Sunday, 30 October 2011
October 29, 2011 Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute 75th Anniversary

The other reason to visit Toronto this late in the year was the 75th anniversary of my high school not my 75th anniversary.  We drove the View to the school parking lot early at 9:00AM and got a space to park with no problem.  I had breakfast at a coffee shop on Yonge St. and walked around our old neighbor taking photos. The trees were in autumn mode with lots of colors.  At 12:30 there was an opening ceremony in the auditorium that was inaugurated when I was there from 1953-58. Now 53 years later they are trying to raise money for new seats. What impressed me most about the school was how little has changed. The classrooms have only changed with new desks.  They still teach Latin and have great music and art programs.  The lockers on the first and second floor were fairly new but the old style were on the 3rd floor and pretty beaten up.

The girls' choir and a full symphony orchestra kicked off the ceremony and were really great singing the Winter Olympic theme song.  I captured it in HD stereo and thought about putting it on YouTube but thinking about all the legal ramifications made me decide against it. Each graduating year had an assigned classroom to meet with other grads from the same year. Our class of 1958 room was jammed and  it was great to see so many people I had not seen for 53 years with only a few exceptions. Many people also went to same K-8 school. Few people looked the same so when a lady would approach and say "Oh, I remember you." I would have to ask her to turn over her tag and hold it up so I could read the fine print.  Finally we learned to get a marker and write our names large and then hang them on our back. That worked so well that a girl friend of mine in 12th grade came up to me at the dinner and introduced herself.  Eleanor looks great and lives in Collingwood along with a lot of other classmates and has an art glass shop. Toronto is just too big and getting around too difficult so the people that can afford to are buying homes in smaller towns 50-75 miles away.

Another friend, Freddy, I knew from 1947 lived two doors west of our house. We relived some of the capers during our school years. Freddy had a starter's pistol and drove his parents 1957 Chev.  I would walk along a neighborhood street and the car would come up, Freddy would fire the pistol out the window, I would fall down, and get stuffed into the trunk, and the car sped away. Mavis pointed out that if we had done that today, someone would have shot real guns at us. One time when Freddy's parents left for a couple of weeks and took the car keys, Freddy hotwired the car.  At the time the government kept increasing the legal age for a driver's license and Freddy kept having to wait another year. He was driving along very carefully and made a left turn at a busy corner he knew well. What he didn't know was the corner had just been posted as a no left turn and there was a cop waiting to catch people.  Freddy couldn't produce his license so he was told that he would have to go the station and the cop would drive the car. When Freddy couldn't produce the key and had to show off his hot wire circuit board with starter button, the cop had him drive the car to the station where it was to be seized.  He then had to sit in a chair for hours waiting for the next shift so he could be escorted home. He got off with a $15 fine for not being able to produce a license.  The ticket would be mailed to the house. Freddy parents were due home so I was enlisted to visit the house each day until the ticket arrived. I found it in the mail and Freddy paid the ticket. His parents, now deceased, never found out.  Those were the good old days.

Posted on 10/30/2011 12:47 AM by Bob Duthie
Thursday, 27 October 2011
October 26, 2011 Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC)

The iPad presentation worked almost perfectly using the iPod as the control. Trying to use the iPod and a laser pointer at the same time did not work as I needed a third hand. I had to resort to pointing with one hand at the screen. There was one point after maybe 100 slides where the next slide refused to work. I advanced the slide on the iPad and was able to regain control and show the rest of the slides using the iPod. On Friday I rode out to the Club on three Toronto Islands with RCYC member Jim, in the club ferry boat, Hiawatha.  This originally steam powered boat was built in 1895 and has been restored continuously since then.  It was the new ferry in 1895 as the club was started in its current location in 1852. The club is vast with over 3,000 members and docks for 500 boats. It is 99% sailboats with only a few powerboats. The club trains and supports the Canadian Olympic sailors. Some members take their boats south to Newport for racing. One member we talked to on the ferry, had just brought his 40ft+ Beneteau up from Newport RI. While on the Erie Canal hurricane Irene shut the canal down. He had the boat shipped by truck to Rochester and then sailed it across Lake Ontario to the club.

We walked around and observed the activity hauling boats out of the water for winter storage.  I remember those days well at the Brockville Yacht Club. The big difference at RCYC is they have staff to do all the work you need done. Most members with boats have lockers to store their stuff on the island. Some lockers are even equipped with refrigerators and microwave ovens just like we do in the south on our covered docks. The main building with its dining rooms and bars was closed for the season.

Posted on 10/27/2011 12:37 AM by Bob Duthie
Sunday, 9 October 2011
TrawlerFest Baltimore 2011

We are on our way back to Nashville now spending the night at a KOA near Huntington, WV. It was a 400 mile drive on I-79 through the West Virginia mountains with the trees turning to gold and red. It is a beautiful drive with only a few trucks.

