the egotistical quest for an expensive thrill

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by deepkeeler, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. I had to laugh at a previous piece by lakerunner. " dad buys a 32'- We know he is not going airborne. Can't say that. I have a 19' 220 hp bow rider. Making some passes on GPS, ZIIIP I am air borne for 2 sec. A cruiser passed 1/4 mile away and a couple of minutes later it's deep wake surfaced in the shollow bay I was playing in. My chops combined with it to my left, suddenly, 67 year old kid is showing off. Good body and reflexes saved my butt. Chaparral earned it's keep. My mouth came within 6" of the windshield. Good deep V saved me. Other less penetrating hulls - too bad.--Rogue Wave? No such thing. My looking too much at the GPS caused a ROGUE WAVE, nothing else.
  2. lakerunner
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    lakerunner Junior Member

    You understand the generalization I was stating . I also no what you mean accidents happen. Similar time 4;30am water like a sheet of glass head to my spot in my bass boat clocking about 45mph and hit a rock under water. lake levels rise and fall periodically on a western reservior i fished . I've been up and down that part of the lake 1000 times , and it never was there before ....... :rolleyes: but none the less could have been killed . Kill switch hooked to my PFD saved me and the console shield . Let me tell you that is one hell of a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. No major damage .
    change the prop and fix a few cuts and scrapes not to mention the bruised male ego.
    But was a very humbling experience. I'm alive due to a $0.30 piece of string .And a PFD. I think safe on the water at all times, But sometime $#!+ happens.
  3. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Regarding the Sydney to Hobart

    The withdrawls are only half the story, I am told that many boats that stayed in the race simply sought coastal shelter for the gale then carried on when it was over. Convenient to have a coast nearby. So it is no objective test to look at the boats that manage to finish this one and then proclaim them seaworthy since they simply sat it out in shelter. Thankfully it was not a Sydney to Wellington race, I am not as confident that very many would have made it.

    A note on hullform to those claiming that the contemporary racing form is a good cruising design:

    Beamy flat boats roll away from the crest, a breaking crest then delivers the energy to accelerate her sideways down the wave with great rapidity. especially boats with poor ratios of immersed to non-immersed lateral area, The vessel then either rolls or gets a severe high sideways velocity knockdown, skippers will often claim they fell off a wave when they actually slid sideways down the face. Much damage occurs to unsupported rudders, windward chain plates, windward mast tangs fittings and even mast buckling from the dynamic compressive loads.
    If the helmsman manages to run her down the face, already heeling away trimming down by the bow and venting her rudder she will be inclined to broach-to, again with a likely high energy inversion from the following crest.
    A narrow deep hull can experience a moment effective to make her try to lean towards the wave crest due to the orbital effects of the water within the wave, her rudder remains immersed and her large lateral area reduces considerably the magnitude of the sideways translation.

    There will be conditions that exceed any small vessels inate seekeping ability but some designs are overwhelmed much more easily. You can see from the above that one form can lie-ahull and one has to be helmed and sailed very carefully for her survival.

    It follows that if you go for the hullform that needs to be sailed for survival then that suits the racing man. You get a faster boat and you have to carry on sailing you have no option. You can slow down but you will be safer with steerage and control, at the same time in heavy weather you become vulnerable to knockdown or worse if the helmsman messes up or you are just unfortunate with a detrimental unavoidable situation relative to a large wave.

    Vessel Stability is influenced majorly by roll inertia, damping, ultimate virtual stability and the energy required to rotate the hull (dynamic stability). Weight in the rig gives the greatest contribution to dynamic stability, damping requires wetted surface area, ultimate virtual stability needs a reasonable ballast ratio and a decent hullform.
    When talking of stability we should also consider the energy to right the vessel if it is inverted, it is not good enough for a vessel to remain inverted for 3 minutes while still in stormy sea. This can be the main problem with the beamier contemporary designs.

