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Odd... Hallucine, which won the last ARC, had as competent crew as any cruising cat could. 16-20 TWS, two reefs. They claim the capsize happened after hitting something in the water, but the hulls seem intact (pic).

It did happen around where killer whales have been attacking boats’ recently. 
 

hmm... thoughts?

 

https://voilesetvoiliers.ouest-france.fr/securite-en-mer/disparition-en-mer/le-catamaran-hallucine-de-regis-guillemot-chavire-au-large-de-vigo-un-mort-trois-rescapes-491bc45c-237e-11eb-97e1-64af5fb563fa

 

https://www.is.fi/kotimaa/art-2000007609445.html

DA80A366-B0E0-4DE4-BB47-6DC761DFA629.jpeg

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This is terrible news. My thoughts and love to all those involved. :(

Let's give them some time to take stock and give feedback on the event when they are ready, without jumping to any conclusions. 

This is a bad day for anyone in the multihull world and indeed any sailor! 

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Wow, that is shocking and sad.  Good boat and crew; would not have thought it possible.  One board raised or missing in the pic.

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6 hours ago, Greenflash said:

This is terrible news. My thoughts and love to all those involved. :(

Let's give them some time to take stock and give feedback on the event when they are ready, without jumping to any conclusions. 

This is a bad day for anyone in the multihull world and indeed any sailor! 

Agreed, this can happen to anyone. Very sad to hear about the skipper at the time. My heart goes out to their families.

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7 hours ago, Wess said:

Wow, that is shocking and sad.  Good boat and crew; would not have thought it possible.  One board raised or missing in the pic.

Any death is sad, but personally I think it’s not a bad way to go, a kind of good death that brings you to Valhalla. I’d choose that over dying in my bed, a sotdöd.

The last AIS position had them pointing SSW, which would put them on SB tack. So the leeward board being raised makes sense. 

The rarity of these events is exactly what warrants the focus and study. 

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6 minutes ago, EarthBM said:

Any death is sad, but personally I think it’s not a bad way to go, a kind of good death that brings you to Valhalla. I’d choose that over dying in my bed, a sotdöd.

The last AIS position had them pointing SSW, which would put them on SB tack. So the leeward board being raised makes sense. 

The rarity of these events is exactly what warrants the focus and study. 

If on SB wouldn't the port board be down...image shows port board up or broken...

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18 minutes ago, KC375 said:

If on SB wouldn't the port board be down...image shows port board up or broken...

Safer to have the windward board down/leeward board up. So in a puff you slide leeward rather than pivot over the leeward board.

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12 minutes ago, EarthBM said:

Safer to have the windward board down/leeward board up. So in a puff you slide leeward rather than pivot over the leeward board.

thanks

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10 hours ago, PIL66 - XL2 said:

Very sad news for sure 

And speaking of tragedies.... The the f*ck is the front page re hashing a the story of the Spirited 380 accident from 1.5 years ago....? 

Its not   on the frontpage as far I can see - but fresh in the FB Sailing A  - to me it looked like a new accident at first... 

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On 11/13/2020 at 7:35 AM, PIL66 - XL2 said:

Very sad news for sure 

And speaking of tragedies.... The the f*ck is the front page re hashing a the story of the Spirited 380 accident from 1.5 years ago....? 

PIL66 , was there an official enquiry or coroners findings published as to what went wrong. It’s been a while with nothing .

Would hate to see a repeat for the sake of a few findings published to assist other catamaran sailors.

As you are well aware there have been 3 x 380 to capsized. Kangaroo Island, Stockton Bight, and Lake Macquarie.

Did we hear from the designer at all?

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38 minutes ago, MRS OCTOPUS said:

PIL66 , was there an official enquiry or coroners findings published as to what went wrong. It’s been a while with nothing .

Would hate to see a repeat for the sake of a few findings published to assist other catamaran sailors.

As you are well aware there have been 3 x 380 to capsized. Kangaroo Island, Stockton Bight, and Lake Macquarie.

Did we hear from the designer at all?

I've heard nothing

 

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How does a boat like this capsize from hitting a submerged object?  Does it trip going down a wave or something?  Hard to understand the physics here especially given the crew report of sailing under-canvassed in 16-20.

