3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico. - Page 5 - SailNet Community
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post #41 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

It is hard to be emotionally removed when other sailors lose their lives. It is easy to be analytical in our desire to learn lessons from tragedies. The only thing my experience in busy harbors, especially NYC, would add is that that constant monitoring and hailing on VHF (9, 16 in dire straits and the local bridge to bridge channel... 72 on one side of Manhattan/73 on the other, go figure) is appreciated and helpful with commercial traffic. And "watch" means "watch" which means a 360 scan every two minutes in these areas especially in night/limited visibility.


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post #42 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

In 1993, we left Ft. Lauderdale at 10PM, heading for the Bahamas. Because the navigation aids at the time were so poor, we wanted to arrive in the morning so we would at least have good visuals.

There was no wind and the ocean was dead flat, so we motored. I was on the 1AM to 4AM watch. One crew member was sleeping on the seats next to the helm. It was eerie quiet, not a cloud in the sky and a full moon. The only sound was the drone of the motor and the hull slipping through the glassy waters. I knew the boat well. I had logged over 7,000 miles on her.

It was just after 3AM when I heard a feint sound coming from astern. I turned to see a large freighter off to starboard, not more than 200' away. The shock of seeing something so large and so close, that could have mowed us over without even knowing it, caused my adrenalin to rush.

"How could this be? Did they not see us? We had our radar reflector up. All our running lights were working and properly displayed. Why would they risk coming in so close?"

As they passed us I had the eerie feeling they never saw us.

Technology has come a long way since then. One would think far enough to prevent almost any type of collision, particularly in calm waters. I know they still don't know if the Aegean was victim of a collision but early evidence seems to indicate that.

When you're out on calm waters at night for hours on end, it can be disorienting and lull you into a sense of "all's well". Large ships can come upon you very fast, as I learned that night. I don't know what happened to the Aegean but I can understand how a collision could have happened.

The Chicago-Mac race had their first fatality last year, after 103 years. Then the Farralones deaths and now this. RIP.
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post #43 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

spot tracking isnt always dead on as to position--is close, but mine shows me in a 100ft away different place--like on land. spot could be off a lil, but is unknown. if they were autopiloting, could have missed a blip o nhorizon, appearing rapidly and coming on them too fast to respond. i dont understand, tho, why they would do that, as there is experience with this coast on board at the time.
at 0130, many commercial ships may not be as spot on with their watch, either, so it is probably a double fault. would love to know exactly what happened but there is little way of knowing that. no one seems to have survived to speak for the lost souls who sailed that sloop.
rip, agean. may your secrets be discovered to prevent similar accidents from happening in future.


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post #44 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

A 100' either way, it looks like they had to hit that island. I wonder if search crews have inspected the island for debris? Maybe larger pieces can be found there.

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spot tracking isnt always dead on as to position--is close, but mine shows me in a 100ft away different place--like on land. spot could be off a lil, but is unknown. if they were autopiloting, could have missed a blip o nhorizon, appearing rapidly and coming on them too fast to respond. i dont understand, tho, why they would do that, as there is experience with this coast on board at the time.
at 0130, many commercial ships may not be as spot on with their watch, either, so it is probably a double fault. would love to know exactly what happened but there is little way of knowing that. no one seems to have survived to speak for the lost souls who sailed that sloop.
rip, agean. may your secrets be discovered to prevent similar accidents from happening in future.
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post #45 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

Let's wait for the data but the SPOT track is interesting. It ends right at the island. That's not just a small island it's pretty big and if was off by 100' it still would end at the island. It's also a steady and straight speed at 6.5 knots. If you keep going through the bearing it takes you directly to Ensenada. So a theory. They sailed a bit. No wind. Fired tip the motor and autopilot and set a course for Ensenada. Autopilot course out them straight into the north side of that island which has sheer cliffs and gets big waves. Boat is battered by the waves against the north of the island. Debris drifts south n around the island which is consistent with the current and that's where the debris is found. South of the island.

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post #46 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

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Let's wait for the data but the SPOT track is interesting. It ends right at the island. That's not just a small island it's pretty big and if was off by 100' it still would end at the island. It's also a steady and straight speed at 6.5 knots. If you keep going through the bearing it takes you directly to Ensenada. So a theory. They sailed a bit. No wind. Fired tip the motor and autopilot and set a course for Ensenada. Autopilot course out them straight into the north side of that island which has sheer cliffs and gets big waves. Boat is battered by the waves against the north of the island. Debris drifts south n around the island which is consistent with the current and that's where the debris is found. South of the island.
Yup, that's what I'd put my money on, knowing what we do at the moment...

Interfacing an autopilot to a waypoint - IMHO, one of the most dangerous practices in common use today...

Especially, if used in conjunction with electronic charts alone... Even some pretty big pieces of rock can disappear, depending on the scale being used... Such a course should never, EVER be set without a close look at the appropriate paper chart. Hopelessly old fashioned, I know, but...

Just a hunch, of course... It is rather strange, that none of the initial reports I saw noted the proximity of the debris to the island, is there a significant amount of current running thru that area?

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post #47 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

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Yup, that's what I'd put my money on, knowing what we do at the moment...

Interfacing an autopilot to a waypoint - IMHO, one of the most dangerous practices in common use today...

Especially, if used in conjunction with electronic charts alone... Even some pretty big pieces of rock can disappear, depending on the scale being used... Such a course should never, EVER be set without a close look at the appropriate paper chart. Hopelessly old fashioned, I know, but...

Just a hunch, of course... It is rather strange, that none of the initial reports I saw noted the proximity of the debris to the island, is there a significant amount of current running thru that area?

This is a good theory, and perhaps another wrinkle could be that they glanced off a rock causing massive flooding, the boat then drifted a bit then the freighter hit it? It seems to me that even being battered on the rocks would not have chewed up the debris into that small of pieces. Boats that I have seen on the rocks have pieces several feet across, plus the mast and rigging would be nearby?
I am hoping that they will find the fourth person. My condolences to their families.
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post #48 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

Interesting info lately... but what's amazing to me is that in the initial reports of the loss of signal no mention was made of any significant islands in the vicinity.. that should have been observation #1, no??

How did that start out so quickly as being run over by a large vessel??

The major destruction so quickly is yet another mystery.. if she piled into the beach that alone doesn't really explain the 'shards of wreckage' floating over a large area'.. It usually takes a while to pound a boat to pieces.

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post #49 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

Wow, the plot thickens. I wonder how little the pieces were. Where is the rigging? Who owned the Spot transmitter? Where was it? Could someone with the spot have made it to the island? In something other than the sailboat doing 6.5 knots? The 4th person perhaps? Holmes, where are you? Would this experienced cap set a course through an island? If there was no wind, the sea was calm, and the boat ran aground there, some or all would likely have made it up on the rocks somewhere or at least into a liferaft or would have called in a mayday on a handset. Something doesn't sound right.

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post #50 of 104 Old 05-01-2012
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Re: 3 Dead in Sailing Yacht Crash in Race from Newport California to Mexico.

Could the Spot have floated over to the island after the initial accident in debris?

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