Buggy Whips and the Google Pixel 2…..

Will the Google Pixel 2 in phone camera whip the compact camera market and challenge DSLR’s in terms of image quality? 

Well if the first pictures Google have released in high-res are true to the real form of the OOC images, then it is very had indeed to see the difference between a crop sensor whip off lense camera (MILC or DSLR) and the compact camera had better learn fast or drop out of the race. I cannot see a single image that is notably inferior to a good qaulity amateur enthusiasts camera, and in fact the dynamic range and blurred  background effects  (bokeh) mimic some of the best unadulterated sensor images from those types of bigger cameras. 

What we are actually talking about now is very much this ” oh those internal combustion engines have their place, but they’ll never be as good as a horse and buggy. No sir, you can’t beat a living thing, does the work for you, smells and breathes quality and reliability” .

The first deriviative of this analogy, taking it further, is that we no longer drive on torturous rutted roads. Our photographic media has changed. 20 years ago when I worked in advertising and design, we sweated with photographers over details on colour transparencies and negatives, only to have our best efforts sabotaged by the CYMK process into print. We worked with 660 dpi scans and laser exposed colour separations. The road is different now, essentially 72 dpi at two feet from the face is all your eye can resolve anyway.

Secondly in stretching our analogy too far, they had better stop producing buggy whips. A few years ago all the local mommies turned up at every kid’s event with a DSLR dangling around their necks. It was often a gift from grandparents, hint hint take lots of baby shots, or an essential purchase. But those kit lenses did the cameras no favours, and most of the entry levle DSLRs became obsolete because mobiles caught up ENOUGH in image quality for the new medium. The internet. Suddenly images were no longer even needing to conform to 1080 pixels in terms of perfect resolution and sharpness, they were a little 300 odd pixel width image on Face’ or Insta’ or Snap ‘.  Everyone had iPhone, and soon the cost of the ubiquitous single buttoned accessory overtook that of an entry level DSLR kit. 

Like those buggy drivers with their whips, they dismiss the new technology as inferior and when you are talking about a 6,000 to 10,000 eurobucks investment in a Full Frame DSLR system with fast lenses, then yes you are darnable right. However the whole landscape has changed and the masses are consuming their media in a different, immediate, 24/7 up time. Also those peer groups and family we share photos are influenced by this, and the impact of an image surpasses the need for technical quality of the image.

We have then come a little full circle perhaps especially back to the long tradition of Leica, the original Olympus PEN and also the box brownie shots. It was more important what they captured in terms of its immediacy, its’ historical importance, its irony, its illustrative or illuminative capture of the blink of the eye period of time and history.  From the beaches of D-Day to the oval office, the small , take anywhere compact camera took many of the most impactful images of the 20th.

So we come to the latest offerings from Apple, Huwaie, HTC, Sony and Google Pixel 2. The images are frankly astounding for a mobile phone, and point I believe to what I said about in camera processing compensating for lack of sensor size and optical ability. A bit like sensible old hooves and wooden wagon wheels giving way to rubber on asphalt, we see a sea change in how images are created  in the few microsecond after the sensor is exposed. 

So now we can certainly start to count out the fixed lens compact camera from the mass market, and a good number of shortish focal range zoom compacts. For a lot of photography of family, landscapes, townscapes and so on, you really don’t need a zoom or telephoto lens. You can survive well with around a 32- 40 mm equivalent fixed lens, and crop when needs be. If you did a world wide EXIF analysis prior to mobile phones, and in the era of the 28-80 mm kit lens, you would probably find around 35 mm as the modal focal length due to the subjecy matter we as humans like best – us, where we are, who we are with.

The best camera possible, is the one you always have with you.


 Crypto Keynsianism and the Fall of Neo Liberal/ Conservative Economics

We are fast approaching a decade of what will be called in the annals of history a depression, and not a finance crisis or credit crunch. There has been economic growth in many western economies, if lack lustre, while others have faced virtual collapse due to the failure of the global credit system to self regulate by market mechanisms.

Neo Liberal/Conservative governments and central banks have responded with crypto keynsian policy and initiatives. ‘ Quantitative Easing’ and interest rates so low that it costs more to manage the credit than any meagre return. In this it subsidisation, it is the financial system which benefits most, or rather it benefits directly with a degree of stabiility and flow of credit then to productive industries and consumers.

However the crypto keynsian nature of Neo Liberal economic policy stretches far longer back in time, and continues today in the atittude to outsourcing manufacture in China.

A corner stone of Neo Liberal policy has been removal of employee rights to be replaced by the ‘natural law and justice’ of market mechanisms. This has meant that for many average and even skilled employees, the value of their wages has been stagnant and erroded over  time especially in relation to the cost of housing. They have lost negotiating power and are reduced to the old threat of unemployment and  a rapid route to homelessness. Wages have not kept line with productivity gains either in manufacturing and many service industries. Yet the economy grows and people find more money to pay for that expensive housing. How is this  possible?

Credit Fuels the Rentier Economy

The key area in which Neo Conservative policy behaves as a crypto keynsian model, with injection of huge sums of ‘printed’ money has been through credit. Credit and tax cuts are inexorably linked together. Reduction in taxes of one dollar means for many they can lever three dollars in credit.

In the first decade of this sea-change to Neo Conservative economic policy,   it was always that productive industry would recover with this availability of cheap credit and large scale flexibility in employment laws. Yet  in fact manufacturing industries have flattened off in the number of employees and hence the amount of relatively high wage monies which are recirculated within national economies.

Rather the massive growth in consumer credit and the financial industry around this, was a house of cards with the valuation of property at its base, being a weak and vulnerable foundation as the crash of 2008 revealed. We had moved from ‘ propping up’ production to supporting the rentier service economy with tax money and loose policy, something we the ordinary average people, have all paid for in the last decade.

China Does What is Economically ‘Incorrect’ in the West

Meanwhile China are fairly open about their economic policy which is printing money centrally for a private capitalistic market system to distribute and create investment and wealth with, while also protecting their markets, manipulating material supply and pricing of new high volume proiducts like solar panels. In addition to this of course, that the major economies invest in industry there or simply buy and outsource goods from Chinese companies, exacerbates the balance of trade situation rather than making for the often touted huge potential of selling into China. We have manufacturing keynsian policy through the back door in very much of what we buy as consumers or within industrial supply chains.

Western conservative economists point then to the natural succession of higher value added industries in the west as counter balancing this inexorable trend to developing countries gaining traction in industrialisation and modernisation. However when we look at the key Neo Liberal driven economies we actually see that very much of this ‘sunrise’ industry is dependent on the tax payer and government policy for its fundamental income. Pharma and biotech are two such ‘western intellectual success  industries’ but are both directly subsidised by payments for high price treatments and indirectly when those paying with their health care plans are by in large public employees with the state picking up the tab. The same is true of course of the defence industry, and to a lesser extent railway technology, national electricity grids and the new renewable generation sector.

What western economies are left with after imports from China and highly subsidised government supported industries like defence and health care,  and of course service industry and in particular consumer services, retail and those privatised public services. On the latter, we do see of course that the need for public sector borrowing should have declined over time, or evaded the potential inflation we saw int he 1970s. Yet some of these privatised monopolies set out to tender exhibit the highest inflation of anything consumers pay for, such as electricity and water utilites and rail transport in the UK.. We see on the one hand a credit system for such investment bolstered by ‘quantitative easing’, while on the other a new layer of beaurocracy of purchasing and policing on the public sector side and bidding, financial compliance and legal contract battling within the private  providers.

