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Charles Point Council Seminar: The Genius of Naval Architect John W. Griffiths

The Charles Point Council of the National Maritime Historical Society Will Present

The Genius of Naval Architect John W. Griffiths
& His Record-Setting Clipper Ships:

A Discussion Panel with NMHS Chairman Ronald Oswald,
Matthew Carmel and the John Willis Griffiths Gravesite Project

griffiths200w294hSaturday, 30 May 2015
Hendrick Hudson Free Library – 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548
Continental breakfast is at 10:30 AM. Presentation is at 11:00 AM.

Join us for another incredible seminar as an informative discussion panel explores the American naval architect John W. Griffiths (1809–1882), designer of the record-setting Rainbow and Sea Witch clipper ships and author of books on ship design and construction. Despite his reputation as a “naval architect genius,” Griffiths is buried in an unmarked grave in Queens, NY. Join NMHS in celebrating Griffiths and raising awareness to fund a well-earned headstone.

SeaWitch copySteadily gathering momentum since the 25 October 2013 New York Post article “Grave Injustice for NY Ship Hero,” the John Willis Griffiths Gravesite Project seeks to honor this “maverick of American ship-building at a time when it was one of (New York) City’s most important industries.”  and Sea Witch set several remarkable records, and his innovations left a lasting impression on ship design. The New York Post article sums it up: “New York, and the nation, owe Griffiths an appropriate headstone.”

The public is invited. Please contact the National Maritime Historical Society at 914-737-7878, ext. 0, or email if you plan to attend. A $5 to $10 donation is appreciated. If you would also like to join NMHS and the speaker for lunch following the presentation, it is $22 prepaid, with cash bar. Reservations required.

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Unveiling of USS Monitor Trail Marker and History Fair

On Friday, 29 May, the National  Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be unveiling a trail marker at the launch site of USS Monitor in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NOAA is establishing a USS Monitor Trail marking the locations of historic importance to  the famous ironclad in New York,  Virginia, North Carolina.  The first marker is in place in Beaufort, North Carolina, at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, near Duke University’s Marine Lab; Duke  University’s research team discovered USS Monitor  in 1973.

The event’s organizers are: NOAA’s USS  Monitor National  Marine Sanctuary; the Greenpoint Monitor Museum; Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Oliver Tilden Camp No. 26; and Co. I, 83rd New York Vol. Inf. Sons of Veterans Reserve.

The unveiling will take place at 10:30 AM, followed by a history fair at the Brooklyn Expo Center, just two blocks away. For full details, see the website of the Greenpoint Monitor Museum.

Monitor, 2009 (NOAA)

Monitor, 2009 (NOAA)

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Falls of Clyde in Danger of Eviction


Falls of Clyde ca 1900

Falls of Clyde ca. 1900

The 1878 iron-hulled ship Falls of Clyde is facing a deadline. The state of Hawaii, concerned about the condition of the ship and the delays in getting her into dry dock, has given the Friends of the Falls of Clyde until August to present a restoration plan, along with the backing to make it happen.

Launched on 12 December 1878, the four-masted full-rigged ship Falls of Clyde sailed for twenty years for the Falls line, carrying cargo such as lumber, jute, cement and wheat. In 1898 she was purchased by Capt. William Matson, who registered her in Hawaii, anticipating that she would be granted American registry when Hawaii became an American territory. She sailed between Hawaii and San Francisco, carrying molasses to the mainland and returning with kerosene generally making excellent time for the route; on her best crossing, she made the journey in eight days.



Eventually converting his fleet to steam, Matson sold the Falls in 1907, to the Associated Oil Company for $85,000. She was converted to a tanker, carrying 756,000 gallons of oil between California and Honolulu. Associated, too, finally saw the need to convert its fleet, and Falls of Clyde served as a charter vessel for a brief stint before her masts were cut down to serve as a floating gasoline depot in Ketchikan, Alaska.

