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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Follow the ARC
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-07-2012 03:43 PM
MarkofSeaLife
Re: Follow the ARC

It's why I sail solo.

Why do I want other people to, potentially, wreck my fun time?
12-07-2012 02:58 PM
billyruffn
Something for the Bucket List

Much of what we’ve talked about in this thread concerns what we might call the “technical” side of ocean sailing. As the ARC moves west the weather should stabilize and they will begin to experience the more benign conditions commonly found in the tradewinds – steady rollers 8-10 feet high from the east or ENE, 15-20 knot steady breezes, puffy white “trade wind clouds” intermixed with blue skys and warm sunshine. As that happens I would expect to see less drama in the log posts and more of what you might call contemplative musings. We’ve seen some already in a few posts, so I thought I might use my privileges as thread originator to change the subject somewhat and open a discussion of some of the more psychological aspects of sailing.

Quote:
What do you get when you put a lawyer, two architects, an artist, yacht broker, businessman and yacht captain in a 48 foot boat for seven days? Surprisingly enough, a very cohesive crew. Hailing from Switzerland, Scotland and the United States, our 7 member crew has an average age of 54 years with 23 years spanning the largest gap. Three of our crew have crossed the Atlantic multiple times while two of our crew have never been to sea before. When not at sea each crew member is a captain of their own sort when at their respective jobs. We constrain these 7 unique individuals in a 48' x 13' vessel and set them loose on a 2700+ mile journey across the ocean. While there is one "Captain" of the vessel, all crew share duties and do their part to make the trip safe, fast and enjoyable without ego. We cook. We clean. We sail. We talk. We debate. We learn. We have lost family (one a mother another a father). We read about Columbus, Caravans, History, 50 Shades of Grey and House of Holes (don't ask). We have seen ships, competitors, dolphin, flying fish, squid and a whale. We deal with leaks above bunks, stuffed toilets, sail changes, food management and house keeping with out complaint. We do not argue. We are a team. We are a good team. We are a happy team. We are half way there.
Wow! Sounds like a good ship with a good crew of intelligent people who’ve adapted well to their new surroundings, are attuned to each other and who are handling their egos well. That’s what all skippers shoot for – or should be shooting for in the management of life at sea.

You’re not always that lucky. My last and only trip over this route was psychologically one of the toughest periods of my life. We had just bought BR and the PO was aboard as skipper for my first ocean crossing. There were four in the crew – the PO and his wife, me and mine. About 2 days out of the Canaries the PO/skipper began to act strangely with very strong reactions to seemingly little things – a 12” movement of the jib car while he wasn’t on watch, a movement of the squelch knob on his HAM radio. Reacting strongly is too mild – he was freaking out.

A day or so later we were in a gale – 40-50 kts, monster seas, Herb Hilgenberg said it was one of the largest systems he’d seen in the North Atlantic at that time of year – 1000 nm across top to bottom. In the gale, the PO/skipper decides that he doesn’t want to be skipper anymore and says that if I’m so smart about where the jib cars go, I should be smart enough to get us across 2400 miles of ocean. He and I stopped speaking and probably didn’t say 100 words to each other for the next 2 1/2 weeks. My wife tried to moderate the situation, but our PO would have none of it. His moods became darker and darker and I wondered several times if our lives might be at risk. I was very careful when I stood my watches with him. The PO’s wife initially seemed to be trying to keep things under control, but as he got worse I guess she figured she couldn’t be seen as anything but squarely in his camp. She stopped being nice and neutral with regard to the conflict between the two of us. This psychological war went on for 24/7 for two weeks – four people in a 47 x 15 foot steel box. After 21 days at sea we arrived in Sint Maarten and a day or so later my wife and I left the boat for home.

The lesson here is that you REALLY need to know the people you go to sea with. I had known the PO for over four years. I had sailed with him and his wife on coastal passages in the So. Pacific and SE Asia. In what was probably 30 days together on the boat over a two-three year period, we had never seen the really dark side of his soul. (With hind sight, however, we now see the signs were there). Being at sea with psychologically unstable people is at the least emotionally draining, at worst, dangerous.

How do you test them before you go – meetings are good, references are good, spending time together on short sails is good. Although it might sound a little odd, one of the things I noticed businessmen in Korea do that helped them decide who they would trust and who they wouldn’t was to go out together and get roaring drunk. Lots of booze lowers psychological defenses and very often the true character beneath is revealed. In the end though it is impossible to simulate the environment you’ll face offshore and so you never really know. Unless you sail solo, it is one of the risks one takes in ocean voyaging. The selection of a crew and then the management of psychological environment aboard the boat while at sea is one of the skills a skipper needs to acquire. Sounds to me that the ARC skipper in the quote above is pretty good at both.

While an ocean crossing can be both physically and emotionally draining, it also is a time when you have time to reflect on things – large and small – as these two ARC log entries suggest.

