Report from the 2015 Spring Regionals

Saturday, May 9, 2015 0 comments

Sunday April 19,2015

On the Calgary Stampede grounds, nestled under big cottonwood poplar trees just starting to show their leaves, is the faux Western village called Weadickville. Typically home to displays of Western gun fighting, on the Sunday of the Calgary Comic Expo it was to host a far more elegant kind of duelling.

Madame Saffron Hemlock's Parasol Duelling League and the Steampunk Arts and Sciences Society,  in conjunction with the 2015 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, hosted the Spring Regional Parasol Duelling Competition.

This was the first formal competition held in Calgary since the World Championships last September.

The 10th Anniversary CCEE was the biggest yet with over 100 thousand attendees! We had two outside demos and one panel on Parasol Duelling and had attracted a lot of attention amongst the attendees.

It was fun to demonstrate Parasol Duelling right after the exciting gun play of the Guns of the Golden West 

A dangerous gang!
Parasol Duelists and Western Gunfighters
Photo by Phi Vernon

When Sunday arrived it was a beautiful sunny spring day and there was quite a crowd gathered expectantly waiting to watch the Ladies duel in their finery.

We had one hour so there was only time to run the duels. There were no Compulsory Figures or Flirtation Trials at this competition.

Madame Saffron Taxus-Hemlock and Baroness Daniela Fawkes were the Judges and Record keepers for the event.
Chief Judge and Black Sash, Madame Saffron Taxus-Hemlock (aka Jayne Barnard)
and Baroness Daniela Fawkes (aka Dana Teh)
Photo by Phi Vernon

Dr.Johann Portsmouth Adler and I were the Doctors for the competition.
Dr. Johann Portsmouth Adler (aka Stewart MacPhee)
and Maxwell MacDonald-Smythe ( me )
Photo by Phi Vernon

Eight ladies signed up for the competition.
The competitors
L to R: Raven Hawthorne, Audra Balion, Katherine Eleanor Lingwood,
Josanna Justine, Sarafina Kain, Cali Brewer, Kyra McDonald
Missing: Laura McKay
Photo by Phi Vernon
The experience level of the competitors ranged from two of the World Champions from 2014  to Ladies who had never competed formally before!

The format of the duelling was a modified Round Robin where everyone got to duel with at least two other competitors.

The duelling was fast and furious. The speed of transition between the figures was striking. There has been a significant increase in speed and confidence since the Worlds. The Ladies have been practicing hard!

Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what these first rounds were like!
Katherine Eleanor Lingwood vs Raven Hawthorne
Photo by Karlo Keet

Kyra McDonald vs Laura Mckay
Photo by Karlo Keet

Cali Brewer vs Audra Balion
Photo by Karlo Keet

Raven Hawthorne vs Audra Balion
Photo by Phi Vernon

Katherine Eleanor Lingwood vs Cali Brewer
Photo by Phi Vernon

Cali Brewer
Photo by Phi Vernon

Sarafina Kain vs Josanna Justine
Photo by Phi Vernon

 The last duel of the first round was an interesting situation. The duel was between the 2014 Dueling Champion, Sarafina Kain, and a newcomer, Laura McKay. For the first time ever there were three draws in a row!
A Draw!
Sarafina Kain vs Laura McKay
Photo by Phi Vernon

 Madame Saffron halted the proceedings and conferred with the Baroness and decided to break the tie by conducting a best of three Compulsory Figures.

Breaking the Tie
Laura McKay and Sarafina Kain
Photo by Phi Vernon
Again the duelists were very evenly matched winning one apiece.

 The third round was won by Sarafina Kain.

We look forward to seeing great things from Laura McKay in the future.

Laura McKay
Photo by Lindsay Dunlop

Doctor Adler
Photo by Phi Vernon
The crowd had been steadily growing and whilst Madame and the Baroness prepared the competition list for the Semi Finals, Doctor Adler entertained the spectators with a tale of some alternate competition styles used in Prussia.

After conferring, the Judges announced the Semi-Finalists to the excited crowd of spectators.

The Semi Finalists:
Raven Hawthorne
Sarafina Kain
Cali Brewer
Kyra McDonald

Again the speed and precision displayed by all the competitors was amazing!

Photo by Phi Vernon

Cali Brewer vs Kyra McDonald
Photo by Phi Vernon

Kyra McDonald vs Raven Hawthorne
Photo by Phi Vernon

After two rounds the duel for Third place was fought between Raven Hawthorne and Cali Brewer.
With Raven Hawthorne emerging victorious!
Raven Hawthorne vs Cali Brewer
Photo by Phi Vernon

The final round was between Kyra McDonald and Sarafina Kain.
A lightning two duels were both won by Sarafina Kain!

The final duel!
Sarafina Kain vs Kyra McDonald
Photo by Phi Vernon
The final results of the 2015 Spring Regional Competition were:
First Place: Sarafina Kain
Second Place: Kyra McDonald
Third Place: Raven Hawthorne

The prize ribbons created by Raven Hawthorne

Madame Saffron presents the third place ribbon
to Raven Hawthorne
Photo by Phi Vernon
Madame Saffron presents the second place ribbon to Kyra McDonald
Photo by Phi Vernon

Madam Saffron congratulates the first place winner
Sarafina Kain
Photo by Phi Vernon

The winners of the 2015 Regional Parasol Duelling Competition
L to R: Second Place Kyra McDonald
First Place Sarafina Kain
Seated: Third Place Raven Hawthorne
Photo by Karlo Keet

Thanks to all the Ladies who came out to duel!
It is great to see how the competition is improving.

Looking forward to seeing more Ladies competing in the World Championships in September this year.

Thank you to the photographers who do their best to make us look good.
Phi Vernon and Lindsay Dunlop of Third Eye Arts, and Karlo Keet.
Check out their awesome work!
There are lots more photographs of the demos and competition posted at Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies 

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your parasol up!

To find out more about this great sport go to:
Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies

Click here for information on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling are here.

Oh the Humanity!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 0 comments

Hindenburg Disaster

On this day in 1937 the German rigid Airship LZ129, the Hindenburg, was destroyed by fire as she approached the mooring tower at the Naval Air Station near Lakehurst, New Jersey.

There is still much debate concerning the causes of the fire.  You can read  a good summary of the details here at Wikipedia.

There is also good discussion by Harold Dick in his "The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships" that I reviewed here.  Dick had flown on the Hindenburg as well as the Graf Zeppelin and had access to many German files and the employees of the Zeppelin Company itself.  His conclusion was that the fire was the result of a hydrogen leak caused by a broken stress wire near the stern frames holding the fins.

Whatever the cause the result of the fire was much bigger than simply the loss of  13 passengers and 22 crew, and the destruction of the most advanced airship ever built. The press coverage essentially destroyed the public's confidence in rigid airships. The technological advances in the capability of heavier than air aircraft brought on by WWII doomed any further commercial uses.

The safety record of the big German airships was impeccable prior to this disaster. The loss of all the big US built rigid airships was mostly a problem with structural strength. Every one was lost in bad weather. This has been attributed more to their being based on the extreme design of the German military's high altitude bombing airships from WWI. It is interesting to note that the USS Los Angeles, which was built by Zeppelin Company and turned over to the USA, as both war reparations and in the hope of future commercial deals, never had any structural issues despite being used in stress testing.

The disaster at Lakehurst changed the direction of civil commercial aviation for ever, but it was not because of technical limitations or safety problems but public perception.

A true "If only" moment in history.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.

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