Tag: passenger vessel

 

It is always important to ask “why” about every detail in every design, since bad design imposes a penalty on every user for the life of the bad design. 

 

Bad design can hang around forever even if good design exists. I often ask “why?” when I am forced to use a badly designed cleat on a boat when we have a near perfect design in the 100 year old Herreshoff cleat.

 

We don't come across enough of these "why's", but I came across a nice one a few days ago.

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The SNAME annual meeting is a high speed knowledge exchange fest and the last annual meeting in Seattle may quite possibly have been the best one yet.

 

I always get the printed version of the proceedings and leaf through the papers on the flight home. My proceedings need to be the printed versions because I read them with a pen and add comments in the margins to warn the next person in the office who gets to look through them. Most papers are quite good, although occasionally there is a paper that must have slipped through our peer review process, and contains untruths, is overly commercial, or is just a “duh” paper (and generally if it contains one of these flaws, it contains all three). But the best part is finding a paper that gets one’s engineering juices flowing.

 

In this year’s proceedings one of my favorites was “Zonal Distribution Cuts Cabling Cost” by John Hensler of STX Marine.

 

During the conference the paper did not catch my eye and therefore I did not attend the presentation, but reading it in the airplane it sure made a lot of sense to me. While the execution of the concept in the paper can very be complex, the application is something everybody should take a closer look at.

 

This is a representation of a conventional power distribution in a vessel. This is the way large commercial ships including large passenger ships have been wired for over one 100 years. (I quickly copied the figures from the paper, contact SNAME for the full paper.)

This arrangement is thought to be the least expensive way to wire a ship even if there are bulkheads through which the cables have to be pulled and potted, but that may not be true.

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A disaster like the Costa Concordia opens a wide variety of investigations and undoubtedly many people are very busy in analyzing what caused the vessel to strike the reef and to capsize, but striking reefs and capsizing actually is nothing new and, on a technical level, actually is pretty well understood.

 

What is much more interesting is to place oneself in the Master’s mind immediately after the Costa Concordia struck the rock. From a technical point of view, this is the interesting part of a disaster, and where proper analysis and training can make a real difference.

 

Undoubtedly, it is necessary to avoid disasters. But since disasters will always happen, an even more important goal is to figure out what to do once you are in the middle of the disaster.

 

What really is a disaster? A disaster is an undesirable condition, but maybe it is better to define a disaster as a condition where the manager can no longer figure out what to do to get control of the condition.

 

This is an important consideration, because this definition shows that one person’s disaster is not necessarily another person’s disaster.

Which brings us to John Boyd. John Boys is one of the most amazing characters of the second half of the 20th century that nobody has heard off. Here I will only discuss one aspect of his accomplishments. John Boyd was an amazing fighter pilot, but instead of riding the mystique of the right stuff, John Boyd managed to figure out what the right stuff is and developed a fighter pilot training method to teach the right stuff. He called it the OODA loop.

 

It stands for Observe, Orientate, Decide and Act, and then do it all over again right away.

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For the second time in three years we were asked to attend to damages of the shielding on the Brooklyn Bridge. Shielding is a type of staging that is fitted to a bridge when construction work is taking place, and both cases related to contact by a crane boom with the shielding that was suspended beneath the bridge. Fortunately nobody was hurt in either case. read more »

Over the years many Arabian countries have built drydock facilities to open new industries to help them steer away from a completely oil dependent economy. Oman is the latest entrant to the list with their brand new facility in Duqm. The facility has two 400,000 ton graven docks and will also soon add a floating drydock. The facility is within an entirely new harbor and is just gorgeous with beautiful workshops and even the retired Kungsholm as a hotel facility.

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The Normandie is by far my favorite passenger vessel from a design point of view (on a pure love/looks basis, the pre-war Nieuw Amsterdam II beats her by a small margin).

 

Years ago I came across a set of drawings in our office with a last correction date of February 9, 1942 that show the conversion of the Normandie to an unnamed troop carrier drawn by Cox & Stevens.

 

It always was a mystery to me why we had this set of drawings, but recently, for the Bahrs Bar and Museum project, I was reading "Normandie, Her Life and Times" by Harvey Ardman (quite a good read by the way) and on page 273 there was mention of a Normandie valuation by Frank S. Martin. read more »