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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-14-2013 02:01 PM
chef2sail
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
You pin it on lack of experience, but consider all the reading material available to sailors on weather, route planning, heavy weather sailing, and how not to handle a sailboat in distress.

Why couldn't a careful sailor with good judgment, common sense and preparation, who researches these critical areas before undertaking a voyage, perform just as well or better than a more experienced skipper who develops a cavalier attitude toward passagemaking, or never really learned these lessons in the first place?

Doesn't this really come down to respect for the sea and the weather, that these voyages are not to be taken lightly, as so many of the novices seem to ignore?
Experience is a broad term which should include intellectual ( reading, research, theoretical) and hands on. Intellectual experience alone is no substitute for hands on. A competent safe sailor has both and knows the limits of safety, not necessarily their perceived limits which can be inflated by ther own misconceptions. There are many book smart and computer smart sailors.

Experience offshore is Not just in the sailing aspect but also should include maintainence of the boat inclusive of all of its systems. I have friends who re darn good sailors. Finish first in competitive races, but wouldn't know hw to troubleshoot and repair their own electrical systems of diesels. They always pay others to do his. To me this is not a good formula to have as n offshore sailor.

This is where someone like Jon or Dave excell. Thy have an all around combination of many facets of experiences it appears.
07-14-2013 12:09 PM
cheoah
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post

The only thing I can imagine, is that they were totally unaware of the bigger weather picture, and were solely relying on VHF forecasts for local waters as they progressed down the Bay, and then on down outside towards Hatteras...
I really think that this may have had a lot to do with it, and that still reflects a lack of judgement and experience. People who sail this stretch of water know that the inlets are mostly unusable, and know the risks in sailing these waters in unsettled weather. Much less with a big Low like that....

I use my iphone for coastal sailing a lot now. A couple of apps would have provided them all the big picture info they needed to just point their boat down the Elizabeth River and avoid failure off Cape Lookout.

Then there was the not fueling up part. Am I remembering that correctly, that they did not bother to tank up before putting out Chesapeake? That was not a conservative approach.
07-14-2013 11:09 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg
.. The obvious lack of offshore experience on the part of both skipper and crew, for one - THAT is what led to such an unseamanlike maneuver being made, in the end...

The inexperience of these guys off Hatteras, their inability to appreciate the bigger picture of what they were getting into - the inherent illogic of the route, a lack of appreciation of how such large and complex lows can literally 'explode' in the vicinity of Hatteras, how irrevocably they would be committed to their route once rounding Diamond Shoals, and so on - is what led to the loss of this boat... Not any of the cascading failures that followed, they were almost inevitable, or at least should certainly not have been surprising...
You pin it on lack of experience, but consider all the reading material available to sailors on weather, route planning, heavy weather sailing, and how not to handle a sailboat in distress.

Why couldn't a careful sailor with good judgment, common sense and preparation, who researches these critical areas before undertaking a voyage, perform just as well or better than a more experienced skipper who develops a cavalier attitude toward passagemaking, or never really learned these lessons in the first place?

Doesn't this really come down to respect for the sea and the weather, that these voyages are not to be taken lightly, as so many of the novices seem to ignore?
Absolutely... But, perhaps you're looking at what I mean by "experience" too narrowly...

I certainly consider a significant portion of the body of my own experience to include things I've read, or studied, or discussed with others, or simply included in 'stories' I've heard from other sailors... Hell, a 10-15 minute chat with a charter boat captain at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, for example, could have proven to have been the most valuable "experience" these guys might have gained, prior to this ill-fated venture... :-)

And, yes - such "experience" might even be gleaned from internet sailing forums, from time to time... :-)

You're right, however, with the incredible wealth of information so easily available today, there's little excuse for ignorance of so much of this stuff, at least on a 'theoretical' level...
07-14-2013 10:41 AM
jameswilson29
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
.. The obvious lack of offshore experience on the part of both skipper and crew, for one - THAT is what led to such an unseamanlike maneuver being made, in the end...

The inexperience of these guys off Hatteras, their inability to appreciate the bigger picture of what they were getting into - the inherent illogic of the route, a lack of appreciation of how such large and complex lows can literally 'explode' in the vicinity of Hatteras, how irrevocably they would be committed to their route once rounding Diamond Shoals, and so on - is what led to the loss of this boat... Not any of the cascading failures that followed, they were almost inevitable, or at least should certainly not have been surprising...
You pin it on lack of experience, but consider all the reading material available to sailors on weather, route planning, heavy weather sailing, and how not to handle a sailboat in distress.

