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Old 02-08-2013, 09:54   #361
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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1. The OP's main was "slamming back and forth", he is lucky he didn't take the rig down with his accidental gybes
2. Neither paper nor electronic charts are much help getting through the reefs into an anchorage in Roatan, you need a cruising guide because Roatan is poorly charted.
3.The only real danger he was in was due to his proximity to Roatan, but that is not where he was headed, he was headed to Cabo Tres Puntas and if he had made it there he would have easily gotten assistance from a shrimper, or the Guatemalan navy.
4.Or he could have sailed for Puerto Cortes.
5. He never actually lost his instruments, he was using his SSB to call for help.
6.Too many people have suggested here that they would have sailed the last 18 miles to Roatan. This would have been the worst possible choice. You would be much safer by bearing away from land. Roatan has good anchorages all the way around the island but every one of them requires a pass through the reef, none of which are shown on the charts. It is wrong to assume that just because you are in proximity to land, you can head there and find safety. It is actually just the opposite. If he had headed for Roatan that night, his boat would have still ended up on a reef.
7. Delfin, I really like your quote about walking a mile in a man's shoes

You make some excellent points.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:01   #362
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Hi, guys, it's a new day for me here, and I've had a couple more thoughts, FWIW.

After reading the speculation relative to the seasickness, it occurred to me that diesel fumes could have exaggerated it if it were there, as can cold, fear, and fatigue. So he'd have had to store his diesel-y rags smell-proof, after draining the water out of the glass bowls on his filters, and wiping up.

The other thought is that he turned on his engine to motor-sail, going downwind. To me that is very weird. If he didn't like the slatting, why not go on jib alone like Boatie suggested? How is it that he was not using a preventer? [Jim and I have used double preventers run to the cockpit since he put them on for singlehanded racing, prior to 1983.]

In the past when we've had slatting, our practice is to put in two reefs, to flatten the main, so it quits slatting. It may require over-trimming to accomplish it. Wind always comes back eventually; the longest I personally have had to wait bobbing around on a glassy sea was one day. [When the air is so light you can only move the boat at about half a knot on a 60 degree reach, actual progress is so slow, it doesn't much matter what direction you go in for an hour: 3,000 ft. isn't that far! So you can still sail, and, if necessary, wear ship, as tacking will be unlikely.]

What I'm suggesting here is all relative to practicing all your sailing possibilities, even if you will want to motor-sail when boat speed drops, in the same way that I am in favor of practicing sailing on and off the hook, and also going out and practicing your skills in bad weather, learn where the storm jib has to sheet to heave to effectively, and so on.

Having experienced the water in the fuel situation twice, why did he not address it immediately at that point? Options he had open incude (not exhaustive) sailing on jib alone, rolled up per Boatie's suggestion, [did he have an undamaged heads'l he could have set?], main alone, lying ahull, and heaving to on the offshore tack, and of course, proceeding to anchoring depth and anchoring to have a think about it.

Jim's fond of saying, "Experience is what you get right after you needed it." A harsh lesson for SVSerenity, for sure.

Ann
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:10   #363
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

"6.Too many people have suggested here that they would have sailed the last 18 miles to Roatan. This would have been the worst possible choice. You would be much safer by bearing away from land. Roatan has good anchorages all the way around the island but every one of them requires a pass through the reef, none of which are shown on the charts. It is wrong to assume that just because you are in proximity to land, you can head there and find safety. It is actually just the opposite. If he had headed for Roatan that night, his boat would have still ended up on a reef."

Well said. Sailing into any anchorage can be treacherous enough, but if you have never been there before even more so. Reliance upon another's assistance to go the remaining distance after you've lost the wind due to surrounding topography may still be required. Asking for said assistance requires a working radio, or as a last ditch effort ability to see your signal or flare.

All boats do not have the real estate or stowage capacity to carry an inflatable and sufficiently sized outboard motor to 'self assist'.

Losing wind upon approach to an unfamiliar anchorage makes your boat vulnerable to the effects of current and waves. You boat may end up on the rocks before assistance arrives - if it ever arrives.

I've been in a situation where current was carrying my boat toward a large rock in a windless environment. Fortunately, conditions were amenable to my towing my boat if not away from the hazard with my kayak, at least holding the boat in place. Luck has it wind arrived soon thereafter. But, we are not always that lucky.

