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Why Are All These Superyachts Catching on Fire?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by OrthoKevin, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. OrthoKevin

    OrthoKevin Member

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  2. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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  3. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    "Honni soit qui mal y pense" :)
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Interesting article. The best insurance money can buy is top quality maintenance and upkeep. Then you have insurance on the off chance.

    Even some with plenty of funds are willing to spend them purchasing a boat, but not so much for crew and for maintenance. They encourage doing things the cheapest way over doing them right.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    From what I've seen, at least half the blame is from the Marina electric now being old and not supplying enough electric down the docks to handle the demand. I can think of a handful of marina's where you never see more than 210 volts..... some of those marina's have also had several yacht fires. The same size yachts are not using more electricity with more systems on them than most older ones. I just ran 2 59' Searays for examply that had 2 50 amp shorecords and needed both cords if using most of the boat's systems (for example). 5 years ago it was super rare to ever see a 59' yacht with more than a 50 amp service.
  6. T.K.

    T.K. Senior Member

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    210 Volts is a luxury. In the peak of summer, in our local marina I have observed voltages as low as 180 VAC and currents as high as 100A when they should not be exceeding 60A. This occurs when operating heavy AC loads on board the yachts such as air condition units. I have personally seen a few air condition PCBs and capacitors simply catch fire as a result of the exceeded load which could have led to disasters.
  7. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    The reason for my ironic post above are some statistics provided by insurance companies and unterwriters that I have seen, saying that a pretty high percentage of complete losses of yachts caused by fire or sinking in deep waters are losses of undetermined or unknown reasons. And again: "Honni soit qui mal y pense" :).
  8. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

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    So at what point do you unplug and run off genset? 190, 200, 210? (Assuming you can get away with this.
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Your implication is that undetermined is somehow sinister, when all it really is that they can't determine. When the boat's in the bottom of the ocean or completely destroyed by fire, it can be very difficult to determine the cause. Actually as to a fire, arson is the easiest cause for them to determine so seldom the cause of undetermined. When a boat sinks in deep water, there is very little effort put into determination if there is no loss of life.
  10. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    I was not giving my opinion, I was just combining those assumptions of the insurance industry with some irony. But without any irony, the insurance industry believes that a good percentage of the complete losses of yachts are caused by lets say owner / operator induced incidents (or as one might say, are sunk on purpose). And the highest percentage of those losses, they say, are yachts which had been for sale for longer times. And thats why I said, "a prankster who thinks evil doing".

    On todays globalized and ruthless business world, insurance companies always assume insurance fraud or gross negligence on almost all claims first and they only pay if they absolutely have to and in many cases only after long and expensive court hearings. Here in Europe we are still in a little bit better legal enviroment, as our jurisdiction is more regulated and more customer orientated (EU customer protection laws). But this out-of-court settlement disease, where only the lawyers and the insurance companies win, is taking over more and more.

    And with undetermined cause their is the tendency to automatically assume intentionally caused loss or damage and the reversal of burden of proof is pulled. In older days, a insurance company was a shared risk community but nowadays the policyholder is reduced to a simple dipositor on the insurance account. Any kind of return is not in the business plan of those companies.

    This is in my personal opinion the main reason for this high percentage of assumed (by the insurance companies) owner / operator caused incidents on yacht insurance claims. In Italy for example, the default interest used to be lower than the interest on deposits. They only paid after long times, because the made profit on that. I am by no means a friend of insurance fraud or other unlawfull behaviour but dealing with insurance companies is a pain in the neck (My upbringing forbids me to use that word I had in my mind first). Thats why our family business has developed (except for the big ships, where we go via Lloyds Underwriter and Pantaenius) an self-insurance system which has worked flawless for the last 50 years. I do not believe, I will claim insurance fraud against myself, at least not as long as I am in control of my own mind :).

    An old friend of mine keeps saying, the worst invention of our modern zivilized times is the profession of the LAWYER.

    Just my 2 (Euro) cents
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    You're stating your assumptions as fact. I don't agree. You are giving your opinion. I haven't talked to anyone in the industry who believes there are a lot of owner induced incidents. Perhaps in the environment you live and work that's more common.

    Insurance companies don't assume fraud. But they must eliminate it as a probably cause before paying. Most of the time that can be done quickly. Other times it requires some time. Due diligence requires they don't ignore the possibility but that doesn't mean they're assuming it's the case.

    That's you assuming intentional cause and not anything I've seen from insurers when dealing with law abiding citizens. Now, if they don't trust you from the start, they might.

    I know you're cynical, you're entitled to be if you want. But I don't believe your statements reflect those opinions of insurers.

    Now are they more careful on boats that have been on the market and unused for a lengthy period? Of course. But far more often those situations are neglect, rather than crime.

