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Old 17-02-2015, 06:08   #541
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by SailingMum View Post
but we do know they went slow, then abandoned.

i'll repeat a question: do you think the layout and superstructure looked safe to be swept by breaking waves? does anybody? if so, explain.
I don't know, it all depends on the building but those almost vertical surfaces instead of curved and inclined ones are not of any use to dissipate the strength of a breaking wave and increase windage, the tempered glass that was used (for superior transparency) is not the better material to be used. Sure, the nicest one (transparency) but not the more resistant one.

The glass itself can be bullet proof but it has to be used on relatively small panels and not like acrylic material that is normally used as a single sheet around all curved window surface. That gives it a much bigger resistance to impact, since the impact is not absorbed on a small surface (and its frame) but by all the "glass" surface and their interior sturdy frame/supports. It acts in a structural way while the tempered glass is dependent on the frame resistance.

It was said that one panel shattered when the mast come down over the cabin, exposing the boat to incoming water. That would not have happened with a single glass acrylic surface with a strong interior frame support. That system acts also in a structural way.
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Old 17-02-2015, 06:15   #542
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by georgetheleo View Post
Would you suggest a ZIPPO lighter?
That is all it takes to light up an epoxy-infused carbon fiber structure - if you had built boats for 40 yrs, you would understand how easily that composite burns. It pretty much instantly burns and, being a catamaran, conveniently flips to burn the bottom.

I think there are big warning labels on the boat against even rubbing two sticks together…

Mark
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Old 17-02-2015, 06:31   #543
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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That is all it takes to light up an epoxy-infused carbon fiber structure - if you had built boats for 40 yrs, you would understand how easily that composite burns. It pretty much instantly burns and, being a catamaran, conveniently flips to burn the bottom.

I think there are big warning labels on the boat against even rubbing two sticks together…

Mark
Is it the epoxy that is unable to resist heat? I'm not familiar with this.

Certainly my Ducati has a carbon fibre exhaust that gets very hot; hot enough to burn skin without deforming. And that's very thin carbon and I would suggest a long way removed from what the structure of a GB hull is made like.
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Old 17-02-2015, 07:08   #544
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by tp12 View Post
Is it the epoxy that is unable to resist heat? I'm not familiar with this.

Certainly my Ducati has a carbon fibre exhaust that gets very hot; hot enough to burn skin without deforming. And that's very thin carbon and I would suggest a long way removed from what the structure of a GB hull is made like.
Sorry, that was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek response. Epoxy-infused carbon fiber is very difficult to burn. The laminate is almost resin-starved and the carbon won't burn at all. The epoxy will eventually burn with enough heat, but mostly just char at that point. It will essentially never continue to burn without outside assistance.

To burn something like this, you need a large amount of accelerant that burns very hot for a long time. Your exhaust is indicative of this.

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Old 17-02-2015, 07:14   #545
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Sorry, that was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek response. Epoxy-infused carbon fiber is very difficult to burn. The laminate is almost resin-starved and the carbon won't burn at all. The epoxy will eventually burn with enough heat, but mostly just char at that point. It will essentially never continue to burn without outside assistance.

To burn something like this, you need a large amount of accelerant that burns very hot for a long time. Your exhaust is indicative of this.

Mark
Ah, it would appear that I'm a bonehead
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Old 17-02-2015, 07:28   #546
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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The boat I am currently building and nearly finished is a 55' alloy expedition vessel, 3/8" aluminum plate. Everything is custom built, super tough, looks great, good pilot house like the Kanters with all the toys and less than 300 grand including a good rig. check out www.expeditionsail.com for a similar type. This of course doesn't take into account the 7 years I have been working on it, heheh All worthless retired time.
I also would say, I would love to sail on a G55 and looks like it would be a great live aboard in the tropics.
Hope that I draw some of the flak my way, Jim!
Nice looking expedition vessel there Jim.

This quote from that website you referenced caught my attention:
Quote:
The raised saloon is particularly exciting because it allows us to navigate, cook, eat, and lounge with a view of the surrounding world. In the high latitudes it is almost always too cold to eat on deck, and the most spectacular part of the day is usually missed while the crew huddle around the heater deep in the hull.
You might find I also harbor a great affinity to a couple of monohull 'exploration designs' by

Alden and Rhodes Motorsailers

$1,500,000 to Spend . . .
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Old 17-02-2015, 07:37   #547
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Most of what follows is pure speculation, of course, based on what little we know at present...

