Interesting Trojan Story

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k9th
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Interesting Trojan Story

Postby k9th » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:45 pm

I visited the Maritime Museum in Ludington, MI this week and was very interested to read the following account which comes directly from a display in the museum. I took pics of the display and copied the text below. If anyone wants a copy of the pics I took to see the display for themselves please PM me.

On September 25, 1980, Curtis Anderson, Steve Brower, and Mike Stephenson, employees at Bay Haven Marina in Holland, Michigan, along with a friend, Harvey Willsey, set out from Chicago at 4:00pm to deliver a Trojan F-32 to Holland, MI on behalf of its fourth owner. As night fell, the seas grew rough. Worried, the families tried unsuccessfully to hail the boat with marine radio. In the early morning, they reported the Sea Mar III missing.

Three days passed before the Coast Guard found a trail of debris, including a life ring with the boat’s name on it, confirming the loss of the boat, but the bodies of the crew were never found. The captain, Curtis Anderson was 28 years old with a wife and a son. He had attended the Maritime Academy and served in the Coast Guard and was a very competent boat handler.

Attorney John L. Cote, of Holland, MI, knew the victims well and knew them to be very competent sailors and set out to discover what had happened. He discovered that the Trojan Boat Company had become aware of a design flaw involving the design and placement of the stern air vents. Tests had proven that when the F-32 was running fast in rough seas that the stern air vents allowed water to be freely scooped into the bilge. However, they delayed notice for several years and then only sent letters identifying the problem to dealers and first owners, never making the recall public.

After a six year investigation and a three-week trial, the attorney was able to prove Trojan liable for its defective design, a ground breaking verdict, considering he had neither the boat nor any witnesses to offer evidence.

Below is a photo on the display showing the area of the design flaw. I could not find any reference to the model year of the F-32.





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Lance F28
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby Lance F28 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:13 pm

That is an interesting story and I am sure there are conflicting opinions on the actual sinking. One thought is that if the seas are high enough to enter that scoop they probably would come over the rail anyway. My question is has anyone reversed the scoops so that the leading scoop is facing forward allowing air to enter and turned the scoop at the stern rearward so that it would allow air to escape but minimize the chance of water being scooped in?

I plan on replacing the plastic scoops on my F-28 with the chrome ones and thought about reversing them at the rear, since they would be the lowest vents underway, to minimize the chance of scooping water. Is this a good idea, or does it prevent the air from flowing if you do this?

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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby The Dog House » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:26 pm

I always thought the rear vents were the least likely to scoop water. If the front vents were pointed forward, I would be worried that breaking waves would enter the front vents. Since I boat on a river, I don't have any first hand experience, but that would be my guess.
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby Paul » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:11 am

I read a lengthy article about this several years back that stated that the boat came equipped with a forward bilge pump however had none at the rear. This is OK while the boat is off plane and sitting bow deep but when on plane they had no way of pumping out the water in the back of the hull.
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby Paul » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:13 am

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WayWeGo
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby WayWeGo » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:43 pm

I looked into this accident before buying our F36. Probably the best analysis of what happened is the court findings that include quite a bit of expert testimony and other information that is not present in the Michigan Shipwrecks account. While there is some legal language in the court findings, there is quite a bit of easily readable technical info as well.

We will never know, but some things that were potential contributory problems were the vents, potentially insufficient fuel, aft bilge pump having been removed and the waves being higher than originally thought in the boat's location.

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/dis ... 4/2357898/
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby WayWeGo » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:47 pm

Lance F28 wrote: One thought is that if the seas are high enough to enter that scoop they probably would come over the rail anyway.


While I agree with that, the consequences of water entering at those two locations is different. Water coming through the vents goes directly into the engine compartment. Water coming over the rail goes into the cockpit, where most of it should go out the scuppers rather than into the engine compartment. That said, while only a certain amount of water can get in through the vent at a time, a huge amount can get into the cockpit.
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby captainmaniac » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:07 pm

Lance F28 wrote:My question is has anyone reversed the scoops so that the leading scoop is facing forward allowing air to enter and turned the scoop at the stern rearward so that it would allow air to escape but minimize the chance of water being scooped in?

That is the way the vents are on my '79 F32. Forward vents face forward to bring in fresh air, aft vents face aft for exhaust. Also in my vintage the forward vents are up higher - above the deck in the sides of the salon - and the vents are a different size (something like 17.5" x 2") so present a smaller opening.

