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  #101  
Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

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Originally Posted by sailguy40 View Post
I don't get it. Why go out in the ocean when a tropical storm has been reported? Stay safe and just postpone the delivery!
The story says they departed the BVIs on the 27th, long before the formation of Andrea was being "reported"... However, there was a trough that had formed at that time just east of the Bahamas, which certainly should have been a major cause for concern for any boat headed north from the Virgins around that time...

I left Trinidad with an H-R 43 on the 27th as well, and for that reason elected to head for the Mona Passage, and then up 'inside' below the Silver Bank and Turks and Caicos, the Mayaguana Passage and Exuma Sound to the NE-NW Providence Channel... We had a wonderful passage and very quick trip, and although we had to motor through over 200 miles of dead calm near the end, we arrived in Ft Pierce a mere 8 days after departing Chaguaramas, 36 hours in advance of Andrea's passage over the Florida peninsula... Then, another very quick passage in Andrea's wake, Ft Pierce to Annapolis in 4 days, 2 hours... That H-R is a true offshore thoroughbred for sure, just a wonderful boat...

It would be interesting to know more about the route they chose, but based upon the WX info that was available on the 27 May, leaving the Virgins straight for Hatteras/Beaufort would have been a serious roll of the dice, indeed... Even though that trough E of the Bahamas turned out to be no big deal, it really would have flown in the face of the advice of a guy like Chris Parker, to name just one...

Chris' forecasting was spot-on during this time frame, he was inclined to go with the initial Euro models for the development of Andrea (which, once again, proved to be more accurate in my opinion than our own) He even very accurately forecast the squally, very gusty conditions we found Monday night off Hatteras and through Tuesday AM up to around Currituck Beach, even before we has left Florida.... Most impressive, in my book - that guy is very good at what he does...


Last edited by JonEisberg; 06-13-2013 at 01:03 AM.
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  #102  
Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

Finally, the voice of experienced reason. Welcome back, Jon, I was waiting for your point of view and your example as a competent delivery skipper.

Do you have an opinion of whether a delivery captain should call for a rescue by the Coast Guard when conditions are merely scary, uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, but no one is seriously injured and the boat is not sinking?

What would you do if you experienced an engine failure two days out on an extended delivery? What about a loss of electrical power?

How can a delivery captain take to sea without any flashlights? Do some owners remove all easily stealable items?

How can a delivery captain find himself in a position where all the sails are shredded and there are no storm sails or back up sails?

Finally, how do you handle crew who have lost their nerve and want only to be taken off the boat because they are scared and you can't let them get anywhere near an EPIRB, PLB or Satphone or they will call for rescue because their emotions have taken over?

Last edited by jameswilson29; 06-13-2013 at 06:23 AM.
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  #103  
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

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Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Do you have an opinion of whether a delivery captain should call for a rescue by the Coast Guard when conditions are merely scary, uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, but no one is seriously injured and the boat is not sinking?
First, it seems a mistake to consider this guy a "delivery captain"... This report indicates he was simply a guy picking up "his new boat", and bringing it back from the BVI's...

As always, it's difficult to know exactly what they were dealing with at the time... My gut tells me they simply got to the point where so many people do, and simply wanted to Get The Hell Off the Damn Boat... Like the guys on the IP abandoned off Hatteras a couple of months ago, they just shouldn't have been there to begin with... But the guy's confidence that the boat will be salvaged speaks volumes to me, about how naively he might have approached this voyage from the get-go...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
What would you do if you experienced an engine failure two days out on an extended delivery? What about a loss of electrical power?
Again, difficult to say without knowing more about the boat, alternative sources of power generation, size and condition of battery banks, how power-hungry her systems were, etc... But I have a hard time picturing wanting to continue on such an passage without the means to keep the batteries up... But, in general, the loss of an engine's capability to recharge the ship's power is so often the first in a series of cascading failures that leads to these sorts of debacles, I'd be inclined to address that issue before getting too far into the trip, divert to PR perhaps to get it resolved... Again, so many unknowns and potential variables, who knows what their real problems were? My gut instinct tells me this guy might have gotten a 'deal' on a boat that had perhaps been sitting/neglected in the islands for some time, which is always a potential recipe for such problems... With the likely lack of any proper shakedown cruise prior to departure, it would seem a better argument for a return back thru the Bahamas rather than a straight shot offshore, to me... But again, just my hunch, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if they weren't carrying paper charts for the Bahamas, in which case such a bailout plan after the electrons aboard have stopped flowing would be a decidedly less attractive option... If they couldn't power their running and compass lights, for example, they certainly weren't able to run a plotter... In which case, venturing into the potentially safer confines of the Bahamas without paper charts aboard could easily have turned disastrous...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
How can a delivery captain take to sea without any flashlights? Do some owners remove all easily stealable items?

