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Old 02-06-2009, 21:14   #76
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Originally Posted by Joli View Post
Ok, honest question, not a **** fight.

On a passage, when short handed, the boat is on auto and you are not really paying attention, maybe you nodded off, maybe your below looking at a chart, maybe whatever? Paradox comes to mind.
What's your question? When awake outside or just-inside an open companionway you can feel an abrupt weather change coming.

If single-handing and you go to sleep you're not keeping a proper watch. Doesn't matter what kind of boat you're in -- you could be run down by a ship or strike some other hazard, or you could be knocked down or capsized by a 70-knot gust in a line-squall. Whether monohull or multihull -- if you're not battened-down and ready for that kind of event it could be catastrophic.

A ship doing 15 or 20 knots will travel 5 nm in 15 minutes. A squall can travel at twice that speed, and a local thunderstorm could even form right over your head.

If you have two or more people aboard you should have a watch system and someone who is checking conditions and scanning the horizon/sky/radar at least every 10-15-20 minutes or so, depending on conditions and location/traffic.

If you can't control your boat or manage sails or keep a watch you shouldn't go out there. That's the deal. Murphy's Law does not exclude boat-idiots. Murphy follows everyone and will show you some close calls just as a reminder, but eventually get you big-time when you slip up, even a little. Willing to take a few chances? Choose your poison.
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:53   #77
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So Sailfasttri they were stupid because? a/They hoisted sail or B/ chose a non self righting boat?
.
They were racing, and they encountered an approaching severe line squall and didn't strike sail quickly enough. I don't really think they were stupid. Perhaps they didn't see or feel it coming until it was too late. Maybe they weren't keeping watch. We'll never know. Spinnaker sailing at night is risky especially if unsettled weather is a possibility, and they were racing. I wrote earlier that my sympathies are with the survivors. If any good comes of it this should be a lesson for all of us regardless of what kind of boat we operate. Any sailer knows you need to adjust sail for conditions. Every boat has practical limits of safe operation, and sails need to be adjusted accordingly. (This is so obvious it's like explaining you don't step out in front of a speeding train.) It's serious business.



Have you not ever seen a severe line-squall? A rolling black cloud, low and green-cast, whitecaps on the water ahead of it, Tall thunderheads behind it. Perhaps distant rumble of thunder and/or visible flashes. At night you might not see it coming but in most cases you will hear and feel it in the air. It should make you afraid.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:39   #78
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SailFast, that is the crux, at least for me it is.

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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
Any sailer knows you need to adjust sail for conditions. Every boat has practical limits of safe operation, and sails need to be adjusted accordingly.
When cruising short handed sail trim often takes a back seat. We cleat stuff and forget it for hours, not to say we don't keep a proper watch but sail trim gets much less attention then when we race. Maybe the Great Lakes are more unsettled then other locations, we've been knocked down on perfectly clear days with no warning at all. We've dipped the spreaders more then once.

The reference I made, the same you refer too, is not the only Atlantic that has gone over on the Great Lakes, fortunately the other incident did not result in a fatality but it sure scared the daylights out of the owner and crew.

Last year an F went over during a early spring night race, again this was a racing situation, the boat was being pushed, but the winds went from the low teens to the mid 50's in 20 seconds. No warning other then lightning off in the distance. I don't know of any boats that didn't get slammed, crews went overboard, sails were shredded.... funny though it only lasted a couple minutes. The crew of F the were very lucky to be picked up, they had no lights, radio, or life jackets and the water temp was in the 50's.

As mentioned, maybe this is only a Great Lakes phenomina but then I read about Paradox and have to wonder. I read about Mr. Woods situation and have to wonder. Are these risks I want to accept?

Certainly we all take risks and since we have free will we decide what risks we are willing accept. I'm guessing sinkability is un acceptable to you, that's fair. Others choose avoidance of other risks, that fair also.