Why couldn't a careful sailor with good judgment, common sense and preparation, who researches these critical areas before undertaking a voyage, perform just as well or better than a more experienced skipper who develops a cavalier attitude toward passagemaking, or never really learned these lessons in the first place?

Doesn't this really come down to respect for the sea and the weather, that these voyages are not to be taken lightly, as so many of the novices seem to ignore?
07-14-2013 10:39 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
You must have every respect for Jon.
Hard on personal/family life. Not in control of his schedule. Not there for some of the little moments that bind us together. S. O. In fear "will he come home?".
Need to deal with owners. Some are entitled jerks. Some are scared. Some think they know more than him.
Need to deal with an unfamiliar boat every time. . What's broken? Where are things?
Responsible for all souls on board. Fiscally responsible for the vessel and needs to deal with the authorities.
Income unpredictable and dependent on word of mouth/reputation.
Then there is seamanship and weather.
I listen closely when Jon posts.
Again, thanks for the kind words, but the delivery business hasn't been THAT tough... :-)

True, my lifestyle would not suit a family man very well, but has suited me just fine... And, I've probably still had far more control over my schedule than most in the workaday world, my schedule as always been somewhat self-imposed, to a large extent...

As far as my clients, I have been remarkably lucky over the years... Sure, there are plenty of horror stories re owners out there, but I could probably count my bad experiences on one hand... Overall, my clients have been absolutely wonderful to deal with, and many of the finest people I have ever known, and have treated me exceptionally well...

Pretty much the same thing with boats, though you do get a pretty good sense of those to be avoided early on in the business... These days, it's the new-fangled, state-of-the-art Latest & Greatest marked by their incredible complexity that scare me... :-)

if there's one thing I've learned over my time delivering yachts, it's the value of the KISS principle...
07-14-2013 10:29 AM
Shinook
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
The flying analogy only goes so far. There is mandatory licensing for pilots. Pilots must master a complex body of technical knowledge to perform adequately. There are regulations, mandatory oversight and inspections of commercial planes.
I think this proves the point all the more, that despite complex regulations and knowledge/licensing requirements, the same stupid decisions are still made by people that know better. It represents human nature and faults in decision making happen regardless of skill level or experience.
07-14-2013 10:08 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJC45 View Post
Jon, when first read of this incident I agreed with you 100%. And, i agree there was no reason to go outside, imo, for any reason. Buttttt! But then i read the captain's acct. Truthfully, while I still don't like some of the decisions that were made. My own conclusion is what we have here is a Domino Effect incident. Same as many aircraft crashes. In this case take away one Domino and we never hear about a boat named Adante 2. Storm takes it's projected path to the northwest, no rescue.
Again, THIS was the weather they sailed into... I seriously doubt had this massive system taken a slightly different track, the outcome would have been much different...



I can't even begin to imagine the thinking behind taking such a boat around Hatteras in January when that was the view of the Eastern seaboard from space... It's as unfathomable to me as Captain Walbridge's decision to sail the BOUNTY straight into the path of Hurricane Sandy... The only thing I can imagine, is that they were totally unaware of the bigger weather picture, and were solely relying on VHF forecasts for local waters as they progressed down the Bay, and then on down outside towards Hatteras...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJC45 View Post
Captain's forecast of 6 to 8 holds we have no rescue. The boats engine doesn't hit the crapper we don't have a rescue. They are somehow able to shoot the inlet, (yeah i know)we don't have a rescue.

In hindsight these captains look downright incompetent. They sit right at the intersection of poor judgement and bad luck. Truth is, maybe they are incompetent. Key word here "maybe." AS i said in my previous post the line between pulling it off and getting away with it is razor thin. We have all been there! And i agree my take is generous. But lacking an NTSB level investigation we've got to draw our own conclusions.

As always, however, I think we make a mistake in looking at these sorts of events in terms of such specific "Dominoes", or decisions made... I think such a tendency to focus on the "of only they hadn't...", 'For Want of a Nail' type of analysis so often disguises the broader, more important lessons to be learned from these sorts of events...

Again, I'll refer to the RULE 62 tragedy... Most people would probably say the mistake made there was the skipper's attempt to enter that Bahamian cut, at night, in those conditions...

