Strong enough? Blood oaf!*

It struck me that I need not be worried about the overall strength of Blu Emu. As for most boats in rough conditions, the human breaks before the boat does – emotionally, mentally or physically. And I reckon she can prove that to me!

The particular concern I struggled with was over the windows, which aren’t double glazed or particularly extra-strong (at least we don’t know they are). Dashew’s amazing FPB has 19mm tempered glass! Kadey Krogen 42’s have been upgraded even more (“Diamond SeaGlaze dual pane“), and Nordhaven 72’s have half-inch tempered glass. While they’re not catamarans, they are all offshore capable motor vessels.

Windows are a critical part of the structure as they are typically much weaker than the rest of the boat, especially a boat made from 12mm aluminium sheet hulls! There are many examples of waves breaking through windows.


But then I realised that Blu Emu has gone through something that many other boats haven’t been subjected to – hurricane Irma. Irma was the first category 5 hurricane to strike the leeward islands on record.

leeward islands

Irma’s windspeed then was 185mph with gusts likely to 225mph. Barometer reading was 914 millibars. The eye went directly over St Martin.

Blu Emu was out of the water (“on the hard”) when the hurricane hit. She survived intact, with the damage being loss of two of eight solar panels, some bent stanchions, loss of the rear canopy and RIB, and damage to the radar. Structurally she was absolutely fine.

A navy helicopter flew over the island a day or two after the hurricane taking video of the carnage.

IMG_0402When we first looked at the boat for sale, we worried about how she had been effected by Irma, so we decided to have a look at quite how bad the hurricane was. The first video we saw was the helicopter video, and amazingly part way through the video was images of Blu Emu: centre bottom of this screenshot.


So while she was on the hard, not being pummelled against the beach or other boats or marina pilings, her superstructure bore the brunt of 185mph (300km/h), possibly 225mph (360 km/h!!) winds including rain and flying debris.

Not one window was broken.

I am convinced – in an extreme (and it’s hard to imagine more extreme than Irma!), either we will break together (ha!), or I will break before she does.

* “blood oaf” is Australian slang, shortened and slurred from “bloody oath”, meaning most certainly.

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