Side note, the photo of the mono plowing the ocean is a fairly famous IMS boat that added a substantial amount of lead to the pointy end for rating benefit. The rating benefit they gained was offset by the risk you see. I guess you have to look in the trophy case to determine whether the risk was worth the reward.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:50   #79
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Bayview, I think it is you who are being divisive by referring to Richard Wood's point as bizarre. You may choose to disagree, but there are numerous cases where monohulls have sunk and there is no clear cause - the evidence, if any, lies at the bottom of the sea.

I suspect that even you would agree that there have been numerous cases where monohulls have sunk, not as a result of bad weather or crew error, but because they have been unlucky: they had the misfortune of hitting a submerged shipping container or, for having been ( purportedly) struck by whales, etc.

Richard's point is that in similar circumstances, a multi would have stayed afloat. When assessing the risks of sinking versus capsize, it must be kept in mind that monohulls sink not just as a result of negligence (eg., bad construction/maintenance/preparation led to a failed thru-hull/sea-cock without tapered plugs etc.being readily available; or, simply running aground and breaching the water-tight integrity of the hull). Furthermore, it should also be borne in mind that in mulithulls, the risk of hitting a shoal/running aground (and of the potentially catastrophic consequences) is also reduced due to the typically more shallow draft.

Like it or not, there is a legitimate debate on the issue of which is more safe - a multi or a monohull. At the heart of it lies the distinction, as Richard pointed out when he started the thread, between unsinkabliity versus the ability to self-right. As others have pointed out, it also involves the risks of working on a non-heeling platform versus one that is much less stable, especially in heavy conditions. Finally, it also involves consideration of the fact that life rafts are more difficult to locate than an inverted catamaran, and that liferafts can and do fail.

Perhaps it is worthwhile for all of us to remember that honest people can honestly disagree.

Brad
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:02   #80
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Originally Posted by Joli View Post
When cruising short handed sail trim often takes a back seat. We cleat stuff and forget it for hours, not to say we don't keep a proper watch but sail trim gets much less attention then when we race. Maybe the Great Lakes are more unsettled then other locations, we've been knocked down on perfectly clear days with no warning at all. We've dipped the spreaders more then once.
Yes.

1. Transient high gust surpises are not unusual in the Caribbean and probably many other places as well.

2. When cruising in the Caribbean we pretty much had a permanent reef in the main; we frequently two; and this was for sailing in benign conditions. The reasons were: we weren't in a hurry; we rarely had far to go; we were far more interested in comfort than speed; and we wanted to minimize vulnerablity to sudden nasty weather events.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:22   #81
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Brad, can you make that point with certainty? Taken from a previous thread on CF.

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Richard's point is that in similar circumstances, a multi would have stayed afloat.
We all access risks and make our own decisions. I agree with your statement "honest people can honestly disagree".

Lagoon 440.

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Old 03-06-2009, 12:34   #82
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Joli, I don't get your point - unless I am missing something, it sure looks like this Lagoon is still afloat. You, on the other hand, can conclude that a keeled monohull without positive floatation would do the same, but I wouldn't bet my life on it.

And I quite agree - we all assess risks and make our own decisions. And that is precisely why:
1. I didn't suggest that one is safer than the other for all people and in all circumstances;
2. this debate can be useful (especially for those who have opinions based upon bias, antiquated notions or closed-mindedness, rather than fact).

We all have opinions, but the best ones not only survive but require frequent updates and reconsideration as time goes on.

Brad
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:39   #83
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Reef early, Reef for the gusts

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SailFast, that is the crux, at least for me it is.

When cruising short handed sail trim often takes a back seat. We cleat stuff and forget it for hours, not to say we don't keep a proper watch but sail trim gets much less attention then when we race. Maybe the Great Lakes are more unsettled then other locations, we've been knocked down on perfectly clear days with no warning at all. We've dipped the spreaders more then once. snip
"Reef early, reef for the gusts" is the mantra for safe multihull operation. If you reef for average or maximum winds it's not much faster and it is unsafe. Racers tend to ignore this but cruisers (and guests) are much more comfortable when the boat isn't being pushed.

Multihulls and monohulls are different and should be sailed differently.

