POSTED: 25 MARCH 2008 - 8:30pm HST

Lessons of history lost on Superferry
Editor's note: Testify by Thursday 3/27 on HSF EIS.
Ms. Lesley A. Matsumoto
- Vice President/Director of Environmental
Belt Collins Hawaii Ltd.
2153 North King Street, Suite 200
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819-4554 USA
Tel: 808 521-5361 Fax: 808 538-7819email:

image above: Virtual Superferry passes Lahaina. This computer model available for sailing around Maui

[Note by Dick Mayer: After months/years of praising the superferry, the Honolulu Advertiser has learned what the neighbor-island folks have been saying from the beginning.]

by Lee Cataluna on 11 March 2008 in The Honolulu Advertiser

In just a matter of months, the Hawaii Superferry has gone from heavy hype and polished promises to weather-beaten underdog status.

The Alakai is sitting in drydock undergoing repairs like a formerly promising race horse back at the farm healing shin splints. The vessel has been there since the middle of February and is estimated to stay there through most of April.

Didn't Superferry officials say they would have to take their business elsewhere if they stayed out of service for very long? Hmmm.

It was just last October when the Superferry execs were warning state lawmakers that if they didn't get back in the water soon, all would be lost. Close to 250 workers were laid off while court orders kept the Alakai from making interisland runs.

State lawmakers went into special session for the Superferry to enact legislation to allow it to operate while it proved its operations weren't going to harm the environment. Special session, because it couldn't wait until January when the regular session opened. Nope, time was of the essence.

And now, look. Waiting, idling, extended relaunch dates. It wasn't surfers in Nawiliwili Harbor or sign wavers on Maui who stopped the Superferry this time. It was the ocean and the vessel's design.

A mean person might declare "bachi," but that would be kicking them when they're down. Still, even a Superferry fan would have to acknowledge that fate sure caught up to the hype.

• Turns out the Alakai isn't as unaffected by Hawai'i's notoriously rough winter seas as was promised.

• Turns out it can actually stay in business through an extended waiting period while stuff gets worked out.

• Turns out even on a calm ocean, the ride can be a queasy challenge even with Dramamine and the wrist bands.

• Turns out when you take your car over to Maui but have to fly back to O'ahu, your car doesn't come home with you.

Perhaps Superferry, in its excitement to do something brand new and big, forgot to pay attention to the lessons of history.

1. Starting a new business in Hawai'i is tough.

2. You should probably make sure all the legal stuff is taken care of before you embark on, well, anything.

3. Hawai'i doesn't have winter, but it sure has winter surf.

4. Never assume you're exempt to any of the above conditions.

image above: Virtual helm of virtual Superferry. Note at center the "Seastate" control system software simulation on Windows OS.




POSTED: 25 MARCH 2008 - 8:30pm HST

HI Superferry: CNO comments on HSF

image above: Navy wetdream of civilian superferry in true colors.

[Note From Brad Parsons: There are so many posts I could put up right now, but this is the one that caught my eye today. It is an article from the current Navy Times. They call the Alakai a "trimaran." It is not, it is a catamaran, if it were a trimaran, it might be more sound. Anyway here is the article.]

by Philip Ewing on 25 March 2008 in the Navy Times

"...In the case of one ship the Navy is confident it wants — the aluminum-hulled trimaran that General Dynamics and shipbuilder Austal are offering as LCS 2 — Roughead said he remains a believer in the ship’s novel design and materials, even after yard problems and problems with an earlier civilian variant on the design.

The Navy acknowledged in February that some transverse support beams under the LCS 2’s flight deck had bowed in the shipyard, and that the Navy and Austal would review the cost and possible delays involved with repairs. And another aluminum trimaran built by Austal, the Hawaii Superferry, stopped service until April 22 and is laid up in a shipyard with hull cracks near its auxiliary rudders, the Honolulu Advertiser reported.

Roughead said he didn’t think it was clear yet what had caused the Superferry to stop service, nor that it portended any problems for the Navy’s purchase.

'I’ve heard it’s everything from discomfort caused by the weather to the fact that they’ve had some mechanical glitches, I don’t have the details on it. I do believe in what I’ve seen in LCS 2, a ship that I think a very exciting design for the Navy, and I’m anxious to get it to sea and put it through its paces.'"

Also, there is a blogger named Springboard who has had a few interesting entries recently related to all of this. They are worth reading:

A researcher/writer asked me about the following grant recently. The dollar figure of the grant is interesting because it correlates closely to what the expected annual losses would have been if commercial operations had continued uninterrupted for a year at what the average ridership levels had been.


"Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., is being awarded a $33,710,000 firm-fixed-price contract for infrastructure improvements to the Austal Shipyard in Mobile, Ala. Contracted improvements at Austal USA are one of a series of contracts with Gulf Coast shipbuilders awarded under Section 2203 of Public Law 109-234, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, The Global War on Terror and Hurricane Recovery 2006. This contract is for construction of a Modular Manufacturing Facility at Austal USA’s Mobile, Ala., shipyard.

Austal was one of six Gulf Coast shipbuilders selected to receive infrastructure improvement contracts. The purpose is to expedite recovery of shipbuilding capability in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina by repairing and/or replacing shipbuilding facilities, to make lasting improvement in shipyard facilities that would result in measurable cost reductions in current and future Navy shipbuilding contracts, and to improve the ability of shipbuilding facilities on the Gulf Coast to withstand damage from potential hurricanes or other natural disasters.

Work will be performed in Mobile, Ala, and is expected to be completed by Apr. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured and advertised via the Internet, with 18 proposals received from seven offerors. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C, is the contracting activity (N00024-08-C-2303)."


see also:
Island Breath: HSF EIS sham
Island Breath: HSF dry docked
Island Breath: HSF Rudder Mess
Island Breath: January HSF News
Island Breath: HSF night trips
Island Breath: HSF military trips
Island Breath: HSF EIS Smoking Gun
Island Breath: HSF two trips