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Old 05-29-2007
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Columbia 26K vs. Force 8 storm

(This is kinda long. Sorry about that.)

I think our black box (a la John Vigor's theory) is empty. I took my wife and two teenage daughters out for an easy overnight, leaving Sunday and getting back Monday night. Mistakes were made, both in preparation and reaction, and lessons were learned.

We got a late start on Sunday, because we overslept, still had to collect some stuff from the house, and then load food and clothing onto the boat. So, we had planned to be under way by 10, but it was actually 2 when we left Havre de Grace. We checked the weather before we left home, and they were calling for mostly cloudy skies on Sunday, with scattered showers and thunderstorms on Monday.

We motored down the channel from Havre de Grace because traffic was heavy, but we raised sail as soon as we rounded the fishing battery. The winds were farily light, and so we were not making good time (about two knots), but it was a nice day and everyone was relaxing.

We monitor ch 16 when we're under way (even though I don't think we're technically required to do so). After we were off Sandy Point, heading South, Coast Guard Baltimore broadcast the first severe weather announcement. I flipped over to the weather broadcast (22A), and they were talking about severe thunderstorms in Northern Virginia - other end of the bay. The second time the CG warned about severe weather, it was for Lancaster county (way up in PA). The third time I didn't recognize any of the landmarks to which they referred.

First Lesson: carry a road atlas, because weather information is given relative to towns and counties, most of which are not marked on charts.

We thought this weather announcement was for farther South, and it may have been.

The fourth time the CG announced severe weather, it was again in Northern Virginia.

About 4:30, I realized we were not making good enough time, and had gotten a sufficiently late start, that we were not going to make our original destination - Still Pond. I talked to my wife and said we should switch our destination and head for the Sassafras River instead. Since we had never anchored a boat before, we did not want to try doing it in the dark at an anchorage we'd never visited.

Second Lesson: if you've never done something before, practice before going out and really needing to do it. We had never anchored before; we should have taken a day, sailed out just off the marina, and practiced setting and retreiving the anchor. It turns out that we had never taken the anchor off the hanger on the bow pulpit, and the latch holding it in was jammed. It tuned out ok, but as you'll see in a minute, it could have been very different.

At that point we were out in the middle of the Upper Bay, heading slowly across towards the mouth of the Sassafras River. It was very hazy, almost overcast, but I could see some cumulonimbus building up in front of the sun, and it was getting dark on the horizon. At that point, I told my wife we should drop sail and power, because even with our 8hp outboard we would make better time than trying to sail. This turned out to be one of the good decisions we made.

Just past the town of Betterton is a small anchorage (I don't recal the name and don't have a chart handy), but it's before Turner Creek. I looked it up in "Cruising the Chesapeake," and they said it's not really a good anchorage because it's too exposed, and gets uncomfortable in a blow. We decided to continue up river and anchor off Ordinary Point.

Third Lesson: when it's evening and weather appears to be closing in, take the first anchorage you can get to. There were eight other boats anchored near this cove, but we decided to keep going up river. That was a mistake.

My wife had the helm, and I was taking pictures of the approaching storm. We were seeing significant cloud-to-ground lightning, and I was anxious to get to a safe achorage. We had about 5 knot winds, gusting to perhaps 10, but nothing really significant at that point. I went below and stored my camera, which took about 30 seconds, and heard my wife yell for me. A couple seconds later (before I could reach the companionway), the boat suddenly heeled over to port, very steeply. I jumped up into the cockpit, and we were caught in the gust front out in front of the storm. The rigging was howling, and the boat was heeled over almost to the point where the lee rail would be in the water. I was yelling "head to wind" but my wife couldn't hear me.

Fourth Lesson: (and the lessons come pretty fast through this part of the story) my wife had NO IDEA what to do when the storm hit. We hadn't talked about it, she hadn't read anything about storm preparation, and she was at the helm while I was goofing around taking pictures. The lesson is that we should talk about what to do in various circumstances, and have a plan for the contingencies.