How can a delivery captain find himself in a position where all the sails are shredded and there are no storm sails or back up sails?
Who knows? All signs point to simple inexperience, to me, and the likelihood that the term 'delivery captain' is an obvious misnomer, in this case...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Finally, how do you handle crew who have lost their nerve and want only to be taken off the boat because they are scared and you can't let them get anywhere near an EPIRB, PLB or Satphone or they will call for rescue because their emotions have taken over?
Sorry, can't help you out with that one... Why do you think I prefer to sail singlehanded as much as I do? (grin) Your crew is such a hugely important component in sailing offshore, I can't imagine contemplating a bluewater passage with anyone aboard in whom I did not already have the utmost in confidence that they'd be able to deal with the potential rigors of such a trip...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 06-13-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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  #104  
Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Sorry, can't help you out with that one... Why do you think I prefer to sail singlehanded as much as I do? (grin) Your crew is such a hugely important component in sailing offshore, I can't imagine contemplating a bluewater passage with anyone aboard in whom I did not already have the utmost in confidence that they'd be able to deal with the potential rigors of such a trip...
Indeed. It's a real conundrum, deciding to take anyone. It obviously increases your ability to remain rested and alert but it also presents a whole array of other potential difficulties. Whenever I think it would be nice to have someone to talk to, I always think about whether doing it alone is actually a wiser alternative and the answer is almost always yes. Even for short hops, sailing can be a uniquely intense and sometimes frightening experience, requiring a fairly substantial base of knowledge and experience for anyone aboard.
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Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

As John indicated reiterating posted originally many posts ago, anyone can call themselves a delivery captain, but that doesn't make it so.

Again, if they found themselves overmatched for conditions and felt they couldn't handle them, thus felt the need to abandon ship, that was reason enough to get removed. Imagine the scenario if they felt that, wanted to be removed, the ship had no power and no life raft and the Captain said no way. Then the ship got. Rolled and sank with the captain and one crew surviving, two dead. James you would vilify the captain for not leaving or allowing a rescue. You would go on and on about his decision. This is a catch 22 scenario with you, who like most lawyers would be able to argue either side.

In this case they did the right thing and the captain used his best judgement as only he was there to acess the situation at the time. We weren't.

This of course does not address the overriding issue of him placing himself POSSBLY in danger unnecessarily. But again you cannot plan for everything.

He did what was prudent to make sure his crew was safe. For that I fing no fault with his decision to protect their lives first and not worry about the boat.
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  #106  
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
As John indicated reiterating posted originally many posts ago, anyone can call themselves a delivery captain, but that doesn't make it so.

Again, if they found themselves overmatched for conditions and felt they couldn't handle them, thus felt the need to abandon ship, that was reason enough to get removed. Imagine the scenario if they felt that, wanted to be removed, the ship had no power and no life raft and the Captain said no way. Then the ship got. Rolled and sank with the captain and one crew surviving, two dead. James you would vilify the captain for not leaving or allowing a rescue. You would go on and on about his decision. This is a catch 22 scenario with you, who like most lawyers would be able to argue either side.

