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Old 24-04-2012, 17:18   #16
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
It is impossible to know the outcome of having been tethered in such a case... sheer conjecture. But, I must think that being tethered to a boat while it is violently rolled and then thrown upon the rocks may not be preferable to being in the water. Ones tether combined with the tangle of sheets etc that must have quickly formed may well drown you as surely as being free and in the water.

We'll never know for sure, and I'm not arguing against the use of tethers, but I can't see that the outcome would necessarily have been better had they all been tied in.

Bryan Chong's revealing and thoughtful account has certainly helped me understand what happened. I too have done several single-handed Farallones races in the distant past, and had to make decisions about the best path around the rocks. I was luckier than they were...

Cheers,

Jim
Spinlock tethers are flat webbing and the PFD has both a tether cutter as well as optional leg straps.
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Old 24-04-2012, 18:25   #17
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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Spinlock tethers are flat webbing and the PFD has both a tether cutter as well as optional leg straps.
And your point is?

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Old 24-04-2012, 18:33   #18
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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And your point is?

Jim
lets not get into a pissing match at this sad time.
The tethers I use can be easily released, or cut if I, or my crew become trapped by the tether. You don't have to use them at all if you wish, I choose to do so if the conditions so dictate. I try to teach anyone who is on my boat how to execute a MOB so I don't have to wear one at all times, the same thing goes for crouch straps.
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Old 24-04-2012, 18:38   #19
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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He states that the mast snapped, but the Latitude 38 photo of SSC on the rocks clearly shows the mast looking intact.
I think you're mistaken here, bazzer. Slow Speed Chase had a two-spreader rig, and the photograph shows the mast ending just above the first spreader. If you blow the photo up, you can see the top section of the mast hanging just to port of the bottom section.

I've been "present" at a number of dismastings, and this is a common pattern. The top half of the mast is gone, and the bottom remains in place.
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Old 24-04-2012, 18:42   #20
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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I think you're mistaken here, bazzer. Slow Speed Chase had a two-spreader rig, and the photograph shows the mast ending just above the first spreader. If you blow the photo up, you can see the top section of the mast hanging just to port of the bottom section.

I've been "present" at a number of dismastings, and this is a common pattern. The top half of the mast is gone, and the bottom remains in place.
Yes, you are correct.
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Old 24-04-2012, 19:09   #21
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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His account is not entirely accurate, nor is he a safety expert, as I am not either. He states that the mast snapped, but the Latitude 38 photo of SSC on the rocks clearly shows the mast looking intact. I'm not surprised of this error given the situation. As a windsurfer of many years I have been dumped into the ocean many times and have experienced the washing machine effect. It certainly numbs the memory.
I am not a armchair sailor but one who uses his boat. I am upgrading my Jacklines to 24,000lbs very, very soon. Not using them is just like the argument that seat belts will kill you because you will get trapped in your car.
Your choice....
Other photos have clearly shown that the mast broke at the upper spreaders:


For that matter the photo in the Latitude article shows this as well. The reports from the skipper and crew of Temerity mention that as Low Speed Chase was being driven ashore, the main looked like it was a squaresail, which would indicate that the mast snapped when the boat was rolled, and is consistent with the the first-hand report from Bryan.

I do believe that tethers and jacklines are much more likely to save your life than endanger it.
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Old 24-04-2012, 19:44   #22
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

Chong's vivd account shows how quickly things can go bad out on the ocean. Sad so many were lost. But, at least they were doing something they loved.

I'm more curious about what life vests each of the crew were wearing. What puzzles me is how so many were lost when land was nearby and by Chong's account the waves were taking him and the boat toward the rocks. I would have thought that would have been the case for the others who were washed overboard too. Tethers are one issue but, why the life jackets did not keep the others afloat long enough to reach the shore rocks or be rescued by a CG helo puzzles me. Chong makes mention that his life vest did not allow his hands to be free to climb to safety easily. Did he have to hold onto it to keep from slipping out of it?
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Old 24-04-2012, 20:08   #23
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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Chong's vivd account shows how quickly things can go bad out on the ocean. Sad so many were lost. But, at least they were doing something they loved.

I'm more curious about what life vests each of the crew were wearing. What puzzles me is how so many were lost when land was nearby and by Chong's account the waves were taking him and the boat toward the rocks. I would have thought that would have been the case for the others who were washed overboard too. Tethers are one issue but, why the life jackets did not keep the others afloat long enough to reach the shore rocks or be rescued by a CG helo puzzles me. Chong makes mention that his life vest did not allow his hands to be free to climb to safety easily. Did he have to hold onto it to keep from slipping out of it?
If you read the following this might explain the issues with any kind of PFD or Life Jacket that is not fitted correctly or has leg straps.

There are other lessons that can and should be learned from the incident. My auto-inflate suspenders inflated as designed. However, my manual override cord was tucked away and unreachable - a practice amongst sailors who are worried about an accidental opening. A PFD with a crotch strap would have been far better. It would have held the device down and freed up my hands to climb out of the water or swim. My built-in PFD harness was also too loose and I was concerned about it slipping off. A rash guard would have been a worthwhile layer for warmth. All flotation devices attached to the back of the boat were ripped off by the first large wave. And it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each PFD and make sure it matches the conditions. Safety lessons shouldn’t have to be learned the hard way.

