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  #781  
Old 04-02-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
There is certainly pressure to follow the crowd but does it actually result in a significant additional number of really bad decisions? There is often pressure about when to depart and any number of opinions. Most people I know are pretty good at making their own decisions.
Over time? Absolutely. Haven't you heard of all the studies regarding the effect of peer pressure on decision-making?

The SDR is pretty new - 3 years old I think. And it's grown very quickly now claiming to be the "Dominant Cruising Rally on U.S. East Coast". What do the current numbers say about the SAR-incidents-to-#partipants-to-time ratio of the SDR specifically? Pretty high? Will those numbers get better or worse if nothing changes?

Again, you could also compare the same stats for the C1500 for the number of years it's been in operation. I don't know what that number would be, but I think it would be hard to argue that the SDR's current trend is better than the C1500's.

++++++

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Hmmm, speaking of "sailing to schedules", or "missing weather windows"...

I'm guessing that swipe about the value of some "adult supervision" might have been a tad less gratuitious, had those words been written after his little helicopter ride in mid-January of this year... :-)
Yeah, I'll let you fight that battle with him. I know you guys have your issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shockwave View Post
I bet both rally's require a waiver of responsibility and they both state the decision to sail is solely at the descretion of the captain.

The organization does NOT decide, the skipper decides.

That is where your argument falls apart.
Everyone says that. But have a look at the aftermath (and continuing issues) following the Farrallones Race tragedy.
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 04-02-2014 at 06:41 PM.
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  #782  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by B.J. Porter View Post
He's not, you are reading it that way.

What he IS supporting is the following:

- There is no evidence to suggest that the losses that occurred in the SDR were a result of inexperience by the skippers and/or crew.

- There is no evidence to suggest that the losses that occurred in the SDR would have been prevented by a safety inspection or required equipment as per the 1500

- There is no evidence to suggest that the SDR allowed skippers with insufficient experience to participate.

Therefore blaming the SDR rally for the losses because of lack of safety requirements and inexperienced skippers is not appropriate.

I think that sums up his position.
Thanks, B.J.... You just saved me a lot of typing - which would have been all for naught, anyway :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Look, BJ you can't have it both ways. The USCG thought enough of this SDR incident to specifically point it out in a MSA.
Still waiting for you to point out where the CG says the organizers bear any responsibility for what happened last November, or that those SARs were in any way a result of the manner in which the SDR is organized or managed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
John Harries wrote a very good article regarding the problems with the SDR ("Salty Dawg Rally - What The Hell?")
And, he specifically stated this, which you continue to ignore at your convenience:

Quote:
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Charlie Doane wrote a couple of articles (here's a highlight from "WEATHER WINDOW ROULETTE: Races and Rallies and Rolling the Dice")...

Did you guys notice that? Is he laying it all on the skipper like you guys are arguing is the implied case here? No. Think about that.
Well, speaking of wanting to "have it both ways", it's laughable that you should cite both Harries and Doane in support of your position... Because, they are coming from opposite sides of the fence in in terms of the benefits of "adult supervision" for rally participants...

Doane is lauding the excellent call of the 1500's weather router to "set his ducks loose upon the waters" when they did... Presumably by relying on "adult supervision", he means someone other than each individual skipper making the call on when to go:

Quote:
This, I think, says something about group psychology. That is: if you are determined to sail in a group offshore, you should understand that a group of people can make a bad decision as easily as an individual can (see, e.g., the U.S. Congress), and that it therefore might be wise to join a group that enjoys some adult supervision.
Harries strenuously disagrees with this position...

Quote:
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.
So, while Harries sees very deep and fundamental flaws in the notion of organized rallies to the Caribbean in the fall (as I do, as well), he obviously comes down firmly in favor of one of the guiding principles of the SDR - namely, that each skipper, and no one else, is solely responsible for making their own decisions and preparations for the passage...

It's remarkable, your refusal to see the fundamental - and quite likely only - reason why the SDR fleet was the one to experience trouble last fall... THE MAJORITY OF THE PARTICIPANTS PICKED WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE THE WRONG DAMN TIME TO LEAVE... In passagemaking, that happens sometimes :-) No doubt about it, the 1500's router made a better call than Chris Parker, apparently, and the weather did not develop as Chris had predicted...

