Feb 18, 2009, 6:14 PM
Post #6 of 8
From Paul Zupan, Sausalito, CA: (Scuttlebutt 2776) In regards to the controversy over the damage that occurred in the last leg of the Volvo Regatta, it seems to me that the nay-sayers are missing the point. It seems they are assuming that the damage that occurred to several of the Volvo boats prove that that the design is inadequate for ocean racing. However, I think just the opposite occurred. I invite any number of “ocean proven” boats to participate in a test of their sea worthiness in an upwind beat in 50+ knots of breeze and huge swells (up to 15 meters?!).
Re: [The Publisher] Volvo 70 Demolition Derby
[In reply to]
Log-In to Post/Reply
It’s easy to underestimate the ferocity of that scenario, but I’m sure none of the people that experienced it will soon forget. I would bet that more than 50% of any such “ocean proven” designs would drop out with severe damage, not to mention loss of life. With four out of eight boats finishing the Qingdao leg, and only the loss of the end of Ken’s finger, I have nothing but praise for the boats and the crews that put themselves through that nightmare. I would say that the designers have more than done their job in terms of building a safe fast boat for what is an exciting event.
From Euan Ross, Jakarta: With regard to the comments made by Paul Zupan, Sausalito, CA: No, there is something wrong (or rather a whole range of factors) and the yacht industry needs to do something about it. The weather in the China Sea was not exceptional last month and the waters are hardly unknown; the Asian Grand Prix fleet and countless cruisers plough these waters all year. That’s not to say it isn’t tough – in my experience 45 kts on the nose in the China Sea can be more challenging even than a similar blow in the Southern Ocean due to the steep, breaking waveform.
But the boat makes a big difference and current trends towards flat bottoms, coupled with extensive use of monocoque panels in sandwich construction is counter intuitive, to say the least. You don't see many power boats designed like that. Back in 1990 on that passage with an S&S 36, the boat was safe and solid as a rock – albeit a submerged one; but a few years later when we lifted out our J/130 in Manila after a delivery from Brunei, you could see daylight between the hull and the keel. Such is progress in yacht design. God knows how Chaz, Jonno and the lads get the TP52 conversions back to Hong Kong in the winter these days.
From Charles Doane: Mr. Zupan, in defending the record of the Volvo boats during their windward thrash to China, suggests they in fact did well and invites so-called “ocean proven” boats to try beating upwind into 50+ knots and large seas without suffering severe damage. It seems to me the Australians do this on a regular basis in their Hobart race and generally fare much better than the Volvo crews did on their boats. The one time I did a Hobart race nearly 200 boats bashed their way into a 50-knot buster for several days, and only one, to my knowledge, suffered structural damage. Not to disparage either the Volvo boats or their crews, but there’s no denying these sleds are fragile!