Sinking of Rule 62 - Page 60 - SailNet Community
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post #591 of 636 Old 04-25-2011
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This thread doesn't need to be closed... It's interesting and has provided further info on occasion.

The truth always comes out, it's just a matter of time. Eventually someone will talk or be allowed to talk.

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post #592 of 636 Old 04-26-2011
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It may not be in publications for the same reasons. There isn't enough investigative information to do more than speculate on the parts that readers are most interested in.
Fair enough, but that fails to explain why other, similar tragedies have been noted...

Fatty's story in CRUISING WORLD on the killing of the QUEST crew is little more than pure speculation as to what occurred aboard that boat... And, we still know very little about the final events that led to the loss of BERSERK in Antarctica, but that hasn't stopped SOUNDINGS from running a full feature story on the tragedy...

The Caribbean 1500 is perhaps the most well-known such rally to American cruisers, and widely regarded as one of the best ways for aspiring bluewater cruisers to venture offshore, and make their first passage... The event has been widely covered in the sailing media in past years, the "race" results often noted in various publications, etc... But now, after the first shipwreck and loss of life occurs in the rally's 20-year history, and no one deems that even worthy of mention?

Purely coincidental, perhaps, but it certainly strikes me as more than a bit odd...
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post #593 of 636 Old 04-26-2011
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The Caribbean 1500 is perhaps the most well-known such rally to American cruisers, and widely regarded as one of the best ways for aspiring bluewater cruisers to venture offshore, and make their first passage... The event has been widely covered in the sailing media in past years, the "race" results often noted in various publications, etc... But now, after the first shipwreck and loss of life occurs in the rally's 20-year history, and no one deems that even worthy of mention?

Purely coincidental, perhaps, but it certainly strikes me as more than a bit odd...
I would bet that there are threats of law suits by the Caribbean 1500 and possibly others such that these publications are very hesitiant to do any speculation what so ever.
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post #594 of 636 Old 04-26-2011
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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
The Caribbean 1500 is perhaps the most well-known such rally to American cruisers, and widely regarded as one of the best ways for aspiring bluewater cruisers to venture offshore, and make their first passage... The event has been widely covered in the sailing media in past years, the "race" results often noted in various publications, etc... But now, after the first shipwreck and loss of life occurs in the rally's 20-year history, and no one deems that even worthy of mention?

Purely coincidental, perhaps, but it certainly strikes me as more than a bit odd...
What kind of training do these participants go through and/or are required to have for the race? And how are these newbs "looked after" during the race.

I ask because I've read that once the fleet gets spread out on the way down, one boat may not see another for the rest of the trip.

If so, that leaves a lot of responsibility on a newbie skipper. It just seems this idea of safety in a pack might be a little overblown.

Anyone able to shed light on this?


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post #595 of 636 Old 04-26-2011
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What really mystifies me about this incident, however, is the virtual sailing/cruising media blackout that has ensued in its wake… Aside from an initial mention in LATITUTE 38, I have seen no mention whatsoever of this event in publications such as CRUISING WORLD, SAIL, SOUNDINGS, or OCEAN NAVIGATOR, to name but a few… Especially in a publication like SOUNDINGS, which covers to a great extent all manner of maritime incidents – one can search the archives of SOUNDINGS and read accounts of the most commonplace rescues of duckhunters rescued in the Chesapeake after their Jon-boat capsized, for example… But nowhere does any reference to the loss of RULE 62 even exist… Their current issue features a story on the recent loss of the BERSERK in Antarctica, CRUISING WORLD has a Goodlander piece on the killing of the crew of the QUEST by Somali pirates, but across the board of sailing publications, it’s as if this event simply never occurred… Very odd, it seems to me…

I’m not by nature a conspiracy theorist, but I can’t help but wonder if there is some reason for this one, some degree of "pressure" being applied from some source to keep this one quiet, and the fact that various sailing forums such as this one have been the sole venue for the discussion of this story, one that obviously serves as a cautionary tale for all sailors out there, and all can learn from…
Perhaps their waiting for some factual information to write a story on? (So they can mangle the facts of course).

I would think that eventually there would be some sort of report from the Bahamian"s?

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post #596 of 636 Old 04-26-2011
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And how are these newbs "looked after" during the race.

I
I have friends who participated in the 1500 about 6 years ago who were very unhappy with the lack of communication with the 1500 after the lead boats had finished the trip. Apparently there were award ceremonies being held all the while there were still boats out there trying to finish at the back of the pack. My friends were not newbies to long distance cruising by any means.
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post #597 of 636 Old 04-26-2011
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The 1500 maintains a radio schedule until the last boat finishes the Regatta. Some boats finish after everyone else has gone home. They also have transponders on all the boats that broadcast each boats progress. The organiserd also maintain technical support by SSB and sat phone.The award ceremony is usually about 3 days after the first boats arrive. They do not have a "chase boat" hearding the straglers in to port. The only thing that I have suggested is that they have continuous SSB monitoring of boats in trouble; what else can they do? By the way, by private communication, I was told that Rule 62 had lost all electronics before they approached the Bahamas. That seems to me to be another reason not to attempt land fall at night.
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post #598 of 636 Old 04-26-2011
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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post

The Caribbean 1500 is perhaps the most well-known such rally to American cruisers, and widely regarded as one of the best ways for aspiring bluewater cruisers to venture offshore, and make their first passage... The event has been widely covered in the sailing media in past years, the "race" results often noted in various publications, etc... But now, after the first shipwreck and loss of life occurs in the rally's 20-year history, and no one deems that even worthy of mention?

