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Old 01-11-2011, 21:01   #166
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

Thanks Thierry for your story. Glad to here everyone is ok - I for one applaud the tough decision to call for help.



I have followed this thread hoping you would chime in, no one else on this board was there – well done.
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Old 01-11-2011, 23:35   #167
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

Thierry, thank you very much for posting the details. I was quite confused initially about what was shown in the pictures and videos and the decision to abandon the boat. Your report describes a completely different aspect to the situation and finally clears up all the questions in my mind.
It seems that all your experience has made it possible to survive this harrowing trip and your forethought about the upcoming weather was truly amazing. As it stands, the picture we have been seeing are from the best weather window available and only your experience saved you from trying to ride it out in what surely must have looked like acceptable weather.
My hat is off to you Sir ....
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:58   #168
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

For those that did not click on any links:-

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Old 02-11-2011, 06:20   #169
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by Jd1 View Post
Thierry, thank you very much for posting the details. I was quite confused initially about what was shown in the pictures and videos and the decision to abandon the boat. Your report describes a completely different aspect to the situation and finally clears up all the questions in my mind.
It seems that all your experience has made it possible to survive this harrowing trip and your forethought about the upcoming weather was truly amazing. As it stands, the picture we have been seeing are from the best weather window available and only your experience saved you from trying to ride it out in what surely must have looked like acceptable weather.
My hat is off to you Sir ....
Thank you for your positive comment.
It is really appreciated.
Captain Thierry Simon.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:23   #170
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

For those of you who are interested in the detailed story of our ''adventure'', here it is:

This text is extract from the letter I wrote to the owner of Sanctuary, the day we arrived in NYC onboard Norwegian Gem.


We arrived this morning in New York City, NY, onboard the Norwegian Gem, the ship that saved us from certain death.

We started from Sandy Hook on Tuesday, October 25 with a favorable weather forecast for the next few days (NE wind 10-15 kn) which allowed us to cross the Gulf Stream in direct route to St. Maarten, NA.

After a pleasant first night, a wind SW 30 KN forced us to diverge from our direct route, given the wind and the sea conditions. The next day, we were hit by a severe depression with winds of 40 kn and more. Running before the wind with genoa rolled up to 85%.

During the night of Thursday to Friday, we experienced winds up to 60 KN with rough, huge seas. I took the wheel all night because I was the only one who could handle the breaking waves. The crew were on 2 hours watch, to inform me of the waves coming from behind. It was a night of new moon, no visibility.

Around 23:00, we were hit by a huge breaking wave, twice as big as the others. It came from port, while all others were coming from starboard. It hit hard and the boat was capsized, the mast in the water. I had water at least two feet above me and I was torn from the wheel. I was attached and I found myself on the stern, against the outboard motor. When the waters went away, the boat righted herself and the mast was still standing up. The boat continued on, driven by fierce winds. Eric’s portable GPS recorded boat speeds up to 17.6 KN ...

Inside the ship, it was horror. Eric who was sleeping in the saloon, went through the saloon table and ended up against the fridge on the other side of the boat. The other two teammates who were sleeping were also thrown violently. All cabinets were emptied and there was stock all over the floors, including glass and debris of all kinds.

We realized that there was also a leak of diesel spare reservoir that had emptied into the bidge. We also realized that the boat was taking on water.

We were subsequently struck by two lightning storms. With hyper violent winds. We also were hit by two other big breaking waves, one of which ripped-off the "life raft". The shock of the sea waves caused structural damage to the hull and possibly delaminating the fiberglass. Inside the boat, in André’s cabin, the cabinet was smashed and could not open anymore. To my surprise we survived - boat and crew - this apocalyptic night.

The next day, the wind was calmer, but the sea was still very confused, with a nasty cross swell, residual of the storm. We made an inventory of damages to the boat. I tried to contact you with the Iridium sat phone and I hit your mailbox again, where I left you a message. We set our course to Bermuda in order to stop and repair. It was unthinkable to go to St. Maarten, NA in these conditions. We were at that time 357 nautical miles North of Bermuda.

