Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-12-2011, 14:03   #1
Moderator
 
nigel1's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Manchester, UK
Boat: Beneteau 473
Posts: 5,194
Sailing Accident

Report on an accident onboard the yacht Liquid Vortex

http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources...tex_Report.pdf
__________________

__________________
Nigel
Beneteau 473
Manchester, UK
nigel1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 14:17   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
44'cruisingcat's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7,458
Images: 69
Re: Sailing Accident

Seems this skipper displayed a "cavalier attitude"

Good thing the crewmember is recovering well.
__________________

__________________
44'cruisingcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 14:17   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Re: Sailing Accident

I stopped reading at this part:


Quote:
At approximately 0600 the following morning,
Liquid Vortex rounded Eddystone Lighthouse and
her crew replaced the genoa with a light running
spinnaker in order to make best speed downwind.
The wind was now westerly at over 25kts and the
sea was moderate to rough
Wind's over 25 knots in rough seas and you're running a spinnaker. You had better know what you're doing because you're about an inch away from some real problems.
__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 14:19   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,140
Re: Sailing Accident

I stopped reading after 2995 pounds for the course!! Wow! Didn't know folks would pay that sort of money to learn to sail.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 16:18   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: still in a roll of fiberglass around Cape Town
Boat: Leopard 40 (new model)
Posts: 1,202
Re: Sailing Accident

Just a small clarification . The price mentioned is not for a sailing course.

The price quoted is for a *race* training program that builds up to the Fastnet ocean race, whcih following the 1979 disaster requires significant experience for each individual and for (most of) the crew sailing together. These programs typically include one or two weekends of training and then 3 or more several shorter "qualifying" ocean races with the same crew over several months, building up in difficulty until the time comes for the Fastnet.
__________________
svlamorocha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 16:30   #6
Registered User
 
Hydra's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lorient, Brittany, France
Boat: Gib'Sea 302, 30' - Hydra
Posts: 1,229
Re: Sailing Accident

I read the whole document because I'm a sailing instructor and I'm concerned with risk management.

I have already have the spinnaker wrapped around the forestay but it was only in a gentle or moderate breeze: I can't afford to tear a spinnaker by flying it in severe conditions.

Alain
__________________
Hydra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2011, 18:55   #7
Moderator Emeritus
 
Ex-Calif's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Singapore
Boat: Maxi 77 - Relax Lah!
Posts: 11,514
Images: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydra
I read the whole document because I'm a sailing instructor and I'm concerned with risk management.

I have already have the spinnaker wrapped around the forestay but it was only in a gentle or moderate breeze: I can't afford to tear a spinnaker by flying it in severe conditions.

Alain
I crewed on a First 41.7 for teo seasons. Flying a spinnaker in 25 knots is pretty normal stuff.

- the skippers gybe to 70* makes no sense. With the pole on starboard and the wind now on port quarter and no genney out a spinnaker wrap inside the forsestay was almost guaranteed
- The skipper sent the first mate, the only other "qualified crew" on board forward to do the spinnaker change. At this point there are 3 on the foredeck and 5 in the cockpit.
- The skipper should never have left the helm. In fact maneuvering the boat higher, say higher than 120 was probably in order to allow the wind to back the spinnaker inside the forestay to port. Almost no amount of manhandling in 25kts is going to unwrap the spinnaker. Its a big sail and there is too much force on it.
- in fact when the spinnaker set goes pear shaped, primary defect being not made on the halyard, expert driving is needed to steer under the spinnaker and avoid a broach.
- When the skipper went forward(he shouldn't have) he should have sent the mate back immediately, or brought the mate back first. As it was there are now 4 relatively inexperienced people in the cockpit
- Can only guess at their disposition but helm, spin sheet, guy and main sheet would seem the logical assignments. Although I could infer that one was on the piano (spin halyard), leaving the main untended
- I worked foredeck, both mast and pole, I trimmed spinnaker and I trimmed main during my time on the First.
- the reason I infer there was no mainsheet trimmer is that the mainsheet trimmer, regardless of what is going on elsewhere, tends the main. No one should have to tell the mainsheet trimmer that the boat is gybing. You trim the sail in accordance with the helms actions. As the boat steered DDW, the mainsheet is hauled to center and released on the opposite tack in a controlled manner. In fact if I ever let the boom crash, I would have been flicked from the position like a booger.
- the traveller is about 6-7 feet long. The mainsheet is a continuous sheet that terminates at winches at each end of the traveller. The mainsheet trimmer needs to be a big person. With some slack on the sail, light airs, head to wind, you can and do pull the mainsheet by hand. However at upwind mark roundings, you first have to sheet out (or at least full down traveller) so the helm can actually turn the boat, then you have to grind like a bastard to recenter the boom as the boat gybes the mark, then you immediately start easing for the downwind run. The point being the forces are high but no one should be having to tell the main ttrimmer what to do. If the spinnaker set f***s up the main trimmer just keeps his head down and does his job.
- at a minimum, if there was a main trimmer he/she should have been tending the mainsheet block and extra line as the boom crashed through even if he/she did not properly trim in the boom and release it.

