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So the cat 1 rules have changed, requiring boats to have storm shutters fitted to any window over 2 square feet (not just have them available).  Also a bit more emphasis on making sure life rafts are securely attached if they are externally mounted.

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Essence yacht sinking: Storm covers could have prevented loss of life, Maritime NZ investigation finds

An investigation into the fatal sinking of a yacht off the Northland coast has revealed storm covers - fitted to protect cabin windows - could have prevented loss of life.

Safety regulations have now been updated to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, Maritime NZ said.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/essence-yacht-sinking-storm-covers-could-have-prevented-loss-of-life-maritime-nz-investigation-finds/OUJXB276XEYRRYX4ZJWIF746MY/

 

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So the significant change is the covers,are now fitted rather than carried?

Then in the report a photo of how it should be done that looks to me to be utterly useless. Essense lost her windows from the inside out  the covers shown are ply over the windows , the ply against the coamings would stop them being stovevin, but a few little screws wouldn't stop them popping out.

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Report said "many relatively modern production vessels, such as Essence, are constructed from
materials that are more susceptible to flexing under pressure. This, when combined with the larger windows that are commonly found in modern sailing vessels, makes the rebated substrate area around the windows more susceptible to failure." Seems they mean the vessel wasn't seaworthy.

So even if the storm covers had been fitted they would have needed substantial engineering attachment to stop them being blown out.

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I agree that external covers screwed on aren't going to make that much difference, although if they were paired with similar covers internally and bolted together that would be a start.  

Still seems to me that storm covers that *aren't* attached would be more useful, particularly once a window broke, as long as you had a simple method (such as channel) to fit them afterwards.  Tricky though since you don't know what you're going to lose as well as the windows.

Simpler I think just not to have windows over 2 square feet on your boat.

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2 minutes ago, Tillsbury said:

I agree that external covers screwed on aren't going to make that much difference, although if they were paired with similar covers internally and bolted together that would be a start.  

 

was just about to write this.  Double glazed (separate sheets into a rebate on inside and outside) during build could acheive the same thing.

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13 minutes ago, aardvarkash10 said:

was just about to write this.  Double glazed (separate sheets into a rebate on inside and outside) during build could acheive the same thing.

and how do you stop condensation between the layers?

After being on that passage from Tonga in 2019 with winds steady 45 gusting 65... I can't even begin to imagine going out on deck with a piece of plywood, it's just nuts. And the idea of only sending some screws thru whatever your skin and foam core might constitute... is an absurd idea on that sort of hull construction. 

This story (for me) is a sobering reminder of how vulnerable salon windows have become in modern yacht design. Even our Farrier with a 4 to 8 cm rabbited recess and screws every 24cm seems wholly inadequate.

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27 minutes ago, Tillsbury said:

Simpler I think just not to have windows over 2 square feet on your boat.

Not simple for people like me.

2D35B7C3-2119-45A9-AD77-BE651E2106E9.jpeg

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43 minutes ago, Black Panther said:

So the significant change is the covers,are now fitted rather than carried?

Also:
- liferaft to be securely fitted,
- drogue use needs to be practised by skipper,
 - don't sail in the SE quadrant of a low as that is the worst place (southern hemisphere)

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3 minutes ago, Fogg said:

Not simple for people like me.

2D35B7C3-2119-45A9-AD77-BE651E2106E9.jpeg

Some are apparently adding a mullion and halving window size. It's in another thread somewhere.  That might be a solution  that would be better than covers and more aesthetically pleasing. 

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3 minutes ago, ex Elly said:

Also:
- liferaft to be securely fitted,

Kinda obvious ,( says he who lost one in a rollover).

3 minutes ago, ex Elly said:


- drogue use needs to be practised by skipper,

Kinda obvious 

3 minutes ago, ex Elly said:

 


 - don't sail in the SE quadrant of a low as that is the worst place (southern hemisphere)

Tricky one. We all try to avoid such things, but in my humble opinion it will get you one day. Therefore if the boat and crew can't handle 60+kn and the sea state it generates then they are not fit for purpose. 

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11 minutes ago, 2flit said:

and how do you stop condensation between the layers?

After being on that passage from Tonga in 2019 with winds steady 45 gusting 65... I can't even begin to imagine going out on deck with a piece of plywood, it's just nuts.

