Michael Forman

Michael Forman
Author, Singer, Actor, Photographer. This is where I scratch out things between writing books.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Amazing Boat Disasters!

Ever wondered what happens when extremely expensive boats collide?

Do you have a boat of your own? You know how much it costs to repair when it gets damaged. 

I've seen one or two major collisions in my time.

When I lived on a yacht in a marina, I'd hear the familar crunching of fibreglass, timber and the shouts of many men calling to alter a boat's course. Heads would pop out of  cabins and the residents knew the deal. 

Most accidents happen during the 'short' game. Collisions in open water are rarer. When slow vessels are manouvering smaller spaces nearer the shore or other vessels, it only takes a puff of wind, poor judgment, or a malfunctioning system to witness one.

The worst one I witnessed involved a trawler and several moored pleasure craft. It lost power. That's all.

Returning from a fishing expedition, it made it's way quitely around the marina and, before it'd reached it's berth, the engine cut-out. It may have only been moving five knots per hour but forty-five tonnes of boat doesn't stop immediately. It glides through the water until hits something... and keeps on going.

Four yachts were damaged, pushed backwards, onto the concrete fingers. Their bow-sprits or duck-boards were ripped off and so was some rigging.

The fifth boat was a large motor-cruiser, about the same size and weight as the trawler. It became the brake. If it weren't for those factors, my yacht was next in line to slow the beast as it moved on to my neighbour's boat and then his neighbour's boat.

The cruiser was shoved backwards too but it was slow to react, holding the trawler in place. It'd lost its bow-sprit and quite a bit of safety rail but it was afloat at the end. The skipper's deckie held onto the cruiser's nose while shouts went back and forth to people on the shore, trying to figure out how to get the trawler from one side of the marina to the other.

So I got online and created a collection of Youtube vids - collisions of boats of all kinds.

Think of its polished 316 stainless tubing being bent and twisted by another boat as it gouges it's cleats into the side your very own.

What about all your caulking and die-straight teak decks popping and splintering; gen-set, water converter, back-up batteries and solar panels drowned in salt water; navigational aids, radars and onboard computers all being casually sliced and diced by a wayward ship's screw desperately trying power away from your sleeping boat safely homed in a marina?

What about a heavily laden freighter ramming another smaller one in the open ocean?
Amazing boat disasters. Two ships collide

Through the magic of modern media, youtube now provides plenty of examples of ships, sailing yachts, motor cruisers, submarines, tankers, freighters, tugs and you-name-it-boats in disastrous situations. Some of them sink, some fracture into pieces, while large ships run aground at speed.

Take a look. There's the brand-new motor-cruiser that's being lifted from a cargo ship on two crane slings. The slings start slipping and the cruiser falls out of them only to topple and end upside down, stern-first into the water. There's also the multi-trillion dollar superyacht that doesn't quite make it through a narrow concrete and steel bridge opening - the sides of it rips open like a sardine can.

There's also that weird boat incident with the police. You'd think a police skipper would've known better to do what he did. He must've forgotten that the boat's prop is on the stern and it spins at high speed - it will swing outwards and upwards when making a hairpin turn next another boat. Yes, his stainless prop tapped the sides of an innocent pleasurecraft and then spent half a second chopping it's way through fibreglass and core-foam before it gripped the water again. That's enough to spoil your day and call every copper a dickhead twice!

It's all cringeworthy stuff, especially if you're an owner of a boat and know just how much it costs to get anything fixed. Nothing is done cheap or quickly for that matter and, the larger the boat, the more damage it will cause - to itself, to others, and the wallet's pocket!

So here's a little collection of videos that give you an idea of what weird disasters a boat can get itself into. We start with a large anchor and a small tugboat. I wonder what would happen if these two were to meet?

Now some of those videos are relatively benign. For instance: Enormous ships running aground aren't all that unusual, they happen all the time. It's just we just don't get to see it up close or that often. Ships have graveyards and they eventually go away to die. If they don't go to the bottom during their working days, they will end up in special wrecking yards. It all starts with an empty ship, a high-speed engine and a captain with a compass point set for land. Death is complete when grinders and oxy-acetylene torches work together to dismember it.

On a domestic level, collisions around navigational markers are becoming frequent. It's all because technology allows us to use autopilots to drive our boats. A navigational aid suddenly becomes a common rounding mark. At some point, boats will unite at the waypoint and BOOM! Sometimes it's the marker itself that takes part in the carnage. You'd think a boat's driver would look at the water once in awhile and stop this from happening... BOOOM! They don't always!

My new novel includes some of those nice, watery-type stories. It's sexy, dangerous and very real to the eye. You don't need to be a sailor to appreciate them but it certainly helps. There are plenty of sailing secrets to tell you, more than enough to keep you turning the pages to discover what happens next.

Follow my Link to site to read more. You won't be disappointed!

-Michael Forman (Author)