Flag on the play:
As you all know, the NTSB recently released its report on the disaster/accident that was the catastrophic launch of Motor yacht Baaden (Blood Baron). This report beyond any reasonable doubt, interpretation or measure completely supports my previous statement and position as well as exonerates me completely from any involvement of this senseless accident. Moreover, the report on the matter directly echoes and corroborates my previous statement and comments regarding the cause of the avoidable capsize of this once fine expedition yacht.
Just a brief recap for all those late to the party:
“I can say without ego or hubris that I feel if I had been still involved with this project in a leadership capacity, this launch accident would never have happened.”-Captain Aaron Pufal
In the final chapter of project Blood Baron AKA the Northern Marine Yacht Baaden, my vindication regarding the launch capsize comes without fanfare.
The facts set out in this official document are absolutely clear.
Firstly, as I stated the day of the incident, the cause of the capsize was due to lack of required ballast specified by the naval architect.
Secondly, and perhaps most egregious is the completely negligent lack of oversight and involvement of the sales brokerage and owners representative from Fraser Yachts Yachts; namely Josh Gulbranson and Clive McCartney.
What a comedy of fools and errors. No wonder my tone is so vitriolic.
It is an inordinately simple task to audit the amount of ballast bought and installed per the stability reports I had ordered long before projected vessel launch (see below documents) from the naval architect. And it is a even more elementary task to check and recheck the scales (load cells) readout vs what is recorded and submitted for analysis.
This is a significant part of the job of the build captain and or owners representative, check everything, twice. In this role it is absolutely necessary to attend the ship yard several times a shift, sign off on every part ordered, commission studies, surround yourself with qualified people and simply be the guy who is ultimately responsible for the owners interests and the project as a whole.
According directly to the fine folks at NTSB:
“The buyer’s onsite “build captain” participated actively in styling and interior layouts of the Baaden design and requested the first weight estimate of the vessel during construction. In late 2013, the build captain’s position was terminated, and his role was performed by a less active yacht management group.”
The “less active management group” was Fraser Yachts Yachts, Josh Gulbranson and Clive McCartney.
Do you see where this is going?
Not a very good job of protecting the owner’s interests is it? And guess what. They still got paid and very handsomely at that.
It seems I also need to address the official published comments of Wes Fridell, the former media representative of Northern Marine (I say former because Northern Marine has ceased to exist).
Not only did he incorrectly and erroneously state the cause of the capsize contrary to as determined in the NTSB report, he slandered/libelled my previous statements and professionalism in the same breath. Now that the NTSB has confirmed my position and statements, I’m sure all the publicized slander and libel issued by Mr. Friedell will not be retracted or deleted from the permanent record of the internet, this has caused me real damage.
Keyboard warriors also cause a permanent record of unqualified harm, to be clear, the report does not cite the design of the vessel to be at fault in any way whatsoever. The NTSB findings are:
“The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the capsizing of the yacht Baaden during its initial launch was the vessel’s low margin of stability due to the combined effects of a recording error during the final vessel weigh, which resulted in an incorrect assessment of the vessel’s center of gravity, and an overestimation of the weight of installed ballast.”
If you have not taken a single basic class on the topic of stability, please, take a look at a photo of other vessels out of the water such as an aircraft carrier, cruise ship or car carrier before banging out harmful redirect from your basement.
What are the tangible effects of this avoidable disaster?
Who will it really effect in the long run, the owner of the project?
Will any party involved in this senseless and highly avoidable and ridiculous accident face punishment of recourse?
Not bloody likely.
I’m told the insurance I initiated and paid each month was still in place and seeing as the owner wished to “get out of boating” and sell the boat, as his life had changed direction, I can only speculate that he is at a zero net loss or better.
As for the (Mis) Management group and brokers, well, Fraser Yachts is unaffected by this mess from what I can see. Josh and Clive still have their jobs at the firm according the brokers website at the time of this posting.
On the other hand, even though this government report fully removes any and all blame from me, any google search brings up damaging and unqualified libel/slander effectively setting my career back ten years.
The irony that the one person who could have ensured the safe and successful completion and launch of this vessel is the one who was damaged the most is not lost on me.
All the people responsible for this accident had to do was properly install the required ballast the report said needed to be added, how hard was that?