Right from the moment I read Mr Johnstone's initial post on SA, that's been one of the most perplexing questions surrounding this incident. If anything, sounds like in carrying a triple reefed main, they may have been over canvassed for the conditions, they why so little distance covered down range towards their destination over 36 hours, in a boat that likely could have maintained close to such an average running under bare poles alone?

As yet, I've heard no reasonable explanation offered for this... Only thing I can presume, is that there may have been a lengthy 'stoppage' somewhere along the way, most likely to dealt with some 'issue' with the boat or rig that has not thus far been mentioned...

2 other aspects are mystifying, to me... Seems that to get "lines wrapped around the props", the engines must have been running in gear to do so. They are folding or feathering props on the 55, after all - so while it's possible a line might get snagged or hung up on one, you're unlikely to get a true wrap that could not be freed without the shafts turning... With a professional skipper and crew aboard, it's hard to imagine they would have ever started the engines without first ensuring the props were clear. Something quite easily assessed from the transom steps on that boat...

So, that leads to the more plausible suspicion that the engines were running when the rig came down... Hmmm, why would that be? Again, a likely scenario might be that they were having to deal with some 'issue', perhaps having to motor head to wind in an effort to get the main down, perhaps? There was some vague reference, after all, made to "not being able to reduce sail quickly enough", or words to that effect... With the 3 pros working on deck, and the owner at the helm, seems possible if the rig came down at that moment, a relatively inexperienced and shocked helmsperson may not have had the presence of mind to take the engines out of gear before running up over all the mess that had gone over the side...
Interesting speculations there Jon, but this last one about the life raft can be explained in another manner...

Quote:
Finally, the biggest elephant in the room, that no one seems to want to address... If there was indeed no other serious problem with RAINMAKER beyond merely the loss of the rig, why were they prepared to abandon her for the liferaft, if the CG hadn't arrived in the nick of time? There are very few good reasons why someone would elect to step off into a liferaft in the North Atlantic in late January, with darkness quickly approaching... "Lines wrapped around the props", or "worsening weather" are most certainly not among them...
Usually when a helo rescue is being performed the crew is directed to get off the vessel and into the water or possibly life raft so as to not get the lifting gage entangled up with any of the vessel's structure,....particularly a mast or rigging.
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Old 17-02-2015, 07:40   #548
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
You're exactly right. It seems the main problem people have with this incident is that it happened to an expensive boat. If it was an "entry level" boat, most people wouldn't really give a rat's arse.
For some with a large enough check book it could be their entry level boat.

Why people give a rat's .......... is very simple to understand. When you make over the top claims and you promote your storm survival systems and your cutting edge new design abd then you have your sails and high tech storm system if not even your new design fails then you bet your bottom dollar your going to get well deserved criticism. Add to this the obvious continued silence of the boat builder but more importantly the passengers I think the criticism is not only fair but warranted.

I'm not one of those who are waiting with baited breath for a sanitised statement from the builder. I'm sorry the time for that has long past. The information from the crew and the passengers could have been gathered and released within days of the accident. For me as each day has gone by my trust in veracity of anything that comes from the obviously self interested boat owner is diminished.
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Old 17-02-2015, 07:41   #549
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by phillysailor View Post
I agree with your way of saying it, too, I just don't think that it's a toy... its a sailboat whose primary purpose is not sailing around the world; its more of a coastal cruiser design. Lots of those in marinas, at anchorages, on coastal waters. May even safely cross oceans, but the route planning has got to be different than for true blue water designs. Not every boat has to be Category A, or whatever the standard is for multihulls, because not every boat owner has that as the primary goal. This boat IMO is more optimized for trade winds sailing, Caribbean living, coastal hops and marina-based sailing. It shouldn't be marketed with the same boilerplate as her bigger sisters, because that doesn't really fit the design brief. These folks got into trouble by doing the same routing for this boat as they would for any "GUNBOAT" and found the error in their assumptions the hard way.
I think you nailed it also. That is what that vessel is designed for,...certainly not an artic adventure
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Old 17-02-2015, 08:43   #550
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Yes, you are hoping and you are speculating...
Uhhh, and you know what I am "hoping", how? Appears to be a bit of "speculation" on your part, there... ;-)

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Originally Posted by tp12 View Post
How do you know they tried to sail around it; aren't you making an assumption about their intentions? Yes, you are.
I haven't said that... What we DO know, is that they ultimately failed to do so, but given the lack of information known at this point, we can only speculate as to the reason(s) WHY...

