Seaworthiness

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

  1. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    With a drogue deployed from the stern, after several wave strikes in a confused sea the towline can have so much slack that the boat can be capsized before the drogue exerts any force. This has been tank tested. There is no equipment 100% safe. Even drogues (Not to talk about electronics...!). Built in 'forgiving' seaworthiness is the first barrier of defence of a proper cruising boat.
    Cheers.
     
  2. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Can you provide the data where this has happened with a Jordan Series Drogue? What you describe is a problem for a single drogue and was one of the reasons the series drogue was developed.

    Jordan Series Drogue

    Coast Guard Report CG-D-20-87
     
  3. KevlarPirate
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    KevlarPirate Junior Member

    “Built in 'forgiving' seaworthiness is the first barrier of defense of a proper cruising boat.”

    No single sentence more effectively identifies the message this thread should send.

    That is where seaworthiness starts. The design. I am not saying it ends there, however it is the last resort when all else fails.

    With respect for your positive and optimistic approach, I believe there are too many commonly experienced problems which get in the way of that theory working regurlarly. Like a rudder post or steering breaking, or anything else underbuilt so as to save weight.
    Like a long passage where you can’t outrun a storm because there is not enough wind to go your breakneck speed required and you have to motor. No weather routing will help you then.
    Fronts can do 500 + miles a day (like with Fastnet)

    How about deploying a drogue and loosing it overboard or the cleat pulling out of your minimalisticly built speedster. Or chafing through when you know for a fact you secured it properly.
    I have only had a few times when a bowline has whipped loose
    On the lazy sheet, yet my dog demonstrated to me he could defeat a bowline with a half hitch added.

    And I suppose you will be the only sailor ever to never get any injury to reduce your effectiveness.

    Your theory is complex and requires all cylinders firing all the time to work.
    It requires electronics and antennas, crew in functioning status,
    boat in functioning condition to maintain speed. defensive devices which work all the time..

    simple solutions have less chance of failure. When things including yourself break, you will be sitting there just like everyone else. Better have your EPIRB


    Good luck, have fun, but don’t forget the Darwin Award.
     
  4. hiracer
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    hiracer Senior Member

    The Jordan Series drogue is relatively new (20 years?) and does not have as much the real world use as unitary drogues and sea anchors, but thus far its track record is better than either. Except for one example of chafing on self-steering gear, it's success rate has been perfect. No injuries to crew during deployment, and all boats survive the storm.

    Sailors who have used both the sea anchor and the series drogue have unanimously favored the series drogue.

    Not all boats can use a series drogue, however, because much water can be expected to sweep over the stern in a bad storm. Cockpit drainage and companion way must be built to handle the deluge.

    I'm in the middle of the tedious chore of sewing my own right now.
     
  5. KevlarPirate
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    KevlarPirate Junior Member

    I DID read your post!

    “Then lets start with unsinkable as the barest minimum of seaworthiness.”

    I agree. Light weight hulls with unproven offshore strength should have positive flotation.

    “a boat that sails better than a Westsail would not have been such extreme conditions ... unless it's crew made an error in judgement. To me that is part of being prepared.”

    Theoretically valid, but fails with a long passage where all boats are vulnerable as storms develop in open ocean and move faster than any sailboat can travel. A week before hitting the Fastnet fleet, that storm was knocking power poles over in the Midwest

    “It does not take much for a boat to be sturdier than those that crew her. The boat may have uncomfortable, even frightening motion, but even "killer boats" in the '79 Fastnet were found more or less intact after their crews lost faith in them.”

    Don’t think so. Many boats sank and the others were disabled and then gave minimal protection to the crew, that’s why they abandoned them. I wonder what the Fastnet would have done to that (killer) boat in the picture I attached? hmmm when was that built? maybe 30 years AFTER Fastnet? more?

    “should they be fined or penalized after the rescue?”

