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  #31  
Old 04-13-2013
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjretlaw View Post
....
However, all through the day I had been thinking about the ever increasing swell and how it would affect the entry to Figuiera. The dominant wind on the Portuguese coast is northerly. Consequently, the Atlantic coast marinas and harbours in Portugal are open to the west and south. When there's a big swell, the harbours become "no-go" zones. Three years ago a British yacht was rolled in the surf trying to enter when conditions weren't right. Two died so our attention was held for our entry.

As we approached the harbour, the comers were building in height as they rushed shorewards, trailing a head of spume as the hit shallower water.

The German boat headed on in but we were a bit doubtful. In fact, very doubtful. The cones saying whether the entry was safe or not weren't visible as we made our approach so we called the harbour master who said "Harbour closed. Too dangerous".

Our concerns confirmed, we turned around and headed out for a night at sea.

...
Thanks for having posted it. That confirms that the mayday comes from another sailing boat and one that acted like everybody should act in a bar with a doubtful entrance: Calling the port authorities and ask for advice.

As I have said in any pilot book it is said that the bar in Figueira da Foz is a dangerous one with bad weather. Regarding Peniche only in extreme weather the Port is closed, kind of 30, 33ft waves. It is possible to enter or going out even in stormy weather. With bad weather coming out of Peniche and going North the next good Port (bedsides Nazaré that is at only 25nm) is Matosinhos at about 120nm from Peniche. Even Porto with really bad weather can be dangerous.

and they say also (the other boat):

"A long wet, windy and wild night ensued. We had F6 -F8 all night, mostly accompanied by monsoon strength rain. The good news was we just battered along doing minimum 8knots, steady around 9 and hitting 10 at times. All GPS over the ground speed so genuinely fast. As opposed to our over reading boat speed log.

9am saw us tucked up in Baiona, Spain,now poised for a last hop up the coast or our dash across Biscay to somewhere on Southern Ireland. "


And that confirms what I had said, a disagreeable night on the sea but not a dangerous one for a boat like a X 442. People died because someone has taken risks just to pass a more comfortable night aboard.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 04-13-2013 at 12:06 PM.
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  #32  
Old 04-13-2013
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
A little more on the dead sailor taken from a local newspaper.

His monthly wage was £800 and his widow gets a pension of £267 a month.
That is a bit worse and better than that: it is 800 euros not pounds. The wife only receives that because the rest is for the two children (monthly they will receive 80% of 800 euros). She will receive also a compensation of about 200/250 times X the value of his husband wage (800 euros).

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Paulo
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  #33  
Old 04-13-2013
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

I found out a complete description of the accident on a German site (from the charter/sailing school company). It turned out that when the Rib capsized all crew was already rescued and they were trying to save the sailboat towing it. The best intention, I am sure, but now it seems not the best idea and it was probably too risky:

Translation:

"On the afternoon of 10.04. the yacht Meri Tuuli (13.50 meters long, type X-442) sailing with a SW force 4/5 was surprised by a wave and capsized while trying to enter the bar of Figueira da Foz with the intention to reach Port.


All five crew members were washed out of the boat. All crew was wearing life jackets. The skipper was able to come back on board and called by help sending distress rockets.

Two Portuguese rescue vessels left harbor immediately and together with the skipper, they coordinated the rescue of the crew. After all crew members were rescued, the skipper prepared a towing connection for the Meri Tuuli.

At that moment due to a particularly high wave one of the lifeboats was capsized. The towing operation was canceled and the only remained lifeboat tried to rescue the crew from the capsized lifeboat as well as the members of the yacht crew that were aboard.

Due to the capsize of the lifeboat, a Portuguese police officer and one of our crew members did not survive. A crew member is injured but out of danger and is still being treated in an hospital in Portugal.

Our executive Skipper is a longtime, experienced, safety-conscious employee and colleague. He has a lot more skills than required for such commercially operating yacht licenses. ....

The Ports on the Portuguese west coast are generally considered difficult to enter. This situation was known by the Skipper but after weighing all the circumstances and giving the prevailing conditions decided to enter.

