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  #391  
Old 12-06-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Well, a far greater percentage of the 22 boats in the 2011 NARC Rally had to be abandoned, with the loss of one life...

But, yeah, it's the way the SDR is organized that's all wrong :-)
You keep comparing the two in areas where I don't see a lot of specific similarities. For example, this is what hit the 2011 NARC fleet:


That's "TS Sean"

Please read Morganscloud's assessment of the SDR conditions again and explain to me how they relate.

If I recall correctly from my research for my recent rescue article, Elle (steering failure) and Triple Stars (COB) were abandoned - and Riot was towed in after a steering failure while on final approach to St. George harbor (no SAR).

So, if this is correct, you're right - 2 boats is twice the percentage of the fleet compared to the SDR (though I would not really put Triple Stars in the same category due to the circumstances - which would bring the percentages more in line with one another).

Even so, considering the conditions, the SDR was far more a poor reflection on seamanship (as Morganscloud says) - than what happened with the NARC.

You've still presented nothing that sways me from the belief that the SDR (and/or any rally out there) should EITHER institute ISAF-based safety standards like the NARC - OR greatly increase the experience level required for participation (or both!)...SO THAT when the SDR puts all the onus on the skippers, they at least will be somewhat certain those skippers can handle it.

And/or maybe - as Morganscloud says - they should do away with the fall rallies altogether (though I personally wouldn't go that far).
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 12-06-2013 at 02:58 PM.
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  #392  
Old 12-06-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
The SDR has not been unfairly targeted in this thread. As Morganscloud said, ~5% of this fleet required SAR - in a "near gale".



I completely agree with him. So, I think the real takeaway here is that the way their rally is organized seems to be wrong.

Actually, after reading the article, it seems to me that the takeaway is that fall rallies from the US to the Caribbean or Bermuda are a bad idea. I don't see anything there about the organization of this one in particular being in question.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by Argyle38 View Post
Actually, after reading the article, it seems to me that the takeaway is that fall rallies from the US to the Caribbean or Bermuda are a bad idea. I don't see anything there about the organization of this one in particular being in question.
I guess it was the title of his article that made me think otherwise: "Salty Dawg Rally—What The Hell?"
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  #394  
Old 12-06-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
I guess it was the title of his article that made me think otherwise: "Salty Dawg Rally—What The Hell?"
When I think about the rally name it just gets funnier, what Salty Dog would join a rally?
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  #395  
Old 12-07-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
John Harries - one of my favorite Voices of Reason - weighs in...

He's spot on, as usual:

Atlantic Sailboat Rallies Are Not A Good Idea In The Fall
John makes many good points but he has missed one important factor. I'll torture you with some other thoughts before talking about that item.

With regard to safety in numbers I absolutely agree that for all intents and purposes once you leave the dock there is very little value in being part of a rally other than company on the radio and the parties at your destination. There is value in the preparatory seminars and camaraderie. A lot of information is shared there, not just from the presenters but among the participants.

Climate change is unquestionably a factor. Whatever you may think about causality the climate is changing. Herb Hilgenberg and I had a long discussion on this subject almost ten years ago when I was planning my first transatlantic crossing. The real and measurable changes reduces the value of classic Sailing Instructions and pilot charts. Add in the significant changes in boat performance and the historical routes and practices have less relevance than attributed to them. Jimmy Cornell's new Ocean Atlas is one attempt at addressing the change, using modern data collection over a short period of time (years, not decades or centuries) to update the pilot charts. Jimmy and his son are working on a software version to provide the functionality of VPP with the new data set.

John's discussion on windage is important. The "junk on the back" tendency is a huge deal. There is just too much c$@p back there on many cruising boats. Enclosures, solar panels, davits, wind gens, dinghies, grills, jugs, roller furling sails, and other "stuff" have a bigger impact on sailing performance than most cruisers understand. It is huge and completely unaddressed by any of the sailing/racing rules others have promoted as the "answer" to the "rally problem."

