Sunday, January 02, 2005

FW: Severe downwind problem?

From: Adrian Hodge
Sent: 02 January 2005 19:47
Subject: RE: Severe downwind problem?

Dear Mads,

Yes, I've seen this. As we say in English "It's a load of old cobblers."


-----Original Message-----
Sent: 02 January 2005 19:31
Subject: Severe downwind problem?

Hi Adrian

Merry Christmas and a happy new year! I stumbled across the following
review of the UFO 34. I've been in quite severe downwind weather
and had no problems, but have you any idea what he's talking

Best regards

Mads, Nangijala


Author: John Wilson

British 3/4 tonner - high performance IOR cruiser-racer with
some nasty habits in very severe downwind conditions. Do NOT go
ocean cruising in this boat, but it makes a lovely fast family
cruiser for coastal work.

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Anonymous said...

Exerpt from 'Storm off Iceland ' 'Heavy Weather'

In May 1979 a UFO34, 'Windrift of Clyde', on a voyage from Scotland to Iceland, encountered fairly severe weather - estimated at a sustained 60 knots plus for over 24 hours.

We had a crew of six, of whom four - including myself - were Yachtmaster qualified. The skipper was a Yachtmaster examiner.

we were concerned about closing the coast or crossing the Reyjanes shoals in heavy weather, so we decided to lie a-hull to await a reduction in the wind, which we were logging as Force 7-8.

Lying a-hull was quite comfortable for around six hours, but eventually the seas built to a point where the hull was being surfed sideways in the crests, and the leeward gunwale was starting to dig in and 'trip'the boat over onto her side. We felt that if nothing was done being rolled would sooner or later be inevitable.

We then ran off under bare poles, and for another few hours this seemed safe, although steering was hard work and the motion was very unpleasant.
Then, however, the narrow bows dug in and we were inverted I believe we pitch-poled.

The boat stabilised for a short while, remaining completely inverted, with one smashed coachroof window. One of my most enduring memories is of how springy the coachroof headlining was to stand on, and of the water from the broken window pouring in over my legs.

When we rolled upright again the two crew who had been on deck were in the water alongside, on lifelines, one quite seriously injured.

After retrieving them, we started the diesel and turned to head into the seas under power. A lot of throttle was needed just to get the bows into the wind, but for the short time the engine ran the boat coped well with the conditions. Although we came to a complete stop or even made sternway when hitting breaking crests, the strong prop-wash over the rudder helped to keep control.

Unfortunately, the engine died. We then ran off again under bare poles, while we attempted to send a radio message, without success.

The seas had become substantially steeper and there was a definite cross- swell, causing breaking crests to appear suddenly from an angle to the main run of the seas. Over the next two hours or so we were knocked down twice more, these being exaggerated broaches, starting with the forward side decks submerging, and ending up with the hull at about 120' from the vertical, with the crew on deck swimming alongside the hull, waiting to pull themselves back in along their lifelines as she righted. It was clear that running under bare poles was not a safe option.

Although we had a large drum of heavy warp carried specifically to use as a drogue, we did not try to use this. I do not believe it would have helped.

I set the storm jib, with the hope that more speed might help us surf away from the nastier breaking seas. A few seconds after reaching the cockpit after setting the storm jib I found myself swimming again, seeing the bottom of the keel in the air, I took the helm as we righted, beam-on to the seas, and the boat accelerated fast on a broad-reach on the 'downhill'side of a sea. Instinctively I put the helm down as the next crest arrived, to bring the bow into the sea.

Although conditions remained unchanged for a further 24 hours, we avoided further knockdown. By broad-reaching fast on the backs of the seas, and luffing almost head-to-wind at each crest, we achieved what was probably a square drift sideways. By the end I was so tired and cold that I was hallucinating while helming, imagining 1 was steering through brick railway arches.

As we finally made our way into harbour, we made horrendous, elementary pilotage errors, and were lucky not to lose the boat among the rocks.

End Exerpt

I would make the obseravation that a UFO 34 is an older IOR racer/cruiser with a fin keel a fair amount of beam with fairly narrow bows, having sailed them myself I would concur that to lie-ahull is not a good tactic with these boats and that their beam and hullform makes them uncomfortable in a sea. However they are mild mannered in comparison with the more modern designs we have been discussing here .

Ask youself how the latest production cruiser-racers would have coped in this nightmare scenario?

the above was copied form the design forum mentioned in the UFO pages.


Richard Brabazon
UFO 34 " Not Negotiable "

Anonymous said...

I have just notices that the original comment about downwind bad manners in the question from Mads, was made by " John Wilson " - I wonder if he is the same John Wilson who would seem to be the author of the " Storm off Iceland" account ?

Anyone know THE John Wilson and clarify what he means by bad manners -

" Not Negotiable "

Adrian said...

There is a link above to the whole thread in "Boat Design Forums". The Renegade syndicate have recently been discussing what to do in extreme weather conditions. I'll post a note and hope for responses.