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Old 27-05-2014, 16:36   #421
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Originally Posted by tedsherrin View Post
Not all the six who died in our 1998 race were in 'old and traditional boats'. The coroners report which is available on line details how each died, including one from a heart attack. It was a massive storm. 55 sailors had to be rescued. The main responsibility of the the failure of the race was with the organisers for such a poorly organised and safety ignorant race.
Sorry that was a typo it should have read "three" rather than the people that died.
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Old 27-05-2014, 16:44   #422
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Originally Posted by tedsherrin View Post
Not all the six who died in our 1998 race were in 'old and traditional boats'. The coroners report which is available on line details how each died, including one from a heart attack. It was a massive storm. 55 sailors had to be rescued. The main responsibility of the the failure of the race was with the organisers for such a poorly organised and safety ignorant race.
Whilst the overall picture you cover is true and 55 sailors rescued is accurate it is also clear as Factor indicated the older traditional vessels did not do so well. What he was suggesting is that it is a false premise to suggest for bluewater you need a old traditional keel vessel to be safe.
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Old 27-05-2014, 17:01   #423
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Mr. Sherrin,

I completely disagree. The responsibility was that of the skippers who determined to continue racing instead of seeking shelter in Eden, as many boats did. The coming weather was no secret. Melbourne's office of the Bureau of Meteorology announced it prior to the race. For your information, in Wellington, NZ races are not cancelled for 50 kn. predictions. And I've seen little dinghies sailing in 45 at Beauty Point in your own fair State.

For sure, we've seen changes since the tragic events of the 98 S to H, but all the necessary data for decision making was available to any skipper with the nous to be in touch with a meteorologist, not easy on Boxing Day morning, admittedly. But the broadcast WAS made.

IMO, it is always the skipper who has the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the ship and the crew. On the boat where the skipper died, obviously he was no longer responsible. Scuttlebutt has it that that boat should have had a smaller storm jib. Think about it, 'cause how you outfit your boat for its intended journeys does matter.

I think those guys slid maybe a bit too far towards the racing ethos--and paid the ultimate price. I would say that the organizers, too would have had that "it'll never happen to me" kind of thinking, because it would have been more responsible to announce what was coming. But the bottom line is that the skipper is responsible for the welfare of the vessel and crew (including him or herself).

Ann
'Ted' is fine, no need to be so formal.

Disagree with me all you like, but there is a formal coroners report and of course the earlier CYS investigation. The organisers of the race admitted they had NO IDEA how bad things were getting. And of course following the coroners report the Race Director resigned. Your claim that it is 'always up to the skipper' was found when their is a race on to be completely wrong and there is a duty of care on the race organisers to announce that enough is enough and call an end to the race. Of course, it IS the responsibility of any skipper to know when his own boat and crew are reaching their maximum and to make a decision to withdraw prior to any decision by the race organisers, BUT the organising body of the race has a higher responsibility in law and every skipper must obey that. In this case, the organisers in the words of the inquest found "abdicated its responsibility to manage the race". This abdication was found in the inquest to be completely erroneous as is yours (in relation to a race).

Another thing you have not acknowledged, which was clearly determined in the inquest is that by the time the 'unexpected' happened, many of the lead vessels and most of those that got in serious trouble, were to far into the trouble to simply head towards safe haven by the time it was realised how severe it was.

And yes, I know the majority of posters on here are British or US , and will start disputing this. But I'm talking about the 1998 Sydney to Hobart, which comes under Australian Law.

And the 45 to 50 that were 'predicted' was not the problem of the 1998 race. The problem was the wind increase to 70 knotts which was akin to a tropical cyclone and 10m high seas. When this was realised by the MET, they passed it on to the race organisers who did not pass on the urgency of the situation or the extremity of what was about to occur. The MET then decided they had done their job which was also in error and they should have made a lot more noise in warning the fleet.

