Another “can’t fail” fails

Here's looking at you, kid

Here’s looking at you, kid

$2.5 million Gunboat catamaran dismasted at sea, owner rescued.

This exact boat was profiled by Forbes just last September. Oops.

From the 78-foot mast to the lithium batteries in the bilge, Cohen’s Gunboat 55 represents an assemblage of technology that was practically impossible to obtain 20 years ago. The enormous mainsail, 1,300 square feet of high-tech fabric, has a computer-designed shape that can handle a much broader range of wind than old-fashioned Dacron sails. The hulls and 200-square-foot bridge are made of carbon fiber and epoxy to achieve the strength and stiffness necessary to haul two luxury staterooms with en suite bathrooms, plus amenities like a fresh-water maker, a freezer and a washer-dryer. The cabin top is covered with solar cells that help charge an 800-watt electrical system that powers computer navigation screens, electric winches and a cranking marine audio system.

I love cats, and the Gunboats look fabulous, but nothing can’t fail: ask the skipper of the Titanic or, for that matter, me – I was aboard a 60′ Swan 200 miles off Bermuda when its “unbreakable”, one-piece rudder became two pieces, and sank to the ocean floor 3,000 feet below. Dang.

As an aside, three Gunboats were on display at Indian Harbor Yacht Club the summer of 2013.  Their designer, Peter Johnson, probably regrets now saying he’d designed “the safest world cruising sailboat that could be conceived.” On the other hand, the cat didn’t sink when dismasted, which many keelboats would have, so maybe Johnson was right. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to sail one.


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17 responses to “Another “can’t fail” fails

  1. Anonymous

    So the boat belongs to Neptune now?

    • I was wondering about that – if the rules of salvage still apply, and I think they do, someone can head out there and retrieve it – it won’t sink, and sell it back to the owner. My guess is that, right now, the insurance company is hiring an ocean-going tug to go get it, before someone beats them to it.

  2. weakleyhollow

    It SHOULD be obvious to never seek out bad weather. Being in that area at that time of year is seeking out bad weather, but perhaps he knows better. I’ve rescued a few sailors in my career. None of them appeared all that prudent but perhaps I’m over critical.

  3. Anonymous

    My sunfish never lost its mast.

  4. Anonymous

    The fact that the mast broke doesn’t disprove that it’s the safest causing vessel conceived. Blue water sailing is dangerous no matter the vessel.

    Anon: My Laser 2 has never lost its mast either. Superior engineering.

  5. AJ

    Remember those whiskey filled ski poles from back in the day when botas were common on the hill, and the norm? So you have to ask yourself: was that mast drilled and filled, pumped full of juice, and how would that affect the flex frequency — you know, the vibe? And did he have all four sheets to the wind? Just askin’.

    Just another day on the hill:

  6. AJ

    I see you have posted Hokusai’s fractal waves painted long before the discovery of Madelbrot’s repeating little buddha.

    But, speaking of the Titanic . . .

    According to the conventional version, the mighty but overconfident Titanic accidentally struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage from Europe to New York. The collision tore a hole in the ship’s hull and caused it to sink with a huge loss of life. For a long time, it was difficult to challenge this official version because the best evidence, the sunken ship itself, had permanently settled in one of the deepest areas of the Atlantic Ocean, too deep to be accessible to investigators. (Incidentally, if the Titanic had sunk just a few miles to the west of where it actually sank, it would have wound up in much shallower waters where it would have been possible, even in 1912, to get to the wreckage.) Advancements in technology, however, finally made it possible to reach the Titanic in 1985 and to photograph and otherwise examine the wreckage. The new evidence that has emerged from this and from other sources has prompted Wisnewski to rethink the traditional story and to raise some disturbing questions.

    •Why did the crew make no effort to plug the leak in the Titanic, something sailors are trained to do?

    •Why did the Titanic deliberately sail into a field of icebergs?

    •Why have none of the photographs taken of the Titanic since 1985 found much damage that could be attributed to an iceberg?

    •Why did the Titanic’s crew throw an especially lavish party on the night of the disaster, a party that made many passengers and crewmembers drunk?
    . . .
    •Why did so many passengers cancel their reservations at the last minute, including some close associates of the owner, J.P. Morgan? The cancellation was especially puzzling in the case of Mr. and Mrs. J. Horace Harding. The Hardings said that they had suddenly realized that they were in a hurry to get to New York, so they switched their reservations to the Mauretania, which was scheduled to leave Europe sooner. Apparently the Hardings had not read the timetables very closely, because although the Mauretania did indeed leave Europe sooner, it also arrived in New York later.