In this case they did the right thing and the captain used his best judgement as only he was there to acess the situation at the time. We weren't.

This of course does not address the overriding issue of him placing himself POSSBLY in danger unnecessarily. But again you cannot plan for everything.

He did what was prudent to make sure his crew was safe. For that I fing no fault with his decision to protect their lives first and not worry about the boat.
I think that may be a bit unfair to James' position, and if I understand him correctly, I'm inclined to side with him on this one... Re-reading my original post, I'm struck by how 'charitable' my reaction to this incident actually was (grin)...

I think all sailors should be troubled by what seems to be - in my opinion, at least - the ever-increasing tendency among many people venturing offshore these days to view the CG or ships participating in the AMVER program in the same way many automobile drivers view a roadside assistance service such as the AAA or OnStar... Again, tough to tell from such a sketchy mass media report, but there was no mention whatsoever of any critical failure to the vessel beyond the non-functioning engine, and loss of electrical power... The rig was still in the boat, the rudder apparently functional, no indication they were taking on water, and so on...

A real threat to life does not seem be apparent, they were simply suffering DISCOMFORT in the face of a rapidly moving tropical storm. The captain's confidence the boat would be salvaged would seem to betray the fact he had little doubt it would ride out the storm in fine fashion unattended... They were simply TIRED of being out there, and wanted off the damn boat, period....

I'm afraid we will all pay a future price - whether it be in terms of regulation, insurance, whatever - if the CG or other rescue services continue to be called to save sailors merely from further or prolonged 'unpleasantness', and not necessarily from life-threatening situations, at the rate this stuff seems to be happening nowadays...
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Old 06-13-2013
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Talking Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

[
Quote:
quote=JonEisberg;1043616]I think that may be a bit unfair to James' position, and if I understand him correctly, I'm inclined to side with him on this one... Re-reading my original post, I'm struck by how 'charitable' my reaction to this incident actually was (grin)...

I think all sailors should be troubled by what seems to be - in my opinion, at least - the ever-increasing tendency among many people venturing offshore these days to view the CG or ships participating in the AMVER program in the same way many automobile drivers view a roadside assistance service such as the AAA or OnStar... Again, tough to tell from such a sketchy mass media report, but there was no mention whatsoever of any critical failure to the vessel beyond the non-functioning engine, and loss of electrical power... The rig was still in the boat, the rudder apparently functional, no indication they were taking on water, and so on...
A
My opinion is still that if some one feels endangered enough to call the CG it is only they who can realistically ascertain the weather and sea the conditions, state of the of the vessel, condition of the crew etc. people sitting at home commenting may have opinions, especially after the fact, but your are there. You have the RIGHT to call any means necessary to get you and your crew out of danger.

I applaud the Captain for calling the CG.

Anyone reading this should keep in mind if you are in charge of the crew that you are responsible for their safety and will be held so legally. Had the crew been injured, these same posters would have taken the opposite side

Quote:
I'm afraid we will all pay a future price - whether it be in terms of regulation, insurance[/whatever - if the CG or other rescue services continue to be called to f life-threatening situations, at the rate this stuff seems to be happening nowadays...
I doubt this highly. It's an alarmist statement. There actually has been less calls SAR incidents progressively over the last years and even if they increased, what kind of regulation would take place. This is a red herring.

I also add to this the CG willingness and judgement to remove the vessels occupants seems to indicate that the professionals on the scene must have accessed the situation as there being danger to the crew too.

I trust their judgement.
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

This brings up an interesting question and one that would seem fairly important to this conversation. Just what are the statistics regarding rescues? Have they increased since the advent of sat phones and EPIRBs? Or have they remained steady and the news media is just picking up on more stories? Not to sound like someone blaming the media again but I sometimes wonder in this day of instant communications are we just hearing about more of these or are there really more? The media does love a good rescue of any kind after all. Nothing better than a baby in a well but they will work with what they have and a good sea rescue is worth the print.
Would love to see some stats from the coasties.
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

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Originally Posted by sailvayu View Post
Would love to see some stats from the coasties.
Indeed... My feeling parallels Jon's.. it seems with the ease of access to plotters, easy positioning, cell phone coverage, and the general population's seemingly better access to recreational moneys, and a generally increased sense of 'entitlement' that there are a lot of barely-if-at-all qualified/competent boaters out there. People buying into 40 footers as 'first boats', greater availability of bareboat charters everywhere, etc it seems if the money's there you can just go "do it"..

