The Reality of Familiarity Breeding Contempt on High Speed Craft
Appropriate safety requirements need to be applied when undertaking dangerous or critical tasks in all maritime sectors. However when tasks and situations become regular or frequent the need may become less obvious. This presentation looks at lessons learned from incidents of extreme high speed craft operated by highly experienced crew in normal working conditions.
At 0817 on 13 May 2015 a 13 metre (43 feet) offshore racing powerboat, was undertaking an engine performance test run on Southampton Water following a refit. The boat had reached a maximum speed of 87 knots (100 miles per hour) during the test and was being returned to its base on the River Hamble when the accident occurred.
The powerboat hooked, inverted and made contact with a navigation buoy near the entrance to the River Hamble. Three of the occupants escaped from the upturned boat but one, the driver’s son, was unconscious inside the cockpit. The driver dived back under the boat and brought his son to the surface, where he was resuscitated. As a result of the accident one of its four occupants was seriously injured and the others required hospitalisation.
The Vector V40R powerboat involved in the incident was a fully enclosed (canopied) offshore racing boat, constructed of glass reinforced plastic. Its hull was stepped and had multiple strakes. The boat was powered by two Ilmor V10 engines, each producing 540kW (725hp).
Simon Wood Power - Managing Director, Supermarine Powerboats
Born into the world of powerboat racing Simon has raced in all classes of powerboats since the late 70’s. He worked for Cougar in the late 80s rigging and racing many offshore powerboats including the Virgin Atlantic Challenger One.
Simon raced professionally in Italy in Class One for many years before several fatalities caused him to reassess and move back to the UK. He is a Harmsworth Trophy winner and also a multiple Cowes Torquay Cowes powerboat race winner. He holds a K7 Gold Star for breaking a World Speed Record on Lake Coniston.
With a continuing love of very fast boats Simon now builds and runs them on the South Coast of the UK. Current projects include a 17 metre (55 feet) stepped monohull with two 1650HP petrol engines capable of 115MPH and a one design 8 metre racing RIB which can achieve 70MPH with only 225HP. He has an interest in human endurance and shock mitigation, including working on suspension seat designs for boat manufacturers.