This. Whatever your plan is it needs to be implemented way before it is necessary. 

11 minutes ago, 2flit said:

And the idea of only sending some screws thru whatever your skin and foam core might constitute... is an absurd idea on that sort of hull construction. 

This story (for me) is a sobering reminder of how vulnerable salon windows have become in modern yacht design. Even our Farrier with a 4 to 8 cm rabbited recess and screws every 24cm seems wholly inadequate.

 

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The worrying note in the report refers to the deck and cabin noticeably flexing prior to the final knock down, this and the unknown state of the keel attachment along with the open forward hatch undoubtedly contributed to the fast sinking of an otherwise well equipped yacht being sailed by more than averagely experienced crew. 

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per BP request, reposting from my MNZ Report post:

The report tells it how it happened, based on my discussions with Pam Pedersen and the wife of one of the other crew members. 

I had been in regular email contact with Pam and Stu prior to their departure as they had found me a crew member for my passage back from New Cal. I believe their departure date was to some extent set by the arrival of their crew. Riada and several other yachts had left Fiji the previous week and had a fast if bumpy passage with an easterly wind pattern.

When i saw on their tracker they had departed Fiji I had a look at the weather during the period of their passage and it was quite clear just from Windy that there was some ugly weather forecast close to NZ. My opinion is they did not receive good weather advice. When I sailed from New Cal I used Bruce Buckley from Australia and his info was spot on.

Re storm coverings, until the rule change they only had to be carried, not  fitted. If they had been fitted to Essence, they probably would not have stopped the windows popping but they would have obviously significantly reduced the open area for water to enter. remember also the forard hatch had come open , that would have been 60 x 60cm so would have let alot of water in.

A tragic loss

Crew Bruce Goodwin has written a book of the event

https://www.thebestlittlebookstore.nz/product-info.php?The+Final+Voyage+of+the+Essence-pid420.html

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1 hour ago, Black Panther said:

Some are apparently adding a mullion and halving window size. It's in another thread somewhere.  That might be a solution  that would be better than covers and more aesthetically pleasing. 

Looking at the picture it's already are separated internally with Muntins, and they don't look large enough to be a issue. 

It's the size of the internal hole, not the size of the covering glass that matters.

in the interests of sharing... Mullion's are inside and outside and split the glass entirely so you have two pieces of glass.  While Muntin's are only on the inside and provide structural support to the window frame, but the glass is continuous over the Muntin.

 

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15 minutes ago, Black Panther said:

I learn something new everyday.  Never heard of a muntin before. 

neither had I till last week when I went down the - "my windows are too big" rabbit warren :-)

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I guess I'll be measuring the window size on FIREFLY week from now. 

50x37cm... I assume that this doesn't apply to hatches which are by definition different, but which are subject to the same forces. 

If one was to fit external wash boards to windows like those on Firefly, it would undoubtedly offer a good grip for a heavy wave to exert extreme tearing and ripping force on the cabin structure at the mounting points of any external covering boards. 

I think this a blanket rule that possibly works well for some wooden boats, solid glass boats etc. where windows are retained by multiple screws, but is a disaster for modern composite sandwich designs, which are extremely stiff, but could suffer badly from any "externally mounted, point attached" covering board system. 

An external covering applied to a zone not engineered for such point loads could easily help tear your cabin apart. On vessels with glued in windows, the rule should likely be nuanced to take into account the size of the glue surface area to window area ratio, the thickness of the window (and material type), and the type of construction of the deck/cabin and window frame rebate.

 

Another point, the article states a quote: 

"The amendment thus avoids the need for crew to fit storm coverings at sea, which can be a difficult and dangerous undertaking, particularly in heavy seas."

Yes, it can be dangerous, but, given that logic, no one should be doing anything on deck in heavy weather, so you should go to sea already towing your drogue or your para-anchor, make sure you never sail with more than your third reef, the foredeck should be fenced off with warning signs, and the use of extras strictly forbidden. Yes I know I'm taking it a bit far, but...



 

 

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5 hours ago, Black Panther said:

I learn something new everyday.  Never heard of a muntin before. 

Isn’t that what munters do on the weekend ? 

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