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Old 05-10-2011, 23:29   #16
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

Personally, I try to think of boats as if they were an airplane. Any time one takes it up/out it needs to be in the best running/safe condition it can be. And the person in the cockpit needs to know what he's doing and how to manage navigation and emergency situations, whatever they may be.

And that's what makes a Captain of a vessel a Captain!
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:27   #17
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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I'm unsure why pleasure boaters have this attitude that they are entiltled to SAR by Coast Guard, Military or whoever. What ever happened to self reliance, helping each out others at sea and being prepared for ANY emergency.
The reason most folks go cruising from what I understand is to cut the cord with shoreside amenities, enjoy the beauty of the ocean and the solitude of being out there alone or with another who shares your passion.
I've both cruised and worked the ocean most of my life and we always prided our selves on our ability to plan and survive any eventuality. Those that didn't fulfill Darwins' theory of evolution.
I'm sure this will invite heaps of negative response, so fire away! Cheers, Capt Phil
You want negative responses? Hmmm
I'm not sure I follow you, are you saying you are prepared for every eventuality and wound under no circumstance make a mayday call? That all that have perished at sea were ill prepared and lacked the necessary skills? I have a vision in my head of you singing a patriotic song as you go down with the ship! Or are you simply poking fun at our society in general for a lack of self reliance? That we have come to rely on technology, government, etc. more than is healthy? Did Darwin mention ill equipped sailors? I haven't read most of his stuff, I prefer murder mysteries. Please elaborate.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:51   #18
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Thumbs up Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

I got some first hand experience with SAR Canada this summer while I was crossing the Atlantic from Europe to Canada.

On May 9th we left early in the morning Lelystad and motored through the Northsea Channel to Ijmuiden were we stayed for two nights until our Dutch crew Victor was able to re-join us again. With four on board, my daughter Jenny, my son Toni, Victor and myself we left Ijmuiden and were prepared for a three to four day trip to Falmouth. But the weather god was not with us and did send us some unpleasant, short waves while we were crossing the English Channel. Jenny became so seasick that she had to leave. So we made a stop in Eastbourne, were a sad Jenny left Lucia and was flying home to Canada. The next morning Lucia left Eastbourne and we were hoping for a straight run to Horta this time. But again the weather was not on our side. For three days we had mostly headwinds, had to tack the whole time and burned a lot of fuel. So we had to stop in Portsmouth to refuel and got also more jerry cans. Just in case.

The trip to Horta was without any major surprises. Sometimes headwinds but also wind from 60 to 90 degrees with 20 to 24 knots which really did Lucia show us her best side!!! Horta itself was nice, although the harbour was full. We arrived just in time for the Arc to Europe. We were the only boat which were heading out in the opposite direction!!! June 4th we left Horta and set course for Bermuda. The days went by one by one and Lucia was again showing us that she can run, although she was heavily loaded with water and diesel. The best she did in 24 hours were 147.7 nm and her best SOG was 11.3 knots.

But things would change. On June 16th around 18:00 GMT roughly 700nm east of Bermuda, we were sailing on the port bow in 20 to 24 knots of wind out of 60 degrees when I saw some dark clouds approaching. We furled the Genoa to 1/3 and did put the second reef in the main. Short afterwards we were hit by rain but the wind speed didn’t increase. Around 19:30 when I thought that we had passed the bad weather we were again hit by heavy rain and the windmess did jump within seconds to 40 and then 50 knots. With a loud bang the forestay did break and two seconds later the mast was overboard lying halfway on the dinghy davits smashing the starboard solar panel in pieces. Two minutes later the wind was again like it has been all day long. Only the rain was still with us and of course the mast up to the radar in the water did show clear evidence of what had happened to Lucia.

