Maxi Canter, Rambler, capsizes in Fastnet Race

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Hussong, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    No one said it did.
     
  2. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    This sort of comment has been made on this board more than once.

    The people who make these comments are not thinking.

    You should realize that most designers who do a custom design are on personal terms with the client. Many times there is a friendship involved. What makes anyone think a designer would risk the lives of his friends by deliberatly producing something he thinks could be dangerous?

    Even if someone is so cold as to thinking a win is more important than the lives of the crew, why would a designer put people at risk? If things go wrong that would reflect poorly on his business and he would be risking his livlihood.

    Designers are not infallible. Fabricators are not infallible. Some things, like composite structures, are very difficult to check during maintenance.

    At this time we don't know the reason for this failure. I would bet everything I have that it was not caused by an ethically-challenged designer thinking, "I'm probably below a good safety factor here, but who cares if the crew dies."
     
  3. dougfrolich
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    dougfrolich Senior Member

    "I don't think SAR helicopters fly on donations."

    I do not belive the tax payers were unduly burdened with this operation. Big Kudo's to all the responders.
     
  4. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    I've read these things before, and I've heard the arguments against, some well delivered.

    There is a difference between amateur designers, designers who have earned their clients through experience without professional designation and professionals who go through post-secondary school and are licensed engineers. That isn't to say the professional's designs are safer or better executed - it does indicate the person behind the design had attained a level of understanding of the science behind the design, and is insurable and accountable for the work. Professional Engineer status is an indication that the person meets certain minimum requirements to accomplish a task - although it certainly is not a guarantee, it is a standard upon which we build bridges, buildings, technology, machines and circuits.

    I don't doubt people's good intentions in any circumstance - so I do agree that no one consciously disregards issues of safety. I do however have a lot of experience dealing with designs delivered to do a function that incorporate lots of unintentional problems. Given your experience rigging spars and doing boatwork over the years, I'm certain you've encountered lots of situations where this occurs.

    Extreme performance yachting is where things are pushed to the edge. To achieve high speed, light weight is critical. To achieve light weight, cutting edge materials, process and composites are involved. There is a world of difference between a hydrodynamically perfect high aspect ratio keel strut with a depleted uranium bulb and a J24 keel - and the tolerances are a lot different.

    No one knows what the failure was here - metal fatigue, shock loading, it could be anything. But in a design like this - after an Atlantic crossing and a busy race season I would expect it not unusual to Magnaflux the strut looking for for indication of metal fatigue. If there is a "stub" left, a lot could be ascertained - did failure occur at or near attachment points? There are lots of possibilities. Was there impact indication?

    My point above was that catastrophic failures of this kind should fail within the design parameters of the original engineering specification. Given the failure occurred in much less than worst case conditions (according to the owner in the interview), the failure does point to a completely unanticipated event that should have been well within design parameters. If the strut failed at 25 knots in 20 foot seas I would not be questioning things - but it dropped off in relatively good conditions unexpectedly.

    It isn't worst case scenarios that point to design level problems - it is unexpected regular usage failures that raise questions about what happened before and while the boat was built.

    --
    CutOnce
     
  5. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    I assume you already know the designer of Speedboat is a degreed engineer from Southhampton? Knowing this, I wonder what your comment is about.


    Are you talking about a racing yacht, or maybe about a jumbo jet that had the tail fall off? Perhaps you are talking about an auto design that causes catastrophic failure and roll over?

    Some of these items were designed by people with degrees and under quite strict regulation, with funding for destructive testing prior to construction. Yet the failures happened...
     
  6. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  7. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I'm glad they were able to bring her in; it would have been a shame to lose her.

    And they'll also be better able to figure out what went wrong, for the benefit of future boats.
     
  8. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I believe SAR helicopters are specifically provided and funded for this sort of thing: you know, searching and rescuing and all that.... regardless of what kind of ship or boat is in trouble. I doubt they were ever intended to only rescue professional fishermen.

    But it sounds like you think a new rule should be instituted -- one where the helicopters don't lift until you've personally investigated the boat's designer, builder, owner and crew, and decided the reason for it being on the water is not only morally uplifting, but necessary for feeding starving children and the continuance of civilization as we know it.

    Here's a thought: maybe you're jumping the gun a little. Maybe you shouldn't be trying, convicting and hanging the designer of this particular yacht, based just on what little information we have available at the moment.

