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Old 12-01-2018, 15:24   #61
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

Also makes me wonder -- no spare anchor + rode?
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Old 12-01-2018, 15:34   #62
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

Thanks Matt. Jeez, imagine hand-steering four days in a storm. I bet they slept well their first night on land.
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Old 12-01-2018, 15:35   #63
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
.....
But it shows how wrong folks are who say that windward sailing ability isn't important to a cruising sailor.

Jim
Matt
Thanks for the info. As is typical in these losses it was not one issue, but an unfortunate chain of events --- for want of a nail the kingdom was lost. Fatigue clearly played an important part in this loss, but it's clear that crew didn't give up and actively tried to manage their situation to the end.
Lack of windward ability is certainly one cause. I'm also surprised at the number of offshore boats that have windvane failures. Maybe we are trying to drive much heavier boats than in the good old days of windvanes.

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Do you know what the actual weather conditions were in the days leading up to this?
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Old 12-01-2018, 15:51   #64
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

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Lack of windward ability is certainly one cause. I'm also surprised at the number of offshore boats that have windvane failures. Maybe we are trying to drive much heavier boats than in the good old days of windvanes.
I dunno, Paul. The W-32 is touted as the epitome of offshore cruisers (by some) and has in fact done lots of sea miles with windvanes of various types. I doubt if w/v failure is all that common on such boats. Further, such boats are often said to be able to sail themselves by simple sail trim methods. At any rate, I'd have thought that heaving to well offshore and awaiting dawn and/or calmer weather, all the while getting some rest, might have been a good decision. As described, none of the issues with boat or equipment would have prevented this action.

It is easy for us to sit about and critique this crew's decisions. We were not faced with the situation of fatigue, nasty wx and equipment lacks and failures that these guys were. None the less, I think it proper to consider what alternatives they had, and what benefits might have been realized from them, all for the possible education of others going to sea. So, please don't take all the above as criticism. I have made poor decisions at sea and in retrospect, tried to learn from them. I suspect the subject crew will do the same.

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Old 12-01-2018, 15:52   #65
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
Also makes me wonder -- no spare anchor + rode?
Sorry I didn't list this before. They put out their Bruce and what he called an English plow (CQR?) But both were on rope and chafed through.

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Matt
I'm also surprised at the number of offshore boats that have windvane failures. Maybe we are trying to drive much heavier boats than in the good old days of windvanes.
Just about ever major jumping off point we've been to has at least one person walking the docks looking for a welder to fix their windvane. But, we still added a Cape Horn to our new boat as a back-up to the below deck. It was cheaper than a redundant system and we can use it if there is a power loss.

A few days before the winds had been in the twenties maybe low thirty for a few hours... gust to 40 at the most. I've been watching the grib files on Passageweather as we are looking for a window to do the I-65 route to USVIs, and hadn't seen anything like he described dropping that far south. Not saying there weren't any, just that I can't remember seeing them.

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Old 12-01-2018, 16:09   #66
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

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I dunno, Paul. The W-32 is touted as the epitome of offshore cruisers (by some) and has in fact done lots of sea miles with windvanes of various types. I doubt if w/v failure is all that common on such boats. ......
Jim
No doubt lots of W32 have done lots of miles on windvanes. I was more thinking of all the broken windvanes that I've seen at the end of passages, like Matt mentioned. It seems like the vanes are being asked to do more than they were designed for or they aren't built as well as they used to be be in the 'good old days'
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Old 12-01-2018, 16:53   #67
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

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No doubt lots of W32 have done lots of miles on windvanes. I was more thinking of all the broken windvanes that I've seen at the end of passages, like Matt mentioned. It seems like the vanes are being asked to do more than they were designed for or they aren't built as well as they used to be be in the 'good old days'
Now I'm curious (a bad habit no doubt!): what sort of failures are you seeing? Structural, geaaring, cordage, bearings/sheaves...?

Around the ports that we frequent on this side of the Pacific, we don't see all that many wind vanes these days, and those that we do see tend to be on older design boats, so I don't have access to any realistic data related to the subject.

I do know that I miss having a vane on this boat. She's not ideally arranged for fitting one, but it could be done. I suspect that our long passage days are over, and for the shorter ones of a thousand miles or so the a/p has been ok, but I'd still love to have the quiet functionality of a wind vane on board!

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Old 12-01-2018, 17:05   #68
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

Jim,

Every issue we've seen on a windvane (around 7-8 now) has been a structural failure to the mount or steering oar and required welding. Of course there are the chewed-up lines too, but those are usually routing issues and correctable. Autopilot failures we've seen are higher, but usually it was an age issue (well used and worn out), undersized, or improperly installed.

This Westsail's owner said it was an 'internal issue' as everything else appeared fine on the outside. We have a friend that installed a new Cape Horn on his Westsail and experienced an internal failure too.... something about the internal rod connecting to the control axle. Not real pleased to have two similar issues on a piece of gear I just installed on my boat.

