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Old 30-05-2014, 17:03   #1
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Rescue experiences and lessons

Hi,
I thought it would be interesting to hear from members who have 'experienced' a rescue, or sinking. Doing a search there are lots of stories but they seem to be all scattered around. Most seem to be reports from news reports. What I'm asking is have you personally experienced the need to be rescued? Or personally been involved in rescuing others?

If so: please share your experience and if you could include responses to the following questions somewhere in your story.

What happened, your experience history at the time, your vessel, how many were sailing with you, conditions at the time.

What did you learn from the experience, what would you do again, what wouldn't you do again. What advice would you give others.

By all means add a bit of humor and don't be afraid to admit fallibility.

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Old 30-05-2014, 17:45   #2
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

I was out for a day sail with the wife and over the radio came a call for assistance. I asked what the problem was. The other party responded that their rented boat wouldn't start and they were adrift and needed a tow in but the marina, where they rented from, wasn't responding. I was on my way to the docks so after tying off I went into the marina office and hailed the other captain from the marina radio. After no response, I looked up and saw the volume was all the way down. I cranked up the volume and hailed them again and the booming audio woke up the guy behind the desk so fast he fell over in his tilted back chair. I think that qualifies as a save.
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Old 30-05-2014, 17:50   #3
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

Lessons learned: Don't rent from the marina. Also, ask how many souls on board, location and nature of emergency or urgent attention. I was in visual sight of the disabled boat so I knew exactly where they were and could see 5 people on board.
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Old 30-05-2014, 18:18   #4
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

We (HMS Statendam) rescued three sailors in the mid-Pacific after making a 600-mile detour. They motored over on their dinghy as we came abreast, boat abandoned and left to it's own devices due to unspecified health and boat issues. My role was only of observer, however.

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Old 30-05-2014, 18:22   #5
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Rescue experiences and lessons

At 16 I launched my first boat on a public boat ramp. She was a Glen L model Kingfisher, that I paid $280.00 for. I got 3 miles down river towards open water and she started bogging down. Then water flooded over the deckboards. I made an about face and painfully slogged back intending on beaching it on the ramp. I did not make it.
It took a sump pump, a hurst wench on a jeep, 3 boys, 12 hours and 300 feet of line to haul it out.
I wasn't actually rescued. After swimming to the ramp and still knee deep in water, an old fart shore fisherman threw a pfd at me and walked back to his truck. He watched us until late in the night and lit us up with his headlights after dark


Advice: make sure the garboard plug is in
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Old 30-05-2014, 19:06   #6
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

New to us Gemini 105Mc.
Fourth day aboard bringing the boat home.
Wife was really tired and needed a nap. I said go ahead.
I wanted to sail the boat a bit instead of motoring so as we entered a pretty good sized bay with wind around 15 knots I raised the main and let out the jib.
Wonderful.
A little increase in wind so I figured I would practice a reef in the main.
I bent my head down at the wrong time and my almost new Tilley hat came off and flew down the deck into the water. I never could afford a boat or a Tilley before and it looked to be a terrible loss. Oh well. Finished the job of the reef - a priority over a hat any day right?
After the reef and return to the cockpit I began a search since I am just practicing right? Not too long after guessing the down wind course I spotted it.
Elation.
Now to rescue it!
Went wide of it, changing course from downwind to quartering to beam reach to close reach and turned into the wind at the right time.
Picked it up from the transom step with an un-extended boat hook.
Does that count as a rescue? (It did for me)

Having had only one prior week sailing a Gemini plus the four days on mine (all motoring so far) I was (and still am) pretty impressed with myself. PUFF PUFF.

What I learned after sleeping on it was it was not wise to go on deck for the reef without waking the wife, much less attempting a rescue.

You never know what could come up.............
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Old 30-05-2014, 19:13   #7
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

Strait of Georgia BC
I have been rescued once in the middle of a winter gale after the main fastenings of a wooden tug let go at the stern and the hull planks sprung open.
Tug Sank within 5 minutes after my crew and I stepped into the liferaft.

I called Mayday to Vancouver Traffic Control rather than Coast Guard because their radar equipment and awareness of my target and nearby ships was better than CG

Picked up by BC Ferry in half hour heading to Nanimo.

CG agreed I made the right call using VTS to relay Mayday as time frame was so short.

During my carreer... Have rescued 3 different times. Either people already in the water or clinging to their sinking boats.

