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Old 27-08-2018, 20:19   #1
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A Reef Encounter

A cautionary tale. Reports are that the owner had a 100 ton USCG license and had just upgraded his electronics when he sailed into Hanover Shoal. This is a reef that extends from the SE tip of Chambers Island in central Green Bay (the arm of Lake Michigan, not the city).

The reef is well charted and well marked. The owner was not familiar with the area. It is reported there were 4 on board when the sailboat (no info on type/size - estimated to be about a 35’ long sloop) slammed into the reef under full sail with 15-20 knot winds - possibly 6 knots of speed. The owner reported the keel broke off and pivoted up thru the cockpit sole before the vessel flooded and capsized.

The good news is no one on board were injured although the boat is likely a total loss.

No news reports are available as if this writing. The photo was taken by my brother who drives a local excursion vessel out of Fish Creek, a small town in Door County, a popular resort community in NE Wisconsin.
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Old 27-08-2018, 20:26   #2
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Re: A Reef Encounter

Failed first attempt to attach a photo. Finally succeeded.
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Old 27-08-2018, 21:25   #3
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Re: A Reef Encounter

Bummer. Correct on well known etc. we sailed into GB by way of the Sturgeon Bay ship canal and south to the Fox River. It gets mighty shallow in there and many places to beware. Many fish traps and shoals. We hit the key and followed the marked channel for a long way.
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Old 28-08-2018, 17:49   #4
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Re: A Reef Encounter

More photos. The vessel - now known to be a Beneteau - has been lifted out of the water and taken to the local boatyard, Yachtworks. The keel was brought up today. It appears from the photographs that the vessel was traveling under engine power, not under sail as previously thought.

The PIC was not familiar with the local waters and reportedly had just purchased “new electronics”, presumably a chart plotter. Unknown if he had any paper charts on board.
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Old 28-08-2018, 18:12   #5
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Re: A Reef Encounter

Looks like a beneteau first given large centerline wheel and maybe a mid cockpit traveler. Generally deep, high aspect keel which is vulnerable to hard groundings
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Old 29-08-2018, 11:21   #6
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Re: A Reef Encounter

2006 Beneteau First 36.7. It was motoring when it hit the reef. Keel bolts held, but structure gave way (see pics).
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Old 29-08-2018, 12:14   #7
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Re: A Reef Encounter

Doesn’t look like there’s a lot of structure there.
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Old 29-08-2018, 14:16   #8
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A Reef Encounter

Does not surprise me. Used to race on one of those and preparing it for the Annapolis Newport race led to all sorts of concerning surprises. Fun fast boat to sail but not exactly robust construction.

Looks like there is some sort of core there, can’t tell what it is. Looks almost cast in place. And those “backing plates” are a joke. One big plate, or two, 1.5-2x the width of the keel would have fared better. Then again ramming a reef at 7 knots... sure it would have at least sprung a leak.
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Old 29-08-2018, 14:27   #9
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Re: A Reef Encounter

Shades of the Cheeky Rafiki... looks like similar structural damage, at least superficially.

There are certainly better ways to attack a fin keel!

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Old 29-08-2018, 14:55   #10
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A Reef Encounter

Thing about racing vehicles, they are meant to be fast, and light and just strong enough to survive the race.
Use them in any other manner and all bets are off.
Years ago Chevrolet in order to have their Corvette legal in some racing classes had to sell the suspension package to the public.
Well of course every old man who was going through a mid life crisis and was buying a Corvette had to have the high performance suspension, to go with the leather, power windows and 12 speaker sound system, and automatic transmission.
Well, it was a disaster, there were no end of complaints that the car rode too rough making them spill their Latte on the rail road tracks etc.
Later to get the package, it could not be combined with any “luxury”packages.
When the Cadillac CTS-V came out, it could not be bought with an automatic transmission, cause few performance enthusiasts wanted an automatic and few Luxury car drivers know how to operate one in the US.


I assume these boats are pretty much race boats, and should be treated as such.
I think this is very different than Cheeki Raffiki, that is believe was a race boat, crewed by a race crew, just was not properly inspected and maintained.
This boat was just run aground likely at full throttle, cause you know, it’s a race Boat

I bet they are fun to sail though.
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Old 29-08-2018, 15:26   #11
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Re: A Reef Encounter

Quote:
I think this is very different than Cheeki Raffiki, that is believe was a race boat, crewed by a race crew, just was not properly inspected and maintained.
Cheeky Rafiki was a Bennie First too... a larger one, but of the same general design brief AFAIK. Yes, she had been raced hard...dunno about this one. And the pictures of the hull area where the keel ripped away sure look similar at first glance. Yes, the immediate cause of failure was likely different (although I suppose that CR could have struck something at sea) but the failures look similar.

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Old 29-08-2018, 15:51   #12
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Re: A Reef Encounter

I believe there was a pretty big lawsuit, I assume some cause was found?
I was under the impression that the boat had previous damage, went to sea damaged and was even leaking from the keel area, but I don’t know, that is likely all hear say and incorrect.

I did something stupid on delivery of my boat and ran it aground hard at about 7 kts in the pass at Port St Lucie, there were temporary markers that I didn’t see, Boat came to a sudden stop and the water shallowed so fast, we didn’t get stuck, we bounced off. It did knock everyone down though and did no apparent damage to the boat, although I heard a loud crack, and have looked for years for the source of that crack sound.
However being a full keel it’s a lot harder to damage.
She is far from being a fast, race Boat, and that was my point I guess, you get a thoroughbred, it needs to be treated as such, with completely different expectations.
If you want to be able to run aground at speed, get an old heavy design, slow boat. Of course there is a middle ground nothing is black and white.
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Old 29-08-2018, 16:29   #13
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Re: A Reef Encounter

Wow, those engineers must be scratching their heads. Who could possibly imagine a boat ever grounding its keel?
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Old 29-08-2018, 17:11   #14
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Re: A Reef Encounter

It might have been 1989 or 1990, DRUM (NZ) was docked at Manhattan's South Street Seaport on a US tour. First time I'd seen a modern cup boat up close, and when one of the crew popped up I naively asked if they'd actually sailed it to the US.

Mind you, this was a winning boat designed by some extremely well paid engineers and built by some equally respected builders.

He said something like "Are you kidding? If we'd hit one storm along the way, she'd have broken up." Horses for courses: the racing boats are built to withstand the expected specific racing environment, and ANY extra weight beyond that is just inexcusable, because "light is fast" and things like a bigger keel bolt washer, and going to slow you down.

You can take a perfectly well made Mercedes or McLaren or even a Freightliner, and if you run it into a concrete abutment....crash, tinkle tinkle, yes, the same things will happen.
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Old 29-08-2018, 20:09   #15
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Re: A Reef Encounter

The 36.7s were designed with the idea of creating a one design class of racer/cruisers. They were built in NC, and the only place the class caught on as far as a critical mass one design was in the Great Lakes IIRC. They are a Farr design, pretty quick for there size with a racing deck layout and hardware and a cruising interior.

But it’s the hidden things that kill you. Like the aft bulkhead that the autopilot and steering gear is attached to, which is unfinished unsealed marine plywood. Or the fact that the fourth bolt on the AP ram mount is left out because there’s not room to turn the nut.

It’s a good boat. For racing for a few years and then unloading.
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