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post #1144 of Old 09-18-2013
Brent Swain
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Re: Pros and cons of steel sailboats

The picture of the ship which killed the Sleavin family is interesting. Smack claims that if that bow were to hit a sealed tin can, it would punch a hole in the can, and sink it.
So try this Smack . Try to punch a hole in a tin can by whacking it with the side of a three inch steel pipe, while it is floating in water, with a singe blow. You cant do it. You can try it with the can on a workbench if you want to, but that wasn't the situation in the Sleavin case. You can whack it flat without making a hole in it. The same effort would definitely hole a fibreglass container.
So how would such a blunt bow as that of the freighter in the picture, manage to hole a 36 ft steel boat. The Gringo pictures and that of the sister ship to Joshua clearly show that there is just not enough inertia in a boat that small for that to happen. Sure it would make a hell of a big dent , it did in the boats I mentioned, but there is not enough inertia for such a blunt bow to hole a steel boat of the size the Sleavins were in.
That would take sharp point and there is no such sharp point in the picture you posted. It would be the equivalent of your trying to punch a hole in the can, floating in water, with your three inch steel pipe. Had the Sleavins been in a much larger boat with far more inertia, then it would probably sink it, but not in such a small steel boat. The Gringo proved that.

Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"
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