Sydney Hobart

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Karsten, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    CT 249 Senior Member


    Doug, it's hardly the embodiment of seamanship to lose control of your keel, hop into a liferaft, get picked up by a helicopter and have to tow the shattered remains of your boat home......

    It IS a race, but like any race (unless it's the race to Eden Fisherman's Club, which we won in '86 after I drove us onto a sunfish :) ) you have to finish to win; just like Ludde did. If you talk to guys like multiple winner Roger Hickman, you'll find that he places a huge emphasis on traditional seamanship (keeping the crew fed and rested, keeping the boat and sails in one piece) while still sailing a high-tech boat well.

    We keep on hearing (since at least Windward Passage II in '87) of maxis that "can't be slowed down enough" as Konica reported. One wonders whether there is a problem with the size of storm sails, perhaps trysails are too large on these boats.

    One thing of which I was not aware (because I largely dropped out of offshore sailing about the time IMS came in) was a "revenge effect" of increased stability. On the old IOR boats (light or heavy) and typical Kiwi-type "club racers" (Young 88, Farr 1020 or more radical boats like Inglis designs) and even (I think) light IMS boats like Mumm 36s, you must steer around the backless waves. If you come charging over the crest, you lose too much speed on the crash landing. So there's a lot of emphasis placed on weaving around bad waves, bearing away at the crest etc. It's sort of like the act you do in a Laser, for the same reasons - speed not seamanship.

    On the more stable IMS boats (Aussie IMS boats didn't go the Euro low stability route) with all the ballast in the keel and more concentrated weight distribution than the IOR or Inglis/Y88/Farr 1020 types, the fast way to Hobart is to just let the boat crash and bash. It feels bloody awful, but top designers and Hobart winning skipper/drivers assure me it's the way to go; just drive the boat fast straight off the crest, let it crash, and hope it's strong enough. The same has occurred with the stable IRC boats. The hull shapes of these are often similar to the Young and Inglis type, so the operating factors are the increased stability and weight concentration (which increases speed of motion).

    So with the older boats, the fast sailors kept speed up by easing the boat over waves, just like a Laser sailor. With the new boats, the fast route is to just let them drop off the crests and hope they can handle the landings. No wonder the new boats are breaking; it's a classic case of the law of unintended consequences. Reduced stasbility may actually increase the finishers.....

    I haven't checked this out widely, but I did ask a couple of Hobart winning drivers and a multi Hobart winning designer who sails on his boats. Anyone else want to confirm it, or am I wrong?
     
  2. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    canting keels

    Chris, thats funny coming from skiff sailors whose modus operandi is to take movable ballast further outboard than just about any other type of boat.Canting keels allow the the ballast to be moved outboard to develop higher speed with less heeling,less weight,less crew(in some cases) and a better ride than deep fixed keels and that seems eminently sensible to me.
    Of course canting keel boats develop high loads,so what? So do Open 60 trimarans or G class cats or whatever. The vast majority of canting keel boats have proven to be very fast and reliable..
    I disagree with you regarding seamanship- surviving a crisis caused by failure of the boat is the essence of semanship and those guys did a great job.
     
  3. mistral
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    mistral Senior Member

    canting keels are on the stage since about 20 years; but in spite of this, they're still used only in extreme racer; we have to point out that fin keel has become a widespread technology in less then 20 years (1950-1970); i perfeclty know that canting are a good technology to improve performance, the numbers speak clear and loud, and Righting Moment is a fact, not a personal opinion; i'd personally love to see a AC cup boat with canting keels grinder-powered, or sportboats like mumm30 with this stuff inside, but the reality is that, in 20 years, this tecnology has remained an "edge" solution, so, few boats, very few tests, and a relevant statistical number of failure, considering 20 years of experience; there are not good or bad technologies, there are just poorly tested ones, but if things keep going this way canting keels will have a very rocky and narrow path to become reliable technology.

    Mistral
     
  4. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Canting Keels

    Mistral, you're just plain wrong about canting keels being used just on race boats. The new issue of Sail magazine has an article about a 60 footer designed as a cruising boat. CBTFco has done a number of cruising versions of canting keel boats as have others. The Schock 40 is a "cruiser-racer"...
    The last five years has seen a tremendous growth in the use of canting keels most have which have been in succesfull applications whether racing or cruising.
    And the winning just keeps on keeping on....
     