Quote:
Last night in the middle of my watch I started thinking about the first time
(and only other time) I sailed the ARC (at that time I had an Oyster 47 and
we completed the passage in 20 days elapsed time). I began thinking of the
wonderfull people we met on that trip and I realised that the ARC is not
really about the sailing, it is all about the people who sail the boats.
The last few days have really been pretty rough (the sea that is, not the
mood on board). We are in an Oyster 56 which really takes it all pretty
much without drama - perhaps using the electric showers is a bit more
uncomfortable, but hey, life can be a bitch sometimes. But what about all
the people in the smaller boats where the seas must have been and felt
pretty dramatic? - especially at such an early stage in the voyage with such
a long, long way still to go. And what about the boats with young children
aboard? How difficult and challanging must that be? It's those people who
truly represent the spirit of the ARC. I in my plush Oyster with its
electric showers and heads, freezer, drinks chiller, air con, entertainment
systems, electric cooker, microwave, generator, and interior lights to rival
Blackpool illuminations, etc. etc really have it very easy. I feel a bit of
an interloper but very priviledged to be here among such company. Among the
many great people we met last time were Julian and his crew. Julian was
sailing a Westerley 33 - forgive me Julian if you read this and I have got
that bit wrong - I just remember it was bloody small!) After a very boozy
evening aboard Julian's boat - so boozy I have no recollection at all of the
following day nor how I managed to get back to my boat parked right the
other side of Las Palmas marina)- it ocurred to me Julian and his crew fit
the ARC ideal perfectly - small boat crammed to the gunwhales with stores
and food and sails and everything else that is required for a non-stop 3-4
weeks at sea. Jullian and his like at the true heroes of the ARC. Julian
is not too well at the moment, so if you read this Julian, you (and Geoff
and Jen and Bex) are very much in my thoughts - my trip is the emptier for
your absence - and I hope you are as well as you possibly can be.
End quote

Quote:
The Ocean is huge, limitless; all moving, deep blue – shot through with sun-lightened sapphire and then going steel grey with the sun in the clouds - with white icing on the ever changing wave tops, dancing, marching, clashing together – alive, dynamic and very, very beautiful.
Several other ARC log entries have spoken about the stars visible at sea on a dark night. There really is nothing like it ashore. The dome spans 180 degrees of arc and stars are visible in 175 or more of those degrees. In the southern hemisphere the Milky Way is so bright you can read by starlight alone. Crossing an ocean not only provides panoramas that are not seen ashore, it provides the time to slow your psyche down and take it in. I can all but guarantee that the ARC crew members who left work a few days before departure and will have to rush back a day or so after they arrive in St. Lucia will have real difficulty readjusting to “the world”. A long ocean voyage changes you in ways you cannot imagine before you set off.

Sometimes the changes are no so good, as was the case with BR’s PO on our trade wind passage many years ago. Most often, however, the changes are positive, beneficial, and add a new dimension to your life. For those who have not yet had the priviledge, an ocean crossing is definitely something for the “bucket list”.
12-06-2012 10:59 PM
PCP
Re: Follow the ARC

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokesailor View Post
...
Meanwhile, the racing division has had a mixed bag of weather, but the leading group including a Swan 80, the JP54 and new Pogo 50 could be on course to finish in around 11 days, possibly close to the record.

But the big story is a real David and Goliath battle being fought by the Class 40 Vaquita, skippered on this third ARC by ex-VOR sailor Andreas Hanakamp and crewed by some top dinghy sailors. This crew is making a stand-out performance by sticking, on their own, to a very northerly route.

The Akilaria Class 40 is currently the race leader and lying well ahead of the 2nd placed boat, Berenice a Swan 80.
Yes, and that class40 racer is winning this race, on line honors and compensated. That Pogo 50 has a very curious crew. I have posted about that and about some of the boats that are doing well. Have a look:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/boat-r...boats-347.html

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/boat-r...boats-346.html

Regards

Paulo
12-06-2012 05:06 PM
brokesailor
Re: Follow the ARC

From Cruising Compass:
Three yachts taking part in the ARC transatlantic rally have diverted to the Cape Verde Islands, one after being dismasting, another after complete rudder failure and a third with a crew injury.

Racing yacht Spock, a Farr 585CC owned by German sailor Thomas Schumacher, lost her mast on Friday and the crew managed to cut it away before motoring to Mindello. World Cruising Club (WCC) manager Andrew Bishop comments: “They dealt with the MRCC and were very self-contained.”

She will be joined by Modus Vivendi, a Motiva 49, a cruising division boat skippered by Norwegian Dag Rorslett. The entire rudder of the boat dropped out of the boat, a heavy Danish steel-built pilothouse cruiser. The crew reportedly managed to stop up the hole.

Fortunately they have Hydrovane self-steering gear, which has a transom mounted auxiliary rudder, so they are sailing gently under staysail to the Cape Verdes.

On another yacht a crewmember dislocated his shoulder. His crewmates were unable to get it back in the socket and they have also diverted to the Cape Verdes for medical help.

The rest of the cruising fleet has had good tradewinds since their first day at sea on Tuesday after a delayed start, with strong north-easterlies driving them quickly on their way to Saint Lucia.

Meanwhile, the racing division has had a mixed bag of weather, but the leading group including a Swan 80, the JP54 and new Pogo 50 could be on course to finish in around 11 days, possibly close to the record.

