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Old 27-04-2015, 05:17   #31
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

This is a tragedy but for tragedies like this not to happen again there is a need of more safety education for racers.

Look at the crew of this boat: they see it coming, they suspect it is bad (one sailor suggest the they all go inside the boat) they had plenty of time till it it hit them and all of them remained on the cockpit, nobody with a lifejacket (for a long time), nobody with an harness and a tether holding them to the boat. The absence of basic security procedures face what it looks a very heavy squall is quite frightening.



Some more images at the marina:

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Old 27-04-2015, 05:46   #32
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

This race if I remember correctly is a bit of a distance race. Not sure how long it would have taken for the boats to find shelter.

Also, from this time of year through about July afternoon storms/squalls can be a daily occurrence so unless the sailors knew the severity of this one, they may not have taken it seriously enough.

Usually you get winds to maybe 35 knots or so.

Beach cat sailors have had their boats struck by lightning in similar storms but the winds were no where near the strength of this storm.

At other times, races are delayed while storms pass through.
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Old 27-04-2015, 05:59   #33
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Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
I don't think that's fair to suggest it's being 'cheap'. CF is about learning from others and from a news report over hear in Australia there are a lot of questions being asked about why the regatta continued to proceed when there were warnings?



Can others comment on the predictability of this sudden weather disaster.

Yes, learning is paramount for any of us choosing to leave the shore In a wind powered boat. I race in a northern state on a river where sixty MPH straight line winds are not infrequent. We generally know when one is bearing down on us and I do recall watching a national weather forecast the night before this happened which predicted violent weather the next day. I've decided to go out in those conditions myself but when I do, I am scanning the horizon more vigilantly for trouble and/or the weather forecast on the radio/cell phone. Incidents happening in pre cell phone era don't really apply here IMVHO. We can debate the pitfalls of reliance upon technology but it nevertheless surrounds us today.

What were Race organizers doing to monitor conditions? They must have suspected it as I read a report that they postponed the event and then reopened it.
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Old 27-04-2015, 07:11   #34
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

Without disrespecting any of those suffering through bad weather, nor second guessing skippers when I wasn't on the water, I agree with Polux and others who would like to understand this better from a sailing view. The evening news is too general, and we have specific questions. Perhaps some of those who experienced the storm Saturday can comment if there are lessons to be learned. What do you wish you knew, or had been told, to make your crew safer?

Considering that this was an organized, hundred-boat, 25 mile race, I'd have some expectations about the regatta organizers more than a weekday beer-can race. I'd like to know about the communications: (1) Were you informed at the skippers meeting or during the race about weather hazards, or changing weather? and (2) Were there safety equipment requirements (PFD, VHF, emergency equipment, etc.)?

For those who want to flame for asking questions -- Peace. This is a sharing forum. I sail on one of those 'little boats' in shallow waters and have a passionate interest in doing so without endangering myself or crew.
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Old 27-04-2015, 07:18   #35
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

[QUOTE=Cap Erict3;1810699]Although winds at the high end of a sailing dinghy's range were predicted, I expect that the gusts near 100 mph (95mph was the highest recorded) were the result of a micro burst.
Winds of these speeds were not predicted.

We lost members of the sailing community. Looking for fall guys is cheap.

With all due respect this storm did not come out of nowhere as suggested by some here nor am I looking for a fall guy.
As I stated before I saw this system heading this way at 1000hrs (located just west of Louisiana), some reports had it traveling at 60mph.
My point is that we as sailors need to be more aware of the weather- there are too many tools available to allow us to make responsible decisions as to when to set sail-
Then there is the lack of normal safety precautions (no life jackets, no tethers). How many had radios and/or monitoring ? Did organizers monitor weather and communicate with fleet?
Lets use this as a learning experience, could these events have been avoided? what could have been done to be better prepared?
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Old 27-04-2015, 07:32   #36
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polux View Post
This is a tragedy but for tragedies like this not to happen again there is a need of more safety education for racers.

Look at the crew of this boat: they see it coming, they suspect it is bad (one sailor suggest the they all go inside the boat) they had plenty of time till it it hit them and all of them remained on the cockpit, nobody with a lifejacket (for a long time), nobody with an harness and a tether holding them to the boat. The absence of basic security procedures face what it looks a very heavy squall is quite frightening.
Catsailors were saying similar things about the video, but also that it was a lot worse in other areas.