In 1963 the ship’s owners planned to scuttle her for a breakwater in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the Honolulu Advertiser raised $25,000 to return the Falls to Hawaii, and the US Navy supplied the tow to Honolulu’s waterfront, where enthusiastic volunteers carried out much-needed restoration work; in 1984 she was named a National Historic Monument by the National Parks Service. Her condition began to deteriorate, however, and by 2008 Falls of Clyde, then owned by the Bishop Museum, faced an estimated $30 million in restoration costs; the Bishop Museum developed plans to sink the ship offshore. The Friends of the Falls of Clyde formed and purchased her from the Bishop museum for $1, with the goal of raising those funds and restoring the ship. The organization has established an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money to get the ship into dry dock.

Commemorative coin offered to donors of $100 or more to the fundraising campaign

Commemorative coin offered to donors of $100 or more to the fundraising campaign



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NMHS 2015 Annual Meeting: a Recap

The National Maritime Historical Society’s 2015 annual meeting was held this past weekend in Annapolis, Maryland, hosted by the US Naval Academy Museum and its senior curator, James Cheevers. For those who couldn’t attend, we’d like to share this brief recap.

On the steps of Bancroft Hall, USNA

On the steps of Bancroft Hall, USNA

The weekend was launched with meeting of the board of trustees, followed by a dinner with the trustees and NMHS staff. Highlight of the evening was the welcome extended to new trustee-elect ADM Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (ret.). ADM Papp was the 24th commandant of the United States Coast Guard, retiring in May 2014, and

Print of Effie M. Morrissey Entering Franz Joseph Fjord, by Thomas Wells

Print of Effie M. Morrissey Entering Franz Joseph Fjord, by Thomas Wells

was appointed the US special representative for the Arctic in July of that year. A longtime NMHS member, ADM Papp has been recognized with the NMHS Distinguished Service Award as well as the NMHS Bravo Zulu Award. As part of his welcome, ADM Papp was presented with a lovely Thomas Wells print of the Effie M. Morrissey (now the Ernestina-Morrissey, the flagship of Massachusetts).

Saturday began with breakfast in the US Naval Academy Museum followed by the business meeting and maritime heritage reports at the officers’ club. Lunch was served at the officers’ club when the meeting was done. Sea History editor Deirdre O’Regan presented the Rodney Houghton award for the best article in Sea History to Kathleen Ciolfi and Geoff Carton for their article “EXPLOSIVES, See Note C: the Unusual End of SS Robert Louis Stevenson” (SH 149). Ms. Ciolfi and Mr. Carton talked about their work for the Army on documenting munitions that have been dumped on the sea floor, and how the research into this task revealed all kinds of stories, and this was one of them. They also mentioned in their acceptance remarks that, after the article was published in Sea History, they were contacted by a gentleman who served in the Navy and was part of the crews that participated in the operations. He was able to give them firsthand details about this story, rounding out the history they were able to find in Navy records.inside Bancroft

After lunch, Jim Cheevers gave what one guest called “a really personal and enthusiastic tour” of the John Paul Jones crypt, the US Naval Academy campus, and Bancroft Hall, followed by a fascinating tour of the museum itself, with countless stories about individual pieces, such as how artifacts came to the museum’s collection. We could not have asked for a better guide. Jim Cheevers was recently recognized for fifty years of government service—47 of them with the Naval Academy—and a first-floor gallery was named for him!

Trustee and Vice Chairman Rick Lopes at the helm.

Trustee and Vice Chairman Rick Lopes at the helm.

The weekend was capped off with a lovely daysail on Sunday aboard the Scarano-built schooner Woodwind, with owner/captain Capt Ken Kaye. The Kayes’ daugher, Jen, operates Woodwind’s sister schooner, Woodwind II. Jen was introduced to the sea as a SEAmester student on the Spirit of Massachusetts in 1990, with Capt. Bobby Hall and Southampton College professor Doug Hardy. She came home and persuaded her parents to make a change of career and the rest, as they say, is history.

It was a wonderful and educational weekend. The weather smiled down upon us the whole time, and we hope that everyone in attendance had as good and rewarding a time as we did. Thank you to all who made this annual meeting possible, and for continuing to support NMHS.