    There has been some talk of tank testing:

    The effects of waves can be studied very well in wave tank testing
    by powering the models under remote control. We can then directly observe the effects of generated waves on various hull models at various courses relative to the wave front. By varying the vessels Roll inertia, displacement and dynamic stability reserve, we can clearly show the desirable characteristcs with regard to safety. This is what Marchaj was commisioned to do after the Fastnet disaster, his findings would have been no different for the fatal Sydney to Hobart, as has been said Winston Churchill was not a good comparison considering that she foundered from her construction not her design, but a poor unseaworthy design like 'BP Niad' was certainly predicted to founder.

    The open 60's have their share of inversions and are not self righting. Their directional stability is poor they trim terribly with heel, experience slamming to windward and are a poor form to copy for a smaller boat.

    Of the "build em heavy brigade"
    I am definately a member of the medium-heavy to heavy club for cruising yacht design, heavy, strong, safe and comfortable Heavy does not need to be slow or a lumbering tub. Heavy tends to be slow in light air, but I dont think its worth sacrificing comfort and safety for the light air performance.

    I have been receiving accident reports from various agencies for some time. I also see my fair share of ripped out chain plates over stressed rigs, cracked keels and torn out engine mounts. Increasingly this damage is coming from the contemporary light beamy performance cruisers caught in bad weather. Some of the light beamy production boats like the Benetau 390 are just death traps in heavy weather as the disaster 'Ocean Madam' highlighted in europe a couple of years ago. They should not be used offshore.

    I think racing is becoming increasingly dangerous due to human nature as well as boat design, I also think some production boats are becoming more unsafe, built cheaply with minimum scantlings, with the marketing targetted at the largely marina bound gin palace market. Other production boats like the Halberg-Rassey produce a more sensible cruising boat.

    As for regulation, my worry is that we may well see the sort of regulation and escalating fee base that the light private aviation sector was subjected to a few decades ago.

    As for COLREGS and radar, that seems to be a sensible move to make mandatory for fast single handers but the energy budget is high and I suspect they would be turned on only for shipping lanes. These vessels would be just as spectacular and much more robust with 4 aboard, and with a bit of safer hull design, killing the 10 degree rule and we could have a much safer still spectacular sport.

    Limit the Minis to round the bouys or employ a couple of fleet minder vessels.
  4. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    Interesting how when some boats manage to dodge bad weather it is good seamanship and in others it proves poor design?

    If The IMOCA and Mini hull forms are so inherently squirrely, even considering how hard they are driven with the huge rigs they have, then how does one explain the relatively low power usage of their auto pilots? I mean those things are on 24/7.
    Have you ever tried lying ahull on a less than 100' boat in force 8 or better? Have you ever tried to "heave to" in those conditions? How about the old oil bag trick, ever give that one a whirl?

    I wonder where Regulation would stop if you got it started? Sorry, you can't go out sailing you are: (pick one) too old-too fat-not experienced-haven't spent enough on your boat- haven't spent enough in my country- haven't spent enough in my marina.
    Sorry...I am being a smart-***...I haven't had my coffee yet.
  5. Any body who stays out in a blow of 45 mph or more without making a beeline for the docks deserves to go down. If you can afford the boat and instruments, NO NO NO one should have to risk THEIR life for the show off jerk with a death wish. You wanted those conditions and you got them. Weather equipment elimanates all doubts, unless you are a spoiled brat. You give MOTHER NATURE the finger and she WILL shove it up your nose.--------------USCG or rescue should not be allowed to risk their lives in those cases.
  6. Paul Merry

    Paul Merry Guest

    How on earth do you end up deducing that the sensible people here are insulting all ocean racers?..........come on your posts get a little vehement and emotional dont they!
    You need to step back from the manic edge of posting :)

    I was saying that given the same sea state and wind conditions on the west coast and there would have been nowhere to run for shelter on the exposed west coast, and the smaller racing boats that simply anchored out the gale would have been forced to win sea room or been driven ashore. There are huge advantages to running races down the sheltered coast.

    The "Fleet" consists of 4 boats last count. There was one rescue I am told shortly after they cleared the heads.

    Sorry to hear about your father, was he on a fishing boat?

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

    Paul, re "How on earth do you end up deducing that the sensible people here are insulting all ocean racers?"