Another thing different about multihull operations is what to do when overpowered: If you're already on a beat or close reach it's the same as on a monohull -- first you ease or release the sails and then slowly round up into the wind. However if you're on a broad reach or deep reach, you do not round up -- it is better to bear off quickly deep downwind (the faster you make the turn the better). Then reef while running. Bearing off has several benefits over rounding up:
  1. It enables the centrifugal force of weight aloft to help force the windward hull down, counteracting wind forces.
  2. It reduces the apparent wind by increasing boat speed in the same direction as the true wind, reducing the overpowering effect.
  3. It converts wind forces to boat speed, as most multihulls are not limited to "hull speed", and (unless they bury the bows in a wave) will be more resistant to pitch-pole than a mono of the same length.
  4. The above actions give the crew time to reef while running. This is easily accomplished with full-battened mainsails equipped with ball-bearing batten-cars.
While some smaller (under 30-foot) multihulls might have rope luffs, IMHO that is a dangerous configuration because rope luffs have too much friction to allow reefing while running. All cruising and larger multihulls should be able to reef while running.

Let's continue to make broad generalities (there will always be exceptions and different degrees of applicability): Monohull displacement boats are like weebles -- when you push on them harder they don't go faster, they just lean over. Push even harder they lean even more. Knock them down they pop back up. Very forgiving of sloppy operation, but that doesn't necessarily translate to "safety". Soles and wet decks heeled at 30-degrees plus is normal but not safe for crew, nor comfortable. Monohull planing boats are different, and usually have movable centerboards or racing keels and require more crew participation to avoid knock-down and maximize performance. Centerboard planing boats are also more prone to capsize than keel boats and require even more active crew management. As a generalization, most boats with a heavy keel are slower and less prone to capsize but more prone to pendulous pitch and yaw... especially downwind, and to sink when flooded. They're also roomy with cavernous interiors, and can carry heavy loads without as much performance degradation (because much of the performance has already been designed out of them). Before the advent of steam engines they were good for cargo and whaling ships and today they're good at carrying lots of gear for cruisers who don't value sailing performance as much at other considerations... They are also more economical to build and maintain than other configurations and tend to be more rugged. So there's good and bad. All boats have different sets of trade-offs and operating parameters.

Every boat has trade-offs. When I was looking to move up in size two years ago I wanted more interior room than my last tri and so I test-sailed a "racer-cruiser" monohull (a C&C 36). It had all the "go-fast" trappings (C-F mast, high-tech racing sails, epoxy/foam-cored laminate, etc.). We went out in 5-15 knots of wind, and at first it was under 10 knots and we were reaching in light air. It wasn't that much slower than my tri and I figured I could live with the trade-offs. Then we got a gust of about 15 knots and the boat heeled more, and I figured "OK now we'll see some acceleration" but it didn't go any faster! It was just more uncomfortable at hull speed. My tri would have heeled slightly (perhaps 5-10 degrees when pressed) and harden-up against the wind and accelerate to 10+ knots under that circumstance.

No monohull or cat I've tried sails as well as a tri and I'm spoiled, so I spent more than I wanted (another trade-off) but got what I wanted in a larger tri, with other compromises. Just keeping it "real".
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:55   #84
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. . .The above actions give the crew time to reef while running. This is easily accomplished with full-battened mainsails equipped with ball-bearing batten-cars. . .
That statement pretty well highlights your real life sailing experience.
You really must try reefing whilst running in 30 odd and then let us all know how batten cars reduce the friction of the sail binding on the stays.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:40   #85
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That statement pretty well highlights your real life sailing experience.
You really must try reefing whilst running in 30 odd and then let us all know how batten cars reduce the friction of the sail binding on the stays.
Yes I have done this tactic in 30-plus gusting to 40-plus and no problem reefing. Note that I did not write to ease the mainsheet during or prior to turning. I wrote to turn quickly downwind. If already running deep, turn deeper and sheet in if you have to (to reduce wind pressure) and you should be able to reef with a full-battened main with ball-bearing batt-cars. Try it. It works.

(I did write to ease the sheets before turning upwind if you were already on a beat or close reaching. Different situation, different tactic.)
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