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Just because a boat is capable of something doesn't mean that the person behind the wheel is making that decision. Or because your decision would be different. We all have different risk profiles, experience and perspective.
Well, we do know that Peter Johnstone has nothing but the highest regard for the skipper Chris Bailet, he has been widely referred to as perhaps THE top dog among the pros out there running Gunboats today. The writer Charlie Doane went out of his way in his review of the 55 at the Newport Show, to mention how impressed he was with CB... And I seem to recall Maine Sail, posting either here or over on Sailnet, that he had spent a couple of hours with Chris going over the boat in Newport, and was likewise favorably impressed with his knowledge of the boat's systems, etc... Then there's this from soma over on SA, a fellow Gunboat pro sailor who has sailed over 10K miles with Bailet:

Quote:
I could always sleep well when CB was on watch. He knew when to throttle up and have fun, knew when to back off and be safe. He knows where the daggerboards and retractable rudders should be. We'd poured over GRIBs numerous times. He's been a professional racer but has also cruised extensively. He's a better sailor than most people in this thread, guaranteed.
We do know that other model Gunboats have completed numerous offshore passages successfully, and have racked up OVER 2 MILLION OFFSHORE MILES, according to Johnstone. (Personally, I find that total a bit hard to swallow, but I'll take his word for it ;-)) And we do know that Hull #1 of the 55 Series was abandoned roughly 200 miles into its first bluewater passage... If that's not an example of a new model failing to live up to the builder's hype, well.... we'll just have to agree to disagree, on that one... ;-)

I think it's pretty safe to assume the passage plan was dependent upon the vaunted speed potential of these boats, and that departing into the weather they did, and threading the needle between the 2 fast moving lows racing past Hatteras, would be something a Gunboat skipper would not even "blinked at" on any of the other Gunboat models...

Again, from soma, who would have been aboard RAINMAKER, if not for the fact that his wife had just had a baby the week prior to their departure:

Quote:
For all the folks questioning the crew's decision to leave given the forecast, normally a Gunboat wouldn't blink at that forecast. We've knowingly stepped out into far worse plenty of times without hesitation. It actually looked like a fun forecast, a downwind sleigh ride and a trip to the E. Caribbean without tacking once. I was jealous, if my wife hadn't given birth to our baby boy a week ago I would've been there with them. Taking off on the backside of a low, in advance of the next one, is a valid strategy and one we've used many times. You use the dying breeze on the backside to get down the track and away from the next one.

My first delivery on a Gunboat we cast off the dock lines from Newport in Dec in 35-40kts, saw 40-50, and hit a top boatspeed of 36.6. We were still sleeping off watch, still cooking, still "living easy". The only part that was scary was that it wasn't scary. Hitting 30's in the dark, alone on watch, coffee cup in hand and not panicking just felt wrong. But it was safe, fast, and fun. There was no reason to believe this delivery wouldn't be the same.

...

NC to BVI. It looked like a great weather window in my book. Hindsight is 20/20, but I checked passageweather.com before they left and didn't see anything too worrisome. NW 25-30, locally to 40. 40 on the nose sucks, but 40 from behind is great. Port gybe for more breeze, stbd for less. I'd argue a real seaman doesn't sit under the porch when it's 25-30, he goes out and runs with the big dogs.
However, the fact the boat was abandoned before ever having the chance to thread that needle between those lows remains indisputable...

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Originally Posted by tp12 View Post
And again, you don't know what happened so you don't know whether they would have survived on board if they stayed or not. Or who made the decision or why the decision was made to abandon the boat. Further, you don't know whether the boat sank or not.
That is true, we don't know any of that for certain... Again, I've never asserted the boat actually sank, only that I doubt it will ever be salvaged, or seen again, unless by accident... But, we do know that the CG watchstander in Norfolk who worked the communications during this incident, has stated the crew was prepared to abandon to a liferaft... Sure, perhaps he 'misspoke', or doesn't know what he's talking about ;-) But if the official statement from the CG is to be taken literally (not to mention taking the very hazardous chance of transferring the crew to a merchant ship in those conditions) the only logical conclusion to be drawn is that the crew had extremely grave doubts about the wisdom of remaining aboard the remarkably "safe platform" ALL Gunboats are claimed to represent, per their marketing...

