Ground-breaking Yachting Monthly series goes out 'with a very big bang'

Yachting Monthly has successfully conducted a ground-breaking gas explosion on a yacht.

The explosion, supervised by a specialist Royal Navy munitions team, took place shortly before noon on Friday 7 October off the Isle of Wight.

It was the climax to Yachting Monthly‘s acclaimed Crash Test Boat series, which has seen the magazine, the UK’s premier title for cruising sailors, create controlled sailing disasters on a second-hand Jeanneau Sunn Fizz 40.

The aim of the series has been to find out if accepted textbook safety procedures are effective and practical in real life, as well as to promote safety awareness among cruising yachtsmen.

The test yacht was bought for the series by the owner of Admiral Insurance, Robert Holbrook.

QHM Portsmouth set an exclusion zone around the test area, sent out as a Notice to Mariners, for the explosion.

Yachting Monthly editor Paul Gelder said: ‘As you can see from the photo, the damage to the yacht was catastrophic.

‘It was the nautical equivalent of “shock and awe”. The whole coachroof blew off including the windows, the mast and the hatches.

‘You couldn’t think of a worse scene down below. One of the dummies was cut in half by a piece of glass. The blast went right through the boat, blowing out the aft bulkhead and the lazarette.

‘It was absolute mayhem and a very graphic example of why it’s important to have a proper gas system on your yacht.

‘Our coverage of what we achieved today will be in our December issue, focussing on how yachtsmen can safeguard their own boats against a gas explosion.’

Paul added: ‘The Crash Test Boat series has gone out, literally, with a very big bang. It was a spectacular finale.’

The coachroof, along with other yacht parts and also boots and a leg from the on-board dummies, were recovered from the water.

Still afloat, the yacht was to be towed back to the River Hamble.

Those on the South Coast can see coverage on BBC South, at 1830 on Friday 7 October.

For full coverage of the explosion and advice on how to prevent a gas explosion on your yacht, see Yachting Monthly December issue, published on 17 November.

Find out more about the Crash Test Boat series


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