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Old 26-01-2011, 08:49   #16
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This is a subject close to my heart as I have lost a friend in a yacht sinking when the crew were not trained properly. My wife and I practice twice EVERY year on our 32ft motor sailor on getting off in the safest and quickest manner the situation allows in this we practice for fire, striking an object, putting one of us in the dinghy in a medical emergency and man overboard recovery. No we are not nutters we are experienced sailors that take NOTHING for granted. ANd yes we practice even in strong winds although we do this with extra crew aboard and a stanby vessel. we have a grab bag that holds a H/H VHF, a GPS, Food, tin opener wateris ready on the deck in 2 x 5lt bottles 3/4 filled so they float. We each carry only survival knives when at sea and no sharp things on our person. The person on watch weather at night or day has a lifejacket on with a H/H gps and VHF also in a pocket the watchkeeper carries a personal flare pack in the event of the watch keeper faling overboard he has 2 types of communications with the yacht. In 58 years of sailing I have never lost a member of crew overboard nor have I fallen overboard a fact I am not boasting about but a fact I am PROUD of. Regards Pete
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Old 26-01-2011, 09:16   #17
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Good on you feelsgood, to use and overused saying "Hope for the best, plan for the worst." You sound like you have your ducks in a row. Prevention and Preparedness are your best allies.
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Old 25-03-2011, 06:25   #18
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
Standard procedure for abandon ship aboard inspected vessels, is #1 sound the alarm, #2 Muster at a predetermined point with PFDs donned, #3 Count noses, make sure you are all there. After that if varies from vessel to vessel, depending on number of crew ect... We have personnel assigned to retrieve different life saving devices such as EPIRBS, SARTS, Flares, first aid kits etc... each crewman's duties and life raft posting is detailed in the station bill. As Zeehag said, step up to the life raft, many people have died getting off the vessel too soon rather than too late. Once outside of the vessel superstructure, don't go back inside. Me, I enter the life raft as my foot that is on the masthead light gets wet.

I whole heartedly agree with you I f you must abandon ship then do it as a last resort and dont cut the life raft painter till you are all in the life raft. Abandon ship as the last resort if you put out a DSC the the vessel is easier to spot from the air or from the sea than a life raft or people in the water if someone has fallen out of the life raft.
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Old 25-03-2011, 06:38   #19
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Re: jack sparrow"s my kid

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beware the suction dont take you with her if you wait to long and hang close to sinking vessel,,also rigging slaps sideways and will sink your dink/liferaft if close in,,get away before she drop to bottom,,cheers
If she is going down that fast you got to get off anyway. there is not a lot of suction from a small boat, the Titanic was different.

Then what happen if she does not sink and the rescue is looking for the boat and your in the water drifted away.

Whichever way it's a gamble, best to have a bag ready with all you need, (grab and go if your able to) it depends on the circumstances.
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Old 25-03-2011, 09:00   #20
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

A common mistake made by small, untrained crews is to NOT prepare for abandon ship versus saving the boat. Granted a tough call...but if the boat goes down and you aren't prepared or have the right equipment as well as made max effort to communicate distress...then you might have sealed your fate anyway.
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Old 25-03-2011, 09:23   #21
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

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During our twice monthly drills we emphasize that only the Master gives the command to abandon ship, and if the Master is incapacitated or dead then the Mate gives the order, then the 2nd Mate gives the order depending on whom is still alive. It is very important to make sure the crew is familiar with the mechanics of the process before creating different scenarios in which they may have to respond to. You have to use your head regarding when to give the order, not all situations can be responded too the same way, the reason we are sea folk is because we don't think like other people and we can adapt to different situations as they arise. There is no cookie cutter answer to every scenario, the crew will respond as they are trained, in an emergency situation. The area in which I have spent most of my life, the water is deadly, if you have to go into it even with immersion suits, usually the suits only make the corpses easier to find, and as stated before, they have found more dead people who have abandon ship too soon, and found the vessel floating nearby intact enough to have stayed aboard, which may or may not have aided in the victims survival. My constant sermon is the best plan, is to make sure the boat doesn't sink every day, and if you have to abandon ship, you have already lost the battle, and now you are trying to survive the war. So if we lose the battle you will find me sitting atop the mast head light with the EPIRB under my arm.
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Old 25-03-2011, 10:18   #22
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

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Originally Posted by feelsgood View Post
This is a subject close to my heart as I have lost a friend in a yacht sinking when the crew were not trained properly. My wife and I practice twice EVERY year on our 32ft motor sailor on getting off in the safest and quickest manner the situation allows in this we practice for fire, striking an object, putting one of us in the dinghy in a medical emergency and man overboard recovery. No we are not nutters we are experienced sailors that take NOTHING for granted. ANd yes we practice even in strong winds although we do this with extra crew aboard and a stanby vessel. we have a grab bag that holds a H/H VHF, a GPS, Food, tin opener wateris ready on the deck in 2 x 5lt bottles 3/4 filled so they float. We each carry only survival knives when at sea and no sharp things on our person. The person on watch weather at night or day has a lifejacket on with a H/H gps and VHF also in a pocket the watchkeeper carries a personal flare pack in the event of the watch keeper faling overboard he has 2 types of communications with the yacht. In 58 years of sailing I have never lost a member of crew overboard nor have I fallen overboard a fact I am not boasting about but a fact I am PROUD of. Regards Pete
This is just a guess, but I am guessing that that level of preparation pervades the rest of your sailing MO. I am also guessing that that level of discipline might have something to do with why you haven't had any such accidents.
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Old 25-03-2011, 12:00   #23
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Planning is good!

