Do We Need Watertight Bulkheads?

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Should our boats have watertight bullheads? It's a question that comes up often and the obvious answer is "yes". But not so fast:

My thinking is that, while I agree that a forward watertight bulkhead is a desirable feature in a voyaging boat, it is far from essential and that trying to incorporate multiple watertight bulkheads can cause more problems than it’s worth.

I’m going to write at some length (what else is new) on this subject because I think it represents an interesting exercise in risk evaluation, a process all of us who wish to sail offshore must become adept at, because if we treat all risks as equal, and try to guard against each of them equally, we will quite simply never leave the wharf.

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