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post #481 of 957 Old 12-15-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Looks like this thing is headed toward 500 posts. There's been a lot of discussion about weather routers, vessel readiness, departure timing, etc etc. I tend to consider most of those things givens. One of the more interesting outcomes (to me) of this, worth further investigation is the number of rudders that fell off or were damaged. I wonder what part the use/reliance of Auto-helms in a rough, confused sea played into that.

One thing I am pretty sure of, is that captains and crews must be able to "honestly" assess their physical fitness, endurance and mental toughness to withstand adverse conditions for extended periods of time ( hand steering if necessary). Physical fitness, to me also means that you are not prone to getting seasick and have tested that over time.

Losing 30 to 50 % of your crew to seasickness wears on the remaining crew's reserves pretty quickly.

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post #482 of 957 Old 12-15-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
Looks like this thing is headed toward 500 posts. There's been a lot of discussion about weather routers, vessel readiness, departure timing, etc etc. I tend to consider most of those things givens. One of the more interesting outcomes (to me) of this, worth further investigation is the number of rudders that fell off or were damaged. I wonder what part the use/reliance of Auto-helms in a rough, confused sea played into that.

One thing I am pretty sure of, is that captains and crews must be able to "honestly" assess their physical fitness, endurance and mental toughness to withstand adverse conditions for extended periods of time ( hand steering if necessary). Physical fitness, to me also means that you are not prone to getting seasick and have tested that over time.

Losing 30 to 50 % of your crew to seasickness wears on the remaining crew's reserves pretty quickly.
Great points Temp. We saw both of these issues on our recent off-shore run. As I mentioned in my write up on that, we had seas of 8'-12' for the first 10 hours or so on our forward starboard quarter (leftovers from a storm in the Gulf - the wind was only 20 knots or so). The first issue was seasickness. Both my boys got sick in the first hour - and I got sick for the first time ever. I was over it in a couple of hours, but the boys were out for most of the first day. It's definitely an issue to plan for - not discover in the middle of a 2-week run.

We also ran into AP issues. On the second day, the boat suddenly rounded up (it had been on AP the entire way). We hand steered it back to our course and reset the AP (a linear drive). It immediately rounded up again. So we hand-steered until the skipper came back on watch. While he was driving, the wheel locked up. I opened the lazarette and found the cause of all of it...the AP had broken off its base and was flopping around the locker.

Obviously a rudder failure is a much. much bigger deal than this - but it sure showed me that there is a tremendous amount of force in play in seas like that. Something I'm going to consider in the future.

(PS - Anyone know the specifics of if/why the AP would damage the rudder in such seas - whereas hand-steering would be more likely not to? I assume that there is natural "give" in the hand-steering, where the AP has none?)


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post #483 of 957 Old 12-16-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
One thing I am pretty sure of, is that captains and crews must be able to "honestly" assess their physical fitness, endurance and mental toughness to withstand adverse conditions for extended periods of time ( hand steering if necessary). Physical fitness, to me also means that you are not prone to getting seasick and have tested that over time.

Losing 30 to 50 % of your crew to seasickness wears on the remaining crew's reserves pretty quickly.
Couldn't agree more.

I think what you are talking about is a large part seamanship and a large part something deeper and more personal which speaks to a sailor's courage, mental toughness, stamina and an ability to face and deal with fear.

The frustration is of course that you can add 100 pages to the ISAF special regs and still not be able to measure the size of a sailor's stones. Nor is it practical for folk organising rallies to be able to measure stone size.

I do also disagree with you a little on sea sickness. I sail with a guy who get's sea sick everytime he goes offshore. Yet he still goes offshore. He just doesn't let it stop him and he is very capable crew member. Basically he knows his weakness and knows how to deal with it. That's what matters.

I am instantly suspicious of chest beating, beer can racers who tell me they don't get sea sick. Chances are they WILL get sea sick but haven't yet discovered the conditions that bring it on yet. I don't want them discovering them on my boat.

Give me someone who does get seasick, but is still brave enough to go offshore, who knows what medication/techniques work for them, and who is able to give me a realistic understanding of their capabilities.
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post #484 of 957 Old 12-16-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg

Yes, it can be pretty stunning, at times...

One of the best I can recall, is someone asking Chris' blessing to move from Staniel Cay in the Exumas, just down to Little Farmers... On a picture perfect day...

And, no, not via Exuma Sound, but rather in the lee of Great Guana Cay...

