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Old 01-07-2013, 08:28   #196
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
See Bob McDavitts "weathergram" issued yesterday for his take on the situation, and the details of his comms with Nina. Includes more detail on the wx he expected them to face.

Cheers,

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Any words there on why it took (ten days?) between the moment he lost contact with Nina and the moment SAR procedures took off? From what I have read in one of sources quoted above is that McDavitt knew the boat was in a serious wx exposure when the Iridium contact was lost.

This ten days' gap in action worries me.

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Old 01-07-2013, 09:04   #197
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Any words there on why it took (ten days?) between the moment he lost contact with Nina and the moment SAR procedures took off? From what I have read in one of sources quoted above is that McDavitt knew the boat was in a serious wx exposure when the Iridium contact was lost.

This ten days' gap in action worries me.

b.
Read it yourself: July | 2013 | MetBob

Draw whatever conclusions you wish.

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Old 01-07-2013, 09:06   #198
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Well I think in future they should have a protocol in place where no response should elevate. We did not hear from RCC until we called and then expected them coming late so weren't that concerned at that time. We were not aware of calls at time. If we did it would have been dealt with then. We did not know until RCC got involved.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:18   #199
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

Barnakiel, you wrote, "This ten days' gap in action worries me." It really shouldn't worry you, if you've read all the posts. For instance, it took boatman 61 on the order of 80 days from the East Coast of the US to Great Britain, not what he had hoped!

Many have written in that loss of communication often occurs from extremely minor causes, like getting wet with salt water. Mc Davitt's last communications with the Nina included no Panne Panne, no Mayday. So why should he take action? The vessel is well found; the crew experienced. Such people hate it if SAR is involved and they're only late arriving. IMO, it was not his responsibility.

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Old 01-07-2013, 09:21   #200
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Read it yourself: July | 2013 | MetBob

Draw whatever conclusions you wish.

Jim
THX for the link.

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Old 01-07-2013, 10:37   #201
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

I agree with Ann T. Cate. And it's natural to want to blame someone when things go wrong, but don't blame the weather forecaster or the rescue service. Bob's weather forecasting has done more to keep boats out of harm's way than you can imagine. I made many adjustments to my schedule and course, based on his forecasts, in just one season of sailing the South Pacific. And our passages were safer and much more comfortable because of it.

If search crews were sent out the day a vessel fails to check in or is caught in a storm, you would constantly have search crews scouring every ocean in the planet. Electronics fails, HF radio communications are fickle, affected by time of day, sunspot activity and many other factors, and sailboats are designed to weather storms. When an EPIRB is activated crews jump to action immediately, because that is a boat asking for rescue. If a boat doesn't ask for help it's a challenge to figure out when and if to send help.

But it's too early for blaming anyone anyway. We should focusing on where to find them. Nina has an EPIRB, Spot and satellite phone. It sounds like there's no certainty any of them have been used since June 4th. One scenario is the boat sunk along with the electronics and they're in a life raft. This seems to be the scenario the rescue crews are currently focusing on

Another scenario is a lightning strike ruined all their electronics. This is actually quite common. I've seen this happen to many boats. Our own boat had the radar and chartplotter ruined by a nearby lightning strike, it wasn't even a direct hit.

They were near the center of a low around June 4th so there was probably plenty of lightning around. A strike could have also damaged their masts and rigging, limiting their ability to make progress. Maybe they're still out there sailing with some kind of jury rig making slow progress for Australia. Lightning would have fried the GPS too, so they would have to use a sextant. That would be fitting for a 1928 schooner.
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Old 01-07-2013, 14:46   #202
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Barnakiel, you wrote, "This ten days' gap in action worries me." It really shouldn't worry you, (...)
Ann:

This is the passage that sent my head thinking:

(from AP, Nick Perry)

"... Meteorologist Bob McDavitt said he took a satellite phone call from the boat on June 3. A woman named Evi asked how to get away from the weather. (...) the call itself indicated she was concerned about the conditions. (...) The next day he got a text, the last known communication from the boat: "ANY UPDATE 4 NINA? ... EVI". McDavitt said he advised the crew to stay put and ride out the storm another day. He continued sending messages the next few days but didn't hear back. Friends of the crew got in touch with McDavitt soon after that, and then alerted authorities on June 14..."

