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Old 13-08-2008, 20:02   #16
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BTW, given your responses so far, I would be happy to have any of you aboard as crew mates but Ex-Calif leads the pack (IMHO)
The only guy who stops looking for you to save his own butt - How ironic - LOL....
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Old 13-08-2008, 20:05   #17
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Yes I would pretty much go along with Ex-Calif's response too (as long as he is not demanding lifejackets ).

Don't think I would bother with the EPIRB though unless it was determined that I had to evacuate the boat or was impossible to jury rig to sail to port. No resources initiated by an EPIRB alert will get to the remote site in time to save anyone in the water so wouldn't be any help for rescuing the overboard mate - emotion might get the better of me though . Maybe a few Maydays on the handheld VHF just in case there is another vessel very close (and maintaining a VHF watch?) who could cope with a search for the MOB - but that a very, very long shot.

While getting the water out of the boat would not be my first priority I think I might find that I would want to get to it fairly quickly as in heavy seas and rapid boat rolling motion with no rig combined with the free surface effect of the flooding it would likely have a big effect on stability increasing the risk of another roll.

All from the armchair, as have never had to do it . Alone, with someone lost over the side and essentially unrecoverable who knows how one would react in real life - would need a real cool head I suspect.
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Old 13-08-2008, 20:39   #18
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The one thing about activating the EPIRB is that other ships would get a Mayday relay and if near might be able to help in the search.
(You can’t know what’s out there and the same reason you would try VHF)
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Old 13-08-2008, 21:06   #19
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I don't want to hijack a thread either but...

I'm no expert on law, but what legal repercussions could there be for those captains who would not set off their EPIRB because they thought there is no chance of rescuing their mate they just lost minutes earlier? If I were a family member of that mate I'd be making a strong case of you thinking your boat was more important than his life.
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Old 13-08-2008, 21:31   #20
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Valid point Tellie!
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Old 13-08-2008, 23:26   #21
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Re the use of the EPIRB -

I'm afraid folks this is the Southern Ocean not some tropical or sub tropical paradise . By the time the alert is received (and the boat possibly checked against the registered contacts to ensure the alert is not false), a position determined (if not a GPS EPIRB this could be 45 minutes or so) and an Inmarsat C alert transmitted then received by any nearby ship, interpreted, acted upon and then sailed to the location of the loss your mate will be long gone at 46S in the sea conditions described.

Even putting all that aside the chances of finding him/her in the sea conditions described once immediate contact is lost and whatever the effort unless you have a helicopter hovering overhead at the time (which is, of course, not going to happen) is zilch.

Regarding family members complaining - they usually do when a search is curtailed no matter how long it is conducted for, so they will likely be doing so whether the EPIRB is activated or not. I suspect that the authorities will be on your side (the challenge position is in the NZ SAR Region).

I suspect that the authorities would not be on your side if you had an operable SSB (which we have not in the challenge) and did not notify them of the situation (a Mayday alert with MOB tag if by DSC) so they could assess the likelihood of rescue themselves - I suspect there would be no action they could contemplate that would be useful though.
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Old 14-08-2008, 01:29   #22
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Yes I would pretty much go along with Ex-Calif's response too (as long as he is not demanding lifejackets ).
No need for jackets. It's a 42 foot boat - totally safe - LOL


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Don't think I would bother with the EPIRB though unless it was determined that I had to evacuate the boat or was impossible to jury rig to sail to port. No resources initiated by an EPIRB alert will get to the remote site in time to save anyone in the water so wouldn't be any help for rescuing the overboard mate - emotion might get the better of me though .
My other thought is this - 1,000 East of New Zealand. Jury rigged sail at best. I may need to get lifted off the boat...

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While getting the water out of the boat would not be my first priority I think I might find that I would want to get to it fairly quickly as in heavy seas and rapid boat rolling motion with no rig combined with the free surface effect of the flooding it would likely have a big effect on stability increasing the risk of another roll.
Agree. I'd leave that as a Day 2 task along with getting the decks cleared, everything usable stowed, jury rig a sail, test out the donk and electrical system.
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Old 14-08-2008, 02:52   #23
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Clearing decks, staying afloat, single handed on an unworthy ship (it is now). EPIRB! Moral support alone will be worth it, plus somebody knows you are out there. And matey isn't anymore. There won;t be much to do until the storm passes through. When you've done what you can go to sleep.
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Old 14-08-2008, 03:46   #24
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For me….. I think pumping out below deck when I suggested while watching out for my Mate, would be a necessary catharsis.

