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Old 08-12-2006, 02:47   #1
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Rescue at Sea

“Mirabella V” captain tells the story of the “Compromise” Mayday rescue
David Dawes, master of the sloop "Mirabella V" (the largest single masted yacht in the world), tell his story of the rescue of the crew from the Nicholson 32 "Compromise", participating in the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers).
The Mayday was called when the crew became seriously concerned for the mental health of the skipper, Jos Brosnan.
Here’s the story posted on the Sailing World website:

http://bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=1120
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:11   #2
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Interesting story on the rescue at sea.

Wonder what mental problem the captain on the smaller vessel had that led to calling for help and abandoning ship?

Lemme se, Mirabella V is the one that dragged anchor a couple of years ago and ended up on the rocks?
Wonder of the captain got fired over that one and if his replacement did write the above story?
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:24   #3
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Mirabella V’s Captain, Johno Johnson wasn’t fired, as far as I know:
http://www.bymnews.com/new/mirabellav/html/rumour.html

Mirabella on the Rocks
http://www.bymnews.com/new/mirabella...the_rocks.html
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Old 08-12-2006, 09:47   #4
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It is now the season...at least insofar as the Atlantic is concerned. I just got a Winlink user notice this a.m. about another boat (20N, 34W) with no rudder. The ARC boats and their independent sisterships (or as some would call it, the Anti-ARC boats) are now going to be departing the Canaries over the next few months, bound mostly for the Caribbean. In 2-4 months, it will be time for the boats departing Balboa & the Canal region, either heading up the C American coast or out into the Pacific.

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Old 08-12-2006, 10:14   #5
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Jack,

Certainly is the season, and the numbers keep getting larger and larger!

When I was based in Morocco in the late 70's I had a super location and ham setup: a 5-element monoband beam at 65' on 20m and an identical one on 15m, and a KW amp if needed. It was near the peak of the sunspot cycle, too, and radio propagation was quite good. Consistently got 40 to 60db over S9 reports from the States!

Together with Ian, 8P6HZ in Barbados, we decided to launch the TransAtlantic Maritime Mobile Net on 21400KHz at 1300Z. It was a bounding success, and is still run today by Ian's wife, Trudy, 8P6QM.

We worked boats all over the Med, and the Atlantic basin, across to the West Indies and Central America. Since we were only working boats with ham radio installations, and knew these were only a portion of all the boats making the annual pilgrimidge from the Canaries to Barbados, we decided one year to try to count them.

Ian and his son would go down to the harbor in Bridgetown every day or so and count the boats. As I recall, that year he counted about 230 boats in total. This, of course, didn't take account of boats headed for other destinations in the Windwards.

Today, I'll bet that number is MUCH higher. I believe the ARC participants alone outnumber this.

Most of the boats making the crossing then didn't have the luxury of satellite navigation devices. And, of course, GPS was unheard of. The boats depended on celestial and DR. Most did a fine job and arrived in good shape.

I do remember one fellow, however, who left the Canaries intending to "learn celestial navigation while at sea". He quickly found that this wasn't as easy as he thought, and he couldn't get the sight reduction procedure right. I wound up doing it for him: he'd take the sextant sight and have his crew say "now" into the microphone, I'd take the GMT, his sextant reading, and his DR postion and feed it into a little nav computer I had, and radio him back the line of position (LOP) and/or latitude. This worked OK, but isn't really a recommended way to do it :-))

Hope you're enjoying your winter. Very cold here this morning...24F and windy.

Bill
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Old 08-12-2006, 13:34   #6
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You should have let him drown
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Old 08-12-2006, 13:57   #7
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I'm with CSYMan on this one. Totally baffled at why a crew (of unknown size) were evacuated and a boat abandoned with no mention of any physical fault or problem except the "captain's mental condition".

I keep thinking I must have become a blonde...I need a translator.<G> So in the meantime I'll idly speculate.

More scraps:
from http://bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=1063 apparently there were *two* other crew who reported being unable to slow the yacht down in "heavy swell".

From seeing a picture of M5...Is this one of the new breed of heavily "powered" boats, which carries such a small crew that they could not have put two or three aboard the other boat, to bring it into a port? Or even one, and taken it in tow?

Sounds like M5 had other priorities and the value of salvage wasn't worth it to them. I guess from there, it is either 300m/ back to Cape Verde or 500+ into the Canaries? No port on the African coast worth aiming for? (That's a corner of the world I'm totally unfamiliar with.)
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Old 08-12-2006, 17:46   #8
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http://www.sailr.com/news41612.html

This explains why the crew left the boat but not why someone from Mirabella V didn't attempt to salvage her.
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Old 08-12-2006, 21:02   #9
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" it was agreed that Mr Brosnan required urgent treatment for his condition " and apparently M5 operates for charter, which doubly explains the need for them to leave with all possible speed rather than towing.