A boat in a heavy storm stops responding to comms. Then ten days pass after which friends of the crew alert authorities.

Some people worry little, some worry a lot. I happen to fall into the latter category. I blame nobody for belonging to the former one.

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Old 01-07-2013, 14:50   #203
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

RCC Update #8

2 July 2013: 8.00am
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has tasked an RNZAF P3 Orion to conduct a search of two areas south of Norfolk Island today, as the search for the crew of an American schooner enters its seventh day.
The 21m (70ft) Nina, with seven people on board, went missing en route from Opua in the Bay of Islands to Newcastle, Australia, and has not been heard from since 4 June.
Extensive ocean and shoreline searches in previous days have covered an area about four times the size of New Zealand, with no sightings of the missing vessel or its liferaft.
The P3 Orion was airborne at 6am this morning and will search throughout daylight hours before returning to New Zealand. The search areas will cover 1,700 square nautical miles south-east and 4,000 square nautical miles south-west of Norfolk Island.
RCCNZ mission coordinator Chris Henshaw said the search areas were identified as the result of data modelling and interpretation of drift patterns from the last known position of the yacht on 4 June and other environmental factors, as well as information gathered during the previous searches.
Mr Henshaw said today’s searches will be primarily visual, with the aircraft flying slowly at low altitudes in a tight pattern, to provide optimal conditions for the observers on board. He said the searchers are looking for a liferaft, whereas earlier searches using radar and covering wider expanses of ocean were aimed at locating the schooner.
RCCNZ is liaising with Rescue Coordination Centre Australia (RCC Australia), which is assisting with broadcasts on coastal radio. New Zealand Maritime Radio is continuing to conduct broadcasts in New Zealand’s search and rescue region.
Background
There are seven people on board the schooner Nina, six Americans (three men aged 17, 28 and 58, and three women aged 18, 60 and 73) and a British man aged 35.
To date, the RCCNZ has coordinated six searches, covering a combined area of more than 613,000 square nautical miles using an RNZAF P3K2 Orion aircraft. Two aerial shoreline searches have also been conducted (on 28 and 29 June) but no sign has been found of the vessel or its crew.
The schooner Nina, built in 1928, left Opua on 29 May and was last heard from on 4 June, when the vessel was about 370 nautical miles west-north-west of Cape Reinga.
The vessel is equipped with satellite phone, a spot tracking device which allows regular tracking signals to be sent manually, and an emergency beacon. The emergency beacon has not been activated.
After concerns were raised by family and friends, the RCCNZ instigated a communications search on 14 June, using a range of communications methods to broadcast alerts to the vessel and others in the area.
Search summary
1 July
An aerial search of approximately 3,780 square nautical miles north of North Cape. The P3 Orion arrived on scene at about 9.30am and continued searching until 6pm. Conditions in the search area were good, with excellent visibility.
30 June
An extensive aerial shoreline search of 4,830 square nautical miles north-east of Northland. The P3 Orion arrived at the search area at around 8am and conducted an aerial and radar search until approximately 4pm.
29 June
An extended shoreline search for the crew was undertaken for a second day without success. RCCNZ tasked a helicopter to perform a coastal search from Port Waikato to New Plymouth. The Tauranga-based Phillips Search and Rescue helicopter was on scene at around 11.45am.
28 June
A twin-engine fixed-wing aircraft was tasked to search the shoreline and coast starting at Tauroa Point, along Ninety Mile Beach, north of Northland, and out to and around Three Kings Islands.
The Hamilton-based Phillips Search and Rescue Trust fixed-wing Piper Chieftain aeroplane with the pilot and three observers on board arrived at Tauroa Point from Hamilton at about 10.45am, and searched throughout the day until 5pm.
26 June
A search was completed of 324,000 square nautical miles between northern New Zealand and the Australian coast, based on the vessel suffering damage but continuing to make progress towards Australia.
25 June
A search area of 140,000 square nautical miles was covered, to the immediate north-north-east of New Zealand, based on the vessel being disabled and drifting.
Records show that conditions at the last known position for the vessel, on 4 June, were very rough, with winds of 80kmh gusting to 110kmh and swells of up to 8m.

