Wright Eclipse Gemini

The Wright Eclipse Gemini is a low-floor double-decker bus body, built by Wrightbus between 2001 and 2019, based on the single-deck Wright Eclipse design. The second-generation Eclipse Gemini 2 was launched in 2009, followed by the third-generation Gemini 3 in 2013. Additionally, the body was available on Volvo Super Olympian chassis in Hong Kong between 2003 and 2005, marketed as the Wright Explorer. Production of the Gemini have been suspended as Wrightbus entered administration in September 2019; the original Eclipse Gemini was launched in 2001 on Volvo B7TL chassis. From 2008, the body was available on Volvo B5LH hybrid chassis. Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied buses were mass-introduced on London Buses services from 2001, it has been popular with FirstGroup, who have purchased over 1,200 into service. Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann have acquired many Volvo B9TLs with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork; the Eclipse Gemini was launched in 2001 on Volvo B7TL chassis, as a double decker version of the existing Wright Eclipse body.

The original Eclipse Gemini, all versions up until the facelifted Gemini 3, have both the upper and lower deck front windscreens forming part of a single oval shape, with the destination blind in between. In London, as with most buses, Eclipse Geminis have two doors for passenger loading, one at the front and one in the centre. On London examples, the staircase is situated across from the centre entrance, while on single door variants, the staircase is located at the front, directly behind the driver's cab; the staircase itself differs from other modern buses as rather than having a banister, the Eclipse Gemini features a glass panel underneath the handrail, giving a stylish appearance. All Eclipse Geminis are fitted with LED rear lights. Although London and Lothian Buses models retain calico blinds, most Eclipse Geminis are fitted with LED destination screens; as is common on most new buses, stop request buttons appear on both floors and should these be pressed, the word "Stopping" appears in red on a black glass effect panel, much more streamlined than the traditional box housing.

The interior of the Eclipse Gemini features curves similar to its exterior, continues the modern feel. In 2006, the Volvo B7TL chassis was superseded by the Volvo B9TL; the updated styling was confined to the rear of the body, where it has a more rounded appearance compared to the original and a central LED route number panel, housed within a smoked glass effect panel underneath the upper rear window. Other external modifications included the relocation of the rear number plate from its integrated position with the upper rear window to a more conventional siting at the bottom of the bus. Internally, the facelift consisted of an extension of the driver guard panel to include the on-bus vault and a modified staircase separation wall, which featured a glass panel to improve the view of passengers sitting in the seat directly in front of the wall; the Eclipse Gemini was made available on the hybrid Volvo B5LH chassis in 2008. The first six hybrid Eclipse Geminis were delivered to Arriva London in 2009.

Of the 2,555 produced between 2001 and 2009, FirstGroup purchased 1,133, Go-Ahead Group 281, Arriva 244, National Express 231 and Lothian Buses 225. Between 2003 and 2005, Wrightbus bodied 100 Volvo Super Olympian chassis for Kowloon Motor Bus in Hong Kong; the bodywork was modified to fit the Super Olympian chassis, with the most noticeable difference being the tri-axle layout. The last Volvo Super Olympian to roll off the production line received. Subsequently, the Super Olympian was replaced by a tri-axle variant of the Volvo B9TL. Wrightbus offered similar tri-axle bodywork, unnamed and had different rear styling, to the chassis. After the introduction of Euro IV-engined Volvo B9TL, this bodywork became known as the Eclipse Gemini tri-axle, but no bodywork carrying this name were known to have been built; the second generation Wright Eclipse Gemini, called the Eclipse Gemini 2, was launched in 2008 on Volvo B9TL and B5LH chassis. The Eclipse Gemini 2 features front and rear ends facelifted to match the Eclipse 2 single-decker, as part of Wrightbus' new design philosophy.

