US ship finds hull of missing yacht

  rdave13 20:54 23 May 2014

Title says it all.

BBC news.

Hope that a life raft is still floating .

  bumpkin 23:14 23 May 2014

I am surprised that a life raft does not have some kind of tracker.

  wee eddie 03:45 24 May 2014

Raft is still attached to its rack.

I'm afraid they're all dead

  morddwyd 07:32 24 May 2014

That in itself is surprising. I thought life-rafts automatically deployed, but remained tethered, on sea water activation, though the same about beacons, automatic via a salt water battery.

  Forum Editor 11:39 24 May 2014


"I thought life-rafts automatically deployed, but remained tethered, on sea water activation"

It depends. On a yacht you don't want the life-raft to remain tethered to the vessel that sinks, for obvious reasons. You can fit rafts which deploy automatically, using hydro-static release fittings. Basically these devices release and inflate the raft when it is a certain distance beneath the surface - usually a couple of meters or so.

The problem on yachts is that an inflated raft can get snarled up in the rigging and be dragged down with a sinking vessel.

It's the reason why lots of yacht owners opt for manual release rafts that are stowed in a container on the cabin roof. You can get saltwater activated release mechanisms, but with these you run the risk of it activating when a particularly heavy wave washes over the roof.

The EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) can either be activated by contact with seawater or manually; basically a shroud covers the seawater sensors when it is in manual activation mode. This prevents accidental activation when the device is stowed, should a wave break over the vessel.

  wee eddie 13:18 24 May 2014

At some point there will need to be an investigation as to the design of the yacht. This is the question that will need to be asked.

How/Why did the keel snap off and is this a design fault?

  Forum Editor 17:49 24 May 2014

wee eddie

"How/Why did the keel snap off and is this a design fault?"

It has happened on quite a few occasions. Ballast keels are generally bolted onto the hull of the vessel, and in certain combinations of circumstances keel bolt holes can enlarge, causing water leakage into the bilge. This can happen when incompatible metals are used - stainless steel bolts with an iron ballast keel, for instance. Stagnant bilge water can lead to the rapid deterioration of stainless steel bolt heads.

Whatever the cause, if the bolts fail the keel can separate, and once that happens the vessel will lose stability, it will be more inclined to capsize.

It's all speculation, but the keel is missing, and something was responsible. Being hit broadside on by a big wave when there's no keel would certainly be something that could rapidly turn the boat over. No doubt some facts will eventually emerge.

  TopCat® 18:24 24 May 2014

wee eddie

As I see it, the only way to get some answers on this yacht's construction, and its keel mounting area in particular, would mean actually salvaging the boat itself for investigation. How long it will continue to remain afloat however is anyone's guess, so those concerned need to act quickly if recovery is indeed the next step. TC.

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