Mobile bay regatta - Catsailor.com Forums

Then there's this from a Hobie 16 sailor that was in the race:

I was out there in the storm on our H16. All the cat sailors are fine. I know an 18HT Javelin and a Hobie 20 were damaged beyond repair. I've seen pictures of the Javelin but not the 20.. Stuff was ridiculous where we were. Honestly it was much more intense than any of the videos I have seen from other boats. The best way I can describe it is based on what I saw on the radar on my phone shortly before we got hit. There was one smallish area on the radar that was in the red. Dauphin island was more in the green radar area. Our boat and my uncle's boat were literally in the red area when we encountered the storm.
Someone from al.com wants to talk to me tomorrow so I'll post up the interview when I find it posted. My uncle Ron also talked with the Mobile press register.. There was a phone interview I did with the local NBC 15 news station that aired yesterday.
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Old 27-04-2015, 08:03   #37
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

Looking for someone to blame is easy. Farmers curse the weatherman too.

Certain aspects of sailing can be scary. The unpredictability of winds in storms is one of them.

I use my radar when I am faced with a line of scattered storms while offshore hoping to dodge them. I make radical course changes if need be.

Airlines have done a lot of study due to the plane crashes caused by wind shear.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_shear

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microburst

I have only one offshore event that was officially designated a "Microburst"

It came totally unexpected and did much damage to our operation, if not to our vessel.
A lot of time and money was spent reviewing the event and the final conclusion was that we could have neither prepared nor predicted such a localized phenomenon.

This evening local weather predicted the winds @ 10-15 mph. My wind log sustained winds @ 35 mph for close to 1/2 hour.

Many times I have seen short term winds of 60mph+ on the leading edge of squalls.



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Old 27-04-2015, 08:29   #38
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

One of the instructors at the base once said putting a PFD on when you need it is akin to trying to put your seat belt on while sliding down an icy highway in your car with a cliff ahead.

I don't like armchairing, and I think this crew did fine with the conditions they had with one exception being the PFD's.

For about $150, you can get Sospenders or other inflatable wearable PFD's that are always there along with a personal strobe. Don't want to have a debate about whether they work in some situations, but the fact remains that it is extremely rare to pull bodies out of the water wearing PFD's. And if that were at least a requirement for the Regatta, we have to ask ourselves if we would have two dead and 5 still missing?
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Old 27-04-2015, 09:15   #39
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Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

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Originally Posted by tdoster View Post
One of the instructors at the base once said putting a PFD on when you need it is akin to trying to put your seat belt on while sliding down an icy highway in your car with a cliff ahead.

I don't like armchairing, and I think this crew did fine with the conditions they had with one exception being the PFD's.

For about $150, you can get Sospenders or other inflatable wearable PFD's that are always there along with a personal strobe. Don't want to have a debate about whether they work in some situations, but the fact remains that it is extremely rare to pull bodies out of the water wearing PFD's. And if that were at least a requirement for the Regatta, we have to ask ourselves if we would have two dead and 5 still missing?

Many boats carry carry only the minimum requirements and all to often the pfd's never leave their original packaging. The only sailors in the bay races I used to crew that wore pfd's were the few that brought their own. Most skippers worried more on deck shoes and gloves.

I occasionally remember watching my boys laughing on a pitching deck at night making a sail change with no safety gear and am tormented by what could have happened.

The last reports I saw had 1 of the remaining 5 missing found safe at home. Of the 10 boats that capsized 3 were part of the regatta.


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Old 27-04-2015, 09:40   #40
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

Yep, I gotta agree: all those guys in their dinghies should have been listening for alerts on their VHFs, and been watching their radars for incoming storms, and had their harnesses tethered to the strong points on their decks and had the companionway hatch secured and for sure had consulted a reputable NA re the AVS of their vessels... If they had done so, none of those unfortunate deaths would have happened.

Seriously, were any yachts of typical cruising size sunk or capsized? There seems to be some discrepancy in what the strength of the squall was... numbers from ~ 60 to the magic 100 knots (or were they talking MPH?) have been bandied about. Most cruising yachts will experience 60 knot gusts in their lives, but few will see 100, and there is a lot of difference in the forces generated by such events. But wind alone will never cause worse than a 90 degree knockdown, and brief squalls don't have the time to generate waves big enough to roll the typical cruising boat. I doubt the claim that "10 foot waves were instantly generated", but even if true, such waves are not going to capsize most cruising yachts.

My point in all of this is while this weather was disastrous to a fleet of racing dinghies, extrapolating to the world of cruising yachts is not very informative and should not cause fear and worry to future cruisers.

Jim, using Ann's computer
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Old 27-04-2015, 10:07   #41
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Yep, I gotta agree: all those guys in their dinghies should have been listening for alerts on their VHFs, and been watching their radars for incoming storms, and had their harnesses tethered to the strong points on their decks and had the companionway hatch secured and for sure had consulted a reputable NA re the AVS of their vessels... If they had done so, none of those unfortunate deaths would have happened.

