This paper describes the creation of the Open Class 60 (BOC 60) racing yacht "Imagine". She was conceived to win the 1994 BOC singlehanded round the world race, an ambitious goal since the French sailors have dominated the race since its inception. This paper will examine the design of this complex racing machine, and the management of the project. The project produced a boat that was capable of attaining the goal of winning, but when the project management office failed to adhere to the project plan, the project unravelled and collapsed.
In a squall at sea, at night, off Cape May, New Jersey, "Imagine's" boom failed, the main sail was dropped, and in the resultant short steep seas, "Imagine" slammed badly, dishing plating at both ends of the vessel, causing two forward frames to trip, and resulting in other structural damage to forward deck longitudinals and in the cockpit. "Imagine's" hull remained watertight, and she returned to Norfolk under short sail. Upon arrival she was inspected, and the necessary repair steps were outlined. These were discussed the following day with the project office and the ABS inspector. Within days drawings were provided to the project office for repair and to ABS for review. At that point matters stalled, no repair was started and within two week-; the project office announced their intent to abandon the project.
The project plan will be reviewed, the basis for the design will be discussed, the incident at sea which precipitated the project's disbanding will be examined, and an analysis of the resultant damage given. Lessons learned from the project will be discussed.
The actual design of the boat was interesting and rewarding, but it was a small part of the goal of the project. The goal was not attained, and when the BOC race started from Charleston in September 94, "Imagine" remained at the dock, her outfit and development incomplete. This paper will attempt to evaluate the reasons why. Two central themes repeat: lack of funds; and lack of sea trials.
In our opinion it was this lack of funds, that led the project office to eliminate carefully planned steps in "Imagine's" development, specifically the sea trials. This also lead them to attempt an offshore voyage from Norfolk, Virginia to Newport, Rhode Island in November 1993, prior to sea trials, with a known defective boom, and a jury rigged boom vang.