When I first posted this challenge, I wondered if the following would occur:
1. debate about activating EPIRB or not (and any legal
2. debate about deploying liferaft
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
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
, 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