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  #11  
Old 01-31-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plumper View Post
I think there is a significant difference between the once in a lifetime '79 Fastnet storm and the relatively benign waters between California and Hawaii this past October.
Gaz
The book I referred to makes one hell of a case Re attributing much of the Fastnet disaster to the lack of seaworthiness of IOR and IOR-influenced designs. (If I'm remembering correctly, Marchaj kept comparing the IOR and IOR-influenced designs to the Contessa 32 that was out there that day, noting that the Contessa and her crew faired far, far better.)

So while we assume that the Catalina didn't find itself bopping around in 1979 Fastnet conditions, if we accept Marchaj's solid argument(s), seaworthiness hasn't been a priority for most designs for some time.

Who cares how far an unmanned, dismasted hull got? In the interest of speed and volume boats are becoming less and less able. That's fine if these limitations are respected, but we all know that that's not the case.

(The issue of Yachting World that's on US mag racks right now (the US gets YW a month late) discusses all these lost keels we keep hearing about. Scary stuff, in that not only are designers streamlining for speed and lightness like never before, but, apparently, life and death corners are being cut with creative interpretations of ABS and Lloyds standards when they're applied to current technologies. Add a swarm of keel lost cases that involve corner cutting during manufacture, keel modifications to suit Rules every time there's an edit, and we are living in "interesting" times.)

Last edited by RAGNAR; 01-31-2008 at 01:25 AM.
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2008
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Very true. If you are the type who is buying new race boats regularly, it is tough to be sure that the design is good. Take last year when all the Clippers had to stop to have their keels checked after a couple came loose. Bizarre. Of course if you can only afford old proven workhorses (Contessa 32) then there is not much to worry about.

Ther is a great report on the MAIB website of a boat that recently sank after loosing its keel. A good read:
http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources...l%20report.pdf
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There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2008
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Dragoon,

The answer to your question is the same one I give my wife when she gets nervous about sailing offshore: "Boat's float". Boats of all designs and intended uses are designed to float. Keep the water out and they will continue to float. Put them in an offshore wind field and they will drift downwind until they hit something hard (or something hard hits them). Offshore swells, although they may reach great heights, normally have a fairly long period -- 10-15 seconds crest to crest is not unusual. Unless the wind blows really hard or strong currents are involved offshore swells normally don't turn into breaking waves. A breaking wave can roll (and sink) a boat, but unless the wave is breaking, it really doesn't matter how big (high) they are, because "boats float".

Re. the fact that it got there without a mast -- because the center of gravity of the mast itself is well above the center of gravity of the rest of the boat, the mast actually has an negative effect on the stability of the boat, i.e. it's tendency of the boat to roll over and not come back upright. A boat without a mast will be more resistant to rolling. That said, a boat without a mast will not offer a comfortable ride in that it's motion (rolling side to side) will tend to be more rapid. With a mast in place the rolling motion is dampened (the period of the roll is longer), and the crew isn't tossed around quite so much.

In short, the fact that this small boat floated all the way to Hawaii says nothing about it's seaworthiness, only that it didn't leak and it didn't run into anything hard along the way.

Last edited by billyruffn; 01-31-2008 at 07:33 AM.
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2008
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Driftwood will also survive an open ocean crossing, but I wouldn't feel too safe on it
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  #15  
Old 01-31-2008
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Cool I think we all

have a tendency to put a lot of faith in our boats.

Ted Irwin in my opinion built a great boat for what he designed it for i.e. Light, fast ( for is intended use ) , roomy, shallow draft ability , well balanced helm and a pleasing look.

No mater how much I try to convince myself that this is a well built boat for its intended purpose I cant ignore the fact that the hull is only 1/2 in thick on a 41' boat. Not your Ideal offshore cruiser that's for sure.

Could it make it of course, have they made it? absolutely, is it the best choice ? obviously not.

I see this debate as the old Ford verses Chevy one except that in this case we are not comparing apples to apples in-so-far as like built models but comparing say a Ford PU to say a Chevy Che vet.
Each manufactuar may or may not have a capable off shore boat. In Irwins case I believe that starts with the 52 footer which is built twice as heavy as my 41 footer.

I can pretend I have a bluewater boat but that doesnt make it so. That dosent mean I would fail but it dosent stack the deck in my favor either.

Last edited by Stillraining; 01-31-2008 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008
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Boat adrift behave very differently than those being sailed, even to the point of defying logic. I know of a boat that was anchored for a couple of years on a channel that runs from east to west and it is about 3/4 mile long, and about 400 ft wide. The boat was anchored about 75 ft from the southern channel wall (concrete).

During a particularly windy night, the boat went adrift with a NE wind. Common logic would make you think that with a NE wind, the boat being about 75 ft from the south wall and a 3/4 of a mile channel to drift, that the boat would pushed agains the wall for the 3/4's of a mile and you would end up with either a boat stuck somewhere on the channel or with a lot of damage to the sides due to it scrapping agains the concrete wall.

The boat ended up on the other side of the bay that the channel leads to, ran aground right in front of a breakwater with only one very superficial scratch on the stardboard side. I was amazed.
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  #17  
Old 01-31-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
Dragoon,

The answer to your question is the same one I give my wife when she gets nervous about sailing offshore: "Boat's float". Boats of all designs and intended uses are designed to float. Keep the water out and they will continue to float. Put them in an offshore wind field and they will drift downwind until they hit something hard (or something hard hits them). Offshore swells, although they may reach great heights, normally have a fairly long period -- 10-15 seconds crest to crest is not unusual. Unless the wind blows really hard or strong currents are involved offshore swells normally don't turn into breaking waves. A breaking wave can roll (and sink) a boat, but unless the wave is breaking, it really doesn't matter how big (high) they are, because "boats float".
All true. But on the premise that crew fatigue is a huge factor in how a yacht sails through "Hell", motion matters a lot in an offshore boat.

A good number of the boats that were abandoned in the '79 Fastnet were structurally sound. Some crews couldn't take the motion while others couldn't believe how many times they mast ended up in the water and/or how close they were coming to capsizing.
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  #18  
Old 01-31-2008
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Originally Posted by Plumper View Post
. Of course if you can only afford old proven workhorses (Contessa 32) then there is not much to worry about.
Many Contessa 32s are still leaving the factory at prices that could afford their owners far bigger, moderns designs.

Even though she tend to submarine, the C32 has an astounding record of ocean crossing with minimal crew.

Of course the design principles behind her success are known and easily expanded upon. The market, however, wants fast duplexes with enough "windows" to make a Manhattan office building envious. So be it.

Contessa 32 aside: One would think from her success record that she's an over-engineered, solid everything design. She's not. She's relatively light, with a cored hull and plywood bulkheads. She simply relies on excellent inertias and a disciplined, esthetically pleasing shape -- I guess the submarining/wetness is thrown in to keep things interesting...lol
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  #19  
Old 01-31-2008
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Very true. If you are the type who is buying new race boats regularly, it is tough to be sure that the design is good.
The problem isn't limited to racers (I assume you're not including so-called cruiser-racers and/or racer-cruisers in "race boats".)

Many owners of fast cruisers adjust their keels to suit Rules edits or to make sure the appendage is "right." With design safety factors down across the industry, more and more boats subjected to the massive forces involved in racing luxury boats as if they were racers, and time pressure during manufacturing, it seems that we can't limit these observations to race-only boats.

Last edited by RAGNAR; 01-31-2008 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008
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A friend once told me that fairly often coastel cruisers would show up in Hawaii with inner bulkheads broken loose and other damage.
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