Inertial momentum reigns
Congratulations on your narrow escape! Hitting a heavy floating object at night is every seafarer's horror scenario.
Meanwhile, it is sobering to consider that all of the impact force in a collision with a stationary object is being supplied by the inertial momentum [m x v] of your own vessel, plus whatever propulsion force vector may be there. Therefore, vessels wanting to travel at relatively high velocity [v] can only keep their inertial momentum down by reducing mass [m].
In other words, your proverbial "chlorox bottle" might do a lot better in a high speed collision than a comparatively shaped steel bottle traveling at the same velocity, provided it is protected by Kevlar collision mats (or similar light-weight, high-tensile-strength armor).
This is the reason why most US soldiers don't do battle in govenrment-issue steel cuirasses anymore, but rather prefer to wear lighter and stronger Kevlar body armor (sometimes provided by their loved ones at home ;o)
Although most major manufacturers of lightweight cruising and racing vessels now include strategically placed Kevlar fiber collision mats in their production designs, they still have some serious catching up to do with regard to the use of modern collision impact absorption technology.
Unlike modern production cars, which feature sophisticated collision absorption cages and/or sacrificial compartments these days, only some of the most advanced custom-built ocean-racing vessel designs now appear to use such constructions.
Last edited by HenkMeuzelaar; 04-29-2006 at 02:11 PM.