Sinking of Rule 62 - Page 10 - SailNet Community

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  #91  
Old 11-19-2010
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Scott,

I take your points. However, consider this:

1. The USCG routinely posts or makes available to the media videos of rescues at sea;

2. My contacts with BASRA, and others, generally have good up-to-the-minute information on SAR activities. So far, nothing.

3. There's a 5,000 ft airstrip just south of Marsh Harbour. While conditions may not be favorable for a search by water, there's no reason not to do low-level passes -- with photos -- over the area, either by fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft. USCG. BASRA. BDF. Media. Family, using chartered aircraft. Friends and colleagues...perhaps paid for by Laura's own very successful company. The cognizant insurance company. Etc., etc.

4. Sometimes, the US Navy undertakes difficult SAR missions for practice and training. Their equipment and access to imaging and other assets far exceeds that available to civilian agencies. This was a U.S. documented vessel, i.e., a United States ship. Maybe they could be enticed????

While its a very long shot, Laura could well be alive and stranded somewhere. Or could have been for the better part of the last seven days when what happened?? USCG gave up after two days?

I repeat, why in heaven's name after the seventh day don't we have ANY reliable information from primary sources (SAR teams or the Captain/crew themselves)??? Even the most elementary information, e.g., WHERE IS THE BOAT? It's been 'reported' variously that the boat is "stuck on a reef" and that the boat is "on the beach". Which is it?

Again, Scott, I understand your arguments and to a certain extent believe as you do. However, this incident feels decidedly different from others and we don't know why.

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 11-19-2010 at 04:51 PM.
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  #92  
Old 11-19-2010
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It's Curious

Agree, it is very surprising that no photos of any kind have surfaced - especially when we are flooded with useless ones of every 2 bit hollywood, sports, music. tv characters.

Reports were mixed on the boat being on the reef then beach - but no specifics

Looking at a local tourism map Lynyard Cay looks to be a little ways out - maybe someone with a real chart can provide the distance from South Abaco itself.

The weather remains unstable & the winds are still honking ENE

Wishing safe travels for the family & friends plus more answers for them soon.
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  #93  
Old 11-19-2010
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Richard and Deb were my next-slip-neighbors as they prepared their boat to take down to the Caribbean. Happy to hear Richard and Deb are okay and send my prays out for Laura.
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  #94  
Old 11-19-2010
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Another query: looking at the track of Rule 62 further out, it appears that having decided to make for the Bahamas, they initially set a course for North Eleuthera island and possibly Nassau, and it wasn't until they had come within about 60 nm of the island chain that they changed course and actually started to track west north west for Great Abaco. I don't know the Bahamas, but from sailing in the eastern Caribbean I know that the Atlantic coasts are all lee shores, and best avoided. My instinct would be to head between islands, anchor in the lee, and wait for daybreak. Does anyone with experience sailing those waters have an explanation as to why this course change to Great Abaco might make sense?
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Old 11-19-2010
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Sadly reflecting on Laura & PLB

I first heard about this tragedy from boat I will be joining soon that was in Marsh Harbor at the time. They said that the local VHF had been continually saying no boats should navigatate the cuts due to the severe conditions. Another friend read somewhere on the net that Rule 62's autopilot had failed. As much as we want answers now, we will have to wait. There will be a maritime inquiry and I am sure the owners/skpper and remaining crew are still in shock as well as overwelming grief at Laura missing, and are probably praying for a miracle that Laura is alive, waiting for help somewhere. I know I am.
If two crew were suffering from seasickness, and 2 crew were responsible for hand steering, it's possible all were completely exhausted and badly stressed, therefore making decision to either ignore warnings, or never heard them.
I hope I never find myself in this same situation. I know it's extremely difficult to stay offshore when crew and boat are disabled. Highly confusing seas are very frightening and stress scrambles your brain.
I feel deeply shaken by this story. I've had a bit of a knee jerk reaction as well.
As I am about to depart for offshore sailing in Bahamas and Caribbean this winter for 4 months, with a number of long offshore passages, I decided today to buy ARC Personal Locator Beacon. I hope I will never need it and I don't know if Laura had one or not. The battery is only good for 35 hrs, and it will be in addition to my find me spot, which can't be counted on but is water proof and will serve as back up if I get separated from my boat.

