Discussion in 'Stability' started by Guillermo, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    gotta question the capton on this one .......why is is sail out? where is his sea anchor ? where is his reserve engine? ,,,,,this is a case of not preparing for war in time of peace,,,,,this boat should not have sunk,,,,,,,longliner
  2. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Of course I agree that prompt self righting is a desirable ability, but not the highest on my person list of criteria in choosing a boat.

    If I was comparing two boats with near equal comfort factors, interior space (storage and tankage), and similar sailing performance, the boat with the higher AVS, Downflooding Angle, and Positive/Negative stability ratio would be my choice. It would be silly to choose the boat with lower numbers *if all other qualities are equal*.

    I think it equally silly to compromise sailing ability or ability to carry enough fuel, water, and food for a long passage just to have a boat that might be safer if I get caught in a storm. A 3000M passage at 100M/24Hr requires food and water for 30 days, a 20% safety factor means provisioning for 36 days. If the boat can make 150M a day you only need to provision for 24 days.

    Large sail areas? That should be required for cruising! A high SA/D keeps the boat going in the 6-10 knot wind speed areas. It is much easier to reef down to SA/D 15:1 from SA/D 20:1 than it is to rig extra sail to go from 15:1 to 20:1. I see no excuse for ocean boats with low SA/D ratios.

    In addition, the bigger rig will be heavier and add to roll damping, which is a good thing according to many posters here. However, I'm not so sure that heavy rigs are such a great idea. Long before Marchaj, it has always been considered good seamanship to *reduce* top hamper in heavy conditions. Top masts come down, bowsprits get stowed on deck etc. This makes the argument for heavy rigs suspect in my mind. If RCD discourages large sail area, and Marchaj encourages heavy rigs, you end up with heavy, short masts and slow boats. No thank you.
  3. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    My feeling is that most of the pictures we see posted are of racers. Racers by nature push hard. Up until recently the boats they raced were of classic form and could be pushed as hard as the crew was able almost all the time. IMO, this mentality lead to many/most of the problems that the VO70's had with structures and keels.

    I have yet to hear of one of these boats getting rolled/dismasted/sunk *while actively employing survival techniques*.

    These boats are racing in conditions that would have (perhaps should have) a cruiser battened down and secured to ride out the weather.

    The Beneteau 390 story is a case in point. After all the BS the boat was found floating upright. There are too many *ifs* to list, Vega hit some of them. What sort of life raft self inflates while still in it's cradle? After the first breaking wave knocked them down, what logic says to continue sailing? For whatever reason the crew found themselves in conditions that overwhelmed the boat. They had plenty of sea room (the boat was not washed ashore), they had the option of staying relatively warm, dry, and safe after the first knock down. They made bad choices. That anyone tries to condemn the boat for these errors is a long reach. I'm not insensitive to the loss of a fellow sailor, but the boat gave this crew the opportunity to survive. It was no death trap. If the washboards had been secured, all the crew below and the boat with a drogue or sea anchor deployed the boat probably would not have been turned beam on to breaking seas and would never have rolled. This skipper sealed the fate of his crew with bad judgement.

    Should we encourage boats that are idiot proof? Such a boat cannot be designed.
  4. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member


    yes you are correct ,,,,,,but when dose the captain put his crew first,,,,,,,,thats why he is capton,,, to maintain the well being of his boat and crew,,,,,,,,,yes it is racing ,,,but at what cost are these captons willing to pay,?thats what captons do,,,all fault falls on the capton,he is readdy to take the responcibility,,,,,,and command of a vessal,,he alone must know when to hold and when to fold,,I can only add that sailboat racing is a blood sport nowand that we must all live within our means,I love boats and the people ,,,a differant breed for sure,,,,longliner
  5. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    You hit the nail on the head. You said "boat and crew" ... not "crew and boat" ... :) In the middle of an ocean, the safest place for the crew is on a boat that floats. Thus it makes sense to take care of your crew by taking care of the boat. This skipper put the boat at risk, his crew paid with their life. Not the boat's fault.
  6. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    rough ; its alott like all these guys that say put your family first over your work....the reality is if you dont work your family will suffer boat first ,,maintance (and design) then crew ,,,,and a good skipper ,,emphasis on good skipper,,,,longliner
  7. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member


    Prolific posts hopefully I can do it justice, lets see...:)

    Statistics can be such fun:) but Yachts are not like cars or busses or trains try using this sort of argument for an amusement park ride that just killed 8 kids.

