Thursday, March 28, 2013

Other people's mistakes

The Z-car is, by any normal measure, a terrible car. I can't take a grand kid in it since Father State has decreed that all children must ride in a back seat while belted firmly into another seat. The Z-car has no back seat. Behind the seats is an open kind of trunk area that has a placard in it explaining just how to fit two sets of gulf clubs. It looks like a tight fit. (What it needs is a placard explaining how to fit tools, project parts, and and a weekend's worth of food in there.) It burns through tires, is noisy, and sprung stiffly enough to make Deb car sick - though that may have more to do with my driving then it does spring rates. And it doesn't like snow. (It is also the only car I have ever owned that I actually liked.)

You might have heard that, last week, we got a lot of snow. With trips this week ( it will be three hotel rooms, three rental cars, and sighting most of the Mississippi river from top to bottom before I get back to the boat) it would not have been good to get snowed in at the boat. Since the table project still not finished (but coming along nicely, thank you) the deck monkey stayed in the city and played in the shop all weekend. I like cold weather better than hot, but do have to admit that sanding away on parts while making clouds of vapor with my breath is getting old. It is better than having the sweat drip off my nose but, "sólo un poco más cálido, por favor?"

Not making it to the boat last week and traveling most of this week, it will pure joy to step aboard Kintala once again. It feels like I haven't been home in a couple of weeks which, come to think about it, I haven't. While on this trip I read a book called, "Overboard" by Michael Tougias. It wasn't a pleasant read for a wanna-be sailor, two expert captains who made decisions that cost them both their boats and one of them his life. My take is that these guys made a series of small but crucial decisions and seemingly minor mistakes that, added together, made it impossible for them to weather the storm. In the aviation world we call this an "accident chain". In these cases the chain could have been broken at the very first link if they had not been on a schedule. I swear I am going to ban calendars from Kintala. It is one of those books you read to learn from others mistakes.

Another link in the chain was that the boats were simply not set up for the beating the storm laid upon them. The resulting broken parts lead to them taking on more water than they could bail. (Electric pumps failed when the batteries went under and there were, apparently, no manual bilge pumps deployed.) That has me thinking about our new table. This thing has to be SECURE when it is up and latched and I'm not sure I have figured that out yet. (We also need to find a way to secure the floor boards, cupboards, batteries and nav station top.) As unwarranted as this may be I think I can make better weather decisions then was made by those in this story. Still, our "house" can get dropped down the front of a 30 foot wave and turned butt end over tea kettle. It shouldn't be if we can make the right weather decisions, but planning for what might happen is how one breaks accident chains before they wrap up a boat and take it to the bottom.

Is about time to fire up ye 'ol air sled and head off to the next place.  That has me thinking about accident chain prevention in my work-a-day world as opposed to the sailing world ...


Latitude 43 said...

Sounds like an old minivan is in your future. They are amazing tool sheds. Just saying.

Quit talking about all this safety at sea stuff. Now I have to secure my floor boards. WTH

TJ said...

Sorry ... old pilot habit.