Originally Posted by meirriba
Speaking only for myself:
In the described situation, I would prefer to stay/be outside. Getting inside, even if possible, would be highly frightening and claustrophobic. I would be afraid of the boat sinking with me inside, as it was partially full of water.
Another issue - there is no mention of a liferaft
in the posts. I wonder did they have one and if they did why wasn't it deployed.
Then there is mention of getting back onboard of the empty life jacket of the skipper
. I wonder how this happened, but perhaps he did not have or use crotch straps to keep the life jacket in place.
It is a horrible story and tragedy but at least may serve as a safety
lesson for us at present.
Life raft - we did not have it stored in the slot in the stern of the boat where lagoon
has made a space for it. The reason for this was we had room in the cockpit
underneath the lifting seat to the right as you exited the salon.
Here is one of my biggest issues.
When we went over it was in the cockpit under the seat, absolutely unable to get to in our situation. I don't I can describe how much water was in the boat when it was upside down. It was like being in a washing
machine up to your shoulders with everything floating around with hardly any light. The cockpit was an air pocket that Ole was trapped in and was on the other side of the glass doors. I was personally unable to open the doors because of the water level difference between inside and out. I tried very hard but was unable as I watched him get beaten three different way by the cockpit floor and and the sides. Steve grabbed me and said "I'll get him you grab the ditch bag and get outside". I did. Steve was the captain
, Ole was the 1st mate and I was the deckhand
My problem with the life raft location on cats is at the top of my list of issues.
Yes we didn't have it the "proper place" but I know for absolute sure if we had it where lagoon
and other cats have them stored in that slot in the stern the would have been no way to access it anyway. As I have said before the weight of the engines pulled the stern very far into the water, MAYBE in calm conditions you could have pulled the canister out to have it useful but in constant 45' breaking waves it was a laughable thought. And I thought about it for hours trying to think of a way to get to that life raft of it was back there. I had 11 1/2 hours to think about our situation, felt like an eternity.
I am now in the market for a cat to take my family
cruising for an extended period of time and this is one of my highest concerns. The placement of the life raft. In a roll over, impossible to get to because if you rolled over it was because of sea state at least on the heavy lagoons.
Another thought on this, what happens if you strike an underwater object (container) and hit it hard enough at night and one of the hulls flooded in a sea state? My confidence in being able to pull that out is questionable. If you happen to strike both hulls both flood them in my experience I have no confidence at all that you could pull it out in a manner before that area was under water.
My thought on this is to have a well thought out plan of how to get it out. My thought process would be to rapidly cut away the dingy tie it to the boat and get that life raft and have both. Think about trying to get the life raft while the dingy is hanging there.
You have to remember as most people know these situations never happen in calm harbor-like conditions, plan accordingly.
As for Steve and his life jacket.
This is the sad part. Ole was driving - had his Henry Loyd gear
on. Me - I knew that when the sun went down we were finished there was no way that we were going to be able to steer in out of the breakers chasing us down. So I put on ALL of my warm weather gear
. 2-3 pairs of base layers, 3 layers of fleece mid layer, Patagonia bibs and the jacket that saved my life, Arcterix Stingray jacket. I had all this on at the same time. Steve and just come off driving for hours and went down to his cabin
to get some rest as I did the same. The difference was that I put all my stuff on, he took his foulies off and never found them again in the turmoil of the washing
machine that was now the inside of the boat.
Because of this he died of hyperthermia when we were outside the boat. He had one the best life jackets that money
Climbing harness/life jacket. Cinch crotch straps for both legs and a spray hood
. But he came out of the hull
with now foulies and that was what killed him. If you know anything about hyperthermia as you get colder you feel warmer and you try to shed clothes in your delirium and he did. It the black of the night he must have slowly undid his straps and jacket so when I was hooked into him with my lifeline the waves successfully worked him out of his life jacket.
Know that he had already passed by about an hour and I was just trying to hold onto his body to bring something back for his family
but the relentless violence of the waves had other plans.
Just for stating facts:
We capsized at 5:20 pm (just as the sun was fading)
The last numbers we saw were surfing down the waves under bare poles at 23kts
Last gust was 63kts, I think consistent was around 55kts
The air was in the low 60's and water temp the same
The first C-130 showed up around 11:30pm, the exact same time we confirmed that Steve had succumbed to hyperthermia
Jayhawk Coast Guard showed up around 3:45 am, pulled me out at 4:30 am.
1 1/2 flight to Bermuda
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