Market Mechanisms for the Poor, Socialism for the Rich

Despite lack lustre growth in the western economies since the mid ’00s’ there has been a large growth in one area  – capital wealth. This has not of course been spread evenly through the economy, because of course capitalism is by nature the accumulation of wealth  in few hands.

Capital value in metropolitan real estate, the key area of wealth, has recovered and grown in many of the cities and connurbations, despite low wage rises.

There has als  been the concentration of wealth within the higher paid employee sector who can afford to invest in buy-to-rent and second homes, and of course the richer, non employee. Te hbaby boomers have of course benefited hugely from the avialbility of good career paths and affordable housing in the 60s and 70s, and then the large increase in the value of their real estate and pension funds as they near retirement now.

Now we come back to the service economy. Consumer services such as restaurants, cafes and bars and of course retail and the logistics sector which supports this. These are areas of the private economy which should be able to look after themselves. However as in Wallmart Economics, we see that a large proportion of employees are part time, seasonal or otherwise temporary and eminently disposable if there is pressure for profits. They have no protection and few rights in the key Neo Liberal economies, yet this under-employment leads to a dependency for many on welfare payments and medicaid.

Also in these economies, very many are ‘proudly’ taken out of paying income taxes, thus they do not pay for the public services they recieve and they are not paying for today’s elderly people’s state pensions. Also very many are students, who are utilised only at peak times and employers can rely on their metropolitan availability because of their subsidised student loans, and eventually the low availability of graduate career paths in these areas. There is an over supply of graduates, engineered by the availability of subsidised credit.

The service economy has seen a very large amount of  growth, and in particular business to business services within computing and financial services in particular. However very much of the consumer service economy would exist and thrive without the need for hidden subsidies. Instead of these jobs paying a living wage to those without higher skills, and taking up those who want to work part time or seasonally, they are dominated by the ‘procariat’ and are sustainable only because of welfare support and tax credits or being under the tax threshold completely.

Liberal governments have been fooled into supporting this long term subsidy dependency by being neurotic about unemployment amongst unskilled workers, while also swallowing the Neo Liberal philosophy of disposability of the workforce , aka flexibility, creating more jobs – it certainly creates more wealth, but the subsidies in effect support marginal business ideas and artificially stifle prices for many basic shopping items.

So we see that via ownership of real estate (housing), welfare support for part time and temporary (disposable staff), public funding of some high profit private industries and the money supply via Central Banks the wealthiest in society have been able to enjoy a flow of tax money upwards to them. Instead of lifitng people out of poverty by their own efforts in a fairer society, we are actively subsidising poverty and a reduction in average personal wealth while being told that this is a free-market-economy.

The Rise of the Rentier

We understand then that services, real estate and the support financial system have enabled the upper third and in particular top 3% to  become very much better at rentier economics or ‘trickle up’. In other words extracting rent from people’s bare existence before we start to take higher value activities into account. A roof over your head, utility payments, public transport, a coffee on your way to the office, your daily food-shop.

Growth and inflation or margin in these areas was sustainable in the post war period up to the oil crisis of the early 70s when inflatory processes took grip. Following that time we have seen deregulation in these markets, which we should remember would exist anyway, in terms of everything from land redevelopment and  employment law to animal welfare laws. Those who own have been able to extract more money from those who work, and in housing in particular, created a run away inflation in real estate prices in areas where there is job creation,  which when combined with anarchy in the place of regulation in the credit system, precipitated the finance crisis and subsequent depression.

Oridnary workers now experience that they have far less discretionary income and they are far more in debt to cover housing and of course education, than their baby boomer parent & grand parents. That money is little realised in personal capital as it takes years to break the back of owning even 50% of your home due to the means in which interest works and the high ‘ticket price’ for housing in areas near employment. In essence you buy your house on newly developed land from the rich, and you pay the rich rent to live there via enormous interest payments over  25-30 years, all be that at a relatively low (%) APR,  they are on very much larger gearings relative to income, 4 to 5 times in many suburban areas and 6 to 9 times in metropolitan hot spots.

The post crisis ‘cure’ was to exclude the possibility for a credit via reserve ratio demands, and this vastly inbalances the market towards older established owners who can leverage into second properties to rent out or speculate with. This personal capital requirement laid down by the central bank, in the post crash cure,  means that young people must either save, depositing ‘dead money’ at marginal rates of return in the bank for the bank to make money on, risk-invest small savings, or rely on their baby boomer parents to cough up the cash or downsize to release the capital.  The average age of first house purchase in the Neo Liberal countries has increased steadily in the last 20 years, and there is now a proportion of even graduates who will never own their own property.

The Paradigm Shift in Subsidies

We begin to see then that the neo conservative  model is more about where government money goes. Rather than supporting productive  industry and basic living standards for the poor, subsidy goes to supporting the credit system and industries which are highly reliant on complex policy making in health, defence and utilities.  Hence lobbying and buying out politicians.

Neo Liberalists often quote the inflation – productivity fall off and inevitable demise of general production industry in the west. The super rich decided as long ago as the 60s that they could control more of the metropolitan housing markets, and encourage the trend to move to the major financial centres, which would present a better ROI at a lower risk than investing in productive industry.

However in fact the USA and UK still have a substantial primary and seconday economy, and it is this which underpins the real wealth creation to this day, while the credit mountain fuels a substantial amount of the economy above this like a pyramid selling scam. IN this way the economylevers the real productivity and wealth creation, with credit fuelled and government under written financial systems. The tax payers and corporate returns in these areas fuel the furnace and are a form of working capital for the whole credit system, which amplifies the availability of money many times over that which  productive industry generates.

In effect the super richest of the world demanded a regulation free credit casino game, and when it imploded, they blamed the sub prime loan scheme for precipitating it, and then could rely on socialist bail outs for their failed industry. ‘Qauntitative easing’ and central bank credit supply and bail outs are keynsian by nature, but instead of supporting jobs and distributiuon of wealth via productive activity through society, they support the flow of credit downwards and value upwards in soceity,  We still have the recipe for another credit crash and another malaise of austerity and the super elite demanding government bail out such that the whole system does not collapse.

“There has been a class war for the last 20 years, and it is my class that have won this war” – Warren Buffet, one of the world’s most successful investors.

Alternative Policy

The alternative is clear. Give workers back their rights to negotiate wages against productivity and inflation, and remove top up benefits from service industries. Instead flow tax money to production industries by supporting apprenticeships and true life long learning and re-skilling. The ‘flexibility’ in the labour laws means essentially no rights for any employees unless their skills are rare.

Another major area we need to address is removing the  disincentives for employing people full time, permanent by making employer contributions and personal taxatiion pro-rata per hour for all types of employment, thus removing the penalty employers experience in offering more working hours and a living take home pay cheque to workers. In turns of employer contributions to what is evenutally paid out as health, pensions and education and today’s workers have to pay for today’s pensioners unfortunetly in most western economies.

Part time / temporary marginalisation has been a key stumbling block for the left wing, who have accepted that job creation per se , no matter how many hours per week or how short a contract, is a necessary means to get the unemployed into work. In reality on the one hand, we make long estbalished existing business models more profitable, and marginal ‘hipster’ start ups possible, via tax money keeping people off the bread line, and the avoidance of higher on-costs and thus social responsibility on two fronts – living take home wages, and tax contributions to society.