Captain Aaron David Pufal
Transiting the New River in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is often the subject of many passionate conversations at the yacht club bar. Fact is, local knowledge is truly is key to a stress free passage, recently, someone has placed a sign at the start of the river “CH 9 for new river traffic”, this has saved many a visitor from suffering the yells of a local boater “turn on your radio to CH 9”!
At the start of the New River, where it meats the ICW, there is an area locally called “the cross roads”, there is a shoal in the center, refer to your charts as the day markers can be confusing and change often between the different waterways in the area. In fact, and the end of the video, you can see a owner operator just run aground and start to back off the submerged island that drys at MMLW.
This video starts up river at Marina Bay and ends at the ICW/New River Crossroads in Fort Lauderdale FL USA.
Here are some tips from my limited New River experiences
Monitor VHF CH 9.
Announce security calls on VHF CH 9 at the start of your run and throughout depending on your size, location, current, towing, etc.
Traffic is “inbound” or “outbound” not “northbound”, “down stream”, “up river” and so on.
Down current has the right of way! And offer some curtesy to the owner operator running down street with the single screw sailboat or similar, these kinds of boats can’t just stop with the current on their stern. The current changes direction with the tide. Andrew Avenue is a good published tide and current station.
Communicate on CH 9 and make passing arrangements before you meet at a bad spot on the river, you can see examples of this in my little video. Note that I had the current on my bow, so I was the giveaway vessel.
Learn the landmarks before you set sail:
- Markers 1 & 2
- Tarpon Bend
- The Girls School
- The Tunnel
- 3rd Ave Bridge
- Andrews Ave Bridge
- Performing arts center
- 7th Ave bridge
- The fork
- Little Florida
- Davie Blvd Bridge
- The wiggles
- 95 and the CSX Railroad bridge
- Marina Bay
- Secret Woods Park
- Pipe Welders
- Broward Marine
- Rolly Marine
8) Note the “rush hour” closure times for the bridges on the river.
Bridges are closed to pleasure traffic: 7:30AM – 9:00AM and 4:30PM – 6:00PM Monday to Friday
9) Bridges are on demand via VHF CH 9, but will have to clear foot and auto traffic first. Call when the bridge is insight.
10) If a bridge just opened and you missed it, the bridge operator will clear some traffic then open for boat traffic when able.
11) The “Jungle Queen” or “JQ” is a big tour boat that runs the entire river and tends to slide around, you will here this boat on the VHF CH 9, make a passing arrangement is a safe area.
12) If you here a security call from a towing company like “Steel Towing”, they are likely towing a large vessel, also make passing arrangements in this case.
13) Learn the sound signal rules for passing and for blind corners for US inland waterways.
14) Long blast on blind corner….. The rules are quite clear on the matter, however, almost no one on this waterway follows this rule. One could say the locals are just “too cool” for this and rely on the VHF or home owners get upset with all the noise. Whatever the case, I choose to follow the law and I suggest you do also. You never know, a Captain may have just picked up a 120’ boat at the end of the river for the first time and has no idea river traffic is monitoring VHF CH 9….
15) No wake, my advice is, go as slow as you can to keep proper steerage, this can be pretty quick with a 4-5 knot current pushing you along.
For the geeks: Video shot with GoPro 4 Black at 720p, external power supply, iMovie to crop and speed up.
A very one of a kind and unique Electric Boat, Hull and Deck built from Glen-L drawings, this beautiful vessel is the twentieth boat I’ve built and by far the most elegant and innovative.
Truly I cannot express how innovative this boat is, I am stopped all the time by people both on land (when launching) and while on the water amazed at not only the construction and function but the completely silent operation when cruising. A true premium and bespoke, handmade creation, I spared no time or expense when crafting this true work of art. I used AAA Straight grain teak, 4 Mastervolt Marine Gel batteries in series to make 48 Volts (4000W output) for propulsion, Dual 12 V house batteries to run the 8 speaker premium audio system, lighting, VHF and so on, professionally paint sprayed in very eye catching base-coat/clear-coat Deep Red Dupont Marine, Pod mounted Torqueedo Cruise 4.0 R motor complete with GPS based flight computer and so very much more.
I have no idea what the range is because I’ve never run the batteries to less than 50%, truthfully, we have never used the boat long enough. We use the boat about 4 hours at displacement speeds, this works out to about 5knots, a very silent 5 knots I may add.