    To prove that the old full keel, heavy displacement boats are "safer" than their modern counterparts, compare the number of deaths per MMT from 1910 to 1960 and the same deaths per MMT since 1960.I'll wager that the death rate was higher before the advent of the "new" hull form.

    And the new rescue services? But you fail to see that this is not the argument here. The argument is that we can design boats built for sea-kindliness and seaworthiness better than the "old" types all round, that we can improve markedly on the safety aspects of modern vessels with relatively small compromises.

    How do you separate out the improvement in materials? Many old wooden boats were lost at sea not because of intrinsic un-seaworthiness but because they were simply passed their disposal date.

    Too many of these sorts of arguments are facile. You will find it drummed into every offshore sailor that harnesses are mandatory, they have saved a great many sailors and will continue to do so. A harness and tether are a sensible solution to the problem, a 6 foot fence is not a sensible option.

    Get used to unseasonal weather, global warming is re-arranging our winds. However this tactic is now limiting the vessel to certain geographic areas at certain times of the year because it is otherwise unsafe ..............who will regulate this? who will stop the Pogo 40 from trying a North Atlantic winter crossing, do you just hope that he doesn’t take his family or do we say these are inshore semi-sheltered water vessels ?

    Isn't this a circular argument with some willful misunderstanding. The question is “What happens if the vessel encounters heavy weather” to use the statistics you are so fond of.; if we have a 10% chance that the vessel will invert and remain inverted for 3 minutes then it is not a good offshore vessel, we can damn it on this alone.

    So why don’t designers try and design to a paradigm of seaworthiness and performance? They are not as mutually exclusive as you seem to think.

    Now you are starting to put together a design brief, that we can work to!

    Don’t confuse old boats with modern vessel design, there have been many changes and these are not helpful observations.

    Top hamper was the workings of a light air rig. It was removed as much to reduce windage as to improve the COG. When the tops came down there remained some very heavy masts indeed.

    Two factors I can think of; Because you cannot safely heave to in such a boat and that lying a-hull to a drogue would be such misery that the risk would seem acceptable to remain underway. The proper tactic would have been to run after the first knockdown but that will add a considerable distance and time to the delivery (and exposure to more bad weather).
    More seaworthy vessels could heave-to and slowly fore-reach which would have been a far better tactic. Many of these good seamanship tactics are denied to skippers of un-seaworthy boats.

    I condemn the boat. So did many others, it featured prominently in submissions to the draft stability criterion of various regulatory bodies.

    I can also think of many scenarios where such a boat can be soundly condemned.

    Yet they had to unclip their harnesses because of the long inversion time. We can expect more of our boats offshore and we can design accordingly.

    This idea of duality of seaworthiness and performance is not helpful it is born of ignorance and misunderstanding. Many arguments presented in this thread leap from the categorization of small reasoned errors to the grand fallacy. Old lumbering tubs are compared with LD hull-forms. Performance is related to easily driven hulls with small sail areas conveniently ignoring SA/D and SA/WSA, yet a ketch for example can spread a large amount of easily handled light air sail, arguably one of the best aspects of a ketch rig.

    Weather routing is a fantasy in many places of the worlds oceans. It is only suitable as a coastal tactic with short dashes across exposed stretches.

    For example spinoff frontal weather in the South Pacific is poorly predicted , general cold fronts and associated troughs traveling at 50 knots can be many thousands of miles in length. These are not avaoidable depressions. They also bring gale force winds and large associated seas. The weather maps are too vague to be specific enough to keep your boat out of heavy weather, that's why the open 50's were a failure but the 60's were a better proposition in the southern ocean ...just a matter of critical size for the hullform being 60 feet.

  8. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    ok for me ,,just me,, we used 31 jc hulls ,,,,,with 13 air tight blown with poly urethan foam ,compartments ,, hull made of airex,,semi displacement / planing hull you could fill the hull with water and it would still float,,,,Im not kidding you guys ,I have fished this boat in 70 knot winds,,,I have rode out hurricans in these boats,,maybe someone from JC boat in newhampshire can chime in,,,,to me this is seaworthyness,,longliner
  9. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    As long as we're having fun with this ...