The skipper hosed this up from the time he gybed to set the second spinnaker. The safety points in the report are taken but offshore racing is a dangerous endeavor. The only way to get experience is to go do it but it is not a place for raw begginers. I raced for 18 months on J24s before being invited on the Bene. The commercial aspect of this operation create a pressuree to take inexperienced sailors aboard for financial gain regardless of their experience.

By staying at the helm, pointing up, 120, 140 even, the fishing boat would have been no factor, the pole and spinnaker would all have been on the "right" side assisting the foredeck crew in their issue and the cockpit crew would have had proper leadership. The risk then being that on the reaching heading, if the spinnaker filled and was not made, an immediate broach could have been in the cards. This would have required a quick hand on the helm to steer back down to about 100 to get the spinnaker in front of the boat.

Armchair quarterbacking? Yes. Even experienced crews screw up a set. Every year a few spinnakers are "cut loose" due to messed up sets. Two weeks ago I screwed up 2 sets and fortunate,y recovered. The similarity was inexperienced crew and me getting diverted from my job on the foredeck to "help" someone else. There but for the grace of God, yada, yada...

Bottom line is don't leave your position. The skipper did not deploy his crew properly. The two "qualified" people on the boat were dealing with the same problem. Not a good recipe.

As a side note - almost anyone with the money can now climb everest. Almost anyone with money can buy a boat, buy a position on a boat and go ocean racing. Not everyone should skip the interim steps of learning the sport.
__________________
Relax Lah! is For Sale <--- Click
Click--> Custom CF Google Search or CF Rules
You're gonna need a bigger boat... - Martin Brody
Ex-Calif is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 16:01   #8
Registered User
 
Hydra's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lorient, Brittany, France
Boat: Gib'Sea 302, 30' - Hydra
Posts: 1,229
Re: Sailing Accident

Ex-Calif,
I agree with you: flying a spinnaker in 25kts wind is normal on a 40' racing yacht. But not all crew are able to steer the boat in these conditions on a moderate to rough sea (significant wave height 2.5m). IMO, it was unsafe for the skipper to fly the spinnaker if only himself and the mate were able to helm. When in charge of a yacht, I don't want to be tied to the helm for any length of time. I want to be able to move.

The report says nothing about the pole when the yacht was running on 40°. It may be assumed that the skipper had it moved to port and ran dead downwind to reduce the pressure on the new spinnaker while hoisting it.

The report doesn't say how many crew were on deck and able to assist at the time of the spinnaker hoist/wrap.

I agree with you, the general safety of the yacht and crew would have required either the skipper or the mate to be in the cockpit at all times.

IME, the standard method to undo a spinnaker wrap is to rig a mainsail preventer and steer slightly by the lee, so that the spinnaker is blanketed by the mainsail and the large vertical eddy forward of the main removes the turns in the spinnaker.

Steering more than 100° as you suggest would have increased the pressure in the spinnaker and probably exceeded the crew ability after a bad night, leading to an assured broach on that sea state.

I agree with you, the commercial aspect pushed the company to send people with insufficient experience on a boat too big for them, in too much wind.

Alain
__________________
Hydra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 20:11   #9
Moderator Emeritus
 
Ex-Calif's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Singapore
Boat: Maxi 77 - Relax Lah!
Posts: 11,514
Images: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydra
Ex-Calif,
I agree with you: flying a spinnaker in 25kts wind is normal on a 40' racing yacht. But not all crew are able to steer the boat in these conditions on a moderate to rough sea (significant wave height 2.5m). IMO, it was unsafe for the skipper to fly the spinnaker if only himself and the mate were able to helm. When in charge of a yacht, I don't want to be tied to the helm for any length of time. I want to be able to move.

