Sinking of Rule 62 - Page 41 - SailNet Community
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post #401 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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As to what the conditions were on the "ground" the day of accident I can tell you from being there that Sat inside the sea were very calm - winds 12-15 maybe a little higher but looking out at the sea and the reefs from Nippers they were HUGE. The cruisers net had been reporting the two before and the two days after the passages except for large boats were not passable. We anchoraged out that night just inside the East Loggerhead channel (by the Whale) and were able to watch the seas breaking on the reefs - HUGE. This is a little further north than where Rule 62 came to rest but while the wind was not a factor, the swells were HUGE because of the storms out in the Atlantic.
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post #402 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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Anytime you have swells passing from extremely deep waters (5000'+) to relatively shallow waters (<50'), you're going to have some serious problems. That describes almost all of the banks in the Bahamas, as I've said previously. Most of the Bahamian banks are located next to very deep water—like Exuma Sound, where the water is 5000'+ deep less than a half-mile from shore, and on the other side of the islands, like Stocking Island, the water is not even 35' deep.

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post #403 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Anytime you have swells passing from extremely deep waters (5000'+) to relatively shallow waters (<50'), you're going to have some serious problems. That describes almost all of the banks in the Bahamas, as I've said previously. Most of the Bahamian banks are located next to very deep water—like Exuma Sound, where the water is 5000'+ deep less than a half-mile from shore, and on the other side of the islands, like Stocking Island, the water is not even 35' deep.
Makes sense. Even though I have no real offshore experience, on the lake that I'm familiar with you can watch water "shoal up" on shallow areas near the shore and the waves increase in both height and frequency. Although I'm seeing it on a micro-scale, I can only imagine that it would have the same effect, only greater, at sea; thus making rough-but-doable seas into the stuff of nightmares, almost instantly.

Or I could be wrong.

Peace,

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post #404 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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You can go out on Long Island Sound by and area called the race and see it everyday on the flood

On a flat clam day there is line across the water that looks made made and tothe east is flat calm and to the west it looks like a whitewater river

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post #405 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
...
......and I go back to my earlier post that they were "feeling their way in" and got swamped by a really big wave that got big because of shoaling water and an outgoing tide in in the inlet.

.. A tired skipper with a tired, but alert crew approaches a coast to have a look to see if they might get in....they proceed slowly attempting to see what lies ahead and....

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As to what the conditions were on the "ground" the day of accident I can tell you from being there that Sat inside the sea were very calm - winds 12-15 maybe a little higher but looking out at the sea and the reefs from Nippers they were HUGE. The cruisers net had been reporting the two before and the two days after the passages except for large boats were not passable. We anchoraged out that night just inside the East Loggerhead channel (by the Whale) and were able to watch the seas breaking on the reefs - HUGE. This is a little further north than where Rule 62 came to rest but while the wind was not a factor, the swells were HUGE because of the storms out in the Atlantic.
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...
Conditions were moderating. However, this says NOTHING about the fact that a hurricane (Tomas) had recently passed and it had been blowing hard for some days.

Approaching an unknown Atlantic inlet on a lee shore at night for a "looksee" after days of heavy weather is madness -- or just plain ignorance.

....like sticking your arm into the lion's cage to see if he's friendly

Bill
Well, I think the above posts sums out pretty well the situation.

I agree with Bill. Approaching at night a difficult passage with heavy seas is never a good decision.

Heavy seas and weak wind just makes it a lot worse because you don’t have the sail power to counteract the seas and the boat will not be “tight” on a tack, but just bouncing around. On those conditions and with big waves and messy seas it is possible that the boat motoring (without sails) could not make way against the seas. It has already happened to me.

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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.
I fully agree.

Attempting a risky passage at night is bad seamanship. Doing that without life lines (that would have maintained them in the boat) is just…madness.

The boat was not the problem

Regards

Paulo
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post #406 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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Of course, at night in less than crystal clear conditions, how much useful visibility is there really? 100 yards might be pushing it, especially in remote areas where there is no loom or light pollution from brightly lit urban areas.

Also, in low light, it can be much more difficult to determine what the sea state is.

I'd also point out that in coral strewn areas like the Bahamas, making an entrance when you can't see the coral heads is not the brightest move in the world. Coral heads don't always appear on the chart plotters, and they're basically invisible at night. It only takes a single coral head in the wrong place to ruin your approach and take your life.


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"How do you predict"....didn't say you could. That's why someone might be tempted to have a look-see.

