Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches... - SailNet Community

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Old 12-26-2013
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Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

This guy is as hardcore as they come, one of the toughest sailors on the planet. Sounds like he and his crew are very lucky to be alive, after what had to be an amazing rescue, under extremely difficult conditions...

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We were a little ahead of the front, downwind. There was a steady 43-45 knots [of wind], but it was manageable. We were prepared for this gale. We were under storm jib, with four reefs in the mainsail. Clearly, we really had the handbrake on, but in a wave the boat broke in two just behind the daggerboards.

"The mast did not fall immediately. We quickly closed all boat bulkheads and the rig fell over the stern. Very quickly we asked for help and organised our survival plan.

"We were prepared to leave the boat. The sea was huge, so we tried to assess the risk of damage to Cheminées Poujoulat. Damien and I tried to cut away the 60ft mast, but we did not succeed. It was really too dangerous. However, we managed to hold it a little below the water and stop it battering so badly against the hull. Afterwards we went inside and got all our survival gear together. We were not sure how long the boat would stay afloat."

Read more at Bernard Stamm rescue: 'I swam for my life' | Yachting World
Not a place I'd want to have to go swimming, during a storm on Christmas Eve...


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Old 12-26-2013
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

Any body know the age of the boat, and mostly what type of glass and resin it was made out of ?
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Old 12-26-2013
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

Holy Cow! Tough indeed!

Not the first time he's had to be rescued:



I guess when you push the envelope.....
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Old 12-26-2013
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

You have the full story, including a very dificult rescue here:

Interesting Sailboats
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

Wow, that was a close one. Boats are supposed to be tougher than their crews, aren't they?? Not here. 45 knots of wind is difficult enough without your boat breaking in two. What price speed??

A hearty vote of thanks to these guys:

MV STAR ISFJORD (General cargo vessel): ship particulars and AIS position - IMO 9182978, MMSI 257615000 - FleetMon.com

Sailors are often prone to complaining about merchant vessels. But many more sailors would have been lost without them.
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Wow, that was a close one. Boats are supposed to be tougher than their crews, aren't they?? Not here. 45 knots of wind is difficult enough without your boat breaking in two. What price speed??
....
Not very fast boats...or very fast cars for that matter: If you push them over the limit they break.

With the power these boats have they cannot stand full power in all conditions. It is up to the sailor to manage the boat and to keep it on a single piece.

But I don't think it was the case: they were on a delivery voyage with 4 reefs on the main and a small head sail.

Even if the boat had already one circumnavigation and several transats, many carbon Open 60s continue to race and to sail safely after more than 20 years and many racing circumnavigations. I would say a design or build problem that was revealed only now and in a very brutal way.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 12-26-2013 at 04:54 PM.
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

I didn't intend imply they were overcanvassed or such, as they were down to "a tablecloth and a handkerchief" as my father used to characterize it, and going downwind. And doubtless they need some sail to thresh through the seas and steer some kind of a track. They did indeed "have the hand brake on", well said.

It sounds like a pure structural issue. Which is what scares me. These are meant to be passagemaking craft? Or just speedsters? Every design is a compromise, but safety shouldn't be compromised.
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Even if the boat had already one circumnavigation and several transats, many carbon Open 60s continue to race and to sail safely after more than 20 years and many racing circumnavigations. I would say a design or build problem that was revealed only now and in a very brutal way.
This previous 'incident' might have been a contributing factor...

Quote:
In 2011, Stamm and Jean Francois Cuzon were airlifted off this same Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed IMOCA 60 when the boat was holed close to the the waterline while racing north of the Azores during the last edition of the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race.

Read more at Bernard Stamm rescue: 'I swam for my life' | Yachting World
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
...
It sounds like a pure structural issue. Which is what scares me. These are meant to be passagemaking craft? Or just speedsters? Every design is a compromise, but safety shouldn't be compromised.
This are not only passagemakers but probably the safest and strongest sailboats around. It seems you don't know very well the class (IMOCA). If you were familiar with it you would know that they have pioneered almost all safety measures taken on modern racing sailboats today and are the ones with more demanding safety standards.

This is a class with dozens of years and many sailboats built. The main problems are canting keel failure, mast and rudder breakage. A broken boat is indeed very rare and I do not remember any other boat (in decades) with a catastrophic structural breakage.

This was a recent boat (2011) so even if the boat had already circumnavigated while racing and done a racing transat among other races.

As I said there are many IMOCA boats still racing after 20 years of active service that included several non stop racing circumnavigations (on the same boat) and many transats, facing big storms and resisting the huge efforts that these racing machines create on the boat structure due to the high speeds achieved.

Any boat can suffer from a bad design or from a defect in the building process and the ones that are more subjected to huge efforts are the ones where those problems can be felt in a more catastrophic way. Very rare as I said but obviously that should be investigated for not happening again.

Regards

Paulo
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Re: Wow... Bernard Stamm's Open 60 "breaks in half" in the Western Approaches...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
This previous 'incident' might have been a contributing factor...
There was some talk about Stamm not being very satisfied with his boat and some suspect that what he said about it was just the point of the iceberg (some more was said on the int. sailboats thread). Anyway, it was his boat and he had not a way of getting a new one even if I am absolutely sure that he never suspected that such a catastrophic failure could happen.

<iframe width="960" height="540" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/14_ElajFMv0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 12-26-2013 at 06:12 PM.
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