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Thread: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

  1. #1
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    Default Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    Folks:
    The sinking of the Leopard 46 Palenque (November 2012 in Caribbean), as mistakenly reported by Latitude 38 in the February 2013 issue to be a Leopard 43, raises potentially important emergency preparedness and response issues. I think the issue is broader than Leopard catamarans, but choose to post this in the Leopard forum because preparedness and response might vary a lot among brands. I imagine we have a lot of variability within models (Simonis 38-47, M&M 39-46...), but hopefully we share enough similarity to have a fruitful discussion.
    Beyond the reported facts of the sinking (which still leave questions in my mind), I have heard mentioned a preparedness issue and a response issue:

    Preparedness issue -- should the bilges aft of the crash bulkhead be connected or isolated? Connected they benefit from shared bilge pumps. If isolated, the flooding might be limited to one area, but effective isolation might be hard to accomplish.

    Response issue -- given a significant hull breach, what actions might be most effective in saving the boat? What can be done to provide more time to respond, and what actions might be most effective in reducing ingress?

    Leopard owners, do you want to figure this out together?
    Larry
    S/V Harmonia

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    One of the big problems I have seen in working on many different cats, is that aftermarkets installers drill holes through bulkheads to run exhausts/hoses/wires etc, and these eliminate the design safety parameters intended by the designers.
    We moved a lagoon 440 for an owner recently, the vetus waterlock clamp broke(had been previosuly glued together), flooded the engine room, no engine bilge pump, drain to central bilge was open, flooded that bilge, main bilge pump was not working, backup pump came on manually, but so much debris in bilge that pump clogged continuously. No warning lights, no buzzers.

    The best solution is preparedness on all levels, from clean bilges to working pumps, to alarms, to crew drill, to abandon ship and life gear. So many boats we see are more concerned with the latest wifi apps etc that no expenditure is put into safety.
    Kent
    www.justcatamarans.net
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    oh the great Lagoon build quality--------------

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    Larry is bang on the mark with this thread
    The bounty hearings encapsulate everything the goes wrong when unprepared(and dumb decisions)

    Here is the USCG hearings

    http://gcaptain.com/17thpassenger

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    The Bounty story is a sad affair. I think Kent is exactly right. So...

    Preparedness issue: I am inclined to see if bilge sections can be isolated with an intent to place a large bilge pump in each section. I would be most interested in isolating the engine compartments, but with a way to bring additional pumping capacity online from outside.
    How to discharge each pump awaits us getting back aboard, and could be a bit problematical. I dislike the idea of additional thru-hulls, and wonder about what else might be possible. What I have learned about bilge pumps suggests that their performance is dependent on how much downstream head they work against, so low discharge points are worth striving for. (Of course, they're rated based on 0 downstream head.)
    I think that floor boards should be secured in place. Has anyone done so? If so, what hardware did you use?
    I think it's worth having a 110 v AC pump aboard with a long discharge hose. For instance, I have one that cost under $100 that pumps 3600 gal/hour using 7 amps and can create 28 feet of downstream head. With 50-100 feet of 1.5 inch hose, you create a lot of options.
    What do others think?
    Last edited by lhsmith; 2nd March 2013 at 07:53 PM. Reason: syntax corrected
    Larry
    S/V Harmonia

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    Quote Originally Posted by lhsmith View Post
    The Bounty story is a sad affair. I think Kent is exactly right. So...

    Preparedness issue: I am inclined to see if bilge sections can be isolated with an intent to place a large bilge pump in each section. I would be most interested in isolating the engine compartments, but with a way to bring additional pumping capacity online from outside.
    How to discharge each pump awaits us getting back aboard, and could be a bit problematical. I dislike the idea of additional thru-hulls, and wonder about what else might be possible. What I have learned about bilge pumps suggests that their performance is dependent on how much downstream head they work against, so low discharge points are worth striving for. (Of course, they're rated based on 0 downstream head.)
    I think that floor boards should be secured in place. Has anyone done so? If so, what hardware did you use?
    I think it's worth having a 110 v AC pump aboard with a long discharge hose. For instance, I have one that cost under $100 that pumps 3600 gal/hour using 7 amps and can create 28 feet of downstream head. With 50-100 feet of 1.5 inch hose, you create a lot of options.
    What do others think?
    I don't think secure floor boards or cabin sole are a good idea. I would want to be able to easily lift them to get to the hole from the inside. Only speculation but in the case of Palenque, if they had managed to stuff a mattress into the hole from the inside, they might have had better luck. Fothering from the outside could possibly have worked in the old days of canvas sails and wooden hulls but I don't think its much use with plastic hull and dacron sails. Tony

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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    A point to bear in mind with Palenque is that prior to the 'sinking, the owner /captain had run the boat hard into a reef in Honduras, where he destroyed the keel/s, rudder and a saildrive. The repairs were effected in Honduras by a boat yard.

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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    Quote Originally Posted by Bvimatelot View Post
    I don't think secure floor boards or cabin sole are a good idea. I would want to be able to easily lift them to get to the hole from the inside. Only speculation but in the case of Palenque, if they had managed to stuff a mattress into the hole from the inside, they might have had better luck. Fothering from the outside could possibly have worked in the old days of canvas sails and wooden hulls but I don't think its much use with plastic hull and dacron sails. Tony
    What I have in mind are latches, not screws, and maybe hinges. It might help in stuffing a bilge section to be able to affix the floorboard above the stuffing.

    Given delamination of a square meter of the hull in this case, I wonder if anything could have slowed the ingress sufficiently, particularly if the breach was hard to access from inside. I would love to buy the captain, who tried hard to save her, a few pitchers of beer and hear his views.
    Larry
    S/V Harmonia

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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    Quote Originally Posted by JustCatamarans View Post
    A point to bear in mind with Palenque is that prior to the 'sinking, the owner /captain had run the boat hard into a reef in Honduras, where he destroyed the keel/s, rudder and a saildrive. The repairs were effected in Honduras by a boat yard.
    I think the reason for the sinking is that the "repairs" came undone and peeled off--------It didnt 'hit' anything

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    --maybe a boat built with foam underwater is not a good idea and there needs to be solid FG there.....That foam is very hard to repair correctly to be as good as new once damaged---

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    Aren't Leopard keels "sacrificial" anyway? 2 or 3 a year get knocked off Moorings boats in BVI every year!!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    Yes, they are sacrificial. Not uncommon to have them leaking too - when you haul out, bucket loads of water pour out of the hollow keel.

    Now, here is one for you: When did you last unscrew your manual bilge pumps from the bottom of your bilge?

    We did that the other day - probably the first time it has been done in the 12 year life of our boat - and were ASTOUNDED at the amount of junk and crud that was wedged in there. I seriously doubt that those pumps would have done much pumping had they been actually needed!

    It is a quick job. Unscrew them, clean out all the crud, and put them back.

    And test all your automatic pumps while you are at it.

    Noel
    Noel Swanson
    Life's too short to live in ugly places
    http://LifePart2.info

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Emergency preparedness and response for Leopard catamarans

    Funny you should say that Noel! I did a boat 10 days ago prior to a delivery from Caribbean to New Hampshire. The manual bilge pumps were pretty much what you described. One had a wandering suction hose which disintegrated in my hands. The electrical ones were ok though. Its one of the basic checks I do on any boat delivery. Tony

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