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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The first question obviously, end of January, WTF were they doing out there, with this sort of weather?



Here's the initial report, posted by Gunboat's Peter Johnstone over on SA:

Posted Today, 05:34 PM

Please say a prayer for RAINMAKER's crew.

RAINMAKER was dismasted today 36 hours into her passage out of the Gunboat yard about 200 miles SE of Hattaras. From the very brief and patchy sat phone call, and various brief texts, the following is all we have been told:

*Everyone is accounted for aboard, including the owner, his son, and three professional crew.
*The rig was promptly cut away.
*The boat was not holed.
*At the last update there were no injuries.

Conditions are evidently quite severe. It is not uncommon for the cold NW winds to accelerate over the Gulf Stream to windspeeds well above what may show on grib files. They have a large South swell, and are faced with deteriorating conditions with a building NW breeze in the Gulf Stream. Waves and swells have been observed from onboard to be getting worse over the course of the day.

An onboard decision has been made to be airlifted off of the boat. The US Coast Guard expects to be on site within 30 minutes.

These people are a part of our Gunboat family. Please say a prayer for the safe recovery of the RAINMAKER crew and the safety of the USCG rescue team that has been dispatched. An airlift is not an easy operation in any conditions, never mind these conditions. The Atlantic in February is a merciless place.

...

Thank you everyone. All five crew from Rainmaker have been safely airlifted off of RAINMAKER moments ago and are in a helicopter on their way back to shore.

Gunboat and RAINMAKER's insurer are actively coordinating her salvage. This will not be easy as conditions are meant to be terrible on Monday.

PLEASE SAY A PRAYER FOR RAINMAKER'S CREW - Multihull Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums
Wow, just WOW...

Do you suppose he spilled his Martini?

Hope he treats the CG Rescue Swimmer and Helo crew to a couple, after their return to Elizabeth City... ;-)

Forbes Life

 

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Always sorry to hear about the loss of a vessel. Glad all are safe. The wind is howling outside my door. Linus is also on the way. No way, I'd want to be off Cape Hattaras

Article said that they had a computer aided reefing system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Always sorry to hear about the loss of a vessel. Glad all are safe. The wind is howling outside my door. Linus is also on the way. No way, I'd want to be off Cape Hattaras

Article said that they had a computer aided reefing system.
EVERYTHING on that boat is computer-aided... :)

There is no electrical panel, for instance - only touch screens... (pics are from the older Gunboat 60)



Load sensors on all the components of the rig, which one would think would alleviate much of the risk of a dismasting... The sheets can be set to release when loads reach a preset limit, and there are 'Sheet Dump' buttons at a number of locations around the boat...



GUNBOAT 60: The Future Is Now | Sailfeed

Still, in the wake of the loss of the Alpha 42 BE GOOD TOO in similar circumstances last winter, you've gotta wonder whether the loss of Hull #1 of the latest state of the art multihull in the North Atlantic in January is gonna become a regular thing?

As you say, it's blowing like hell here on the Jersey coast tonight, can't imagine what it's like down off Hatteras right now... However, this weather was well forecast in advance, more than 36 hours ago, the timing of this one seems like a bit of a head-scratcher, for sure...
 

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Jon, what are your thoughts about the dismasting? I wouldn't care to go in that weather, but from what I read, all the Bluewater cruiser's boats would easily handle 30-40 knots, and 12' seas....

Seriously though, I'm happy everyone made it ok.

We made some friends in Brunswick, Georgia, that had friends on a cat that lost the rig during the Caribbean 1500/SDR, or around that time back in 2013. I'm not sure they were actually in either event. The weather was not all that extreme, but the seas were very confused. Waves from every direction. I've been on a 46' cat, and know the motion is very different than a mono. I'd speculate the same applies in this case.

So, maybe speculate on the conditions and the reason for the rig failure.

Ralph
 

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Glad to hear all are safe but wtf looked at Sunday and looks much better to get sea room why did they get underway into that soup waiting for 48 hours would have made sense to me must have been on the worst thing possible ( a schedule)
 

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Again glad to hear all is safe.

I am having some trouble understanding the decision to abandon with 5 people onboard and the rig cut free, it would seem in a boat of that size and capability quite feasible to run for the the nearest port?

I wasn't onboard so don't want to second guess decisions made, but perhaps we are missing some information here.
 

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Here is an interesting article in Forbes:

Scudding through New York Harbor amid bobbing sailboats, looming fuel barges and the orange-hulled Staten Island Ferry, Brian Cohen's $2.5 million Gunboat 55 catamaran is an island of calm. Guests sip a crisp Sancerre at a table in the yacht's teak-decked salon as Cohen steers the boat downwind toward Manhattan.
 

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.......I am having some trouble understanding the decision to abandon with 5 people onboard and the rig cut free, it would seem in a boat of that size and capability quite feasible to run for the the nearest port?......
A northerly gale in the Gulf Stream with swell from the south. That's almost the textbook definition of bad. Those waves must have been standing straight up. A rollover in a dismasted catamaran was a real risk and they don't come back over.