    No, just sent the bill, If someone insured them, then the bill is paid. The owner can rationalize the premiums and the return on investment if any. The premium will then go high enough (if he can get insurance) to equal the liability and then the owner can opt to self insure. On his second screw-up he can pay the expenses from his own pocket and then, if he is still alive, he can think about a better design and better prep, or if he can’t pay, he can loose his boat and see it auctioned off, and think those future thoughts while breaking rocks in the hot sun or make some license plates to make up for the tax dollars he has burned from people like me. After a little sobering he can think of a well designed, sound boat which will reduce the probability of having to be rescued. At this point , the word will get around and maybe others will realize the same before they flip the EPIRB on.

    “think times have changed, the days of unavoidable bad weather and the need for heavy boats to lie ahull in are gone”

    Your statement requires communications and boat speed to escape (active means). A little to bold a statement for me. I will not be held hostage to a thousand single point failures between the antenna and the batteries or the boat and crew to be on their best game to escape.

    “I just don't want some government committee of NA's moribund opinions deciding for me”

    The very way to attract that attention if for the user to demonstrate behavior which becomes a public tax burden
    and risk to others.
    Your government watchdogs love irresponsible people, gives them a paycheck!
     
  6. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    It was not only Fastnet. Trouble can build up suddenly, even for the more experienced. Read this most interesting analysys of Queen's Birthday Storm:
    http://www.setsail.com/products/pdfs/qbs.pdf

    **** happens.

    About the Jordan series drogue, I find it an interesting device although for my own use I'd rather go for a mono-drogue like Seabrake or Galerider, as I find they can be useful for a wider variety of situations and uses, i.e. as when in shallower waters. Also I'd rather prefer running 2-3 knots under control than being almost sttopped. But this is only a matter of personal preferences, I'm not discrediting the series drogue at all.

    Cheers

    PS1: The Queen's Birthday Storm of June 1994 involved a cruising fleet of 35 boats voyaging from Auckland, New Zealand, to Nuku'alofa, Tonga, on an annual cruising pilgrimage. In this storm, one boat was lost with all three crew; only its empty life raft carrying an activated EPIRB was ever located. Seven other boats were eventually abandoned, but the crews stayed with them until rescue vessels arrived, possibly a lesson learned from the Fastnet disaster. One of those seven boats was found afloat six months later and salvaged. Twenty-one crew from the seven boats were rescued directly by surface vessels who responded in a very timely fashion to both EPIRB signals and requests for assistance from New Zealand authorities.

    PS2: Also the reading of : http://www.bluesuit.co.nz/1994.htm, http://web.mit.edu/mitoc/www/history/tripreports/57 and http://www.latitude38.com/features/nzstorm.htm is interesting
     
  7. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    No one has proposed cruising in a boat with unproved offshore strength. What boats are you thinking of? :)

    Do you imply that heavier, slower boats are somehow less likely to sink? I don't follow that logic. :)

    Everyone knew there was rough weather headed towards the Fastnet fleet. The well prepared boats had few problems. The weekend warrior types that had no business at sea did. The owner of the shop where I work was on an Admiral's Cup boat in that race. He does not describe the storm as being all that bad. If you were cruising you would not have gone to sea until the weather had cleared. (Unless your idea of cruising is starting a passage with a Force 8 forecast).

    15 deaths, 19 boats abandoned, 5 boats sank, 306 boats started. That makes "many" = less than 2%?

    The picture you posted, what is the context? Was the boat racing? What happened 30 seconds later? A shot of a boat knocked down out of context proves nothing. Passionate opinion not supported by data is one of the ongoing issues in this thread.

    If you can't build a reliable system perhaps you shouldn't use them. :D I've found that understanding electronics, proper equipment selection, and proper installation yields reliable systems. These systems are reliable enough for aviation, I take it you refuse to fly and be "held hostage to a thousand single point failures"?

    I consider sailing to be an "Active" pastime. I am not a passenger letting the boat sail where she will. If I am to expect my boat to take care of me, I have to take care of her. That means actively seeking passages that are easy on both of us. Passive storm tactics strike me as being in the same class as closing your eyes, stepping on the brakes and trusting the air bags to save you in a car. If your vehicle cannot protect you, you must be an active participant at all times. Almost 40 years of riding motorcycles has conditioned me to never rely on the vehicle to protect me, I must protect the vehicle and myself. Removing the false security of crush zones and air bags forces me to be more aware of changing conditions. The penalty for passivity is extreme. I submit that almost any sailboat provides more protection than my motorcycle does.

