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Old 31-07-2013, 03:57   #46
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Re: Regret to inform have lost my boat off Honduras...

I am sorry to read about this sad outcome. Good that the captain survived. Hard to know precisely how much his vessel was compromised making navigation increasingly difficult and perhaps perilous. I suspect it was not going to be improving, and so abandoning his ship and saving life appears to be the right choice. But again, it's hard to know.

The same lesson repeats... a sailboat is a complex system of interrelated and interdependent sub systems. A failure in one system can cascade through the entire boat leading to system failure. This is precisely how progressive failure works... how small failures can take down huge complex systems which usually do not have enough redundancy (too expensive and not practical in most cases).

Sailors are pretty good a fixing things and finding patches and solutions when faced with problems. They wouldn't leave the dock without some level of competency in dealing with failures and adverse conditions. Anyone that does is a fool. But it's a balancing act in the end. Boats have to be light and tight.

What we see here is how fuel systems are mission critical to electricity. Solar and wind may solve some of the electricity issues but SSB sucks power... and this may be the only means to communicate when off shore.

On the other hand you usually can't expect to motor to safety offshore and so the sails, rig and steering become mission critical and should also have redundancy. But this is weather and sea condition related. Manning the helm for long periods may not be possible... AP or self steering becomes mission critical too.

And of course you need the sort of provisions and water to sustain you if you find your vessel out there longer than anticipated.

Systems fail and when they do... it seems to spiral rapidly downhill and out of control pretty quickly. Give lots of thought to this when you head out.
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Old 31-07-2013, 04:01   #47
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Wink Re: Regret to inform have lost my boat off Honduras...

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Originally Posted by o_q View Post
Also... I lost my MacGregor 26 during my 2nd circumnavigation. My GPS died, so I had to abandon ship.
That is terrible!

Here, maybe this will help,...
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Old 31-07-2013, 04:33   #48
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And that is why we never repaired our SSB, have no EPIRB and no life raft. But plenty of spares, tools and alternative systems.

Lo siento mucho, Serenity, por lo que paso. Ojala que vuelves pronto al mar con otro velero!
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Old 31-07-2013, 04:48   #49
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Re: Regret to inform have lost my boat off Honduras...

Well IMO all is not lost. I got the impression your boat had sunk but, from your account it is still floating out there pretty close to the coast and easily retrievable if you hurry. As we have seen here time and time again boats seem to do very well on their own and are often found floating months later. You still have a chance to reclaim your boat if you want to take it. Even if it is found by someone else you should be able to find it somewhere along the coast near where you abandoned her. Yeah, some items might be stripped off but, you should be able to replace them for less cost than buying a new boat.
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Old 31-07-2013, 05:06   #50
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Re: Regret to inform have lost my boat off Honduras...

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Originally Posted by Syserenity View Post
My lesson is, Radio and Instruments require to be independent each one from one battery and supplied from solar power, so Radio and Instruments are able to continue to operate. I realized, how a boat has to be overlooked, if it is a placer boat or a living cruiser and that Racor filters have to be at a position, where they become daily check. I realize how important it is, to check each and every can of diesel I fuel, so I can detect before filling, if there is water in larger amount. I realize, that sailing is not a question of having fun, it is a hard work of checking engines, instruments, communication and to analyze the boat permanently, since a disaster is here sooner than we think. Finally, I learned how important it is to manage the communication instruments like SSB, to check if antenna and equipment has the reach.
Thanks for sharing - a useful learning experience for others.

My basic position has always been that it is the Captain's decision whether to abandon ship, and if everyone gets to shore alive then it is the right decision.......so on that I make no criticism of you.

However, whilst you did the best you could with what you had - clearly you needed more, in both equipment and skills to get self and boat into a port.

Apart from preventing chafe in the first place, having a sail needle and thread onboard is essential (results do not need to be either neat or to stand up to a gale), and ideally another foresail (and the knowledge to be able to replace the existing if on a roller). Also prudent to have a supply of non-perishable food onboard (tins and dried food etc), including stuff that does not require heat. Being able to access the water tanks without electric is also essential.

Personally I would never sail to somewhere that I could not either navigate into without a GPS or have no alternative destination (and if that a long way away then I need the stores to reach it). Having a handheld GPS (on batteries) as a backup also works well (don't need to run it continuously until close to shore).

If a boat can get close to a port and within hailing distance of shore or other vessels (VHF or voice!) then odds are strong that a tow can be arranged if not able to sail in by self, indeed that may well be the most prudent action in tricky waters. The price of that might be staying out a little more than convenient (see comments on stores onboard).

IMO also prudent to expect that an engine will fail at some point (not on a single trip, but over years of voyages), and likely that will be at an inconvenient time! and that planning around that situation is the norm.

The above comments meant as constructive, mostly for others - including a reminder for self!
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Old 31-07-2013, 05:52   #51
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Re: Regret to inform have lost my boat off Honduras...

Sorry for your loss.

Based on some of the response posts is it any wonder we rarely read first hand accounts of these types of things?
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Old 31-07-2013, 06:06   #52
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Sorry for your loss.

