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Old 02-11-2011, 08:05   #181
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
I think the better question is was there sufficient info available BEFORE venturing out to have made this a clearly inadvisable trip? Some of the comments prior to mine have indicated there was ample warning of the expected conditions.

.
Thanks Ana for this statement. This is the bottom line for any passage....don't book your return tickets and expect to make the flight. Stay in port till a proper weather window opens.

Very happy to hear that all are safe.

If I'm making this passage..my wife and I have two Transats under our belts and we don't have enough sea miles yet..here's what I thinking...

Weather window has to be big enough to get me safely out of port and for at least 2-3 days out, and I want to know which side of the low I want to be on and how to get there as early as possible.

If I am caught out...and I will be .....make the boat as ready as possible.

Food, water, pumps, first aid, take off everything that could become a projectile because it will....barbecue...burgers will not be on the menu for the next couple of days, the solar panel will do you no good during the gale,triple tie the outboard, the fully inflated dingy? Ok maybe but it clearly totally impedes any movement on the foredeck if needed. Is there another possible solution for this? Remove the big jenny and have a 100% or less jib put on the furler. Better yet a small storm jib that is made to go right over the furled up genny.

We are doing all of this stuff 12 hours before the big blow gets to my butt.

Sit back, keep the watches as on time as possible, and pray for the Godess of the Sea to be on your side.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:06   #182
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
Pretty terrifying to have your life raft wash overboard as your boat slowly sinks lower. That's a footnote to the long "Liferaft: Yes or No?" thread currently running here.
It's interesting. The picture isn't showing any visible damage that I could see. Speculation: The life raft was apparently washed away by a heavy sea. Presumably it was in a container bolted down to the foredeck or cabin top. I'm wondering if the reason they started taking on water is because when the sea tore off the raft container it took part of the deck or overhead with it. Unfortunately the rescue boat hides the forward part of the yacht. She's clearly well down in the water though.
It would be somewhat ironic if the liferaft created the conditions that sank the boat. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if it's found drifting weeks or months from now, still afloat, or even washes up somewhere. Stranger things have happened.

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
Any idea how they contacted the CG? Was it via SSB or satellite phone?

Did they have an EPIRB onboard?
Clearly whatever they had, worked very well.

Addendum: I'd somehow missed several posts including those of her master, and I believe I understand the situation much better after reading them. I absolutely agree that he tried to save his vessel and his crew until it became clear that the former was unlikely, given the fact she had suffered structural damage, was taking on water, no electrics, risk of fire with diesel everywhere, and inability to use the engine because it almost started a fire. Flat batteries meant that soon there would have been no communications at all. At that point, he elected to see to the safety of all aboard and called for rescue. It cannot have been an easy decision, but I have no doubt it was the right one given the circumstances. Coer de Leon, Monsieur.



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Old 02-11-2011, 08:09   #183
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by YADO View Post
Google translation is a blunt instrument, and a real translation would be much appreciated, but I get that they really were in trouble and again, I'm glad that all were safely rescued.
The translation is very bad for example when the guy says that it was NOT true that they were under engine , the translkationb says it was true
etc
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:23   #184
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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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?
Design played a part in this disaster.
The boat was incredibly seaworthy, running before the wind in the 60+ kn wind we had during the first storm.
The boat and rig survived 3 major breaking waves. The first one was about 45 feet high and I was sailing at 15 kn when I have been hit. I evaluate that the wave was going about 30 kn when it capsized the boat. You should have seen and ear that. The impact was tremendous. I was surprised to see the boat in one piece and the mast up afterward...

As a racer, I don't particularly like the Beneteau Oceanis designs. To me, they were floating condos. They are not sailing well to windward, specially in rough conditions. But they are safe boats. I prefer the Beneteau First line by far.

Today, I must admit that the boat behaved extremely well in the worst part of the storms we encountered, which was not the time at which the rescue operation occurred.

We spent 3 days and 3 nights in stormy weather conditions. We were hit by 3 storms during that period.

Captain Thierry Simon.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:27   #185
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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.
Sir: this has been the MOST courageous decision you probably have ever taken.
Congratulations.
Chapeau bas !
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:31   #186
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by Telekitr View Post
Thanks Ana for this statement. This is the bottom line for any passage....don't book your return tickets and expect to make the flight. Stay in port till a proper weather window opens.

Very happy to hear that all are safe.

If I'm making this passage..my wife and I have two Transats under our belts and we don't have enough sea miles yet..here's what I thinking...

Weather window has to be big enough to get me safely out of port and for at least 2-3 days out, and I want to know which side of the low I want to be on and how to get there as early as possible.

If I am caught out...and I will be .....make the boat as ready as possible.

Food, water, pumps, first aid, take off everything that could become a projectile because it will....barbecue...burgers will not be on the menu for the next couple of days, the solar panel will do you no good during the gale,triple tie the outboard, the fully inflated dingy? Ok maybe but it clearly totally impedes any movement on the foredeck if needed. Is there another possible solution for this? Remove the big jenny and have a 100% or less jib put on the furler. Better yet a small storm jib that is made to go right over the furled up genny.

We are doing all of this stuff 12 hours before the big blow gets to my butt.

