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Old 05-19-2014, 08:09 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Didn't they originally start as a commercial boat builder???

Am almost certain you're right. This is far from the first boat they've built. And regardless of what it looked like or wound up like had the equipment not failed the boat would be floating fine today IMO.

Non professional as my opinion is
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:00 PM   #62
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Captain Aaron Pufal

May 19, 2014

It is with great sadness and heartbreak that I write today about the tragedy that occurred in Anacortes, Washington while launching the motoryacht, project (Blood Baron) Baden. My best wishes and thoughts go out to all those involved and injured in this accident.

This open letter/post is much more personal than any I have written before as I am still deeply emotionally involved with this project. In fact helping to create this vessel my DNA is firmly spliced into almost every aspect of this beautiful ship’s build.

Let me explain.

Several years ago working with Josh Gulbranson of Fraser Yachts, he introduced me to Northern Marine.

We were commissioned with building an exceptional yacht for an exceptional man with the sole, ambitious purpose of a complete global circumnavigation.

As project lead my mandate was to build the best possible yacht, breaking new ground in every step, this project would redefine innovation, ingenuity and design in the yachting industry. For several years I put my absolute best into this build, I challenged conventions, re-wrote rule books and infused my very heart and soul into this project.

Although at the time my approach was met with criticism and I was accused of “possibly over engineering” this vessel, my axiom from the get go was “if something will fail, it will”. I strove to make this yacht as efficient, reliable and as bullet-proof as possible especially in light of her purpose of circumnavigating the globe. My reasoning, which I believe to be sound, was to engineer this boat past any possible failures and ensure the complete comfort and safety of both passengers and crew alike. I will admit to a vested interest here because you see, I was the Captain who was going to lead this inspired cruise around the world. I needed to make absolutely certain that this vessel had no Achilles heel or any weak points whatsoever.

It was to my utmost dismay that this came crashing down 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 almost completed project.

Before this transition occurred I had RODDAN ENGINEERING complete a stability study in 2013. This is attached to his post and I encourage you to read it.

In fact, on September 16, 2013 I informed the shipyard manager that I had some grave concerns about the dolly system used to move the ship. I conveyed that I firmly believed another system or method of transport would be needed to safely launch (Blood Baron) Baden.

To the accident that occurred yesterday while launching (Blood Baron) Baden, I can only speculate on why this seemingly senseless accident occurred. Were my recommendations noted or considered before launch? Why did this happen? Why didn’t the new project management team heed my warning or the stability study and my concerns? What could have been done to prevent this terrible mess? In the pictures of this accident that I have seen, why are the wheels on the dolly compressed so much that the tires are flat? Did someone not notice this? Why didn’t any one stop the launch if there were warning signs with the dolly?

Many questions linger, especially in light of the injuries yesterday’s events caused.

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.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:09 PM   #63
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Wow, what an interesting statement! These are the tires in question.


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Old 05-19-2014, 10:50 PM   #64
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Wow, what an interesting statement! These are the tires in question.
From the looks of it, more than one person wasnt doing their job correctly ( for such a professional boat builder)
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:55 PM   #65
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Kinda sucks when you're the owner of a fantastic yacht like that and you fire your captain, then he gets the opportunity to say "I told you so" because you didn't heed his warnings.

How many millions lost.
How many years of the owners dreams shattered.
For all we know the owner may not have the years to spare.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:58 PM   #66
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We need to remember that this company has a proven track record of successful expedition style boats, if not this exact model.
All I am going to remember about this company is they dropped a 10 million dollar boat on its side. If it was unbalasted , I shouldnt criticize the design, but if it was fully ballasted and tipped over like that, I wouldnt consider a circumnavigation in it. Worth mentioning is the company who did the stability calcs on it recommended that it be fully ballasted before launch.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:00 PM   #67
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Kinda sucks when you're the owner of a fantastic yacht like that and you fire your captain, then he gets the opportunity to say "I told you so" because you didn't heed his warnings.

How many millions lost.
How many years of the owners dreams shattered.
For all we know the owner may not have the years to spare.
Good point. Sad but true.
At this point the only parties that will come out ahead are the lawyers involved
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:33 PM   #68
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What I don't understand is that even if it tipped, and tipped a lot, shouldn't a sea-going vessel right itself? Interesting that this is hull #1 of this model. My money is on massive engineering (or lack thereof) blunder.
My thoughts exactly. If this vessel rolls over and sinks on its own, what would it do when in 25' waves on the beam and a failure of stabilizers. Better this thing sinks now, than later when 1,000 miles from shore.

For the vessel to roll over like that, the center of gravity was above the water line, which doesn't seem like the ideal characteristic of a blue water $10mm boat.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:36 PM   #69
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Zero ballast on board and the bow was still on the dolly when she tipped.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:37 PM   #70
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Not enough boat under that boat...
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:53 PM   #71
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http://yachtcaptainblog.com is the blog of Captain Aaron Pufal and is now dead. I am guessing there are some phone calls going around and info will dry up a bit in several places.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:55 PM   #72
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Zero ballast on board and the bow was still on the dolly when she tipped.
Hard to imagine that there was no ballast. Isn't it normal for a boat to have a design load of ballast that is fixed, with trim ballast added after launch? In other words, isn't the boat when it hits the water already ballasted such that turning turtle would be unthinkable? Different boat, but on launch, we had to add around a ton of trim ballast to correct a 2 degree heel, and the idea that Delfin would have rolled over without it is laughable.

