Sinking of Rule 62 - Page 24 - SailNet Community

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  #231  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
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.
Auspicious,

Google "Gulf Stream chart" -- second entry down shows four charts. Click on the third one from the left and you'll see that the Gulf Stream runs west of the Bahamas. Rule 62 went aground on the eastern shore of an Abaco off shore island. The Gulf Steam is not in play in this incident. Your comments about heaving to are well taken.
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  #232  
Old 12-03-2010
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Originally Posted by mistermizu View Post
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?
Mr. Mizu,
"Lying ahull" is a very passive tactic -- basically, all sails are down, the tiller/wheel is lashed and you retire below. The boat does what the wind and sea will do with it. Think of it as putting your head in the sand.

"Heaving to" is a sailing tactic, albeit one where you don't need a lot of human input. When you heave to the jib is aback, the reefed main is barely drawing and the helm is set a lee so that the boat starts to come up into the wind and then is pushed off the wind by the backed jib -- in short, the forces of sails and tiller are acting in opposition to one another and the boat jogs along on a short zig-zag making something around a knot (or less) through the water. Heaving to is a notch up the activity scale from laying ahull. When hove to the boat should have its bow 50-60 degrees off the wind and it should stay there without much input from the crew.
When lying ahull you can't be sure how the boat will present it self to the seas. In short, heaving to is a better tactic.

I've never lay ahull. I've hove two in gale force twice, once for about 4 hours and once for 12 hours -- both times with the desired effect. Everything calms down -- wind, noise, boat motion, stress on the rig / crew. When I heave to, I do not retire below. I maintain a watch in the cockpit to make sure the boat is doing what it's susposed to do and no big, bad freighters come over the horizon CBDR.
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  #233  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
Auspicious,

Google "Gulf Stream chart" -- second entry down shows four charts. Click on the third one from the left and you'll see that the Gulf Stream runs west of the Bahamas. Rule 62 went aground on the eastern shore of an Abaco off shore island. The Gulf Steam is not in play in this incident. Your comments about heaving to are well taken.
Well, if we are going to be pedantic (something I am myself prone to) what you are talking about is the Florida Current. *grin*

If I recall the Carib 1500 maps correctly, Rule 62 was North and East of Abaco and in the nominal Gulf Stream where it tips over (excuse me - veers more Easterly and starts to aim for Europe) when the recorded track and the reported SSB communications from the boat indicate Rule 62 made a significant course change and headed for Abaco.

So Rule 62 was subject to bumpy conditions. I maintain a better choice, regardless of decision-maker, would have been to head further offshore into more settled conditions and heave-to for as long as it took to rest. Heading Southwest, also out of the Gulf Stream, was a bad choice.
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  #234  
Old 12-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Well, if we are going to be pedantic (something I am myself prone to) what you are talking about is the Florida Current. *grin*

If I recall the Carib 1500 maps correctly, Rule 62 was North and East of Abaco and in the nominal Gulf Stream where it tips over (excuse me - veers more Easterly and starts to aim for Europe) when the recorded track and the reported SSB communications from the boat indicate Rule 62 made a significant course change and headed for Abaco.

So Rule 62 was subject to bumpy conditions. I maintain a better choice, regardless of decision-maker, would have been to head further offshore into more settled conditions and heave-to for as long as it took to rest. Heading Southwest, also out of the Gulf Stream, was a bad choice.
OK, I suspose those with a myopic view of the world would call what runs west of the Bahamas the Florida Current , but the "river in the ocean" that runs up the Carolinas coast and by Hatteras is known by those who've been north of Jacksonville as the Gulf Stream.

From my reading of the Carib 1500 transponders, Rule 62 was clear of the major effects of the Gulf Stream within 36 hours (+ or - a few) of leaving Norfolk. I've made the trip from Norfolk to Tortola twice and the advantage of leaving from this far south (vs New England) is that you can be done with the Stream quickly. Normally, the C1500 fleet crosses the Stream north of Hatteras and is on the other side within the first 24 hours. Off Hatteras the Stream is usually no more than 60-80 miles wide. This year many boats went further south and crossed it south of Hatteras where it might be 80-100 miles across at most. They did this to avoid the worst of the weather thrown off by the low off New England, using both time and distance to their advantage.

From my reading of the track of Rule 62, she didn't make the decision to head for the Bahamas until she was near the latitude of Jacksonville at a position 200-300 miles east of the eastern wall of the Stream.

What came into play here was the wave patterns from the N and NW produced by the storms that had passed the latitude of Hatteras and/or come off the coast above Hatteras a few days before. Combine that with strong winds from the north and it makes for an uncomfortable ride. Last year we had a similar but much more moderate wind/wave combination in this area. Broad reaching in 25-30 may sound like a cake walk, but with a 10-12' swell hitting the boat on the port quarter, it's no fun -- it pushes the stern down hard on every wave requiring the helmsman to work hard. (Our autopilot would not keep up and the crew resorted to hand steering). BR has a similar underbody, but is a much heavier boat than Rule 62. With a stronger wind (one boat reported > 50 kt gusts) and larger wave train a lighter Rule 62 would not have had a comfortable ride. But the conditions they faced when their track leaves the pack and goes off to the SW toward the Bahamas had nothing to do with the Gulf Stream.
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  #235  
Old 12-03-2010
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This discussion is very informative,deliberate and informed discussion....this is why Sailnet may certainly be the premiere sailing website on the planet...I have flirted with other sites and will continue to but I get more of real-world sailing and experienced anecdotal reports here than anywhere else on the web...thanks Sailnet and thanks to the experienced sailors that log in to this forum and share their expertise...

