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Old 04-28-2006
HenkMeuzelaar
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Statistical Risks of Offshore Cruising

Many offshore sailors would probably be interested in having answers to the questions you are asking even though not everyone may be willing to admit so. Nonetheless, most of us understand at an intuitive level that this question cannot be meaningful without specifying the type of vessel (heavy or light displacement, vessel length and beam, sailplan, mono- or multihull, keel type, etc.), the type of crew (experience, condition, size, strength, group dynamics, etc.), the type of weather (visibility, wind strength, gustiness, wind shear, temperature, precipitation, lightning activity etc.) the type of ocean environment (depths, currents, wave action, searoom). Also, we need to specify and define the types of risk we want to measure, e.g. heavy vessel damage, loss of vessel, serious injury, loss of life, collateral damage, etc.

The intersection of all these variables can be thought to produce hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes (or rather multidimensional hyperspheres) within each of which there might conceivably exist sufficient homogeneity to conduct a statistically meaningful risk evaluation that could have a definite level of predictive value for anyone finding him- or herself in that particular box at a given point in time.

When dealing with highly complex statistical environments such as this it is best to try and reduce the complexity by eliminating as many of the factors as possible. Since this is a common predicament in human behavioral studies the wellknown use of twins provides an example of this reduction technique. In ocean sailing there is only a single group of one-design sailing vessels and crews, more or less sailing the same routes, that might produce enough statistical data to allow a formal risk study within their subset of "boxes" in hyperspace, namely Chay Blyth's Global Challenge fleet.

If you want to write anyone, he would be the logical person to ask. Whatever Jimmy Cornell says (with all due respect) is just one man's anecdotal opinion. In June 2000 we successfully sailed our Hunter Legend 43 Rivendel II directly from Cairns (Queensland, Australia) to Vanuatu against the prevailing trades, even though it was a La Nina year. Jimmy's sailing guide says "don't even consider this".......

Have fun

Flying Dutchman

Last edited by HenkMeuzelaar; 04-28-2006 at 11:06 PM. Reason: typos
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