Avoiding the sometimes confusing diatribe about the metrics and intricacies of an electric boat it probably is best to call me with any seriously deep questions (954.655.4625); however I will try a written walkthrough for those not inclined to telephone or feel free to ask a question through Ebay:
I plug the boat in and the onboard smart chargers handle the charging and maintenance float charge of all total six marine MasterVolt Gell batteries, most often, I just plug it in the night before of the same day I want to go for a cruise but the smart chargers can just be left plugged in and they will maintain the system indefinitely.
Currently I’ve got the chargers set for a 4 hour charge cycle, this will keep the batteries healthy for 5 years+ but you can change this setting to 2 hours if you want. Just pop the boat into the water, flip on your music and cruise without vibration, exhaust smoke, fuel fumes, noise and without ever facing any “start-up” issues or any other problem you have with fuel powered boats.
How long will the batteries last? I actually don’t know the answer to this as all my 4-hour cruises leave me with plenty of remaining power and after 3-4 hours of boating I’m typically finished for the day. If I had to guess, at displacement speeds, you can get a full day of boating without issue. As mentioned already, I have used the Cruise 4.0R and yes, this is way too big for the boat, but remember, electric motors only use the energy you ask it to, so the power is there if you want it or need to tow a friends boat with motor trouble. I typically use 600watts to make 5 knots. There are 4000 watts of power available, so the motor is very happy to run forever.
eBay Listing HERE
- AAA grade solid teak for the deck
- Lloyds of London approved plywood for the hull shape
- West System epoxy and fiberglass cloth for the hull
- Epoxy fairing compound
- Dupont marine paint (Base coat and Clearcoat) professional and properly sprayed in a booth! (DEEP RED COLOR)
- MasterVolt Gell Battries for main propulsion and same for house batteries
- On-Board and wired into shore power 48V Gell smart charger & 12V 2ch smart Gell charger
- USCG and CCG Approved Navigation nights (LED)
- LED deck lights
- LED work lights fore and aft
- Teak Flag pole
- Hidden mooring cleats
- Marine grade stereo system with Sat, USB, FM, iPhone, AUX etc.
- Marine grade 4 CH Amp
- 6 Marine Speakers
- Raymarine Depth sounder (in-hull mounted) hidden
- Shore power inlet
- Shore power cord
- 2 Electronic smart bilge pumps (no float switches needed with auto and manual)
- 3 Marine – Battery disconnects – Main propulsion, House, bilge pumps
- House and Bilge pumps have auto resetting circuit breakers
- Every electrical connection uses marine grade Anchor head shrink crimp connectors
- Stick Steering
- Port and Starboard “pop-up” electric actuated and hidden switch panel and electronics panels
- USCG safety equipment included
- Canada VHF and HF international radio station license
- Northstar 25Watt VHF marine radio
- Glove box
- Trailer registered in FL
- The boat is in storage in the Fort Lauderdale, FL area 33325
Currently licensed in Canada but can be licensed or registered in any state or country. Boat (ON, Canada) and trailer (Florida) with clear title(s).
We recently transited the Great Dismal Swamp Canal and Locks and I’ve always wanted to experience this waterway of American history. However, boats over 50′ are not recommended to use the waterway, combined with a changing controlled depth and submerged logs are always a concern, in fact, we chopped up over five what I assume are branches or small logs resulting in no damage.
Arts from the swamp: In 1842 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem “The Slave In Dismal Swamp”. The poem uses six quintain stanzas to tell about the “hunted Negro”, mentioning the use of bloodhounds and describing the conditions as being “where hardly a human foot could pass, or a human heart would dare”. The poem may have inspired artist David Edward Cronin, who served as a Union officer in Virginia and witnessed the effect of slavery, to paint Fugitive Slaves in the Dismal Swamp, Virginia in 1888.
In 1856, Harriett Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published her second anti-slavery novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp. The title character is a maroon of the Great Dismal Swamp who preaches against slavery and incites slaves to escape
Situated on the N.C. and Virginia line was the 1830’s hotel known as the Halfway House. “A quality place for sleeping, matrimonial celebrations, and of course, duelistical engagements for the settling of disagreements”. Situated evenly on the North Carolina and Virginia state line, it is the one place where the long arm of the law came up short as an outlaw simply hopped across the line to avoid arrest. It’s the place where a newlyweds could hold hands from different states and occasionally meet in the middle for a kiss on the lips. Between Gunfights, Marriages and occasional Lawlessness, it is also rumored that Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Raven” while staying at the Halfway House.
