Cape Fear 38 -- Lost Keel Fatality Investigation - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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This article, from the Galveston County Daily News, includes more information about the statement made by Cape Fear Yacht Works:

Statement by Cape Fear Yacht Works


I have not heard or seen any discussion of the damaged area yet. I am curious to know whether there is structural damage to the keel base, or whether the keel bolts themselves snapped and parted cleanly. (There have been some reported instances of sub-standard bolts coming out of "east-asia" that are mis-labelled as higher grade/strength).


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Another AP Story about Texas A&M's planned investigation of the incident, separate and distinct from the Coast Guard inquirey. Found here: Houston Chronicle

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From the Associated Press:

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M University officials on Tuesday appointed a troubleshooter best known for his takeover of the state's troubled juvenile prison system to investigate the weekend sinking of a sailboat during a regatta on the Gulf of Mexico.

Jay Kimbrough, deputy chancellor and general counsel for the Texas A&M University System, will conduct "a complete and thorough investigation" of the sinking of the 38-foot Cynthia Woods, Chancellor Michael D. McKinney said.

The sailboat went under late Friday night 27 miles east of Freeport. Four students in the Texas A&M system and one safety officer floated for more than a day in choppy seas before being rescued. They were released from a hospital Monday after being treated for sunburn and dehydration.

A sixth man, safety officer Roger Stone, died in the sinking. His body was later recovered in the Cynthia Woods. Funeral services are pending, the school said in a statement.

The boat was competing in the Regata de Amigos. The race covers hundreds of miles from Galveston to Veracruz, Mexico.

McKinney said Kimbrough will work with Coast Guard investigators and experts in maritime law, ship design and forensics to determine what went wrong. Kimbrough has already asked faculty, staff and students to report any concerns to a misconduct hotline.

"Mr. Kimbrough is authorized to utilize any and all resources ... he deems necessary to ensure a complete and thorough investigation to determine the cause of this incident," McKinney said. "We are thankful that five of our sailors were rescued, but the tragic loss of Roger Stone demands that we determine how this happened and what can be done to prevent it from happening again."

Kimbrough was appointed last year by Gov. Rick Perry to work as a conservator at the Texas Youth Commission following a high-profile sex abuse scandal. Kimbrough has also worked as Perry's deputy chief of staff, deputy first assistant attorney general, director of the Office of Homeland Security and executive director of the Criminal Justice Division.


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Last edited by JohnRPollard; 06-13-2008 at 09:02 AM.
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I guess there are two options:

1) SHe hit something and knocked it loose.

2) She had a mechanical failure.

Most boats can see their keel boats from the bilge. You would expect some VERY serious crazing around the bolts had it been a glass failure. I cannot iagine any captain that would not check his bilge before taking off. THat a bolt would just sheer or the glass just suddenly snap seems very unlikely to me. Also, if it was a bolt failure, It seems unlikely they would all sheer at the same time.

On the other side, you would REALLY have to nail something hard to knock off a keel. I have grounded my 380 REALLY hard and it had no effect other than sitting for hours waiting for the tide (should I have told you that???)

I realize that I am hypotesizing here, but the only thing that makes sense to me is that they hit something. My guess is a underwater rig. I think a container might give enough so as to not take off a keel.

Here is a look at the keel. Look how vertical she is. That does not give much room wanting to slide up a underwater object (for those who have run aground hard, you go horizontal AND vertical):



Here is a terrible pic of a Catalina 400. Look how much more swept back thge keel is (esp on the wing):



Anyone know how many keel boats she has?

What are others thoughts?

Is a swept back keel safer offshore (or inshore) than a vertical keel?

I realize this is a hypothetical - but worth discussing.

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Would any of you Galveston-area sailors be willing to see if you can view the boat? According to this article (The Facts) it is in Freeport:

Quote:
FREEPORT — The ruined hulk of the 38-foot sailboat Cynthia Woods sits on land along the Brazos River while investigators search for why the vessel capsized June 6, killing one of the crew and stranding five others in the Gulf.
It would be helpful to hear a first-hand description of the damaged area, even better to see some photos.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
I guess there are two options:

1) SHe hit something and knocked it loose.

2) She had a mechanical failure.

Most boats can see their keel boats from the bilge. You would expect some VERY serious crazing around the bolts had it been a glass failure. I cannot iagine any captain that would not check his bilge before taking off. THat a bolt would just sheer or the glass just suddenly snap seems very unlikely to me. Also, if it was a bolt failure, It seems unlikely they would all sheer at the same time.

On the other side, you would REALLY have to nail something hard to knock off a keel. I have grounded my 380 REALLY hard and it had no effect other than sitting for hours waiting for the tide (should I have told you that???)

I realize that I am hypotesizing here, but the only thing that makes sense to me is that they hit something. My guess is a underwater rig. I think a container might give enough so as to not take off a keel.

Here is a look at the keel. Look how vertical she is. That does not give much room wanting to slide up a underwater object (for those who have run aground hard, you go horizontal AND vertical):

...

Anyone know how many keel boats she has?

What are others thoughts?

Is a swept back keel safer offshore (or inshore) than a vertical keel?

I realize this is a hypothetical - but worth discussing.
CD,

As you rightly point out, "You really have to nail something hard to knock off a keel." I would go even further to say that on some boats, it wouldn't matter how hard you hit something -- the keel would never come off.

But in this case, the entire crew claims no such incident occurred. Given the sort of impact it SHOULD take to tear off a keel, it's difficult to believe such a forceful collision or allision could occur without the crew even remarking it. I am still focusing on catastrophic keel bolt or laminate failure --- but I'm simply speculating.

I do not know whether a vertical keel would be less forgiving than a swept-aft keel. I think it's more likely that the length and width of the keel base (where it attaches to the hull) is of more significance in how or whether the keel can survive an impact without major damage to itself or the hull.

High aspect, vertical keels are more efficient foils. The reason you see aft-swept keels is that they are favored for their ability to self-shed kelp, weed, nets, lines, etc, floating debris in general. Of course, if you slap a wing on the end of them, all bets are off!


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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
Would any of you Galveston-area sailors be willing to see if you can view the boat? According to this article (The Facts) it is in Freeport:It would be helpful to hear a first-hand description of the damaged area, even better to see some photos.
Paloma's slip in at Bridge Harbor YC in Freeport - she's in Port Aransas right now, but next weekend we are going to sail her back up to Freeport - if Cynthia Woods is still there, I'll check her out and take some pictures.

s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
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Of course, if the keel bolts had been damaged by crevice corrosion, then the amount of force required to dislodge the keel goes down dramatically. A wet bilge and crevice corrosion could easily eat away much of the keel bolts strength.

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Here is an investigation done in the UK about a similar incident. It has a very interesting conclusion.

Marine Accident Investigation Branch: Hooligan V

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.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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Here's the latest Houston Chronicle article - it gives more insight into what might have been the problem. No matter what the cause of this accident, I have always been of the firm belief that fin keel, spade rudder boats should not be considered as serious bluewater boats.

Ill-fated A&M boat's keel was damaged in 2007 incident | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
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Well that was very informative, giving a pretty clear picture as to what might have happened.


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