Sunday, August 12, 2012

Alluded allision elusive

It's like an itch in a place you can't scratch, and I admit to some level of obsession here. My radar overlay accident story left me somewhat dissatisfied, and I have continued to search for the boat accident mentioned in the rumor. I'm pretty sure there are some truths buried there.

I'm going to metaphorically parse the pieces of the rant RC wrote, and add the parts that I heard. I'll merge them together into something that makes sense, at least from a keyword search starting point.

The version I heard, and the version RC talked about have some differences, and mine came from a different source. In my version, the boat's radar overlay equipment was connected to Furuno.

This is a bit puzzling, because Furuno's chart plotters require a heading sensor input for the radar overlay to work at all. So let's talk out loud for a bit about this, and assume it was a Furuno. What could cause the radar chart overlay function to get out of sync? There are a number of things possible. An incorrect GPS fix would shift the chart, a steep heeling angle on sailboat with a high mast mounted radar could cause the echo returns to get wonky. The heading compass might not be calibrated, or working properly causing a yaw like effect. The heading sensor might be outputting true north, and the chart plotter is displaying magnetic north skewing the chart by the difference.

Wait a minute, I remember the story on Panbo about Nobletec, that does allow COG radar overlay with their Insight radar in some software versions. Despite the fact that I think Nobletec just uses Koden radars, the company that bought Nobletec is 49% owned by Furuno. It's tenuous, but it stays on the search list.

Getting back to the rumor versions, both of our stories have the common threads that some boat hit something, and there was a lawsuit as a result. In my case I'm changing the word hit to "allision." Allision is a Admiralty law legal term for a boat striking an inanimate object such as an island, rock, oil well platform or other such items. I sailed on Georgian Bay, and in my view, only rocks that are bigger than taxi cabs really count, and my boat did allide with one. 

There isn't much more to add to the rumor versions, other than I have a vague recollection that it was a oil well head, or platform that was struck. Now it should be easy to go to the Google gods, and pray for instant information gratification.

Now for some carefully chosen keywords: Allision, Furuno, radar, boat, lawsuit, followed by search, and crap, this isn't going to work. Right off the bat, I ticked off the Google gods by using the fancy word allision. I must be stupid, and I really meant to search for Allison. I'm sure she's nice, but there are a zillon Allison's.

The word lawsuit is a loser too. Along with the Allison's, there are a kabillion attorneys online ready to service your wallet, and sue poor Allison.

A lot of keyboard pounding later, I did get some tantalizing glimpses, but always there was no more information available. The most disappointing part of looking for allisions was the lack of information available from the Coast Guard. Their database contains a short incident summary, boat name, and few individual names for privacy reasons. I guess if I broadsided a barge on a calm and sunny day I wouldn't want my name there either.

There are many accidents of note, that never appear in the USCG publicly available records, and some investigations after years never seemed to close.

So where am I now, other than on the edge of divorce for Kate abandonment? I have a short list of things I need to look at, but I need a better database to get at them. This upcoming week, with some help from a friend, I will get to use one. I have now read hundreds of reports where vessels have allided, and its been a sobering experience. I have been amazed how small oversights can yield such disastrous consequences. "I have not yet begun to fight." J.P Jones

(By the way, if anybody has any suggestions where to look, my email is in my profile, and my lips are always sealed)

Here are some of the poisonous fruits from my search:
A strange case of Justice by Bob Adriance, along with Perdock takes stand, and Perdock fired.

The ferry Block Island is smacked by the Coast Guard Cutter Morrow Bay. Using the radar, and making some noise in the fog helps.

Harbor pilots shouldn't take a lot of prescription drugs, and then go to work. The Cosco Busan dances with a bridge.

"Just before the crash, the fourth office screamed at the helmswoman to make a bold course correction, and turn off the autopilot. She didn't know where it was. The sinking of the Queen of the Ocean.

As the master of the Titanic may have noted, this is just the tip of the iceberg, I have a whole lot more.

The photo of the Moro is by wikipedia user Keta.

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