Sinking of Rule 62 - Page 23 - SailNet Community

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  #221  
Old 12-03-2010
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Aha!



So where were they trying to enter?


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Last edited by LandLocked66c; 12-03-2010 at 04:54 PM.
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  #222  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomvangdc View Post
You can google Tilloo Cut to get a closeup of where they attempted to go in.
I believe the inlet they attempted to run is actually 7 miles or so south of Tilloo Cut. Zoom in the Carib1500 track and you'll see it clearly.
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  #223  
Old 12-03-2010
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I posted the chart of Lynyard Cay 2 weeks ago on Cruisers Forum, and Dad posted on page 5 of this thread. The red shipwreck symbol shows the location which was being broadcast by the Rule 62's onboard transponder.

Bill
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  #224  
Old 12-03-2010
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I have some offshore experience but it pales in comparison to many others on here. Without speculating any more about Rule 62, I can say that we made a bad decision to "come in" early as severe thunderstorms (the front edge of a tropical storm) were heading our way. To top it off, we entered a marina at the height of the wind/rough seas (still much milder than what Rule 62 had faced). We barely survived the ordeal unscathed and also without crashing into the dock and other boats. In hindsight, it was a bad decision, but at the time, it seemed like the thing to do. Once we got tied up, we realized that one of the greatest dangers to boats is land and that we should never have attempted what we did. Our boat (a Peterson 44) could have weathered the mild storm quite well - better than I could at that time.

Being the inexperienced of the two of us, I think my fear of staying "out" and weathering the storm - on top of a couple of nights at sea - led to my husband's decision to head in. I do wonder if similar factors played into what happened on Rule 62. Even heading in to that particular harbor rather than going approx 20 miles further south and getting in the lee of Abaco altogether via the NW Providence Channel. I am just speculating about what happened may have happened as we don't know. But bottom line from what we learned on our boat: land and boats don't mix in bad weather.

Whatever happened on Rule 62, my heart goes out to the crew, family, and friends.
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  #225  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
I posted the chart of Lynyard Cay 2 weeks ago on Cruisers Forum, and Dad posted on page 5 of this thread. The red shipwreck symbol shows the location which was being broadcast by the Rule 62's onboard transponder.

Bill
Included it in my post above.
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  #226  
Old 12-03-2010
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Originally Posted by LandLocked66c View Post
Can someone post some pics of the route and the general area they ended up in? Maybe highlight the channel they were attempting?
A reasonable question. However, what I have been saying as have many others is that the issue of North Bar Channel is way downstream of the poor decision. At the point Rule 62 was bouncing around uncomfortably in the Gulf Stream they should (my opinion) have turned left instead of right. In less time than they spent to get to the North Bar they would have been out of the Gulf Stream and been able to heave to.

If you want to learn from this truly unfortunate sequence of events, look to the first decision to turn right. There is the issue.
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  #227  
Old 12-03-2010
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Originally Posted by svsirius View Post
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!!!

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.

Hello Jon,

C’mon, man – such old-fashioned “rules” went out the window with the advent of Loran, and then GPS… (grin)

I’ve followed this thread with interest, lots of good perspectives offered here. However, I’m planted firmly in the camp with those who’ve asserted that this tragedy was entirely avoidable – no matter what cascading series of circumstance occurred, everything stems from the unfathomably poor decision made that night to enter that cut…

Perhaps the greatest danger to any sailor – no matter how experienced – is the lack of a healthy respect for “knowing what you do not know”… First and foremost, such an awareness should always inform the thinking of anyone whenever they venture off in a small boat, knowing the limitations of your skill and/or experience is perhaps the greatest responsibility of any skipper… It’s painfully apparent to me the master of RULE 62 had precious little experience running inlets of the sort found between Montauk and Canaveral, much less a Bahamian cut – otherwise, he simply would have KNOWN, beyond any doubt, that to attempt the North Bar Channel in such conditions was virtually suicidal…

