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  #241  
Old 12-04-2010
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Our sincere condolences go to Ms Zekoll's family and friends.

We were on passage to the BVI at the same time as the Caribbean 1500 fleet, and, though there were high winds and seas, we experienced a reasonably comfortable passage. We left Cape Fear Sunday night, and crossed the Stream during daylight hours on Monday, about a day ahead of the 1500 fleet. In the Stream, the motion of the boat was very uncomfortable with 20 kt winds from the NW at right angles to the Stream. Three of the four crew were seasick for the 12 hours or so that we were in the Stream, but once we put the Stream behind us the crew were again fit and able.

We prepared for seasickness by obtaining adequate rest before leaving. No partying. No alcohol. Several of us used transdermal Scopolomine patches, supplemented by Zofran (Ondansetron). You may ask your doctor to prescribe these medications for you before your next Gulf Stream crossing.

From our Gulf Stream exit, we sailed the rhumb line SE to Tortola in steady NW winds of 25 kt, gusting to 30, under Genoa alone most of the way, staying just ahead of the bad weather behind us. The wind was too dead astern for really fast sailing, but our course kept the big seas astern. Seas were 15 – 18 feet and, with a 14 second interval, they were very comfortable. They towered above us as they passed beneath the boat, but the autopilot handled them easily. I hate to contemplate how uncomfortable those same seas would have been had we decided to head SW to the Bahamas, taking them on our beam. We would probably have been seasick and the autopilot may not have been able to steer for us.

We have a well-found, well-prepared boat, designed for offshore passage making. The cockpit and helm are well protected by a full, removable, enclosure. During the passage, we stayed warm, dry, and rested. We didn't set any speed records but we had a very safe and comfortable 8 day passage to the BVI.

We can learn important lessons from other people's experiences, from things that went right as well as from things that went wrong. This thread about the shipwreck of Rule 62 contains a lot of good advice about seamanship and decision-making..

We may never know what decisions led to the shipwreck, and it may not be important that we know, but the event can serve as a reminder of this: when a mistake could have life-changing consequences, the decision is too important to make on the spur of the moment. A wise person has already thought out the problem. He decides in advance how he will react when faced with a potentially dangerous situation. Making the decision in advance, she will make a better, safer decision than she could make under conditions of stress or fear or temptation.

We should make important decisions before the need to decide becomes urgent. Will I use methamphetamine? Will I accept a bribe? Will I drink and drive? Will I cheat on my spouse? In my surgical practice, how will I deal with a major arterial bleeder? When sailing, will I make a night landfall? What will be my storm tactics when sailing offshore? Before I enter the Gulf Stream, on my boat, what minimum wind and wave conditions must be met? Under what conditions would I ever abandon ship?

These are not problems to be solved on the spur of the moment, in the heat of passion, or when seasick and sleep deprived. Each of us should compile his own list of life's decisions with potentially serious consequences, and decide IN ADVANCE what he will do. Then stick with that decision. The rules we make for ourselves will keep us safe. This is important not only for individuals but also for crews, families, and organizations.
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  #242  
Old 12-04-2010
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Only several hours farther south they would've been in the lee of all of the Abacos with an anchorage just around the corner. It would've been a smoother ride. Instead being beam on. Throwing out some warps would help keep the stern to the waves.

20 years ago when I bought my first boat. I read everything that was about survival. I had no internet, and no mentor, so it was Webb, Moitissier, Roths, and a host of others that were my mentors through their own problems, and getting through them.

Fear & discomfort can make problems seem larger than they are. So you hove to, and that's not working. You turn, and run with sea room. I have actually turn and run going from P.V. Mexico to Cabo. With a 30% headsail, and the engine running in reverse. The scrap of headsail kept the bow downwind while the motor slowed me down. You do what you have to do, but you stay away from rocks.......i2f
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  #243  
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Trying to learn

