15 Aug 2023
The Internet is Not As Useful As We May Think
I was discussing torsional stiffness in ship’s hulls with one of our intern engineers and pointed out a torsional stiffness problem with a certain hull design section since it could not inscribe a decent sized circle.I expected it to be a comment that would be confusing to a young engineer and proceeded to explain that torsional stiffness is related to gyradius which is powerfully related to radius and radius is related to circles.
25 Jul 2023
Titan: The Right to Kill Oneself Redux
In November 2020 I wrote a column in MREN that discussed the right of people to engage in crazy marine ventures. The example I used in that column was an attempt to row from South America to Antarctica. In it I also made note of the inherent unseaworthiness of single-handed ocean racing and noted that such foolishness often resulted in the public spending lots of money providing rescue services.The…
16 Jun 2023
Dealing with the Whale in the Bight
This is going to be about whales, but it will actually be an engineering discussion rather than a nature discussion. Let’s start with an easy truth. Whale deaths due to offshore wind activities is utter nonsense. It has no basis in fact, and is a total fabrication by truly malicious characters.There, now let’s get into more interesting stuff. Whale deaths caused by humans is a complex issue that will never be solved completely, but, with careful adjustments, can be reduced.
17 May 2023
HyBlend - Chickens and Eggs in Technology Adoption
I will readily confess that 20 years ago I was not convinced that EV’s were the answer to sustainable energy. Instead, I had long been a fan of hydrogen. I was well aware that there were technical issues associated with hydrogen, but was equally aware that, for total sustainable energy, a transportable fuel is needed and hydrogen seemed to be the way to go.I envisioned hydrogen generation from sustainable sources (wind…
11 Apr 2023
Eye on Design: Prying Gas Stoves from Dead Fingers
When Greg Trauthwein offered me a column in Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, I received little direction with regard to subjects. I have not yet tested his boundaries of my subjects, and maybe, some day, I will try to slip in a column on the role of nautical fiction in the development of modern literature.So far, I have tried to stick with engineering subjects, although recently I may have pushed the boundaries with discussions on decision making…
10 Apr 2023
A Proposal for a Small Change in Lloyds Open Form
In February Gard published the results of its review of Lloyds Open Form (LOF). Their review indicated a disturbing reduction in the number of LOF contracts, and noted some other concerns with regard to loss of use of LOF in salvage situations.Lloyds Open Form is a classic and, in my mind, cherished, example of the core beauty of maritime. It combines a large number of maritime concepts into a simple…
27 Feb 2023
"Only One Stupid Thing at a Time"
This story spans a long period of time, but begins with a note I received recently on an earlier column from a reader named Allan Berger. He commented on the OODA loop concept in my “Pondering Truths in Design” column in the September MREN issue.He provided his approach that closely follows the OODA loop concept, which follows the principle of always gathering all the facts before speaking. That led to a discussion on decision making.
16 Dec 2022
Great Ships '22: With Ships, Great or Not, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
My father was on the new construction team of the 1958 SS Rotterdam V, a visually iconic passenger liner that is presently a static hotel and event space in Rotterdam Harbor. When she entered service, her looks were much discussed and generally compared to her very graceful older running partner, the 1936 SS Nieuw Amsterdam II.I have pictures of both vessels in my office and I think the older vessel is the prettier vessel.
21 Nov 2022
The Amazon Model in Global Naval Deterrence
IMO announced that the Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) will be removed on 01 Jan 2023. It was a rare but really reassuring example that international cooperation can be successful.Meanwhile at the time of this writing, the war in Ukraine carries on. Ukranian resistance has been bolstered by very significant western democracy support in the form of weapons supply that have done a great job of stopping Russia in its tracks.
