The perils of edgy design offshore

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

  1. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Not proving anything else but, perhaps, the wisdom of the crew which has probably choosen not to race when weather and sea conditions were not suitable for that type of boat. Just guessing here, of course. The other possibility is - they have been lucky so far.

    There's no way anybody will manage to convince me that this is a hull shape is made for a safe off-shore sailing:

    [​IMG]

    As you said it, the elements are a lot more powerful than we are. So it's up to us to be smart when making our choices. Going into open waters and possibly rough seas with that hull is not a smart choice, imho.

    Cheers
     
  2. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member


    That's very emotive but seaworthiness isn't an issue of wishful thinking, Illusion or Fertile Imagination. Natural laws are relentless and dangerous but boat behavior is predictable.

    The subject craft foundered in waves estimated at between 4 and 6 feet, inverted remained upside down and killed two people and nearly a third.
    Foresight alone says that boat would be unsuitable if the weather turned.

    The gamble was that a downburst wouldn't occur during the race or that the boat would somehow muck through if it did. It's clear that violent downbursts can and do occur in this region at this time of year.

    Several prominent researches have spent a lot of time and effort making a science out of the requirements for seaworthiness. There's no smug hindsight as you put it, rather accurate predictive guides that say such vessels are unsuitable for offshore sailing. You should read their material then at least you could discuss the issues technically.

    There's more than enough hard factual science in this field to set safety recommendations for sailboats. There's also guides as to how safe the vessel will be for areas of operation such as the simple picture I posted before.

    It's a shame people don't get that message clearly and try and blame the elements for unsuitable designs when they founder and then try and deflect valid criticism of the design, that is simply obfuscation of hard fact.

    Critical issues regarding dangerous boat characteristics are easy to predict and form the basis of mandated safety requirements.

    The sensible approach is for owners and operators to fully understand the risks associated with certain design elements and ditto for race committees. Then at least race committees can exercise some sense by excluding unfit boats for possible weather conditions. It's human nature to gamble.
     
  3. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    Flared hulls: there are hundreds. I guess, by your definition, Michael, you would dismiss the achievements of Whitbread, Volvo and Open 60's established in years of racing across oceans and around the world.
    Here's an early Whitbread 60, the Farr Tokio - and later Farr, Davidson 60's had even greater flare. Check out the later Open 60's which are even more extreme, all lightweights with wide decks. Plus they had canting keels. Shouldn't have been allowed??
     

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  4. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    I think we should stay with the opening post and not turn this into a general discussion which would be better off continuing in the seaworthiness thread.

    But I will say that a significant predictor of boat safety is the length. People make the assumption that because a certain type is generally successful as a 60 or 70 foot boat that the same attributes should translate to a smaller craft. That's not the case.
     
  5. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    Is that so, Michael? - How about you consider this, from the most innovative designer: The America’s Cup monohulls can achieve this because about 80% of their weight is in ballast and that gives them so much power that they can sail to windward at hull speed, about 11 knots. But some beamy boats can do this too even though they produce more drag. Their wide beam gives them stability and therefore the power to drive up to hull speed. On a monohull, if you limit the length then you are going to require more beam than is normal because, while length gives speed, once you restrict length, then beam gives speed.
     
  6. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Not performance, I said safety ie seaworthiness with everything that entails.

    Perhaps we could cut to the chase and you could comment directly on Wingnuts.

    The way you are posting you apparently think it's a safe offshore design and that we could not have predicted otherwise. I'm interested as to why you would hold such a view?
     
  7. pagodaboat
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    pagodaboat Junior Member

    Isn't a modern Race Committee supposted to scrutinize for basic seaworthiness? Or is it now just all about checking off all the right gear - an EPIRP, life jackets, etc. WingNuts was clearly not a Category 1 or 2 ORC boat, but was racing on a course that called for it. Sure, this accident could have happened on a hundred acre lake, but then they would not have gone sailing in the first place. What upsets me about this tragedy is that race authorities apparently now allow sport boats to race in ocean races.
     
  8. Paul J. Nolan
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    Paul J. Nolan Junior Member

    I have never encountered so much drivel on a single topic in my life. Such silliness as "edgy design" and the even more ludicrous "edgy weather." What crap. Thanks to MikeJohns for some simple common sense and his comments include the first use of the word "unseaworthy" that I have come across in four days of sifting through various reports and opinions, many of them laughable. As Mr. Johns points out, the root cause of this mishap is the decision of the skipper to put to sea on an unseaworthy vessel. All such blather about the weather, sheath knives, etc. is superfluous. If those people had been aboard a Contessa 32, they'd have celebrated the end of the race in Mackinaw with everyone else.

    Paul
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
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  9. pagodaboat
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    pagodaboat Junior Member

    I totally agree with Paul's post above, and Mike's comments by extension. It is all about seaworthiness; and I still question the wisdom in the Race Committee for allowing WingNuts to race.
     