Calling China Out

Also address as Donald Trump mooted in his policy, the balance of trade with China, a keynsian driven economy, and protect against imports from countries which have virtually slave labour conditions, disposession of land rights and environmental destruction.

A Universal Basic Income?

A universal basic income can be one means to combat the misuse of employees and this could be cheaper to administer than current welfare systems, but the difficulty lies in eligibility and weaning people off this.  With the threat of automation of many unskilled and semi skilled jobs in retail, logistics and many other consumer services, we can be faced with a sudden leap in unemployment. UBI allows for people to redefine their economic activity, from a game-play basis that they do not need to work to feed themselves, only to better themselves and make an active contribution to society and the economy.

New Wealth and Property Taxes

Apart of the cure is also taxation on property which is used speculatively and the freeing up of such land which is withheld from the market by the super rich or corrupt local authorities. Further to this, in the fully digital broad band age, the dissemination of government employees to smaller units outside the major metropolii and the removal of the ‘power meeting’ culture from layers of governance.  This feeds house prices and rents in metropolitan areas, and often centralisation has little cost saving effect.

Macro Economic Policy

Surely though you can as a centre right, reasonable jobbing economist, say that the banking system is the best means to deliver credit in terms of investment and loans, while the Central Banks are the best to police the supply of money, credit/asset holding ratio and behaviour of banks? The system then is self regulating to a large extent, with they whom recieve monies being worthy recipients in a market system? Well the asnwer depends on how much money you are making out of the whole financial pyramid. At the foot of the pyramid stands the broadest and largest step in terms of payments and interest rates – the consumer and the small business. Every layer above this makes money moving this credit around. For example in the top 100 companies on the london stock exchange, in 2017 the majority are banks and other financial institutions.

Through quantitative easing, printing money, bank bail outs and the requirement for the national reserve ratio, central banks in the UK and the USA in particular the whole system gets topped up, and a lot of that top up is tax payer’s money. The alternative post 2007/8 crash would be the collapse of the national and international credit system, or at least large portions would be whiped out. Neo Liberal economies live and breath by credit and in parcticular, home loans based  often on inflated real estate investment, and consumer credit cards and short/medium loans. Banks of course can borrow from other creditors such as international banks, but they are limited in how much they can borrow and lend out by the central bank anyway.

Now when it comes to paying for this it comes from tax income, and growth in the econonmy on the repayments side is an important factor. So to stimulate growth while there are financial restrictions such as reserve ratio loans/ capital holding, then you can lever 3 times each penny, pound, dollar or krone in new creditability from consumers when they release one in tax cuts. So the amount of demand for credit goes up, and the reserve ratio does too most likely, so more tax money has to be used for reserves, and that is substantial when like the USA, you have over 12 trillion dollars of consumer credit. Public services are then cut per political colour, which puts more people out into under-employed ‘precariat’ more reliant on short term loans and credit cards….which feeds the cycle. This is part of the reason for the overall economic cycle – promise to pay back, maxing out the national credit card limit, not being able to payback or borrow anymore, defaults on the rise.

The alternative is what China is doing, directing investment into productive industry and improved infrastructure and public provision. However it is more ‘economically correct’ in the west to fuel credit and call it the ‘free market’ and allow China to manufacture our trinkets, while we allow underemployment in the consumer services sector to grow, and fund it via welfare support to stop peoplke going hungry and rioting. Those who live of the richer shavings from the finance pyramid or real estate don’t want to change a thing, and will pay good money to keep it that way to political parties and politicians.

An End To the Madness of Crypto Keynsian Economics

In the longer term there are only two ways that these cycles of crypto keynsianism will be stopped in the neo “liberal” west. One is another credit crash, which could cause a bigger crisis in confidence that the last. The other is when natural resources become limiting for the USA and Uk – which in effect means mostly petroleum reserves or a crash in the prices for these. Primary extraction is a key factor underpinning the entire system, a kind of national reserve balancing the ratio of value by creating somethign from nothing but geographical and geological fortuity. This perspective is longer term, and we could as well talk about catastrophic climate changes or that infamous asteroid, but that would not be the system itself imploding.

Well paid jobs in mineral extraction, farming, fishing, forrestry and other primary production are important, but under threat as resources limit, and neo liberal anti union ‘flexibility’ forces wages relative to outgoings downwards. Manufacturing is allegedly stable at 15/20% of the work force and around 10-15% for GDP, but how much of that is not driven by public purchasing like defence and healthcare? We are left with those financial pyramid and real estate jobs payiing well but also being subsidised to a percentage by the central bank’s stimulus mechanisms. Below this we have declinging standards of living for service sector workers who are unable to negotiate their wage relative to their outgoings, and increasingly marginalised into part time work.

The BBC and the Economist Magazine pondered the UK’s ‘productivity conundrum’ – growth in the economy but not growth in productivity, and this is because so many service jobs have ‘peaked’ in efficientcy for a human, and they have bottomed out in return in total weekly wages. In terms of productitivty the next phase for employers is to robotise and automatise these many millions of menial jobs. However the procartiat only make up 20 – 30% of most political constituencies and have become easily swayed to the post neo liberal politics of anti immigration, rather than solutions for fair wages and considering paying people to be productive in society via taxation.

TBC Sailing hull speed learning etc

We have had a spell of dreadful weather, which is very unlike our usual serene Septembers here  on the South Coast of Norway. Yesterday though was one such day with light airs, blue skies and a sharp sunshine so typical here either end of the summer.

So we jumped at the chance of grabbing a practice sail and seeing pretty much literally, where the wind would take us, in the 12 sq meter classic design. 

Upon reflection the sail made me think of three things – hull and keel speed, spinnaker work and learning to re-learn.

On the Subject of Sailing Badly in Light Airs in Classic Boats

The 12 sq meter design is indeed a mini twelve mR designed as a training boat for youth of the wealthy on Oslo Fjord. It soon however became a favourite day boat of adults looking for an easily crewed regatta machine. King Olav had an early  ‘Fram’ 12 kvm indeed as a young man. On some of my previous outings in these elegant classics, much prettier it has to be said that most all of the UK’s one design day sailers, I have sailed very badly. Or been made to feel like my sailing skills were somehow thrown out of the window.

Coming back to the class after some spats and a very poor nationals in 2010 (the boat had mussels on the keel and when I first inspected her sails, GAFFER tape fixes on the spinnaker! ) I took these former failures as a challenge to learn the boat and prepare a decent example, and crew, for racing.

The burning light in the revitalisation of the class as a one-design with  our local centre of gravity, has been the boat builder and all round craftsman in wood, Petter Halvorsen. He like others before gave me a recent ‘heads up’ that the 12 kvm (kvadrat meter = sq. m) was so different that I  should throw out all I have learned in the Melges and a long line of boats, and rather learn the arts of keeping her moving.  

However there are certain principles of science at stake here, rather than leaving it all down to art. The boat may be very different in design from the modern regatta machines,  or the RORC tonne rule derived OD boats I sailed mostly before, but Scotty will tell you, a 12 kvm cannae defy the laws of physics, Jim.

Wave Goodbye to your Logs, and Say Hello to your Waves 

Universal Basic Income- The Craziest of all Ideas,  Which May Actually Work?

Universal Basic Income invokes shock and horror amongst the conservative chattering classes and skilled labour alike. Paying people to do “nothing”, it is crazy and lazy! Or is it? When billionaires, libertarian leaders and astute politicians start promoting the idea, then we have to inform ourselves!

