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Winged monohulls: some considerations including how to make them safer

Posted by Doug Lord, 21 July 2011 · 578 views

First of all, I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the two people aboard Wingnuts-it is an awful tragedy.
I also heard about the U-20 sinking and all of this has brought up interesting thoughts both here and on boatdesign. Some people want to blame the design of the Kiwi 35 for the deaths of the crew even though the small amount of evidence that is out now seems to show that something terrible happened to those two people that didn't happen to the others on board. Thats one thing to consider.
Another is this: the common cure all among safety freaks in the monohull community appears to be that the Kiwi 35 was too tender, it was too likely to capsize, it needed more lead. That because of this it was "unseaworthy".
But wait just a minute-did you see the picture of the upsidedown boat and the righted boat? Did you notice that it was floating?
Remember the old mono vs multi argument: " Yeah the multihull will capsize but the leadbelly will sink". But the Kiwi 35 did not sink. In fact, it behaved very similarly to a multihull that had capsized. And as tragic as the loss of two lives is 6 others survived w/o injuries.
Maybe instead of mandating that all monohulls are self-righting(which is probably a good idea in most cases) a "class" of high speed ,lightweight monohulls(of different lengths) that may capsize could be permitted as long as the boat can be shown to float after a capsize/inversion. These monohulls would have exactly the same characteristics as racing multihulls except that some of them would carry some lead-but they would not sink.And many could be designed to be rightable with action by the crew.
And multihulls race everywhere and are considered seaworthy by most people even though they can capsize.
Worth pondering ....
added 8/6/11
I may have accidently come up with a solution to make "winged" boats safer and practical by eliminating tripping over the down wing which would also eliminate any possibilty of the thing remaining inverted while providing increased protection for the crew on deck. See the two very rough sketches posted on this date. I may build a large test model to evaluate this idea and wings in general. A friend in NZ may also pursue a test model. One thing is plainly evident: there is rampant ,uninformed speculation about the K35 and other winged boats even among naval architects. A carefully done test model could put that kind of crap to rest. Of course, if the investigation is thorough and not a rubber stamped anti-wing lynch mob maybe the model wouldn't be required. I would hope that solutions such as the one I have showed would be considered rather than just banning a whole group of high performance monohulls! We'll see...

I fully agree!

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