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post #21 of 33 Old 04-15-2018
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

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Originally Posted by SeaStar58 View Post
Guess I hang with the small percentage.
So do I, I wear a 406 PLB on my lifejacket as well as a submersible VHF, but I haven't found that to be common practice by majority of coastal sailors that I have personally observed. What I have typically seen is more line with the video SD posted above on the Catalina. Street clothes, key hole life jackets, no PLBs or radios. I am not just talking about the Gulf of Mexico, that's how I see a lot of sailors equipped every where I have sailed.

Even for the folks who carry an EPIRB there are challenges when you have a sudden capsize like that. If its manually activated, you have to be able to get to it to activate it. Not so easy on a capsized cat. Even a float free auto activate EPIRB is going to have challenges with a sudden capsize of a catamaran. It has to be submerged enough to activate the hydrostatic release and to get a clear signal it may have to somehow float free of the wreckage of the inverted catamaran.

I am all for EPIRBs, PLBs, SPOTS, Delormes etc, but there are limitations to each in certain situations.
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

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So do I, I wear a 406 PLB on my lifejacket as well as a submersible VHF, but I haven't found that to be common practice by majority of coastal sailors that I have personally observed. What I have typically seen is more line with the video SD posted above on the Catalina. Street clothes, key hole life jackets, no PLBs or radios. I am not just talking about the Gulf of Mexico, that's how I see a lot of sailors equipped every where I have sailed.

Even for the folks who carry an EPIRB there are challenges when you have a sudden capsize like that. If its manually activated, you have to be able to get to it to activate it. Not so easy on a capsized cat. Even a float free auto activate EPIRB is going to have challenges with a sudden capsize of a catamaran. It has to be submerged enough to activate the hydrostatic release and to get a clear signal it may have to somehow float free of the wreckage of the inverted catamaran.

I am all for EPIRBs, PLBs, SPOTS, Delormes etc, but there are limitations to each in certain situations.
Its like working under a car. We all should have jack stands, wheel chocks and a helper just in case but many don't have more than a service jack. Me I have all or at least have the stands with the wheel chocks and tell family that if I am not back inside in a set time period to check on me or set up a phone check with them if they are going to be out and about since I am working under the car. Yes some get distracted and such so its not perfect but you do all you reasonably can to be safe.

At the sailing center if I am working out in the remote yard I set up check ins with the Boat Shed Mechanic or one of the Yard Mule Drivers along with notify whoever is going to lockup that evening. It's not beyond me to take a few old sail bags full of old life vests to put beneath a boat I am crawling under just in case to add some margin of safety. Some of the guys will lift a boat on a gantry and work underneath just trusting the brake on the hoist to hold with out slipping and then start hammering, grinding, etc laying underneath it.

Try to lead by example in not compromising my own or anyone else's safety for convenience, to meet a schedule, stay in budget or pander to any other agenda.
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post #23 of 33 Old 04-15-2018
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

We all screw up but this event speaks to the old saw ďa mono takes care of you....you take care of a multiĒ.
A vessel totally dependent on form stability wonít have the opportunity to spill its wind off of the tops of its sails.
Motorboat people make much of the ratio between structure above versus below the waterline ever since Beebe tried to define what makes a good ocean going long distance trawler. One would note when going without massive ballast boats like the artnaua are 58í long so pitching and pitchpoling arenít a concern.
From the little I understand you can create a very safe multi (not what is stuck in charter) once you get over~45í donít build a wedding cake and have adequate hull/empty net before the bridge deck. Agree this Gemini didnít meet these criteria and paid for it.
Personally if things in my life were different Iíd be on a multi but it would be one conceived from the beginning for open ocean service.
Whatís been said about shallow water is so true. Hence my aversion to the NJ shore, the Carolina capes and even the mouth of LI sound in a blow.
So the criteria for good heavy weather survivability is predicated on the same physics but varies with type of vessel. Think of 28íBCCs or contessas or west sails or mini transats or pogos. Then think of what you need in power or multihull to reach the same level.
Believe that although multis have so many advantages over monos that itís this factor that means monos will continue to be produced.
eherlihy and fallard like this.

s/v Hippocampus
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post #24 of 33 Old 04-15-2018
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

Should note I may have a misperception but think the current trend in increasing the roach on the mains on cats is potentially a weak spot. The broadblues have huge mains. Its progenitor the Prout 39 had a tiny blade main and mostly depended on its two headsails for drive. Although under 45í it was known as a great seaboat.

s/v Hippocampus
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post #25 of 33 Old 04-15-2018
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

we found frontal systems in gom to be well advertised. they come on fast. when commercial traffic is hunkered down, do that. those tug drivers are not idiots. they will hunker and tie down for fronts.
"good sailors know their weather" i was taught that one at age 8. i learned my weather. is a shame more havent. if an 8 yr old can learn the weather map reading thing sola, then why cant you older folks do the same.
there are many alleged good sailors who donot make a point of learning that which may kill em.


