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  #131  
Old 11-10-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Paulo - I think you're being absolutely reasonable here. One of the problems appears to possibly be mixed signals sent by the sailors - causing the CG to run all over the place sorting these out.

If the listed facts are right - it seems there were radio-voiced Maydays, EPIRBs, DSC calls, and even Spot SOSs. ALL of these were viewed as Maydays...not Pan-Pans...until confirmed otherwise.

So the biggest question in my mind right now is what the conversations were between the CG and those distressed boats/crews. It seems an awful lot of SAR hardware and personnel were moved into place in multiple locations for these calls (the greatest thing about the CG - they just do). It would be great to know what the sequence of those communications was...in other words, at what point did those sailors go from Mayday to Okay?

The difference between Pan-Pan and Mayday is critical. So you have a valid point.
Smack, the deployment of an Epirp is a Mayday. A DSC emergency call is a Mayday.

CG would not have sent airplanes in a SAR operation if maydays have not been deployed.

The two cases that I had refereed about Maydays been deployed basically because a sailboat had lost the engine had not to do with this rally but were two recent cases, these ones:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
...
..
ST PETERSBURG, FL -
The Coast Guard rescued three stranded sailors who were trapped 80 miles west of Tampa.

On Monday afternoon, the sailing boat ‘Grateful' was making its way from Louisiana to Cape Coral. The three-man crew was delivering it to its owner when things went horribly wrong.

"It was nerve wracking," said sailor Brian Burke. "By Monday morning, we had lost our engines, blown out a sail, and by that time we were adrift."

The crew sent out a distress signal.

"Within about an hour and 45 minutes we had a helicopter overhead, he was communicating with us," said sailor Craig Toomey.

Soon after, the Coast Guard Cutter 'Nantucket' was sent to the rescue.

"[The water] was pretty bad," Captain Ryan Waitt said. "The biggest issue was the seas were building, we saw about 6 to 8 feet."

"It was a little dicey, and a little uncomfortable and not something I wanna do again anytime soon," said Cleve Fair, another sailor on board....Currently, the ‘Grateful' is still disabled and stranded at sea....Despite this obvious mishap, these men still plan to finish the job they started, and deliver the boat to Cape Coral.




Coast Guard rescues 3 boaters 80 miles west of Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

ST. PETERSBURG - Three boaters who were stranded in the water after their vessel’s engine lost power Monday were all brought to safety at the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Tuesday.
The boaters’ 30-foot sailing vessel shut off 80 miles west of Tampa Monday, according to reports.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 7 th district in Miami received a distress signal at 8:50 a.m. Monday. ...

Cleveland Fair, a 74-year-old resident of Mandeville, La., thanked the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla., for rescuing him and his two friends at Sector St. Petersburg, Tuesday.
No injuries occurred.



Read more: Three boaters rescued by Coast Guard after boat engine died returned to St. Petersburg
......
Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 11-10-2013 at 10:05 PM.
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  #132  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post

Seriously, we should all tread gently. If you weren't out there you don't really know what happened. Did a boat fail? Did a crew member fail? Was the data available before departure deficient? Was analysis in error?

As others have pointed out here, on SA, and on CF the conditions don't SEEM to have been sufficiently harsh to result in the kind of damage being reported but we don't know and probably won't. Data collection is generally acknowledged as under reporting conditions, and individuals--particularly those with less experience--grossly over report conditions. We'll never really know.

There is still the opportunity to learn by exploring. Judging our colleagues (well the colleagues of those of us who sail offshore) doesn't contribute to that, even if part of the learning is by considering human failure.
The more I hear, the more I'm inclined to believe that at least some of those boats out there saw conditions well in excess of what has been reported...

There have been some communications relayed over on CSBB from Tom Brownell on DISTANT STAR, a very experienced sailor on a Hylas 54 who left with the earliest of the Salty Dawg departures... Beyond the Stream, they experienced very squally conditions for a couple more days, with gusts to 50 knots...