    •What happened to Luis Klein, a surviving crewmember and native Hungarian of the Jewish faith? After the disaster, Klein had been outspoken in his criticism of the Titanic’s captain and top crewmembers. Perhaps for this reason, he was called to testify before the US Senate. Unfortunately, on the day before he was to do so, Klein disappeared from his Washington hotel room and was never seen again.
    . . .
    •Why was no effort made to delay the sinking of the Titanic by jettisoning the anchor and chains? The anchor alone weighed 50 tons.
    . . .
    •Before the Titanic could deploy any of its own lifeboats, there were already lifeboats in the water that could not have come from the Titanic. From which ship did these lifeboats come? From the mysterious ship that was spotted in the distance but never identified? What was the name of that ship and why did it not come to the Titanic’s rescue?
    . . .
    neither investigation raised much less answered any of these questions. When interrogated during the official investigations, crew members were remarkably ignorant regarding important aspects of their ship. If they gave any answers at all, they made sure that they were as short as possible, and they never went out of their way to say anything more. Judging from the statements of the crewmembers to the investigators, the White Star Line had built one of the most magnificent cruise ships in the world only to hire some of the most incompetent people in the world to sail it.
    . . .
    The British Government was none too pleased that a foreigner was buying the White Star Line, but was not able to prevent Morgan’s working his way around British regulations designed to prevent foreigners from purchasing it.
    . . .
    the Olympic, the first of the three liners, was finally launched on October 20, 1910, it met with a terrible accident. On September 20, 1911, just as the Olympic was leaving Southampton harbor on the south coast of England, it collided with the Hawke, a British navy cruiser. Inasmuch as the Hawke was a military vessel specially designed to ram enemy ships, it is no wonder that it inflicted massive damage on the Olympic. Morgan may even have suspected that the collision was not an accident at all. As we have seen, the British Government had motive to damage the Olympic, and if it had deliberately intended to do so, there was certainly no vessel better equipped to do the job than the Hawke. Inasmuch as the matter fell under British jurisdiction, the furious Morgan had to go to British courts to get justice. Unfortunately, these ruled that the Olympic rather than the Hawke had been at fault. This not only made it impossible for Morgan to collect compensation from the British Government, but also complicated Morgan’s efforts to collect compensation from his own insurance company. So what to do? It was only a matter of a little time before a mandatory routine inspection in either Europe or North America showed that the Olympic had sustained so much damage at the hands of the Hawke that the White Star Line would have to write it off as a total loss. So J.P Morgan needed to act quickly.

    Now it happened that around this time, construction was nearing completion on the second liner in the Olympic Class, the Titanic, an identical sister ship to the Olympic. According to Wisnewski, J.P. Morgan came up with a diabolical plan. He started by being careful not to make public the extent of the damage to the Olympic. He then greatly increased the insurance on the Titanic just a week before its maiden voyage to $12.5 million, $2.5 million more than it had cost to build. Morgan next ordered the identities of the Olympic and the Titanic secretly switched. The damaged and largely worthless Olympic was renamed the Titanic, and the brand new Titanic was renamed the Olympic. The ship that was now named the Titanic, but which had originally been named the Olympic, then embarked on what was sold to the unsuspecting public as the maiden voyage of the Titanic. On that voyage, Captain Smith deliberately sailed into an area of the Atlantic Ocean that he knew was filled with icebergs, and destroyed his ship by means that are not entirely clear, but which probably involved some sort of explosion in one of the coal bunkers. The claim of the White Star Line that the ship had accidentally sunk as a result of a collision with an iceberg initially seemed believable, especially because some crewmembers did claim to have seen an iceberg. But if given a little more time to reflect than they actually had, journalists, government investigators, and the public at large might have become suspicious. For one thing, none of the passengers said that they had seen an iceberg, only some of the crew, and not all of them. Among those crewmembers who said that they had seen an iceberg, none could describe it in anything other than the vaguest terms. Worse still, hardly anyone saw the ship strike the iceberg.
    . . .
    Peter Pryal, a sailor who had served under Captain Smith [Captain of the Titanic] on many other voyages over a period of almost 20 years, claimed that he saw and spoke with Captain Smith on a street corner in downtown Baltimore on two successive July days several months after Smith had supposedly drowned. Could Pryal have been suffering from delusions, perhaps brought on by alcohol? Not likely. On the written testimony of his physician, Pryal was of sound mind and had no history of alcohol abuse. Moreover, it is known that Captain Smith had a nephew in Baltimore, who incidentally soon disappeared.
    . . .
    J.P. Morgan appeared innocent of any wrongdoing because after all he had booked passage on the Titanic himself and canceled only at the last minute because of illness, or so he said. (He later returned to the United States aboard the ship known as the Olympic, which, according to Wisnewski, was really the Titanic.)
    . . .
    The possibility that Morgan had never intended to board the Titanic at all is given additional weight by the fate of the paintings that he had purchased in Europe. Morgan had been an avid art collector with deep pockets who frequently purchased expensive works of art during his vacations in Europe and then took them on board with him when he sailed back to the United States. If J.P. Morgan canceled only at the last minute because of unexpected illness, then his art would most likely have already been on board and would have gone down with the ship. But Morgan’s art survived because he had never placed it on board the Titanic in the first place.

