Seaworthiness

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

  1. rayk
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    rayk Senior Member

    Racing boats and normal boats

    If the poor old multihulls are going to be maligned as paedophiles then racing monohulls can stand up as sexual deviants.

    Racing is great, but unless it is unlimited design, some pretty weird **** gets built to conform to rules. Trying to build the fastest monohull possible for an arbitrary set of rules, doesnt churn out the bench mark of seaworthy design. That is on the list, but not at the top.

    A moderate cruising monohull is given moderately loaded scantlings built with locally available materials, is intended to float right way up only, and has a hull form to ensure it. The keel is integral with the hull. It cant move. Nothing can tear it off.

    A racing monohull right through the classes trades off these basic attributes to varying degrees, for speed not in pursuit of seaworthiness.

    The only thing which spurs on these racing monohulls are snobs who hate multihulls. People might be interested in watching a race which showcases the fastest boats technology and design can produce, multihulls.

    Racing monohulls are at the same end of the spectrum as cruising multihulls. Both groups think they can have their cake and eat it too.
     
  2. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Well here you have the largely undebated nub of the problem.

    In most other 'transport engineering' or policy arenas, there is a clear number of deaths put against the desirability of any 'safety measure'. For example, if you ask the local road authority in the UK, they will tell you exactly how many people must die before any improvements will be made to a given road junction, etc. The same is true of airlines; they make calculated decisions about the strength / cost / weight of seat fixtures in light of the deaths and injuries that are likely in any given frequency of 'malfunction'. Only bodies like the RAF, without a care for their commercial popularity or costs, can afford to be 'as safe as possible' in their passenger carrying aircraft. So everyone (except the pilot) faces aft, in high 'g' tolerant seats, and no drink is served as drunks don't evacuate planes that well.

    So there is actually no debate amongst boat designers about what constitutes the ultimate 'sea worthy' boat. But the market for 100ft heavy displacement steel yachts with 10ft draft, 20ft high masts and 7ft high chain link life line fences, with no ports or hatches, is limited. All boats are compromises. Even bodies like the RNLI, renown for their search for seaworthiness, never actually say 'we want the most seaworthy vessel conceivable'. Instead they say we want a boat that will do 25 knots in all weathers, that can carry 20 survivors, has a range of 300 miles, can be launched from a trailer on the beach into surf and be stored in our current sheds, that is manoeuvrable, and is safe 'ENOUGH'. Even with a client as uncompromising as the RNLI, compromises are made.

    So we are left with the debate about who's responsibility is it to gauge what level of risk is acceptable for any given member of 'Joe Public' ( or John Doe). Designers? Manufacturers? Government? I believe it's the skipper's (owners) decision. I don't want some other body of 'experts' making decisions for me that involve trade-offs or values that I do not endorse. Which expert thought ocean going (RCD A) means being 'largely self sufficient' in a Force 8 or that a boat's lack of stability can be boosted by fitting more flotation? (STIX) I wouldn't want a car that was deemed safe because its dodgy brakes had been compensated for by the manufacture fitting an extra large first aid kit.

    However for the 'skipper' to make a valid boat buying decision, he must have both the knowledge (education) and the right information. Government's role is only to mandate the level of disclosure from sellers that is needed, and to perhaps facilitate more education of the boating public. (Personal gripe about the cost of adult education facilities in the UK). So I will continue this all on the 'Basic Information' thread, where the nature of this necessary relevant, meaningful, comprehendable information can be thrashed out.
     
  3. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    Crag Cay has explained my ideas much better than me.

    In this thread I mainly see that seaworthiness is considered as capsize risk in a storm.

    I have the issue of being more interested by powerboats than sailboats. But I do not forget safety at sea.

    And what happens:

    Main causes of heavy damages for small powerboats are, in no particular order :

    A) Heavy overload : Too much people on board, to much gear on deck, new superstructures not in the initial design.

    B) Defective engine room : Mainly heavy leaks in cooling system / Exhaust system. Much more by lack of maintenance than by faultly initial design.

    C) Capsize of small open powerboats in weather way beyond their intended use and certification limits.


    I have yet to read the report of a moderate offshore powerboat (say category B only), correctly maintened (no overload, no hazardeous "ameliorations") , capsizing in a storm. Even with weather beyond certification limits.
     