From Luddites to Blairites

Society is changing in the way it relates to economic activity. This sea-change of new technology replacing human tasks,  is allegedly going to accelerate beyond the rate at which new human based jobs and livelihoods will be created. We are about to robotise menial and manual jobs such as shop service and public service /freight driving, while also  on the more skilled end of human mental activity,  let algorythms do the work of highly skilled accountants, scientists and even lawyers.

The great advance in computing is here, we can finally emulate the human brain in many activities, and in some, like motorway driving, outperform humans.

When transport workers and accountants get their redundancy notices, will there be a great cry of  ‘ crush the machines’ as the Luddites of the first industrial revolution demanded?

Will there be rather a slower transition, as the relatively expensive technology is rolled out in the larger firms first? Or will this be a rapid transition aided by the departure of the old school baby boomer management structures, who are largely reaching retirement age and taking their philosophies with them into senility (?).

Blairite- Wallmart economics – the UBI is already here anyway, yet complex and expensive to adminsiter ? ……………………………………………………………………..

Industrial Revolutions Revolve The Work Force

Why should this new industrial revolution reduce the number of workers when all other industrial revolutions and major innovations  have actually lead to new wealth-creation and more jobs ?

In truth some jobs and professions have died away – take the 1960s typing pool- a hand written letter or shorhand dictat was taken to the ( girls) of the typing pool and returned to the originator often some days later. These typing pool employees needed to read,  spell and type at 40 to 60 words a minute. They were whiped out within a ten year period, and even secretaries were removed from middle to upper management, just the reserve of VPs and the CEO. A cultural shift occured in the 1980s. The PC, spellchecker and there after the e-mail killed off these jobs.

The thing is that in that case women were emancipating themselves, and these menial jobs were no real loss to them. Computing also lead to new opportunities in data capture (punching in) and customer or supplier interaction. There were new needs for manual interpretation and interaction with databases and communication systems.  They were getting educated, trained and advancing their own careers. There was a counter current which neutralised much of the change.

I was sayinhg to a friend just today, when we were young would be ever believe that two small start up companies foom the 1970 Apple and Microsoft would be bigger than GE, GM and the tourist infustry? Or that a social platform, a replacement for mail and telephone, would become the highest value company listed on the NY stock exchange?

So we also see then possibilities here for this kind of redirection. Also that human activity in a technological society tends towards higher value per person- both monetary and by value to society.

The reason that previous industrial revolutions driven by technology have lead to growth in standard of living and wealth is that on the one hand there are new tools delivered, while on the other there are new opportunies in the end product or service. With new tools we increase worker productivity, enhance often quality and reliability in the product, and enable new possibilities, often not envisaged when the new tool or process was first developed.

So for example the steam engine lead to the internal combustion engine, while the combination of the steam turbine and the turbo charger lead to the jet engine, which in its’ end applicaton shrunk the world for us.

This ‘revolution’ is not the first time we have seen a quantum leap which displaces human labour. It is ironic yet illustrative that the terms ‘calculator’ and ‘computer’ both were used to describe professions in the 19 th Century. These tasks were done wholly by people. As tools, they allow us all access to accounting, engineering, drawing, image manipulatiin and communication. Yes they seem to just replace manual tasks, but they allow more people to access the skills and utilise the mathematics and technology.

Robots take over an entire human in a similar way as mechanical and then electronic calculators did. They displace a human from a menial task, or enhance the precision and repeatability of a skilled job. However the latter leads to even larger efficiency gains.ibduastrial welding and operational Robot and electronic guided machine tool manufacture became a major industry, and programming and maintaining them the new skill on the ground, while the companies engaging them could grow and offer higher value in the market. Which meant people could do new things, better things and often quality became more affordable.

Many highly informed pundits though, forsee a near future where millions of people will be economically displaced. In the USA they say that 3 million driving jobs will disappear. But in what time span? Do we need a UBI to smooth the transition and pick up those older or less literate workers who have difficulty in new professions? or does it happen slowly and natural wasteage  (retirement and career exits) balances the disruptor ?

Lowering Barriers to Micro Industrialisation?

There is another barrier which is being overcome here with the super robot and algorythmic decision maker. The barrier to entry for new competitors.

These new ‘super’ robots are going to be affordable in aqusition and service- that is the reason many pundits think  adoption is going to be so wide scale and hence displace so many human jobs. So although they add costs they take away human costs, and are in theory more productive than a single human.

Now if you imagine a robot or computing system able to do the job of ten people, yet the cost per unit is less than a single year for an employee, then small businesses can compete with bigger businesses in producting niche products or innovations in local markets.   SME’s can be close to their local customer or ‘pyscically proximal’ global customers. That is to say they can react rapidly to evolving needs and tailor products and services to that niche, or deliver a local product quickly. SME can offer that high degree of tailoring to customer, while also offering higher quality or perhaps even a cheaper version of a product than the main stream ‘value added’ offering.

We see this to some extent with the somewhat over hyped 3/D printing technologies. It can mean that a very cheap, local product can be made, or that a very high quality product can be made with high precision. New products not envisaged can be rapidly prototyped and come to the world as solid entities. Furthermore new service opportiunities, remembering the jet engine, can be rapidly created, tailored and disseminated. This means that new entrepreneurial activity is enabled with a focus on creativity and solving problems, two things humans still by in large out rank the CPU many fold.

What About the Trailer Park? 

On the other hand then, what jobs are left for the unskilled, non-entrpreneurial section of society? Already they are economically margunalised and often as active in the black economy than the taxed one. They wont be designing, fixing or reprogramming the robots which habe taken their joibs. Is the new robot and algorythm technology going to be too large a crash across too large a section of the economy, jobs market and social strata that we  will create destitution en masse fro, what is called the Precariat today – the precarious proletariat?  Will social-mobility halt up as young adults can no longer work their way into and through college and university?

 Ellon Musk and Mark Zuckenberg certainly do believe that we are on  the brink of a sea change which is inevitable,  but which will make human economic activity redundant in so many sectors and professions such that society will be profoundly disrupted by inequality and abject poverty. 

Further market mechanism critique tbc lost in draft crash DO NOT RESTORE next time

Also a new bit on the ‘hipster and home sale begging’  future, which is already here. Offering high price on products which are only of slight better quality, “begging” from friends and relying on trainsient styles and fashions.

 Where are the Social Democratic and Socialist Left on UBI ?

From the traditional left wing perspective, UBI is admitting defeat to market mechanisms over promoting living wages and engaging more of the workforce in useful jobs which better society.It is a simple sticking plaster over the ills of capitalism.

In effect we came to this capitulation in the UK with the Blairites and Gordon Brown’s policies of making work pay, a form of gauranteed minimum income with flexibility for working part-time, mediated via benefits and tax credits. This was a major economic blunder in light of allowing weak labour laws to continue from the Thatcher era, permittting a culture of the lowest common denominator in employment , the zero hours contract, and the precarious temporary nature of working in the consumer service sector in particular.  In turn these policies have reduced tax revenues from ordinary unskilled and semi skilled workers  while increasing benefit payments in the periods they find their temporary contracts end, or their hours cut. Even average income workers with families can find they recieve more in tax credits and benefits than they pay in income tax in the UK.