This blog post from the Najad 460 SERAFINA, and another pretty experienced crew:

Quote:

32:50.75N 69:20.33W

Well firstly the good news which is that it is now Saturday and things have
finally settled down, we have just shaken three of the four reefs out of the
mainsail and are sailing at 6 to 7 knots almost directly towards the BVI's.
That is a real first on this trip as we spent most of the last day or so
either heading for Florida or Bermuda depending on which tack we were on.

Yesterday we were congratulating ourselves on coming out of the storm intact
and in fair shape and with the wind forecast to drop to around 20 knots we
felt the worst was behind us, but we should perhpas have paid a litle more
attention to the mountainous waves that kept threatening to engulf us. We
have experienced Atlantic rollers before, but these monsters where
vertiginous and with massive breaking crests - then there were the odd rogue
ones running at an angle to the main sweep and these pounded us and broke
hard against the hull sending tons of water over the decks and of course
whoever was sat in the cockit at the time! But it was fine and heavily
reefed still we made good speed although mostly heading directly towards
Bermuda. The first hint that it was not all over was at sunset and we saw
another big formation of clouds bearing down on us that had all the signs of
being another front. The air temperature plummetted and once again we were
hit by winds over 40 knots. The minor disaster occured just as I went
off-watch and was stood at the foot of the companionway stairs speaking up
to Sarah in the cockpit. In the dark she never saw it coming, but heard it
all just a bit too late and two huge rogue waves slammed into our side
engulfing us in water, a significant part of which entered the cockpit and
streamed straight down inside the boat leaving a trail of devestation in
terms of wet bedding, clothing, chart table and me just as I was about to
jump into the sea berth for a deserved attempt at sleep!

But in a sense that was the worst of it all and although we had the
washboards in for the rest of the night, the wind did abate and the seas
gradually eased until we reached the happier situation today.

On Thursday night Sarah had listened to some drama on the VHF as she could
hear a US Coastguard cutter co-ordinating what sounded like two major
situations, one involving a dismasting and the routing of a tanker to effect
a resue of the crew. But we have heard nothing more and the only two boats
we have been in contact with since know nothing more than us.

So the forecast has this weather staying much the same now for a few days
and then we may face a southely wind for several days (we are trying to go
south which is a pain, but cést la vie.)

Clearing flying fish off the decks regularily now and if it gets a bit
flatter, we will start fishing, but not just yet.

Very many thanks to all of you who have been cheering us up with emails
(only send to rob {CHANGE TO AT} rhbell {DOT} com please)

Sarah stopped being sick finally yesterday and we are begiing to feel a bit
better about life and might yet even enjoy the last part of the trip!
Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Are you on Utopia?
No, I'm on KOKOMO... She's available, "Owner wants her Gone"... :-)

2003 Cabo Rico 42 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Great day today, departed Coinjock at 0500... Sporty crossing of Abemarle sound, there was just enough W in the breeze to sail across, fetching the Alligator River entrance... Ours were the only sails unfurled/hoisted I saw today...

South of the Alligator bridge, we were passed by a brand new Beneteau Oceanis 45, under power, like we were standing still... At that point a couple of miles south of the bridge where the channel bends to the SE, we had the most beautiful sail imaginable, close reaching in about 15-18 knots in flat water... About as good as it ever gets, too bad that reach doesn't continue forever...

the couple on that Beneteau, inside their full cockpit enclosure, couldn't even be bothered to unfurl a jib, or their in-mast main...

Further evidence, that East coast snowbirds just don't sail... :-)
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  #133  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post

Again, my argument is putting absolutely nothing on you as an individual. My argument is putting the onus on the organizers of sponsored rallies. Period.
In what regard are the rally organizers 'responsible' for the safety of the participants?

