I wanted to circle back around to this apparent fear of capsize. I've already posted above the video of the capsize of the G4. There's no question that boat capsized and it didn't come back up on its own.
Arc just posted another example of this catamaran that also capsized and didn't come back up...
But so that you understand some context about both of these boats, it is made very clear in the G4 video that the professional skipper and crew were intentionally pushing that boat on foils to see what it would do. It is also clear (visually and confirmed by the skipper) that the reason the boat went over is that they had a problem releasing the mainsheet. If you have any time at all on a beachcat you understand how this can be a real issue.
As for the FUJIN
, the Bieker 53, she was also racing in the RORC Caribbean 600. And to give you some context of how hard this crew pushes this boat, here you go...
So, it's pretty clear to anyone with an open mind that neither of these boats/use-cases have anything whatsoever in common with cruising. So to use them as examples of what can happen to a cruising mutli is a bit like using DRUM or CHEEKI RAFIKI or even VIRBAC PAPREC 3 to say that you should fear cruising monos. There's just no logical correlation if you're at all serious about the subject.
On the other hand you have LEOPARD in the video posted elsewhere...
Again, definitely a cruising cat (Chris White Design)...and definitely upside down. Now, I think this was posted earlier, but here is a superb write-up by Charlie Doane on the incident...
A critical part of that article is this...
Chris White has already received a preliminary meteorological assessment from Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University (also a friend and an Atlantic catamaran owner), who reviewed the atmospheric records for the relevant time and place and concluded conditions in the area were in fact conducive to the formation of a tornadic vortex.
Graphic prepared by Jennifer Francis. Her conclusion, transmitted to Chris White: “It all seems to add up to a twisting phenomenon, not a microburst.”
Discussing the event with Charles Nethersole, it really did sound to me like the purest piece of bad luck a bluewater sailor could ever hope to encounter, as though God himself, with no warning, had suddenly decided to poke you with a finger and squash you like a bug.
So to call this event a "squall" is pretty far off the mark. You can read through the rest of the thread and draw your own conclusion.
BUT - there is another issue here that IS of some concern...a second Chris White Design ANNA also capsized in what was reported as a "squall" several years earlier...
The report from Anna was the squall did not look any different than the others. But the last wind reading they noticed was 62 knots. That's a lot of wind. And they had the same sail up as Javelin did in the squall I just mentioned, a single reefed main and the full self tacking jib. Keep in mind that power in the wind increases as the square of the velocity. Doubling the velocity from 20 to 40 kts increases the pressure on the sails by FOUR times. Tripling the wind velocity from 20 to 60 kts increases the wind pressure by NINE times.
Reefing not only reduces the sail area but removes sail area from up high where the wind pressure exerts the most leverage trying to turn the boat over. The typical catamaran mainsail is large with a very rounded roach that increases the sail area near the top of the sail where it exerts the most heeling force. The combination of both reducing the sail area and reducing its height by reefing has a dramatic effect on stability, allowing the boat to stand up to much stronger gusts.
So LEOPARD in the video above is the second
CWD that has capsized in high winds. Why? The ANNA story seems to clearly be on the sailors having too much sail up. And Chris White himself agrees with the tornadic weather conclusion above regarding LEOPARD...
It is still early in our evaluation of what happened but my own opinion is that Leopard was overtaken by a tornadic waterspout.
CWDs going over? Is there something in the design/build of these boats that make them more prone to capsize?
Regardless, I'm not at all worried about it. I know it can happen. I also know keels do fall off. That's why you take care of the boat and sail her to conditions...regardless of what boat you're on. It's really no frightening mystery.