Sinking of Rule 62 - Page 36 - SailNet Community
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post #351 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
A boat like RULE 62 is emblematic of so many modern boats, in that it was designed from the inside out, the design brief being to maximize its Boat Show Curb Appeal. The hull form flows from the maximization of interior volume, and the rest of the design flows from the accommodation plan… As a result, the layout and ergonomics of the deck and cockpit are simply atrocious for bluewater passagemaking…

It was initially reported that the skipper and Laura were “ejected” from the cockpit when the boat was “swamped” that night… Well, just LOOK at the freakin’ thing, should anyone be surprised?


Yeah, but look at the dude to chick ratio - and all the skin! That's what I call a fun cruise. And then you have this...

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Now, compare the deck and cockpit ergonomics with this beautiful Alden, a boat designed from the outside in… Don’t have to be a rocket scientist, to appreciate which design will take better care of its crew offshore…

See my point?

Seriously, you raise a very interesting point above. But it's one that you'll never win in terms of the market. In other words, people are buying the "sexy" boats, not the "sensible" boats. That's the trend that is irreversible - no matter how little sense it might make.

So, what does that mean for sailing?

The oxymoron is that less experienced sailors (like me) are buying boats that are billed as "bluewater capable" (at least in terms of what this rally was), but are more akin to race boats in terms of hull/keel/rudder shape (and sail area) as you point out. Then, as you also point out, these people are getting beat to hell and worn down usually because they are under-crewed unlike a race boat and haven't been in those conditions before in their boat. In short, as you say, these boats are more challenging to handle in rough weather.

But here's the kicker for me (again a newb), I am going to buy a 38'-40' boat in the next year for sailing the islands. And it will probably be a Bene/Jenneau/Catalina/Hunter. I don't want a true "bluewater" boat because it won't make the wife and kids happy in terms of just hanging out on it (too "cramped", too "slow", not "sexy", too "expensive", etc. as is the perception of most of the buyers in this market). And this approach makes sense for the most part, especially in light of the actual number of times sailors hit dangerously rough weather.

So what does this mean for me (and the majority of the market out there)?

At this point in my learning, and using this tragedy as an example, it means a few general things I think:

1. I need to prepare for the worst as much as I possibly can (gear, knowledge, abilities, strategies, etc.).
2. I need to be extremely (overly) conservative in my sailing, confining my sailing to mellower weather windows (not chancing it), "easier" places to sail, etc.
3. I will have to make sure I have enough capable crew on board to handle the forecast conditions.
4. I will have to do everything I can to keep learning better seamanship and preparedness - and know as much as I possibly can about the areas in which I sail.
5. I will have to practice in gradually more difficult conditions and locations to learn how to handle my boat, crew, and self, in tougher circumstances. (That's why I've always been a fan of BFS).
6. I will have to remember that there is a line that we can't cross - period - especially in light of the boat I have and my abilities. That line may change over time as I get better - but it will always be there.

There's a lot more...but I think the last one is the biggest one...and one that applies to most of the sailboat market out there with these kinds of popular boats.


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Last edited by smackdaddy; 12-13-2010 at 11:18 AM.
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post #352 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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Driven over that numerous times, You don't see many sailboats in that area generally. That's kinda crazy!



Great info! I agree on the boat not being suitable, it appears to me to be a nice weather/racing boat more than anything.


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post #353 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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How is the boat at anyway at fault in this?

If you don't like the trend in boat design (I don't, especially Deck Saloon designs) then don't by one, but there is really no reason this boat couldn't have safely completed the voyage it was on.

It seems to have proven it was, as boats usually are, able to withstand more than its crew.

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post #354 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
How is the boat at anyway at fault in this?

If you don't like the trend in boat design (I don't, especially Deck Saloon designs) then don't by one, but there is really no reason this boat couldn't have safely completed the voyage it was on.

It seems to have proven it was, as boats usually are, able to withstand more than its crew.
No doubt, except if it had lost it's rudder...

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post #355 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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I've been really hesitant to weigh in because of my level of experience. But a couple of things keep floating up in my mind.

1 - Preparation; knowing as much as possible about local conditions along the route in places and conditions where you could/couldn't bail out.

2 - Having a schedule. I've always read that you shouldn't have a schedule but should always let the weather dictate your go-no-go decisions. Would this captain in this boat have normally sailed with this forecast if not for the rally schedule? Or would he have waited for a weather window that would have allowed him to make the trip in more benign conditions?

3 - How experienced was the captain sailing offshore in these kinds of conditions?

I'm not ready to say that this Beneteau shouldn't have been out there. I'm guessing similar boats completed the rally.

So maybe a question to be asked is what was different aboard Rule 62 compared to other production boats that did complete the rally? As several others have said it's likely to be a list of things, not just one thing. Also as others have said I'd like to hear the captain's account of what happened. I think there are lessons to be learned from reading it.

Jim

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post #356 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
How is the boat at anyway at fault in this?
I think his main point was that the boat design may have contributed to fatigue, exposure, and seasickness, and that those things may have then impaired the captain's judgement after several days at sea.


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post #357 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Based on the pics Skip posted, the instrumentation is Raymarine.

Anyone sailing the Bahamas that relies on Raymarine Chartplotters that take Navionics chips is in for a big surprise. There are many errors in their chip. I have corresponded with Navionics pointing out the errors. They put out a new chip that was worse than the old one as they had to remove some "borrowed" material. They refuse to buy Explorer Chart data so their chips remain the worst ones going. Full of errors.

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.

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post #358 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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nothing being cruel about an idiot who kill somebody by mere incompetence.
I find your Monday-morning quarterbacking and name-calling insensitive, at the very least!
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post #359 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
I think his main point was that the boat design may have contributed to fatigue, exposure, and seasickness, and that those things may have then impaired the captain's judgement after several days at sea.
The crews of Swan's aren't immune from that stuff either, but the point is taken.

My point is many, many similar boats, some arguably less capable, completed the trip from Norfolk to Tortola unscathed, with safe and happy crews.

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post #360 of 636 Old 12-13-2010
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The whole lifejacket issue is something I'd like some feedback on. We don't know the type of PFD that Laura was wearing so this may not pertain at all to this case, but this tragic event is something that makes me 2nd-guess the inflatable harness PFD's. If the inflatable tube were to get punctured by rigging of the boat if you're thrown/rolled or by some other hardware that got into the water from the boat, or by a reef, then it woud deflate and be useless. In circumstances like this, it drives home the point - for me, at least - to get a bonafide Type I PFD for offshore passages.

We used inflatable harnesses for our cruise to the Bahamas and back. Upon arriving home, we decided to inflate it and show some folks how it worked. We yanked the manual cord - and nothing happened. Nothing at all.

I remain skeptical but would welcome others' experiences.
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