Peter Matthiesen 2019


BACK TO THE FUTURE Peter Mathiessen´s comment of today 09.01.2023: Peter Matthiessen no longer owns Aries, so it isn’t immediately obvious why the Bad Weather Problem (and its stubborn refusal to manifest itself in the real world – see, for example, the Windvane Report), but apparently not. Did someone make a resolution last week about flogging a dead horse one more time or might there be pressure coming to bear from somewhere else? Either way, Peter Matthiessen just decided to add a comment to this blog I published more than three years ago. He says:


You say you could not read Nicks letter. Well I dont blame you, its not easy.
The most important point in the letter from Nick Franklin to me is the following:

You have made a grand job of criticising the old type Aries where the servo rudder sways up to vertical. I bet the other manufacturers hate this but it is absolutely true.
Well done Peter. Sincerely Nick

So I think that we now can conclude that I was NOT inventing this as you have claimed all these years. Then you ask me to explain the bad weather problem. Are you joking? Of course you understand it. I know you read every comma on my www where I had drawings and all.

Actually, it beats me why you are so interested in this bad weather problem. For my part it is quite normal to explain improvements from the old Aries design to the new Aries design. Not? This 2. Aries was stopped because of this problem. I know you have other ideas / theories. I just copy/paste what Nick Franklin told me.
I saw some pictures you have made explaining the bad weather problem. It has NOTHING to do with a knock-down. If you did not understand my explanation on my www, you never will.

Oh no, this is endless. I did not invent anything, I have proven that. Tell whatever you like, over and out.

My reply:
Peter Matthiessen no longer owns Aries, so it isn’t immediately obvious why the Bad Weather Problem (and its stubborn refusal to manifest itself in the real world – see, for example, theWindvane Report.should still be any concern of his. Perhaps he has come under pressure from Lean Nelis, who bought the company from him eight years ago. I don’t know how much faith Nelis had in the Bad Weather Problem, but he may well be feeling a measure of disappointment by now if he was expecting it to help drive Aries sales.
I must add that it pains me to see Nick Franklin’s name being dragged into this again. It is beyond disrespectful to attribute this or that intention to the man on the basis of a few partially illegible lines in a personal letter when he is no longer here to speak for himself.
Over and out – hopefully!
09.01.2023
Peter Foerthmann

A PRIVAT LESSON
It took me about 18 years to realise that the tale being told (by the then-owner of a brand that had once embodied the state of the art in windvane self-steering systems) really was starting to plant questions in the mind of sailors.

The “Bad Weather Problem” was invented in 1997. I did cover it in my books, but not in any great detail because I regarded it as just a bit of marketing fluff and not at all something to be taken seriously. I trusted that smart sailors would weigh up the hypotheses for themselves and recognise them for the nonsense they were.
A letter from Helen Franklin (daughter of Aries creator Nick Franklin) in 2015 prompted me to think again: was it possible, after all, that despite being no more than a figment of a young Dane’s imagination, the tale of the Bad Weather Problem was actually helping to convince sailors that the Aries was the best option for them? I’ve set out the details before:

Bad weather problem

Today, some four years after the above article first appeared on the blog, the following comment landed from Brazil:

14.11.2019 Peter Matthiesen, ex-Eigentümer der Marke Aries:

Peter Förthmann. One on my employees in my company here in Brazil, looked me up on google just for curious. He found your blog. Well. As you and me both know (and not many else, I guess) you failed completely in your resent lawyer attack on me regarding the bad weather problem. I gave you hard proof that this is real and thats why you ran away from me like a frightened cat. Maybe you should be honest enough now to admit that you have failed and if this is too hard for you, at least to stop spreading your lies. I dont expect tat you will publish this but I know that you will read it.

My reply
Hi Peter, perhaps reading of the wind vane report might be the lesson you may need to get some hints of understanding about your findings of some 20 years ago. Alternatively take this as invitation to explain in your own words about your considerations, rather than referring to a handwritten letter of Nick Franklin ( enclosed herewith ) who passed away in 2010, a letter even his own daughter failed to understand. Stage is yours …
Hamburg 14.11.2019
Peter Foerthmann

EPILOG
Regarding the lawyers, as regular readers of my blog will know, I have a long history of winning tortuous and expensive legal cases. My younger self was quite certain justice was worth the distraction, the stress and the (sometimes severe) financial pain. Whether my older and theoretically wiser self shares this view I’m not sure. The thing is, I don’t have to be sure: these days I have much more forceful advisors – including one particularly close to home – and it would take something really extreme to convince her another trip to court was worth the effort!