  5. mistral
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    mistral Senior Member

    i'm talkin 'bout GREAT numbers, how many canters have you seen in your marina?? consider just cruisers, i'm not talking about 100 boats in whole europe and 200 boats in USA, i'm talking about 30% of total amount of sailing boats!!!! That means a successful solution!!! That may interest normal sailor!! of course most of the racing cars have carbon disk brakes, but it means nothing for me and you when we have to buy a new car.

    good night
    Mistral
     
  6. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    canting keels

    Well, maybe we need to build a bunch of the 18' canting keel racing daysailers we looked at a while back....
     
  7. K4s
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    K4s Junior Member

    In no way am I degrading these guys efforts,only thing that didnt get home safe was the boat..perhaps the crew skipper and boat needed to be working together.Im not knocking these guys,there Ive said it again ,just questioning the wisdom of shifting the spotlight to designers and builders of these boats without firsthand knowledge.This isnt a negative comment on the crews but perhaps a view of the problems experienced from a different perspective.
    Take it as critisism or think about it,your choice.
    K4s
     
  8. Karsten
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    Karsten Senior Member

    Just came back from holidays.
    I don't think canting keels are dangerous and I didn't want to start this discussion to talk them down.

    I think that we agree that these modern racers are different to "normal" yachts and different and higher loads are present under certain conditions. Higher loads are not a problem. They only require more material. It doesn't really matter what sort of material. Carbon is great because it has very high strength in the fibre direction and if used correctly will be able to deal with the loads. By the way the Airbus rudder fell off because of pilot induced loads that were not considered during the design. There was no problem with the carbon fin at all and Airbus got cleared. It's the regulations that needed update to include that pilot action.

    To make supermaxis and other extreme yachts safe I think a wide approach is required. To make a good design you have to know three things:

    1. The loads
    2. The material properties
    3. The geometry

    Seems to me that the first point is not really well understood in this case. Failures are always a good opportunity to learn. But when I hear that the mastbuilder has a look at his own broken mast then I don't think that that is an independent investigation. I think a few independent experts should look at the problem and then publish their findings so that everybody can learn from it.

    Point 2 and 3 are usually not a problem but I think much more quality control is required to make sure that the material properties and geometry are what they are supposed to be to improve relaibility. If one keel breaks and the sistership's keel is fine mayby somebody buggered it up during manufacture? I know the sort of quality control and cleanlyness in place at aircraft manufacturers and from memory shipyards are dusty, smelly places with lots of stuff lying around everywhere.
    Also aircraft get regular inspections especially after unusual events like hard landings to make sure all structure survived it. If a carbon mast suddenly breaks in 10 knots it sounds like there was some previous damage. A visual inspection is not going to find delaminations or broken fibres somewhere in the laminat. Ultrasound should find delaminations but it's obviously time consuming and expensive. An alternate would be to carry out a proof load test to 100% of the design loads. If the mast survives it, it should be fine and not break during the next sail.

    So I think the whole high end yacht design and manufacture can be easily improved but I'm not so sure that it will actually happen. The owners want to spent as little money as possible on their toys. They are not going to carry out a load test on the mast unless they are forced to. The same with the designers. They are not goint to share their knowledge because it's a competitive advantage.

    Cheers,
    Karsten
     
  9. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    "Chris, thats funny coming from skiff sailors whose modus operandi is to take movable ballast further outboard than just about any other type of boat."

    But I'm talking about offshore sailing in relative comfort and safety. Skiffs don't race offshore in the same sort of conditions that conventional dinghies (470s, Lasers etc) can handle. Ask the PROs at the Olympics.

    "Canting keels allow the the ballast to be moved outboard to develop higher speed with less heeling,less weight,less crew(in some cases) and a better ride than deep fixed keels and that seems eminently sensible to me."

    Dunno, if you want less heel, less weitght and more speed than fixed keels, going multi seems more sensible to me. I don't know about the better ride but I'm interested in that aspect; can you point me to accounts confirming it?

    "Of course canting keel boats develop high loads,so what? So do Open 60 trimarans or G class cats or whatever."

    "I disagree with you regarding seamanship- surviving a crisis caused by failure of the boat is the essence of semanship and those guys did a great job."

    I dunno, it depends whether the failure of the boat is caused by something like not easing off. After all, if the Skandia guys had eased off radically, they may still have won easily if Konica pulled out. Konica would have won easily had they eased right up, as Nicorette did.

    Wharro etc did a perfectly good job after disaster hit (hitting an EPIRB or putting out a Mayday, getting into the chopper etc....all things all S-H crews are trained to do), but avoiding disaster is the main factor in seamanship.