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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby Lance F28 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:33 pm

WayWeGo wrote:
Lance F28 wrote: One thought is that if the seas are high enough to enter that scoop they probably would come over the rail anyway.


While I agree with that, the consequences of water entering at those two locations is different. Water coming through the vents goes directly into the engine compartment. Water coming over the rail goes into the cockpit, where most of it should go out the scuppers rather than into the engine compartment. That said, while only a certain amount of water can get in through the vent at a time, a huge amount can get into the cockpit.


Very good point about the scuppers removing most of the water. Fortunately, my little lake will never produce the seas Lake Michigan is capable of. If it ever does I better be in tornado shelter, not the boat.

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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby Lance F28 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:45 pm

captainmaniac wrote:
Lance F28 wrote:My question is has anyone reversed the scoops so that the leading scoop is facing forward allowing air to enter and turned the scoop at the stern rearward so that it would allow air to escape but minimize the chance of water being scooped in?

That is the way the vents are on my '79 F32. Forward vents face forward to bring in fresh air, aft vents face aft for exhaust. Also in my vintage the forward vents are up higher - above the deck in the sides of the salon - and the vents are a different size (something like 17.5" x 2") so present a smaller opening.


On the F-28 there are 4 on each side that alternate. One facing forward and one facing rearward for the engine compartment and two for the mid compartment.

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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby DAVIDLOFLAND » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:07 am

I've seen this story pop up multiple times over the years but have never had the courage to speak up about it. All I can say is it was very good legal team that won a judgement based on the 'design' of the aft air intakes. While I do agree the F32 design helped kill those folks, I do not believe it had anything to do with any air intakes. I'm not any kind of marine forensic expert, but I do have some experience with an F32. I've owned my F32, the 'Instant Fun' for 28 years this coming March. I've logged just under 6,000 hours at the the helm (based on engine hours) all offshore Alaska. I've been in some pretty gnarly stuff. Never have I encountered any sea state while underway at any speed that has caused water to enter the aft vents. Just look over the side while underway at any speed and you'll understand what I'm talking about. Yes, mine are still facing forward.
In my humble opinion, that boat broached and rolled. The worst sea state for the F32 is not really big seas (10 - 15 footers). It is in fact close, steep six to eight footers. That's where I've been scared multiple times and almost became a statistic twice. In a steep, short wavelength, following sea the F32 will turn 90 degrees, broach and roll in the blink of an eye. I've been there and 'almost' done that more than once. That is what I am very sure happened to those folks.
While I do not regard it as a design 'flaw', the problem is indeed inherent to the design of the hull, i.e. flat bottom and wide square stern. I obviously love the hell out of my F32, as she is my 'forever boat', but I have have learned her weaknesses, not the least of which is that she is not a truly 'seaworthy' boat. She is designed to be comfortable and go fast in relatively calm water. If you're gonna run an F32 offshore, you better know her idiosyncrasies and pay attention.
Thanks, I finally got all that off my chest.
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby mikeandanne » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:14 am

DAVIDLOFLAND wrote:I've seen this story pop up multiple times over the years but have never had the courage to speak up about it. All I can say is it was very good legal team that won a judgement based on the 'design' of the aft air intakes. While I do agree the F32 design helped kill those folks, I do not believe it had anything to do with any air intakes. I'm not any kind of marine forensic expert, but I do have some experience with an F32. I've owned my F32, the 'Instant Fun' for 28 years this coming March. I've logged just under 6,000 hours at the the helm (based on engine hours) all offshore Alaska. I've been in some pretty gnarly stuff. Never have I encountered any sea state while underway at any speed that has caused water to enter the aft vents. Just look over the side while underway at any speed and you'll understand what I'm talking about. Yes, mine are still facing forward.
In my humble opinion, that boat broached and rolled. The worst sea state for the F32 is not really big seas (10 - 15 footers). It is in fact close, steep six to eight footers. That's where I've been scared multiple times and almost became a statistic twice. In a steep, short wavelength, following sea the F32 will turn 90 degrees, broach and roll in the blink of an eye. I've been there and 'almost' done that more than once. That is what I am very sure happened to those folks.
While I do not regard it as a design 'flaw', the problem is indeed inherent to the design of the hull, i.e. flat bottom and wide square stern. I obviously love the hell out of my F32, as she is my 'forever boat', but I have have learned her weaknesses, not the least of which is that she is not a truly 'seaworthy' boat. She is designed to be comfortable and go fast in relatively calm water. If you're gonna run an F32 offshore, you better know her idiosyncrasies and pay attention.
Thanks, I finally got all that off my chest.



