The perils of edgy design offshore

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by CutOnce, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Paul J. Nolan
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    Paul J. Nolan Junior Member

    Sex appeal is "terribly complex" but every man here can recognize its presence or absence in any woman at a glance. You don't need to be a biologist. And you don't need to be a naval architect to have a valid opinion about seaworthiness. I recall Skip Novak addressing a question about the future of round-the-world ocean racing nearly a quarter century ago and marvelling about the willingness of many to attempt the Southern Ocean in what he regarded as utterly unsuitable craft. He soon thereafter left the sport for other endeavors. Not a naval architect, but certainly an opinion worthy of respect. And naval architects can err too. Paul Whiting was lost at sea in a craft of his design and Ron Holland endured the humiliation of being airlifted off a boat of his design in the '79 Fastnet race.

    Perhaps their boats were too "edgy."

  2. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    I whole heartily agree.

    But it was becoming clear that those pushing for the “edgy” designs were incapable of being rational with their thoughts and consistently twist and turned away from explaining their rationale in a technical and logical sense and outlining the quid pro quo’s, rather than emotive ones as posted. Saying it is so, doesn’t make it so.

    So, rather than providing more “words”, a few simple salient facts to consider for those advocating “edgy” designs whilst they ignore the elephant in the room, hoping no one else will see it too!

    Amen to that… :p
  3. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Perils of Edgy Weather in Any Boat

    From SA:

    US Sailing Appoints Independent Review Panel

    Sailing is a remarkably safe sport in large part because of the caring of its close-knit community. When a sailor dies, all sailors mourn and do what they can to see that such an accident does not happen again.

    After two sailors' lives were lost during the recent Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, Commodore Joseph Haas of the Chicago Yacht Club, the race's organizer, asked US SAILING to conduct an independent study of what happened. On July 28 Gary Jobson, the President of US SAILING, appointed the Independent Review Panel for the 2011 Mackinac Race, and directed it to consider what lessons might be learned and also to make recommendations.

    The members of the Independent Review Panel are (Chairman) Chuck Hawley, Santa Cruz, Cal.; Sheila McCurdy, Middletown, R.I.; Ralph Naranjo, Annapolis, Md.; and John Rousmaniere, New York, N.Y. Each is an experienced offshore sailor, a longtime member of US SAILING's Safety-at-Sea Committee, and a moderator of US SAILING-certified Safety at Sea Seminars. The Chicago Yacht Club appointed one if its members, Leif Sigmond Jr., to serve as the club's liaison to the panel.

    The Independent Review Panel will present its report to the Chicago Yacht Club and US SAILING's in mid to late October.

    Chuck Hawley, Santa Cruz, Cal.

    Chuck has sailed approximately 40,000 miles on vessels ranging from ultralight 'sleds' to single-handed sailboats to the maxi-catamaran PlayStation. His voyages include two singlehanded passages to Hawaii, three crewed trans-Pacific races, and a world record attempt on the West to East transatlantic record. Chuck has moderated many US SAILING Safety at Sea Seminars, and is also a powerboat instructor for US SAILING. He serves on US SAILING's Safety-at-Sea Committee. He has done extensive research into crew overboard recovery, life raft design, anchor design, and storm tactics. Vice President of Product Information at West Marine, Chuck is a member of the American Boat and Yacht Council Technical Board, a former board member of the Transpacific Yacht Club, and a former Commodore of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club. He lives in Santa Cruz with his wife Susan and five daughters, and owns a Megabyte 14 sailboat and a 21' Zodiac RIB.

    Sheila McCurdy, Middletown, R.I.

    Sheila McCurdy has sailed 90,000 miles offshore, including 15 Newport Bermuda Races, two Marion Bermuda Races, and many other races on either side of the Atlantic. As skipper and navigator in the 1994 and 2008 Newport Bermuda Races, she and her crew finished second overall in divisions of over 120 boats in her family boat, Selkie, a 38-foot cutter designed by her late father, Jim McCurdy. Sheila runs US SAILING's National Faculty for Training and is a Moderator for Safety at Sea Seminars. She holds a USCG 100-ton Master's license and a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the University of Rhode Island. She serves as Commodore of the Cruising Club of America for 2010-11. She has been an advisor to the US Naval Academy sailing program as a member of the Fales Committee for 15 years. She serves on US SAILING's Safety-at-Sea Committee and the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee.

    Ralph Naranjo, Annapolis, Md.

    Ralph Naranjo's sailing experience includes a family voyage around the world aboard his sloop Wind Shadow. For 15 years he served as a judge for Cruising World magazine's 'Boat of the Year' Contest. He has managed a full service boatyard and consulted on boat projects. For 10 years he served as the Vanderstar Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy, overseeing the sail training program and acting as the Academy's lead agent on the development of the new Navy 44-foot sail training sloops. He moderates US SAILING safety at sea seminars, is a past Chairman of the Safety at Sea Committee, and has written extensively about a wide range of marine topics. He is Technical Editor of Practical Sailor and Electronics Editor for Sail.