NMHS President Burchenal Green

NMHS President Burchenal Green



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NY Oyster Barge to Return to the East River After Nearly 100 Years

In 2004, we ran an article in the Sea History feature Historic Ships on a Lee Shore about the last remaining New York oyster barge, moored since 1921 on the Quinnipiac River in Fair Haven, Connecticut (SH 107, p. 13). We were heartened to learn this April that Miles and Alex Pincus, the brothers who formed the Maritime Foundation of Delaware and New York City and brought the wooden fishing schooner Sherman Zwicker to Manhattan’s Pier 25 to house an onboard maritime museum and oyster bar, had acquired the oyster barge. Their plan is to dismantle it and reconstruct it on the East River.

You can read more about the project from the New York Times, and learn more about the barge’s history at this website run by its supporters.

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San Salvador Launch Postponed

_JGS4420-4Update: Citing technical and logistical difficulties, the Maritime Museum of San Diego has cancelled the April 19th launch. A new launch date has not been announced.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego has announced an April 19 launch date for San Salvador. The ship is a historically accurate replica of the ship which explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into what is now San Diego Bay on 28 September 1542, the first recorded European vessel to sail along Southern California, and survey its coastlines. The keel for the replica ship was laid in 2011; the museum has invited the public to observe its construction from the beginning, either in person at the site or via the museum’s website.


DSC_2893 smallSan Salvador will join the museum’s fleet of ships, including the sailing ships Star of India, Surprise, and Californian, as well as serving as a floating educational platform. For more information email the museum at Photos courtesy Jerry Soto

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Worldwide Ferry Safety Association Conference

2015 Ferry Safety and Technology Conference
16–17 April
Alexander Hamilton US Custom House, New York, New York

The Worldwide Ferry Safety Association is presenting its first conference for the promotion of global ferry safety. The theme: Ferry Safety and Technology: Design and Operations. Ferry owners and operators; naval architects and marine engineers; and new technology developers and providers will come together to improve efficiency and safety here and around the world.

Ferry conference bannerThe Worldwide Ferry Safety Association is a not-for-profit dedicated to bringing innovation in training methods, as well as use of technology to provide notification for sudden hazardous weather, curb overloading, and enhance marine rescue technology.

More information can be found on their website, or emailing

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USS Constellation is Back in the Inner Harbor

16086588257_a7fec18572_zUSS Constellation spent the winter in Baltimore’s Coast Guard Yard, so that a dedicated crew could replace rotted planking. The Living Classrooms Foundation, Constellation‘s steward, is also the parent organization for Project SERVE (Service- Empowerment- Revitalization- Volunteerism- Employment Training), a  job-training program for ex-offenders and disadvantaged youth; LCF saw the undertaking as an excellent opportunity to benefit both programs. Project SERVE participants got the opportunity to work on a one-of-a-kind vessel, and Constellation‘s shipwrights had the help of an enthusiastic crew.

16173409864_7e6676ec4c_zThe repairs concluded in February, but the return trip was postponed due to winter ice. By this week, however, the waterway had cleared. With the aid of McAllister Towing and Transportation, Constellation has made her way back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, ready to greet visitors with renewed strength. (Photos courtesy Living Classrooms Foundation)



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Jim Moores to Publish Moores’ Log on NMHS Website

Jim Moores founded Moores Marine in South Florida in 1986 after building commercial fishing boats and dories in Lubec, Maine. One particularly cold winter, he came to Palm Beach County with a box full of tools and learned he could make a pretty decent living repairing and restoring wooden boats built by the old masters of American yacht building. Since then, the company has been designing restorations from the ground up of classic and antique boats—including the eighth presidential yacht, Honey Fitz, a 1930 93′ Defoe that served as the private yacht of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

A member of the Society of Naval Architects and Engineers, Trumpy Yacht Association and Antique and Classic Wooden Boat Society, Jim has established quite a following for his Moores’ Log, a regular newsletter read eagerly by maritime and history enthusiasts alike. Jim has agreed to publish his insightful, intelligent and quite amusing newsletter as part of a regular feature on our own website.  Here’s Jim’s first log in 2015:


 Dear Friends,

My last letter took you on a journey to the West Coast and back. Well, this month is no different. My wife, Margaret, had a lecture series in D.C., so when she asked me if I would like to join her I looked at my bags that were still packed from the Washington/Oregon trip and then added a few new things and we were out the door. I have a few friends up there that I really wanted to see.

