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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Vessels Lost, Missing, or in Danger
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  #21  
Old 06-30-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Do you understand physics? Might brush up.
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  #22  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Sure do....

I also understand how wild speculation can hurt friends and relatives.
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  #23  
Old 06-30-2013
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

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Originally Posted by Harborless View Post
Okay at regular computer now. What I was trying to say is that yes you are correct with wood being very malleable however a tree and a wooden boat are much different. A tree is all the same piece of wood- a boat made of wood is hundreds or thousands of pieces of wood from different trees. Add the fact it was above 50 feet AND 80+ years old and you have a recipe for disaster. The long boat is the worst feature because after a certain age the structural integrity will weaken. It only needs to start with one board. Then you have the constant bending and turning of the wood in those big seas for days on end AND wood and fastenings over 80 years old and it all really seems to be the most likely scenario. This also explains why no emergency beacons have been activated.

It most likely would have broken around the middle where the most strain was meaning thousands of gallons would have entered every few seconds leaving only perhaps 2 minutes or even less to activate EPRIB and take to life rafts. Add the hurricane winds and 26' seas and this becomes impossible. It would take you at least 20 seconds to realize what the hell just happened and by that time your probably already going down since the waves and wind do not just stop. Once one board splinters the rest fail in rapid succession from the strain and pulling. This means that the boats crew would be swarmed with water while being thrown around by wave action trying to figure what the hell was going on- I think they sank before anything could be done to activate or take to life rafts. Its a terrible situation but the age of the boat, material of construction, and weather at sea ALL point to this event being the culprit.

If the mast had come down or rigging failed the hull would still be intact at least a minute or two before a spar or something would hole the boat- this would only create a smaller hole and give them minutes not seconds to react and activate beacons. With so many people on board I do not see how someone would not have activated or made a may day call.

I think the boat broke apart and was flooded in seconds and went down in hardly any time at all leaving no one able to do anything except thank God for a life lived and pray for a quick death. Its incredibly sad but I do not see any other really plausible scenario that would not have left a 7 man crew able to hit an emergency activator button or make a mayday.

I still hope I am wrong- but science leads me to conclude I am not as well as going on four weeks with no word.

I hate to tell you this but you are quite wrong about wooden boats and the length of 54 feet being anything like a long length. The longest wooden sailing ships have been in excess of 350 feet and as long as the structure is designed to distribute loads properly the material is great for building boats.

The boat will flex some, but the flex will not be extreme, and when correctly joined and fastened the whole vessel becomes one piece in a structural sense of the word. The physics of it are fairly simple to comprehend once you understand that frame loads along the keel, which should run from stem to sterns are distributed evenly because of the longitudinal joining of the frames or ribs of the vessel. The only condition in which a vessel of wood or any other material starts to flex on its center axis is when weight is not distributed along the longitudinal axis evenly due to either overloading, or water intrusion into the forward and or aft sections without water intrusion into the midsection, or when the wave moment interval is able to lift the boat by the ends and middle which with a 54 foot vessel would be rare.

The fact is that age would not have been a huge issue as the vessel is known to be a very well maintained vessel, and the material would not be a big issue either. Her relatively small size may have had some bearing on the situation, and her low deck height may have played a roll as well, but I would be wrong to make a judgement on this without more evidence.
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

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Originally Posted by Harborless View Post
Do you understand physics? Might brush up.
See my post before you give physics lectures. You have need of the brush it would seem.
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  #25  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

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Originally Posted by opusnz View Post
Sure do....

I also understand how wild speculation can hurt friends and relatives.
Yes, but we sailors have to learn from these tragedies. This isnt a forum for the support of the families, as much as we wish them well, its a forum for support of sailors and getting combined wisdom to lessen the chances of these things happening to us.

We do have to make up different scenarios and discuss how we would save ourselves from each one. Our lives depend on it.


All the best


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  #26  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harborless View Post
Do you understand physics? Might brush up.
As a designer of vessels who has done Load Line approvals for a large wooden schooner, designed one, performed ABS approved wave bending moment calculations for vessels up to 400 feet, been a consultant and witness for to the British government in the inquiry into the loss of a wooden school ship, founding Chairman of the ASTA Technical Committee, researched the hull failure of the Titanic for the History Channel, etc., etc., etc., I thank you for the comic relief your speculations about wood have provided in this grim thread.

Instead of wasting all those words and time attempting to educate us about something you clearly know little about, I would suggest you ponder the question of wave knockdowns. It is especially applicable to shallow inlets with shoals on either side such as you were prepared to so blithely navigate after being unable to manage the rather easy and well marked crossing of the Saint John River in calm weather while not fatigued from a long day offshore.

Note that this wave is not particularly large:

http://www.travelchannel.com/video/m...zes-boat-12703

Last edited by Roger Long; 06-30-2013 at 08:03 AM.
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  #27  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

cant defend from phone. Post later.
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  #28  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

I'm glad four of you liked my last post enough to send thanks. Thanks. Why am I being so hard on him? Well, seamanship is as much about attitude as it is about knowledge and experience. Look at the Bounty, lots and lots of knowledge and experience undone by attitude and the decisions it led to.

I've enjoyed his posts and see in him the potential to be a good seaman if not undone by an attitude that is also evident.

Structural failure is always a prime suspect in the unexplained loss of a wooden sailing craft. All sorts of things can lurk undetected even in a carefully maintained boat. I even know of a wooden schooner, built to USCG approved plans, and with a USCG certificate, that sank in her first year when the garboards opened up due to a design defect.

