Lost at Sea - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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quite a cautionary tale, lots of lessons there for anyone/all.

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post #22 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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Melrna,

Your friend has our sympathy for his ordeal and the loss of his boat.
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post #23 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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Mel,

Thank you VERY much for sharing that tale. Honestly, I have seen a number of these pop up here, but that was the first one I read from start to finish.

I also agree that we will keep this discussion on topic and nothing inappropriate.

I have long said in these discussions, whether Barnes or others, that the point here is to learn from others mistakes. Just remember as we discuss what WE would have done, that YOU were not there and it is really easy to sit at a computer to decide what you would have done than be in the thick of it and trying to decide.

That being said, my opinion is that his most critical mistake was the shake down cruise. I remember I was on the phone once with Frank Butler about dropping our 380 in Houston and sailing straight across the gulf and he said, "Making that kind of a trip without a super shake-down cruise is a recipe for disaster." Of course, I would not have done that - but the point was that even with a brand new boat that we knew well, a shake down cruise is mandatory. I figure that would have saved Gringo because he would have had issues popping up all over the place. It would have at least given him more time on his boat and how she handled. Even if just one of his issues had been resolved, the odds were that he would have made it to Bermuda. Instead, it was almost a total failure short of sinking.

I will also point out something else we do not talk about much here: Jerry Cans. For those of you that have never tried to pour fuel out in a rolling sea (I have never tried to use Calder's method of blowing it through a tube) or seen the movement of the cans in a rolling or breaking sea, I will tell you that it is a mess. We have done it and I have hauled more diesel than Exxon on my rail, but we are going to great lengths right now to avoid using jerry cans. A fairly inexpensive option (that I will report on when we finish the project) are the fuel bladders. You can get them for water too. Anything you can do to get that fuel/water in a safer environment and below decks is a plus. Not to mention the stability aspect depending on how much fuel you are saving. I have been told that a breaking sea can rip the cans (with lifelines attached) right off the boat. I have never witnessed this - but it certainly seems plausible to me.

I cannot think of a single diesel tank that does not have an inspection port. Dad is in the process right now of checking out his tanks and cleaning them. We have a neighbor on a Panda 38 that did that and totally re-did his tanks. Glancing at the fuel tank periodically is a very simple matter and I am not sure it would take 10 minutes of your time.

As far as Gringo goes... I am of the belief that the poor guy just had a strong dose of bad luck. I firmly believe that a shake-down would have identified many of his problems (not all), but even a shade of good luck or one less failure would have gotten him to Bermuda at least. If he reads this, or you speak to him again Mel, please tell him that we are all sorry for his loss. I cannot imagine the frustrations and dissapointment he is dealing with. Tell him also that it cannot rain every day. A change of fortunes will come and hopefully he will find another boat carry him back to his dream(s).

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post #24 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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Melrna,

Thanks for posting the log here. It made an interesting read for many of us Monday morning quarterbacks.
It sounds as though your friend is hoping that someone will find his boat still floating off the coast of Europe in a few months. I hope that this will happen.
I still kick myself for allowing myself to be talked into doing a maiden voyage and delivery with a friends boat with no shake down sail. Fortunately for us our trip was a short coastal hop of 50 nm and we easily endured.
As is often said: "If it is going to happen, it will happen out there."
Lots of other good lessons here that you have already identified.

"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen

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post #25 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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So is this boat now just drifting aimlessly at sea?
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post #26 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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Yep. Not aimlessly though. Ocean currents should push it towards Europe or north Africa.

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post #27 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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Mel...thanks for your note of explanation. I must admit I was scratching my head and your note clarified all my questions and so served the purpose for which it was written. It took guts to write it ...but it was the right thing to do and you did it with an obviously kind heart.

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post #28 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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With all due respect -- I am curious, what was George working on for so long (5 years?)? Boat must have been a mess if he spent so much time on it and never got around to fixing the tanks/engine/bulkheads/etc.

That lesson about checking the tanks I learned the hard way this year.

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post #29 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
I posted this here under some in trepidation. That being I don't want to see off hand remarks from some of the members. I posted it here so that some lessons can be learned by the sailing community at large.
This should be required reading for those considering an off shore cruise. In particular, the old thread on cruising with a Catalina 30 comes to mind. I sail a Catalina 27 and love my boat but this points to what can happen... Thanks for sharing and I am deeply sorry about your friend and his boat.

Joe McCary,
Sailing on The Central Chesapeake Bay, West River, MD on my Catalina 27, Aelous II with my wife and friends.
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post #30 of 96 Old 07-21-2009
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What happens when you drop anchor in 20' sea's with 30 MPH winds?
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