So, where was Charlie Doane, calling for more "adult supervision", in the wake of the 2011 NARC debacle? Oh, wait - that rally had the adult supervision provided by Susan Gennett of RealWeather, who gave them the green light to sail off into what turned into Tropical Storm Sean... Then, in the unseemly aftermath of that tragedy, the effort was made to shift the blame to Herb Hilgenberg...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
...and others like Mike Hixenbaug, Peter Nielsen, etc. Granted, much of their focus was on weather and the herd-mentality (there are obviously many problems here) - but they cdertainly don't speak glowingly of the SDR.
Again, you obviously have no clue regarding the sort of 'herd mentality' that can arise wherever sailors may gather prior to making an offshore passage. As I've already explained hundreds of posts ago, travel back to Beaufort, NC 25 years ago... before fingertip access to Passageweather on your iPad, before the Weather Channel, the daily routine of the informal gathering of cruisers waiting to jump off for the islands revolved around the Offshore/High Seas forecast broadcast 4 times daily... Clusters of skippers would gather to listen around the few boats that might have even been equipped with SSB, and the "So, what do you think?" conversation that followed would be an example of 'group think' at its finest...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
To argue that because "there is no evidence" nothing needs to change is seriously weak. Here is the evidence:

1. The SDR allows entry to skippers that Jon (and I think most very experienced sailors) would consider not ready for a fall trip like this - based purely on their inexperience.
Uhhh, and your "evidence" for that assertion would be ???

Congrats, that may be the most laughable, nonsensical use of "facts" you've yet to make in the course of this thread... :-)

Seriously, you should think about lightening up on this Crusade of yours against the SDR... I swear, you'll probably encourage some folks around here to be secretly hoping it's the 1500 fleet that gets their butts kicked next fall, just to prove how wrongheaded your position is... :-)
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Last edited by JonEisberg; 04-02-2014 at 07:46 PM.
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  #783  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Thanks, B.J.... You just saved me a lot of typing - which would have been all for naught, anyway :-)

Still waiting for you to point out where the CG says the organizers bear any responsibility for what happened last November, or that those SARs were in any way a result of the manner in which the SDR is organized or managed...

And, he specifically stated this, which you continue to ignore at your convenience:

Well, speaking of wanting to "have it both ways", it's laughable that you should cite both Harries and Doane in support of your position... Because, they are coming from opposite sides of the fence in in terms of the benefits of "adult supervision" for rally participants...

Doane is lauding the excellent call of the 1500's weather router to "set his ducks loose upon the waters" when they did... Presumably by relying on "adult supervision", he means someone other than each individual skipper making the call on when to go:

Harries strenuously disagrees with this position...

So, while Harries sees very deep and fundamental flaws in the notion of organized rallies to the Caribbean in the fall (as I do, as well), he obviously comes down firmly in favor of one of the guiding principles of the SDR - namely, that each skipper, and no one else, is solely responsible for making their own decisions and preparations for the passage...

It's remarkable, your refusal to see the fundamental - and quite likely only - reason why the SDR fleet was the one to experience trouble last fall... THE MAJORITY OF THE PARTICIPANTS PICKED WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE THE WRONG DAMN TIME TO LEAVE... In passagemaking, that happens sometimes :-) No doubt about it, the 1500's router made a better call than Chris Parker, apparently, and the weather did not develop as Chris had predicted...

So, where was Charlie Doane, calling for more "adult supervision", in the wake of the 2011 NARC debacle? Oh, wait - that rally had the adult supervision provided by Susan Gennett of RealWeather, who gave them the green light to sail off into what turned into Tropical Storm Sean... Then, in the unseemly aftermath of that tragedy, the effort was made to shift the blame to Herb Hilgenberg...

Again, you obviously have no clue regarding the sort of 'herd mentality' that can arise wherever sailors may gather prior to making an offshore passage. As I've already explained hundreds of posts ago, travel back to Beaufort, NC 25 years ago... before fingertip access to Passageweather on your iPad, before the Weather Channel, the daily routine of the informal gathering of cruisers waiting to jump off for the islands revolved around the Offshore/High Seas forecast broadcast 4 times daily... Clusters of skippers would gather to listen around the few boats that might have even been equipped with SSB, and the "So, what do you think?" conversation that followed would be an example of 'group think' at its finest...

