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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Statistical Risks of Ocean Voyaging?
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Thread: Statistical Risks of Ocean Voyaging? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-20-2006 01:25 AM
jared Susan-
"cruising is safer than driving to work on the freeway." So...you have fewer drive-bys and road rage shootings where you sail than where you drive? Wow, that must be nice.

Sneuman-
Insurance doesn't have to make sense to anyone. Except, the actuary working for the insurer. The really great thing about this, is that anyone--even you--can start a new insurance company, following you own gut feeling and your own definitions of "sense". And if you've really got a better way to do it, you're going to pay out less in claims and gain more customers and along the way...MAKE A FORTUNE!
Let me know when it gets funded, I'll apply for a job with you.

Oh, don't know about HK, but in many parts fo the world? You can post a personal bond and self-insure, instead of having liability insurance. For the rest, you can always ask for bidders at Lloyds.
05-19-2006 09:25 PM
sneuman Here's an example of what I said about insurance:

When I was in Hong Kong, my premium for liability insurance doubled when my Hereshoff-esque 28ft sloop turned 30 years old. The explanation from the insurer was thus: "older boats are more likely to hit other boats."

I am not kidding here.

Meanwhile, the very same month I got the bad news about my insurance payment, I watched as a speedboat pulling a skier literally sliced a beach cat in two at high speed because the power boat's "lookout" was not looking forward, but back at the skier. The couple on the beach cat (very experienced sailors who routinely won their class in club races) somehow managed to ditch their boat in the nick of time and were basically unhurt. But, it was an extremely close call.

So, I was curious, and asked for a liability quote from my insurer on this exact make, model and year of power boat. (I was a witness to the accident and so had to give a police statement and was therefore also privvy to the particulars on the offending boat). That guy was paying half the liability of my cruiser, with its blistering 6-knot hull speed!

In addition, I had a Hong Kong government-issued license for operating my boat. He was unable to produce his at the time of the accident (though, it's possible he did present it later - also possible, he didn't have it).

Now, that doesn't make a bit of sense, does it?
05-19-2006 08:55 PM
sneuman I couldn't agree more about cruising, or traveling. I have lived and traveled in Asia for the past decade, and feel I am MUCH safer here than anywhere in my home country (USA).
05-19-2006 09:10 AM
LaLeLu
Cruising Hazards

All life insurance applications that I have seen ask you if you are planning to travel outside the country. You are considered to be a greater risk if you travel outside US. If you lie on your insurance application, and you die within the contestability period - usually 2 years, the insurance company can deny the claim brought by the bene's of your policy. If you are applying for a significant amount of life insurance, the company does their own investigation of you, to determine their risk, through their underwriting department. Life insurance underwriters look at two aspects of risk: medical and financial. If you have medical factors that make you a bad risk, then you can expect to pay a higher premium. If you have financial/other factors that make you a bad risk, then you can expect that the amount of the policy that the insurance company is willing to extend will be lower.

My personal opinion is that cruising is safer than driving to work on the freeway.
05-18-2006 10:22 PM
sneuman Well, the problem here is that all our prejudices get thrown into the mix. The insurance companies often work off those same prejudices in preparing their actuarial tables (at least that's how it seems to me).

One person (such as myself), is going to say the only safe sea boat is a full keel, narrow beamed, traditional monohull.

Another will say a fast boat is better because it can get out of (weather) harm's way.

Then someone will say fast, light, shallow draft, etc. etc.

You could argue any of these positions (although the last seems a difficult case), and you can probably muster statistics to back up your position. People who pore over actuarial tables are (I'm guessing) not cruisers themselves, so what makes them better able to sift this data? Yes, it comes down to money for them, and that's a motivator to get things right. But, for us, it's about our own skin, and to me that's an even bigger motivator.
04-29-2006 10:44 PM
sailingdog One other point... lighter vessels are more easily able to change direction, having less inertia and kinetic energy, so may be damaged less in a collision, and may have a greater chance of avoiding a collision in the first place. Also, shallower draft vessels are generally safer, as there are fewer objects to hit...
04-29-2006 02:04 PM
HenkMeuzelaar
Inertial momentum reigns

Congratulations on your narrow escape! Hitting a heavy floating object at night is every seafarer's horror scenario.

Meanwhile, it is sobering to consider that all of the impact force in a collision with a stationary object is being supplied by the inertial momentum [m x v] of your own vessel, plus whatever propulsion force vector may be there. Therefore, vessels wanting to travel at relatively high velocity [v] can only keep their inertial momentum down by reducing mass [m].

