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Sailing has never been touted as safe. The risks from inclement weather, ocean animals, and underwater hazards are high. One yacht builder claims to have created the safest boat in the world. Is the Kraken50 unsinkable?

The Kraken50 sailing yacht on open water
Kraken50 |Kraken

The design that sets Kraken yachts apart

Kraken founder Dick Beaumont’s own retirement inspired him to create the zero keel yacht. He struggled to find a craft suitable for open-ocean sailing with his friends and family. Safety was the boatmaker’s top concern. The market, as he saw it, was saturated in bolt-on keels and unprotected blade rudders. The Kraken50 is designed to outperform these typical designs.

The prominent difference between Kraken yachts and any other boat in the world is their zero keel design. The keel utilizes zero bolts, and there is zero chance of it falling off of the hull. Some argue that Kraken is simply making an integrated keel, a design that has been around for ages.

Zero keel differs from an integrated keel in that it offers the safety of one-piece construction with the benefit of a bulb ballast. Typical integral keels house their ballast higher, in the “belly” of the boat. The Kraken zero keel utilizes an extended bulb shape to put the ballast further away and provide more stability.

Bolt-on and integrated keels can’t compete

The Kraken50 sailing yacht approaching shore
Kraken50 sailing into shore | Kraken

72 yachts have lost their keels Since 1984, according to the International Institute of Marine Surveying. This is the most catastrophic type of deepwater accident as help can not arrive in time. After a yacht has lost its keel, it has only seconds before the entire craft inverts in the water. Accidents like this have claimed the lives of at least 28 sailors in the last 35 years.

A boat’s keel contains a ballast weight which helps keep the ship upright. Integrated keel designs combine the keel and hull of the ship into one piece. This means the keel can not fall off, and the ballast will always remain attached to the ship. This is what gives integrated keels a reputation for safety.

Bolt-on keels are very common. There is nothing inherently unsafe about the design of these boats. When used for casual sailing, there’s little risk of keel loss while far from help. Proper maintenance and careful attention to the health of keel bolts can also increase the safety of a bolt-on keel.

There’s a fair reason more boats aren’t made like the Kraken50

The Kraken50 sailing yacht sailing near shore
Kraken50 sailing with crew | Kraken

If the Kraken zero hull design is the safest in the world, why don’t more boat makers follow suit? The answer is simple. The zero keel design perfected by Kraken is too costly and time-consuming for production boats. Traditional bolt-on keels aren’t as safe. Integrated hulls are an improvement but fall short of what the zero keel delivers.

All three keel styles have merit and purpose. Many yacht owners leave their boats at marinas. They serve as moored recreation spaces. Even casual sailing close to shore is low enough risk for any keel. More adventurous sailers should consider an integrated keel. Long-distance trips increase the risk.

The Kraken50 is unattainable by the average sailor. This bespoke luxury boat may be the safest on the water, but it’s overkill for most uses. Only sailors intending to undertake deepwater cruises frequently need the utmost level of safety. When traveling long distances with a crew and family, safety is priceless. Kraken can take the extra time and expense necessary for these purpose-built vessels.


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