The perils of edgy design offshore

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

  1. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Again, every competent square rig sailor I have ever gone to sea with wears a fixed-blade rigging knife and a spike in a sheath outside his/her foul weather gear whenever they appear on deck. This rig has a lanyard so you don't drop it from aloft and also so, no matter what, that knife is right there in your hand when you need it worse than anything.
    Not a folding knife in your pocket, under your foulies, and the tragedy we are discussing is the reason why.
    Like seaworthy hulls, seaworthy habits seem to have been left behind in the quest for speed and technological superiority.
    A different situation but the crew of the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE were saved because 'Sugar' John Flanagan the mate ALWAYS had a waterproof flashlight hooked to his belt and others used to laugh at him for it. When the vessel capsized in a microburst and sank in 90 seconds, killing 4, that light saved the 8 survivors on the third night adrift in a leaking raft when he signaled a vessel on the horizon.
    Seaworthy habits and attitudes save lives. An attitude of 'it can't happen to me' sets up a situation that can go south in a hurry.
     
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  2. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    The Perils of Edgy Weather in Any Boat

    ---------------------------------

    I think given the extraordinary nature of the storm, these comments are way off base. This boat had a valid ORR
    certificate and ,according to the race management met the qualification that "Boats shall be of a seaworthy offshore type construction".
    But there is more. Out of 141 entrants in the same class as Wingnuts 25 did not finish. That's 18% of the fleet.
    But in the multihull fleet only 15% did not finish. Multihull fleet!
    If a multihull had capsized it would have stayed inverted! No waves would have re-righted it. Are they not seaworthy?
    ---
    It is clear from every description of this tragedy that Wingnuts was in the worst of an incredibly fierce storm whose characteristics are virtually unknown in the history of this race. To single out wings as the cause of this accident is ludicrous. Many ocean racing sailboats all over the world race with wings and are extremely seaworthy. Having wings, in and of themselves, does not make a boat less seaworthy.
    The design of the wings, their buoyancy(or lack thereof), their dihedral are major factors in designing a self-righting boat with wings that is seaworthy.
    I'm 100% convinced that a boat such as Wingnuts should be self-righting or rightable under the same criteria as an Open 60. Why it, apparently, wasn't is worth looking into.
    But none of this explains or in any way lessens this tragedy-it wouldn't have mattered what boat you were on if you were subjected to the kind of head injury that killed the two crew on Wingnuts. Trying to ascribe their deaths to a design flaw is just not right given the testimony of the people that were there.
    There may or may not be a design flaw in the Kiwi 35-I don't know-but regardless it did not kill the crew-a vicious freak storm of unparalleled ferocity did.


    ==============

    From US Sailing CSF calculator page:
    FromUS Sailing Capsize Screening formula comments

    --A caveat regarding stability predictions: One of the greatest sailing disasters in recent maritime history, the 1998 Sydney-Hobart Race, offered a number or lessons regarding the performance of sailboats and crews in heavy weather conditions. The 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race Review Committee report, summarized by Peter Bush, the committee chair, reported the following as one of the significant findings: "There is no evidence that any particular style or design of boat fared better or worse in the conditions. The age of yacht, age of design, construction method, construction material, high or low stability, heavy or light displacement, or rig type were not determining factors. Whether or not a yacht was hit by an extreme wave was a matter of chance." (Ref: Rob Mundle in Fatal Storm, Publisher's Afterward p 249. International Marine/McGraw-Hill Camden, Maine.)

    --According to Andrew Claughton in Heavy Weather Sailing 30th ed. p 21 "This (the test data presented in the chapter) suggests that alterations in form (of a sailboat) that improves capsize resistance may be rendered ineffective by a relatively small increase in breaking wave height."
     
  3. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Seaworthy ! By what assessment ?

    looking at ORR I cant find anything in there to do with seaworthiness
    http://offshore.ussailing.org/Assets/Offshore/ORR/Rule Book 2006.pdf

    It's clearly a rating rule not a safety oriented rule.

    The craft has a very apparent dangerous lack of stability, the wing decks make the design highly susceptible to overturning from beam on wave action. There are well understood factors that make a boat more susceptible to being inverted.
    The craft gets knocked on her beam then whether she slides or inverts depends in part on the drag of the deck edge in the water. This is one problem with beamy hulls, but in this case the floatation has even been taken out of the extreme beam, which makes it even worse.

    In simple English, if the craft resembles an impeller it'll try and work like one.



    Statistics are usually meaningless unless properly applied !
    In this case this craft's failure is the significant and alarming statistic.

    Also we are talking about a monohull here not a multihull there are quite different mechanisms to consider for inversion. Had Wingnuts been more like a trimaran with decent volume in the floats we would be considering quite a different dynamic scenario.

    But not in the recorded weather of the region, prudence would argue that it will happen eventually.

    Again the wings will contribute significantly that is very clear, read what I said above.

