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

  1. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Mike, are you talking about this report?

    What other reports (on the 390) are you talking about?

    The link doesn't work. FcFc, do you have the report saved?

  2. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    The link you posted is dead.

    I have the MAIB report in a journal. "Ocean Madam".

    Unable to hold their breath long enough both the skipper and crewman unclipped their harnesses, the crewman was seperated from the boat and consequently drowned, directly because of the slow recovery related to a poor LPS.

    It was considered illustrative of modern trends, Particularly the sailors aboard were 3 hardy and experienced men.

    To quote the report
    "The stability characteristics of yachts of Ocean Madam 's type mean that once inverted in very rough conditions they are likely to remain so for some time until another sea forces them upright again. ."

    What chance would a Dad Mum and three kids have had if they had all been in the cockpit? The scenario is not pretty.

    Found it: But not the French report.
    The french report was damming of Benetau who were pushing these as offshore boats. Madam.pdf

  3. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    The 2006 rules can be found there:
    A copy of the 2004 rules is there :

    Between 2004 and 2006, there is a new criteria on AVS worst case. It would be interesting to find what is the history for stability requirements for Open 60, and with what rules capsizes occured.

    The boat was designed prior ISO rules. It would be interesting to know what would be the STIX of this boat.
    Do not forget also that it is the SINGLE casualty and that it occured 9 years ago. Nothing similar newer.

    Contrary to what MikeJohns said, chapter 1.4 and 2.4 of the report let me think that the skipper was experienced, but not the crew.

    "Both A... and R... were fit, adventurous young men. Their sailing experience was very limited but, by all accounts, they adapted well to the demands of a passage under sail and were quick to learn."
    "Neither crew members were experienced sailors. They were, however, fit,
    adventurous, willing to learn and able."
    "The difference in approach by an experienced skipper and novice crew were factors in the lead up to the accident."
    "3.2.2 Contributory Causes and Underlying Factors
    1. The inexperience of two of the three people on board."
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2006
  4. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Let’s see then that famous Oceanis 390 report:

    "An experienced skipper and two novice crew agreed to deliver a 1989 Beneteau Oceanis 390 yacht. Ocean Madam, from Malta to Plymouth, United Kingdom.

    ….The builders have supplied some stability information for the Oceanis 390 that indicates a point of vanishing stability of 109º.

    ..That evening they picked up the first BBC Radio 4 shipping forecast which predicted winds for sea area Finisterre as “south-westerly 6 to gale 8, perhaps severe gale 9 later in north”.

    During the evening, sail was shortened. By the following morning the wind
    strength had increased and large waves were breaking on the port quarter.

    By this time they were sailing under substantially reduced sail with only part of the foresail set.
    The engine was running at low speed to provide additional steerage way as the yacht ran down sea.

    At about 2030 a particularly large breaking sea knocked Ocean Madam down to starboard. She righted herself almost immediately but not
    before some water had entered the cabin through the deck vents.

    Below deck, Mr Nurse attempted to clean up the cabin and brew
    something hot to drink.

    Some time afterwards, at about 2130, a second large breaking wave hit the yacht and inverted her. The capsize was so fast that neither survivor could remember which way she went.

    Mr Nurse found himself thrown about to end up standing on the deckhead. He recalls seeing water flooding into the cabin.

    At this point there is conflicting evidence about what happened regarding the hatch and washboards.

    The skipper’s recollection was that the washboards were held in place by the sliding hatch. The flooding, in the skipper’s view, would have taken
    place when surviving crew below opened the hatch and allowed the washboards to fall out.

    The surviving crew recalls that the flooding started as soon as the yacht
    inverted. This suggests that the hatch was at least partly open already and the inversion allowed the washboards to fall out.

    Whichever version of events is correct, the washboards were not secured to the yacht and once they had fallen out and disappeared, there was no way of preventing additional water entering the main cabin.

    After an undetermined number of seconds upside down, the yacht righted herself allowing the skipper to climb back on board.

    The surviving crew, Mr Nurse, came on deck having witnessed substantial flooding below.

    Surveying the scene around them it became obvious that the yacht had been dismasted and that Mr Newton was no longer to be seen.

