The Nautical Center of the Port Washington Public Library hosted an evening with Arthur Donovan, Professor Emeritus of Maritime History at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He spoke on containerization; a subject that he has been researching that resulted in a book written with Joseph Bonney called The Box That Changed the World: Fifty Years of Container Shipping - an Illustrated History. About 60 people gathered at the library to hear Donovan tell about Malcom McLean who came up with a simple idea - to use a standard-sized metal box to move cargo by land and sea - and started a company in 1956 that changed the world. The book is a history of the container and its impact on our global economy, and is rich with personal narratives and historical detail. Donovan, an accomplished speaker, wove his story in a most entertaining manner, sharing some of the personal narratives with insight and humor. Judging from the many questions that would have kept the group at the library long after closing hours, the evening was quite a success.
Arthur is no newcomer to historical research. He has written several books and a number of articles on the development of scientific chemistry in Scotland and France in the 18th century, on the American coal industry, on theories of scientific change and a number of other topics. A graduate of Harvard University, with a Ph.D. in History of Science from Princeton University, Arthur spent two years aboard a U.S. Navy Destroyer deployed in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. He was a member of the History Department of the University of Illinois in Chicago, later teaching at the University of Winnipeg, Canada, West Virginia University, and Virginia Tech University, where he was Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science and Society. Arthur and his wife Carolyn are 16-year residents of Port Washington, and have three children and seven grandchildren. Arthur, when not writing a new book or visiting his grandchildren, finds time to serve on the Nautical Center, the Waterfront Commission of the Town of North Hempstead, the Manhasset Bay Sailing Foundation and the Frostbite YC Race Committee. He is also active in teaching high school and elementary aged children how to sail.
Continuing on the container story for just a moment longer...One of the points Arthur made in his presentation was the imbalance in trade between the U.S. and other countries. Full containers arrive on U.S. shores but stick around for awhile waiting to be filled with cargo. In some cases, the containers sit for a very long time. A local restaurateur, Keith Dorman, owner of Harbor Q, was looking for something different for the interior space for his restaurant. Driving through Hoboken, NJ, he saw lots of containers and one thing led to another, and after many phone calls, he got his hands on a damaged container. Keith bought the container, found a welder and parts of the damaged container now are part of the wainscoting and walls of Harbor Q. Keith's mother, Monika Dorman, an accomplished photographer, took black and white photos of barges and other industrial modes of transportation which grace the walls and add ambiance to Harbor Q. When Keith isn't working at Harbor Q (which is not very often), he can be seen racing his Aquila, a Catalina 25 on Thirsty Thursdays on Manhasset Bay. So not only is Keith a sailor, but he offers great food at his new restaurant. Readers may want to stop by for a delightful experience, meet the enthusiastic and competent staff, and take a look at the exquisite photos (check out the ones in the ladies' room, too.) And don't forget to look for the parts of the damaged container that found a new home at the Harbor Q - a much better life than sitting in Hoboken, NJ getting all rusty.
If readers are traveling north in the next few weeks, you may want to stop by the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI. The museum, in recognition of this year's 32nd contest for the America's Cup, yachting's oldest international prize, will be presenting a series of lectures celebrating the people, technology and excitement of this seminal yachting event. The final lecture of this series is the annual Carlton J. Pinheiro Lecture. On Thurs., Oct. 18 at 7 p.m., noted author and historian John Rousmaniere will present the 2007 Carlton J. Pinheiro Lecture: "Always New: How the America's Cup Never Stops Reinventing Itself (And Why We Should Approve)." Rousmaniere is the author of numerous books on yachting including several histories of the America's Cup, among them The Low Black Schooner, a history of the yacht AMERICA, winner of the first "America's Cup" race in 1851. He was a commentator at this year's cup races in Valencia, Spain. The talk will be held in the Herreshoff Marine Museum's Hall of Boats, located at One Burnside St., Bristol, R.I. A reception will follow. The charge is $5 for museum members and students and $10 for visitors. Reservations are suggested for this event. Call Teri Souto at (401) 253-5000, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the museum website www.herreshoff.org.
Speaking of the America's Cup, the imbroglio between Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi, of the Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), the defenders of the America's Cup and Larry Ellison, BMW Oracle Racing, the team of Golden Gate Yacht Club, isn't getting any nearer to reconciliation. Bertarelli came to the Model Room of the New York YC to meet with the media to clarify his case and try to change U.S. perceptions that he is trying to steal the cup. A letter signed by the challengers prompted the Bertarelli's media blitz. The letter, in part, says, "In our collective role as past challengers and prospective challengers, our opinion is that this Protocol is the worst text in the history of the America's Cup and more fundamentally, it lacks precisely the mutual consent items which are required." In addition, two new documents have been filed. The first by Tom Ehman of BMW Oracle Racing which sets out a list of the Challengers of Record since the inception of the America's Cup. The purpose of this document is to offset claims by the defender, SNG, that there is precedent for the 'paper club' accepted as Challenger of Record for the 2009 America's Cup. It was this action and the Protocol agreed between the two teams that triggered the current brouhaha. According to Richard Caldwell, Sail-World New Zealand, who was at the NYYC, Bertarelli honestly believes that what he is doing is best for the cup. When Caldwell suggested that "litigation is never a sure thing and business people, who hate uncertainty, usually reach a settlement," Bertarelli did not buy it, and said "Ellison would rather blow up the cup than lose again and that compromise would be giving in to blackmail." And he quickly dismissed the suggestion for mediation to resolve the two team's differences. Bertarelli will be on the West Coast to continue his quest for sympathy for his case, but if the results of the NYYC are any indication of the success of the West Coast media meeting, it looks pretty good that there will be no resolution before the hearing on Oct. 22 before Judge Herman Cahn in New York.