Basic information on boats

Discussion in 'Stability' started by Guillermo, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Yep, I don't think there is a reasonable or logical answer to the question.

    If we (as a society) start removing choices to protect people from being fools, those that are not fools have their choices limited also.

    The only way to show that you may not be a fool is to earn some sort of certification. As soon as you say that in the USofA you will get your head handed to you on a platter. Everyone *knows* that 50% of the drivers/sailors/pilots have below average skill (it's the definition of average). Yet hardly anyone will admit to being in the lower 50%.

    This whole idea of making safer boats is suspect to me. If there ever was a universal truth, it is that fools can outwit designers any day of the week. The boat can't be built that a fool cannot capsize, set afire, sink, or fall off of.

    Lets compare Airplanes, Cars, and Boats for a moment.

    Designers know what conditions the aircraft are safe to fly in. Airplanes have a set of stresses above which they will fail. Pilots fly the airplane outside the envelope at their peril. The pilot must be educated and certified to fly airplanes of different types and in different conditions. No one expects airplane designers to create airplanes (except some ultra-lights) that a novice can fly with no training or certification.

    Designers know what conditions cars are safe to drive in. Because there is no presumption of driving skill, cars cannot have operational limits in the same way airplanes do. Huge sums of money have been spent to make cars safer *when* they crash. They have to be, the operators have no demonstrated skills to avoid the crash.

    A Designer should know what conditions the boats they design are safe in. Do we admit that the sea is almost as unforgiving as the air and place operating limits on our boats? Does it make more sense to lobby for programs to produce better sailors or to lobby for fool-proof boats?

    I don't want to see more 27 foot boats with roller furling masts, shoal draft wing keels, standing headroom, and wheel steering. Looking at the new boats that get delivered here, 36 feet seems to be "entry level". The 25-27 foot boats are new to second, third, or forth owners. If you spend time in forums for "Joe Average" the questions that new owners ask are frightening. That the system allows some of these people to own boats is criminal. Someone is going to risk their life sooner or later to save these misguided souls. Not beacuse the boat didn't have a high enough Rolls'Knardly ratio, but because the fool has outwitted a sound design.

    Bottom line, if you want to keep people from drowning after boats capsize, teach people not to capsize them. Teach them what conditions will capsize their boat and how to recognize and avoid those conditions. The only reason we are having this debate is because we can change the boats but we can't re-design fools.
     
  2. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

     
  3. Kaa
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    Kaa Wanderer

    Well, I, personally, is very much in favor of freedom. As one of my favorite bash.org quotes goes, "The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?" :D

    In my view, this is one of those situations where the cure is worse than the problem. I'd much rather suffer incompetents bumble around in large vehicles than have another layer of bureacracy that decides what it allows me to do and what it does not allow. The sea is open and free. I would like it to stay open and free.

    In the same way that a driver's licence shows you are a competent driver? :)

    And, by the way, people who buy sailboats tend to look like shining examples of sanity and prudency compared to those who buy powerboats...

    Don't think about absolutes, think about percentages. An unsinkable boat full of floation is safer than a lead mine because the fools' chances on it are better. Doesn't mean they won't find a way to sink it or die from exposure, or something else -- just means that a lesser percentage of them will die. And that means it's a safer boat. Not absolutely safe -- just safer.

    It makes more sense to let things be and not introduce government regulation into this whole thing. The only thing I would force on designers/manufacturers is full disclosure of information. If there's nothing in your hull but chopped mat, everyone should know this. If people who know this still want to buy the boat, let them. Eventually natural selection will sort this out :)

    To remind you, that system is called "freedom".

    Kaa
     
  4. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Nice try. Every time you mention a certification program for boats that old horse gets trotted out. :D

    I'm sure you know the difference between licensing and certification. Nice troll though.

    The regulations that govern aviation don't remove the freedom to fly airplanes. "Freedom" is earned by showing responsibility. If you cannot act responsibly, your freedoms should quite rightly be reduced.
     
  5. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

     
  6. Kaa
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    Kaa Wanderer

    There is certification for sailing. ASA, for example, would be happy to give you a bunch of certificates in exchange for money and some of your time. The problem is, nobody cares much about these certifications, not even the bareboat charters.

    We seem to have a basic philosophical disagreement. I don't think that you "earn" freedom, certainly not by showing to the authority that you've been a good boy. You have freedom to start with, you are born with it.

    Sure some of that freedom can be taken away as a consequence of your actions, but note -- consequence, not precondition. And you don't need any new system for it, a judge can perfectly well order someone to stay away from boats if he thinks that someone is dangerous on a boat.

    But anyway, this thread is not about philosophy, but about information disclosure for boats. I am a big fan of full disclosure and that's the situation where I am willing to make an exception to my general dislike of government regulation. But after that, if you still want to sail out on that contraption that you know is likely to disintegrate when somebody sneezes into its direction -- it's your choice.

    Kaa
     
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Did any one ask you if you wanted to be born? did you choose your colour, your race ,your parents, your nationality, your religion, your name, or even your sex?

    Not wanting to argue for arguments sake but birth can be a pretty bum deal with absalutely no freedom what so ever for a lot of people on this planet.
     
  8. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    I'm well aware of that program. Some of a the CYA instructors helped develop it. It is a start. I can say that the sailors that have passed the CYA intermediate course are more knowledgeable (not as experienced perhaps) than many sailors. I agree that people not caring about the certification process is a problem.

