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Old 20-04-2013, 13:44   #1
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Missing Skipper

Hello,

I am new here. I have logged into this site in the hopes that someone can help me find my Dad. He was sailing from the Canary Islands to New York, beginning March 26th. We have not heard from him for 7 days when we normally hear every 3 days via Spotcheck. I don't have any knowledge of all things sailing but my brother has created a page to help send information out to people who can help.

https://sites.google.com/site/lookin...rlesbalme/home

Thank you.

Erin
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Old 20-04-2013, 15:02   #2
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Have you notified appropriate authorities? For example USCG?
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Old 20-04-2013, 15:17   #3
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While I understand your angst. I have had SPOTS fail on me. Did he have an EPIRB?

Although I have not gone Transatlantic (yet) the amount of time you have not heard from him is not significant. He could be sipping rum and have a grand time with a dead SPOT.

As Belize said, I would start with the Coast Guard and work it for there.
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Old 20-04-2013, 15:24   #4
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Re: Missing Skipper

Hi Erin -
My first thought is that SPOT is not the most reliable way to keep in touch. Even in SPOT's own estimate, the area your Dad is sailing in is not there best coverage area. This is their own coverage map: Coverage Map In practice, I have seen big areas of no coverage. If he is manually pushing the message button every 3 days, he'd only have to not connect on those two transmits to explain the gap.

Does he carry an EPIRB or other emergency beacon? SSB radio or sat phone? Have you tracked the weather is his recent locations? I noticed the picture on your website of his boat in Bermuda 6 years ago -- so he is certainly an experienced sailor. What did he say before leaving about missed contacts? Is he planning to make landfall in the Caribbean before sailing north? It seems to me that his is not overdue and that there are plenty of reasonable positive explanations for the lack of contact. None of which is to suggest that it is not difficult to be out of touch with someone at sea. There may be some formal boat watch networks in the atlantic -- I believe there are certainly some covering the Caribbean. Maybe some additional info will help.

Keep us posted.
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Old 20-04-2013, 15:36   #5
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Re: Missing Skipper

If he doesn't have a lot of fuel or he insists on not running the engine and there are light winds, a week isn't too scary yet.
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Old 20-04-2013, 15:44   #6
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pirate Re: Missing Skipper

Quote:
Originally Posted by clare73 View Post
Hello,

I am new here. I have logged into this site in the hopes that someone can help me find my Dad. He was sailing from the Canary Islands to New York, beginning March 26th. We have not heard from him for 7 days when we normally hear every 3 days via Spotcheck. I don't have any knowledge of all things sailing but my brother has created a page to help send information out to people who can help.

https://sites.google.com/site/lookin...rlesbalme/home

Thank you.

Erin
Hi Erin... give it another 7 days or so before you start to worry.. its a big ocean and despite all the blag given out by new technology... that's all it is in the main.. Blag to sell the product.
Everyone on here blathers on about EPIRB's... the answer to all your problems.... The reality is there are massive blank spots there as well... but lets face it... if you knew at least 50% of the S. Pacific is 'out of zone' would you buy it... NO..!!
So they sell it as the new' Wonder Cure' for all the 'I'm so scared make me feel secure' brigade..
Relax a while longer... to the best of my knowledge there's nothing bad happening down that way weatherwise... he's likely just out of range...
Best wishes..
Phil
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Old 20-04-2013, 15:48   #7
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Re: Missing Skipper

Nor is there much wind out there at the moment which would tally with his last reported speed.

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Old 20-04-2013, 16:12   #8
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Re: Missing Skipper

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Erin.

Our hopes are with you, and Charles.
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Old 20-04-2013, 16:44   #9
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Re: Missing Skipper

Erin,

If you are concerned for medical, or otherwise, reasons then I suggest you may elect to contact USCG and ask for support. They may ask ships in vicinity to keep sharp lookout and try calling the sailing boat on VHF.

Otherwise, (given her earlier attained speeds) the boat is not overdue yet. Also, Spot coverage of this part of the ocean is, well, 'iffy'. I can tell you this first-hand as many of my sailing clients use Spot.

The area where the boat ticked last has a gale brewing, but the tick is 7 days old and the boat should be by now well to Westwards of the area.

Well. I hope the boat and her driver are doing fine on their way to the West Indies.

Please let us know when there is an update!!!

Best regards,
barnakiel
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Old 20-04-2013, 17:19   #10
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Re: Missing Skipper

Is he going to Bermuda first? I would check with Bermuda Harbour Radio.
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Old 20-04-2013, 20:36   #11
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Re: Missing Skipper

also, given that it's a 26 foot boat with an outboard motor, i doubt he'll be doing much motoring even in a dead calm.
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Old 22-04-2013, 09:07   #12
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Re: Missing Skipper

Thank you for the replies. We are not certain whether he will make landfall in the Virgin Islands or not. Since we noted that he is moving slowly, he may carry on to New York. He has an EPIRB and VHF, but no other means of communication. As I understand it, his VHF has a very short range.

We have sent word through USCG and have sent messages through various boatwatch websites and radio operators. We are now on day 9 and hope to receive a Spotcheck today. However, thanks to all of you, we are now learning that Spotcheck is "iffy" and that might explain his absent signals.
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Old 22-04-2013, 09:39   #13
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Re: Missing Skipper

Hi, Erin...

This is Bill (same name as your brother), and I am the Commodore of the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club.

We have been putting out non-emergency boat watch calls on our Waterway Net each morning (7268 kHz LSB). Also, the Maritime Mobile Service Net (14300 kHz USB) has been putting out calls. The Cruisheimers Net (8152 kHz @ 0830 ET) has been putting out calls as well. And, the International Boatwatch Network and ShipComm have been asking their network to keep a watch for your dad.

As others have said, SPOTCHECK is not necessarily reliable from the mid-Atlantic and, of course, the device itself may be defective or may just have a dead battery.

VHF range is about 15-25 miles at best, except for high-flying aircraft which normally would be monitoring VHF Channel 16 only when an emergency or search and rescue operation were active.

RE: routing, the usual route from the Canaries would be Canaries to the Windward or Leeward Islands (Barbados up to about St. Martin), then north toward New York, which could take many different routes.

A 26' single-handed boat is not going to make very good time, especially in light winds where sail-tending and sail changes are frequent. For a 72-year old, that will be very tiring. I believe 100 miles per day or less would be about the best to expect, even in favorable winds.

Bottom line: it's too early to tell for sure, but assuming he's in good health and still sailing, it might well be that he won't make contact for awhile yet.

Fingers crossed. We'll keep putting out alerts on the radio nets.

Bill
WA6CCA
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Old 22-04-2013, 10:51   #14
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Re: Missing Skipper

I don't know if SPOT still uses GlobalStar as a third party for "communications" part of its packet, but I remember some conversations back that it might?

Here is the coverage of GlobalStar. As you see, there is a hole in mid-atlantic:

Coverage Map - Voice

Here is something else related to SPOT and GlobalStar:

SPOT Satellite Messenger and Globalstar - Globalcom

So, they may indeed be in a hole...
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Old 22-04-2013, 11:06   #15
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SPOT is a GlobalStar subsidiary...I assume they were created to try and do something profitable w GS's deeply flawed network. As such, I seriously doubt they would switch networks...although it would certainly benefit their product.

Read the fine print before you buy one of these toys...especially if TransAtlantic is in your plans...nada for coverage.
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