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Old 15-11-2010, 12:08   #31
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Here's a chart of the area of Rule 62's grounding. The red shipwreck symbol marks the last known position as of 0757Z this morning.

The position is some 4,400 feet south of the North Bar Channel at the north end of Lynyard Cay.

One can only imagine the terrible conditions in the channel and along the NE coast of Lynyard Cay during the reported rage sea conditions.

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Old 15-11-2010, 12:20   #32
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And it was past sunset. Pretty dark. These cuts are not that easy even in daylight. It's best if you can read the water. But at night, with a rage running ....
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Old 15-11-2010, 12:31   #33
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Hmmm.
I haven't really ever had a look at that area, but one of my electronic charts has a number of cautions in the area.
One says that "inside the 200m curve the tides set on and off the reefs."
then further outboard it says "the current outside the reefs runs to the NW or SE sometimes with considerable strength. It changes in direction rapidly and its maximum rate is estimated at about 3 knots."

Not an area for the faint hearted with a big sea running contrary to the Gulf Stream which seems to clip the point. Is that a fair assumption?
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Old 15-11-2010, 12:33   #34
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It looks like threading a needle if they were headed from the east to the "N. Bar Channel."
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Old 15-11-2010, 12:45   #35
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Not an area for the faint hearted with a big sea running contrary to the Gulf Stream which seems to clip the point. Is that a fair assumption?
Mark,

The point is not near the gulf stream which is a hundred odd miles away to the west. However these cuts are not easy even in daylight and with no sea running. North Bar Channel is one of the wider and more straightforward cuts but still should be done in daylight by most cruisers and should not be attempted in a rage.
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Old 15-11-2010, 12:47   #36
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It's not the Gulf Stream but a coastal current. Regardless, if there's a big swell running, the waves rise up and break as they approach the outer reef. The surf could be dangerous even if you steered straight down the middle of the channel.
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Old 15-11-2010, 12:55   #37
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We are very familiar with the cuts in the Abacos, and went through the cut south of N Bar (Little Harbour Cut) last Wednesday pm in our last window to Eleuthera just before the NE swells and winds picked up. It's quite a wide channel in comparison to some of them in the Abacos, but in rage conditions, you're taking your life in your hands. This is such a tragedy. I've been following the tracks (we have friends in the 1500); the conditions on the high seas at the time must have been awful, and I'm sure the instinct to run for shelter, and massive fatigue were likely present. My prayers are with them all.
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Old 15-11-2010, 13:38   #38
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That is so sad to hear and I hope the crew member is found safe.
If you haven't sailed into the cuts it's difficult to imagine how threatening they can be. Sailing through in even sub-rage weather can put the fear of whatever into you.

I must mention that if chartering from the Moorings in Marsh Harbor, the Moorings Charter Base requires that you radio them via VHF to get permission to enter a number of cuts, and requires that you radio them when safely through.
I found that annoying but now it makes more sense than ever.
I wish then all the best.
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Old 15-11-2010, 14:34   #39
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The previous was from my wife, Lydia.

Here's a mail I got from the Cruiser's Net coordinator (I was anchor for that for several weeks when I was in Abaco) at 10:48 this morning:


Skip,

Just overheard the transmission between the US Coast Guard helicopter and the Bahamian police -- copter was searching in the sea off Lynyard, and police had searched the entire island. The boat is on the beach. No sign of the woman who's missing, tho' they did find a life vest on the beach 1 mile south of the site that matches those on the boat..

You probably heard someone asking about it near the end of the net. We'd been talking with various people, including the Coast Guard, but the info was both sketchy and somewhat contradictory. This last radio transmission answered some of the questions, but certainly not all.

There are a slew of boaters waiting in FL to cross. Some may try to scoot over on Wed., but only the larger, faster ones, as that window is small! -- if at all!

Best to you, Jill


We'd been tracking the C1500, and saw them divert. On Saturday, we noted that their position seemed to put them on the reef at Lynyard. It seemed so impossible that we wondered if the satellite placement was accurate, because, surely, they'd not have headed straight for it.

Conditions Saturday were the worst in at least 15 years, with, at least by forecast, 16' swells, 14 second interval, and 5-7' wind seas on top. Even yesterday, as we went wave-watching in Eleuthera, was spectacular, including a case of our being about 50' above sea level, and hit with a wave which knocked down our host, drenched me 40 or so feet back from the edge, and Lydia, a good 70 feet back. On Saturday, where we were earlier in our wave-watching, there was 18-24" of water in the road from the waves crashing on the cliffs well away from it. Even Sunday, I got some pix of waves crashing into a cliff and rising at least 50 feet above it, despite it being a good 100' cliff. The spot I was sitting for that particular set of photos was a mound of boulders bigger than automobiles, thrown there in a prior storm.

I just can't imagine being in such circumstances, as the power of the water is staggering. If you go to the 1500 site and look at their track, it's pretty much straight line. Why they didn't wait far offshore, hove to, until conditions moderated, of course, may never be known.

Having found ourselves on a reef (our maiden voyage, almost 4 years ago) in only 8-10' seas - and a very flat rock, instead of the towering reefs offshore of Lynyard - I can fully appreciate the terror which likely was theirs. It was our experience which led me to install 4 hard points in the cockpit so that we could be secured, even there (in addition to our jacklines).

Our hearts go out to them, and the survivors are in our prayers...