    The above excerpts are from “The Titanic Coverup Unravels” By Christopher Condon, January 29, 2015

    • AJ

      Hmm . . .

      Silverstein Makes a Huge Profit off of the 9/11 Attacks

      Six months before the 9/11 attacks the World Trade Center was “privatized” by being leased to a private sector developer. The lease was purchased by the Silverstein Group for $3.2 billion. “This is a dream come true,” Larry Silverstein said. “We will be in control of a prized asset, and we will seek to develop its potential, raising it to new heights.”

      But the World Trade Towers were not the real estate plum we are led to believe.

      From an economic standpoint, the trade center — subsidized since its inception — has never functioned, nor was it intended to function, unprotected in the rough-and-tumble real estate marketplace. [BusinessWeek]

      How could Silverstein Group have been ignorant of this?

      Also, the towers required some $200 million in renovations . . .

    • AJ

      WTF? The records destroyed?

      SEC: Government Destroyed Documents Regarding Pre-9/11 Put Options

      Posted on June 15, 2010 by WashingtonsBlog

      On September 19, 2001, CBS reported:

      Sources tell CBS News that the afternoon before the attack, alarm bells were sounding over unusual trading in the U.S. stock options market.

      An extraordinary number of trades were betting that American Airlines stock price would fall.

      The trades are called “puts” and they involved at least 450,000 shares of American. But what raised the red flag is more than 80 percent of the orders were “puts”, far outnumbering “call” options, those betting the stock would rise.

      Sources say they have never seen that kind of imbalance before, reports CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. Normally the numbers are fairly even.

      After the terrorist attacks, American Airline stock price did fall obviously by 39 percent, and according to sources, that translated into well over $5 million total profit for the person or persons who bet the stock would fall.
      At least one Wall Street firm reported their suspicions about this activity to the SEC shortly after the attack.

      The same thing happened with United Airlines on the Chicago Board Options Exchange four days before the attack. An extremely unbalanced number of trades betting United’s stock price would fall — also transformed into huge profits . . .

    • weakleyhollow

      “Lew Rockwell” tells you everything you need to know.

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t the CIA cause 9/11? Sounds lie the Titanic conspiracy was written by the same guy!

    • AJ

      J.P. Morgan have people murdered in order to prevent financial loss? Who would think such a thing . . .

      The Ludlow Massacre

      ” . . . When the evictions failed to end the strike, the Rockefeller interests hired private detectives that attacked the tent colonies with rifles and GATLING GUNS. The miners fought back, and several were killed. When the tenacity of the strikers became apparent, the Rockefellers approached the governor of Colorado, who authorized the use of the National Guard. The Rockefellers agreed to pay their wages.

      At first, the strikers believed that the government had sent the National Guard to protect them. They soon discovered, though, that the militia was under orders to break the strike. On this day in 1914, two companies of guardsmen attacked the largest tent colony of strikers near the town of Ludlow, home to about 1,000 men, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN. The attack began in the morning with a barrage of bullets FIRED INTO THE TENTS. The miners shot back with pistols and rifles.

      After a strike leader was killed while attempting to negotiate a truce, the strikers feared the attack would intensify. To stay safe from gunfire, women and children took cover in pits dug beneath the tents. At dusk, guardsmen moved down from the hills and set the tent colony on fire with torches, shooting at the families as they fled into the hills. The true carnage, however, was not discovered until the next day, when a telephone linesman discovered a pit under one of the TENTS FILLED WITH THE BURNED REMAINS OF 11 CHILDREN AND 2 WOMEN.

      Not long after the Titanic incident, J.P. had his agent Colonel House, Woodrow Wilson’s most trusted advisor — some say it was he who actually ran the White House, convince Wilson to enter the Great War in order to prevent J.P. from losing the fortunes he had loaned England and France that he stood to lose should they lose the war, and they were losing.

      As far as J.P.’s last minute cancellation and somehow “miraculously” getting all his paintings off the ship, well, I guess facts don’t matter if you read about them in an article on Lew Rockwell’s blog.

  7. Fred2

    What did i miss. They lost a mast.

    Isn’t the usual procedure then to cut the away wreckage and rigging and, assuming you have a boat with a motor, and you aren’t actually sinking, go home?

    Let me guess. No tools?

  8. Mid-Country Cos Cobber

    I love those boats; but I think cats are better for cruising the islands than as off-shore boats. When you go offshore you open yourself up to a lot of possibilities.

    Sticking with tried and true designs offshore is my vote.

  9. Anonymous

    AJ: those are some interesting theories. Do you prefer Reynolds wrap or the store brand generics?