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Sailing Vessel TAO
BOSTON - The Coast Guard coordinated a rescue of three sailors approximately 1,200 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at approximately 2 p.m., Thursday.
Watchstanders from the 1st Coast Guard District command center in Boston were notified at approximately 6 a.m., Thursday, of a 406MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon signal registered to the 42-foot French-flagged sailing vessel Tao with three men aboard.
A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew currently deployed to St. John's, Newfoundland, immediately launched to locate the Tao.
Three Frenchmen were reported aboard, one age 72 and two age 79.
The district command center watchstanders also contacted available vessels in the area to assist. Crews from the 500-foot Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine, the motor vessel Mol Maxim and the Spanish-flagged fishing vessel Robero diverted to assist.
The Hercules crew arrived on scene at approximately 11 a.m. and dropped marking flares, a life raft and radio to the Tao's crew. The men abandoned the sailing vessel and entered the life raft. The Tao was taking on water and capsizing.
The Robero arrived on scene at approximately 2 p.m. and safely rescued the sailors from the life raft. They were reported to be wearing lifejackets.
"This rescue demonstrates the strong bond between mariners on the open ocean," said Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Alayola, a search and rescue coordinator at the 1st Coast Guard District command center. "The Robero's crew proved that mariners from any nation can unite to help save lives in a distress situation."
The Robero will transport the sailors to the 300-foot Spanish-flagged hospital ship Esperanza for further evaluation and arrangements for travel.
Weather on scene was 10 to 12-foot seas with 33-knot winds.
 

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Sailing Vessel TAO
BOSTON - The Coast Guard coordinated a rescue of three sailors approximately 1,200 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at approximately 2 p.m., Thursday.
Watchstanders from the 1st Coast Guard District command center in Boston were notified at approximately 6 a.m., Thursday, of a 406MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon signal registered to the 42-foot French-flagged sailing vessel Tao with three men aboard.
A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew currently deployed to St. John's, Newfoundland, immediately launched to locate the Tao.
Three Frenchmen were reported aboard, one age 72 and two age 79.
The district command center watchstanders also contacted available vessels in the area to assist. Crews from the 500-foot Maine Maritime Academy training ship State of Maine, the motor vessel Mol Maxim and the Spanish-flagged fishing vessel Robero diverted to assist.
The Hercules crew arrived on scene at approximately 11 a.m. and dropped marking flares, a life raft and radio to the Tao's crew. The men abandoned the sailing vessel and entered the life raft. The Tao was taking on water and capsizing.
The Robero arrived on scene at approximately 2 p.m. and safely rescued the sailors from the life raft. They were reported to be wearing lifejackets.
"This rescue demonstrates the strong bond between mariners on the open ocean," said Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Alayola, a search and rescue coordinator at the 1st Coast Guard District command center. "The Robero's crew proved that mariners from any nation can unite to help save lives in a distress situation."
The Robero will transport the sailors to the 300-foot Spanish-flagged hospital ship Esperanza for further evaluation and arrangements for travel.
Weather on scene was 10 to 12-foot seas with 33-knot winds.
I swear, if this keeps happening, we may be seeing a return to the frequency with which sailors were abandoning their boats offshore in years past... :)

Not sure why you bolded the weather on scene as being significant, this was certainly not an instance where the crew could be accused of jumping ship prematurely or unnecessarily. This comes about as close to "Stepping UP into the liferaft" as I'd ever want to get:


Seems likely they might have encountered more serious weather beforehand. The boat was dismasted, I wonder if this was a case of the rig punching a hole in the hull before it could be cut free?

Good looking boat, anyone know what it is? Twin rudders, some French centerboarder perhaps? They had obviously stopped in St Augustine at some time, perhaps before heading to Bermuda?

 

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Graphic example of how dangerous it is to try to get a raft close to a ship.
Why dion't ships head into the sea?,wouldnt that be safer for the liferaft?

Wonder if the crews age had anything to do with it.

I know sailing in the wrong season did! :rolleyes:
 

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Wonder if the crews age had anything to do with it...
You raise an interesting point, that I mentioned previously in connection with the rally thread. No one else wants to talk about this point, especially since it goes head on into all commercial interests, so I will.