I grabbed the helm and whipped us around, head to wind. The waves were up to about six feet, but they weren't breaking. The wind was high enough that it was just ripping the tops of the waves off, and spray was swirling up into the air. The rain and hail started, and I couldn't really communicate well over the sound of the outboard and the sound of the wind. The boat was hobbyhorsing badly in the waves, which, fortunately, weren't breaking over the bow. The outboard, though, was alternately overrevving because the prop was clear of the water and in risk of being flooded out when the stern buried in the troughs. I went back and checked the NOAA marine weather archive, and the reported maximum wind gust during this storm was 72 mph. It was easily 50 to 60 sustained.

I told my wife to get the life jackets out and get them on the kids. The kids were completely freaked out by this time.

Fifth Lesson: we should have had an agreed-upon procedure, where if it looks like storms are coming in, everyone gets in their life jacket. Just for safety. That would have accomplished two things. First, the kids wouldn't have been freaked because it would have been "normal" procedure to have the jackets on, and, second, we would have had them on as soon as we needed them (we should have been wearing them when the gust front first hit us).

I was pretty concerned, because if we lost the engine, the bow would have blown off until we were ahull, and we would have either pooped the cockpit (and this boat is NOT designed to have a pooped cockpit - no bridge deck, and the companionway lip is maybe six inches) or blown onto the lee shore. Given how difficult a time I was having keeping the bow to the wind, and how close the engine was to being flooded in the troughs, I had my wife call a Pan-Pan.

Question: was this an over-reaction to the moment, and an unwarranted distress call?

The Coast Guard did not answer the Pan-Pan.

Sixth Lesson: my little handheld VHF is not necessarily strong enough to summon help if needed!

The powerboat Martinique, however, did respond. She could not find us, even though she was in the same waters as us, because visibility was so bad. My wife found an LED strobe light/lantern, which I had thrown in the boat on a whim (literally because it would be handy if we were playing cards in the cockpit after dark). She turned on the strobe, and Martinique spotted it.

Seventh Lesson: carry a damn strobe, where you can get it when you need it, and make sure it has fresh batteries!

By the time Martinique came alongside, the worst of the gust front had passed, though it was still raining heavily and quite windy. Martinique asked what she could do to lend assistance, and we replied that if we lost the engine would she be able to give us a tow to safe anchorage. Martinique agreed, and stood by off the port quarter the rest of the way in.

Eighth Lesson: we didn't have a tow rope, only a 3/8 inch spring line. We should have had more (and heavier) line aboard for emergencies.

Ninth Lesson: we don't have jacklines, and we had no harnesses aboard. We never thought we'd be in conditions where they'd be needed. Nonetheless, we were caught out by this storm, and my wife would have had to go forward to secure a tow line, on a pitching foredeck, with no safety harness. Bad bad bad bad.

We got into the cove, and Martinique took off for home. I went forward to drop the anchor. Fortunately, we had, a week ago, pulled all the anchor chain and rode out of the locker, made sure it was ok, and free of knots. I managed to get the anchor off the pulpit and dropped it off the bow. I had some real difficulty getting the anchor out, though, because the latch on the mount was bent; I could not release the anchor. I would have found that if I had practiced anchoring under better conditions. The other problem, of course, in hindsight, is that if I actually had lost the engine in the worst of the storm, the right course of action would have been to immediately throw out the anchor. Given the bent latch, there was no way I could have done that. Certainly not safely, give the lack of harnesses and jack lines.

Question: is there some other way we could have, or should have, handled the possibility of losing the engine? If we had lost the engine, would dropping the anchor have been the right course of action?

Now, we were paying attention to wind direction, not necessarily the way the other boats were lying. The anchor held all night, through three more storms (though none nearly as severe). When we got up in the morning, the boat's motion was very VERY uncomfortable, and we were facing a different direction than all the other anchored boats. It turns out our anchor rode was run under the bow from the starboard side, around the port side of the keel, and back out to the anchor off the starboard side. Fortunately, one of my daughters and I were able to jump in and swim the boat towards the anchor, which created sufficient slack that the rode slid off the keel.

Tenth lesson: pay attention to the other boats' positions when anchoring, to better avoid the keel wrap problem.

Also, we have a fairly light Danforth, with 10 feet of chain and 120 feet of rope rode. We do not have a snubber. I'd feel much better about our holding power in storms if we had a bigger anchor and more chain.