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56 minutes ago, astro said:

It happens when they are over powered for the conditions.

They have a 16.5m stick on a 11.7m boat.

I’m guessing you’re talking about the 380.  A TS5 is 15.24m with a mast height of 20m.

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1 hour ago, HotCarNut said:

I’m guessing you’re talking about the 380.  A TS5 is 15.24m with a mast height of 20m.

Yeah, wrong boat.

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2 hours ago, HotCarNut said:
3 hours ago, astro said:

It happens when they are over powered for the conditions.

They have a 16.5m stick on a 11.7m boat.

I’m guessing you’re talking about the 380.  A TS5 is 15.24m with a mast height of 20m

Same ratio mast height to LOA at ~ 1.4. But bigger boat will always be more difficult to pitchpole/capsize in any case?

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31 minutes ago, Sidecar said:

Same ratio mast height to LOA at ~ 1.4. But bigger boat will always be more difficult to pitchpole/capsize in any case?

I have spent time on cats 38 and 45 feet.  Because they just slip through the water easier and they generate larger rig loadings with the wider beam, they usually reduce the rig size to produce a really stable safe platform.

Even then, sailing/racing at night on multi-hulls is a very different experience in risk management.  The penalty for not seeing and getting hit with a squall with the rags up on a mono is a knock-down, on a mutlihull it can be a capsize.

Not sure about the bigger boats being more difficult to put in the piss, you are probably right but it just depends on the circumstances.

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10 hours ago, Sidecar said:

Same ratio mast height to LOA at ~ 1.4. But bigger boat will always be more difficult to pitchpole/capsize in any case?

Interesting ratios for some of these boats:

380 ~1.4
TS5 ~1.3
GB68 (regatta) ~1.4
GB68 (cruising) ~1.2
HH66 (turbo) ~1.5
HH66 (cruising) ~1.3

I wonder if the beam ratio plays a role too...

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43 minutes ago, soma said:

The TS is quite wide for its length. One of the main reasons it’s so fast. I’d think beam is more important than length, it’s hard to imagine going ass over teakettle. It’s easy to imagine going over sideways. 

TS5 is 8,6 meters wide, GB68 is 9,12 and HH66 8,7. So yeah, it is wide!

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     So you hit something that causes rapid deceleration or change of heading and/or damage to hull(s) or appendages which leads to deceleration pitchpole or increased TWS due to that deceleration or different angular exposure due to directional change from the impact or lack of control from appendage damage etc,etc, etc.

     Not enough information on the incident to make any determination so it's all conjecture. 

     Two reefs but how much foreword of the mast? The capsized shot shows some swell but how much and how long after the incident was that picture taken. Lack of underwater damage save the missing board and high freeboard indicating no hull punctures suggests she sailed over and 16 - 20 with a big reacher and a broach on a light boat might be enough.

     Conjecture on beam ratio/rig height without displacement or prismatic is grasping at straws too.

     That's a fine boat representing the current development of fast, fun, offshore cats so let's hope there are some lessons learned when more specific information emerges.

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4 hours ago, soma said:

The TS is quite wide for its length. One of the main reasons it’s so fast. I’d think beam is more important than length, it’s hard to imagine going ass over teakettle. It’s easy to imagine going over sideways. 

 

Soma I suspect you have more time in cats than I ever will, but with all due respect, it’s not terribly hard to pitchpole a cat.

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8 hours ago, HotCarNut said:

Interesting ratios for some of these boats:

380 ~1.4
TS5 ~1.3
GB68 (regatta) ~1.4
GB68 (cruising) ~1.2
HH66 (turbo) ~1.5
HH66 (cruising) ~1.3

I wonder if the beam ratio plays a role too...

I have had a similar incident but not at night and no fatalities ...

Beam ratio absolutely plays a part ....  my boat is a racing boat and is close to 1.5 with low volume in the bow and large roach in the main so not surprised that when it went over it was more pitch pole than capsize ..(A bit of both really). 

