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Old 09-12-2006, 18:19   #1
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Captain of Picton Castle says a rogue wave swept woman overboard off U.S.

NEWS. TALK. SPORTS - 570news.com - Captain of Picton Castle says a rogue wave swept woman overboard off U.S.

I'd like to know what they were doing out there in December.

Current Location: Barque Picton Castle
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Old 09-12-2006, 18:52   #2
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A young female trainee, up on deck, in the darkness, without a lifejacket, in rough seas. Doesn't sound like a good concept........................_/)
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Old 09-12-2006, 19:24   #3
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Exactly. I'm amazed that they didn't have rules such as wearing of lifejackets on deck especially at night and in rough weather. They certainly will after the investigation. But I'm still amazed at their location in December.
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Old 10-12-2006, 08:50   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seagypsywoman
Exactly. I'm amazed that they didn't have rules such as wearing of lifejackets on deck especially at night and in rough weather. They certainly will after the investigation. But I'm still amazed at their location in December.
Well, I dunno, but ships of that size have been in that area in winter since time immemorial: how do you thing commerce was carried out in the "old days"? Arent the fishing fleets - far smaller ships - still out on the Banks in winter?

According to the report, the lady was in a deck shelter which was adjudged to be a "safe spot". Maybe that will now be changed but this boat has been operating successfully in all waters of the world for many years now.

Its a pity that people still talk about "Rogue Waves" - there aint no such thing - they are "statistically predictable waves" if you are going to call them anything! Tony
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:05   #5
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That may be true about the fishing boats and commercial ships, however, this ship is full of inexperienced sailors while the fishing boats and commercial ships are run by experienced crew. Definitely risky operation for a pleasure ship to go out to sea in December in that location. I don't think any cruise ships go out there now. By the way, according to the movie Perfect Storm, the deep sea fishing boats call it quits by the end of October.
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:20   #6
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Whoa! Take it easy. Picton Castle has an excellent record of safety. The woman was a "trainer" or volunteer crew and an experienced sailor. This is a big vessel folks and although lifejackets on deck might be a good idea, they are certainly not the norm on vessels of this size.
BVImate (Tony?) Call it what you want, it still catches you by surprise. You can calculate the odds of seeing one in a given area over a given time span but when the b*st*rd stands up double height to the waves around you it will certainly surprise you and, if you are unlucky might catch you off balance, or about to clip in, or moving your harness from one place to another.

Sometimes bad things happen, sometimes even to good people. Sad but don't convict the captain of gross negligence just yet please!
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Old 10-12-2006, 16:23   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yotphix
Whoa! Take it easy. Picton Castle has an excellent record of safety. The woman was a "trainer" or volunteer crew and an experienced sailor. This is a big vessel folks and although lifejackets on deck might be a good idea, they are certainly not the norm on vessels of this size.
BVImate (Tony?) Call it what you want, it still catches you by surprise. You can calculate the odds of seeing one in a given area over a given time span but when the b*st*rd stands up double height to the waves around you it will certainly surprise you and, if you are unlucky might catch you off balance, or about to clip in, or moving your harness from one place to another.

Sometimes bad things happen, sometimes even to good people. Sad but don't convict the captain of gross negligence just yet please!
Spot on, old son!! As for waves - agreed....sh*t happens - and I'll be watching for them as far as possible on next week's delivery from Miami to Grenada! Tony
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Old 11-12-2006, 09:34   #8
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Destination Grenada

The vessel was en route to Grenada, aiui. The vessel is 55m, displaces 257 tons, and is a converted fishing trawler. The vessel has made 4 circumnavigations since her conversion in the mid-1990s.

A former crewmember described the aft deck freeboard/rail height:
Quote:
"On a calm day it's three to four metres from the rail to the ocean," Sutherland said of the aft deck. source

Laura was watch captain for her trainee watch.

It was probably not wise in such weather not to have crew wearing SOSpender-type harnesses, so they could be clipped in and also have emergency floatation. But it would difficult to provide such gear in a well-maintained condition, and insure its use at all times. And even if it had been in use it is possible it would not have worked as planned under the conditions.

I do wonder why they delayed their departure to Grenada so late in the season; based on what little I know of the cyclone season in the Atlantic I would have delayed departure until mid-October possibly, but no later than mid-November.