    Wow ... that's far out in left field for sure ... :) Are you saying that we should approach cruising with the same attitude as an amusement park ride? That we knowingly board the boat expecting to have the Sh*t scared out of us, but knowing in the back of our mind that the chances of injury or death are remote? That is not my attitude towards sailing. To take that analogy further, how much press do the 8 kids get compared to the thousands that are killed by drunk drivers? We have "safer" cars every model cycle, yet drivers still find ways to kill themselves and others.

    I agree, small compromises can improve the boats. Simply requiring ORC standards in offshore boats would go a long way.

    Yup, and they tend to sink. That's why I offered that the numbers from the last 50 years be looked at. Given like materials, compare the safety records of the modern forms against the traditional forms on a death per million mile scale. The number of storms is the same, the number of boats out cruising has increased. There are many more miles sailed by private yachts in the last 50 years than the 50 that preceded. Since the 1960's fin keeled, beamy boats make up a larger percentage of the cruising fleet each year. Can anyone show that the modern boats have a higher death rate? Yes, I agree it is easy to prove that the modern boats will probably stay inverted longer than traditional boats. But does it happen often enough to condemn the type?

    If you argue for passive safety in hull form, how can you argue for the active safety of harness and tether? Is the boat going to be idiot proof or not?

    Regulate? Do you really want to go there? Regulate the boat but not the sailor? That is exactly the mind set that got us cars with bombs in the steering wheel and still no real restrictions on whom is allowed to drive.

    It has been proved that SUV's are much more likely to roll than sedans. Yet SUV's are not damned. If the vessel will remain inverted for 3 minutes *IF* rolled, we have to look at the circumstances that roll the boat. It is my understanding that breaking seas, beam on are the most likely cause of capsize and inversion. Are you saying that it takes a super human feat of seamanship to prevent inversion? That such designs are incapable of survival? That no known tactic will prevent them from being tossed on their beam ends and rolled? That such conditions are created in less time than a prudent mariner can react?

    How about the advances in materials and electronic navigation combined with no meaningful requirement for skill certification have the effect of putting poor seamen at risk? How about hull shapes spawned by the IOR rule are being sailed in extreme conditions by small crews with little experience? We wouldn't see 40 foot boats with apartment sized saloons if modern materials and electronics hadn't made the thought of sailing open ocean viable to people that don't see the lack of a sea berth as a fatal flaw in a design. The old story about the drunken group of friends that sailed to Hawaii using only the contrails of airliners to guide them springs to mind.

    I agree seaworthiness and performance should go hand in hand. I don't agree that boats like the Class 40 cruisers are unseaworthy just because they would stay inverted for long periods if rolled. Roger Marshall compares the virtues and vices of Light vs Heavy Displacement ... the case for light displacement he makes is pretty convincing. Dashew also prefers light displacement boats.

    As soon as the proponents of heavy displacement start including light air performance and weatherliness in the argument for more seaworthy boats, I'll stop harping about the over estimation of capsize performance. :)

    I'll take the position that there exists a combination of sails that would have allowed that Beneteau to fore-reach. Who's fault is it that the sails weren't aboard or that they went unused? I'd like to say that anyone that can read know's that staying with the boat is the best way to increase your chances of survival. What design features prevent a boat from being trimmed to fore-reach? How many boats have those features? How many boats have skippers and crews that put to sea without the storm jib and tri-sail? How many boats have skippers and crew that have never had the sails out of the bag and practiced to find the right combination? It makes no sense to condemn a boat that was on a delivery. The skipper, while experienced, had little/no time in that particular boat. Who knows if the boat was properly equiped? Did the boat have a single roller furled head sail and only one reef point in the main? The *choice* of setting out without proper gear is in no way the boat's fault.

    We have to differ here. I've not seen a post or read an account where human error didn't play a larger role than the design. The boat did not fail. It was still afloat. I doubt that the panicked crew inserted the washboards and secured the hatch before they *stepped down* from a floating boat into the life raft. Yet even partially flooded, with no washboards and likely and open hatch, the boat still survived? And people argue that it was the boat's fault? That dog won't hunt in my neck of the woods.

