All posts by Kurt

Fire Safety from Profligate

Richard Spindler
Yesterday at 2:07 PM ·

One of the biggest lessons of the horrible Conception dive boat tragedy for the Grand Poobah is that just because things have been fine on a boat for decades doesn’t mean there aren’t some inherent problems that just haven’t yet manifested themselves, that new problems haven’t developed, and that things can’t be improved.

As is the case with a lot of other boat owners, because of the tragedy the Poobah has taken a whole new look at Profligate in terms of safety and safety procedures. Before sharing some of these with you, the Poobah wants to remind all boat owners and crew, that they and they alone are responsible for the boats they sail on in the Ha-Ha. The Ha-Ha specifically does not vet boats or crew. Those who are not expert enough to vet their own boats or the boats they are sailing on are required, and indeed have certified to the fact, that they have had a marine surveyor do it for them.

1) Although the 8 lead acid house batteries are located beneath Profligate’s cockpit sole, the Poobah decided that the amount of ventilation, which has been fine for 22 years, could be improved. So large new vents have been installed. Overcharged lead acid batteries creates hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide gas — the latter smells like rotten eggs — and is highly explosive at just 4%. We nearly had an explosion on our boat in Paris because of this.
2) The boat’s wiring, while still not perfect, has been cleaned up. Electrical problems are the cause of most fires, and fires, along with sinking, are the most serious problems at sea.

1) Two fire blankets in the case of galley fires. Less than $20. These are for smothering galley and other fires, but also can help protect bodies that have to run through areas of fire.
2) Welder’s fire proof gloves. When the lithium batteries suddenly started going off on the Andrews 68 Pyewacket, the captain told the Poobah that it was very difficult to disconnect the batteries and carry them on deck and onto the dock. Welder’s gloves would have been a big help in that situation or any other fire situation. About $20.
3) Fire smoke detectors. One of the things that likely contributed to the great loss of life on Conception was the fact that, for whatever reason, no smoke detectors were heard. The Poobah is installing six of them on Profligate, including two next to the big battery banks, as they also detect deadly hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide. These are well under $20.
4) The Poobah has purchased four RescueMe MOB1’s, which are to be worn by all who are on watch. In the event somebody goes overboard, it activates a very loud horn over the DSC on the VHF to alert the crew that somebody has gone overboard, and then constantly updates the man overboard’s positions to within just a few feet using AIS. Brilliant stuff. Each unit is about $279. In addition, we’re encouraging each crew member to buy their own. The MOB1 do not send out an EPIRB signal, but we think the AIS signal is much more important.
5) Explosion and fire proof/resistant bags for lithium ion batteries. These are about 8 by 10 inches and only cost about $15. While lithium ion batteries are generally safe, there have been well documented cases of them going off spontaneously. If they are stored in an explosion proof bag, the risk of damage is greatly reduced. Grab the bag with the welder’s gloves and get the bag off the boat.

1) Phone, camera, drone and other batteries will only be allowed to be charged inside the salon in limited numbers, and only when there are at least three persons on active watch. In previous years there had been a rat’s nest of charging cords coming out of overloaded electrical outlets, and extensive use of extension cords. The Coast Guard has issued an advisory that these practices are extremely dangerous and are not to be allowed. Indeed, many experts suspect that the cause of the Conception fire was either overloaded decades old circuits or partially plugged in cords that set off sparks.
When there is no full watch on duty on Profligate, all battery chargers for phones, computers, drone batteries must be unplugged. We have started employing this policing even when living at the dock. Since Profligate intentionally has no 110-volt outlets below decks, this policy is easy to enforce.
2) Red stickers are to be placed on the overhead indicating that a fire extinguisher is directly below. The last thing you need in the case of a fire to is to have to hunt for extinguishers, as every second counts. Mind you, the much larger extinguishers are only a few bucks more than the small ones.

1) Everyone will be shown what steps to take with the boat’s electronics in the case of a man overboard. Time is critical in such situations.
2) Everyone in the crew will be shown how to respond to the different possible cases of fire. For example, an engine room fire requires a different response than an electrical fire in the salon. In the case of an engine room fire, the automatic Halon extinguishers should take care of the fire, and the crew should shut off the engine.
In the case of an electrical fire in the boat, the crew will be shown where to shut off all the house electricity. As this will render the radios useless, members of the crew will be specifically assigned to the three methods of issuing a distress independent of house power: Satphones, EPIRB, and Garmin InReach.

Profligate has two double wide doorways to escape from the main salon quickly, as well as four overhead hatches. We think that is more than adequate. Each of the four interior cabins has two escape routes, and all crew will be required to practice using them. The two forward bunks only have one escape route, but it is just three feet directly above the bunk. As there is no electricity in these cabins, a fire would be unlikely.

1) In the case Profligate has to be abandoned, which thanks to many watertight compartments would likely only be because of fire, specific roles will have been assigned to each member of the before departure. Two males for 8-person life raft Number 1. Two males to 8-person life raft Number 2. Four people to launch the 12-ft Carib inflatable with outboard by shoving it off the back porch. Dona would be assigned the satphone. Sabine will be assigned to the Garmin InReach. A third woman will be assigned to the EPIRB. The Grand Poobah and ultra veteran ocean racer Chuck Skewes will oversee all operations and step in where necessary.
In prior years the safety orientation on Profligate would mostly consist of, “There’s a liferaft, over there is the EPIRB, etc.” As the Grand Poobah, I’m not proud being so irresponsible. An emergency situation, where there is panic, is no time to issue assignments to people unfamiliar with the equipment they will have to use. Everybody needs to know their assignment in advance, and be confident they know how to use the equipment they have been assigned to use.

