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A new and interesting book about containerization has just been published by local sailor and Port Washington resident, Arthur Donovan. Donovan, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Professor Emeritus of Maritime History, just released The Box That Changed the World: Fifty Years of Container Shipping - An Illustrated History. This is Donovan's second book and it is a coffee-table book, heavily illustrated and printed in color. The book covers four themes: the transformation of maritime liner service; the development of intermodalism (combining trucks, trains and ships); greater global economic integrations; and trade and wealth creation.

The use of containers - truck trailer-sized cargo boxes that can be moved by trucks, ships and railroads without being unpacked -- began 50 years ago in Port Newark, NJ. This book, a first history sponsored by and written for the container industry, was released for sale on April 26, exactly 50 years after the first container ship sailed from Port Newark bound for Houston, Texas. This anniversary, and the release of this book, was celebrated at a gala banquet held in the great hall of the Smithsonian Institution's Natural History Museum. The container industry is eager to have its role in the contemporary global economy better understood, which is why it has underwritten the production of this book.

Containerization plays a key role in today's global economy, but its role is not well understood. The use of containers in coordinated freight transportation is called intermodalism -- the integrated and efficient use of trucks, ships and railroads in the global movement of general cargo. Containerization has reduced the cost of moving goods between continents to such a degree that today the world is essentially one big market. Beer from China, Germany, Mexico and Brooklyn are available everywhere at nearly the same price, and the same is true for all the goods sold by Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Ikea, and the other big-box stores that bring thousands of containers to America every year. Containers also bring parts from Japan that are assembled into Toyota cars in America. Containerization has transformed global commerce and the way that people in China, India, and other developing countries live, as well as those who shop for goods in developed countries. But because the operations of the container industry take place out of the public's sight, and because the whole system is so new and dynamic, it is not well understood by the general public. The Box That Changed the World tells the story of the origins of containerization and how it has transformed the world we live in during the past fifty years.

In a recent article in "BusinessWeekOnline," Anthony Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, speaking of the man who started containerization 50 years ago, said, "There are few instances in history where innovation has had such a dramatic impact. Malcolm McLean gave birth to a way of moving goods around the world that promoted global economic development that has been very positive for New Jersey and the U.S. economy." Now shipping all sorts of items - from clothing to electronics - in secured metal containers is the norm. Added Donovan, "It used to be if you took a ship with five cargo holds, it would take two shifts a day of up to 20 longshoremen for a week to unload it. Today, a comparable job would take about 10 hours with three or four container cranes, employing fewer than 20 workers. It makes the whole world like a slick surface: You can slide anywhere at almost no cost. If you have a pool of cheap labor that's ready to work, you simply outsource. The purpose wasn't to disemploy people, but it's the consequence of falling transportation costs. It's transformed retailing," he added. "The big box experience is a product of containerization." For more information about Donovan's new book, go to www.joc.com/box.

Leg six of the Volvo Ocean Race kicked off last Sunday, May 7. This is a 300-nautical-mile sprint from Annapolis, MD to New York. Ericsson is currently the leading group, one mile behind the leader. The first 120 miles out of the Chesapeake were critical, as there were few passing opportunities once the competitors exited the bay. The yachts were expected to cross the finish line in Manhattan early Tuesday morning, May 9. Leg six of the Volvo Ocean Race is the shortest of all the legs in this race and, with a rhumb line course that keeps the boats nearly in sight of shore, it will be sailed more like a long in-port race than a short offshore leg. Winds during part of the leg are expected to reach 30 knots out of the north, so the sailors are in for a rough ride, with the winds on the nose and very little chance of sleep. On arrival in New York, the fleet will have a short "pit stop," before embarking on leg seven on 11 May. This 3,200 nm leg will take the fleet across the Atlantic to Portsmouth, UK.

Local resident, Alan Dinn, a descendent of the Purdy family, of Purdy boat fame, has just finished a fun trip on the newly restored Aphrodite. He took a flight to Bangor, Maine, on a Friday evening, slept aboard Aphrodite, and then joined the crew as they left Brookin, Maine, early the next morning. They arrived at Watch Hill and spent 90 minutes to refuel, etc. Aphrodite cruised at 25-27 knots most of the way south, and other than a brief shower off Point Judith, the crew had great weather and calm seas. To make the trip even better for Alan, he actually got to take the helm for over an hour! Along the way, Aphrodite turned a few heads on her trip. As they came into the Watch Hill YC, the Captain of Aphrodite cranked her up to 37 knots as they came up the channel! That must have been a spectacular sight - and what fun for Alan who has been so involved in the history of not only Aphrodite but all the boats built by the Purdy Boat Company.

The Cow Bay Cruising Association has published its 2006 Series: Warm-up is May 11 and 18. The Spring Series: May 25 through July 13; the Fall Series is from July 20 through Sept. 7. The series is open to auxiliary powered cruising sailboats, 22 feet or more and equipped with lifeline, running lights (must be on after sunset) and head, whose owners have registered with the CBCA. All boats must be capable of motoring to and from the starting areas. Skippers are strongly requested to be members of the YRA of LIS. Entries must be made on CBCA application and no boat will be scored without a fully filled out and paid up entry form. Current PHRF handicap ratings as assigned by the YRA of LIS will be used. There are five divisions: Division I (fastest rating boats); Division II (the middle rating boats); Division III (the slower rating boats); Division IV (boats rating above 200); and Catamarans. For more information, contact Commodore Yalcin Tarhan at 767-0532 or by email at yalcint@aol.com.


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