Articles

The following is a series of articles that I've contributed to Professional Boatbuilder magazine. I've got no shame in admitting bias when I wave the flag for the folks up at Professional Boatbuilder and Woodenboat. Mouthpiece, bulletin board, and training room; PBB has become the Rosetta Stone for what once was an arcane and parochial industry. In contrast to the mind numbing drivel that continually gets rehashed in the newsstand boating press, PBB always has been committed to covering fresh topics in great depth and technical detail. If it has to do with the boat business-be it a person, part, or process-you can track it down with the help of the network of builders, designers, boatyards, and surveyors represented by Professional Boatbuilder.

Clicking on the picture to the left will take you to the PBB website. If you work in the marine industry, you may be eligible for a free subscription. Fill out the form here and fax it back to PBB (tell Patty Hutch' I said hi).

At a boat show, are you the one with your head in a locker looking for how the hull to deck joint is fitted? Do you find yourself more interested in the laminating process than the location of cupholders? Sounds like you're at the wrong venue. Get thee to IBEX- the main event for those interested in the inner workings of the boatbuilding industry. IBEX offers not only exhibitors showing the latest equipment and processes for builders, there is a full program of seminars that appeal to designers, repairers, and surveyors. Follow your nose through the PBB site to get dates, times, and more info.

The articles below are in Adobe .pdf format. Click on the picture or the title to open the link. If you don't have Adobe Reader, you'll need the free download (click the icon below). After the article opens, you can print it out in the event that you don't feel like staring at this computer screen. You are free to download the pieces for personal use (dial up users beware, they are 4MB modem burners). I would only ask that you not distribute or reprint this work without my prior authorization. Thanks for reading- I'll try to update this page when I can.

PS- Those of you with Internet Explorer may find that your security controls may not let you open the pdf files. This is a knee jerk precaution that was designed to prevent script worms through Active X controls (whatever that's supposed to mean). There will be a thin banner that pops up at the top of your screen- click on it and choose the prompt "allow Active X controls." If you still have issues, let me know> email me. If you want my candid advice- switch browsers to Mozilla Firefox. It's free and transfers all your existing settings. Best of all, the loser dweeb hackers don't seem to want to "strike a blow for freedom" by writing viruses that specifically target this browser.

Failure Analysis of Metals is an introduction to this well established science of why stuff breaks. Any good metallurgist will tell you that many advancements in materials only follow after an accurate assessment of what went wrong. The article defines basic engineering principles of loading and stress, then runs through typical failure modes for ductile and brittle metals. ^Back to top

Stainless Steel is one of the most important marine alloys in use today. Although there are over 150 different alloys of stainless marketed, not all are appropriate for our industry. This piece starts with basic alloying elements and goes on to show how grades of stainless are concocted to meet different service criteria. Special attention is given to common forms of marine corrosion as well as stress corrosion cracking. ^Back to top
Moisture meters are an invaluable, yet often frustrating tool in every surveyor's kit. I was never quite sure how they operated, what were the limits of their sensitivity, or what would make them return a false positive. This head scratching led me to set up a shootout between five popular meters to see what makes them go "beep." Although the testing was tedious, the results were illuminating. ^Back to top
More on meters is an addendum to the first piece I did on moisture meters. This article reviews the Protimeter Surveymaster- a unique tool that combines both an rf meter (that reads through the hull skin) as well as a tradiional resistance (pin probe) meter. I discuss a technique for using both meters to help narrow down hidden moisture problems in cored hulls. ^Back to top
To Catch a Thief highlights the darker side of the marine industry. As long as people are motivated by greed, there will be fraud, theft, and arson in the boat business. This article discusses the International Association of Marine Investigators and its attempts to combat marine crime. The are several entertaining case studies covered in the article. ^Back to top
Sterndrive Failures are one of the most common claims in the marine industry. Surveyors who hope to inspect damaged outdrives to determine, cause, nature, and extent of damage need to have a basic understanding of the how the various parts of the unit are loaded during normal operation as well as in overload. Did the loss occur due to a sudden external event, or was it the result of an internal fatigue failure? ^Back to top
Boat Hauling and Launching is becoming an increasing concern in boatyards today. The advent of straddle lifts, marine fork trucks, and hydraulic trailers has led to a far more mobile boatyard. The obvious risk of moving around big heavy objects is that they can fall over. New technology requires new rules and for storing boats as well as a greater emphasis on training yard workers. The ABYC has addressed this issue by releasing its technical bulletin TY-28 for Boat Lifting and Storage. ^Back to top
Storm Chasers takes a trip to the war zone of marine claims- Hurricane Duty. The piece is a field surveyor's look at disaster recovery. My research for the article comes partly from my experience working on the Boat/US hurricane catastrophe team - the Delta Force of marine cat teams. No matter how much experience you have, though, there's always some bizarre situation that requires fresh thinking. You're basically forced to think outside of the box when the box is crushed, sunk, and skewered on a piling. ^Back to top
Lightning Grounding Systems appeared in Woodenboat a number of years back. Although there has been much written about all the bad stuff that lightning can do, I found precious little attention paid to what to do to prevent it. More specifically, I go into some depth regarding setting up a ground system to handle that "when and if" your boat gets zapped. ^Back to top
The Design and Development of PT Boats chronicles the story behind the PT program. The piece focuses on technical details of design and constuction, as opposed to war stories of the boats in action. Despite the technical content, it's a colorful tale. These iconic craft always stir up emotions and controversy amongst boaters and designers alike. I've always been a history buff, and had great fun researching this feature. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. ^Back to top
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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