‘With lights and ever more lights, we drive the holiness and beauty of night back to the forests and the sea; the little villages, the crossroads even, will have none of it. Are modern folk, perhaps, afraid of night? Do they fear that vast serenity, the mystery of infinite space, the austerity of stars?…Be the answer what it will, to-day’s civilization is full of people who have not the slightest notion of the character or the poetry of night. Yet to live thus, to know only artificial night, is as absurd and evil as to know only artificial day.’
from ‘The Outermost House’, Chapter 8: ‘Night on the Great Beach’
‘All these autumn weeks I have watched the great disc going south along the horizon of moorlands beyond the marsh, now sinking behind this field, now behind this leafless tree, now behind this sedgy hillock dappled with thin snow. We lose a great deal, I think, when we lose this sense and feeling for the sun. When all has been said, the adventure of the sun is the great natural drama by which we live, and not to have joy in it and awe of it, not to share in it, is to close a dull door on nature’s sustaining and poetic spirit.’
This is serious – GPS and other satellite navigation systems are highly vulnerable and eLORAN offers the only robust back-up.
This blog from the President about the dangers of excessive reliance on electronic navigation tools echoes themes I set out in ‘Sextant’.
I’m really pleased the RIN is raising these important issues. They deserve to be debated much more widely: http://www.rin.org.uk/newsitem/4060/Society
Predictably, the report from the Marine Accidents Investigation Branch puts the blame for the loss of Cheeki Rafiki mainly on the failure of the keel – http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/cheeki-rafiki-atlantic-yacht-disaster-5599764
Unfortunately, since it wasn’t possible to recover the wreck, we can’t tell whether flaws in the design and construction of the yacht contributed to the disaster.
The Daily Mirror reports:
…the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) had undertaken to work with the Royal Yachting Association to clarify the requirements for the stowage of inflatable liferafts on such vessels, and the Royal Yachting Association has drafted enhancements to its Sea Survival Handbook relating to the possibility of a keel failure.
The MAIB made a recommendation to the British Marine Federation to co-operate with certifying authorities, manufacturers and repairers with the aim of developing best practice industry-wide guidance on the inspection and repair of yachts where a glass reinforced plastic matrix and hull have been bonded together.
A recommendation has also been made to the MCA to provide more-explicit guidance about circumstances under which commercial certification for small vessels is required, and when it is not.
Let’s hope some useful lessons will be learned.