    Maybe I am over the top, but I think Deepkeeler's original post, with is call for boats with "deep ballast, long keels, attached rudders, Vee shaped sections, non planing hull shapes and a fair amount of weight aloft" and his call for us to "Embrace the comfort and safety of heavy displacement strong cruising designs" is a condemnation of the vast majority of ocean racers, who do not sail such craft.

    RE "your posts get a little vehement and emotional dont they!"

    Maybe, but look at the "other side" from me; Deepkeeler calling people Manic, Richard Petersen talking of "show off jerk with a death wish" and (in his post of 12-26-2004, 09:49 AM) talking of people who SUCK, who cheat and would murder to win a race.

    Surely saying someone is manic, deserves to die (RP's last post), sucks or will kill to win a race is more vehement and over-the-top than my replies.

    My dad was inshore racing when a wire failed and he went in the water. The boat (small cat) was too unwieldly to get back to him in time.

    Hey "Any body who stays out in a blow of 45 mph or more without making a beeline for the docks deserves to go down"

    Ever tried finding a dock in Bass Strait? There isn't one.

    Many of our "docks" are behind river bars and any seaman knows how dangerous they are in bad conditions.

    Forecasting is not always exact; the '98 S-Hobart inquest discussed this at length. I was there in the inquest; the models do not always work. Down here, we do not have lotf of land to windward all the time for observations. Ask the NSW Bureau of Meteorology Extreme Weather guys about it, like the Coroner and I did. It just isn't that easy.

    Mike, re "The withdrawls are only half the story, I am told that many boats that stayed in the race simply sought coastal shelter for the gale then carried on when it was over. Convenient to have a coast nearby. So it is no objective test to look at the boats that manage to finish this one and then proclaim them seaworthy since they simply sat it out in shelter."

    After checking the race site, I see that the boats that sought shelter and then resumed racing were;

    Natsumi - heavy cruising division ketch.
    BOOTS - Davidson Cavalier 37 masthead rig non IOR cruiser/racer. Sister to "First Lady" of non-stop Round the World fame.
    Rollercoaster - Sydney 32, IRC OD racer/cruiser.
    Magic - S&S 39. Heavy displacement 1970 design masthead rig.
    Gilliwa - Cav 32. Heavy displacement late '60s/early '70s design masthead rig.
    Tilting at Windmills -. '70s style heavy displacement masthead rig by Joubert, prof of Naval architecture.
    Addiction - Light non-IRC Inglis 37.
    Why do I Do It - IMS 37 by (NA) Lyons.
    Acrtive Factor- British Steel Challenge 67, masthead rig, owned by Antarctic explorer.

    So only 3 of the boats that stopped in Eden then resumed racing were lightweight fractionals, 4 were heavy masthead riggers, 1 a lighter design with a proven record, 1 a cruisin ketch, 1 a British Steel challenge 67 of the type that Deepkeeler says we should all sail.....

    So the % of small racers that stopped, then resumed, was actually smaller than the % of heavy boats and cruisers that stopped, then resumed. How can this indicate that the small racers only got there because they stopped? We could just as well say that about the Challenge 67 (one started, 1 stopped) or the cruising ketches (1 started, 1 stopped).

    Re "So it is no objective test to look at the boats that manage to finish this one and then proclaim them seaworthy since they simply sat it out in shelter."

    You are dead right IMHO. We can only judge seaworthiness of boats that were in the same conditions as each other. So, given that, how can we tell how a heavy Deepkeeler-style boat would have handled the conditions?

    Oh wait, we can...there was one there, and it ran for shelter.....

    Every bad race, people say "a cruising boat would have been OK"...but as you point out, we can't use the seaworthiness of boats that weren't there as a point of comparison; whether they are racers sheltering in Eden or cruisers in the Galapagos, if they are not there (as you say) we cannot use them for comparison because they are not in the same weather.

    Re "The effects of waves can be studied very well in wave tank testing
    by powering the models under remote control."

    Only to some extent, otherwise why did Andy Claughton BSc, C Eng, MRINA write that R/C testing in the wave tank at the Wolfson Unit of Southhampton Uni was "too variable to allow us to extract quantifiable data"??? (Seahorse May June '84 p 27)?

