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post #1 of 33 Old 04-14-2018 Thread Starter
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Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

Looks like they did not check the weather and sailed right into the cold front that came through last weekend. This storm was predicted almost a week in advance as a major storm that was supposed to generate severe weather for about three days so its a bit odd that they waited until after the Coast Guards imminent weather warnings on VHS to start preparing for it.

They were very lucky after 27 hours turned turtle that despite not having filed a sail plan, scheduled call in check points, no personal locator beacon or EPIRB that a Coast Guard Cutter en route for maintenance in Tampa accidentally came across them on radar and investigated them as a potential submarine contact since no one was looking for them. The skipper owns a marina in Michigan.

Found at sea - News - Panama City News Herald - Panama City, FL

Too bad they did not scrape the barnacles off the hull when they bought it last week and it was on the hard as one of them is still in Largo Medical Center recovering from the cuts on his feet from them.

No mention yet about the Gemini 34 being sent to the bottom or salvaged.
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

Amazing story. Two very tenacious sailors. Again speaks to how hard it is to sink a multi but how there’s a clear dividing line between open ocean multihulls and not so much.
Report suggests this event occurred in 20-30kts tws with boat headed up to reef. Yes this would overpower a similar size mono but would be unlikely to produce a knockdown let alone a turtle. Something doesn’t compute in the news story. ?were the sails sheeted in hard? But that doesn’t make sense as these were experienced sailors. Have heard good things about Geminis. Are they really that tender?

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post #3 of 33 Old 04-14-2018
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

Sounds like it pitchpoled. He explains in the article that they headed into the wind to reef, then the wind increased suddenly and spun them 180* with the main pinned to the mast. The boat then plunged into a 5' wave and the bows went down and the boat over them.

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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

Root cause was still from failing to check the weather or potentially from checking it and then trying to beat the weather to rendezvous with another boat to sail up to Tennessee with and compounded by not have their safety equipment in place and operational. Totally avoidable event considering that those winds were already predicted well in advance (about a full weeks notice) of the Coast Guards Imminent Warning. Perhaps he thought the Gulf would be a lamb to deal with compared to the Great Lakes.

Over confidence in the stability of a multi-hull too may have played into it but the owner of a marina should have known better than to take an old boat that was new to him, having only owned it a very short time being on his first sail on her, straight into a front coming in like that. I live in the area the storm passed through and we had days to prepare the boats and marina for this one. It was no where close to a sudden unexpected event.

Don't wait until the last moment in the Gulf as by then it will usually be too late. Most around here would have already planned their anchorage and been there well before the time frame this storm was expected to hit.
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

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Originally Posted by SeaStar58 View Post
Over confidence in the stability of a multi-hull too may have played into it but the owner of a marina should have known better than to take an old boat that was new to him, having only owned it a very short time being on his first sail on her, .
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.
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

That's a hell of a story and those guys are both tough and lucky. I lived on the gulf coast for 5 years and the squalls come up so fast like nowhere else I have seen. Our policy was to douse the sails as soon as you see a dark sky coming your way.

I agree some of the story seem strange beyond not checking the weather. I think they were overwhelmed at how fast a front approaches in the gulf and quickly it can turn to 60 mph gusts. I doubt the boat was flipped in 3 seconds or the one guy spent 3 minutes under water. I am going to write that off to them being too busy to look at their watches. I am glad they survived.

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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.
I've also seen people that have been sailing for 38 years, that are bad at it.

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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.
This particular one went on about his expertise about insisting on self inflating life vests and such making it appear he was highly experienced yet his pressing on into that front, lack of EPIRB and such don't jive with that.

Yes could have been one of the few Captain Jack types who only present them self as able seaman on the set of a Kiddies TV Show but had never been off the dock before and get seasick in the bathtub yet those guys would not likely be sailing the Gulf.

At least they did not get mowed down by commercial traffic on the Ol' Mississip and lived to tell a tale.

Most competent Marina Owners know boats and to keep track of the weather since messing up on that costs them so why lump them all with the few that don't?
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

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lack of EPIRB and such don't jive with that.
My guess is if you were to do a poll on this site you would find a very small percentage of sailors have either a 406 PLB on their person or an auto activate EPIRB that would have helped them out in this situation.

Its fortunate that they were in the Gulf of Mexico and not somewhere with cold water, 27 hours is a long wait without a survival suit.
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Re: Catamaran Knocked Down Near St George Island

We sailed right through that area. And there really is no mystery here...

Quote:
“We were moving along at 5 or 6 knots when we heard the Coast Guard call-in there’s going to be squalls,” said Saint Andrews.
Reef.

Quote:
Figuring they had time before encountering the rough weather around Destin...“We could see in front of us that it was turning dark, and we were going to try to run to that point and wait,” .
Mistake that almost killed them.

Quote:
In retrospect, he said the only thing the men might have done to prevent the disaster would have been to lower the sails earlier.
Back to reef.

Done. And arc is right - the Gulf is pretty forgiving in terms of water temps.
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