Startup: All For The Want of a Horseshoe Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Small bits of metal are easy to overlook as being “technology” – they’ve been around for so long that we don’t think of things like the above pictured cotter pin (or split pin in the UK) as being technology. They’re easy to ignore, until you need one that is. Like the parable of the missing horseshoe nail, a missing cotter pin can be disastrous. Just ask BC Ferries about the Queen of Oak Bay, one of their largest vessels that crashed while entering the Horseshoe Bay terminal in 2005. The cotter pin on the bolt that connects the engine speed control to the fuel rack went MIA, causing the bridge to lost control over the engine speed. The captain made the decision to steer the ferry away from the terminal itself (and the people on it) and instead plowed into 24 privately owned boats in the neighboring marina. Video after the jump.

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  • OA5599

    [youtube cGD-tUsySPs youtube]

  • FЯeeMan

    Sounded like a car after a wreck when the horn gets stuck on. A lot less screatching noise before impact, however.

  • Froggmann_

    And the happiest day for a few boat owners just got happier due to the insurance payouts.

  • The Professor

    Cotter pins, bah! Every time I need a cotter pin, all I can find are ones with the diameter of a hair and 1/4 inch too short, or ones the size of a 8 inch railroad spike. Thus, we have mechanic's wire.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    Halfhearted wikiing produces no origins for the name Cotter. Or Lynch, for that matter.
    The 'Safety pin' is attributed to Adolfo R. Safety, a Spanish wire merchant.

    • The Professor

      I always wondered where the 'safety' in safety pin came from. The bloody things are dangerous.

  • chrystlubitshi

    best/most functional use I've found for those (so far) is keeping the fireplace screen closed so that the cats don't eat the "oh so delicious" charcoal.

  • I was out in Puget Sound in my old runabout and saw another boater waving me over. It turns out his boat was a bit hooptier than even mine was. His prop had gone to Davy Jone's locker for the want of a "split" pin. It was an easy tow to the nearest marina. One of the other rescues that old tub made was when I found a guy drifting just outside the boat basin. The transom on his old plywood boat decided that it no longer wanted to be attached to the rest of the boat. It broke off above the water line, so he was still floating, but the only thing keeping the motor attached were the control cables and the hasty lashings made from his deck line.