Sinking of Rule 62 - Page 22 - SailNet Community

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  #211  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
@RhythmDoctor:

I don't think I said the captain made a bad decision. Someone made a bad decision. Recreational boats with owners, family, and friends aboard have challenging dynamics. It can be tough. The role of decision-maker may shift and not always be obvious particularly in high stress conditions.

We KNOW that a decision was made on Rule 62 to change destination from Tortola to Abaco. We don't know why for sure, or who for sure, made the decision. We can say with some surety it was a poor decision. Looking at the weather at the time and the forecast at the time, and based on reporting of conversations with the boat, a better decision (my opinion) would have been to move further offshore to get out of the Gulf Stream and heave to until conditions settle out.

We can talk about what the best decision might have been, but the decision that was made was poor on the merits even if events had turned out differently.
This touches on the point I was making earlier. Making the decsion to divert was not a bad decsion in and of itself whatever the reason. Just like in aviation there were a chain of events that led to the tragedy. A different decsion at any link in the chain and you get a different result. Its like the holes in swiss cheese that happen to line up to let something get through. Deciding to enter an unfamilar harbor at night was certainly questionable but one has to wonder if the skipper had any clue how dangerous the conditions were in this entrance. Its reported, conditions were the worst locals had ever seen lacking a hurricane and one has to wonder if the crew of Rule 62 would be able to determine that in the darkness.

If they had not diverted, if they had hove to until daylight, if they had rasied someone on the radio before commiting to the entrance, if they had stayed with the boat after it hit the reef, etc, etc, etc, change any one of those links and the outcome would have been different.

For whatever reason, the skipper and crew of Rule 62 were unable to step back and rationally evaluate the other options that were available to them. The main lesson to be drawn from this is you have to force yourself to look at the course of action you are on, the consequences AND to consider the alterntive actions you could take instead. It seems the Skipper and perhaps the crew were so focused on getting out of the rough seas/off the boat/in sheltered water, that getting to shore ASAP became the only alternative they could see.
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Last edited by PalmettoSailor; 12-03-2010 at 02:10 PM.
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  #212  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
... My first thought was what happened to hove to before things got bad? ...Hove to is a very simple move, and if you don't know how. You better check it out next time you get on your vessel....

You can go from green water washing the deck to I think I will fix something to eat. When the deck dries if it's not raining you can add fuel to the boat if needed. .......
We know almost nothing about what happened, so we don't know why they didn't choose this tactic. Some boats don't heave-to very well, being difficult to balance. And there are a fair number of reports about the difficulty of heaving to in modern, flat bottomed boats, where folks have reported VERY uncomfortable motion and slamming. There is even a whole school of thought (I'm not a subscriber, btw) that eschews the passive, heave-to philosophy, preferring active storm tactics.


I can understand why folks want to analyze what went wrong, and I agree that doing so is helpful to other sailors who might face similar decisions. But at this point, I remain uncomfortable with the lack of available information. I see no real harm in discussing the hypotheticals, but as far as what actually happened aboard Rule 62 it's still too speculative for me.
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  #213  
Old 12-03-2010
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I have not jumped in to this one before now.. but to all of those who are defending that we don't know enough to form some conclusions.. listen to Bill Trayfors, S/V Auspicious etc. There is no reason to attempt what they did, Even if someone was having real medical difficulties you first get on the radio to local authorities to determine the best cause of action. Trust me there were other alternatives some of which were outlined earlier.

YOU NEVER NEVER ENTER A UNKNOWN, UNMARKED PASSAGE AT NIGHT -- NEVER!!!

Yes you might consider entering a well lit marked all weather channel at night under certain conditions but I would not do so unless it's pretty benign. It's amazing how different things look in the light.

There is no excuse, second guessing .. that was simply a failure of the captain which allowed that to occur. It is especially true of cuts between islands with an lee shore and current conditions which is very well documented to occur in the Bahamas.

Yes I feel horrible that this tragedy occurred but let's learn the lesson so it does not happen to you.
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  #214  
Old 12-03-2010
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Granted, some boats don't heave-to very well, but entering an unfamiliar port, at night, in heavy weather, probably without local knowledge, when the water goes from two miles deep to 30' deep in the span of less than 12 miles... is asking for trouble IMHO. Any one of these issues would give me pause when entering a port, but having a combination of most, if not all of them, is a recipe for disaster.

