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  #391  
Old 05-23-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

It is interesting how the analysis and discussion has evolved. I still believe the simplest explanation is sometimes the correct one. Doug Sabbag may have had his detractors following the abandonment of his boat, but at least he told it as it was.

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Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
Well, my First Mate / Mrs. Sabbag, basically threw in the towel at that development. And I couldn't (though I should have in retrospect) overcome her insistence on abandoning the vessel.
As a litigation attorney by day, there are some basic principles to follow in the search for truth. At the top of the list is that shifting, inconsistent explanations of how or why something occurred provide a strong inference of being pretextual. That is, they are reasons given to hide the real reason for doing something. Pretexts can be based on half truths, and the person may even convince him or herself that it was the "real" reason.

In this case, I don't think RH realized how badly the "reasons" would come back to bite them when analyzed by others. Then they simply dug themselves deeper as they tried to explain, bolster, or withdraw the "reasons."

Just my gut feeling based on the various things I've read.
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  #392  
Old 05-26-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowtide View Post
As I posted earlier, you test in increasingly heavy conditions.

Start taking the boat out when it is blowing. When you are comfortable with all of the weather that will still allow leaving and coming back into port, you can step up.

Leave a day or two before the passage of a front to gain sea room, and negotiate the heavy weather to test your systems fairly near shore. Safety and help are not far away if something huge fails.

How is this simple, time tested procedure nonsensical? Do you believe you can only shakedown in nice weather hopping down the coast?

Airplanes, cars, and just about anything are tested gradually in this same manner. Look up sea trials, and see that most passenger ships are given trials in progressive weather up to what is expected routinely before they ever carry passengers.

The idea that most people don't do a proper shakedown somehow makes it seaman like is certainly nonsensical. Seamanship is not democratic, it is tried and true methods for surviving the unfathomable power of the sea. The rules of seamanship have been developed by analyzing and learning from the failures of ships that are lost, and the methods of those that have thrived, over hundreds of years of history at sea. Basic rule of seamanship; watertight integrity. Ranks pretty high.

Nobody here pulled any punches discussing the Bounty's very poor watertight integrity, it's deceased Captain was held feet to the fire right here, because the boat should have been fixed.

Modern people are way too smart I guess to do things the right (hard) way, and don't have time for all of that. Besides they have satphones and spots and inreach and epirbs and someone else can always risk their life to come get them, so just do it!

No time to fix the boat, learn the boat, or do a shakedown, just go!

The Pardey's have sailed all of their miles without any of these "safety" gadgets, taking the ultimate responsibility for their own safety at sea. I can't imagine Larry leaving port with a rotten boat, because he knows no one will be coming to get them. They always stress learning your boat in increasing weather conditions until you are comfortable in the snot, but what do they know, they don't even use a gps or a satphone.

So rather than fix the boat, make sure your sim cards are in order, and head out! No big deal to have someone else's kid jump into the ocean and risk their life to save you, it's their job.

Yes, me, the Pardy's and the very rules of seamanship are nonsensical, who needs that crap. Finding out what will surely break should be done as far from land as possible, preferably with precious cargo. It makes for a much cooler book.

Highwire artists should all begin learning 100' off the ground! Shakedown shmakedown. Ainobody got time fuhdat!

'
It really seems to bother you that RH didn't do what you call a proper shakedown cruise. Do you feel that it is negligent for a boat and crew to cross an ocean without first experiencing the worst case conditions in a coastal environment? Are you stating here that one should place the boat and crew into conditions in which they are not comfortable, may not have previously experienced, and could possibly overwhelm them or deteriorate into a life threatening situation based on the fact that they are closer to their rescuers? Does the premise of your version of a shakedown rely on the belief that it is ok to "push the rescue button" if you find you cant handle the situation? How is that different than gaining experience as one ventures further away from land other than the actual distance involved? Do you think it is somehow less strenuous or dangerous for a Rescue Swimmer to pull you out of the water simply because you are only 30 miles from land rather than 300?

I agree with you that taking increasingly bigger steps in sailing is an important way to learn your boat, it's peculiarities and problems, and your own strengths and limitations. I would also agree that correcting problems with the boat and equipping and preparing for deficiencies and weaknesses in boat AND crew is just good seamanship. Learning in progressively harsh conditions is fine as long as you realize that you are putting yourself in a position that could potentially become more than you can deal with. Pretty much what RH did.

