I assembled this a few years ago because even I forget some of the boats and events I sailed. Still fond memories; and still making more.



Keeping Keels Attached in the Future

Published on March 14th, 2016

Stan Honey, chairman of the Oceanic and Offshore Committee at World Sailing, is excited. Too many boats are losing their keels, and he is eager to share some of the progress being made to reverse this trend. Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck met with Stan for an update, with additional comments added by Dr. Jason Smithwick, Head of Technical & Offshore at World Sailing.

What are some of the initiatives about how we’re going to keep keels attached?


Stan Honey

Stan: The first initiative which has now been approved and budgeted by World Sailing is to have a report writing committee that gets launched to write a report summarizing what happened in any particular incident that World Sailing determines may provide useful information to the sport.

For example, it might provide useful information on ways the Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) could be improved, or may provide useful information in whether the plan review process is working, and whether plan reviewed boats have keels with adequate structure.

The model for that is really the report that Rear Admiral (Rtd) Chris Oxenbould, Chuck Hawley, and myself did for the Vestas Wind grounding during the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. We were asked to write a report and only state on what happened. Our task was not to assign any blame, but just to simply lay out the facts on what occured so that our sport could learn from it.

Of course, what we’re all thinking about is the aviation model. Aviation has more tools to use to encourage information to be made public, but aviation does an astonishingly effective job in how whenever there is a major accident in aviation, there’s always a report that becomes public later. It may be a few years later but there’s always a public report.

Jason Smithwick

Jason Smithwick

Jason: When World Sailing determines a report is needed, we would initiate that report on the basis that no other outside body is already conducting an investigation. For example, if the US Coast Guard is already looking into a loss of life then World Sailing will await the outcome of that report before initiating our own work.

Public reports are a big step.

Stan: The entire industry benefits from this kind of information. As a result of that, in addition to other things, aviation has just achieved a staggering level of safety. Sailing has fewer mechanisms to deal with in terms of the rules and certifications, but, nevertheless, we’re trying to get to the point where when the keel falls off or when there’s a major accident, there’s a report that does not seek to assign blame but rather just to lay out the facts so that people can learn from it.

We will be making a rule change to the OSRs. There’ll probably be a submission at the 2016 World Sailing Annual Conference in November that will put in a requirement as part of the OSRs, that by participating in an event and by holding an event, a competitor and the organizing authority agree to cooperate with the report should an important incident happen and should a report get written.

Sounds like a rule requirement is needed, but also a culture created wherein this kind of information is shared.

Stan: Yes, and it’s the culture that’s the most important one because it’s certainly true that it’s difficult for the rule to be that effective because most rules are designed to influence our behavior during a race, and these are rules that seek to influence our behavior after a race. Many people argue that such a rule is unenforceable and it can’t work. On the other hand, such a rule can help set the culture of the sport in an appropriate direction.

Additionally, such a rule can help owners do what they want to do anyway, which is to help the sport. If an owner is involved in a major incident, they may get encouraged by their builder, their designer, or their insurance company to keep the report private. But this rule would give the owners the ability to say, “No, this is a race boat. I insured it to race and these are the rules of racing, and it says I am to cooperate with a report. That’s what I’m going to do, and that’s the understanding.”

So the rule may not be binding, but it may help to change the culture and it may help the owners to do what they want to do. The insurance companies deny ever encouraging somebody to keep something quiet, as they would. And when you ask the insurance companies about these kinds of changes, they’re hugely supportive. They said, “Hey, wait a minute. Has there been a misunderstanding? We don’t make money when keels fall off.” They’re saying that they’re huge advocates of anything the sport can do to solve the problem of having keels that aren’t adequately attached.

Jason: World Sailing wants to engage the insurance companies within our framework to make plan review more cost efficient. For example, a boat that has had plan review and in-build inspection may have a lower premium to offset the cost of such certification.

Explain the plan review process.

Stan: Yes, we have a plan review process. A plan review is required on any new boat to be built that’s going to race under the OSRs under Categories 0, 1, and 2, although Category 0 frankly isn’t really used. The races that would use the Category 0 basically do their own derivative requirements. Examples of Category 2 is the Fastnet Race and Sydney Hobart.

ABS used to be in the scantlings definition and plan review business some years ago, but they chose to get out of it for smaller recreational boats, so World Sailing now has a new plan review process in partnership with Classification Societies and Notified Bodies which has been a requirement from January 1, 2010.

The most active of the notified bodies that does plan reviews is DNV GL. One of the things that we look at every year is if it is working. Meaning are keels falling off boats where their design had gone to plan review? And the answer prior to two Novembers ago was, “No, it had never happened.” But now the answer is, “Yes, it has happened.” In fact, there were two Class 40s that dropped their keels just before the 2015 Annual Meeting. World Sailing is working with the French authorities to discover the cause of these failures.