    I have been route planning to get a feel for the probability of encountering storms at sea. I was surprised to find out how easy it is to plan passages with very low probability of gale conditions, much less storm conditions. I have also run simulations using my boat's polars and real time weather. I have not been caught in storm conditions yet. People here talk as if sailing in storm conditions is to be expected every time the boat leaves port ... hogwash. I personally know cruisers that circumnavigated and NEVER sailed in a storm. 13 years cruising and not a single storm ... not one.

    Commercial craft and racers are much more likely to see extreme conditions. Their schedule is dictated by man not nature.

    The key here is cruising. You don't have to leave on a certain day. You can pick a favorable 3-7 day forecast. Follow the route suggested by pilot chart information and alter it as needed every 12-24 hours as new weather information is available. IMO people that don't think it is possible, have never tried it. Just as people that are wedded to the idea of heavier = stronger can't grasp the idea that a boat does not have to be heavy to be strong and seaworthy.

    Like sailing into storms because you can't figure out how to keep a battery charged? Or not having reliable communication systems so you don't hear the severe weather warning? :D

    Have a great weekend!
     
  8. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Roughy,
    I admire your faith in weather information and your confidence in your ability for weather routeing! You should be hiring your services to the 'Top Round' racing boys! ;)

    I think what makes you so confident is that you've never been caught in storm conditions yet, as you say. Have you been caught at least in gale ones (force 8-9)? Or in a humble force 7 in a tight spot? I'd be a little bit surprised if you haven't. Anyhow, if you keep on sailing, sooner or later you'll be caught in such situations, unless you do only summer time coastal cruising in an area with plenty of refuges. And even then.

    Cheers.
     
  9. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Thanks for posting that link, it supports what I've been saying:

    "The difference between a survival situation and an uncomfortable couple of days was probably less than 150 miles in position along the east-west axis. Why, then, did so many people get caught in the wrong part of the storm? I hesitate to be a Monday morning quarterback. I wasn't there, and looking at the fax charts which we've reproduced here, it seems fairly obvious what was happening. Yet Linda and I know all too well how hard it is to think straight when you are getting the tar kicked out of
    you by the weather, and are cold, tired, and probably more than a little frightened.

    The official forecasts did not pick up the severity of the situation until the low had already deepened. Yet the risk factor-that incipient low on the third of June- was there for everyone see. All of the classic rules for determining the center of the depression and its direction of travel were
    operable."

    The report pretty much says the signs were there, the gale warning was broadcast. Why the boats ignored the warnings they had available to them and sailed into a disaster is a good question.

    :D You amaze me. You cite the failures of the very devices you prefer in one post :
    Now you say your preference is for a device that in your own words has failed in test tanks? What have I missed? You are willfully choosing a device that has a proven failure record over one that has never failed?

    ... and I thought the NA's were supposed to be the logical ones in this thread ...
    :confused:
     
  10. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    You should be more reflexive and read calmlier.
    Cheers.
     
  11. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Care to put it to a test? Pick a reasonable passage of 1500-2500 miles that as a cruiser you might make. I'll do the pre-planning, then run the route using real time weather and lets see what conditions a small boat might have to deal with. I'll use my old, slow, Catalina 30 and post 24 hour updates. If I can't make the virtual passage without avoiding storm conditions in a 25ft LWL boat, I'll concede defeat and post "I'm an idiot", If I can do it, you have to post "I Love Pogo 40's" :D

    Ground rules:
    I have to arrive before I use up 45 gallons of water or 25 gallons of fuel. I'll post the electrical budget and the number of engine hours/fuel used to support my systems. If I run out of water I loose, if I run out of fuel and the electronics die, I loose. If the boat is caught in wind over 40 knots for more than 6 hours, I loose.

    If the sea is so big and bad as people make it out to be, it should not be possible for me to succeed.