The TS5 is a safe ratio and a well proven fast ocean cruiser that can be raced so a safe boat in my opinion.

it would be great to get the actual reasons for this capsize for all to learn and hopefully help avoid future incidences but unfortunately we rarely get the actual blow by blow, warts and all account due to either an ongoing investigation from police and or insurance (In my case)  Sometimes those that were there just don't want to talk for whatever reasons as that's their right.
Sailing the worlds oceans is never totally safe regardless of the boat and in life accidents happen so the secret is how to limit it to an acceptable percentage.... for me it's risk Vs mental reward in racing... but i learned recently in my crash that I risked others for my reward which is not acceptable and I regret that and have learned from it.
I believe a bigger problem now that impacts us is No.1... the shear quantity of inexperience people now out cruising the world. It seems with youtube the new phenomenon is to buy a boat with a GPS and go with next to no real time sailing / traveling miles under your belt and No.2.... The amount of large floating objects in the ocean ready to take you out at any time. This boat is now part of that problem and should be removed.

I hope the boat will be recovered and if so we will hear more .... 

Condolences to the family 

 

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On 11/16/2020 at 1:21 PM, mookiesurfs said:

 

Soma I suspect you have more time in cats than I ever will, but with all due respect, it’s not terribly hard to pitchpole a cat.

A fast cruising cat mostly definitely does not like to pitchpole. I've buried the hulls to the mid crossbeam and it did not even lift it's rear at all. I think it's more a function of weight  and CG.

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On 11/18/2020 at 5:09 PM, mpenman said:

A fast cruising cat mostly definitely does not like to pitchpole. I've buried the hulls to the mid crossbeam and it did not even lift it's rear at all. I think it's more a function of weight  and CG.

Hallucine even has automatic sheet release system: https://www.yachtingworld.com/sailing-across-atlantic/catamaran-sailing-multihulls-arc-126773

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I tried to find recent info on this one but didn't find much ..

If the cat was under powered and 20 knts of wind, I really struggle to understand what really happened even with a UFO, and especially considering that no major damage can be ween in the pic.

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On 11/21/2020 at 3:47 PM, Kenny Dumas said:

Orcas Cowtipping

That is funny right there.  Wonder how many will get that.  Thought cow tipping was a NJ thing.

 

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16 hours ago, Upp3 said:

Good article. Perhaps the answer is related to this quote: “For him, there is full speed ahead, or nothing!”

Makes me less certain they really did run the 2nd reef in 16-18 TWS. 

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5 hours ago, EarthBM said:

Good article. Perhaps the answer is related to this quote: “For him, there is full speed ahead, or nothing!”

Makes me less certain they really did run the 2nd reef in 16-18 TWS. 

Last speed on Marinetraffic: Speed/Course: 9.5 kn / 239 °

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:5777862/mmsi:227894280/imo:0/vessel:HALLUCINE

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I an accident one usually finds that more than one thing har joined forces to make the result; here I can think of a whale - dont make much marks ,   a rought wave - or a sudden burst of wind - from an other angle -  or combination of the two last.... as the watchman is missing it   can be hard to find out exactly what happend . Is the boat salvaged? 

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  • 1 month later...

Still a big mystery how that could happen, apparently they were underpowered 2 reefs in 20 knots. But Regis Guillemot is truly affected by this story and the death of the crew, probably a reason for so little info.

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4 hours ago, yl75 said:

Still a big mystery how that could happen, apparently they were underpowered 2 reefs in 20 knots. But Regis Guillemot is truly affected by this story and the death of the crew, probably a reason for so little info.

Maybe official investigation going on? 

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On 12/30/2020 at 8:20 PM, yl75 said:

Still a big mystery how that could happen, apparently they were underpowered 2 reefs in 20 knots. But Regis Guillemot is truly affected by this story and the death of the crew, probably a reason for so little info.

 

On 2/19/2021 at 8:57 AM, Mordoc said:

I would love to understand the background of this excident. Anybody heard anything?

In my experience having been involved in an incident,  it is unlikely the real story will be told publicly by the survivors. They have nothing to gain and much to lose by the public picking their story to pieces which now seems to be the norm.

This place is a prime example of that.