Some history: Scientists believe the Great Dismal Swamp was created upon the last major shift of the continental shelf. The origin of Lake Drummond, one of only two natural lakes in Virginia, is not entirely clear; Native American legends tell of a giant firebird that made a nest of fire in the swamp that later filled with rain.
Archaeological evidence suggests people have inhabited the swamp for 13,000 years. In 1650, Native Americans lived in the swamp; in 1665, William Drummond, the first governor of North Carolina, discovered the swamp’s lake, which was subsequently named for him. In 1728, William Byrd II, while leading a land survey to establish a boundary between the Virginia and North Carolina colonies, made many observations of the swamp, none of them favorable; he is credited with naming it the Dismal Swamp. In 1763, George Washington visited the area, and he and others founded the Dismal Swamp Company in a venture to drain the swamp and clear it for settlement, with the company later turning to the more profitable goal of timber harvesting.
Several African American maroon societies lived in the Great Dismal Swamp during early American history. These maroons consisted of black runaway slaves seeking safety and liberty. The swamp’s role in the history of slavery in the United States is reflected in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s second novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp. The Underground Railroad Education Pavilion, an exhibit set up to educate visitors about the fugitive slaves who lived in the swamp, was opened February 24, 2012.
The Dismal Swamp Canal was authorized by Virginia in 1787 and by North Carolina in 1790, with construction beginning in 1793 and completing in 1805. The canal, as well as a railroad constructed through part of the swamp in 1830, enabled the harvest of timber. The canal deteriorated after the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal was completed in 1858; however, in 1929, the U. S. Government bought the Dismal Swamp Canal and began to improve it. The canal is now the oldest operating artificial waterway in the country. Like the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canals, it is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
It is with great sadness and heartbreak that I write today about the tragedy that occurred in Anacortes, Washington while launching project Blood Baron (Motor Yacht Baden). My best wishes and thoughts go out to all those involved and injured in this accident.
It was to my utmost dismay that on Dec 15th 2013 when I was removed from control of this project. I was asked by the owner to step aside and allow Josh Gulbranson and Clive McCartney to finish the project as it was going to be listed for sale with Fraser Yachts.
I can say without ego or hubris that I feel if I had been still involved with this project in a leadership capacity, this launch accident would never have happened.
I hope everything works out for all parties involved and that the injured have a speedy recovery, may the US Coast Guard investigation provide some answers and closure for everyone affected by yesterday’s events.
Just finished building the Glen-L Designed rowboat “Fife” of stitch and glue construction. Here are some photos and video
Another video of Northern Marine yacht builder stacking our Fly Bridge atop Project Blood Baron.
To design, negotiate and build your vessel with project management by
Captain Aaron D. Pufal, please send an email to: email@example.com
A quick time lapse video by YachtVid of our fly bridge being stacked atop Motor Yacht Blood Baron, a 85′ tri-deck expedition vessel built with Northern Marine.
To design, negotiate and build your vessel with project management by
Captain Aaron D. Pufal, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Available in HD
It’s was a quite the milestone today having the bridge deck stacked and I am especially pleased that the complex shape of the hull extension was a perfect fit. Special credit is due to Ben Eddy, Northern Marine’s CAD departments lead, and everyone involved with its construction and flying.
Having this deck in place, allows us to better visualize and layout the Saloon, Dining, Galley and Master Cabin spaces. As in every custom build, “as drawn” and “as built” are two very different things no matter how many 3D renderings you have made.
To design, negotiate and build your vessel with project management by Captain Aaron D. Pufal,
please send an email to: email@example.com
Take a moment to watch this great video by Jason at YachtVid of our 61′ Marlow (M/Y Immunolin) that we have listied for sale.
You can contact me directly or the listing broker for more information.
Aaron Pufal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason at YachtVid is available to produce your own Yacht Video
Located in the Abaco chain of islands in the Bahamas, Hope Town is my favorite settlement in these cruising grounds. High tide is a must for boats that draw around 6 feet, but once your in the protected harbor, there is plenty of water. Mooring balls are available, reservations are impossible and unorganized, just tie up to any ball that is not marked private or with a boat’s name, the owner of the mooring will visit you in the morning to collect the fee of around $10-$20. Marina’s are on the leeward side of the bay along with the lighthouse and currently under expansion (2012).
