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Annual Meeting in Charleston, SC

The NMHS Annual Conference will take place 15–17 May, 2017 in Charleston, SC, in conjunction with the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) annual conference and the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Navy Medicine.

We will be joined by maritime historians, professors, underwater archaeologists, authors, captains, crew, students and leaders from the maritime heritage community. Enjoy three days of presentations, panels, scholarly papers, plus tours and receptions.

The conference will be hosted by the College of Charleston and will explore a wide range of maritime connections and cultural landscapes—and an interweaving of both—to examine the meaning and processes of our maritime heritage. The college is downtown, within easy walking distance of Marion Square and other historic sites (there also will be plenty of nearby parking available).


Monday, 15 May – Evening reception off-campus at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub and Seafood Restaurant

Tuesday, 16 May – Enjoy an afternoon harbor cruise to see Fort Sumter and then join the fun in a “dine-around,” an opportunity to better get to know other conference attendees in smaller groups at local restaurants

Wednesday, 17 May – Private tour of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley and conclude the three-day event with an evening banquet


You can register for the full three days, or by the day.
Click here for the registration and sponsorship form.

Full Conference: $265 per person – includes all continental breakfasts & lunches, sessions, breaks, reception, banquet and field trips.  (If reserved prior to March 31, the cost was $245 per person)

Single Day:
Monday: $125 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, all lectures,
reception at Tommy Condon’s Restaurant.

Tuesday: $125 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, harbor cruise to Fort Sumter and all lectures.

Wednesday: $145 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, tour of H. L. Hunley and banquet.

Cancellation Policy: All cancellations must be in writing; email is acceptable. Substitutions are accepted at any time, but must also be requested in writing. Cancellations will be refunded up until 5:00 PM EST May 1, 2017 minus a $50 cancellation fee. After 1 May 2017 no refunds will be issued.

Charleston International Airport is served by American, Delta, Jet Blue, Southwest, and United Airlines. There is a downtown shuttle service that costs $14 each way and leaves every fifteen minutes. A taxi to the Francis Marion hotel is about $30 each way. The driver may not charge extra for two passengers, but there is a $14 per passenger supplement for more than two people.


DAYS INN Charleston Historic District – ROOMS STILL AVAILABLE
NASOH also has a room block at the Days Inn Charleston Historic District, located at 155 Meeting Street. The conference rate is $135/night. Attendees must make their own room reservations by calling (843) 722-8411 by Friday, 21 April 2017; you must mention the group code C G N A S O to receive this rate.

facadeNASOH has reserved a room block at the Francis Marion Hotel located at 387 King Street. The website is:

The conference rate is $179/night for a single or double traditional room. Attendees must make their own room reservations by calling (877) 756-2121 by Friday, 31 March 2017; you must identify yourself as attending the NASOH conference to receive this rate. The Francis Marion hotel is on Marion Square, and is within easy walking distance of the College of Charleston.


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TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®: Boston, 17–22 June 2017

Tall Ships America is collaborating with Sail Training International for a transatlantic Tall Ships Regatta* marking the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta will bring ships from European host ports to Boston on 17–22 June and then on to various ports in Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence before arriving in Quebec City in July. From Quebec City ,the ships will return to Europe in September 2017.

Tall Ships America is planning port events along the Atlantic Coast culminating in the Sail Boston® 2017event as part of their TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 series. Check this webpage for the latest information on participating US ports it develops.

About Tall Ships America
Founded in 1973, Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. It is the hub for tall ship activity, expertise, and information in North America, and is commended by the United States Congress as the Sail Training Organization representing the United States in the international forum.  Tall Ships America supports the people, ships and programs of sail training and tall ships through grants, scholarships, conferences, education, publications, regulatory and licensing information, public events and advocacy. The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public, and support education under sail.

For more information visit the Tall Ships America website.


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February Seminar: Draken Harald Hårfagre

The Viking Ship Draken Harald Hårfagre
Presentation with Captain Bjorn Ahlander

LOCATION: Hendrick Hudson Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Captain Bjorn Ahlander will discuss the construction and expedition of Draken Harald Harfågre, the largest Viking ship built in modern times. A researched and drew inspiration from the Norse sagas, archaeological remains of the original Viking ships Gokstad and Oseberg, and tapped into the wooden boatbuilding tradition of the region. Craftsmen used axes, adzes, and augers, among other traditional woodworking tools, to build the hull, an undertaking that incorporated more than 17,000 riveted iron fastenings. Her ornate dragon head was carved by instructors and students at a local folk art carving school. She was launched in 2012, and in 2016 made her first transatlantic voyage with port stops in Iceland, Greenland, the Great Lakes, Canada, New York City, and Mystic Seaport. Draken Harald Harfågre was greeted by appreciative crowds in North America.

