Robert Holbrook explains why he wanted to buy a 40ft ketch and put it through a series of controlled sailing disasters
I was introduced to the concept of the Crash Test Boat by Yachting Monthly editor Paul Gelder and his team at last year’s Southampton Boat Show. My enthusiasm grew as I realised this project could be a real benefit to yachtsmen.
Often, the first natural human instinct when an emergency or disaster strikes is panic. In a series of controlled experiments, the Yachting Monthly crew plan to put theory to the test by re-enacting some typical worst-case scenario sailing accidents or emergencies – such as grounding, capsize and mast failure.
Risk assessment and careful consultation with experts will be at the core of all tests.
How often are incidents like this photographed and filmed in detail? By sharing their findings in a series of articles, I could see how yachtsmen could learn much invaluable information.
First, we needed a suitable 35-45ft monohull as a test boat. We also needed some project partners who could add in-depth knowledge and experience – and share costs! I approached Osmotech UK, at Hamble Point Marina, which has an unrivalled reputation for repairing damaged yachts.
A couple of weeks later, Jim Hirst from Osmotech told me about a 1982 Jeanneau Sun Fizz ketch, which was for sale and fitted the bill perfectly. Admiral bought Fizzical in November 2010 and the project was born.
Everyone we have spoken to has seemed equally excited about the concept of Yachting Monthly’s Crash Test Boat series. MDL has generously given us free berthing and lift-outs at Hamble Point Marina and the RNLI and RYA have also lent their support.