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wakked1 05-19-2008 02:15 PM

Death by boom
 
I don't think this has been posted here but I just came across this story:

Rescuers save woman after yacht death

Short excerpt:

Quote:

Rescuers aboard a helicopter running low on fuel have braved gale-force winds and sharks to save a distraught woman whose husband had been killed by the boom of their stricken yacht off Queensland.

The couple, Glynis and Colin Craig, had been on a round-the-world trip in their 15-metre South African racing yacht Deja Vu when they ran into gale force conditions after leaving Bundaberg on their way to Vanuatu.

Energex Rescue Helicopter pilot Dick Snell said around 5.30am (AEST) Sunday, 58-year-old Glynis made a mayday call saying her 62-year-old husband had been struck on the head by the boom and was dead.

An inexperienced sailor, Ms Craig said she could not get the vessel back to port and needed help urgently after the crew from another yacht had been unable to board the vessel due to the rough conditions.

First of all, my condolences to the friends and family.

Obviously not much specific details but one question that comes to mind is whether the man got hit when the boat gybed over or whether it was due to failure of rigging, causing the boom to crash down. 15 meter = 50', so you would think the boom would clear the cockpit and deck?

retclt 05-19-2008 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wakked1 (Post 316623)
I don't think this has been posted here but I just came across this story:

Rescuers save woman after yacht death



so you would think the boom would clear the cockpit and deck?

Second on the condolences!

It was a boat built specifically for racing. It may have had less boom clearance. Maybe he was up on the trunk. This will be an interesting story to follow.

sailingdog 05-19-2008 02:44 PM

While she has my condolences, stories like this are the very reason I highly recommend installing a boom brake on a boat, and also why I insist that both people in a sailing couple be able to singlehand the boat. If her husband had not been killed but instead had been knocked overboard by the boom, I do not think, from the way the article describes things, that she would have been able to effect a successful MOB recovery.

Davidrogerson 05-19-2008 02:51 PM

I agree and i'm assuming that these people had a relative knowledge of sailing and as we all know don't get in the way of the boom, by the way the story sounds though i'd have assumed an accidental gybe would be the cause but can't be sure.
Unfortunatley death or serious injury caused by the boom are all too common

JT1019 05-19-2008 03:15 PM

This poor women lost her husband to a freak accident, please let’s not forget that. I completely agree on all points however I think it’s important to think of her state-of-mind and the situation she was in. She is on a large racing boat under sail with decent seas and wind. The accident must have broken or damaged some of the running rigging or even the standing rigging on the boat. Her husband is on deck, lifeless, with what I would assume is a horrifying injury to the head. She is at the wheel trying to regain control, possibly with her own injuries, clearly exhausted and distraught.

I would think that after having sailed such a significant distance she would be experienced enough to take command of the vessel until someone could come and assist HOWEVER with her husband and best friend dead on deck maybe she was a little upset. Having seen what she did, I can’t say as I would be in any condition to sail or even have the desire to sail. She took the easy way out, right or wrong.

We should learn all we can from these situations however we must remain cautions about making assumptions. They might have been utilizing a boom brake that failed, perhaps a rogue wave hit the boat, steering failed, water-spout, or anything else you can think of might be possible. I don’t like to pass judgment on a grieving widow.

sailingdog 05-19-2008 03:28 PM

JT1019-

Racing boats, from my general experience, do not have boom brakes installed on them. As for the condition of the boat, it isn't necessarily the case that the boat was damaged at all.

Also, I don't think any one here is passing judgement on anyone. I, for one, was merely pointing out that all cruising couples should really have both members of the couple be able to handle the boat by themselves. There are many things that could incapacitate one of the two people aboard temporarily, like a bad case of seasickness, the flu, etc, where the other would be left in a position where they'd effectively be singlehanding the boat.

Your assumption that she would be skilled enough to handle a large racing boat in those conditions may not be valid. If she was primarily a passenger, as some people are on sailboats, her knowledge of handling this particular boat may not have been sufficient to keeping the vessel under control. We do not have enough information to know one way or the other at the moment.

Freesail99 05-19-2008 03:37 PM

Quote:

This poor women lost her husband to a freak accident, please let’s not forget that
I am with JT1019 100% on this one. It must have been horrible for her. As far as what she knew about sailing and controlling the boat, they had been on a round-the-world trip. I am sure she knew how to at least take the wind out of their sails.

J36ZT 05-19-2008 04:35 PM

I have some medical knowledge and some sailing experinece. Here is my take on this: Imagine you are the wife in this case. You're down below because having just two people onboard means one must rest while the other sails. You hear a loud crash and call for your husband...no answer. You go to the cockpit and discover he is unconscious. While the boat is in moderate to heavy seas, you attempt to revive him and perform CPR. How long would you be able to perform CPR and when would you give up? I'm guessing she was totally exhausted, alone, disoriented, and obviously distraught. All things considered, I'd say she made a good choice in asking for assistance...even if she had the skills to bring the boat back to port (damaged or not).

Now, two more things: 1) Everyone onboard that is even close to adult size should know how to start the engine and bring the sails down. 2) Booms are deadly pieces machinery, KEEP ALL BODY PARTS AWAY FROM THEIR ARC OF TRAVEL...brake/preventer or not. I had a trauma surgeon once tell me that wearing a bicycle helmet while on deck wasn't a bad idea.

Just my take on the situation.

sailingdog 05-19-2008 04:45 PM

Considering that severe brain injuries were one of the leading causes of death on a sailboat, at least according to the Safety At Sea seminar I was at a few years back, and that the boom is also responsible for a large number of MOB-type situations, it would be wise to avoid being in its path of travel as much as possible.

sailortjk1 05-19-2008 04:56 PM

What a terrible story.


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