Rick Spilman

Rick Spilman
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
March 25
I am the author of a nautical thriller set in the last days of sail, Hell Around the Horn. I also the host of the Old Salt Blog. I have a background in ship operations, banking and corporate communications. I am an avid sailor and kayaker.

JULY 24, 2014 10:05AM

New Dory for Tall Ship Gazela

dorygazela1Tall ship Gazela Primeiro, the official tall ship of Philadelphia, carried 30 dories when it fished the Grand Banks of the Atlantic Ocean. A dory is a small wooden boat used by a solo fisherman who tended a long line with many hooks in the quest for cod. When Gazela came… Read full post »

In 2009, we posted about the “bloop.”   What is the “bloop,” you well may ask?  The “bloop†was an mysterious ultra-low frequency underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) several times during the summer of 199… Read full post »

JULY 23, 2014 10:01AM

Final Voyage of the Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia has begun her final voyage from the Tuscan island of Giglio to the scrapyard in Genoa, Italy, the port city where the ill-fated cruise ship was built.  The ship sank and partially capsized in January 2012 after striking a reef. Thirty two passengers and crew died. Read more hereRead full post »

Yoo Byung-eun

Yoo Byung-eun

Last April, we posted about the capsizing and sinking of the South Korean ro/ro ferry Sewol with the loss of over 300, dead and missing.  Yoo Byung-eun, the effective owner and manager of Chonghaejin Marine Company, which operated the ferry, had been the subject of the countr/… Read full post »

mwheavymetalPortSide New York, the organization behind the historic tanker Mary A. Whalen,  is having an amazing marine hardware fundraising sale.  From their press release:

If you think a full-sized bollard makes the perfect doorstop, or that a collection of shackles is the centerpiece your table is la… Read full post »

Isabelle Autissier is a French sailor who has sailed around the world four times. In this TED talk, she shares some of what she has learned about life and living from the sailing the world’s oceans. She speaks of the importance of observing, understanding, and adapting to what nature gives, rat… Read full post »

b-650x487Two years ago we posted about how a team of scientists at the Texas A&M University Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation were using freeze-drying to preserve large sections of French explorer’s Robert LaSalle’s flagship, La Belle, which sank in Matagorda Bay in 16… Read full post »

A few days ago, a trailer was posted on the internet for a four part documentary television series called, “No Ordinary Women.”   The voice over for the trailer begins, “‘No Ordinary Women’ is the story about eleven women ready to do something that has never been done bRead full post »

Stamp commemorating Floki and his ravens

Stamp commemorating Floki and his ravens

The crows nest, as a shelter for the lookout on whaling ships sailing the icy waters of the Arctic, was by all indications, invented by Captain William Scoresby around 1807.  (See yesterday’s post:  Crow’s Nests : Part 1 — Melville & CaRead full post »

"The Arctic Expedition -- the Crow's Nest"  1875

“The Arctic Expedition — the Crow’s Nest” 1875

The first of a two-part post on crows nests. Who would have thought that a crow’s nest deserves such attention?

A reader commented on the lack of a crow’s nest in the video of the Charles W. Morgan under sail th/… Read full post »

JULY 14, 2014 8:36AM

Refloating the Costa Concordia

Two and a half years ago,  the cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground, sank and capsized with the loss of 32 passengers and crew, off the island of Giglio in the Tyrrhenian Sea off Tuscany.  This morning, the ship was re-floated  as salvors pumped compressed air into 30 large steel tanks weldedRead full post »

WilliamshoreyToday is the 155th anniversary of the birth of Captain William Thomas Shorey, a famous captain in the last days of whaling,  who was affectionately nicknamed “Black Ahab” by his crew.  Shorey was born in Barbados in 1859 and ran away to sea as a young man. He learned navigation f… Read full post »

What a wonderful juxtaposition. The whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, and recently rebuilt by the Mystic Seaport Museum, sailing with humpback whales as they migrate across Stellwagen Bank off Massachusetts. No harpoons were in evidence and the whales did not seem threatened in the sli… Read full post »

JULY 12, 2014 8:11AM

New London’s SailFest 2014

New London’s Sailfest kicked off yesterday and will continue through Sunday, Jul 13th. It is billed as Southeastern Connecticut’s premier summertime event attracting over 300,000 people over the three-day festival. The festival features a major fireworks display, amusement rides, and over 20… Read full post »

Yangsui, in a need of a good polishing

Yang-sui, in a need of a good polishing

One of the great stories from ancient history is of Archimedes Burning Mirrors.  Legend has it that Archimedes designed a series of curved mirrors to reflect and focus the rays of the sun and that these mirrors were used to set a fleet of Roman/… Read full post »

Photo: Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal

Photo: Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal

The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is hosting its seventh annual City of Water Day festival this Saturday, July 12th, at multiple locations in New York Harbor.  Festivities will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  This year Hoboken is joining in theRead full post »

zwickerI believe that this is the first straight-out restaurant review that we have done on the Old Salt Blog.  Then again the Grand Banks Oyster Bar on the schooner Sherman Zwicker is not your typical restaurant.  Sherman Zwicker is a  142′ long wooden auxiliary fishing schooner, originall… Read full post »

mosaik-a3-300-dpi-copy_81469_990x742National Geographic has published breathtaking photographs and video of the Swedish warship Mars, which exploded and sank in the first battle of Öland in 1564.  Because the ship sank in the dark, cold waters of the Baltic Sea, where the water is brackish and contains relatively little oxyge… Read full post »

HMS Pickle is for sale on Ebay, with a minimum opening bid of £69,500.00, no reserve and five days left in the auction.  The topsail schooner is a replica of the first ship to bring the news of Nelson’s great victory and tragic death at Trafalgar back to England.

We last postedRead full post »

Attack victim being carried through surf

Attack victim being carried through surf

This weekend, Steven Robles, 40, was swimming off Manhattan Beach in Southern California on Saturday morning when he was attacked by a juvenile 7′ long great white shark. He suffered a single bite wound on the right side of his rib cage and was ta/… Read full post »

JS_COMETThe US Coast Guard in Florida faced an unusual challenge earlier this week.  Virtually the entire crew, 19 out of 21, on the 35,362 dwt Korean bulk carrier JS Comet had become seriously ill with symptoms of food poisoning and needed to be rescued. The ship was anchored in the Atlantic three… Read full post »

In just over a week, salvors expect to  start pumping air into sponson tanks welded along the hull of the Costa Concordia to refloat the ship.   Prior to the refloating, Italian police have released footage showing the underwater interior of the wrecked cruise ship. 

Costa Concordia: New videoRead full post »

hmsqeToday, Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II christened the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. As the ceremony was held in Rosyth, Scotland, the queen christened the ship with a bottle of whiskey from the Bowmore Distillery, rather than the more traditional champ… Read full post »

The composite clipper, City of Adelaide, built in 1864, is the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship. Between 1864 and 1887 the ship made 23 voyages from London and Plymouth to Adelaide, South Australia. Approximately a quarter of a million Australians can trace an ancestor that migrated… Read full post »