Quote:

Benefits of Becoming a Dawg

The Salty Dawg Rally is a grassroots, non-profit organization, comprised of blue water sailors who have completed at least one blue water passage. There is no formal inspection of each boat, since it is the responsibility of each skipper to have proper safety equipment and to ensure that the vessel is prepared for the passage. Information including weather, Gulf Stream analysis, location of eddies, and daily weather forecasts during the passage is provided to each skipper by well‐known weather router Chris Parker, courtesy of Blue Water Sailing magazine. Volunteer Dick Giddings manages float plans for all of the boats in the fleet and maintains a daily SSB radio schedule, as well as daily positions for everyone (via HF radio and SatPhone). It is each skipper’s responsibility to decide the course and whether or not to set out for the passage. The Rally, with an emphasis on safety, communication, camaraderie and fun, opens the door to new friends and experiences while cruising various areas in the Caribbean.

The Salty Dawg Rally
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  #134  
Old 11-10-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
In what regard are the rally organizers 'responsible' for the safety of the participants?
My point is that they should be just as "responsible" for safety of their participants as race organizers are. NOT having a standard of safety such as ISAF, which the organizer makes a reasonable attempt to ensure across the fleet, is, in my opinion, a very bad move...for everyone.

Your point is valid, of course. Just like in racing - it always comes down to the skipper. But how on earth can one argue against standard safety regulations in sponsored rallies when those rallies increase potential risk, just as a a race increases potential risk? It makes no sense.
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 11-10-2013 at 11:05 PM.
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  #135  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Smack, the deployment of an Epirp is a Mayday. A DSC emergency call is a Mayday.

CG would not have sent airplanes in a SAR operation if maydays have not been deployed.

The two cases that I had refereed about Maydays been deployed basically because a sailboat had lost the engine had not to do with this rally but were two recent cases, these ones:

Regards

Paulo
I understand that. The Spot SOS was apparently treated as a Mayday as well - which makes sense (though I don't know what actual CG procedure is on Spot calls).

My point is that radio contact would have been established between the CG and the boat(s) if possible. From there a discussion would have occurred as to the nature of the emergency. I just wonder at what point in that discussion the Mayday became a Pan-Pan? No way to know of course - but it would be an interesting transcript.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Your point is valid, of course. Just like in racing - it always comes down to the skipper. But how on earth can one argue against standard safety regulations in sponsored rallies when those rallies increase potential risk, just as a a race increases potential risk? It makes no sense.
How does such a rally "increase the potential risk" of any of the participants?

Have any of them been coerced, or even 'encouraged', to make the passage from Hampton to the Caribbean, against their will?
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
I understand that. The Spot SOS was apparently treated as a Mayday as well - which makes sense (though I don't know what actual CG procedure is on Spot calls).

My point is that radio contact would have been established between the CG and the boat(s) if possible. From there a discussion would have occurred as to the nature of the emergency. I just wonder at what point in that discussion the Mayday became a Pan-Pan? No way to know of course - but it would be an interesting transcript.
Smack I can't speak to the US CG specifically. You are obviously more informed than I on the detail there. In my part of the world though, interestingly the rescue response that is triggered for a Mayday and a Pan Pan is almost identical. ( I am NOT suggesting anyone incorrectly call a Mayday for a situation that is a PAN PAN).

Like you said, it is also the nature of the CG and rescue services in general to jump to action, assume the worst case and go from there, it's actually part of the training, once someone rings a bell, any bell they go and make their own assessment.

Seems you want to have your cake on this and eat it too - Skippers take responsibility, but hold organisers of events responsible for ensuring skippers are responsible???

Doesn't work.

You end up with less rallies 'cause there a PITA to organise, high entry fees to cover your 'BFS approved' bumper sticker, skippers who are more concerned about meeting regs, than ACTUALLY being safe, and not much else will change.
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  #138  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by chall03 View Post
Seems you want to have your cake on this and eat it too - Skippers take responsibility, but hold organisers of events responsible for ensuring skippers are responsible???

Doesn't work.

You end up with less rallies 'cause there a PITA to organise, high entry fees to cover your 'BFS approved' bumper sticker, skippers who are more concerned about meeting regs, than ACTUALLY being safe, and not much else will change.
I'm only advocating some level of shared responsibility in rallies just like there is in off-shore racing. And it absolutely does work in racing. The organizers are responsible for holding up the standard of safety/preparedness for the event (e.g. - ISAF) - the skippers are responsible for meeting and adhering to that standard. There's nothing at all nefarious in that relationship. It works.

