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Old 07-02-2011, 16:14   #1
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Mainsheet Rips Out Steering Wheel and Base - GrandSoleil 45

I don't know if this was reported here already...

About two weeks ago the skipper of a Grand Soleil 45 yacht that was to go on a doublehanded round the world cruise sent out a Mayday call only a couple of hours from their start. The skipper had broken ribs, and they lost steering ability in a Bora blow in the middle of Adriatic. A tank ship and a fishing vessel came to assistance and after a lot of struggle the fishing vessel towed the boat to safety.

I haven't seen a photo of rescued yacht, but the skipper reported literally that at some point the automatic steering lost control, and the mainsheet ripped out the steering wheel and it's base. I suppose they had an unintentional gybe.

Seamanship can be debated of course - having a main hoisted in such wind and starting off in bad weather vs. doing it on purpose as a test while still in vicinity of home. (Skipper is supposedly a very experienced guy.)

But what fascinates me is that a major boat building company managed to design and build a boat that can have it's steering wheel and base ripped out by it's own mainsheet! Astonishing accomplishment.
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Old 07-02-2011, 16:23   #2
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Not criticizing but,
Seems like an emergency steerage setup is a basic standard for offshore RTW sailing. Even most coastal boats have an emergency tiller. And in my limited knowledge, an emergency rudder facility (usually in the form of a windvane) is standard fair for offshore racing.
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Old 07-02-2011, 16:26   #3
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Seems like an emergency steerage setup is a basic standard for offshore RTW sailing. Even most coastal boats have an emergency tiller. And in my limited knowledge, an emergency rudder facility (usually in the form of a windvane) is standard fair for offshore racing.
Yup. Those items are stored right next to the spare ribs for the skipper's chest
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Old 07-02-2011, 16:33   #4
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Musta been in pretty bad shape... I guess 45' isn't enough room to 'walk it off'
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Old 07-02-2011, 17:43   #5
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My Sea Scout teenagers sailed a 55 fter 7 miles and then put her in her own slip in 30 knots using the emergency tiller and relieving tackles.

Course they knew how to sail and rig preventers.
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:08   #6
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It does not surprise me at all. The designers cannot account for every eventuality. Hell, I don't care who built the boat you do a wild jibe and snatch the pedestal with the mainsheet something has to give.

Remember when they taught you to pull the mainsheet in while you jibed? At least I was taught that. If you do an accidental jibe then that i'ts not going to happen and all that free mainsheet can wrap itself around anything.

The skippr should be glad it wasn't his head.

Some of you want to think the design and build will save you from dissaster.
That's part of the equasion.
Youn also have to know what you are doing.

Imagine the loads on that mainsheet as it whipped accross the boat.
Care to write a formula for that?
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:12   #7
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yep Grand Soleil , wouldnt deliver one if you paid me, and somebody once did. ( not the second time though), lightly built racing boats thats all they are.

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Old 07-02-2011, 18:14   #8
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LOL... nice one Bob....
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:20   #9
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Hmmm , There is definitely some arm chair sailing going on here. Anyone who has ever had broken ribs can understand even with an emergency tiller your not gonna have the wear withal to run a boat . depending on the break location,breathing is labor some and painful chore.
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Old 07-02-2011, 18:25   #10
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I thought he had crew.... and if solo...'Needs must when the devil drives'
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Old 07-02-2011, 19:40   #11
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This has been bugging me all evening: Do boats have steering wheels? Shouldn't "Mainsheet Rips Out Helm..." be the title here?
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Old 07-02-2011, 20:09   #12
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I take it that no preventer guys were rigged on the main boom.
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Old 07-02-2011, 20:34   #13
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It does not surprise me at all. The designers cannot account for every eventuality. Hell, I don't care who built the boat you do a wild jibe and snatch the pedestal with the mainsheet something has to give...Imagine the loads on that mainsheet as it whipped accross the boat.
Care to write a formula for that?
That's true but I've always thought that the common setup on plastic racers which have the helm immediately aft of the traveller is a recipe for that exact disaster. In fact, a vessel on which I sometimes crew had that problem a couple of months back. Didn't rip out the helm but caused some strife for the helmsman plus collateral damage.

That setup has been necessitated in part by the use of higher aspect rigs in racing vessels. It means shorter booms and thus the older, preferred setup of having the traveller aft of the helm is not really possible. That older setup allows the sheets to swing safely aft of the helm - even without hauling in to gybe.

I guess if you have a high aspect rig you could still fit a longer boom to enable this setup, but that just adds weight and cost. The alternative is to go to a centre boom attachment and have the traveller on the cabin. It's the better option of the two but requires consideration of the capabilities of the boom and cabin top.

The best approach is to ditch the high aspect sails and go low aspect and have the traveller aft. It might not enable point as well but gives you the power low down where it is most easily controlled. And given that cruisers mostly sail down and motor up, that should be the cruisers rig of choice imo.
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Old 07-02-2011, 20:50   #14
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If the boat jibed, which apparently it did, having a preventer rigged would most likely have worsened their situation. Freak wind shift, wind gets on the wrong (forward) side of the sail, preventer can't be released in time, boat lays on her beam ends, crew goes swimming.
Have seen it happen in the snap of a finger, while racing offshore.
Fin keels will stall the rudder and wind up in a flash.
We were right behind them in a Frers 48.
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Old 07-02-2011, 21:11   #15
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happend to friends of mine on "rouge wave",story in yachting monthly circa 2000.

whether it was an acccidental jibe or not,a preventer,not only prevents this but paramont , even if the sail gets back winded flying lines,booms are far safer controlled,even if the boat is on its' ear.

as to blue stockings comment "bollocks",unless you are in a sailing dingy,.........or totally over canvased flying a spinaker.............
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