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Old 14-11-2011, 07:54   #46
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

I've never participated in the Caribbean 1500, but I'm wondering if the experience of the skipper with regards to the rally "organization" or lack thereof has been the experience of other skippers who have participated in multiple 1500's or was that just a bad year for the organizers? ie: no weather reports, or lack of complete weather picture, instructions " not to contact Southbound ll ( Herb) etc.
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Old 14-11-2011, 08:21   #47
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pirate Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

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Originally Posted by chala View Post
I go along with Boatman61 and pan pan. If they (the crew) have enjoyed the day before then they may enjoy the next one. Obviously we would be in bad weather so I will suggest that we will turn back but it may be too dangerous to do so now. I will also suggest it will be better if they could take some rest because they may prevent injury to themselves and be fitter for an evacuation. I will also discuss the procedure and the risk involved in an evacuation. With daylight and the crew rested and getting used to the motion and the beauty of a storm they may want to continue. It will be me then who will decide if they should be evacuated or disembarked. If they had not enjoyed the day “before”, I would have turned back and disembarked them long before a storm struck.
Had a situation where once again running the Straits...
We'd been waiting in Gib for a W'ly to die.. we made the run W as the wind shifted and by the time we passed Tarifa it was blowing F7 and building breaking sea's...
The woman was below moaning that we were gonna die... with the occasional shriek when a wave broke against the stern..
The BF was on deck with me and white knuckling.. started insisting that we turn and run back upwind for Tarifa and the illusion of safety that twinkled in the lights ashore... the boat was handling beautifully.. we were motoring and barepole'd running before...
I had the option of it getting physical or pulling a flanker... went for the flanker..
Told him if thats what he wanted.. thats what I'd do...
waited till there was a nice sequence building then spun the boat to meet the 2nd largest wave... loud scream as we slammed into it and up...
then came the biggy and we flew up it and over the top...
The woman took off of the bunk and landed the other side of the saloon table and freaked out... repetitive screaming...
the 'Big Fella'.. and boy was he big... begged to turn round and run again... 3hrs later we were out of the acceleration zone and it was F3... followed by a flat calm within the 2 hours...
Gotta make em realise... 'SAFE' aint always Safe...
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Old 14-11-2011, 08:21   #48
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

I would never, ever, ever put anyone in a life raft I wasn't intending to board as well. Fear is a real thing and it affects everyone different. No matter how good you think you are or how good you're supposed to be or others think you should be, as a Captain, a person gripped in a fear that they percieve as real threat to their life can be a real danger to themselves and the ship. When you chose to allow crew, passengers, friends or whatever you want to call them aboard you as the Captain assume a somewhat higher responsbilitiy. Someone has to take control in this stituation and make the decisions. Making threats you have no intentions of following through with is a horrible show of leadership and shows a lack of skills on the Captains part, especially if they take you up on it and you are forced to back down. There is no one answer to this question that will absolve you of standing tall before the man in a court of law. If you don't realize this when others board your boat it might not be a good idea that you allow it. My vote for the most part is restraint. Id' far rather my lawyer defend me for unlawful restraint than murder.
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Old 14-11-2011, 08:23   #49
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

As the skipper, my response might be, "see ya"...Unless I need to step UP to get in the raft, I'm not leaving a floating hull for a very small raft...
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Old 14-11-2011, 08:24   #50
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
In an ideal world crew would do what the bl##dy hell they were told to

But, as we live in a world where everyone thinks their opinions matter easy to imagine circumstances where crew "Decide" it's time to abandon ship / call for rescue.....
Of course you can use the Captain Quint method in the movie Jaws. When Chief Brody attempts to call a Mayday after the shark tries to tear apart Quints boat. Captain Quint takes an axe to the radio destroying it. Me, I would have just removed the fuse and put it in my pocket. Problem solved!
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Old 14-11-2011, 08:48   #51
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

I'll give you a different perspective. I was that person, on a boat in 35kts winds and 16' seas (according to GRIB, anyway - it looked worse to me), right in the middle of Caribbean Sea (i.e. half-way between STT and Curacao), on a very poorly prepared leaking boat, that got knocked down a few times, with self-absorbed "captain" whose confidence was, in my view, quite misplaced.

I had my own emergency beacon and, frankly was ready to push a button, as I was sure if the boat would capsize, it would definitely sink. When that happens, I doubt there would be enough time to "step up" to anything, unless you know how to step 20 ft up the moving "hill".

What stopped me was primarily two things:
1. I knew we were beyond air rescue (helicopter range) from PR, so frankly there was no quick extraction to be expected.
2. I wanted to get "captains" permission to do so - and he insisted otherwise. Consider that there was no workable liferaft on board (there was a coastal "kiddie pool" which "captain" never tested anyway, and a single survival suit in "captains" size).

So, I just holed myself up down below and put my life in Gods hands, so to speak.

