It is now well recognised that although capable of surviving extreme conditions the E-Boat can be knocked down and indeed capsized.
This is by no means a problem unique to E-Boats, but it has now occurred on at least three well documented occasions and in two of these the boats sank.
Just to Prove a Point! All three occurrences were in the course of racing and without doubt on two occasions the boats were over canvassed and the inability of the crew to quickly release the sheets played a major part.
The cause of “She of Rathan” ‘s knockdown is less certain. What is certain is that the two boats that sank did so because water entered the swamped boat via the keelbox and the lower half of the companionway (and in one case through the aft locker whose lid, unsecured, had been lost). Therefore a major improvement in passive safety can be achieved by making both the keelbox and lower washboard watertight. Both these modifications can be made easily for very little cost. It has been argued the E-Boat must be sailed in the manner of a large dinghy rather than a heavy displacement yacht, and control systems modified accordingly. The fitting of closed cell foam buoyancy, sufficient to keep the boat afloat if swamped, is also recommended. This has definite advantages for the racing sailor, but it does take up a lot of the available stowage space which has an impact on cruising ability.
The Class Association provides new members with reprints from the Association Magazines relating to safety. We would not wish this to let this give a gloomy appraisal of the E-Boat’s capabilities, but feel that any owner must know the modifications necessary to make the boat safe in the event of a knock down. It is worth noting that E-Boats have crossed the North Sea and the Atlantic (several times) without incident. We are currently collating the contents of all the back issues of the Magazine so that we can have copies of a wider range of subject matter to hand. Please contact the Association Secretary if you wish any further information.