In light of this experience, I plan to make the following changes:
  1. Carry a road atlas to be able to better interpret weather info.
  2. Install jacklines.
  3. Put reflective tape on all life jackets, and attach strobes.
  4. Store harnesses aboard for at least two people to work on deck.
  5. Get a CQR or plow anchor, with longer chain, and mount it on a bow roller for fast deployment.
  6. Put in a better VHF.
  7. Develop and discuss procedures for dealing with various dangers.
  8. Find out who skippers Martinique and buy him a really, really nice bottle of wine.

Any other suggestions or advice? I feel like I made some really amateur mistakes, and got through by luck alone (which doesn't make me feel very good).

Cheers!
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S/V Puddleduck
Columbia 26K
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  #2  
Old 05-29-2007
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Wow. Sorry you learned some uncomfortable lessons and I'm glad you made it through with no injuries or damage. I'll let the guys with bigger boats offer additional suggestions, but the one that occured to you that I certainly think makes sense is the map/geography one. It may be something of a drive from Havre de Grace to Lancaster County, PA, but in WEATHER terms, you might as well consider yourself in southern PA or northern VA.

Again, glad you're okay.

Kurt
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Old 05-29-2007
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The lessons you learn by jumping in with both feet and stomping around, are often not forgotten...
Each time out you will be jotting things down to remember on the "next trip" so be sure to take a notebook and pencils.
I try to leave as much as possible on my boat, so I don't have to "remember" to take it. If not, make a check-off list.
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Old 05-29-2007
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Phil - Thanks for your candor and humility. You learned a lot on that trip, and through your honesty, we get to learn from it as well. I'm not going to throw any additional suggestions or advice at this point, as you appear to have plenty of stuff to process right now. The only thing I'll say, and I believe most of us are guilty of this to some degree, is to apply your second lesson - which is practice. Even at that, every time we go out we are honing our skills.

Thanks again for your story and observations.
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Old 05-29-2007
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Some of the best lessons are learned by experiencing the worst conditions.
I'll bet you never forget this one. Years from now you'll be talking about "the storm back in 07."

I don't know the Bay and I don't know the anchorages in your area.
I do know my home waters and here, when and if we get caught, the first impulse is to head in towards shore and look for a harbor.

That can be a mistake.

Often times it is better to head out to open water than to head in towards shore. Open water in a storm is your friend. I know it sounds contrary to what your mind is telling you, but it is true.

I would rather be out in open space with plenty of sea room on all sides of me than to be trying to motor in a confined river or creek.

If my engine dies and I am in open water, I can still ride it out.
(And yes, in a confined area with no engine power, I would have dropped the hook.)

I realize that its not always possible and that sometimes you have no choice, but sometimes heading out is better than trying to seek safety in port/harbor/anchorage.

Good job, glad you survived it. Now you have plenty of stories to tell all the old salts.
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Old 05-29-2007
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Phil, helluva ride wasn't it? No, ya won't soon forget that storm or the lessons it taught. Good that ya made it through unscathed and yes, I'd send a bottle to the skip of that powerboat for sure. I learned more about sailing and preparedness in my first 30 minutes of sailing than you'd believe possible but I still get in a hurry to get out at time and forget stuff. It's the little things that'll get ya out there. Fair winds and if not, dry boat.
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Old 05-30-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmoyer
I think our black box (a la John Vigor's theory) is empty. I took my wife and two teenage daughters out for an easy overnight, leaving Sunday and getting back Monday night. Mistakes were made, both in preparation and reaction, and lessons were learned.
Time to do some more maintenance and checking the rigging on your boat... got to build up that black box balance again.

Quote:
We monitor ch 16 when we're under way (even though I don't think we're technically required to do so). After we were off Sandy Point, heading South, Coast Guard Baltimore broadcast the first severe weather announcement. I flipped over to the weather broadcast (22A), and they were talking about severe thunderstorms in Northern Virginia - other end of the bay. The second time the CG warned about severe weather, it was for Lancaster county (way up in PA). The third time I didn't recognize any of the landmarks to which they referred.

