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Old 10-09-2018, 11:23   #1
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44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

The crew of a Norwegian registered FP 44 Helia was rescued the other day, outside the south cost of Marocco. They were on a journey from Tenerife to Norway with their newly bought boat.
Owner reports of hole under waterline in STB head, probably from hitting a object. Beeing unable to repair the damage they alerted authorities and was rescued. Crew ok but boat a total loss. Click image for larger version

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Old 10-09-2018, 11:39   #2
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

Wow, there goes someones dreams. Very very sad.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:02   #3
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

I’m interested in this picture. With “supposedly “ rear sealed compartments how is it when you get water in the hull and have front sealed compartments do you get to see the boat so down at the back.

Interesting to hear the manufacturers point of view on this.

If they hit something would it also not be reasonable to assume the front crash compartment would be holed and not the boat ??
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:11   #4
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

I have seen many cats with hulls so thin for weight that they were easil sprung by hand force or casual contact with the dock. I think I’ll stick with my 1-1/2 inch thick solid glass and Kevlar 40 ton Nicholson.

Glad the outcome is without crew loss.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:31   #5
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeFergie View Post
I’m interested in this picture. With “supposedly “ rear sealed compartments how is it when you get water in the hull and have front sealed compartments do you get to see the boat so down at the back.

Interesting to hear the manufacturers point of view on this.

If they hit something would it also not be reasonable to assume the front crash compartment would be holed and not the boat ??
I know how my engine bay doors are made, and I could never imagine anyone calling them waterproof. If you put enough water in the hulls, the back end will sag. Then water comes up the transom and in the engine compartment. I don't know of any production cat manufacturer that boasts "waterproof" engine compartments, including Leopard.

If you hit something hard enough with the stub keel, I can see it tearing the hull. The stub keels are sacrificial, but with enough impact I can see it easily damaging the hull mid ship, right where the heads are. The forward crash boxes would stay intact, and cause the bows to float.

Google sunk catamaran, and you'll find a great many of them that are holed sink with the transoms down, bows up.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:31   #6
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

They concluded they hit something in the night, but did not hear or feel anything, yet there was a big hole in one of the bows.
Must be pretty thin hulls, or previous damage not properly repaired.
Boat purchased the last few days, no survey.
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Old 10-09-2018, 13:05   #7
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

What a nightmare. I hope they could afford insurance.
So sad to see someones dreams dissappear.
Best luck to them.
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Old 10-09-2018, 13:07   #8
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

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They concluded they hit something in the night, but did not hear or feel anything, yet there was a big hole in one of the bows.
Must be pretty thin hulls, or previous damage not properly repaired.
Boat purchased the last few days, no survey.
You're right, if the hole was in the head, it was more toward the bow. If you look closely at one of the pics, you can tell it's an owner's version which puts the starboard head forward, not mid-ship like I thought.

The hulls on cats tend to be lightly built compared to most monos. The Helia would be built with vacuum bagged infusion and a balsa core. Light weight, but still strong under normal use. But, not so much with an impact. Good impact resistance would come with heavy solid glass layup, but you'd never sell a cat that a Catalina 22 can outrun.
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Old 10-09-2018, 13:08   #9
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

The waters around Tenerife are pretty damn rough most of the time. Can be a real washing machine. I’d put money on a bad repair that failed. No survey on a $500k boat and then go offshore days later? Oy vey.
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Old 10-09-2018, 15:09   #10
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

The part about hitting something substantial enough to hole the Helia and not noticing anything, like a loud WHAM, piqued my curiosity. The seas may well have settled down since the accident in those photos, but hard to imagine you'd slam into something and not hear it.

I've hit a small log in very rough, breaking seas, and we sure heard it loud and clear, despite the wind noise, breaking waves noise, and hull noise in the sloppy conditions. Broken through hull or fitting, maybe?


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Old 10-09-2018, 15:26   #11
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44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tornadosailing View Post
You're right, if the hole was in the head, it was more toward the bow. If you look closely at one of the pics, you can tell it's an owner's version which puts the starboard head forward, not mid-ship like I thought.



