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  #41  
Old 08-08-2013
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

The Garmin BCM screen shows some of my recent tracks through that passage. I'm using a powerboat now -- one equipped some fine electronics that allow me to carefully poke around some places many wouldn't, as seen on the tracks -- but I've also sailed it hundreds of times. I agree with Tom about the ledge that was likely hit and I marked it in the app. I also agree that it's charted accurately. I haven't hit that one but I have put lead on others.

The before and after pictures of the Hylas suggest that there be something to the theory that there was a weak area due to the in-mast furling.
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70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...-lasalle_island_passage.jpg   70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...-archangel_furling_mast.jpg   70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...-archangel_dismast.jpg  
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  #42  
Old 08-08-2013
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

Thanks for those pics Ben.
The last 2 shots seem to clearly implicate the in-mast furling as a structural weak point. Just one more reason I'm glad to have an old school mast on our boat.
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Old 08-09-2013
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Ellison View Post
The Garmin BCM screen shows some of my recent tracks through that passage. I'm using a powerboat now -- one equipped some fine electronics that allow me to carefully poke around some places many wouldn't, as seen on the tracks -- but I've also sailed it hundreds of times. I agree with Tom about the ledge that was likely hit and I marked it in the app. I also agree that it's charted accurately. I haven't hit that one but I have put lead on others.

The before and after pictures of the Hylas suggest that there be something to the theory that there was a weak area due to the in-mast furling.
Welcome to Sailnet Ben!!! Good to talk to you last week and I promise I will try to call when off cruising Downeast next week.


Re; grounding

It's Maine and we have hundreds of sail boats hit solid granite each year. That said I have never seen one lose a spar over it.. Certainly odd...

Oh and when you hit solid granite, IT'S NOT SOFT, it is almost always a dead stop like hitting a brick wall... Even a 70 footer is not going to move Maine granite..

-RC
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Old 08-09-2013
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

Not to speculate, which would be upsetting to many here as well as a violation of Internet etiquette; but to point out an illusion that has almost gotten me in trouble in a couple of other places:

The green line is a typical safe route through this passage. The red line is the apparent accident course. The yellow passes through another low rock which is always visible.



Note the almost exactly equal spacing of the lines. You have either set a GPS course or been through here numerous times before so you know you are good on what is actually an easy passage. Weather and visibility are good so you are relaxed. You look south and see the rock right where it should be and, up just off the starboard bow is a little island, right where it shoul…..WHAM!

It would be so easy, up on the windward side of the boat and distracted by a couple of other things to not look down to leeward and see that Lasell Island was a lot farther away than it should be.

I will speculate that this accident has something in common with the tanker that hit the bridge in Portland about a decade ago while being piloted by the port’s top pilot on a clear calm day. In both cases, if it had been blowing 25 knots with 1/8 mile visibility, I suspect the vessels would have made it through just fine.

(Someone up the thread did suggest this scenario but I thought I would round it out a little.)

Last edited by Roger Long; 08-09-2013 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 08-09-2013
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

Having sailed with a growing family aboard for decades, I wonder about the crew/passenger dynamics aboard during an accident like this.

My first thought was the captain has one crew, the cook. They've just left Camden, likely stowing provisions, stowing lines and generally turning over what is a high scale floating B&B for 6 guests, into the cocktail-dinner hour. He may have the anchorage ahead in mind, dinghy to shore, all the while entertaining the 6 passengers who are no doubt in the cockpit on the beautiful afternoon. He's also the lone pilot.

On the other hand, I watched a large schooner sail into and onto their anchor in pulpit harbor the other night. They slid up between two anchored boats under full sail. Like a war scene, they crew snapped crackling jibs to the deck on the one lone command from the skipper.

All the while on that schooner, all the paying passengers were sitting stock still on the cabin between the captain at the helm and the crew forward. It looked like the "sit down and shut up" rule aboard was being enforced.

I would guess there are few rules with a high end charter. I imagine it could be very stressful for the captain.
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Old 08-09-2013
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

There's also a .55k cross current through there which could be part of the cause.
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
It could have been a factor, not a likely one, but the point about the e-charts is good. I have seen this layer disappearing phenom in more than one brand of chart: Garmin, Jeppesen, and NOAA ECSs. It's not something that often gets mentioned as a danger with e-charts. It seems that sometimes a programmer just forgets to keep objects in the picture from layer to layer. IMO, all dangerous rock notations should start appearing very early and remain to the largest scale.

C-Map (Jeppesen) shows that rock ("covers and uncovers") close and all the way out past 100,000 with no break in layers.
Actually, OVER-zooming can often present just as much of a danger to sailors relying on e-charts for navigating in close quarters, as well...

Nigel Calder, Ben Ellison, and John Harries are among the very few out there who have discussed these issues in depth... IMHO, the purveyors of electronic charting hardware, and software, do a VERY lax job in cautioning their end users about such potential dangers... The 'Plug & Play' mindset prevalent among many towards the use of these tools is scary...

The relevant chapters of Calder's HOW TO READ A NAUTICAL CHART really should be required reading for anyone using this stuff, it's by far the best overview that I've come across on this subject...
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Welcome to Sailnet Ben!!! Good to talk to you last week and I promise I will try to call when off cruising Downeast next week.


Re; grounding

It's Maine and we have hundreds of sail boats hit solid granite each year. That said I have never seen one lose a spar over it.. Certainly odd...