  4. rayk
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    rayk Senior Member

    A race baced on seaworthiness

    If racing were to promote sea worthiness then any injuries to crew or damage to the boat would disqualify a boat from the race and a designer from partaking again.

    A new elite of designers who put their reputation on the line and whose fame is built on seaworthy design. (If the crew has only one life then the designers career should also.)
    Only crew displaying the optimum blend of competitiveness and self preservation can win.
    Any entrant that can finish has at least demonstrated seamanship and a safe design.

    Sound familiar? Like the earliest ROTW races?
     
  5. Milan
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    Milan Senior Member

    It's also possible with ordinary materials, even with a steel. Here are just two examples - Tanton's Steel Star, (steel hull, plywood deck) and almost sixty years old Herreshoff design in thick and heavy, solid fiberglass.
     

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  6. Milan
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    Milan Senior Member

    (That was about Phil Sharp knowingly choosing windy route).

    Comparing modern commercial ships captains with a racing sailors is a bit as comparing apples to oranges, but OK, if you insist on commercial shipping, better study clipper-ships captains tactics, who oftenly sailed on the edge. (In the vessels considered freakish, dangerous and irresponsible by many contemporaries).

    Racing is by definition about taking the risks and stretching the limits, so, it's normal to get into the trouble once in the while.

    Didn't one of the BOC boats few years ago sailed herself for about a day with a temporary disabled skipper and with non-functional autopilots?

    I must admit that I'm still puzzled with these unbalanced wedge shapes, especially when I see them heeled with a windward part of the stern high in the sky and bow deep down, whole boat and keel angled to the course. It doesn't look right, aside from the question of the helm steadiness I would expect that angled keel would also slow the boat but it doesn't seem to be the case.

    To all: Don't you think it's a bit strange to question seaworthiness of these modern ocean racing boats considering where they sail and in what conditions? I'm certain that if the fleet of bulletproof Colin Archers were sent to circle the world through the roaring forties rounding the capes, some of them would also get into the trouble. Remember Smeeton's Tzu Hang pitch-poling and dismasting?
     
  7. rayk
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    rayk Senior Member

    How did the Smeetons get out of their predicament? I cant remember. Three crew wasnt it? Navy tow job or jury rig?

    I agree that modern ocean racing boats sail in tough conditions.
    But a bath tub could be in a storm and it is seaworthy till the moment it sinks. Then its the storms fault?

    Modern ocean racers are amazing when things are going well.
    However when they crap out and need a bit of seaworthiness where did it all go? Since when did a keel become sacrificial, thats shed to leave an inverted hull?
    The keel should be integral to the hull, then it can float right way up etc...
    Losing a keel on any mono hull sailboat is terminal. It the possibility of it happening eliminates the boat from being seaworthy.

    The design goal of modern racing boats is the opposite of what Colin Archer had in mind. He had rescue boats in mind. These double enders were ment to assist other boats in times of need.
    (In some peoples opinion these things are the epitome of seaworthiness, so I guess this thread is a natural place for them to pop up.)

    At least Colin Archer started on the right foot.
     
  8. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Milan,
    Round racing machines are seaworthy up to the moment they are not any more. But a proper cruising sailboat has to be always seaworthy. That's the point, in my opinion.

    Opens 60's and the like are highly stable upside down and some even need the canting ability of their keels to bring them back up again (see IMOCA rules, i.e). But we have seen quite a lot of those keels and their mechanisms failures lately as to blindly trust them.

    But please realize that with this statements I'm not blaming the light stuff. They are great when used for what they are intended: racing. Probably the most extraordinary high seas racing boats ever, having many withstanded extraordinary punishments. My disagreement is with the pretention that those machines or somewhat down-canvassed derivatives are then seaworthy family cruisers.

    I could even agree on having two kind of 'safety categories' or definitions: one for racing and the other for cruising.

    In this line of thought is why at the first post in the STIX thread I suggested (as some other people have also done) that an special categorization or notation is needed within the RCD scope, to diferentiate concepts (pure cruisers and cruiser/racers), or even a redoing of the RCD categorization scheme, because it seems to me there's room for an extra one (Or then not having categorization at all, as Crag Cay defends!)

    Cheers.
     
