Revealing the Limits of Fiberglass >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Published on March 22, 2021
Practical Sailor dusted off this 2007 report to explain why storm damaged boats can be a good thing:
Unlike the test-driven auto industry, sailboat builders rarely purposely destroy boats to validate build quality. The high unit cost and limited R&D budgets mean that destructive evaluations of new sailboats are relegated to stratified samples, test coupons and small subsections of new models, rather than experiencing the sacrifice of a ship. full. The mere thought of taking a brand new, marketable sailboat and subjecting it to an intentional grounding, dismasting or capsizing is enough to give most yacht brokers chest pain.
Instead, basic samples, layering schedules, and construction practices, such as those promulgated by the American Bureau of Ships (ABS), help guide pre-construction engineering. Some companies voluntarily comply with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification system, while others use finite element analysis to numerically analyze the structural characteristics of a new vessel. Past production results and owner feedback also help a builder define how ‘strong’ a new boat should be. The aim is to create a vessel for a specific type of use capable of withstanding the associated natural forces and some degree of operator error. Wear associated with time is also factored into the equation, as are designers and builders, usually unstated views of the life of the boat.
Because real-world destructive testing is beyond the scope of the R&D efforts of most manufacturers, storm damage and operator error results have become the best alternative to controlled destructive testing. Insurance companies, standards bodies, and others involved in the big question of how strong a pleasure craft should be, take a hard look at broken boats. Such a posteriori analysis provides valuable technical feedback. Careful inspection of critical failures and the factors leading to their occurrence can explain how a boat should be built and what should be changed or maintained. – Full report