Another keel goes astray...French sailor survives 16 hours in an air bubble inside his capsized boat off Spain

accnick

Super Anarchist
3,222
2,240
Is that you in #39, right behind #54 Dragon when he hit a rock?

View attachment 532456




Looks like the boat fetched up on Newton Rock off Beavertail. Isolated rock that clearly shows on the chart, and NR bell nearby is typically a mark of round-the-island courses.
 
It's probably the first time I read through all the comments and NO MENTION of the Orcas in that area. FB has a group called "Orca attack reporting" and that area is where Orcas learned how to destroy rudders and even sank a boat. The Melges 30 (not 32) had keel problems and could snap off at high speed with a certain oscillaton. An Orca coming from behind and biting into the keel fin could easily twist the keel enough to overload the design specs. That part of the Spanish / Portuguese coast all the way to Gibraltar by now is well known for Orca attacks. Just Google it.
 

Howler

Member
175
170
But mass and attendant stresses scale…
Yes and no. Scaling is funny. Mice, which have similar density and similar bone-size-to-mass ratios as humans, can survive falling from great heights. Tangentially related: Reynolds numbers. Build a 1/10 scale model of a boat that sails at 10 knots: neither towing the model at 1 knot nor at 10 knots accurately characterizes the forces acting on the actual boat.
 

Israel Hands

Super Anarchist
2,908
1,662
coastal NC
Mice, which have similar density and similar bone-size-to-mass ratios as humans, can survive falling from great heights.
That is meandering out of the world of building materials (and so much that we know about them) I'd say. :)
And it's been 40 years since I was deeply immersed in the world of fluid dynamics (so to speak) but the point is that there is a great deal that we do know about how to scale structural and materials design for vessels. (Granted, boats of any size aren't designed to hit icebergs or submerged containers.) I'd bet that usually when the keel falls off it's either poor design (lack of sufficient FOS) or builder execution, rather than lack of human knowledge of potential forces on the boat at this stage of naval design.
 

Grande Mastere Dreade

Snag's spellchecker
Is that you in #39, right behind #54 Dragon when he hit a rock?







fuck that was painful to watch...
 

Virgulino Ferreira

Super Anarchist
1,041
967
Brazil
fuck that was painful to watch...

Except for the bow woman, Emma Creighton. She was a total badass.

1659721469613.png


She is pretty cool. Finishing the mini transat, landing in Brazil:

 

Swanno

Super Anarchist
It's probably the first time I read through all the comments and NO MENTION of the Orcas in that area. FB has a group called "Orca attack reporting" and that area is where Orcas learned how to destroy rudders and even sank a boat. The Melges 30 (not 32) had keel problems and could snap off at high speed with a certain oscillaton. An Orca coming from behind and biting into the keel fin could easily twist the keel enough to overload the design specs. That part of the Spanish / Portuguese coast all the way to Gibraltar by now is well known for Orca attacks. Just Google it.
No mention of Aliens either and that is equally plausible.
 

Talchotali

Capt. Marvel's Wise Friend
349
154
Vancouverium BC
No mention of Aliens either and that is equally plausible.
Nor bad engineering, or poor assembly, or a flux in the time-space continuum -- also equally plausible.

Perhaps he was sailing over the sunken city of R'lyeh at the time? It's been know to move about a bit.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn...
 
Last edited:

Startracker

Member
407
107
Van Isl.
Given that we've all heard of Cheeki Raffiki, it appears to be uncommon to the point of newsworthiness if not freakishness.
I've been trying to find the article I was reading, the topic came up in discussion of a local boat after a grounding, and I came across it then, but can't find it in my mess of a sent folder. There was a bit of an investigation going on, after that in the UK I think? They found a surprising number of them up in yards with grid/matrix issues. Heard a rumor from someone I work with that Lloyds and possibly another underwriter soon will no longer insure the Beneteau's built this way. An unsubstantiated rumour that though. Wish I could find the article from the UK again though. Perhaps it is more common but doesn't result in a keel falling off in most cases before they're up on the hard.
 

Virgulino Ferreira

Super Anarchist
1,041
967
Brazil
https://web.facebook.com/caperacingyachts/

Cape Racing Yachts​

1 hr ·
In the past week, #179, Jeanne was towed to La Coruna in Spain where she was righted and placed ashore. Investigations are ongoing as to the cause of the failure. The keel bolts were found inside the boat, intact and the laminate around the keel box is visually undamaged. This is what we know so far. Further updates will follow.
 