Read about the Draken in the recent issue of Sea History (SH 157, Winter 2016–17)

Members of the general public are welcome to attend.

There is no charge to attend the seminars, but a $5 to $10 donation at the door is appreciated to support our efforts. If you would also like to join NMHS and the speaker for lunch following the presentation, the cost is $25 prepaid, reservation required, with cash bar.  For more information and to reserve a space for the program and luncheon, please email or call 914 737-7878 x 0.

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December Charles Point Council Seminar: Norseman Saga

Saturday, 3 December
‘Norseman Saga’ and HOLIDAY POT LUCK PARTY at Cortlandt Yacht Club
James L. Nelsondraken_harald_sm
By the latter part of the 8th Century, all of Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages, a violent and uncertain time. Then suddenly and seemingly without warning, a new menace swept onto the scene as Viking raiders from Denmark, Norway and Sweden began crossing the oceans to plunder England, Ireland and the Continent. These Norse invaders came first to pillage, and later to conquer and settle. In less than a hundred years after their depredations began, the Vikings had become a major military and political force throughout Europe.

Author James L. Nelson, who has previously written on such topics as piracy and the naval action of the American Revolution, turns his attention to his own ancestors, the Norsemen, and their raiding and later settling in Europe, and Ireland in particular. He will also discuss the technological advances and unique aspects of Norse ship design and building, and how those advances helped drive the Viking invasion. Nelson is currently working on a series of novels that chronicle the adventures of Viking Thorgrim Night Wolf and company in 9th Century Ireland.

James Nelson has written more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, all centered on the maritime world.  Book signing to follow.

Holiday Pot luck

Join us for our Holiday Pot Luck Party with James Nelson after the presentation.
Please bring a dish, drink or dessert that serves six to eight people.

Cortlandt Yacht Club
238 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY  10548

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History Cruise Aboard SS John W. Brown

Living History Cruise Aboard SS John W. Brown
Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sail back into World War II aboard a national treasure. SS John W.  Brown carries you back into wartime.

OutwardBoundExperience life aboard the last remaining troop ship from WWII.  The historic original triple-expansion steam engine powers us in convoy through the day.  Meeting soldiers, marines, sailors and civilian re-enactors help pull you back into wartime.  The entertainment gives the feel of a USO Show aboard ship. Through the day, air cover will be provided to see us safely on our journey.

JWB Swanson photoThis exciting 6-hour day cruise includes lunch (the mess provides sea rations—a deli lunch), beverages, snacks, music of the 40’s, period entertainment, and flybys (conditions permitting) of wartime aircraft. Tour museum spaces, defensive guns, crew’s quarters, cargo spaces, and troop berthing and much more. View the magnificent 140-ton triple-expansion steam engine as it powers the ship through the water.

JWB2007 Buzzard BayChairs, sunscreen, hat and a camera are great things to bring along onto the ship. Please keep in mind that this is a working cargo ship, so sensible shoes are a must.  Also, dress accordingly – layers may be best as we will be out on the water and it may be breezy, but it also may be warm and there is no air conditioning.

The ship will sail from Pier 36 at 10:00 am and return at 4:00 pm.
Passenger boarding: 8:00 am to 9:00 am.

Pier 36
299 South Street
New York, NY 10002

SS John W. Brown is the last remaining troop transport from WWII and the last to have landed troops ashore as part of an amphibious landing. It is also the oldest remaining Liberty Ship in the world. It was built in Baltimore, its present-day home port. It is a museum and maritime education center open to all ages.

Please click this link for the NMHS discounted rate: TICKET INFORMATION

Organizer: Project Liberty Ship, Inc.
Project Liberty Ship is dedicated to the preservation of the Liberty Ship SS John W. Brown as a living memorial to the men and women who built the great Liberty Fleet and to the merchant seamen and US Navy Armed Guard who sailed the ships across the oceans of the world.



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Special July Event: Launching the Andrea Doria Lifeboat

The Andrea Doria Lifeboat Launching—60 Years Later
Saturday, 30 July 2016
10:00 am–4:00 pm

Discovering, recovering, restoring and re-launching Andrea Doria’s Lifeboat #1, at the Maritime Academic Center, State University of New York Maritime College.


Photo courtesy Mark Koch

Mark Koch, a dive manager from the New Orleans area, has acquired the Andrea Doria’s Lifeboat #1 and had it restored to new quality at Scarano Boatbuilding in Albany, NY. The 28-foot boat looks great—shiny, bright white, and totally renewed, except for a few of its historic dents and mystifying bullet holes. Yes, bullet holes. All of its mechanical components have been reconditioned and the human-powered cranks that drive the big brass propeller operate perfectly.

