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Old 12-03-2013, 15:00   #1
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Answers to questions about this event's gear failures

I have a few questions about this....

Latitude 38 - 'Lectronic Latitude

"As Uncontrollable Urge drifted down onto the lee shore of San Clemente Island, the crew attempted to set an anchor, but it dragged. They contacted the Coast Guard for assistance, but it was too late. The boat was swept into the pounding surf and broke apart. The liferaft they deployed was destroyed in the surf, and all six sailors were thrown into the sea. "

1) I'd like to know the type of anchor?

2) chain or type of rope rode/ nylon or polyester?

3) Liferaft brand/size/type

The reason I ask these questions is to better understand the limitations of the gear. Even if I buy the most expenisve anchor, if it's not going to save the boat in a situation like this it makes one wonder...

If the rode was nylon it would have a tendancy to stretch more in the raging surf than a polyester one would. Chain would not stretch but it may not have given the anchor time to dig itself in distance wise?

The liferaft part baffles me....how does one 'fail' in shallow water? waves pounding a liferaft should not destroy it's bouyancy unless they were in rocks or coral and it got shredded before they even could board it.

if they were so close to shore why not just swim ashore/get pushed ashore by the large waves wearing pfds?

I ask these questions because I tend to coastal sail which makes the answers useful knowledge to me.
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Old 12-03-2013, 15:20   #2
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Re: Answers to questions about this event's gear failures

It was a lightweight racing sailboat--they carried only whatever the minimum required gear would be, so I bet it was a single small anchor on mostly line. Not what a typical cruising boat would carry. I have watched racers anchor many times, and most of them are not good at it and don't have the proper equipment.
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Old 12-03-2013, 15:30   #3
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Re: Answers to questions about this event's gear failures

That would explain the failure of ground tackle. I'll assume it was a Danforth and smaller one at that, on nylon rode like the setup one can buy already packaged from a marine store. Tossed it out and hoped for the best.

I know that on a few occassions I've had anchors not 'take' due to the type of anchor, bottom and weight (lack thereof) of a rope rode. That gets the 'going around again pucker factor' right up there when one is singlehanding close to shore I can tell you that!

Now for the 'liferaft'....was it possibly not a canopied type, but rather a raft type? I could see the heavy surf pounding it into rocks and coral destroying the tubes in short order. But i would be not likely to get in one in those conditions; rather I would grab whatever had bouyancy and jump in with my pfd and head to shore.
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Old 12-03-2013, 15:52   #4
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Re: Answers to questions about this event's gear failures

I can't speculate about the liferaft as there aren't enough known facts yet. Still, I have stood onshore or on a sailboat offshore and watched surf pounding on rocks and wondered how anyone could survive if caught in that. I think a typical liferaft would not last long at all in surf on rocks. They are made out of a very flimsy material designed to pack small and light and inflate easily after being stored for years. They are nowhere near as tough as a cheapy inflatable dinghy.
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Old 12-03-2013, 23:38   #5
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This happened on the islands off the SoCal coast. This is rough, cold ocean. The sailors that race here are typically hardy souls and good seamen. If I had to abandon a boat in those waters I'd surely want to get aboard a raft or any other thing than jump in the water, pfd or not.
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Old 12-03-2013, 23:45   #6
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This happened on the islands off the SoCal coast. This is rough, cold ocean. The sailors that race here are typically hardy souls and good seamen. If I had to abandon a boat in those waters I'd surely want to get aboard a raft or any other thing than jump in the water, pfd or not.
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Old 12-03-2013, 23:46   #7
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Sorry for the duplicate post.
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Old 13-03-2013, 07:49   #8
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Re: Answers to questions about this event's gear failures

What Kettle said. No liferaft is going to fare well in heavy surf pounding on a rocky shore. This is not a failure of the liferaft per se, but rather trying to use a liferaft in a situation that no liferaft could handle well.

And, though I have no inside information, this was, once again, a racing boat. As such it is likely that they were carrying the lightest and most minimal liferaft that was required, just like it is likely that they were carrying the lightest and most minimal ground tackle that was required. The gear failures here do not, in any way, reflect upon the sort of gear that the average cruiser would be using.
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Old 13-03-2013, 08:01   #9
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Re: Answers to questions about this event's gear failures

Anchors only work well in conditions they were designed for, and most popular anchorages usually meet certain criteria for depth, composition, swing room, shelter ect. Dropping the hook in an emergency means no choice in selecting for any of these, and your anchor may drag because its deep water right up to the rocks with a loose rock bottom. Even good ground tackle can fail to hold a boat under emergency circumstances.
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Old 13-03-2013, 08:12   #10
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Re: Answers to questions about this event's gear failures

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