    "A poor unseaworthy design like 'BP Niad' was certainly predicted to founder."

    BP Naiad did not founder in poiont of fact, one sister retired from that race OK, 1 finished. Up to 11 Farr 40 1 tons have done the S-H in a single year for 20 years, one has had a tragedy. Another Farr 1 ton (Paladin, a design #136 which is almost identical) has completed the single-handed round the world race and IIRC the Melbourne-Osaka.

    I totally agree that Open 60s are not great boats, I totally agree that Ben 390s etc are not good boats, I would prefer boats like Naiad to be slimmer and stronger, but that doesn't mean IMO that we should all be sailing heavy long keelers and that those who don't are wrong, glory-seekers or idiots.
  8. I can't comment on any one elses waters. I can tell you what I tell every one I take out their first time with me. If we get caught in a squall or a " microburst " winds over 80 mph in 5 minutes, I will head for the nearest land (I do about 50 mph) and beach the boat on the nearest flat beach. Wind to our back or side. -------------I know that no racer would say that and do it. To heck with the race, boat, ego. Stay healthy for the next race. Is that to much to do?
  9. SailDesign
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    Personally, since land is what is dangerous to boats, I would rather head _away_ from shore until the blow was over. Interesting that the Navy (most Navies, actually) send their ships to sea in a storm, since they are safer there than at the dockside.

  10. Cotttee

    Cotttee Guest

    The NSW coast is full of ports and sheltered bays all the way to Gabo, The whole fleet could have sheltered at Eden and happily avoided the Gale.

    If your vessel can sail/motor to windward in a blow there are several Bass straight bolt holes, you have excellent shelter in the Kent group for example. If you had a poor forecast then it is prudent to plan your course to put such shelter within reach.

    The prescense of the land to the West removes the prevalent and large Southern Ocean swell.

    With an offshore wind in a Gale proximity to the coast gives good shelter and a vessel can choose to simply hold position in the lee of a sheltering landmass without needing to find a bay to anchor in.

    I agree partially with him even though it appears excessive

    Single handers are prepared to take the risk that they will collide with and be culpable of manslaughter. That sucks.

    Racers will push their boats to destruction and rely on rescue services in the quest for a place up the list, i reckon thats Manic.

    Single handers sailing poor hullforms who take the risk for egotism shouldn't be mourned for their sake, only for those reamining that suffer the loss.

    Is that so over the top? What they said was correct just sounds a bit hard.
  11. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    No but family cruising boats should have safer characteristics than many in the current crop available.

    I'd be interested to see that article, I cannot find reference to any paper.

    You will find however that wave tanks have moved on in the 20 years since that was written, we can now computer control the tanks to produce waves with a definition they couldn't have dreamt of. Wave and tow tank tank testing is acceptable for the testing of hullform characteristics for commercial and military vessels.

    With similar hullform characteristic tests to Marchaj's having been conducted in Japan & Germany more recently, the conclusions havn't changed.
    This research also carrries over into other vessel design such as commercial fishing vessels, we dont see fad trends occuring there because seaworthiness is legislated for in that sector and the research on safe hullform initially done by Southampton has been supported.

    I say again there is no body of research supporting the view that Marchaj is wrong. Finding the odd dent in the armor doesn't do this.

    I also think you confuse Contemporary yachts designed specifically for safety sea-worthiness and performance with older racing boats, older cruising designs of all types and ancient wet lumbering tubs.

    We can also improve racing boats considerably for seaworthiness without detracting that much from performance.

    Actually it would be good if you could categorically state what your opinion is since you seem to agree on much of what I and other detractors of the modern racing hullform have written.

    In you list of boats you should also add the pull-outs to the stopovers.
    I agree we need vessels off all types to be present for something like the Hobart to directly show up comparisons re seaworthiness, for those who don't like the implications of wave tank testing. IOR cruiser racers wer not built for seaworthiness but rather performance under the IOR rule.

