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Hein­rich Hertz Spark of Knowl­edge

as mariners, we can’t claim hein­rich hertz all to our­selves. His dis­cov­ery of ra­dio waves has had an im­pact far be­yond the wa­tery world. Still, his work has played a key role in mar­itime com­mu­ni­ca­tions and nav­i­ga­tion that is, per­haps, un­matched by any other sci­en­tist’s. ¶ When he con­structed his “os­cil­la­tor” and then used it to jump sparks be­tween a gap, cre­at­ing pulses of elec­tro­mag­netic waves that were de­tectable sev­eral feet away through thin air, Hertz wrote: “I do not think that the wire­less waves I have dis­cov­ered will have any prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion.” ¶ Within a decade, ra­dio sig­nals would be broad­cast across the At­lantic Ocean. ¶ To one de­gree or an­other, we owe Hertz credit for our VHF ra­dios, radar, satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tions, GPS, cell­phones and even the mi­crowave ovens in our gal­leys. Hertz also dis­cov­ered the pho­to­elec­tric ef­fect, which formed the base of knowl­edge that led to our mod­ern con­cept of so­lar power. He ad­vanced ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with cath­ode rays and con­trib­uted to the field of the­o­ret­i­cal me­chan­ics — all be­fore dy­ing at age 36, in 1894. And yes, the fre­quen­cies we call hertz are named after him.

Rus­sell Slayter The Weaver

As vice pres­i­dent of re­search and de­vel­op­ment at Owens Corn­ing, Rus­sell Games Slayter was cred­ited with in­vent­ing fibers of glass in the form of in­di­vid­ual strands that were long and flex­i­ble enough to be woven. ¶ Of all the past cen­tury’s in­ven­tions, it’s hard to ar­gue that any has been more im­pact­ful on the ma­rine in­dus­try than fiber­glass. ¶ Yet when Slayter (along with em­ployee Dale Kleist) de­vel­oped a process for cre­at­ing glass wool and ap­plied for the patent in 1933, boats were prob­a­bly the fur­thest thing from his mind. The first com­mer­cial use of fiber­glass was as in­su­la­tion. It wasn’t un­til 1941 that Owens Corn­ing pro­duced fiber­glass-re­in­forced plas­tics, or FRP, which the U.S. mil­i­tary used to re­place some of its alu­minum. A builder of small wooden sail­boats named Ray Green is of­ten cred­ited as be­ing the first, in 1942, to build an FRP boat: an 8-foot dinghy. ¶ To­day, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Ma­rine Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, 57 per­cent of all me­chan­i­cally pro­pelled boats are built from fiber­glass — a re­al­ity that wouldn’t be pos­si­ble with­out Slayter’s con­tri­bu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Ma­rine Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, 57 per­cent of all me­chan­i­cally pro­pelled boats are built from fiber­glass, a re­al­ity that wouldn’t be pos­si­ble with­out Slayter’s con­tri­bu­tion.

Sea­keeper Bal­anced Be­hav­ior

SEA­KEEPER'S GYROSCOPIC sta­bi­liza­tion units are trans­form­ing boat­ing and yacht­ing as we speak. These mo­ment-con­trol gy­ro­scopes — uti­liz­ing the same tech­nol­ogy that sta­bi­lizes the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion — re­duce a boat’s rock­ing and rolling by as much as 95 per­cent. ¶ The con­cept be­hind Sea­keeper is to do away with the sea­sick­ness, anx­i­ety and fa­tigue as­so­ci­ated with rock­ing and rolling on board. Any­one who’s been on a Sea­keeper-equipped boat can con­firm that the re­sults are quite real, and shock­ingly ev­i­dent from the mo­ment you leave the slip. ¶ “When John Adams and I started Sea­keeper, we didn’t just want to cre­ate a new toy,” says co-founder Shep McKen­ney. “We wanted to change the en­tire boat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at its core. Sea­keeper is now some­thing that boat own­ers ex­pect, and we’re work­ing ev­ery day to con­tinue to make that ex­pec­ta­tion a re­al­ity, even for smaller and smaller boats.”