    …..It is worth noting that the Offshore Racing Council Special Regulations that would cover this type of yacht if it were involved in any form of offshore racing, including that conducted in more sheltered waters than the Bay of Biscay, specifies that the washboards must be able to be secured in place independently, and not therefore rely on being held in place by the sliding hatch.

    ….There is conflicting evidence concerning the priorities each survivor attached to the recovery of Mr Newton,...
    The timing and sequence of events thereafter are not entirely clear, but certain factors have been established.

    Mr Newton’s shouts from the sea could be heard

    …. The liferaft had inflated while the yacht was inverted and was in danger of being swept away.The unsecured liferaft demanded their immediate attention and Mr Nurse boarded it in order to make it fast. Shortly afterwards the skipper joined him just seconds before another wave overwhelmed them and parted the liferaft’s painter.

    Soon after drifting clear, another wave capsized the liferaft. After attempts to right it failed, the skipper decided to cut through the bottom so they could remain out of the water. This they did, climbed out of the water and remained sitting on the inflated ‘hull’.

    By this time they had lost all contact with the man overboard and their own survival became the overriding priority.

    The two survivors were recovered from the liferaft at 0530 on 9 October. A further search for the missing crewman was made but there was no sign of him. Ray Newton was never found and must be presumed to have drowned but his lifejacket was recovered.

    The yacht, still afloat and upright, was also located. She was sunk later by the French Navy as a potential hazard to navigation."

    From this description it is clear to me:

    1- The Oceanis 390 is by no means a modern boat. It is a 17 year old boat, with an AVS of 109º. Modern Beneteau 40ft have an AVS in the vicinity of 120º.

    2- The boat has recovered rapidly from the first capsize (knock-down).

    3- When the boat was capsized by the second time (rolled), the washboard was not secured and fell off and disappeared, thus permitting a huge downflooding of the boat, that has seen its intact stability compromised.

    4- The downflooding occurred not by any defect of the boat, but by inexplicable carelessness of the skipper who has not taken care of securing the washboard. Given the kind of seas the boat was dealing with, that fact is hard to understand, being the skipper an experimented sailor.

    5- In a sailboat with the intact stability compromised and severely downflooded, the time that is needed to recover from the inverted position has little to do with the boat’s AVS, or the recovering time, if the stability was not compromised by the downflooding. In fact the boat was lucky to recover at all, given the circumstances.

    6- In the report they don’t say how much time the boat was inverted, but they say: “an undetermined number of seconds upside down”, but it looks to me that if they were talking about a significant number of minutes, they would not have utilized the word “seconds”, but the word minutes.

    7- A boat with intact stability and an AVS of 120º will take, with the kind of waves needed to have capsized him, between 1 and 3 minutes to recover from an inverted position (if I can remember correctly).

    8- The skipper acted irresponsibly, not only in what concerns the washboard, but also in failing in attempting to rescue the man overboard. Instead of doing that he chose to give all his attention to a liferaft.

    9- He chose to abandon his floating boat, and embarked in the liferaft. The boat was found later, floating and upright.

    They say it was an experienced skipper that he held an RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competency (Ocean), a commercial endorsement, and was a certificated instructor. Well, I hope that this is not the RYA standard for competence.

    I don’t think you can take any conclusion from this report to support the unseaworthiness of an Oceanis 40ft, firstly because the circumstances that led to the downflood were due to an human error, secondly because this is an isolated case. I don’t know of any other case of unseaworthiness problems with a 40ft Oceanis. Referring to it, the report says: Ocean Madam was a production Beneteau Oceanis 390 yacht ..and has a good safety record.

    Yes, I fully agree with that.

    Well, I can say that I am in an ideal position to know about those accidents.

    This Fall, we had three shipwrecks on this coast. One Spanish boat that has tried to make a landfall with bad weather…all dead trying to reach shelter in a port; an old traditional wooden boat, crewed by Mexicans, that was reduced to splinters and a trimaran with a sleeping solo sailor that smashed right in the Cape Carvoeiro, just 3 miles away from my house.

    The boat that has disintegrated against the rocks at the entrance of a port, had left from Peniche (the place where I live) and a friend that was at the Marina, doing something in his boat had seen them arriving, with the boat in complete disarray, sails badly reefed, all in a confusion, handling the boat badly and banging against some boats before a final bang against the stone wall. He talked with them. They had just bought the boat somewhere in the Med coast of Spain and where bringing the boat to Galiza. Obviously they didn’t know what they were doing.