Well said sir, couldn't agree more.I believe you have the experience to comment.there are a great many boats that should not be out in the sea states we get on the great lakes, including freighters etc.
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby WayWeGo » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:01 am

DAVIDLOFLAND wrote:In my humble opinion, that boat broached and rolled. The worst sea state for the F32 is not really big seas (10 - 15 footers). It is in fact close, steep six to eight footers. That's where I've been scared multiple times and almost became a statistic twice. In a steep, short wavelength, following sea the F32 will turn 90 degrees, broach and roll in the blink of an eye. I've been there and 'almost' done that more than once. That is what I am very sure happened to those folks.

Considering that the engine hatches from inside the salon were one of the items found, I suspect you are correct about this, but probably after having an engine problem. One thing I don't recall being discussed was the condition of the fuel. If there was some water mixed in the fuel, the rocking action of the waves might have caused it to be picked up and overwhelm the filters, leading to the boat stalling. Once the engine(s) were not running, no captain would have been able to keep the boat afloat in the 6-8 footers that were most likely present. And that might also explain the lack of a mayday call, if they were focusing on the engines and had a sudden capsize.

Of course, it is easy to be an armchair quarterback!

There are always tradeoffs with a boat, but the ones that you describe are one of the reasons we bought ours. We boat on the middle Chesapeake Bay, where there are numerous shallow areas to explore. Not to mention that we have a daughter who gets seasick, so a more seaworthy hull might be better for rough weather, but not so good rolling in an anchorage with my daughter hanging over the rail losing her dinner. :shock:
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby gitchisum » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:00 pm

The worst sea state for the F32 is not really big seas (10 - 15 footers). It is in fact close, steep six to eight footers. That's where I've been scared multiple times and almost became a statistic twice. In a steep, short wavelength, following sea the F32 will turn 90 degrees, broach and roll in the blink of an eye. I've been there and 'almost' done that more than once. That is what I am very sure happened to those folks.


Having just run my F32 10 miles up Lake Michigan in 5-6 foot following sea last Sunday, I had two instances of Bow Steer happen. If you are not aware of this quirk, and prepared to immediately react, things could go bad in a hurry. I 100% agree with your assessment and yes we will never know. There are many days I stay at the dock, for this very reason.

That being said, I would not trade my Trojan for a more sea worthy Hatteras or Bertram of similar size.
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Re: Interesting Trojan Story

Postby RWS » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:40 am

DAVIDLOFLAND wrote:I've seen this story pop up multiple times over the years but have never had the courage to speak up about it. All I can say is it was very good legal team that won a judgement based on the 'design' of the aft air intakes. While I do agree the F32 design helped kill those folks, I do not believe it had anything to do with any air intakes. I'm not any kind of marine forensic expert, but I do have some experience with an F32. I've owned my F32, the 'Instant Fun' for 28 years this coming March. I've logged just under 6,000 hours at the the helm (based on engine hours) all offshore Alaska. I've been in some pretty gnarly stuff. Never have I encountered any sea state while underway at any speed that has caused water to enter the aft vents. Just look over the side while underway at any speed and you'll understand what I'm talking about. Yes, mine are still facing forward.
In my humble opinion, that boat broached and rolled. The worst sea state for the F32 is not really big seas (10 - 15 footers). It is in fact close, steep six to eight footers. That's where I've been scared multiple times and almost became a statistic twice. In a steep, short wavelength, following sea the F32 will turn 90 degrees, broach and roll in the blink of an eye. I've been there and 'almost' done that more than once. That is what I am very sure happened to those folks.
While I do not regard it as a design 'flaw', the problem is indeed inherent to the design of the hull, i.e. flat bottom and wide square stern. I obviously love the hell out of my F32, as she is my 'forever boat', but I have have learned her weaknesses, not the least of which is that she is not a truly 'seaworthy' boat. She is designed to be comfortable and go fast in relatively calm water. If you're gonna run an F32 offshore, you better know her idiosyncrasies and pay attention.
Thanks, I finally got all that off my chest.


========

Eloquently stated !

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