Wednesday, 23 January 2013

BMT Nigel Gee

We were most graciously invited to visit the office of BMT Nigel Gee  (, a Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture consultancy based in Southampton. Nigel Gee is part of the larger BMT Group Ltd. BMT is built on an Employee Benefit Trust, meaning that the company is owned by the employees, and they benefit directly from the companies success. We were hosted by Mr. Sime, head Naval Architect. He was friendly and showed us all around the office, and the projects he is working on. BMT Nigel Gee works in all parts of the design process, from conceptual to detailed structural and mechanical production design. While much of their work is confidential, shown below are some of the projects they have worked on. BMT Nigel Gee does a lot of work with SWATH and modified SWATH and catamaran hull forms. They appear to never do the same project twice, and are at the forefront of fast hull forms.

Concept design for a floating thing...

Largest motor yacht built in the UK (85m)

Ferry under construction

30m cat with RHIB launched between hulls

All pictures from BMT Nigel Gee's website
We had a great time looking around, and hearing from a successful Naval Architect. We are very thankful to Mr. Sime and BMT Nigel Gee for having us.

The Queen Mary 2, and Denmark

QM2 through Denmark

I already said that we really enjoyed our crossing on the QM2, but now I will try to explain why.

Being aboard the QM2 is like traveling Europe, you meet new people, try new foods, go out and dance, relax, enjoy the weather, go to shows and plays and lectures and just hang out. It sounds pretty great, but it gets better. There is always food available, and tons of it. You pay for everything with one card, so you don't have to figure out all the different currencies. Your bed is always made always in the same place and always comfortable. But most importantly, everyone speaks English. This may seem like a small thing, but in the last two days I have learned that I most certainly don't speak Danish.

So if the QM2 was heaven, I guess Denmark is only paradise.

I could list all the different things we did on the cruise ship, but it would be really long. The days sort of blurred together, because we were doing so much, so here was our basic daily schedule:

Wake up
Eat breakfast at the buffet
Satchel goes to bridge class
Morning activity (Table tennis tournament, shuffleboard etc.)
Lunch at the buffet
Darts tournament (Every day at 3:00 pm)
Lecture or movie in the theater
Early dinner at the buffet
Team Quiz (most of the questions were about the UK or UK culture, so we found a diverse team)
Nap, read, etc.
Formal dinner at our assigned table
Late night Quiz (same team as earlier)
Dance party at club G32

So it was truly a great time, and we were shocked when sent back into the real world.

Note: Every day, because of the magic of time zones, the ship lost an hour. At noon, the captain would come on the loudspeaker and announce that "it is just noon, now make it 1".  The days proceeded rather quickly with only 23 hours

As for our short stop in Southampton to drop our massive amounts of stuff off, we sleep most of the time, because we were too busy to sleep on the ship. Ian was extremely kind and hospitable, and packed the four of us into his small apartment. We are grateful for the comfort of his floor and for his tour of the university and helping get us settled in Europe.
Also, thanks to the taxi drivers who gawked as we packed their small cars full of luggage and the quick and efficient people at Sentry Self Storage.

From Southampton we took the bus to London Stansted Airport, staying overnight to be there on time for our 7:30 am flight to Billund, Denmark. By the magic of the English speaking information desks, we made it to the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), where we are currently being hosted and shown around by Chris's sister, Melissa. She has only been here for a few weeks, but is doing an incredible job of showing us the town and making us feel welcome. We are very grateful for her and her kitchen-mate's hospitality. We have toured DTU and Copenhagen, and will be heading to Hamburg tomorrow.

Here come the pictures

Our Deck

Our Hall

Looking Aft from Deck 10

The Wonderful Kings Court Buffet

Our Formal Dining Room Upper Level

Our Formal Dining Room Lower Level 
(Our table was on the upper level, hidden by the pole in the right foreground of this image)

The Queen Mary 2

The Casino Onboard-I promise we did not play

Theater for Concerts and Performances


Part of our Quiz Team

We Played Darts- A Lot

My Bed Folded Up


Our Group of Friends in the Club, Aka Everyone Onboard Younger than 30

 Made it to Southampton!!

London Stansted Airport-Especially Interesting at 4 in the Morning

View From the Bus

Chris and Melissa

Round Tower-Beginning of the Tour of Copenhagen

At the Top of the Round Tower

View from the Top

Walking Back Down, A Ramp the Entire Day

I Really Wanted to Sit on the Anchor


Copenhagen Sand Castle Fest

The Danish Royal Yacht


Crown Jewels are in the Cottage Behind Us

Still doing well, off to Hamburg tomorrow to see Kyle, Nick and Rob and maybe some others.

