All is (not) Lost

IP460 Flying Fish shows her lines as the bare hull is released from the mold

IP460 Flying Fish shows her lines and traditional full keel as the bare hull is released from the mold

It may not be prudent to view the Robert Redford film All is Lost when you are planning a long, singlehanded ocean passage.

It is definitely not a good movie to watch if you are also recovering from knee replacement surgery and you are semi hallucinating on the narcotic painkiller Percocet.

In the film, Redford is sailing alone through the Indian Ocean when his boat collides with a partially submerged shipping container. His hull is gashed by the collision and much drama ensues. The nightmare scene for me, however, is when the boat is being ravaged by a storm that turns the hull upside down. The view through the hatches and portholes becomes one of bottomless ocean–a view I hope never to see when I look out of the windows in my boat.

This is why in the selection of a builder for Flying Fish I wanted to know about stability curves and ratios, and the critical point of boat heel and recovery. In physics, these forces work like a lever arm. The center of gravity pushes down on one end and the center of buoyancy pushes up on the other. This combined force is known as the righting moment and it works to rotate the hull back to an upright position. But it is not enough that the design simply resist rollover; if a capsize does occur what is critical is the recovery time for the hull to return to the upright position. A more detailed explanation of stability curves and righting moment is attached here.

Heavy displacement full keeled sailboats like the IP460 being built for me are not considered very sexy in this new world of lightweight wing keeled supersonic sailing machines. I’m okay with that. I’m not one of those sailors who needs to get there first; I just need to get there. And when I look through my hatches, I want the view to be sunny side up.

2 thoughts on “All is (not) Lost

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