On the evening of Friday, around 18:00, we started the engine to recharge the batteries. I immediately felt a burning smell and smoke coming from the engine compartment. We stopped the engine and made an investigation of the engine compartment. We believe that there was an electrical short with possible wire melt down and blown fuse. Impossible to start the engine any more...

An Easterly wind rose and we made direct route to Bermuda. As it was impossible to recharge the batteries, it was necessary to reduce our electrical power consumption. We then established shifts for steering and other shifts to pump manually the boat that was taking on water.

On the morning of Saturday, the wind came from the SW 30-35 kn. It was impossible to sail to Bermuda anymore. Our batteries were very low and a new storm was beginning. The Iridium phone was charged at 50%. I decided to contact the USCG and request assistance. I also activated the DSC on the VHF. The Norwegian Gem cruise ship told me later that she never received the distress signal...

The United States Coast Guard sent a Hercules aircraft on our position and found a ship that was cruising at 50 NM from us. We established shifts for pumping the boat manually every two hours to prevent the water from rising above the floor.

There was diesel all over the boat and it was very dangerous for slipping on floors.

The Norwegian Gem agreed to divert her course and came to us for assistance. The Hercules airplane of the United States Coast Guard circled above us and made a radio technical liaison between all parties. When we saw the ship, we were contacted by VHF and we began to plan the rescue maneuver in a strong wind and rough seas with waves of 10-15 feet. A rescue boat was launched and she came close to the boat. The transfer of the crew was extremely difficult and dangerous. There have been several violent impacts between the two boats.

We went on board the rescue boat with few belongings. We had prepared our passports and a bag of clothes.

The approach maneuver back to the cruise ship was extremely difficult and dangerous. Several collisions occured between the rescue boat and the cruise ship while we were hoisted.

The officers of the cruise ship took care of us and we all went to the infirmary where we were examined by doctors. We were offered cabins and were able to shower and feed. For more than three days, we had almost nothing to eat and drank little, given the state of the sea and the sailboat’s condition.

The Norwegian Gem has resumed her voyage to New York City. The next day, we cleared customs, met the NYC press and celebrated with the cruise ship officers and the rescue team that saved our lives.

Captain Thierry Simon.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:40   #171
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

Captain Thierry Simon, Welcome to the forum! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. It is never an easy decision to abandon ship, however indecision could have meant the death of you all, my hat is off to you!
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:57   #172
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pirate Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

My Compliments Sir.....
Glad you all got of so lightly... could have been so much worse given the detail...
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:00   #173
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

In 44 years of sailing, it was the first time ever that I called any Coast Guard organization to require assistance. It was a very difficult call to make. I always returned my boats and their crew safely to shore.
It is a lesson in humility.
Captain Thierry Simon.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:06   #174
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by Red Barn View Post
Wow!
What a read!
Many, many opinions and a lot of them backed by many years of experience on the water.
Naturally, I have opinions of my own. . . but I think I'll keep them to myself. . . not that I fear being critisized, but just that my opinions are just that. . . opinions.
One person earlier suggested that the forum members might post what THEY would have done in a similar situation. . . What kind of situation?
How about:
40 ft fin keel sailboat about 25,000 lb displacement.
No engine
winds 40 to 60 kts
seas 20 to 30 ft short duration as in wind against current.
wind and current forcing you away from destination.
lots of sea room
you've been in these conditions for 48 hours.
you're tired, wet, hungry
your crew of four are inexperienced in offshore passagemaking and also tired, hungry seasick etc.
You are allowed to have on board your boat any gear that you wish that could reasonably be expected to be available for reasonable cost.
And no, you cant have the spare parts, fuel etc to get the engine running again.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO??
Deploy Jordan Series Drogue and get some sleep.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:16   #175
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by Captain_Orion View Post
For those of you who are interested in the detailed story of our ''adventure'', here it is:
Cheers for that

With hindsight , anything you would have done differently?
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:19   #176
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

I would posit that the crew decided to abandon a still floating vessel because they felt uncomfortable with the way it was behaving. Right or wrong, that had to influence their decision. This goes to an old argument about crew fatigue that results from poor motion comfort.