On the trip east we spent a night in Harpers Ferry, WV. It is a Civil War era town that changed sides several times during the war. At the junction of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah  rivers, at one time boats could go from Chesapeake Bay through the town to the Ohio River. If only the C&O were open today we could get from Kentucky Lake to the Chesapeake by boat in a whole lot less time than going around Florida.  Lewis and Clark set out on their expedition from Harpers Ferry. The Appalachian walking trail runs right through the town.


TrawlerFest was held in two locations on the Baltimore Harbor. The seminars were at the Hyatt Hotel and the boats and exhibits at Harborside Marina which is a ½ mile walk from hotel. We had to park the View at Harborview Marina which is another ½ mile. Altogether in the day and half we were in Baltimore we walked 6 miles. The most exercise in a long time. Thursday we toured the restored 1854 Constellation battle ship and the 1930 Chesapeake Light Ship.

  We had a very good fish, chips, and beer dinner at the Wharf Rat, a great pub in Fells Point owned by the brother of a Nashville friend.  Owner Bill Oliver has his own brand of beer naturally called Olivers.  The pub is decorated with an unbelievable amount of stuff covering the walls and especially the ceiling

The two seminars were well attended with 15 for "Keeping In Touch" and 45 for "Great Loop". After lunch I walked along the dock looking for interesting boats. 

The highlight was a 26 ft, trailerable, Cutwater built in Washington by the same company that builds the Ranger Tug.  It has lots of room and lots of storage with a single Yanmar 180 hp diesel engine. It reminded me of our first boat, a 26ft Fjord built in Norway. Dinner that night was held to celebrate the 100th issue of Passagemaker magazine. We really enjoyed the company of  3 couples all planning retirement and looking for boats to do the Great Loop. All had attended my talk at one time or another. It was easy to remember names as there were 3 Bob's and a Steve. One couple was cattle farming in Texas, another operated an RV repair business, and the third were career army.

Posted on 10/09/2011 1:55 AM by Bob Duthie
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Boating Accident

On this past Friday, Sept 30 there was a terrible boating accident on the Tennessee -Tombigee Waterway at mile 317. A 1979 43ft Defever, MOONSTRUCK, capsized and sank behind a tow. The 4 people aboard managed to get in their dinghy which was being towed behind.  The tow captain said he was drafting 11 feet and the water depth was just under 13 feet. He speculated that the tow had sucked the water from under the DeFever. The DeFever captain stated that the boat did not hit bottom but felt that it was pushed over. It rolled on is side in less than 10 seconds and sank in less than 5 minutes.  The above is from an AGLCA post by another cruiser that responded to a call from the tow. Mavis and I have been thinking about this accident and talking about it all day long today on our drive to Baltimore. The following is our pure speculation. I checked a map and confirmed there is a very sharp S turn at about mile 317. It is safe to assume was Defever going southbound and met a northbound tow. They probably passed on the "1" or port to port. The turn was probably a starboard turn for the tow and the Defever.  Both vessels were on the outside of the turn which is where the water is deepest,  with the Defever closest to the shore. On such a sharp turn the aft end of the tow would "slide" across the river narrowing the amount of water available to the Defever. As soon as the tow passed the Defever turned sharply to port to get away from the shore. I am guessing all 4 people were on the flybridge causing the center of gravity of the boat to be higher. On such a turn the Defever would lean over to starboard. At that instant the prop wash behind the tow would hit with a strong current building a relatively high wave. That pushed the Defever on its side.  The Defever could not recover and sank. There are lessons to be learned from this accident. Only use of  an AIS would have shown the name and position of the tow on the waterway. Radar is useless because of the sharp S turn.  If you know a tow is close but can't be seen always ask for passing instructions. If you know the name of the tow it is easy.  A tow captain might say to wait on the straight if there are sharp bends. It is better to wait for a tow to pass than get caught beside it on a turn.  Finally never attempt to cross close (less than 1/4 mile) behind a tow, the waves in its wake are much higher than you think. I speak from experience on this point. 

Bob DeGroot Analysis

Bob DeGroot sent me the following analysis and gave permission to post.

Interesting analysis. I do think the water depth along with the draft and speed of the tow made a big impact.

When I was on a 100 foot flat "tow" bottomed buoy tender (CGC Rambler) with a 6 foot draft in the right conditions we created a tsunami along with Seiche like water drop and rise. The right conditions were relatively shallow water in a narrow space. At 10 mph In 12 feet of water with sharply rising banks, our hull would literally pull water from the bank and drop it to an easy 5 + feet 75 + feet from shore before tapering off creating a Seiche like condition with the tsunami not looking nearly as tall because it was being created in a low water condition. That would go on from 50 feet to couple hundred feet behind us. When the water came back it washed well over the bank. We looked like an accelerating Sea Ray but with the wake further behind and much lower in the water.