The hope as with all political policy, was that economic growth would eventurally take more of these people out of benefits and make them into net tax payers, an essential element in any modern economy with an ageing population.  The means of promoting economic growth are Neo Liberal, promoting flexibility in the labour market and deregulation. This is the biggest critique of the decade of Labour Blairite power- that they gave up fighting for workers rights, bar the minimum wage, and caved into the concepts which would eventually lower the standard of living for many of their own voters, plunging them into the part time/ temporary economy.

Even in the USA there is a form for UBI for part time workers which keeps Walmart supplied with cheap, disposable staff, and they can avoid all the ‘on costs’ associated to full time, permanent staff such as pensions or health care contributions. They found the lowest common denominator and kept policy in place via lobbying such that public money still supported their profits, while social un rest due to abject poverty were kept at bay due to welfare top ups and medicare for the poorest.

Neo-Liberals. The Weirdest Proponents of UBI

Neo Liberalism has some common sense in its often otherwise twisted philosophy. That of the existential individual. Really the modern labour movements and neo-socialists do not have much of the collectivist policy left when it comes to outdated concepts like the command economy. Here the two actually meet , full circle if you like, the extreme ends finally tieing in a bizarre consensus on UBI.

Neo Liberalists knew all along that they would need to have welfare in western economies in practice, because capitalism is inevitably a ‘trickle up’ affair which leads to social unrest. Policy makers under reagan and bush administrations made high profile cuts to social budgets, while in fact the budget for welfare increased and more employers started to use staff on a part time/ temporary basis. But in turn they have woken up in their key national economies, the US and the UK, to the huge structure in place to keep people sruviving – the “precariat” , the precarious position of the proletariat. The means of delivering and policing social welfare are hugely costly and labour intensive.

Also on the libertarian side, there is the element of personal freedom being constricted by government schemes which have rules and boundaries as to what economic or educational activities claimants can or cannot engage in before they lose their benefits or  have to apply for other types of benefit.  For willing participants, it is argued that it renders them under the wing of the nanny state, with an expectation that the government scheme will fix things for them. They will get personal improvement via the governments’ action, via the beaurocracy.

Here then UBI has ‘small government’ appeal to Libertarians

On the liberal, neo-socialist side, we have then support for a basic standard of living, and as mentioned for the Blairite position, a capitulation to the way the market has evolved. A light administered ‘living wage’ which would cover an elementary costs of survival without means testing, just via computer based tax and registration comparisons, has great appeal because on the one hand it feeds people, while on the other it denies employers access to what is tantamount to slave labour- there is no compulsion from government to take work and live precariously, in and out of those expensive welfare systems.

From the ‘socialist side’ UBI delivered via efficient computing systems can be viewed as the final step to liberating the workforce from slavery. This being in that jobs are no longer viable when they barely cover subsistance, from low pay to zero hours contracts,  and ‘maggies farm’ economics where by employment hot spots reduce wages to the same for skilled workers. Capital then has to develop more attractive packages for workers and allow them to work home office for example.

Social services ….

Cold Turkey for Welfare ?

Many arch neo liberalists and conservatives advocate the removal or all state welfare, for much the same reasons UBI is arguably flawed. Yet we have the reality here,not a possibility, that zero welfare leads to social unrest. Violence, crime, malnutrition, mafiaosa and emmigration. That is what happened before in history, and there is no difference today. There are no great charitable mechanisms, no mass food bank. There are guns, there are terrorist recruiters

Who then decides if you qualify for UBI? At what stage to you have to exit UBI or is there a transition, as a gauranteed minimum income which would potentially be more beaurocraticto administer. Do many actively choose to be UBI or is it something you have thrust upon you by default or culture? There is this element in the concept that it is a kind of default dialogue, that you would normally be unemployed or disabled or that your line of work makes you ill. Who says then you cannot qualify for UBI?

UBI is easier to administer than current systems because it is a simple payment. Opportunity for fraud are of course there, but with a stricter capture of identity electronically then it can be mediated automatically without any human staff. It is linked to income tax and declarations of sickness or unemployment, which can be fed into the system automatically. A field day for criminals? Well attempting to register a false identity becomes a bigger crime than it is today, as does identity theft.  police time is freed from petty crime conducted by subsistance marginalised peoples in order to feed or entertain themselves, to catching organised criminals and violent gangs.

Picking up on the last points from previous section then we see that a minimum gauranteed income would reduce beaurocracy and increase personal freedom. However what are the down sides of injecting this money at the lower end of the unskilled and semi skilled workforce ?


Lost draf critique of Neo Liberalism lord in the castle feudalism, barricaded utopia, bread line, violent social unrest and revolution

Economic Criticisms of UBI

The main argument against UBI from main stream centre right economists is that it renders people lazy. There is no compulsion to work for the basics of life, so many millions will choose this route and become state dependents. However this position is a fact of life in the two major Neo Liberal economies, the US and the UK already. Otherwise there would be social unrest when large numbers of people cannot put bread on their table and cover the cost of their rents.

There is a cultural counter agrument to conservative thinking of the ‘lazy bones society’- people want more than their basic subsistance, and strive for more. If you take away striving for basic survival then you find the large majority strive for more. It was always the intention of Blairite Brownite top up benefits to let people get more work experience and take up work, with the hope that many would be locked into the pay economy and not the benefits economy. This was not the case in reality over th elast two decades, as employers could reduce their costs by removing down time via zero hours contracts and seasonal employment, while still maintaining a willing (or often compelled) work force at this low cost.

Conservatives would then argue that this has to be paid for by taxes. Yes that is obvious. However how much does western society pay now and how inefficient are the state mechanisms for administering this? Proponents  also point to the drop in crime and the improvement to health because the poorest can come out of malnutirtion, those suffering back problems or stress from office jobs can choose a new lifestyle, prople can choose more time for sport and exercise.

It seems very utopian, unrealistic. Surely it would be overly tempting to turn on, tune in and sign up? The question the leaders of the new technological industries pose, is what are we going to do with all the people who do not have the ever higher level of skill and education required to run their businesses and utilise or service their technology?  Is the alternative not dystopian, where human life and effort is not valued in terms of say 20 / 30% of the working popuilation?


The Libertarian Rentier Economy Is the Reason UBI Could Fail

UBI also applies to handicapped people and when you are sick. So it sounds like a win win all round. Back up here though, we are like the Affordable Care Act, injecting large amounts of money into the economic system.

Here we come to the doyen concept of Neo Liberalism, the unfettered predominance and power of the rentier economy. The natural law for the powerful, the rich to extract more from our very existences rather than our productive output. Our housing, our transport, our water, our power, our basic staples and basic shopping. Trickle up, and when it concerns housing, often a torrent.

With no social housing policy or rent controls, UBI is an irresistable inflationary surge. In fact the rentiers themselves may libby for UBI as a means to flow more value in rent and asset worth up to them, in the way Walmart support welfare ‘rights’. Also it could lead to a new credit bubble if individuals lever their new secure income against consumer credit.
UBI becomes then self defeating it would seem, as its value is inevitably erroded by inflation, with no counter acting productivity gains?