First Lesson: carry a road atlas, because weather information is given relative to towns and counties, most of which are not marked on charts.

We thought this weather announcement was for farther South, and it may have been.

The fourth time the CG announced severe weather, it was again in Northern Virginia.

About 4:30, I realized we were not making good enough time, and had gotten a sufficiently late start, that we were not going to make our original destination - Still Pond. I talked to my wife and said we should switch our destination and head for the Sassafras River instead. Since we had never anchored a boat before, we did not want to try doing it in the dark at an anchorage we'd never visited.
Never hurts to have as much weather information as possible. I often check the live internet radar maps just before leaving the marina.

Quote:
Second Lesson: if you've never done something before, practice before going out and really needing to do it. We had never anchored before; we should have taken a day, sailed out just off the marina, and practiced setting and retreiving the anchor. It turns out that we had never taken the anchor off the hanger on the bow pulpit, and the latch holding it in was jammed. It tuned out ok, but as you'll see in a minute, it could have been very different.

At that point we were out in the middle of the Upper Bay, heading slowly across towards the mouth of the Sassafras River. It was very hazy, almost overcast, but I could see some cumulonimbus building up in front of the sun, and it was getting dark on the horizon. At that point, I told my wife we should drop sail and power, because even with our 8hp outboard we would make better time than trying to sail. This turned out to be one of the good decisions we made.

Just past the town of Betterton is a small anchorage (I don't recal the name and don't have a chart handy), but it's before Turner Creek. I looked it up in "Cruising the Chesapeake," and they said it's not really a good anchorage because it's too exposed, and gets uncomfortable in a blow. We decided to continue up river and anchor off Ordinary Point.
Always a good idea to practice everything before you have to do it for real, and often in far worse conditions. Reefing, anchoring, and all of that really needs to be practiced enough so that you don't have to "think" about it.

Quote:
Third Lesson:
Quote:
when it's evening and weather appears to be closing in, take the first anchorage you can get to. There were eight other boats anchored near this cove, but we decided to keep going up river. That was a mistake.

My wife had the helm, and I was taking pictures of the approaching storm. We were seeing significant cloud-to-ground lightning, and I was anxious to get to a safe achorage. We had about 5 knot winds, gusting to perhaps 10, but nothing really significant at that point. I went below and stored my camera, which took about 30 seconds, and heard my wife yell for me. A couple seconds later (before I could reach the companionway), the boat suddenly heeled over to port, very steeply. I jumped up into the cockpit, and we were caught in the gust front out in front of the storm. The rigging was howling, and the boat was heeled over almost to the point where the lee rail would be in the water. I was yelling "head to wind" but my wife couldn't hear me.
Sometimes being around other boats is a bad idea... I've seen them drag, since they didn't have proper ground tackle or the knowledge of how to use it. Just curious as to why you went down below for the camera in conditions like that... seems a bit unwise at best. Thunderstorms are often preceded by really intense winds.

Quote:
Fourth Lesson:
Quote:
(and the lessons come pretty fast through this part of the story) my wife had NO IDEA what to do when the storm hit. We hadn't talked about it, she hadn't read anything about storm preparation, and she was at the helm while I was goofing around taking pictures. The lesson is that we should talk about what to do in various circumstances, and have a plan for the contingencies.

I grabbed the helm and whipped us around, head to wind. The waves were up to about six feet, but they weren't breaking. The wind was high enough that it was just ripping the tops of the waves off, and spray was swirling up into the air. The rain and hail started, and I couldn't really communicate well over the sound of the outboard and the sound of the wind. The boat was hobbyhorsing badly in the waves, which, fortunately, weren't breaking over the bow. The outboard, though, was alternately overrevving because the prop was clear of the water and in risk of being flooded out when the stern buried in the troughs. I went back and checked the NOAA marine weather archive, and the reported maximum wind gust during this storm was 72 mph. It was easily 50 to 60 sustained.

I told my wife to get the life jackets out and get them on the kids. The kids were completely freaked out by this time.
This is why I say that both people in a couple should be equally skilled at boat handling and such. Having one person not skilled to handle to boat is a really serious problem... what if the "skilled" partner is injured or falls overboard... the remaining people on the boat could be seriously at risk in that case.