Sea­keeper How it Works

1. That's Fast: In­side the See­keeper's hous­ing is what looks like an alu­minum orb, and in­side that vac­cum-sealed orb is a fly­wheel. The fly­wheel sits on a ver­ti­cal axis with up­per and lower bear­ings sup­port­ing it as it spins at 557 miles per hour. For per­spec­tive, that’s about the av­er­age air speed of most com­mer­cial jets. 2. Keep Cool: For the fly­wheel to spin at 0.75 mach, it needs to stay cool. The man­u­fac­turer uses a cool­ing sys­tem mix of sea­wa­ter and gly­col. 3. Steady Ed­die: Each Sea­keeper has a com­puter-based ac­tive con­trol func­tion that is al­ways ad­just­ing for the sea state in real time, ap­ply­ing the re­quired anti-roll torque to keep a ves­sel on even keel. The gyro moves fore and aft, pro­vid­ing the stop­ping mo­tion to port and star­board. 4. Prod­uct Lineup: Sea­keeper’s cur­rent prod­uct range works on boats and yachts as small as 27 feet length over­all and as large as 85-plus feet length over­all.

Don Blount De­signed for Des­tiny

naval ar­chi­tect Don­ald L. Blount’s fas­ci­na­tion with hy­dro­dy­nam­ics be­gan when he was a stu­dent at Vir­ginia Tech. It turned into a 20-year ca­reer de­sign­ing small­craft­fortheU.S.Navy,and­cul­mi­nat­ed­with­serv­ing as the head of the Depart­ment of the Navy Com­bat­ant Craft Divi­sion. He founded Don­ald L. Blount and As­so­ciates in 1988, and ever since has played a role in boat de­signs rang­ing from Ry­bovich con­vert­ible sport-fish­ers to Jupiter cen­ter-con­soles to the (for­mer) Span­ish royal yacht For­tuna — at least 500 de­signs in all, as near as he can fig­ure. ¶ Un­der his lead­er­ship, the firm has per­formed ground­break­ing re­search in hy­dro­dy­nam­ics and aero­dy­nam­ics, in­clud­ing the use of test tanks, wind tun­nels and com­pu­ta­tional fluid dy­nam­ics, all to make boats ride as quickly, ef­fi­ciently and com­fort­ably as pos­si­ble through rough wa­ter. ¶ And yet it’s not his de­signs and en­gi­neer­ing that Blount sees as his great­est achieve­ments. He in­stead cites his writ­ten works, in­clud­ing Per­for­mance by De­sign: Hy­dro­dy­nam­ics for High- Speed Ves­sels.¶ “It’s the books and papers I’ve pub­lished that have meant the most to me and, I think, to the boat­ing and boat­build­ing com­mu­nity,” Blount says. “I love tak­ing ma­rine tech­nol­ogy and putting it into street lan­guage. Mak­ing it un­der­stand­able, so it’s use­ful to a wider range of peo­ple.”

Dick Fisher The Un­sink­able Leg­end

Few com­pa­nies have en­joyed longterm suc­cess as smash­ing as Bos­ton Whaler’s, and few boat­builders have at­tained the sta­tus of Dick Fisher and his “un­sink­able” boats. Fisher’s con­struc­tion method, the ba­sic con­cept of which is still be­ing used to cre­ate Bos­ton Whalers to­day, re­sults in a boat that truly can­not sink. ¶ In 1957, Fisher, a Har­vard grad­u­ate, filed for patents pro­tect­ing his process of in­ject­ing liq­uid foam into a boat’s hull, cre­at­ing a one-piece glass-foam-glass sand­wich. A year later, the Bos­ton Whaler 13 was in­tro­duced at the New York Boat Show. To­day, the tools and the foam are more ad­vanced, but the con­cept re­mains the same — and Bos­ton Whalers re­main un­sink­able. ¶ “Dick Fisher launched a con­cept of un­sink­a­bil­ity that con­tin­ues to de­fine us as a com­pany and a com­mu­nity,” says Bos­ton Whaler Pres­i­dent Nick Stick­ler. “More than a trait or a tagline, un­sink­a­bil­ity is a way of ap­proach­ing the world: ex­cited to grow, ea­ger to push the en­ve­lope, in­vested in the process and our team, and en­joy­ing the jour­ney.”

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