    The gauntlet is thrown. :D
     
  12. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    I don know about Ken Barnes country, but in france insuring worldwide a sailboat (and owner as crew) between 60 000 - 90 000 euros costs 1/3 to 1/10 of insuring a car (and owner as driver) of the same value.

    That would mean that french insurers consider risk is really much lower in a sailboat, even circumnavigating, than in a car of same value.
     
  13. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    It's probably not worth trying to be logical with someone who brags about the fact that his wealth proves that he comes from a "superior gene pool" than mere "lesser people", but your facts about the Fastnet are incorrect, as R Hough pointed out.

    Some of the boats that suffered the greatest loss of life in the Fastnet, like the Carter 33 "Trophy" (3 or 4 dead) and the Ohlson 35 "Flashlight" (two dead) were boats of similar style to the typical S&S design. The Ohlson 35 is actually "cruisier" than the typical S&S 41.

    There were (I think) four lightweight fractionals* in the '79 Fastnet fleet - they had no trouble and no capsizes. One of them scored second or third in the AC fleet**. The lightweight fractionals were NOT the source of the problem.

    You champion the Westsail 32. We don't get many out here, about the only one I know of was subject to a rescue in the NZ-Tonga cruising rally after multiple capsizes and a dismasting. Her exhausted crew (who had spent many years sailing the boat out from Maine) found her uncontrollable.

    Yes, this is merely a single incident. But it is no more misleading than the picture you have posted and referred to here. That pic is not of a boat designed 30 years after the Fastnet, as anyone with the most basic knowledge of modern design would know. The boat in the pic is a Dubois IOR 1 ton from 1986 - just nine years after Fastnet '79. Boats of that design have done many major offshore races - Hobarts, Fastnets etc - without loss of life or inversion.

    Ironically, one of the most experienced offshore racing owners in the world moved from an S&S 41 and an S&S 45, to a Dubois 1 ton that was a sister of the boat in the pic. I have asked him about comparative seaworthiness. He said that the Dubois you hold up as an example of a bad boat was as seaworthy as the S&S 41 (a 1970 design, I think). The Dubois was dryer and more controllable downwind. His latest boat, an IMS one design, is in many ways (including some aspects of its comfort) the best ever boat of his to sail offshore, he says.

    This is a man who has been skippering Hobart races (and winning) since the days of steel double enders. He did (I think) compete in Fastnet '79. He is almost undoubtably much more experienced than you, and he does NOT think the boat you pictured is a "killer".

    His only rival to the title of most experienced owner around here - a man who was on the winning team in the '79 Fastnet, who has won Fastnets and world titles and been racing his own boats since the planked long keelers of the '60s - also says that the IOR lightweight and modern boats are just as seaworthy as the 1968 S&S 49 he used to win the Fastnet. This man is probably wealthier than you and therefore according to your ideas he is a superior being, so his ideas can't be too far out.

    There are certainly people of enormous experience who do not agree that all lightweights are unseaworthy compared to boats like your S&Ss. Sparkman and Stephens 45s are certainly "killers", though - one of the best ever, the 1973 Morning Cloud, went down with a couple of crew in the English Channel.


    * obviously "lightweight" means different things to different people.

    ** One of those lightweights, the flush decked fractional 42 "Accanito", has been the cruising home of a couple for about 10-14 years. That is an example of the sort of boat you said couples couldn't cruise, but "Accanito" has been proving you wrong for over a decade.
     
  14. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    It's an interesting little test case.

    Among the boats that got into trouble were classic or contemporary heavy cruisers like a Westsail 32, an Atkins 32, and a Norseman 447. As the first link Guillermo posted points out on p 249, both the boats that got into trouble and the boats that had no trouble spanned the full spectrum, from heavyweight cruiser to cruiser-racer.

    The first link also states "we feel strongly that cruisers don't pay nearly enough attention to performance under sail" and "there is no substitute for boat speed".
     

  15. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    I take the bet, without the needing of you saying you are an idiot, because you're certaily not. :) Let me think of a route and I'll tell you.
    Cheers.
     
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