  10. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    Some of what you say might be true, but this is a stretch. The Whitbred/Volvo 60s were beam limited. There was also a limit on DSPL and transom width. So the boats were limited to a pretty tight design space in regard to flare.

    The only way to increase flare was in a reduction of BWL. The boats where this was tried had less form stability and were generally not the best.

    IIRC the Davidson boats were higher form stability shapes, so probably more BWL than average, therefore less flare than average.

    Attached are the deck layouts of the original 1991 Farr plan view and the 2000 plan view (not the same scale). You will note they are incredibly similar. Given the limits on LWL and DSPL the BWL would have been very similar as well, so similar flare.
     

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  11. Paul J. Nolan
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    Paul J. Nolan Junior Member

    Call me a traditionalist--or a old fogey--I'm guilty of both. It is solely the skipper's decision to race...or not. There is no getting around the burden of command. The vessel, her equipment, the selection and training of the crew, and putting to sea...all these and more are the responsibility of the skipper and no one else.

    Paul
     
  12. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    Just to bring you armchair experts back into reality:
    quod erat demonstrandum
    Unheard of monohull performance occurred with the first change from heavy displacement IOR maxis like Steinlager 2 and Fisher & Paykel to the Whitbread 60’s. The 60’s brought shifting water ballast, deep draft keels and light displacement. Ross Field, who had been on both types, had his eyes opened on the Whitbread 60 Yamaha. “When the wind was up you didn’t need much sail up to get the W60’s going. Beating towards Prince Edward Island with 35 -45 knot winds we had a storm jib and three reefs in the main – yet the boat was going very fast and taking terrible punishment. After rounding Prince Edward we went onto a reach with full main and jib top – with the wind freshening and coming aft. All of the W60’s were close together, within 20 miles of each other. We put on the big 2.2 oz. spinnaker; it was pitch black so everyone was on deck. Yamaha just took off reaching 30 knots, mostly underwater and it was freezing bloody cold. We were holding on for grim death and I kept thinking we would never have had such an amount of gear up nor have had such speed in any other boat – and also that it would only be a matter of time before we arsed out. It was time to get the spinnaker down but the spinnaker sock got stuck. Three guys were on the bow trying to pull it down. We held it like this for 15 minutes in 45 knots of wind and huge seas, then we broached and the boat lay on its side, the crew flapping like flags off the foredeck. The boat wouldn’t come up but we got the spinnaker off and it still wouldn’t come up. It felt like we’d been lying there for an hour but it was probably only ten minutes. Finally a big wave pushed the boat upright and also downwind at the same time. I was beside myself thinking the competition would all be sailing away. We put the jib back on. Now we were only doing 19 -20 knots and not the continuous 25 knots of before. But at the end of the day, everyone had done roughly the same thing, broken spinnaker poles and other gear. Intrum Justia had done the most miles and she’d done that by sailing low with no spinnaker.
    By the bottom of Tasmania we were carrying a small spinnaker, two reefs in the main, wind blowing 35 – 40 knots and you couldn’t move forward in the boat. Everyone was aft and the boat was doing 22 – 23 knots and sustained this for almost five hours – which completely exhausted the whole crew. I wiped the boat out in a moment of poor concentration. I was absolutely exhausted after all this time on the knife edge. Murray Ross gave me a good look and said, “You’d better have a sleep.” So I took his advice and collapsed on the sails in my full wet weather gear.”
     
  13. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Please stick to the thread subject:

    What exactly is the point of copying Ross Field's anecdotes here ?

    Look at the technical facts relating to Wingnuts not the glowing tales of derring do on completely different designs.
     
  14. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    To be technical about this, the Whitbread/Volvo 60s do not have wings and are not extremely beamy designs (B/LOA of about 0.27). Therefore they don't represent the type of boat that was the original topic of this discussion.
     

  15. Cheesy
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    Cheesy Senior Member

    It was an unlucky accident, nothing more nothing less. Where I sail a Young 11 which those arguing against the seaworthiness of Wingnut would probably call a sea worthy design was pitch-poled by a rouge wave in conditions much better than those that got the Kiwi35. I have been on a smaller Y88 in 70kts in the same piece of sea that the Y11 went over in, the boat would not stay upright in this sort of wind and it is by no means an edgy design. At best any measure of seaworthiness is a line in the sand and sooner or later someone on the safe side of the line will die, what happens then? do we move the line? If that was the case everyone will end up sailing extremely slow and boring boats.

    The arguments that some of you guys are putting forward are almost like saying it is safe to race a Yamaha R6 for example but a Yamaha R1 is too dangerous. Sure it might be slightly easier to wipe out on an R1 but the difference between the two is so small when you compare it to the inherent danger of the sport itself
     
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