Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bad Things Happen - Part 2 - Dropping and Dragging

In Part 1 of my "Bad Things Happen" series, we looked at some of the unfortunate fates that a boat can fall victim to while she's in the water.

I was able to include some photos and a number of links to previous posts.
But of course some of the greatest "epic fails" are the boats we'll never see pictures or video of, either because nobody took a photo, or because the owners suceeded in keeping anyone from seeing them.

Whether it's the quick drop of a crane, or a "trailer failure",
here are some more of the many ways a boat can meet an untimely end.

I don't have a lot of photos for this next section, although some of you might, and you're welcome to send them in (as long as they're not pictures of my boats).

Dropping the boat
When a guy who has just bought his first forklift,
offers eagerly to help you lift your boat, RUN!

Don't do it, even if he offers free beer. 

When the shipyard owner says
"our crane operator doesn't get in til tomorrow, but Jimmy here knows how the thing works"...wait til tomorrow.

For a more in depth analysis on the discipline of avoiding your own personal "Humpty Dumpty", take a look at my post "Not Dropping the Boat".

Dropping the Box
Of course just because a gondola is in her shipping container, doesn't mean she can't be dropped.
A few years ago some friends of mine went through heartbreak and hassle dealing with the aftermath of a dropped container.

Drop an egg on your kitchen floor - and it will break.

Put the egg in a metal box and drop it, guess what - it will still break.

In fact the likelihood of the boat getting dropped might actually increase if you put her in a box. 
Lift operators might not know what's in the box.
They might have spent the last two days moving containers full of rice, or plywood, or scrap metal. 
Drop a big metal box full of scrap metal and it's no big deal.
Drop a big metal box full of gondola...

Ask my friends, it's a big deal.

Transit Tragedy - the "Freeway Flip"
For short distances on land, nothing beats a good trailer.
You can tow your gondola with your own vehicle (if you have something big enough), and it won't cost you more than fuel and time.
You can bring a cup of coffee and your favorite snacks.
You may also want to bring a friend or fellow gondolier along for those "just in case" situations. Usually there are no problems, but sometimes things can go terribly wrong, especially if carelessness is in the mix.

About twenty years ago, an operator here in Newport had some work done on his gondola, and the folks who did the work hauled the gondola to their shop as part of the contract.  After the work was done, the gondola was strapped down to her trailer (it's always important to make sure your boat is secured), and they started the trip back to the launch ramp.  That short trip involved a few miles on the freeway. My guess is that someone was in a hurry,
and someone hadn't given much thought to the aerodynamics involved.
Someone wasn't monitoring their rear-view mirrors well enough either.
Based on the title above, you already know what happened next. 
For the sake of accuracy in reporting,
I should really call it the "Freeway Flip...and Drag".

This gondola had a canopy frame, which according to some witnesses, produced incredible sparks as it dragged along the freeway.
By the time it was all over, major damage had been done, to both boat and canopy, a lot of people had seen something amazing happen on the freeway, and things had to be "sorted out" between the boat owner and the company (who ended up doing a heck of a lot more work on the gondola than they'd planned on).
Mark my words:
Someone probably still wishes they'd been a little more careful,
and watched their rear-view mirrors...even to this day.
It wasn't me, but I can certainly empathize.

Next up - "Heat, Water, and Wind".


Tamás said...

The most important thing to remember is: if a jedi master offers to lift your gondola, make sure he's Yoda, not Luke!

For containers, there are companies who specialize in the transport of large sized pieces of fine art. Their going rates must be horrible, but it's worth the safety.

This photo shows what was supposed to happen and what actually happened here in late 2010, while lifting a very important and very large painting. They hired the fire service crane for half the rate instead of the art moving specialists...

Luckily the art was already placed inside and they tipped over while removing just the empty crate, but the crane still hasn't been rebuilt due to the large cost.

Sean Jamieson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Jamieson said...

Sorry. The link didn't work. Let's try this web site. Scroll down to the bottom.