Sailors have to have a means of managing their sail plan. Furling headsails have limitations, not the least of which is windage forward as you roll them up. That's one reason I head offshore with a 100% jib on my furler. It has less windage than my 135 when rolled up. I'm a big fan of cutters and cutter rigged sloops and ketches. The staysail greatly improves pointing (and thus options) and keeps the center of effort in close to the mast. I'm less of a fan of trysails and prefer deeply reefed mains but I won't argue with those who feel differently. The point is to get the sail area down while retaining propulsion and control.

In my opinion cruisers should be as self-sufficient as possible. That means understanding how weather works and having the resources to get weather information on the boat. I like weather fax to get synoptics. I've posted before on the shortfalls of gribs. Regardless, I am in the same camp as Lee Chesneau and Evans Starzinger -- you should be your own best forecaster and router. If you choose to use the services of someone else like Chris Parker (who I know, like, and respect highly) you should be having a discussion with him based on your own observations and not just blindly consuming the guidance of someone else. The weather a router sees looking out the window is not what you see (you are looking out the window, aren't you?). Synoptics, a calibrated barometer (a barograph if you can swing on), and some understanding of meteorology are core to safe passagemaking.

Andy Schell's blatant commercial for the WCC/ARC is just embarrassing. The Caribbean 1500 was down to just 30 boats this year while the Salty Dawg was up to over 130. Anything can certainly be improved, but rallies like the NARC and SDR are clearly attracting more folks than the expensive WCC events. Jimmy Cornell sold the ARC at just the right time. Smart guy. *grin*

The issue that hasn't been addressed is that of the insurance companies policy with regard to named storms and the calendar. The old 1 October date became 1 November. The actuaries decided that another month would reduce the probability of hurricane damage. In exchange those headed South offshore are more likely to hit nasty conditions associated with big frontal passages. Not all of us fit under the bridges on the ICW, and even those who do don't like the journey so much.

I'm not a rally person myself (well, I have spoken at seminars) but I do think they are a perfectly acceptable way to make a passage. When you are at sea you are responsible for your boat, your crew, and yourself. No one else can be responsible for you.
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  #396  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
I simply don't see where the organizers of the SDR are specifically fostering it, especially when they have bent over backwards to make it clear that each individual participant is solely responsible for making their own decisions regarding the preparation of their boats, and choosing their own route and time of departure from Hampton...
Strongly agreed. I was at two of their preparatory events. They were very clear about personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
I even see it among folks just motoring down the ICW - it's amazing how soon after passing thru Norfolk various 'herds' can form, often being guided by some Waterway Guru who might have made the trip before...
*grin* Me too. I've snuck out of anchorages at dawn to avoid a row of ducklings who hope I'll make decisions for them.

I've certainly picked up buddy boats before. One single-hander comes to mind that we shared watches with offshore. Entirely different than deferring decision-making.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorksailor View Post
Three...That somehow if you spend enough money on a boat and toys it will magically imbue the owner with the requisite seamanship skills to handle storm force conditions.
Excellent point. The boats are stronger than the crews. Tactical decision-making on the boat is the biggest factor in success.

Do you know what you're doing? Or do you hope someone will tell you what to do?
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  #397  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
You keep comparing the two in areas where I don't see a lot of specific similarities. For example, this is what hit the 2011 NARC fleet:


That's "TS Sean"

Please read Morganscloud's assessment of the SDR conditions again and explain to me how they relate.
Probably about as much as the conditions seen in the vicinity of the Gulf Stream this by the 1500 fleet, and some of the SDR fleet, respectively. They were sailing in quite different weather systems, after all...

One thing I do take issue with Harries on this, I believe he may be underestimating a bit the severity of the conditions some of those boats encountered out there... Some very experienced offshore sailors (Brownell's Hylas 54 DISTANT STAR, for one), in some very well-found yachts, saw some pretty serious weather... Unless one had actually been out on the ocean during all three of these events, it's pretty tough to compare the comparative severity - particularly when dealing with the Gulf Stream, which most know can produce extremely variable and localized conditions, where 2 boats mere miles apart can often see entirely different conditions...