The first was Paul Johnston. We met a few years back and have kept in contact ever since. Paul is a little older than me and at first glance you might think he is a boring middle-aged man, but he is far from that. His title is curator of the Smithsonian’s Natural Museum of American History. He loves diving and was involved in the “Cleopatra’s  Barge”, built in Salem, MA in 1816, the first American yacht on record that sunk on April 7, 1824 in Hanalei, Hawaii. This is such a great story I could not do it justice. Paul wrote an article about it called “Million Pounds of Sandalwood” that can be easily found on the web.  Paul gave me a behind-the-scenes look at one of our greatest treasures. From installing two early steam locomotives with cranes during the construction of the building to the “USS Philadelphia”, a Revolutionary War boat from 1775, one of the gun boats of the American Revolution which sunk in The Battle of Valcour Island. The water was so cold and deep I was amazed at how well she was preserved.

Paul told me that another one of these ships was found quite a while back and she has been left down while new preservation techniques are being perfected. I guess they have achieved success and she might see the light of day soon. We meandered into the blueprint archive room as he rattled off names of the designers. John Gardner stood out. We slid open a case and there were these amazing illustrations of the blue-nosed schooner, which were used for a book. Below that was one beautiful hand drawn original after another.  Then he showed how they digitalize them for preservation and printing. Now, this might sound a little boring, but it wasn’t.  I was amazed as to the great details taken to preserve American history. Paul is not your average curator; he rides a motorcycle year-round to work and then back home. I said “rain” he said “rain coat”. Ok, that was easy. “Cold” was replied to with “heated suit”. Then I thought I had him – “seeing out in rain and snow!” he smiled and said “Rain-X and an extra pair of shoes in my desk!”

Paul is still a very active diver as well as writing and running one of the greatest museums in the world. After lunch we headed down to the “Sequoia”, the Mathis Trumpy, 1925. We were met aboard by Capt. Matt Vilbas; young and enthusiastic, he has big shoes to fill. There are still things that are being resolved and the “S.S. Sequoia” has been in a holding pattern. She is charting on the Potomac and is still docked at Gangplank Marina. Paul has never been aboard, so this was my way of thanking him for such a great day. The yacht served from Herbert Hoover, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter before being sold. There are great photos of moments in time that shaped our history on board. There is a lot of her history online.

Margaret’s and my social schedule was full, staying with Margaret’s brother Chris Zehren and his wife, Andrea, my cousin Liz Moores, and then Maldwin Drummond, a yachting friend that spends his time between Florida, D.C., and Maine. Maldwin, who loves classic yachts, has owned many through the years and shares his passion of restoring and using them. We met at the Chevy Chase Country Club for lunch. Enjoying a great glass of Pinot Noir, our conversation revolved around what was coming.

Back in Florida we had launched “Aurora II” preparing for Ocean Reef’s Vintage Weekend. Last fall, in backing out of a slip, a log that was lodged under the boat came into the prop and shaft. It made such a noise that I thought the transmission had blown up. Then the massive log floated out. I knew then that the prop was mangled. Well, it bent the inside and outside shafts as well as the aft shaft strut. The “Aurora” was leaking a little, but I have run her on one motor and we were busy, so I held off on hauling her out until this past August. What a mess it was! Almost everything was bent. We straightened and replaced so much it was a major running gear refit. The good news, however, is that the “Aurora II” is running smoother than ever, kind of like sipping bourbon on the back deck on a hot day (personally I am not a bourbon man, but I have always liked that expression).