The report says nothing about the pole when the yacht was running on 40°. It may be assumed that the skipper had it moved to port and ran dead downwind to reduce the pressure on the new spinnaker while hoisting it.

The report doesn't say how many crew were on deck and able to assist at the time of the spinnaker hoist/wrap.

I agree with you, the general safety of the yacht and crew would have required either the skipper or the mate to be in the cockpit at all times.

IME, the standard method to undo a spinnaker wrap is to rig a mainsail preventer and steer slightly by the lee, so that the spinnaker is blanketed by the mainsail and the large vertical eddy forward of the main removes the turns in the spinnaker.

Steering more than 100° as you suggest would have increased the pressure in the spinnaker and probably exceeded the crew ability after a bad night, leading to an assured broach on that sea state.

I agree with you, the commercial aspect pushed the company to send people with insufficient experience on a boat too big for them, in too much wind.

Alain
I was a bit inflammatory maybe in rereading my post. A spinnaker in 25kts is normal with a trained crew. Even with a trained crew it is exciting and the boat must be expertly helmed and trimmed.

Good point about the pole. I am probably making assumptions I shouldn't in an attempt to explain the spinnaker wrap. Slow prefeed of the guy, slow hoist and sailing too deep during the set are common reasons for wraps.

Crew disposition - the report give a total crew size of 8, if I recall. That all hands are on deck is an assumption on my part as I wouldnt like to be flying a spinnaker in 25 knots with fewer than 8 up. We regularly sailed with 9 albeit one person was a tactician with no full time boat handling duty. Intererstingly as one of the most experienced guys on the boat he frequently dispatched to be a troubleshooter such as dorked up spins sets, failed hardware jury rigging etc.
__________________
Relax Lah! is For Sale <--- Click
Click--> Custom CF Google Search or CF Rules
You're gonna need a bigger boat... - Martin Brody
Ex-Calif is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2011, 23:33   #10
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: Boatless Again
Posts: 4,334
Re: Sailing Accident

The skipper is responsible for the accident, period. That's the law of the sea, and this case reinforces that law. He pushed the crew beyond their ability to perform, and there were serious consequences.

The first gybe was called for because they were off course, and dropping the damaged spinnaker provided an opportunity to do a relative easy gybe. The foredeck had successfully recovered the light chute, and we assume that they had reset the pole before they tried to hoist the heavy chute--which should have been in stops.

In a race boat with experienced crew, I would be pedal to the medal to get the new chute up. With a paying novice crew however, it was time to pole out a jib, especially as the forecast was for heavier winds. So that was his first mistake.

They stuffed the hoist, and got a wrap--it appears that the skipper didn't head up far enough during the hoist and/or didn't call for the pole to be set halfway back and the guy brought to the end of the pole before the hoist. That was his second mistake.

The third and by far the worst mistake was leaving the helm to a novice. People don't become downwind helmsmen in big air overnight. Twenty-five knots is nothing to us sailing gods, but even if the helmswoman didn't accidentally gybe when she did, she would have certainly have lost it if the chute unwrapped and filled. The best way to clear a headstay wrap is to gybe until the chute unraps it self, then gybe back. The skipper should have remained at the helm, with a person on the mainsheet, unless he had a proven helmsman. He did tell her to head up far enough to prevent a gybe, but she lacked the necessary skill, and he should have known that.

So, its a culmination of 3 mistakes, and he is lucky it didn't turn out worse. Do you think that a commercial endorsement on his yachtmaster's certificate would have prevented the accident??
__________________
donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2011, 00:15   #11
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Re: Sailing Accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I was a bit inflammatory maybe in rereading my post. A spinnaker in 25kts is normal with a trained crew. Even with a trained crew it is exciting and the boat must be expertly helmed and trimmed.
I wouldn't argue that it's not possible or normal for a well oiled racing crew. But it's the equivalent of driving around doing 150mph. You had really better know what the heck you're doing or you're going to have a really bad time.

How smart is a skipper who flies a spinnaker in conditions for which the crew can't handle it?
__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2011, 06:54   #12
Registered User
 
Hydra's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lorient, Brittany, France
Boat: Gib'Sea 302, 30' - Hydra
Posts: 1,229
Re: Sailing Accident

I agree with Donratcliffe, the skipper is responsible for this accident. He couldn't make the difference between "racing with an experienced crew" and "training a relatively novice paying crew".

