Oyster 825 - Major Keel Failure / Polina Star 111

What really happened to Polina Star 111   ?

The below is reproduced with the kind permission of Charles J Doane of Wavetrain

The genesis of this story was an incident that occurred back in July 2015 in which Polina Star III, an Oyster 825, which reportedly had been extended to 90 feet and was just over a year old, was lost off the coast of Spain. The very first report came from Oyster, but contained no details, stating only that the boat “suffered a serious incident which compromised the integrity of the moulded hull.” A follow-up report by Yachting World, published in August, added little more, noting only that Oyster believed the boat may have run aground and there were rumors it had capsized before foundering.

Oyster 825 Polina Star 111 Under sail prior to sinking     Oyster 625 Wreck in the slings

Oyster 825 Polina Star 111 Under Sail                   Polina Star in slings following salvage

In the last few days the Italian skipper of the boat has been sharing his account of the event, and photos of the wreck, which was recovered and has been closely examined, have also been circulating online. Though the exact causes are unclear, it is perfectly clear that there was no grounding and that the boat suffered from major hull delamination that led to its keel suddenly falling off.

The photographs of the damage, which have been published by a pair of German and Russian sailing publications, are staggering:

Oyster 825 Outer Laminate torn away     Oyster 825 Hull laminate torn away showing exposed wiring

Laminate torn away                                                       Exposed wiring / services 

Oyster 825 Root of keel stub    Oyster 825 Intact keel bolts

Root of stub keel                                                              Intact keel bolts

The skipper, Alessio Cannoni, who has straightforwardly identified himself as “Alessiocannoni” in a Cruisers Forum discussion of the event, described the incident as follows:

FACT 1: (why I know what I know)

The owner built the boat with the target to sail around the world, then he asked to me to follow the commissioning, to prepare the boat for this long trip and to choose and to organize the crew. I arrived in the shipyard in the April 2014, and I stayed there every day up to the launch of the boat in July, then I have sailed on her as captain about 10.000 miles: Southampton- Norway and back, Southampton-Las Palmas, ARC rally, cruises in Caribe, Antigua-Alicante (we never arrived).

FACT 2: (the crew)

The boat had two permanent crew member, to be able to manage this aspect I have organized a turn-over of 5 people:
Alessio Cannoni
Dafne Mele
Giulia Visintin
Monica Rosini
Riccardo Salimbeni

during last trip the professional crew was: me and Dafne.

FACT 3 (the boat design)

the boat was not extended, she was designed and built by Oyster exactly as you can see in the pictures.

FACT 4: (the meteo)

we sunk in a sunny day we were reaching in 18 kn of TW with about 1.3 m of wave, sailing with staysail and 80% main sail.


3 JULY 2015 TIME 14:07′
strong noise with vibration from the hull
big flooding in the engine room
water over the service batteries; all systems KO
I bear away, the crew prepare emergency bilge pump, life rafts, grab bags, furl manually the stay sail, send the may-day by standard-C and by VHF
the keel disconnected completely and the boat capsized, in that moment I was standing up in front of the chart table (deck-house) sending the may-day, the water was already cooling down my balls.
a fishing boat “fished”us after a couple of hours.

Oyster 825 Recovery of keel - Part attached to stub keel      Oyster 825 Broader view of damaged keel section

Keel still attached to stub keel                                      Broader view of keel


we made a video from the life raft, it show the two rudders pointing the sky perfectly intact, a big hole in to the hull; the relic float upside down all night long, the following morning we found the boat still floating about 15 miles from the capsizing point, one missing rudder, the other one partially broken.


the CEO of Oyster knows exactly this story, he sent two people on site the following day, I told them every single detail of the accident and I gave to them all the pictures and movies that I had and that I still have.

The relic of the boat and the keel was rescued in October. This operation was a month-long, I participated to this operation and I participated also to the survey performed by all the insurance company’s surveyors. We are waiting for the response.

Oyster 825 Major Keel Failure  Polina Star 111

Author’s Background – Who is Charlie J Doane ?

Charlie has worked as a boating journalist since 1986, including stints on staff at SAIL, Cruising World, and Offshore.  Currently he is cruising editor for SAIL.  His freelance work has appeared in Ocean Navigator, Blue Water Sailing, the New York Times, Sailing, Yachting Monthly, Yachting World, Good Old Boat, and other seemingly reputable publications.

Link – http://wavetrain.net/news-a-views/705-another-major-keel-failure-what-really-happened-to-polina-star-iii

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