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Old 27-10-2012, 04:03   #1
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Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

http://keysnews.com/node/43149

Anyone know more details? Etc? Glad they are safe. The winds have been horrible and Smith shoal is not currently lit.

Weve been here for a near 2 weeks leaving today for key largo via Hawk channel. Ughh
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Old 27-10-2012, 06:38   #2
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

That "Jetty" is awash 90% of the time and is poorly marked. Scares the poopy out of me every time I transit NW Channel at night or in bad WX.
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Old 27-10-2012, 07:04   #3
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

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That "Jetty" is awash 90% of the time and is poorly marked. Scares the poopy out of me every time I transit NW Channel at night or in bad WX.

Hmmm.... I'll be traveling that area soon. Do you by any chance have a lat and long for it?
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Old 27-10-2012, 07:17   #4
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

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Hmmm.... I'll be traveling that area soon. Do you by any chance have a lat and long for it?
It's the north end of the NW Channel. If transiting at night, radar overlay on the chart showing the markers is invaluable along with good spot lights.
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Old 27-10-2012, 07:38   #5
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

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It's the north end of the NW Channel. If transiting at night, radar overlay on the chart showing the markers is invaluable along with good spot lights.

We won't be going through there at night!
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Old 27-10-2012, 08:12   #6
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

Looks like a pretty basic lesson in pilotage to me. Verify what your plotter tells you with radar. If no radar, use your spotlight. Make sure you know where you are based on two independent sources of information, which are in accord with each other. Simples.

There's plenty of room there, more than any likely chart error. I'm guessing those guys were not reading their plotter - trying to follow an erroneous transit. Maybe confused one buoy with another - happens to me sometimes. You will know you screwed up if you watch your plotter, besides following the buoys.
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Old 27-10-2012, 08:14   #7
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

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Looks like a pretty basic lesson in pilotage to me. Verify what your plotter tells you with radar. If no radar, use your spotlight. Make sure you know where you are based on two independent sources of information, which are in accord with each other. Simples.

There's plenty of room there, more than any likely chart error. I'm guessing those guys were not reading their plotter - trying to follow an erroneous transit. Maybe confused one buoy with another - happens to me sometimes. You will know you screwed up if you watch your plotter, besides following the buoys.

I like using both also, but you have to have your chartplotter at the right resolution to show where the markers on. In some channels it's easy to aim for the wrong marker! (ahem -- I've "heard" -- couldn't possibly have ever done that myself ... )
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Old 27-10-2012, 09:51   #8
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

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I like using both also, but you have to have your chartplotter at the right resolution to show where the markers on. In some channels it's easy to aim for the wrong marker! (ahem -- I've "heard" -- couldn't possibly have ever done that myself ... )
Don't worry; we all do it.

Make it a rule to verify what you see with another source of data and you'll be ok.
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Old 27-10-2012, 09:56   #9
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

Our Nick, from Jedi, the 65' Sundeer, recommended this technique - program a path through the channel in your plotter and set your pilot on 'path' mode; let the pilot drive. That frees you to concentrate on verifying the marker positions with the searchlight.
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Old 27-10-2012, 10:13   #10
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

Never been in or out of Key West from that direction but looking at the charts the channel seems pretty well marked and is lighted, including a 7 mile, quick flashing yellow light at the north end that should be hard to miss.

Don't see why you would even need a chart plotter. As long as you can get withing a couple of miles and you aren't in the middle of a rain storm it looks pretty straightforward.

I would of course make very sure I had seen and identified all lights and buoys before proceeding.
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Old 27-10-2012, 10:23   #11
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

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Don't worry; we all do it.

Make it a rule to verify what you see with another source of data and you'll be ok.

Yeah -- check early and often! I mention the amount of zoom on the chart plotter, because I did *not* have it set until the last moment so it would show the markers. That IMMEDIATELY showed me I'd aimed for the wrong one, and I put the boat in reverse and turned her -- 5 seconds too late. I had a completely avoidable grounding on a falling tide.

Oops.
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Old 27-10-2012, 11:09   #12
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

From the couple of times I went through there during the day the water is quite clear and you can see the bottom easily in shallower water.
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Old 27-10-2012, 11:12   #13
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

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Never been in or out of Key West from that direction but looking at the charts the channel seems pretty well marked and is lighted, including a 7 mile, quick flashing yellow light at the north end that should be hard to miss.

Don't see why you would even need a chart plotter. As long as you can get withing a couple of miles and you aren't in the middle of a rain storm it looks pretty straightforward.

I would of course make very sure I had seen and identified all lights and buoys before proceeding.
Depending upon ones angle of approach, the profusion of lights at the entrance at night can be pretty confusing, even when one knows the channel. It is relatively asy to loose situational awareness at night, particularly when one is tired. Moreover, for the last several days its been blowing like stink which would make a passage fairly exhausting. N'any case, I'm glad those guys were picked up. Thank goodness the water is realtively warm.

FWIW...
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Old 27-10-2012, 11:12   #14
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Nasty channel at night. I have hung outside the entrance waiting for first light. They should have done the same. Have I mentioned I HATE crab traps!!??
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Old 27-10-2012, 11:13   #15
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Re: Sailboat sinks 3 rescued Key West

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Looks like a pretty basic lesson in pilotage to me. Verify what your plotter tells you with radar. If no radar, use your spotlight. Make sure you know where you are based on two independent sources of information, which are in accord with each other. Simples.

There's plenty of room there, more than any likely chart error. I'm guessing those guys were not reading their plotter - trying to follow an erroneous transit. Maybe confused one buoy with another - happens to me sometimes. You will know you screwed up if you watch your plotter, besides following the buoys.
Correct! It's not a difficult passage, just one where you need to pay attention and use any/all tools at your disposal. I've transited that channel many times, some in 30-35kts of wind from the east. One amazing fact is with those winds, the seas will go from 2ft to 4-6ft in less than 1nm. It just makes one realize the value of those jettys. One problem with the markers, they are always getting knocked down and the replacements are off from the chart position, hence the need for something that can see in the dark - radar. Can't depend on all the lights working either.

I do remember one passage where a 72' cruiser overtook me while southbound in the narrow section at about 1am with 15-20kts of wind on the beam (from the east). He hollered at me to advise he was passing me on my starboard side and had a 24' tender in tow 125' behind. I woke crew to help watch that go by. Distance perception at night can really play tricks on one's mind!
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