Hard to imagine the logic of pressing into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Jon, what are your thoughts about the dismasting? I wouldn't care to go in that weather, but from what I read, all the Bluewater cruiser's boats would easily handle 30-40 knots, and 12' seas....
Well, not sure I'd go with "easily"... ;-)

I have little doubt the conditions out there were pretty bad, and quite possibly much worse than reported. no way I'd care to be out there right not, on ANY boat ;-) I don't know their exact location/proximity to the Stream, but Johnstone refers to a large swell running in from the S... With the wind out of the NW-N, the seas would have been extremely chaotic. And, unless you've sailed in the winter, it's easy to forget how much 'heavier' 40 knots of breeze is in cold weather, than in a more normal sailing season...

Seriously though, I'm happy everyone made it ok.
This one sounded like a VERY close shave... The CG helo didn't even make it back to their base in Elizabeth City, but rather landed at the Dare County Airport on Roanoke Island, touching down "on fumes", according to Johnstone... I can't recall ever hearing of that, before, yikes...

Here's the CG video, click on the pic to view:

Video Update: Coast Guard hoists 5 from damaged sailboat 200 miles off NC coast

We made some friends in Brunswick, Georgia, that had friends on a cat that lost the rig during the Caribbean 1500/SDR, or around that time back in 2013. I'm not sure they were actually in either event. The weather was not all that extreme, but the seas were very confused. Waves from every direction. I've been on a 46' cat, and know the motion is very different than a mono. I'd speculate the same applies in this case.

So, maybe speculate on the conditions and the reason for the rig failure.

Ralph
Whatever I say will be pure speculation, for certain ;-) My experience with large multihulls offshore is non-existent, after all.... However, I'm inclined to agree with your assessment, that the sort of '4-cornered' motion of a multi in such a chaotic sea state might create the tendency for a greater degree of sort of 'snatching' loads on the rig, than a monohull would likely see...

Most of my experience on a large cat was a 10 day charter on a Lagoon 47 in Croatia.... It was early in the summer, we had a LOT of wind, and a lot of sailing in very choppy and confused seas. The captain was very experienced, but a bit of a cowboy, and didn't believe in reefing ;-) Frankly, the massive loads that were produced on that boat scared the hell out of me, there is no way such a boat would ever be my personal choice for extended voyaging, but that's just me.... I'm a wimp when it comes to larger boat size, anyway... :)

Bottom line, however, is I'd love to know what their passage plan was... I wasn't watching down there specifically, but I know the weather we're seeing here in NJ right now was very well forecast, days in advance... And, looking at Passageweather, any attempt to salvage that boat is gonna be VERY costly. Hell, the thing might be halfway to freakin' Ireland before they get a towline on it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Latest update from Johnstone:

Posted Today, 08:38 AM

This morning's update: Sustained winds were 30-35 knots. Squalls had been in the 40 knot range for most of the day. A full whiteout squall hit that initially looked no different than the other squalls. Sails were up as there was no indication of squalls with winds above 40 knots. A wall of wind hit at up to 70 knots. There was no opportunity to get the sails down. The mast came down with the wall of wind. Am simply relieved these guys are all safe.
Yup, sounds like the North Atlantic off Hatteras in January, alright...
 

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Latest update from Johnstone:

Posted Today, 08:38 AM

This morning's update: Sustained winds were 30-35 knots. Squalls had been in the 40 knot range for most of the day. A full whiteout squall hit that initially looked no different than the other squalls. Sails were up as there was no indication of squalls with winds above 40 knots. A wall of wind hit at up to 70 knots. There was no opportunity to get the sails down. The mast came down with the wall of wind. Am simply relieved these guys are all safe.
Yup, sounds like the North Atlantic off Hatteras in January, alright...
They mean to say the "auto-dump" didn't work as advertised? That's a shocker.
 

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I were the insurance company and covering a multi-million dollar hull on a blue water passage, I would require an onboard PLB/Spot/GPS tracker of some kind with a 5-10 day battery. Wait for the seas to calm. Salvage is probably worth it in these rare cases. No point going to look for a boat worth hundreds of thousands, but millions is quite different.
 

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Maybe the sprit let go? Or a shroud?
The shrouds are 14 mm dyneema... Takes a bit to brake it. But Hatteras can do it with a northerly. Just ask the capt of the Bounty.

Or even the gospell according to me: "A fool and his life are soon parted".

Just another ******** who thought their boat better than nature. And Hatteras is a great testing ground for nature...

But I am sure some will try to justify (yawn) why they should have been out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They mean to say the "auto-dump" didn't work as advertised? That's a shocker.
On the other hand, there are worse things than losing a rig... On a multihull, one would be going upside down... There might be 5 dead bodies floating around out there right now, if that rig hadn't come down...

If it happened to an Atlantic 57, seems it could happen to a Gunboat 55:

LossOfAnna
 

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In the end, I think we all know why they were probably out there. Somebody that thought that boat just had to be somewhere on a particular day, and damn the weather forecast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In the end, I think we all know why they were probably out there. Somebody that thought that boat just had to be somewhere on a particular day, and damn the weather forecast.
Well, I'm not sure even the powers that be at Gunboat have the sort of clout to push back the dates of the Miami Boat Show back by a week, or two...

:)

Gotta allow a bit more time when heading south, this time of the year... In fairness, wouldn't surprise me if that big Northeaster we had recently might have delayed their initial departure a bit...
 
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