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Old 12-01-2018, 17:39   #69
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

Space at sea is your friend. This just proves it, right? Forget the sextants, gps, motors and so forth. If the rudder was not tangled then I’ve always been taught to go to sea and give yourself breathing room to figure out the problems. Maybe I am wrong.
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Old 12-01-2018, 17:40   #70
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

Jim
I see the similar to Matt. Firstly, I see a lot of windvanes where people have given up using them or really only put them on as a backup. Modern APs are pretty damn convenient. For heavy users weld cracks seem like the big issue.
I saw a Monitor not long back on a Dashew 65. Seems like a lot to ask for the same vane that does a good job on a W32.
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Old 12-01-2018, 17:44   #71
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

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Space at sea is your friend. This just proves it, right? Forget the sextants, gps, motors and so forth. If the rudder was not tangled then I’ve always been taught to go to sea and give yourself breathing room to figure out the problems. Maybe I am wrong.
From Matt's relay of the skippers story, that is what they tried to do.
Quote:
. Somewhere South East of the Bahamas they ran into a storm and were getting pushed West towards the Abacos. Not being able to clear the islands, they spent two days trying to claw off the leeshore before eventually running out of sea room.
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Old 12-01-2018, 18:38   #72
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

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Jim
I see the similar to Matt. Firstly, I see a lot of windvanes where people have given up using them or really only put them on as a backup. Modern APs are pretty damn convenient. For heavy users weld cracks seem like the big issue.
I saw a Monitor not long back on a Dashew 65. Seems like a lot to ask for the same vane that does a good job on a W32.
Interesting! Don't see that the ones that have been given up on or were backup only should be candidates for breakage... they're just sitting there!

I have seen a number of Monitors with cracks in the s/s tubing after long usage. Seems to be a design flaw IMO, but whatever the cause, such damages are seen with some regularity. Haven't seen analogous damage on Aries, Flemings or Wind Pilots... only ones seen much here. Note that those designs utilize heavy castings for the structures rather than welded tubes, FWTW.

But really, stresses on the w/v gear seem to me to be related to how heavy the helm loads are, not how big the yacht is, and helm loads are surely not a direct function of size or displacement of the yacht. I've steered some typical Taiwan mid sized double enders that would tear your arms off in a following sea, and the steering on many modern yachts is quite light (due at least in part to balanced (mostly spade) rudders). So, equating damaged w/v gear to modern boat design is sketchy. Perhaps it is just that a lot of the gear is getting old, and accumulated stress cycles has caught up with them.

So, I don't have answers... only questions! Thanks for bringing up the subject, even if it is thread drift.

Jim
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Old 12-01-2018, 18:40   #73
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

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Space at sea is your friend. This just proves it, right? Forget the sextants, gps, motors and so forth. If the rudder was not tangled then I’ve always been taught to go to sea and give yourself breathing room to figure out the problems. Maybe I am wrong.


I have also been taught the same, but sometimes you can’t. We used to call it jokingly “fighting room”
It was just a strong Summer squall, but outside of Tampa Bay in a 45’ Sportfisherman we were driving about as hard as we could to get out away from Tampa Bay, but were being driven back slowly towards the channel that has shallows a long ways out.
There were no failures on the boat, just the waves and wind were too much to make way.
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Old 12-01-2018, 18:42   #74
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

I don't see why there's such a lack of civility for the constructive criticism offered by earl grey. Perhaps, he could have proffered his opinions in in a more genteel way but, none the less, isn't this a Forum of discussion for people to weigh in on topics concerning sailing and navigation? Must we abide by some unwritten rules of discourse known only to a select few? What was it that he said that did not make good sea sense irrespective of, perhaps, not knowing all the details? Do we need a police report before any critique can be levered? Is his honesty and contrary opinion the grounds for placing him on your ignore list? Was it because he only has a few posts that he suffered this attack? This is why, in my opinion, many have left this Forum since there is a decided clique of respondents who peck the proverbial wounded chicken, in unison, if he/she does not agree with THE GROUP'S VIEWS. How can this in any way be fair or civil? Jim Cate offered the same response I would have chosen by gaining sea room and staying well off a lee shore under compromised conditions rather than attempting a dangerous reef passage at night. Why was he not castigated for his proper criticism? Did Jim know all the facts? No, but he offered, in my opinion, along with earl grey, the best solutions to avoiding the tragic end. The bottom line is simple and is best expressed through Physics: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Good luck and safe sailing . . . Rognvald
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Old 12-01-2018, 19:19   #75
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Re: Aground at Elbow Cay

what if you stop for a moment and think about this ....

monohulls are just no safe as much as you like to believe.

get it thru your head and stay alive.

thank me later.
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