Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Melbourne Gam

Eau Gallie, FL
28 08.02 N 080 37.46 W

Is it fun at the gam? You bet. We met some old friends. We attended some interesting seminars. We had dinner last night with Dave and Johnnie who live nearby.

Today we even had some drama. Libby and I were listening to a first aid seminar. All of a sudden, a man in the audience passed out. The speaker, an ER nurse, yelled "someone call 911." Then, he and several paramedics and doctors who happened to be in the room, went to the aid of the stricken man while the rest of us evacuated.

As you might guess, yelling "someone call 911" to a room filled with 200 people with 200 cell phones is not the best thing to do. It would have been better to point and someone and say, "You! Call 911!"

Happily, everything worked. The ambulance came swiftly, and it turned out that the poor victim had just fainted; nothing serious.

What is the best thing I learned at the gam? How to humanely remove a fish hook from a pigs leg. Seriously. They brought the legs of a pig to practice on. The theory is that the knowledge learned would be transferrable to humans. There was also a lack of human volunteers willing to get hooked.

Seriously, I went to a seminar on rigging failures. The rigging is the steel wires and hardware that hold the mast up. Given our recent bad experience at sea, this topic was at the top of my interest list. Discouragingly, I learned that there are many more ways for structural stainless steel to fail than I ever imagines. To make it worse, the opportunities to prevent or detect failures are very limited.

The only real remedy is to replace all the hardware with new hardware, and to do it frequently. Worst of all, I learned that the quality of stainless steel manufactured in the USA and Europe has become very bad. The only good source today is Korea. Unfortunately, Chinese manufacturers have started shipping their products to Korea for repackaging and rebranding thus masquerading as the superior product. The only cure for that kind of problem is via meticulous certification and paper trails for every part as used in the aircraft industry. That could make materials and parts very very expensive.

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