Dangerous designs?

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

  1. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Pushing technology to its limits- and sometimes a bit beyond- is part of winning races. A great deal of race strategy is about how much risk is acceptable. When your budget is huge and the stakes high, the safety factors often take a hit in the name of lighter weight and higher speed. It takes a lot of care to write rules that can keep the field both safe and competitive.

    I strongly agree with the idea of penalizing boats that suffer structural failures. Far more than the possibility of sinking, the possibility of getting knocked back in the rankings will have an effect on the mentality of those who design these boats. Steve's absolutely right that you have to get something just fast enough to win and just strong enough to stay in one piece. There's a fine balance here that the regulators for each race and class must be very careful to maintain.

    ABS, DNV, Lloyd's etc. scantlings are guidelines- minimums for insurance purposes, but no guarantee that the boat will hold up. Full, proper engineering analysis of all structures is still important to make sure the boat can actually stand up to what it is expected to take and then some.

    As for there being fewer fatalities today than in days of old, I credit that mainly to VHF/MF radio, EPIRBs, and greatly improved search and rescue techniques today as compared to 30 years ago. Put today's boats in 1970 and you'd probably kill as many sailors as with the other boats of the period.
     
  2. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    Death tolls are reduced, due to the USCG crews who die every year trying to save foolish boaters. With todays weather updates there is NO, NO reason to lose anyone at sea.
     
  3. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Very true. Very true indeed.
     
  4. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    I think the deaths in the earlier races mainly occurred to less experienced sailors (with the possible exception of Daniel Gillard of 33 Export in the first race).

    I think Rough's ideas sound good. The shift in F1's attitude to safety has been enormous yet it's still an enormously popular spectator sport. The pro guys say they are like F1 racers yet they don't take F1's attitude to safety.

    Cyclops, how does knowing the weather stop people from never ever ever making a mistake and broaching a boat in 15 knots, or hitting a container, or failing to clip on correctly? Hell, IIRC something like 20,000 Americans a year are hospitalised a year by their clothing.....accidents will happen.
     
  5. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    If you take your boat out and did not check the weather, you deserve the worst that can happen. If the weather is going to get dangerous, you still deserve the worst.----------------------------- Who the hell has to pass ANY type of a boat test to drive any size of boat anywhere? --------------------------- That is called premeditated murder in my book. You knowingly put their lives in danger just to make a sale. They can not step out of the boat and stand on the water till help arrives. Only a chosen few of us can.
     
  6. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Volvo 70's ,are dangerous boats that cope badlly with heavy wheather. Read what Guillermo Altadill (Ericson boat) says about it (sorry I only find it in Spanish):

    Guillermo Altadill, jefe de guardia del Ericsson, se enfrenta a su sexta vuelta al mundo...

    “El segundo día de regata, cuando íbamos con 40 nudos de viento, una ola nos barrió la cubierta. Yo estaba a la caña y el fuerte impacto me tiró hacia atrás, quedándome colgado de mi arnés. Me di varios golpes en la cabeza y en la espalda, y cuando me recuperé tenía mucho dolor en el dedo meñique de la mano izquierda. Creo que tengo el dedo roto. Ahora llevo una especie de cérula que me une los dos dedos y ya voy haciendo vida normal”.

    Si las condiciones han sido muy duras en el día a día de las tripulaciones, gobernar un barco de 70 pies tan extremo no parece ser tarea fácil y el propio Guillermo llegó a comentar que su barco era un autentico submarino –y que lo diga Guillermo Altadill, con la experiencia que tiene en todo tipo de barcos, es significativo- : “La verdad es que me ha sorprendido bastante como se comporta el barco en condiciones de viento. En lugar de levantar la proa, va hacia abajo y eso es peligroso tanto para el material como para la propia tripulación. A pesar de intentar llevar el peso lo más a popa posible con todas las velas y material, aún así, el barco es bastante más agresivo de lo que pensábamos. "

    http://es.volvooceanrace.org/news/article/20051118/215008/index.aspx
     
  7. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    The point is that even in ideal weather, accidents can happen.

