A lot here has been taken pretty nonchalantly. It doesn't sound like the crew was up to the task of sailing the boat in the given conditions. The boat owner obviously knows little about his boat...it wasn't set up properly, the flotation was inadequate, the rudder was not secure. My guess is there was probably other deficiencies. The boat went down close to shore but it wasn't always close to shore. At least one PFD was defective. ShockT is making light of this incident as though everything was under control; that's probably how a lot of drowned persons felt.
I certainly have plenty of experience sailing similar boats as I owned a turbo'd Hotfoot 20 for years. I have only sailed with the skipper once before on that boat, and that was cut short when the boat started to break. I am not sure how much experience he has sailing the i550, but he has had it for a while, and sails it single handed. As for the rudder, it is a cassette type, but I did not see what mechanism was used to hold the foil in place. Clearly whatever retension system was used didn't do the job!
When the boat went over I was not concerned about it because I have sailed enough dinghies to consider capsizing just part of the sport, although I did not expect it to happen on that boat, I knew exactly what had to be done and we did it. The second surprise was that the boat sunk. That definitely is not supposed to happen!
I am beginning to wonder if the boat was under- ballasted. When we righted the boat I was surprised to see the keel did not have a bulb on it, it had a rectangular bar! Not only is that not very hydrodynamic, but the size of it did not seem very large. Now that I know that the design calls for a 75kg bulb, I have my doubts as to whether it was anywhere near that heavy, particularly if it was iron and not lead. To be fair though, I only saw it for a few seconds! It certainly should have been able to right itself after the gust passed.
I don't think the problem was that we didn't know what we were doing, even though mistakes were made. I think the problem is that the boat itself was built improperly, and was unstable as a result. The problems may not have manifested themselves in the predominantly light to moderate winds we typically get. It took a big gust to show how inherently unstable it really was.
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