S/V Triumph lost in the atlantic - Page 13 - SailNet Community
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post #121 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Question: In this scenario, where you have made final decision to abandon and a tanker is within sight, would it make more sense to go ahead and deploy the LR and get away from the boat? Would this make a safer rescue platform?
Well, Doug would be best equipped to answer that one, of course...

But I would suggest, in general terms, you'd want to be in a liferaft or tender shortly before the merchant vessel makes "contact" with the mother ship, to minimize the risk of being injured by the violence of the collision, or the dismasting that occurred aboard TRIUMPH...

But you'd still want to remain tethered to the mother ship, until such time as you'd gotten control of a tether from the ship... Last thing you'd want to do is start skating across the ocean in a liferaft or inflatable, and be at the mercy of a 900-foot tanker chasing you down, and attempting to create a lee to slow your rate of drift...

Of course, every scenario or situation is different, but I'd be inclined to remain aboard the boat until the last possible moment, then remain tethered to it, using it as a "sea anchor", in effect...

I've never had to do such a thing, and certainly hope I never will... But as Doug's account illustrates, I think most sailors greatly underestimate how risky such an operation can be...

And if it happens to occur at night, that's a whole 'nother ballgame, I doubt Doug would be here to share his tale if that had been the case...
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post #122 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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Simply an amazing tale... thank you so much for sharing
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post #123 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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To LandLocked... on the one hand, yes, that was a bizzare thing to experience. On the other, it was instinctual, since I did not know that I had lost "bouyancy" from taking on water, and I was really fighting to return to the surface. Though each time I regained the surface, it was only to get a breath, be pummelled full of water again, and sink again.
Really frightening... I was absolutely sure I was only in the last gasps of life without any hope for being "saved".

To Turbilicity:
The chainplates broke under the deck above the ribs. Apparently from metal fatigue. I think that the leaking stanchions, on that side, had slowly rusted them too. I had recently done a lot of work on the port side of the deck, wherein I actually replaced the rotten wood, then replaced the fiberglass / gel coat / Imron, and all leaking finally stopped. So, I planned on doing the same project on the starboard side when we were in Europe. Bad call there. About 3 years earlier, I had removed and restored the interior teak walls in the boat, and had an opportunity to review the status of the chainplates. They looked excellent then. So, if you have any deck leaks, FIX THEM.

To LauderBoy:

Well, thank you, but, these were the mistakes I made:

1. I should damn well have known that the oil cooler was past it's life expectancy of 5 - 7 years, and changed it. It was 7 years old. CHANGE YOUR OIL COOLER EVERY 5 YEARS.
2. I should have fixed the deck leaks COMPLETELY. Then, I should have checked the chainplates using the special dye they use to do that. Not just look at them.

3. I should have turned around and headed back to Boston when the oil cooler broke.

4. I should have not called the Coast Guard when the stays broke.


6. We should have STAYED ON THE BOAT until the tanker either deployed a life boat to get us, or accomplished getting some lines to us, wherein we attached those to harnesses to hoist us to their deck.

7. I should not have let go of the Triumph after having gotten back to her in the open ocean, then: see #6.

8. (Earlier) I should have selected a much better life preserver, or even used my Boston Whaler.... but that would still be in conflict with #6, though would have been better than jumping over board with what I had for a PFD.

9. I should have paid for the insurance with REPLACEMENT VALUE, not the cheaper stated value policy we bought; at least for the crossing. We are receiving $135,500.00 BUT we had "over improved" the Triumph, wherein we are losing over $300,000. AND we are having a hell of a time getting any financing, even with $50,000 down. We are hearing it is the "economy". Translation: banks are not giving loans like they used to.

And finally, I should have hired a fellow sailor man to do the crossing with me. We would have addressed the issues as they cropped up, and would have supported each other to continue in that mode, rather than freaking out, and demanding that I show I care about her feelings / fears.

We had discussed the issues the night before the calamity, after the stays had broken. Evelyn was quite ready to bolt. I talked her into my plan of slowly sailing back to Boston.
But, I had also offerred to have just her extracted from the Triumph, and I would sail home. She said she wouldn't leave me alone, but don't I care about HER feelings??

So, with that in mind, when I opened the engine room door the next morning and we saw the water sloshing around in there, I gave up to her. BIG MISTAKE, considering I came as close to dying as you can, and with the "economy" we are stuck without a boat.

I was the Captain, and I should have held to the responsibilities of that before the desire to maintain domestic tranquility. Now I am not a Captain, AND the domestic scene is less than wonderful too. Since we do not have our "home", and I don't have anything to do anymore. And I can't blame anyone or anything else except me.

So, Captains, learn from Doug Sabbags' mistakes. In the LONG run, you will be much happier.
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post #124 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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To Jon Eisberg:

You got it. Don't leave the ship.

A big problem with the AMVER program is that these freighters / tankers are not either trained nor are they overly inspired to do everything they can to minimize the dangers to US.

After I recuperated from the hypothermia, (2 days later), I was on the deck of the Kim Jacob (tanker) when they were in Canada, and were doing a regulation test of their life boat deployment.

