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Old 03-03-2013, 18:06   #1
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Leopard 46 sinks after collision

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Re: Leopard 46 destroyed in collision
Ok ...here is the story

1st March 2013, 05:50 PM
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Re: Leopard 43 Sinks
Hello Forum,

I checked with the USCG and this was not a Leopard 43, but a 2006 Leopard 46 (hull 005).

This was the second time the yacht was involved in an accident in less than a year. Back in 2011 the yacht hit a reef in the eastern Caribbean but was able to ‘limp’ back to Ft Lauderdale where she was repaired at Lauderdale Marine Center. I don’t know if that was with the same crew or not.

I am quite surprised that the Captain did not feel any impact when they hit ‘something’. If you ever hit the dock while docking at low speed, you feel the whole boat shake, I would expect an impact like this would throw one out of his bunk, or at least the helmsman would notice.

A few years ago another Leopard 46 catamaran went over a reef in Cuba and lost most of both keels / rudders, had a few holes in the bottom but did not go down and managed to sail back to FL for repairs. The pdf file is posted on this forum under "Leopard catamarans"



Below the Captain’s report:

…As delivery captain of the sailing catamaran “Palenque”, we departed Barefoot Cay, Roatan, Honduras, bound for Provodenciales in the Turks and Caicos on Tuesday, 27 November, 2012 at 0600 Local Time (UTC -6). On board were the following crew members:

Dale Cheek, US Passport #
Leonard T, US Passport #
Richard W, US Passport #
Anneli the Seadog, US Canine

At approximately 2345 on 28 Nov, 2012 I was awakened from my bunk by the on-watch crew member, Rick W, who reported that the bilge pump indicator light was remaining ON longer than usual. When I got out of my bunk I immediately saw the cabin sole was awash in both the forward and aft cabins. I awoke the other crew member, Len T, and set him to work on the manual bilge pump. I instructed Rick, at the helm, to move the throttle to NEUTRAL and to come below to assist with the issue. I closed all the below-the-waterline seacocks in the starboard hull. Briefly we used the two shower sumps electric pumps to extract the water, but this proved fruitless. The water level continued to rise. I entered the sea with snorkel gear and underwater flashlight to assess the problem. On the outer side of the starboard hull just forward of the leading edge of the keel, I noticed a large area (approx. 1 sq mtr) of exposed foam coring and obvious sign of heavy impact as seen in the scraped bottom paint. The exposed foam started just below the waterline and extended down to the monolithic laminations at the centerline of the hull.

I exited the water and at approximately 0045 on 29 Nov, 2012 I activated all of our emergency apparatuses which included a 406 MHz EPIRB, a SPOT transender, and a DSC VHF emergency alert. I attempted to call the boat owner on his cell phone by the boat’s satphone, but was unable to connect. I called my roommate in Florida to make initial shore contact. At approximately 0100 I received a satphone call from the Spot Coordination Center verifying the emergency.

We decided to attempt to maneuver the genoa sail over the hull damage. While again snorkeling overboard to effect this, I heard a low flying aircraft overhead at approx. 0155. When the sail maneuver proved unworkable and I exited the water which, by this time, had flooded the starboard engine room and was washing the cockpit. Len reported that the CG had called to verify names and situation. I gave the “prepare to abandon ship” order. At approximately 0230 we, including the dog, abandoned ship for the life raft.

Safely in the raft, we cut the painter connecting us to “Palenque”. By this time she was down heavily by the stern with water flooding the interior. Within 5 minutes more, the deck light was extinguished and we could no longer see her.

Thanks to a waterproof VHF handheld radio, we were able to communicate with the US Navy P3 Orion aircraft overhead and the container vessel “Cap Domingo” which the P3 had instructed to come for us. By 0f400 we all four were safely aboard the “Cap Domingo”.


Captain Dale’s bio can be seen online: Stock's Yacht Service - worldwide deliveries





Peter Wiersema, CPYB
Leopard Catamarans new and pre owned

Leopard Catamaran Salesman of the Year 2003 - 2012

Mobile +1 954 260 4913

peterw@yacht.com
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Old 03-03-2013, 18:16   #2
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Glad they made it off ok, too bad about the vessel.

Can't imagine they hit something big enough to sink the boat and not be felt.