One can only marvel at the fact they made it that far, to begin with... :-)

Haven't heard anyone yet ask Chris for guidance re some of the more open stretches of the ICW, but it's probably just a matter of time...
Hey, remember the Other Knowles (see above) were also waiting for the Weather Dude to say it was cool to throw off the lines - and they are "experienced bluewater cruisers"!

The lesson? You can't know everything dude.
Well, if one is going the equate the importance of receiving a green light from a professional weather router to undertake a 15 mile balmy Bahamian daysail in protected waters whose depth will rarely exceed 2 fathoms, with obtaining similar guidance prior to shoving off on a North Atlantic passage from Newport to Bermuda in November, well...

Then I suppose you're correct, and that one can never, EVER know for sure whether it's safe to leave the dock, or not... :-)
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post #485 of 957 Old 12-16-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Personally, I think it's perfectly safe 99% of the time. It's that 1% that's always the stinker. Even so, I like the odds.


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post #486 of 957 Old 12-16-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Looks like this thing is headed toward 500 posts. There's been a lot of discussion about weather routers, vessel readiness, departure timing, etc etc. I tend to consider most of those things givens. One of the more interesting outcomes (to me) of this, worth further investigation is the number of rudders that fell off or were damaged. I wonder what part the use/reliance of Auto-helms in a rough, confused sea played into that.
Interesting question, but I'm not sure why that should be so... I'd be more inclined to think that the use of autopilots in tough conditions would be more likely to result in gear breakage above the waterline, due to an event like an accidental jibe, and so on...

What you're suggesting is certainly possible, of course - I just don't think is was very likely a contributing factor... The failure that interests me the most, is that aboard the Alden 54 ZULU - I'm guessing that one might have had to do with the rudderpost being stainless, that was getting on in age... To those of us who sail Good Old Boats, that's the one I'd most like to learn more about...



If, indeed, an autopilot were to contribute to the failure of a rudder/steering system, well... the problem is STILL likely to be with the integrity or robustness of the system itself, and not the fact the boat was being driven by an autopilot at the time... A rudder should certainly be able to take any forces an autopilot of vane might apply to it, after all...
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post #487 of 957 Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
One of the more interesting outcomes (to me) of this, worth further investigation is the number of rudders that fell off or were damaged. I wonder what part the use/reliance of Auto-helms in a rough, confused sea played into that.
A good helmsmen well rested and attentive can steer better and more gently than an autopilot. A less experienced or practiced person, or anyone tired and distracted, cannot come close. I don't see any causality between use of an autopilot and rudder loss.

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post #488 of 957 Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Personally, I think it's perfectly safe 99% of the time. It's that 1% that's always the stinker. Even so, I like the odds.
Hmmm, 99% seems like extremely favorable odds, a virtual guarantee of 'safety', seems to me... Hell, why bother with weather routers, or even paying attention to the weather at all, with the percentages that much in your favor, and the probality that there will only be ONE day between Labor Day and Thanksgiving that might be unsafe to depart Newport for Bermuda? I doubt any reputable router would claim a to be spot on 99% of the time, after all...

I certainly get what you're saying, and know that's not exactly what you're suggestiing... It just seems that figure might be a bit high, when applied to an offshore passage like that from the East coast to the Caribbean, in November...

On the other hand, perhaps 95% is a bit more accurate? That's the rough percentage of the Salty Dawg fleet - despite the absence of ISAF-based inspections - that DID actually manage to complete their voyage successfully, after all... :-)

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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Hmmm, 99% seems like extremely favorable odds, a virtual guarantee of 'safety', seems to me... Hell, why bother with weather routers, or even paying attention to the weather at all, with the percentages that much in your favor, and the probality that there will only be ONE day between Labor Day and Thanksgiving that might be unsafe to depart Newport for Bermuda? I doubt any reputable router would claim a to be spot on 99% of the time, after all...

I certainly get what you're saying, and know that's not exactly what you're suggestiing... It just seems that figure might be a bit high, when applied to an offshore passage like that from the East coast to the Caribbean, in November...

On the other hand, perhaps 95% is a bit more accurate? That's the rough percentage of the Salty Dawg fleet - despite the absence of ISAF-based inspections - that DID actually manage to complete their voyage successfully, after all... :-)
Oh, well, on the percentage thing, I was just using Hal Roth's estimate from his book "Handling Storms at Sea". But I'm sure you know better than he based on your equivalent experience.

So 95% it is.

Sorry Hal - Jon has spoken.


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post #490 of 957 Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

90% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
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