Note to media: An update will be issued when further information becomes available.


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Old 01-07-2013, 15:15   #204
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
A boat in a heavy storm stops responding to comms. Then ten days pass after which friends of the crew alert authorities.

Some people worry little, some worry a lot. I happen to fall into the latter category. I blame nobody for belonging to the former one.
In today's society it is easy to forget that sailing in the way we do is a pretty remote and self-sufficient activity. It is really up to the crew of the boat to call for help rather than for someone else to guess if they need help. Thus the delay, no one guessed that they might need help until their estimated arrival date in Oz came and went.

The crew communicated with Mr. McDavitt using a single method, the Iridium phone. It would not be unusual in a voyaging situation to have that single device fail. By all reports the crew had at least three independent means of calling for help; an EPIRB, a SPOT tracker, and the phone. This doesn't count radios that may have been on board. The three devices should all have been independent of the ship's electrical system, although the latter two could have been charging at various points and could thus be taken out by a single event. All three of those devices feature emergency messaging and location transmission with the press of a single button.

Absent any type of signal from these multiple sources, it seems entirely appropriate to wait until an overdue situation before launching a SAR effort, if a SAR search was executed each time a radio/phone failed on a boat in heavy weather we wouldn't be able to afford to keep the planes fueled.
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Old 01-07-2013, 15:15   #205
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

I can't believe how some are thinking they now better than the rescue services and the weather forecaster. I can't even begin to guess the amount of money that as been spent so far on a the search. Or how someone sitting at their keyboard figures they know better?
Given the weather in that part of the world this time of the year, have you considered it was foolish to even set out on such a crossing? Sure, you could dodge the weather "bullets", but it's not something I personally would have done. Even so, the search has been extensive and apparently still continues. Of course one hopes for the best, but this long overdue it's not looking good. For a start the Spot just needs a couple of working AA batteries, mine have been in for a year and are still working fine. Yes the Spot needs a clear view of the sky which might not have been possible for a while and they might have been in a marginal coverage area. But clearly it had worked because someone received a position report from them. The same is true for the sat phone assuming it is a handheld. If it was a fixed installation then things are a little different. If they are drifting or making very slow headway without comms. Then the skipper should have realized they are long overdue and activated the EPIRB. No, I'm afraid the worst has happened and the best would be the crew is found alive and well in the liferaft. This is why the SAR are now basing their search patterns on a drifting raft.
I'm not going to subscribe to this thread any longer because I can do nothing to help other than hope for their safety.
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Old 01-07-2013, 15:22   #206
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Ann:

This is the passage that sent my head thinking:

(from AP, Nick Perry)

"... Meteorologist Bob McDavitt said he took a satellite phone call from the boat on June 3. A woman named Evi asked how to get away from the weather. (...) the call itself indicated she was concerned about the conditions. (...) The next day he got a text, the last known communication from the boat: "ANY UPDATE 4 NINA? ... EVI". McDavitt said he advised the crew to stay put and ride out the storm another day. He continued sending messages the next few days but didn't hear back. Friends of the crew got in touch with McDavitt soon after that, and then alerted authorities on June 14..."



A boat in a heavy storm stops responding to comms. Then ten days pass after which friends of the crew alert authorities.

Some people worry little, some worry a lot. I happen to fall into the latter category. I blame nobody for belonging to the former one.

b.
Barnakiel, and everyone,

I do understand your concern. I feel concerned, too. Of course, it is now July...