Quote:
Fifth Lesson:
Quote:
we should have had an agreed-upon procedure, where if it looks like storms are coming in, everyone gets in their life jacket. Just for safety. That would have accomplished two things. First, the kids wouldn't have been freaked because it would have been "normal" procedure to have the jackets on, and, second, we would have had them on as soon as we needed them (we should have been wearing them when the gust front first hit us).

I was pretty concerned, because if we lost the engine, the bow would have blown off until we were ahull, and we would have either pooped the cockpit (and this boat is NOT designed to have a pooped cockpit - no bridge deck, and the companionway lip is maybe six inches) or blown onto the lee shore. Given how difficult a time I was having keeping the bow to the wind, and how close the engine was to being flooded in the troughs, I had my wife call a Pan-Pan.

Question: was this an over-reaction to the moment, and an unwarranted distress call?

The Coast Guard did not answer the Pan-Pan.
Having and knowing and following some emergency procedures is always a good idea. Calling the Pan-Pan was not an over-reaction, since they're really to advise the USCG of a possible problem.

Quote:
Sixth Lesson:
Quote:
my little handheld VHF is not necessarily strong enough to summon help if needed!

The powerboat Martinique, however, did respond. She could not find us, even though she was in the same waters as us, because visibility was so bad. My wife found an LED strobe light/lantern, which I had thrown in the boat on a whim (literally because it would be handy if we were playing cards in the cockpit after dark). She turned on the strobe, and Martinique spotted it.
A base VHF unit broadcasts at 25 Watts and usually has a higher antenna, both of which will give you significantly more range. The strobe is a good idea... You should also have one on each PFD or harness.

Quote:
Seventh Lesson:
Quote:
carry a damn strobe, where you can get it when you need it, and make sure it has fresh batteries!

By the time Martinique came alongside, the worst of the gust front had passed, though it was still raining heavily and quite windy. Martinique asked what she could do to lend assistance, and we replied that if we lost the engine would she be able to give us a tow to safe anchorage. Martinique agreed, and stood by off the port quarter the rest of the way in.
Some of the new LED Masthead tricolor/anchor lights have a strobe feature... not a bad idea to have one.

Quote:
Eighth Lesson:
Quote:
we didn't have a tow rope, only a 3/8 inch spring line. We should have had more (and heavier) line aboard for emergencies.
Yup... should have extra rope on-board for emergencies. BTW, you could have used your anchor rode, if you had a rope anchor rode aboard.

Quote:
Ninth Lesson:
Quote:
we don't have jacklines, and we had no harnesses aboard. We never thought we'd be in conditions where they'd be needed. Nonetheless, we were caught out by this storm, and my wife would have had to go forward to secure a tow line, on a pitching foredeck, with no safety harness. Bad bad bad bad.
Jacklines, safety harnesses with whistle/knife/strobe are both really good ideas to have. Jacklines should probalby end a tether length forward of the transom, unless you have a stern swim platform.

Quote:
We got into the cove, and Martinique took off for home. I went forward to drop the anchor. Fortunately, we had, a week ago, pulled all the anchor chain and rode out of the locker, made sure it was ok, and free of knots. I managed to get the anchor off the pulpit and dropped it off the bow. I had some real difficulty getting the anchor out, though, because the latch on the mount was bent; I could not release the anchor. I would have found that if I had practiced anchoring under better conditions. The other problem, of course, in hindsight, is that if I actually had lost the engine in the worst of the storm, the right course of action would have been to immediately throw out the anchor. Given the bent latch, there was no way I could have done that. Certainly not safely, give the lack of harnesses and jack lines.
An anchor is often overlooked as a good piece of safety gear... I always wonder about people who won't spend good money on proper ground tackle for their boat, but will buy the latest toys for it instead.

Quote:
Question: is there some other way we could have, or should have, handled the possibility of losing the engine? If we had lost the engine, would dropping the anchor have been the right course of action?
If the ground tackle was strong enough to hold in the conditions, it is often your best option. Having some sail up is also a possibility, if you have a storm jib and/or storm trysail.