    Secondly, if you never got out in bad weather, you have no experience of bad weather sailing when you DO get caught out in the really hairy stuff.

    Because (Thirdly) weather forecasts are often very innaccurate.
     
  8. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    I have no problems with bad weather or squalls. I stay at the dock. I find that easy to do. I enjoy boating. I would not risk my life anymore than a passengers life in my boat. I respect my self as much as them.------------Edit. Why would I pratice getting killed? Your logic is different. That is like praticing, jumping on live handgranades till you get very good at it. Why tempt death?
     
  9. SuperPiper
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    SuperPiper Men With Little Boats . .

    So a boat can be designed to be unbreakable . . . if it is tied to a dock.
     
  10. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Let me make a two modest proposals:

    1.) That the day before the race, one of the boats be selected by chance, Taken out to deep water, Then hoisted 5.0 meters above the water with its keel canted all the way out, Then dropped in that condition. If anything structural breaks, the boat will automatically be disqualified as being too flimsy.

    If the first boat fails, another will be selected by chance and be given the same treatment. So on and so on until one is found that doesn't break. In that happy event, the rest of the fleet will be allowed to race unmolested.

    2.) That the sponsor of the race (and, presumably, the writer of the design rules) be held 100% respon$ible for any re$cue$ needed due to structural failure in average (for the waters sailed in) conditions.

    No. Hurricanes, typhoons, and tsunamis don't count.

    Well. Thats my $0.02.

    Bob
     
  11. SailDesign
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    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    Cyclops- you are looking at things with one eye shut :) (yes, pun intended!)
    Staying at the dock is fine if
    a) you are not racing and thus have no sponsor saying "Win, Win, Win" in your ear (loudly)
    b) you are not mid-race and mid-Atlantic when the "bad" forecast is given.
    Other than that, yeah, look at the forecast and decide from there.....
     
  12. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    Sail. How many captains decided to change course and lower sail BEFORE the damage. Obviously none had the seamanship or experience to prevent the destruction. Yes, I have the advantage of hindsight. But they are supposed to have the maximum foresight.---------------------------- They simply need more training time in the boats before giving Mother Nature the finger all the way around the oceans.
     
  13. SailDesign
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    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    And you would have? Probalby, Yes, you would. Unfortunately, you would have been losing the race at that point.
    I'm not defending them driving the boats until breaking point, I'm simply stating that these are the realities of this kind of racing. Nobody enters these things to have a nice, safe race, they enter to win.
    Steve
     
  14. the_sphincter
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    the_sphincter *

    1. That's a terrible idea. Even if it doesn't break, the wear and tear/fatigue. They do have the roll over test, and require that the boats complete a certain distance offshort prior to the race. Why not do this prior to the offshore qualifying passage? After all, shouldn't we be concerned with the safety anytime they are going offshore? This just adds unnecessary expense to it all, and it's a pain in the *** no one wants to deal with.

    2. Another terrible idea. The helicopter comes, the diver goes down on the hoist, pulls out a credit card swipe machine. SAR is there to rescue anyone. They can't be selective and only rescue rich people. If the race had to start paying for rescues, it would set a new precedent, and who's to say they won't start charging everyone, denying services to those who can't pay?

    Two boats are out of this portion of the race due to mechanical problems. One hit something at 20+knots. What's that going to do? One had a problem with the keel seal (design flaw, but 4 boats have the same design, and only 1 had problems, so maybe just bad luck). These aren't things that the designer can anticipate. If you're scared of these boats, no one is forcing you to sail. Two guys jumped from ING because they thought it was unsafe. They aren't being forced to sail, and they accept these risks.
     

  15. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    Actually, ALL commerical tows want cash or a credit card first in our area. What upper class ghetto do you boat in?
     
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