Friday, April 26, 2013

Torchbearer: A meaningful Factoid.

Razzle-Dazzle.  Laser or Torch?  You decide.
No doubt if you're interested in small racing dinghies you've already gotten a belly full of "information" regarding the Laser-Torch brew-ha-ha.  What many may not appreciate is that long before Bruce Kirby put pen to paper to sketch out his so called Laser design or even his America's Cup entry Canada I (renamed Canada II after being heavily modified), he got his start designing a series of International-14s.  The I-14 is a "development" class, which, like the smaller Moth Boat, attempts to produce ever faster boats rather than getting wrapped around the axle with one, soon to be stagnant, one-design hull.  The stagnant aspect of the design need not distract us.  The interesting point, at least to me, is that Kirby gave each of his I-14s a "hot" name, the first of the line being (wait for it) TORCH.  As Paul Harvey would say, "now you know the rest of the story".

Bruce Kirby sailing Torch.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Springtime in Wash, DC

Yep, it's that time again.  Spring in Washington, DC is as magical as autumn leaf peeping in New England.  The weather turns the corner towards warmth and although it can be cool, it's better than whatever preceded.  And so in spring, like many other suburbanites, our fancy turns towards the Metro and going downtown.  Now, our timing this year wasn't the best due to several cold snaps which delayed the blossoms but you can always view my post from two years ago which recorded a remarkable display.

We emerge from the underground tunnels at the Smithsonian Station which is opposite the National Gallery of Art.

The Washington Monument is still wearing scaffolding as the on-going earthquake repairs continue.  As per usual, it was a cool, breezy, but not uncomfortable day as can be discerned by the crisply dancing flags.

The blossoms may not have been quite at peak but the cherry trees still exhibited a voracious appetite for kites.

But in sheltered areas, the trees were starting to bud out.  Today the temps were in the 70s and tomorrow and Wednesday the forecast calls for higher still.  So, if you're reading this now and you're local, you should plan to skip work and go stroll the tidal basin tomorrow or the next day while the blossoms are at peak bloom.  Thursday we'll have rain and wind and you know what that means in terms of blossom display.

As is our usual wont, we will tour our favourite stops along the tidal basin, but I'll include a few new sights as well.  The still wintery bare branches of this large tree contrast with the emerging pink and white tones of the cherry trees as we approach the Jefferson Memorial.

Zooming in.  Always lovely at blossom time.

The paddle boat Armada was out in force.  This never ceases to amaze me since it's almost always windy and out on the water it still must be cold.  Nevertheless, paddle they do.

The blossoms always draw a crowd.  This is actually light traffic compared to a peak blossom weekend day.

Zooming across the tidal basin from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial towards the Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials.

Not quite peak but still v. pretty.

Cherry trees aren't the only plants in bloom.  There are numerous other species in flower as well, such as these forsythia bushes and tulip poplar tree.
Ahhhh, spring!
Bloom time is big time for the big bus double-deckers.
We continued our walk along the basin path towards the MLK Memorial.

The main statue is remote from the remainder of the sculptured rock.

Taken as a whole, the effect is reminiscent of  Moses parting the Red Sea for the children of Israel.  But instead here, Martin Luther King, Jr. creates a gateway for social equality.

We walked on past the recently refurbished DC World War I Memorial.
And past the hockey fields as we walked towards the reflecting pool.

No field hockey this day.  Just ribbon twirlers enjoying the sun and green grass.
The reflecting pool with the Lincoln Memorial in the background.
Looking the opposite direction one sees the World War II Monument, the Washington Monument and the Capitol in the distance.

The WWII Monument was undergoing repairs.

However that didn't seem to keep people out.
We continued our walk.  One sees the tower of the old Post Office building in the background of this exposure. 

On our way up Pennsylvania Avenue we passed the White House.  Don't know if he was home that day.  We had seen "Marine One", the Presidential helicopter flying low over the tidal basin earlier but who knows?

After a refreshing beer and sandwich at Cap City Brewing Co, we walked past Ford's Theatre on the way to the Metro station.  A good day out.