Sinking of Rule 62 - Page 31 - SailNet Community
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post #301 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
Billyruffin nailed my conceptualization of how this tragedy unfolded and I think it highlights another lesson to be learned and that is the danger of assuming the skipper of Rule 62 was monumentally incompetent and this couldn't happen to you.

Yes I believe GPS was partly responsible, but I also don't think that standing on the deck of that boat that you couldn't determine how dangerous that cut was under the circumstances. There were no flashing neon signs warning of a rage. It didn't look like the gates of hell guarded by the Kraken. It was likely only slightly worse than what they'd been dealing with for days, right up until it all went to hades.

It was a rare, and severe event described by the locals as the worst they've seen outside a hurricane. Now you've been out sailing in those conditions for a week, so its easy to see how you could be lead to thinking its as bad as its gonna get and we'll soon be in sheltered water.
I think it's important to understand the distinction between incompetence and inexperience, or – to put it more bluntly - stupidity and ignorance… Now, I generally don't consider myself to be a stoopid individual, but I will happily concede that there are many, MANY things of which I am profoundly ignorant... (grin)

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – this skipper simply did not know what he did not know… One shouldn’t have required “Rage Warnings” to have been posted to have been deterred from entering the such a Bahamian cut for the first time at night – it still would have been an incredibly foolhardy maneuver even on a flat calm night under a full moon… He simply lacked the experience to fully appreciate that…

No different from someone who doesn’t understand that a bridge surface will often begin to freeze before the roadway leading up to it – perhaps they’d just be better off not driving during a freezing rain, to begin with… Or at least, first gain experience driving in such conditions by taking baby steps, on a deserted roadway, or under the tutelage of a more experienced driver, whatever... I certainly don’t want to be sitting in the passenger seat next to a driver who lacks such awareness, no more than I’d want to be aboard a boat under the command of someone who “couldn’t have determined how dangerous” the North Bar Channel would have been in those conditions…
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post #302 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
Try this scenario:

You've been in 10-15 ft seas (with some higher) for three days. You're tired. You approach the coast -- nothing much changes....winds the same, seas are still big, but not that much bigger than what you've been experiencing. You're feeling your way in.

You come ahead (on GPS charting) -- you find the entrance you're seeking -- it's dead ahead. You've called the marina at Marsh Harbor and requested a slip reservation. They've said nothing about bad conditions at the inlets. (Perhaps because they don't know you're approaching from offshore).

You proceed on at reasonable speed -- seas are a bit bigger, but the entrance ahead looks pretty good. What you don't know is that it's the outflowing tide that's making the entrance itself look pretty flat.

You keep going -- feeling your way in. Bottom comes up. Swells react and go up, but you're focused on the entrance ahead and how can you tell that the seas which were 12 feet are now 14 with the occasional 15 footer. You don't realize the period is shortening and the swell is getting steeper. You keep going, focused on the entrance ahread. Feeling your way in.

Bottom comes up and waves come under the influence of the outgoing tidal current. Swells go way up, get really steep and WHAM -- a 20+ footer comes, seemingly out of no where, 45-60 degrees off your course and it breakes on your stern.

Broach ensues, boat rolls over, mast comes down, boat eventually rights itself ,deck is a chaos of spars and wire flying around as the boat rolls in the surf, and....the rest is history.

Point: on the approach, it may not have seemed like a "rage" to those standing in the cockpit that night. Rather, it's "We can do this!" because the boat's OK, we're OK, the inlet is right there just in front of us and we want to get in there, tie up and go to sleep.
In the Bahamas under those conditions a rage will be running. It's that simple!! There's no good reason for running a cut in those sea conditions. This might sound harsh but it really is that simple. You don't have to be in or approaching the cut to know that.

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.

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post #303 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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Those with this thread for a while know that I've chimed in on several occasions.

Two comments:

First is that - whether here or the other places I've been following this disaster - a participant boat reported that Rule 62 checked in with the fleet at 7PM (theirs being circa 7:20). This suggests that they still had their mast up, and absent any emergency message (the beginning of each check-in period), can be presumed to have been under command.

Yet, very shortly later, their transponder shows them in the area of the reef. From that I deduce that the much higher seas (the recent commentary has mentioned less, by the way - seas were 16' swells on a 14 second interval, already short and steep - and the 25-30 knots winds would have added another 6-10 feet of waves) closer to shore rolled them shortly after they checked in. It appears my original speculation of an earlier dismasting and perhaps rudder loss as to why they seemed to head straight for the reef must have been incorrect.

