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Old 18-03-2011, 09:18   #151
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, terrafirma.

What is your connection to these events and/or people?
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Old 27-03-2011, 05:29   #152
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

I have no connection to the Berserk however as a sailor myself have been reading and researching the cirumstances surrounding this tragedy. My motive is to better understand the scenario that was played out that ended in the death of 3 people. I believe in attempting this trek the "Risk Factor" increased expenentially because of the very nature at what they were attempting, with no or little room for error. The question remains "Why did they leave their sound anchorage and where could they have possibly been going with a Katabatic Storm en route?
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Old 27-03-2011, 06:21   #153
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrafirma View Post
I have no connection to the Berserk however as a sailor myself have been reading and researching the cirumstances surrounding this tragedy. My motive is to better understand the scenario that was played out that ended in the death of 3 people. I believe in attempting this trek the "Risk Factor" increased expenentially because of the very nature at what they were attempting, with no or little room for error. The question remains "Why did they leave their sound anchorage and where could they have possibly been going with a Katabatic Storm en route?
Unfortunately these are questions we will never have the answers to....
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Old 27-03-2011, 09:57   #154
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

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Originally Posted by terrafirma View Post
The question remains "Why did they leave their sound anchorage and where could they have possibly been going with a Katabatic Storm en route?
Looking for searoom?
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Old 27-03-2011, 13:34   #155
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Looking for searoom?
vs. katabatic ?

I would think IF it were a katabatic wind, safety would be inshore?

barnie
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Old 27-03-2011, 14:27   #156
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

So far there has been no reasons attributed to why they pulled up anchor assuming they left because they desired to leave. None of the survivors have expressed any theory as to why they pulled out. There is no realistic expectation that we will ever know what happened to the boat and crew aboard let alone why.
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Old 27-03-2011, 15:26   #157
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

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vs. katabatic ?

I would think IF it were a katabatic wind, safety would be inshore?

barnie
Could be that inshore was the right place for a Katabatic wind. but wrong place to be in a storm. and if the latter needed dealing with first, and maybe a bit of anchoring trouble?, then I don't think such a stretch to see how the decision could be reached (say, half way through a re-anchoring decision. or after the 3rd re-try) to simply head to sea.

Of course this is all unfounded speculation - but I don't see how folks can claim the decisions made were that bizarre, just because they were proved wrong. Probably just the culmination of a string of small events - as things going wrong always tend to be.
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Old 27-03-2011, 17:27   #158
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

Can anyone post a detailed chart of horseshoe bay - at 77° 32' S, 166° 12' E? And/Or a photo? I am curious to see what it looks like.

I have the BA Antarctic Pilot and for horseshoe bay all it says is "Horseshoe Bay, 1 1/4 miles NE, and Backdoor Bay 1 mile SE of Cape Royds, have both afforded shelter in emergency". If you know the BA pilot writing that is not a strong endorsement of it as a haven. It is not listed in the section of anchorages - and in fact the text says "There is no safe anchorage in McMurdo Sound"

It also comments: "The sound begins to freeze over early in March..."
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Old 27-03-2011, 17:37   #159
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

You can get it with google maps:
77° 32' S, 166° 12' E - Google Maps

Looks mighty cold.
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Old 27-03-2011, 17:40   #160
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Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay
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Old 27-03-2011, 17:50   #161
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Re: Horseshoe Bay

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Horseshoe Bay
Thanks . . . that might help the discussion a little . . . the mouth of the bay is quite wide open and it is certainly NOT an all weather anchorage. The mouth is open toward the glaciers coming off the Olympus and Asgaard mountains so if there was katabatic wind coming down those glaciers there could well have been ice strongly pushing in the mouth making it untenable.

I expect you might try to tuck around the bulge on that southern point, with shore lines out to the east, to gain a little protection. But if ice was coming it it would get dicey rather quickly.

Anyone have a wind direction in Mcmurdo Sound from when the yacht was lost?

The pilot says in Feb 50% of the winds come from the east and 21% from the NE - blowing into this harbor. And the mean max temp is -8C and mean low temp is -12C.
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Old 27-03-2011, 18:25   #162
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

Thanks for the replys, I assumed Katabatic because of the comments made by the Sea Sheperd Capatain Watson who said the winds were funnelling down from Mt Erebus, but I would need to re-check his exact words, although this rings true from memory. I don't have charts nor could I make sense from Google on this area, however I assumed Horeseshoe Harbour was the best of the anchorages. Don't know what the wind direction was but if we use Watsons comments as true then perhaps this would be a guide?
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Old 27-03-2011, 18:34   #163
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

I have posted some of Watson's comments from his report, might help for those that know the area.