Based on some of the response posts is it any wonder we rarely read first hand accounts of these types of things?
Spot on Don!!

Thanks to the OP for the guts to make the post. Definitely something for all to learn form.
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Old 31-07-2013, 06:32   #53
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

This is one situation where a handheld gps and spare batteries could have been a life saver, I sailed 900nm with no engine and it does take a toll on the sails, luckily enough our solar panels handled the batteries just fine and we had a portable genny a a last resort. it pays to have back ups of the back ups!
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Old 31-07-2013, 06:33   #54
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Re: Regret to inform have lost my boat off Honduras...

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I had a boyfriend that lost his vessel on a reef in that area, sailing at night, navigating with chart, right before GPS came out. A beautiful Warrem Cat he built himself. Almost didn't get off alive.

You are gonna do a lot of second guessing and replaying the whole thing. Make a list of the mistakes( you seemed to have already started that ) and list how they can be avoided next time, and then move on! Get back on that horse. There will be much talk and BS here, some will be constructive, some will not be. Nature of the Internet. There was a thread a few years ago about a vessel being lost. The owner came here to vent, to get comfort. She did not get much. What I'm trying to say is, nothing you say will please some folks here. So don't try. My 2cents.

Hang in there, get lots of rest, grieve, learn, move on.

In addition, English is not this sailor's first language. He did the best he could with the equipment and experience he had. He made a go for it, something advocated here all the time, and it worked out badly for him. And as he predicted, people are ALREADY criticizing him while he's still mourning the loss of a boat. That might not be as bad as the loss of a spouse but to me it is is much more than the death of a pet. It's like watching your house burn down -- and then your supposed friends criticize you for not putting it out with a garden hose instead of embracing you.

WE OUGHT TO CUT THIS OUT. This man will never be able to explain things to everyone's satisfaction. if someone here feels there's a lesson to be learned maybe they should just keep it to themselves. this isn't some stranger. It's a real person with a terrible loss.
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Old 31-07-2013, 06:47   #55
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

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Have read with interest because when you call for help there is often pressure to either abandon ship or risk your life and stay on it to try to work through the situation. Commercial operators don't wait around to see if you can figure it all out. They are on a schedule.

I know a guy's boat was recently found near Cape Cod. He had been "rescued" in May, 700 miles away. The solar panels were still there and the radio was on when the CG went aboard. The boat was absolutely fine. Still, he had made a decision to abandon his boat and obviously, as it turns out, he could have survived.

You chose life over property and though its possible you could have "limped along," the decision was made, and it is also possible you would have perished on a Honduran reef.

Good luck friend.

Thing is, you don't know for certain that you could have survived for a very long time.

It's JULY. It's HOT down there, and dangerous dehydration is not just a matter of water. It's not just water and salt. We need to eat as well (or have medical supplies such as the appropriate intravenous supports) or our electrolytes can go dangerously out of balance.

Some sail rips would be very hard to repair well enough to survive a bad storm, and 18 miles from shore one could be blown into the reefs, esp. with inadequate sails and a non-functioning engine.

So the only way someone can *really* criticize this unfortunate man's call is by saying (more politely, of course) "Neener neener neener! *I* would have made it because my equipment is better, I have more experience, and I am a better sailor than you. Because of that, I would have done (follows that person's list of things proving his or her superiority).

And where did all that expertise come from? SURVIVING WHEN HE DIDN'T KNOW ALL THAT STUFF. At some point, we have all been out there without enough experience but an extra helping of LUCK. It has to be that way. NO ONE HERE has been an expert sailor since he or she was six. We keep going out, knowing that we will learn something on each trip. On each trip, some lessons are harder to take than others, but you're here because you and your boat survived those lessons.

This man faced real potential dangers and one chance to save himself, and he chose himself over his boat.

I could throw in a caution. You can buy prefilters that drop right into your fuel port. You start pumping fuel, and the prefilter separates fuel from water right before your eyes. You know you have watery fuel before you fill your tank with it.

How do I know it? DUMB LUCK. I was at a boating flea market and happened to be strolling around with Bruce Bingham, who picked one up and showed it to me. How many people have had the good fortune to go to a boating flea market with Bruce Bingham? Not many.

Without that, I could have 30 years' experience and the same thing could have happened to me. But I bought the water-separating prefilter with the chance that I might cruise beyond Florida's waters some day. And, if I went cruising on your boat in the Caribbean, I would bring that prefilter with me.

When the ship hits the fan, we all have to evaluate the risks involved *at the time we have an opportunity for rescue.* I think I would have made this man's choice rather than risk being caught in a summer storm that could drive my boat onto reefs. I would choose my life over my boat's, and it would grieve me greatly.

You can't have it both ways, Cruising Forum. You can't be saying one day that anyone who doesn't go out and do it is a wimp (just said the other day) but then trumpet proudly how you would have managed to save the boat if you had been on it.

So I'm going to call it as I see it. When people go on and on about all the things they could have done to save this situation, they're just using someone else's misfortune to build themselves up. It takes a very thick hide to stick around when a number of people do that.
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Old 31-07-2013, 07:04   #56
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Glad you are safe. Are you going to try and get your boat back?
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Old 31-07-2013, 07:11   #57
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Thank you for taking the time to document your story here, Serenity.

