Sailing News from Ocean Sailor Magazine

Readers Q&A

Readers Q&A

Please ask any questions or comments you have about any element of blue water cruising or ocean sailor magazine to and one of the OS team will answer you in this section.

Ingo Potsch of Germany 

RE: Ocean Sailor article Medical Emergencies at Sea

I would like to mention that I was told repeatedly by medical doctors that wounds should best heal from the inside out. In the article, closing the wound is recommended clearly, which seems like a contradiction to me?”

I referred Ingo’s question back to Chris and Henry Chandler, the authors of the series Medical Emergencies at Sea.

Dear Ingo,

Thank you for your comments on the section on wound management in Part III of our series of articles on Managing Medical Emergencies at Sea.  You raise an interesting and important point. Closing a dirty or infected wound will often make the infection worse as it provides a perfect environment for bacteria to multiply in. In the setting of a dirty, infected or heavily contaminated wound, the advice you have received is spot on. 

Less serious superficial wounds can be safely “closed” (edges brought together after cleaning), but the difference between that and leaving alone is largely cosmetic.

In a large gaping wound, we would recommend attempting some form of closure if, after thorough irrigation, the wound appears to be clean. This has the following benefits;


Using deep (if necessary) and superficial sutures applies some pressure to the tissues and helps prevent oozing from small blood    vessels.

Minimising the risk of infection; 

Closure provides a barrier to prevent bacteria from entering the wound. 

Promoting healing;

Bringing the edges of the wound together allows granulation tissue to form across the two sides of the wound and helps to speed up the healing process.

I hope that clarifies our thoughts for you? Please don’t hesitate to get back to us if you wish to comment further.

Best wishes

Henry and Chris Chandler

Editor’s note:

Dr Henry Chandler: MRCS,DMCC,RAMC

Dr Chris Chandler: FRCOG, Fellow of the Royal Institute of Gynecologist

Markus Hofer of Switzerland 

Dear Mr Beaumont,

I love your sailor’s magazine and I am a keen reader of the really valuable insights and tips.

Personally, I am still undecided for my own choice (planning to go cruising in 2 years). I am swinging back and forth between a solid bluewater cruising monohull (of which the Kraken 50 seems an outstanding choice!), and a performance cruising catamaran (as for example an Outremer 45 or 51). I know this may be an endless debate and full of compromises and choices – but I would much value your thought and insights to this. Thanks so much”

Hi Markus, 

Thank you very much for your question.

You are correct that this may open up an endless debate but I’ll do my best to explain my position. 

It’s very interesting that David Wilkinson, who owns the first Kraken 50, asked me exactly the same question! He cited the same catamaran, an Outrimmer 45 when he too was deliberating precisely the same issue. 

These are the reasons I gave him:

The first problem for me is that a catamaran’s whole design and performance criteria is based on the principle that it sits on the water, not in the water. To do that it needs to achieve a very light displacement, and when it is kept light, it will skim across the water quickly. However this is a total antithesis for the requirements of blue water cruising. Whatever boat one buys in preparation for sailing off into the blue, when it’s loaded up with all the kit and kaboodle needed for blue water cruising, it will drop down several inches on its waterline. When a catamaran sinks down in the water its sailing characteristics are compromised, whereas with a monohull it hardly makes any difference.

The second issue, regardless of what anyone tells you, is that, other than racing catamarans, they don’t go well upwind.Their motion and the slamming of waves impacting on the underside of the hull bridge can be very worrying when you force them to windward. It isn’t harmonious to the well being of the crew, especially if you need to go upwind for a long period.

Thirdly, in very heavy seas most experienced sailors will want to run off downwind at a 45 degree to the waves, rather than run directly downwind. This avoids taking off and surfing down the waves, thereby avoiding the dangerous potential of digging the bow into the bottom of a wave trough and pitch poling the vessel. Unfortunately, because a catamaran has much less grip in the water, they tend to skid or slide down a big wave, in which case the helmsman has no real control over which aspect of the vessel it presents to the wind and waves.

I presented David Wilkinson with these arguments. To be honest I think he was still unconvinced and in two minds, since he had a friend, who was a proponent of catamarans, telling him I was talking baloney.

Several months later I sailed my yacht Moonshadow on a voyage from New Zealand to Hong Kong where David lived and I invited him to sail with me on the  Palau to Hong Kong leg. As we rounded the top of Luzon island heading into the Luzon Strait, a notorious stretch of sea that the western pacific funnels into, the wind and seas built up hugely, as it often does. Moonshadow was going nicely on autopilot, beam reaching across the wind and waves in 35-40 kts of wind, when David came up to the cockpit to join me on watch. I was sitting to leeward so David sat with his back to the wind and waves. I simply said ‘How do you think your Outrimmer will get on with that then’? David replied, ‘what’? I told him to turn round and as he did he stared at the face of an eight metre sea! As Moonshadow let the wave glide gracefully and harmlessly below her, David uttered a word I certainly can’t print here!  

He signed the contract for the first K50 two days after we tied up in Hong Kong.

A point to note here: One of the key attributes people consider a catamaran for is that she stays virtually level, but that’s only true if she’s sailing on a flat sea, which on ocean crossings, it never is.

Lastly, if a cat gets caught beam-on, to a big wave crest, and the wind gets under the hulls, it is not as hard as you may think to flip a cat over. It does concern me greatly that once a catamaran goes over she won’t be coming back upright without the assistance of a crane.

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