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post #1 of 19 Old 10-27-2016 Thread Starter
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Guo Chuan

Guo Chuan: World record attempt Chinese sailor missing

The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.
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post #2 of 19 Old 10-28-2016
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Re: Guo Chuan

I can fill in a little bit about this tragedy from information that my wife has gotten from Chinese media and in particular the Chinese sailing community. Guo Chuan is ('was' unfortunately it seems) by far the most experienced Chinese sailor. He sailed around the world solo on an Open 40 and has done a variety of offshore races including the Clipper Race. The boat he had for this Transpacific record attempt was a French 93' trimaran racing machine. He had sailed this boat a lot including doing the Northeast Passage (crewed). Overall he had tens of thousands of miles on this boat.

The record he was going after (SF to Shanghai) had been set by a fully-crewed boat. No one seemed to know why he decided to go after the record singlehanded. The idea of sailing a 93 foot racing trimaran alone is more than intimidating to me.

He was in constant contact with his shore support including half an hour before the boat's speed dramatically dropped off on the shore party's GPS plot. In his last shore contact he was fine and said he was going to take down his asymmetric (imagine how big that sucker would be on a 93') for the night since the winds were around 20 knots and increasing. Waves were 5 to 6 feet so conditions were ideal for record setting. He may have been overtired from pushing the boat in these conditions. The max speed he had achieved was 34 knots.

The story posted here said it was the mainsail in the water, it actually was the assym. The Coast Guard went aboard to confirm that he was not onboard. The coasties reefed the mainsail and left the boat heading west. There is a very valuable vessel out there to be salvaged by someone.

His loss has been an enormous shock to the Chinese sailing community since he was the only real world-class (non-Olympic style) sailor in the country so was a major inspirational figure. It occurred to me that my wife, although a Canadian citizen, might now be the most experienced Chinese cruiser. For the last few years she has been a celebrity in the small, but very rich, Chinese sailing community.
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After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.
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post #3 of 19 Old 10-28-2016
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Re: Guo Chuan

I'm not here to disparage the guy but most video I have seen of him sailing, is without a tether. It was reported that his PFD was found in the cabin.

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post #4 of 19 Old 10-28-2016
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Re: Guo Chuan

I heard this story on the radio this morning, it's very sad.

The bit about finding his PFD in the cabin makes it sound like he only had one PFD on board. I know they try to save weight everywhere they can, but I'd think I'd keep a an extra PFD around. Couldn't make that big a difference on a 93' boat.

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post #5 of 19 Old 10-28-2016
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Re: Guo Chuan

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
I heard this story on the radio this morning, it's very sad.

The bit about finding his PFD in the cabin makes it sound like he only had one PFD on board. I know they try to save weight everywhere they can, but I'd think I'd keep a an extra PFD around. Couldn't make that big a difference on a 93' boat.

He may have left is only PFD in the cabin. However, even if he was wearing twelve PFDs, he would be in trouble if he fell off the boat going 30 kt.

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post #6 of 19 Old 10-28-2016
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Re: Guo Chuan

Not sure what use a PFD is when you are single-handed on such a large, fast boat. Perhaps a tether might help but I get a sense that these fast big boat racers don't wear a tether unless the weather is quite bad which was not the case here.

After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.
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post #7 of 19 Old 10-28-2016
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Re: Guo Chuan

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Originally Posted by Ajax_MD View Post
I'm not here to disparage the guy but most video I have seen of him sailing, is without a tether. It was reported that his PFD was found in the cabin.
I was just reading an interview with him where he was relating a story about how he fell overboard on the last voyage, and was able to grab a line and climb back onboard. He stated that falling overboard was his biggest fear.

Hard to understand then why you wouldn't look at tethering, and wearing a life jacket.

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post #8 of 19 Old 10-28-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Guo Chuan

Speaking of tethers, I'm going to post a picture and question about them in a new post.

The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.
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post #9 of 19 Old 10-31-2016
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Re: Guo Chuan

My tether harness and inflatable PFD are one in the same. Would think he probably had a similar PFD with integrated harness. If it was his harness tether, no wonder that they haven't seen him. Even with just the main and the headsail in the water, that boat probably makes good time. If he fell off untethered, he'd have to be awfully lucky to be able to get back aboard. Surprizing that he would go untethered if he'd already fallen overboard once and only survived by luckily grabbing a line. I wear my Spinlock PFD/harness 24/7 when solo so I can clip on and go on deck instantly should there be a pressing need.
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-02-2016
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Re: Guo Chuan

I think the 'pressing needs' on a boat like this are very different than on the kind of boats the rest of us sail. Apparently the tricky bit on recovering an asymm on this boat is untacking it in the very bow (don't know if it has a sprit as such and whether it is fixed; I imagine it is). A tether for doing that might make sense but I wonder if you fell off with a tether whether you could find a way back onboard.

Latest news is that two French guys from the support team were flying to Honolulu (probably there now) to go out to recover the boat using a fast powerboat. They stopped posting the boat's location to discourage others who might want to claim salvage rights (the boat is worth something like $10 million).

After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.
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