I was not willing to give up the mast so Toni and I tried to secure it to the boat while Victor started cutting all ropes and lines, just in case we had to get rid of the mast. With a line each on the genoa winches and some pullies we were able to get the mast back on board. This took more than four hours and Toni had to go into the water to release the Genoa and just before it was completely dark we had the mast secured for the night, but still sticking out way too much to call it save. The next morning I did send a message home with my SPOT Messenger asking for help. This is the same unit which I had already used for our daily GPS Positions reports. It is a small handheld device which will transmit your GPS Data together with already prepared messages which are lying on a landbased server to up to ten email recipients. You can specify three different message categories. The “daily” we are okay message, a we need assistance message but are not in live threatening danger, which I did send out and of course an SOS message. But for this worth case scenario I had an PLB as well. So my former wife Moni and my oldest daughter Jenny did receive my assistance message and contacted the coastguard in Halifax. With our GPS data the Canadain coastguard did know where we should be and did send a 230 meter long tanker which was on his way to Falmouth to our “rescue”.

In the meantime we had pulled the mast another three meters on board and this time we were able to secure it that it would even withstand bad weather. The boom was stored behind the frontbeam and we were starting to feel a little bit more comfortable. Although we didn’t know if our message was received and if help was on the way. I was able to rig a new VHF antenna and did connect it to my AIS receiver so we were again able to see ships around us. Soon afterwards I was able to identify a merchant ship on his way to Montreal and called it then after we were closing in on my handheld VHF. You can imagine how surprised I was after I told our story and asked for assistance/diesel or at least a radio messages to hear that they were too busy and wouldn’t help at all.

Three hours later the next merchant ship was showing as an AIS signal on my chart plotter and I called them again. It was the BW Hudson and I was immediately greeted with the words: Lucia where have you been, we are calling you already for hours. This was the tanker I mentioned earlier and roughly one hour later we were alongside of the Hudson waiting to receive 400 litres of diesel. Unfortunately I accepted two lines from the tanker crew. My idea was to drift away five to six meters, still being held by the two lines. And via a third rope the tanker crew should lower the jerry cans to us. But somebody onboard of the tanker did pull on both lines and didn’t leave any slack in them while we still had three to four meters of waves. Within a couple of seconds the front and stern mooring cleats were ripped out of the deck, with roughly half a square meter of surrounding deck area as well. I was not longer willing to accept another line, so after some discussions I asked them to put all the jerry cans in a net and lower in one go with their board crane. This did work out very well, although we did loose one 25 litre jerry can overboard. But still we should have enough diesel to make it under one engine the 600nm to Halifax.

Toni and I did repatch the two holes for the next four hours and around 02:00 in the morning we were able to set a course for Halifax. The next day greeted us with heavy rain, strong wind and rough sea and some water was coming into the main saloon threw the holes which were ripped into the deck when the wooden mast support did break. But the weather was so bad that we just couldn’t do anything,besides trying to stay on course and be otherwise patient. In the night the rain did stop and the sea became more calm again, so Toni and I did pump roughly 120 litres each out of the front compartment (anchorlocker) and the stern were the gas bottle is stored and did some more repatching. The next couples of days saw us crossing for 24 hours the gulf stream, both engines were running at 2000rpm and we were still doing only 1.5knots SOG, or we had headwinds again and we were only doing 2 to 2.knots SOG with one engine. But we were closing in to Halifax. Nine days after we lost our mast we finally made it on Saturday June 25th at 01:00 am to Halifax. I called the SAR Center in Halifayx and thanked the officer on duty for all there help. We stayed in Halifax for two nights, did book a flight for our Dutch crew and on Monday, my son Toni and I left for the last leg to our homeport in which we arrived 24hours later.


So my experience with the Canadian SAR is a very pleasant one. Within 12hours after I had transmitted our call for help we already met the merchant ship which was sent out to assist us. I believe that the staff of SAR is doing an excelent job.


Thanks again folks!!!!
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:12   #19
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

i'm delighted that it all worked out well for you, Zumsel... I would be interested to hear having lived through the experience, what you would do differently and at what point would you take a different sction than you did.
The point I was trying to make in my earlier post was that we should not develop a reliability or entitlement attitude to help from out side sources. If they are there fine, but to denigrate an organization because they are not crusing just over the horizon waiting for one of us to do something stupid is expecting too much. It sounds like you did most everything that one could reasonably assume you could given the circumstances and resources at hand. You are the best judge of anyhing else you might have done or not done.
Having sunk on two commercial vessels off the Canadian west coast without a chance to get a mayday out, I realize that it is more luck than good judgement that can be the deciding factor in survival. But sure helps to plan for disasters ahead of time. Capt Phil
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:07   #20
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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bangkaboat, your experience is Vancouver area. Did you watch the video? They were talking about the NLL area in particular and Atlantic ocean in general.