There are other items and procedures we have put into place, but can’t remember them off the top of our head. If you have suggestions, please share them with us.

The Baja Ha-Ha has an enviable safety record. Collectively the more than 3,000 Ha-Ha boats have sailed the equivalent to around the world many times, and suffered just one boat sunk by a whale (the entire crew was rescued “in textbook fashion” from a life raft by a Coast Guard helicopter), one dismasting, on lost rudder, one boat wrecked ashore in calm conditions, and a woman dying of a massive heart attack at Bahia Santa Maria despite immediate attention by Emergency Room doctors.

While good times and making great new cruiser and Mexican friends are important aspects of the Ha-Ha, the three most important things are safety, safety, and safety because you can’t Ha-Ha if you’re injured or dead. So please do your part.

PHOTO: Fireproof gloves. In the case of fire, they are a lot better than bare hands, sailing gloves, and ladies panties.
.No photo description available.

new 31 Tri at Wooden Boat Festival.

I can’t believe that I have been lured into designing a new millennium searunner. A custom design where the design requirements eventually became center cockpit over any others. I, and most other designers, rejected center cockpit as it takes up the biggest part of an already too skinny main hull. Ply/epoxy. For the wooden boat festival.
Added more items, lowered the boom, photovoltaic, and added people. And the in position. Customer has been friend for 30 years. I have not even thought about plans. Just enough for his wooden boat festival presentation. I just noticed that the seastays vanished in this Luxology rendering method. They are there.

Plywood flat panel construction main with core as needed.  Amas in CM developed plywood.  Amas and tubes slide in for mooring in a marina.

Explaining the Sarabi Anchor System

Barry showed this to us several years ago. It keeps the down load off of the bow tube, and snugs the anchor back into or near the main beam.  A big roller lives at the end of the bridle, which the anchor line and chain run through.

The live picture is of the Sarabi installation. They used it for years crossing the Pacific. Salty Cat, a KHSD 45 has the same system.

Alii Nui Proposal

I came up with an upgraded view of the very successful Alii Nui 65 daycharter cat, for an upscale market. Hydrostatics are exactly the same so should be only a plans extension. It keeps the row of seats all along the cabin side. Slightly smaller motor and clip the fin keel

IBEX 2019

I’m still trying to decide if its worth it or not. Last year was extremely valuable in both information and networking. And the exhibiters were amazing. Will there be that much more this year new?

Only a couple of the classes look like they will have something that I don’t already know.
Steve D’Antonio and Belle Blanding will be there; always informative. I see there is a seminar or infusion repair. They should have asked Ollie with his secondary and tertiary infusion when the primary failed. Missing the early bird price today. Still not sure.

And oddly, SNAME is having an expo in Tacoma at the same time.

Back, Again

I was in Europe, then work was piling up so quickly that I put this off. And the phone won’t let me onto this site to add and edit. I have been doing things on the Facebook Multihulldesigns page as it is instant on the phone. Catching up here a bit now.

Image may contain: bridge, boat, sky, outdoor, water and nature

On the Seine in Paris. trimaran in the front and catamaran seen aft.

Explorers Help

From 4 years ago a memory, but so cool. The KHSD 56′ catamaran to the rescue.
“Tanks for Vanuatu! Above & Beyond the Call of Duty.

When the crew of Sea Mercy’s Disaster Relief vessel “Lil Explorers” (Courage and Shannon) got word that the people living on two of the remote islands in Vanuatu were in grave danger and at risk (their water catchment containers had been destroyed by Cyclone Pam), they made a decision to find a way to help. Where everyone said it could not be done, they said they would find a way to help. The question was how to get the water tanks on their vessel and secure them enough to make the 80 mile sail to the devastated remote villages in order to deliver them? These pictures show that where there is a will there is always a way. Be warned, these pictures are not recommended to be viewed by the “faint of heart” sailors.

The good news is that containers (water tanks) made it safely, were offloaded safely (floated in), the remote island people were so grateful, and Lil Explorers and her crew came away unscathed and as hero’s. We’ll post the full story (along with offloading pictures and video) when they return to Port Vila and have internet again.

Thanks Lil Explorers!”No photo description available.

No photo description available.

Harken Shock 2

Almost done with setting up the 22mm mainsheet car system.
After learning that the Harken end blocks would be around $200 each after tax, I resolved to make my own.
I laminated then trimmed some 5mm thick  ones of scrap carbon fiber. The end blocks attached by soft solution.
One result of a gifted car was that the pins were too bent to remove for attaching new turning blocks. Nobody stocks the 5/32″ pins needed. They said Harken would need 5 weeks and much money to replace. I am using stainless bolts from Stoneway Hardware.  Ends not fastened to the track in this picture.

Harken Shock

 For decades Harken has been my go-to deck hardware company. I was recently gifted a Harken 22mm car and bought track for it, for my 12′ trimaran.
As noted in earlier post, the cost for the track end blocks shocked me.
Today I bought these beautiful Lewmar blocks for $14 each at Fisheries. I did lam up some ends for these blocks which I will paint and post next week.