Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Perfect storm of strong desire, weak skill may have sunk Yogi

by Gordon Reid on 8 Jul 2012
Last sight of the 60m motor yacht Yogi, which sank in Greek waters in February SW
In February this year a yacht which had just won accolades as 'The Most Innovative Yacht for 2011', the motoryacht Yogi, sank in Greek waters (see Sail-World http://www.sail-world.com/CruisingAus/Most-Innovative-yacht-in-mystery-sinking/94002!story). Here yachting writer Gordon Reid, also a professional yacht consultant and delivery captain, talks about how poor seamanship may have been responsible for the sinking of the 60m yacht:

I’m an old sea-dog. I can recognize a storm brewing.

The 'perfect storm' can be described as the collision of two weather systems: one a high pressure, cold stable air mass circulating in a clockwise direction (in the northern hemisphere); the other a depression or low pressure warm air mass circulating in a counterclockwise direction.

I offer this metaphor to describe an emerging phenomena in the yachting industry in Asia. More than $500 million will be spent on yachts and equipment in the next 12 months. Most aspiring owners are long on love of yachts and yachting, but a wee short on seamanship and practical experience, hence a perfect storm.

The recent sinking of the 60m M/Y Yogi in a mistral off Skyros, Greece, has popped yacht safety onto the front page of industry publications. Not to put too fine a point on this accident, but it begs more questions than it answers.

M/Y Yogi foundered due to what the Greek Coast Guard reported as mechanical failure. In other words, the engines stopped.

The usual suspect when this occurs in heavy weather is fuel starvation. My hypothesis goes something like this: During construction the fuel tanks are exposed to litter from construction crews. The plot thickens when the first force eight gale begins to stir the pot.

Inertia forces sediment off the bottom of the tank and into suspension in the fuel. Small particles of foreign matter begin to clog the screens on the fuel pick-up pipes. Soon, the fuel pumps are working overtime to maintain pressure to the injectors. The injectors begin to 'hunt' for fuel pressure; engines rev up and down without throttle control and die. The emergency begins.

Without power, the yacht lays a-hull, at the mercy of beam seas. She rolls rail to rail through an arc of almost 180 degrees. Imagine the rinse cycle in a washing machine; imagine searching for the source and solution to the malfunction in such a cycle. The chief engineer cannot work alone and the skipper should not leave the bridge. The rest of the crew may be willing, but they may be ill equipped to achieve a re-start in a roller-coaster engine room full of scalding iron.

Waves crash into vulnerable top deck ports and hatches; cute French doors crash and allow the sea access to below decks. The yacht lists, which signals the final throes. The only maneuver that can save a yacht in these conditions is to deploy a sea anchor, which is usually not standard equipment on a designer yacht. The crew is ordered to abandon ship. The yacht fills with seawater and goes down by the head.

By contrast, long line tuna boats routinely fish in ocean conditions far worse than a force eight mistral in the Med. But their power systems are routinely maintained by professional crews, and their ports, hatches and doors are small in size and indestructible in construction. Modern expedition yachts are also well designed and built to take a sea.

Who is responsible for clean fuel tanks on a new yacht: the construction crew, yard manager, president of the shipyard, insurance agent, brokerage firm, sales agent, dock master, delivery captain, regulatory agencies, owner?

Reality is that that none will fill this role.

The design flaws of the modern motoryacht are hatched on the palette of the marine architect usually as a result of modern aesthetics. Professional skippers have to operate yachts within design parameters. In some cases, this means they must reschedule trips to avoid bad weather and adverse sea conditions, often to the dismay of owners.

Mechanical malfunctions usually occur as a result of lack of seamanship and maintenance. Rarely does a piece of equipment fail due to a mechanical defect.

What measures could have been taken to mitigate the M/Y Yogi accident?

Yacht design: Center-of-gravity and balance must be calculated and considered when a skipper plans a voyage.

Weather: Reports of pending mistrals are routinely forecast days in advance in the Mediterranean.

Maintenance: The skipper (and chief engineer) should personally verify that all power systems are well maintained.

Schedule: The single most preventable factor in yacht accidents is a schedule that forces procedure into decreasingly favorable conditions.

Storm Covers: Strong, temporary sea covers should be routinely installed over all vulnerable ports, hatches and doors before putting to sea. It is too late to install storm covers after weather conditions deteriorate.

