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Old 15-02-2015, 18:13   #481
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by capnmatt View Post
I've read through most of this thread, primarily because of the entertainment value. The one thing I will contribute is that my guess is that the folks at Gunboat are chomping at the bit to defend their brand. However, I think it is likely that they have a team of attorney's that are strongly advising them to keep their mouths shut for now. I'm assuming the boat was insured and I doubt the insurance company really wants to simply write a check for $2.5 million and call it good. Where do you think the insurance company is going turn to once they pay out their claim? My guess is either the company that manufactured the boat and/or the professional crew that was on the boat at the time of the incident. With so much on the line can you really blame Gunboat and the crew for not offering any information at this point? Furthermore, I am sure that Gunboat has their own liability insurance, in which case the lawyers from their own insurance company are surely demanding they they stay tight lipped about the incident.

Maybe I'm way off base here, but I suspect our top notch US legal system may have something to do with the lack of information flow.
It makes sense. Not only on the US: regarding new designs that fail inexplicably on conditions they should not have failed, insurance companies will argue about a defective design and if the design is defective they would not pay.

I guess that the proven existence (or not) of that 70K wind wall will be paramount to the accident to be considered justified or not. Out of that wind wall, that they say appeared suddenly, the conditions would not justify a lost mast on a new 55ft sailboat.
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Old 15-02-2015, 19:09   #482
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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I would suggest you take your experiences in mind before criticizing the Gunboat or their crew. Their failure may have been as trivial as yours but in much worse conditions. Once again, the loss of the mast doesn't mean the Gunboat can't be a good cruiser, they may have had a stroke of bad luck as you did on Insatiable.
SMJ, how could I not "take my experience in mind" when criticizing the Gunboat (I don't think that I criticized the crew at any point)? My sailing experience is there, I can't escape it, and it always is part of my thinking.

And I don't agree that they were in "much worse conditions" We have an unsubstantiated report of a single 70 knot gust, but the general conditions were pretty similar to those that we had been in for around five full days. I don't recall what the highest gust we experienced was, but we had hours of 50+ knots. It is quite likely that our peak gusts were on the order of 70 Kn. The Met office reported similar strengths to what we observed, and a big Cheoy Lee motor sailor was abandoned about 50 miles from where we were after it began to break up. It was the worst sea conditions that we have ever been in, and that includes cyclone Lisa. It featured a big SW swell, big slowly shifting seas from the N quadrant and the edges of the South Australia current... not so strong as the Gulf stream, but not trivial either... lots of big eddies.

Finally, yes, their failure may have been caused by something as trivial as a missing split pin, who knows? But recall that this was a brand new 2.5 M$ boat, professionally prepared and professionally crewed. I don't think that such a failure should have happened, and that it did is a failure of this particular GB as a cruising boat. I see no reason to change that opinion as yet.

Oh... I do not now nor have I ever said that our dismasting was due to "bad luck".

Jim
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Old 15-02-2015, 19:19   #483
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

We've now gone from benign conditions to a full on gale. Was that gale in the Gulf Stream with opposing currents? Point once again Jim
Is s&$t happens, whether on your boat or the Gunboat. Doesn't make either design or boat bad just means someone or something screwed up. No need to condemn the whole production line for one mistake. By the way, have you ever seen me trashing monos on the monohull forum after they succeeded in failing?
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Old 15-02-2015, 19:50   #484
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Yes, but given that the failed rig will definitely never be seen again, and it's looking increasingly likely that the boat itself may never be found, what additional "facts" are likely to be forthcoming?

Over 3 weeks after the incident, I would presume the 'de-briefing' of the crew would have been concluded by now, no?

One thing I think is safe to assume, however... I'll bet Mr Johnstone is counting his lucky stars that there wasn't an OBR like Charlie Doane along for that ride, the narrative might have been just a bit more difficult to control...

;-))
Mr. Clean says he will publish a story and those SA guys seem pretty hard to control. I think the Coast Guard will have debriefed the crew as well. GB may very well be controlling the narrative but I don't know that and have heard no evidence that is so. I could also speculate that the crew brought back pictures of key bits of the broken rig. That could help GB or the rig vendor figure out what might have happened.