More than anything else, what strikes me about this incident is that it a classic example of a “GPS-enabled” mishap… Quite simply, had the GPS aboard RULE 62 been disabled or inoperative that night, there is no way in hell the skipper would have been sufficiently emboldened to attempt that entry, treating it like the virtual equivalent of a video game… “Just keep the cursor in between those rocky things on the screen, and we’ll be in smooth water before we know it, and drop our hook right on top of that little “anchor” symbol indicated behind Lynyard Cay…”

Monty and Sarah Lewis were one of the best things that ever happened to Bahamian Kroozing. Unfortunately, the precision of their Explorer Charts is also one of the worst things that’s ever happened out there… I’ve witnessed this trend for years, yet it still boggles the mind - he amount of false confidence that many cruisers are displaying these days in the accuracy of electronic positioning and charting is frightening to a degree I’m still hard pressed to express…

For example, the professional pilots of Spanish Wells who guide cruisers through the Devil's Backbone passage to Harbour Island will not make that trip during a rage condition... Those guys who've been doing that trip for 60+ years, could probably do it blindfolded, but they will simply NOT attempt it in a rage... And yet, cruisers armed with a set of Explorer Charts waypoints, and their trusty plotters, will do so - especially when their schedule dictates it... WTF is wrong with that picture? Yeah, I know, even the Bumfuzzles "proved" that the Devil's Backbone could be transited in a rage and poor light, right? Last winter, I spent a few days at Samana Cay, which features one of the most challenging and dangerous reef passages in all of the Bahamas... Extremely tight, difficult to read in even the best light, you're in one of the most remote areas to be found down there - put a boat on that reef, or suffer a grounding that might damage a rudder or pop a couple of keel bolts, you could be well and truly screwed in that place... And yet, I awoke one morning to find a Nordhavn trawler that had come in during the night, through a break in the Columbus reef perhaps 3-4 times the beam of their vessel in width, relying on a chartplotter alone... UFB, some of these people are freakin’ insane, the risks they're willing to undertake simply to avoid spending a few more hours outside...

I saw it to an even greater degree a couple of years ago in Belize. The charting there is not nearly as accurate nor complete as it has become in the Bahamas, so cruisers are relying to a considerable extent on lists of waypoints that get passed around like so many trading cards. One morning, I heard a net controller on the NW Caribbean Cruiser's Net provide some waypoints for Ranguana Pass to a boat that was coming over from Roatan, and wouldn't be arriving until after dark... Unbelievable - these waypoints should be considered the navigational equivalent of an STD, who knows where they originated, or where they've been? We all know how easily a couple of digits might have been transposed in copying somewhere along the line, such a mistake could easily spell the difference between deep water, and the reef... What's so hard about slowing down/standing off for the night, then making your approach with the sun behind you in the morning? The unwillingness on the part of some to tolerate even the slightest discomfort in the name of safety/proper seamanship, it's amazing...

As long as I’m on an electronic chartplotting rant, one more point… Not only in giving a false confidence regarding the accuracy of waypoints in the cut, etc, but also in making it more difficult to see the Big Picture in strategic terms... This is just my hunch, of course, but I'd venture that the master of RULE 62 was likely relying solely on electronic/computer navigation on his approach to the Bahamas... IMHO, there is no substitute for a large paper chart spread out in front of you for assessing your options, this in one area in which electronic charting is very weak for planning purposes, it's extremely difficult to grasp the bigger picture... The need for endless zooming/panning on a computer or plotter screen to obtain the same information that can be gleaned at a glance from a paper chart can really cloud the decision-making process, especially when you're being forced to consider an alternative plan, and then factor exhaustion into the equation... The greatest mystery to be about this whole deal, is why it wasn’t so apparent to him how much safer the option to continue sailing just a bit further south to places like Sandy Point or Spanish Wells would have been, and I've got to believe such options might have been so much clearer to him had he had the proper scale paper chart spread out before him, and the luxury of studying it repeatedly at his leisure once the decision had been made to divert to the Bahamas...

Anyway, that’s probably enough for one night, and my first post here, eh? (grin)

Best regards,

Jon
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  #228  
Old 12-03-2010
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Well said, Jon. And, right on!

