Peter Johnstone

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  1. Peter Johnstone


    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.
  2. Peter Johnstone


    This morning's update: Sustained winds were 30-35 knots. Squalls had been in the 40 knot range for most of the day. A full whiteout squall hit that initially looked no different than the other squalls. Sails were up as there was no indication of squalls with winds above 40 knots. A wall of wind hit at up to 70 knots. There was no opportunity to get the sails down. The mast came down with the wall of wind. Am simply relieved these guys are all safe.
  3. Peter Johnstone


    Longeron would not be supported if the rig is cutaway. Could be lashed up, or also cutaway. A freighter attempted rescue alongside a few hours into this ordeal. After repeatedly bashing the side of Rainmaker, rescue was deemed too dangerous, and airlift was requested. We will not know the extent of the damage until we recover her. She was structurally intact with no water ingress. Gunboats have done over two million sea miles in all oceans with no structural hull issues. Several early rudders did not survive impact. We changed our engineering firm nearly ten years ago, and promptly resolved that issue. Since then Slim broke some rudders engineered and designed by others. Those were not by Gunboat. There have been two severe groundings that have caused some other damage. All in all, for the miles and the abuse these boats take, they have been remarkably resilient. Two of our rigs have been lost in 15 years and over two million sea miles. Obviously we would like to see no failures. When you create a new segment in the marketplace, there will be unknowns and new grounds covered. Our fleet is continually pushed hard by very capable owners and crew. This was a well prepared yacht. Her Captain is one of the best I know. She was 240kgs over her engineered lightship weight. All of that can be attributed to non-standard options. This amount would not significantly alter the engineered safety margins. Her loaded condition at departure appeared under her engineered maximum full load. A modern multi can produce size able shock loads, as Mouse Trap showed a few years back while power sailing in little wind. The location of Rainmaker in her local conditions would produce confused seas from various directions. A sizable South swell, the NE flowing Gulf Stream current against a big NW breeze, 12-14 ft NW waves running into the Gulf Stream and South swell, winds veering right over the day. It is a recipe for steep, short period nasty breaking seas from various directions, and shock loading. If you have been out there as I have many times, this area can be very uncomfortable on any vessel. This is the same area where another maker's well built and prepared 57' cat endured a similar loss of rig last year. A well built and prepared 60' performance cat endured a similar experience off of Vietnam recently. Will there be collective wisdom gained? That should be the goal. We have shared as much as we know so others may benefit from this incident. A discussion may possibly prevent injury or loss of life in the future? The above conversation is a healthy start. We are extremely grateful for everyone's prayers and heartfelt support. And even more grateful for the USCG's rescue and safe return of the Rainmaker crew.
  4. Peter Johnstone


    So grateful for the US Coast Guard. RAINMAKER's crew is safely ashore at Dare County Airport. The chopper landed on fumes, and could not make it to their base. Ironically, Dare is on Roanoke Island close to Gunboat. The RAINMAKER crew got a warm welcome from a very grateful Gunboat team. Happy to have our family safe. A huge hug to the crew and the USCG rescue team. With the rig cutaway immediately to preserve the yacht in a prudent act of seamanship, we may never know exactly what happened. I echo SOMA's evaluation of the crew. Captain, Owner, son, and pros are all top notch people and offshore sailors. I trust their judgement implicitly in making all safety calls as they saw fit to do. Unless one was there, how can one question? As mentioned before, February in the North Atlantic is a merciless place. We intend to find RAINMAKER, and bring her back better than new as soon as we can. She is a special boat. This is a special family. Salvage efforts are underway with a joint effort by Gunboat and Rainmaker's insurer.
  5. Peter Johnstone


    Thank you everyone. All five crew from Rainmaker have been safely airlifted off of RAINMAKER moments ago and are in a helicopter on their way back to shore. Gunboat and RAINMAKER's insurer are actively coordinating her salvage. This will not be easy as conditions are meant to be terrible on Monday.
  6. Please say a prayer for RAINMAKER’s crew. RAINMAKER was dismasted today 36 hours into her passage out of the Gunboat yard about 200 miles SE of Hattaras. From the very brief and patchy sat phone call, and various brief texts, the following is all we have been told: *Everyone is accounted for aboard, including the owner, his son, and three professional crew. *The rig was promptly cut away. *The boat was not holed. *At the last update there were no injuries. Conditions are evidently quite severe. It is not uncommon for the cold NW winds to accelerate over the Gulf Stream to windspeeds well above what may show on grib files. They have a large South swell, and are faced with deteriorating conditions with a building NW breeze in the Gulf Stream. Waves and swells have been observed from onboard to be getting worse over the course of the day. An onboard decision has been made to be airlifted off of the boat. The US Coast Guard expects to be on site within 30 minutes. These people are a part of our Gunboat family. Please say a prayer for the safe recovery of the RAINMAKER crew and the safety of the USCG rescue team that has been dispatched. An airlift is not an easy operation in any conditions, never mind these conditions. The Atlantic in February is a merciless place. Praying for their safe recovery and return.
  7. Peter Johnstone