With the caveats that a) I have never sailed aboard a Beneteau 393 (if that's what S/V Sanctuary was) and b) the calculation for motion comfort is controversial, it is perhaps worth noting that the 393 isn't a stellar performer on that particular metric.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:45   #177
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

I have no doubt you made the right call Thierry. An incredible, harrowing experience that I hope I never have to encounter. You and your crew are to be commended.

The questions that are rattling around in my brain are about the boat itself. I know, I know, any boat can cross an ocean, but did the design of the Beneteau Oceanis 393 contribute to the challenges? When I run the numbers on the 393 I see its characteristics make it out to be a fast, light, performance sailboat.

According to the specs, the 393 will have a low motion comfort rating. The capsize ratio puts it just over the dreaded "2" mark, and the D/LWL & SA/D numbers all put this craft in the "light displacement racer" category. According to these specs, I would expect this boat to be rather uncomfortable in steep, short-wavelength seas -- something the rescue video seems to show.

I am not trying to stimulate yet another discussion about the value of these numbers. I know, I know, numbers don't tell the entire tale. But they say something.

Did design play a part in this disaster?
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:53   #178
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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I would posit that the crew decided to abandon a still floating vessel because they felt uncomfortable with the way it was behaving. Right or wrong, that had to influence their decision. This goes to an old argument about crew fatigue that results from poor motion comfort.

With the caveats that a) I have never sailed aboard a Beneteau 393 (if that's what S/V Sanctuary was) and b) the calculation for motion comfort is controversial, it is perhaps worth noting that the 393 isn't a stellar performer on that particular metric.
The key variables of this equation were:

a) The boat was taking on water and we had to pump it manually. The origin of the leak was not precisely determined and I suspected stuctural fiberglass delamination. With this type of delamination you never knows how it will evolve.

b) Our batteries were down: no communication device functional, no navigation instruments, no running lights, no auto pilot, no electric bilge pumps...

c) No engine to maneuver and recharge the batteries, including the Iridium sat phone.

d) The Iridium sat phone was half charged at that time.

e) Another big storm was coming... This depression made a lot of damages in New England with up to 17'' of snow in some areas, hundreds of trees ripped from their roots, 2 millions people without electricity in NY state only, casualties and deaths etc...

The motion comfort of the boat had nothing to do with my decision.

Captain Thierry Simon
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:00   #179
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by Captain_Orion View Post
In 44 years of sailing, it was the first time ever that I called any Coast Guard organization to require assistance. It was a very difficult call to make. I always returned my boats and their crew safely to shore.
It is a lesson in humility.
Captain Thierry Simon.
Yes, it is, but it is also a lesson to all who would go to sea in smaller boats.

And you and your crew are safe. Unpleasant as it is to have to abandon the boat, I now believe you made the right decision under the circumstances.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:01   #180
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Orion View Post
The key variables of this equation were:

a) The boat was taking on water and we had to pump it manually. The origin of the leak was not precisely determined and I suspected stuctural fiberglass delamination. With this type of delamination you never knows how it will evolve.

b) Our batteries were down: no communication device functional, no navigation instruments, no running lights, no auto pilot, no electric bilge pumps...

c) No engine to maneuver and recharge the batteries, including the Iridium sat phone.

d) The Iridium sat phone was half charged at that time.

e) Another big storm was coming... This depression made a lot of damages in New England with up to 17'' of snow in some areas, hundreds of trees ripped from their roots, 2 millions people without electricity in NY state only, casualties and deaths etc...

The motion comfort of the boat had nothing to do with my decision.



Captain Thierry Simon
Sorry, I missed your post. Thanks for clarifying.
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