I doubt Mr. Johnstone thinks any part of this disaster is lucky for them. If they are not able (or willing) to report what broke and why it will be a long term problem for them and that model boat. I just don't think it is time yet to start thinking that way.
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Old 15-02-2015, 20:56   #485
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

[QUOTE=transmitterdan;1749830]. We don't have all the facts. Opinions without facts are pretty much worthless. QUOTE]


Yes, 99% of this thread is pretty worthless.
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Old 15-02-2015, 21:10   #486
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

So much speculation on so few facts. Must be winter and too many people with nothing else to do. Me, I had a nice daysail today with 10-15k on a sunny 75 degree day in Santa Cruz. Something to be said for global warming.

Since the facts will probably not be forthcoming (do you remember when the crew died when the Caribbean 1500 boat tried to enter a Bahamas pass during a rage--did you ever get the facts? and Mr Clean doesn't have the cojones to publish what he was told), its time for fearless forecasts, based on few facts, but a lot of experience.

1. The delivery crew recommended against their departure, but the high dollar owner (HDO) was on a schedule and overruled them. Been there, done that. I'm delivering a boat down from San Francisco to Newport for the Ensenada race. I tell the HDO "there's a front coming through in 12 hours--we will have 25k on the nose before the front, and 25k from behind after the front--lets park up until midnite". The HDO says "my HD boat is very powerful, and will motor easily into 25k". Result-- the HD boat wasn't making 3k against wind and sea with WOT,and the HDO is seasick. When I again suggested we stop in Half Moon Bay (20 miles down the coast) until the front passed, he was all for it. Twelve hours later, we were smoking down the coast with 25k up the bum.

2. The mast came down because it was not well supported when the boat hit a leftover southerly wave at flank speed in a NW squall. The boat stopped, but the rig didn't, just like the time we were racing Hobie cats in Half Moon Bay and a squall hit. My friends headed for the beach with the wind about 120 apparent, and went up the beach and hit a sand berm, with spectacular results (this was pre you-tube days, but a video would have gone viral). The difference was that friends just stepped off the Hobie. I have to blame the professional crew for the demasting--they had a bunch of miles on GB's, and should have known how fragile a high performance boat is. It was a delivery, not a race, and there was no need to push things. Plus, after 24 hours offshore, the HDO is probably seasick and no longer participating in decisions on how hard to press the boat.

3. When things went pear-shaped on the GB55, it was the HDO who pushed the red button. This forecast is a no-brainer when you are dealing with HDO's and life is no longer fun. One of the best HDO stories is Larry Ellison on Sayonara in the 1998 Sydney-Hobart with Chris Dickson as skipper and my friend Mark Rudiger as navigator. They have crossed Bass Strait and are reaching down the coast of Tasmania toward the Hobart when the wind and sea get seriously ugly and the boat is starting to have structural issues (lot of banging and a few cracks). Chris and Mark get summoned to the HDO, who wants to turn up inshore to get out of the sea state. They explain to him that the boat probably won't fall apart, and that the wind will come round behind later, and that they may lose first to finish if they go inshore. The HDO commands them go inshore (the boat didn't sink and they still won), and AFAIK that was Larry's last offshore race. In the GB55 case, the crew screwed up and lost the owner's trust if they got ropes around the props, and there may or may not have been other issues with the boat. However, I can almost guarantee it was the HDO who called for assistance, whether it was really needed or not.
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Old 15-02-2015, 21:12   #487
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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We've now gone from benign conditions to a full on gale. Was that gale in the Gulf Stream with opposing currents? Point once again Jim
Is s&$t happens, whether on your boat or the Gunboat. Doesn't make either design or boat bad just means someone or something screwed up. No need to condemn the whole production line for one mistake. By the way, have you ever seen me trashing monos on the monohull forum after they succeeded in failing?
Okay, smj, I must not have written clearly, or in adequate detail. When our old mast came down, it was blowing around 20-25, already diminishing as the wind worked its way towards a southerly change. I left out the account of the previous days' gales, because it did not seem germane to me. We had some damage, we had aborted our destination of New Caledonia, and decided to go to the east coast of Qld.