So from our own observations over recent years I'd tend to go along with the mindset that for many it's just 'too easy' to go out there.. hey, if things don't work out there's an easy out...

Not to paint with too wide a brush.. I know there are many that do their due diligence, take the courses, decide that 40 feet is what they want/need and it's all just fine - those aren't the types under discussion here.

It appears we have a poorly prepared boat, with a less than ready crew (including the 'skipper'?) and it's a shame the boat's been left to her own devices.

But I've seen firsthand inexperienced people on boats in barely moderate conditions; in absolutely no danger whatsoever, yet panicked enough to want to call the coasties or anyone who will 'get them off the damned boat', as Jon has already said.

Confronted with that scenario, what is one to do?? If the skipper hasn't the confidence or natural authority to deal with that, it's a tough call. I expect all in this incident were immensely grateful for the rescue. Should the boat be recovered intact, it would be clear that from a strictly safety point of view it may not have been a necessary rescue..

So Chef has a point too, confronted with a boatload of scared, sick, verging on panic crew, what else could he do?

All the same, these are feeling and intuitions, it would be nice to see if the recent trend in stats backs that up...
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  #110  
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Re: Coast Guard rescues 4 "sailors" off Charleston...

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
[
My opinion is still that if some one feels endangered enough to call the CG it is only they who can realistically ascertain the weather and sea the conditions, state of the of the vessel, condition of the crew etc. people sitting at home commenting may have opinions, especially after the fact, but your are there. You have the RIGHT to call any means necessary to get you and your crew out of danger.

I applaud the Captain for calling the CG.
Well, you're quicker to applaud his actions than I am, in that case... Of course, none of us were there, thus able to make a fair determination whether his decision is worthy of applause, or not... But, given the absence of known damage to the boat that would have imperiled her ability to survive the weather, I'm still inclined to think that he likely placed his crew at far greater risk by calling for an evacuation, than if they had simply stayed with the boat... Unfortunately, the Coasties are SO skilled at what they do, and make it look FAR too easy... It's all too easy to forget what a perilous operation such a rescue at sea can be...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
I doubt this highly. It's an alarmist statement. There actually has been less calls SAR incidents progressively over the last years and even if they increased, what kind of regulation would take place. This is a red herring.

I also add to this the CG willingness and judgement to remove the vessels occupants seems to indicate that the professionals on the scene must have accessed the situation as there being danger to the crew too.

I trust their judgement.
I remain unconvinced by the SAR stats that have been bandied about in these discussions, to me they seem so un-specific as to be essentially worthless in making any real determination as to whether abandonments are now being made more casually than they have been in the past... But, in my opinion, they most definitely are, and the ease with which a rescue can be summoned compared to 20 or more years ago is IMHO a big part of today's mindset...

I know I'm not alone in holding this view, I know more than a couple of people long associated with a publication like CRUISING WORLD share the opinion that there has been a real sea change in the attitudes of many going offshore today... The rally phenomenon has certainly played a part in this, to a certain extent, and many now seem content to surrender a portion of their own responsibility towards others... And, the blame game is now being played where I can't ever recall it being done so before, finger-pointing at weather routers, and so on... The very unseemly criticism of Herb Hilgenberg after the NARC Rally a couple of years ago is a perfect example of the different mindset out there today - that sort of finger pointing by sailors unwilling to fully accept the consequences of their own actions, or lack of experience and preparation, would have been unheard of a generation ago...

Just my opinion, of course...
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