The yacht was en route from Lisbon to Porto, with Figueira da Foz harbor as a stop over. In Porto, a crew change would takes place.

The accident is currently being investigated by the competent authorities and we assure them all the support that is needed to arrive at a final assessment of the accident.

In parallel, we also conduct our own investigation and will inform the public of the outcome in due course."

......

For the Nordtoern-well Sailing GbR
Richard Jeske & Thomas Dühren


Well-Sailing: Aktuelles


Funny how they fail to mention that the Port and the river bar were closed to boats with less than 35m

...
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Last edited by PCP; 04-13-2013 at 09:10 PM.
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  #34  
Old 04-14-2013
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

True, and somehow they forgot to mention that he was trying his appoach nearly 2 hours after highwater.

PCP's translation of the statement reads "... The Ports on the Portuguese west coast are generally considered difficult to enter. This situation was known by the Skipper but after weighing all the circumstances and giving the prevailing conditions decided to enter. ... "

Trouble is you can nicely watch the breakers from the beach, but coming from the sea you only notice the "presumably harmless" back of them. The coast itself is quite regular which doesn't really help, and, after several hours out in a bit of a lumpy sea you don't notice any more how bad it really is. Till you arrive at the point of no return, and then it is too late.

We had lots of rainfall the last weeks, the rivers are full of water with strong currents, it must have been Hell around Figueira!

Nazare, one of the few ports you can enter in almost any conditions and which lies about 25 NM to the south of Figueira da Foz, was full of fishing-boats from Figueiras da Foz on Wednesday when the accident happened. Because the harbour was closed, and because they wouldn't dare to enter FF in these conditions.

What can we do to make sailors more aware about the dangers of the Portugese coast???????

Last edited by Tourbionnee; 04-14-2013 at 09:41 AM.
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

Somehow I was convinced they were supposed to have NAVTEX onboard, well, I must haven been mistaken:

@ 09th of April 2002 UTC:
Navigational warning

RA84
MONSANTORADIO
092002 UTC APR 13
NAV. WARNING NR 834/13

PORTUGAL-CONTINENTAL PORTUGAL-
WEST COAST-FIGUEIRA DA FOZ
HARBOUR ENTRANCE CLOSED TO
VESSELS UNDER 11 METERS LENGTH
NNNN

@ 09th April 2119 UTC:
Navigational warning

RA85
MONSANTORADIO
092119 UTC APR 13
NAV. WARNING NR 835/13

PORTUGAL-CONTINENTAL PORTUGAL-
WEST COAST-FIGUEIRA DA FOZ
HARBOUR ENTRANCE CLOSED TO
VESSELS UNDER 35 METERS LENGTH
NAVIGATIONAL WARNING NR 834/13
CANCELLED
NNNN

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  #36  
Old 04-14-2013
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourbionnee View Post
..
PCP's translation of the statement reads "... The Ports on the Portuguese west coast are generally considered difficult to enter. "..
....
Nazare, one of the few ports you can enter in almost any conditions and which lies about 25 NM to the south of Figueira da Foz, was full of fishing-boats from Figueiras da Foz on Wednesday when the accident happened. Because the harbour was closed, and because they wouldn't dare to enter FF in these conditions.

What can we do to make sailors more aware about the dangers of the Portugese coast???????
I don't know. Fact is that I can recall one one accident with a Portuguese sailing boat and many with foreign boats. I guess that we have more confidence on the information that is provided by the authorities in what regards closed ports, information that is disregarded by sailors from other countries that seem to think we are too careful.

This one happened 2 years ago on Vila do Conde, a Port North of Figueira. the port was also closed. If I can recall correctly they were warned not to try to enter. There were three experienced sailors aboard...



only one survived. Two died there.