    In the US, the trend seems to be to expect the people that use a service to pay for it. How about holding the seller or the charter company liable for SAR expense if they provide a boat to an uncertified user?

    If you don't have a problem with forcing full disclosure, you agree that government/society has a right to require some action. Does not that lessen the freedom of the builders and sellers?

    The model for private aviation seems to work pretty well. I doubt that you can charter an airplane without showing proof of certification and possibility taking an instruct for a test flight before they let you loose with the plane. What's the big deal?

    I don't think that we disagree very much. With freedom comes responsibility.

    If we don't choose to act responsibly our activity might get banned ... PWC's are a prime example.
     
  9. Kaa
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    Kaa Wanderer

    Generally speaking, I'm interested in the maximization of choices and limiting the power of the government. Forcing full disclosure does nothing to the power of the government (as opposed to e.g. a licensing program) and only limits the choice of lying or concealing information. I'm OK with that.

    The model for private aviation is entirely inappropriate for boating. The risks faced in these two areas are very different. Put crudely, if you seriously screw up in an airplane you're likely to die. If you seriously screw up in a boat, you are very unlikely to die.

    And as to chartering, I have no objections to bareboat charters demanding whatever they want of their prospective clients. They are private entities and can do what they please. What I strongly dislike is any kind of scheme that effectively says "Unless you have this piece of paper you're not going out onto the water, period."

    Kaa
     
  10. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Hey guys, love your philosophical approaches to the matter, but I would appreciate some specifical proposals on the technical 'basic info list' or on technical regulations, if possible.

    like the interesting Randys' proposal:
    "The boat must survive a 4 knot impact with a submerged container. The boat must be unsinkable after the impact. If children are carried, they must be restrained in positive flotation devices and tethered so they cannot go overboard. Any vessel that carries restrained children must be capsize proof or self right from any angle within 90 seconds. In the event of impact of capsize all crew shall be restrained form hitting anything that can hurt them, or all surfaces and structures that could kill or injure a person shall either absorb or deflect energy. No person in any unrestrained position shall be subject to a force exceeding 50g's for 1 second during impact from a speed equal to S/L = 1.1 or a capsize event."

    More thoughts in this line, please.

    By the way: personal freedom ends where other people one's begins. The problem is not the stupid or irresponsible ones killing themselves, which is probably desirable in the natural order of things, but killing or risking lifes of other people in the process (family, friends, third parties, rescuers, etc).

    Cheers.

    (P.S.: And stupid and irresponsible people's mistakes also involve all of us: We end paying higher insurance fees because of them!)
     
  11. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    On the whole licensing thing. Canada has this for pleasure craft now as well as commercial, it's almost fully implemented. And simply going out on the lake you can tell that those who have it so far- younger drivers and those in smaller craft and PWCs- have vastly improved seamanship and much more respectful behaviour than five years ago. Those who don't- mostly older folks with bigger boats, who still have some time before they must have the card- often show a remarkable disrepect for other boaters, and seem to do stupid and highly dangerous things a lot more than those who have it. The card costs very little and is good for life, and the test- if you know the rules of the road and a bit about safety and common sense- is easy to do well on. But the process of studying for it makes just about everyone a smarter, more respectful seaman. Not to imply that this is what you Yanks need, but it is working incredibly well up here as far as I can tell.

    As to the boats themselves. I don't think it's feasible to regulate every aspect of design. But I do think full disclosure is in order. The customer should be able to ask for, and receive, any information they want about the boat that's not proprietary. GZ curve, key ratios, scantlings used and safety factors, hull structure.... Educating the consumer is a big thing here, it's very easy to sell crap if your customer doesn't know the difference between crap and solid design. Perhaps the industry associations should be publishing (free) information for buyers teaching them how to evaluate a boat for their needs, what questions to ask, etc. in much the same way consumer organizations do for carmakers. Possible, you think?
     
  12. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Don't tell Kaa about how well it works. :D

    I agree about making the information available to those that are interested. The top three or four numbers should also have the range and median values for similar boats printed. Just like they do for energy usage on appliances and cars.

    "This boat has a STIX of 30, the range of STIX values for other Category B boats of this size (27-30 ft) is from 21 to 45, the average is 27."

    The buyer then knows that there is a very stable boat out there that has a STIX of 45, but 30 is higher than most boats that are similar.
     
  13. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Agreed, a number on its own is useless without a range and average for comparable products.... do it like EnerGuide does, ya, that works well. Builder's marketing guy takes a look at the main competitors and buyer gets some statistically legitimate points of comparison between them. Again, though, you'll have a hard time getting the builders who sell CSM-filled junk to go along...
     
  14. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Randy's idea is nice, but people should be educated first about the meaning of STIX. And the actual tendency from manufacturers is to hide it, not educate. It seems they do not like at all the STIX idea. Even designers seem to be avoiding the thing. It's interesting to realize that very few sailboat designers around in these forums, even very collaborative ones in other matters, have written a single line on it at these related threads....Would I myself be so persistent with all this if I were a sailboats designer pretending to sell my designs to all kind of clients...? I'm not sure.
    Cheers.
     

  15. Mikey
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    Mikey Senior Member

    Guillermo, I lack a way to measure hull asymmetry in a quantitative way.

    Marchaj discusses the same but doesn't quantify it, Hamlin does.

    I would expect a Pogo 40 to show up way above 1%, if we ever get the possibility to check it, that is.

    Mikey
     
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