Friday, September 2, 2011

Bad Things Happen - Part 1 - Smashing, Burning, and Sinking

There are many tragic or embarrassing fates that can befall a boat.
Sometimes it's the fault of the owner or some other jackass,
other times it's just bad luck.

No boat owner wants to have bad things happen to their boat,
but sometimes they do.

Ok, we've all heard of "that guy" who had a boat he couldn't sell, and then one day it went the deepest water around.  Come to find out he had a big insurance claim on the boat (much, much more money than he'd been trying to sell the boat for).  We're not talking about "that guy" here.  I could write a few blog posts based solely on the rumors of such things happening in Newport alone.

For this post though, let's concentrate on some of the different ways bad things can happen to a boat without deliberate motivation.

Boats can run into things, and things can run into boats.
When my boat runs into something,
I often like to claim that the thing ran into my boat
Some people actually believe me. 

Sometimes you leave a mark,
sometimes you come away with a mark.
running into something head-on will almost invariably involve the ferro.

Bent sucks (see "Brow-Beaten Prow"),

Broken sucks more.

Broken will almost gurarntee that you'll hear the words "sucks to be you" from over your shoulder.

No, they're not mentioning their alma mater - the University of Suxtaby, although at that point you might as well be wearing a "Suxtaby U." sweatshirt.

I shot this photo of a munched and broken-off ferro in Venice in 2000. 

It still serves well as a cautionary tale for my gondoliers - showing them what can happen if you approach a bridge incorrectly.

Oh, and broken also often requires a scuba diver
(to retrieve the part that broke off).

Most gondolas are made completely out of combustible materials.
As I like to say to my passengers who ask about smoking:
"just remember that the boat you're floating on is made of flamable material - set it on fire, and eventually we'll all run out of places to stand."

I'm not really concerned about fire on a boat that's propelled by rowing, but hey, never underestimate the power of friction.

Now, if I did drive a boat with an internal combustion engine,
I'd be a little more worried about a situation such as this:


Every boat owner worries to some extent about their boat sinking;
often in the case of a gondola it's more of a swamping. 
But whether it's swamped or sunk,
it's equally unsettling to the boat owner. 

Sometimes you know,
sometimes you suspect,
and sometimes you show up and are stricken with shock at the sight of your beloved boat - either wallowing, "whaled over", or just gone...with docklines still tied to their cleats.

Tamás grabbed this shot of a boat "whaled over" in Dorsoduro.

No doubt the owner would prefer that nobody notice it as they go by.
Just the Photo "Oops!"

Sometimes after a heavy rain, boats can "go below the surface" with an ushering from freshwater.
I stand accused as a prime example of this phenomenon.
Laugh-at-will while reading "Raising My Own Titanic".

When people start rowing boats at high speed, and compete hard for a prize, now and then they push the envelope too much and things happen.
Sometimes rowers end up taking a short trip beneath the surface,
sometimes they take the boat with them.
(see "Swamped Mascareta").

Sometimes when a gondola ends up lower than she should be, it's by design.
Sometimes you've just gotta soak the wood.
See "Swamped in San Diego" to learn more about a "deliberate sinking".

You never know when you'll be the one standing on the dock, looking like a dweeb, and trying to come up with something clever to say as folks point and laugh at you and your boat that was until recently...floating.
Here are some possible explanations for such a scenario: "Top Ten - Swamped Boat".

A lot of the tragic and embarrassing things that can happen to a boat involve collision, fire, or "going under".  In Part 2 we'll look at some of the bad things that can happen out of the water.


Sharon said...

It's not sinking, this is a "Disaster Training Drill".

Gondola Greg said...

It's the gondolier's version of:
"I meant to do that."
Unless the boat catches on fire, pretend that everything was planned that way.