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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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I don't know if this has been discussed before, but my search came up empty.

I saw a show on cable about the sad story of the sinking of the yacht Trashman. If you get a chance to catch it, it's worth watching as a "what not to do" primer.

I didn't get to see the beginning of the show, so I missed the setup. I did see the boat get thrashed by a storm, lose it's sails, lose it's engine, lose electrical power, free fall off the crest of a breaking 30 foot wave, stove in a hatch and sink.

What I also saw was a crew out on the open sea who didn't keep on top of the weather. They also left the sails up too long and had them torn away by the storm. They overworked the engine until it cooked. Had inadequate battery power to be able to contact help once the engine died. Had no life raft, and ended up adrift in a zodiac RIB. No ditch kit. No food, no water. No epirb. No medical supplies. No handheld radio. They got off the boat with the dinghy and the clothes on their backs.

2 of the 5 crew survived after 6 days in the RIB, and only because they were spotted by a russian freighter after drifting 160 miles further out to sea.

I know that in emergency situations, things go wrong. You can't plan for everything and what you do plan will go wrong. I don't think this crew had a plan that went beyond "if the boat sinks, someone will save us".
 

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On the hard
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From what I understand, three of the crew, the ones that didn't make it, had chemical dependencies that doomed them from the moment of shipwreck. One was quoted as saying, "I'll be right back, I'm just gonna run out and get some beer and smokes". The three that were lost became shark food.
 

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Here's a link to lots of info: Trashman

I remember watching this a while ago on Discovery. I thought the dramatizations were overdone, but the interviews with the survivors made up for it. I couldn't find when it will be airing again.

Did you know that Discovery has suggestions for how to survive at sea? How to Survive
What's wrong with this picture from the site?


Hoping never to be in a survival situation.
 

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Owner, Green Bay Packers
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Here's a link to lots of info: Trashman

I remember watching this a while ago on Discovery. I thought the dramatizations were overdone, but the interviews with the survivors made up for it. I couldn't find when it will be airing again.

Did you know that Discovery has suggestions for how to survive at sea? How to Survive
What's wrong with this picture from the site?


Hoping never to be in a survival situation.
Looks like they're jumping off a boat that floating pretty well into a raft! Not to mention that the fellow airborne is about to stress test the stitching on their survival vehicle? (g)
 

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Thanks Courtney.
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I'm guessing that jumping DOWN into the life raft might be a start.
 

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Did you expect them to sink a boat for the photograph?
The photo is probably a stock shot from the life raft maker or other safety org.
 

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Sink the Boat! Sink the Boat..... Why? To make it more realistic. :D
 

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I read the book by one of the survivors. While she doesn't come right out and say it, she strongly implies having emotional problems and a willingness to use drugs before setting out.
One should be careful who they go offshore with.
 

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Trashman revisited

I worked with the guy who walked off the raft looking for smokes. In retrospect, there were questions regarding his psychological fitness due to personal issues unrelated to chemical dependency. I believe Trashman was an Alden and also understood that storm shutters for the side lights, which were rather large, were either missing from the boat or were not installed. When the side lights blew out, it was the beginning of the end. I heard that this was the reason for abandoning the boat and taking to the raft.

Most larger Aldens were fitted with the shutters to avoid this problem.
 

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39512,

The write up made everyone on board sound pretty messed up - e.g. - not really paying attention to the conditions or caring about it until it was too late anyway. Were they essentially out on a "too-ambitious" party cruise and just got caught?
 

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Easy there pal. Cam will pounce and start another lame sailors thread!

BTW Woulda - can you actually STILL not get the whole BFS thing? Surely you're not that slow.
 

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Well midlife - the whole anti-BFS thing gets a little silly at times. So whattayagonnado?

Don't worry I'm gruntled...just not neutered.

Anyway - Woulda had a great comeback so it's all good.

39512 - I would be interested in hearing your perspective since you actually know one of the guys. Beats a bunch of speculating.
 

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I think that it was a convergence of factors. The guy I knew was less experienced than advertised. He was going through a divorce and he approached the delivery as a party and not as a potentially dangerous undertaking. The entire crew was pretty young and maybe a little arrogant.

At the time of the sinking, weather forecasting was fairly sketchy and the communication and navigation technology was archaic by todays standard. It was not uncommon to be out of touch for awhile. A powerful weather system, lax attitudes, poor communication, a lack of experience were all contributing factors.

To be honest, back then me or any one of many guys I knew could have been in that situation. Youth, a little dope, alcohol, arrogance and a big boat are a pretty toxic combination.

Trashman and Yankee Girl were wake-up calls for many of us.
 

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Wow. Thanks 39. One other pattern that seems to be common in these stories is that of delivery. I always see people discussing how a schedule in sailing can quickly lead to trouble. I assume deliveries are always on a schedule - so I also assume this leads to increased risk. Is that just the way delivery works?

As for youth, questionable sobriety, and arrogance, I have no idea what you're talking about.
 

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It is great to have a schedule for the delivery of a vessel or your own voyage... But it is not carved in stone. When the schedule and reality start to conflict, you will find that it best to toss the schedule overboard and live with the reality and not try to force a schedule.
 

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It is great to have a schedule for the delivery of a vessel or your own voyage... But it is not carved in stone. When the schedule and reality start to conflict, you will find that it best to toss the schedule overboard and live with the reality and not try to force a schedule.
I'd argue that this is wisdom that applies to much more than just sailboat deliveries.

As a "security guy," I frequently have a front-row seat watching people try to either ignore inconvenient risks or beat reality into submission pretty much every day. Occasionally they get away with it, but more often than not they wind up somewhere between a Keystone Kops scramble and outright disaster.

It makes me wonder if there isn't something inherently different about how sailors approach the world, because if not, I can't explain why there aren't more disasters like Trashman.
 

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You have an interesting point.

While there are certainly daredevil types in sailing, and corner-cutters in the subset of sailboat racing, prudence more often than not seems to prevail among the sailboat set, frequently I think because sailboat folk tend toward a DIY mentality, and are inherently more in tune with natural forces like wind and waves that more often than not are pushing the boat around.

As opposed to power boating (and I mean no insult here), sailboaters are obliged by the very nature of the game to develop patience, anticipatory and observational skills in order to exploit whatever conditions (and they can be dynamic in the extreme) that are presented to them. Thus, there is an interplay of passivity and activity you aren't always going to get when the answer is usually "apply more throttle". Powerboating tends toward the "go or don't go" solution set, whereas sailing, due to duration and the need to cover a longer term of time, is more like a puzzle with many possible solutions, only a few of which will kill you.

Nonetheless, no human activity is idiot-proof, and ample evidence of that is washed up on shore every year. Generally, however, if you get 20 sailors in a room, there will usually be a consensus that prudence and sometimes deep planning are essential to not only enjoying the sport, but surviving it.

Even at the "daredevil" end, like Vendee Globe sailors, the risks of going into the Southern Ocean in a featherweight sled are balanced against vast amounts of preparation, mental and physical training, and contingency analysis. Yes, these sailors frequently get into trouble, but they just as frequently get out of trouble, due to great preparedness and level-headedness.
 
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