It's a sad day for the Staten Island Ferry, and sadder still for those
who have lost family and friends.
It will be interesting to watch the accident investigation. One
breed of the newer diesel electric boats never could reverse anywhere
near as fast as the older Uniflow reciprocating steam versions. Alas,
I think they're all retired now.
Years ago I asked to ride in the engine room of the Cornelius G.
Kolff for an afternoon and the department of Marine and Aviation
actually let me. The Uniflow had the advantage of being able to switch
from full ahead to full reverse in a heartbeat - not that you'd want
to do it! The engine looked for all the world like a large two story
marine diesel, camshafts and all, except for the occaisional whisp of
steam. You could see the crankshaft and connecting rods behind large
glass port holes.
I had grown up on the Hudson river side wheeler Alexander
Hamilton, whose three cylinder triple expansion powerplant required
something of an act of Congress and a whole lot of skill to reverse so
as not to stop the high pressure cylinder on dead center although I
believe you could bypass to the intermediate in such cases.
The Merrill class Staten Island ferryboats just simply reversed,
and if the engineer was in a hurry you never even saw the crank slow
Anyone have any experience with new variable pitch wheels on
large craft? Can you effectively do the same thing?
- posted 18 years ago