The incidence of GPS-assisted groundings seems to be increasing, and will continue to do so as skippers place infinite confidence in their spiffy chartplotters. It's a sad commentary on the times, and the state-of-the-art of seamanship.

Some years ago I wrote an article in Ocean Navigator about the likely GPS-assisted grounding of a 72-foot custom sloop in the British Virgin Islands. On a beautiful moonlit nite, this vessel -- with a professional crew returning from a round-the-world trip -- attempted to run the 1/4 mile wide passage between Neckar Island and Prickly Pear Island near North Sound, Virgin Gorda. They ran aground on the SE corner of Neckar Island, apparently unaware that the charts of the time used a datum other than the WGS-84, resulting in a 1/4-mile N/S error! After the rather soft grounding in almost calm conditions, a further series of errors in handling the grounding resulted in the total loss of the yacht.

Reminds me of a comment by a friend who lives and cruises in Maine every summer, all the way to Canada and back. He commented on the increasing numbers of yachts found way "down East" these days, saying "It's the Garmins".

And so it is, together with all the little gremlins which lie within :-)

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 12-03-2010 at 08:26 PM.
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  #229  
Old 12-03-2010
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First of all God Bless Laura as well as her friends and family. Terrible to say I hope that her end was quick so there was minimal suffering.

I too have stayed out of comment to learn a few more of the details.

I have some offshore experience having transited the Atlantic twice in my 20s as well as some sailing in the Carribean, but I am no way a Carribean cruiser. My trips in the last few years have been mainly costal ones from the Chesapeake to Long Island or New England.

I defer to many on here with far more experience than I. There is no need for blame finding or fingerpointing just learning and the real lesson in Lauras death would be to learn the obvious errors so we do not repeat them.

I find a lot of wisdom in Btrays comments as I do Daves. The mistake started early in the game with the decision to stay in the Gulf Stream and ride the storm to safety and to a calm anchorage it appears. For what ever pressures and reason this decision seemed to be paramount to who ever made the decision to come in close to land. Their object was to come to a calm area. The major errors of transitting an unkown inlet/ passage at night no matter what the conditions proved fatal and put them in more danger than heaving to till light, or a dave said turning right and getting out of the stream, or as SD said going further south to a wide channel and getting in the lee of the islands. I beleive Jon is also correct in his assuming that one could have the balls to make this run because they had some electronic means of navigating their way through the cut. (I agree with Jon people are too confident in what they see on the chartplotters) In bad seas and weather by giving up one of their key senses ( sight) by not waiting for daylight was unfortunate and dangerous. You need all the senses and sense you have..sight, charts, electronics, to make passage in these cuts in good weather let alone a rage or even just adverse conditions. Doing this at night was just plain puzzling.

All of the people on this boat at least had some experience and were not novices by any means , so what drove them into the land must have been overwhelming. The ocean is a dangerous and unforgiving place at times and commands utmost respect. For sailors it is our "zen" or place of tranquility when out on the water, but the other lesson is that it is a ALL POWERFULL and if not treated with proper respect, the consquence is death or injury.

The learned lesson for us semi novices is HEAVE TO. Wait till you can SAFELY proceed with confidence and all you senses. ASK FOR HELP from local CG or authorities

It is also why a number of us who have at least a little experience in the effects of costal/ ocean tough weather conditions have cringed at some of the knuckleheads (who have posted on sailnet) who have made passages with new or new to them boats without proper experience on board, charts, or even thoroughly checked out boats letting their bravado in invincabilty rule them. We have seen how quickly the Ocean can swoop in and take its toll. No matter your experience, or conditions...it is all about planning and emphsizing Safety first that counts. In the case of Rule 62...from the get go to dash to the Bahamas started the "unsafe dominos" which ended in tragedy.

No judgement here...no fault...just lessons. God bless Laura and the surviving members of Rule 62.

.
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  #230  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
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 have heard lying ahull criticized as being too passive a storm tactic, and one which leaves you vulnerable, but would consider heaving to to fall into the active storm tactics category. Wonder what others think?
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