Based on my own experience, I believe I have a pretty good idea who made either the initial, or final call to abandon RAINMAKER... It's the reason why I'll politely decline to do an offshore delivery with the owner aboard ;-) Under the right circumstances, coastal trips with owners can be one thing, but a passage in the North Atlantic in winter with an owner making his first-ever offshore passage, no freakin' way... But, that's just me, guys like Chris Bailet are more than delivery skippers, after all...

But in that regard, Bailet and his crew did their job, the owner and his son are still alive, and I'm certainly not intending to second guess their decision to abandon RAINMAKER given the circumstances...
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Old 17-02-2015, 08:59   #551
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

From Peter Johnstone yesterday on SA -

Posted Yesterday, 02:20 PM
This thread has some wild speculation. We'd prefer that the Captain get his account written and out there. We led this story with as much information as we could glean with the goal to promote safety from the learnings.

Some clarifications to various speculation:

1) The longeron is held by the side-stays. It can only drop about 150mm from its tensioned position. Crew were able to walk on the nets and knock the forestay pin out. The longeron was not an issue during her brief time under power after the rig was cleared away.
2) The roof took the load of the boom and rig on it, including the leverage of the mast and sails in the water. There may have been damage, and one window broke, but it safely protected the five crew.
3) The open layout does not appear to be an issue in this incident. Water has not been mentioned as a contributing factor in any way.
4) Rainmaker was 240 kgs over her planned lightship of 12,500 kgs due to the original owners extensive additions. Her loaded displacement prior to passage appeared well under her designed full loaded displacement of 15,250 kgs. Her loaded displacement does not appear to be a contributing factor.
5) According to the Captain, rigging and attachment points were all intact after the incident.

In summary, a sizable weather event hit Rainmaker. It was either a microburst or a water spout. The crew saw 75+ knots but have no idea of top gusts. There was no visibility, just a complete white out.
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Old 17-02-2015, 09:14   #552
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Interesting speculations there Jon, but this last one about the life raft can be explained in another manner...

Usually when a helo rescue is being performed the crew is directed to get off the vessel and into the water or possibly life raft so as to not get the lifting gage entangled up with any of the vessel's structure,....particularly a mast or rigging.
Yes, but I seem to recall the rig was long gone by that point, no?

;-)

Certainly a valid scenario, I've already alluded to earlier, but perhaps elsewhere... However, if the CG watchstander's words are to be taken literally, that was not the intent of getting into the raft, in this case... And, in the end, they did not use it for that purpose...

Personally, I think that massive tender on RAINMAKER, tethered to the mother ship, likely would have been preferable than a liferaft for that purpose... Furthermore, in the initial attempt to transfer the crew onto the merchant ship, my first inclination would have been to try to use that tender as a 'stepping stone', so to speak... Rather than allow a ship of that size to attempt to maneuver alongside, which according to Mr Johnstone, nearly ended in disaster, and may have driven the final nail in the coffin, as to whether they actually had any choice but to abandon, after that encounter with a wall of steel at sea...
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Old 17-02-2015, 10:15   #553
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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So true Jon. Not only the users of CF need to know but most importantly the unsuspecting public who may be putting their very lives at risk if the reason behind the abandon ship decision was because of something else along the lines of a structural deficiency.

Your saying that a crew member is now saying that the fleeing of the ship was due to more than the dismasting so in the name of all that is moral doesn't the builder have an obligation to come clean with what this "more" is?

I know for one thing if a car company charged $2.5 million for a car and told all the buyers and the world that it would never breakdown and then it lost its wheels going slow on the freeway all hell would break loose. And rightly so that car company and vehicle would become the laughing stock of the industry.

This is not a matter of sticking it to a boat builder in his time of trouble. And I do feel sorry for him, his staff and even the crew. They all have a lot at stake and a lot to loose. But morally the life of other sailors is more important.
The world is full of expensive toys that spend 100 hours in the shop for a few minutes of pleasure.

The reason! They're all prototypes. Its the owners who act as the development and proving resources.

With boats very few fall into the proven when launched category. The volumes are too small.