The grief, the anger, the tears, the animalistic determination is something you need to do while the storm is still raging. So I would probably put all that bad energy to work doing something mindless while I got the negatives out of my system.

Also, apart from the free surface effect on stability, the hydraulic energy would do a lot of unnecessary damage during the storm.

Day 2 after some rest and hopefully some easement in the seas, my first priority would be to try to get the engine going so that I can search the MOB area for my Mate…….

Odds are that area is upwind and a jury rig is not going to do that.

Once I got the engine and gear flushed and going (hey! I’m lucky ) I would salvage what I can handle from the deep hanging rigging and lash on deck.

Retrieve the Givens liferaft on deck. (no luck finding my mate inside)

On point to remember is that once the Givens is deployed and the base fills up with water, it makes a pretty good sea anchor so it would have needed to be attached at the bow along with your drogue and/or sea anchor if you deployed that.

Anyway, final check to make sure nothing can foul the prop and head back to the MOB position to do a search
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Old 14-08-2008, 04:08   #25
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No need for jackets. It's a 42 foot boat - totally safe - LOL
Ahhh, good, I'll do the Southern Ocean with you any time then but only as long as you volunteer to be the left behind MOB when we do the 360 degree roll thing .
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Old 14-08-2008, 07:18   #26
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Second Thoughts

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
BTW, given your responses so far, I would be happy to have any of you aboard as crew mates but Ex-Calif leads the pack (IMHO)[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
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The only guy who stops looking for you to save his own butt - How ironic - LOL....
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Day 2 after some rest and hopefully some easement in the seas, my first priority would be to try to get the engine going so that I can search the MOB area for my Mate…….

Odds are that area is upwind and a jury rig is not going to do that.

Anyway, final check to make sure nothing can foul the prop and head back to the MOB position to do a search
OK I having second thoughts about Ex-Calif, maybe I should be looking towards Pelagic for this voyage.
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Old 14-08-2008, 07:23   #27
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Your such a tease! Lol !
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Old 14-08-2008, 08:57   #28
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Thumbs up It all came together

When I first posted this challenge, I wondered if the following would occur:
1. debate about activating EPIRB or not (and any legal ramifications).
2. debate about deploying liferaft or not.
3. if anyone would consider deploying para-anchor from a disabled vessel.
4. how much (or how little) effort would be put into assisting missing mate compared to making boat safer.
5. to what use would the handheld radio and GPS be put to.
6. how much effort would be put into restoring electrics.
7. what equipment would appear that you considered would be found aboard a "well found blue water 42 ft yacht".

Thanks to everyone who posted, you collectivly covered all the above points.

For the record, I would have done most (but not all) of the various actions you have posted.

With regard to the above points, my thoughts are:

1. EPIRB; toss it over ASAP (see 4. below). Although there is little chance of outside help, you never know what is around. Maybe a NZ warship (if they have any ) is returning from a visit to the Falklands or perhaps Sea Shepard is hot on the heals of a rogue Japanese whaler. The drift of the EPIRB will be a bit similar to that of the MOB. It has a internal GPS for better accuracy and has a strobe that may assist the MOB in locating it. It also gives some idea of your drift rate away from the original MOB position while the strobe is still visible. Finally it doesn't provide any help to anyone if not deployed.

If you are concerned that you may need it later, you still have your PLB attached to your survial suit. BTW, you can't assume that the MOB is able to activate their own PLB.

I can't foresee any legal issues to prevent activating it and if there are, "too bad".

2. Don't deploy life raft, probably get destroyed or at least hopelessly blown away by storm and the possible advantage to MOB is small. Besides it could well be needed by yourself if the boat later flounders.

Of course I accept that Pelagic's Given's life raft may be a different story. Until today, I had never heard of them.

3. Deploy para-anchor on bridle off the forward quarter. I don't know what effect this will have but conceivably could stabilize the boat in a classic hove to position about 50 degrees off the weather. If it works, there is potentially a slick to windward to reduce the chances of further breaking seas. Set it so the broken window remains to leeward. This will also minimise the danger of the missing washboards. If it doesn't work, there is not much lost.