So, I have little doubt that some of the boats heading south this year encountered some pretty serious stuff... For example, the Alden 54 ZULU sailed in the 2011 NARC rally, making it to Bermuda with no real problems. Yet in this year's SDR, they were one of the boats that suffered a rudder failure, and had to be towed back in... Go figure...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
So, if this is correct, you're right - 2 boats is twice the percentage of the fleet compared to the SDR (though I would not really put Triple Stars in the same category due to the circumstances - which would bring the percentages more in line with one another).
Hmmm, I'm certainly no math whiz, but I believe 2 boats abandoned out of a fleet of 22, is bit more than twice the percentage of 1 out of 130+, no? :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Even so, considering the conditions, the SDR was far more a poor reflection on seamanship (as Morganscloud says) - than what happened with the NARC.
Again, I would disagree... Unless one does not include the decision to embark on a passage from Newport to Bermuda in November - while the formation of a tropical storm is taking place in the SW North Atlantic - in their notion of what constitutes 'Seamanship', perhaps... :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
You've still presented nothing that sways me from the belief that the SDR (and/or any rally out there) should EITHER institute ISAF-based safety standards like the NARC - OR greatly increase the experience level required for participation (or both!)...SO THAT when the SDR puts all the onus on the skippers, they at least will be somewhat certain those skippers can handle it.
Again, we'll simply have to agree to disagree, as you have yet to present anything that indicates that ISAF-based safety standards would necessarily have made any difference aboard the boats that required assistance in this year's SDR...

For example, what difference did compliance with ISAF standards make aboard TRIPLE STARS in the 2011 NARC? Apparently, Jan Anderson was wearing neither a PFD, nor was tethered, when she was swept overboard and lost... Sure, safety inspections at the dock are a nice idea, but...

Again, not sure why the "experience level of the participants" in the SDR seems to be the focus here... As I've said earlier, I think in the case of all these rallies, that bar is so vague, and set so low, as to be essentially meaningless... The 1500's requirement of a prior 250 mile passage is essentially a joke. As Harries rightly points out, that can be a coastal passage completed in less than 48 hours in benign conditions, well within a forecast weather window, and bearing very little resemblance to the passage to the islands in November...

Of course, there are no simple answers to any of this, I wouldn't begin to want to determine what particular 'standard' anyone has to meet to participate in these rallies... It comes down to each individual skipper to make that determination - which of course highlights the inherent flaw in the offshore rally concept... Namely, that NO ONE should ever be seriously contemplating making this passage, unless they are confident of doing so COMPLETELY ON THEIR OWN, without any of the 'guidance', or assistance these rallies claim to provide...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 12-07-2013 at 10:11 AM.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyle38
Actually, after reading the article, it seems to me that the takeaway is that fall rallies from the US to the Caribbean or Bermuda are a bad idea. I don't see anything there about the organization of this one in particular being in question.
I guess it was the title of his article that made me think otherwise: "Salty Dawg Rally—What The Hell?"
Harries offers a bit more on this, in his reply to Andy Schell in the Comments following his posting:

Quote:

I’m sorry, but I can’t agree. While I particularly singled out the Salty Dawg because of what happened this year, I believe that everything I wrote in this post applies equally to all rallies, including the 1500.

The bottom line is that, in my opinion, rallies are intrinsically dangerous because they mix a financial interest of the organizer to get as many boats to sign up as possible with the natural human concept of safety in the herd, which in offshore sailing is a delusion.