First, I salute all active older persons who are out there doing something, instead of rotting away in an assisted living home or retirement community;

Second, physical limitations come with age, not matter what you do. Some of us are luckier/more blessed than others;

Third, the demographics show that sailing is becoming a sport/hobby/past time of older persons;

Fourth, the trend toward larger and larger sailboats, and greater and greater reliance on electronics, has created a situation where even greater brute strength is required in the event of a loss of power;

Fifth, my pet premise is that reliance on electronics has resulted in a larger number of unprepared, insufficiently-experienced folks heading out into bluewater; and

Sixth, this combination of factors has created more dangerous journeys: older sailors with physical limitations on boats that are too large for them to handle encounter typically challenging conditions that result in engine failure or loss of electrical power requiring rescue.

One absurd notion floated repeatedly here is that larger boats are necessarily safer. The fallacy is fifty footers are necessarily safer than forty footers, which are necessarily safer than thirty footers, which are necessarily safer than twenty-five footers. So, of course, a rally restricted to boats larger than forty feet is safer than one with no restrictions on boat size. Nonsense, particularly for older sailors, who should probably be on a boat size more manageable for their age, maybe a 30-35 foot boat.

Who wants to convince every one that we need larger and larger sailboats, with more and more expensive goodies, and greater complexity? Could it possibly be the merchants and commercial interests?
 

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Hi James,

We have no stats on nuffin'

We don't know if size is safer. I would certainly, in the blink of a wombats eye, swap my 39 for a 50.

I did a trans atlantic on a 65 and mine and though I felt comfortable on the 39 I would think the 65 safer. It feels more stable in larger seas. There was an old saying that your risk of capsize was when the waves became larger than your LOA. I can feel that heading to sea in a 20 foot Flika is gunna take a wave different than a 65.

Maybe keeping these sinking threads together in one forum we will be able to get a better idea.

This does seem to have been a very bad month. But we can't tell if its a statistical blip.


Mark
 

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Wonder if the crews age had anything to do with it.

I know sailing in the wrong season did! :rolleyes:
I don't see how it can be categorically stated they were making that passage in the wrong season...

They were along the approximate route from Bermuda to the Azores, well south of 40 N... Cornell lists the "Best Time" for the passages from Bermuda-Azores and Bermuda-Gibraltar as May-June, and May-July, respectively... So, at least according to Jimmy, mid-May hardly qualifies as the "wrong season" :)

Looking at the pilot charts, there happens to be a wind rose very close to the position of the rescue: 38 N / 44 W... Not all that much difference between the roses for May and June, except for May showing an average of F 5 from the W, NW & N quadrants, as opposed to an average of F 4 respectively, for June... And 0% probability of F 8 or greater, for either month...
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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It's my understanding that they try to maneuver the larger boat so the life raft is somewhat protected in the lee. That was one scary transfer though, and just goes to show that even with the Coasties on scene, there's nothing easy about an offshore rescue.

Why are we glomming onto their ages without knowing anything about the conditions under which they were dismasted? Certainly size is important, too, but so are a thousand other variables. More information from the crew is needed here.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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No way will I second guess these guys for sailing in that beautiful boat. The coasties did an admirable job.

I cannot imagine what it must have been like being on that vessel, in that condition, for the 5 hours between when the EPIRB was received, and the C-130 arrived on scene... and then 3 more hours 'till the Roberto arrived.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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You raise an interesting point, that I mentioned previously in connection with the rally thread. No one else wants to talk about this point, especially since it goes head on into all commercial interests, so I will.

First, I salute all active older persons who are out there doing something, instead of rotting away in an assisted living home or retirement community;

Second, physical limitations come with age, not matter what you do. Some of us are luckier/more blessed than others;

Third, the demographics show that sailing is becoming a sport/hobby/past time of older persons;

We have no way of knowing how capable the people on this boat are in their late 70s. There are people of this age who are at least as capable as many people in their 40s. Also, older people often are very tough since they have managed to survive a long time. We met quite a few cruisers in their 70s who were doing just fine, often on boats larger than this.

Fourth, the trend toward larger and larger sailboats, and greater and greater reliance on electronics, has created a situation where even greater brute strength is required in the event of a loss of power;

I suspect you meant 'electrics' here as in powered winches. I would tend to agree although some powered winches are still pretty large. I am partial to our setup with Lewmar 65s for the primaries. They are very powerful and you don't really need much strength to use them.