    Clean, We have watched many designs claim to be faster than a Gunboat. No one will have any real idea of the performance of a new concept until it shows up on the water. There are too many variables between the design and the final sailing boat. We are flattered to evidently be the benchmark for this custom project, even if it is nothing like a Gunboat 55. The Gunboat Class has ten years of results on the same courses as a wide variety of multis and monos. Everyone will have an opinion based on those results. The trend over that time is a progressive increase in speed of the Gunboat fleet. The simpler design parameters of LAT21's custom project could be compared to varying older efforts with similar design parameters: Spronk (various) Conser 47/50 TS50/52 Outremer 55 Light Etincelle 57/60 These examples sacrificed systems, finish, comfort and space for less weight, and lower budget, while aiming for more performance. Wishing LAT21 easy fair winds on the quarter through the whole build process, and into ownership.
  8. Peter Johnstone


    EarthBM, the systems on a typical Gunboat 55 at her 12.5 mt lightship displacement will include: Washer/dryer Genset Full aircon throughout Entertainment systems Large Inverters Full AC power through the boat Shorepower Waterheaters Built in Grill Built in salon bar with sink and drinks fridge Full oven and stove top typical of a house Corian counters Large capacity tankage World cruising fridge/freezer capacities electric fresh water toilets Water filter systems Fuel scrubber, transfer and filter systems Hydraulic system for boards, main, winches, windlass Windlass Moonroof Tempered safety glass in salon Electric davit winch Fully featured tender V boom Satcoms Radar Stern poles Solar package Large house battery bank Two large diesels Retractable rudders and their bearings. Full electronics Luxury finish throughout Add of all of those systems, and your structures need to handle the displacement and loads. You cannot simply add this stuff to a lightly engineered structure for a barely equipped boat and expect it to hold together. The entire yacht works as one giant system. We achieve 34% resin content in the carbon skins. We mold in one piece female tooling so there is no fairing, no tabbing, no excess weight. Every 55 is simply painted, which weighs a fraction of the weight of gelcoat. No one will beat us on structural weight for a given displacement unless they go with full female carbon tooling and pre-preg/nomex route. That will cost a fortune. Anyone can leave stuff off of a cat. Very few have a spouse that will permit such a bare boat. For those, we do the G4. It costs less, and suits the bare performance spec type sailor. At the 55' length, the boats cannot be sold without most of the above list of systems. As for 'claimed' displacements, many designers will claim a weight. The 'as-built' weight is typically quite different. Some of the recent claims in the market by various 'vapor' projects are in fantasyland. Some of the best yards and projects are guilty of this. Our published weights are 'as-built'. We weigh at the completion of each project on certified scales. There is no question that a lighter and faster cat can be built. It is simply a matter of what you choose to leave off of the boat. How much can one sacrifice? Gunboat has the benefit of watching the buying patterns of 15 years of customers. The trend is not towards less aboard, it is towards more. This is why we have worked so hard to reduce structural weights to preserve performance. North Sails President Ken Read got involved in the Gunboat 55 sail plan development. He has commented that the Gunboat 55 speeds compare to the Puma Volvo 70 in most conditions and on most angles. How fast is fast enough? What is appropriate for the market? The results of the Gunboat 55 will become apparent over the next year or so on the water. It is an excellent balance of luxury, performance and ease of operation. In short, it is a family super yacht placed into a proven high performance Gunboat formula. This formula works for Gunboat. It is a very different design parameter than the custom project being discussed here.
  9. Peter Johnstone


    Trevor, the amenities and comforts are very similar. Both are simple bare-bones boats. More apples to apples than any other comparison shared.
  10. Peter Johnstone


    LAT21, You reference the Gunboat 55 as a comparison. Your project would compare much more closely with a Gunboat G4 in terms of comfort, layout and space. A Gunboat G4 weighs 5280 lbs to your designed weight calc of 14,000 lbs. A Gunboat 55 has all of the luxuries, space and amenities for a world cruise in complete comfort. She will be competitive in Gunboat Class events in the Caribbean. Gunboat owners over the past 14 years have enjoyed an average gain when comes to resell their yacht. The Gunboat 55 has her own niche and benefits, just as your unique custom project fits your needs. As I mention in the design thread, I salute folks like yourself and DDW who keep the custom work going at this size range. It is a dying art form. The economics are very challenging. You have a talented designer, great guys at the builder, and I am sure you will enjoy the whole process. Good luck and look forward to seeing the result and you on the water.
  11. Hi Peter,sorry for that...I have seen the Alibi 53 under construction,and I was quite impressed...but,well,they add some new features to the boat,that I don't see in Gunboats...that's why I asked for the comparison...

    Kind Regards,