    I have also taken a look at the “Marine accident investigation branch ” website and looked at the last years’ reports (since 1989) and I have concluded that Crag Cay is right:

    The vast majority of deadly accidents has to do with man overboard situations; Secondly and much less significant, it has to do with collisions. Capsizes are very rare and are not significant regarding the global number of deadly accidents.

    At the light of these data, centering the seaworthiness issue on the capsizing risk, seems rather inadequate and obviously misleading.

  5. Mikey
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    Mikey Senior Member

    Vega, I don't think that anyone sees the most important part included in the definition of sea worthiness as the risk of capsize, that is still a rare event. You are absolutely correct, it is both inadequate and misleading.

    It is still very evident that something has happened the last 50 years or so, not only with pleasure yachts but also with fishing boats, one part of that is linked to sea worthiness, another with seamanship or rather the lack of it, and a third one is linked to sea kindliness.

    I don't think that we can say that most fatalities that involved fishing boats were linked to bad seamanship, although increased competiveness make skippers take higher risks than they did 100 years ago.

    Seamanship has clearly gone down, both with less experienced sailors doing what they are not qualified to do, and qualified sailors pushing the limits to levels that would be considered bad seamanship not that long time ago.

    But I also think that sea kindliness is part of this. It is almost impossible to sleep at 0.44 Gs, and sleep deprivation and general exhaustion is making people accept things they know they shouldn't, do things they know they shouldn't, like not putting the wash boards back immediately and make sure they are properly secured, like trading a 40 foot yacht for a 5 foot life raft, now that's crazy!

    Sailing yachts have become more extreme, and thereby also less forgiving. That's another reason why we have more incidents.

    Sure, the very vast majority of fatalities happen because of human error, it has always been like that and it will always be like that. But it does not mean that there is nothing to be done to sea worthiness and sea kindliness of yachts to reverse the trend.

    In fact there is more to do than there was 50 years ago :)

  6. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    I'd say in fact is at least as much to do as it has been always...! ;)
  7. Mikey
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    Mikey Senior Member

    How boring the world would be if development (progress?) was no longer needed :)

    Let's compare with "road worthiness" and Porsche 911's from the 70's. They were road worthy. Or were they? They were, but not if used during a Swedish winter :!: Countless were the ones leaving the road backwards... :)

    But as the consumer group evolved and it became more common for them to be driven not only by enthusiasts but also as company cars, Porsche adapted. They refined them and they became not only faster but also more forgiving. They became more road worthy.

    What happened to sailing yachts? Yachts from before the 70's were less extreme but they evolved to become more and more extreme, and at the same time less forgiving. This at the same time as the consumer group also evolved.

    That's a receipe for, well, exactly what we see happening actually so we shouldn't be surprised, should we? :)
    I think that quite a few of us here aren't.

  8. Vega
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    Vega Senior Member

    Unless you have a big family you don't need a boat so big and with such a massive seaworthiness, unless you really want to sail with Beaufort force 12 conditions, like the 40class boats on the “Route du Rhum” have done. They have proved they can handle that kind of weather, even Solo, without stopping racing and with no need to take evasive and survival measures.

    These boats have little brothers (in fact Pogo began with the minis, then 8M then 10M and finally 12: the 40class boat) and those boats are also very interesting and seaworthy.

    The first 12M boat made with the lines of what would be the 40class boats, was the A40. That boat was elected boat of the year 2004 in France. They are now making a MKII, because evolution in racing is fast, and the boat that was a blast when it was launched (2003) is no longer a match for the new 40class boats.

    But I would say that the most popular boat in France right know, is the A35, the small brother that was launched this year and was already elected boat of the year by one of the big French sail magazines and that is a serious candidate for the 2006 French boat of the year.

    The boat is lovely. I have been inside one and I can guarantee you that what I really wanted was to pick one and go sailing. The interior is amazingly good for the size and type of boat and the boat costs around 108 000 euros (without sails).

    About the boat’s seaworthiness, and by that I mean the opinion of experienced sailors:) , I can tell you that a dozen A35 are already enrolled for the 2008/2009 “Transquadra” and the race is yet two years from now.