So we asked David Lyons, a structural engineer and naval architect, to review the plan review process to determine if it was working. And he confirmed that obviously as people learn more, you change and evolve the plan review process to address new kinds of construction practices and so forth. While he felt that overall the process was working, he pointed out something that’s kind of an obvious omission, which is in almost everything else that humans do.

He found that if something is important enough to be plan reviewed – whether it’s an elevator, an airplane, a building – it’s important enough to do an inspection, an as-built inspection, or an in-build validation is the other term that’s used. David pointed out that this may be something we’d want to consider.

The immediate reaction of our whole community is, “We can’t make this sport any more expensive.” There’s a lot of aspects of the plan review that doesn’t kill people, meaning if a hull comes delaminated, or a deck comes delaminated, or a rig falls over, or a rudder breaks, for the most part, it’s not an instant catastrophe where people die. But when keels fall off, that can be an instant catastrophe leading to immediate loss of life. So what comes to mind is, if we’re going to do an in-build inspection, could we do just one inspection, and can we focus only on the keel attachment since that’s the thing that kills people.

So David’s going to consult across a broad range of the industry experts and look at whether it would be affordable for our sport to extend the plan review process to include an in-build inspection, and as part of a plan review, you’d have to pick when should the inspection take place, at what point in the build, so you can still see what you need to see. As we all know, the beauty of having an inspection process is by nature it can improve things because of the heightened attention by everyone involved.

So the project to come up with a proposal for an in-build inspection if it’s viable, it may not be, turned out to be too big a task to ask David to do as a volunteer. We’re all only human. So we asked for a quotation, and we got a quotation for $40,000 US. For the past month or so I have been trying to raise funds for that.

World Sailing initially committed to fund $10,000 of that. Matt Allen, who is the president of the SOLAS Trust, which is an assistance organization founded by the CYCA following the 1998 Sydney Hobart Race disaster, has offered to cover half of the project – $20,000.

Then RORC and ORC both committed to cover $5,000 of it as well as contribute technical expertise. And both of those organizations have substantial technical expertise in this area, embodied in guys like James Dadd who did this kind of review for the Volvo Ocean Race boats and of course the ITC of the ORC which is a broad strong group of naval architects. Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF), which is the American sailing and research foundation that also has strong technical people involved like Dina Kowalyshyn and Jim Teeters, has also agreed to pay for $5,000 as well as provide some guidance input.

So overall I was delighted to discover that there was a number of organizations throughout our sport that almost overnight agreed that this was a good idea to consider and agreed to help pay for this initial feasibility study.

Along with the feasibility study there’s a go or no-go decision point. If it looks like it’s feasible and that this will make sense, then there would be a proposal for in-build inspection that will be done by October so we’ll get to review it at the next World Sailing Annual Conference in November.

If it gets approved, we’d probably take another year after that to put it in place, but nevertheless I’m delighted that we’re starting the process to both gather more information about these incidents and get it public where it can do some good, and then also see if we can directly address the problem of these keels falling off.

– See more at:


The discussion about saving sailing is not a new one. I am one of those people who believe that youth sailing is out of whack. The costs associated are silly. Yet if you want your child to be competitive; you must buy in to the game.
The above video about building the patapon may be more than some wish to commit to in terms of detail of finish, but the concept is what is really important.
The Opti for example was originally conceived to be built inexpensively in your garage in plywood.

Don Finkle presents a compelling argument in his scuttlebutt article.

Where have all the young ones gone?
by Don Finkle, RCR Yachts
We have always believed in and supported youth sailing, which has now expanded from junior sailing schools to high school to college. The latter programs continue to pop up everywhere and young people can now start out at 6 years old and sail extensively on teams up into their early twenties. They have terrific opportunities that we never had at that age.

We are cranking out more well trained sailors than ever before. At the same time we hear that not enough young people are sailing and racing once they graduate out of these programs. We have more skilled young sailors but they are not sticking with it. Why doesn’t this add up?

I don’t buy the idea that kids (I use that term loosely) stop sailing because boats are no longer given to them to use. There are so many crew shortages, even boats they can borrow, that opportunities to sail are everywhere. Used boats are very inexpensive right now; being in the business I can say that with confidence. Many small used one design boats are practically being given away. In our opinion the problem lies elsewhere.

If a youngster starts sailing at six years old and stays with it through college, he/she will have been sailing for most of their lives to that point. Frankly, for them to opt out at this point, it is often a case of “been there, done that”. Those hours and days spent sailing in dinghies were hours they were not playing golf, tennis, softball, fishing, scuba diving, swimming, biking, and many other activities they now want to try.

Young people today have so many opportunities and are accustomed to doing many different things for entertainment. Sailing gets crossed off the list and they are ready to catch up on what they missed. The other issue is that if sailing as they know it means more short-course races in small boats many of them have had their fill after 10-15 years of doing it. Some are just plain burned out.