I'm still guessing that like most operations today, she carries minimum crew and they couldn't afford to leave any aboard versus not having them "on the job" at their next port of call.

What's a 32' boat worth, even the finest? Twelve hours charter fee on a ship like M5? (Nice to have money.)
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Old 09-12-2006, 03:34   #10
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Hi, Bill - and thanks for reminding me about your & Ian's role in founding what today we all call "Trudy's Net". She was a guest aboard WHOOSH mid-Atlantic and we look forward to talking with her again on our return to the Caribbean.

To swap sea stories, this one occurred last summer and relates to a captain being medivac'd from his boat. The owner in this tale had arranged with two acquaintenances from his home harbor to help him move his boat from Plymouth (England's S Coast) to A' Coruna on Spain's NW corner, across the Bay of Biscay. None of the three knew one another well, but they got along well and the weather wasn't terrible...so all went well for most of the passage. As they were on the last third of the passage, the skipper got bonked on the head while working the boat. He was a bit out of it and, after much discussion both between the two crew and via SSB, a Spanish helo came out to pick him up and get him to a hospital for examination. The prep for the pick-up seemed to go well and, before the two crew & the skipper knew it, he was in the litter and headed skyward. The crew confirmed with him just before the hoist that they would continue on to A' Coruna, as planned.

It is at this point where things totally fell apart. The weather turned, and the crew had to deviate to Ribadeo, maybe 100 NM to the E, where they were kept pinned by a storm out in the Bay. Meanwhile, when the dust had settled ashore and the exam showed no serious damage, the skipper realized he'd left the boat with his passport but without money or glasses. He didn't know where his boat was, once the marina staff at A' Coruna confirmed his boat hadn't arrived. The 3 crew didn't know one another well enough to know who back in the UK would be a logical contact to get everyone back together. The skipper had the foul weather gear he'd been wearing for 3 days but nothing else, nor any way to buy a shower, let alone fresh skivvies. The skipper spoke 'marketplace' Spanish but not much more. The crew tried but were unable to determine where the helo had flown...and if they had, the hospital had meanwhile discharged the patient. It was quite a pickle...

As it turned out - after another adventure when trying to return to the S Coast later that summer - this skipper has now tried to cross Biscay 3 times in this boat and has yet to make it. He's a good sport about the whole thing but some folks just seem to find life harder than the rest of us.

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Old 09-12-2006, 07:58   #11
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Good story, Jack. Sounds like a bad dream that just won't end :-)

Funny how some good folks with good intentions and strong perserverence are thwarted time-after-time from achieving goals which others seem to reach every time. And, it seemingly can't always be explained by differences in knowledge, skills, experience, and preparation. Seems Lady Luck has a hand, too, and sometimes she's pretty stingy with some unfortunate souls.

Happily, natural selection helps to sort some of this out before the unlucky ones become, e.g., airline pilots :-)

Glad you met Trudy. Sorry to say I never have had the pleasure, even after all these years.

Hunkerin' down here for the weekend...19F outside this morning. Born Free's tugging at her lines, annoyed at me for not taking her south before the freeze set in :-)

Bill
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Old 09-12-2006, 12:57   #12
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Hi Gord,
Thanks for the link. Kind of humbling to read the M5 skippers log - sounds like he's both resourceful and tactful.
Lets all hope the lifted off skipper gets well soon and hopefully back to sailing.
Cheers again
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Old 13-03-2007, 08:17   #13
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I think there are a few reasons why it was considered necessary to abandon the yacht:

1) One of the two other crew was a qualified doctor, and therefore obliged to remain with her patient until she could hand him over to the care of another qualified doctor. From a professional perspective, this far outweighs any obligation to remain with the vessel she was on.

2) The captain of Mirabella 5 must have given serious consideration to the possibility of putting crew aboard to assist the remaining crewmember of the yacht in sailing her to safety, since he'd got as far as asking if any of his crew would be prepared to do so. In the end he considered the weather conditions too bad to risk transferring them across to the yacht (which would have had to have been done in a tender rather than a liferaft, since that has to stay with the yacht).

I don't think it's fair or reasonable to question that decision unless you were there at the time to judge the conditions for yourself. I'm pretty sure that if he'd lost somebody overboard during such a transfer he'd have been soundly castigated for not abandoning the yacht.
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