Sounds like the crew stayed calm, especially the captain, which helped then debark safely.
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Old 07-03-2013, 17:42   #3
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Wow, how does that happen without the obvious sounds/feeling of hitting something?
Maybe the result of a bad fix from the accident in the previous year and the boat just delaminated?
It would be interesting to know if the previous accident involved the same area on the hull.
Doesn't make sense otherwise.
Glad the crew is safe.
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Old 07-03-2013, 19:33   #4
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Good hypothesis Caradow. How many bilge pumps would have been activated on your cat in the same situation? I would have had 4 in three seperate mostly watertight bulkheads. I would think you could have three going in a short period so the water ingress seems extreme for delamination.

It must have been near calm conditions to snorkel in the middle of the night to check this out. And she actually sank - very unusual.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:43   #5
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

"I noticed a large area (approx. 1 sq mtr) of exposed foam coring"

and here I thought leopards weren't foam construction at all.....hmmmm
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:00   #6
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Yeah - I saw that as well, far as I know they are all balsa? Which is fine provided you keep water away from it. Which may not have happened after its previous issue - which may have affected its buoyancy?
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Old 12-03-2013, 16:04   #7
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Have you got a link for the photo of what looks like foam core? Balsa sandwich can look quite similar to foam core when torn apart.
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Old 12-03-2013, 16:09   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ausaviator View Post
Have you got a link for the photo of what looks like foam core? Balsa sandwich can look quite similar to foam core when torn apart.
From what I read the capt. Got a view of the "foam core" while under the boat trying to save it from sinking. Probably an honest mistake.
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Old 12-03-2013, 16:48   #9
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Quote:
Originally Posted by ausaviator View Post
Have you got a link for the photo of what looks like foam core? Balsa sandwich can look quite similar to foam core when torn apart.
No photo - I was referring to what the post #1 said that the bloke on the boat said:

Quote:
On the outer side of the starboard hull just forward of the leading edge of the keel, I noticed a large area (approx. 1 sq mtr) of exposed foam coring and obvious sign of heavy impact as seen in the scraped bottom paint. The exposed foam started just below the waterline and extended down to the monolithic laminations at the centerline of the hull.
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Old 13-03-2013, 02:22   #10
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Quote:
Originally Posted by smj View Post
From what I read the capt. Got a view of the "foam core" while under the boat trying to save it from sinking. Probably an honest mistake.
That's correct SMJ, according to his account it was at night, viewed through a face mask, illuminated by a waterproof flashlight whilst diving under a sinking boat. Under these circumstances we can forgive a misidentification of core materials.
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Old 13-03-2013, 02:51   #11
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Find it hard to understand the boat sinking, surely forepeaks and the other engine room would have assisted flotation some?

Not same design but the two Lagoons with their arses ripped out in the Caribbean were still floating and that was both hulls.

'Tis good they survived ok 'tis bad the boat is gone!
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Old 13-03-2013, 08:41   #12
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

On other forums there have been further discussions to this unfortunate event.

Fact: the boat hit a reef last year, she was holed and was repaired in Honduras in exactly the same spot as where the 'hole' was observed by the captain.

It is believed that the repair job was an extremely lousy one, and failed when the boat was crashing into waves. As the skipper nor crew felt any impact of hitting something, and the hole was large and in the same spot, this is likely the cause. Maybe the layers of fibre-glass that were added came of like when you pull of a band-aid? Maybe the yard did not bond it properly or used materials that are not compatible and the repair did not bond well?

As for the comparisons with the 2 x Lagoon's that had their bottom's torn off on a reef and remained afloat: They both sat on a reef on the remainder of their structure. Large inflatable balloons were attached all around these yachts to keep them floating and bring them back to a boat yard where they were hauled out. If they would have simply pulled them of the reef, they would likely have gone down very quickly.

As for the Leopard 46', there is a large crash box forward that is water tight, and specifically designed to take the impact of a front collision with a semi submerged object.

Attached a document that describes how another leopard 46 survived an encounter with a reef:
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Leopard 46 sacrificial keels.pdf (572.5 KB, 303 views)
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Old 13-03-2013, 08:49   #13
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

My point was i doubt any cat would sink totally due to one hull being holed regardless of design. Were both hulls previously repaired?
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Old 13-03-2013, 08:51   #14
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

Catabroker : what other forums behave discussions of this event?
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Old 13-03-2013, 09:00   #15
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Re: Leopard 46 sinks after collision

While extremely unlikely in the case of a capsize, make no mistake - some cats can sink. In this case, if one hull filled to the point that water was also over the bridgedeck, it would then flood the other hull. Some cats will have sufficient bouyancy, even in those circumstances, to remain afloat, but others do not. Those made from solid glass (such as some of the early British cats) would be especially susceptible. Furthermore, some boats with crash bulkheads and flotation compartments have had holes drilled through them for wiring, etc., which of course will defeat the purpose.

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