    If someone goes hairing downwind under big kite in 55 knots of breeze and a bad seaway, broaches and stuffs the boat big-time, that would be good seamanship under your principle. I must say, it's one I've never heard of before. Last time I did the S-H, the skipper created a boat failure by driving too hard......no-one said that was good seamanship even tho' we managed to crawl to the finish.
     
  10. D'ARTOIS
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    D'ARTOIS Senior Member

    Resposibility

    According to a spokesman of Reichel-Pugh Yachtdesign, see Logbook, Skandia was what is called " a Budget Boat " whatever that means. Unsuitable materials were used in the construction of the ram and according to the same spokesman,
    "he had heard things (about Skandia) that maked him "cringe".

    This is of course no good news to the Skandia people, because if this is true, than Mr Wharington might have lost his case already.
    A second fact to think about is the sponsor. If my information is correct the Swedish Insurance (?????????????) conglomerate "Skandia" is the boat's sponsor.

    There are no lost lifes in this accident so there is no case of accountability on Mr Wharington's side to anybody - except maybe to a disappointed sponsor.

    The question may be saying he is going to sue designer/yard is one; doing so is two.

    If Reichel-Pugh is correct that for budgettary reasons Skandia's equipment and/or the materials used in it were not according to standard, Wharington will have a very weak ground to file suite on.

    You may conclude that if the boat is fitted out again, the sponsor might still back up the boat, if not, Reichel-Pugh's expressions could be right.
     
  11. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Sh

    Chris, both crews have said publically that they were not pushing the boats too hard in their estimation.
    When a cantng keel is at max cant the bulb is closer to the boat in a vertical sense and pitching is reduced. There is an article on the z86 Pyewackett in Latitude 38 where I believe it was Disney himself who remarked on this fact.I think it was about 9 months ago. If I find it I'll post the details..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2005
  12. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Doug, the info about canters having a better motion in that way makes perfect sense, and it's a plus for canters.

    Re pushing boats; so if the boats weren't pushed too hard, and they weren't underbuilt, why did 100% of the new maxis suffer damage? It can't all be put down to "freak waves", statistically they must be encountered by some boats so they should not be called freak. Maybe the guys weren't pushing too hard by comparison with "normal" boats, but maybe these 90+ footers have to be treated as something different??? I dunno the answer, I just raise the question....but when 1/3 of a fleet is towed home capsized, one third is forced to retire, and the remainder limps home, it seems strange that no-one did anything wrong.
     
  13. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Sh

    Giving in to speculating on the cause as if all causes were related(or not) is just a waste of time. Hopefully, we'll find out more as time goes by but it's not a given that the specific failure analysis of each boat will be released. Hope it is.....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2005
  14. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    The real problem is that a well engineered and thoughtfully designed blue water racer is no problem to design or produce, its the owner(s), who want to pass the finish line first that buy the lighter-faster more highly stressed boat for that 1 hour edge in a 3 day race. So without regulation we will always have those who push the limits and then to be competitive the rest follow.

    If you want safety put your money in a foolproof rating system then we can all relax a bit and sail our strong heavy wallowing tubs to victory :)
     

  15. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    I know it's been said before, Mike, but at the moment we DO have a rating system (in fact at least two of them) that allows "strong heavy wallowing tubs" to win (or at least, get on the podium.....and when you look at the gear on many of the older boats it's clear that they are often being handicapped by comparatively poor sails).

    Look at this year's Sydney-Hobart. Out of 5 IRC divisions, 1 went to a modern IRC raceboat; 1 went to a medium displacement cruiser-racer (IMX 40) that's fully fitted out down below; 1 went to a Swan 48; 1 went to a 1973 vintage cold moulded heavy displacement masthead-rigged fully-fitted S&S 47; one went to a 10+ year old Farr racer-cruiser.

    The results are often that way. The Bermuda race before last was won overall by a Phillip Rhodes Bounty 43, a '50s or early '60s long keeler with about an inch of solid glass in the hull. The biggest UK race was won overall by a Folkboat or Folkboat derivative (Contessa 26) several times in recent years. The Australian national offshore title has gone to a Swan 48 and a 1909 Fife metreboat type in the last 4 years.

    The old boats can certainly win races. That's clear on the evidence. It just seems that complaining about the rules is easier for many old-boat crews than admitting they are not sailing well enough.

    So why do people sail lighter boats? Because they are more fun (to many racing sailors) and faster (which turns on some people).
     
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