Oh and when you hit solid granite, IT'S NOT SOFT, it is almost always a dead stop like hitting a brick wall... Even a 70 footer is not going to move Maine granite..

-RC
The only thing that makes sense to me is that the grounding flexed the hull and pushed the keel-stepped mast up into the stays where it cracked. I can only imagine that even an inch of flex in the hull (is that plausible?) would put tremendous force on the mast.

Certainly the quick stop alone wouldn't bring down the mast - masts don't have that much mass to stop.
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomMaine View Post
Having sailed with a growing family aboard for decades, I wonder about the crew/passenger dynamics aboard during an accident like this.

My first thought was the captain has one crew, the cook. They've just left Camden, likely stowing provisions, stowing lines and generally turning over what is a high scale floating B&B for 6 guests, into the cocktail-dinner hour. He may have the anchorage ahead in mind, dinghy to shore, all the while entertaining the 6 passengers who are no doubt in the cockpit on the beautiful afternoon. He's also the lone pilot.

On the other hand, I watched a large schooner sail into and onto their anchor in pulpit harbor the other night. They slid up between two anchored boats under full sail. Like a war scene, they crew snapped crackling jibs to the deck on the one lone command from the skipper.

All the while on that schooner, all the paying passengers were sitting stock still on the cabin between the captain at the helm and the crew forward. It looked like the "sit down and shut up" rule aboard was being enforced.

I would guess there are few rules with a high end charter. I imagine it could be very stressful for the captain.
Good post, Tom... I imagine you're very close to getting at the heart of what really occurred here...

I'd bet anything that guy had a series of stored waypoints creating a safe route through that passage that he had run numerous times before. I can easily imagine something along the lines of the following occurring...

I'm generally not in favor of running such 'Routes', or using an autopilot in TRACK mode to the next waypoint. I feel it is inherently a 'lazy' means of piloting which can diminish situational awareness, and allows sailors to pay too little attention to what's actually happening... However, in an instance such as this, where the guy's attention also might have had to be on getting his guests settled in, made comfortable, and so on, it could have been the best way for him to go... No matter what the tidal stream was doing, being in TRACK mode would have maintained a safe course between the known hazards... In theory, of course, assuming everything operating correctly... :-)

Now, one downside of running in TRACK mode with some systems (not sure how it is with Simrad, it's been awhile since I've used a Simrad autopilot) is the awkwardness of dodging, say, a lobster pot... (I seem to recall you have a few of those up there, no?) Very often, the simplest thing is to go into STANDBY, steer around the obstruction, then re-set the pilot... Now, here is where it could have been SO easy for the guy to have had the sort of lapse I've had a million times, and made the sort of mistake I've likely made closer to 2 million times... He may have simply put the pilot back in AUTO mode, instead re-setting it to TRACK...

Now, if the tide had already begun to run out of Penobscot Bay, he was no longer 'guaranteed' to maintain a zero XTE to the next waypoint, and could have easily wandered sufficiently off course into danger... Again, with having his attention divided among his various duties, running a route he had done before, on such a perfect day, all it might have taken was that simple pressing of the wrong button, and a minute's inattention...

I'm not arguing that the above is what likely happened, but my gut tells me it was something very SIMILAR to that scenario... These sophisticated systems are fantastic, right up until the moment they're not... And, they can easily bite even the best and most prudent of mariners, at any time... (Next time I see you, I'll give you my own most costly example :-)) The first circumnavigation attempt by Jeanne Socrates, after all, came to a disastrous end on a Mexican beach a scant 75 miles from crossing her outbound track, when the batteries in her autopilot remote died, thus putting the pilot into STANDBY mode just at the time she was below catching a nap...

I really feel for the skipper of ARCHANGEL, hopefully he has an established relationship with the owner, and might not have to be seeking a new job in a different field as a result of this... He likely made the sort of mistake any of us could have made, one that I personally have had the good fortune to have gotten away with more than once, and that only served to make me a BETTER sailor afterwards, for having survived it, and learned yet another valuable lesson... No question about it, ARCHANGEL's skipper is a better sailor today, than he was a few days ago...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 08-09-2013 at 12:47 PM.
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Re: 70' Hylas grounded, dismasted in Penobscot Bay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Actually, OVER-zooming can often present just as much of a danger to sailors relying on e-charts for navigating in close quarters, as well...

Nigel Calder, Ben Ellison, and John Harries are among the very few out there who have discussed these issues in depth... IMHO, the purveyors of electronic charting hardware, and software, do a VERY lax job in cautioning their end users about such potential dangers... The 'Plug & Play' mindset prevalent among many towards the use of these tools is scary...

The relevant chapters of Calder's HOW TO READ A NAUTICAL CHART really should be required reading for anyone using this stuff, it's by far the best overview that I've come across on this subject...
I have Calder's Cruising Handbook. It's got to be one of the most useful books for recreational boaters ever written. It's one I keep right on the boat. Have not read his chart book yet. Will have to get a copy.

Here's an example I thought of a while ago: I was headed, as I remember from the platform off Frying Pan Shoals, middle of the night, zoomed out to small scale to go long distance. It's getting fairly rough as the wind is increasing, just reefed down, no moon up yet. Pitch black. I see what appears to be a buoy. Nothing on the plotter. I zoom in to the next layer and there are the markers for some kind of fish sanctuary zones. In the middle of the night you don't need this kind of surprise. Lesson learned.
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