Rik van Hemmen's blog

While cleaning out files and I came across a 2004 collision that my father, Henk van Hemmen, handled. In the file there was a copy of a survey report on a 1971 collision with an angle of blow determination.

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Design is complicated, but often we try to explain it in a quick catchy phrase. There is a saying: “The Devil is in the Details”. Mies van der Rohe is often credited with flipping the concept upside down by saying: “God is in the Details”. Regardless, it means that if you do not pay attention to the details the design will stink.

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I have always had an odd fascination with Chrysler. The whole story is too long to get into, but it relates to my Mother first seeing value in Chrysler stock and timing the ups and downs like Paganini on a violin, and my days at Chrysler's Highland Parks Tech Center working with Chrysler engineers on secret America's Cup projects in the days of minivans and K Cars.


I knew how Chrysler engineers worked and when the merger with Daimler took place I had an UhOh moment. There are great Chrysler engineers, and there are great Mercedes engineers, but that does not mean they think the same way. At Martin & Ottaway we are very sensitive to the differences in world wide engineering cultures and Germans and Americans jointly producing cars? I think not. I ran this by my German Detroit car engineer brother in law and he felt the same way.


So it did not work out. And then Sergio Marchionne walked in with Fiat and walked out with both. American and Italian engineers are a much better match and I was encouraged.


And then I heard an interesting story.

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I joined the industry in 1981 and, before that, remember playing with the tarballs on the Dutch Northsea beaches. Things don't always get better, but as far as international shipping is concerned, boy, have things improved.


A huge portion of the credit goes to all the hardworking mariners who notice things that are wrong, and then come together from all over the world, and just fix it.



How? Check out this little video IMO at 70.

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We discussed hydrogen generation techniques in our 2014 guest blog by Matt Stern. Since that time, the world has continued its fascination with this element, and recent developments show some interesting progress. 


Our present intern Karley Hildin provides an update:


One really interesting example is a project taking place in Orkney, an island chain in the Northern Isles of Scotland (Figure 1).  Orkney has been leading the way in energy innovation since its first commercial wind turbine was built in 1951.  Since then, the islands have accumulated 700 wind and 350 solar generators.  Their renewable energy generation has been so successful that it exceeds Orkney’s electricity demand and now they are looking at energy export.


So, what is their solution to an overabundance of electricity? Actual transportable sustainable hydrogen production.


                     Figure 1. Orkney, Scotland


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It is a pleasure to introduce Michael Raftery as a member of the M&O consultant team.


Mike is an ex-Navy SeaBee diver who studied Oceanography under the GI Bill. After graduation, he worked as a space launch manager and then obtained his Master’s Degree in Ocean Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he performed cutting edge research and design on Wave Energy Recovery systems, ultimately culminating in the award of his patent on a novel wave energy recovery approach.


Over the years M&O has become continually more involved in ocean structures and sustainability issues. Mike’s background in ocean engineering and wave energy recovery will significantly enhance the depth of M&O’s knowledge and experience in those fields. He is still an active diver instructor and has vast experience in underwater installation and construction projects.


Besides working on the typical basket of M&O projects, Mike will be particularly active in the fascinating field of Ocean Wave Energy Recovery.

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It is a pleasure to introduce David Del Corso as a member of the Martin & Ottaway consulting team.


David is a 2015 US Merchant Marine Academy Marine Engineering graduate and, after stints as a ship's engineer and design engineer, has joined Martin & Ottaway to reinforce the junior engineer echelon.


Martin & Ottaway has survived and thrived since 1875 by carefully nurturing its talent to provide a continuous level of the highest quality of surveying and consulting services. We achieve this by combining deep experience with highly motivated young talent who know that the path to senior engineer status is hard, but deeply satisfying when engaged in new challenges every day.

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May Paper: Engineering Ethics Clashes and Crashes


Presenter: Hendrik "Rik" van Hemmen, President of Martin & Ottaway, Inc.


Both licensed engineers and SNAME members function under a code of ethics. While it may not occur often, just about every engineer will occasionally encounter ethics challenges and proper conduct under those challenges can mean the difference between professional respect and career suicide. This presentation discusses the various applicable codes and provides examples of situations where the use and application of the code can assist engineers in doing the right thing.



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It is a pleasure to introduce Capt. Leonard Pucci as a member of the M&O consultant team.


I have known Lenny for many years, and worked with him on quite a number of projects. Besides providing our standard basket of services (particularly in the Rhode Island area, where he will be based), Lenny’s area of specialization is in large yachts. Lenny is a rare combination of a 3000 ton licensed Master, who has captained many large yachts, and a University of Michigan Naval Architect and Marine Engineering graduate. 


Most recently he has been the project manager on a number of successful very large yacht projects in the US and abroad, and he will continue to provide those services in addition to working on other M&O projects.


Lenny and I first started working together on the 1987 Eagle America’s Cup campaign; but, as is well known, the only way to make a small fortune in yacht design is to start with a large fortune. Therefore, when the America’s Cup campaign was winding down, Lenny and I had to look for new ways to make a living.

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A week or so ago, for a minute, Lenny Pucci and I were thinking about jointly owning a sailboat. That immediately raised the next question: Well, what kind of sailboat?


I did not hesitate, and immediately suggested a Freedom 44. To me it is one of the most useful sailboats out there.


Fortunately, our boat owning fever subsided quickly, and we returned to our normal state of boat ownership immune response.


But, for a second, I felt a certain lightness in my heart about finally having my hands on a substantial sailboat with freestanding masts.


I love freestanding masts. They are a design miracle that continues to be ignored by the larger sailing community. To us regular sailors, there are too many advantages (my favorite is to be able to tack upwind in a narrow channel without putting my cup of coffee down).

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