It's good to hear every sailor's abandonment story. Usually there is something important to be learned from every experience ... whether or not ... in hindsight, it might be said that mistakes were made.

Personally, I would have been worried more by Honduras itself than the reefs off its coast.
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Old 31-07-2013, 07:16   #58
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Thing is, you don't know for certain that you could have survived for a very long time.

It's JULY. It's HOT down there, and dangerous dehydration is not just a matter of water. It's not just water and salt. We need to eat as well (or have medical supplies such as the appropriate intravenous supports) or our electrolytes can go dangerously out of balance.

Some sail rips would be very hard to repair well enough to survive a bad storm, and 18 miles from shore one could be blown into the reefs, esp. with inadequate sails and a non-functioning engine.

So the only way someone can *really* criticize this unfortunate man's call is by saying (more politely, of course) "Neener neener neener! *I* would have made it because my equipment is better, I have more experience, and I am a better sailor than you. Because of that, I would have done (follows that person's list of things proving his or her superiority).

And where did all that expertise come from? SURVIVING WHEN HE DIDN'T KNOW ALL THAT STUFF. At some point, we have all been out there without enough experience but an extra helping of LUCK. It has to be that way. NO ONE HERE has been an expert sailor since he or she was six. We keep going out, knowing that we will learn something on each trip. On each trip, some lessons are harder to take than others, but you're here because you and your boat survived those lessons.

This man faced real potential dangers and one chance to save himself, and he chose himself over his boat.

I could throw in a caution. You can buy prefilters that drop right into your fuel port. You start pumping fuel, and the prefilter separates fuel from water right before your eyes. You know you have watery fuel before you fill your tank with it.

How do I know it? DUMB LUCK. I was at a boating flea market and happened to be strolling around with Bruce Bingham, who picked one up and showed it to me. How many people have had the good fortune to go to a boating flea market with Bruce Bingham? Not many.

Without that, I could have 30 years' experience and the same thing could have happened to me. But I bought the water-separating prefilter with the chance that I might cruise beyond Florida's waters some day. And, if I went cruising on your boat in the Caribbean, I would bring that prefilter with me.

When the ship hits the fan, we all have to evaluate the risks involved *at the time we have an opportunity for rescue.* I think I would have made this man's choice rather than risk being caught in a summer storm that could drive my boat onto reefs. I would choose my life over my boat's, and it would grieve me greatly.

You can't have it both ways, Cruising Forum. You can't be saying one day that anyone who doesn't go out and do it is a wimp (just said the other day) but then trumpet proudly how you would have managed to save the boat if you had been on it.

So I'm going to call it as I see it. When people go on and on about all the things they could have done to save this situation, they're just using someone else's misfortune to build themselves up. It takes a very thick hide to stick around when a number of people do that.


Baja filters are dime a dozen, and mentioned here on CF often. You don't need a Bruce Bingham for that, we're talking basics here. This is my problem with "go small, go now", it encourages people without the necessary skill sets to leave early in an untried vessel. Often that works out fine in the end, but sometimes this happens instead.
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Old 31-07-2013, 07:22   #59
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Re: Regret to Inform Have Lost my Boat off Honduras...

Thanks for telling us the circumstances.

It is a little difficult when its your first few months cruising at sea.

But for those with more experience faced with similar circumstances there are other ways to dig oneself out of the situation... but as I say they require quite a bit of experience...

The plotted point of the loss should be easily navigated to safe waters Bahia de Trujillo and therein Puerto Castillo.

All waters between the abandoned boat and that port are clear and open except for a few islands that are deep close to the islands so no nav problems. Getting into the towns on those islands would be tricky without any chart at all, but one could stand off and wait for a local fishing boat.

One doesnt need even a paper chart in emergency to do it, nor a full set of sails. Its the sort of thing a quick glance of the computer should have been done before the passage started at all... opt out points and general coast line. And, of course when things were getting sketchy to reinforce it in writing.

It does show the value of MULTIPLE back-ups. I have a few GPS independent of ships batteries including a hand held plotter.

The other thing someone with more experience can consider is time: If there aint no impending dange then take it slowly, very slowly, who gives a damn if you're at sea an extra day or two? A few extra days may also let someone good with engines work out a solution to the water problem.
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Old 31-07-2013, 07:24   #60
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Re: Regret to inform have lost my boat off Honduras...

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Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
I had a boyfriend that lost his vessel on a reef in that area, sailing at night, navigating with chart, right before GPS came out. A beautiful Warrem Cat he built himself. Almost didn't get off alive.

You are gonna do a lot of second guessing and replaying the whole thing. Make a list of the mistakes( you seemed to have already started that ) and list how they can be avoided next time, and then move on! Get back on that horse. There will be much talk and BS here, some will be constructive, some will not be. Nature of the Internet. There was a thread a few years ago about a vessel being lost. The owner came here to vent, to get comfort. She did not get much. What I'm trying to say is, nothing you say will please some folks here. So don't try. My 2cents.

Hang in there, get lots of rest, grieve, learn, move on.

+1
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