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Old 31-10-2012, 18:19   #1
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aegean final update....

from lectronic latitude 38

Aegean Final Report: "Inadequate Lookout"

October 31, 2012 Newport

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)
Divers Russell Moore and Ed Harris discovered the remains of Aegean at the crash site in May. 2012 Russell Moore

West Coast sailors were delivered a one-two punch this spring when two tragic accidents just two weeks apart took a total of nine lives. First, Low Speed Chase went ashore at the Farallones on April 14 during the Full Crew Farallones Race, killing five of the eight crewmembers. Then on April 28, the Hunter 376 Aegean ran into North Coronado Island during the Newport to Ensenada race, taking all four crewmembers. US Sailing's report on the LSC incident was released in early August, while Aegean's was released yesterday (click here to download the full report).

As predicted, the investigative panel which included West Coast sailors Bruce Brown (chairman) and Alan Andrews, and special consultants such as Evans Starzinger and Chuck Hawley found that "a key element of the accident was likely an inadequate lookout, and that it is likely that Aegean inadvertently motored beyond a waypoint set before North Coronado Island." Three of the victims owner/skipper Theo Mavromatis, 49, Kevin Rudolph, 53, and William Johnson, 57 died of blunt force trauma, while Mavromatis's brother-in-law Joe Stewart, 64, died of drowning due to traumatic injuries.

The crew of Aegean were experienced offshore racers.
Photo Courtesy US Sailing
2012 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

The 119-page report went on to detail the presumed events of April 27-28, which are as telling as they are grisly. The panel believes the boat had been motoring under autopilot for several hours when it struck the island at about 1:36 a.m. The SPOT device onboard had been steadily transmitting the boat's position, and pinged once more two minutes after the boat hit the rocks. Then at 1:43 three minutes before it was set to ping again the device was manually activated to send a 911 message by someone aboard. At 1:44 and 1:45 a.m., two voicemails were left on Mavromatis's wife's phone. Sadly, none of these messages were retrieved until 9 a.m.

Pieces of the boat were found that day at the location of the tracker's last report.
2012 USCG

Flotsam at the site, a large debris field nearby, the recovery of the bodies and the eventual discovery of underwater wreckage including the boat's engine at the island leave no doubt that Aegean ran into North Coronado Island. Though the panel determined that an inadequate lookout was the primary cause of the accident, during their investigation they discovered additional safety issues that could be addressed to prevent future accidents:

1. Always maintain a lookout, with a watch of at least two people, using audible waypoint and radar alarms.
2. Racers need to be made aware of the light obscuration zones in the Coronado Islands.
3. Each watch must understand the operation of the boat's navigation systems.
4. The use of autopilots while motoring should be reviewed by race organizers.
5. To improve communication, racers should monitor VHF 16 and race organizers should provide a 24-hour emergency contact.
6. US Sailing should create a guide to emergency signaling devices.
7. US Sailing should create a crisis management template for race organizers.

The last item on the list would undoubtedly be appreciated by race officials as most smaller races are run by volunteers who rarely have the time and/or knowledge to significantly update race rules. Serious accidents happen so rarely no matter what the mainstream media want you to believe that inexperienced race officers might easily get flustered during an emergency. Having a guide or checklist to follow when things are getting crazy would help ensure nothing gets missed.

As they have been since April, our thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed in these terrible accidents. Hopefully we can all learn something that will make us safer on the water, not the least of which is to always maintain a proper lookout.

- latitude / ladonna
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:12   #2
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Re: aegean final update....

The full report is here:
Current Safety Studies
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:41   #3
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Re: aegean final update....

The OC Register has more coverage.

Newport-to-Ensenada sailboat likely sank after human error - Report - The Orange County Register

The skipper's daughter clearly disagrees with the findings, but I can't for the life of me see why. They clearly set a course for the island, clearly were in the sector where the lights weren't visible, clearly didn't set (or didn't hear) a waypoint arrival alarm or depth alarm, didn't notice the island in the half-moon's light, hit the island, and died on the rocks. What, is the GPS data a fiction?
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