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Old 10-28-2013
peterchech peterchech is offline
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Well, I know plenty of people today sail that way, but trust me... If I'm coming into a place like Charleston or Fernandina on a dirty night, I'm gonna be standing at the helm... :-)

I've learned plenty of things in my years of delivering a wide variety of boats. But if there's one thing that stands above the rest, and has informed the choices that have informed the outfitting of my own little tub, is that there can be a real virtue in simplicity... Perhaps my experience is unique, but it's definitely been the case that the more complex the boat and its systems, the greater the likelihood I'll experience some sort of 'problem' during the trip...

Two things I've become particularly wary of, are powered sailhandling systems, and remote control devices... Reliance on such devices can be a great way to break gear, or do damage to the boat. The real risk to such implements is not so much that they might not START working, but that they may not STOP... The horrific accident that occurred on an Amel 53 a few years ago in Antigua while a woman was hoisting her husband up the mast using an electric cockpit winch is a prime example... And, the increasing use of wireless engine controllers on larger motoryachts while docking scares the hell out of me, I know of more than one example where they've failed or gone haywire, resulting in major damage to boats...

I've spent a lot of time running Trintellas over the years... Marvelous boats, obviously of extremely high quality, but incredibly complex... Aboard the 50 that I've sailed the most, the joke was always that there was NEVER a moment in time, where everything on the boat worked at once :-)

While I've come to think pretty highly of the Leisure-Furl system for larger yachts, they've definitely had some teething problems since their inception, and I still feel going with the internally-driven motorized system is a mistake... Better to go with simply running the halyard and mandrell/downhaul to cockpit winches, instead... Here's my favorite example...

We were running a 50 south in December about 5 years ago, the owner was gonna do the Pineapple Cup (formerly the Miami-Montego Bay Race)... The motor for the L-F is located near the end of the boom... We're talking an all carbon rig here, close to 80', probably costing close to $100K - definitely, 'Top of the Line' in every respect, no expense spared...

We had a great trip down to around Cape Canaveral, when the breeze finally came up pretty hard out of the E, then SE... It was a VERY wet ride from there on, lots of spray, some of it even making it to the end of the boom :-)

We get into Port Everglades, and I head up to lower the main, and push the button... Nothing happens... No biggie, we lower it manually, and head into Bahia Mar...

Now, the motor for this thing is not the sort of DC motor we can take into an alternator shop in Lauderdale to get fixed... It's a highly speciallized one of European manufacture, a replacement/spare costs about $6K, and the ONLY authorized service center at the time was in the Netherlands... So, after spending the entire morning removing the mainsail - which probably weighs 250 lbs - and the motor itself (50-60 lbs), we pack it up to ship via Fed Ex to Amsterdam ( I could probably cruise for most of the winter in the Bahamas for what that alone cost)

They get it back just in time for the race, mad scramble to install it prior to departure...

A front comes thru the night before, so at the start it's blowing 20-25 from the NW, and the Gulf Stream is gonna be pretty sporty...

About 40 minutes into the race, getting into the Stream, they fall hard off the back of wave, and dip the end of the boom, immersing the motor... Uh-oh...

They take in a bit of a reef, seems OK... But about an hour later, when they decide to reef just a tad more, nothing... the newly rebuilt motor is fried, they got all of about 25 miles into an 800+ mile race out of it...

Needless to say, the former owner of this boat would get a good chuckle out of the assertion that his $1.4 million sailing yacht was as reliable as his Mercedes... :-)
It is amazing to me that an electric motor would be mounted at the end of the boom... First the weight and stress on the gooseneck that it must cause, ie in an accidental crash jibe. And second, how could it not be anticipated that the boom will drag in the water in a broach or rough water? Am I missing something?

Reminds me of the 2 near new raymarine autopilots I have, st1000 and a wheel pilot on my dad's boat. The poor mechanical design from a common sense point of view is astounding...
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