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What Happens when you Capsize and how do you prepare for it?

In association with Admiral Boat Insurance, Yachting Monthly created a series of potential disasters to find out if all the theories of how to deal with such situations actually work in practice. The boat used in the crash test is Admiral’s own 1982 Jeanneau Sun Fizz ketch, Fizzical.

Yachting Monthly capsized the Crash Test Boat twice to see if the saloon, galley etc can be made safe or become a hell-hole in the unlikely event of a capsize or knockdown. Here is the full 17 minute version of the capsize procedures which is spectacular to watch:

In extreme situations such as the fatal 1979 Fastnet where a number of yachts were abandoned crews were drowned. However, in many cases their yachts were found floating later on and it is now generally accepted that if they had stayed in the yacht they could well have survived.

Yachting Monthly decided to capsize the Crash Test boat fully upside down to see what would happen inside the boat. Hooked up to a crane with strops to rotate the yacht, she was put through her paces and righted again afterwards. Two separate tests were carried out. The first was with everything possible battened down, lockers locked, cabin sole floorboards screwed down, and all moving equipment put out of the way.

As the boat turned over damage was limited and only bunk cushions and a few objects crashed around the boat. On the second test the lockers were left unlocked, and everything that would normally be loose was left in its place, to replicate a typical onboard situation. The knockdown was devastating and masses of equipment shots through the boat and landed on the ceiling. Crews would have undoubtedly been injured as the sorry looking Crash Test Dummies lurking below demonstrated. During both tests the yacht took on quite a lot of water, but not enough to endanger crew or cause drowning. Yachting Monthly effectively demonstrated that if proper preparation is carried out in anticipation of extreme weather a knockdown, while always physically and mentally challenging need not be the end of the world.

Hints such as staying in the forward cabin, where there is less room to fall or be knocked around, and ensuring that there is lighting available once the boat, turned upside down is in darkness were provided.

A Catalogue of Crash Tests

Over nine months Yachting Monthly subjected the Crash Test Boat to a punishing programme of destructive experiments. Keep checking back here for news of Fizzical’s progress! Follow Admiral on Twitter for the latest news.

All Yacht Monthly articles are available in full

Download the full, unabridged Yachting Monthly articles in PDF format below for reading at your leisure.

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Admiral Yacht Insurance is underwritten by certain underwriters at Lloyd’s (Watkins Syndicate, Syndicate 457). Lloyd’s enjoys strong financial security supported by excellent ratings. Visit www.lloyds.com for more information. The policy is written in plain English so a knowledge of marine law is not required to understand it. In fact, we are so confident about our policy that we offer a money back guarantee – just tell us in writing, within 14 days, if you are not satisfied with the policy.

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