If you followed your own advice and took your boat out in increasingly bad conditions and never had to be rescued, then good on you. You were not one of the relatively few people who had to "push the button". Unfortunately, RH was. And I guarantee you they will learn from it.
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  #393  
Old 05-26-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

A shakedown cruise is NOT intended as a suicidal stunt perhaps ameliorated by being close to the USCG rescue boats
Prior to our fist trip to Bermuda we had a well found boat and good crew. We did a shakedown by racing around the Delmarva peninsula. This was over 400 miles including an ocean leg. A breakdown or malfunction would at worst be halway between Cape May and Norfolk. Much better to find out there than most of the way to Bermuda with 600 miles of ocean behind you and uncertain parts and services ahead of you. Now times about 10 for going across the Pacific.
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  #394  
Old 05-26-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coquina View Post
A shakedown cruise is NOT intended as a suicidal stunt perhaps ameliorated by being close to the USCG rescue boats
Prior to our fist trip to Bermuda we had a well found boat and good crew. We did a shakedown by racing around the Delmarva peninsula. This was over 400 miles including an ocean leg. A breakdown or malfunction would at worst be halway between Cape May and Norfolk. Much better to find out there than most of the way to Bermuda with 600 miles of ocean behind you and uncertain parts and services ahead of you. Now times about 10 for going across the Pacific.
My idea of a shakedown would not be a suicidal thing either. Using your example, do you feel your shakedown race had undoubtedly revealed any problems with your boat? Did that race completely prepare you for your trip to Bermuda and any problems you could reasonably expect to encounter? My point is that Lowtide seemed to dismiss all the time and sailing Eric put in on RH prior to their departure as not good enough to be considered a proper shakedown.

I really think that most responsible sailors push their boats and their own limits at a reasonable pace over time. They learn as they go. A part of that learning process is finding out, sometimes the hard way, what deficiencies can be put off and which ones cant. How many posts on this forum alone outline mistakes or miscalculations that, given the addition of one extra problem, one sick child, deteriorating weather, or whatever, could have quickly escalated out of hand and resulted in a call for help?
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  #395  
Old 05-26-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

The race did great - it was quite rough and we got in the routine of working and eating in horrible conditions.
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  #396  
Old 05-27-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

I never suggested suicidal conditions. RH certainly never faced suicidal, or even gale force conditions.

My posts say specifically frontal passage conditions.

The advantage of being near shore is not simply to be closer for rescuers, as stated. If you are near shore, and lose the rig, you have enough fuel to motor back in. If you lose the engine (sloshed up crud from fuel sediment often shows up in a heavy weather shakedown) you can sail, even upwind. RH had neither option. If you are near shore, and the crew decides they want off the boat, it can be accommodated.

I could not be suggesting that you shake down in the worst weather you might face, as that is logically impossible. The sea is always capable of destroying you.

My belief that a shakedown in heavy weather is essential is partly based on my own experiences, but mostly based on the recommendations of nearly every heavy weather sailing book. People with hundreds of thousands of sea miles recommend it, but maybe you guys are that much smarter than them.

The other thing that recommends incremental increases to heavy weather is common sense. As a crew faces conditions just a little more daunting than last time, there is no panic or fear, even when last time was 35knots. If the crew has never seen more than 15 on the beam, 40 and a confused sea will produce more fear than Freddy Kreuger.

It is more about expectation than anything else. When the crew knows what to expect, there is a comfort factor. Uncertainty instinctively produces fear, especially when the situation is perceived as life threatening (whether it is or not). If a crew has gradually worked up, they know how the boat will behave, what to expect, and everything is calm.

How will you know what storm tactics work with your boat otherwise? How will the boat sit to your para-anchor or your drogue? What sail configuration will make the boat heave to comfortably? You don't want to learn to deploy these things for the first time when caught by 50kts that came out of nowhere. It's just common sense, to test the waters a little at a time,until everyone is confident they (and the boat) can handle whatever comes.

'
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  #397  
Old 05-27-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

Quote:
How is that different than gaining experience as one ventures further away from land other than the actual distance involved? Do you think it is somehow less strenuous or dangerous for a Rescue Swimmer to pull you out of the water simply because you are only 30 miles from land rather than 300?
Don't know what your on about but in this case they could have sailed to the nearest harbour if they were 30 miles from shore. If the boat was in imminent peril a rescue boat would have been able to get to the scene promptly.