Purely coincidental, perhaps, but it certainly strikes me as more than a bit odd...
What kind of training do these participants go through and/or are required to have for the race? And how are these newbs "looked after" during the race.

I ask because I've read that once the fleet gets spread out on the way down, one boat may not see another for the rest of the trip.

If so, that leaves a lot of responsibility on a newbie skipper. It just seems this idea of safety in a pack might be a little overblown.

Anyone able to shed light on this?

I should probably try to clarify what I wrote there…

I was basically addressing the sort of “notoriety” the 1500 has achieved over the years, it’s pretty obvious many modern cruisers think such events are the best way to get their feet wet, and pay a fairly hefty price to do so… Many people apparently feel it’s worth it, there is a high rate of repeat customers among the participants, and then there is the added social aspect of the whole deal… there is certainly no shortage of accounts from participants who enjoyed their rally experience immensely, and would repeat it in a heartbeat…

I’ve never done the rally myself, so I’m only able to repeat what I’ve heard anecdotally… The organizers do appear to offer a fairly thorough check of the fleet beforehand, and the safety and weather briefings sound pretty comprehensive, and conducted by some very reputable people…

However, I just happen to disagree personally with some of the supposed advantages of rallies that are often touted. IMHO, the “safety in numbers” aspect of these cattle drives is vastly oversold. To me it seems completely wrong-headed to head offshore with even the fleeting expectation or hope that you may benefit from assistance of other vessels in the vicinity. My feeling is that the greater likelihood is that I might be called upon to come to the assistance of someone else, and perhaps place my own vessel and crew at some risk they would not otherwise be exposed to if out there alone… Simply put, if one is not ready – or feel they are ready – to undertake an offshore passage on their own, well… then they are not ready, period…

I happened to stop in the Bluewater Yachting Center last fall on a delivery during the week prior to the original scheduled departure, and had the opportunity to walk the docks, and check much of the fleet… Perhaps many of the boats were better prepped by the time they set sail, but I saw plenty of things I didn’t like to see on boats heading offshore… SUV tenders hung from stern davits, lots of fuel jugs lining the decks, and so on… In short, the sort of stuff that can quickly create problems offshore. Compared with the look of the fleet prior to the start of the Newport-Bermuda Race, for example, well … there is simply no comparison, those boats are ready to go to sea

The 1500 fleet took a considerable risk upon departure last year, leaving in the conditions they did…. Putting a fleet of boats inshore of the Stream down the coast to Hatteras in the winds and seas they did, I think they were lucky no one got into trouble through there…. One boat made the unfathomable decision to bail out and enter Oregon Inlet, I would have hoped the rally organizers would have tried to dissuade them from doing so at all costs, but I’m not so sure… They went in anyway, the boat suffered serious damage after being dropped on the bar, and by their own admission, were lucky to have survived… All because they were simply unwilling to suffer another night of the sort of “discomfort” they had experienced the first night out… I’m not saying I would not have departed Hampton in the same situation, but if I had, I’d sooner be out there alone, with only myself to worry about, than to be part of a large fleet wherein I might be compelled to lend assistance…

Just one curmudgeon’s opinion, as always… (grin)
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I went on the 1500 last fall and in fact was the next boat in the roll call after Rule 62 and so heard all of their communications (at least those that were made during the twice daily roll call) I have nothing more to add to that than what I have already said previously in this thread but I will say this

- The organizers pound home OVER AND OVER that the decision to go is UP TO THE CAPTAIN and that while the rally makes every effort to help and to answer questions they are NOT RESPONSIBLE in any way shape or form. On our boat we didnt see another ship or boat for a 6 day stretch and that was pretty normal. Nobody should imagine that they are anything but on their own whether they are in a rally or not. Certainly, if you thought otherwise you had to be really good at not listening to what the rally organizers told you, in addition to not reading anything you signed.

- Of COURSE the 1500 fleet doesnt look like the Bermuda race fleet. The reason is that the 1500 isnt a race - it is a rally. Cruisers do indeed carry jerry jugs on their decks because they might need to motor more than their tankage allows - if you are in a race you arent motoring at all. I would agree that there some people who did things that I wouldnt do (like leave the dinghy on the davits) but if they did so it was against the advice of the rally organizers.

Again, the rally people were absolute great at giving advice and sharing experience. But they also made it crystal clear that advice and experience was all they were sharing. The decision to sail is each captain's.
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post #600 of 636 Old 04-26-2011
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Jon, I enjoy your posts here and on CSBB. I'd sail with you anytime. Perhaps that means we are similarly deluded. *grin*

It is indeed rare that bad things will happen over a long enough time period that someone can come help you. I think it is even more rare that a participant in a rally based on "safety in numbers" will be able to render meaningful assistance in ugly conditions.

I was planning a trip to the BVI last fall on my own boat that happened to coincide with the rally. I left Annapolis the day the rally was supposed to leave Hampton. By the time I reached Little Creek (a much better launching point to head offshore than Norfolk or Hampton) the rally had delayed their start.

A couple of days later, with Tomas wandering around the Caribbean, a huge Nor'Wester off Nova Scotia, and no less than three gales off the US East Coast, I headed back to Annapolis. The Rally launched. A number of rally boats did not go, including Between The Sheets who led their class for several years. Almost everyone who went was okay, but there were huge boat damages and a death.

I think I made the right choice.

Chalk me up as just another curmudgeon with lots of miles--mostly on delivery--offshore. *grin*

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