Ocean Reef’s Vintage Weekend. Each year I really look forward to that date: the first weekend of December. Coming right out of the shipyard to head to the show we wanted to take the ocean down to Key Largo, but the wind was blowing 20+ knots out of the North and there were white caps everywhere. Instead we traveled the ICW all the way to Biscayne Bay, “Aurora” making great time as the sun went down. We were nearing Angelfish Creek when thunderstorms and nightfall came upon us and we decided to anchor and go through the cut in the morning. We found a spot that looked good and dropped the hook. The wind was still blowing, so I decided to sleep in the main salon. Just as sleep filled my eyes I decided to take one last peak – much to my surprise when I sat up it looked like I was looking into someone’s living room. We weren’t aground, but just seconds away. Waking Capt. Sabin, we fired up the motors, hauled anchor, and headed to Pumpkin Key. In the morning the sky had cleared and bright daylight was all around. We pulled anchor and slid through the creek, cutting through the emerald waters with the bright sun reminded me of the Bahamas, it was a good day.

After tying up and starting to get “Aurora” cleaned, I saw this beautiful long, sleek, dark blue hull with a varnished cabin slide effortlessly through the water. The name on her was appropriate: “Stiletto”. The next day there would be a lecture on design by Halsey Hersoff about his grandfather’s yacht company. It was a very interesting slide show with interwoven movies. “Stiletto’s” predecessors were built of steel and steam powered originally designed for the Navy in the late 1800’s. You know a great speaker because when he’s done he leaves you wanting more instead of falling asleep. There were a total of three speakers and they spoke about such a wide variety of subjects throughout the weekend.

Steve White spoke of one of his restorations; then there was a lecture about “Glacier Girl”. She was a Lockheed plane that crashed on a glacier in Greenland and buried for more than 50 years under 260 feet of ice. It was 10 years from start on the ice to finish with the plane flying today; there is a great video on YouTube, “Saving Glacier Girl from World War II.”  Between that and all the other stuff it was a very full and fun weekend. On Sunday the seas calmed and I got some great photos of “Blue Mist” and “Shirean” just off Ocean Reef. Trying to get them to slow down was the hard part, but I finally got a few good ones of the two together.

The 1917 Consolidated (“Blue Mist”) shot off like a rocket; Owner and captain, Alan Zwickell was taking the waterway while Lou Jezdimir’s “Shirean” and my “Aurora II” would take the ocean. Lou headed to Ft. Lauderdale and Capt. Alan and I headed back to North Palm Beach. There were cruise ships headed out of Port Everglades as we passed. Lou’s “Shirean” was dwarfed like a small dingy as he passed the last one coming out. The sun was setting and the full moon was rising, the sky was clear, and as I laid on the couch in the main salon I had one thought: life is good. The sea cleanses our mind and soul, and with the calming sounds and rocking of the ocean I felt at peace.

Now that I am back we are finishing a caulking project down in Ft. Lauderdale. Rigging a Rhodes yawl and finishing a project for Mike Rybovich. In North Carolina Nate has a Huckins 58’ built in 1973 and named “B.F.B.” and a major refit on a New York Launch and Engine Company, 60’, built in 1914 named “Grace”.

Each year I try to give back to our community of classic yachts, this year is no different. I am proud to help start the Palm Beach Vintage Regatta Feb. 20-22. The idea is simple – bring classic yachting back to the Palm Beaches with the support and blessing of the city and local businesses. I am excited that it really is going to happen. We are even investigating the return of the Palm Beach Cup, which would be a vintage powerboat race. For this year we have the city docks with planned events from coffee and croissants at the Green Market to cocktail parties and dancing to the wee hours in the morning for the young at heart. Take a look at and come be a part of something great in the making.

I want to end this letter with thanks to all my close friends and family; to the people that believe in us and trust us with their beautiful boats. The biggest thanks are for all the wonderful people that work with us and make it all possible. My final thanks are to friends that read the Log and smile and think to themselves “that crazy guy.”