Seriously, were any yachts of typical cruising size sunk or capsized? There seems to be some discrepancy in what the strength of the squall was... numbers from ~ 60 to the magic 100 knots (or were they talking MPH?) have been bandied about. Most cruising yachts will experience 60 knot gusts in their lives, but few will see 100, and there is a lot of difference in the forces generated by such events. But wind alone will never cause worse than a 90 degree knockdown, and brief squalls don't have the time to generate waves big enough to roll the typical cruising boat. I doubt the claim that "10 foot waves were instantly generated", but even if true, such waves are not going to capsize most cruising yachts.

My point in all of this is while this weather was disastrous to a fleet of racing dinghies, extrapolating to the world of cruising yachts is not very informative and should not cause fear and worry to future cruisers.

Jim, using Ann's computer

As you might expect, no information has been released on who is missing and what boats they were from. It is a safe bet the smaller boats faired the worst. The small number of boats capsized indicate the localized nature of the highest winds.

I have been turned turtle enough times in a dink to know that steering with the back of my head while running downwind to lead to an unplanned gybe. Yep. Wind can flip a dink.


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Old 27-04-2015, 10:16   #42
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Yep, I gotta agree: all those guys in their dinghies should have been listening for alerts on their VHFs, and been watching their radars for incoming storms, and had their harnesses tethered to the strong points on their decks and had the companionway hatch secured and for sure had consulted a reputable NA re the AVS of their vessels... If they had done so, none of those unfortunate deaths would have happened.

Seriously, were any yachts of typical cruising size sunk or capsized? There seems to be some discrepancy in what the strength of the squall was... numbers from ~ 60 to the magic 100 knots (or were they talking MPH?) have been bandied about. Most cruising yachts will experience 60 knot gusts in their lives, but few will see 100, and there is a lot of difference in the forces generated by such events. But wind alone will never cause worse than a 90 degree knockdown, and brief squalls don't have the time to generate waves big enough to roll the typical cruising boat. I doubt the claim that "10 foot waves were instantly generated", but even if true, such waves are not going to capsize most cruising yachts.

My point in all of this is while this weather was disastrous to a fleet of racing dinghies, extrapolating to the world of cruising yachts is not very informative and should not cause fear and worry to future cruisers.

Jim, using Ann's computer

up to 100 MPH at the top and all over the place as the base. I believe the base will always be less than the recorded top levels that radar can record.

What is not normal is the swirlling in West Texas that has been tossing crud out the past few days with very cold air aloft that mixed with lower unstable air can pull the moisture up and build these storms in a hurry and really can see a 50K topper pop up in a matter of minutes, and impossible to predict.

Many skippers reported that they had less than 5 minutes warning. Gulf squalls pop up during the day and they are usually not difficult to avoid or pass through while praying you will not be a lightning rod, but not often do you get a 50K foot topper super cell moving at 50 knots that wide and formed that quickly.

Look at the national radar today as the spinning low is easy to make out around Amarillo, TX and can see how cold it really is.
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Old 27-04-2015, 11:25   #43
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Yep, I gotta agree: all those guys in their dinghies should have been listening for alerts on their VHFs, and been watching their radars for incoming storms, and had their harnesses tethered to the strong points on their decks and had the companionway hatch secured and for sure had consulted a reputable NA re the AVS of their vessels... If they had done so, none of those unfortunate deaths would have happened.
....
Doesn't make any sense to talk about harnesses and tethers on dinghies or small cats as well as any form of receiving information, except with their eyes and as we could see on the yacht movie the squall has clearly visible approaching (as it is normally the case).

But it does a lot of sense with a squall clearly approaching to wear life jackets on dinghies and beach cats and as you can see on this movie on the towed disabled cat they are not wearing none.

Mobile Bay boaters missing after storm - CNN.com

I would say that would makes more then sense, it is very hard to understand why they had not them on.

Regarding harness and theaters (as well as life jackets) that was referring to a yacht that made a movie. They had seen an heavy squall coming and did not take any precaution except taking the sails out. The one at the wheel did experience difficulties in wearing a life jacket and give up.

They were lucky on that yacht because the wind there would never got close to the 90/100Nm that were experienced by other boats. If they had the chances are that the boat would have heeled violently, close to 90ļ and there was a strong possibility that some of those that were on the cockpit end up in the water, some without life jackets and none tethered to the boat.
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Old 27-04-2015, 12:42   #44
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

I assume that was the skipper telling everyone to go below at the start and no one did. I would have been displeased on my boat if that happened. Towards the start you also see a boat to starboard with its sail still up and over a few degrees. Interesting video.




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Old 27-04-2015, 14:50   #45
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Re: Multiple boat capsize off Mobile

What kind of person runs over a boat and leaves the crew in the water? My candidate for Worst Person in the World.
'Light O Mobile' rescues 3 men stranded in the bay after Dauphin Island Regatta disaster | AL.com

I hope they find the culprit and throw them under the jail.

Fair winds,

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