I, on the other hand, think it's more instructive to try to analyze the root causes that led up to the making of such a poor decision... In my opinion, the fate of RULE 62 was determined by decisions and choices the skipper made long before the boat ever left Hampon, perhaps years before that year's Caribbean 1500... The obvious lack of offshore experience on the part of both skipper and crew, for one - THAT is what led to such an unseamanlike maneuver being made, in the end...

The inexperience of these guys off Hatteras, their inability to appreciate the bigger picture of what they were getting into - the inherent illogic of the route, a lack of appreciation of how such large and complex lows can literally 'explode' in the vicinity of Hatteras, how irrevocably they would be committed to their route once rounding Diamond Shoals, and so on - is what led to the loss of this boat... Not any of the cascading failures that followed, they were almost inevitable, or at least should certainly not have been surprising...
07-14-2013 09:49 AM
outbound
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

You must have every respect for Jon.
Hard on personal/family life. Not in control of his schedule. Not there for some of the little moments that bind us together. S. O. In fear "will he come home?".
Need to deal with owners. Some are entitled jerks. Some are scared. Some think they know more than him.
Need to deal with an unfamiliar boat every time. . What's broken? Where are things?
Responsible for all souls on board. Fiscally responsible for the vessel and needs to deal with the authorities.
Income unpredictable and dependent on word of mouth/reputation.
Then there is seamanship and weather.
I listen closely when Jon posts.
07-14-2013 08:18 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Jon, I love going 'round with you on these fine forums - in fun. But I will honestly tell you - I am both amazed and envious of the experiences you've had on the number of boats you've sailed.

You're the man.
Thanks for the kind words, Smack, but that's far too generous an assesment, I'm afraid...

Sure, I've been very fortunate to get paid to run others' boats, and that work has taken me to some great places, meet some incredible people, and have rides on some beautiful boats, no question...

But, my experience pales in comparison to some of the other captains and sailors out there... While I've sailed all my life, most of my miles on the water have come aboard stinkpots, after all. Though I doubt there are too many out there who have made more trips up and down the East coast over the past 30 years than I've managed to rack up, it's easy to 'pad' the numbers somewhat by running so many boats capable of making the trip from NJ to Lauderdale in 4 or 5 days... :-)

Only in recent years have I had the time to do many of the longer, more time-consuming passagemaking deliveries under sail that my schedule may not have previously allowed... Even though running boats has occupied a considerable amount of the time I've spent over the years 'working', I've always considered my delivery work to somewhat of a sideline to what until recently was my 'Real' profession...

Shooting racing is how I really achieved Fame & Fortune, after all... :-)





Getting to play with a boat like FAIRWEATHER as if it were my own is a rare privilege, alright... But it doesn't offer quite the same rush as being permitted to be within a couple of meters of F1 cars blasting through the tunnel at Monaco, or being stationed at the exit of Turn 1 at Indy... :-)
07-13-2013 01:00 PM
chef2sail
Re: Sailboat perishes off Hatteras, USCG rescues crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Dave, I do not disagree with you at all about this. It's great to have someone of his experience who is willing to take the time to explain things for us novices (speaking for myself, not you). That is absolutely true.

But I want to re-emphasize this part of Smack's post...



...it's just really cool to get paid to captain other people's yachts. We're fortunate that he's an articulate and charitable blogger, since that enables us to share in his experience. I suspect there are mundane parts too, and some downright unpleasant work that needs to get done, but the whole concept of getting paid to captain others' yachts is about as cool as it gets.
Agreed. Not sure why you put so much emphasis with the but attached?

BTW I feel like I am a novice compared to Jon in terms of the ocean. He is one of the people I have learned a great deal of factual information from on SN.


An analogy. Everybody proffers they can cook and they make excellent food. Many people write about their enjoyment of cooking and prowess at it, even exchanging recipes. Only a very small percentage of them could hold a candle to a professional chef. And only a very small percentage of that percentage could ever do it as a career or get others to give up their hard earned money for their own original creations. That doesn't mean the amateur cooks and chefs aren't able to critique of have valid opinions about food.

Personally I wouldn't want to captain others yachts and am very happy with the professions I chose. Captaining for a living would ruin for me one of the most important aspects of sailing for me. Relaxation. Its much different if you have a schedule and that kind of responsibility I am sure. Its one reason why Jon is so passionate about the amateur F..ups who may give him a bad name as a professional or the bonehead moves some of us amateurs make. I fully appreciate that.
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