Love you all,


Mid-Semester Nonsense

Clearly I waited too long on this post. (Note: I wrote this a month ago) It didn't feel like we were doing anything interesting enough for me to write about, but I was mistaken. First a quick rundown, then elaboration on a few of the big things that have happened.

Freshman Design Competition (build a small R/C boat, and race others)

Andy goes climbing in Wales

We finally get in to an archaeology class that fits in our schedule

Satchel goes to a London Offshore Consultancy conference

Andy, Chris, and Cody go to Ireland for Halloween

Satchel plays in a regional Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

We spend hours hand drafting a vice for coursework

We went to an awesome party at Dr. Stephen Payne's house for the Fifth of November

We go to see Skyfall-Awesome!

We present on Ancient Naval Architecture and its Influence on Mediterranean Boat Design

Current Time

In the first week of school, we were split up into design groups, much like Freshman Boat Building at Webb. We were asked to design a small cargo vessel, with a max beam of 15cm. Cody and I were in the same group and we chose to make a rather general bulk carrier, and it paid off. We had some soldering issues, but didn't sink and still completed the sea trials in second place. Chris's group came first in sea trials. Meanwhile, Andy's boat sank. However, the competition consisted of both sea trials and a presentation given to the "clients". Our group won the overall competition.

A video of the finished vessel is available here:

Andy, Cody, and Chris went to Ireland to visit some of the friends we made on our Queen Mary 2 crossing. They took the bus and a ferry, a twenty hour ride each way, but it worked out well. They stayed in Cork, and saw some cool things.

I am not sure about any of these places, but the Halloween costumes look pretty sweet!

The final notable event of our semester so far was a wonderful Guy Fawkes party at Dr. Stephen Payne's house. Not only were there wondrous quantities of excellent food, there was an extravagant fireworks display in the back yard that had me slightly frightened by its magnitude and distance from the house.  We met quite a few people from the industry and got to speak with them about their jobs and just ships in general. We are once again very grateful for Dr. Payne's generosity, and struggling to come up with a way to thank him.

It has been a great semester so far, and I hope that it will continue.

Extremely glad to see the beginning of hurricane recovery. Hope all are well.

Kind Regards,


Christmas Holidays

It has been over a month since my last post, which for most bloggers is unacceptable. My only excuse is that it has been exam season around here, and we have had a bit of work to do. I will quickly summerize each of our winter trips, leaving most of the details out so that there are still stories to tell when we get back to the U.S.

I  was lucky enough to get to see my family over the Christmas holidays. They came to visit London for a few days, and it was great. We did lots of touristy things with the Cutty Sark being the highlight of the trip. Then I headed to Switzerland to see some friends I met on the QM2, and do a bit of skiing.

Cutty Sark Rigging

Cutty Sark's hull, note the concave bow sections

Satchel in Lenzerheide, Switzerland
Chris flew home to Houston and managed to surprise almost his entire family. He then toured Italy with his mom. There are no pictures on face book of the trip, so you will have to ask him for those.
In other news, it snowed in Southampton, about 4 inches. This is apparently a big deal, judging by the local and university response...
Andy, Chris, and Cody in the snow

Cody also spend time in Italy, I believe almost two weeks. He met his girlfriend, Lindsay, there and they saw quite a bit of Italy!

Cody and Lindsay at the Trevi Fountain in Rome
Andy had the most adventourous holiday by far. He spent the first 10 days rock climbing in southern Spain with the University of Southampton Mountaineering club. After a brief rest and Christmas in the dorm, met his girlfriend, Colleen, and also headed to Italy. I believe he and Chris met up for some portion of their time.

Andy and Colleen with a nice selfy

Since we have been back, we turned in our final Maritime Archaeology paper (everyone passed), designed a satellite to orbit Saturn, taken a final exam in Maths, Programming, and Astronautics, and turned in lots of thermodynamics assignments for Webb. We are now completing our final papers for Ship Science, to be turned in on Friday. We will all be flying back on Tuesday the 29th, landing in JFK at 12:30 pm, in case anyone wants to meet us.

Just this morning, we went to visit BMT Nigel Gee, a marine consultancy office in Southampton, but that will be covered in the next post, so all you who get bored by Naval Architecture stuff can skip it.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

CMA CGM Marco Polo in Soton

This weekend we heard from Kyle in Hamburg that the worlds largest container ship, the Marco Polo, was scheduled to call at Southampton on Monday. We figured we should go see her. Quite the ship...
CMA CGM Marco Polo, 16,020 TEU, Home Port London.

Escorted by 4 Svitzer Tugs leaving port of Southampton 10/12/12

As you can see, she is floating about 5 m above her load waterline, and still barely made it into Southampton.

In other news, we are doing quite well, looking forward to Christmas. Also, I am quite jealous of my classmates about to go on ship. Happy Holidays and a safe voyage!