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Originally Posted by mistermizu View Post
Another query: looking at the track of Rule 62 further out, it appears that having decided to make for the Bahamas, they initially set a course for North Eleuthera island and possibly Nassau, and it wasn't until they had come within about 60 nm of the island chain that they changed course and actually started to track west north west for Great Abaco. I don't know the Bahamas, but from sailing in the eastern Caribbean I know that the Atlantic coasts are all lee shores, and best avoided. My instinct would be to head between islands, anchor in the lee, and wait for daybreak. Does anyone with experience sailing those waters have an explanation as to why this course change to Great Abaco might make sense?
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  #96  
Old 11-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistermizu View Post
Another query: looking at the track of Rule 62 further out, it appears that having decided to make for the Bahamas, they initially set a course for North Eleuthera island and possibly Nassau, and it wasn't until they had come within about 60 nm of the island chain that they changed course and actually started to track west north west for Great Abaco. I don't know the Bahamas, but from sailing in the eastern Caribbean I know that the Atlantic coasts are all lee shores, and best avoided. My instinct would be to head between islands, anchor in the lee, and wait for daybreak. Does anyone with experience sailing those waters have an explanation as to why this course change to Great Abaco might make sense?
All the cuts on the eastern & northeastern side of the Abacos are notoriously 'snotty' and dangerous when the seas are 'up' and with any easterly component of more than moderate swell. To me, entering any of these unmarked cuts, especially at night, in conditions other than a millpond is .... .
Ive found also that only a charplotter loaded with the latest Explorer Charts is about the only accurate non-paper means to pilot through the Abacos -- many of the other nav. sources are waaaay 'too far off'.

The closest 'safe entrance' during such a blow would be to round the north side of Eleuthera Is. and then enter from the west into the lee-sheltered waters near Spanish Wells or Royal Island .... about another ~8-10 hours south from Lynyard Cay.

The channel that they supposedly attempted just to the north side of Lynyard is quite shallow 9-13 ft. and one can expect any easterly swell to 'standup quite proud' in that particular cut. I usually pass through the south side of Lynyard at Little Harbor but youre going to get quite 'crossed seas' when entering if the swells are from the NE. I simply wont run these cuts anytime there is anything like a 'rage' going on.
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  #97  
Old 11-19-2010
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I'd point out that the Bahama banks tend to be really dangerous in heavier conditions. The combination of very shallow waters in the banks and the very deep waters nearby can result in very, very dangerous conditions very quickly.

For instance, in the Exumas, Exuma Sound is almost a mile deep half a mile from shore, but as you go west out of Exuma Sound, you often end up in waters that are less than 20' deep....if the wind is from the east and of any strength, you can see some really hellacious waves forming there. This is pretty common in many areas of the Bahamas.



Trying to enter any of these types of areas in heavy weather is really ill advised.
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  #98  
Old 11-20-2010
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It's the Captain's Fault!!!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardoin View Post
Richard and Deb were my next-slip-neighbors as they prepared their boat to take down to the Caribbean. Happy to hear Richard and Deb are okay and send my prays out for Laura.
I am losing sleep and cannot help but thinking about Laura Zekoll! It doesn't matter if they lost their autopilot, if that even happened, it doesn't matter that they were seasick. What matters is that they all were together after the vessel grounded on a reef. They were in that liferaft Together! Mr and Mrs Ross are OK, Dave Shepard is OK, Laura is Not ok!!! What ever happened to the buddy system? Why didn't David look out for Laura? The captain protected his wife, yet Laura was left to fen for herself. NOT KOOL!
As a surfer, I have been in 10-15 foot wave faces. They are terrifiying in a wipeout but at least one has the solace of a surfboard attached to ones ankle and most importantly a buudy to look after you and make sure you surface after a wipeout! Just 2 yrs ago we took a liferaft in the surf, big surf, head high surf out in Hatteras, where I spend my summers. The waves either went under us or pushed us but didn't flip us. My point is, that the surf that night must have been horrndously huge and the wave and the liferaft centered, resulting in a flip and discharge of its passengers. At this point Ross looks after himself and his wife but why didn't he or Dave, the other able bodied crewmate look after Laura? Instead the 3 grabbed for the liferaft and rode it in when the next set wave white water (which would be about 8 dfeet high) into the shore, about a mile away, thus leaving Laura to fen for herself. Why is the wife OK and Laura not OK? Laura was younger stronger and a better swimmer. Yes, it is now time to point fingers!! It's been a week.
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Please look for a post from the members and friends of the family around 1-2pm today.
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Its awful to think that Laura is very unlikely to be alive. As the six degrees of separation typically prove, there are fewer in our case. Laura was a close friend of one of my wife's colleagues. We've heard nothing more than the same rumors and resultant conjecture flying around here.

We are fixated on the story, due to our empathy for those close to Laura and because we have thought about sailing the Caribbean 1500 in the next couple of years. We've always considered this race/flotilla to be a safer way to transit and want to learn from what went wrong.

I find it to be in very poor taste to attempt to draw conclusions about the events at this point.
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