Rail Meat

Super Anarchist
7,193
175
Mystic, CT
Apparently, someone spoke my name three times...

So much to unpack on this thread. I am going to avoid talking about this specific incident until the investigation is complete, but have some other answers / thoughts about subjects raised here:
  1. Yes, I still post here
  2. No, I don't post very often anymore
  3. Yes, that video of Dragon is painful to watch.
  4. Yes, Emma is bad ass.
  5. Yes, I hit a charted rock. A glancing blow. We cut the line a bit too close.... 6 inches to the left would have been enough.
  6. Yes, the boat made it back to the dock
  7. Yes, the boat got ultra-sounded, and a lot more. It took 3 months of hard work by Carbon Ocean Yachts to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Lots of composite damage to be repaired. The keel was removed, sent to Cintras and radiographed. Every fastener was removed and ultra-sounded.
  8. Two years later I replaced the entire keel and interior structure with a new keel.
  9. Yes, a couple of other Class40s have had keel issues of various sorts over the years. That is 188 boats with collectively a gigantic number of ocean miles. Hell, I have 100,000 of those miles so it is probably more than 10 million miles of sailing at this point.
  10. No, the Class40s do not share a common keel design. There are over 40 designers with one or more examples of a Class40 that has been launched. And there are probably 80 different keel designs
  11. Yes, Dragon was for sale and has now sold.
  12. Yes, I have a new Class40 in build
As for keeping keels in boats, there is no design in the world that will make up for bad choices or bad maintenance. Keels are subject to frequent, repeated loading. Keels taken offshore see even more loading. And owners sometimes hit things. You can't bolt a keel onto a boat and forget about it - it requires maintenance like any other thing on the boat and can fail like any other thing on the boat.

A keel actually consists of much more than one component and the failure of any of those components can cause its loss. Somewhere upthread someone was highlighting what looked like a very beefy keel grid. That is a nice start... what about the structure that grid is attached to? What about the nuts, the studs or the attachment points for those studs on the actual keel? What about the keel strut itself? Or the same question about the fasteners holding the bulb to the keel? I have read and seen keel failures that involve every single one of those things. Sometimes the boat was saved by very quick thinking (dump the sails, drop the sails, load up on water ballast, stop the water ingress). Other times the boat flipped and things got worse.

My recommendation to sleep well offshore is the following
  • Know the design of your keel. Best outcome would be to have the CAD files and specs for every part of your keel and related structure. If you were the original owner, ask for those when you take delivery of the boat. If you are buying it used, ask the prior owner, or reach out to the naval architect. Next best would be to have an architect or engineer tell you what you have got. Worst case, try to familiarize yourself with the thing that is keeping you above the water.
  • Know its history. How many approximate miles has it seen? How many of those have been hard, pounding offshore miles? Has it ever been grounded?
  • Know your keel's maintenance history
  • Visually inspect your keel periodically. The exterior, the bolts, the keel grid and the surrounding composite.
  • Perform your own maintenance. Drop the keel every 10,000 miles or so for a visual inspection. Have NDT performed on the various components of the system. That can include radiography or ultra-sound.
  • If you ground the boat with any amount of real speed on anything approaching hard ground, have the keel (all of its components) inspected and NDT tested.
  • Make sure when your keel is installed, the bolts are torqued to spec, which starts with knowing the spec. If you don't trust your yard, be there in person to do it.
  • Well cared for, a keel should last years and tens of thousands of miles. But you should also recognize if you are a bit crazy like me, that a keel is ultimately a consumable just like a sail or like rigging and should be replaced maybe every 50,000 miles or so.

That's about all I have to say about that.
 

SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
68,743
12,383
Great Wet North
As for keeping keels in boats, there is no design in the world that will make up for bad choices or bad maintenance. Keels are subject to frequent, repeated loading. Keels taken offshore see even more loading. And owners sometimes hit things. You can't bolt a keel onto a boat and forget about it - it requires maintenance like any other thing on the boat and can fail like any other thing on the boat.
Then why were keels falling off almost unheard of prior to about 40 years ago?

IMO extreme design and reducing safety margins to razor thin are where the blame lies.
 

Latest posts




Top