You must always have a way out under sail. If you don't, you are at risk of losing your boat. If there is no way to abandon your approach to a familiar or unfamiliar anchorage, my choice is to abandon the idea and sail elsewhere.

Finally, even with the best laid plan, a ship can appear causing you to have to change course. Is there room after you change course to recover your attempt to sail to the anchorage?

My point is that sailing to a destination after losing engine power is not always wise or possible. One must always be willing if necessary to change plans, even if by doing so entails a very long sail to an alternate landfall.

Then, you may have to deal with officials who are less than cooperative because you lack a required cruising permit.

Been there, done that.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:16   #364
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

In anticipation of the "drop anchor" posts, anyone who has entered Nuka Hiva and is familiar with the entrance knows the depth precludes stopping your boat this way. Right up to the cliff to starboard and rocks to port.

This is only one example of places where an anchor will not prevent losing your boat.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:34   #365
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Velero americano destruye 35M2 de Arrecifes; daña colonias de Coral Cerebro y Fuego; pone en riesgo a Cuernos de Alce; responsables abandonan embarcación | Mahahual | Noticias | Eventos - Costa Maya Magazine
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:39   #366
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pirate Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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In anticipation of the "drop anchor" posts, anyone who has entered Nuka Hiva and is familiar with the entrance knows the depth precludes stopping your boat this way. Right up to the cliff to starboard and rocks to port.

This is only one example of places where an anchor will not prevent losing your boat.
True... and charted depths do not correspond to reality in the anchorage...

My comment about heading for the island was based on the fact he was in radio communication therefore could likely have organised through the CG a local guide to meet him in a small RIB/whatever for a few bucks... that was the fast fix... the others have already been stated in one form or another... and I believe he had wind in plenty... and if he'd headed there at noon he'd have been there in daylight... else cover 2/3rds and lay ahull till dawn as morning light is best for shallow waters..
Ann had it right... the 1st skill you need to learn is boat/sail control at all speeds... then how to fix your secondary propulsion when that's mastered.... or buy a twin engine PB.
Been there done that in a full on gale with 10+ metre seas of the Galician coast in December...
Its always easier to find a reason NOT to do something...
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:55   #367
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

After finding water in the fuel which caused the motor to quit he successfully drained it and bled the fuel system. He continued to run the motor until the filter filled with water and the motor died. That was a huge mistake. When water enters an injector it flashes to steam and can ruin it. (injector tip explodes) He should have drained the water from the filter BEFORE it could enter the motor.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:07   #368
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I tried to read all the posts so if I did not see these points made it wasn't for lack of reading but rather comprehension.

An EPIRB on board might have saved this boat. It does not rely on ships batteries. Therefore the necessity to save the batteries for the VHF/SSB bailout call might have been much reduced. With confidence in the ability to summon help with no ships power maybe the pressure to abandon the original course would go way down. And always have a self powered VHF for emergency comms with SAR.

Another lesson is to conserve battery power at the first failure of redundant dc charging systems rather than after all power sources are failed. Definitely should have been conserving power at the first moment of engine failure instead of 4 hours later. Instruments on a boat like that should not draw more than 5A. By only using them sporadically (5-10 minutes per hour) to verify position batteries could have been extended to several days.

Perhaps we should have a sticky thread where we post the most popular lessons learned. Only the really hardcore will want to wade through this thread.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:09   #369
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

"Its always easier to find a reason NOT to do something..."

How so? Usually the best practice is to adhere to one's plan. But, based upon changing conditions and new developments safely concluding a plan may not be possible. Drafting an entirely new plan my be required because there is enough cause to ditch the original plan.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:20   #370
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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I tried to read all the posts so if I did not see these points made it wasn't for lack of reading but rather comprehension.

An EPIRB on board might have saved this boat. It does not rely on ships batteries. Therefore the necessity to save the batteries for the VHF/SSB bailout call might have been much reduced. With confidence in the ability to summon help with no ships power maybe the pressure to abandon the original course would go way down. And always have a self powered VHF for emergency comms with SAR

<didacted content>

Perhaps we should have a sticky thread where we post the most popular lessons learned. Only the really hardcore will want to wade through this thread.
Alerting others for the purpose of requesting assistance was not the problem. Obtaining assistance of the type he required was the problem. The Honduran government allegedly lacked resources necessary to tow his boat to safety.