A percentage of these skilled and enthusiastic dinghy sailors will stay with it. Others will come back to the sport when they are older, often much older. But if we want to keep more young sailors engaged in the sport in their 20s and 30s, they need to see more of a return on their time in the form of fun and social interaction. This likely means a different type of sailing than what they have been doing.

We should ask them and find out.


This is in response to those who asked:”Who are you?” It is a least a dimension.Boats have always been a part of my life. Naturally interwoven with the story of Newport.




By Sean Mcneill posted Feb 28th, 2014 at 10:46am

WHAT’S LENGTH GOT TO DO WITH IT? In the case of Jim Clark’s new ocean racer under construction at Hodgson’s Boatyard in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, quite a lot, or so says skipper Ken Read. Ken Read’s eyes light up when talking about Jim Clark’s newest ocean-racer project like a child at Christmastime who’s just unwrapped a Red Rider BB gun. The guilty pleasure lies in the fact that this is no ordinary 100-footer (if one can be ordinary). This yacht is designed to be a full-on record-breaker. You name the race or passage—Transat, Transpac, Bermuda, Fastnet, Hobart, to name but five—and it’s likely a target on their project whiteboard.

“This boat is going to be so cool,” says Read, Clark’s skipper and the President of North Sails who has experienced all types of campaigns—from J/24 World championships, to the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race—in his decades-long experience in the sport. “This type of project isn’t for everyone, but it has a cool presence that will hopefully do the sport good, whether you’re a cruiser or a racer.”

Building a 21st century record-breaker is no small feat. It requires a plethora of designers to tank test scale models and run computer simulations, and there’s the “swat team” of boatbuilders to cook the pre-preg carbon-fiber hull and deck structures. All told, upwards of 32 people have contributed some input to the design and build through active participation or consultation. What will set this boat apart, says Read, is power, and lots of it.


They explored a lifting keel but determined it added too much drag for the desired upwind performance. Water-ballast tanks will aid stability, and fore and aft trim.

That makes it nearly identical in length, slightly lighter, and significantly wider and deeper thanWild Oats XI, the Reichel/Pugh maxi that has won line honors in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race a record-equaling seven times. But with the mast stepped farther aft than Wild Oats XI, Read says Clarks’ yacht will look strikingly different.

“It’s going to be long, wide, and stable,” says Read. “With its power-to-weight ratio, there’s been nothing like it before. From a stability standpoint it’s a little stiffer, a little lighter, and with a little more sail area than Speedboat (the Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed 100-footer that’s now called Perpetual Loyal).”


Clark’s as-yet unnamed yacht is from two French design firms, the renowned duo of Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prévost (VPLP), along with new star Guillaume Verdier. VPLP’s track record designing multihulls is second to none. Their designs include the giant multihullsGroupama 3 and Banque Populaire VGroupama 3 measured 103-foot LOA and shattered records such as the 24-hour, Transatlantic, and Trophée Jules Verne, only to see those records fall – in the case of the 24-hour record just one day later – to the 130-foot long Banque Populaire V. Verdier, meanwhile, had more concentration on shorthanded monohulls in the 40- to 60-foot range.

In 2007 the two firms joined forces to take on the highly competitive IMOCA racing circuit, for singlehanders in 50- and 60-footers, and they’ve had great success ever since, capped by stunning performances in the 2012-’13 Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop race around the world. VPLP-Verdier designs placed 1-2 and took three of the top four overall. And they were fast: The race-winner, Macif, set a new, ratified 24-hour singlehanded distance record of 534 nautical miles at an average speed in excess of 22 knots, and the first two yachts completed the circumnavigation in less than 80 days.

“No doubt, this new boat is a development of Macif,” says Read. “The scale of a project like this, from an engineering and structural standpoint, is nothing like that boat. But the designers took shapes they liked from the IMOCA 60s and developed from there.”

Macif, however, was designed as a horse for the course. Racing around the world is more about close reaching or off-wind sailing. Clark’s new yacht will have upwind capabilities that could be necessary in short offshore races, those of 600 to 1,000 nautical miles. It will have two rudders, but the weather rudder won’t be lifted out of the water because rating rules prohibit such features. Clark’s yacht also won’t have the cut-back rail that Macif sported along its sheerline and which made the hull appear like an ellipsoid. The crew of around 20 (still being determined) requires a rail on which to hike.


The surprising part in all of this is that the yacht’s winches will be manually powered. Six pedestals will be mounted with custom bevel boxes to create specific gear ratios for the power necessary to trim the enormous sails. Read said the sail plan is still being finalized, but the A5 gennaker could measure in close to 1,000 square meters. The gennaker for Alinghi 5, the catamaran that contested the 33rd America’s Cup, was reportedly one of the three largest ever built at 1,100 square meters. And that cat had powered winches.