Also would we see the spread of ‘internships’ where to gain skills ornexperience it is expected that you live on UBI?  Would we see a further displacement of labour in other sectors due to the availability of bored UBI’ers ? Would we see more work become part time and tenuous as employers learn to use those on UBI ?


more on the basics are covered and game theory

Market mechanistic theory would however also produce counter arguments to the erosion of the value of a UBI by inflation. Because a UBI is not tied to living in one place. Suddenly people in high rent areas can move to lower priced areas which they can afford. They also have time to build their own housing, and gain training to do so. People in work struggeling to make ends meett can vote with their feet and opt of UBI, reducing their income, but then also moving away from the over priced metropolitan and sunrise valley areas. So there are different countering market mechanisms to the possibilty for run away inflation. It gives a kind of ultimatum to capital – make employment pay or we will leave employment. Make jobs interesting and fulfilling or we will fulfill ourselves and find new economic activity from a base line of UBI.

Existentialism to the Rescue of UBI ?

To counter the inflation-anullation argument against UBI, we can see that people are no longer trapped in using their time to simply survive. They become more mobile. If rents go up in one area,they need not worry about moving to a cheap non metropolitan area. Or they may use their time to buildn their own house, and even lobby, organise and build housing in their communities. Free from beaurocratic demands to take low value work, they can take education and work practice in skilled trades while still feeding and housing themselves.

Today in most all western societies a black and white model of work and welfare has developed. You are either in work and trying to make ends meet, sometimes forced to accept what you can, or you are out of work on benefits.You are not allowed to keep benefits and work as you choose or as it becomes available.  Gordon Brown’s ‘make work always pay’ hss lead to more margjnalisation not less, it has locked millions into precarious personal economics and state dependency.

Here we also can consider what is happening with Face Book’s income and more specifically where it is coming from. By in large the corporates have not been hugely active on FB compared to Google and TV. When was the last time you saw a Coca Cola Advert on FB? Or had a ‘push post’ from General Electric without you Liking their profile?  Facebook have related to the media that much of their 8 billion dollar advertising spend comes from small enterprises. To them FB is cheap, less than ten dollars per thousand or more reach to views, and less than 20 dollars per conversion to sale,  or  per new  potentially loyal customer. The business is granular and below the radar of ‘anti corporate’ negaitve sentiment. If Fb are being candid, then we are not being spammed by the grey suits, we are being wooed by hipsters and spinster start ups on our FB newsfeeds.


Individual bargaining….lost in draft fail crash. Black mail, pay to play. game theory


Futurology on robots making robots automation removing capital control, excessive gross marhing for staff and profit removed,  Utopia behind the barricades


We have nboth utopian and dystopian visions, but the facts are in front of uis. Major western economies already have mechanisms of UBI for marginal workforce, disabled and chronically sick. Robotisation is going to replace thousands of unskilled/semiskilled and automation of more cranial operator tasks with software utilsing algorythms

Workfare policies becoming the norm for UBI and really getting back to slavery. Libertarian ppiint of view that it is then the govern,ment who are directing what people do at work, or perhaps employers as mentioned take up UBI instead of ordinary employees at minimal cost with an element of compulsion, and a lose lose for government tax returns as tax paying employees are displaced.

Market mechnisms or government could be replaced:  cost per service affordable vs tax and inefficient  or the need for major service management neo liberal compulsory compet tendering removed and competiton being for the mechatronics, the computer systems, which eventually enter dminishing returns



Armchair Virtual Cruising West Coast Scotland

Aye the nachts are faur drawin’ in like.

You can of course choose to pick you weather and have short days or dare I say, sail a little at night and really test your mettle, but the season for most is drawing to a close. 

If I were to pop in a boat in the Glesga Fair in 2018 then where would I go cruising? 

Torridon, Sheildaig of all Places …A Possible Destination en Virtual Route??

There is a long standing lust from racing days to actually spend time dropping hooks and sinking pints, or swinging on the chain with an anchor dram in hand in the wilderness along the coast lines and to the isles I have often hurtled past with eyes mostly fixed on spinnaker luff or genoa tell=tales. 

So on this little bucket list there are the places of family folklore I think I have blogged on before- the Treshnish, Tinker’s hole, Polldhorain. Then there is intertwined with this the Malt’s Cruise of course and the Ceilidh as a tie-date.

Which Hook Nooks Have I Raced Past ? (erm, literally…)

 But this all reeks of AWBs (average white bands, sorry boats!) queing to get into the anchorages and wobbling off the various new pontoons as if they just got off the bus at Anderston Terminal. In the Glesga Fair this all really doesnt appeal, and is far better accomplished in May and June, with an exemption say for a trip to Islay to do the distilleries there with the perty at the end, having raided Tallisker  along the way earlier.

Far better in the ‘Faur’ to get the heck out of these lower latitudes and sail north. 

In my mind’s eye there is a kind of blind spot for Harris, Benbecula, Barra. It is Terra Non Cognitosurrounded by Aqua Nova. There are the frightful Minches and the Mightly Atlantic beyond. Oh The Crinan Canal for me……those great ocean breakers would gie me the shakers. More than a blind spot, like a fog of fear out there. And completely unnecessarily. I once helmed an Impala out to Coll from Arisaig after being storm bound there for two days. The sea was NW and fairly monsterous at times, ‘specially on account of it being a beam reach. Nearing Coll they got steeper and a green mountain appeared I decided to take on the bow. That my friends was the Atlantic hitting shallower water and possibly adverse tide! So fright be taken! Been there and got the t-shirt.

The Fantastic Fantasy Cruise

So My cruise ? Clyde mooring or marina on the Friday afternoon before the fair saturday, provisioned well for four days with ‘hard-tack’ for five more. Ailsa Craig and Sanda to Port on an ebb tide I hope, and sailing through the night to breakfast and sleep at Gigha. A tootle around the island and a decision make it anouther night watch or two out past Dubh Artaig and Skerryvore weather permitting. 

This is some challenging sailing. Firstly the Sound of Jura on the right tide, then the course and caution with the weater and sea state out past all the ‘Bad Boghas’ – the rocks and skerries off Iona and Tiree. There after? Well perhaps Barra weather being clement, and a fine anchor spot in Castle Bay. Bound the be ahead of the Bavarians who are mostly trying to get into Caladh or Ardrishaig Sea Lock by now. No, this is not a floating caravan tour super market to super market. 

With good conditions and a flood tide in the Sea of the Hebrides and the Minches, then why not relax with less sail on a broad reach and eat and make merry on board. OFten when racing we do that of course, and when not racing it was usually delivering with hard tack and UHT milk before and after you came on watch. A cruise this as you see, for two experienced skippers and two good deck hands at least!

Now up to the filet of the tour. The Shiant Isles. I had no idea that the Minch between Skye and Harris was so nasty yet contains a major traffic lane for shipping taking a short cut, including the odd super tanker and oil rig! It is quite narrow compared to the Minch proper of course, but rocky too. And with the ‘charmed , blessed, enchanted’ islands of the Shiant archipeligo. A kind of poor man’s St. Kilda, and I admit to my ignorance, I had no idea such a pearl existed until a few days ago. A text would have sufficed and in fact I am somewhat bothered that images are already in my head from t’internet of this wonderful little world. 

From there in a NW or SW I would actually scoot over to another group of Charming Islands, the Summer Isles at Achiltibuie and enjoy a dinner at the famous hotel bar there, if not on the lawn kissed by sunshine.  In a Westerly, and lots of it, more tempting to head to the east coast of Harris and Lewis and explore there. 