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post #26 of 33 Old 04-15-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

Here comes another big one. Some cancellations have been issued for this one coming through and things are already banging about outside right now.

Hope folks have been paying attention.
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post #27 of 33 Old 04-15-2018
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

Jeez - that is a nasty one ss. When you see a "bow echo" like that, it's going to be especially nasty. That was what was seen on radar for the Dauphin Island Race disaster as well.

For our boat, I carried a PLB in our ditchbag. That essentially served as our EPIRB. We also had lots of other emergency gear (waterproof VHF, watermaker, etc.) and rations in that bag as well as a liferaft ready at the pushpit. Then we also had the detachable SPOT tracker at the helm for back-up emergency calls if needed. I felt that covered us pretty well as a boat/crew. As far as individuals - at least when offshore - the boys always clipped in. I, of course, would get a bit relaxed on that rule if it was daytime and things were calm - but I never let up on the boys as I wanted to build that habit. And no one was EVER above decks without a PFD...ever. But we did not have PLBs on our vests. That's what the tether was for.

The year before our trip - a father and his three teen kids were lost off the coast of FL due to one of these storms the same time of year we were sailing. So I was definitely thinking about that with each mile we sailed.

You mentioned the commercial traffic hunkering down. In that Florida storm I showed above, as you can see in the video of that part of our trip, the morning had been nothing but sunshine and perfect wind - then that wall of gray started coming at us. I watched on AIS as a medium sized ship came out of the shipping lane and dropped anchor - LONG before that cell got near us as you can see in the pics.





I'd never seen that before and thought it was weird - especially this far out. That should have been my first clue. Of course, for us, there was nowhere to duck in. So we just had to take it on the chin.

As I said, I had already dropped all sail and started the motor in preparation for it - and when it hit I just turned and ran with it under bare poles. It was pretty easy. Then when it started easing a bit I just slowly circled the ship about 1/2 mile away in case it was going to get worse. It didn't - just like most of these storms, it blew past after an hour or two.

We then started back toward St. Pete right after. No problems at all.

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post #28 of 33 Old 04-15-2018
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

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I don't see what being the owner of a marina has to do with anything. I've known a few marina owners who never set foot on a boat or even their own docks.
Might be true... My brother owns a marina and would not own a boat if his life depended don it...
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

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I don't think it had much to do with shallow water, and the Gemini isn't really a tippy boat. It probably was more about not appreciating just how fast and severe the line squalls are around Florida, and then a bit of bad luck. I'm guessing from the description that they had begun to reef, the sail was a bit bagged as they let the halyard down, and the line front was upon them. This just slammed the sail, turned the boat around (or the wind came from 180*), and started to drive the bows under. Wave height probably didn't matter much here, and they didn't appear to tip sideways. Instead, it was all about a short waterline - not enough lever arm or buoyancy forward to overcome that big, high force driving them down. I suspect a Prout 34, or any other 34' catamaran would have been caught similarly. I also suspect if they had a full hoisted sail, it might have spilled wind better and be more recoverable.

The partially lowered main is just my guess - the description in the article was vague at this point about whether they had begun to take a reef or not.

Mark
I think sometimes seeing or hearing of an oncoming squall actually can in the minds of some create problems because basic instinct in the mind of the inexperienced is to move to safety quickly which is exactly the wrong way to think on the water. Still it is often I believe why people are slow to reduce sail. They equate reduced sail to slower speed which is true but in the case of hard hitting squalls this is the exact right thing to do. It is counter-intuitive and only becomes intuitive with training and experience.
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

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I think sometimes seeing or hearing of an oncoming squall actually can in the minds of some create problems because basic instinct in the mind of the inexperienced is to move to safety quickly which is exactly the wrong way to think on the water. Still it is often I believe why people are slow to reduce sail. They equate reduced sail to slower speed which is true but in the case of hard hitting squalls this is the exact right thing to do. It is counter-intuitive and only becomes intuitive with training and experience.
A lot of correct safety related reactions are sometimes counter intuitive to the inexperienced such as what to do in a blowout especially in a large vehicle. The correct behavior is to press the accelerator pedal to the full throttle position (to the floor) in order to stabilize the chassis yet most will be inclined to hit the brakes. After control is established then coast to a stop while gently pulling off to the side of the road.
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