“Keep in mind that Banque Populaire V went around the world with no push buttons, about 50 percent more righting moment, and the same size rig as this boat, with one less pedestal,” said Read. “We did a study and found that we can produce as much or more power to the winches with 12 guys grinding than with push buttons. With manual winches, if we do a Transatlantic we can save up to a ton and a half of fuel and won’t have to keep the engine running all the time. Also, if we set a record it won’t have an asterisk next to it because of the powered winches. It’ll just be more fun to sail.”

It certainly will be fun to sail according to the VPPs. Upwind the boat is projected to sail at 13 knots, but at its sweet angle, about 120 degrees true wind-angle in 25 knots of wind, it’s predicted to average 30 knots.

One feature Verdier changed after testing five models at the Wolfson Unit in Southampton, England, was the bow profile. Macif has a very full bow, and initially that was the look for Clark’s new yacht. “Designers have poked around the concept of full bows for a while now. A boat like Macif or the VO70 Abu Dhabi were full bows,” says Read. “Verdier was much higher on the concept before the tank tests, and I think the bow got considerably narrower.

“It’s more specific to upwind performance than anything,” Read continues. “We think we’re coming up with ways to get the bow out of water when planing off the wind. Other concepts such as keel and daggerboard placement will help lift the bow, so we aren’t using as much volume forward to lift the bow. It’s not a narrow bow but not a full bow. It’s probably more conventional than any other boat.”


As of this writing the outer skin of the hull had just been laid up and the hand-selected work force at Hodgson’s Boatyard, led by Tim Hackett and Brandon Linton (the duo helped build Read’s two Puma-branded VO70s) was beginning to install the bulkheads. Read says that the yacht will be compliant with scantlings established by Germanischer Lloyd, the marine classification society based in Germany that strives to ensure safety at sea. There will be bulkheads every eight to 10 feet, and the boat is expected to pass the 135-degree vanishing stability test. While the sail plan is still in development, Read says there’ll be nine or 10 sails total. Aside from the mainsail and J2, the 100-percent headsail that will be hanked on, all other headsails will fly on roller-furlers and from custom stays. The headsails are all just different shapes of genoas or gennakers. There are no spinnakers on the boat because the apparent wind angle isn’t expected aft of 65 degrees. The material of choice is 3Di except the downwind sail, which is cuben-fiber.

“Sail area and mast height are all pretty darn similar to what Speedboat was,” said Read. “It’s fascinating how little horsepower you need. Once it starts building its own apparent wind, you almost can’t get the sail area off fast enough.”

With the mast so far aft in the boat, says Read, it’s quite possible the sail plan will extend beyond the transom.

“Where the sail plan sits over the platform is very different, almost more like *Banque Populaire V,” says Read. “There’s nothing that says the boom can’t hang off the back of the boat or that the traveler has to be in the middle of the cockpit. Nothing says the sail plan has to be forward in the yacht.”


Quick quiz: What monohull currently holds the crewed west-to-east transatlantic record and when was it set? This writer was amazed to see that Mari-Cha IV, Robert Miller’s powerful 140-foot ketch is still the record holder. In October 2003, a crew of 24 took Mari-Cha IVacross the Atlantic in 6d:17h:21m at an average speed of 18 knots. The maxi catamaranBanque Populaire V holds the outright record at just over three and a half days, an average speed just shy of 33 knots, but Mari-Cha’s mark still stands some 10 years later.

Ken Read pulled no punches when saying that the Transatlantic record is among the marks he hopes to slay with Jim Clark’s new 100-footer. “The goal of this boat is to break records and be first to finish in the classic offshore races,” says Read. “This boat isn’t for around the buoys. The deck layout isn’t set up for it and the draft is too deep. We want to tick off every major race.”

They’ll get their first crack at a record later this year when they enter the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race, where they’ll expect to encounter Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI, the seven-time line honors winner.

After the Hobart, other classic races on the radar include the Newport-Bermuda, Fastnet, Transpac, the Middle Sea Race, the Pineapple Cup (Miami to Montego Bay), and the Caribbean 600. Besides those and the Transat, they also plan a crack at the 24-hour record of 596 nautical miles set by Ericsson 4 in the 2008-’09 Volvo Ocean Race. And for the cherry on the cake, they might even attempt the non-stop, round the world mark. Banque Populaire V also holds that outright record, at 45-and-a-half days. The WSSRC doesn’t list a crewed monohull outright record (the round-the-world monohull records are singlehanded), but Read thinks they could do it in 55 days, give or take. “You don’t build a boat like this without throwing something like that on the table,” says Read. “We did a 42-day leg in the Volvo one year, so 55 days around the world isn’t too bad.”