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Old 05-27-2014
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Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

So I was at the bookstore today and came across this book.

A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Disaster, Survival and an Incredible Rescue: Michael J. Tougias: 9781451683332: Amazon.com: Books A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Disaster, Survival and an Incredible Rescue: Michael J. Tougias: 9781451683332: Amazon.com: Books



It was a story of a 44-foot Beneteau sailboat with a crew of 3 who were sailing from Florida to the Azores. They checked weather forecasts before the trip and all looked good. They get a few hundred miles offshore and weather begins deteriorating. Though the weather forecasts all say the same....just winds of 35 knots expected. Within hours an unforecasted monster storm starts and all hell starts breaking loose. The winds go to 50 knots, then 70 knots, and finally 90 knots. The seas were first around 20 feet, then 30 feet, 50 feet, and finally 80 foot mountainous waves. The boat gets knocked down countless times. The crew sustains injuries. Then on one of those 80 foot waves the boat ends up mast down in the water. The boat begins sinking. The crew gets the liferaft out and sets off the emergency beacon. They finally all do get rescued. But the storm did sink other boats and killed a number of sailors.

Here's the full story -

Death?s Door by Doug Campbell

s/v Sean Seamour II ? the final log entry
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Old 05-27-2014
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

And here's a video of the conditions that the sailboat crew faced.


And the rescue.

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Old 05-27-2014
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

That seems like a wild ride. I wonder if they had a JSD, or if they had them would they have been fine?
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Old 05-27-2014
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

That blog read is a good one. Thanks for posting the link.

The book might be too scary to read!

In the blog:
Quote:
easterly tack planned approximately 300 nautical miles north of Bermuda towards the Azores.
After this year of the string of storms and sinkings I am fully intent on going east much further south that that line of Bermuda to Azores.

I intend to leave Caribbean or Bahamas direct to Gibralter laying south of the Azores by 300 nms. It will be a slower trip, but should be south of this line of storms.

I am not doing 70 or 90 foot waves in any boat. Not when I am on it!


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Old 05-28-2014
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

i absolutely agree with mark...
they have been too far north:
Quote:
They are about 240 miles off Cape Hatteras, NC, and 400 miles from Bermuda.
i think you can safely go by the bermudas but why the heck would i want to go 400 nm north of it...
especially since they left from florida...
from http://www.artseaprovence.com/diary-...torm-too-soon/

Last edited by capt vimes; 05-28-2014 at 07:06 AM.
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

That's one reason I will never criticize the Coast Guard. Anyone who would willingly jump out of a helicopter into those seas to rescue a stranger is a special breed.
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Old 05-28-2014
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

No second guessing here; I am just trying to learn from this. Going through the hatch while the boat was capsized seemed a very risky move. In this situation, where the keel is still intact, won't the boat eventually right itself? I can understand the panic and desperation of being in an upside down boat filling with water. But isn't swimming out the hatch the last thing you want to do. In this case the captain was lucky he was able to hold on when the boat righted itself.
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
That's one reason I will never criticize the Coast Guard. Anyone who would willingly jump out of a helicopter into those seas to rescue a stranger is a special breed.
Or fly a helicopter into those conditions.

I nearly bent metal when I flew into a local airport with 40kt winds, I can only imagine what it's like being up there with 70 or 80.
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

I'm putting this book on my list, but this:

"...They checked weather forecasts before the trip and all looked good...."

makes it sound like they checked the weather before they left and expected it to remain good for the entire trip to the Azores.
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Re: Stuck on a sailboat in a monster storm with 80-foot waves and 90-knot winds

Michael Tougias spoke about his book at our sailing club last fall. It was a riveting presentation.

He shared that the helo pilot, Nevada Smith, was awestruck as one wave lifted the rescue swimmer up so that the pilot and swimmer were both at the same eye level. He had to take evasive action to avoid the wave.

He went on to say that the typical lift by the winch is 40-70'. The crew found that many of the strands of wire on the winch were broken, and requested that the CG maintenance guys fix it. The service guys looked at the area where most operators work the winch, and said it looked fine. The operator had to go with the maintenance guys and pull the whole spool of wire off of the winch to show them that it was frayed at 120'.
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