But the big story is a real David and Goliath battle being fought by the Class 40 Vaquita, skippered on this third ARC by ex-VOR sailor Andreas Hanakamp and crewed by some top dinghy sailors. This crew is making a stand-out performance by sticking, on their own, to a very northerly route.

The Akilaria Class 40 is currently the race leader and lying well ahead of the 2nd placed boat, Berenice a Swan 80.
12-04-2012 04:28 PM
PCP
Re: Follow the ARC

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
It's interesting that a cursory glance of the leaderboard is showing all monos out front. The multis are pulling up the middle.
Don't forget that the racing division set sail two days before. Size by size the fast cats are ahead of monohulls as it was to be expected on a downwind sail "kind" of race.

Last year a XC 42 made a fantastic passage. This year we have a XC 50 doing the same. I guess that I am not being wrong into considering the X yacht cruising range as one of the best range of contemporary blue water boats

Check out its position, in the middle of the fastest performance boats, without being one. It is the magenta one with a crown. Next to it, also with a crown a light grey one, a Swann 48 is also making a great crossing.

Regards

Paulo
12-04-2012 04:06 PM
sneuman
Re: Follow the ARC

It's interesting that a cursory glance of the leaderboard is showing all monos out front. The multis are pulling up the middle.
12-04-2012 03:46 PM
PCP
Re: Follow the ARC

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
You've certainly got that right... Mark has asserted that this close encounter "clearly" would have been averted had only both boats been equipped AIS and transponders, and mocks us wankers who might still rely on such a hopelessly outdated tool as a hand-bearing compass in such a situation...

However, with the sea state and conditions as described, and the courses being steered by both at the time fluctuating constantly and markedly, the utility of a technology as accurate and precise as AIS will be greatly diminished... The information displayed will be fluctuating wildly, between showing a collision course, and a safe crossing, or no crossing at all... And, of course, the effort to interpret the information displayed, and "average it out" in order to determine the proper course of action, will necessarily involve an inordinate amount of time staring at an AIS display screen, rather than across the water, as the situation is developing...

In this particular situation, I think a well-dampened hand bearing compass - used in conjunction with a pair of trusty old Mark I eyeballs, by a wanker who fully appreciates the danger of a "Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range" target at sea, at night - might have still have been the most useful tool for either crew to have had at their disposal...
A radar with MARPA would have been the best tool in my opinion, in conjunction with the eyes and the constant bearing. It would not only have showed you if it was a collision course but also the other boat speed and eventually the time for the collision. At night it is difficult to calculate distances but not with a radar. I had MARPA on the radar on my previous boat and not on this one. That reduces greatly the radar's efficiency as a navigation tool.

Regards

Paulo
12-04-2012 09:05 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Follow the ARC

Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post

LP said they got a reaction from LA with the light but LA took no action. It could have been that LA was getting ready to take action, like I mentioned above, but was waiting until they got within a few hundred yards to see which way the crossing was going to happen. LP had no way of knowing whether this was happening or if LA was tracking them on radar, as they got no reply on VHF. I think that's were LA messed up -- how hard is it to get on the radio to call the boat that's "at Lat X, Long Y and just flashed a light at me"?
Yeah, that's the inexplicable part of this encounter, to me...

Well, at least they were showing their tricolor light... These kind of encounters seem to happen every year in the ARC, but I remember a few years ago one boat being similarly "stalked" by another that was running dark, showing no lights whatsoever... Perhaps after shooting their wad on the entry fee, they had nothing left over for those pricier LEDs, huh? (grin)

Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
It's also hard at night to judge a constant bearing. I've noticed during the day that what seems like a constant bearing on a boat 1-2 miles away becomes a rapidly changing bearing once they're inside a 1/4 mile. In a big sea like that LA and LP were in, it's particularly hard to judge a constant bearing because the boat's moving around so much.
You've certainly got that right... Mark has asserted that this close encounter "clearly" would have been averted had only both boats been equipped AIS and transponders, and mocks us wankers who might still rely on such a hopelessly outdated tool as a hand-bearing compass in such a situation...

However, with the sea state and conditions as described, and the courses being steered by both at the time fluctuating constantly and markedly, the utility of a technology as accurate and precise as AIS will be greatly diminished... The information displayed will be fluctuating wildly, between showing a collision course, and a safe crossing, or no crossing at all... And, of course, the effort to interpret the information displayed, and "average it out" in order to determine the proper course of action, will necessarily involve an inordinate amount of time staring at an AIS display screen, rather than across the water, as the situation is developing...

In this particular situation, I think a well-dampened hand bearing compass - used in conjunction with a pair of trusty old Mark I eyeballs, by a wanker who fully appreciates the danger of a "Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range" target at sea, at night - might have still have been the most useful tool for either crew to have had at their disposal...
12-03-2012 08:56 PM
brokesailor
Follow the ARC

That's another boat. Put your cursor on top of the boat at Cape Verde and it says it retired due to dismasting. Also look at its track.
12-03-2012 08:48 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Follow the ARC

I saw a boat that returned with electrical trouble.
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