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  #661  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
My point has always been that with the newer sailors allowed in via low experience requirements, NOT having some kind of substantive safety back up definitely elevates their overall risk...one of the big reasons being the false perception of safety in numbers. Hank certainly seems to agree with that now since he's directing these folks to the C1500.

The difference is, with no real safety standards in place, all the SDR can count on is luck. I've never seen that as good seamanship.
Well, if you really want to fix it, then you are totally barking up the wrong tree. If you want it fixed, go after the insurance companies.

It baffles me that people are heading to the carrib in winter, from the north, by going out to bermuda and hanging a right. All this just to avoid the dreaded Hurricane Box. I suspect the insurance companies are forcing them to do this.

Instead, I would argue it would be in the insurance companies best interests to outline certain marinas and areas that are acceptable for them to get to during hurricane season. All marinas are not made the same. For instance, many of the new marinas are made of floating concrete docks with heavily reinforced cleats and tall pilings that are set to withstand a Cat III. There are two of them in FMB right now! SO why not quit screwing around with that ridiculous hurricane box and for a small rider allow your boats to go to marinas which you have certified as low risk during hurricane season. That way, they are already well south and prepared for a short run to the islands via the Bahamas and Turks?

TO make my point, can you imagine how many boats would have been lost if the SD or 1500 had been held in Georgetown or the Turks?? Pfft. Zero I bet, and it would have been a hell of a lot more fun of a trip.

My opinions.

Brian
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  #662  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
My point has always been that with the newer sailors allowed in via low experience requirements...
yeah, keep on repeating that nonsense, perhaps someday you'll get someone else to believe it... :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
The difference is, with no real safety standards in place, all the SDR can count on is luck. I've never seen that as good seamanship.
WRONG, yet again... :-)

If you were organizing an offshore rally to the Islands, what sort of crowd would you prefer have sailing in it?

Those that are willing to assume TOTAL AND COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY for the preparation of their boat and crew, and make their own decisions regarding the point and time of departure and route?

Or, those willing to pay a substantial fee to sit in a marina, rely on a cursory safety check to spot shortcomings in their preparation, and wait until some Rally Guru gives them the green light, and tells them when it's OK to leave?

Dave has it EXACTLY right:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
The safety standards of the NARC and SDR are the best there are: experience on the part of the crews. Experienced owners, skippers, and crew will make educated decisions about what is appropriate for them and their boats before heading offshore.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
TO make my point, can you imagine how many boats would have been lost if the SD or 1500 had been held in Georgetown or the Turks?? Pfft. Zero I bet, and it would have been a hell of a lot more fun of a trip.

My opinions.

Brian
Hmmm, not so sure about that one...

Remember, the most recent loss of a boat, and a life, during the 1500, occurred on approach to the Abacos...

Are you suggesting a rally begin in a place like Georgetown? The logistics of that would be ridiculously complex, for starters... That route entails far more time, no less risk, and can be often be a much tougher sail dead upwind, than the offshore route down with generally better sailing angles from Hatteras...

Hope you're not thinking of starting such a rally, I don't think there would be much profit in that one... :-)
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  #664  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
It baffles me that people are heading to the carrib in winter, from the north, by going out to bermuda and hanging a right. All this just to avoid the dreaded Hurricane Box. I suspect the insurance companies are forcing them to do this.
I'm more than happy to blame a lot of silly things on insurance companies but I don't think this is one. The issue is getting far enough East fast enough so that when getting far enough South for the trades to kick in you don't have to get any further to windward.