On July 30—60 years from the sinking—this restored lifeboat will be launched from the waterfront at the SUNY Maritime College. All willing participants are invited to paddle the lifeboat out into Long Island Sound for a short excursion (the boat holds about 50 people).

Historians, divers, ship and boat preservationists LifeboatSMand others will discuss the Andrea Doria, her collision at sea with the Stockholm, and the significance of that collision to the merchant marine world. Discussions will focus on the repercussions of that accident, the evolution of lifeboat technology, and the effects of the sinking on the training of merchant mariners and on the evolution of SCUBA technology.

In addition, docents will lead tours of the Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler, which houses exhibits on the history of the United States maritime industry, including commercial shipping, the merchant marine, the port of New York, and history of Fort Schuyler.

  • 10:00 am: Registration, Coffee, Tea and Muffins (in Maritime Academic Center)
  • 10:30–11:30 am: Presentations
  • 11:30 am: Launch of the boat
  • 12:15 pm: Lunch ($15 per person at the cafeteria)
  • 1:30 pm: Presentations in the Luce Library (in Fort Schuyler)
  • 2:30–4:00 pm: Tour of the Maritime Industry Museum (in Fort Schuyler)
Photo courtesy Mark Koch

Photo courtesy Mark Koch

This event is free and open to the public.
Suggested Donation – $5 to $10.
Reservations required, 914 737-7878 x 0 or email

The event will take place at:
Maritime Academic Center, State University of New York Maritime College
6 Pennyfield Avenue
Bronx, NY  10465

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Nauticus to Purchase Schooner Virginia

The Norfolk City Council voted on Tuesday to approve a plan for the Nauticus Foundation to buy the schooner Virginia. Under the proposed plan, Virginia would be docked next to the battleship Wisconsin and used for educational programming.

CREDIT: Mark Krasnow Photography

CREDIT: Mark Krasnow Photography

Nauticus, an interactive science and technology center that explores the naval, economic, and nautical power of the sea, is run by the city of Norfolk and supported by the nonprofit Nauticus Foundation. It is home to the Battleship Wisconsin and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. Using a $1 million state grant to cover the purchase of the schooner and seed a fund for future maintenance and repairs, Nautilus plans to use Virginia as part of Sail Nauticus, a program that gives underprivileged children around Hampton Roads access to the water.

The program teaches kids about character and teamwork, and builds science and math skills.

A reproduction of the last all sail vessel built for the Virginia Pilot Association, Virginia was built in Norfolk between 2002 and 2004, and sailed for the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation as an educational platform. She has sailed up and down the Atlantic coast, as well as to international destinations such as Trinidad, Bermuda, and Prince Edward Island. A reduction in state funding for the program made it increasingly difficult for the VMHF to meet operating costs, and the organization put the schooner up for sale last year.

Photo: Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation

Virginia and Pride of Baltimore II. Photo: Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation

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South Street Receives $4.84 Million for Community Education Space

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) and the South Street Seaport Museum (SSSM) have announced $4.8 million in federal funds for the renovation of SSSM’s Water Street properties as an education and community space. The proposed allocation is made possible by a grant from LMDC, which is funded through Community Development Block Grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds are being obtained through a $50 million legal settlement reached with Lend Lease Construction LMB Inc. (formerly Bovis Lend Lease LMB Inc.). LMDC formed a working group of state and city officials that conducted extensive reviews of the proposals, including site visits and interviews, and oversaw a public information session, during which dozens of community members presented and discussed various proposals.

Photo courtesy South Street Seaport Museum

Photo courtesy South Street Seaport Museum

“The South Street Seaport is where New York City began,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “These funds will be significant in ensuring the museum’s long-term vitality and ability to provide appropriate space for its extraordinary programming that documents that history.”

“We are thrilled that LMDC has once again moved to support the Seaport Museum,” said Captain Jonathan Boulware, the museum’s executive director. “This grant will support the renovation and activation of the Seaport Museum’s historic buildings in support of its education and community programs. Together with significant restorations of our ships, these new spaces will form the basis for outstanding programming.”

Notable recent achievements in the last year include revitalized education programming (with tripled attendance over last year), increased membership and public programs (more than doubled), installation of a new exhibit at 12 Fulton Street, and the reactivation of the 1893 schooner Lettie G. Howard as a sailing school vessel. In addition, the museum is nearing completion of a $13 million city-funded restoration of the 1885 ship Wavertree, which will return to the museum’s piers this summer.

