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Old 16-02-2007, 08:36   #16
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I would like to re-direct the discussion just a bit to make it a bit more positive. What would I do if I received a Pan call from these folks?

I will say that it would be difficult to give anyone a tow in 15 to 20 seas and high winds in the vicinity of foul and rocky shore and 30 feet of water. I know I would not be able to do it with my boat without endangering the safety of my boat and crew. I certainly would not be able to launch my dinghy in those conditions. I probably would have put out an anchor if possible and put one of my crew in a harness with rope tether and PFD and have them swim over to the stricken vessel to take these folks off one at a time over water. But I'm not sure that is the prudent thing to do.

Help me out here, what should I do to help these people in this situation?
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Old 16-02-2007, 08:54   #17
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Just finished the power squadron radio course, so my knowledge is bright and shiny new. In Canada, at least, Mayday means "grave and imminent danger." Pan means you've got trouble but nothing life-threatening.

I think 15-foot seas while grounded on a reef 300 yards from shore with no control from either sail or engine qualifies as a Mayday situation. Especially as the boat sank almost as soon as they got off.

My $0.02.

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Old 16-02-2007, 09:16   #18
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Hi All,

I'm with Mark on this one, and it would have been great to read more compassionate rather than open critical comments, especially as the report is so vague and lacking in detail.

Sh*t happens - its a fact of life - and it is not always anyones fault.

So until such time as someone can provide full details can I suggest we collectively give them benefit of the doubt - and sound a bit more supportive of our fellow sailors? IMHO those of us daft enough to venture criticism without knowing all the facts should put on a pointy 'D' hat and go stand in the corner.

Think about it guys. These people may be sitting in an internet cafe today feeling pretty glum, and reading all this stuff would have grounds to question the integrity of this community - as may others.

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Old 16-02-2007, 09:26   #19
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Thumbs up Could not agree more.

Right on Mark.


Oh how easy to criticise when things go bad for others.



Quote:
Originally Posted by markpj23
Oh how compassionate some of us have become!!

Far easier to belittle the skills of those who have accidents - besides, it might actually cost me something. And of course, don't ask me to pay school taxes anymore either - my kids are no longer in school you see... and it's ALL about me don't you know?!

We as a society have lost the ability to be compassionate eh? Or maybe, just maybe, there are still some who are willing to assist others without first applying a "means test" to decide if the unfortunate are "worthy" of assistance. Let's hope they don't all reside in Mexico nowadays.

IMHO very disappointing to know that some people in this community harbor these feelings. I guess when they encounter a liferaft at sea they will first interview the occupants to determine if they made any mistakes that led to them being in the raft in the first place....

Time for some soul searching here I do believe....
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Old 16-02-2007, 09:45   #20
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Let me say that after reading many posts about the misfortunes of others here on the board that I can feel the blood pressure increase. Unless you were aboard any of these vessels and experience what these folks did first hand then you have absolutely no insight in to what they did or did not do wrong and whether their experience or seamanship skills played any part in their accident. Things break on boats all the time and when a critical piece of equipment breaks at the wrong time your only choice in many cases is to survive and these folks did. Six years of experience should qualify even the dullest knife in the drawer to make a passage. No there are not enough details and the media stretches, exaggerates and flat our prints untruths to get you to read their piece and see how important THEY are. Many that have made derogatory comments I am sure have never left the dock if the boat might be in danger of heeling a bit. If you haven't been there you do not know. And I don't mean been on the boat with these folks. I mean in a situation where breakdown can mean disaster. we have had first quality products installed properly fail withins days of install and equipment meant for strong conditions not make the grade. we have 40 years experience. 14 named storms under our belt and no the boat was never abandoned or damage but we were a matchstick away at times and any slight loss would spell disaster. So get the facts, base your opinions on those and criticize when you can say I have been there. It is easy to tear down someone else sitting there behind your computer.
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Old 16-02-2007, 09:54   #21
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Sitting behind our computers after the fact means that the risk to life or property is long past. The time for reflection on the circumstances is what we have now. I'm pretty sure that no one here would have failed to do all tht was possible during the crisis. It's not a lack of compassion that prompts most of these supposedly negative comments.

It's hard truth that some folks put themselves at risk and even others because they lack adequate preparation, experience or skills. There's not one of us who doesn't recognize that there will be great heartach when a boat is lost, damaged or when a dream is threatened by bad experiences.

It is still incumbant upon the 'community' to recognize that too many preventable incidences WILL affect us all, either through increased legislation, insurance or whatever.

I would hope that those reading these threads who have yet to go 'out there' will be sufficiently alerted to the fact that bad things can and do happen and that there is no substitute for preparation, experience and prudent application of that experience. Today, the understanding and recognition of risk has been severely reduced. Don't take it lightly, don't underestimate it or overestimate yourself.