I call it aiming for Bermuda and missing. *grin*

From the mouth of the Chesapeake sail as close to 135 true as possible to 65W, then turn right and head South. Nothing to do with insurance or hurricane boxes, everything to do with wind.
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  #665  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
It baffles me that people are heading to the carrib in winter, from the north, by going out to bermuda and hanging a right. All this just to avoid the dreaded Hurricane Box. I suspect the insurance companies are forcing them to do this.
I don't think for a second that this routing is a result of insurer policy (anymore than I think people decide to go / no go based on the existence of rallies or rally policy). This trip is a right of passage for so many that to contextualize it as either a regulatory matter or a risk management issue is silly. That said, discussion of the weather and routing issues -- and past failures -- has great value. When I first became obsessed with this stuff (15 years ago?) the most influential writing was Coles' Heavy Weather Sailing which is nothing more than a compendium of histories and analysis. It would have been easy to argue from those histories: no one should sail south across the Bay of Biscay in the fall (or to Caribbean from the Northeast US) or we should have equipment regulations in place to prevent those tragedies. At a time when opinions were more measured, if for no other reason than you could not simply click "reply", no such arguments were made. It is worth remembering that this whole absurd endeavor is about doing something that is illogical to almost everyone else . . . by your own choice and on your own terms. Put me in the city and ask me about policy and I will tell you all about the positive value of regulations and insurance policy . . . I sail to leave that behind. Don't judge the distance I travel by the speed your car travels or the risks I take by your own fears or insurance regulations. We joke about the endless definitions of bluewater . . . please add: "beyond your control". If a rally helps someone who wants that accomplish it -- I am all for it.

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  #666  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Experienced owners, skippers, and crew will make educated decisions about what is appropriate for them and their boats before heading offshore.
Now that last part I agree with. And that's been my point for a very long time. Unfortunately, the SDR currently has a very nebulous and minimal measure of what constitutes an "experienced" owner/skipper.
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  #667  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Curious why the insurance companies play that way? Surely they do risk analysis or base their decisions on claims made. Few of us are prepared to write off a major asset like a 40-50' boat. Realize we are a small market but considerable funds are involved.
With the June to November rule what's your best advice.
Be curious about others thoughts.
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  #668  
Old 02-01-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
If you were organizing an offshore rally to the Islands, what sort of crowd would you prefer have sailing in it?

Those that are willing to assume TOTAL AND COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY for the preparation of their boat and crew, and make their own decisions regarding the point and time of departure and route?
Absolutely this group...then when something went wrong I could just blame it all on them and get off scot-free.

Okay, seriously, this group IF they're experienced enough to actually be able to do all that EFFECTIVELY. Being willing to take full responsibility certainly doesn't mean being able to do it effectively. Any 18 year old can illustrate that maxim for you pretty easily. A single bluewater passage certainly leaves a lot of gray area in your statement above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Dave has it EXACTLY right:
Partially right. I do absolutely agree with his experience angle. Just not on his SDR spin.

Remember, the problem you guys have is that IF all these participants in the SDR were eminently experienced and qualified owners/skippers/crew - why did the USCG feel compelled to issue a Marine Safety Alert because of the SDR? They usually don't do that if they think it was just "bad luck".
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  #669  
Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Paulo posted this over in the racing forum. These are the findings of a panel investigating the loss of the S/V Uncontrollable Urge in the 2013 Islands race.

Somewhere around 100 boats participating, one boat in the fleet loses a rudder, drifts toward lee shore in big swell and waves, skipper waits to call for assistance, boat gets too close to shore for anyone to help, crew abandons and one drowns, boat is rolled onto beach in the breakers.

I think it has some significant ramifications to this SDR discussion. Check it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
The report and the recommendations regarding 2013 Islands Race Tragedy was published:

summary of the panel’s finding:

Panel Findings:
1. The accident was caused by the failure of the vessel’s rudder while sailing off a lee shore.

2. The emergency rudder preparations on Uncontrollable Urge were not adequate for the conditions in which the original rudder failed, despite the efforts of the crew.

3. The panel believes that if the skipper of Uncontrollable Urge told the USCG they were in distress initially when the rudder broke the USCG would have responded by sending help immediately. Even if assistance from the USCG was not needed it would have increased their options for rescue.

4. Help from the race boats would have given Uncontrollable Urge additional options for rescue.

5. The flight time for the USCG the night of the Islands Race was 50 minutes for the helicopter to be on the scene and another 60 minutes to ready hoist operations and pull the crew to safety. Before the USCG arrived the crew of Uncontrollable Urge had to be self-sufficient.

6. By the time the skipper of Uncontrollable Urge asked for assistance from other racers the vessel was one mile from the shore. Other race boats that could have responded with assistance were a considerable distance downwind and it is unlikely that those vessels would have been able assist Uncontrollable Urge due to her proximity to the lee shore.

