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Old 17-01-2007, 20:20   #121
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Exactly, Kevin. That's how I see it as well. No autopilot system can anticipate like a human for those unexpected monsters that sometimes come at you from odd angles. In fact, no autopilot can anticipate at all. They can only react.

I can't even count the times (even in moderate-to-rough conditions) that I've had some odd wave pop up and threaten to push the boat off course or heel it excessively. Since I'm not an autopilot, I can pre-position the boat to better ride up and over the oddball wave.

I never ever use the autopilot in those conditions. Of course, Ken has to use it since he has to sleep. Also, if we buy this theory, then I would also say his decisions up to rollover were right on point. A tired human does worse in those seas than an autopilot depending on how tired he already was. It seems as though it could be a catch 22.

Wow... no wonder we're all still learning. This stuff is hard!
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Old 17-01-2007, 20:28   #122
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If he was running or broad reaching a storm jib and a drogue would orient the boat without the need for an auto pilot
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Old 17-01-2007, 21:07   #123
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I think an important aspect has been left out of this. If all was well before hand for sometime, then it is obviouse that the wave that rolled him was different to all those before. I suspect he was hit by a rogue wave. A rogue wave does not have to be bigger than the rest, although it may or may not have been, but there are two important points with rogues. Firstly, the tend to have very steep fronts. This would cause a vessel to broach as it would race down the front faster than it had been on anything else. The second is that they often come at a very different angle to the rest of the sea around. So this could have taken the boat at an angle that the boat was not oriantated to by the drogue and jib and the sea state and wind angle up till that point.
Anything is possible with wave action down there.
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Old 18-01-2007, 04:13   #124
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I didn't think of it being an issue, but I didn't have an autopilot installed. I actually had one ready to go, but decided at the last minute to skip the final installation based on time contraints and concern over the unit's drain on the batteries.

SO, we hand steered the whole way - but of course, there were two of us, so that was possible and practical.
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Old 18-01-2007, 07:20   #125
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Wheels,

I agree with you that "anything is possible with wave action down there".

But, I don't agree with your reasoning that it had to be a rogue wave. I'm not saying it wasn't a rogue wave, merely that the logical statement,

"If all was well before hand for sometime, then it is obviouse that the wave that rolled him was different to all those before."

... doesn't hold up. It could have been very much like the waves before it, but something could well have gone wrong with the autopilot (they sometimes have a mind of their own....my old Autohelm tried to kill me a bunch of times before I got smart and replaced it with the most robust one I could find).

Or, the boat may have simply been oriented in such way -- as the result of another wave, perhaps from a different direction -- that the autopilot was unable to save the broach.

Point is, we weren't there so we're just guessing. Ken also may not know what hit him, as he was down below.

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Old 18-01-2007, 08:27   #126
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I didn't react to the first mention of "Rogue" Waves........as far as I am concerned a "Rogue Wave" is when you encounter something like a 100 foot solid green wall of water. It applies to something that could not reasonably be foreseen. (unless perhaps you are surfing off Hawaii )

When out on the water, it is just normal that some waves will be bigger than others (whether in a F1 or a F10), and that now and again a bigger than average / an awkward bugger or a combination of waves will catch you / yer boat "wrong". Sometimes these waves will be a lot bigger than others. but this is normal - whether it is 1 in 10 or 1 in 10,000. ..........not some sort of freak of nature that is beyond human anticipation.

If I was off Cape Horn and the waves / swells were coming at me from 3 seperate directions "Normal" would IMO cover just about anything.........in practice it sounds like he was down below and not on the helm at the "wrong time"........the reason for this is another question.
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Old 18-01-2007, 09:45   #127
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Dashing Rogues
Freak ocean waves pose threat to ships, deep-sea oil platforms
Sid Perkins
Science News -
Week of Nov. 18, 2006; Vol. 170, No. 21 , p. 328

[excerpts below]

"A wave typically achieves rogue status not by growing to a certain minimum size but by exceeding the surrounding waves by a certain proportion. The basis for comparison is an oceanographic parameter called significant wave height, which researchers typically calculate by taking the average of the tallest one-third of the waves in a particular patch of ocean. Many scientists define a wave as a rogue if it's 2.2 times as tall as the significant wave height.

"When large numbers of waves are generated by the same phenomenon—a strong storm, say, or an ocean current—they travel in groups called wave trains. Individual waves in a train can pass energy back and forth among themselves, for example when large waves overtake and briefly subsume smaller ones. Over the course of 5 or 10 minutes, relatively benign waves can become "much more exciting," says Osborne.

"Moreover, the amplifying interactions between two wave trains traveling in different directions—a condition called crossing seas—can really pump up a wave, he and his colleagues report in the Jan. 13 Physical Review Letters. Not only do the rogue waves grow taller in crossing seas than they do within a single wave train, they're also more likely to form in the first place. Many ships lost in rough weather have gone down in crossing seas, the researchers note."
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Old 18-01-2007, 12:39   #128
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He was doing the right thing by being below, it is what we all should do in bad weather. If he had been on deck his chances of survival would have been close to nil.
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Old 18-01-2007, 14:00   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven
Dashing Rogues
Freak ocean waves pose threat to ships, deep-sea oil platforms
Sid Perkins
Science News -
Week of Nov. 18, 2006; Vol. 170, No. 21 , p. 328

[excerpts below]

"A wave typically achieves rogue status not by growing to a certain minimum size but by exceeding the surrounding waves by a certain proportion ... Many scientists define a wave as a rogue if it's 2.2 times as tall as the significant wave height ...
Emphasis mine.
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Old 18-01-2007, 18:41   #130
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Gotta disagree with ya Dana...been in big seas and would never leave the helm to an AP.
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Old 18-01-2007, 20:27   #131
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He was doing the right thing by being below,
Some folks have broken their backs and necks by being below in a roll-over.

