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Old 28-11-2008, 06:53   #106
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hopefully, i'll never be in a situation of abandoning my boat but if i had to be air rescued, i'd scuttle it... running into a drifting boat at night wouldn't be a pretty situation...sure, there's plenty of water out there, but it only takes a lot of bad luck to whack into something which should NOT be there..

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Old 28-11-2008, 21:57   #107
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You are right, not all judged us. I guess I was shocked to see some of the comments, and I reacted. I'm sorry. It's kind of a strange emotional roller coaster at this time, and we're only human.

There are plenty of Notices to Mariners out there, and trust me everyone is looking, AIS is a beautiful thing. Judging from the weather after we left, we now we wonder if she's possibly sunk even though she was a tight boat that never leaked, and had dry bilges when we left. The rudder was fine when we left (I have no idea where that rumor is from), but I can only imagine what would happen with an unmanned helm as the loss of steering rumor was very false.

I said before that she was sound, but I forgot to say she was sound when we left Annapolis: every inch replaced, repaired, inspected, and tested: 2 years of hard work and lots of money. She took quite a battering while we were on her, but having the engine's transmission seize (and not due to lack of oil or any lack of maintenance) in those conditions was quite a deciding factor. At that point we could only try to control with droques.

You are right about the seas being calmer when we were rescued. When the Coast Guard was deployed they had 50' seas and 57kt winds. We knew the weather forecast called for 25' seas by the time they arrived, 2 hours later. Judging from the forecasts it got much worse out there after we left, and I don't know if we would have survived.

Rachael, Sam, and Jeff were amazing! Along with Mark they spent 3 days sleeping in the cockpit in their foul weather gear, taking turns at the helm. They had terrible sea sores from lying in sea water all that time. They were a good, sound crew who never panicked, and never let go of the helm. I am so impressed with their sailing knowledge, experience, and integrity. They never gave up even though they were exhausted, hypothermic, and hungry.

I was below, working with weather by sat phone calls once my Radiofax became impossible to receive. I kept the crew fed and watered, made sure the bilges were dry, secured all flying objects, and kept my daughter soothed.

Thank you for your kindness!


Also, I think I was wrong about the 118' Ketch being destroyed. I was repeating this from someone else. I think it just suffered extensive damage from being knocked down and taking on water.

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Old 29-11-2008, 03:41   #108
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Thanks so much for posting here again after what must be the second worst experience for a sailor--losing your boat. Thankfully, you didn't experience the worst--losing crew. The fact that you are all safe is a relief to us all here at CF. Although some posters here may come across as unreasonably critical, most simply want to learn from the experiences of someone who has been out there in conditions that coastal sailors never experience and can barely imagine.

I was in the process of sailing from St. Thomas to Bradenton, Florida during that time period. I had engaged Chris Parker ( to provide us with customized weather routing, and was also listening to Herb Hilgenburg. On Sunday, Nov. 16th, we were east of the Bahamas between San Salvador and Eleuthera. We must have experienced the southern tail of the cold front that was producing your weather. It wasn't too bad where we were, but obviously much stronger to the north in your area. Chris and Herb were warning boats to the north of a very strong front that would combine with that existing one on Tuesday, Nov. 18th, producing hurricane force winds. I think you made the right decision to get out before the second front arrived on that Tuesday. You would have been back in conditions that the forecasters expected to be even worse that what you had already experienced.

I hope you can find your boat and get back on your plan to sail to Australia. Best wishes and good luck.


p.s. A note to those who are prone to speculation and second-guessing: if you've never been offshore in extreme conditions, you simply don't know what it can be like. There is no coastal sailing experience that can even come close, so you can't extrapolate.
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Old 29-11-2008, 05:52   #109
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Unfortunately the internet has thrown us ALL into the public eye. It is just the way it is. Technology has a good, and bad side to it. This is just something we all will have to live with from now on. When something happens it will be critiqued. Some can do it with compassion, and some will type before it is given a good long thought. Who of us haven't opened our mouth, and wished we could have had that 10 seconds back?

Also, I think I was wrong about the 118' Ketch being destroyed. I was repeating this from someone else. I think it just suffered extensive damage from being knocked down and taking on water.

This right here is an example. We are human, and curiousity is one of our faults. BEST WISHES in finding your boat, and she in still healthy. It was more the situation, and what we would do than it was anything personal.....i2f
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Old 30-11-2008, 06:26   #110
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Where is your best guess as to where the boat is at now? I am headed in that general direction in a few days and if you can give me an approximate lat/lon I will keep a lookout for it. A couple of questions--

Did you leave the staysail up and sheeted loosely/tight, and was the helm unlocked/straight/hard over??
Did you leave a nav lite on??
I believe the engine propulsion is down, but other than that is the boat sailable??

When we came into Bermuda last spring, there was a radio broadcast about boat abandoned/adrift within a mile of our track some 50 miles south of the island--we saw nothing, but another boat spotted it about 30 miles away. Its a big ocean, and Panache is most likely floating out there somewhere.
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Old 30-11-2008, 06:58   #111
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Best to you and yours! I hope you find what you're seeking.

Love, luck and sweet tomatoes,
Aaron N.
"Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible."

W32 #482 Asia Marie

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Old 30-11-2008, 09:09   #112
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I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving because you ended up with what was the most important, your family. Everything else can be replaced.

First Mate Mary
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