    Now who misses the point? The point is that there should have been no one on deck during the roll. They *knew* that they were in some difficulty, yet they chose to remain on deck. They (probably) knew that as bad as it might seem, the boat will survive and the right thing to do was to enjoy the amusement park ride ... have the sh*t scared out of them ... knowing in the back of their mind that the chances of death were remote. Instead they tried to get off the roller coaster before the ride was over. :D

    I'll refer to Dashew:

    "Although our boats are designed strictly for cruising, optimized for getting their crews across the ocean comfortably and safely, there is no rule that says you have to be slow. In fact, the ability to maintain a good turn of speed on an average basis is a big safety factor in dealing with weather (and avoiding storms)."

    "There is one facet of cruising with Beowulf's performance that we did not expect. This was the enormous benefit in terms of weather routing which her speed conferred on us. You would not think that an increase in speed from Sundeer's 200/230 miles a day to Beowulf's 280/300 miles a day would make that much difference. But it does. That extra 50 to 80 miles a day was enough of a bonus to significantly enhance our weather routing "skills". It became a lot easier to pick where we wanted to be to meet (or avoid) certain weather situations. As a result, Beowulf was a "lucky" boat, generally sailing in fast, comfortable wind conditions. In fact, she only had one "slow" passage in all her 40,000 miles with us. This was a midwinter passage from Panama to Curacao - an unavoidable 900-mile beat into 25 to 40 knots of wind - which she accomplished in four hard days."

    Your experience may not be the same as his.

  10. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    No I am saying that the statistical basis that you were advocating to promote boats with un-seaworthy even fatal characteristics is a poor justification, and in another light eg an amusement park ride would appear criminal.

    Or simply requiring innately safe designs would be better. No fatal flaws.

    Its enough to condemn the Pogo 40 type if you are taking "Innocents" to areas where you expect heavy weather... yes

    You can never make a boat idiot proof but you can make it reasonably safe rather than your demand for reasonably unsafe.

    There are a variety of mechanisms by which inversion may occur, a combination of wide beam and low AVS are a poor combination in this respect. (For example the mini’s)

    Once you are aware you have a dangerous boat wrt stability I imagine you will be as prudent as possible, at times of stress sickness and fatigue you could be forgiven for making a less than perfect decision. I still think the safest course is to run with the weather in this kind of boat if you have the sea-room. That course of action may have its own problems.

    As a boat designer my beef is with boat design, technology has made a huge difference the GPS is probably the best safety device of all time. You are here! But if you want a cruising boat doesn’t that imply a few things about the crew for starters?

    How does his argument go? Don’t just say you have been convinced, tell us why you think he is convincing.

    What size is the Dashews boat? What were my comments on the open class?

    These sorts of boats have been shown often enough to be notoriously unsafe if hove-to, they tend to surf sideways.

    I think this is one of your small reasoned errors . Can you see no problem with this argument at all?

    Originally Posted by MikeJohns
    Yet they had to unclip their harnesses because of the long inversion time. We can expect more of our boats offshore and we can design accordingly.

    They knew they were in difficulty ? They had a knock down. Many of us have had a knock down without expecting a complete inversion. The inversion was not that predictable was it?.

    Now all such vessels by your argument must have an internal steering station because it’s too dangerous a boat to be on deck! As for staying on deck (forgive me if I’m wrong) but you appear to have never been in heavy weather in the ocean ? Mostly you will find all the awake souls aboard in the cockpit gulping fresh air and looking at the horizon.

    As for weather routing from the quoted passage above they imply that the Sundeer didn’t enjoy the ability to much extent. Now if a 62 foot light displacement performance cruiser doesn’t benefit from this what chance has a 40 footer ?

    What is Beowulf's LPS ? I think you will find her quite a safe boat in this regard .But you confuse the characteristics of a 60+ footer with those of a 40 footer. The bigger boat is so much more inherently safer for reasons we have covered before , so it is a poor illustration.
  11. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Small correction, if I may, I am NOT advocating unseaworthy boats. YOU may think that they are unseaworthy. My point is that no one here has made a convincing case that the Pogo 40 type is unseaworthy. :) In fact the whole discussion exists because we cannot seem to agree on the definition of the term.

    Safe by who's definition? It would seem that if you had your way that no multi-hull could leave port. It is hard for me to see a fatal flaw in a boat that was still floating after her crew stopped caring for her. I don't see a fatal flaw in a Class 40 type that was able to continue racing in 50+ knots of breeze while single handed.

    I'm not the one demanding anything except the freedom to choose. I think that the skipper plays at least as large a part in safety at sea as the design. I do not support regulating one and not the other.

