Kelsall Powercat Sinking

I just got word yesterday that this 61′ Kelsall powercat Twin Coves sank and was lost at sea.  I see no mention of it online.  I will know a lot more after a meeting tomorrow. I would not have felt safe going out of the harbor with that much windage on a sled that small.   I always declare that whatever the sea can’t hit, it can’t hurt.  The inverse that it will hurt what it can hit is true too.  I feel badly for the owner.

twin coves


5 thoughts on “Kelsall Powercat Sinking”

  1. Kurt, I’m hoping you examined the boat in person? If not, then you surely had other actual pictures to look at prior to your hasty condemnation?
    As a boatbuilder, designer, and builder of a Kelsall KSS46ph with many thousands of miles under her keels I can assure you that Derek knows what he is doing. Likewise, my communications with Giorgio in Peru has revealed to me that he is a conscientious and knowledgeable builder.
    As a sailor in the Caribbean, I can also assure you that there are numerous power cats with structures as big or bigger than that on Derek’s power cat. They safely negotiate ocean waves far larger than found on Puget Sound.
    I look forward to hearing what actually happened to this boat. What are the facts available after you met with the owner?

    1. Am barely interested in this. I did feel that it looked unsafe offshore long ago when I saw the pictures. All I did recently was relate what the owner told me, both before and after meeting. Apparently that is considered attacking the god and I must be punished for that. One fellow on the forum consoled Derek for suffering my rant, when I never even replied to him, except dryly noting that “sunk” was the exact verb the owner used.
      The take-away is that there is no limit to the size of house cabin on a cat when it comes to safety? If the house was not too large for the sled, what do you atribute the loss to? And recall that at about the same size, Profligate has plied those waters nearly continuously without incident for what is it, 20 years now?
      At 25 tons weight, it probably was not helped by that. If anyone wants me to do a two story houseboat, they are going to get more freeboard, a bigger sled, and weight rigor. But thats me.

  2. So more an issue of operation outside of the design envelope than of the design itself, which if I remember correctly was intended for protected inshore waters. Is this the one that was on a delivery trip from South America to Puget Sound? Who decided to take the boat out on open ocean?


    The wise man reserves his judgment till all the facts are on the table.

    The owner is obviously disappointed as is everyone else involved.
    Owner’s concept, Kelsall Catamarans design, Ballotta Build.
    The owners view is that “the loss was not in anyway caused by the design or the build”.

    The design was done for use within the sheltered waters of the Puget Sounds, to be delivered from Peru as deck cargo. The design met the owners specification entirely to his satisfaction.

    This cat could never sink.

    We ourselves have many questions, but we were not on board. Until we have the full facts and a report from those who were, we will not be passing judgment.

    I will add, that right now the owner is seriously considering a rebuild.

    Why so urgent?

    Derek Kelsall.

    1. nothing urgent. It has been acouple of weeks now. I was just asked to have a meeting on short notice. I think all the available facts are in after I met with owner. There will be no NTSB report that we are waiting for.
      you might not have understood that Puget Sound is not always lake conditions. I have been out on it in 2m waves, and 1m tide waves. The Strait of Juan de Fuca can have very severe conditions. The Canadian San Juans are usually even rougher with all the fetch possible down the Georgia Strait. Sometimes a designer has to not just do as he is told. When I first saw it my immediate response was I would not leave the harbor in it. I admit I expected it to suffer the most be being boarded astern by a wave.

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