Yeloya, I gather you are saying that you have sailed a cat with the rudders jambed on a relatively acute angle. If so I will defer to your experience, even though it strikes me that if the angle was acute enough, it would be very difficult, if not impossible to overcome with a drogue
. Indeed, even with your experience I am not prepared to accept that all cats would behave in exactly the same way with jambed rudders.
If I am correct - and I know that is a very big if, then as the boat could not be steered in spite of their best efforts at repairing or removing the rudders, then there was no way for them to continue sailing. Furthermore, while we can agree from the photographs that the boat was not awash, nevertheless we also know that they had been manually pumping for a very long time. Eventually exhaustion would set in and the very cold North Atlantic waters would rise. Should they have waited until conditions worsened, or hypothermia set in before seeking help? At this stage, I for one am certainly prepared to give captain
and crew the benefit of the doubt.
Please understand, I too am not a fan of 'wave-piercing bows' on a cruising cat. My point was simply that we cannot say that this contributed to the boat being driven back and the rudders damaged. While I am a fan of Ted Cllements and the Antares
44, we must also understand that he has a motive to support his own design, just as he does when he writes on the benefits of a galley-down arrangement and his preferece for keels over boards. What is obvious is that his comments are not ultimate truths and that other naval architects and sailors disagree with him on all of these points.
Regardless, as I read his article, he suggests that fine entries (such as on a battleship) actually allow the bows to penetrate waves with less resistance. The risk in using them on a cruising cat is of pitchpoling, which is not what happened here. Put in simple terms, if one takes a very blunt bow (think of a barge), is it not more likely to be stopped and driven back by a wave than a comparable vessel with a finer entry?
And Boatman, I am not suggesting that you are not entitled to an opinion. My concern is in attacking a boat's design, its construction, or the seamanship of the captain
and crew before we know the facts surrounding this incident. I am also not suggesting that you lack experience in heavy conditions in catamarans - although as you make no mention of experiencing the same in a cat with a fine entry, I am still unclear on the basis for your comparison. I too have experience going to windward in cats in heavy weather
, although not on one with 'wave piercing bows, so I am unwilling to suggest that this was a factor.
Certainly a Catalac
9m is about as far removed from an Alpha 42 as any cruising cat could be; indeed, I could opine that the problems you experienced were derived more from the relatively small size of the boat, the relative lack of bridgedeck clearance, the fact that the bridgedeck runs so far forward and, the relative lack of strength of a boat that is built without core
material above the waterline. But again:
1. I wasn't there (just as you weren't on the Alpha). 2. I haven't sailed a Catalac
9m in any conditions, let alone those (just as you have not sailed an Alpha 42). 3. I am not a naval architect (just as you are not). 4. I have no experience sailing a cat of any size with 'wave piercing bows', just as I suspect that you do not.
I know I am wasting my breath. It is just that I hate to see the reputation of a yacht designer
, a yacht builder
and a captain and crew maligned before the facts are in.
PS Sandcrab, having now checked out that report, I agree with your assessment as to when the gybes/360's occurred. Indeed, if the rudders were jambed on an angle, that would make perfect sense.