In short, I believe these types of threads actually serve a very positive purpose. Besides all the other things a prudent sailor can and should do, he can educate himself to the point where he can answer the question, "am I confident that the actions I've taken would pass the 'sniff' test of my peers?" Some may be cranky old types but there's wisdom here.
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Old 16-02-2007, 11:37   #22
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cchelsey, Do you know for sure these people lack the skills, experience or equipment to do this passage? Are you quite certain that it was indeed their actions or lack of that put other people at risk as you put it? Explain to us how you or anyone else that was not directly involved in this misfortune have enough facts to intelligently discuss the events that lead up to this incident and definitively what steps anyone else could take to avoid this situation happening to them. Because without the facts, and there are few to none, all of this discussion is pure speculation and really of no direct service to anyone. That is what really disturbs me about these discussions.
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Old 16-02-2007, 11:56   #23
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Chuck,

I agree with you, and furthermore I truely believe that whatever befalls a person, and I dont care who that person is or what they are doing would never pass the "Sniff Test of my Peers" in general. There are always way too many back seat quarterbacks in every venue, boating to flying to bowling. I certainly dont mean to be confrontational in this post at all, but let those who live in glass houses be the first to cast stones, is that the correct quote?
I really enjoy most of the commentary in most of these issues, I learn a great deal from them. But in some cases there tends to be a somewhat adversarial atitude. Of course this is only my humble opinion.
It is Friday afternoon and I hope everyone has a great weekend.
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Old 16-02-2007, 11:59   #24
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Can't We All Learn Something, Without Rancor?

In my adult lifetime, our society has evolved dramatically. It used to be that the pioneer spirit, individual initiative, personal responsibility, and hard work were revered and were widely practiced. The cruising community embraced these values and helped keep them alive long after land-based pursuits were abandoning them.

Now, we identify with individuals and institutions which largely reject these quaint values. Government ineptness and outright corruption is rampant. Corporate responsibility is a joke. Customer service is a quaint notion which our fathers played around with. Cheating in school – and in life – has become the norm, not the exception. Personal responsibility? It’s all but disappeared. No one, it seems, is wholly responsible for anything. There’s always the notion of “shared” responsibility, even when it’s perfectly clear that ONE PERSON or ONE COMPANY or ONE GOVERNMENT is actually responsible.

Get caught in a horrendous act? Hey, it’s because my mother was a tramp, or my teacher hit me (or hit on me). Prescription: go directly into rehab. Every major public figure caught with his/her hands in the cookie jar has an excuse, and invariably goes into rehab. For drugs. For alcohol. For homosexuality (yeah, Reverend Ted has been CURED after only a 5-week “program”).

Folks, this old cranky sailor is here to tell you that if you go offshore and lose your boat, nine times out of ten it’s YOUR FAULT. You made a mistake. If you’re the captain you, and only you, are responsible.

Yes, sometimes boats are caught in very unlucky circumstances and there’s nothing anyone can do. You’re holed by a whale or by a submerged container. A fire gets out of control before anyone can extinguish it. You’re caught in the Perfect Storm which wasn’t predicted and which you couldn’t possibly have foreseen or prepared for. An eruption of huge methane gas bubbles in the Bermuda Triangle swallows your vessel. An angry swordfish skewers your hull. Heavily armed pirates overwhelm you.

But these kinds of things are relatively rare. How do we know this? Because the great percentage of experienced sailors and cruisers and professional mariners complete their trips without losing their vessels. Thousands and thousands of them.

Of course, a few don’t. Some run up on reefs because of faulty navigation or watchkeeping. Some meet with truly exceptional crises. But most, by a very wide margin, do just fine. Among professional mariners, loss of a vessel is rare. And these guys are out there in every kind of horrible weather, while we cruisers are conveniently tucked into a safe harbor.

Why this rant? I guess it’s only to say that in this age where we seem to be conditioned to avoid accepting full responsibility for our own mistakes and those of others, we need to look at maritime disasters squarely and honestly. To draw lessons from our own misfortunes and those of others, we need to examine them critically. Critically, in the good sense.

No, we weren’t with Skip and Lydia or Leslie and Dennis or Ken Barnes or any of the others who’ve recently come to grief. Yet, in a sense we all WERE there, and it’s by thinking about and talking about and debating about those events that we can, hopefully, better prepare ourselves for our next ventures far from land.

Bill
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Old 16-02-2007, 12:24   #25
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Well.
First...
The old you had to be there to judge argument doesn't wash.
Second.
I have rarely, IF EVER, seen an accurate report in newpapers, magazines, or on the web. That's not really the point is it?
The point is that the DISCUSSION provides opportunity to learn about what should or should not have been done given the prognosticator's understanding of the situation. Granted that it may really have been a MIS understanding.
I think we all understand that the comments are based on what information has been provided, not necessarily what actually happened.
I also know that proper preparation, experience, et al do not eliminate disaster.
However, the discussions can raise a potential cruiser's awareness of many of the issues that lurk awaiting the unwary. Issues such as:
What is proper preparation?
What are proper watch keeping practices?
How important is sea room?
Why/how does crew fatigue affect seaworthiness?