It goes without saying that venturing away from the dock can be risky business. But professional skippers and crew can preempt most hazards by thorough planning and the use of check lists.

Editor's Note: This surely applies to leisure sailors as well!

About the Author:
Capt. Gordon Reid holds a 200-ton Yacht Master license and has worked as a delivery captain for decades. He is also a full-time yacht consultant based in Asia. He writes yacht related information and news articles. Contact him at captaingord@gmail.com.

This article was first printed in www.thetriton.com!The_Triton, yachting news for professional captains and crews, and kindly reprinted with their and Captain Reid's permission
Naiad/Oracle SupplierSouthern Spars - 100Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

A Few Rays – Moisturising, Anti-Aging Action …
Consistent moisturising sun protection has an anti-aging action Consistent moisturising sun protection has an anti-aging action Out on a boat, sailors are exposed to extreme conditions for their skin. There are UV rays from the sun, hopefully some wind if you are a sailor, and the drying effects from wet and dry cycles during the course of your day
Posted today at 9:39 am
Doyle Sails announce new ownership and global expansion
Doyle Sails New Zealand formally announced their ownership of Doyle Internationa Doyle Sails one of the global leaders in high performance sails as well as having a reputation for being proven innovators with new technology, has announced their next bold move to drive the Doyle business forward. The leadership team headed by Mike Sanderson and supported by David Duff and Richard Bouzaid from Doyle Sails New Zealand formally announced their ownership of Doyle International
Posted on 22 Jun
The Bridge – Arriving into New York on the 1st July
The 345m Cunard flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will race some of the world’s fastest yachts from France to America. Two thousand seven hundred passengers will board this historical ocean liner to race against the world's fastest trimarans helmed by the worlds best skippers: Macif (François Gabart), Sodebo (Thomas Coville), Actual (Yves le Blévec), IDEC (Francis Joyon).
Posted on 21 Jun
Hokule'a makes it's way home after a three year worldwide voyage
Hokule'a along with sister-ship Hikianalia returned home to Hawaii after a three-year worldwide voyage. Saturday morning at 9:30 am HST, June 17, 2017, Hokule'a along with sister-ship Hikianalia returned home to Hawaii after a three-year worldwide voyage. Their tour included 150 port calls in 23 countries with 60,000 nautical miles shared between the two double-hulled sailing canoes.
Posted on 18 Jun
A Few Rays- Calculate how long your sunscreen lasts.
Confused by SPF's? It’s easy to calculate how long you will be protected by using the following process. Exposure to the sun is a serious issue for all those who venture on the water. Confused by SPF's? It’s easy to calculate how long you will be protected by using the following process.
Posted on 14 Jun
BoatUS looks at accuracy of 22 Years of hurricane season predictions
BoatUS Seaworthy Program, which helps BoatUS members avoid injuries and boat damage by analyzing insurance claims data With most 2017 storm forecasts now predicting average to above-average storm activity for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 – November 30), just how accurate are these predictions, and do boaters need to adjust their hurricane prep plans this year?
Posted on 13 Jun
Dismasted solo sailor Lisa to complete Antarctic Circumnavigation
Sydney- based solo sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair (32) will recommence her attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica She has spent the past two months preparing Climate Action Now so that she can complete her circumnavigation, including the installation of a new mast and repairs to the hull and electrical and navigation systems sustained during her dramatic dismasting.
Posted on 11 Jun
Race for Water – A key player in fight against plastic pollution
Race for Water Foundation is drawing attention to the need for concerted action against the plastic pollution To mark World Oceans Day on June 8, 2017, the Race for Water Foundation is drawing attention to the need for concerted action against the plastic pollution that is swamping our oceans.
Posted on 7 Jun
BoatUS – NOAA National Charting Plan looks to the future
The plan also allows NOAA to focus attention on underserved waterways, such as resolving chart discrepancies. The plan also allows NOAA to focus attention on underserved waterways, such as resolving chart discrepancies in areas of importance to recreational boaters.
Posted on 1 Jun
See how your smart phone can help save your life
OLAS, the man overboard location alert app from Exposure Lights is available on Android as well as through App Store. OLAS, the man overboard location alert app from Exposure Lights is now available on Android as well as through the App Store.
Posted on 25 May