    Just for the sake of argument. Do you see where it can be argued that GPS is a hazard? Do you think the level of navigation skill among cruisers is higher or lower since GPS has become widely available? I feel the perception of not needing to learn what I consider basic skills has put more people at risk than the design of the boats they sail.


    Light: Light hull, usually easily driven; Usually a small rig; Accelerates easily; Less expensive rig and sails; smaller less expensive engine; lower fuel consumption; all gear can be lighter; livelier performance; faster reaching and running; needs less ballast.

    Heavy: Heavy hull; needs large rig for light air performance; slow acceleration (but will coast through flat spots); Heavier, stronger. more expensive gear needed; better motion and performance in headwinds; needs more ballast for same stability.

    I find the argument convincing because lighter (lower D/L) boats can have high SA/D with smaller sail plans. Smaller sails are more easily managed. There is room on board for a larger inventory if the sails are smaller.

    Leaving Vancouver for Hawaii in September, a heavy 25 LWL boat (using the polars for a Catalina 30) would expect a 1% chance of gales, and a 2.3% chance of calms. Average wind speed for the passage is expected to be 13.7 knots, average wave height 5.4 feet. There is twice the probability of sailing in calms than in gales. Designing for the 1% chance at the expense of reducing performance 99% of the time makes no sense to me. Having spent time in 40 knot conditions and in 0-6 knot conditions, I find slatting around on an under powered boat more uncomfortable than dealing with heavy air.

    Not really, the life raft they abandon the boat for, stayed inverted longer than the boat did.

    I think it was, you think it was, you are the one condemning the boat. I'm the one condemning the crew for not knowing the limits of the boat. :)

    Please don't make assumptions, I never said it was too dangerous to be on deck. The facts of the case tell me that is was unsafe, on that boat, under those conditions. A different boat in the same conditions would be a different story. It goes back to human error. They did not know the boat well enough to make good choices. The choices they made lost a crew member while the boat survived.

    What alarms me about these threads about stability and seaworthiness is what I see as a desire to limit design and reduce choices. I am not familiar with your work, forgive me. I'll assume you choose to design boats that meet your criteria for seaworthiness. You are free to point out the features that you believe make them superior. People that share your opinion, will buy your boats.

    It seems obvious to me that you think you know better than I what boat I should be allowed to take to sea. I think that attitude is presumptuous, almost offensive. If I have misunderstood your position, I apologize.

    They found a 30% increase in distance covered significant. It follows that a 40 or 50% increase would be more significant. 80 miles a day compared to 125 miles a day is a similar increase. On a 30 footer, that's the difference between sailing the boat to best advantage and sailing the same boat with a dirty bottom and indifferent sail trim.

    To make my position clear: I am not advocating any type of boat. I am not suggesting that multi-hulls or Class 40 boats should replace other types. I do advocate good seamanship. I agree that increased safety does not preclude good performance. I think advocating large displacement and conservative sail plans as increasing safety is not a valid argument.

    If the goal is increasing safety at sea. Mandating changes in yacht design is not the most effective choice. Such changes will take decades to have the desired effect. If there is a need to increase safety at sea and reduce the risk to SAR personnel and the expense of rescue attempts, focusing on the sailor rather than the boat will have a greater and more immediate effect. It is possible to make the existing fleet safer rather than wait until the fleet is replaced by newer safer boats. Sure the new Oceanis 40 is safer than the boat it replaced, but the new boats do nothing to increase the safety of the existing boats.

    I use the Catalina 30 as an example for two reasons; One, it is the most popular 30 foot boat on the planet, and Two, I happen to own one. :)

    Catalina 30
    LOD 29'10"
    LOA 32'
    LWL 25
    Beam 10'10"
    Displacement (light) 10,200 pounds
    Ballast 4200 pounds
    Draft (fin) 5'6"
    Sail Area (100% foretriangle) 522 sq ft
    LPS 118 deg
    + Area 135 deg/ft
    - Area 47 deg/ft
    Stability Ratio of areas 2.892
    Wetted Area 230 sq ft
    RM25 15112
    VCG above WL 0.37 ft
    VCB above WL -0.70 ft
    LCB aft of stem 16.39 ft
    Prismatic Coef. 0.500
    Pounds per inch of immersion: 834
    Moment to change trim 1 inch: 944