"easy to be off by 100 yds".....if I were to attempt something this foolish, I'd have the radar on to keep me in the middle, and, of course, the depth sounder going to avoid the really thin water.....

but all that doesn't do you any good when you get hammered by a really big wave.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #407 of 642 Old 12-14-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Incidentally, you mention the use of radar to assist such an entry in your other post above. In such conditions, with that sort of wave height, the degree of sea clutter would have likely rendered radar virtually useless… Furthermore, it is a fringing reef, not the cays themselves that border the North Bar Channel, that define the width of that cut… And that, of course, is the primary reason why it is so risky to navigate so many parts of the Bahamas at night or in poor light, where eyeball navigation and the ability to read the water - and what is BENEATH the surface - is the surest way to go…

One thing I’ve wondered about this incident right from the start, has anyone ever seen a photo of RULE 62 from the start of the Rally? I’d be very curious to know whether she might have been equipped with a full-cockpit enclosure?

Re radar....I agree big swell degrades it's performance, but intermittent returns will give you some indication of where you are relative to the land, and comparing that with a chart can help you stay in a channel.

Re channel size.... I agree you cant sail over reefs, so I measured the width between the (5m?) contour lines.

Re bimini / dodger.... I think it is a safe bet that Rule 62 had a dodger or bimini of some sort, and I think you're very correct in the assessment that these plastic bubbles can insulate you from the real conditions (in addition to providing a lot of extra windage). We have a hard dodger (open at the aft end). Sitting inside, under cover, before the wheel, warm and dry is a very diffferent experience to standing at the wheel with the wind in your face. That's why we love the hard dodger! But it's also why I ask watch standers to stick their heads outside every few minutes, so they can get a sense of what's happening in the real world.

Jon, you're a man of few posts, but I've found your contributions here to be insightful -- especially, the one a few pages back about modern electronics extending sailors' comfort zones thus permitting them to sail well beyond their capabilities. In the heat of this discussion perhaps we have not yet extended you a "Welcome" aboard to SailNet!
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post #408 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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Just the other day I spoke to someone who was in the rally with Rule 62. According to him, Rule 62 had at least two very seasick people aboard. The fleet surgeon advised them to tough it out and continue on to Tortola. The captain apparently decided otherwise and was trying to make port in the Bahamas to get the two ashore. I believe the captain was one of the two afflicted with mal de mer, which doesn't bode well for good decision-making at the inlet.

I also understand that Laura was at least partly handicapped by having limited use of one arm.
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post #409 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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I believe the captain was one of the two afflicted with mal de mer, which doesn't bode well for good decision-making at the inlet.
Reminds me on our first offshore passage, with my wife. As a captain, I got seasick (like throwing the dinner overboard). I had to be very discreet, so my wife would not freak out, particularly she was seasick as well!!

I can't imagine the moral of the crew on Rule 62 if the captain was seasick and stuck in his bunk
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post #410 of 642 Old 12-14-2010
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Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
Re radar....I agree big swell degrades it's performance, but intermittent returns will give you some indication of where you are relative to the land, and comparing that with a chart can help you stay in a channel.

Re channel size.... I agree you cant sail over reefs, so I measured the width between the (5m?) contour lines.

Re bimini / dodger.... I think it is a safe bet that Rule 62 had a dodger or bimini of some sort, and I think you're very correct in the assessment that these plastic bubbles can insulate you from the real conditions (in addition to providing a lot of extra windage). We have a hard dodger (open at the aft end). Sitting inside, under cover, before the wheel, warm and dry is a very diffferent experience to standing at the wheel with the wind in your face. That's why we love the hard dodger! But it's also why I ask watch standers to stick their heads outside every few minutes, so they can get a sense of what's happening in the real world.

Jon, you're a man of few posts, but I've found your contributions here to be insightful -- especially, the one a few pages back about modern electronics extending sailors' comfort zones thus permitting them to sail well beyond their capabilities. In the heat of this discussion perhaps we have not yet extended you a "Welcome" aboard to SailNet!

Thanks for the kind words, and from the earlier greetings from tdw and Smack... Truth be told, however, anyone who's witnessed my act on the CSBB or CA knows I'm just another cyber-sailing gasbag.... (grin)

Yeah, I need to start posting on another sailing forum like I need a hole in the head, but things have been a bit slow elsewhere these days, my old buddy Jeff H assures me this a cool place to hang out...

I'll try to tear myself away from the keyboard after Christmas, however, hopefully head south for a few months - assuming I can get out of here before Barnegat Bay freezes over, that is... (grin)
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