Now, survivor bias is a wonderful thing in that I can tell you this story because I lived through it, and it would appear that "there was nothing to worry about". However, based on my experience, chances of going down were 50/50 - and were it all to turn out differently, no one would say much.
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Old 14-11-2011, 09:11   #52
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

Welp, just do how the capt handled it in DAS BOOT.

Just shoot dem with your revolver, and focus on your mission.
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Old 14-11-2011, 09:29   #53
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

I think sitting the crew down, before departure, and setting down the realities of the situation would be a good thing. I have personally encountered this exact situation with my own family as crew.

The realities of the matter, is anyone you take aboard will not be as experienced, nor as confident as the captain/owner. You earn confidence of your crew by successfully taking them through dificult situations successfully. The problem is they will not have the confidence until after a successful conclusion.

Many people who grow up in big cities are used to having help just be a phone cal and a few minutes away. House on fire 911, cat stuck in a tree---911, car stalled, 1 button and a trained professional with a fully equiped tool truck will arrive with the perfect solution to your problem.

For many people there is a very real confidence in having a guy in a uniform arrive to "fix" things. As soon as the "professionals" arrive the crises is over. On land in a big city with a police station, a hospital, and a fire staion, there are professionals available at a minutes notice that are trained and deal with exactly your kinds of problems on a daily basis. Girls expecially are used to parents taking authority to solve any crisis that occurs, and get great relief in turning any problem over to parents to solve.

On board a ship their expectation is that the "parents", (Government authority), will imediately fix any problem when called. It is difficult for them to understand, "why is the Captain, (husband), making them suffer needlessly when a quick phone call will have them safe and warm at home their own bed".

This perception is impossible to fight when their judgement is clouded by fear. They are unable to see that their, bumbling, (equal) husband is the authority figure they need to look to to get them through the difficult situation.

Before leaving the dock a detailed explanation that covers the procedures of what happens when rescued, Why the ship is safer than a liferaft, (if liferafts were safer we would cross the oceans in one instead of these big expensive sailboats).

Also cover what are the actions they will be expected to do. Having the decision criteria explained to them in advance while the sun is out and the birds are singing is a lot easier, than trying to explain your actions, while you really don't have the time to explain, and they are to busy freaking out to listen anyway.

And the most important is making it clear before leaving the dock, that you'rs is the final responsibility and decision, and obeying those orders are a prerequisite at all times to remaining on the boat.

I've had the other side happen too, Once I hired a professional USCG licensed captain to pilot my new boat, as I had little experience back then , and didn't have the confidence to captain it myself on an extended offshore voyage. After paying this guy to captain my ship, and I did make it clear that the purpose on my hiring him was to learn from his experience as captain, and that I was a beginner boat owner; we set out, he drove the boat and I served as crew. Later in the middle of the ocean several things went very wrong, I turned to him to see what he would do to get us out of this mess,....He decided he was "just the crew", and As owner I was "in charge", and how was I planning to save us???
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Old 14-11-2011, 09:53   #54
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

I bet the average person who gets on a boat as crew would think of the command as a democracy when the going gets tough. And say lets vote and do a poll.
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Old 14-11-2011, 10:00   #55
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

Great points from Tellie and Capt Bill... Every time I left oncruise or a delivery, we had a crew meeting that laid out what the crew responsibilities were, what my responsibilities were, that this wasn't a democracy but I would invite opinions but would make the decisions, liferaft deployment drill, watchstanding in heavy weather and a whole host of safety rules. If any crew member had a problem with anything we discussed, off the boat right now. While these discussions were normally held tied to dock under sunny skies, I always tried to caution the crew that circumstances will be different out there and the rules they agreed to wouldn't change.
I only had one instance where a crew member lost it mid passage. After returning him to the nearest port I discovered his medical problem (bi-polar) and off his meds and never saw him again.
A responsible skipper needs to lead by example and in almost every instance, crew will use that as a guide for their own behavior. If the skipper is nervous, lacking in confidence or unsure of him or her self, the crew will see this quickly and tend to lose their trust and confidence in him to make good decisions. Then the challenges start. If an individual is not up to the task of leadership and taking responsibility for the lives of his crew, he shouldn't be taking it on. Capt Phil
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Old 14-11-2011, 10:11   #56
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

Phil has it right...

If the ground rules are laid out by a competent captain there is little chance of trouble...

The key, as always, is a competent captain sailing a well found boat.

But that competency is hard earned over many years, tens of thousands of sea miles and a dozen gales!
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Old 14-11-2011, 10:44   #57
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
That USCG forced rescue for all sounds bizarre - what do they say? "we are here to either save your life or to kill you".......

But that seems to only be a US thing.
Bizarre, indeed, because it's not true. This subject came up a couple of years ago here, so I emailed the Coast Guard with the question.