When in the water a poor fitting life vest is liable to ride up and prevent you being able to use your arms much. In some photo's that I have seen of race boats it appears that many crew members are not even wearing any kind of PFD. In fact last weekend my wife crewed on a boat and was told by a skipper not to wear her self inflating PFD because they are dangerous. She of course refused and ended up being the only one of five who wore any kind of floatation device. I my boat I will not leave the dock without any crew agreeing to wear a PFD. Crazy, but true. How many kayakers do you see out with the PFD strapped to the deck?
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Old 24-04-2012, 20:27   #24
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
It is impossible to know the outcome of having been tethered in such a case... sheer conjecture.
And yet... the one guy who remained in the boat was one of the three who survived, so it seems reasonable to theorize that had they all been tethered in, and none lost in the first wave, they might have all rode her to safety on the rocks.
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Old 24-04-2012, 20:43   #25
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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If you read the following this might explain the issues with any kind of PFD or Life Jacket that is not fitted correctly or has leg straps.

There are other lessons that can and should be learned from the incident. My auto-inflate suspenders inflated as designed. However, my manual override cord was tucked away and unreachable - a practice amongst sailors who are worried about an accidental opening. A PFD with a crotch strap would have been far better. It would have held the device down and freed up my hands to climb out of the water or swim. My built-in PFD harness was also too loose and I was concerned about it slipping off. A rash guard would have been a worthwhile layer for warmth. All flotation devices attached to the back of the boat were ripped off by the first large wave. And it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each PFD and make sure it matches the conditions. Safety lessons shouldn’t have to be learned the hard way.

When in the water a poor fitting life vest is liable to ride up and prevent you being able to use your arms much. In some photo's that I have seen of race boats it appears that many crew members are not even wearing any kind of PFD. In fact last weekend my wife crewed on a boat and was told by a skipper not to wear her self inflating PFD because they are dangerous. She of course refused and ended up being the only one of five who wore any kind of floatation device. I my boat I will not leave the dock without any crew agreeing to wear a PFD. Crazy, but true. How many kayakers do you see out with the PFD strapped to the deck?
I guess we will have to wait for some type of offical report to hopefully find out what kind of life jacket each crew member was wearing or not wearing. In Chongs case just having one on saved his life. Ill fitting as it was. It would be sad (but a lesson to be learned) if the others had decided to not wear a PFD's. I too always have my PFD on whenever my boat leaves the mooring even in relatively calm conditions. I can't imagine them not wearing one in an ocean race. But, from your statement it seems it is a personal choice with some racers.
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Old 24-04-2012, 21:55   #26
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

In a re read of Chongs account he states that "everyone" was wearing life jackets. So only two of the seven who were washed overboard were saved even though all were wearing life jackets. That's pretty bad odds.
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Old 24-04-2012, 22:36   #27
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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And yet... the one guy who remained in the boat was one of the three who survived, so it seems reasonable to theorize that had they all been tethered in, and none lost in the first wave, they might have all rode her to safety on the rocks.
G'Day Sarafina,

Can't argue with that, but I can envision a situation (possibly this very one) where being attached as the boat was thrown, possibly inverted, upon the rocks would place you in a worse situation than being in the water alongside. "Riding her to safety" isn't a sure thing, but I agree that being tethered is most likely a better approach... just not always the best one.

As I said, sheer conjecture. I know that some harnesses have clips that are allegedly easy to disengage, but in the mess that follows a violent roll-over that may be easier to say than to do. One does wonder what happened to the missing crew, and why their PFD's failed to give them the required support. I doubt if we will ever know.

Again, I am glad that Mr Chong was willing to present such a complete account of what must still be a very traumatic experience.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 24-04-2012, 23:13   #28
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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It would be sad (but a lesson to be learned) if the others had decided to not wear a PFD's.
That's not an option in the racing in this area. All crew must wear PFDs in all races. Not to do so would be to risk a protest by the competition. Even in Beer Can races in SF Bay, all crew wear PFDs all the time.
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Old 25-04-2012, 00:10   #29
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

The statements that jumped out at me were:

"The skies are clear and we’re seeing 20-23 knots (and) it seems the seas are 10-12 feet with larger sets around 15 feet”

and then, when rounding the islands:

“the swells are much larger and the wind has been building”.

and, a little later: “(a)s we approach the second point I estimate we’re inside of 10 boat lengths – which is 128 yards on a Sydney 38 - from the beginning of the break zone”.

So here is "Low Speed Chase" approaching a rocky headland, on a lee shore, with a steeply shelving seabed topography to seaward, with average wind speeds in excess of 23kts and more or less beam on to seas now, probably, averaging in excess of 15ft (with occasional larger seas of possibly 20+ft).

She is around 100 or so yards outside the breaking surf (i.e. roughly the length of two Olympic swimming pools).

I have never ocean raced in sailboats and my sailing experience is modest but I grew up surfing on the west coast of New Zealand and spent a year as a deckhand and diver on lobster (i.e. spiny crayfish) boats in the Chatham Islands (400nM off the South Island of NZ in the SW Pacific at latitude 44S) which enjoy sea conditions that are probably not too dissimilar to those seen at the Farallones.

I would suggest that from outside a surf break it is extraordinarily difficult to estimate exactly where the waves are breaking and in these conditions a clearance of 100 yards is really no clearance at all.

I've marked on the attached where I've guess-timated she may have got caught. The pictures are instructive.

I suspect these were guys who simply rolled the dice and lost.

This is not a criticism, merely an observation.
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Old 25-04-2012, 00:52   #30
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Re: Farallones Survivor's Full Account

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His account is not entirely accurate, .
And you know this how?

Right Wrong or indifferent - in the words of Roosevelt - he was the "Man in the Arena" not you.

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