I was standing next to the Captain, as this deployment was happening. Well, you can imagine how I was seething inside to see that they do have these life boats and could have deployed one to get me, rather than just watch as I sank and by herculean afforts managed to rise again.

So, I asked him, (nicely), why didn't you deploy a life boat to get me?

He said that in the 10 - 15 foot seas we were in, they wouldn't have been able to re-attach the life boat to their cables to bring it back up.

To that I said, well, you could have brought it around to the stern and simply towed it the 2 days to Canada, and hoisted us up to the deck.

Then he said: We're not the Coast Guard, we are tankers, delivering oil from Africa to Canada.

So, with that in mind, they will not dive in to get you; they will not even deploy a life boat to get you. If you let go of your own boat, you are dead unless you are one hell of a determined little dude, and extremely lucky. :-)

Again, I should not have called for "assistance" unless the Triumph was without any doubt whatsoever SINKING. These "saviors" can easily kill you, and will, unless you maintain control of yourself.

I met with the Coast Guard, and did a de-briefing with over 2 dozen of them in Boston.

The bottom line is that these tankers / freighers / AMVER participants are better than nothing, and they can't be trained or pushed further, because they will simply not participate anymore.

So, if you think you need help, but the responder appears to be dangerous to your scene, tell them thank you, but no thanks, GO AWAY. I really should have.

I could go on and on, but fear and emotional distress and domestic dynamics were at the helm, not us at our best. That is a very dangerous combination, even worse than alcohol / texting / drugs..... :-)
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post #125 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
So, Captains, learn from Doug Sabbags' mistakes. In the LONG run, you will be much happier.
I'll make a deal with you Doug. I'll absolutely learn from your mistakes...IF....you agree to not beat yourself up about them for more than 1 or 2 more weeks.


I do and will have plenty of my own too. I'm just glad you guys survived it.
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post #126 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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SmackDaddy.... but, some of what there is to learn requires my "self beating".

And, I sure will be in a much better mood when / if we acquire an Amel.

We're not succeeding in getting financing because my wife and I are computer consultants, with overly aggressive tax plans. For instance, we can pay ourselves $10 per hour through our Corp.; though our Corp is recieving $65 per hour, each. Then the Corp. writes of as "expenses" all of our costs; to the point that there is nothing on any tax returns looking very enticing to give us any loans.

So, though we earn over $200 K per year, we look like we earned $14,000. period.

Another of my many mistakes..... :-)

We, well specifically me, had thought that with the Triumph in hand, we didn't need to look good on paper, since we had no plans of applying for any loans. So, get / keep all the money possible, and sail to the next place with a huge "sailing kitty", earned in just half a year!

When I jumped overboard, I had stuffed almost $50K in hundreds, into my pockets.
We had earned that in less than 6 months in Boston.
When we left Fort Lauderdale the year before, and spent the whole summer of 2010 cruising the Eastern Seaboard, we had done the same thing....

Now, because I called for assistance, we're screwed; without a boat, and can't qualify for a serious loan.

Yes, I thank God we're alive. But, how do we FULLY recover past that?

We need a unique financial institution that doesn't only look at W2s. Because ours are sick. Though we have great contracts with the associated bank deposits.

Any ideas toward that?

We want an Amel 53 footer, late model: 1990s. We have $50K down, and can pay plenty per month. I am so tired of hearing:

1. The "Economy"
2. Send us your W2s.
3. Send us your tax returns.

Then, can't help you....

Sorry, but while I am on this Board, I am also dealing with 3 boat loan places, and they are not going well.
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post #127 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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Doug.. I want to thank you for this remarkably candid, constructive discussion of what you've been through, I'm sure many of us are learning a lot - even if we may never experience anything like it.

I hope, too, that you and Evelyn can work your way through all of this that has happened both on the relationship side and the financial/lifestyle side of things.

Not many would have been so forthcoming and self critical (semi publicly, at any rate) as you have been.. we're all better off for it. Thanks again.


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post #128 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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I am relieved that no lives were lost and very sorry for the lost of your boat/home/belongings.

But as I recall how GE and other companies have avoided paying taxes over the years, I have a bit less sympathy as far as your current credit issues goes.

"...with overly aggressive tax plans."
"So, though we earn over $200 K per year, we look like we earned $14,000. period."

It appears your financial decisions (insurance and tax strategies) have had bad consequences. You made your bet and this time you lost. On the upside, you both still have your lives as well as your talents/skills. (Lets hope the IRS doesn't come across this thread and want to double check your books)

"... $50K in hundreds, into my pockets.
We had earned that in less than 6 months in Boston."

You are far ahead of many people today. In fact pretty damn lucky, all in all.
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post #129 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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Your really sharing a BIT to much stuff

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post #130 of 1257 Old 09-16-2011
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We all make honest mistakes, it's what you do afterwards that sets us apart. You are a hero to everyone who reads your detailed account and learns from it. It takes courage enough to look at yourself critically, and heaps more to freely share it for the benefit of unseen others.

You are one of the very finest men. Thank you immensely for sharing.


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Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
The best minds discuss sailing (and a little bit of politics). I don't know why. It's a mystery!
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