    And who says they are extremely seaworthy ? Only you so far, I've never heard seaworthiness as an attribute associated with these sorts of designs !

    These lines of reasoning are like saying that although the tail fell off the airliner the others are all flying very well therefore...

    That’s what I’m doing, but you don't appear to like the inference that racing boats trade safety for speed.

    If the hull has an inbuilt tripping mechanism when hit by a beam sea it had better have other factors such as good damping, roll inertia and righting moment to compensate.
    If you want to get factual go find the GZ curve for that boat. I’ve got a pretty good idea what it looks like.

    This is spin.
    Had they been on a more seaworthy boat they would be alive. So it's very important to look at why and how boats invert, don't recover and to try and inject some prudence into design and set decent requirements on stability.

    ________________________

    It’s always surprising that all the work that goes into vessel safety can be thrown out the window and vehemently denied when it comes to racing craft. The regulations that apply to commercial vessels are not arbitrary they are quite sensible and based on bodies of research.

    For example contrast the statement you quoted in your post (in red below) with the UK stability requirements for commercial saiboats with the vessels that rolled in the 98 Sydney Hobart (Attached below)

    "There is no evidence that any particular style or design of boat fared better or worse in the conditions. The age of yacht, age of design, construction method, construction material, high or low stability, heavy or light displacement, or rig type were not determining factors. Whether or not a yacht was hit by an extreme wave was a matter of chance." Clearly this in not applicable to the boats that were rolled.


    You don't have to be a very skilled statistician to see the minimum commercial requirements are borderline in themselves ! Claims like we don't 'usually' have this sort of weather don't qualify a vessels design. It's what you might get that qualifies it.
     

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  4. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Personally I feel great sadness that people still die just to prove they are faster than the other guy.
    Who cares?
    Technological development from racing is completely relevant and has brought the development of interesting ideas forward, like the space program, but the chest puffery and adoption of obviously marginally unsafe craft and spending of large amounts of money to prove the point seem to be in violation of rule #1, which is "don't be stupid".
    From my rather cynical point of view, after 30 years in the business, fixing yachts and observing yachtsmen, people compete to be the one willing to spend the most amount of money to go the fastest and have the most expensive looking paint/varnish, so that others will envy them.
    This has little to do with any sort of practical application of the technology, except to gain speed and impress, so I see it as pretty worthless in the larger scheme of things.
    In the CG doing a lot of SAR I saw the result many times, and searched for a lot of bodies we never found.
    I'm not impressed, but greatly sad for the loss these families are feeling today. There is no way to replace a lost loved one, and the hurt lasts forever.
     
  5. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    The Perils of Edgy Weather in Any Boat

    ===================

    Absolutely uninformed speculation!!! There is nothing in the design that caused those two to hit their heads! It is obvious from the descriptions in numerous articles that the two were someplace on the boat where something happened to them that didn't happen to anyone else*. I think it is completely out of line to try to blame the design for these two tragic deaths ESPECIALLY when you don't have all the information.
    --
    I agree with this 100%. But uninformed guess work regarding the loss of these lives is not helpful in any way whatsoever.

    * 6 people were rescued uninjured
     
  6. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    These designs were banned under the IOR rule many years ago. They proved to be inadequate for anything other than short course racing in good weather.
     
  7. ironmatar
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    ironmatar Junior Member

    Since we are talking about the great lakes i have a few comments
    1 this time of year you get massive nighttime humidity generated squalls all over that area, heat lightning combined with cloudbursts of rain that drop huge amounts of water over small areas in the course of a few minuets combined with a wind element called a down-burst very very very nasty storm if u get clubbed by one, they are also capable of generating hail and tornadoes/waterspouts .
    2 the lakes,lake mi paticular, because of summertime weather patterns is very prone to these
    3 harmonic wave patterns the lakes have a inherent harmonic wave pattern where every 7th wave or so is 30-50% larger than the rest .....its could be that wingnuts was caught up in a convergence and flipped like a pancake and entered the capsize already inverted people talk about monster rouge waves in the oceans , the great lakes have them in spades, likely only reason anyone made it was by luck hundreds of people dissppear around the lakes ever year if u end up in the water however u got there have minuets to get out summertime water temps are like 50 degrees at most and they freeze over in the winters.
    IM
     
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  8. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    The Perils of Edgy Weather in Any Boat

    Wingnuts righted (from SA 7-20-11) :

    -click on image-
     

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  9. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Since it was head injuries, possibly they were hit by the boom.
    Did the mast come down?
    Those controversial "wings", which I have no personal experience with, seem possibly prone to catching wind underneath on the weather side and increasing the upsetting moment.
    The lee wing immersing, while giving righting moment, is yawing the bow to leeward and slowing the boat at the same time as the rig load is increasing, seems a possible way to get inverted, the classic "tripping over the lee bow", increased by the wings.
    Whatever the final cause, the boat capsized, stayed as inverted as some catamarans would, and people died.
    The vessel exceeded its design performance envelope and failed (argue all you want, it's upside down and broken) due to possibly, but arguably not, unforseeable conditions.
    The personal observations above about the average weather on the lakes is eye-opening.
    I know this race has gone on forever, and several hundred boats survived, mostly, the extreme squall conditions, so it is an unusual event, but people still died.
    This would seem to argue possibly for a rule that favors more all-around craft, with heavier conditions in mind.
    Of course this makes a heavier, slower boat, so would seem a step backwards to the racing types.
     