Its the assumption that a boat is bulletproof because it was new that is the fundamental issue here. The same thinking applies to just about anything new and different.

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Old 17-02-2015, 10:28   #554
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Uhhh, and you know what I am "hoping", how? Appears to be a bit of "speculation" on your part, there... ;-)



I haven't said that... What we DO know, is that they ultimately failed to do so, but given the lack of information known at this point, we can only speculate as to the reason(s) WHY...



Well, we do know that Peter Johnstone has nothing but the highest regard for the skipper Chris Bailet, he has been widely referred to as perhaps THE top dog among the pros out there running Gunboats today. The writer Charlie Doane went out of his way in his review of the 55 at the Newport Show, to mention how impressed he was with CB... And I seem to recall Maine Sail, posting either here or over on Sailnet, that he had spent a couple of hours with Chris going over the boat in Newport, and was likewise favorably impressed with his knowledge of the boat's systems, etc... Then there's this from soma over on SA, a fellow Gunboat pro sailor who has sailed over 10K miles with Bailet:

We do know that other model Gunboats have completed numerous offshore passages successfully, and have racked up OVER 2 MILLION OFFSHORE MILES, according to Johnstone. (Personally, I find that total a bit hard to swallow, but I'll take his word for it ;-)) And we do know that Hull #1 of the 55 Series was abandoned roughly 200 miles into its first bluewater passage... If that's not an example of a new model failing to live up to the builder's hype, well.... we'll just have to agree to disagree, on that one... ;-)

I think it's pretty safe to assume the passage plan was dependent upon the vaunted speed potential of these boats, and that departing into the weather they did, and threading the needle between the 2 fast moving lows racing past Hatteras, would be something a Gunboat skipper would not even "blinked at" on any of the other Gunboat models...

Again, from soma, who would have been aboard RAINMAKER, if not for the fact that his wife had just had a baby the week prior to their departure:

However, the fact the boat was abandoned before ever having the chance to thread that needle between those lows remains indisputable...



That is true, we don't know any of that for certain... Again, I've never asserted the boat actually sank, only that I doubt it will ever be salvaged, or seen again, unless by accident... But, we do know that the CG watchstander in Norfolk who worked the communications during this incident, has stated the crew was prepared to abandon to a liferaft... Sure, perhaps he 'misspoke', or doesn't know what he's talking about ;-) But if the official statement from the CG is to be taken literally (not to mention taking the very hazardous chance of transferring the crew to a merchant ship in those conditions) the only logical conclusion to be drawn is that the crew had extremely grave doubts about the wisdom of remaining aboard the remarkably "safe platform" ALL Gunboats are claimed to represent, per their marketing...

Based on my own experience, I believe I have a pretty good idea who made either the initial, or final call to abandon RAINMAKER... It's the reason why I'll politely decline to do an offshore delivery with the owner aboard ;-) Under the right circumstances, coastal trips with owners can be one thing, but a passage in the North Atlantic in winter with an owner making his first-ever offshore passage, no freakin' way... But, that's just me, guys like Chris Bailet are more than delivery skippers, after all...

But in that regard, Bailet and his crew did their job, the owner and his son are still alive, and I'm certainly not intending to second guess their decision to abandon RAINMAKER given the circumstances...
Racing past Hatteras???? oh yes they averaged an incredible 6kn to the dismasting point!!!!
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Old 17-02-2015, 11:17   #555
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Re: GUNBOAT Dismasting

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Originally Posted by phillysailor View Post
I agree with your way of saying it, too, I just don't think that it's a toy... its a sailboat whose primary purpose is not sailing around the world; its more of a coastal cruiser design. Lots of those in marinas, at anchorages, on coastal waters. May even safely cross oceans, but the route planning has got to be different than for true blue water designs. Not every boat has to be Category A, or whatever the standard is for multihulls, because not every boat owner has that as the primary goal. This boat IMO is more optimized for trade winds sailing, Caribbean living, coastal hops and marina-based sailing. It shouldn't be marketed with the same boilerplate as her bigger sisters, because that doesn't really fit the design brief. These folks got into trouble by doing the same routing for this boat as they would for any "GUNBOAT" and found the error in their assumptions the hard way.
We completely agree, just use a different definition for "toy". I mean a toy like a Ferrari is also a toy; something a rich person buys to have some exciting fast fun with
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