Last edited by souljour2000; 12-03-2010 at 10:40 PM.
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  #236  
Old 12-03-2010
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  #237  
Old 12-04-2010
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Lying ahull...heaving-to or running off.

My wife and I sail 4,000 miles a year, our navigation of the entire US and Canadian east coast, Bermuda, Bahamas and the Caribbean is almost complete. We heave-to, for various reasons at least once a week, however, in gale conditions we rarely heave-to and I doubt I would ever lie-ahull...just too passive.

We sailed through the last 3 gales; we were in 40-50 knot winds and 20 ft+ seas, heavily reefed (250 sq ft on a 30 ton boat) running off, with a preventer, wind on the quarter and making 4-5 knots out to sea.

We would heave-to on the safer tack if we had lots of sea room and if we both needed to rest.

The important thing is that we both know we are safer at sea than near the land and after sailing 20,000+ miles together (a third of our total sea miles) have confidence in each other and the boat.

In a situation as described very importantly by 'Belisana' I can imagine the pressures felt by an inexperienced skipper...Well done Belisana, that post should be mandatory reading for all inexperienced couples.

Another post that should be mandatory reading is Jon Eisberg's about undue reliance on GPS and Chart plotters in the Bahamas, or anywhere for that matter. Entering Spanish Waters in Curacao my plotter was off by 50-100 yards and in reality placed me in the Hyatt hotel's swimming pool! In the dark I would have been on the rocks!

As many write, we are speculating about some of what happened but the dialogue is important so that people can learn. The two post I quote above are two of the most important I have read on the forum!

Phil

Last edited by Yorksailor; 12-04-2010 at 06:40 AM.
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  #238  
Old 12-04-2010
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Insurance company wants to "repair" not total Rule 62. Good luck with that!
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  #239  
Old 12-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorksailor View Post
Lying ahull...heaving-to or running off.

We would heave-to on the safer tack (emphasis added) if we had lots of sea room and if we both needed to rest.
Yorksailor makes an important point with regard to the "safer tack". Depending on your boat and the conditions, it's very likely that you will still be making way while hove-to. In a blow it's hard to totally stop the boat. Thus, you have a choice as to what direction you want to move, albeit very slowly, while you get some rest.

A long way off shore it probably doesn't make much difference (other than which tack moves you down / closer to your intended course, but when heaving-to closer to shore you need to be careful of the course you are making while hove-to. (The GPS crumb track is very helpful in this regard.) If you heave-to after dark off an unfamiliar harbor awaiting the morning to make an approach, you will have 9-12 hours of slowly going somewhere. The 10-20 miles you make in this situation matters -- make sure the tack you choose takes you away from any danger.

I've found that our boat will make progress in the general direction we want to go if we tack the boat before heaving-to, i.e. tack over, then tack back to back the jib.

Another minor point -- remember the weather you may be trying to avoid by heaving to is probably moving. You can use the tactic to avoid the worst of a storm, or to reduce its influence on you. E.g. you can heave-to to slow down to allow a system pass ahead of you, or instead of running off in a system that's coming from behind you (where all you're doing is prolonging the time you're in the heavy weather), heave-to and let the system pass by more quickly.

Last edited by billyruffn; 12-04-2010 at 09:03 AM.
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  #240  
Old 12-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
OK, I suspose those with a myopic view of the world would call what runs west of the Bahamas the Florida Current , but the "river in the ocean" that runs up the Carolinas coast and by Hatteras is known by those who've been north of Jacksonville as the Gulf Stream.
I agree with you on common usage. Frank Bohlen from UConn has said that oceanographers use somewhat different terminology than we do. I SAID it was pedantic. *grin*

Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
From my reading of the Carib 1500 transponders, Rule 62 was clear of the major effects of the Gulf Stream within 36 hours (+ or - a few) of leaving Norfolk.
You are absolutely correct. I fell into the trap Jon Eisberg warned of, fortunately sitting safely at the dock. As I zoomed in I ended up looking at the wrong track. My bad.

Regardless, and I do take your point about boat motion, I continue to believe that heaving to would have been a much better and safer choice. This goes back to the motivation to "do something" when waiting conditions out is both safer and more comfortable.

For Rule 62, already outside the Gulf Stream as you point out, heaving to should have been tried. It is very possible albeit speculation on my part that the skipper fell victim to the "cut and paste sailor" urban legend that boats with modern underbodies don't heave to. They do in my experience. Perhaps the skipper didn't think it was an option and made a poor choice to head for the Bahamas because he thought it was the only option to address (reported) seasickness by half the crew.
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