The hulls on cats tend to be lightly built compared to most monos. The Helia would be built with vacuum bagged infusion and a balsa core. Light weight, but still strong under normal use. But, not so much with an impact. Good impact resistance would come with heavy solid glass layup, but you'd never sell a cat that a Catalina 22 can outrun.

Reposting a picture of our starboard bow after collision with a shoreside rock shelf at about 4 knots. The bow knuckle as well as the rest of our boat is solid fibreglass below the waterline and the bow has a sealed crash compartment behind it, so a collision on the bow will fill only a limited volume. So cats aren’t necessarily without solid glass.

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Perhaps their collision was not directly on the bows (neither has visible damage) but further back beyond the crash compartment? And if cables and whatever else passing through the engine bulkhead are not sealed well, then water can run through the entire hulls right to the sterns, then through the rear beam along the steering cables from one hull to the other. The weight of the engines can take it down stern first. Remember that cat in Bundaberg last year holed in one hull? They didn’t actually sink, but water from one hull did flow into the other hull to push both hulls down by the sterns.

The Hellia brochure https://www.fountainepajot.com.au/wp...chure-2017.pdf states under ‘Safety’: “Incomparable levels of safety are a hallmark of Fountaine Pajot’s cruising catamarans. Our boats are unsinkable in all conditions and feature a sacrificial skeg, crash box, balsa sandwich construction and other elements to guarantee optimal peace of mind. Each catamaran is designed with optimized circulation throughout the boat to facilitate safe and easy movement and maneuvering. Every aspect has been considered with your safety in mind, from the boom height, flybridge access, seamless communication between the saloon and cockpit, protected windlass, and much more.”

Whatever the case, very glad that they were rescued and really hope they had full insurance.
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Old 10-09-2018, 15:37   #12
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

Just curious, if the other Hull is intact, shouldn’t that prevent the sterns from sinking like that?
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Old 10-09-2018, 16:04   #13
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

Always sad to see a boat written off, but good to see everyone was OK.

We'll probably never know exactly what actually happened, but from the translated account here: Norwegian catamaran sinks outside of Morocco. it sounds like there was probably a collision with something sharp enough to tear a large hole in the hull in the stbd head. I believe the Helia is relatively modern construction with a foam cored, infused hull, so likely to be quite stiff and strong, but potentially not particularly puncture resistant. Maybe it was a floating container, or a log, or just something else.

The sealed bow collision bulkheads appear to have done their job and kept the boat afloat, giving the crew a survival/rescue platform bigger and better than a liferaft. I think this would be the response/outcome with many catamarans - it is hard to put watertight compartments aft without losing space and adding complexity given the steering and propulsion systems there. It is of course possible, but that is not the tradeoff that most people/manufacturers choose to make. It was one I was comfortable with as a cruiser with a family, though I did think about it. If I was ever to build a custom boat, I might well make a different trade-off.
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Old 10-09-2018, 16:10   #14
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

Quote:
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Just curious, if the other Hull is intact, shouldn’t that prevent the sterns from sinking like that?
My guess is that even if there isn't a connection between the hulls at the stern for a steering rod like there was on our boat, in any sort of seas you'd get water sloshing across through the bridge-deck salon into the other hull.
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Old 10-09-2018, 16:11   #15
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Re: 44 Helia "sunk" in the Atlantic

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Just curious, if the other Hull is intact, shouldn’t that prevent the sterns from sinking like that?
No. There's a path for water to flow from one engine compartment to the other via the steering crossbar. There are a few designs that use no crossbar, but are generally considered inferior because of the added complexity of keeping both rudders pointing the same way without it.

The sequence goes something like this: Hole in one hull. Water runs to the rear of the hull and brings the stern down. Waves and water level flood into the engine compartment. Water flows across the pathway for the crossbar and sinks the other engine compartment. Water flows through the salon to the other hull.

There have been many cases where only one hull sunk, but the pics I've seen were in an anchorage where wave action didn't push the water to the other side.
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