11 metre cat flips in rough seas, 3 dead

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Squidly-Diddly, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Strong off-shore wind, I wonder why they didn't hug the coastline.
  3. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Saw some pictures on another website. They had the centerboards down and were apparently sailing in 25-30 knot winds and very rough seas. Sad story.
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  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Sounded like they were doing a coastal "hop", the offshore wind would have been stronger away from land, and the seas relatively calm inshore.
  5. fastsailing
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    fastsailing Senior Member

    If it happened during daytime, meaning the prevailing wind was offshore wind, not the case of land breeze during the night time, the closer the shore line you are, the more gusty the wind is due to 2 factors, variable temperature of the landmass and variable topography of the land the wind is blowing over. To avoid those gusts, you must sail further offshore. To avoid sea state caused by that wind, you must sail further inshore. They apparently opined the former was more important for a catamaran.

    "the offshore wind would have been stronger away from land"
    Yes, and steady strong wind should have been easily taking care of by reefing. Not the same for gusts, if you want to make good average speed too.
  6. guzzis3
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    First thing to say is we don't know anything. Anyone can buy and sail a cat in australia with just a basic motorboat licence, or they could have been experienced sailors who encountered something unusual.

    Having said that:

    The first thing that stood out to me was the daggerboards being down.

    I couldn't tell the make of the boat but it looked well proportioned and seaworthy.

    That part of NSW is notorious for high winds and big seas. The continental shelf isn't far offshore. There isn't much to hit in the way of reefs and islands.

    So..and this is pure speculation.. I'd have had a good long look at the weather before heading out. Assuming it looked ok then turned I'd have downed sail, upped boards and motored for shore. Your HAVE to take the weather super seriously there, it's a dodgy place to sail. I've seen yachts stuck at coffs for literally weeks because it was too rough to go out. Obviously you lose power when you ditch your sails but I'd have ridden the swell or whatever prevailed and tried to aim for some safe anchorage. A cat is very difficult in deed to flip with sails down and boards up so your main problem is hitting something.

    This event is terribly sad for the families involved and also bad for multihull enthusiasts. It's been said before a mono sinks and there is no good vision for the news bulletin, but an upturned cat provides them a story and the belief cats are dangerous.

  7. Manfred.pech
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    Manfred.pech Senior Member

  8. Chuck Losness
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    Chuck Losness Senior Member

    This is a subject that nobody wants to talk about. Decades ago when I was just getting started in sailing I saw a 40' or so cat go over off of Long Beach, CA. It made a lasting impression. I was on an Ericson 41. We were racing in one of the around the island races and were beating over to Catalina. Winds were in the 20 to 25 knot range with a fairly good size swell running. 8 to 10 feet as I recall. The crew survived and the cat was retrieved and righted, put back together and to my knowledge is still sailing.

    Fast forward to when I was cruising down in Mexico. One morning at coffee in La Paz I was chatting with a group of fellow sailors. Turned out that one of the group had been on the cat when it went over. I got the true story. What was happening was that as they would go over a swell the cat was reaching the point of no return inclination wise and had almost gone over twice already. The third time was the charm. The combination of wind and swell did the trick. Three people were down below when the cat went over including the man I was talking to. He and another fellow got out no problem. But the third person got tangled in lines and almost drowned before the crew was able to free him.

    A long time cruiser in Mexico was lost last winter when his catamaran flipped. I never heard if his body was found. Nobody knows what actually happened. The cat was discovered washed up on Punta Chivato. And I know of more monohulls that washed up on beaches in Mexico than multihulls.

    There is no answer to the monohull/multihull debate. Let's face it that stuff happens at sea. It doesn't matter whether you are on a mono or a multi. I am sure that there are just as many horror stories about monohulls. You just don't hear about them.
  9. guzzis3
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    It's a pity we don't get FACTUAL write ups of sail boat incidents as they do for aircraft. I suspect there would be useful learnings for all of us from others experiences.
    dsigned likes this.
  10. rob denney
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    rob denney Senior Member

    Not quite correct. Everybody loves talking about multihull safety and has been doing so since the first offshore cats were built in the 50's. The amazing thing is that there are solutions, but few are interested in implementing them.
    Examples: Flouro non slip and safety lines under bridgedecks, escape hatches, simple float based sheet releases, rigs which can be depowered on any point of sail, crew education, kick up rudders and daggerboards, 360 degree vision from the helm, watertight compartments and crash bulkheads to name a few. It is also possible to make multihulls self righting.

    There are several reasons these are ignored: Sales people don't want to talk about danger, designers have not had offshore experience and/or do not want to deter clients, everyone wants to look like a racer, aero and hydro facts are quoted out of context or given more weight than they deserve, current owners don't want to see their boat's value drop and some have more balls than brains. The latter was the cause of my first offshore cat capsize 40 years ago, which focussed my attention on prevention.

    Each time there is an incident, the causes get analysed and solutions generated. Some are implemented, but most are not. The upshot of this is that ownership gets more expensive as insurance premiums rise and eventually regulations are implemented to force people to do the smart thing. Unfortunately, the regulation is invariably over done.
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  11. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    There are: Australian one here, or, UK one here.
    As examples.
    The lessons learnt - are that very few people read them!
  12. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    So true...Safety at sea is far more about the crew and their mindset/actions than about the vessel. The saying "old sailor or bold sailor, but no old bold sailors" is far too true. Remember, reef early and often...
  13. guzzis3
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    Thank you for that. I have learned something new...
  14. dsigned
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    dsigned O.R.C. Hunter

    I've also seen drogue lines suggested for multis especially, but I know that Ming Ming's Roger Taylor has one onboard, which he has used in rough weather, IIRC. Oh, I just found his writeup about the one he uses here: Articles about sailing by junk-rigged Corribee Mingming's skipper Roger Taylor http://thesimplesailor.com/articles.html

    For those reading who may be unaware, Ming Ming II is a 24 ft Junk rigged mono. It's been heavily modified to be watertight in rough weather, with additional watertight bulkheads, reinforcement in certain areas, and so that it can be sailed from inside the boat if need be. It gets sailed around the Arctic circle. A really cool boat. If I was going offshore, I think I'd be looking to that boat for ideas of what kinds of modifications to make.

  15. sailhand
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    sailhand Senior Member

    A fellow catamaran owner says he knows the boat and believes it to be a spirited 380. Spirited website lists more than 90m2 sail area on 38ft lighweight cruising catamaran.
    A significant power to weight ratio for a cruiser, if you own one of these boats or any other like it you need to sail it accordingly and with due diligence. The golden rule, if you even think about reefing do it, especially on a cat with this level of power to weight ratio.
    My thoughts are with the family and friends of the crew, hopefully some lessons may be learnt and there will not need to be a repeat of such a tragic accident again. Any cat can be capsized given the right combination of circumstances and we must remember that accidents are exactly that, accidents.
    We all take risks everytime we put to sea, we do it because we are drawn to it and we love it. We accept these risks as part of our lives at sea and every now and then the unthinkable happens. I am a catamaran owner for many years now and appreciate the risks, it could happen to me anytime I put to sea. It is a terrible tragedy.
    Once again my condolences to the family and friends of those involved.
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