Maybe in their own time after a coroners report but don't hold your breath.

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36 minutes ago, Crazy Horse said:

https://youtu.be/Rbr06xOi6Ko

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbr06xOi6Ko

Hope one of these works for you, amazing boats in the right hands.

 

Thanks for posting.

From the video subtitles.

A "cruising boat" where holding the windward traveller line at all times is recomended.

Sounds like fun for the first 5 minutes.

I'm thinking my partner is not coming cruising again after 4 days of that.

 

 

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well - I suppose reefing is allowed if you dont want to hold the sheet. Its only when you really start to lift the windward hull you need to holdt the sheets. Fast and lights as it is - it will go fast event with conservative reefing and big safety margins.

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Nice design.

Great to a cat that's designed to sail well.

Rather than, just another cat that's designed to party charter four couples in a power cat with a rig stuck on top of the patio observation deck. 

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13 hours ago, Crazy Horse said:

https://youtu.be/Rbr06xOi6Ko

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbr06xOi6Ko

Hope one of these works for you, amazing boats in the right hands.

 

One of the two boats was Hallucine...

Interesting how Charles prefers to reduce the foresail first, because it can make it harder to head up in a gust; and also it will power up more than main when bearing off. This is kind of opposite to my intuition that it's always easy to depower the foresail by just dumping the sheet, while the main can be a problem in a bear-away situation.  I suppose that if you're single-handed, your just have the main and traveller sheets in your hand, and leave the foresail as is in a gust?

He also says to not bear off with the hull flying - again, it felt to me that you want the centrifugal force helping you by bearing off.

No advice on what to do when the lee bow is stuffed. I guess dumping the jib sheet first makes sense. 

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6 hours ago, Keith said:

Nice design.

Is that ts5? No, wait, a ts42. Nope. Ts3. Not that small...

Man everything Marsaudon builds seems to look exactly the same. 

Anyway wish I had one, but just like a 1968 beetle (or a 2001 Civic), you can tell one apart from a mile away. Or on this case 2 miles away as they will be sailing away from you fast.

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What I love about the French is that they are passionate and very, very good sailors. They enjoy boats that sail well and can handle difficult conditions. Great video.

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5 hours ago, EarthBM said:

He also says to not bear off with the hull flying - again, it felt to me that you want the centrifugal force helping you by bearing off.

The centrifugal force of the turn increasing heeling moment! Think about going around a curve too fast in a tall vehicle. It tips over. 

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6 hours ago, EarthBM said:

Interesting how Charles prefers to reduce the foresail first, because it can make it harder to head up in a gust

On our boat (bigger genoa / smaller main) we'd reef the genoa faster in a squall because you could do it so fast. Then we'd keep depowering by putting in a reef of the main.

And we added cam cleats nearby the primary genoa winches so we could blow them faster in a hurry. This was after another Atlantic 57 capsize. The mainsheet was in a double cam cleat (4:1/8:1 mainsheet) so if you flicked both it would run out very fast. Traveller was on cam cleats too. 

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18 minutes ago, Zonker said:

The centrifugal force of the turn increasing heeling moment! Think about going around a curve too fast in a tall vehicle. It tips over. 

It increases the heeling moment if you head up, but counters it if you bear off. He's advising to not bear off, which seems counter-intuitive..

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6 hours ago, EarthBM said:

Interesting how Charles prefers to reduce the foresail first, because it can make it harder to head up in a gust; and also it will power up more than main when bearing off. This is kind of opposite to my intuition that it's always easy to depower the foresail by just dumping the sheet, while the main can be a problem in a bear-away situation.

It wasn't super clear but the reducing the jib first is in the context of going upwind, he's saying that on MOD70s if you are trying to luff to depower with 2 reefs in the main and big jib it will actually round down if you dump the traveler.
Going downwind would definitely be the opposite where you want to reef the main first.

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Bear off or luff up; its easier to control a luff - bec all sails are depowered without doing anything but turn the rudder.  In a bear off with flying hull - on the edge - if sails are not eased perfectly it can easy tip over. The heeling moment will not be so big in a luff bec that is usually not many degrees - in a bear off it can help - but the windforce will easy counter it. 