Something of which you may be unaware, Rescue Coordination Centers have standards regarding whose enquiries about missing boats they respond to. Even as the selected person who was to notify if satellite communication didn't work during a friend's singlehanded voyage, we had some difficulty. The RCCs also require specific types of data.

Bob McDavitt provides a weather service for yachties. As far as I know, he does not have the status of one of the coastal radio stations, in terms of notifying someone if he felt concern. Why should they trust or listen to him?
[Although, in NZ, they might well pay attention.] He's not a relative, either. Besides, the NORMAL assumptions one makes when you don't hear from them when you expect are (in no particular order), "they're busy on deck, so missed the sched"; "comms are out: lightning, water, corroded electrical connections, perhaps at backstay;" "seasick?"; "fatigue", to list a few. None of those are good reason to involve RCC, who may have other things to do, anyhow. Unfortunately, we have to wait until it becomes a *situation* before notification will result in action.

NO EPIRB SIGNAL HAS BEEN REPORTED. Let's all hope they are ALL okay; IMHO it is still too soon to give up hope.

Ann
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Old 01-07-2013, 15:35   #207
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post

A boat in a heavy storm stops responding to comms. Then ten days pass after which friends of the crew alert authorities.

Some people worry little, some worry a lot. I happen to fall into the latter category. I blame nobody for belonging to the former one.

b.
The Nina was only asking for a weather forecast - but I think all that a discussion for another thread, once the outcome to this one known.

On which note........

I can understand why the RCCNZ are presently searching where they are and for a liferaft as that would be the place (and circumstances) the crew would most likely be in the greatest need if the vessel had sunk around the 4th...........but the vessel could just as easily have "only" been disabled (lightening strike would likely zap the comms) and is limping (for whatever reasons) towards Oz still.......just makes sense to use the resources available to cover the place of greatest need first - would be interesting to know what routine monitoring that Oz does from the air (or additional for Nina / other SAR's?), if not much (it's a big area) then could easily explain why she has not yet been found........from my brief look at the charts posted, the gap between Oz and NZ is kinda big!, plenty of scope for a vessel to be making slow progress and even none (overall) due to the weather playing silly buggers by moving around and being against them......

....indeed, the EPIRB could well still be functioning perfectly - and the Skipper / crew have simply decided not to press it!.......for the entirely sensible reason that they do not actually need a SAR (boat might be slow / overdue, but that not a reason enough to try for a long range rescue - they not a risk free thing anyway). Not trying to raise false hopes here, but just to say it ain't over until it's over.
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Old 01-07-2013, 15:51   #208
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

Bob must be near 70 or more at this point. My experience and others is his forecasts are maybe 50/50 at least they were 7 years ago. Perhaps they've gotten better.

My wife used to see him all the time as she worked in the same office building as Metservice in Auckland. He was a jolly sort of bloke and I would imagine he's got other things to do then fret over every boat asking for a weather forecast.
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Old 01-07-2013, 16:26   #209
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

Bob Mc does a great job, and his services are free. The NZ RCC seems to be doing an outstanding job to me - very impressive from where I sit. Of course it's really frustrating not knowing what's happened but we do know that there's no evidence that this boat has sunk. It's possible that it has and the NZ RCC are right to focus on areas where a liferaft might be rather than trying to cover the South Pacific looking for a wayward boat. It's more likely, based on available evidence, that the boat is afloat - drifting or sailing very slowly. False hope? Maybe but evidence is evidence and I think it's best to proceed on that basis.

There's a fairly benign low moving east across the Tasman now, that should be off Auckland in about 24 hours. After that, there should be a fairly extensive quiet period as a high drifts across from Australia. Good weather for searching, but not much good for getting home with a jury rig.

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Old 01-07-2013, 17:11   #210
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Re: Schooner Nina - MERGED 3 THREADS

While the vessel was in no doubt good nick, easy to see a nearly hundred y/o vessel springing a few planks in 30' seas and what 70 knot winds? Lots of them (large plank on frame vessels) sank far before making it to this age in far less violent conditions.
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