In other words, your proverbial "chlorox bottle" might do a lot better in a high speed collision than a comparatively shaped steel bottle traveling at the same velocity, provided it is protected by Kevlar collision mats (or similar light-weight, high-tensile-strength armor).

This is the reason why most US soldiers don't do battle in govenrment-issue steel cuirasses anymore, but rather prefer to wear lighter and stronger Kevlar body armor (sometimes provided by their loved ones at home ;o)

Although most major manufacturers of lightweight cruising and racing vessels now include strategically placed Kevlar fiber collision mats in their production designs, they still have some serious catching up to do with regard to the use of modern collision impact absorption technology.

Unlike modern production cars, which feature sophisticated collision absorption cages and/or sacrificial compartments these days, only some of the most advanced custom-built ocean-racing vessel designs now appear to use such constructions.

Have fun!

Flying Dutchman
04-29-2006 12:53 AM
stbatton We hit a submerged steel pontoon or tank 100 nm off the coast of Cape Charles at night doing 10 knots. The tank rose up and slid across our deck taking all the stanchions out on the Port side. Luckly my sailboat is steel. I would have liked to have the forward radar. I was glad i was not sailing a clorox bottle
04-29-2006 12:02 AM
HenkMeuzelaar
Statistical Risks of Offshore Cruising

Many offshore sailors would probably be interested in having answers to the questions you are asking even though not everyone may be willing to admit so. Nonetheless, most of us understand at an intuitive level that this question cannot be meaningful without specifying the type of vessel (heavy or light displacement, vessel length and beam, sailplan, mono- or multihull, keel type, etc.), the type of crew (experience, condition, size, strength, group dynamics, etc.), the type of weather (visibility, wind strength, gustiness, wind shear, temperature, precipitation, lightning activity etc.) the type of ocean environment (depths, currents, wave action, searoom). Also, we need to specify and define the types of risk we want to measure, e.g. heavy vessel damage, loss of vessel, serious injury, loss of life, collateral damage, etc.

The intersection of all these variables can be thought to produce hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes (or rather multidimensional hyperspheres) within each of which there might conceivably exist sufficient homogeneity to conduct a statistically meaningful risk evaluation that could have a definite level of predictive value for anyone finding him- or herself in that particular box at a given point in time.

When dealing with highly complex statistical environments such as this it is best to try and reduce the complexity by eliminating as many of the factors as possible. Since this is a common predicament in human behavioral studies the wellknown use of twins provides an example of this reduction technique. In ocean sailing there is only a single group of one-design sailing vessels and crews, more or less sailing the same routes, that might produce enough statistical data to allow a formal risk study within their subset of "boxes" in hyperspace, namely Chay Blyth's Global Challenge fleet.

If you want to write anyone, he would be the logical person to ask. Whatever Jimmy Cornell says (with all due respect) is just one man's anecdotal opinion. In June 2000 we successfully sailed our Hunter Legend 43 Rivendel II directly from Cairns (Queensland, Australia) to Vanuatu against the prevailing trades, even though it was a La Nina year. Jimmy's sailing guide says "don't even consider this".......

Have fun

Flying Dutchman
04-25-2006 11:27 AM
Traveling_Jim First, let me thank all of you for your responses.

I suppose I'm interested in the insurance data because it gives an overall, AVERAGE measure of risk for a particular activity or a particular factor. Sometimes that average can be instructive. A couple of years ago I looked up a quote for life insurance. At the time I was 205 pounds (5'10 1/2"). I found that this weight put me in the increased rate category and that I had to be 195 pounds to get the normal rate. That was a bit of an eye-opener because while I knew I was a bit overweight I didn't think much of it. However, masses of statistics said otherwise.

Jared, your point is well taken about confounding factors and that ocean voyaging may not be statistically significant. If that is the case, then that would be interesting to know.

Of course, if we choose to engage in an activity, responsible, mature adults try to minimize their risks. If I scuba dive, I try to minimize the risks, but I still know that is significantly riskier than not getting in the water. Fine. I'll take the risks because I want the benefits of the activity.

Kimberlite, thanks for mentioning the other exclusions from yacht insurance. I knew about hurricane areas but not about the high latitudes. I expect that in the high latitudes a "hull loss" is most likely also a "crew loss".

Sailandor, thanks for mentioning Jimmy Cornell. I sent him an email yesterday at his noonsite.com website. I expect that if anyone has numerical data that he does. I'll let everyone know if I find out anything.
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