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6 hours ago, soma said:

There’s a transition where depowering is turning up or turning down. That transition is at about 90 degrees. We’ll call out “out is down” or “out is up” just so all crew are on the same page. If “out is up” you generally hold the sheets. If “out is down” you have to let the driver down.  If conditions are marginal we’ll sit solidly on one side or another of that transition (75-80 TWA or 105-110 TWA). When things are really bad on my F40 there almost isn’t an “out is down” because the bows are getting pushed down too much and you’re on the verge of a pitchpole. 

In the video, Charles Caudrelier is talking about "l'angle mort", the dead angle; between 95° and 105° TWA. More upwind, you head up to let go some power in a puff. More downwind, you bear away to let go some power in a puff.

But in that range, there is no hard rule, and depending on the sea, the reaction of the boat, it is up to the helmsman to figure out what is best (or not worst...). He explains that on the new foilers like Gitana 17, it is not really a problem: more wind = more speed = more righting moment from the foil...

But on the other hand, with the ORMA 60 trimarans, there were some conditions where NOBODY would sail at those angles. Just too dangerous...

 

As noted by others, interesting to see that he would reduce head sail first. That is not what they were doing there with the organized daysail with the shipyard people, and he was politely saying that it is not what he would do. He said that on fast trimaran, they go all the way to J3 with full main before taking a reef.

On top of what EartBM explain above on the reasons to do so; Charles added that to reduce your headsail, you need to bear away to furl it anyway. (He said that if you go upwind and let your jib flock to furl it, you are going to ruin it...) If the headsail is not the first reduction of sail area you do, it means that when you want to reduce headsail, you are now maybe in a squall, and you will have to go through that 95 to 105 dead angle range to do so, with too much headsail, not safe...

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There is also another reason to first reduce the foresails on ocean-going high-performance multihulls:

For structural reasons, you need the main sail supporting the mast where the corresponding forstay of the foresail you are using is in the lock.

Thus, on our Lorima carbon mast, you cannot use the mast head lock (for the spinnaker) or the one between the J1/Solent and masthead (e.g. for the screecher) with a reef in the mainsail, or the J1/Solent with two reefs in the main.

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Really valuable video, everyone should watch it.

We capsized a multi doing the exact opposite as explained in the video ie eased the main, heady took control of the boat 40kn gust could not head up quick enough ..... slow sideways capsize.

The whole capsize was caused by not easing the heady. Any depowering now is done with Heady first.

Before we actually did it I would have never thought the heady would have been able to capsize the boat.

The other point made was not to bear away when reaching when flying a hull. Reason for that is that hull is already under pressure supporting the whole boat and it does not have as much reserve buoyancy so there is a danger of it nosediving.

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They translate CC as saying the 'DEAD ZONE' which implies that there is not much going on there. A better translation is the 'ZONE OF DEATH' which implies that there is a lot going on there!

I think he then says not to sail in the zone of death if you are powered up. Sail below it - then you can bear away if needed, or sail above it - so that you can luff up if needed.

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12 hours ago, bushsailor said:

Really valuable video, everyone should watch it.

We capsized a multi doing the exact opposite as explained in the video ie eased the main, heady took control of the boat 40kn gust could not head up quick enough ..... slow sideways capsize.

The whole capsize was caused by not easing the heady. Any depowering now is done with Heady first.

Before we actually did it I would have never thought the heady would have been able to capsize the boat.

The other point made was not to bear away when reaching when flying a hull. Reason for that is that hull is already under pressure supporting the whole boat and it does not have as much reserve buoyancy so there is a danger of it nosediving.

"heady"?  I know you meant head sail but never heard it called a "heady".

When the windward hull is flying it has zero reserve buoyancy (righting moment) and isn't likely to nosedive.  If anything, the leeward hull might nosedive but that's more likely when the windward hull is is still in the water with reserve righting moment.  Many factors like angle of aerodynamic force on the sails, boat speed, wave height and timing affect nosediving of the leeward hull but in general, I would say that if the windward hull flies before pitchpoling, the boat will likely roll over sideways without burying the leeward bow.  Pacific proa theory.