Unlike metal vessels, in which a crack can propagate at the speed of sound, the failure of a wooden structure will usually be proceed by gradual loss of watertight integrity giving time for distress communication. The probable exceptions would be sudden heavy impact from knockdown or striking a floating object. If the boat were going to snap in two or fail catastrophically, it would have been working and leaking long enough that a seaman as competent as the master of the Nina was would probably have put out a Pan Pan call. I can't say snapping in two suddenly absolutely couldn't have happened but I can't say she wasn't struck by a meteor or carried off by a UFO either.

Look at the last pictures of the Bounty, know known to have had numerous structural issues. Even awash with the tremendous stress of the seaway on her rig, she held together in similar conditions.

Even striking a container in a vessel this size would usually leave time to activate an EPIRB or make a radio call. An experience master would be doing that a few seconds after impact knowing that it was the only hope of the liferaft(s) being found.

A knockdown and resultant probable rig loss would instantly disable most communication and create enough chaos that the EPIRB might not be found.

I would hate to think that a ship could strike a vessel of this size and now know it but it has happened. A tanker once arrived in port with a good portion of the rig of a 100 foot schooner tangled in its anchors. The schooner was never identified.
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  #29  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Roger,

In putting some history together of this boat prior to the voyage... they replaced the engine and went to sea immediatly, much later in the year than they expected.

Therefor its an assumption the boat would have been out of the water for some considerable time... a few months in a NZ summer.

Could an old boat fully dry for the first time in many years have been a contributing factor in either popping a plank on a wave, or a catastrophic situation bordering on what Harborless opines?


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  #30  
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Re: 6 Americans, 1 Brit vanish at sea

Okay- allow myself to defend my logic.
Here is the complete work up including designs, construction, and history of the Nina- it can be found here:
Sailing, Seamanship and Yacht Construction - Uffa Fox - Google Books

Martinez said the vintage schooner had survived storms before.

"That boat's taken a lot of damage, but it's always limped back to port," she said. "The thing is born to sail."

Blakemore said plane searches earlier this week covered a wide band of ocean between New Zealand and Australia. He said searchers were considering their options for the weekend.

He said the logical conclusion is that the boat sank rapidly, preventing the crew from activating the locator beacon or using other devices aboard, including a satellite phone and a spot beacon. He said that unlike many locator beacons, the one aboard the Nina is not activated by water pressure and wouldn't start automatically if the boat sank.

Surveyors have learned the hard way that surveying wood boats is very difficult and fraught with risks.

Wood is a natural, organic material that has no consistency from one species to another, or within a species. Each tree grows differently and yields different qualities of wood.

"Wind shakes" are a phenomenon caused when a tree is hit by high winds, causing the whole trunk to twist. This can damage the wood in ways that aren't easily detected. It causes minute splits in the fibers which will make the wood more porous and cause a plank cut from that tree to rot much quicker. This is why we often find just one plank on the whole vessel that rots badly with no apparent explanation for why.

Strength of Wood is degraded by a variety of factors: soaking in water for 10, 20, 30 or more years, micro-organisms, shipworms, ants, termites, the normal stresses imposed on the hull, sunlight, constant wetting and drying and chemicals introduced into the interior of the hull such as spilled battery acid, petrochemicals, detergents and chlorinated cleansers, etc.; all work to take their toll on wood. In other words, unlike materials such as fiberglass and aluminum, wood is degraded by a large variety factors.

On wooden boats, galvanism is rarely a factor except in small isolated areas.

Oxygen Starvation This is the primary cause of corrosion to hull fasteners, also known as crevice corrosion. What most surveyors have never understood is that this same phenomenon occurs with metal fasteners joining two pieces of wood together, or any other material for that matter.

Unfortunately, yet another factor gangs up on our poor fasteners: crevice corrosion. The water entrapped within the screw cavity or interface between the planks does not have a good oxygen source. i.e., air flow. The chemical reaction of oxidation of the metal robs the water of oxygen and turns the water to an acid.

Climate The effect of climate on wood vessels simply cannot be understated.

The other great enemy of wood are very damp and rainy climates, especially moderate and tropical climates.

Hull Stress The deep bilge of course is always the first place the surveyor looks for bad fasteners, for it is here where there is a constant source of water. Yet boats are not monolithic structures and they are subjected to stress and thus work and torque and wrack and twist in all directions. Often not enough to be visually detectable, but enough that all the seams and joints are indeed moving. Projected over thousands of cycles over the years, this creates the potential source for water entering virtually any seam in the hull bottom, not once but hundreds of times.

Any surveyor who has spent a significant part of his career surveying wood boats knows that, other than the garboards, wasted bottom fasteners can occur anywhere, and just about any point in the life span of the vessel.

Because a plank is no longer a living organism, it has lost much of its ability to transmit water along its length. Eventually it reaches what is known as equilibrium level and will absorb no more. Complete saturation of the open cells will only occur a short distance from the end grain unless rot sets in and then it will advance further.

When it comes to fasteners, the effect of this point should be rather obvious: fasteners near the ends of planks are the ones most vulnerable.

The most important thing to understand about wood hulls is that they are in no way similar to any other material as far as aging is concerned. As wood hulls age, they deteriorate and weaken generally. The constant destructive action of stress, working, weakening of the wood and corrosion of the fasteners means that the hull is getting weaker and all the connections looser and looser.

Now I will post the physics
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