4. Missing mate; well I subscribe to the "do what is practicable but don't dwell on the futile" school of thought. Toss the life buoys, have a good look around, especially in the tangle of mast and rigging, call out or blow whistle etc but if nothing is found in the first 5 minutes, toss the EPIRB, start prioritising own needs, and if still nothing after 10 minutes, say a prayer and get back to work. The boat needs pumping (manual back up pumps or bucket), the mast needs cutting away after salvaving whatever can be lifted back on board or otherwise secured. Broken window need covering and new washboards to be jury rigged. Then rest and food and think of jury rig and new couse once storm passes.

BTW, I don't know the survival suit affects the survival time, anyone know?

5. turn on handheld GPS ASAP and hit MOB button or otherwise mark the first position. While it is of little benefit right now, it may be useful later to know the exact postion position of the capsize (if only for the inquest, see more below). Besides, this action also takes very little time and effort.

I didn't consider using the handheld VHF, but who knows - is it worth trying or not. The only downsides I see are using up the batteries (but the well found yacht will have spare dry cells), breaking the sealed bag and exposing radio to the elements - could easily get dunked in the water below and perhaps more important, the emotional turmoil when no one answers.

Of course, if you immediatley receive an pleasant British voice saying "Mayday received, I am proceding at best speed to your position, my estimated time of arrival is fifteen minutes", you just might feel elated. Hey you might even feel elated if the voice is a clipped American saying "Roger Mayday, ETA Wun Fife Minutes". OK back to reality.

6. IMO, restoring the electrics in low priority and is best left to a day or so later when storm subsides and boat is more shipshape. I note that most (all?) of you gave little weight to restoring circuits but I did expect at least someone could consider this a "must do".

7. Well, Eleven did come up with the sealed batteries pretty quick and others talked of PLB's, flares, par-anchors etc. No real surprises here.

Lastly (and I think this very important), log the events as soon as immediate dangers are mitigated. Memory will not be good when tired, cold, hungry, sad, fearful etc. Remember there WILL be an inquest somewhere if mate is not saved.

Thanks again everyone for posting.
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Old 14-08-2008, 11:38   #29
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1. debate about activating EPIRB or not (and any legal ramifications).
In my response I did say I was in two minds on activating the EPIRB - albeit I had not considered any legal ramifications. My gut says in these circumstances "skipper knows best", but my head says "Judge not always agree" - especially 2 years later with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and a bucket of family wishful thinking......from the comfort of a warm court.


If I was solo in these conditions and I thought my position was recoverable I would not activate the EPIRB. I won't say I would never hit the button, but in practice would probably delay until it was way too late.

If it had been me Missus overboard I would have activated the EPIRB for sure (I like the idea of tossing it overboard - never thought of that!)......for the 100 million to one shot. For me mate?.......not so sure Anyone know what the position is if you later change your mind about yourself being rescued once the cavalry comes over the hill in response to an EPIRB alert? Both legally and "Good form" Both from a ship or a flypast.
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Old 14-08-2008, 12:35   #30
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"BTW, I don't know the survival suit affects the survival time, anyone know? "
Yes, it does. Radically.

I've been in 42F water for an hour in a wetsuit for "fun", but without one I'd probably have died in fifteen minutes as the diaphragm muscles freeze up and fail. (WIth the heavy wetsuit, little bits like toes and lips STILL have gone numb.) Then you stop breathing and the rest is a moot point. Survival suits are akin to diving suits (wet or dry "depending") and Mustang has a nice little graph of them at:

Hypothermia Protection :: Mustang Survival

Showing that depending on the suit, at 5C/40F they can turn one hour into eight hours. At 50F they can turn that hour into 12+ hours, a huge difference.


AFAIK the only defensible legal position (against civil and criminal liability alike) would be to say that I'd made EVERY possible attempt to aid the MOB, and punching the button on the EPIRB is just so easy, I'd call it criminal if someone didn't. You never know what other resources might be just over the horizon--like a naval vessel with rescue helo and FLIR equipment on board. It is incredibly easy for Big Gray Boats to hide in the gray of the sea and horizon, even in good wx.

From the UN's Law of the Sea (which is a convention, not just tradition):
http://www.un.org/Depts/los/conventi...s/unclos_e.pdf

Article 98
Duty to render assistance
1. Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far
as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew or the passengers:
(a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of
being lost;
(b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in
distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such
action may reasonably be expected of him;...


If you are captaining a documented/flagged vessel, you are REQUIRED BY LAW to render assistance to that MOB, if your nation has signed onto this. Penalties will vary with your sovereign.
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