Panbo

Category: When things go wrong...

USS Guardian aground, DNC chart error?

Jan 21, 2013
USS_Guardian_on_Tubbahata_courtesy_AFP_Western_Command.jpg

I've heard of hitting "the bricks" as in going hard aground -- as well as "bricking" a computer (or other gadget), as in breaking it so badly that it's only good for a door stop -- but gCaptain surprised me with "USS Guardian is Fully Bricked Up and Getting Battered on Philippine Reef." The situation is even worse since the minesweeper swung 90 degrees and is getting so hammered that it's hard to imagine how it can be removed from the tiny Tubbahata Reefs National Park. Thankfully no one was hurt (to my knowledge) but I'm probably thinking about terminology because it's horrible to contemplate what those pictures imply about the damage to ship, reputations, and -- most important -- precious wildlife. How could this happen?

Continue Reading

Bruce Ray, a true cruiser down

Dec 27, 2012
Zingara_in_Chesapeake_City_9-2012.jpg

I never would have guessed that I would last see Bruce Ray on the September day that began with this misty dawn photo of his beloved sloop Zingara in Chesapeake City, Maryland. For a guy pushing 70 and burdened with damaged lungs, Bruce seemed phenomenally hearty. In fact, he'd just run solo for two long days and a night to get here from western Long Island, which meant he'd driven right through Cape May Harbor instead of resting there like Leonard and I had. But Bruce knew how to stop and smell the coffee too. Later that morning, the three of us old coots enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the Bohemian Cafe and then walked around the harbor and admired the old-time engineering on display at the nifty C&D Canal Museum...

Continue Reading

DHS's Small Vessel Cooperative Tracking, what's your guess?

Mar 23, 2012
US_SBIR_grant_solicitation_SVCT_and_NVIT.jpg

It's amazing how the whole boating community can apparently miss information of great interest even though it's in plain sight. Remember how we argued about possible Department of Homeland Security AIS mandates last March? Well, had anyone poked around the DHS's interesting Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, we would have known that the government had already expressed a desire to get the small vessel tracking job done in a much more passive manner, even with benefits to us boaters!...

Continue Reading

GOST, the serious boat security guys

Feb 13, 2012
GOST_marine_security_tech_in_action.JPG

It doesn't matter that the Paradox Marine I've enjoyed visiting at past shows has changed its name to GOST (for Global Ocean Security Technology); I bet they'll still be showing off some interesting new tech in Miami this week. And probably more important is how knowledgeable and sophisticated GOST has become about the nuances of marine security over the years. Experience is a great teacher, and GOST's has been accelerated because its home turf of South Florida has endured a plague of boat bandits who are pretty knowledgeable themselves. Can you spot the telltale professionalism being exhibited on the Contender above as it blasts toward Cuba, probably for a load of drugs, or with a load of cash, or both?...

Continue Reading

Costa Concordia: "Vada a bordo, cazzo!"

Jan 18, 2012
Thermal_view_of_Costa_Concordia_courtesy_BBC.jpg

The wrecking of the Costa Concordia is of course a dreadful and criminally unnecessary disaster. It's hard to find anything positive about what happened, unless perhaps you're another captain whose life became defined by a single major screw up, like, say, Joe Hazelwood. The Monitor did a good job delineating Capt. Francesco Schettino's Top 4 'deceptions' today and that was before Schettino made the claim that he abandoned ship because he tripped and fell into a lifeboat! I suspect that it will be a long time before anyone beats Schettino in the disgraced ship captain department...

Continue Reading

Racing capsizes, did satellite beacons help?

Aug 18, 2011
Rambler_100_capsized_courtesy_Phaedo.jpg

Man, can you imagine how many scary moments preceded this photo? The remarkable thing is that all 21 crew members of Rambler 100 survived her capsize in rough and foggy conditions just after rounding Fastnet Rock on Monday evening. The yacht -- which I gawked at as Speedboat in Newport last fall -- purportedly turned turtle just 30 seconds after her keel snapped off, leaving several crew caught inside and upside down. EPIRBs and PLBs had something to do with the 100% successful rescue, though it's hard tell which and how...

Continue Reading

Wreck of the Lady Mary, so many lessons

Dec 21, 2010
Lady_Mary_wreck_courtesy_NJ.com.JPG

When I came across the New Jersey Star Ledger's finely reported series on the sinking of the scallop dragger Lady Mary, I didn't stop until I'd finished all five chapters, watched the video, and done some further research.  It may not sound like a story in the holiday spirit, but aren't we about to gather during the darkest days of the year to celebrate light and love?  You're not apt to forget the loving extended family at the center of this dark tragedy.  And you'll certainly be reminded about how so many SAR gadgets and systems might and might not work...

Continue Reading

Oblivious anchor dragging, & Camden chart update

Aug 20, 2010
Trawler_rescue_in_Camden_Harbor.JPG

I'm generally quite reluctant to fault fellow boaters when things go wrong, because I've made about every mistake possible myself at some point, and probably will again.  But what I hear about this scene, captured in part on YouTube, is a bit disturbing.  That big beautiful trawler didn't actually drag onto the rocks around Northeast Point, but that's probably only because crews from from Wayfarer Marine, Yachting Solutions, and the Harbor Master's office worked hard to hold her off, in pouring rain and lots of wind.  A local hero even managed to squeeze his way through a pilothouse window, figure out the complex starting procedure, hoist the anchor, and put the boat safely on a dock.  But the owner, who showed up after the storm had passed, was apparently somewhat casual about what happened, though most boaters would know that a salvage claim was a possible road not taken by the rescuers, and...

Continue Reading

Tracking every which way, & Gizmo blows a gasket

Jun 8, 2010
Paloma_first_boat_ride_Android_tracking_cPanbo.JPG

Yeah, yeah, yeah; the new iPhone 4 was announced and it looks pretty cool.  And if its GPS and background apps processing are good enough, maybe it can track as well as my Droid Incredible ;-).  That track above especially exemplifies the value of easy tracking as it documents my five-month-old granddaughter's first boat ride, a row around Camden Harbor in search of my bird buddies.  Though I simply fired up Google My Tracks and stuck the phone back in my pocket, the accuracy is excellent, even in my truck as I drove home, as you can see here in a Google My Map (which I was able to create from the phone with a couple of clicks).  That's why My Tracks is a favorite at the moment, though I have so many tracking options my head spins, and sometimes the memories captured are a lot less pleasant...

Continue Reading

For Mark McClellan, a boatguy's boatguy

Dec 21, 2009
Mark_McClellan_2003.JPG

I'm going to get personal here, but I just can't stop thinking about Mark McClellan, seen above with his son Thomas on their schooner Simplicity five summers ago in Camden.  This morning I learned that he was the damn fool who went solo ice boating on Lake Chickawaukie during yesterday's snow and wind storm, setting off what seemed like a successful rescue operation after he broke through the young ice.  But Mark didn't make it.  And "damned fool" sounds much more judgmental than I'm really feeling...

Continue Reading