    Insurance companies pay out fraudulent claims all the time because they have no evidence of the fraud. House fires and car fires are easy because the evidence can all be examined. Boats in 1500' of water are not. There they deal with circumstances. Recent situation in South Florida might have been suspicious except it was owner, large crew, owners entire family. Doesn't fit the profile of a crime.
  12. T.K.

    T.K. Senior Member

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    I know that Dometic warn against operating their air condition systems, especially chilled water systems below 195VAC.
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    You should get some step up transformers that will bump the voltage up 10% or more. Ward's Marine Electric and Lean Marine in Fort Lauderdale both make them, You plug them into the shore outlet, they sit on the dock, and you plug your cord into them, they work, and on for a 250V 50 amp one, they run less than $2k. Like you've seen, the lower the voltage the higher your amp load jumps and it takes a toll on everything.

    I'd start really limiting loads and shutting things off at 205V or lower. Some things don't mind running there so much, like a seawater pump for the a/c system, but anything electronic it really takes a toll.
  14. OrthoKevin

    OrthoKevin Member

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    Dumb question....I use a power conditioner on my guitar amp rig that cleans up the signal and keeps the voltage constant going to the amp. Does such a conditioner exist for cleaning up shore power?

    That Princess Anna fire video was sobering stuff, can't believe the captain stayed on the bow.
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes a transformer.....some boats have them built in like Hatteras and others.
  16. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    I am very interested to know how a simple transformer which is just a series of copper windings can clean up a signal ( filter) and keep the voltage constant.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    "When properly installed, Charles Marine Isolation Transformers will electrically isolate the AC shore power from the boat's AC power system. The boat's electrical system and the grounding conductor are not actually connected to the shore-side power. There is no direct electrical connection between earth-grounded shore AC power and the onboard electrical system. The shore ground is connected to a shield that is wound between the primary (shore) and the secondary (boat) transformer winding. The connection of this grounding wire only to the shield of the transformer isolates the boat's AC electrical system from shore.

    SAFEtech™ Technology — Seamless Automatic Fortified ElectronicsThe ultimate in marine transformer performance and safety… Automatic Isolation and Boosting Transformers with Seamless Automatic Fortified Electronics technology can transition into boost mode or to non-boost mode seamlessly without power interruptions. Fortified electronics more accurately sense when to provide boost and when to drop out of boost. The circuitry has been designed to provide greater resistance to EMI/RFI emissions and AC power line distortion.

    A Charles' Automatic Isolation and Boosting Transformer equipped with SAFEtech Technology helps to ensure uninterrupted, consistent, smooth, and spike-free power is supplied to your vessel, allowing power-sensitive electronic equipment to function properly and increase its service life.

    An Iso-Boost Automatic Marine Isolation and Boosting Transformer is essential where long dock runs cause voltage drops or fluctuations in power. The compact unit provides all the magnetic power transfer benefits of an isolation transformer, plus automatically "boosting" low or fluctuating voltages from the dock.

    Internal circuitry monitors shore and boat voltages, and then adjusts output. The "boost" mode increases the isolated output voltage by 15% to supply appropriate power in the event of low voltage or wire losses during peak power times. If the dock voltage fluctuates above 225 VAC, the unit switches back to the normal isolated output. "
    • Permits operation of 240VAC systems from 208VAC dock supply

    http://www.charlesindustries.com/main/ma_iso_boost.html

    This is what Hatteras has been installing on their yachts for at least a decade.
  18. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    You will find that whilst these units may use the name transformer and use an actual transformer in their construction and operation they are quite a bit more sophisticated than just a transformer - Transformers used to be used before the advent of the modern units, the most common was an isolation transformer. Some had tappings to allow the input voltage to be adjusted but the output was always directly related to what went in and the frequency would not change.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Maybe so, but most modern transformers operate in this manner and are called transformers by their manufacturers and have advanced from the old windings only type, just like all of the battery chargers have advanced over the past decade or two to better regulate charging to batteries. The transformers like the Charles iso boost, work by both boosting voltage when needed and not allowing voltage drops which tend to brown out electronics. They're pretty reasonably priced compared to the alternative. These have been standard equipment on all Hatteras since the early 2000s. Some other manufacturers use them as well.
  20. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Your lack of engineering knowledge astounds me at times given your self proclaimed level of experience and knowledge.

    A Transformer is a transformer all it can do is change voltage, any interference on the incoming line will be carried over , one will not do what Orthokevin asked. The units marketed under that name which you have referenced are far more advanced than a simple transformer by the addition of some control electronics which will have provide some rectification and inversion as a part of their duty as what has often been known as a Shore Power unit - you can even find them on boats with variable speed gensets.

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