I do agree that bad stuff happens, and it can mean someone messed up. FWIW, I think a mom and pop crew dealing with a dismasting is different from a race crew dealing with it--many hands make light work--and I agree the cold probably played an unknown part in the Rainmaker event.

I'm not quite sure why you ask if Jim has ever seen you 'trashing' monohulls. Why would that affect his opinion created by Rainmaker's failure to complete her maiden voyage?

IMO, it should be unlikely that a brand new and extremely expensive boat of touted-as-excellent quality and "able to sail around storms" would fail so spectacularly as to be abandoned, and it certainly could be due to a design flaw. What I mean by spectacularly is that in addition to the dismasting, water shorting out the starter of one of the engines (someone mentioned this, a question of design due to the location of the hatch opening, but I am not sure it has been confirmed); something also caused it to be low in the water; something caused the people on it to choose to get off at a time when they presumably they still had fuel and another engine. [Maybe they didn't want to sit in an cold water bath to Bermuda; maybe they feared it breaking up.] This doesn't read to me like the boat took good care of its people [an important part of a boat's job], especially when advertised as the GB has been], but I will concede the possibility that by choosing that particular weather window they didn't take very good care of her either. If you want to go back to our old boat at this point, she was 8 yrs. old when we bought her, we'd been cruising in her 10 yrs. at the time of the dismasting, and she (at a purchase cost of ~ $64k), sustained only the damage from the mast coming down...and she took good care of us.

If you looked at the picture of the abandoned "Sedona" mono, or the abandoned Tri, posted here this afternoon, those boats look still seaworthy if they had spare sails. Wouldn't be a major problem on a race boat, just use the next smaller sail, as long as the rig is still up. Those two boats, respectively cost $10,000 and $40,000, iirc. The Rainmaker (at $2.5 million), in addition to having being dismasted, had water over her bottom steps, a bit of a worry with the weight of mast gone. I wonder how all that water got into both hulls. Another potential design flaw?

I'm sorry if you consider this trashing, but it is only one opinion, and even then, I might be convinced the GBs are wonderful if my concerns were adequately addressed.

Ann
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Old 15-02-2015, 21:42   #488
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Finally, yes, their failure may have been caused by something as trivial as a missing split pin, who knows? But recall that this was a brand new 2.5 M$ boat, professionally prepared and professionally crewed. I don't think that such a failure should have happened, and that it did is a failure of this particular GB as a cruising boat. I see no reason to change that opinion as yet.


Jim
The cost of the boat is pretty much meaningless. Mistakes can be made regardless of budget. A faulty oil line casting nearly brought down a brand new hundreds of millions of dollars A380.

Does that mean the design was faulty - given that it was something NOT BUILT ACCORDING TO THE DESIGN that caused the problem?

But hell in the complete absence of factual information, why not just damn the whole thing anyway? It is a cat after all.....
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Old 15-02-2015, 22:47   #489
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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The cost of the boat is pretty much meaningless. Mistakes can be made regardless of budget. A faulty oil line casting nearly brought down a brand new hundreds of millions of dollars A380.

Does that mean the design was faulty - given that it was something NOT BUILT ACCORDING TO THE DESIGN that caused the problem?

But hell in the complete absence of factual information, why not just damn the whole thing anyway? It is a cat after all.....
I'm getting bored with this discussion, but...

Fact: This was a brand new, professionally prepared and crewed boat.

Fact: It was abandoned after sailing a couple of hundred miles total (exact value unknown), with a catastrophic rig failure.

Fact: The weather was severe but not unexpected. The professional crew must have thought the boat should be strong enough to survive. It didn't.

Fact: We don't know what specific bit failed to bring down the rig.
'
Fact: The insurance company will likely bear the cost of the misadventure, not Gunboat, not the owner. Other folks with insurance policies will in time feel the effects of that big loss. (The latter observation isn't too relevant, but it gripes me anyway).