Sit back, keep the watches as on time as possible, and pray for the Godess of the Sea to be on your side.
As our batteries were down, the solar panel produced just enough electricity to allow VHF communication with the Hercules Coast Guard airplane and the Norwegian Gem. The iridium sat phone was used for communicating with US Coast Guard District 5 in Portsmouth VA.

Captain Thierry Simon.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:36   #187
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
What you have to realize about the passage from the US east coast to the Virgin Islands is that you will almost always have to endure a storm of some sort. It could be 35-40 kts or 40-50 kts or even more, as in this case. The storm fronts come off the east coast every 3-5 days this time of year, so you pick your window to get across the Gulf Stream in reasonable weather, then you take your knocks with whatever comes next.
Well said Hud
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:40   #188
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by Captain_Orion View Post
As our batteries were down, the solar panel produced just enough electricity to allow VHF communication with the Hercules Coast Guard airplane and the Norwegian Gem. The iridium sat phone was used for communicating with US Coast Guard District 5 in Portsmouth VA.

Captain Thierry Simon.
Good point Thierry.....perhaps another way to keep the solar panel functional without having it be in such a precarious spot on the transom...Just thinking out loud here to come up with good solutions. Those big waves can tear away just about anything that hangs out there....thank goodness there were not dingy davits.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:59   #189
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

Thierry........it takes a person of great courage to come before a forum of his peers and be judged and critiqued. Thank you for being a part of this group. We all are learning from this most unfortunate experience. I don't think I have ever seen the Capt of vessel with this adventure come here to open up.....again ...my greatest thanks and admiration.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:00   #190
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Deploy Jordan Series Drogue and get some sleep.
Might have also been helpful to get storm sails up early on in this experience. Amazing how much more comfy things seem when you can forereach a bit, rather than wallowing around in confused seas.

Another priority would have been to find the leak and fix it.

It seems that the loss of the engine was a major part of the decision to abandon ship since the batteries could not be maintained. Hearing this makes me doubly glad to have a wind generator that would be capable of running the bilge pumps continually during a storm.

I suspect that the loss of the life raft early on in this experience was a major psychological factor. It would make it much easier to push the big red button when "Plan B" has previously been washed away by a wave.

All in all, I'm trying to resist Monday Morning Quarterbacking here, but even within that consideration I've got to insist that storm sails work. First, they stabilize the boat. Second, Bermuda wouldn't have seemed so far away if it had been possible to make some progress against the wind without having to worry about being knocked down.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:02   #191
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

Having looked at video of the crew rescue, I would probably have considered taking the yacht in tow to the lee of the cruise ship before tranferring personnel. This is no reflection on the rescue, clearly they are competent and the transfer was made without incident apparently, merely an observation. Hindsight is always 20/20.

In any case, well done.

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Old 02-11-2011, 09:12   #192
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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Originally Posted by AussieGeoff View Post
Having looked at video of the crew rescue, I would probably have considered taking the yacht in tow to the lee of the cruise ship before tranferring personnel. This is no reflection on the rescue, clearly they are competent and the transfer was made without incident apparently, merely an observation. Hindsight is always 20/20.

In any case, well done.

AussieGeoff
Just getting a towline secured on the disabled vessel in these conditions would be a major feat. First the conditions are not ideal, second there is a dink on the foredeck obstructing access, third I don't think the cleats forward would be strong or large enough to withstand the forces. The line would have to be run aft and secured around the base of the mast.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:15   #193
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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As a Beneteau owner (47.7) I would much prefer not to have the sea right on the beam as the rolling can be pretty significant. But, that is a matter of comfort, not a reason to abandon ship. Even with no sail, she can be steered downwind in a more comfortable manner, but a little sail would do wonders for stability and, perhaps, help them make way for their destination. I have seen no reports of a more significant failure such as rudder or hull breach. Yes, I was not there, but if these are "abandon ship" conditions to someone, then they should not be offshore.
We have been sailing at all times and under control of the sailboat's manoeuvrability at all times, except during the 3 knock downs and one thunderstorm.

The pictures you are commenting are taken during the rescue operation. The Norwegian Gem's Captain required me to furl my head sail in order to prevent the suction of Sanctuary from the cruise ship.

The wave pattern that you see on the pictures and video footage are the lee of the cruise ship.

Also, it is important to understand that the prevailing conditions at the rescue time were NOT the root cause of my call for assistance.

We were in stormy conditions for the last 3 past days and nights.
The boat was damaged by 60+ kn winds and 30+ feet breaking waves.

Captain Thierry Simon.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:40   #194
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

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...We were in stormy conditions for the last 3 past days and nights. The boat was damaged by 60+ kn winds and 30+ feet breaking waves.
Captain Thierry Simon.
Thank you for posting here.

As Captain, you had to make a difficult decision. We sometimes forget that a Captain is responsible for the lives of the crew. Unfortunately, we also forget that a Captain will always be 2nd guessed.

You made the right decision and any experienced Captain would have done the same.

Fair Winds,
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:54   #195
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Re: Crew of SV 'Sanctuary' Abandon Ship

Thierry....may I ask you thoughts on choosing the direct route to St Marteen from NY, as opposed to getting a bit more southing in along the coast and then breaking off east to cross the stream? Understanding that one has 2 evils out there at this time of year, hurricanes and NA gales. Threading the needle is really tough.
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