    I say experienced, because this is not a race for crazy kids, but really only for experienced sailors.:D

    The race is limited to 100 boats and it is a Transat for solo or duo crews. It departs from Saint Nazaire, with a stop at Madeira and finishing at Martinique.

    You can buy the boat, race it to Martinique, enjoy a holiday in a beautiful place and bring the boat home. Of course I don’t know if you qualify for that race. Are you more than 40 years old?:p :p :p


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  9. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Oh, no way I'd qualify on those grounds Vega!
    If I had unlimited funds (yeah right), well, I have a thing for really fast boats. Here on the Great Lakes, yes a 40 would be overkill... but if I could afford one, I suspect it would be loads of fun. And that's what I want in a sailboat, is fun- I don't do big ocean races, I just want to be able to cruise comfortably when I want to, and go like stink when I feel like it. I do like the look of the A35 and A40, will have to peruse that in further detail sometime. Not that I'm actually going to buy one.
  10. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    As humankind has short memory and we only learn from suffering once and again, I'm afraid we will not realize the kind of dangerous slope we are sliding over again (nothing new in life, just another turn in the spiral) with this small, fast and light 'blue waters pretentious' cruisers trend, till we do not suffer a big tragedy once again.
    I'm wondering if some people have ever read Marchaj, Claughton, Deakin, etc. Many seem to have not.
  11. alex fletcher
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    alex fletcher Junior Member

    Its all very interesting reading but all people should ask the question what does seaworthiness really mean? Most of the posts dealt with the vessel stability, but seaworthiness encompasses much more. You must take into account a lot more than just stability you must look at the competency and experience of the skipper and crew, the equipment on board, the sea state and the area of operation and the requirement of operation. Consider this example a 175 ft steel cruising yacht designed for up force 9 gales, proven by 3 circumnavigations with experience crew, the most modern communication equipment and safety equipment the exceeds the requirement of the Unified Shipping Laws by twice for those on board, would indeed be considered seaworthy. But if I, where to sail her to 75 deg. lat. south, she then be considered unseaworthy as at these latitudes sea ice is prevalent and her hull is not designed to cope with ice. So a vessels seaworthiness is variable and must be considered in relation to a number of different parameters eg. also if i had not maintained her for a number of years would she still be seaworthy? Stability is one thing seaworthy is another
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2006
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  12. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    I fully agree. What you say has been said before by several in this thread, including myself (SSS thing, i.e.). While I tend to concentrate on stability matters, I encourage you (and whoever else wants) to post about seaworthiness' other contributing factors.
  13. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Oh Vega

    I and others here are not arguing for the sake of point scoring debate but because we strongly feel that there will be many preventable deaths because advocates of vessels that have serious flaws distort and twist fact and reason to their own ends.

    Firstly the report I read before I posted (now I cannot find the journal to quote….later) made it clear that both the skipper and the lost crew-member unclipped their lifelines because the boat remained inverted and they were no longer able to hold their breath, this was also stated at the coroners inquest. The report may have been erroneous in that it reported 3 experienced sailors aboard.... when it may have been three capable healthy men who were coping well with the voyage ?

    It was mentioned in response to "fcfc" being unaware of slow recovery ever causing anyone’s demise.

    As for the "inexplicable carelessness of the skipper" (sic)
    Damning the skipper :(............a prior posts have made a very a good point that human ability drops very quickly in an unseakindly vessel in poor conditions. Any experienced mariner can tell you how hard it can be to move and think aboard a small boat in a gale. Movement and thought can become a ponderous affair particularly on a light boat. It would be a man of rare caliber that was needed at the time, remember he will also be in shock. I think you are trying to foist the boats poor performance onto the man.

    Not just the LPS but also the inversion time. This may be an annoyingly inconvenient to advocates of a low vanishing stability…….. but it is not misleading !.

    What is your opinion please (with your wife and a child in the cockpit harnessed ) “ How long should a seaworthy vessel be expected to remain inverted, lets say in cold water far from shore? “ What do you think I would like to know.

    I figured something as clear as drowning as you frantically try to release your tether should be simple enough for anyone to debate without too much interpretation or distortion or stonewalling to promote their point of view. I was inviting debate on that one issue since it conveniently highlights the whole philosophy of current design trends.

