I got curious. Above is a link to a drag boat capsule done by a very reputable builder.
Not like some folks have not tried to reinvent the wheel.
I agree with Brownie in that the Capsule is proven to work. We've all have seen vids of dragboats that literally shred themselves into many bite-sized pieces and when the dust settles, the driver walks away from the only part of the boat that remains intact; the Capsule. In a racing environment, theres nothing better to protect the occupants from the many "ways" that a boat can crash; be it blow-over, roll-over, trip and stuff, collisions; its as close to a fix-all as there is.
I also think however, there is a much bigger picture to consider. Given the number of air-entrapment style hulls that are in the open market (ie: recreational boaters) be them Cats, Tunnels, Tunnel-Vs, whatever, attention should be paid to developing solutions that are equally effective in both racing and recreational use.
Earlier in this thread there was a question as to whether or not accidents happen often, which is a matter of opinion. Just sitting here thinking about it with no research, I can remember these, all of which are fairly recent:
Blow-over this weekend- 2 lost
Roll-over this weekend- 1 lost
Collision on Biscayne Bay earlier this year- 1 lost
Blow-over in Abu Dhabi last year- 2 lost
Collision of Nashville Catz and Flash Gordon 2006- 5 lost
Roll-over of Pammy- Lake Cumberland 2008- 1 lost
That’s 11 lives lost in 6 incidents in 5 years. These are only within the offshore community. Some were racing, some were not. This doesn’t include the incidents that I don’t know about or may not recall, nor does it include any count of injured survivors or even un-injured survivors. Also not included is who knows how many incidents that have occurred but didn’t get mass exposure. The fact is that in a few minutes I was able to recall 11 fatalities that occurred in the span of 5-years. That’s more than 2 souls per year, average. THAT IS CRAZY!!!!!
History has shown racing is the venue in which to develop these solutions just as crush panels, seat belts and who knows how many other automotive improvements were developed by design, testing and perfecting on the race track.
In the racing environment, the solution could be as simple (short version) as it was for the dragboat people; design a Capsule that can be "inserted" into any given cockpit with modification. Not that it would be "easy" or inexpensive but it has already been done.
A different approach would be required for the open boats (recreational boats). The main problem with Capsules is that they are not conducive to recreational use. While there are some enclosed cockpit large Cats (still not considered to be Capsules), I'd think that the majority of the recreational boats are open.
IMO, the way to address the same problems in a recreational environment is to do it individually. In this thread there is a post (#47) that describes the crumple zones that MTI has incorporated into their cockpit designs. They should be commended for their efforts because they have made headway into protecting the occupants in the event of impact to the cockpit. Proves that somebody has put some thought into the collision and to some degree, the roll-over scenario. Is this the “best” solution? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a step in the right direction.
To me, roll-overs are the most difficult to solve. Open cockpits make this a big problem. I have no idea how to go about solving this problem.
The aforementioned collision scenario (impact) solution may or may not be able to be solved, but the crush zone idea is progress.
I think (contrary to Brownie) that the blow-over scenario can be addressed by the use of already developed technology and hardware; see my post in this thread (#20). I’ve done some preliminary research regarding how to make my idea work, and so far what I’ve been told is that it totally doable.
It is possible to develop a flap that would be mounted in the tunnel that would be computer controlled, and could constantly measure forward motion, air speed/pressure and angle of the bow and instantaneously adjust (by deployment in broad or minute increments) to any “out of parameter” condition; namely “the point of no return” as described in the vid of cat-can-do- post (#62).
Before any of you tell me to go for it and start hiring engineers, programmers, modelers, etc., I’m not saying I could fund the development, nor am I an aero-engineer. My point is that for a reasonable investment, a device could be developed that would address this particular issue. The beauty of it is that it provides a controlled solution that saves both the occupants of the boat and the boat itself and would be able to be retrofitted to existing hulls.
Last edited by iamjoe; 11-12-2011 at 03:22 PM. Reason: typo
But for right now the cat raceboat builders should take a look at the rear canopy structure to see what can be done to prevent water intrusion which was the cause of the Big Thunder and Victory fatalities.
It's just so tragic that almost every advancement in safety comes at such a high price. Let's do justice to their memory and find a solution.
Blowovers in offshore are extremely rare. The three I am aware of were all related to balance. The most recent two resulted in fatalities because of canopy design and construction failures, ballistic water intrusions, and blunt force trauma to the racers.
The Page Motorsports accident appears as if it was the type seen most often - roll in a turn. Witnesses say the boat appeared intact afterward and the the fatality seemed related to oxygen deprivation, which again would involve cockpit design and construction.
My experience suggests that energies should be focused on continued improvement of the cockpit designs and construction. If that involves a hybrid capsule concept for offshore boats, great.
I have yet to here of a f16 geting hit by a rogue wave at 30,000 feet or a nascar getting hit by a tsunami on there perfectly paved track...........a good solid capsule is the key to safety in our sport.
I will wait for the Capsule thread to come up,then I will relate what we did and my experiences and feelings on the subject,this is not the time,especially with another race tomorrow.
Slippery when wet. "POD" Free Tunnel through Common Sense Engineering
I’m not an engineer or anything but I can not see how a blow over preventer or flap or wing would work. Like said before, this aint Nascar on a smooth track. Boats pitch up and down and roll side to side violently and that’s just when you are rollin. There is not a chance that a computer would be able to interpret what’s good and what’s bad and then make the decision to do something about and actually perform the saving action before you reached the point of no return.
Most of the boats race on the edge and that is the difference in the winning and other boats in the race. The one that is willing to hang it out the furthest on that edge.
For a blow over preventer to work it would have to be set before the point of no return and that would basically be like traction control for boats. Just firewall the throttles and let the blow over preventer keep the boat from flipping over. That‘s not racing.
Didn't somebody try a drag chute, deployed it, and ripped the back half of the boat out?
If ever there was a need for sanction body unification now is the time. Work together towards a common safety system regardless of who puts on the event.
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