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Old 05-04-2005, 02:43   #1
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Small boat in big surf - Pictures

There is an amazing set of 113 good quality photos of a small keelboat being overcome by surf. The boat is rolled and completley submerged, the crew are rescued by surfers.

It is a good reminder of why crossing shallows or bars in rough conditions is not a good idea.

We have posted this in our news items on www.onpassage.com
Just go to our website and click on the yellow "News" button, click on the relevant link and look for the photo sequence.
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Old 05-04-2005, 12:33   #2
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Fantastic set of shots!

Whatever happened to the boat? I noticed that several "rescue" vessels showed up yet saw no apparent attempt at salvage. Did they save the boat? Was the crew O.K.? Did the park rangers site the crew for littering in the park waters?
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Old 05-04-2005, 15:18   #3
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Surf

I have had a lot to say about this on a boat design group. All I have to say here is that the size of the wave does not constitute big surf, it is not even on the small end of big. It is at the larger end for a small wave, lets say 6 feet which is a nice size for surfing and satisfactory for small wave surfers. Small wave surfers stop at about 8 feet.
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Old 06-04-2005, 06:47   #4
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You think it was the boat?

BC Mike...

You think it was the boat's design? I'm not certain.... 2 boats ago, I owned a 21 foot Kells sloop. Quite a piece of crap, actually. It was my first boat.

I had the thing out in 14 foot seas (steep 14 feet at that) thanks to an outboard motor giving out and a large current in the river dragging me out to sea.

I was able to sail that junker to the next port and safely to a mooring because the seas were coming at me from a convenient angle. I think in the case we see in the pictures, the boat looks like it is overcome due to its alignment with the breakers. I'm thinking if the sailor would have decided to align the boat differently, he/she may not have been rolled (just swamped and possibly pitch-poled).

Can you expand a little on your theory that the boat itself was not up to the situation? I'm just curious... no heated discussion intended.
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Old 06-04-2005, 13:08   #5
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Surf

I did not say anything about the boat design, the problem in this instance was the quidance system. First let me say I have surfed in the past at many beaches and in large waves which includes Sunset Beach or a big day. Six feet is small surf but plenty enough to roll boats if the wave is about to break or has just broken. The only way to appraoch a wave this size or a bit bigger is bow on with WOT, next best option would be stern on with the brakes on. The other issue that a lot of folks are missing is the speed of the wave and the speed and direction of the boat when they met. This boat was mostly beam on and toast. A planing hull travelling with the wave could stay in front of the white water. If any boat gets caught side on to a steep wave that is about to break or is breaking then something unpleasant will happen.
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Old 06-04-2005, 14:44   #6
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The Coast Guard is apparently too busy to do anything because they are too busy chasing the boogey man and no longer have time to assist boaters in trouble. In the old days, the Coasties would have towed the boat to shore and had the sailors out of the water in one fell swoop.
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Old 06-04-2005, 15:03   #7
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Gotcha, Mike

Thanks for the clarification. Now I follow....
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Old 06-04-2005, 15:37   #8
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Coast Guard

Four boats came to assist the misguided one including the coast guard. Inside the breaking waves and near the beach it is too shallow for boats to safely navigate so they would have put more boats and people in danger. I do not think it is possible nor advisable to follow every boat so as to prevent them from harm. These guys were in the wrong place and paid the price.I am not familiar with the area but the locals are saying you do not go there and I am sure there are signs. It happens. Surf beaches are for surfers and or good swimmers. Boating courses and wave theory written by prairie folk are not much interest to me.
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Old 06-04-2005, 21:10   #9
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Golden Gate entrance

Bay Area sailors will agree with me; currents and winds can be extreme at times and looking at the pics I noticed that this sailboat didn't have an aux. engine to help him out to fight the current. With a rising tide, the current at the Golden Gate entrance can be as fast as 5 to 6 knots/hour. No way you can escape once you're caught in it. This guy was lucky to survive the ordeal though - at that very spot the water is dotted with sharp rocks. According to my local charts, depths at that area vary from 8 to 32 ft. so I doubt any of the rescue vessels were in any danger
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Old 06-04-2005, 21:19   #10
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Anybody that knows the SF Bay, knows there is a rip tide that runs through there during tide changes. This guy was probably trying to get back in taking a short cut.

Lessons learned the hard way..................................._/)
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Old 07-04-2005, 00:03   #11
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With no clue of the area, I have no clue as to why the guy was there in the first place. Is there no other way in?? To me, it looks like he could have been safer on the other side of the Bridge footing, or is that not possible? Certainly where he chose seems to be just plain stupid.