In the spirit of learning I will share the email weather messages received by the Carib1500 fleet in the days before Rule 62 accident, from 11/10 until 11/13, the day of the accident. What every captain would do with these forecasts is in my mind at the heart of the discussion... (And I do not know if Rule 62 was able to download the email messages.)
****
Subject: WX Weds 11-10-2010
Date: 10 Nov 2010 11:39:00 -0000
Route: Hampton, VA to Tortolla
Prepared: 0600edt Wed, November 10, 2010
Summary:
1) The big low has shifted more to the SE in the past 24 hrs to near 38-39N/65-66W with a 2nd low developing further E near 55W
a) both eventually merge into a strengthening low NE of Bermuda by Thu AM
2) Meanwhile, there is a ridge of high pressure extending S from Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico
3) With this low to the NE, the fleet should be in a N-NW to NW wind, mainly in the 20s thru much of the day today
a) Seas most likely near 10-12 kts
b) Buoy E of the GS near 34.7n/72.7w has a N-NW wind of 20-26 kts w/seas near 11 ft,
4) As this low strengthens during Thu, look out for a stronger N to N-NE wind to develop over the area
a) wind speeds to 25-35 kts, and
b) there is chance for a gust to 40 kts, mainly ahead of any showers
c) seas building to 15-18 fy
5) Think this rougher N-NE flow continues into Fri, then gradually subsides as you get more south over the weekend.
a) But still a very large swell
6) The boats may want to get more south, instead of any easting to limit the rough conditions, as it will be rougher to the E
Routing:
1) Best to stay close to rhumb line and getting more south will help with the rougher conditions during Thu and Fri
****
Subject: WX Thu 11-11-2010
Date: 11 Nov 2010 11:53:00 -0000
Route: Hampton, VA to Tortolla
Prepared: 0630edt Thu, November 11, 2010
Summary∑ Expect gradual increase in wind and especially sea from N to S in the next 24 hours. Boats furthest N will be impacted the most.
1) Low pressure has consolidated near 38n/ 60w this morning.
2) It will track SSW to close to Bermuda by Friday morning and remain near stationary into early Saturday.
a) Then will weaken and head NE into the central Atlantic this weekend.
3) A surge of stronger NNW-N Winds will arrive from N to S in the next 24 hours.
a) Wind speeds increase to 25-35 kt range- strongest for the boats to the N and lightest for the faster boats to the S.
b) Could be few higher gusts to 40 kts near any brief squally showers
4) The northerly sea state will continue to build from N to S as well
a) 15-20+ ft sea will be down to 27n by Friday morning and 23n by Sat morning.
b) This largest sea will have a period of 12 seconds with the wind waves a period of 5-7 seconds.
5) The winds will begin to diminish as the fleet approaches 25n Friday and will see a significant drop off in wind over the weekend .
a) Wind direction may back to more NW over the weekend as well.
6) But the sea state will be slower to subside probably not getting back below 15 ft until Sat night and to10 ft until Sunday.
7) Winds early next week will be light trending N-NNE in the BVI.
Routing: Get as much southing as possible to minimize conditions somewhat. But do not expect it to be a great deal of improvement
****
Subject: WX Fri 11-12-2010
Date: 12 Nov 2010 11:40:00 -0000
Route: Hampton, VA to Tortolla
Prepared: 0630edt Fri, November 12, 2010
Summary:
Strongest wind and biggest sea for those furthest N - diminishing wind starting tomorrow, especially for the lead boats
1) Low pressure to the NE of Bermuda, near 34n/64w
2) It will continue to track slowly to the E over the next couple of days
3) Large circulation around the system with strongest flow around and N of 29n, less the further S
4) Some of the stronger winds will edge S and SE today, but most of the fleet will stay ahead of the bigger wind
5) Flow more N at 22-28 kts with occasional gusts to 30 kts for the slower boats with the wind tending to back some, ie, more NNW and NW tonight and tomorrow
a) NW wind closer to 17-24 kts for the lead boats
b) so, stronger winds for the boats furthest N, less for those S
6) There will be bands of clouds and associated showers/squalls rolling S as well
a) some brief gusts to 35+ kts near the front end of a heavier shower ˆ these will be moving mainly from the NNW to the SSE
7) Big N sea will continue to build S and SE
a) 15-20 ft sea will be down to 25n by Fri evening and to 23n by Sat am
b) long period swell (12 sec) with wind waves around 5-6 sec
8) NW wind around 17-24 kts on Sat for the group further N, NW to WNW winds at 12-19 kts for the fastest
9) NW to WNW wind diminishing to 10-18 kts Sun, least wind for the fastest boats, strongest for those furthest N
10) Very light conditions likely early next week
Routing: By being further S will ease the wind and sea a little
NE winds of 20-25 kts around the Bahamas - seas building to 10-15 ft by this evening/tonight as bigger NE swell arrives
****
Subject: WX Sat 11-13-2010
Date: 13 Nov 2010 11:53:00 -0000
Route: Hampton, VA to Tortolla
Prepared: 0630edt Sat, November 13, 2010
Summary: Will continue with the strongest wind and biggest sea for the boats furthest N ˆ much lighter conditions for those S, but with a big swell
1) Low pressure in the Atlantic still to the NE of Bermuda
a) it will move slowly to the E
2) Ridge of high pressure over the eastern US
3) The big low continues to dominate the circulation in the Atlantic and even down thru the northern Caribbean
a) basically, no trades
4) Strongest wind will be with the northern boats, around and N of 25n
a) wind more NNW to NW at 18-25 kts north of 25n, more left, ie, WNW, closer to 20-21n
b) wind speeds closer to 8-15 kts around 23n and lightest winds down nearer 20-21n
b) wind then tries to clock S of 20n
5) Wind will diminish the further S you get
6) There will be some fast moving scattered showers and a few squalls rotating from the NW towards the SE near and N of 24n, more WNW to ESE movement S of there
a) best chance of gusty winds will be N of 24n, and again around 22-23n
b) seas 12-17 ft N of 25n, 10-15 ft S of there, with least sea closer to 20n ˆ big N swell
7) On Sun, Flow will be 15-20 kts around and N of 24 30n, 10-15 kts tomorrow between 22-24 30n, and 7-13 kts S of there
a) wind NW to WNW, except maybe more N around 19-20n
b) flow may be quite shifty around 19-20N and to the S of there
c) seas 9-12 ft near and S of 20n Sun, 11-15 ft to the N
8) Little change on Mon with light mainly NW flow ˆ 7-13 kts
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  #244  
Old 12-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublewide View Post
A wise person has already thought out the problem. He decides in advance how he will react when faced with a potentially dangerous situation. Making the decision in advance, she will make a better, safer decision than she could make under conditions of stress or fear or temptation.

