Yacht de­signer among three dead af­ter keel fail­ure in North Sea

Yachting World - - Front Page -

Dutch yacht de­signer Frans Maas and two crew died in June when the yacht Capella lost her keel and cap­sized off Os­tend. Capella was com­pet­ing in the Genisol Light Ves­sel Race on 1 July when the keel de­tached and the yacht cap­sized off Os­tend.

Three of the six crew mem­bers on board, in­clud­ing Maas’s grand­son, climbed onto the up­turned hull of Capella and were res­cued by a dredger. They were later taken to hos­pi­tal suf­fer­ing from hy­pother­mia af­ter around six hours in the wa­ter.

Frans Maas (79) and Freddy Franssens (71), both from Breskens, died dur­ing the in­ci­dent and were found by res­cue ser­vices. A sixth mem­ber of crew, Hannes Goege­beur (18), was lost, and his body was found two weeks later.

The 100-mile Light Ves­sel Race set off from Zee­brugge. Con­di­tions at the time were re­ported to be 22-27 knot winds, gust­ing 32, with waves of up to two me­tres. Lo­cal me­dia re­ported that the Mar­itime and Res­cue Co­or­di­na­tion Cen­tre in Bel­gium had re­ceived no dis­tress call from the yacht.

Frans Maas was a well-known Dutch yacht de­signer, builder and ocean racer whose de­signs achieved much suc­cess off­shore, in­clud­ing an early Ton­nerre de Breskens for pro­lific owner Piet Vroon. He had a rep­u­ta­tion for build­ing re­silient yachts de­signed to con­tend with the de­mands of rac­ing on the North Sea and events such as the Fast­net Race.

Freddy Franssens was a se­nior rig­ger who had worked for Hall Spars for 36 years. His projects had in­cluded the rig for the Volvo 70 Pi­rates of the Caribbean.

Top: de­signer Frans Maas died af­ter the cap­size. Above: the yacht Capella was found with­out her keel

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