4 Responses to Peter Matthiesen 2019

  1. Hallo Peter,

    Now I understand what it’s all about, thanks. I don’t know if Aries customers have a “Bad Weather Problem” or not and it doesn’t make any difference to me anyway.

    What I do know is that we have never had any problems with our/your Pacific even in big following seas. It has always worked absolutely fine.

    Fortunately, we have not experienced any knock-downs but if we were to be knocked down, my pendulum rudder (by some impossibility) popping up out of the water for a few seconds would be the least of my concerns.

    Best regards,
    
Christian SY Subeki


  2. Peter Foerthmann says:

    Good evening Christian,
    Thousands of Aries and Monitor sailors over the decades have accepted that if their system suffers lateral overloading, for example as result of extreme weather, a knock-down or capsize, the designated point of failure on the pendulum rudder will need to be replaced (after all, spares are supplied as a matter of course). This obviously means managing without the windvane (which means manual steering or autopilot) until the broken part has been swapped out.

    Peter Matthiessen replaced the Aries design’s designated point of failure with a hinged joint so that the pendulum rudder could be lifted up, which has the advantage of improving convenience but also the (presumably – unless he underestimated its importance) unintended consequence of removing lateral overload protection. Mr Matthiessen presumably built up/invented the Bad Weather Problem (BWP) to create a unique selling proposition for the Aries, namely that – if you believe in the BWP – it is the only “safe” windvane self-steering system out there.

    The marketing pitch framed up by the organiser of the Golden Globe Race meant that whatever the implications, the 18 participants could not be allowed to carry an electronic autopilot for redundancy as they headed off to the higher latitudes. This brought home to the whole world – and in dramatic fashion – just what happens with traditional servo-pendulum systems that lack any built-in protective mechanism to keep them serviceable after a knock-down.

    How ironic that it should be the GGR that illustrates so vividly and compellingly the fundamental importance of lateral overload protection! Hopefully the evidence that has emerged from the race will persuade its inventor (who sold the Aries brand on a good four years ago) to accept that, after 20 years, the time has come to drop the BWP illusion once and for all.

    As Gerard Dijkstra sought to remind me in his clear-sighted comment on my Wind Vane Report, “there are still people out there who think the earth is flat”.

    As far as I am aware, the laws of physics apply as comprehensively in Denmark as they do everywhere else and it ultimately does the Aries brand no favours to base its appeal on a notion (the BWP) that goes against these laws.

    It pains me greatly to think of any sailor being led astray by bad science.

    Hamburg, 23 November 2019 

    Peter Foerthmann

  3. peter says:

    Peter Foerthmann
    You say you could not read Nicks letter. Well I dont blame you, its not easy.
    The most important point in the letter from Nick Franklin to me is the following:

    You have made a grand job of criticising the old type Aries where the servo rudder sways up to vertical. I bet the other manufacturers hate this but it is absolutely true.
    Well done Peter. Sincerely Nick

    So I think that we now can conclude that I was NOT inventing this as you have claimed all these years. Then you ask me to explain the bad weather problem. Are you joking? Of course you understand it. I know you read every comma on my www where I had drawings and all.

    Actually, it beats me why you are so interested in this bad weather problem. For my part it is quite normal to explain improvements from the old Aries design to the new Aries design. Not? This 2. Aries was stopped because of this problem. I know you have other ideas / theories. I just copy/paste what Nick Franklin told me.
    I saw some pictures you have made explaining the bad weather problem. It has NOTHING to do with a knock-down. If you did not understand my explanation on my www, you never will.

    Oh no, this is endless. I did not invent anything, I have proven that. Tell whatever you like, over and out.
    Peter Matthisen

  4. peter Foerthmann says:

    Peter Matthisen,
    You don’t have to be a profiler to guess the reason why you are addressing the Bad Weather Problem again EIGHT years after the Aries sale to Lean Nelis: Your successor is unhappy because a supposed unique selling point was exposed as non-existent after the publication of the Windvane Report. Instead of using Nick Franklin posthumously as proof (an unattractive gesture!) you should have contacted his daughter Helen, who knows the truth. However, you would probably have had to explain to her first why you never honoured the contract with the Franklin family, which Helen has complained about countless times. You will know the reason why you never gave her an answer. Is the karma coming back now? Does it have the name Lean Nellis?
    Peter Foerthmann

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