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Old 11-12-2006, 20:08   #9
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I believe statistically, October is one of the worst months for tropical storms in the Atlantic. Hurricane season runs May to December, so late Nov is actually pretty safe.
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Old 11-12-2006, 22:15   #10
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::nod::

October is bad for tropical cyclones The actual peak for hurricanes and storms (1906-2006) is actually September 10, with most activity between late August and late October. The storms in October usually track inshore of the great circle between Nova Scotia and Grenada, while the circle crosses the prevailing track for November.source

In November in the Northwest Atlantic, however, the storm season has begun. The gales of the North Atlantic increase in early winter, including a greater likelihood of Nor'easters, and consider that some of those can be at least semi-cyclonic (note the hurricane-force winds in Atlantic Canada during that storm, though not in the time frame we're talking about.)
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Old 12-12-2006, 03:20   #11
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The search for Laura Gainey* was suspended Monday night.
Petty Officer Larry Chambers said the U.S. Coast Guard's search about 475 miles off Cape Cod was on hold, but the “Picton Castle” would continue looking for her.

U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for Gainey:
Search suspended for Laura Gainey

Safety aboard Picton Castle: Safety 'No. 1 priority' on the Picton Castle

*Daughter of Bob Gainey, Montreal Canadiens general manager & hockey hall of famer.
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:26   #12
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why not December?

Hi,
I heard about this unfortunate event from my oldest son, who sails professionally on tall ships along the eastern seaboard and beyond. Not all of these ships head south for the winter. He's been sailing up around the St. Lawrence and Nova Scotia in December on occasion. Routine wearing of PFD's is not done on these ships for the very reason another posted. The rails are high and one feels 'safe' during calm seas. Someone mentioned gear maintenance is an issue. The routine use of SOSpenders would be very expensive. I see a clear difference in my harness rig after wearing it for a week straight, it gets beat up. I can't imagine one lasting more than 3-6 months of continuos use. Many of these tall ships run on a very tight budget.
I've sailed on a couple of tall ships and only saw harnesses used when sailors were going aloft. I brought my own inflatable harness along as my personal motto is 'have a big adventure-live to tell about it'. I wear mine if it's dark out or with high seas/wind, and I don't give a sh-- what anyone thinks about me being 'afraid'. I'm older than them that laugh, so have heard and seen more than they.
I was glad to have had my rig on and fastened one calm, hot, sunny day off Newburyport as I had the privilege of jumping in to go 'swimming' with a 9 y.o.youngster who had jumped in for a dip a mile offshore and his cheepo deepo orange pfd fell off him. SO, I don't always wait for dark or high seas to put it on. Sometimes I put it on just because I'm....
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:34   #13
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Having seen the Picton Castle when she visited Green Bay, WI in July 2006 for the Tall Ships festival, I am saddened to hear the news of the loss the NHL daughter.

Their ship is a very well maintained vessel and crew was exceptional to chat with. Safety is their priority and the events which led to her being washed overboard were unexpected. Rogue waves happen.

Having myself, served aboard an aircraft carrier in my Navy days, even I can attest to the size of waves, swells and those rogue waves.

Unfortunate circumstances, My heart and well wishes extend to the victims family and the crew of the Picton Castle.
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Old 13-12-2006, 15:51   #14
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I wonder if the wave that swept Laura overboard was not the result of the last of the swell from the "giant low pressure system... with hurricane force winds" that the Captain's log talks about (December 3 and 5). They had been waiting for it to move off before leaving Lunenburg and were riding on the back side of it when they left. If the waves met the Gulf Stream coming from the opposite direction, I can see how a rouge wave could result. I wish I could check my pilot chart for the Atlantic, because somewhere around there (north east of Bermuda) is a shallow area which would magnify the waves even more.

I agree that wearing a life jacket (with a strobe light) all the time on a ship that size is not necessary, but in rough weather and at night definitely yes. I would say, anything over 25 knots of wind as a rule of thumb.
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Old 14-12-2006, 03:45   #15
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One of the whole concepts of sail training is to take folks today back to an era where conditions force/encourage teamwork and the discovery that one
can do things that they didn't think were possible. When one sails on a 'tall ship' they also assume a certain degree of risk. Old sailing ships frequently met their demise at the hands of the sea as did the sailors aboard them. That we don't see that happening as much on today's tall ships is a credit to their safety awareness and training. To expect that it couldn't / shouldn't happen today is unrealistic. Stuff does indeed happen. Loss of life is tragic but Monday morning quarterbacking about safety is a particularly 'modern' way of dealing with risk. It's easy, safe, and unrealistic about the realities of sailing and the sea, as well as bred into our modern legalistic society. It's not possible to eliminate risk from life in general and especially upon the ocean.
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