the egotistical quest for an expensive thrill

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

  1. Sean Herron
    Joined: May 2004
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    Sean Herron Senior Member



    I lost my friend Dave to a very poorly installed camlock that tore from its deck location and Dave had a bight around his leg - part of the melee of the moment - much like that WIND movie - the whole let go, grabbed his left knee and pulled him over the cockpit crew and literally smashed his head against the goose neck...

    TELL THAT to the 'engineer' who felt all to be within his 'new calculations'...

    Two kids - a wife - and no life insurance - he was 32 - these NA's or PhD's and all the P.Eng's can take their paper and go make chuck gliders from same...

    That said - I know it comes down to the muck from the street - who may have subbed an inferior fastener against judgement that would be beyond himself...

    But my friend is gone - and he was racing for kicks and fun - sun and wind - thrill - gone...

  2. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    Phew!...Sean!...Buddy I know the pill. Damn it is hard to swallow. You go looking for the guy at fault...who is responsible... somebody must be?
    Well somebody is, but we don't solve the problem by telling your buddy Dave he can't play on boats anymore. We solve it by making sure that the dude installing the camlock understands the consequences of what he does for a living.
    I mean there are safeguards in place to make sure that the guy in China doesn't wire your toaster wrong...aren't there?

    Maybe there is something to Licensure...imagine this from a guy who is sworn to fight it.
  3. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Re Paul's comment "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."

    1) Several small boats kept on sailing to windward happily so not all boats had trouble on upwind. A considerable % of the boats that sought shelter in Eden and retired or later resumed were cruising-style boats or Swans.

    2) I've discussed this with people from the Extreme Weather section of the BoM and with people who have done the Westcoaster and the Hobart and I'm sorry but there seems to be strong evidence to me that the SH is harder; that's what I'm always told.

    I find it a bit harsh that half of the people here are comdemning the racers for being out there, yet many condemn them for sheltering!

    Re "There was one rescue I am told shortly after they cleared the heads."

    Moshio broke a window, put out a Mayday which was downgraded to a Pan. Boat is an Elliott 15.5, I don't know it.

    Among the retirements were all three of the heavy displacement masthead riggers (Yoko, 50' long, 18 tonnes displacement and built in steel to a '70 design; an S&S 34; a Knoop 30). Not necessarily evidence that it's all the fault of modern lightweights is it?

    Mike, re "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. "

    Mebbe, but Claughton referred to the waves in his tank as creating "perfectly repeatable breaking waves up to 0.5m high, at the touch of a computer keyboard". That doesn't sound too bad to me.

    It would be interesting to check up the later studies of which you spoke.

    Re "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.

    Re "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."

    Perhaps. What other designs do you favour, H-Rs aside?

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

    YES!!!! I totally agree.

    Re "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."

    I agree, I don't think Open 60s or Minis are great boats. I think the Benny Oceaanis 390 types are bad. I don't like the Skandia/Konica type of highly -stressed 98 footers. I've sailed on the previous generation of 80s and they scared me enough.

    I do think fin keels should be more solidly engineered, and I believe a rule which limited the % of ballast in bulbs and reduced beam would create better boats. Something like the Davidson 55 Starlight Express is close to my ideal, but with positive buoyancy; watertight bulkheads p'raps; and other minor changes.

    But saying Minis are bad therefore less radical fin keelers are bad (as Deepkeeler said) is as incorrect as sayin that the "plank on edge" cutters of the 1800s are bad, tehrefore Halberg-rassy long keel displacement boats are bad.

    BTW, Deepkeeler, people in NSW at least do NOT have to wear PFDs in powerboats. They do in Tassie, perhaps other states.