“Hope Town was settled by British Loyalists who were seeking safe refuge after the American Revolution. Many of the settlers came from the Carolinas, by way of East Florida, after that area was turned over to Spain in the Peace of Paris (1783). The same treaty called for the evacuation of New York by the loyalists. Many people moved back to England, Canada, or south to the British Caribbean. The initial settlements were at Carleton (near the current Treasure Cay) and Marsh Harbour. By 1785, there were over 1,000 refugees in Abaco who were distributed in five or six settlements. The settlement at Hope Town was founded in 1785, in part, by a widow from South Carolina named Wyannie Malone. Wyannie, along with her children, started a dynasty in Hope Town that spread the Malone name throughout the Bahamas, over to Florida, and outwards from there.”
Just off the coast of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, we noticed a little grey smoke coming from a vessel close to us, within 90 seconds it was fully ablaze. in the 2-3 minutes it took us to get to “Final Act” all the decks were engulfed with flames and the owner of the boat was on the fly bridge saving his dog, they both were in the water as the flames took the tender. I towed the life raft about 100 feet away from the fire and got everyone onboard. Only the captain suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation, besides the expected shock and exposure to all 5 people and the 2 dogs, shortly after we dropped them off at Skull Creek marina.
I never would have thought a fire could have taken the ship so vary fast, just goes to show how little time you have to get off the boat when there is a fire. Also a great example of how proper engine room fire systems could either save the ship or at minimum, slow the fire down. Proper video surveillance, shutting down the ventilation, closing passive air vents, shutting off fuel and engines in addition to standard fire suppression systems would have made a difference in this shipboard emergency. Also, there was no viewing port in the engine room door, the captain noted this as he opened the door to see the scope of the fire, often these windows are not installed because of noise and cost concerns.
Positioned between Nassau and Fort Lauderdale, Chub Cay Marina is situated perfectly for a stop along the way. Additionally, there is a landing strip with Bahamas customs on the island if you need to fly home for a break or fly in guests.
Water $0.45 gal
Airport buss $5 pp
Landing Fee $20 (single)
In this fun little video I get dropped by my flight instructor to complete my voyage back to FL.
Available in HD
Here are my photos of my recent build from your Lo-Voltage plans. I am happy to say the build went well and I had to make only a few changes for my build and use.
I used 40 solid ¾” X 16′ teak strips for the cap rail and rub rails as it was so much easier to laminate and worked well with the teak and rubber decks that are finished only with teak oil.
Updating the propulsion I am using a Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R with 4 gell battries that I well mounted and added my own electric tilt for beaching. I would recommend the Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 R as I never use more then 1800 watts to achieve maximum hull speed with a run time of over 10 hours! There are 2 onboard gell battery chargers for the 48V and 12V house system with a shore power cable outlet for easy changing. Separate 12v gell batteries run the marine stereo, marine amp, Raymarine depth sounder, Northstar VHF radio, LED deck lights, LED retro fitted nav lights, work lights under for and aft deck, linear actuators that pop up 2 electronics panels and motor tilt.
I’ve used “ez-stick”steering, it works great and frees up the deck.
I have discovered a new product that from West System called “Six10” that makes stitch and glue quick, strong and less messy, however, only after I built the hull the old fashion way.
As a note, the Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R motor for some reason burned up the motor and control unit just after 3 uses, I’ve sent it to the warranty service center in the US and will update this posting with that experience and let you all know how the motor performs over time.
This is a time laps film shows how sometimes the most narrow fairways can sometimes be very easy to navigate. We have all done it, we have looked at a chart or cruising guide sketch and immediately written off an anchorage or an entire area because of how intimidating it looks sitting at your desk. Compounding this issue are the old sailors at the yacht club bar droning on about how hard it was to get in to that bay in 1976! Well, in today’s world it’s the blog posting by a bean counter pontificating for a paragraphs about strong currents and coral heads.
Relax! I run this little 61 motor yacht alone and have a friend or guest help out when needed, like in this video. Furthermore, on this day the winds were 20kts and a ebbing tide of about 3 knots, no problem.
My point is, don’t pass up that anchorage just because it looks crazy on paper, sometime the more insane it looks on paper the easier it is to navigate, this is a good example of that.
Almost every yacht that transits this inside reef channel to Harbour Island uses a Pilot, and for good reason. Many props and shafts have been lost in this apply named channel spanning from Spanish Wells to Harbour Island.
This video is shot in time laps and shows some of the many corral heads and how close to the beach you must sail to avoid running aground.