"This morning, the Sea Shepherd crew searched the waters around Franklin Island. There is a remote possibility that the Berserk could have been forced northward by the storm"

"
Sea Shepherd discovered that the EPIRB (emergency beacon) was inside the vessel. It was designed to issue a distress signal for 24 hours but only transmitted for 45 minutes. It was designed to transmit from a depth of 10 meters and be manually activated. The device was not found. This could mean the device was activated from inside a sinking vessel and stopped transmitting after the vessel sank beneath 10 meters of water. This evidence suggests that the Berserk sank at the position where the distress signal was issued, and that it sank rapidly without the possibility for the crew to escape. The combination of heavy seas, 155-kilometer winds, negative 50 degree Celsius temperatures, deadly ice growlers, and a steel hulled vessel all contributed to this tragedy."

Search details:
Time the search began:
0700 hours (NZT), February 24th
Total time of land and sea search by the Steve Irwin: 52 Hours up until 1100 hours February 26th
Helicopter hours flown: 21 hours total, average of 2.4 hours per flight
Distance flown: 1550 nautical miles at an average of 80 knots.
Square miles searched: 3600 nautical miles.
Search area details:
From the discovery of the life raft lost by the HMNZS Wellington, to Cape Bird, along the coast to Tryggve Point, and back. Then all of McMurdo Sound from Backyard Bay and Inaccessible, north to Cape Bird, including off the coast from Cape Royds to Cape Bird. Then all the way from Cape Bird to Geiki Bay in excellent search conditions – searching a wide band along the ice edge. From there, due east 20 nautical miles and south back to the vessel. Then a corridor flight parallel to the Steve Irwin in an area west of Beaufort Island where the life raft was discovered, and northward a further 40 nautical miles. Then a search from the point where the Berserk lifeboat was discovered and northward a further 40 nautical miles. The helicopter then searched a track between the lifeboat position and Bird Point. Debris from the lifeboat was found near Horseshoe Bay. The helicopter did a transit near Franklin Island and searched the shallow waters around the island. Finally a northward run up to the 166 E Longitude line near the Ross Sea western shore.
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Old 27-03-2011, 19:16   #164
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

Quote:
I don't see how folks can claim the decisions made were that bizarre, just because they were proved wrong.
The difference between the two are often just a blink of the eye. Doing all the right things for the right reasons is no assurance either. Anyone can screw up for just a split second after a long period of perfection. With serious winds in harsh conditions the differences in the human reaction time comes to bear. 1/4 of a second can be all it takes to set in motion that which can't be undone. It's also possible to realize it and still not have enough time.
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Old 27-03-2011, 19:25   #165
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Re: Heedless Venture to Antarctica

Generally/Typically, the cyclonic winds would have started in the NE and clocked to the SE as the storm passed. It's possible they got the forecast for strong and building NE winds, which could have been quite dangerous in this anchorage and pulled up anchor and went to sea and either hit an iceberg, or the rigging was quickly covered with ice which capsized the boat. We will likely never know. But given the open nature of this anchorage, and the BA pilot comments about no safe anchorage, I can easily imagine a situation when I would have thought I might be safer at sea than trapped in there with possible ice and waves coming in the entrance.

The raft was found to the N of the EPIRB position, which is the direction the current would have carried it and also the 2nd half of the storm winds.

Katabatic winds are local and difficult to generalize. However one of the two ships reported they found a lee to the west of Mt Erebus but extremely strong winds in the sound, which might suggest the katabatics were coming off the big glaciers from the east. But is quite possible there were katabatics coming from three directions - off the ross ice, off the glaciers/mountains to the east (these would probably have been the strongest given the likely easterly gradient winds) and off Erebus to the west.

The couple people I know who have wintered in the polar regions have generally set up an 'emergency base camp' ashore with a fuel supply and storm shelter/sleeping bags/food and cooking in case the ice forces them to abandon ship and go ashore. with 20/20 hindsight that might have been the better choice here - BUT it would have meant abandoning ship to its own devices and the two going to the pole were not due back before the last plane out before winter set in was leaving (in only a few days). That would have been a difficult choice to make when they seem to have had so much confidence in the boat and her ability to handle almost any situation at sea. I would have hated making the decision to abandon the ship to her own devices and go to shore (in -50C temps!) and potentially also abandoning the two going to the pole. I can well imagine going to sea with these choices but I can also easily imagine things very quickly going very badly at sea with the ice and winds described. Its just a shitty situation with poor choices because there was not a safe all weather anchorage.
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