    We can and do design good seaworthy boats that don't look and handle like Briston Channel Pilot cutters.
  12. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    No I will tell you what maniacal is. Take a small boat with a family of six ill prepared and inexperienced out onto San Franscisco bay, overturn it and the mother can hold onto the children until they die of Hypothermia one at a time. Happened.
    Family pulls to gas dock, dad puts fuel down the fishing rod holder and into the bilge until some thing ignites it, all lost. Happened.
    Father gives rambunctious boy 150 HP outboard and Whaler to play with who takes off at speed blinded by the rising bow runs over my buddy who is just sitting in a skiff ready to go for a relaxing day of fishing. Dead.
    That stuff happens many times a day all summer long and nobody is even a little outraged about the way we give an outboard to children to play with...tantamount to giving a kid a chainsaw to play with.

    We allow the innocent to wander out onto the water by the droves and kill each other without knowing the risks. And the worry is a few guys who knew the risks and relatively speaking cause very little trouble for time they spend on the water, or the money they pump into the boating world, or the technoligical advancements they pay for.

    These guys are not banging a room full whores, carrying diamond studded Glocks and using the F-wrd with every breath. These are the guys I want my kid to look up to.

    Ease up on em'
  13. IN New Jersey you are a licensed power boat operator if you paid the state $6.00 - 10 years ago. now a course is required. I am so old, they just take the money. I ( ALL ) should be made to take the course. Are old boaters any safer than COURSE TAUGHT ? NEVER! In Germany, almost all radio controlled hobbies are ability structured. You start at the simplest level. Peers reveiw you before you can move up to the next level of competion. That would be un-American. Money would not rule! I caught some of the sailng championships. It looked like 2 boat captians constantly signaling each other with red flags. Racing my foot! Banging each boat and crying FOUL FOUL. I will say it again. They act like 2 spoiled brats playing with their toys!
  14. deepkeeler
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    deepkeeler Junior Member

    Thats not the same at all. This sort of problem lead us to be able to get politicians to finally legislate in NZ for licensing along with the requirements for appropriate SOLAS equipment for small boats, and the ability to police it. The deaths then dropped with rapidity.

    Australia has left licensing and safety requirements to its states, but stricter licensing and safety requirements have seen the deaths drop significantly there too. For example it is mandatory to actually wear life-jackets in small power boats. Boats are registered Fines are issued to those not complying and the police patrol vigorously in the more popular areas, even having random officers stationed at boat ramps checking vessels, safety gear and licenses before they leave.

    The people involved in small power boat loss weren't generally manic at all, just ignorant on the boats capabilities, what it takes to attract attention and what it takes to die of hypothermia. If you had sat those people down and explained the risk the danger and the unsuitability of the vessel and they had still gone out and died then that's a different story.

    The cost of rescuing one stable inversion or keel failure deep in the Southern Ocean has been around 5 Million dollars per rescue, under the SOLAS international agreements it has to be done and for free. If the rescued had instead just been left to perish you would have had such a high % of deaths to participants that the races (or the boats) would have been banned. The rescues make good press for magazines who often called the rescued couragous and heroic but don't even mention the name or interview the Orion crew that flew down 3 times and grid searched till they were found. The SAR crews have a different view.

    I have 2 sons in their late teens and they don't look up to "these guys" I have enough trouble getting them to reduce risk taking behaviour as it is.

    Thanks everyone for your posts. I have never contributed to this forum before but I obviously touched a very raw nerve here, and it is good to see the general support for a bit more sense in some racing events.

    I hope you all have a great year


  15. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    You make some pretty solid points that are hard to argue.

    Good on your Government for taking some sensible steps to stop those sorts of "ignorance" deaths.

    Those poor souls who die as a result of lack of knowledge are not the maniacal ones, I was refering to us for allowing it to happen. Refering to the whole culture that includes magazines, salesman, and insurance companies that lead people to believe that it is safe to just jump in a boat and go out without any training. Hey I used to be one of those guys...I survived by dumb luck.

    I guess it is just individual choice that makes me willing to suffer the costs of rescuing those intrepid ones that are out there on the edge. As long as they don't push it too far. ( And how far is that?)

    I used to hang out of helicopters to rescue beleaguered mountaineers and felt that it was just what society had to do to advance itself.
    Maybe that is wrongheaded...but does that make going into space a bad thing?
    I think not...I think it is what we are compelled to do.
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