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NMHS 2016 Annual Meeting – Newport, RI

National Maritime Historical Society
53rd Annual Meeting
23–24 May, 2016
Officers Club of the United States Naval War College
Newport, Rhode Island

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US at the City by the Sea for our 53rd Annual Meeting at the Officers Club of the United States Naval War College in Newport. We were joined by leaders from the local maritime heritage community, who will gave reports highlighting maritime history and activity in and around Newport.

NWC from air from web 2SM

 Naval War College


NMHS was delighted that America’s sailing ambassador Gary Jobson previewed his new film about Sable Island, a remote island that has experienced more than 350 shipwrecks in the last 500 years.
WATCH: Trailer of the movie

The Magic and Mystery of Sable Island
A new documentary film produced by Gary Jobson
Hosted by Gary Jobson

About 200 miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, sits a remote island of sand, and grass. This crescent-shaped island is home to a herd of 500 wild horses, many thousands of gray seals, and some birds and insects that are indigenous only to Sable Island. In August 2015, Gary Jobson organized a cruise to Sable to produce a documentary. While the scenery is beautiful, sadly, it is also the site of 350 shipwrecks over the past 500 years. The low sand dunes make the island difficult to see. Fog surrounds the island on more days than not. The yacht, with a crew of six, was the only sailing vessel given permission to land on Sable Island in 2015. The crews included two archaeologists, three sailors,, and a cameraman and were very lucky to visit the island on three unusually clear days.

It is a miracle that Sable—the name means “sand” in French— exists. By all accounts, the 26-mile-long island was formed during the last ice age. It is barely one mile wide. To the north, the Labrador Current sweeps past, and not far to the south, the Gulf Stream flows in the opposite direction. The combination of currents, waves and storms has a huge impact on the position, and shape of Sable Island. A few Canadian researchers, meteorologists, and park rangers rotate living on the island.

During Jobson’s visit, the team interviewed the experts on the island about its history. The archaeologists found many fascinating artifacts. The horses provided endless fascination with their migratory patterns each day. There were no human footprints anywhere to be seen. It became apparent that the crew was seeing what the east coast of North America must have been like before any development took place. It felt as remote as their expeditions to the Polar Regions. The seals looked like they enjoyed life, but just outside the surf line dozens of sharks waited for an opportunity to attack. Clearly, swimming was out of the question.

This documentary will take you to a very remote and seldom visited place.
Runtime:  43 minutes

As the Steamship Historical Society of America and Tall Ships America are headquartered nearby, we were honored to have their leadership join us and discuss their respective organizations and current activities. Founded in 1935, the Steamship Historical Society of America has grown to become the world’s leading organization on the history of engine-powered vessels, with close to 3,000 domestic and international members in more than fifteen countries. SSHSA executive director Matthew Schulte spoke on behalf of that organization. Tall Ships America’s executive director (and NMHS advisor) Bert Rogers spoke on the challenges facing operational sailing ships in the 21st century and what Tall Ships America is doing to support them, promoting sail training and traditional sail through its annual Tall Ships Challenge series, and supporting the continuing professional education and safety standards for those manning today’s tall ships. Bert began his seafaring career in 1978 aboard the brigantine Romance under Captain Arthur Kimberly, winner of the 2008 NMHS Karl Kortum American Ship Trust Award.

We also heard from Perry Lewis , Vice Chairman of Rhode Island’s new tall ship, Oliver Hazard Perry.

After a luncheon buffet at the Officers Club, acclaimed author and naval historian Dr. John B. Hattendorf gave a presentation on Navies in Narragansett Bay to 1865, and then lead us on a tour of the Naval War College Museum, of which he is director. Professor Hattendorf is a longtime NMHS member and former president of the North American Society for Oceanic History. The E. J. King professor of maritime history at the Naval War College since 1984, he has written and edited more than forty books on American and British maritime history and naval warfare, and the US Naval Institute Proceedings has described him as “one of the most widely known and well-respected naval historians in the world.”

Luce Hall, Building 1, Luce Avenue, Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island. Photograph taken 14 July 2012.

Luce Hall, Building 1, Luce Avenue, Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island. Photograph taken 14 July 2012.

The Naval War College Museum is one of the US Navy’s nine official museums nationwide. It is operated by the Naval History and Heritage Command in cooperation with the Naval War College. Located in what was built in 1819 as the poor house of Newport County, the facility became the Naval War College’s first building in 1884. It was here that Alfred Thayer Mahan gave his lectures that led to his famous book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History (1890). The current special exhibits are Operation Deep Freeze! and The Face of Admiral Lord Nelson.