  9. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Crag

    Car crashes are not from intrinsically unsafe vehicles or roads but mostly due to the risk taking behavior of men under 25. The roads and vehicles are very safe but the operators are not. Ultimately you could appeal to road death statistics to make crocodile wrestling look like a safe family pastime.


    This is fine if you are designing and operating the vessel yourself. Otherwise isn’t this just an unethical abrogation of responsibility?
    I remember the same arguments against Seat belts, Child seats, Motorcycle helmets and currently firearms control in the USA.
    You give up your right to do what you want if you live in a regulated society and deaths inevitably invite regulation by political bureaucrats which is not what we want either.

    But now don’t we end up with controls again, skippers will have to be certified wrt use of stability booklets and craft characteristics. Perhaps a diver type training program and a denial of services and equipment unless you can show your license (as we do with divers).

    Wouldn’t it be better to make offshore vessels safer and design within those limits?
    You can still build own and operate unsafe vessels in semi sheltered waters.
     
  10. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Well we'll have to disagree. Here in the UK you will find no popular support for the notion of increased regulation for recreational craft.

    In fact as is often pointed out, the really big marine accidents that have killed large numbers have all been in the highly regulated commercial field with fully trained captains and crews on inspected vessels: Spirit of Free Enterprise, Estonia, numerous oil tankers, Marchioness, etc, etc

    Narrow wheelbase vehicles with highly dodgy death rates are produced and sold openly. Motorbikes kill more in a year than have ever been lost at sea on pleasure boats from the UK. In the US they don't even have to wear helmets.

    And the analogy with vehicles is relevant. The car industry makes a range of vehicles which have highly varying abilities. Some don't have ABS or traction control or multiple air bags. Some 4x4's are tall and roll over if pushed too hard. The wrong vehicles in the wrong hands doing the wrong things are lethal: Day in and day out, and not just to to the under 25's. Ten people a day die on our roads.

    Yacht designer's are just part of the sailing community. We have no mandate to be to total arbiters of every aspect of people's recreational activity. People who race cutting edge designs are intelligent beings who do know about the risks that are involved. Entries to the Mini TransAt are all aware that if it gets stormy before they clear Biscay, their chances of survival is about the same as a Himalayan climber: about ten percent chance of dying. But it's a risk they want to take because they want the rewards. If it wasn't they would walk away.

    'Jo Public' buying a boat in the marina has a basic check that the vessel is fit for purpose in the RCD. But just like cars there are boats for differing purposed and quality. He has a responsibility to learn about boats in the same way he will have to learn about the weather, tides, buoyage, navigation, etc. Some will, some won't. But generally it works out okay, and people here feel that any improvements that should be made will be best done by encouraging on going education through the RYA's schemes. And this includes learning to match their trips to the boat they own.
     
  11. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Crag
    That’s the trouble with analogies and forums, I like the motorbike bit, but my point was that someone expecting the intrinsic stability of a motor vehicle would not be qualified to judge the dangers inherent in an unsafe design, and that the designer would be culpable.

    I feel that the minis are a farce and give the entire sport a bad name . Then we end up with controls because of what you sensibly called the outrage factor. But they are racing and they are alone so they kill no-one else and as you say they are aware of the dangers.

    However this was supposed to be about cruising boats wasn’t it? I feel very strongly that we should try and self regulate with sensible guidelines for cruising boats. Many cruising boats meet neither the scantling rules or the stability requirements for offshore commercial use. Yet the offshore criteria is not draconian by any measure but ensures the risk is low enough to be acceptable, note not utterly safe ...just acceptable like your life boats.

    Cruising boats have children wives guests and crew, they should not be sacrificial to prejudiced whims on design. Many first time sailors have absolutely no idea about boats and what appears obvious to us is not even the merest glimmer of understanding for many people. We cannot be contemptuous of such Joe-public figures either since we all start somewhere and they should be able to reasonably assume that the “Offshore” vessel they are crewing on offshore is actually safe to be aboard ….shouldn’t they?

    I see the UK has jailed a charter skipper recently for taking inexperienced people out in rough weather (from Poole harbor?) and found guilty of manslaughter following a drowning, but was it the boat or the skipper or his knowledge of the boat ?