It is said that the Ports on the west coast of Portugal are difficult to enter but it should be said some ports because others are open in bad weather and only closed in extreme weather the kind that cannot be sustained by a small sailboat near the coast anyway. As I had said Nazaré is open with pretty bad weather even if it is better only to enter in day time and asking for directions, Peniche, Leixões (Marina de Leça), Lisboa (Cascais) Setubal (Sesimbra) and Sines are open with bad weather so it is not really a bad situation. You have just to be prepared to pass a night on the sea since in some cases it will not be possible to cover the distance between them during the day.

Typically the Ports that close with bad weather and by that order are Caminha, Vila Praia de Âncora, São Martinho do Porto, Porto, Figueira da Foz, Póvoa de Varzim, Vila do Conde, Viana do Castelo and Aveiro.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 04-14-2013 at 11:40 AM.
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  #37  
Old 04-14-2013
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

It has been interesting to read about what happened here. Very sad indeed for the rescuers and their families who are doing the best they can with what they have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourbionnee View Post
What can we do to make sailors more aware about the dangers of the Portugese coast???????
It's not just the Portugese coast.. all over the world sailors get in trouble trying to enter closed harbours, or simply finding themselves on a lee shore in an "unforecast" gale.

Over here, lately, the weather forecasts have become so unreliable and change so quickly it is difficult to plan a nice day out on the water - but many go out anyway and most do not get into trouble...

Perhaps some sailors now put so much trust in the ability of their yachts and the accuracy of weather forecasts that they are willing to take risks they shouldn't?? From information posted here already it sounds like the skipper of "Meri Tuuli" was experienced and should have known better.

I think it would help if regularly-updated Pilot books, especially for "sailing vessels", were made freely available by governments at least for popular coastlines - but I cannot see that happening anytime soon. Not over here anyways.
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Last edited by Classic30; 04-14-2013 at 08:44 PM.
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley18 View Post
...
I think it would help if regularly-updated Pilot books, especially for "sailing vessels", were made freely available by governments at least for popular coastlines - but I cannot see that happening anytime soon. Not over here anyways.
Hartley, there are actualized pilot books of this coast. This one is hugely known and I would say that everybody that passes here have one. They are actualized regularly but even on the older editions it is said clearly that one should only enter the Bar of Figueira da Foz with good weather and a special warning is made that is a dangerous bar with not settled weather.

Atlantic Spain & Portugal: Amazon.co.uk: RCC Pilotage Foundation: Books Atlantic Spain & Portugal: Amazon.co.uk: RCC Pilotage Foundation: Books



Regards

Paulo
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

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Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Hartley, there are actualized pilot books of this coast. This one is hugely known and I would say that everybody that passes here have one. They are actualized regularly but even on the older editions it is said clearly that one should only enter the Bar of Figueira da Foz with good weather and a special warning is made that is a dangerous bar with not settled weather.
Ok.. At least something exists for you I guess. I presume the "Meri Tuuli" had a copy on board? IMHO, GBP42.50 is a bit steep for a single stretch of coastline, especially if it is only valid for a year or so. Everyone has a copy? Wow!! Presuming that somebody cruising that part of the globe would also need something for Northern Europe, UK and the Med, plus charts, that's a significant amount of money to spend every year or so.

Back in the "old days" the Admiralty used to issue volumes of pilot books for for all parts of the world. I believe they still do but they're now more applicable to container ships, not small yachts. Personally, I wish something was available electronically at low cost, in the same way charting software is, but the cost of developing and maintaining such a beast up to date would be tremendous.

I actually think there is less up-to-date information readily available now to the coastal cruiser in many places than there was last century. That's certainly the case for my part of the world.
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Last edited by Classic30; 04-14-2013 at 09:28 PM.
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Re: Bad yacht accident: two dead (one rescuer)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley18 View Post
...

I think it would help if regularly-updated Pilot books, especially for "sailing vessels", were made freely available by governments at least for popular coastlines - but I cannot see that happening anytime soon. Not over here anyways.
Pilot books, as well as charts etc are freely (meaning no charge) available from NOAA for whatever areas they cover. And that is how it should be. Obviously, this is very USA-centric.

Perhaps sailors and mariners in other countries should try to get their governments to adopt a similar model. We would all gain from it.
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