The USCG on-scene commander has the authority to order all to evacuate IF it's a life-threatening situation AND if immediate assistance required. "All or none" is not USCG policy.

Here's the response I got from USCG Headquarters...
Quote:
This is a tough question to answer since every situation in regards to forcible evacuation can be different. When conducting search and rescue, the Coast Guard follows policy outlined in the ‘U.S. Coast Guard Addendum to the United States SAR Supplement’. Forcible evacuations are covered in Chapter 4 of this manual. I have drawn from the parts of chapter 4 that answer your specific questions and pasted them for you to read through and use when briefing your crew before an offshore voyage. If you have any further questions, please contact the Office of Search and Rescue at 202-372-2075 and we will further assist you.

The policy which gives the Coast Guard authority to conduct forcible evacuation of vessels is stated in the ‘U.S. Coast Guard Addendum to the United States SAR Supplement’:

4.2.1 Authority
The Coast Guard is authorized to perform any and all acts to rescue and aid persons and protect and save property at any time and any place where its facilities and personnel are available and can be effectively used. This includes the authority to force or compel mariners to abandon their vessels when a life-threatening emergency exists, and there is an immediate need for assistance or aid.

There is no ‘all or none’ policy. If the crew on a vessel feels that they are in danger, the Coast Guard will assist those crew members in distress. This policy is outlined in the ‘U.S. Coast Guard Addendum to the United States SAR Supplement’, and states:

4.2.6 Distressed Vessel Master’s Authority Limitation in Regards to Crew Evacuation
Once the Coast Guard issues an evacuation order, the master of the vessel has no authority to prevent his or her crew from complying with evacuation instructions, and any use or attempted use of force by the master to prevent his or her crew from complying with evacuation instructions may constitute a criminal offense.

In a situation where the crew wishes to depart the vessel because they feel they are in distress but the captain feels there is no distress and wishes to remain, the Coast Guard will remove the crew members that want to leave. The captain or master may remain with their vessel so long as doing so would not be life threatening. The responding Coast Guard unit will make the determination whether or not to leave the captain or master with their vessel. This decision is based on a variety of factors including but not limited to: on scene environmental conditions, the presence of a hazardous bar, shoals or other hazardous obstruction, crew experience and the condition of the mariner’s vessel.
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Old 14-11-2011, 10:45   #58
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
That USCG forced rescue for all sounds bizarre - what do they say? "we are here to either save your life or to kill you".......

But that seems to only be a US thing.

No. The CG essentially said that it was their choice whether to get on the CG boat, but that ALL had to do.

They are not interested in having ONE person on an endangered boat rather than, say, four skilled sailor. This skipper decided that he had to keep his crew safe, and to do that, he had to leave his beloved vessel as well. So instead of opening the seacocks, he set up a system to go back and get it.

Can you imagine the heat the CG would get if they took four people off but left one in dangerous circumstances, and then that person died?
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Old 14-11-2011, 10:48   #59
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

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Originally Posted by SkipMe View Post
I'll give you a different perspective. I was that person, on a boat in 35kts winds and 16' seas (according to GRIB, anyway - it looked worse to me), right in the middle of Caribbean Sea (i.e. half-way between STT and Curacao), on a very poorly prepared leaking boat, that got knocked down a few times, with self-absorbed "captain" whose confidence was, in my view, quite misplaced.

I had my own emergency beacon and, frankly was ready to push a button, as I was sure if the boat would capsize, it would definitely sink. When that happens, I doubt there would be enough time to "step up" to anything, unless you know how to step 20 ft up the moving "hill".

What stopped me was primarily two things:
1. I knew we were beyond air rescue (helicopter range) from PR, so frankly there was no quick extraction to be expected.
2. I wanted to get "captains" permission to do so - and he insisted otherwise. Consider that there was no workable liferaft on board (there was a coastal "kiddie pool" which "captain" never tested anyway, and a single survival suit in "captains" size).

So, I just holed myself up down below and put my life in Gods hands, so to speak.

Now, survivor bias is a wonderful thing in that I can tell you this story because I lived through it, and it would appear that "there was nothing to worry about". However, based on my experience, chances of going down were 50/50 - and were it all to turn out differently, no one would say much.
I think there was PLENTY to worry about.
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Old 14-11-2011, 10:50   #60
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Re: Crew Wants to Abandon Ship, but Skipper Doesn't . . .

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Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
I bet the average person who gets on a boat as crew would think of the command as a democracy when the going gets tough. And say lets vote and do a poll.

Not on MY boat.

On MY boat if I have someone known to be experienced and knowledgeable I will confer with that person and consider VERY carefully what he or she has to say.

That does not mean we will do what that person said. Very often two heads are better than one, but only if both people have a clue.

TWICE I have been in rough seas with someone who tried to insist I take the boat closer to shore. They were both certain they were right. Neither of those people will ever sail on my boat again. In addition, once that had happened, I would not have taken any of their advice.
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