We chartered Adirondack II for a sail around Newport Harbor. The schooner was built at Scarano Boatbuilding in Albany, where NMHS trustee Rick Scarano and his brother John, have built many beautiful passenger vessels, many of them sailing vessels. Adirondack II, built in 1999, is an elegant 80-foot, turn-of-the-century-style pilot schooner.

For for the Society to flourish and grow, it is important that its leaders and members meet and share ideas to chart the Society’s course into the future. This has kept us vital for more than half a century and is never more important than right now.



1:00 pm Screening of the new documentary film The Magic and Mystery of Sable Island,, produced by Gary Jobson Hosted by Gary Jobson
at the
Seamen’s Church Institute
18 Market Square
Newport, RI


8:30 am Registration
Continental Breakfast
Officers Club of US Naval War College
9:30 am    Business Meeting Begins  
11:15 am Coffee Break  
11:30 am  Maritime Heritage Presentations Rhode Island’s New Tall Ship, Oliver Hazard Perry: Perry Lewis, Vice Chairman, OHPRI
    Update on the Work of the IYRS: Terry Nathan, President of the International Yacht Restoration School
    Current Activities of the Steamship Historical Society of America: Matthew Schulte, Executive Director
    Challenges Facing Operational Sailing Ships in the 21st Century: Bert Rogers, Executive Director, Tall Ships America
12:45 pm   Cash Bar and Buffet Luncheon Officers Club
1:45 pm     


Luncheon Speaker “Navies in Narragansett Bay to 1865”: Dr. John B. Hattendorf, Author and Naval Historian, Director of  the Naval War College Museum
2:30 pm   Tour of Naval War College Museum Led by Dr. John B. Hattendorf, Author and Naval Historian, Director of  the Naval War College Museum


11:00 am NMHS Sail Around Newport Harbor on  Adirondack II Enjoy a two-hour sail on this elegant 80-foot, turn-of-the-century style pilot schooner. Drinks will be hosted by Rick Scarano. The cost for the sail is $55 per person; space is limited and early reservations are recommended.


Newport Harbor Hotel

Newport Harbor Hotel



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Charles Point Council February Seminar

Please Join Us for

Finding Einstein’s Sailboat—Maritime College Students Develop Creative Approaches to Locating Lost Maritime Artifacts
with David Allen, of SUNY Maritime College

Saturday, 27 February 2016
 Hendrick Hudson Library – 25 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548

Albert Einstein
Many of the artifacts from some of America’s momentous maritime events are lost in plain sight and rusting, rotting or corroding away. Students from the State University of New York have been tracking down lost or mislaid historic maritime-related artifacts. And they have made some astonishing discoveries.

The students are using old photo albums, decades-old trucking receipts, and solid detective work to locate, and verify the provenance of, historically significant lifeboats (two from the Andréa Doria), forgotten naval cannons from momentous battles, parts from historic aircraft, a handwritten letter (with an original poem) from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and countless other maritime artifacts that might otherwise have been lost forever to scholars.

One team may have located three of the actual lifeboats from the RMS Lusitania. Two of the boats from the Andrea Doria and, quite possibly, one lifeboat boat from the 1934 tragedy of the Morro Castle fire have been located in back yards in suburban New Jersey. And, in another New Jersey neighborhood, a possible Titanic lifeboat (Lifeboat #1) may be rotting away under a crabapple tree. Students are also on the trail of Albert Einstein’s favorite sailboat, the Tinef. The famous physicist sailed this little around Eastern Long Island in the summers just before WWII. Two of our students have uncovered some good evidence that the little boat may be hidden under an old tarp in the back of a lakeside garage in upstate New York.

David Allen will discuss and illustrate some of the innovative and sometimes unorthodox methods used by humanities students at SUNY Maritime College to bring these important artifacts back into the public realm and make them available to researchers.

P1010002_4David Allen teaches history and research methods within the humanities department at SUNY Maritime College in New York City; his concentration is American history and American maritime history. He has taught in high schools, junior high, and college, as well as for a wagon train, aboard tall ships, in museums and for the National Maritime Historical Society.

He also serves as the assistant collections manager for the Museum of Merchant Shipping, situated within the historic Fort Schuyler, on the campus of the Maritime College in the Bronx, and serves on its board.

He has collaborated with groups such as NASA, the Naval Underwater Warfare Center, myriad museums and other non-profit educational institutions, as well as the History Channel, to bring maritime educational programs to life.

Continental breakfast is at 10:30 AM. Presentation is at 11:00 AM.

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 $25 prepaid, with cash bar. Reservations required.

For more information on the complete lineup of seminars as it is finalized, please check back with the Charles Point Council page for ongoing updates.


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