    Capsize Screening 1.99 (light) 1.86 (heavy)
    SA/D 17.76 (light) 15.51 (heavy)
    D/L 291 (light) 317 (heavy)
    Motion Comfort Ratio 24.28 (light) 29.00 (heavy)

    STIX??? no idea :(

    I have no idea how these numbers compare to other boats that are considered more "seaworthy". I do know that Catalina 30's have been sailed on every ocean on the planet, they to not have the reputation of being death traps. The companionway opening is 4 inches below the cockpit seats with the wash boards out. The main hatch is 54" wide! I'm sure the downflooding angle is frightening. The bulkheads are not structural. The lower shroud chainplates are 1/2"-13 eye bolts through the deck! It's darn scary!

    I am NOT saying that the C30 was designed for crossing oceans (it was not). I am NOT saying that it should be considered a good choice for passage making. I am saying that less than perfect seamen have sailed them everywhere. That must say something about the "need" for "safer" boats. It says something about the effect of the sailor in the safety equation.

    Design and pontificate all you like, people will still sail boats like Catalina 30's around the world. Just because you would not go to sea in one, don't try to tell me that I can't. Not that I'm planning to, but I'll defend my right to make that decision. :D
  12. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    If the design of the oceanis 390 is so dangerous, why are there no capsize reports from the 551 other identical boats that are sailing for an average 17 years ?

    Beneteau produced 552 units from 1986 to 1992.

    552 identical boats sailing for 17 years should make valid statistics about this boat.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  13. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Once again: Of course seamanship is a basic componet of the survaivalabilty equation. I think all of us agree on this.

    I think nobody is saying that an all around cruiser has to be a low sail area heavy weighter. My Banjer, good old Marie (God keep her sailing for many years to come!), has a D/L over 400 and a SA/D under 8, and I DO NOT consider her an ocean going boat, among other things because I think her sail area is not big enough.

    I agree a proper blue water cruising boat has to have a good turn of speed, of course. And to that end boats need a nice piece of sail area in an efficient rig, as well as a prudently low displacement. I have posted before at the STIX thread the kind of boat I would like to own and cruise the world around, if I could (See To my taste a boat over 40' with a D/L around 200 and an 18 SA/D qualifies quite well, i.e. (asuming stability being satisfactory, which can be, for sure, as well as strength, watertightness, etc, etc)

    What I disagree with is making speed the only and true god, in which to put the safety of a crew..... I disagree with the actual tendency of very light, overcanvassed, beamy boats, with ballast ratios as low as 25 as blue water cruisers (They may be nice for coastal cruising, of course, I'm not blaming that)..... I strongly disagree with the statements saying that a boat conceived to win in the race course based on extreme sail areas, big beams well carried astern, narrow keels and very light displacements, etc., makes a safe family oceanic cruiser...... Horses for courses.

    Randy says to choose a boat to globetrotte is just an owners decission based in his/her personal freedom. He says everybody has the right to cross an ocean, even on a log if he/she wants so (Alain Bombard crossed in a simple raft, we may say!).

    But as I've said before, personal freedom ends where the other people's one begins. In the old times, when a crazy guy chosed to risk his life crossing an ocean in an unsafe boat (And I'm not meaning Bombard), that was OK because nobody was going to save him except maybe when in coastal waters. He died, his family mourned and that was all. Period. Nowadays they spend 6 million bucks of the taxpayers and risk the lifes of many people to save the idiot, if there is a chance. Ask the ones who saved Bullimore (And I'm not saying he's idiot, neither I'm talking about oceanic races).

    Maybe we all have the right to risk our lives and asume unreasonable risks. But what we do not have at all is the right to unduly risk the ones of our family, crew or whatever other. So we have, to begin with, the obligation to choose (and design, and build, and market!) the right boat for the right job. A captain's (and designer's, and builder's and marketeer's!) seamanship and responsibility begins here. And the authorities have the obligation to ban the crazy ones for going into the blue in unsafe boats because they do not only kill themselves, but kill others (What most of the authorities do nowadays). And so some rules are needed. And the ones who make the rules have to be as reasonable cautious as possible, as such rules have to be a kind of 'coffee with milk for everybody' rules. We like it or not.

    This is what I think and defend.
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  14. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    I agree in the most part. Find a design like you describe and let's build two!

