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Keel failure – Class 40 #179, Bertrand design

Posted on 3rd August 2022


To all editors re: Keel failure – Etienne Bertrand design Class 40, Jeanne, number 179

To avoid confusion and mis-information being posted/written about the recent keel failure of the Class 40 Jeanne, class number 179. At Owen Clarke Design we feel compelled to inform interested parties who may be writing articles that the yacht was not associated with this office in any way.

In recent years Cape Racing Yachts built two of our fifth-generation design Class 40s; #149 and #157. The latter was self-sponsored/named for some of its early races as Cape Racing Yachts. Because of this and our significant web/internet visibility with those boats and the Cape Racing Yachts brand we feel we need to avoid confusion by informing all parties that the two most recent boats they built, # 168 and #179 were designed by Etienne Bertrand.

We also caution all parties not to jump to conclusions regarding incidents like this. The reasons for such failures are rarely as simple as the outsider might think. Many will jump to the conclusion that the failure is the responsibility of the designer or the builder, but that is way too simplistic. The failure may not even be the keel itself and if it were there could be metallurgical, operational, installation and corrosion issues; any of which or a multiple of these that have initiated the problem.

OC send our best wishes to #179s crew and owner for the recovery of their yacht and hope to see them at the start of the Route du Rhum. Our thoughts also go out to Andrew Thomson of Cape Racing Yachts and Etienne Bertrand at what we know will be a particularly worrying and stressful time for them.

Clearly there may be lessons to be learnt by all, including the Class with regard to the management of the design and construction of appendages in the future. The Class has an excellent safety record, one that needs to be maintained. Practically we must not and certainly cannot be seen to be resting on our laurels. This was a serious incident. Had it happened at night, in the first week of the Route du Rhum, the result could have been very different.

This broadcast io for informational purposes only. If you re-publish this text then we require you do so in full, without editing or deleting text in order to convey our message in the context that it is written. Thank you for your cooperation.

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