But it seems that the company must share the blame. In addition to failing to check the skipper's qualifications and to define the programme with him, the report alludes to a problem with the luff foil. This was maybe the hidden motive for the skipper not reverting to a poled-out jib or genoa.

The whole point of the ‘Fastnet Campaign’ package sold (£2995) by Hot Liquid Sailing was to enable the customers to take part in the Fastnet Race in reasonable safety. It was a failure.

Alain
__________________
Hydra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2011, 15:30   #13
Elvish meaning 'Far-Wanderer'
 
Palarran's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Me - Michigan / Boat - Tenerife
Boat: 56' Fountaine Pajot Marquises
Posts: 2,641
Re: Sailing Accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
- the reason I infer there was no mainsheet trimmer is that the mainsheet trimmer, regardless of what is going on elsewhere, tends the main. No one should have to tell the mainsheet trimmer that the boat is gybing. You trim the sail in accordance with the helms actions. As the boat steered DDW, the mainsheet is hauled to center and released on the opposite tack in a controlled manner. In fact if I ever let the boom crash, I would have been flicked from the position like a booger.
- the traveller is about 6-7 feet long. The mainsheet is a continuous sheet that terminates at winches at each end of the traveller. The mainsheet trimmer needs to be a big person. With some slack on the sail, light airs, head to wind, you can and do pull the mainsheet by hand. However at upwind mark roundings, you first have to sheet out (or at least full down traveller) so the helm can actually turn the boat, then you have to grind like a bastard to recenter the boom as the boat gybes the mark, then you immediately start easing for the downwind run. The point being the forces are high but no one should be having to tell the main ttrimmer what to do. If the spinnaker set f***s up the main trimmer just keeps his head down and does his job.
- at a minimum, if there was a main trimmer he/she should have been tending the mainsheet block and extra line as the boom crashed through even if he/she did not properly trim in the boom and release it.

That is a really good analysis of the accident. If you take out the Captain's screw-up, really the helmswoman was at fault and the person handling the mainsheet. It would be hard to imagine they had no clue the boat was going to gybe.
__________________
Not all who wander are lost

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/palarran/
Palarran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2011, 16:14   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: still in a roll of fiberglass around Cape Town
Boat: Leopard 40 (new model)
Posts: 1,202
Re: Sailing Accident

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
. Do you think that a commercial endorsement on his yachtmaster's certificate would have prevented the accident??
I am sorry I did not express myself properly. I am sure a UK commercial endorsement (which is basically paperwork, a medical exam and sea survival course) would not have made a difference to this skipper´s ability to handle the situation. The lack of commercial endorsement just tells me I should suspect the this skipper does not have the experience to run a book-a-berth boat on an ocean race in difficult waters, because without that ticket he could not get work as skipper with a serious UK book-a-berth operator even on easier waters, which is the place to acquire the experience that was required that day.

All this makes me realize that I am lucky to have sailed as paying crew on many book-a-berth boats and never come across a skipper that was less than fantastic in maximising whatever potential the crew had!
__________________
svlamorocha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2011, 17:00   #15
Registered User
 
Capt Phil's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Stateline NV
Boat: Prior boats: Transpac 49; DeFever 54
Posts: 2,749
Re: Sailing Accident

Rebel and Ex-Calif... thanks for the distillation of a truly awful accident. While I've spent considerable time racing in my younger days (a couple of Transpacs and several Swiftsure's when there was actually a light ship out there!) your observations and evaluations really brought home to me the dangers of racing with other than a fully trained and competent crew and how important good judgement on the part of the skipper is when the s##t hits the fan which it invariably will. Capt Phil
__________________

__________________
Capt Phil is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
accident, sailing

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Trucking to California, Sailing to Hawaii and More . . . cool2848 Pacific & South China Sea 48 23-12-2011 03:49
New to Sailing ; Sailing Lessons / School / Courses Melbourne jg.exon General Sailing Forum 1 21-09-2011 03:27
Simply Sailing - Vancouver Sailing School chris_cruise Commercial Posts 0 15-07-2011 06:01
Beijing Sailing Center Beijingsailing Commercial Posts 2 15-07-2011 01:15



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:20.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.