12 Oct 2022
“Welcome to a Dying Industry (1988)”
While pundits have long proclaimed the U.S. maritime industry dying or dead, the recent delivery of Great Lakes laker Mark W. Barker suggests an innovative future instead.Jacksonville Shipyard was a well-known repair yard that was particularly well known for servicing the Jones Act tanker fleet and Gino Ferrari was its New York representative. Each Christmas season Gino hosted a reception at the Four…
13 Sep 2022
Back to the Drawing Board: Pondering Truths in Design
In producing a column for the Marine Design issue, I considered a number of subjects, but in starting to write about them, somehow my mind connected to “Beam is Cheap.” I have a faint memory of being made aware of this during a discussion of a ship design by a design luminary very early in my career, but I don’t remember who it was.When first putting pencil to paper on some design, I always think about that when I make my first rough sketch.
25 Aug 2022
Eye on Design: Flipping Small High-Speed Powerboats
Naval Architects can predict many things with great certainty. But the sea is an unpredictable task master and there are still a number of areas where it is difficult to get a technical handle on the problem.High speed planing boat stability is one of those areas.Planing hull design is incredibly complicated and dynamic behavior is actually more difficult to predict than the dynamic behavior of airplanes.
10 May 2022
Eye on Design: What is Old Can Be Green Again
The use of certain technologies is rarely a stand alone decision. The switch from sail to steam did not happen overnight and they actually coexisted for over a century, where, based on available technologies, in certain applications steam was more attractive and in other applications sail was more attractive.The eventual dominance of screw propellers over paddle wheels was not even driven by technological considerations…
09 May 2022
Looking for a Good Deal? Learn to Take Advantage of Interns
For the future of the industry, hire interns, both college and high schoolers. And pay them: none of that silly privileged unpaid intern crap that occurs in non-maritime industries.I generally wait until I receive the printed issue to read Maritime Reporter and Engineering News, and when I read the August edition, I was both delighted and frustrated, mostly because of the two articles on shipbuilding…
11 Apr 2022
Yesterday’s or Tomorrow’s Offshore Energy: Which to Pick?
Looking back, it is easy to wonder if one could have done better by taking the other fork in the road. I grew up in Holland in a maritime family and am pretty sure I would have stuck with maritime there. In 1968, when I was 8 years old, my father left Holland America Line and joined the United States Salvage Association. At the same time, their main customer, the U.S. marine insurance industry, became heavily involved in the development of North Sea offshore oil and gas…
22 Mar 2022
Eye on Maritime Design: Can Wind Propulsion Work by Keeping it Simple?
While it is starting to look like some clever wind/power sail technologies are starting to appear, too often I have looked at the cargo cranes of geared bulkers and wondered if it makes sense to rig some sort of sail on them.I think the fancier approaches fight the “build a little, test a little, learn a lot” engineering maxim in new technology development, and maybe doing more simple stuff may be…
14 Feb 2022
Let’s Get One More National Multi Mission Vessel, but Let’s Add Some Grit
The new maritime academy school ships being built at Philly Shipyard (officially designated as National Security Multi-Mission Vessels) are an exciting development and provide a significant boost to our national maritime educational system. The technology on our existing school ships has very little relevance to the present marine industry, and these new vessels will not only provide the students with a better educational setting…
11 Jan 2022
Eye on Design: Repair and Conversion Conundrums in Hybrid Propulsion
I recently built a 35 foot Solar Hybrid Electric Wheelchair Accessible Catamaran for my wife who became wheelchair bound a few years ago. (In typing this sentence, I just realized that this vessel can be referred to as a SHEWAC)It is only a 35 foot recreational vessel, but it contains all the propulsion pieces that are found in any other modern hybrid propelled vessel.I have operated the vessel for…
23 Dec 2021
Eye on Design: The Truth Behind Great Ships
Last year I provided a list of my favorite historical ships as my contribution to the Great Ships issue. Even though I received some pushback on the list, I see no need to amend it.I created that list to avoid having to judge today’s Great Ships, but the second time around I suppose I cannot evade my mission and should focus on present day vessels, and there is a lot of interesting stuff being produced in the U.S.
06 Dec 2021
Eye on Design: Where Are the Transportation Macro Designers?
As naval architects and marine engineers we are familiar with the design spiral. While design is not truly a spiral, we use the concept to remind ourselves that all pieces of a ship design interact. The design spiral is not a standard figure and can be simplistic or overcomplicated.A Google search image summary provides dozens of interpretations, all investigating different variables, with the only…