Uhhh, and your "evidence" for that assertion would be ???

Congrats, that may be the most laughable, nonsensical use of "facts" you've yet to make in the course of this thread... :-)

Seriously, you should think about lightening up on this Crusade of yours against the SDR... I swear, you'll probably encourage some folks around here to be secretly hoping it's the 1500 fleet that gets their butts kicked next fall, just to prove how wrongheaded your position is... :-)
Okay, if you want to keep using quotes, Harries sums up "my Crusade" very nicely:

Quote:
I really encourage everyone, and particularly those with less ocean experience, to stay away from these rallies in the fall.
Bingo.

And, if those less experienced people insist on doing it - listen to Doane, and pick one where you can get all the "adult supervision" you possibly can:

Quote:
Exhibit A: the Caribbean 1500...[whose] approach is admirably reality-based.

-not-

Exhibit B: the Salty Dawg Rally. This loosy-goosey Caribbean 1500 breakaway group...
Sounds like we're all on the same page. Oh, and these guys have a clue.
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  #784  
Old 04-03-2014
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Okay, if you want to keep using quotes, Harries sums up "my Crusade" very nicely:

Quote:
I really encourage everyone, and particularly those with less ocean experience, to stay away from these rallies in the fall.
Bingo.
I couldn't agree more..

Get back to us when you can demonstrate that any of the distressed SDR skippers possessed insufficient ocean experience...

Here's a few leads to help begin your search, 2 of the boats that lost rudders, and one that was dismasted:

Blog | ABOUT A VOYAGE

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Trouble aboard Zulu in the Gulf Stream | Cruising World

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
And, if those less experienced people insist on doing it - listen to Doane, and pick one where you can get all the "adult supervision" you possibly can:
Hmmm, you really don't want to address how all that top-flight "adult supervision" afforded by the NARC worked out in 2011, do you?

Or, what do you suppose the surviving family and friends of Laura Zekol think of the 1500's "adult supervision" the year before?
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
I couldn't agree more..

Get back to us when you can demonstrate that any of the distressed SDR skippers possessed insufficient ocean experience...

Here's a few leads to help begin your search, 2 of the boats that lost rudders, and one that was dismasted:

Blog | ABOUT A VOYAGE

S/V Jammin Peoples Adventure

Trouble aboard Zulu in the Gulf Stream | Cruising World



Hmmm, you really don't want to address how all that top-flight "adult supervision" afforded by the NARC worked out in 2011, do you?

Or, what do you suppose the surviving family and friends of Laura Zekol think of the 1500's "adult supervision" the year before?
Is the "More adult supervision" what leads to dangerous groupthink and a herd mentality?

Skippers...looking to be told what to do?

In 2012 the 1500 left early and took some pounding. A couple of our guys left a day or two after them and took more, the rest of us held off for about a week. We had already decided we were leaving later, and were happy when the SDR on the whole leaned towards leaning later and not getting pasted.

Had I been in the 1500 and they said "Go Now" I am not sure I would have. But maybe I might, and not enjoyed the consequences of not following my own mind.
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  #786  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Jon and Smack need to put their debate on hold and put things to a practical test. Next November one should join the 1500 and the other the SDR and then write about their experience!
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

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Originally Posted by Yorksailor View Post
Jon and Smack need to put their debate on hold and put things to a practical test. Next November one should join the 1500 and the other the SDR and then write about their experience!
LOL! Good idea... :-)

Despite my misgivings about these rallies in general, I have to admit I've really enjoyed the few times I've spent in Hampton at the time the 1500 was getting underway. In 2011, I was at Bluewater Yachting Center waiting to depart as TS Sean churned offshore with everyone else, and it really was a lot of fun... Good group of people, the sense of camaraderie was palpable, and a gained a greater measure of respect for the appeal of these things for many folks...

