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post #873 of Old 11-23-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

Again, speculation as to why the skipper of RULE 62 attempted to enter the North Bar Channel that night will likely forever be just that - pure speculation... My hypothesis is simply what I consider to be most likely, based upon the above described patterns of behavior I've observed over the years, and the extraordinary amount of trust ALL of us place in our ability to fix our positions today... I simply see a panicked, desperate captain, inexperienced in running inlets or cuts, who believed playing the video game on his chartplotter would lead him to safety... That's my hunch, nothing more...
You, however, have appeared to insist this could not possibly have been the case, and that this particular captain would have entered that cut in any event, whether he had such modern means of navigation at his disposal... I'll ask once again - how do you KNOW that, to state it with such assurance?
Jon- mine is pure speculation just like yours. Nothing more nothing less. I just place less responsibility on the chartplotter than you. The Captain of Rule 62 was not some rube dock socializer and had a fair amount of experience. He had plenty of time to think through his fateful decision. He was respoinsibile for his crew. He had many times to divert and heave to. It was recommended to him to do so by the race organizers in one oif his last radio check ins.

To put this in perspective every cruising guide published for the Bahamas says ' these cuts are impassable under 'rage' sea conditions.
Fault is the Captains...not the boat...not the was the Captains decision just like the Bounty.

Since you mention it, I would have to add what I often see as an undue amount of faith in the accuracy of modern forecasting/weather routing as another double-edged sword that SOMETIMES leads voyagers to take chances that a more prudent sailor would have been unlikely to do decades ago... Unquestionably, the greatly enhanced accuracy of modern forecasting, and the ease of access - both pre-departure, and while underway - that today's voyagers enjoy to weather information has made voyaging FAR safer today than in the past...
Totally agree about the two edge sword. But we arent going backwards here. Not using technology

My scenario presents the actions of an inexperienced, panicked captain, who made a VERY bad decision contrary to the most basic rules of seamanship... To accept your hypothesis, however, one needs to accept that he still would have entered that cut without the modern electronic tools available to him... That, armed only with a sketch chart clearly intended for daylight use only, in good light, and without knowing with any degree of real precision - off a dark, featureless coast bounded by reefs, absent any lit navigational aids whatsoever - either his own position, or the location of that cut... That he would have proceeded, in rage conditions, through such a passage anyway?

Hell, Dave - I'm only suggesting that the guy made an extremely poor decision based upon an inordinate amount of faith in modern technology... What you're suggesting, is akin to a belief that the guy must have been clinically INSANE... (grin)
He was not thinking clearly all along. The last part of the act at night just piled on all the wrong decisions al along. He would have attempted this during daylight also proabably IMHO. He was driven to get releif ashore.

Thats where the learning comes in on this, not to throw away the chartplotter thats like saying if he didnt have an engine he wouldnt have attempted this. The learning is the demands placed by a tired sick crew on the captain and his inexperience or inability to deal with it in the safe way.

I'm sorry that you consider my opinions to be "unsubstantiated", as they are simply the results of what I have observed over a period of over 3 decades as a delivery skipper, and roughly 2 decades of cruising aboard my own boat... Be that as it may, I can assure you I am not alone in sharing some of these opinions
I value you opinions...just dont agree with them in this particular case. You experience is vast and speaks for itself

30 years ago, that guy would not have been there, to begin with... Modern cruising rallies only came into existence after the advent of GPS, after all. It's hard to me to imagine that a skipper who obviously never mastered the simple art of heaving-to, would have mastered the far more complex art of celestial navigation which would have been required to have gotten him there to begin with
We cant live in the past. I doubt whether the celes nav I learned 30 years ago would do me much good now as I dont practice it often. Sailors back then with celestial nav were still wrecking their boats on the coast of North carloina. The answer isnt to go back to the old days here. We cant. The answer is to understand the limitations of your experience and how it realtes to the increased information we have now. I dont think my chartplotter gives me an increased sense of infalliabilty or causes me to take more risks, because I depend on it. Thats where I differ from your thinking.

I will bet we run our vessels similarly when offshore. I will bet you dont turn off the chartplotters on the deliveries you do. I will bet you dont chart your course through celestrail navigation 100% of the time. Ill bet you use charts, use the plotter, record your position and rely on your experience. Ill bet you watch the GRIB files anddont think they are more than 60% accurate. Ill bet you have confidence in your past experience to get you through the unknown conditions as well when they are thrown at you. Ill bet that has taught you to be cautious at all costs, because the pentalty for life. I will also bet you like I have made mistake, but we recovered from thats how we learn. I will also bet we wouldnt have decided to do what either the Bounty or Rule62 Capatins did. We would have hove to. We would have not come in at night. We would not have approached a shore during conditions like were preesent day or night.

Its important to know how much experience you have and when you are also overwhelmed by conditions and know you limitations personally, the limits of the boat, and the limits of the crew. This Captain got his false sens eof security not from the chartplotter IMHO, but from over stating his own qualifications to himself. There is also a false sense of security that they are traveling in a Rally. f course he didnt listen to the more experienced ally organizers and went off on his own.

Jon, I value your opinions greatly. They are based on your experiences, just like mine. I enjoy reading them. Much of the time they are congruent. When they are not it doesnt make either of us less than. Just two farts with differing opinions sharing them openly. Others can read and form their opinions from their own experiences or lack of them. Thats why I post mine, to help others as well as have others critiuqe mine so I can learn from them to become a better sailor myself. The better I can become the better decisions I will hopefully make. Like you there are times when I am responsible for others, especially offshore and the best decision will always be the best thought out with as much information input as possible for me.


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Last edited by chef2sail; 11-23-2012 at 11:30 AM.
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