I also think that rallies, together with overly controlling weather routers, have, over the years, eroded the basic decision making and risk management skills of offshore sailors by propagating the illusion that someone off the boat can be responsible for said boat’s safety.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Hmmm, I'm certainly no math whiz, but I believe 2 boats abandoned out of a fleet of 22, is bit more than twice the percentage of 1 out of 130+, no? :-)
I totally agree with you. You aren't very good with math. I, like Morganscloud, am talking about the number of SAR cases in each event (though there were actually more calls than cases in the SDR itself, so even that number is low). Where the boat ends up (abandoned or towed) is immaterial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Again, we'll simply have to agree to disagree, as you have yet to present anything that indicates that ISAF-based safety standards would necessarily have made any difference aboard the boats that required assistance in this year's SDR...

For example, what difference did compliance with ISAF standards make aboard TRIPLE STARS in the 2011 NARC? Apparently, Jan Anderson was wearing neither a PFD, nor was tethered, when she was swept overboard and lost... Sure, safety inspections at the dock are a nice idea, but...
Again, you're positing that ISAF-regs need to be a 100% cure-all to be effective. I don't think anyone, except maybe you, thinks that's a reasonable expectation. In fact, I think any responsible skipper (greeen or salty) who values good seamanship would think that following the guidelines and advice offered by the ISAF regs would be a responsible, seamanly way to prep themselves and their boats for offshore passagemaking. And I don't think that skipper would then think that he or she is bulletproof and can be less attentive.

Bad decisions are made all the time by very prepared people...many times with extreme consequences. That's sailing. But this certainly doesn't mean that preparation is then worthless.

However, if you want to be the experienced voice of offshore sailing telling newbie sailors that following safety guidelines like ISAF is useless because things could go wrong anyway...go ahead. I just think that's very dangerous.

There is just no good reason, from a safety perspective, NOT to have them. Period.

At the end of the day, I just agree with Morganscloud more than I agree with you. He says what I've been saying all along in this thread:

Quote:
Morganscloud: The bottom line is that, in my opinion, rallies are intrinsically dangerous because they mix a financial interest of the organizer to get as many boats to sign up as possible with the natural human concept of safety in the herd, which in offshore sailing is a delusion.

I also think that rallies, together with overly controlling weather routers, have, over the years, eroded the basic decision making and risk management skills of offshore sailors by propagating the illusion that someone off the boat can be responsible for said boat’s safety.
Bingo.

That said, I do agree with you here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
I think in the case of all these rallies, that bar is so vague, and set so low, as to be essentially meaningless... The 1500's requirement of a prior 250 mile passage is essentially a joke. As Harries rightly points out, that can be a coastal passage completed in less than 48 hours in benign conditions, well within a forecast weather window, and bearing very little resemblance to the passage to the islands in November...

Of course, there are no simple answers to any of this, I wouldn't begin to want to determine what particular 'standard' anyone has to meet to participate in these rallies... It comes down to each individual skipper to make that determination - which of course highlights the inherent flaw in the offshore rally concept... Namely, that NO ONE should ever be seriously contemplating making this passage, unless they are confident of doing so COMPLETELY ON THEIR OWN, without any of the 'guidance', or assistance these rallies claim to provide...
Bingo II.
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 12-07-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Harries offers a bit more on this, in his reply to Andy Schell in the Comments following his posting:
It is worth noting that the SDR doesn't charge to join the rally. Many parties are free and you pay a la carte for those you want to attend. It's hard to make the financial argument there. Schell is defensive about the hit the 1500 has taken by other events, in my opinion.

Jon - your math is correct.

Like Jon I know people who sailed in the SDR this year. While conditions offshore are generally over reported, the folks I heard from are experienced and I find their reports credible. Conditions were worse than predicted or indicated by official sources. A lot worse? Don't know.

With regard to ISAF and other offshore safety regulations I suggest you consider this: S/V Hawk does not meet those requirements. I'd sail with Beth and Evans on Hawk anywhere. I'd welcome them aboard Auspicious (also not currently meeting ISAF requirements) - wait I did, but just for drinks. Ultimately the crew is more important than the boat. That's where all the rallies fall short - too much emphasis on the boat and not enough on the crew.
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