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brokesailor 11-08-2011 09:35 AM

Severe weather
I hope this is not a violation of some propriety rule but I wanted to share this.
A 48 ft Hinckley Yawl that was going from Newport to St Martin is caught in the grip of now Sean. Below is the latest weather router report. The boat has seen up to 60 kts, been knocked down 3 times and blew out its main. Motor sailing under staysil and jigger. Lost most electronics. Crew of 3, I had to bail out because of non stop work following the Va quake at the nuke plant I work at. Crew Completely exhausted.
Several boats from the NARC are also caught in the gale unable to make Bermuda due to the 30 plus kt winds from the east.
SV Seaya is also out there with no weather info trying to get back to the states, know this by his SPOT updates, getting ready to cross the stream, latest position seaya
sailing due west.

Weather router report:

SItuation has not changed very much since yesterday. System now designated as subtropical storm Sean, but this does not change the weather outlook we have talked about.

As for options to consider, I have the following comments:

1. US option should be Beaufort, NC, not Beaufort, SC. It is much closer, and at this point, this is very important. Route does need to cross Gulf Stream in adverse conditions, however.

2. I am not comfortable at this time with heading toward the Bahamas since this would take the vessel into higher sea states farther to the south, and it would be a long passage. In addition, the route potentially takes the yacht closer to Sean.

3. Newport does not seem to be a viable option. Longer distance and potentially longer trek through the Gulf stream, and Sean will eventually head north and could come closer to them on this route. Also by the time they are approaching Newport (late in week) a strong cold front will be moving off the east coast of the U.S. with strong (perhaps gale N to NW winds behind it. They have already shown that heading into the wind at any angle is very difficult due to the compromised situation of the yacht.

4. Bermuda is still viable, but due to their inability to make any easting over the past couple of days, it will be a long slog with many tacks necessary, and thus will take 3-4 days. Wind direction will improve beginning tomorrow night, but if they can't get east, they will be in a more vulnerable position when Sean comes by later Thursday, although the system will probably be weakening by then.

So for me, it boils down to Bermuda or Beaufort.

Pros for Beaufort:

1. Downwind sailing, thus shorter passage.
2. Stays away from Sean
3. Sea state generally no worse than they have now (except below)

Cons for Beaufort

1. Must cross Gulf Stream with NNE winds likely 25 knots, seas likely to be rough

Pros for Bermuda:

1. Avoids most adverse current
2. Stays north of higher sea states to the south
3. Wind direction will begin to improve after tomorrow.

Cons for Bermuda

1. Upwind sailing for at least two more days
2. Longer passage likely (3-4 days) - fatigue factor
3. Possible closer interaction with Sean

Don't have their position this morning yet, but if they are still west of 70W this morning, and appear to be unable to make any significant easting, then I am inclined to suggest they try Beaufort. Waypoint to head for would be 34.5N/72.0W. This would carry them through the more favorable portion of the cold eddy on Jenifer's chart. From there direct to Beaufort. If they can make 150 miles per day, they can be there in two days. Gulf Stream is a significant concern, but if they get in trouble there, they are much closer to S&R resources.

Slayer 11-08-2011 02:04 PM

Is Seaya part of the NARC rally, I don't see it on the tracking list.

brokesailor 11-08-2011 02:27 PM

No its. Not. Out of cobb island md originally headed for st john

killarney_sailor 11-08-2011 06:11 PM

I don't think it is clear that one of your options is clearly superior to the other, so I suspect you pay your money and take your choice. It is very hard to make a choice if you are not on the boat because the description you give (or any possible description) does not give any sense of what the attitude of the crew is at this point. Crew being exhausted is a big issue. Have they considered heaving to or lying ahull for 6 to 8 hours so that they can get some sleep. Don't know the sea state but you say it is worse further soon.

Perhaps it is my attitude, but with everything else being equal - which it rarely is, I would be inclined to head to Bermuda after getting some sleep. I am trying to get to the Caribbean and Bermuda at least is in the right direction. If they go to Beaufort they are going in the wrong direction and still have to make up all that easting (I am assuming that they will continue their trip). There is a good sailmaker in Bermuda and any other parts they need can be shipped quickly if not available on the island.

Good luck to them.

brokesailor 11-08-2011 06:17 PM

Heaving to is not an option. With the blown mainsail the boat does not balance well with the mizzen and the staysil.

Jeff_H 11-08-2011 06:31 PM


Originally Posted by brokesailor (Post 795008)
Heaving to is not an option. With the blown mainsail the boat does not balance well with the mizzen and the staysil.

On the face of it, does not make sense. They should be able to adjust the mizzen and staysail in a manner to heave to. In the worst case, if the staysail is overpowering the boat, they may need to furl the staysail or even peel the staysail down to their storm jib. If the mizzen is the problem they can ease their mizzen or for that matter haul their mizzen slightly to weather depending on which sail is overpowering the other. They can also tow warps to further hold one end or the other of the boat where they want it.

But I would suggest that KilKarney is right, that they would be greatly helped if they can get some rest and ride this out and then examine their options when the winds fair up tomorrow.

I wish them the best out there.


AdamLein 11-08-2011 06:48 PM

Isn't Sean forecast to turn straight for Bermuda?

sailguy40 11-08-2011 07:03 PM

From what you wrote there, it sounds like Beaufort is the safer choice.

btrayfors 11-08-2011 08:52 PM

I've posted a chart showing the projected track of the storm, Sean, and the last reported position of the s/v Seaya.

It is here: Sean1900Nov8

Sorry, I can never post pix on this Board.

I sure don't envy them their situation. However, given the relative positions and the uncertainty of Sean's track...these things are never 100% predictable...I believe the choice is either to continue heading West for, e.g., Beufort SC or Charleston (they're already way south of Beufort NC) or heave to, slow down, rest for a day or two, and watch what Sean does. It may become clear by Thurs, and Seaya could continue toward Bermuda.

The fast moving cold front heading towards the East Coast is another complicating factor. Either way, looks like they're in for some more rough weather.

I wish them the very best.


Slayer 11-08-2011 09:49 PM

Just checked the spot tracking for the NARC rally. They have three vessels in the middle of it right now. And two more are just north of bermuda. I am glad I had plans to go to Mexico next week or I may have been on one of those boats.

Hope all make it safely.

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