Till next time,
Jim Moores


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Washington Awards Dinner Art Gallery 23 April

A Chance to Invest in Great Marine Art – AND Support
the National Maritime Historical Society
and the Naval Historical Foundation

This year, six nationally renowned marine artists will exhibit their original works at the Maritime Art Gallery at the Washington Awards Dinner, Thursday, 23 April at the National Press Club. Here’s a preview—and a chance to purchase a painting ahead of the event. Best of all, 25% of the purchase price will benefit the Society and the Naval Historical Foundation, and is a tax-deductible contribution! The Society is grateful to Charles Raskob Robinson, a Fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists and its former president, for chairing the Marine Art Gallery. For more information and to order your painting, call (800) 221-NMHS (6647) Ext. 0, or email and support the Art Gallery today!


1. WAD 2015 Chong Morning Fog

Morning Fog

by Hiu Lai Chong
Oil on Linen, Framed, 18” x 24”
Price: $2,300


2. WAD 2015 Chong Sunset Race

Sunset Race

by Hiu Lai Chong
Oil on Linen,  Framed, 24” x 24”
Price: $3,500


3. WAD 2015 Egeli_Martha_on_the_Rails

Martha on the Rails

by Lisa Egeli
Oil on Linen, Mounted on Panel, Framed, 9” x 12”
Price: $950


4. WAD 2015 Egeli_Hurry_South

Hurry South

by Lisa Egeli
Oil on Linen, Mounted on Panel, Framed, 9” x 12”
Price: $900


6. WAD 2015 Egeli Alone Out Front

Alone in Front

by Lisa Egeli
Oil on Linen, Framed, 8” x 16”
Price: $1,200


7. WAD 2015 Egeli Cisne Branco

The Cisne Branco Entering Baltimore Harbor

by Lisa Egeli
Oil on Linen, Framed, 8” x 10”
Price:  $800


9. WAD 2015 Rindlasbacher Oars n SailsOars and Sails

by Peter Rindlisbacher
Oil on Canvas, Framed, 16” x 20”
Price: $3,400.



11. WAD 2015 Storcj Squally Day Painitng only HR

Squally Day on the Chesapeake – SOLD!

by William Storck
Oil on Panel, Framed, 8” x 10”
Price: $3,200


Moonrise by William Storck


by William Storck
Oil on Canvas, Mounted on Wood Panel, 22 kt Gilded Frame, 5” x 7”
Price: $1,800


10. WAD 2015 Silver Heel Robinson

Stepping Out on the Silver Heel

by Charles Raskob Robinson
Oil on Canvas, Framed, 18” x 24”
Price: $4,500


Flying the Red Kite on the Silver Heel

Flying the Red Kite on the Silver Heel

by Charles Raskob Robinson
Oil on Canvas, Framed, 17” x 26”
Price: $7,500


13. WAD 2015 O'Brien Washington 1910

Washington, D.C. 1905

by Patrick O’Brien
Oil on Board, Framed, 8” x 12”
Price: $3,000


USS Chesapeake on Patrol by Patrick O'BrienUSS Chesapeake on Patrol

by Patrick O’Brien
Oil on Canvas, 16” x 20”
Price: $3,500


5. WAD 2015 Egeli Out to Sea

Out to Sea

by Lisa Egeli
Oil on Linen, Framed, 9” x 12”
Price: $950


U.S. Gunboat SCORPION in the Battle of Cedar Point, 1814

U.S. Gunboat SCORPION in the Battle of Cedar Point, 1814
by Peter Rindlisbacher

Oil on Canvas, Framed, 18” x 24”
Price: $3,600.


Solitude by William Storck


by William Storck
Oil on Wood Panel, 22 kt Gilded Frame, 8” x 10”
Price: $3,200


Lettie G Howard by William Storck

Lettie G. Howard

by William Storck
Oil on Linen, 9” x 12”
Price: $3,400



You can purchase these original paintings by calling (800) 221-NMHS (6647) Ext. 0 or by emailing  Purchased works will be displayed as SOLD at the 23 April, 2015 Washington Awards Dinner and can then be picked up or delivered. (Shipping is included in the purchase price.)

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