7. The course of Uncontrollable Urge after the rudder failure was almost entirely dictated by the wind and swell direction. Her position was always moving towards the Island.

8. None of the emergency steering methods tried by the crew of Uncontrollable Urge worked in the conditions. The requirement of OSR 4.15.1 b) is “crews must be aware of alternative methods of steering the yacht in any sea condition in the event of rudder loss. At least one method must have been proven to work on board the yacht”. The crew of Uncontrollable Urge assumed that since they had success steering Columbia 32C hull #1 off of Newport Beach, Calif. in 10 knots of wind using just the sails they would be able to steer Uncontrollable Urge in the conditions they found off of San Clemente Island during the Islands Race.

9. The crew of Uncontrollable Urge found that even with the engine at full throttle none of the emergency steering measures gave them enough directional stability to counteract the leeway generated by the large sea state. If no methods of emergency steering have been tried prior to a rudder failure there is no way to know if the emergency steering method will work in any sea condition.

10. Four of five Spinlock deck vests failed to work properly, allowing the flotation chamber to pull over the wearer’s head to one side of the body. The deceased was found floating face down with the flotation chamber pulled over his head. Given that the crew had to swim through large surf to reach the shore this was a life threatening failure.

11. OSR Category 3 is defined as “Races across open water, most of which is relatively protected or close to shorelines”. US Sailing prescribes “that Category 2 races are of extended duration along or not far removed from shorelines, where a high degree of self-sufficiency is required of yachts but with the reasonable probability that outside assistance would be available for aid in the event of serious emergencies”. While the Islands Race has a rated distance of 129.5 nautical miles the northwest corner of San Clemente Island is 75 miles from San Diego Buoy #1 and therefore in inclement conditions help is not readily available.

Panel Recommendations:

1. Vessels that race offshore should have adequate rudders so that heavy weather sailing conditions do not cause them to break. This may require plan approval or an inspection from a naval architect or marine surveyor.

2. Crews should be aware of how to contact the Coast Guard or other vessels and to indicate the amount of assistance required. The US Sailing Safety at Sea Course should address how to communicate clearly with the USCG and other race vessels in case of distress. A broken rudder should be considered an emergency situation in heavy seas and high winds. Specifically, sailors should understand when a Mayday or PAN PAN urgency transmission is justified. Crews must be realistic about their level of danger.

3. US Sailing should recommend that all race boats post near the VHF clear directions on how to communicate when the vessel is in distress. Some VHF instruction manuals have specific language on how to communicate when the vessel is in distress that skippers and crews should read.

4. Skippers and crews need to be aware of methods of rendering assistance to other vessels, including providing skills and advice, providing tools, acting as a communications relay, towing, and transfer of crews.

5. When sailors are in a life threatening situation, they should seek and pursue all possible options for assistance, including accepting assistance from other vessels.

6. The US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee should recommend that the Offshore Special Regulations Category 0, 1, and 2 replace 4.15.1 b) “crews must be aware of alternative methods of steering the yacht in any sea condition in the event of rudder loss. At least one method must have been proven to work on board the yacht. An inspector may require that this method be demonstrated” with language that states yacht’s emergency steering shall be constructed to the same or greater strength standard as required for the yacht’s primary steering and that can be deployed in any weather condition.

7. Organizing Authorities of offshore races could offer the option to boat owners to submit a video of their emergency rudder deployment on their boat in lieu of OSR 4.15.1 b) “An inspector may require that this method be demonstrated”. A video of the man overboard practice could also be required.

8. Safety tethers need a quick release that will work in any condition. The cutter, knife, or shackle that requires both hands to release is not a viable option.

9. Several crew members experienced problems when the inflation chamber of the life jacket was pushed over their heads, causing asymmetrical buoyancy. The panel recommends that Spinlock and other manufacturers examine the design of their inflating vests and consider making the inflation chamber more secure to the harness.

10. The Organizing Authorities for the Islands Race, Newport Harbor Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club should designate the Islands Race as an OSR Category 2 race.


Full report:

http://media.ussailing.org/AssetFactory.aspx?vid=21870
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  #670  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Sailing as a participant with the company of others in a sanctioned event does not guarantee safety. The ultimate responsibility for safety lies with the skipper and crew.
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