I have just posted a series of four photo's in the Gallery if anyone is interested. It is the same subject of getting caught in a breaker. this one is crossing the Infamouse Greymouth Bar. It is found on the rugged West coast of the South Island of NZ. You are looking at the Tasman Sea. A rather wild piece of ocean and a very remote coast line. There is nowhere to run for shelter apart from the choice of three Bars aprox 100miles apart. All are as bad as the other and many lives have been lost on all of them.
The skipper is a Guy I know and his first mate is another I know better. I worked with his wife in a chandlery business for a couple of years. I saw the original photo's of this when they got back from the trip. It was during the Albacore season in the our Summer of 1991.
To get a feel for just how big the seas are, the vessel is 12M(40ft) in length. Notice a log in the water in the forground. No one new it was there untill they saw the photo's.
Sorry for the poor quality. the only shots I had of these where in a Proffesional Fishing Magazine and I took digital photos of the mag pictures.
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Old 07-04-2005, 08:41   #12
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Thanks for the photos Alan. I pasted them on to some locals here with your bit of humor. Hope you don't mind.

Those are the type of waves that I've seen bounce back from cliffs on shore.

That must be the windward side of the Is.
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Old 07-04-2005, 13:25   #13
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It's the side that our predominant famouse "Norwester" comes from. The Norwester is moist and warm. The west coast rises straight up from the sea into our famouse Southern Alps. the result is a very high rainfall on the coast. Fiordland, at the bottem west corner of the Island, gets the worst of it and boast a rainfall of 7M(23ft) a year. This makes an area that is not only spectacular for its scenary on a fine day, but just as spectacular for it's majestic waterfalls on a wet day. Oh and it boasts a waterfall of several hundred feet from mountain tops to Ocean surface, and this is a big waterfall, that in a strong norwester, which is common, the waterfall never makes to the Ocean surface. It simply gets blown away.
As the norwester goes over the alps and drops the other side, we get a very hot dry wind on the east coast.
The bar shown in the photos is the mouth of the Grey River that flows through the town of Greymouth. Greymouth, like many of the South Island Westcoast towns, had their beginnings in the earlier Goldrush years. Back in those days, Greymouth had the distinction of having a Pub on every street.
Down the coast about 50 miles is the Town of Hokitika. This has another major river and and Bar. Hokitika's fame comes also from the Gold rush days, where it had the distinction of being the busiest port in NZ. Many sailing ships carrying Gold back to England were wrecked at the mouth of this bar and it is said that there is more Gold on the seabed in this area, than anywhere else in the country. Infact, someone was keen enough to try and build a dredge that could dredge through this area, but I think the Sea and weather has made it impossible so far.
Hope you don't mind the history lesson.
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Old 07-04-2005, 16:32   #14
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Wow....

Everything I have heard about NZ sounds about right. I can't wait to visit again some day... and this time do more than walk around the airport in Auckland!

Thanks for the intro to NZ.


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Alan Wheeler once whispered in the wind:
It's the side that our predominant famouse "Norwester" comes from. The Norwester is moist and warm. The west coast rises straight up from the sea into our famouse Southern Alps. the result is a very high rainfall on the coast. Fiordland, at the bottem west corner of the Island, gets the worst of it and boast a rainfall of 7M(23ft) a year. This makes an area that is not only spectacular for its scenary on a fine day, but just as spectacular for it's majestic waterfalls on a wet day. Oh and it boasts a waterfall of several hundred feet from mountain tops to Ocean surface, and this is a big waterfall, that in a strong norwester, which is common, the waterfall never makes to the Ocean surface. It simply gets blown away.
As the norwester goes over the alps and drops the other side, we get a very hot dry wind on the east coast.
The bar shown in the photos is the mouth of the Grey River that flows through the town of Greymouth. Greymouth, like many of the South Island Westcoast towns, had their beginnings in the earlier Goldrush years. Back in those days, Greymouth had the distinction of having a Pub on every street.
Down the coast about 50 miles is the Town of Hokitika. This has another major river and and Bar. Hokitika's fame comes also from the Gold rush days, where it had the distinction of being the busiest port in NZ. Many sailing ships carrying Gold back to England were wrecked at the mouth of this bar and it is said that there is more Gold on the seabed in this area, than anywhere else in the country. Infact, someone was keen enough to try and build a dredge that could dredge through this area, but I think the Sea and weather has made it impossible so far.
Hope you don't mind the history lesson.
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Old 07-04-2005, 22:03   #15
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Well it's kinda why I made the comment about the "Bumfuzzle" couple. Now don't get me wrong, I am not totally arrogant in saying NZ is the only beautiful place on Earth, there are lots of sights around the world to see. But I just don't get why someone would come all this way and not see the place when they get here. Driving around in a whirlwind trip in a car just doesn't cut it. All they did was complain how boring the place is, but they couldn't get off their butts and explore. Ooops, I am on my soapbox again.
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