Friday, November 11, 2016

Manchester Cruising Association talk on Cruising in Ireland

We were invited by Manchester Cruising Association to deliver our talk on Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland.  We were met at the airport by Roy Conchie, Commodore, and dropped off at the Brittania Ashley Hotel in Hale, Cheshire.  He and his delightful wife Susie took us to dinner later and made sure we were settled with our plans for the day.  Roy was a very accomplished photographer in another life. Susie an accomplished accountant. They were just back from Barbados.

Amazingly sexy BMW hybrid. 
We noticed three things in Hale: loads of restaurants, as many hair salons, and the most amazing upscale cars ever seen in one small town. I mean the newest of the new models of Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Porche, Tesla, Range Rover, Mazeratti, Rolls Royce and Bentley.  We were drooling at every street corner. No Ferraris. Quite a few Minis and Ford Focus.

As we had time in the morning to do some sightseeing, we took the tram into town from Altrincham to Manchester city where we visited the Museum of Science and Industry and the Ryland Library. What a great morning!

The Museum has a collection of machinery that transformed the world during the industrial revolution. You could see Alex's wheels spinning as he tried to envision how it all worked. Manchester was of course at the centre. The cause was the perfect storm of science and technology merging with invention and industry, which continues to this day.

My favourites:

  • All the cotton machines that revolutionized fabric making
  • The first electron microscope
  • Some of the first airplanes and engines
  • Some of the first cars and motorcycles -- Ford and Rolls
  • Graphene -- a new material that is one carbon atom deep in a hexagonal configuration
The story of the Russian Nobel prize winners at the Univ of Manchester who discovered how to separate graphite into its graphene layers with sticky tape was fascinating. Graphene will soon be at the center of the next technological revolution. Porous to water but to few other elements, it makes a great filter. It is conductive and makes a good material for electronics. 100 times stronger than steel. I think this is the most exciting discovery of our century. Who would have thought that the lead in pencils which is graphite (not lead) would end up one day transforming the world once again? Watch this space and see. I have a feeling it will be really transformative in many industries including sailing. 

The Ryland Library on the other hand was a step back into the distant past of man's knowledge. Stacks of books, rare manuscripts, an Eagle printing press, cutting edge exhibits on astronomy in the Middle East and how it was rationalized to support Islam, a tiny piece of the original bible of St. John, and so on.  So much history preserved in the most beautiful space, not unlike the library at Trinity. We loved it. 

Then it was time for our talk. We had about 50 or 60 sailors in attendance and we gave a 1.5 hour talk with a 15 minute break and 15 minutes of questions. We received many compliments. Most professional presentation ever. So interesting! Beautiful photography!  Lots of interesting stories from the past surfaced of people's own experiences sailing in the west of Ireland. Like not being able to change £ into € even at the post office. Stopping at Skellig Michael in the 1970s after a transatlantic crossing and climbing to the top two by two so that someone was always with the boat. Good questions about weather and other factors. Book sales were disappointing, however, and we returned with a few unsold copies. We thought it may be because the audience was older and perhaps not sailing as actively as perhaps they would be if coming to Ireland. But it was a nice experience overall. 
And talk about a small world. Two new OCC members were in attendance having had to deal with emergency surgery for appendicitis.  And John who is editing the east coast of Ireland for the CA Almanac was also in attendance. It was great to meet a fellow editor on that front.   

All in all it was a fun trip. The return journey through Manchester airport and landing at Knock in Ireland is another story. 
The tallest building in Manchester

The Museum of Science and Industry aviation and motor hall

Early computer

Machine tooling

Early Avro plane

Cotton making machinery

Early Rolls Royce

Christmas market

Way too early!


Ryland Library

On display, plate of Darwin as monkey

People working in the library

Lovely ceiling

Librarians at work

The lower floor

The old railway storage facility

Manchester airport lounge

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