    John Rousmaniere, New York, N.Y.

    John's 40,000-plus miles of offshore sailing includes a Chicago-Mac, a Bayview-Mac, Newport Bermuda Races (twice in the second-place boat), and Fastnets. In small boats he was on a Soling pre-Olympic team and helped win a Thistle National Championship. He has moderated or spoken at more than 100 or seamanship safety seminars, and he wrote the final report of the most recent crew overboard rescue trials. His books on sailing include two on storms – Fastnet, Force 10 and After the Storm— plus the history of the Bermuda Race and The Annapolis Book of Seamanship. John is a member of the New York Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, and U.S. SAILING's Safety at Sea Committee, where he coordinates the Hanson Rescue Medal program.

    Leif R. Sigmond, Jr., Riverwoods, IL

    Leif Sigmond is an avid sailor with offshore and inshore racing experience in both fresh water and salt water. For the past twenty years Leif has been sailing in the Chicago-area on Lake Michigan. Currently he spends much of his time skippering two boats, both named 'Norboy': a Farr 40, which he has taken in the last two Chicago to Mackinac races; and a Tartan Ten. In 2009, he sailed the Tartan Ten to a third place overall finish (second in section) in the Chicago to Mackinac race. Leif has also participated in the Marion to Bermuda race, the Around Long Island race, and other distance races in both fresh and salt water. His racing has taken him to various parts of the world. Leif grew up on the Shrewsbury River in New Jersey. In his earlier years, he raced both offshore and in dinghies and extensively cruised with his parents from the Chesapeake to Massachusetts and the Florida coasts. As a college student, Leif spent three summers teaching all levels of junior sailing at yacht clubs in New Jersey. Leif is a member of the Chicago Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club and the Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club. At the Chicago Yacht Club, Leif serves on the Board of Directors and he also chairs both the Special Regatta Committee and the Junior Activities Committee. The Junior Activities Committee oversees the sailing school and junior racing. He is the current vice-president of the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation established to provide educational opportunities and broaden the horizons for youth through nautical training and boating activities. Leif also serves on the board of the National Tartan Ten Class Association and is the former president of that organization. He lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Laura and his son and daughter who both participate in the Chicago Yacht Club junior program.

    Noted sailboat designer Bob Perry wondered why there were no sailboat designers on the panel:

    "Impressive panel.
    Wonder why there is no one on it who has actually designed a boat? Might have rounded out the panel nicely."
  4. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    I fully agree with Mr. Perry's perplexity. A curious and controversial choice indeed. Could it somehow indicate how much more consideration US SAILING is giving to the skill of boat handling and racing, as opposed to the art (and science) of boat design? Just thinking out loud, but that could perhaps explain why this type of boat was allowed to race in offshore conditions, and might even anticipate a possible bias in the conclusions of the inquiry. I hope that is not the case, given the great practical and technical boating experience of the people involved. I'll await for the results with great curiosity.
  5. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Or perhaps a Naval Architect?
  6. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    This also appears to be reflected in the race rules and regulations. Looking at the website of race, the safety aspects are noted in these two documents, which everyone must comply with. Yet, funny, not one mention about stability nor a reference to ISO 12217-2, STIX etc etc. The “safety” is more an equipment check list.

    When you juxtapose that against the one I posted previously (RORC), light years apart in the professionalism and safety.
  7. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    The Perils of Edgy Weather in Any Boat

    In the Multihulls Safety paper below for the 2011 ChiMac under boat eligibility(#4)* it is suggested that a multihull should meet certain criteria-one of those is that the boat is "self-righting". But they don't mean "automatically self-righting"-they mean the crew must have a "proven" system to right the boat.
    In several posts on SA people with experience in the Kiwi 35 have said that the crew could right the boat. I would imagine that might be possible if they practiced it.
    A question for the future is: should high performance monohulls be subjected to a rule that is different than this rule for multihulls? If a monohull can be righted by the crew-and that is demonstrated**-should it be considered satisfactorily "stable" for the ChiMac? Seems to be ok for round the world racers in Open 60's?***


    * from the regulation #4 ,(A):

    Having a proven self-righting system allowing the crew to right the boat when capsized , without outside assistance. Any such system must be demonstrated to successfully function in at least 25 knots of wind;....