    What is wrong with requiring a design to self right within 1 to 2 minutes maximum ? This still allows the design of modern hull-forms but reigns in some of the extremism that can result in any field. 1 to 2 minutes is still a long time but in the long run it will save many lives which is always an admirable guideline.

    The heavier boats (with a decent LPS) when at 180 degrees will usually have enough momentum to self right immediately rolling the full 360. They are also far less likely to be knocked down in the first place particularly if they have a heavier rig (Marchaj),

    I think Guillermo makes a valid point that
    “I could even agree on having two kind of 'safety categories' or definitions: one for racing and the other for cruising”.

    I think we should not see vessels like the Pogo 40 sold as offshore cruisers,
     
  12. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    I thought I'd quote the the first post to bring my reply back to the topic.

    First off, this is an open invite to debate.

    You can replace Class 40 with just about any racing rule or measurement formula and make the same statement.

    This is not the first time that the idea of racers being bad cruisers has been brought up.

    It seems to me that the cruising versions of any boat designed from the outset as a safe stable boat for single-handed sailing is probably going to be a better bet than a boat that was designed for the maximum number of berths. These boats have to be well balanced and easy to steer to reduce the loads on the autopilot system, they will also be easy to steer for a crew.

    A Mini is an infinitely better choice than a Catalina 22 for crossing oceans.

    I'll wager that that a Pogo 40 is a better choice than any number of series production yachts in the 40 foot range.

    Personally I'll take the Mini over a Flicka (I don't want to die of boredom before I arrive). I'll also take the Pogo 40 over a Westsail, or Pacific Seacraft.

    I can't see where the ability to sail actively in storm condition means that the boat cannot use other survival tactics. Are you saying that a Pogo 40 under bare poles with a series drogue off the bow is less likely to survive than a Beneteau?

    People talk about the ability to take the ground and the vulnerability of fin keels. If the boat wasn't such a slug it could have sailed of the lee shore. If the skipper wasn't an idiot the boat would not have struck the reef.

    I don't know what the probability of hitting a container at speed is compared to the probability of sailing in waves large enough to threaten the boat. I think that there are more containers every year and that weather prediction improves every year. Thus it is more likely to hit a container every year and less likely to get caught in a storm. At some point (now or in future) seaworthiness will mean "less likely to sink after hitting a container" rather than "less likely to capsize".

    The Pogo 40 has a crash bulkhead, is unsinkable, has weather routing ability and the speed under sail to make use of it. How many 40 foot boats can say the same?

    The government makes me drive a car with 6 airbags as part of a required passive restrain system. I have no choice, enough ****** that cannot drive killed enough other people so the government stepped in and removed my choice. I have to pay $1000's extra for "safety" that I don't want or need. Anybody think that putting a bomb in the steering wheel is a good idea?

    Just because people go out and capsize boats is no reason to remove my choice of boats. If I want a converted lifeboat because I'm concerned about the .01% chance of being capsized I should be able to buy one. If I'd rather have a boat that (combined with a bit of good seamanship) will get me quickly across oceans the other 99.99% of the time, I should be able to buy that too.
     
  13. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member


    You have to admit that a designer who paints the keel and rudders international safety orange is not telling the whole story about his safe 'cruiser'. :)
     
  14. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    LOL ... the other boats don't require day-glow keels and rudders ... below about 20 feet they couldn't be seen ... no need to make it visible if it is going to be sitting on the sea bed. :D

    Hey, there's a thought! I could paint the keel and rudder of my Catalina 30 bright orange and let people think it's a radically fast racer! hehehe.
     

  15. Kaa
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    Kaa Wanderer

    There's a point which I don't think has been mentioned in this thread yet. Maintenance.

    Ocean racers are new boats that are maintained and prepped for the race by well-equipped professionals. How would these boats look when they are 30 years old and for the last 10 years they have been sailing around the Pacific with no more maintenance than what a husband-wife team and occasionally a local dude with a welder and a bucket of epoxy can provide?

    Racers and cruisers are designed for quite different life expectancies. Yes, I understand there's any number of production cruisers that are created on the basis of "reducing scantlings will allow us to fit one more berth" principle, but we're not talking about them. A well-designed cruiser will have more life expectancy, more reserve strength, more capability to live for a long time with minimal maintenance than a well-designed racer.

    Kaa
     
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