    You pose a very tough question about risking lives other than your own. There is no easy answer. In an effort to control the costs of possible SAR attempts didn't NZ try to keep cruisers from leaving unless they were well equipped? I can see the logic.

    It has always been the skipper's responsibility to decide what and when to sail. Where we differ, is that I think that a system that produces good seaman would eliminate the need to regulate designers and builders. It would also reduce the risks to SAR teams.

    I don't think that just anyone with a dream and bucket of money should be allowed to set sail. I hear of many SAR missions that are undertaken to rescue crew off boats that are not extreme racers. A bit of rough weather, engine and or electrical failure, and lack of experience are quite often factors that allow situations to get out of hand.

    I still contend that it would be more effective to remove the idiots from the boats than to change the boats. For some reason, people just don't seem to take sailing very seriously. They don't see sailing as potentially life threatening, so they don't wear PFD's, they don't get training, they don't maintain their boats to a high standard.

    Here in Canada you have to carry a license to operate small boats. There are restrictions on age, length, and power. The effect has been positive.

    Freedom to choose ... do we include the freedom to sell vehicles that may be unsafe in the wrong hands? Do we allow 120HP motorcycles to be sold to teenage riders? Do we allow 40 foot boats to be sold to first time boaters? If we choose not to regulate who we sell to, how safe must the vehicles be? Who is liable? Can we hold the Builder liable when a SAR person dies in the attempt to save a crew? The seller? The skipper? I feel it is the responsibility of society to make sure that people are informed/educated/experienced enough to make intelligent decisions. A sailor that chooses a Pogo 40 to go cruising on with his non-sailing wife, 3-year old child, and the family dog is not making what I would call a good decision. I seem to remember something about being self sufficient as part of the ORC requirements for ocean racing. Why are there no such requirements for cruisers?

    There are a large number of activities that may be unreasonable risks to some and reasonable to others. I used to race sidecars ... reasonable risk?

    I think we will have just as hard a time defining what a "reasonable risk" is as we do trying to define "seaworthy" or "planing". We end up arguing over shades of grey while looking for black and white answers.

    Rather than try to create a reasonable rule to define what grey is. Why not ensure that everyone has good vision so they can decide what shade they like? To use your horses for courses analogy, expect the riders to be able to choose the right horse. The riders should not expect every horse in the stable to be suited to his needs, nor should we try to require it.

    Tough questions my friend, no easy answers! :)

  15. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
    Posts: 1,701
    Likes: 79, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 467
    Location: Sydney Australia

    CT 249 Senior Member

    Mikey, can I ask where the proof is that "seamanship has clearly gone down" over 50 years? I've gone back through some of my old books from around 50 years ago. Seamanship in the racing fleets wasn't immaculate. I looked at the 1956 SORC and Bermuda and the '51 Fastnet.

    Mishaps in that small sample included boats hitting a reef and sinking while finishing the Bermuda (the crew had to cling to the wreck for 8 hours); a top-class US racer losing its mast inside the Wight just after the Fastnet start, finding its engine wouldn't work and almost ending up on the Shingles before getting towed in by a lifeboat; another top Fastnet racer losing its steering inside the Solent and almost hitting the Shingles, then actually hitting part of Fastnet Rock (!) while such famous boats as Bloodhound (Nicholson yawl) and the Fife yawl Latifa broke their skipper's ribs or put crews in hospital.

    While the boats were heavier, safety equipment was very much lacking (no list of required equipment existed in the UK till '57 I think) and you had boats like Hoot Mon, a 40 foot version of a Star with no pulpit or pushpit and just an outboard as auxiliary, doing long offshore races. Being seamanlike includes having a well equipped boat; surely to a great extent any modern "lack of seamanship" in some ways is outweighed by the fact that these days we carry liferafts, tool kits, harnesses, jackstays, personal strobes (almost unknown when I started offshore racing in the '70s) etc.

    Obviously, this is not a statistically valid sample. But given such catalogue of mishaps from fairly small fleets in just 3 events, it seems that any claim that seamanship was better in those days may require more evidence.

    I think that Adlard COles wrote about the disastrous Channel or Biscay race about 50 years ago; I think there were as many lives lost as in the Fastnet '79 or Hobart '98. Yet we don't think of it much because it was so long ago it is largely forgotten.

    By the way, in how many human endeavours has the standard gone backwards over 50 years?
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