Quote:
My point is that Lowtide seemed to dismiss all the time and sailing Eric put in on RH prior to their departure as not good enough to be considered a proper shakedown.
It should be dismissed because the 'captain' left on a major ocean crossing on what I think an experienced objective observer would consider an un-founded boat with an ill-prepared crew. I think the captain had just enough knowledge and experience to make him dangerous hence his decision to leave.

There has been some discussion of having a shake-down cruise and I think that is prudent. I think it can be as little as 2-4 days with an experienced crew on a new to them boat to as much as 2-4 months with passages of 1-3 days for a crew of dubious experience with their own boat. I would certainly put RH more into the latter group.

If on a cruise of 2-4 months you don't have to go looking for a rough experience but you are very likely to encounter heavy weather at some point(s) while out on the water regardless of the forecast. The first time I was ever went sailing was on an 800nm cruise/delivery and during the 14 days we took to get there we experienced a lightning storm with winds up to 40 knots and then as we got out of the Med into the Atlantic we had 55 knots sustained. So it does happen though I want to say that even after that I would not come close to considering that I could manage a boat at that time.

For RH a 2-4 month cruise would not only have shown them their boat was not yet up to the task but would have taught them the dynamics of passage making. I think a long shake down cruise would have given them an appreciation and understanding of their undertaking and in this case I think that was sorely lacking.
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  #398  
Old 05-27-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

If Rebel Heart had done a 4 day trip - two days out and 2 days back - they would have quickly discovered the wife was not up child care in a small boat in the ocean among other things. They could have decided to stick to coastal sailing for a few more years.
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  #399  
Old 05-27-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

that was my point...you cant expect to find rough weather while hopping down the pacific coast of mexico and central america with the exception of a few places...

if he wanted to shake down cruise...he could of stayed in northern california...and hop up and down from pt conception to drakes bay and encounter much harsher weather and be more prepared....in fact a simple farallones trip solo would be tougher than going down the coast...

so its hard to ever get those rough weather conditions..so while Im all for shakedown cruises...and Im adamant on knowing you and your boats weaknesses, sometimes you never really find out what your worth or your boat is until the crap hits the fan...

for example...in the bay area, when a norther pops in I would go and and have a hell of a time...on my little boat...loved getting the crap kicked out of me...why? cause I was preparing I wanted to see what the boat and myself did in those conditions...

35-40knots steady gusts and rain can be a handful..

yet I remember only once getting remotely similar conditions on the whole pacific coast of mexico and central america

one was tehuantapec(bareley just high winds) and the other was a micro burst off panama...

so unless you are asking people to wait for a tropical depression or a hurricane to hit while in mexico you simply arent going to find conditions that would be a good tester of a boat for say a pacific crossing...

you wont be able to test your drogue well...or other emergency aids, or storm sails in rough conditions etc...etc...etc...until when the crap actually hits the fan...

the best you can do is prepare mentally and the boat...in that regard thats all I can find fault with what these guys did...

maybe they shrugged off some things they shouldnt of...

peace






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  #400  
Old 05-27-2014
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Re: Ocean baby rescue underway off Mexico

How many people, when abandoning your boat in the Pacific, in (supposedly) nasty conditions, with a boat that (supposedly) had been knocked down, and (supposedly) was taking on water, with a (supposedly) sick infant who needs medical care, would.... grab a bottle of champagne to take in your ditch bag?

Quote:
At our going away party a few years ago, a friend gave us this bottle of champagne. I was pregnant at the time and wanted to be able to savor it, so we waited. We waited so long that it ended up tucked away in the bottom of the bilge and we discovered it as we were provisioning for the South Pacific. The plan was to put it in the fridge once we made landfall, so it would be nice and cold as we anchored in Hiva Oa and we could celebrate.

Ahhh the best laid plans of mice and men.

I reminisced about our champagne dream a few weeks ago and Eric surprised me by pulling the bottle out of his SeaBag. Delighted, we agreed to wait until we were in our own place and celebrate all the same.

Rebel Heart - Charlotte's Blog - Back to the*Start

The idiocy of these folks is astounding. Not only in what they do, but in what they choose to share. Their priorities are skewed beyond any sense of reason. Apparently they are so self-centered they don't even realize how it sounds when they publish this lunacy to the world.
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