We should make important decisions before the need to decide becomes urgent. Will I use methamphetamine? Will I accept a bribe? Will I drink and drive? Will I cheat on my spouse? In my surgical practice, how will I deal with a major arterial bleeder? When sailing, will I make a night landfall? What will be my storm tactics when sailing offshore? Before I enter the Gulf Stream, on my boat, what minimum wind and wave conditions must be met? Under what conditions would I ever abandon ship?

These are not problems to be solved on the spur of the moment, in the heat of passion, or when seasick and sleep deprived. Each of us should compile his own list of life's decisions with potentially serious consequences, and decide IN ADVANCE what he will do. Then stick with that decision. The rules we make for ourselves will keep us safe. This is important not only for individuals but also for crews, families, and organizations.
Smart advice! (from one who spent about 5 hours hove-to in the Atlantic with lightning circling our boat 360 degrees while half the crew was barfing over the side ... )
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  #245  
Old 12-04-2010
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I was out there with the 1500 these weather reports are pretty accurate. The top winds for us were around 53 true only with the squall lines that came through. I would say the norm was mid to upper 20's. For the most part what was forecast in these weather updates come true. For us this produced a fast ride sailing around 120 degrees off the apparent most of the time. Waves on our aft to port quarter big but spaced auto did a nice job. It would have been tough to have worked west across this wave state for sure.
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  #246  
Old 12-04-2010
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All is speculation on what happened to cause them to wreck, but I now have
(and if I can figure out how to get 41M up somewhere, in mininum 2.5 to as
much as 4M pix, I'll give a link) pix of the boat as it was being prepared
for pulling across the beach to transport to Marsh Harbour and then to the
states.

If you have a FTP I could use, mail my name, all one word, at gmail...

There are large plywood hot patched sections in the turn of the bilge (about
the same area we experienced our damage in during our wreck, but on both
sides) above the steel (based on observable rust) keel, which has been
removed and is on the beach with nuts attached to the bolts but no hull
material present, with a small chunk taken out of the leading edge, but very
little other observable damage, other than some paint removal along the flat
bulb (not a wing, but not a true bulb). No sign of the rudder, which is
suggestive (note this purely speculative) of a loss (which would explain
their track veering from SSW to due west).

