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Baringo - Sat 8 Dec 2012

Dear All,

after a Thursday night and Friday (6th and 7th Dec) characterized by three things: rain; rain; and more rain - and a fourth namely such varibale winds that we were turning in all directions - we finally as of about 1800 hrs Friday (6th Dec) picked up a strong and steady north east breeze and have been making steady and comfortable progress since then.

Crew morale is as always excellent and was improved by a celebratory slice of Christmas cake (generously donated to crew supplies by Brownen Richardson - my sister) as we passed the half way point in the rain on Friday.

The crew sweepstakes on the most accurate forecast for the time at which we would cross 40 degrees W , was won by Professor Andrew Peacock - despiet the very best efforts of one helmsman to steer 270 / due west and 'race for the line' as the clock counted down through the early hours of Sat (8 Dec) (my apologies for the course deviation skipper).

Besides the daily routine of sail changes, course correction, crew rotation, galley duties etc., the crew of Baringo have wrestled with a number of thorny issues and such has been the range of discussion (rarely argument), debate never dampened by the wind and rain, we thought we'd give you a little flavour of the areas of discussion covered - rarely resolved, but always thought provoking - these have included:

1. Robotics & the development of new 'skin' for robots - is this a major leap forwards and simply another incremental step?
2. Robotics in farming?
3. Solar panels & alleged Chinese dumping thereof.
4. Funding the BBC - public or private?
5. Pharmaceutical companies and the funding of drug research / 'patent cliffs' / use of animals in drug testing / new methods of funding R & D
6. The 'war' on illicit drugs. How will future generations perceive the approach?
7. The rights / obligations of protesters - Animal rights / religious / political ? Do different 'rules' apply in 'open' societies as opposed to closed ones?
8. Automated vehicles - planes trains & automobiles - which will come first? What impact on road architecture ? On insurance? On car design?
9. Cars - the good the bad and the ugly we have owned and driven. Someone on board had a Fiat - no one ever owned a Lancia (or admitted same).
10. Australia - an economy 'hollowed out' by a minerals boom. Will it last forever, how will it end?
11. Hong Kong - the pollution problem.
12. Caribbean politics - the blessings and curses of geogpraphy, neighbours, history & climate.
13. Electricity - nuclear, hydro, conventioanl fossil, sun/wind ...and the apparent lack of progress in harnessing the power of the ocean in the form of tides.
14. Abrahamic religions? What of the future? A force for good?
15. Scotland - attitudes & approaches to devolution. What forces propel nationalists within Canada, Spain, UK at a time of increasing globalisation?
16. Post WW2 'watershed years': 1948 (Berlin/Cold War), 1949 (PRC), 1952(Hydrogen), 1960(Cuba), 1979 (Deng/PRC; Thatcher), 1989 (Soviet), 2008 ($ crisis enhancing trends already evident - China, women in employment, US debt). We started with a top 5 restriction but couldn't do it.
17. Future conflicts- the artic? , Water? Territory? Oil? Football?
18. The Kurds. Beneficiaries of the 'Arab Spring'?
19. Syria - the end game . Aspirations of the 'new' Ottomans?

I could go on - but just wanted to give you a flavour of life aboard ....of course we have talked of boat design, sails, material science and boats etc etc .

That's it from Baringo at 18 52' N 41 33'W on a wonderful windy sunny Saturday afternoon.

Giles Surman
Night Watch Leader
Sat 8 Dec 2012

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