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Noah
09-16-2004, 11:39 AM
Mirabella on the rocks

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Mirabella V, Joe Vittoria's 246ft Ron Holland-designed yacht launched earlier this year is in trouble on the French Riviera.

The much-heralded super sloop, built by Vosper Thornycroft at Southampton, UK, put out an emergency call at 1200 local today requesting assistance from other vessels in the St Jean Cap Ferrat area. She had apparently run onto rocks near the entrance to Beaulieu sur Mer harbour, having dragged her anchor. Winds are reportedly Force 6-7 and Mirabella is on a lee shore.

The 206ft explorer yacht Big Roi and Roman Abramovich's 282ft motor yacht Ecstasea stood by Mirabella from approx 1300 and have been trying to get lines on her. Big Roi has succeeded twice but on each case the tow has parted, despite Mirabella also running her machinery to assist. At the time of this report both assisting vessels were preparing new tow ropes and Mirabella was in the process of passing Spectra lines across.

Reports suggest that the boat was not in charter at the time of the accident. Female crew aboard have just been evacuated, there are reports of oil and debris indicating hull damage and there are no some fears regarding the likelihood of losing the giant 293ft mast.

John Walker / IBI Magazine, 16 September 2004

Noah
09-16-2004, 11:49 AM
http://www.yachtingworld.com/img/newsdesk/yw/ywnews/mirabella_V_on_the_rocks.jpg

Dang...

Noah
09-16-2004, 11:50 AM
An update:
http://www.yachtingworld.com/auto/newsdesk/20040816155312ywnews.html

Mirabella V, Joe Vittoria's 246ft Ron Holland-designed yacht launched earlier this year is in trouble on the French Riviera.

The much-heralded super sloop, built by Vosper Thornycroft at Southampton, UK, put out an emergency call at 1200 local today requesting assistance from other vessels in the St Jean Cap Ferrat area. She had apparently run onto rocks near the entrance to Beaulieu sur Mer harbour, having dragged her anchor. Winds are reportedly Force 6-7 and Mirabella is on a lee shore.

The 206ft explorer yacht Big Roi and Roman Abramovich's 282ft motor yacht Ecstasea stood by Mirabella from at 1300 and have been trying to get lines on her. Big Roi has succeeded twice but on each case the tow has parted, despite Mirabella also running her machinery to assist. On one of the attempts a 40-tonne bollard was pulled out of Big Roi's aft deck. At the time of this report Ecstasea was preparing an attempt at a tow and Mirabella was in the process of passing Spectra lines across.

Female crew aboard the super sloop have just been evacuated, there are reports of oil and debris indicating hull damage and there are now some fears regarding the potential loss of the mast which measures 293ft. It also seems likely that control of the hydraulically-operated keel has been lost and that the keel itself might have dropped, hampering the recovery process.

The nearest deep sea tug is reported to be several hours away.

Matt J.
09-16-2004, 12:10 PM
Hmmm. Part :( and Part :mad: with a little :rolleyes: thrown in. Hope no loss of life, but how can a boat that large be so damaged by winds <33 knots? It doesn't make sense to me. I know she carries more windage, but professionally crewed and properly designed? Even tiny Rarus should sit happily at anchor in F6-7...

Hope she survives - she's good for sailing as a whole.

Noah
09-16-2004, 12:28 PM
An update:

At 1715 this afternoon Mirabella V was still firmly aground on a leeshore in the South of France with an eye witness reporting that another tow line has just parted and that alarming cracking noises were emanating from either the 283ft carbon rig or 150-ton lifting keel or possibly both. Ex Yachting World reporter Tim Thomas who is standing on the shoreline adjacent to where Mirabella continues to pound up and down in winds of around 15 knots told the magazine's head office in London: "There are lots of loud cracks coming from either the rig or the keel. The mast also looks as though it is twisting quite a bit." He reported that a second tow line had parted when Roman Abramovich's motor yacht Ecstasea had managed to haul Mirabella round by the stern, aided by the yacht's twin engines. "Now a crew man seems to be in the water and is trying to attach a line to a rock. The stern of Mirabella is now about 20 metres from the rocks," said Tim. He reported that the wind had eased to about 15 knots but Mirabella was still bouncing up and down on the bottom. Jacqui Beadon the yacht's charter manager said: "There is a tug on its way and we hope to get her off later this evening. I have only been able to have a short conversation with the captain Johnno Johnston, but there is no water in the yacht." Johnston only recently took command of the US$15 million yacht but is highly experienced. The composite-hulled Mirabella reportedly dragged anchor in the incident which is currently threatening her. Her 150-ton lift keel has already had problems in trials but it is unclear at the moment whether the hydraulics which lift it are working properly. Draught with the keel down is 32ft 10in and 12ft 8in with it up.