Not sure I know the correct answer, but the old sailors would tie themselfes to the mast or whatever in a storm so they could not be washed overboard come hell or high water....
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Old 18-01-2007, 20:37   #132
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I am posting this just for informational purposes. I do not wish to take a stand one way or the other.



Singlehander Barnes Deluged by International Media

January 12 - Newport Beach
The recent rescue of solo circumnavigator Ken Barnes near Cape Horn triggered an international media frenzy which is painfully ironic on several levels.
First, Barnes, being a pretty humble guy, sought virtually no publicity prior to setting out in late October. His attempt was simply a personal challenge, with no further agenda. He consented to be interviewed for our September, 2006, Sightings piece, only because he is a fan of the magazine. Although Barnes, 47, has spent his entire life around the water, he openly acknowledged that he had relatively little offshore experience, and therefore did not want to invite criticism from every armchair pontificator in the sailing world by seeking advance publicity. Now, ironically, he has become an accidental celebrity - even Oprah and Leno are seeking interviews - not for completing his around-the-world attempt, but for becoming stranded in the Southern Ocean aboard his dismasted 44-ft ketch Privateer - a fact that has probably inspired Monday-morning quarterbacking from every blowhard on the planet.
Perhaps even more ironic is the safe assumption that if he had successfully completed his lap around the globe, the feat would barely have been a blip on the radar of mainstream media outlets. He would have been the first American to solo nonstop from the West Coast. But Canadian Tony Gooch completed a similar trip several years ago from Vancouver, so even in the yachting press Barnes' trip probably wouldn't have been front page news.
We were very pleased, however, that shortly after returning home to Newport Beach, Barnes snuck away from an onslaught of TV, radio and newspaper reporters who'd been shadowing him to call and give us the full story of his storm saga and rescue. "The last thing I wanted to do," he recalled, "was activate that EPIRB." Look for our report in the February edition of Latitude 38.
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Old 18-01-2007, 22:18   #133
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Oh please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohaboat
Now, ironically, he has become an accidental celebrity - even Oprah and Leno are seeking interviews - not for completing his around-the-world attempt, but for becoming stranded in the Southern Ocean aboard his dismasted 44-ft ketch Privateer - a fact that has probably inspired Monday-morning quarterbacking from every blowhard on the planet.
Give me a break!

His web site had minute by minute coverage of his media coverage. If you don't want attention, you don't build a web site.
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Old 18-01-2007, 23:39   #134
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...been in big seas and would never leave the helm to an AP.
Not even if you were soloing in the Screaming Fifties?? How long, exactly, were you planning to stay at the helm?

Quote:
Give me a break!....... If you don't want attention, you don't build a web site.
How many aspiring circumnavigators do you know that leave port without setting up some kind of website??

Quote:
a fact that has probably inspired Monday-morning quarterbacking from every blowhard on the planet.
I hope we can all agree on that last quote, though.

Have fun!

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Old 19-01-2007, 09:54   #135
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Sorry, I have the exact opposite point of view with most of what you say. I have to post again...

Of course, you can't stay at the helm all day while in rough seas. That's what makes the solo trip such a challenge. It's tough... real tough. The autohelm can't do it, you can't do it from exhaustion, so that leaves you with choosing the lesser of two evils. I'm sure the guy was exhausted and made the right choice to engage the autohelm for a few winks or to go below and make some food or whatever he was doing. This is why there is no "right or wrong" type of decision here. It is a broad spectrum of greys to choose from in deciding if the human or machine is more up to task. Needless to say, of anyone posting has been out in some rough stuff, you know the autohelm can't handle it like you can. At the same time, if you are weary and have no strength left, you'd normally call up the guy who is off watch to take over. That's the safe way to do things. In Ken's situation, he was taking the risk of a solo trip. He has to choose between a machine that can't handle the seas and possibly a tired self who can't handle them either (pure speculation that he was tired). It's a lose/lose decision. He just had to mitigate risk and choose what he thought was best, which I'm sure he did. This isn't monday morning quarterbacking. This is a legitimate discussion of what can go wrong in a specific situation and a sharing of ideas on how to prevent such a situation from happening in the future. If we all just sit back and go "great job!" without digging through the possibilities, the loss of his vessel will do nothing to help the greater sailing community. He should ignore those mean folks that give him a hard time, but should understand the need for those that go to sea to put themselves in his shoes and talk through what might have been the cause and/or appropriate actions to take. It's educational for all of us.

Second, his website *did* have a minute by minute update of his ordeal while it took place, as well as announcements about his various media coverages. My question is: If you were worried about your buddy/boyfriend/whoever out at sea, why would you spend your time updated websites on a minute by minute basis? Don't you think you would be freaking out and stressed? It is very odd that his site was updated every few hours during the ordeal, mentioning each story that came out in the media. This is not normal behavior for someone who is worried about Ken's well being.

I emphatically disagree with your last quote as well. This thread has not been about monday morning quarterbacking. It has been written by real people, many of which likely have more days at sea than our buddy Ken Barnes, who want to talk through the possibilities, just like the FAA does when there is a downed jetliner. I'll say it again. Boat's don't have black boxes (little ones), so this is the next best thing. Don't curtail the informed discussions going on here and dismiss them as worthless. They are vital to each and every participant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by henkmeuzelaar
Not even if you were soloing in the Screaming Fifties?? How long, exactly, were you planning to stay at the helm?



How many aspiring circumnavigators do you know that leave port without setting up some kind of website??



I hope we can all agree on that last quote, though.

Have fun!

Flying Dutchman
"Rivendel II" (currently dry-berthed in Port Vila, Vanuatu)
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