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Good on you feelsgood, to use and overused saying "Hope for the best, plan for the worst." You sound like you have your ducks in a row. Prevention and Preparedness are your best allies.
One of my favorite quotes is from Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was Supreme Commander for the Allies in the Normandy Invasion, and later 34th President of the USA. In refering to his military experience he said:

"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything."

I think what he meant was that by their very nature, sudden emergencies will never happen exactly as you expect, therefore your exact plan will not be entirely appropriate. However, by having done the planning you will be much better prepared to react to the situation. You will have inventoried your resources, you will have filled any gaps in your equipment, you will know where everything is stowed, and you and your crew will have thought about and practiced various scenarios. Having done that you are much better prepared to react on the fly.
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Old 25-03-2011, 13:17   #24
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

Thanks for the smiles and all the good suggestions here. I suggest that crews also practice "abandon ship" routines for when the boat is at the dock. Children and guests may not know about all the hatches that can provide escape in a fire or sinking. (I'm haunted by that part in Dick Langford's book White Squall in which he saved one or two kids by sending them up the dumb waiter). It's also good for a family to agree on where they will gather on shore to make sure everyone is accounted for. This is standard fire escape practice for families in houses. We once had to scramble due to a fire one pier over but, thanks to having an escape routine, we were able to get the boat out. It's also good to be prepared for the time when the smartest course is to get the family off the boat, onto the dock and RUN.
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Old 25-03-2011, 13:22   #25
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

One more thought in addition to the drills outlined above. If the USCG helicopter is overhead giving instructions, don't get creative. Follow orders. Nobody knows rescue and their equipment like these trained rescuers.
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Old 25-03-2011, 17:16   #26
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

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One more thought in addition to the drills outlined above. If the USCG helicopter is overhead giving instructions, don't get creative. Follow orders. Nobody knows rescue and their equipment like these trained rescuers.
Quite right. Sailing mag had a nice little article on what to expect in a helicopter rescue: Helicopter Rescue Procedure

Follow instructions. Pay close attention to the part about stowing or lashing down anything that could blow loose. I've done some work around smaller helicopters as a member of a volunteer land SAR group. Even the smaller helicopters I've worked with (A-Stars and Jet Rangers) create a huge wind. And those Jayhawks the USCG uses are much more powerfull!
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Old 25-03-2011, 17:31   #27
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

Remember the Fastnet Storm of 1979. Twentyfour crews abandoned their boats, and only five boats sank. Many were found after the storm, drifting and unharmed. Be prepared to abandon your sailboat, but remember that if she's well prepared she's your best chance of survival. (fifteen crew dead).

In August 1979, 303 yachts began the 600-mile Fastnet Race from the Isle of Wight off the southwest coast of England to Fastnet Rock off the Irish coast and back. It began in fine weather, then suddenly became a terrifying ordeal. A Force 10, sixty-knot storm swept across the North Atlantic with a speed that confounded forecasters, slamming into the fleet with epic fury. For twenty hours, 2,500 men and women were smashed by forty-foot breaking waves, while rescue helicopters and lifeboats struggled to save them. By the time the race was over, fifteen people had died, twenty-four crews had abandoned ship, five yachts had sunk, 136 sailors had been rescued, and only 85 boats had finished the race. John Rousmaniere was there, and he tells the tragic story of the greatest disaster in the history of yachting as only one who has sailed through the teeth of a killer storm can.

John Rousmaniere - Fastnet Force 10, The Deadliest Storm.
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Old 26-03-2011, 13:18   #28
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Re: Abandon-Ship Routine ?

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Remember the Fastnet Storm of 1979. Twentyfour crews abandoned their boats, and only five boats sank. Many were found after the storm, drifting and unharmed. Be prepared to abandon your sailboat, but remember that if she's well prepared she's your best chance of survival. (fifteen crew dead).

In August 1979, 303 yachts began the 600-mile Fastnet Race from the Isle of Wight off the southwest coast of England to Fastnet Rock off the Irish coast and back. It began in fine weather, then suddenly became a terrifying ordeal. A Force 10, sixty-knot storm swept across the North Atlantic with a speed that confounded forecasters, slamming into the fleet with epic fury. For twenty hours, 2,500 men and women were smashed by forty-foot breaking waves, while rescue helicopters and lifeboats struggled to save them. By the time the race was over, fifteen people had died, twenty-four crews had abandoned ship, five yachts had sunk, 136 sailors had been rescued, and only 85 boats had finished the race. John Rousmaniere was there, and he tells the tragic story of the greatest disaster in the history of yachting as only one who has sailed through the teeth of a killer storm can.

John Rousmaniere - Fastnet Force 10, The Deadliest Storm.
Just remember as I have often said while teaching or sitting as a panel mamber in safety at sea forums.....one circumnavigation or storm survival does not make you an expert. Listen well to the tales of experienced seamen...listen even closer to those that save those seamen by the dozens.

Some of the most experienced cruisers have no really scary tales to tell...they have outsmarted problems and mother nature because of their planning, intuition and sometimes just plain old fashion "good luck" which we really knows comes from the first 2 points. They have listened well and prepared themselves...but have no actual "on the fly emergency execution" experience to really draw from. People that have survived once only have that one experience to draw from.

Expert rescuers have dozens or more tales to tell and can give detailed reasons why some ideas work for some and not others...they can usually better assign priorities of equipment and proceedures for different crisis.

Lots to learn from a disaster like that FASTNET...but each tale from it is only a piece of the survival at sea jigsaw puzzle (unless of course the whole is put into perspective by a highly seasoned person with the proper training)
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