Fifth, my pet premise is that reliance on electronics has resulted in a larger number of unprepared, insufficiently-experienced folks heading out into bluewater; and

Could be, but you can only judge on a case-by-case basis. I am more concerned about someone on a 40 year old 28' on a tight budget than someone quite a bit older on a well-equpped and financed 50'.

Sixth, this combination of factors has created more dangerous journeys: older sailors with physical limitations on boats that are too large for them to handle encounter typically challenging conditions that result in engine failure or loss of electrical power requiring rescue.

An engine failure or loss of electrical power should not mean you need rescue no matter what your age. In this case, the winds and seas were not horrible. I think these people just got unlucky and something happened to their boat that caused the ocean to migrate inboard. Perhaps in time we will hear the details? We have no evidence that the journey was too dangerous, the crew too old or too inexperienced or that anything other than filling with water caused the rescue.

One absurd notion floated repeatedly here is that larger boats are necessarily safer. The fallacy is fifty footers are necessarily safer than forty footers, which are necessarily safer than thirty footers, which are necessarily safer than twenty-five footers. So, of course, a rally restricted to boats larger than forty feet is safer than one with no restrictions on boat size. Nonsense, particularly for older sailors, who should probably be on a boat size more manageable for their age, maybe a 30-35 foot boat.

I think you are missing one important advantage of larger boats that makes them safer. They are more comfortable in snotty conditions so the crew will be better rested when the proverbial hits the fan. I think in all these discussions we seriously downplay the importance of fatigue both in terms of wise decision-making and being as strong as possible when you face a physical challenge.

What is the old idea, your boat should be one foot long for every year of your age. I am looking for the 66 footer for my birthday then. I went from a Niagara 35 to a Bristol 45.5. Displacement is 2.5 times as much. The Bristol is much easier to sail on a long passage and much more comfortable, giving more rest.On neither boat am I dependant on electrics, other than for the anchor windlass. Using the manual feature on the Bristol would be a slow (not particularly hard, just slow) process.

Who wants to convince every one that we need larger and larger sailboats, with more and more expensive goodies, and greater complexity? Could it possibly be the merchants and commercial interests?

It could be. I am sad to see that almost no solid cruising boats are being built in the 27' to 35' range.
I think we need to be careful about broad judgements about distance cruising. There are just too many idiosyncratic differences of boat and crew.
 

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I am so glad that they pushed their EPIRB button to get help rather than worrying someone might disapprove their journey. You can't make everyone happy.

Good Job USCG :)
 

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I am so glad that they pushed their EPIRB button to get help rather than worrying someone might disapprove their journey. You can't make everyone happy.

Good Job USCG :)
This would be almost exactly what the USCG would tell you to do. In Safety at Sea, they encourage you to contact them. They will sort out what to do about it.
 

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Seems people think it's good for the boat to be eligible for AARP (that's when FG was really thick) but bad for the crew.
Some of us old codgers are just as tough as the rawhide we appear to be made of.
 

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Cornell lists the "Best Time" for the passages from Bermuda-Azores and Bermuda-Gibraltar as May-June, and May-July, respectively... So, at least according to Jimmy, mid-May hardly qualifies as the "wrong season" :)
Launch off time from the Caribbean mid May is probably fine, but not being up there Mid may.

My jump from Bahamas to go North was timed for the first of June and I waited a few days for bad weather then till 6th.

Here is the reason why mid may sux
 

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According to what I've read on this, they were rolled by a large wave in nasty conditions and lost their rig. Things apparently calmed down considerably by the time the fishing boat got there to pick them up. Not sure what caused the boat to sink. The boat was an aluminum centerboarder, with some debate as to whether she was an Alliage 42 or 44.
 

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Could be, but you can only judge on a case-by-case basis. I am more concerned about someone on a 40 year old 28' on a tight budget than someone quite a bit older on a well-equpped and financed 50'.
It seems to be the (well-equipped and financed) newer, expensive, larger boats that are prone to losing their keels and rudders, not the 40 year old 28 footer. One thing the builders sell now is the illusion of safety in newness.

Here is Charles Doane's take on the recent keel losses on newer larger boats:

CHEEKI RAFIKI: Hull Found Again, Post Mortem
 
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