It appears not to have rolled on anything hard (wheels, davits, engine on
bracket on pushpit all intact, unbent) and all the scarring is either below
or near the waterline. However, there's a suggestion of a dismasting via a
starboard roll, due to the furler being bent severely to port, no
cable/sail, along with the pulpit which is pushed over, or perhaps a shroud
gave way - but the angle of the pulpit bends suggests the entire mast went
over. Further evidence includes the port jackline being up over the rail
midships, and the absence of a mast (but the boom is lashed to the cabin
top) or any rigging visible anywhere.

The lack of any mast debris suggests (speculation, again) that they
successfully cut it away. The hull appears in very good condition, patched
areas excepted, and the fact that it made it to the beach on that night
suggests it didn't sink, or it would have been rolled through the reefs in
the surf.

Of course, I have no real knowledge of what happened, but my SPECULATION is
that

1 diversion due to seasickness and tiredness (known)
2 dismasting somewhere along the way - causing loss of SSB comms, likely
also VHF - apparently successfully removed. Perhaps that exercise was
when the two crew were washed over (also known) and recovered (no
doubt tethered, or they'd have been gone for sure)
3 heading toward Lynyard/down the outside of the Abacos, at some point
they turned due west - rudder loss, therefore being carried by the wind
and sea?
4 hitting the reef, being holed, they decide to get in the life raft after
epirbing (known) and perhaps maydaying (unknown)
5 boat didn't sink (lack of topsides damage) and was eventually washed up on
the beach - reminding me of my protocol of stepping UP into the liferaft -
if the water's not over the countertops, I don't even want to THINK of
leaving the boat

A real tragedy...

L8R

Skip, in Georgetown, after a rollicking, >6 knot average passage

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Last edited by skipgundlach; 12-05-2010 at 04:53 PM. Reason: forgot a line
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  #247  
Old 12-05-2010
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Skip - great post. It all that sounds completely credible. But what about the rudder? What could have gone wrong to cause a complete failure and loss...even in a roll? That's the only piece that seems too extreme to have happened at sea.

If you haven't heard from anyone else on the photos, I'll send you an ftp link.
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  #248  
Old 12-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Skip - great post. It all that sounds completely credible. But what about the rudder? What could have gone wrong to cause a complete failure and loss...even in a roll? That's the only piece that seems too extreme to have happened at sea.

If you haven't heard from anyone else on the photos, I'll send you an ftp link.

Thanks so much. Uploading now, link to follow.

Seeing your label on the pic of your avatar makes me think of one of my other sigs...

L8R

Skip

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  #249  
Old 12-05-2010
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About that Rule 62 Transponder Track

Regarding Transponder Track Rule 62:

I think everybody knows that the track shown on the charts was not the actual track of the boat. Just a connect-the-dots type thing. If it only pings every 4 hours, a lot can happen. You can pick up the sometimes subtle turning points on the track. It seems as if their speed was fairly consistent during the right turn to the Abacos as the points are at the ends of roughly equal segments. Second, the last couple of segments make a beeline for the cut, almost unswerving and the speed picks up to 7.1 kts. (double click Rule 62 in class 7 to see the speed chart) At this time they were not hove-to for sure. Third we really are guessing at the actual track changes and speed toward the end. The track at the end is no longer shown on the Carib1500 Site. A drop in speed would indicate something happened, Dismasting...heaving to...etc...) I didn't zoom in to analyze the track when it was up there, did anybody else?

"TORTOLA, BVI (Nov. 26, 2007) – For the first time in the 18 year history of the Caribbean 1500 Offshore Sailing Rally, satellite transmitters were mounted on each of the 69 participating boats. As a result, a record number of friends and family flooded the event’s web site to track the progress of their favorite vessel.

With Axonn wireless transmitters on each yacht, positions were broadcast via the Globalstar satellite network six times each day, every four hours using software customized by Magnalox that incorporates features from Google Earth."
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Old 12-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
But what about the rudder? What could have gone wrong to cause a complete failure and loss...even in a roll?
I imagine a breaking-following wave would apply enormous forces to a rudder that was hard over....

Alternatively, if the boat got shoved back by a steep wave, the rudder would be highly stressed if it were not amidships.

YMMV
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