The absence of topsides damage suggests that they did so in deep water, as the top would surely have been damaged, along with doing stanchion, davits, push and pulpit damage were they to have done so on the reef. Examination of the pix link I put up (and perhaps some others, I don't remember if here, where someone took those links and posted in-thread) shows that the mast went over to port, with no starboard damage to mounted fittings. That's consistent with the wave direction had they been going SW as the transponder track suggests. Also consistent with a deep-water (vs being tripped on the reef) dismasting is that all the hull scarring and damage is near or below the waterline.

Second is that we routinely make tracks as fast as possible to our next port, using dead reckoning to expect to arrive either near or just after daylight. That gives us a margin of error if our expected speed of travel is too slow, allowing the rest of the day to still have light.

Of course, if it's a long passage, that's a bit tricky, so not so much of concern to our departure considerations. If we find we're going too fast, we'll slow the boat down using any convenient means.

However, ALWAYS, if we arrive too early for a daylight entry, we heave to well off, and come about at a time which would bring us to the entrance well after daybreak. Of course, we also heave to if we need a break. However, as speculated below this post, we don't know if Rule 62 is capable of heaving-to, but, surely, would be capable of forereaching, if the rigging was still intact. Even running under bare poles would be possible.

Of course, under the circumstances, particularly since they arrived well after dark, the direction to reach in, or the tack on which to heave to, would have been offshore, rather than heading in...

My two cents :**))

L8R

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post #304 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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GPS and perhaps not having strong enough or enough crew to man the helm in serious weather when the Autopilot fails early in the race. Does anybody know what make Autopilot was on Rule 62 and what the radio troubleshooting was about?

So far the Autopilot has been off the hook completely, but I'll bet they were counting on it and that would be mistake number 1
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post #305 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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Are there anymore pics available elsewhere? Not sure why i'm so intrigued by this story... It has certainly been an eye opening event and something i'll always take with when at sea.

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post #306 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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Seems like a delicate rudder?

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post #307 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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I am amazed how people like to speculate about what could have happened.
In the end, that's not the point. The old rules are there to tell us what to do. No need to reinvent the wheel. Even with modern underbody boats.

Today, with GPS, satellite&SSB communications, weather reports, fairly accurate charts, there is no more excuse to risk other's life in simple passages like the one to the Caribbean. The "rally" is a joke in itself allowing people to go out at sea with the false safety of the group, where they would not even be capable to go at sea alone!

The captain is responsible for his mistakes, all captains are.

It does not matter whether the boat can heave to or not, he should know his boat, and know what to do.
It does not matter whether the autopilot failed he should have thought about it (and were not they were 4 aboard!!)
it does not matter there was a rage, and he did not know about it! this is a reef entrance on an unfamiliar destination. You just don't enter at night without visual aids, piloting the boat with GPS joystick. Reef entrances are scary enough during the day...
It does not matter, if you lose a mast or rudder, you plan it before hand.
It does not matter if there is a mutiny aboard, the captain needs to have the charisma to convince people about best course of action and DO it.
In fact, no matter what, the captain has to be prepared.

This is what differentiate a sailor (not to mention a captain), and someone who just has the money to buy a boat and risk people's life. And there is plenty of them out there.

Even though we don't know what happened, there is no excuse for the captain, who have to be up to the task. Note that it is also the captain's task to evaluate if somebody can be a crew, or simply a passenger, or even worse, a liability.

Sailing today has become a luxury hobby, and we see the consequences with more and more accidents. People concentrate on buying expensive "joke" boats and gears, instead on concentrating on the knowledge of the sea.

People spends 100s of thousands $$ on boats that are barely seaworthy, but has that gorgeous inside! All these "captains" are victims of boat builder marketing strategy.

There are plenty of capable boats out there, but one also need to be a capable captain.

Let's not let this accident worry the new sailor wannabes. You can go out there at sea. Just be prepared, don't be ashamed to take precaution (people will laugh at you for doing so), and love and respect the sea. No need to be a hero, just enjoy life and stay alive.

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post #308 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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No need to be a hero, just enjoy life and stay alive.
... and sometimes sh*t happens and you die... on land and at sea.
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post #309 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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can it really be that anyone would sail a 10 day ocean passage without knowing how to heave to? it aint rocket science. i find it hard to imagine that they didnt know. I would more easily believe in billy ruffn's idea of the psychology of the situation. They could SEE calm water just inside. Only 5 more minutes to get there! Finally! ..........

Last edited by sck5; 12-10-2010 at 04:28 PM.
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post #310 of 636 Old 12-10-2010
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Quote:
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I(clip)
I would more easily believe in billy ruffn's idea of the psychology of the situation. They could SEE calm water just inside. Only 5 more minutes to get there! Finally! ..........
It was full dark, with no moon. Unless they're better than any humans I know, they COULDN'T see anything other than, MAYBE, phosphorescence...

L8R

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