  10. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Ah, thanks for the photo of vessel righted. I see mast is intact but boom or gooseneck looks broken and boom loose from mast.
    Wow, THAT BOAT in possible 100 knot winds? It looks like, and is, a racing dinghy on steroids. I guess nobody expected the weather, but still...
    No thank you very much. It would seem to violate rule #1.
    1. Don't be stupid.
    2. **** happens (quickly when you violate #1).
    3. Bring beer.
     
  11. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    The Perils of Edgy Weather in Any Boat

    Multihulls are allowed in this race and multihulls can capsize. People have died on multihulls that have capsized yet they are encouraged to race in races like the Chi-Mac-as they should be. Again, are they seaworthy? Why, because they won't sink if capsized?
    I remember the old multihull-monohull argument: " yeah the multi will capsize but the leadbelly will sink". Hmmm, Wingnuts didn't sink, 6 of the 8 crew survived. From the articles linked here and comments on SA it is clear that something terrible happened to the skipper and his girlfriend. In one article it was stated that they were on the front deck and the rest of the crew was in the cockpit. What appears to be known now is that the two suffered head trauma. Making judgements about the design based on incomplete evidence about what exactly happened is simply wrong.
    --
    And it is rather interesting when people talk about mandating self righting(which I tend to agree with-at least on the same terms as Open 60's) for monohulls only. If multihulls meet the seaworthiness criteria of the Chi Mac why couldn't a monohull that wouldn't sink after a capsize??
     
  12. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The dynamics of multihulls is different from that of monohulls. Safety needs to be addressed in a framework appropiate for each design.
     
  13. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Yes, each design family has its own set of rules and "do not exceed" values. Multihulls have their obvious problems but also a large and long-experienced user group which has found answers to most of those in practical ways from long use in all conditions. Winged, short course, racing monohulls are still quite experimental and groping for what works and what does not. Catamarans can and have many times cruised and raced around Cape Horn, while a winged racing dinghy would be a poor choice for the job. Yes, the cat stays flipped, but they don't seem to do it as much as some would fear.
     
  14. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    The Perils of Edgy Weather in Any Boat

    ====================
    Highspeed monohulls are approaching the speeds of multihulls. The more I think about it the more I wonder why it is ok for multihulls to race in the Chi Mac and not ok for lightweight high speed monos that might capsize to do the same? If both groups accept the risk of capsize and if both types are designed to float why should there be a waiver for multihulls and not for high speed monohulls?!
    I'm convinced that the mono can be designed to be rightable with crew action(like Open 60's) but maybe even that is too restrictive?
    Why would the multi be deemed more "seaworthy" than a mono if both can capsize in bad conditions and both float when capsized?
    I think a wide mono using movable ballast that is designed to float would be no more likely to capsize than a multi but MUCH more likely to be able to be designed to be righted by the crew.
    This stuff is worth serious consideration, in my opinion.
     

  15. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member


    The poor stability is the real issue here you can't spin that away. People ended up in the water some were rescued by others some weren't, the boat couldn't be used to mount a rescue for the missing people because it was inverted. It nearly drowned others too. You are avoiding the big picture and focusing on small details and then putting spin on those. How they hit their head is not important. That the vessel overturned with sails down in only 4 to 6 foot waves is very important.

    Once this vessel inverts it partially floods, it's quite stable upside down. It has an inbuilt flaw that's a simple fact. The wings act to both trip the boat and then as floats to prevent it re-righting. Even eventual flooded inverted instability that may have helped re-right it is countered by the wings.

    You cant glibly toss aside these issues.
    Safety goes out the window and people die because of the denial that is perpetrated by some in the racing fraternity.
    Speed is first, inherent vessel safety is second. That's a personal choice but it should be made abundantly clear that unless they meet some minimum design criteria that many racing sailboats are only properly fit for sheltered conditions. Outide of sheltered water is a gamble which will be paid in full with lives from time to time.

    The disasters are spun away with the usual creative writing
    "awesome unpredictable power of the storm" and similar, instead of saying honestly racing is dangerous because racing boats can only be designed for inherent safety if they are regulated.

    And how about addressing the rest of my post?
    Presumably by now you understand that the wings can be significant in the inversion process? And they act to stop re-righting.
    You understand that the limit of positive stability is very important?

    Also the ORR is not a measure of seaworthiness is it!
     
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