Less rallies because its a PITA to have a higher standard of safety? C'mon dude. If that's the case, then so be it.

As I said earlier, if rallies followed the same safety protocols as races, rallies would be a tremendous way to improve every cruiser's ability and preparedness across the board. By dodging these protocols, while presumably making some coin from the events, you have a recipe for big trouble.
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  #139  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
How does such a rally "increase the potential risk" of any of the participants?

Have any of them been coerced, or even 'encouraged', to make the passage from Hampton to the Caribbean, against their will?
"Have any of them been coerced, or even 'encouraged', to make the passage from Hampton to the Caribbean..."

Sure. That's the whole point of the rally isn't it?

"...against their will?"

Of course not. But there are three undeniable factors in a rally such as this that increase risk:

1. A schedule.
2. A relatively low bar of experience/preparedness required.
3. The perception of "safety in numbers".

When you stack all 3 of these on top of each other and the weather turns (from the SDR website)...

Quote:
The Salty Dawg Rally got under way this week from Hampton, Va., Beaufort, NC and other ports with boats in the 116 strong fleet departing as each skipper saw fit beginning on November 2 and on through today. November 4 had been set as the fleet departure date but the basic philosophy of the SDR is to have each skipper determine the schedule and course of their own vessels and to take responsibility accordingly.

A strong front was forecast to pass over the mouth of the Chesapeake on the 4th and 5 so many skippers, heeding the advice of weather router Chris Parker, decided to start on Wednesday the 6 while others delayed their departures until the 7 and 8 . Defying the weather models, the front slowed and grew more intense as it passed over the bulk of the SDR fleet on Wednesday night and Thursday.

There were several incidents and emergencies among the fleet in the first 36 hours in which five boats had rudder and rig failures, seasickness and one broken arm. The U.S. Coast Guard, working closely with SDR volunteers, are assisting the sailors in need of outside help quickly and efficiently.
Then this...

After distress calls, rally's decision-making questioned | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com

From the article...

Quote:
Andy Schell fears the episode could be a black eye for ocean sailing. Schell, an event organizer for World Cruising Club, is in charge of planning the Caribbean 1500, an annual cruise, or rally, from Hampton Roads to the Virgin Islands.

The rally was scheduled to begin last Sunday, but the threat of back-to-back cold fronts prompted event organizers to set sail a day early from Portsmouth. Each of the 30 boats participating in that event crossed through the Gulf Stream without issue, Schell said.

"Nobody wants to see this happen," Schell said. "It's really a shame. That's why we use the sailing model that we use - to minimize the risk as much as possible and keep everyone safe."

The Caribbean 1500, which charges a participation fee and adheres to International Sailing Federation safety standards, has long required each boat to submit to pre-event safety checks and strongly suggests that its participants set sail within a certain window. If the boats hadn't left a day early, Schell said, forecasts suggested it would be at least a week before conditions improved enough to begin the event.
As I say - it's pretty simple.
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  #140  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Less rallies because its a PITA to have a higher standard of safety? C'mon dude. If that's the case, then so be it.
Higher standard of safety???? I call BS on that. Again your equalling safety with regulation.

I just do not accept that to be the case. Nor do I accept that it has made racing inherently safer. Nor do I see rallies like this as being the same as an organised yacht race.

Incidentally I can introduce you to circumnavigators who have not done any of the training( letting flares off and sitting in a liferaft in a pool with your mates come on) and who have boats that would fail CAT 1 ( probably because their bosun's chair was made in the wrong year), and they would be out there sailing their boats home long before many an 'offshore' racing boat has cried for mummy.

The rally in question is essentially free, based on likeminded cruising boats grouping together largely socially as best as I can make out. Not your cup of tea? Thats fine. But let's not make them suffer ISAF regs.

The onus of safety though is and should remain solely on the skipper.
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