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Old 24-07-2011, 17:20   #31
jzk
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

The storm was pretty intense for us on a Beneteau 47.7. For one thing, the lighting was like some kind of strobe light torture.

We were flying the .8oz kite when winds started getting into the high 20s, so we doused the chute and unrolled the jib sailing a little higher down wind angles to keep the jib flying. Then it started piping up to 40, so we rolled in the jib.

Then it was like all hell broke loose. We were doing 12.6 knots under main alone it it was pretty out of control. I saw high 40s on the knot meter but I was just trying to keep the boat pointed the right way, so I wasn't looking at it much once it was out of control. A crew said they saw 50s. I was just trying to keep clear of land and the other boats. Eventually, I sailed up a bit to spill a bit out of the main. We heard the transmission that 2 were missing and the rest were in the water. And we heard about a boat in our class being holed above the water line from a collision.

I have an older Nexus chart display at the helm, and it was all I could do to see the outlines of beaver Island to the west and the michigan shore to the east. With the wind, the rain pelting us like a fire hose, it was pretty hard to see it.

We got hit pretty good twice.
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Old 24-07-2011, 17:26   #32
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

When I used to race Hobie's everyone carried a knife tucked away. It was relatively easy to turtle a Hobie and then possibly need a knife to cut oneself free of a tangled sheet. It actually occurred to others once in a great while
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Old 24-07-2011, 17:39   #33
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Cause of death was blunt force trauma. I have a dive knife on the steering pedesat. Harness has a quick pull tab. If I'm knocked out does no good. Tragic story. This race has had a few. I'm wondering given the rapid storms racers aren't falling to conservative when the signs of a blow come on and then get mire sail up. It's a racing thing. Granted I solo cruise and never in the great lakes. Most systems give some warning: you feel the humidity leave cold air fills in the wind shifts. I'm reading the kite was up on this bene Like no one knew a front was closing in? Not trying to second guess here I'm wondering what I am missing? I think the forecasts had a Canadian high pressing in when this occured.
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Old 24-07-2011, 18:45   #34
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I don't know the type of boat.
Do the wings keep the boat inverted?

Yes, it does sound like Murphy. It is a lake so no use trying to make everyone have ocean going racers.
I learned to sail in the North Atlantic and sailed Lake Michgan for 23 years. Trust me!!! We'd be better off if we all had Lake going racers. The seas are short and steep and can come up from dead flat to 8 feet in an hour or less. If you've ever been in 8 foot waves 8 feet apart you know what I mean. When it blows out of the north you have a weather funnel that screams for 350 miles toward Chicago. The late, great Stan Rogers sang it well in "White Squall".

"I told the kid a hundred times don't take the Lake for granted
It can go from calm to a hundred knots so fast it seems enchanted"

NB: The capital letters in Lake are not typos. For anyone who spent any time at all on the Great Lakes they aren't just lakes.

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Old 24-07-2011, 19:49   #35
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Not so sure it is Murphy but more a racing mindset that puts blinders on many a seasoned sailor, who becomes naturally hard pressed and focused on getting that competitive edge.

Two died but it could have been more!

Whenever Nature generates very extreme vertical weather conditions out on the water there are always telltales.

Was this not a week of extreme temperatures and vertical ascension in North America?

Was there not any shore side Doppler radar monitoring of these conditions and a liaison with race committee to… “broadcast an abort race warning to the fleet because of extreme conditions?”

Seems to me, the modern racer could utilize better shore support and weather intelligence to avoid this in the future.
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Old 25-07-2011, 11:09   #36
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Seeing as how I sail on the Great Lakes and have been caught out in several storms heres my 2 cents on this horrible tragedy,

#1 Storm systems come up fast and travel at speeds faster than most boats, So even with adequate warning of an approaching storm you still have limited places to go and little time to get there.

#2 If you refer to the Great Lakes as a "mill pond" you will be humbled as a famous TV station owner once said before his first CHI-MAK race.

Considering The great number of Lake freighters, schooners, and other Ocean going vessels that have been lost on the Great Lakes, they need to be taken very seriously...
One of my favorite songs that best describes the fury of the Lakes is the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot, which is about the loss of a 700+ foot lake freighter In Lake Superior in November 1975.

If and when I see the crew of Sociable together I hope to buy them a round for there bravery.
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Old 25-07-2011, 12:17   #37
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

A link to song if anyone cares to listen...
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