L8R

Skip, near Spanish Wells, Eleuthera
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Old 15-11-2010, 14:45   #40
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Good info, Skip. Thanks.

Of course we're all hoping and praying that Laura will be found safe. But it sure doesn't look good.

Take a look at this track.

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It looks like they were headed for the North Bar Channel for sure, but some way off they experienced some catastrophic event which caused the boat's track to veer to the SW and directly for the spot it turned up on the reef.

Navigational error? GPS/charting error? Foundering in heavy breaking sea conditions? MOB before they reached the Channel? Lost a rudder?

Whatever happened out there, it looks very much like the boat was not under command as she was sent by the NE winds and breaking seas and currents up on the beach nearly 2/3 mile south of the Channel.

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Old 15-11-2010, 14:55   #41
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When we looked at the C1500 site's plot of their position on Saturday, it showed them already on the reef (we pull up the satellite view rather than the one it defaults with). Their track had them going straight for the middle of the island for several hours, and then moving slightly SW.

My guess is that they ran headlong into the reef, under sail (too straight a line, and should not have been due west), and then the surf and wind pushed them the slight distance SW as they hammered on the reef. It's now on the beach, so apparently didn't sink (though it's entirely possible the surf was so severe that it was thrown there, even if sunk).

I expect the Rosses will eventually get the story out. Such a tragedy...

L8R

Skip, very glad to have had our boat survive; I very much doubt a less stout (2+ solid fiberglass) boat could possibly make it...
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Old 15-11-2010, 15:06   #42
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Take a look at this track.

Bill
Hey Bill,

Look at the point it turns off on a chart. What feature do you notice on the chart?

Look at the area 026 23.2 N 076 56.5 W from a quick measure with my finger on the screen they turned off there.

See what I mean?
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Old 15-11-2010, 15:24   #43
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I don't think the transponders update continuously, so you have to take the displayed track with a grain of salt. We know they were tracking for the pass, and we know they ended up on the reef to the southwest, but the boat's track inbetween is speculation.
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Old 15-11-2010, 15:33   #44
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the most current info I have:

November 15, 2010…Cruising Rally Association (CRA), Hampton, VA…Steve Black, owner of Cruising Rally Association, announced today that crew member, Laura Zekoll from Atlanta, GA is the subject of a search and rescue mission by the US Coast Guard and the Bahamian Defense Force.

The news of the search was received by CRA mid-day on Sunday, November 14, 2010 from boat owner, Richard Ross. The emergency contact information for Laura Zekoll, was communicated to the Coast Guard who notified her contact that a search was in process. The notice of the search was shared with the fleet on Monday morning, during the radio check-in at 07:00 hours AST (Atlantic Standard Time).

The owners of sailing vessel Rule 62, Richard and Debra Ross, also from Atlanta, GA, communicated earlier that they had made a decision to leave the fleet and divert to the Bahamas. During the radio check-in on Saturday at 19:00 hours AST, Richard reported that they were nearing the Bahamas. According to the satellite transponder provided by the CRA to each vessel in the fleet, Rule 62 had stopped moving when the transponder reported at 20:56 hours AST Saturday, November 13.

Black said, “with great sadness, we report that Rule 62, a Jeanneau 46DS, was swamped while attempting entry into the Bahamas. Richard and crew Laura Zekoll were washed overboard and recovered. The life raft was launched. Richard, Debra, Laura, and a fourth crew member, David Sheppard from Ellsworth, Maine entered the life raft with life jackets on and attempted to row it to safety. The life raft subsequently overturned in swells. Richard, Debra, and David were separated from Laura and washed up on the beach. The search for Laura Zekoll is still continuing.”

The boat is currently on a reef in the Bahamas. Richard and Debra Ross and Sheppard were airlifted to safety after their emergency signal was received by the Coast Guard.

The sailing vessel Rule 62, is part of a fleet of 71 sailing vessels, the majority of the fleet is still at sea. The fleet departed Hampton, VA on November 8, 2010 in route to the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This is the 21st year of the annual passage.

L8R

Skip
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Old 15-11-2010, 15:40   #45
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but the boat's track inbetween is speculation.
Oh ok.


I was taking it as continuously updated which would also account for the straight lines.

Never the less near that point where the line turns is the continental shelf coming from over 300 meters deep to 40 meters deep in less than half a mile. (The 1,000 meter line is only 2nm from that turning point)

Skips earlier post said he was watching the waves and they were splashing him 70’ back from a 50’ cliff. So the waves are big.
Off in the deep water they would have been big, but coming up over the shelf they would have been really piling up.

I reckon Bill is right they had a major problem. And its on the cards being pushed around by a wave or 2 - not necessarily rolled or swamped there, but enough to make them lose control.
Other thing to note is the outgoing current from that channel is at right angles to that last line. Don’t know if it had an effect, but sure could have just been another thing to add to their woes.

Maybe he was doing the last possible thing he could do. But I would have tried to get 30 miles soputh to that 17 mile opening and get behind those islands there. Or stayed out to sea. But maybe he had to come in, and maybe he did good saving 3. Maybe they will still fine the last one. Lets hope.

[Added idea. If it was a 2.5kt current setting to the SE he would have had to be pointing towards Channel rock. Maybe that didnt appear correct if its wasn't realised the current there is so strong and contrary to the current over the shelf]
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