could strain out the couches and carcasses. Puts a big dent in the hulls – and I don’t even want to think about the wind surfers. The big concern is where did the clan-up money go? It’s only a game….it’s only games…Thanks for floating a comment over


      • roughseasinthemed / Jul 21 2014 10:24 pm

        Life is a game and we all just float on by. Need to float off to sleep. My boys have gone. Hastas.


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