From though the Summer Isles, a replenishment at Ullapool. Ole’s Pool has always been a land crab favourite of my, and featured along with the Five Sisters of Kintail in my fairwell to Caledonia. From the Viking’s bay, round then to Torridon, because that is where the photo above was taken. My dad, a whole lifetime ago, exploring and ‘staying ahead of the racing rabble’ 

There after Plockton was also a family kind of place on the map and then over to Talisker Destillery while we are here. The sound of sleet and then Arnisdale and maybe, maybe Hourn heid another spot on the 1970s tournerihng my dad did. 

The ‘small isles’ themselves and Loch Nevis are the matter of a different cruise than tonights, one which involves hill walking boots. So I am afradi now it all gets tawdry and failing the need to take in Arisaig – a difficult entrance that keeps many away from its eateries, PO, shop and walks to the sands of Morar., then it is on to Tob’ to share stories in the Mish’. 

I feel now civilisation would beckon, and small Isles with Iona is as said a nother tour altogether. No Mulling around this time, Terra Habilis, Oban beckons and a chance to change crew, milk the coo, shower and eat and be merry at a finer establishment, or budget dwindling, chippy and the North Pier. Poldohrain then for old times sake and an easy next day to then choose the tide well to Crinan. Canal for a day of ‘chust sublimeness’ before back to Caladh to gloat over the local small timers. An icecream at Roth’y and a bag of chips for the final afternoons tootle over to normality, humdrumness, land lubbing. 
Over Ambitious?

Well all this may seem a little over ambitious, but you have to put this in perspective of what my own father could achieve in the the two weeks of the Glasgow Fair, and what good lifers curcumnavigating get up to. Cruising in Scotland runs the risk on one hand, of getting too pussified with pontoons and close to shore sponsored moorings in every village. However it can be argued that this will take the hoi palloi away from the auld favourite wee hooks, expecially as inclement summer monsoon conditions seem to be the norm for late may through to mid august! 

Gigha to Shiants non stop will seem down right deranged to some readers who are used to the joys of island hopping and getting places before dark and before the tide changes. But in years of old, going back to the Vikings, sailors had to get where they were going before the storms of the equinox were upon them. 

No this trip needs planning, and it is not for the sea sick prone wife you may have, or kids under 9 years old. It is a challenge and full exposure to nature’s elements. Tides need to be taken into account with wind, motoring for battery charges and progress to tidal gates thought of, bolt holes and escape plans if the barometerr drops like a stone, a knowledge of shipping and fishing movements, a watch for whales and dropped cargo too. 

Lobster Racing 

Well it apinnahe annual end of season Lobster regatta held here, nice and early this year, I seem to remember doing it almost in the middle of October one year in force six and more.

A Typical Windy Last Regatta of the Season in Risor (c) 2010 and 2017 Author

Before the Race…………..

Decision to race springs to mind. The spreaders looked a little out of line and the mast was squint to one side when I sighted up it, so that has to be addressed. Then I need to put a full stop at over 25 knt gusts due to the mast being a big wood twig,  and my crew potentially being one inexperienced sailor. 

Then there is boat prep and checks. Firstly scrubbing along the keel foot and around the aft waterline. The boat was hummng at max speed in light airs, so something is not right on the keel. The boat wants to wander to windward with a centred tiller, suggesting that also may be an issue. 

Jobs and Thoughts On Boat Set Up

Straghten Mast

Tie Spinne Bag down

Bail her twice this week

Move the antique bronze jib cars back

Check out Jib position and cunningham

Check out the backstay operation

Have a hauling line ready for the kite with a timber hitch in mind
Forecast and Strategic Thinking

I suspect the 2010 Hummer Regatta was Also a Big Easterly! (c) Author 2010

So far the forecast is for a middle to bigish wind from the east, which often trains along the coast a little to be a ENE, but since it is blowing harder then it maybe an onshore due east right enough. 

This means a potential for a lift on port near the islands, but more importantly there will be a massive favoured tack out to the NE where the marks lie.On return it is likely to be the same , a long gybe which is the shortest way. 

Despite the biggish wind, tide will still be crucial because boat speed is just 5 knots up wind, and tide can be 2knts. Despite a paltry 40 cm or so tidal range last two weeks, the fjords funneled it up to a whopping 2 knts or even more in the key funnels. I would suppose after a look at wind agin tide that ebb and flow funnel differently

An easterly then favours a long porcession with a flood tide or slack, on a single tack, while against tide it makes for a middle route perhaps over the shallower ridge there. The gust pattern will also make for a RHS bias as they will reach there first. 

A tight reach back will mean no spinnaker work until beyond the sound if they set a sensible inside the island belt leeward mark. There is no point trying to hold and falling off onto a much longer course. 

Getting off the start on time and out of trouble will be the biggest deal for me, and than means a combination of burn time and getting a lane with 1 minute to go. Eye on the clock and burn time out, lane in, go! The jostle for position is 45 seconds out, a line behind the line and then it is power on at some point there after. Despite more wind these boats take time to work up to speed and max pointing.

The Race on The Day

Always say you are learning and  believe it!

I was eminently happy to hand the helm of C110 over to the Owner, only to have him do exactly the same mistake I usually make, getting too far ‘south’ of the start line and working back up to the fleet rather than being in the fleet. 

It was blowing 18 to 28 somewhere around top of 5 to 6 in the gusts. We gained on the fleet very well starting at a good point on the line, it being a super biased permanent set line. Soon we were nipping at their heels, there was an odd wind-tide effect at the ‘narrows’ north east of the town, which would repeat itself later. Hmmm, somethign to learn. Funny winds. A divergence LHS going down? 
We continued to gain on the fleet up beyond the narrows when the going got bouncy. It is ‘innaskjaers’ inside the mini hebridean belt that is to say, but there was lumpy chop and some wind against tide in places. Enough to render the boat wetter than a laser!

We made a tighter rounding which took in yet more boat lenghts and got us uip in the fleet, with only the best boat really streching its legs on everyone by this time. The coast along the north looked a poorer bet than the main channel from Grunholmen so we went out to see if it was better and it was. More even wind and a series of lifts  with the gusts and more wind in the lulls. Now we were mixing it with three or four boats possible scalps. There is an angle beyond which convergence/divergence does not work the same. Nearer right angles, and an on shore wind lifts off the water ahead of the land. 

Then they all but one got away and we were left chasing on the longer run now down to Finnoya. Spinnie not set we took time to get it going but to no loss what so ever, but it did add to our speed and we crept closer.One learning here, the kite is small enough to ‘right side’ it round the forestay. STB roundings you see, silly me rigging it for the Port Handers they had promised shore. 

Ahead of two boat perhaps, good rounding and off to Little Denmark- no not 67  nbautical miles over the sea, but part of our mini hebrides. We lost our placing on the rounding and hesitating with spinnaker and where to go. The wind was funny towards the narrows, why? I dont know, ask Kevin Turvey. Probably divergence, we may have slowed up because of the tide I wasnt paying attention to in the forecasts. 

Tide was actually not much of a feauture I believe, high tide being about 1345 or so, end of the flood helping us up the sound. However even in a blow, the great bucket carrying you is still worth considering.
So securing last place bar one Maxi 77. But this time we were no slower than most all the fleet and apart from the start good positioning. Okay the compass was not in use. 
Good to get a sail in, glad he huckled me to come


Well starts are a lot of the gamne and this was an aweful 45 second late job. But we had speed and free wind so gained on the fleet.

When disucssing tacking on shifts, a realisation came to me. These boats are just not  tactical boats. They demand so much to just keep them going, that close tacking and match racing is crazy. They need so much to just get going and keep going, That is the game.