Now all boats will do this, not just tows or Sea Rays. Try going fast in the Dismal Swamp. Not only do you pull water from the bank but you will also suck logs off the bottom. The suction is enormous. The boats behind have to slow way down or get clobbered with debris while they are now touching bottom in the lowered water. So the point is that the narrow area with relatively shallow water for the tow played a huge role.

So in the spirit of pure conjecture, suppose a one whistle situation did put him closer to shore than is comfortable, and suppose the tow was accelerating causing it to suck more water. Then suppose the DeFever was moving away from the bank after the tow passed but was also being pulled from the bank with the falling water. If the skipper wasn't exceptionally vigilant at that moment he would hardly notice the extra pull, maybe just an odd sensation of going faster (like heading down the Mississippi). There would also be a sinking sensation (no pun intended) because he was not only moving from the bank, but he was also being lowered in the water as it flowed out from under him.

Now if for any reason he was then turning to starboard or port putting him anything but square on the wake (going around the corner, turning into the tows wake, eddy current, etc.) and then got hit anywhere from slightly forward of beam to as far aft as a quartering sea, the tsunami of the returning water flow plus the rapidly rising water would indeed push him over with very little he could do to correct the situation. If he was heading into the visible stern wake, he could have been a victim of the less obvious Seiche style rapid water rise. Round bottom full displacement boat + tsunami + Seiche = perfect storm.

With corrective action the 44 DeFever underway will self-right with up to a 65 degree roll. The 44+5 can go over further but is less likely to because of the different bottom shape and keel. So this 43 had to be pretty much stopped (or in flow with the falling/rising water when it took the push and rise on the beam. This rise and fall of the water would be like pulling out into a fast moving current and not realizing just how fast it's taking you sideways until you're quickly approaching something that would cause and abrupt stop.

If you hear anything, let me know please. We own a DeFever 44+5 and are obviously interested in the outcome of any investigation Otherwise, it may just be a case of the tow company buying a DeFever if it can be shown that the tows wake was a factor.

In so far as being responsible for damage caused by his wake, size matters.

"10. What are the regulations concerning wake effects, wake damage, and responsibility? Regarding one's wake, vessels over 1600 Gross Tons are specifically required by Title 33 CFR 164.11 to set the vessel's speed with consideration for…the damage that might be caused by the vessel's wake. Further, there may be State or local laws which specifically address "wake" for the waters in question.

While vessels under 1600 GT are not specifically required to manage their speed in regards to wake, they are still required to operate in a prudent matter which does not endanger life, limb, or property (46 USC 2302). Nor do the Navigation Rules exonerate any vessel from the consequences of neglect (Rule 2), which, among other things, could be unsafe speeds (Rule 6), improper lookout (Rule 5), or completely ignoring your responsibilities as prescribed by the Navigation Rules.

As to whether or not a particular vessel is responsible for the damage it creates is a question of law and fact that is best left to the Courts. For more information, contact your local Marine Patrol or State Boating Law Administrator."

12. When do I need a Look-out? According to Rule 5, all vessels are responsible for maintaining a proper look-out at all times this includes one-man crews, unmanned crafts, and recreational boats.

The term look-out implies watching and listening so that he/she is aware of what is happening around the vessel. The emphasis is on performing the action, not on the person. Still, in all but the smallest vessels, the lookout is expected to be an individual who is not the helmsman and is usually located in the forward part of the boat, away from the distractions and noises of the bridge. While no specific location on a vessel is prescribed for the lookout, good navigation requires placement at the point best suited for the purpose of hearing and observing the approach of objects likely to be brought into collision with the vessel.

The size of the vessel and crew effect this answer, however, the emphasis in every legal decision points to the need for a proper, attentive look-out. While the use of radar to evaluate the situation is implied in the requirement to use all available means, that is still understood to be secondary to maintaining a look-out by sight and hearing.

Many tows now have a crew member riding the bow of the lead barge so they can "see" around the corners.

Also, state regulations make simple rules, like  "Handbok of Tennessee Boating Laws and Responsibilities" Although they are written for recreational vessels, they do not specifically exclude commercial vessels.

So in a winding seaway where visibility is limited and in my way of thinking prudence would suggest the need for eyes forward. Did the tow have a lookout posted on the bow of the lead barge? Did the tow contact the pleasure craft with passing instructions (it's a two way street on making contact or signaling danger)? There are many questions that are yet to be answered that could shed some light on what happened and how it can be prevented in the future.



Posted on 10/04/2011 10:29 PM by Bob Duthie
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