Personal attacks are easy and common via electrons. But that is often because it is so difficult for many to express their tone / intent / passion without resorting to extremes of language and accusations. Regrettable, but, another fact of the times.

I read, occasionally comment, and move on. FWIW.
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Old 16-02-2007, 12:31   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors
No, we weren’t with Skip and Lydia or Leslie and Dennis or Ken Barnes or any of the others who’ve recently come to grief. Yet, in a sense we all WERE there, and it’s by thinking about and talking about and debating about those events that we can, hopefully, better prepare ourselves for our next ventures far from land.
Bill
Bill - I absolutely agree!! My issue lies with the lack of compassion I perceive in many of these public keelhaulings. I for one do NOT care particularly whether or not someone is in distress because of a foolhardy error in judgment or a bonafide equipment failure. I will do what I can to provide assistance - as I believe most people would.

We can be compassionate in our actions towards others, yet still learn from their mistakes. Let's hope we also learn from our own mistakes...

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Old 16-02-2007, 12:48   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpj23
I for one do NOT care particularly whether or not someone is in distress because of a foolhardy error in judgment or a bonafide equipment failure. I will do what I can to provide assistance - as I believe most people would.


I will repeat my question above. The stated conditions are 15 to 20 foot seas (I think this was probably an exaggeration), high winds, foul and rocky shore, 30 feet of water. If I hear their distress call how should I rescue them? What is the plan? I can't launch my dinghy in those conditions nor would I want to be in my dinghy in those conditions. I think a tow would be impossible. What should I do? I hope to learn something here.
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Old 16-02-2007, 13:01   #28
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Good question - but would perhaps hijack this thread?

The short answer is: anything you can. Radio communications to any rescue craft that can assist, light up the scene; perhaps stream a line attached to a lifejacket from your boat to the stricken vessel; use that line to retrieve the crew and/or allow them to kedge off when conditions moderate. Many, many other things that could be done without endangering another vessel & crew. We probably should start another thread for the creative ideas that could be employed to help those in distress.

Point is, you'd have to BE THERE to know what if anything you could do. At a minimum perhaps you could provide comfort to the crew in distress - just through the simple act of standing by to help as best you could.

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Old 16-02-2007, 13:13   #29
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what I feel is the REAL issue

IMHO the biggest issue with these rescues is the climate that it creates for those who intend to follow and go to sea with experience, properly prepared vessel, and then get into a bind and need help. I shake my head as I read post after post from someone with little to no sailing experience whatsoever, never mind off shore experience, who just purchased a 45' whatever because it had the biggest salon, a queen size berth and a neat swim platform off the transom and intends to sail around the world. It does bother me that some of these folks do very little to prepare themselves for these voyages. They spend years pouring money and time into their freedom vessel, but yet seem to know nothing of the value of heaving to, gaining sea room, or the other myriad of skills necessary to cope out in the ocean. They have a dream, but no desire to put in the hard work necessary to gain the experience required so that they can keep themselves safe. Yea, I fully understand that **** can happen to any of us and require us to be saved. BUT, we need to take full responsibility and do our utmost to see that doesn't happen.

I'm afraid that by the time I retire and get to sea they'll have ruined everything. I've spent the last 30 years sailing. Starting with a 13' Cardinal, a 21' San Juan, a 27' Buccaneer, and finally a Cape Dory 25D. During those 30 years I've tried to come up the learning curve and gain experience, both first hand and from others more experienced. Why have I gone to all that trouble? Because I want every chance at not needing to be rescued. I might end up needing to be recused anyway. And that's the issue. After I do all I can to be prepared, I resent folks who seem to think that proper preparation is not required.

Used to be no one was stupid enough to put to sea without skills and knowledge required. First off in order to go to sea you needed to learn how to use a sextant, read the weather, understand current and tides. Now you turn on your GPS chartplotter and away you go. Some of us still learn those skills mainly as backup and quite frankly for freedom. Freedom to be able to get yourself from point A to B without assistance. Freedom from worry that your batteries are going dead and you'll be lost. Sailors of the past sailed off shore for themselves. For the personal satisfaction and adventure. I'm afraid more than a few today do it mainly for the blog they can write. Look at me, I'm on an adventure.

I read a thread just today on another board about a guy with very little sailing experience (his words), who wants to know how long it'll take to get a 40' boat he's looking to buy, from California to Florida thru the canal! And some folks are telling him, "go for it"!
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Old 16-02-2007, 13:53   #30
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There is a story on this in the March issue of Lat's and Att's by the downings.
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