Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

When skinny fittings aren't worth a brass razoo

by Mark Rothfield on 10 May 2012
Space Shuttle Challenger - all for an O ring . ..
I remember reading, following the Space Shuttle Columbia crash, that the finger of blame could be PowerPointed at a slick 'sales pitch' which took precedence over earnest engineering evaluation.

Vital diagnostic information was glossed over in PowerPoint and a briefcase-sized piece of foam struck the wing, compromising the thermal tile protection … and it was all over, Red Rover, for the crew.

Similarly, it took only a failed O-ring to turn the ill-fated Shuttle Challenger into a cumulus cloud.

The field of engineering is littered with such tales of the $2 part causing catastrophic failure to a machine worth many thousands, and ultimately costing lives. Race car drivers have been let down by parting nuts, boat races have been lost with the breaking of a shackle.

The difference is, these failures were accidental. What if a someone knowingly used an inferior part that caused a vehicle to crash or a boat to sink? What if they did it just to save a few dollars, or euros??

Queensland-based naval architect Peter Brady claims that it’s happening in Europe with the use of inferior skin fittings and seacocks in production boats.

Apparently the CE Standard was rewritten in 1998 to require that fittings need only be corrosion resistant for five years. Some boatbuilders quickly began using common brass instead of DZR brass, silicon bronze, stainless steel or composites for skin fittings and valves.

Common brass is much cheaper.

'We are not talking about a few budget price boats here, some of Europe’s largest and best-known builders have been named,' Brady said.

'In the UK they have found total failure in fittings as little as four years old, which could have led to the boat sinking.'
Shipwrights here have confirmed they are replacing underwater fittings on some European-built boats as little as two years old, and it takes little stretch of the imagination to see a fatality in the wind.



I’d rather see profits sink before this happens. If you’re in the market for a European boat, insist on the best possible quality for all thru-hulls.

In case you did not know Brass razoo is an Australian phrase that was it seems first recorded in soldiers' slang in World War I.

It is now defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as 'a non-existent coin of trivial value'. It is commonly used in the expression I haven't got a brass razoo, meaning the speaker is out of money.

As money is often called Brass in Australia as in 'I am out of Brass' and the smallest French coin is a 'sou' Perhaps the term was 'coined' from that combination.

Wildwind 2016 660x82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

America's Cup - Kiwi lodges Appeal against Jury in San Francisco Cup
Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case taken against the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco. On October 28, 2016, US District Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed Mitchell's claim against the five-person International Jury on the basis that it was lodged too late.
Posted on 2 Dec
A Q&A with Nick Bice about the recent changes for the 2017/2018 VOR
I caught up with Nick Bice, the VOR’s director of boats and maintenance, to learn more about the VOR’s new directions. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Nick Bice, the Volvo Ocean Race’s director of boats and maintenance, deliver a keynote speech to an audience of marine-industry professionals and official Volvo Ocean Race suppliers at the 2016 METS trade show in Amsterdam. I caught up with Bice after his presentation to learn more about the new directions that the race is taking for its thirteenth edition.
Posted on 28 Nov
A Q&A with Sharon Green about the prep work that ensures great images
I talked with ace photographer Sharon Green to learn more about the prep work that goes into each image that she snaps. I caught up with ace photographer Sharon Green at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn more about the behind-the-scenes preparation work that goes into each image that she snaps. While some of Green’s tips are specific to professional shooters (e.g., helicopter time or juggling multiple camera bodies), plenty of amateur lensmen will be well served to consider Green’s racecourse-proven tips.
Posted on 23 Nov
Dockside with CQS - radical, revamped supermaxi up close
The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday - the White Island Race which will double as Rolex Sydney Hobart Qualifier. Originally the 90ft Nicorette designed by South African Alex Simonis, the new project to upgrade to a 100ft supermaxi has been led by Brett Bakewell-White (NZ) and Bakewell-White Yacht Design.
Posted on 22 Nov
Gladwell's Line - President Croce caught at helm in Perfect Storm
No real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way an eight-year term After a year or more punctuated with issues that should not have happened, it is no real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way through what should have been an eight-year term. Also gone is one of his lieutenants, Chris Atkins (GBR) as Vice President, who remarkably polled 13th out of the 15 candidates.
Posted on 15 Nov
Gladwell's Line -The America's Cup settlement deal
The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the Arbitration Panel is not news The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel is not new - Sail-World reported the same story in the first and second weeks of September. The Hearing on the amount of compensation to be paid is yet to be held. So far we have been unable to discover a date if indeed one has been set. Maybe next year?
Posted on 11 Oct
Debriefing the 2016 J/70 Worlds with Winning Skipper Joel Ronning
I talked with Joel Ronning after the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn about his team’s win at this high-level regatta. Since its inception in 2012, the J/70 has become the most popular One Design boat in decades, with 1,100+ boats sailing in myriad countries. Some 68 boats from 15 countries arrived on San Francisco Bay last week to determine bragging rights at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds. I caught up with Joel Ronning to learn more about the Catapult team’s road to becoming the 2016 J/70 World Champions.
Posted on 5 Oct
Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
Debriefing the Rio 2016 Olympics with Team USA’s Helena Scutt
I talked with Team USA’s Helena Scutt to hear about her Olympic experience, and to learn more about her post-Rio plans. The 49erFX was introduced to Olympic circles when it replaced the Women’s Match Racing event following the 2012 Games. Not surprisingly, it drew high-performance sailors for the Rio 2016 Olympics, including Team USA’s Paris Henken and Helena Scutt. While Henken and Scutt were Olympic first-timers, they put on a strong show. I caught up with Scutt to hear more about her Olympic experience.
Posted on 8 Sep
A Q&A with Peter Bresnan ONE Palma’s founder and director
Sail-World interviewed ONE Palma’s founder Peter Bresnan to learn about the company’s partnership with McConaghy Boats For the past eight years, ONE Palma (formerly OneSails Spain) has been building a strong name, first as a sailmaker and later with refit work. Recently, ONE Palma and McConaghy Boats-legendary boatbuilders who have crafted some of the planet’s fastest sailboats-entered a business partnership. I caught up with Peter Bresnan, ONE Palma’s founder and director, to learn more about this new direction.
Posted on 2 Sep