If the winds had been from the east with any strength for any duration, the waves in that area would have been truly hellacious.

Just curious, but wouldn't it have made more sense for them to go into the Northeast Providence Channel and then hide in the lee of the islands instead?



Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
We know almost nothing about what happened, so we don't know why they didn't choose this tactic. Some boats don't heave-to very well, being difficult to balance. And there are a fair number of reports about the difficulty of heaving to in modern, flat bottomed boats, where folks have reported VERY uncomfortable motion and slamming. There is even a whole school of thought (I'm not a subscriber, btw) that eschews the passive, heave-to philosophy, preferring active storm tactics.


I can understand why folks want to analyze what went wrong, and I agree that doing so is helpful to other sailors who might face similar decisions. But at this point, I remain uncomfortable with the lack of available information. I see no real harm in discussing the hypotheticals, but as far as what actually happened aboard Rule 62 it's still too speculative for me.
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  #215  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Just curious, but wouldn't it have made more sense for them to go into the Northeast Providence Channel and then hide in the lee of the islands instead?
You mean the 25 mile wide, deep water channel 40 miles south of the inlet?

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  #216  
Old 12-03-2010
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Can someone post some pics of the route and the general area they ended up in? Maybe highlight the channel they were attempting? I'm having a hard time putting the overall picture together. What do the other cruisers courses look like compared?
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  #217  
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When I was young I took a NOLS (kinda like Outward Bound) course and within NOLS the following piece of advice is given: When faced with an emergency the first thing you should do is have a cigarette. This advice is said to have originated with Paul Petzoldt the founder of NOLS, a former Outward Bound instructor and world-class mountaineer. Another piece of advice I heard during Wilderness EMT course is: don't create more victims when attempting a rescue. Additionally, early on in my sailing career I crewed with a captain that before setting sail (or very early on on the trip in the case of MOB drills) did the following: 1) established a chain of command, 2) discussed how decisions would be made, 3) set forth a code of behaviour and expectations, 4) reviewed and drilled on emergency procedures. It is a model I have followed ever since.

The crux of the first piece of advice is often the best thing to do when faced with an emergency is to stabilize the situation, then sit back and analysis the situation and evaluate the options with as cool a head as possible. It seems to at some point the captain and crew of Rule 62 should have taken a moment, collected themselves and developed a plan of action. When developing their plan and following the second piece of advice they would have ruled out the entering of an unfamiliar harbour at night in bad conditions because doing so did, in fact create more victims (the crew) and could have created even more victims should others have attempted a rescue in the conditions found in that inlet and on that night.

While no one here know exactly what happened, from my point of view, it hard for me to visualize the chain of bad decisions and mistakes that lead to this entirely avoidable situation that didn't have their genesis in the inexperience of the captain and crew. However, the possibility exists that the captain and crew of Rule 62 did everything right and a life was still lost.

Last edited by svs3; 12-03-2010 at 03:16 PM. Reason: grammar
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  #218  
Old 12-03-2010
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[quote=LandLocked66c;673188]Can someone post some pics of the route and the general area they ended up in? Maybe highlight the channel they were attempting? I'm having a hard time putting the overall picture together. What do the other cruisers courses look like compared?[/quote

At the Carib1500 website, I can't seem to get the url to stick in this post. Go to Cruising Rally Association – Home of the Caribbean 1500 Offshore Sailing Rally, then positions, then Cruising Class 7.

Last edited by billyruffn; 12-03-2010 at 03:18 PM.
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  #219  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
You mean the 25 mile wide, deep water channel 40 miles south of the inlet?
Yeah, that one... I would guess that it is pretty safe in even really nasty conditions...since it is really deep and wide.
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  #220  
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There's a map here that shows where they diverted: Tragedy Strikes The Carib 1500: Loss Of Life and Boat | Daily Sailing News from North American Sailor. You can google Tilloo Cut to get a closeup of where they attempted to go in. I spent time in the Abacos last year and would not have attempted that cut in anything except calm seas in daylight. Would have been much safer to continue south or call for rescue, as others have noted.
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