    You are apparently very taken with modern hull forms, they probably fit your requirement very well. However you should be able to admit that they may prove lethal under certain circumstances and they will be unseakindly in heavy weather. My argument is that with some relatively small concessions the vessels could be inherently safer.

    So far the counter argument is a passionate and subjective view concerned with justifying a personal choice rather than promoting safety. It sounds dangerously like popular culture rather that a scientific approach.

    Vega the older you become the more value life has and the greater the crime when you see it lost to preventable causes for the want of some relatively small compromises. :mad:


    Lets look at a conclusion that you draw from the 390 affair: That the negative stability and consequently the inversion time increased because of the partial flooding of the vessel (for which you are hard on the skipper too):)

    [FONT=&quot] This is interesting because although it seems at first light that you are drawing a sensible conclusion. However contrary to what would appear to be common sense and a trap you fall into is this; A certain amount of water in an inverted vessel can aid its recovery considerably. This is from the free surface effect making it more unstable upside down. Consider that it is possible that the flooding actually helped to right that vessel much faster than it would have without.

    All the best.

  14. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    One measure of safety is death rate per million miles travelled. To make a viable case for the relative safety of one hull form over another, the death rate per MMT must be higher for one hull type compared to another.

    How long have high beam/length ratio fin keel types been cruising oceans? Since the mid 1960's? Call it 50 years perhaps?

    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.

    I'll also wager that since 1960 the death rate in modern hull types is lower than for traditional hull types.

    After you have a death rate, compare the number of deaths due to capsize with the total number of deaths.

    Only after you have some numbers to asses the relative risk of death by capsize to the risk of death by other means can you evaluate the importance of resistance to capsize in the overall seaworthiness equation.

    No one has challenged the idea that the risk of death from going overboard is higher than the risk of death from capsize, yet no one is advocating 6 foot high safety fences around the deck. What agenda concentrates on reducing the risk of death from a very unlikely event, and does not address the greater risk?

    As I've stated before, for most passages it is possible to plan a route where the chance of gale conditions is less than 2%. The chance of severe storms is therefore much less than 2%. If the chance of capsize is 10% or only 5% in Force 7-9 it makes very little sense to me to make risk of capsize an overriding selection criteria.

    I think choosing a boat for low capsize risk is very much like choosing a car based on it's crash test rating. Never mind that some of the "features" that make the car "safer" actually increase the risk of crashing. Look at the size of "A" pillars today compared to older (pre multiple airbag) cars. The massive "A" pillars create huge blind spots thus increasing the risk of hitting something or someone. Some of the "features" of the low capsize risk boats presented in this forum also increase the risk of sailing in the conditions that might cause capsize. Poor light air performance and low velocity ratios reduce weather routing options for many "seaworthy" boats.

  15. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    There's not something like an uncapsizable boat. A beam-to situation in breaking waves of enough height may capsize whatever the boat. The point is the boat ability to resist capsizes (as to only capsize with the biggest waves as posssible for the given size), the ability to remain as structurally and watertightly sound as possible (including masts) during the event, and the ability to right herself up after that.
    Are these abilities undesirable? I don't think so and I think you agree with me. Talking just only about the stability issue, not to make this too long, you should wonder why the actual RCD (cruising boats intended) through its STIX tends to disencourage the adopting of excessive sail area, beam or light displacement for cruising boats. I'm critic with some aspects of the STIX and some mislead it can bring to customers in certain cases, but I strongly support the philosophy under it.
    I'm not discussing here seamanship and appropriate crossings planning, but inherent seaworthiness of cruising boats. Even with the best of the planning and routeing you are never 100% sure of not being hit by a gale or storm in a long enough passage and face a difficult challenge (And even short passages may become really dangerous in spite of our planning efforts!). Dou you trust 100% the meteo? Even the meteorologists don't! Have a look at the quickly decreasing probabilities of predictions with time. If I'm not wrong only 50% for a three days one. But anyhow the 2% you mention is good enough for me to extreme cautiousness.
    And talking about statistics, it's precisely based in them how both the Capsize Safety Factor and STIX were developed. The reading of the documents and books on the matter, cited or posted at this and the STIX thread, is very illustrative to that end.

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