So, there is not a complete lack of factual information as you say. And if you look at most of the criticisms, they address not the multihull nature of Rainmaker, but the design that seems to value potential speed over structural integrity and seaworthyness. Many have commented upon the disparity between the advertising claims and what really happened. CC44,you , SMJ and a few others often seem to find "cat bashing" in every posting. Smacks of paranoia in this case IMO, for there has been relatively little anti-multihull sentiment expressed... more the idea that this specific GB didn't live up to its billing.

Finally, I'd like to say once again: I'm not anti-multihulls. If our present boat had not come up for sale exactly when it did, well, we were well into the negotiating stage for a stretched Catana 44, and would likely be sailing her today. I like multis, and appreciate their many good features. I do not think they are faultless nor that they are superior to monohulls in every way. I get cranky when folks say that my postings are driven by anti-multihull feelings.

Like most of the interested parties, I await some form of info from GB, or other knowledgeable sources... something that will clear up a few of our questions.

Jim
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Old 15-02-2015, 23:11   #490
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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IMO, it should be unlikely that a brand new and extremely expensive boat of touted-as-excellent quality and "able to sail around storms" would fail so spectacularly as to be abandoned, and it certainly could be due to a design flaw. What I mean by spectacularly is that in addition to the dismasting, water shorting out the starter of one of the engines (someone mentioned this, a question of design due to the location of the hatch opening, but I am not sure it has been confirmed)...

Ann
Just to clarify, the mention I made to an engine starter being shorted out was in reference to one of the cascade of failures that occurred on the Alpha 42 abandoned last winter. I was merely pointing out the potential vulnerability of RAINMAKER's machinery compartments to a similar ingress of seawater, especially when adrift, and wallowing about in a confused sea state...
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Old 16-02-2015, 00:17   #491
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

Dang, almost 500 responses to this incident and y'all are still mostly basically restating what I wrote in post #2 here back on 30Jan, >2wks ago: GUNBOAT Dismasting .

The HDO and paid crew took a huge (WX) risk; the boat, and crew, couldn't handle the conditions encountered; the builder clearly overhyped the type; the Coasties rode to the rescue (at some risk); the insurers will piss and moan and drag feet, then reach some kind of payout; and the all-inclusive insurance pool (you and me) will ultimately pay for this urological escapade.

Then:
The builder and all others involved will stay clammed up indefinitely (on advice of counsel), and never acknowledge any fault. (I'm reminded of the old joke about the big-mouthed frog and the gator, ending with froggie faintly mumbling 'nooo shiit')

While (mostly informed) speculation rages on (hey, it's fun).

Gunboat is/will assiduously study this 55 series design and its integrity, then quietly drop the model from their line. And shortly thereafter introduce a de-facto market slot replacement of a somewhat 'improved' design, to much fanfare.

(Yes, I luvs cats, sailed beach cats for decades, wish I could afford a big cruising one. And I pushed the beachcat envelope many times, sailing in wind, waves and surf that probably approached, scalewise, where some of these incidents get to. The invincibility of youth and all... many layovers and pitchpoles, only once damaged the mast, just as well as Hobie was replacing them then with carbon tips(?) (due to electrocution dangers). )


While I'm here, somebody (I'll try to edit this shortly...musta been xmtrdan ref here: GUNBOAT Dismasting) mentioned the USCG debriefing the crew, assuming a report will follow.
Trouble is, this was a pretty routine incident, don't expect too much. Not that many Coasties are sailboaters, the investigation and interviews are unlikely to get very technical or detailed.
Even most of the CG Academy (and OCS) graduates, who spend a fair amount of time sail training aboard their fleet of 44's and smaller craft (and the big barque the Eagle) don't really get into being 'yotties'. So their handling of this probably isn't going to name a root cause. If it had been a commercial incident far more resources would be brought to bear.

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Old 16-02-2015, 00:43   #492
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Dang, almost 500 responses to this incident and y'all are still mostly basically restating what I wrote in post #2 here back on 30Jan, >2wks ago: GUNBOAT Dismasting .