  4. Just so you know I spread my feelings around. I read where a great old auto name is coming back, better than ever. A $750,000 car, street legal, 1,000 hp, should do at least 280 mph while talking on a cell phone. I really respect that company for advancing the leading edge of dangerous, JERKS. BLESS THEM!!
  5. lakerunner
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    lakerunner Junior Member

    Muck and Mires are crossroads to are quest for perfection. Even though we fully understand we can not achieve it, We still search. Step by step to better ourselves
    But find that our biggest mistakes are small methodical details that are overlooked.
    An ''O'' ring , a frozen piece of foam, a poorly installed camlock, A trip to mars failed simply because of a "Imperial / Metric equation" inversion. Or water spray slowly separating the matrix due to poor lay- up bonding . eventually causing catastrophic consequences .The list goes on and on.
    Our technologies are physical and can be depended upon. How we apply it cannot.
    Human error will keep us from perfection ...nothing else.
  6. B. Hamm
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    B. Hamm Junior Member

    But is the selling of retired RACING HULLS and capabilities to a person with little or no racing experience a morale right of either party?

    So....if I decide to take up offshore racing (not likely unless I win the lottery) that I have to destroy the boat after I'm done with it? That's fairly silly.

    The seller can't hardly be held responsible for every buyer of his boat forever and whatever use they decide to put it to. Do that and most sailors would be ex-sailors.

    Bill H.
  7. lakerunner
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    lakerunner Junior Member

    We would be walking into dangerous territory if that were to ever happen.
    We are the only ones responsible for are actions, Instead of looking backwords for someone else to blame .You are right B.Hamm
  8. lakerunner
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    lakerunner Junior Member

    Really interesting thread . In Sean's post, He opens up other ??'s . What can we do to
    keep this from Happening. Which brings us back to the original post ...
    The problems are huge The solutions become paradoxial.
  9. B. Hamm
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    B. Hamm Junior Member

    Often with a well found sailing boat, if you're caught out in really bad conditions you are far better staying out. The water usually isn't the enemy, the land is. Remember fixed keel sailing boats beach too far out to self rescue in a storm and many ports are dangerous in bad condtions.

    Bill H.
  10. Ohh!! I only love to be a passenger on a small sailboat. Under 24'. I love the sound of the bow cutting and the lean in a tight turn. The constant attention it needs to run at maximum. NO earplugs at any speed. NO fumes when traveling in a group. I am having a horrible time finding anyone that can tell and help me design a constant deep V with a cleaver bow, a shaft & prop to lean in a turn as safely and enjoyably as a sail boat. I would even use cash or money. YOGI BEAR, Quote. Rich.
  11. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    My two cents

    Hi Deepkeeler and others

    This has been a very interesting thread. I've seen many valid arguements from both sides, and I have tried to learn from everybody. I, myself, have never ventured out of sight of land. I have, however, read about many who have. As events of the last few weeks have demonstrated, the power of the sea to destroy is almost infinite. What I think has been missing here is some sence of ballance.

    I think it is possible to put some limits on the "egotistical maniacs"
    (I prefer to call them 'extreme sportsmen') without totally ruining their day.

    I would suggest, in the case of open 60's and thier like (including the notorious minis) that they be required to carry full foam floatation that is properly distributed for level flotation. If carefully designed, it would not only keep the boat afloat but also facilitate self righting, especially in beamier designs.

    I would also require that the keels be strong enough to withstand four gravities of lateral loading and six gravities of vertical loading. Keels that break off, even in the extreme conditons of the Southern Ocean (which they are supposably designed to sail in), should be seen as totally unacceptable.

    Rudders should be equally strong.

    Survival suits should also be manditory.

    My feeling is that if the stricken boat can stay afloat long enough, its crew could be rescued by a fellow competitor.

    Also, I believe a beamy boat that has capsized can rescue itself by allowing some floading (made less risky due to the foam floatation) and thereby reducing its effective beam. The poor, beleagered, skipper would then, with waves pounding his vessel from all sides, have to pump the water out. Hardly my idea of fun, but this is for them, not me. Hopfully, this design strategy would be used for boats not much larger than the mini's. Of course, this strategy assumes that both the rudder and keel (with its ballast bulb) stay intact.
    I believe that that an 'open style' boat without full foam flotation and adequate hull and appendage strength is like a NASCAR racer without a roll cage and safety gas tank.

    I would also require that boats longer than say thirty feet and capable of sustaned plaining speeds be double handed. This is due first to the much higher performance levels these craft are capable of and second, to the fact that there are more people out there than ever before.

    Having the race comittees required to post a search and rescue bond of a substancial though not punitive amount would, I believe, help cool the ardor for ever more extreme and perhaps dubious designs.