Quote:
Now, we were paying attention to wind direction, not necessarily the way the other boats were lying. The anchor held all night, through three more storms (though none nearly as severe). When we got up in the morning, the boat's motion was very VERY uncomfortable, and we were facing a different direction than all the other anchored boats. It turns out our anchor rode was run under the bow from the starboard side, around the port side of the keel, and back out to the anchor off the starboard side. Fortunately, one of my daughters and I were able to jump in and swim the boat towards the anchor, which created sufficient slack that the rode slid off the keel.
I think you got very lucky that the anchor rode didn't chafe through.

Quote:
Tenth lesson:
Quote:
pay attention to the other boats' positions when anchoring, to better avoid the keel wrap problem.
Also, you want to know if any boats are in a position to drag down on you if their anchor starts to drag.

Quote:
Also, we have a fairly light Danforth, with 10 feet of chain and 120 feet of rope rode. We do not have a snubber. I'd feel much better about our holding power in storms if we had a bigger anchor and more chain.
While this is a good kedge anchor or lunch hook, you really do need a much heavier anchor, preferably one that can reset well, like the next gen anchors—Spade, Rocna, Buegel, Manson Supreme, etc.

A snubber isn't genearally necessary if you have a rope/chain rode and have enough scope out so that the rope is out. I'd go up to at least a boat length of chain. You also need good chafe gear. The best chafe gear is the synthetic woven material, rather than hose, since heat-related failures are fairly common with nylon ropes, and the woven chafe guards allow water through to cool the rope and preven the internal heat from friction from melting/damaging the rope.

Quote:
In light of this experience, I plan to make the following changes:
  1. Carry a road atlas to be able to better interpret weather info.
  2. Install jacklines.
  3. Put reflective tape on all life jackets, and attach strobes.
  4. Store harnesses aboard for at least two people to work on deck.
  5. Get a CQR or plow anchor, with longer chain, and mount it on a bow roller for fast deployment.
  6. Put in a better VHF.
  7. Develop and discuss procedures for dealing with various dangers.
  8. Find out who skippers Martinique and buy him a really, really nice bottle of wine.
Any other suggestions or advice? I feel like I made some really amateur mistakes, and got through by luck alone (which doesn't make me feel very good).

Cheers!
Install and practice using jacklines with your harness... so that clipping in becomes instinctive. You need strobes, knives and whistles on all the life jackets/harnesses. I prefer integrated harness/PFD combinations since they're often more comfortable. Crotch straps are a good addition to the harness, since it prevents the person from falling out of the harness.

Get ORC approved harnesses that have a boat-end clip that requires positive action to release, like a Gibb or Wichard double action hook. The ones with the stress indicators are good (an ORC requirement IIRC). Also, the ones that are shock-corded are convenient, since they're less likely to get in your way. The two-leg variants, with a short 3' leg and a 6' leg are also excellent.

I'd go with a next gen anchor rather than a CQR... just MHO... I have a Rocna.

Masthead VHF antenna and a full-25 Watt VHF unit, preferably with DSC and tied into the GPS. You will need an MMSI for the DSC functions.

As for Martinque's captain... find out whether he likes to drink or not first... if he's a recovering alcoholic or non-drinker... a bottle of wine may not be such a good idea.

Sometimes luck is all you have... you made it and have hopefully learned something... and that's a good start to more points in the black box account.

I hope this helps.
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Sailingdog

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Old 05-30-2007
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Phil,
Thanks for that post. It took a man already in possesion of a good deal of humility, prior to the incident, to post it and I applaude you. There are a bunch of lessons in it and you layed them out unflinchingly. I am so glad that all came out well, I'm sure the details of every moment will be etched in your mind for some time to come. Thanks again for a post from which we all can learn.

The "pan" broadcast was perfectly appropriate and served it's purpose. As you now know, hand held VHFs are no substitute for the real thing. Line of sight transmission, when you're only six feet above the water, can be pretty unimpressive. I think of the hand-helds as "harbor radios".