A low-roof version was introduced in 2012. In March 2015, Delaine Buses took delivery of both the last Eclipse Gemini 2 and the last Volvo B9TL to be built for the United Kingdom and Ireland. Dublin Bus purchased 160. Like the Explorer, the Eclipse Gemini 2 was sold in Hong Kong, including a tri-axle variant that replaced the Explorer. Citybus, Kowloon Motor Bus, MTR Bus and New World First Bus purchasing examples. In 2014, Kowloon Motor Bus purchased. In 2017, the first demonstrator Volvo B8L for Kowloon Motor Bus was fitted with an Eclipse Gemini 2 body. Between 2010 and 2017, SBS Transit and Land Transport Authority took delivery of 1,606 Eclipse Gemini 2s, being delivered as knock-down kits and locally assembled by ComfortDelGro; as of 2017, they are operated by Go-Ahead Singapore, SBS Transit, SMRT Buses and Tower Transit Singapore. The third generation Wright Eclipse Gemini, now called the Gemini 3, was launched in 2013 for the new Volvo B5TL chassis, the eventual replacement of the B9TL.

The Gemini 3 remained available on Volvo B5LH hybrid chassis. Some design features were taken

2002 Arras–Madrid–Dakar Rally

The 2002 Dakar Rally known as the 2002 Arras–Madrid–Dakar Rally was the 24th running of the Dakar Rally event. The format of the rally was revised for 2002 with the introduction of two-day stages and two stages without the use of navigation aids; the race started in Arras in northern France on 28 December 2001 and finished at Dakar in Senegal on 13 January 2002. The 1999 and 2000 winner, Jean-Louis Schlesser, switched from a petrol powered vehicle to a diesel powered one in a bid to make the vehicle lighter However, he was forced to retire from the rally during the sixth stage from Er-Rachidia to Ouarzazate in Morocco while lying 11th overall when his vehicle caught fire. Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka took the lead at the sixth stage, went on to win the rally; the motorcycle category was won by Fabrizio Meoni for the second successive year. ^1 - Stages cancelled for trucks due to poor weather conditions. Source: ^1 - Peterhansel had a 14-minute penalty added to his time as a result of speeding in the liaison section.

^2 - De Mévius earned an 18-minute penalty for failing to complete the liaison section in the allotted time. Source: ^1 - All competitors awarded a stage time of 50:00. Source

USS Sultana (SP-134)

USS Sultana was a yacht acquired under a free lease by the U. S. Navy during World War I, she was assigned to escort duty in the North Atlantic Ocean. She served honorably—rescuing survivors adrift in the water and protecting cargo ships from submarine attack—and was returned to her owner at the close of the war. Sultana was built in 1889 by Robins at Erie Basin, New York, it was commissioned for his wife Julia Hunt Catlin, of New York City. They spent their honeymoon on it and crossed the Atlantic "about 75 times" as quoted from her memoires. "We cruised from the Windward Isles to South America. One time we cruised for a year and a half from the North Cape to the Suez, stopping wherever and for as long as we pleased." Trenor L. Park was silk merchant and prominent yachtsman. After his death in 1907, it was sold to Mrs. E. H. Harriman of New York City, widow of the late railroad baron E. H. Harriman. On 4 May 1917, Mrs. Harriman loaned the steam yacht to the United States Navy under a free lease.

Sultana was fitted out at the New York Navy Yard, she joined a special patrol force at Tompkinsville, New York, on 6 June. The force sailed for France on 9 June. On 4 July, she rescued 45 survivors of the American merchantman, torpedoed the day before. From 4 July 1917 to 5 December 1918, Sultana was attached to the United States Patrol Squadron based at Brest and performed escort and patrol duty. On 5 December, after the war had ended, she headed for home via the Azores and Bermuda, arrived at New York City on 28 December 1918. Sultana was stripped of her military hardware and returned to Mrs. Harriman on 17 February 1919 and struck from the Navy list. USS Vedette U. S. Navy World War I This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships; the entry can be found here. USS Sultana, 1917-1919; the Civilian yacht Sultana