How you can possibly say that we do not lag behind other countries shows a complete ignorance of the Canadian Coast Guard and Canada's SAR system in particular. How you could compare that to the US Coast Guard I will never know. But it is not just the US, it is also UK, Norway, Sweden, Australia and NZ that have much more in the way of resources than we do.
Sorry, I just studied(CCGC - Sydney, NS) & worked there(Mostly Vancouver Traffic), what do I know? Both coasts, btw, & with friends/colleagues in Port Aux Basque, Halifax, Sarnia, Uclulet, Pat Bay, Comox, Winnipeg & Victoria RCC, and such desolate areas as Hay River, as well.

I like the CBC, wouldn't want Canada to be without it & wish the gov. of the day would keep their fingers off! Nothing is perfect & governments do get in the way & waste a lot of money that could be put to good use, but when one considers our tax base, geographical size & excellent response record - go read a few TSB reports - it is disappointing to read the "slagging" that is going on, here.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:35   #21
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

Okay, although I didn't say so clearly in my previous posts, I have no quarrel with the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, Coast Guard and SAR in particular. What I have a problem with is the political masters, of several different stripes by the way, who have cut funding to the point where it is almost impossible for those men and women of SAR and the Coast Guard to do their job in the way that it needs to be done.

People who say things like "why should we send people out to rescue folks who work on the sea" need to think of that the next time they are injured in a traffic accident. Don't use those cell phones folks to call 911, tough it out, be self sufficient.

bangkaboat, it wasn't quite clear to me whether you actually worked both coasts or the Newfoundland/Labrador or just had friends there.

And again, I am not slagging the men and women who do the job. I was in the RCAF and I know what it is like to try and do a job without the resources to do it properly. It makes for great inventiveness but also great frustration.
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Old 06-10-2011, 13:45   #22
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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You can imagine how surprised I was after I told our story and asked for assistance/diesel or at least a radio messages to hear that they were too busy and wouldn’t help at all.[/FONT][/COLOR]
That is amazing. I guess they changed their tune when SAR got involved. Isn't illegal to not provide assistance if that act wouldn't put the ship in danger? Perhaps in this situation they felt it was okay because the no lives were at stake.

Glad you made it in safely and sorry to hear Lucia was further damaged by your rescue.
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Old 06-10-2011, 18:43   #23
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Okay, although I didn't say so clearly in my previous posts, I have no quarrel with the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, Coast Guard and SAR in particular. What I have a problem with is the political masters, of several different stripes by the way, who have cut funding to the point where it is almost impossible for those men and women of SAR and the Coast Guard to do their job in the way that it needs to be done.

People who say things like "why should we send people out to rescue folks who work on the sea" need to think of that the next time they are injured in a traffic accident. Don't use those cell phones folks to call 911, tough it out, be self sufficient.

bangkaboat, it wasn't quite clear to me whether you actually worked both coasts or the Newfoundland/Labrador or just had friends there.

And again, I am not slagging the men and women who do the job. I was in the RCAF and I know what it is like to try and do a job without the resources to do it properly. It makes for great inventiveness but also great frustration.
Fair enough, obviously I took umbrage with being told that I was ignorant of the goings on in CCG, in general, & SAR. I agree with you 100% that the politicians do not put the money into the system as they should. I had to work under idiots like David Anderson, and undergo the take-over by DFO & the merging of VTS & CG Radio, the latter being a major increase in work, but no corresponding increase in pay, which is why I went back to steelwork. I stay in touch with some former colleagues to this day - as I do with some old navy & x-navy buddies - & read TSB reports often, as they are of much value to a wannabe naval architect.

I didn't see the Fifth Estate episode, so can't comment on that, and I know first-hand that our hovercraft situation has been a mess for decades - cannibalizing two to keep one going - but our commercial traffic scheme(VTS) has been copied by numerous countries & if our SAR response has issues it is news to me. But, no sense sitting in the dark, I'll watch the F.E. episode.
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