Determined to make Ocean Sailor an international magazine, covering all aspects of Blue Water cruising, and not just the mouthpiece of rhetoric concerning the insanity of bolt-on keels and spade rudders, I had packed my soapbox away.
However, before it even had time to gather dust, word reached me that not only had a Vendee Globe boat’s rudder been torn off, but the authority which governs such events, World Sailing, had ordered bolt-on keels to be examined on a regular basis and even sooner following a grounding!
My editor often comments on my over use of exclamation marks, but what other grammatical emoji is open to me in the light of such extraordinary news!!!
To cut it short, which the aforementioned editor tells me I’m not good at, one of the Vendee Globe competitors broke the rudder off after hitting an unknown object, resulting in her hull being flooded and the steering compromised. I’m pleased to hear he was able to limp back to port by kanting the yacht over in the same way Roy Hart, who featured in last months OS Sailors Stories, did.
Surprise, surprise! There is all sorts of junk floating about out there which will damage unprotected rudders!
I understand why, in search of records and trophies, racing yachts are designed with the delta-shaped hull forms that generate maximum form stability, thereby allowing them to carry sail areas so vast they can plane. What I can’t understand is why anyone should think such hulls and twin rudder configurations can be appropriate for cruising yachts, let alone blue water cruisers.
Why oh why is it still not blindingly obvious that all blue water cruising yachts should have fully protected skeg-hung rudders? Please tell me I’m not going mad? (You’re not, Ed)
While I’ve got your attention from my, now warm, soapbox, hear this: World Sailing has now updated its rules for monohulls, requiring all yachts to undergo a survey inspection of the keel bolts and the surrounding infrastructure, at least every 24 months or after any grounding!!!
Again, although undesirable, it’s understandable for racers to take risks to win races but when the authority governing World Sailing introduces draconian rules mandating that a professional survey must be carried out to check bolt-on keels, isn’t it time ALL sailors should realise there has to be a better solution for offshore yachts and that this should be reflected by the CE in it’s highest Category A rating?
A bolt-on keel creates an unacceptable increased risk when the yacht is outside the range of helicopter rescue and the CE must (and in time, I wager will) recognise that.
Whether they call it Cat A * or downgrade the category for yachts that have bolt-on keels, matters not, but it’s negligent of the CE authority to blithely ignore what World Sailing now recognises is a serious safety issue.
Effective 1 January 2021: Structural Inspection – Consult the owner’s manual for any instructions for keel bolt checking and re-tightening. The following inspection to be conducted by a qualified person externally with the boat out of the water. Check that there are no visible stress cracks particularly around the keel, hull/keel attachment, hull appendages and other stress points, inside the hull, backing plates, bolting arrangements and keel floors. (See Appendix L – Model Keel and Rudder Inspection Procedure)
Effective 1 January 2021: Evidence of a structural inspection in accordance with 3.02.2 within 24 months before the start of the race or after a grounding whichever is the later
Effective 1 January 2021: Inspection after Grounding – an appropriately qualified person shall conduct an internal and external inspection after each unintentional grounding
As someone who created a yacht to combat all the madness mentioned above, for the safety of his own family cruising, I am seriously pleased to announce that I’m no longer alone as Kraken Yachts with our hard held design and construction principles for cruising, are gathering devotees thick and fast. Now there is light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, thanks to the announcements of the vaccines from Germany, America and the UK, Kraken’s order book is filling up fast. The next available build slot for a Kraken 50 is August 2021, plus we have secured the first order for a Kraken 58 to be built in Turkey.
Another one bites the dust
I’m very sorry to report that we have just been told Cruising Helmsman, the Australian hardcopy cruising magazine, is due to close down after its next issue. Cruising Helmsman and its Editor Phil Ross have been staunch supporters of Kraken Yachts since the very beginning, featuring Kraken yacht’s on its front cover many times.