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Peter Johnstone

Member Since 30 Sep 2005
Offline Last Active Sep 30 2015 04:50 PM
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: A new cat in California

18 February 2015 - 09:39 PM

I have communicated to Malcolm and the owner that in our view she remains a Gunboat for Gunboat Class purposes, albeit an incredibly customized and tweaked one. She will be welcome to race in our events when she is ready. This 66 looks really exciting. Congrats guys. Looks like a weapon.

 

The Gunboat Class relies on Harry Dunning to weigh and measure to his formula for class ratings. Sail area, foil type and depth all have factors. All of the older boats are getting tweaks, larger sails, new boards, and in some cases taller rigs. Am sure it may take a year or two to get the factors accurate, but Harry's work has shown to be pretty close when applied to the past year or two of races.


In Topic: PLEASE SAY A PRAYER FOR RAINMAKER'S CREW

16 February 2015 - 02:20 PM

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.


In Topic: RAINMAKER DISMASTED OFF HATTERAS IN GALE

31 January 2015 - 01:41 PM

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.


In Topic: PLEASE SAY A PRAYER FOR RAINMAKER'S CREW

31 January 2015 - 01:38 PM

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.


In Topic: PLEASE SAY A PRAYER FOR RAINMAKER'S CREW

31 January 2015 - 11:23 AM

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.