Also, as an earlier post mentioned it is a curious fact the vessel who took the sailor from his boat to safety did not offer clean fuel. Maybe there was no request for fuel made. Also, although it is improbable there was no diesel aboard the ship, bunker fuel could not be used in the sail boat's auxiliary diesel engine.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:28   #371
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Although the efficacy of attempts to row or skull is affected by the presence of swell and wave action, using a large enough tiller controlled rudder to move a boat is possible. If a vessel is large enough to stow two oars or a single oar used to skull off the stern, these are worth considering.

I have used the large tiller controlled rudder on my boat to skull the last remaining distance to my destination. Otherwise my boat falls into the too small category for carrying oars.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:40   #372
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

so no one has made sails out of plastic tarps and duct tape, nor out of bedsheets or any other alternative to trying while under way to use sail tape, as i tried recently, to no avail whatsoever---i reefed my sails until i got to a repair place which seems to have been of ill repute---so....

there are many many many things to do when your thumb us up your ass in a panic. the last and worst thing to do is just that--panic--save it for when the water is over the coachhouse roof.

the best sailor is one who does not leave his boat in the ocean. the best driver is that one who doesnt leave his car on the freeway, and the best racer is he who does not quit in mid field when running behind or loses bits of the car.... get it home. learn to repair stuff outside the box, and survive.
cant blame the owner for running--it prolly seemed impossible to him at his experience level.

most of us are weaker than are our boats.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:48   #373
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pirate Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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"Its always easier to find a reason NOT to do something..."

How so? Usually the best practice is to adhere to one's plan. But, based upon changing conditions and new developments safely concluding a plan may not be possible. Drafting an entirely new plan my be required because there is enough cause to ditch the original plan.
My original plan was to make it from Brixham to Baiona with a seemingly perfect 6 day weather window...
24 hrs into the Biscay I got hit by a NW'ly gale that had me hove to as I was slowly driven back by the blow... a couple of weeks later it was still screaming and the sea's were pretty big as they stacked over the shelf.. I'd tacked from port to starboard repeatedly to maintain drift direction and was around 10 miles from the coast... should mention also heard a lot of traffic about two large Spanish fishing boats and one Portuguese boat going down and listening to the one way chatter of the SAR co-ordinators..
I had 2 choices... call Mayday and lose my boat and likely injure/jeopardise my life in the rescue... or make a run for the entrance to Viviero 12 miles SE of my position...
From my perspective rescue was 50/50 on survival... boat gets ridden down and crushed by rescue vessel... I get swept away as I try to make the scramble net.. get crushed by my own boat as a wave lifts her and throws her against the side of the rescue vessel...
Going for it... no one knows I'm out there.. I could broach as I turn, I could broach as I close land as the sea's got larger.. I had no chart for that port... the chart I had started 15miles W of my position... tho I did have a 5yr old Reeds with a passport size diagram of the entrance and coastline.. the outboard could fail at a crucial time... swamping... fuel failure... would I be able to get a jib hanked on and up if that happened as I was knocked about... brewed some coffee and banged a hefty slug off brandy in there and mulled it over... everything told me to call a MayDay... but a little voice kept nagging that I'd be in a situation out off my control... my fate would be down to other folks decisions... I don't like that at all
By the evening the distance was down to 5 miles so I started my 5hp outboard and went for it... guess what... it worked.
That's in severe conditions.... on a 22footer... with a shore full of cliffs 200+ft
This was in benign conditions and a complete surrender...
Sorry mate... I'm the opposite to you.. better to try and fail than maybe die without even trying... no guarantees in life.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:01   #374
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

"most of us are weaker than are our boats."

In an E-mail about foul weather Bruce Roberts said this to me when I started "You will want out a hell of a long time before shes actually in trouble"
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:02   #375
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Your choices were between risking your boat in a collision during rescue, or sticking to your plan. Clearly, choosing was not easy to do.

I am talking about circumstances where the choices are not so stark, and I have not suggested anyone should 'give up' the ship.

Think. Consider the consequences, probability of success and failure. Then, and only then - decide.

Think again, then follow through.

It is not a case of your right I'm wrong, or visa versa.
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