Noah
09-16-2004, 02:34 PM
I don't know why I'm fascinated by this but I am. I really can't believe that there wasn't someone on watch well...watching, or a GPS with an anchor drag alarm. It all seems very avoidable...

Update:

Mirabella V, Joe Vittoria's 246ft Ron Holland-designed yacht currently stranded on rocks near the entrance to Beaulieu sur Mer harbour, is this evening reported safe with a rescue plan in place.

Latest infomation is that the wind and sea state has dropped and Mirabella V is sitting upright again. Hydraulic failure due to a problem with the pipework had caused the keel to drop although it has been raised again. It is not thought to be a contributing factor in the grounding.

Mirabella is now sat on her keelbox and a small boat is in attendance with a line on. A tug is due within two hours. The 206ft explorer yacht Big Roi and Roman Abramovich's 282ft motor yacht Ecstasea are standing by but not now actively involved in attempting a tow.

Some damage has been sustained but the rig is said to be secure. The La Ciotat dry dock is standing by to receive Mirabella as soon as she can be recovered.
John Walker / IBI Magazine, 16 September 2004

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Alan D. Hyde
09-16-2004, 03:08 PM
Thanks, Noah.

I'm inclined to agree that with good seamanship, and with the backup practices (SOPs) that should be in place for this size of vessel, an incident like this probably shouldn't have happened.

BUT, let's not rush to judgement: odd things do happen on the water, and there may be a reasonable explanation forthcoming. I hope so...

Alan

John B
09-16-2004, 04:22 PM
Thanks for the link Noah... I've sent it off to all my mates.

Art Read
09-17-2004, 02:40 AM
15 million? That's got to be a typo. I'd expect it cost about that much just to do the design/concept phase of the project. Hell that mast alone was over seven figures! Bet Lloyds is watching this one closely...

MarkC
09-17-2004, 03:34 AM
The America's Cup yachts blown-off their cradles, Mirabella V drags her anchor and runs aground...

Two things come to mind:

1. It will put individuals off from getting into boating.

2. If it can happen to the best of them, it can happen to us as well.

WindHawk
09-17-2004, 07:56 AM
The latest:

As dawn broke off the French Riviera this morning Mirabella V was still hard and fast on the shore close to Beaulieu sur Mer. The rescue tug Nerou is standing by, she has a line attached to the stricken yacht and divers will shortly inspect Mirabella's hull and keel.

The weather this morning is fair with no more than five knots of breeze from the south and no sea running. If the re-floating of Mirabella is successful she will be towed to La Ciotat near Marseilles where she can be dry docked.

According to Tim Thomas, one time reporter for Yachting World, who is watching developments from the shoreline, Mirabella appears to be sitting high on her marks but there is no sign of any listing. "She may have emptied some of her tanks," said Tim. He also noted that Mirabella's anchor chain appeared not to be sitting in its fairlead at the point at which it exits the hull on the stem. It is also apparent that Mirabella's keel in not in the fully up position. When it is fully retracted the top of the fin protrudes through the top of the coachroof and there is no sign of this at the moment, which suggests there is a problem with the lift mechanism.

Noah
09-17-2004, 09:05 AM
And a huge picture:

http://www.sailinganarchy.com/fringe/2004/images/rocks.jpg

Bill Perkins
09-17-2004, 09:57 AM
Maybe she has the equivalent of a jammed centerboard , on a huge scale . What a mess if so . What really amazes me is the vulgarity of building a mega yacht ( one of the boats standing by ) and nameing her "Extasea".

gert
09-17-2004, 02:40 PM
this monster image shifts half the text off screen to the right; what gives :confused:

[ 09-17-2004, 03:40 PM: Message edited by: gert ]

essaunders
09-17-2004, 02:46 PM
come on Noah! Post a little picture and provide a link to the big one.... not everyone has a 40" screen.....

http://www.sailinganarchy.com/fringe/2004/images/rocks.jpg_sml.jpg (http://www.sailinganarchy.com/fringe/2004/images/rocks.jpg)

[ 09-17-2004, 03:52 PM: Message edited by: essaunders ]

NormMessinger
09-17-2004, 05:06 PM
Never mind. I discovered the scroll bars. tongue.gif

In this case the detail in the large picture is welcome. Sympathy to those with dial up, however.

