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sab30 08-31-2007 01:36 AM

2004 sailing tragedy
I read about this briefly but never read any thread about it. It mentions possible cause of death being "clipped in" and not being able to escape the boat. Did he have a quick release system or is this one of the risks of being on a teather?

sailingdog 08-31-2007 03:12 AM

I don't think his being clipped in was the problem. IMHO, if he was clipped in, they should have been able to recover the body at the very least—and it doesn't appear that they were able to do I seriously doubt he was clipped in.

The ISAF approved tethers have a quick-release snap shackle at the body end. This is a shackle that will open, even under a heavy load. Also, any sailor worth their salt will have a rigging knife on them when sailing for just such an emergency as getting caught in the running rigging or having a tether snap shackle jam.

arbarnhart 08-31-2007 06:58 AM

I don't have experience with tethers, but this seems like a case of getting concerned from anecdotal evidence when you need to look at overall stats. But I don't have them; I just have still more anecdotal evidence. Lots of boats have been found empty and the presumption is the captain, and in some cases crew as well, went overboard and became separated from the boat. As SD pointed out, the body wasn't found, so it is possible he wasn't tethered or did have a release and decided to use it. There is one famous case of someone drowning while tethered in a major race, but survival of crew in a capsize when tethered seems a lot more commonplace. If I ever get out in the rough stuff, I will tether.

Sailormon6 08-31-2007 09:26 AM

That's like the argument that used to be made against wearing seatbelts in a car. Despite all the lives saved and injuries avoided by the use of seatbelts, someone always wants to point to the rare exception where someone was hurt or killed by them. My son was saved in a roll-over car crash by his seatbelt, and the only death I've seen on a sailboat was from a person who wasn't lashed on when the boat was rolled over in breakers during a storm.

I wear seatbelts in the car and use jacklines, harness and tether whenever I'm singlehanding the boat or, with crew, in anything more than a fresh breeze, except when racing in local waters, where help is readily available.

sailingdog 08-31-2007 09:34 AM

Please remember that they're speculating about whether he was or wasn't tethered... they have no body and no proof. Although they say he was tethered in... he may have disconnected for some reason. This story could have easily been written about the hazards of sailing without a tether. The story doesn't make it clear whether the boat was rolled or was rolled and sank. If it was rolled and sank, then the idea that the tether may have contributed to the man's death is a bit more plausible...but if the boat just rolled...but remained afloat...a tether probably would have helped more than hindered survival.

sab30 08-31-2007 11:01 AM

The article would have never changed my mind...Im over soon as the boat is moving my wife and I both have mustang vests on..they are comfortable and easy to wear without getting in the way of anything..small price to pay for "what if" Accidents cant be planned. I am also over cautious on the tether as I dont yet trust my wifes skills at a MOB procedure in a life threatening situation. I clip in early and often..just wanted opinion and the one about the knife is great. I never thought about carrying one but it sounds like a great idea.

Was there a report as to what actually happened to this boat? What were the factors that caused it to occur?

arbarnhart 08-31-2007 11:18 AM

I read a discussion about safety devices one time and one very experienced cruiser was defending his opinion that the tether was more important than the PFD by saying that in the open ocean if you are single handing or even if you have crew in bad conditions, being untethered but wearing a PFD just increases the chance that you will still be alive when the sharks find you.

sailingdog 08-31-2007 11:46 AM

Yes, staying on the boat is far better than falling and floating around... especially if you're singlehanding. :D


Originally Posted by arbarnhart (Post 186864)
I read a discussion about safety devices one time and one very experienced cruiser was defending his opinion that the tether was more important than the PFD by saying that in the open ocean if you are single handing or even if you have crew in bad conditions, being untethered but wearing a PFD just increases the chance that you will still be alive when the sharks find you.

TrueBlue 08-31-2007 12:02 PM

If you did a google search for more info on this tragedy, like me, you probably came up short. I did find a letter to the editor of Latitude 38 (2nd letter from bottom of this LINK), pertaining to a reference that would provide more insight :


The March Sightings article titled Winter Waves Claim Another Boat - And Life, contained several errors that made me guess that the issue had gone to press before your editor could correct the story.
Just after the accident Randy Reid, the owner of the boat and the father of 23-year-old Erik Reid, who died in the tragedy, responded to an outsider who joined the Sailnet Newport email list to inquire about the accident. Reid gave his account of what happened. Latitude's editor also responded and exchanged emails through the list with Randy. I thought this was gracious of Randy to respond so soon after the tragic loss of his son, and I feel bad that his firsthand corrections of your story didn't make it to print.
What I don't understand is the melodramatic shot at the end of your article. The last paragraph quoted Randy's email posting on the site, where he wanted information on marinas in the Bay Area. You wrote, "There were no responses to this post." You want us to feel sad, right? What a shame nobody responded?
The truth is that the Newport 30 Association is an active racing organization, and their Web site postings are not as frequented as others. But Randy, who also posted his question on the Sailnet Newport email list, received responses - including mine, where I mentioned I tried to find a Latitude survey on area marinas - that did list area marinas.
What were you implying with that paragraph and last sentence? How was that an important issue? More importantly, after editorializing about knowing the area, you skipped over the important issue about whether to clip on or not, and having a quick release on your tether. That was the probable cause of death. It's pretty sad journalism.
Bruce Hamady
Dacha, Newport 30
Bruce - Perhaps the last paragraph wasn't the clearest that's ever been written in Latitude, but we have absolutely no idea what you mean by calling the last sentence a "melodramatic shot." After all, it wasn't a shot at anyone, and it hardly fulfills any definition of melodramatic.
Writing about the pros and cons of being clipped on in such conditions is certainly worthwhile. But as we were already past deadline, and it wasn't yet factually clear as to who was and wasn't clipped on, and with or without what, it hardly seemed like the proper time for such a discussion.
Writing about such sailing tragedies is often more difficult than it seems on the surface. Managing Editor John Riise explains in this month's Sightings.
It's interesting that according to this letter, Randy Reid, Eric Reid's father, provided a clear description of the incident on SailNet's Newport email list. Unfortunately, the archived posts don't seem to go back that far - ending at 12/2004.

sab30 08-31-2007 08:14 PM

Yes that all I was able to retrieve. I wasnt sure if this was a rogue "winter" wave or just caught in a storm that went bad.

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