    **I would guess that would include a requirement that the boat float if it was "stable" upside down.

    *** From the Open 60 ISAF Class Rules, Section D1:

    " During the measurement process, the skipper must physically demonstrate that the boat , once capsized, is capable of self-righting without outside help."
    NOTE: as in the ChiMac multihull rule "self-righting" does not mean automatically righting, it means that the crew must take action to right the boat-on Open 60's that usually means moving the keel. See the Rule below:

    Attached Files:

  8. Willallison
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    Willallison Senior Member

    As I noted in an earlier post, there's a real danger here that we could see the end of club-run racing and other events. It is simply not realistic to expect that clubs will have the in-house expertise to adequately guard against the often foolish actions of their members. The litigeous nature of our society means that event organisers are already taking what I consider to be an unreasonable personal financial risk.
    I read in another forum a post that simply said "Clearly an awful design, the skipper is at fault". Whilst this is possibly overstating it a bit, it is - or certainly always should be the responsibility of the skipper to decide when and where it is safe to pilot his/her vessel.
    To draw a line that says, "This boat is safe, this one is not", is far too complex a position for just about any club committee to master. One only has to see the controversies that arise when even highly qualified groups attempt to do it...
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    One person's dangerous lunatic machine is another's boat of choice. I guess it depends on your adrenaline needs.
  10. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    It's not sensible to suggest that sailing on a boat intuitively informs you as to how it will behave in adverse conditions. Inuition of seaworthiness is usually quite wrong unless it's tempered by a good level of background knowledge.

    No it's not, the drag of the immersed wing in the dynamics of the inversion is much more of an issue.

    This is simple classic beam on stability in breaking waves, you'll find the wind drag on the furled headsail is higher than the drag from the uppermost wing. Although the wind makes the boat heel, the waves turn the boat over. In this case waves of 4 to 6 feet in height !

    The boat also translates sideways along with the wave but it can't slide very well with something akin to a large keel introduced at the very worst point in the rollover.

    The physics is simple and that boat presents a poor combination of design options, a small transverse gyradius, a poor GZ curve, and a built in tripping mechanism guaranteed to impart a more violent inversion, and a high inverted stability to reduce the recovery. Then add a radome and a heavy load of people who end up in in the worst position at knockdown ( adding significantly to instability).

    Boat design is about compromises but this boat compromises too many design factors for sensible offshore safety.

    I'm always surprised that all the commercial seaworthiness standards are so easily tossed aside with the claim that an experienced crew can compensate for an abysmally unsafe design, but they can't. The "awesome power of the weather" shouldn't be able to completely overwhelm an offshore vessel so easily, and we consider that for licensing a commercial boat and limiting it's area of operation.

    It used to be the case that the boat should be able to stand more than the crew, these types of boats are the antithesis of this.

    And as I posted before this criticism is nothing new, this isn't leading edge design they have been around since the early 80's, they were criticised then by Naval Architects as they are now.
  11. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Several times in the past 50 years I have had to let a sail boat drift at the mercy of the Pacific Ocean weather in up to force 9-10 with confused breaking seas and have always been lucky (careful) to have plenty of sea room and to have been on a proven, antique type that cradled me like a mother and rocked me to sleep instead of exhausting and killing me by capsizing when I was too tired to stay in control.
    The modified SPRAY type, BERTIE in particular amazes me with her abilities in violent conditions, which have included at least 4 strong gales and many knockdowns and broachings. TIA MIA, a 25 foot Friendship sloop, once let 3 of us and a dog (we lost the dog overboard but got her back, at night, in the height of the storm) live when we went out fishing at a very stupid time and were caught in a violent and prolonged SE gale outside of the Farallones. Basically she imitated a rubber ducky and bobbed around on top of a lot of really nasty water for hour after hour. HERMANAS Y HERMANOS, again a SPRAY type but not an exact replica, managed to stay on top of one of the worst gales I've ever hoped to avoid, on a delivery voyage off of Cape Mendocino in October, when even under bare poles we were getting knocked down and broached over and over, but never took water below or really got in trouble as the vessel was truly seaworthy.
    These are not racers by any stretch of the imagination, and are really and truly antique and quaint types, so are completely out of the discussion and most people's considerations as personal boats to own, but I'm just sayin'....
  12. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    At minute 8:16 in this film is footage of BERTIE at sea going fast dead downwind in a good breeze, steering herself without a vane while my wife lounges in her pajamas ignoring the threatening seas behind. This is our usual experience; that the boat takes care of us, on the water, at all times, like it was designed to.
    I wish more racers did the same, then I'd go racing on them.
  13. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    So ooo, the crew of the Seacart and Farriers demonstrated righting their boats in at least 25 knots of wind to the race commitee ??? i guess im a bit skeptical.
  14. magwas
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    magwas Senior Member

    It is more complex than that. The initial stability of a multihull is tad higher, so the need for righting the boat arises less frequently. And the crew have to have some means to survive until the weather conditions are good enough for righting the boat.

    This could be a candidate for a rule, but certainly not enough in itself.

    Also note that there are multis which are considered seaworthy and cannot right themselves. However their stability and sail area is designed in a way that probability of capsize is very-very low (zero for all practical purposes), and they would offer comfortable accomodation for weeks when flipped.

  15. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    But Will, most of the major offshore races have had and still have specific and stringent requirements regarding stability. Even many Club races! An that IS drawing a line.
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