Something really doesn't add up here....
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:56 PM   #73
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You know guys we're making allot of assumptions and some flat out accusations about this boat, when we know absolutely nothing about the design except that it looks to us to have allot more volume up top than below.

We need to remember that this company has a proven track record of successful expedition style boats, if not this exact model.

A boats stability is based on it free floating, not partly supported by its launching apparatus. I believe that this unfortunate incident had everything to do with the launch equipment and procedures and nothing to do with the stability the boat would have had if it would have had the opportunity to actually float.


Yes, and along with what psneeld says about the magic name, Bruce Kessler, NM's lineage, build quality and seaworthiness is pretty near the top of the list.. I've had the opportunity to be on several NMs and in fact tried to buy one two years ago, they are wonderful examples of a mission specific blue water craft.

But no doubt this boat's seaworthiness, although never launched, is in great question by many because it could not right itself out of the water. Which is a puzzling notion to say the least but as Delfin says, no ballast is a puzzler, except maybe they didn't want to stress the wheels - hah.. Those in the know understand what happened in the rush to launch with no blame due to the boat's design. So sad because it will take a big toll on dozens of boat building employees in Anacortes .
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:57 PM   #74
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Sunchaser, has that company had an ownership change recently? Seems I heard something of the sort.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:09 AM   #75
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Yes, and along with what psneeld says about the magic name, Bruce Kessler, NM's lineage, build quality and seaworthiness is pretty near the top of the list.. I've had the opportunity to be on several NMs and in fact tried to buy one two years ago, they are wonderful examples of a mission specific blue water craft.

But no doubt this boat's seaworthiness, although never launched, is in great question by many because it could not right itself out of the water. Which is a puzzling notion to say the least but as Delfin says, no ballast is a puzzler, except maybe they didn't want to stress the wheels - hah.. Those in the know understand what happened in the rush to launch with no blame due to the boat's design. So sad because it will take a big toll on dozens of boat building employees in Anacortes .
Most of the ballast is going to be fixed and would have to be installed during the build based on stability calculations. I just don't see how it could be otherwise, but maybe I'm wrong. And if they didn't know what ballast was needed, and clearly someone didn't or it wouldn't be under water, then what else don't they know about things important to a world capable boat. Very peculiar.

I hope the company survives, but with the financial challenges they have had in the past, this is a big bullet to dodge.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:13 AM   #76
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Sunchaser, has that company had an ownership change recently? Seems I heard something of the sort.
They brought in a new financial operations group in 2012 (I think I read). Six new management staff total. I was going to try and download and post the stability study. . . but the webpage has been taken down now?? I guess somebodies attorney got a hold of somebodies attorney!! lol

Basically it was a recommendation on ballasting for the movement and launch of the vessel. The engineers said it was going to be light in the stern. The Captain didn't like the launch method or the dolly system. I guess they were right !! It normally carried 15,000 gals fuel and only had 150 gals was on board for the launch. How much does fuel weigh, That's a lot of ballast weight to not have on board.

Sounds like the rift within the build group surrounded the ballasting and launch of the vessel, nothing to do with the seaworthiness of the vessel. Now the fired Captain is going. . . "I TOLD YOU SO!!!"
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:17 AM   #77
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Zero ballast on board and the bow was still on the dolly when she tipped.
Exactly

What the boat does when its not fully in the water has no resemblance to what it will do in the water.

I think all the speculation as to its seaworthiness is just armchair engineering.

Lets be real. Almost anyone of us here on TF would love to have a 90' expedition yacht of that caliber.

Its just sad they couldn't get it fully in the water. It would have been a fine vessel.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:22 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Kinda sucks when you're the owner of a fantastic yacht like that and you fire your captain, then he gets the opportunity to say "I told you so" because you didn't heed his warnings.

How many millions lost.
How many years of the owners dreams shattered.
For all we know the owner may not have the years to spare.
Notice Captains blog now dead. Wonder who made that happen? Oh can you imagine the finger pointing going on between all participants.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:30 AM   #79
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Lets be real. Almost anyone of us here on TF would love to have a 90' expedition yacht of that caliber.

.
You mean the before or the after?

Sometimes builders, owners, designers...all get carried away. We'll never know but from what little we do know and just observations, I think this might have been technologically a dream boat but hull and performance wise not up to Northern's typical boat. I just look at it beside their 80. The 80 looks natural. This one looked forced. Looked a bit like someone says, add this, then someone else says, double it. In any business one of the most important things is knowing when to say no. We've all seen it on lengthened hulls. One guy lengthens his boat 4' so the next has to try 8'. But then 8' throughs the entire balance and performance off.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:39 AM   #80
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