Originally Posted by paulanthony
I think that with respects to your points 1 and 2 a safety
enhancement that offers during or post trauma some kind of salvation to an impending or resulting catastrophe would be a continuum of the hierarchical contributors to safety
OK, well point 1 speaks to avoiding the capsize
altogether so there's obviously no "post trauma" benefit for recovering from a capsize
. But if a capsize does occur despite the skill of the crew or especially because of an unskilled crew, there's gonna be trauma on any vessel, despite being able to right the vessel. So let's consider each case:
Cat Permanently capsized: Assuming the vessel remains afloat, the crew stays with the vessel and is able to retrieve the EPIRB(s) (I carry two
), flares, etc. and help eventually arrives. It's certainly not fun waiting. Sufficient dry food
and bottled water
can be retrieved from the vessel stores. There is a very high rate of successful rescues based on anecdotal evidence.
Cat can be uprighted: Assuming the self righting feature works as intended, the crew still likely ends up in the water
and the vessel and contents are totally wet and likely mostly ruined. Can a short handed crew work the righting system? Assuming the vessel rights, AND the crew somehow doesn't get separated from the vessel as it is righted and floats away (no rig acting as a sea anchor), the crew has to sort out potentially ruined sails
because starting engines is not a given. Once upside down fuel tanks
are now contaminated with sea water, as are fresh water tanks
. Who knows what portions of the electric
distribution system still work? Batteries may last a while if they stayed put and connected. Regardless, all electronics
are wet with seawater and don't work except any waterproof handhelds. Bottom line, there's plenty of trauma to go around. As in the permanently upside down cat, food
and bottled water are available, but fresh water tanks are contaminated and the water maker no longer works due to no power or ruined pumps. Maybe bilge
pumps will work if they have power. "Remote" pumps with wet motors probably won't. I think most knowledgeable people would agree that expecting a once capsized cat to simply sail or motor
away anytime soon, if at all, just isn't a reasonable expectation. Good thing this crew carried an EPIRB
in case of other emergencies, like fire. They end up in the same predicament as the upside down crew - just later.
With respect to (3) I am not sure I appreciate fully your line of thought. We have been of late seeing cats abandoned that have not capsized and probably quite rightly so but I thing they are picking up a pay day still from the insurers. If you incurred damage during a capsize and logged it I think the ticket would also be picked up by a reputable company.
My point here was that if "safety" includes protection of a boat owner's investment, then insurance
meets that need. This recognizes that a permanently capsized cat is almost certainly a total loss and insurance
satisfies this risk. Due to the damage from seawater and other failures, a momentarily capsized cat may also be a total loss - especially if it can't then reach a port because it can't move or has insufficient stores to sustain the crew for the time needed to reach port. Maybe the insurance premiums for a self righting cat will be less given the remote
chance that it can be fully restored, but the cost of this feature is probably far greater than the savings in premiums.
A reasonable conclusion is that the crew of the righted cat will still need to be rescued. So where is the enhancement in safety? They get to sit in a water logged cat waiting for rescue
rather than on an upside down one? Sure, that's probably more comfy, but was the cost, maintenance
, and other compromises made to have such a benefit worth it? Even worse, will having such a system be a false sense of security
luring unqualified crews to sea (see point 1)?