Absolutely, in answer to your question of walking out the anchor in that situation. In such a circumstance, the only goal is to keep things from going from bad to worse. Who cares where your anchor fetches up as long as it does so and stabilizes the boat, and the situation. It might drag, but then it also might give you enough time to evaluate other options instead of the consequences of a scary, and maybe unseen, lee shore. When it fetched up, you could relax a might, try to determine your position, and continue to make VHF broadcasts using "securite" now that your situation was no longer urgent. One other preperation, as the weather was rolling in, might have been to fairlead your rode, fore and aft, bringing the anchor back to the cockpit, thereby perhaps eliminating the need to go forward at all. Just a thought.

You are also spot on in your comments regarding the kids. Getting them used to donning and wearing the lifejackets is important. It's also not a bad idea, in calm weather, to practise MOB drills, with them alternating as the MOB. If, God forbid, one of them should ever go over in their lifejacket they will be less likely to panic, knowing that they are safely afloat and that Dad will be along after a while to pick them up. There's nothing more distracting than a paniced person, especially wife or child, and the only pallative is training and more training. The art is in making the training fun for all. Ironically, the statement, "if something happens to me, you have to know what to do as you'll be in charge" is more likely to work with the kids than with some wives. Some wives are more apt to say that they'd rather not go out, if there's any possibility that they may have to substitute for you. Kids, on the other hand, never get to be in charge, and therefore will readily soak up any and all details to prepare themselves for that, to them, blessed day.(g) Kids also, with training, are far more fearless than most adults with a seabag full of unrequited fears.

Thanks again for the most excellent post.
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Old 05-30-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Time to do some more maintenance and checking the rigging on your boat... got to build up that black box balance again.
Yep! I'm going to pull the outboard and give it some loving going over, new filters, check fuel lines, etc, since we were so reliant on it. I'm working on scheduling the rig inspection (when I bought the boat a few months ago, I checked the rig myself, but since then, I've noticed some wobble in the spreaders, so I'm having a pro rigger check it/fix it for me).

Vigor's black box idea, while it might seem kinda silly, makes sense at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Just curious as to why you went down below for the camera in conditions like that... seems a bit unwise at best. Thunderstorms are often preceded by really intense winds.
You know, I've been thinking about that. When I was back in college, I was part of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences storm chasing team. I really should have known better. I love pictures, and good storm pictures are very cool, but, like you said, it was a dumb move. That one sure won't happen again....

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
BTW, you could have used your anchor rode, if you had a rope anchor rode aboard.
Huh. Never thought of that. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Jacklines, safety harnesses with whistle/knife/strobe are both really good ideas to have. Jacklines should probalby end a tether length forward of the transom, unless you have a stern swim platform.
Excellent point. I was going to use the stern cleats, until you made that comment. I started to think "why?" but only got to the "w" before realizing you could go off the back and get dragged if the jackline goes all the way to the stern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
If the ground tackle was strong enough to hold in the conditions, it is often your best option. Having some sail up is also a possibility, if you have a storm jib and/or storm trysail.
We have a storm jib. Part of the new procedure will be to change headsails. When the storm hit, though, we didn't have any fores'l hanked on. I'm planning to upgrade the primary ground tackle, and relegate the danforth and existing rode to backup/stern anchor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
(Lots of good advice on ground tackle, chafe protection, and PFDs/harnesses.)
This is all excellent information. I printed it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
As for Martinque's captain... find out whether he likes to drink or not first... if he's a recovering alcoholic or non-drinker... a bottle of wine may not be such a good idea.
Good point. I haven't been able to find out who he is (at least not using the Internet), so I'm planning to sail back down there on a weekend and just try hailing him. I've heard calls for him every time I've been out, so I suspect he's pretty active.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
I hope this helps.
It does, and thank you! I was a mite concerned after posting that people's reactions would be "you're too stupid to sail, stay home," so I appreciate the kind advice!

Cheers!
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Last edited by pmoyer; 05-30-2007 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 05-30-2007
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Phil-

As I used to tell my photography students... you learn through making a series of mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the faster you learn... the hope is that you learn enough to stop making the really dangerous mistakes...before they get you in serious trouble.

Hopefully, some of the others will be able to avoid some of the mistakes you have pointed out, and learn without having to make them themselves.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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