Matthew's blog

Assessing crew risks on a powerboat

Should you require all crew on your boat to wear lifejackets? If so, under what conditions? Should you restrict access to some parts of the vessel when underway? Should those rules change in different weather conditions, or with different kinds of boat traffic nearby?

I suspect that many skippers make these decisions based on gut feeling and on who they side with in bar or forum arguments. Frankly, I don't think that's the best way to make critical safety decisions.

Risk assessment is a very well-developed art. Not every decision calls for a formal risk assessment, but putting a bit of logical thought into your key safety policies is certainly a prudent idea. Today, I present an informal walk-through of this process for the Starwind 860 trimaran we're currently building.

Mounting hardware on cored decks: Right and wrong ways

Improperly mounted hardware is a constant source of frustration for boat owners. Sometimes it's water leaking in through a bolt hole, sometimes it's rust bleeding onto the deck, sometimes it's a cleat that tears off its mount under load.

Here's how to mount hardware on cored fibreglass decks correctly, so you won't have to deal with it again- and a few examples of why things go wrong otherwise.

Boat embryo at 60 hours

It's about time for another update on the Starwind 860 power trimaran project.

Katy calls it a "boat embryo" now. Several key assemblies- the outrigger struts and the strut-to-crossbeam junction blocks- are complete. Almost all of the custom machining is done. There's a steering wheel (a proper ship's wheel, of course- could it possibly be otherwise?) and the helm shaft assembly is finished except for a bit of thread cutting.

Math on the Web: Still flaky

Sometimes, much to the chagrin of my non-scientific readers, one of my articles hits on a concept that really needs a bit of math to be properly explored. One or two good equations (explained, of course) can be far more useful to the reader than a dense paragraph of math-as-English-sentences.

Math on Web pages, though, is still really flaky. Despite worldwide efforts to standardize on a math markup format that will work anywhere on the Web, support in certain browsers remains bad enough that we're still stuck with ugly hacks.

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