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Not bearing away with the windward hull already flying is mostly because if the hull is flying the point of maximum stability is already exceeded. As the boat bears away the wind comes aft, increasing heeling moment, whilst the righting moment is reducing - an unstable combination.

With the windward hull in the water the righting moment is increasing as the heeling moment is increasing - a much more stable relationship. This holds true for lateral and longitudinal stability.

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16 minutes ago, ProaSailor said:

Many factors like angle of aerodynamic force on the sails, boat speed, wave height and timing affect nosediving of the leeward hull but in general, I would say that if the windward hull flies before pitchpoling, the boat will likely roll over sideways without burying the leeward bow. 

reading through the thread again.., i am not sure that everyone is using "pitchpole" in the same sense.

to me, it is a specific type of capsize, where the leeward bow dives and the boat tries to go end-over-end. I think upthread, one or two posters might be using pitchpole as general term for a catamaran capsize

My first boat was a Hobie 16 - and this could pitchpole easily

modern cats have hulls designed to go through waves - so called "wave piercing" hulls, and I think are pretty unlikely to actually pitchpole.

The biggest danger is having the leeward blade too far down, although it seems that in this case (the TS5) it wasn't down, and I think everyone who sails these boats realizes that they can capsize even without the leeward board down

My experience is that on these really powerful cruising cats, you need to be thinking way ahead - once it starts getting scary, it can be too late to do anything to the sail plan and you can be stuck for a _long_ time going way faster than you want to go -  basically just hanging on and hoping for the best..

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6 hours ago, teamvmg said:

They translate CC as saying the 'DEAD ZONE' which implies that there is not much going on there. A better translation is the 'ZONE OF DEATH' which implies that there is a lot going on there!

I think he then says not to sail in the zone of death if you are powered up. Sail below it - then you can bear away if needed, or sail above it - so that you can luff up if needed.

Correct, my "dead angle" translation was too litteral and did not carry the correct meaning that it is the zone you do not want to be...

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21 hours ago, bushsailor said:

Really valuable video, everyone should watch it.

We capsized a multi doing the exact opposite as explained in the video ie eased the main, heady took control of the boat 40kn gust could not head up quick enough ..... slow sideways capsize.

The whole capsize was caused by not easing the heady. Any depowering now is done with Heady first.

Before we actually did it I would have never thought the heady would have been able to capsize the boat.

The other point made was not to bear away when reaching when flying a hull. Reason for that is that hull is already under pressure supporting the whole boat and it does not have as much reserve buoyancy so there is a danger of it nosediving.

Yep and a great example of this is ....Sodebo 

@ProaSailor I believe Bush is referring to the leeward hull.... He would know as pushes his over 40ft (kind of) cruiser racer very hard indeed and would have found the limits more than most...
Heady is a very Australian term... We shorten just about every word possible.... 

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6 hours ago, Laurent said:

Correct, my "dead angle" translation was too litteral and did not carry the correct meaning that it is the zone you do not want to be...

Suicide angles is the anglo term I'm used to

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13 hours ago, teamvmg said:

They translate CC as saying the 'DEAD ZONE' which implies that there is not much going on there. A better translation is the 'ZONE OF DEATH' which implies that there is a lot going on there!

I think he then says not to sail in the zone of death if you are powered up. Sail below it - then you can bear away if needed, or sail above it - so that you can luff up if needed.

  We used to do something similar when sailing on an I14 and even on my F16 .

If it was a reach with a bit on we would do a V instead of straight lining it .

We would go high first for halve of it then go low for the second halve .

Worked on my single handed F16 as well .

You were able to do most of the work with steering input rather than massive amounts of sheeting while on the edge .

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On 3/3/2021 at 8:12 AM, PIL66 - XL2 said:

Yep and a great example of this is ....Sodebo 

@ProaSailor I believe Bush is referring to the leeward hull.... He would know as pushes his over 40ft (kind of) cruiser racer very hard indeed and would have found the limits more than most...
Heady is a very Australian term... We shorten just about every word possible.... 