Noah
09-17-2004, 05:09 PM
You mean I shouldn't just think of my self with a 7.1 meg/sec line and a 23" Cinema display? tongue.gif

Sorry about the big picture, I kinda liked it...

gert
09-17-2004, 05:37 PM
ditto Norm, ya can teach old dogs new tricks

[ 09-17-2004, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: gert ]

Victor
09-17-2004, 06:45 PM
Click on printer-friendly at the bottom.

JimD
09-17-2004, 07:28 PM
Mirabella's website has some interesting pix of her construction, such as a double decker London bus driving along inside the unfitted out hull.

Thad
09-17-2004, 07:38 PM
What's happening now?

Noah
09-17-2004, 07:47 PM
Engineers were working late into Friday night erecting what looked like a gantry on the deck of Mirabella V in the vicinity of the her keel box. According to reporter Tim Thomas a metal structure is being welded possibly in an attempt to support the 150-ton lift keel, the bulb of which is still sitting firmly on the seabed and preventing the yacht from being moved. The world's largest single masted yacht ran aground in the south of France on Thursday in fresh onshore winds after reportedly dragging her anchor. Conditions have remained calm since then and a large rescue tug continues to stand by with a line attached to the yacht which is lying bows on to the shore. A diver who took a look at Mirabella's keel told reporter Thomas that part of one of the yacht's two rudders is damaged but otherwise there are no visibile signs of external damage to the keel. The bulb appears to be positioned in a recess in rock. There is a minimal tidal rise and fall in this area of the Mediterranean but as luck would have it there is an equinoctial tide due shortly which could provide an extra 20 cm of water. It could be just enough to free the stranded yacht.

Thad
09-18-2004, 04:31 AM
Just like an old centerboarder, useing the board for an anchor?

Noah
09-18-2004, 07:51 AM
Earlier this morning Mirabella V motored clear of the beach where she has been trapped since Thursday and is heading for La Ciotat near Marseilles where she will be dry docked to undergo a full condition check. A metal gantry which had been erected on deck last night over the keel box to support the 150-ton lifting keel had clearly succeeded in doing its job. Hydraulic rams had been used to support and possibly lift the keel enough to free it from the rock in which the keel's bulb had apparently been wedged. Paul Johnson who project managed the build of the yacht was overseeing the operation. Tim Thomas, who has been watching the recovery from the beach for the past two days said that a small launch and the yacht's tender helped to 'wiggle and waggle' the 247ft yacht off the beach. "She then motored away under her own power," said Tim. The rescue coincided with an equinocial high tide which provided Mirabella with vital centremetres of water. For a full report on why Mirabella ran aground and exactly what was entailed in her rescue, read the November issue of Yachting World, published early next month.

Noah
09-18-2004, 08:04 AM
And more details:

http://www.theyachtreport.com/main/allnews.asp#17092004

17/09/2004 - Mirabella V was still aground.
Mirabella V was still aground today at 1500 on the East coast of Cap Ferrat 20 or so meters off a spur of rock running out from the late David Niven’s Villa midway between the harbours of Beaulieu sur Mer and St. Jean Cap Ferrat.
According to a statement issued yesterday by Ron Holland’s office on behalf of Jacqui Beadon Yachts (the Mirabella Fleet charter managers) she went aground at 1300 hours on the 16th . She had been anchored there for a few days. Winds started rising in the morning peaking at a reported 7 to 8 gusting 9 according to Carl Carlsson currently relief Master on M/Y Ecstasea. “We were doing Gas Turbine sea trials when the wind got up to such a level that it was unreasonable to continue, we were just entering IYCA in Antibes when we heard a distress call from Mirabella V” Ecstasea was capable of being on scene in 15 minutes so offered their assistance which was accepted. M/Y Big Roi also responded.
On arrival Ecstasea made a first attempt to pass a line to the distressed vessel now heeling over and on the rocks. They had to abandon this when gusting winds commenced to push Ecstasea into dangerously shallow water. Meantime Big Roi got a line to Mirabella unfortunately this snapped immediately strain was applied. Next Ecstasea managed again to close on Mirabella and passed a line via the sailing yacht’s Hinckley jet tender this was bent to a line from Mirabella This time the yacht was pulled off the rocks and her stern successfully brought round to the wind. But this also had to be abandoned and the line cut when Ecstasea’s Bowthruster temporarily failed under the thermal overload of being continuously in use for an hour (well in excess of design parameters). The final attempt, Carl told me, was effected by letting go both anchors then slowly dropping back on the chains until a line could be passed to Mirabella. The line was brought to her stern and, using her own capstans, the sailing yacht managed to bring her stern up to the wind which was slackening by now. By 1930 it had dropped off extensively and the swell was fading. Carl feels Ecstasea could at this point have pulled Mirabella clear, however in discussion with her Master both agreed the risk was too great considering the unknown extent of damage to the lifting keel. The line remained connected until passed to the salvage tug later that night. Carl Carlsson is normally Master of M/Y Pelorus but was effusive in his praise of his current Ecstasea crew “they did great job, very calm under pressure”
During the afternoon the female crewmembers of Mirabella were brought ashore and representatives of the Underwriters and ISM managers V Yachts boarded to begin the salvage process. Around 2030 the Tug Travailleur of Antibes arrived offering salvage but was turned down as arrangements had already been made with the Merou a Touon based 59m Tug of 95 tonnes bollard pull operated by the French Marine Nationale. It seems odd to me that there was no maritime response to the distress call from French or Monegasque Authorities. There was none in fact until the next day when small coastguard and Police Municipale boats turned up mainly to keep way lollygaggers. I have been advised that a total of four suitable rescue tugs are in the ports of Nice and Monaco.
As the seas had calmed considerably further salvage work was postponed till dawn today 17 September. At that time divers inspected the damage and condition of the vessel. I spoke with Alan Armstrong of V Yachts it was his feeling that the underwriter was proceeding very cautiously and no further actions would occur today, he further confirmed that the use of lift bags was being considered. Clearly the easiest solution would be to raise the dagger board, it is clearly at least partially deployed as will be detailed later.
Whether the inability to raise the keel is caused by hydraulic failure or damage caused by the grounding is under investigation. The anchor is still down and divers marked it this afternoon with a buoy. Last night it could be seen that the anchor chain of the lower of the two bow mounted anchors (the one in use) had jumped the roller, crew corrected this today in the calm conditions. Whether this may have prevented raising the anchor when the winds increased is also not clear but may be considered a possibility.
I spoke with a snorkeller who had a look round the hull he told me one rudder was extensively damaged “bent right over” the propellers he said were ok but the keel was fast on rock and stone. Behind to the right and in front of the yacht was insufficient depth continuing “she would need to be pulled straight back or at an angle to the left or sideways. All of which would clearly risk further keel damage. Earlier reports of debris and oil seem unfounded; although composite debris could be see on the shore it appeared to be too high up the beach and the anti fouling of the wrong colour to be from Mirabella.
This afternoon the evacuated crew returned to the yacht, and despite the crisis normal daily work appeared to be continuing as deckhands could be seen rinsing down.
If necessary it seems likely that the yacht will be dry-docked in La Ciotat at Composite Works who already are doing work for others in the fleet. Rob Papworth of Composite Works told me that he has sent some people down to attempt to lift the keel which would allow the vessel to be floated off. Composite Works have the chocks on site to block Mirabella, but Rob told me “their real hope is that there proves in the end to be insufficient damage to require a haul out” He also confirmed that the keel is only partially deployed by about 1 meter giving the yacht a draft of 5m. Unfortunately, he went on, there are patches around her location of 4.7m and underwriters (understandably) do not want the vessel dragged out. The build Project Manager Paul Johnson is standing by in the event that repairs are required and Owner Joe Vittoria is reported to be on his way to the vessel. The current Captain Johnno Johnston recently took over command from the yacht’s first Captain. I will post more information on the salvage as it happens and we hope to do a case study on all aspects of the incident and any necessary repair in a future issue.

Tork Buckley
Technical Editor