Is that my game? Well it is a bit like HC racing in fact. You need to sail in your own wind. Is it my game? Well not really, but I have enjoyed my sails a lot, and it is all learning, tidal strategy being good, looking at wind strategy and so on. 

I also see this in a lot of classic racing I have  been out in or spectated at. The boats take a long time to get to speed and need working up and down from the wind and the gusts. You need to get off the start and sail in your own wind, and know each boats quirks and your own weight , style and so on. We sailed high and it paid, where as if I had been helming I would have sailed lower for the waves and actively sheeted. We sat rather nicely with a slight pinch and speed was ok, pointing was really good. However gain was not that fantastic. 

So my bkeyblearning is to drop the ‘tactical strategy’ of boat on boat match racing, and get used to a free lane on the start and maintaining free air, min or max tidal current and keepoing speed above keel fly speed. the tactic is then placing the boat in free air or putting the boat between the fleet or follower and the mark or finish line.

 I enjoyed it but I have a realisation about this classic style and keepoing the keel -fly speed going. 


longer jiub sheets by 50 cm each side

Loctite on grub screws for rudder stock

Spinnaker pole bungee replaced with an eye or ring for down haul

( longer down haul spinnakerr pole)

Thicker spinnaker sheets.
Scrub base of keel

Rudder stock gland fix

Rudder blade exa ination for wharped trailin edge.

Race Debrief from Another Slow Motion Regatta

Typical mellow September Weather, and rather dull sailing

Every is a learning experience and most of all I need to learn to learn again! We had a terrible start and as usual my boat speed is not great in light airs in these lovely looking little classics.  I really did grit my teeth a bit after misjuding the start and need to work up to it, wathcing the fleet take off infront. 

However there were a couple of very large positives, which surpassed most of the fleet’s.  Tidal strategy.

Tidal Strategy

According to the tide table it should have been a neap ebb so not much to speak about. But as with last week, there was a lot of tide in the channels, all be that 180 opposite to the flood last week. In contrast to getting last week’s wrong, thinking the main stream was dead ahead when it was from the western approach on the right, I got this weeks dead right.

There is a lot of water which can ebb through a 150 m gap so when we got up to a lobster pot in the Tjernoy sound, it was plain to see. 2 knts if not more. A river. Now this is exactly as predicted because this side has the deepest channel, a vee shape funneling the tide. On the chart you can see that the string of islets are a ridge and so you can keep in the shadow of the tide so to speak by tacking up a cone towards then, on the LHS. 

So after our appalling start we were suddenly back in contention, and overtook our first boat and stretched our lead on the boat trailing us. Tacking up to the islets we could see the boats in the RHS channel struggeling to stem the tide in the lulls, and making only slow progress in the ‘gusts’. Remember we are talking three or four knots boat speed ! So we were in touch with the fleet again, biting at their heels.

The only fly in the ointment here was they set a crazy long course for the evening, but that was just a challenge I suppose. There was enough wind to sail it in daylight, but it died as we came in and were almost becalmed a while after the race, luckily getting a tow in by a chap who has his motorboat next to the fleet’s dock.

My flaw then was not to have looked at the tide and wind north of the channel I discussed above, and towards the next ‘mountain top’ called Suga, where the windward mark lay. The land each side of the channel also funnels the wind and trains it a little, and I didnt predict this, there was a clearer shift pattern which I did not decipher in the short final beat, and lost out to the two closest boats. I seemed to be a little dead in the water and the boat wanted to wander up to the wind without any pressure on the helm, so maybe it does indeed have a wonky Vietnamese built rudder blade. 

Anyway, we had lost the spinnie halyard up the mast in our practice run to the presumed weather mark in the channel, so we poled out the jib on the run. and the reverse of the tidal strategy played in. For some reason the fleet chose to go RHS down wind, stage left that is, while I knew that the shortest route to the next mark was also in the fastest tide in the lhs channel. I suppose the fleet wanted a little sharper gybe angle to fill their kites, but it was the wrong side of the squint diamond and in less tide. So we caught up about 300 m on the fleet, us being a back marker due to a terrible start (again) and had two boats in our sights, one the founder of the fleet !

We did a nice rounding, overtaking the nearest boat ahead who was dead in the water due to the sloppy swell and a bad decision I guess to manoevre with a tack. Anyway we had a lovely rounding as I say, and tacked in over the shelf were there was less tide, and were pointing really nicely back in through the in sailing channel at Stangholmen. However boat speed seemed slow, and the guy behind tacked over and above us and suddenly was ahead ! It was tide once again, only a knot or so here, but he got a lot less going towards the island’s shore while we looked to be sailing nicely, but were behind.

Pain and Gain

Courses here are round the fixed cans, with the start line only somewhere near perpendicular for two of them when the wind is coming that way. So there is often a huge bias on the line, and last night you could barely sail starboard to cross it, the pin end being massively favoured. The course as mentioned was then a rough W/L and the shortest way was RHS of the race course. 

However as mentioned RHS also had the most tide, so on the beat up it, you had to use shadow and the small back eddies to get ahead. The shortest route is not then the quickest. But at some point you have to come out the tide-shadow and take your pain. They whom takes least pain gets most gain. Eventually everyone is ‘in the same boat’ stemming the tide for the windward mark or coming back up through the southern approach at Stangholmen. 

Sailing longer and making more tacks is a little counter intuitive to me, but aformentioned competition for the night, a grey hulled boat, used it to get a sudden 80 m advantage on us as I ventured too far out of the tide shadow at Tjernoy. Again he pulled the same trick coming back in through Stanghomen’s narrows, first creeping up the lighthouse side where it is shallow, and then darting over to the other island’s shore (Riholmen I think) while our lovely angle and long single tack beat ahead suddenly looked bad. 

TIde in this wind is king, and although it was out of its highest phase of flow by sunset, we stuck our nose too far in it on the last beat. Like my mate who used to sprint at the start of a hill climb and then hold me off, most irritatingly, the grey boat had done just that, taken himself up out of the tide just long enough to get ahead, and then experiencing the same pain with us only huffing at his transom. 

007, Petter Bond, sorry, Halvorsen and our main marker for the night, C126 . RHS you can see Tjernoya, where the fiendish tide runs on the RHS with little respite on the left

Starting with Starts

I have only made a handful of good starts as a helmsman, and they have been of  course decisive. No matter how badly I sail 12kvm, I won the first keel boat race I ever helmed from start to finish, and did so by a country and a nautical mile together! 

Most of my starts are appalling. Some starts have been messed up by other folk, usually could have made a protest and will do in future. So I need to start here, because the start is the sprint and without getting off in clean air, you may as well go home unless there is a wind shift predicted. 

So I am going to get out before the season’s last race and just practice on the four minute gun. also judging the bias on the line versus the tide. 

The things I get wrong are being out on the time, and too far back at 2 minutes to go, then getting stuck into a bad lane with dirty wind. Previously I also had just slow speed and was rolled over, sometimes being too close for the run in.

Burn time and a virtual start line transit 10 of fewer second behind the line are then the tools of the trade I wouild like to use.

Notes on Boat Prep for Next Time

1) Jib set up. Eye on sail in the fitting, cunningham also . Perhaps a new pin forward?

2) Get halyad down. It is about 4m up. take a hook thing and bind it on a stang

3) Bottom of keel and leading / trailing edges with a belt cleaner

4) Mast in section??