    It has been said in this thread that the faster, more modern designs (like the open 60's) are inherently less seaworthy. From what I have seen this is clearly not the case. I followed an 'around alone' race a few years back on line. I 'watched' dumfounded (I read Marchaj's book too and am also partial to the long keel type) as the open 50's and 60's sailed right through the same waters at the same time as the Hobart fleet that was taking such a beating at the time. These 'open' boats didn't even slow down. They took some damage but, as I recall, not a one of them, at that place and time, had to either quit or be rescued. If thats not seaworthy, I'm afraid I don't know what is.

    So what makes a 'seaworthy' (always a relative term) boat. I have a few suggestions:

    1.) That it be strong enough and be able to take the pounding its likely to get in average storm conditions in the waters its expected to sail in. Many 'blue water' cruisers make it a point to stay out of the great Southern ocean. I think I would be one of them (bwuk,bwuk, bwuuuk :D ). Race committees should be given 'incentives' (search and rescue bond) to enforce almost absurdly strong scantling load rules.

    2.) That the hull and appendage design be apropriat for the storm survival tactics that that vessel is likely to have too use. For instance, light, deep, short keeled vessels should all have long quarter buttucks and/or long flattish runs aft and rudders that are simular to the keel in depth. This way they can run from large breaking seas without having real tempermental steering characteristics. Just about every succesful 'blue water boat' I know of, from Spray and Joshua to the 'open' boats, has had this design characteristic.
    Boats that are going to have to 'hull' or 'heave to' because they aren't likely to have sea room to give them the luxury of running should have longer, shallower (relatively), keels. Such boats may be able, if thier beam/length ratio is kept down, to have shorter quarter butts and more curved runs aft.

    3.) That the skippers and crew be intimitly familiar with the vessel they are on in both type and actual example. They should know well in advance how their vessel is likely to behave in a given circumstance. I would further recommend that people who are familiar with one vessel type stick to that type (something a lot of 'blue water' skippers do). Or be prepared for some massive re-learning. A survival technique that will work well for one vessel type could well be disasterous for another.

    Of course there is no practical defense against disasterously bad luck. That's why we need folks like Deep Keeler.

    Well. Thats my two cents worth ;).

  12. I Agree. There is no reason in the world why the USCG requires full foam flotation in all boats under 20' long. But NONE in a boat over 20' long.That is premedatated, knowingly endangering people. Insurance companies should stop insuring dangerous boats. It makes no difference what type of boat it is. A floating disabled boat, is always your best place at sea.
  13. SeaDrive
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    Location: Connecticut

    SeaDrive Senior Member

    This is probably an area where a law-created necessity could be the mother of boatbuilding invention. The first result would be higher-costs - it always is - but costs would come down at least some in the long run. There would be various variants on foam core and foam-lined construction to try.

    On the other hand, you would save more lives with a sensor to prevent starting a powerboat when the driver has been drinking. One reason that flotation is not required in larger sailboats is that there are not many fatalities due to them sinking.
  14. If a person who is a USCG member or a USCG AUX. would please tell us how many over 20' boats sink and how many people died as a result of being on board one that sank, it would open a few eyes a lot wider. Off and inshore waters claim a lot of lives in the states of NY & NJ. I watched Canadaian, USCG, USCG AUX, NY SP, 3 local police and dive teams waste and risk their lives because a 120 mph cigarette jerk ran over a shoal in front of a public beach on the ST. Lawrence River, flipped in the air, stuffed the boat to the 90' bottom with him jammed in it. They dove and risked their lives for a dead piece of meat. I am sure the the divers family have a very hard time living thru useless dives like that. Foam flotation would have prevented them from risking a clot or stroke for a dead body. Dead is dead. Do not cripple or kill those who try to save lives. Search the surface as long as needed. Closure for the original dead relatives is one thing. At the expense of another family, the divers, is horribly wrong.

  15. gggGuest

    gggGuest Guest

    Check out the fatality rate in round the world racing when it was done in more traditional style heavy displacement boats to the fatality rate in the Volvo 60 era. Which hypothesis does it support - that the traditional type is safer or the modern type?
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