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Old 29-10-2008, 13:20   #1
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One Dead, Two Survivors as 'Freefall' Sinks Off New Jersey Coast

44-foot Freefall issued a distress call, and the Coast Guard had 6 teams including boats, helicopters, and jets involved. One coastie was injured, but neither the rescuer nor the survivors are reported seriouslly injured.

NewsDay.com story
NJ.com story
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Old 29-10-2008, 16:44   #2
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Boy, that just cries out for some details, doesn't it?

Sea state?

Wind state?

Cause of sinking?

Experience of mariners?

Monohull or cat?

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Old 29-10-2008, 17:01   #3
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A couple more details

PressofAtlanticCity.com

Phil Rubright, 65, was pulled dead from the water. Mr Rubright is believed to be from Detroit. Teresa Garvie, 44, and Kevin Hogan, 52, both of Mount Pleasant, S.C., were taken to hospital in Atlantic City, NJ. The Coast Guard rescue swimmer was returned to shore before the sailboat's crew were retrieved.

And a not very good timeline/location:

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Old 29-10-2008, 17:03   #4
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Im relatively new to sailing forums ...but there sure seems to be a lot of rescues latly ..is this normal levels?
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Old 29-10-2008, 18:18   #5
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It was a Swan 44, recently purchased.

http://74.125.95.104/search?q=cache%...lnk&cd=5&gl=us
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Old 29-10-2008, 18:20   #6
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Im relatively new to sailing forums ...but there sure seems to be a lot of rescues latly ..is this normal levels?
I would say that it's a bit unusual as there were no tropical storms in the area. However it's not unusual to lose a fair amount of sailboats every year, I don't know the numbers but every year it seems a dozen or so go down in our neck of the woods. (US East coast to Caribbean).
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Old 30-10-2008, 08:22   #7
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Pretty boat. Anybody have any insight as to the why and how? One of the stories suggests that some of crew were experienced solo sailors.

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Old 30-10-2008, 08:27   #8
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That Cold front caught them with north winds. It was blowing a solid 35 here for two days. Check out the gulf stream off the coast of NJ. There are a lot of eddies looping in where they ran into trouble, but in taking a 2nd look at their map, it's clear they were solidly in the western edge of the stream.. You know it's a bad as it gets when the rescue swimmer get's injured.

http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu...ulf-stream.jpg

Never get caught in the Gulf Stream when the wind is gale force and out of the north in a pleasure boat.
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Old 30-10-2008, 10:03   #9
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I kind of assumed the sea state was bad.

But I think we are missing some info. A Swan 44, relatively new and with all mod cons, should be able to handle 35 knots and a confused sea, even if the crew can't. We'll have to wait and see, but I still don't understand why they were sinking.

They apparently set off their EPIRB and then the CG chopper took several hours to track 'em down. Based on the published info, Freefall was still afloat -- or did I miss something?


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Old 30-10-2008, 10:16   #10
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confused sea? No

20-40 foot seas and a 6-8 second wave period. That's what the gulf stream looks like in those conditions.

It's a washing machine
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Old 30-10-2008, 10:59   #11
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I don't want to create any argument, or hard feelings - after all, a man is dead. However, for only the eyes of those who wish to debate these things here, and only for educational purposes, I provide the following observation.

We're sitting in Bermuda, having arrived from Newport on Friday night. Our weather guru, Herb Hilgenberg, gave us excellent advice, and, although we had a rough ride, he said it was the only weather window in sight. As a result, I have to say that Swan should not have been there. The weather advice was available, and the advice was to stay away. Possibly some other information might make this observation a silly one. Let's see how this unfolds.
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Old 30-10-2008, 11:00   #12
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Never been in those conditions and (looks skyward hopefully) I'll be very happy if I never am.

I can certainly see why the rescue was tough.

But what's still missing is why it was necessary. I'm sure that will come out over the next few days, but I would still think a 44-foot Swan should be able to handle those conditions, absent some sort of cataclysmic breakdown.

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Old 30-10-2008, 11:45   #13
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But what's still missing is why it was necessary. I'm sure that will come out over the next few days, but I would still think a 44-foot Swan should be able to handle those conditions,
You've never been there obviously. Let's hope you never are. I'm in a meeting the rest of the day, can someone please explain this better than I already did?

In the mean time, Google "wave period"
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Old 30-10-2008, 11:52   #14
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Some disturbing details

Military.Com

Apparently weather conditions were such the CG wanted the victims away from the vessel. The rescue swimmer and Rubright entered the water, but the liftbasket/hoist were damaged by a wave. The swimmer got Rubright to a liferaft, which was struck by a wave, injuring the swimmer and catapulting Rubright out. At this point the swimmer was extricated and flown to shore.

Other rescue teams arrived on scene. One helicopter recovered the body of Rubright, while another retrieved the other two crew from the vessel.

No details regarding the condition of the vessel.

Based on very sketchy data, and not at all forcefully, I suspect the crew reached their breaking point before the vessel did. But they were sure enough to jump into the ocean, so it had to be all kinds of hell breaking loose on board.
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Old 30-10-2008, 12:02   #15
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I think military.com can be considered a fairly credible source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by military.com
The Elizabeth City rescue crews arrived on scene but were unable to hoist the three passengers from the FREEFALL due to the extreme weather conditions consisting of rain and 40-50 knot winds and 40-50 foot seas. The rescue crew determined that in order to conduct a safe hoist the passengers and the rescue swimmer had to enter the water. The rescue swimmer and Mr. Rubright entered the water to attempt the hoist but the rescue basket and hoist cable were damaged by a large wave.
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