Dangerous designs?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by usa2, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. usa2
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    usa2 Senior Member

    The Volvo Open 70s and the supermaxi class have proven that they are sometimes structurally unsound and often dangerous. It was lucky last year that Skandia's crew was able to get off the boat. If they had followed what is a commonly accepted rule in sailing-dont abandon the boat until you have to step up into the liferaft-they probably would have lost their lives along with the keel and rig. The Volvo Open 70s have been badly beaten up on the first leg of the race so far.
    How long is it before one of these monsters manages to destroy itself? Should rating rules impose limits so the boats cannot be under-engineered in anyway? If the Sydney to Hobart race gets a big storm again, how will the supermaxis fair?
     
  2. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    A person or group with a lot of money, with a equally large ego, is indeed a monster to be avoided at all times. Especially if they want to be blameless. I think that is a fair and honest assesment. Deaths at sea are not part of their cause or problem. That is why they hire and pay a obedient staff. Life, death, is not their concern.---------- On with the races.
     
  3. the_sphincter
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    the_sphincter *

    Here's a dangerous design:
    [​IMG]

    But seriously, they should not make rules regarding how they should be built. It's called progress. How long did it take to get carbon rigs right? Movistar hit something. There's no way you could reasonably expect to hit something at 20+ knots and not expect major damage. As the limits are pushed with materials, designers will see what the limits are. Yacht racing is a dangerous sport. Deal with it.
     
  4. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    Does not " the spinchter " bring up the end of a discussion?
     
  5. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    It is what happens when a new crew is told to " Drop the mast. "
     
  6. the_sphincter
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    the_sphincter *

    drop the mast? on the mac? i don't understand
     
  7. dougfrolich
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    dougfrolich Senior Member

    Are the ballast tanks full yet? That's one way to lower the CG below the waterline.
     
  8. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    That is next to impossible. Physics says that more power per unit weight equals higher speed.

    In auto racing they make rules that require the car's structure to protect the driver. You could add a rule that requires a survival pod that the boat is sailed from. You could require that the pod remain intact (watertight, positive buoyancy, survival equipment, food water etc.) and protect the crew after the boat hits the side of a tanker at 120% of the maximum foreseeable speed. You could require that during this event that the crash cannot transmit more than say 300G for 1/100th of a second to the crew inside.

    The biggest spectator sport in the US is Nascar. (go figure)

    Drivers now routinely walk away from 180MPH crashes.

    It has been years since a driver was killed in F1.

    Racing vehicles can be made safe, you just have to want to make them so.

    A simple incentive for designers to do better would be to change the scoring. Make it so any boat that cannot continue due to structural failure gets penalized 3 times more than the maximum possible score. Thus both Movistar and Pirates would have a -21 score.

    F1 forces designers to create reliable engines by requiring that the engine last 2 full race weekends. If one breaks, and you have to change it you get docked 10 positions from your qualifying time, making it almost impossible to win.

    Unfortunately it took years to overcome "auto racing is dangerous ... deal with it" and many deaths before safety became an issue. I hope it doesn't take the loss of a boat and crew to get the rule makers to wise up. I'm not holding my breath. The Fastnet disaster didn't do it, the Sidney-Hobart disaster didn't do it, I doubt that a Volvo Ocean disaster will do it either.

    What it took in F1 was the driver to band together and refuse to race unless safety was addressed. How many more will die before sailors band together and refuse to race untested designs?
     
  9. ron17571
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    ron17571 Junior Member

    Dweebs in big over priced yachts,its like they have bad vibes to start with,sinking is like some kind of cosmic reward for their greed,i like folks who race lasers and hobie cats,somewhat average folks i was going to say normal but got to thinking about people ive met!)
     
  10. yokebutt
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    yokebutt Boatbuilder

    Ron,

    Some boats are indeed built at great expense, but they're not neccessarily overpriced, they just take a lot of work by regular people that have families to feed.

    Yoke.
     
  11. D'ARTOIS
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    D'ARTOIS Senior Member

    If I see all the replies of the members that posted, and - for example - the comments from the "sailor" side than I do see indeed that the boatdesign.netgroup know much more responsibility than the whole lot on SA and Scuttlebutt and Clubracer, to mention a few.

    The sailors fail plainly to see what's all behind building a boat, c.q. racing yacht and blindeyed they talk about rules, gossip, gossip and rules. No technical issues, that would interest us, to speak of.
    According to them the Naval Architects are the magic magicians and the builders are only their labour and when they win, it is their doing that counts, they are only accountable for.

    It is for sure that the present boats as such are in the VOR are underdimensioned, not underengineered, the safetymargines have been planed away just to the bare minimum in order to save weight in favour of increasing speed.

    Instead of Ruling there should be some kind of handicap that straightens out the difference between boats, rather than that the ruling will establish the boat will be built.

    Gossip told me that Farr and ***. are for a great deal responsible for the way the ruling has been set up - if this is true or not, fact is that they have a strong spoon in the design soup of the VOR.

    What RHough suggest is basically a good idea. Punish them heavily for any major structural failure, braking a keel, braking a mast, braking a boom, loosing a rudder etc.

    If such is the case you will see that everything will be done to avoid structural failures and than the boats will be a lot safer and still enjouyable for the crowd.
    A crowd that is annoyed when their favorite is deleted from the scene and that brings me to my next thread.
     
  12. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    It seems to me that the number of fatalities in round the world races was vastly greater in the days when they sailed traditional style heavy displacement boats then nowadays in the unsafe lightweight racers.

    It also seems to me that very rich people are amazingly resistant to paying excess prices. Possibly something to do with how they got rich in the first place. They may have different values, but that's quite another matter. And personally I'd much rather someone with a lot of money spent it on race boats, providing a decent and interesting income for a lot of good folk in the sailinmg idustry than say sniffed it all up his nose, providing a lot of income for some very unpleasant people indeed...
     
  13. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    I really like the F1 rule about breaking a major part in a race gives you a mandatory - handicap, in your starting position, of the next race you run in. That gives the owner and his staff the GREEN light to build a winner that is safe. Self inspection does work. If if wins a race.
     
  14. SailDesign
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    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    If by "untested" you mean "custom", then you will be upset to learn that all the boats in the Volvo race are "untested". If by "untested" you mean "do not have many sea miles", then you should read the rules for all major ocean races that require a qualifying trip of a couple of thousand miles in most cases. These boats were not just built and tossed in the water before the start.
    Steve
     

  15. SailDesign
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    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    usa2,
    Most rating rules have some basis in engineering included in the wording. F'rinstance, the TP52 rule states that the ABS Guide of 1994 should be followed,and designers must sign off on compliance. Builders must sign off that the boat was built to the plans. The measurer has access to those plans, and the owners make the rules. It further states that the IMS minimum outer hull thickness must be met (which is actually thicker than the ABS rule can require).
    As JuanK says, you cannot design a boat to be unbreakable. Every time you come up with something foolproof, Nature produces a bigger fool. Every time you design a boat to be unbreakable, Nature produces a bigger wave, or just plain sinks it.
    The trick is to design something that will be just fast enough to win, and just heavy enough to stay together. No skipper or crew will take off on something like the Volvo in a boat they do not trust - and they will all have a lot of experience of the boat before they start.
    Steve
     
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