Yeh Pil, Bushies (note aus shortening of his name) cat is a weapon that he sails super hard! It actually started life as a sub 40’ Adrian Rogers design which he extended to 50’.   Has anyone got a link of the capsize of  Afterburner in the 1997 Coastal Classic. A very interesting flip.

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On 2/27/2021 at 6:45 AM, soma said:

There’s a transition where depowering is turning up or turning down. That transition is at about 90 degrees. We’ll call out “out is down” or “out is up” just so all crew are on the same page. If “out is up” you generally hold the sheets. If “out is down” you have to let the driver down.  If conditions are marginal we’ll sit solidly on one side or another of that transition (75-80 TWA or 105-110 TWA). When things are really bad on my F40 there almost isn’t an “out is down” because the bows are getting pushed down too much and you’re on the verge of a pitchpole. 

This is exactly how we think about sailing our A57, and we always reduce headsail first. Full main and staysail is a very capable sail combo. Put a single reef in the main from there and it's rare to need less sail....We've had two reefs in three times I can think of in 8,500 miles between Newfoundland and Grenada, and never for long. And we only once had two reefs and a single reef in the staysail, beating into winds gusting 31.5 True with 10' waves - boat did pretty well - though a very narrow sweet spot in those conditions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

No disagreement with most of the comments here.  Dumping sheets is always a solution, even in the zone of death.  I've researched a lot of capsizes, and being unable/unprepared to do so is a common thread.  Afterburner's capsize was with the previous owner.  In my 15 years with her, my scary events had similar causes, sudden stops followed by rudder overpowered roundups leading to lateral capsize risk.  We had winches with unused self-tailers, no cleats.  We handheld sheets all the time on the winch, which wasn't a hardship for racing.  At the tiller I held the main sheet in my forward hand, just like a beachcat. 

Event #1 had us doing mid 20's downwind off Pt Dume, Calif.  With a couple crew new for the day.  A big kelp island appeared in front of us and we attempted a very fast gybe, unsuccessfully, as the main sheet was overwrapped on it's winch (newbies).  We hit the kelp and stopped, a bit nose down.  The apparent wind clocked aft and built to the  true wind.  The main hooked up, created huge weather helm and Afterburner started rounding up at slow speed, overpowering the rudders, and heeling over.  I was barely able to hold the helm up, slowing the roundup, until they dumped the main from the lee winch.  Seemed like hours.  A lateral capsize after a sudden stop and roundup is a real danger.

Event #2 was double reefed in big winds and big steep 16' (?) seas, downwind again.  Couldn't slow down below wave speed and surfing was crazy fast.  A bigger wave stuffed us right into the back of the one in front, water up to the mast, rudders out of the water, and a big slow down.  20% of a pitchpole?    Spin was released as this happened, and the main shortly after we slowed and started to round up again, the sterns came down.  Our newbie that day was a mono racer who thought he was going to die.  It was a bit hairy.

We had Wahoo in the same race years later, same location, similar winds and seas, and the same thing happened.  Because Wahoo isn't as overpowered as Afterburner, we hadn't reefed yet (a mistake).  Big wave, we surfed down it and stuffed big time, water over the cabin top.  On Wahoo I helm at a wheel standing.  I was knocked down, couldn't see a thing.  But I could feel the stern rising.  The spinnaker block lashing had failed at impact, taking out a lifeline stanchion, and jamming block & stanchion on to the winch preventing further easing.  The failure had eased 8 feet or so of spin sheet.  This was pretty lucky I think.  I could feel Wahoo starting to round up and heel as I'm screaming for someone to dump the main.  He'd been knocked down too.  He got it dumped.  We got things sorted out and got back into the race.  Deja Vu moment.

In bringing Wahoo home 4k nm, we reefed early, often at night, ran a screecher instead of spinnaker, hit squalls, big seas and big winds, and never approached a capsize.  Over 14 knots of boat speed we'd have someone standing/sitting by a sheet tail, in a cam cleat off the winches.  In an early leg, the autopilot had us surfing down waves at 19 knots while we had dinner and toasted her tracking on rails.  It dawned on me that this might not be a safe cruising practice, so we got in the habit of reducing sail whenever there weren't crew standing by to respond.

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