Biggest challenge as skipper is to slow things down at moment of recovery to avoid crushing pinch points/ secure victim by long poly line first and if you can, use a strong rescue swimmer to guide and help the victims, as they may already be in shock or injured.
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Old 30-05-2014, 19:17   #8
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

My jet ski started running rough and sputtering out on lake winninpesaukee. I started heading the few miles back to my sailboat that my dad was sailing and after a few minutes realized I was sinking. I made a b line for an island but hydrolocked the motor and blew it to pieces about 400 yards from shore. I then "abandoned ship" with my cell phone in one hand in the air and the jet ski full of water in the other. I made it to shore and had to wait for my hands to air dry to call for a tow. I know its not quite what you are looking for but I can tell you even with land all around, sinking and making the decision to purposefully abandon is a weird freaking feeling. Even laying on the the air horn and waving for help got me no response from passing boats only odd looks of what is his problem. I would next time make sure my bilge pump was working and also be sure to check out the big picture and not just assume I'm having engine troubles but look into any problem more thoroughly. If I had lifted the seat earlier I would have realized my engine sputtering was from water splashing into the intake not an electrical problem like I thought I had.
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Old 30-05-2014, 19:36   #9
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

I think I can safely say everyone knows my details.
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Old 30-05-2014, 21:14   #10
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I think I can safely say everyone knows my details.
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Old 30-05-2014, 21:18   #11
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I think I can safely say everyone knows my details.
This guy

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Old 30-05-2014, 21:19   #12
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
New to us Gemini 105Mc.
Fourth day aboard bringing the boat home.
Wife was really tired and needed a nap. I said go ahead.
I wanted to sail the boat a bit instead of motoring so as we entered a pretty good sized bay with wind around 15 knots I raised the main and let out the jib.
Wonderful.
A little increase in wind so I figured I would practice a reef in the main.
I bent my head down at the wrong time and my almost new Tilley hat came off and flew down the deck into the water. I never could afford a boat or a Tilley before and it looked to be a terrible loss. Oh well. Finished the job of the reef - a priority over a hat any day right?
After the reef and return to the cockpit I began a search since I am just practicing right? Not too long after guessing the down wind course I spotted it.
Elation.
Now to rescue it!
Went wide of it, changing course from downwind to quartering to beam reach to close reach and turned into the wind at the right time.
Picked it up from the transom step with an un-extended boat hook.
Does that count as a rescue? (It did for me)

Having had only one prior week sailing a Gemini plus the four days on mine (all motoring so far) I was (and still am) pretty impressed with myself. PUFF PUFF.

What I learned after sleeping on it was it was not wise to go on deck for the reef without waking the wife, much less attempting a rescue.

You never know what could come up.............
So far this is my favorite story

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Old 30-05-2014, 21:44   #13
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBLittle View Post
So far this is my favorite story

Sent from my LG-E980 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app


I know, it has an Indian Jones feel to the "hat grab"!
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Old 30-05-2014, 21:45   #14
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I think I can safely say everyone knows my details.


Glad you're back!
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Old 30-05-2014, 21:53   #15
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Re: Rescue experiences and lessons

Fortunately, I've never been in need of being rescued, but have participated in a few rescues (none seriously offshore).

One memorable one: A competent female captain rented a sailboat for the day to take some non-sailing girlfriends out for a sail. Weather turned a bit sportier than forecast. The extra physical stress caused her to have a non-fatal heart attack. The girls had no idea what to do about sailing the boat or the heart attack. The boat sailed on like the Flying Dutchman deep into a remote cove and went hard aground (in mud fortunately).

The girls did manage to figure out the VHF and start calling for assistance (this was pre ubiquitous cell phone days). I was nearby on another boat teaching a sailing class and heard the call (hint: always sail w the VHF on, even well offshore). They had no idea where they were located, but I knew the area very well so I walked them thru shooting some bearings off land marks and was able to plot an approximate position (also pre ubiquitous GPS days).

With that info I headed that way and got on The VHF and got other resources rounded up too. Friends ashore got a helicopter dispatched for the heart attack victim. It was too shallow to get in close without going aground too, but I hitched a ride on a passing jet ski and got to the boat. Other friends in a small powerboat got there about the same time and we were able to keep the victim concious and stable till the EMTs landed nearby. A few days in the hospital and the heart attack victim was fine, but no more unassisted sailing for her.

Getting the "Flying Dutchman" out of about 3' of mud was a whole other mini-adventure that took a couple of days.

A lot of cruising couples, us included, are just one heart attack or serious injury away from a similar, or worse, scenario. Sobering thought.
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