A Bali Catamaran dragged anchor in the Sea of Cortez and ended up on the reef/rocks.

The starboard hull appears undamaged and the port hull has massive holes where the hull grounded on the rocks. The sacrificial keel is gone on the port hull.

My observations:

1. The undamaged starboard hull did not sink. They were fortunate they were sideways on the reef. The salvagers had to deal with only one damaged hull. That means they could use float bags to support the damaged hull and tow the boat back to port where it could be hauled out of the water for repairs.

2. This catamaran was constructed with a foam core hull, and it appears the foam core was carried below the waterline. The picture shows a foam core throughout the entire bottom of the boat.

3. The "sacrificial keel" is gone.


I don't like hulls that have foam cores below the waterline. When the boat runs aground or hits a reef, you only have to penetrate a thin layer of fiberglass to reach the foam core that has zero strength.

A hull with a foam core everywhere is lighter, but in an emergency like this one, the hull will not stand up as well to rocks and reefs.

I don't know how long it took for the hull to be penetrated in this "accident", but I do know that a catamaran with a solid fiberglass hull below the waterline is more resistant to destruction which would give sailors more time to save the yacht when they got into trouble.

Our Privilege 39 catamaran does not have sacrificial keels.

Our keels are solid fiberglass, and there is a kevlar shoe on the bottom of the keels.

The keels are an integral part of the hull molding, and they will not break away in a grounding.

Our hull is solid fiberglass below the waterline which means you have a stronger hull in the event of a grounding.

Some people think sacrificial keels are a good idea, and in some situations they could save the boat if they strike an underwater obstruction where the keel detaches without creating a hole in the hull. That being said, I read an account of a catamaran that sailed from Grenada to Florida, and after they arrived in Florida, they discovered that one of the sacrificial keels had fallen off at sea without them realizing it was gone. The adhesive holding the keel in place failed, and somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, a lonely keel sits on the bottom of the sea. Constructing and installing a new keel capable of supporting the weight of the boat will be an expensive and time consuming job.

The catamaran in this picture should never have ended up on the rocks.

The narrative I read about the "accident" said the winds were over 30 knots and the holding was marginal in the anchorage.

There are so many reasons this should not have happened.

With modern electronics, an anchor alarm will warn you that you are dragging, and using electronic charts, you can see that the boat is heading toward the rocks.

When you start to drag, you start your engines and put them in forward to take the load off the anchor until the wind dies down.

If the wind does not decrease and dragging continues, you motor forward, pull up the anchor, and motor out of the anchorage into deep water using your electronic chart to navigate safely in the dark.

I never go into an anchorage for the night where I do not have a safe way out of the anchorage in the dark.

Bad stuff happens at night, and with a bread crumb trail on your digital chart, you can motor out on exactly the same track on which you entered the marginal anchorage.

Marginal anchorages destroy boats.

Thin sand bottoms with hard pan beneath the sand are the recipe for disaster, and you never anchor in those locations without an easy way out of the anchorage on the darkest of nights.

Yacht construction is important, and a strong yacht has a greater margin of safety when bad things happen.

"Sacrificial keels" and cored hulls below the waterline may be a liability in a grounding.

Seamanship is equally important, and you don't anchor in places where there is no way to escape if problems happen.

I would rather sail ten miles offshore and go hove to for the night than end up on a reef in a marginal anchorage.

This was a charter boat, and the people may have been inexperienced in the ways of the sea.

A new yacht like this costs over $600,000.

This is an expensive mistake.

Captain Dave

Captain Dave - David J. Abbott M.D.





Exit Only

See what it's like for a family to sail around the world on a small catamaran

Captain Save Our Souls

Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.

Red Sea Blues

Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.

Red Sea Chronicles Trailer

If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 1 - When Flying Fish Attack

Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 2 - Pirate Alley

Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 3 - Aden, Yemen

Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 4- Gate of Sorrows and Sandstorms

After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.

Save A Tree Bookstore

Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.