But when the time finally came to depart at the end of the week, we went our own separate way, heading pretty much due E, while the 1500 fleet all headed down the beach to cross the Stream off Hatteras. We were headed for Antigua, so getting as much easting in the bank was more critical for me, and I wanted to keep Bermuda in reach as a bail out option anyway on that trip. Which we wound up doing, when the development of another tropical system loomed on the horizon... We wound up encountering 2 boats in St George's from the 1500, and both were very unhappy with the waypoints they'd been given for their Stream crossing... but it was the first trip for both of them, and I'm not sure they really appreciated what a slog getting thru the Stream can sometimes turn out to be... Also, by diverting to Bermuda, they would be missing the big 1500 after-party at Nanny Cay, and I think they were a bit pissed at the realization they weren't gonna get their money's worth that year :-)

This illustrates one big difference between the 2 rallies for me. The 1500 gurus have always seemed to favor running down the beach and crossing the Stream at Hatteras. I've done that, and it can work fine in the right situation, but it definitely poses some risk, and I've always been a bit surprised that the "adult supervision" running one of these cattle drives endorses it :-)

Bill Knowles of the SDR, on the other hand, is a big proponent of what he calls "riding the curve", and heading E out of the Bay, and trying to stay well above the rhumb line to be well positioned for the final leg of the trip, when one inevitably encounters tradewind conditions that can often make for a tough beat into Tortola the last few days for those sailing a rhumb line course. This, too, can pose some risk, as you'll generally be crossing the Stream deeper into your weather window, and in a region where the precise location of the Stream is often difficult to pinpoint, and it does put you closer to the region of known gale development between the Chesapeake and Bermuda... But, all things considered, I think Bill's recommended strategy is the better way to go, and Don Street concurs...

If I were taking my own boat to the islands at that time, I'd seriously consider signing up with the SDR like the crew on RUFFIAN did. Quite simply, the benefits are too good to pass up... But there's a good chance I might decide to leave from Beaufort/Morehead, instead, and it's nice that the SDR affords that flexibility to choose both the time and point of your departure... Only real hesitation I'd have about the SDR, somewhat oddly, is a result of one of their few real 'safety requirements' - namely, their requirement for a daily radio check in. If you're singlehanding, that can often be a real PITA, sometimes the timing can be very inconvenient. (Although, I do believe the SDR affords a fair amount of flexibility re roll call/check in times) One of the reasons I've never used Herb other than just listening to him, it can be incredibly time consuming, and many times it's simply more important to just be sailing the damn boat :-)

2011 was the first year that the WCC took over the 1500 from Steve Black, and there were definitely some teething problems, and considerable griping about some of the changes made from those who had done the rally previously... Splitting the fleet up between Bluewater and Hampton town docks was a mistake, really creating 2 separate 'camps', and the folks at Bluewater had to travel to the hotel in Hampton for the planned events, etc. But one very shrewd move the 1500 has done since, IMHO, was hiring Andy Schell and his wife Mia to run the show. I have a lot of respect for Andy, he's shown very good judgement, their decision to leave when they did this year seems a clear demonstration, and I think the 1500 is now in very good hands with he and Mia serving as the "adult supervisors" of the fleet...
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Last edited by JonEisberg; 04-03-2014 at 09:42 AM.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

As always a well written and thought out response from Jon...Which side will Smack take?

ps. I am sitting on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal and may have to postpone our planned Pacific crossing and move the boat to San Diego. Has anyone done the trip northwards from Panama?

Last edited by Yorksailor; 04-03-2014 at 10:07 AM.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Hmmm, you really don't want to address how all that top-flight "adult supervision" afforded by the NARC worked out in 2011, do you?

Or, what do you suppose the surviving family and friends of Laura Zekol think of the 1500's "adult supervision" the year before?
Okay, so we're finally getting down to it. You agree that less experienced sailors ("newbs") should avoid the fall rallies. Good. We don't have to argue that one anymore.

Beyond that issue comes the "adult supervision" thing. And the bottom line is this: if it's not good enough make it better (like Andy and Mia seem to be doing according to you - or by "riding the curve" if that presents less risk as you lay out).

OR - do away with rallies altogether.

But don't let less experienced sailors into "loosey goosey" rallies where there's little to none.
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Last edited by smackdaddy; 04-03-2014 at 11:00 AM.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
This illustrates one big difference between the 2 rallies for me. The 1500 gurus have always seemed to favor running down the beach and crossing the Stream at Hatteras. I've done that, and it can work fine in the right situation, but it definitely poses some risk, and I've always been a bit surprised that the "adult supervision" running one of these cattle drives endorses it
I don't usually go quite E - I like 120 - 135T wind permitting to cross the GS as close to perpendicular as possible.
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