The HDO and paid crew took a huge (WX) risk; the boat, and crew, couldn't handle the conditions encountered; the builder clearly overhyped the type; the Coasties rode to the rescue (at some risk); the insurers will piss and moan and drag feet, then reach some kind of payout; and the all-inclusive insurance pool (you and me) will ultimately pay for this urological escapade.

Then:
The builder and all others involved will stay clammed up indefinitely (on advice of counsel), and never acknowledge any fault. (I'm reminded of the old joke about the big-mouthed frog and the gator, ending with froggie faintly mumbling 'nooo shiit')

While (mostly informed) speculation rages on (hey, it's fun).

Gunboat is/will assiduously study this 55 series design and its integrity, then quietly drop the model from their line. And shortly thereafter introduce a de-facto market slot replacement of a somewhat 'improved' design, to much fanfare.

(Yes, I luvs cats, sailed beach cats for decades, wish I could afford a big cruising one. And I pushed the beachcat envelope many times, sailing in wind, waves and surf that probably approached, scalewise, where some of these incidents get to. The invincibility of youth and all... many layovers and pitchpoles, only once damaged the mast, just as well as Hobie was replacing them then with carbon tips(?) (due to electrocution dangers). )


While I'm here, somebody (I'll try to edit this shortly...musta been xmtrdan ref here: GUNBOAT Dismasting) mentioned the USCG debriefing the crew, assuming a report will follow.
Trouble is, this was a pretty routine incident, don't expect too much. Not that many Coasties are sailboaters, the investigation and interviews are unlikely to get very technical or detailed.
Even most of the CG Academy (and OCS) graduates, who spend a fair amount of time sail training aboard their fleet of 44's and smaller craft (and the big barque the Eagle) don't really get into being 'yotties'. So their handling of this probably isn't going to name a root cause. If it had been a commercial incident far more resources would be brought to bear.

Well stated, sir.
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Old 16-02-2015, 00:54   #493
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

I think the thread is diffuse because the response by some to criticisms/questions of GB has been focused on the rig failure (any boat can lose a mast etc) and briefly on the fire distraction. It gets circular and dodges the more interesting issues.

It would be interesting to hear from posters like smj and 44cc on the wider design issues. For example, parking why the mast came down, does it meet their idea of a secure bridgdeck design for when it gets heavy? I'm genuinely interested.

There are lots of good designs out there for all sorts of purposes. The 55 looked like a fair weather one to me. If they think it could handle breaking seas and be the nice raft GB advertised, with and without rig, I'd like to understand.

(And yes, have owned two cats, next boat may be too, not hating on your boats)
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Old 16-02-2015, 01:41   #494
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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There are lots of good designs out there for all sorts of purposes. The 55 looked like a fair weather one to me. If they think it could handle breaking seas and be the nice raft GB advertised, with and without rig, I'd like to understand.
It's appearing more and more that Gunboat = cocktails at the marina + social racing in the bay. Two total rig failures and no explanations from the manufacturer. Surely GB must realize that in these times of social media they can't let the lawyers convince them that it's OK to say nothing!
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Old 16-02-2015, 02:08   #495
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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It's appearing more and more that Gunboat = cocktails at the marina + social racing in the bay. Two total rig failures and no explanations from the manufacturer. Surely GB must realize that in these times of social media they can't let the lawyers convince them that it's OK to say nothing!
That's a bit unfair. It's a fair point that rig failure can be caused by all manner of things and doesn't go to the heart of a design. Also, although I haven't really looked at them, some of the other GBs don't look to have the vulnerabilities that the 55 had.

But certainly, the 55 just oozes 'vulnerable' to me. I'm looking forward to somebody explaining how it withstands waves sweeping from astern. 44CC? smj? How does it work? And what about the longeron. And, and... And really, why not stop straw-manning good questions as 'hating on cats' while avoiding these issues.

And then later on somebody can explain Rainmaker's passage time. Because as things stand, a 10 year old outremer 55 light looks to me to be a lot faster and a lot safer in breaking seas. And seems not to need pro crew. And you can pick one up for about 350k. And spend the USD2.15m left from the GB55 budget on planting trees to offset the carbon footprint of jetting around to gunboat regattas.
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