    Y'think? ;)
     
  9. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Rambler

    =======================
    Very well said ,Troy. There are some people ready for the hangmans noose at the drop of a hat(or keel) without ANY information whatsoever. There is no evidence , at this point, that what happened was a design issue or a building issue or some other issue. Canting keels have been used on racing and cruising boats for over thirty years and are used exclusively on the top monohull race boats-the Open 60's and VOR 70's in round the world conditions as well as on top Sydney-Hobart raceboats like the 5 time winner Wild Oats XI.
    There is also a long record of fin keel failures but I don't hear anyone asking to ban them. I think it is absolutely irresponsible to condemn all canting keels because of the failure of one ESPECIALLY when the facts are not known !
    You hit the nail on the head, Troy-thanks!

    Rambler under tow-click on image-
     

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  10. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Rambler

    From Scuttlebutt Europe this morning:

    Baltimore RNLI in Major Rescue Operation off the Cork Coast

    Baltimore RNLI lifeboat crew were involved in a major rescue operation this evening (Monday 15 August 2011) when a 100 ft yacht capsized during the famous Fastnet race with a crew of 21 onboard. Five of the crew were missing when the lifeboat arrived on scene while the remaining sixteen were huddled together on the upturned hull.

    The Baltimore RNLI lifeboat was out on exercise near the Fastnet rock when they were alerted by Valentia Coast Guard that an emergency signal had been picked up. The lifeboat volunteer crew under Coxswain Keiron Cotter proceeded to the area and started a search.

    About sixteen miles southwest of Baltimore and five miles south of the Fastnet the lifeboat crew spotted the upturned yacht with the sixteen crewmembers on the hull. They told the lifeboat volunteers that five of their crew had drifted away from the yacht. After a short search the Coxswain returned to the scene and recovered the casualties onboard. They had been there for approximately three hours since their yacht capsized shortly after 5.30pm.

    The other five crewmembers who were missing had managed to tether themselves together and were spotted in the water by the Baltimore deputy mechanic Jerry Smith who had taken out his own Dive boat to join in the search. One of the five was airlifted by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter to receive medical attention.

    The remaining twenty were brought ashore at Balimore Harbour and taken to the local sailing club to be assessed. Baltimore RNLI Coxswain Keiron Cotter said, "We had no idea what we were looking for and it was extremely hard to spot the upturned yacht in the water. They had been there for about three hours with other vessels in the race passing nearby but not being able to see them.

    We were out on exercise in the area where they capsized and we must have just missed them by minutes. We saw a light in the distance and did not know what it was so we went closer to investigate it. When we got nearer we saw that it was a torch the casualties were flashing to attract attention. Our priority was to get them back to shore as quickly as possible." -- Niamh Stephenson, Divisional Media Relations Manager
    rnli.org.uk
     

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  11. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Rambler

    I thought this guy wrote a good piece. From SE on SA:

    Ballasted boats have been trying to tear themselves apart forever. The history of performance ballasted boats is the history of progress in materials, construction and the ability to sail them. The reason modern boats resemble model boats of 40 years ago is because we could not build those designs in full scale back then but we can now; the materials and construction to handle the increased righting moment (power) were not available. So, as competitive experimenters, we bang the corners, see how it shakes out, back out a few steps, then try a different direction. One of the many different directions we've seen over the decades is multihulls. Multis have remained a viable and interesting direction for speed under sail and the various obstacles and safety issues have been incrementally addressed as progress continues. Other cutting edge developments continue, such as experiments in gaining righting moment via the curved daggerboards appearing on boats with widely varying performance parameters. Experimentation is cool.
     
  12. timothy22
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    timothy22 Junior Member

    Just a thought about design of Rambler's keel fin. It is, according to the photos, an I-beam with the web transverse and the fore and aft ends faired in. A box beam is much more resistant to twisting, as has been mentioned in the SA thread, but none of the canting keels seem to be made with box beams. What am I missing?
     
  13. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Rambler

    ==============
    According to the owner the keel fin was solid stainless steel. There is a picture,below, that appears to show a hollow keel but it has been debunked since what appears as a dark area in the center of the stub is actually a tab from the rescuers foulweather gear....


    picture by lifeboat crew:

    click on image for detail-
     

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  14. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Rambler

    For those that don't know, Rambler used to be called Speedboat and was designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian.
    This article appeared in the Oct/Nov. 2010 issue of Professional Boatbuilder
    and was written by Juan K-it is particularly relevant now:

    click on image to read, left image first:
     

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  15. peter radclyffe
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    peter radclyffe Senior Member

    Kouldyou imaginejuanfailing
     
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