Now, you can put your own beliefs on this race as much as you like, but not even the CYCA these days challenge the findings and the entire race has changed to adopt to those safety changes, and the CYCA have the absolute authority to cancel a race as a result. It's their legal responsibility to make that call.
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Old 27-05-2014, 17:10   #424
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Whilst the overall picture you cover is true and 55 sailors rescued is accurate it is also clear as Factor indicated the older traditional vessels did not do so well. What he was suggesting is that it is a false premise to suggest for bluewater you need a old traditional keel vessel to be safe.
Over 60 vessels retired from that race. Some of those that faired the best were also older proven blue water classics. The facts of the race are that 'no vessel' should be out in a storm that significant.

I really haven't seen anyone suggesting that for 'bluewater you need a old traditional keel vessel to be safe' ? Did I miss that post?

From what I see, some people are suggesting simply that many modern racing and particularly production racing yachts are not specifically being built for 'blue water cruising' where a vessel should be expected at some time or another to experience atrocious conditions. I've not the experience personally to dispute that, but as a non racer, I personally will feel more comfortable on a purpose built bluewater boat.

But, I'm also fairly confident that the requirements these days to qualify alone for a bluewater race, are so significant that both crew and vessel should be able to cope with any unforeseen conditions the same as a purpose built bluewater cruiser. BUT as an amature, I'm quite concerned that any vessel could loose her keel like this, even one that's not well maintained.
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Old 27-05-2014, 17:36   #425
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Following this thread I am again reminded of the benefits of accident investigation. It would be of great benefit to recover the hull of Cheeki Rafiki with two goals—to perhaps find & bring home two men to their families, and in an attempt to determine what went so terribly wrong.

To those on other threads who criticize the search for MH370—finding the wreckage is the first step to identifying what happened. I support the requirement to search, and to find answers to that puzzle. Without knowing, we are doomed to repetition. Countless lives have been saved by identifying failures, and taking corrective actions. For that same reason, I would like to see the hull of CR recovered and examined—but I doubt it will happen as this is a largely unregulated industry, unlike aviation.

To all those who critique the Beneteau & fin keel, we all should understand that boats are by nature a collection of compromises. The full keel may be better in some circumstances and the cause of an incident in others. That is the nature of boats and compromises and differing designs. As has been mentioned before, there are likely more Beneteaus on the water than any other name—it would take a statistician to determine if there is a trend—and I don’t think any of us qualify nor have the numbers to calculate.

There is a way to make sailing safer, and any of us who have spent time in aviation know it. Regulation, design & type approvals, annual or per hour mandatory inspections, quality controlled parts (priced appropriately), reporting requirements including for any significant damage, licensing of personnel—it goes on & on—and costs rise and lives are saved. But for those of us who have lived in that world, I think many appreciate the ability to afford this lifestyle, and take safety precautions applicable to our individual cruising styles and risk acceptance. Even then, there are no guarantees.

Learning what happened would help to prevent similar events, and even speculations will make people consider threats and solutions. The loss of Cheeki Rafiki’s crew is very sad.
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Old 27-05-2014, 17:40   #426
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Re what Ted is saying, I recently read Bruce Knecht's book on the Sydney to Hobart and my strongest memory of that is that everyone failed to understand what the forecast meant. That a "storm warning" is actually the most serious warning the bureau could issue for that body of water (they [and by they, I mean participants] apparently thought that hurricane or cyclone would suggest the conditions encountered, so few responded appropriately)

Also that both organizers and skippers failed to take into account that gusts should be expected to exceed average wind speeds by as much as 40%, accounting for the 70 knot winds, so again, they underestimated what they were heading into.

Still - it is just a post facto explanation, but I thought I'd add it here.

(Some edits for clarity)

Terribly sad about the crew of the Cheeki Rafiki.
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Old 27-05-2014, 18:04   #427
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

It is amazing to me that sailors allow lawyers to create a framework of right and wrong in assigning responsibility in the S To H disaster.

No accident that the same agressive dogmatic litigious mentality that makes racing so popular with lawyers also promotes a lemming like mentality to stupidly race into danger wrapped in a peer pressure bubble of invincibility.

Those skippers who pulled out early enough were the only ones I would consider as prudent sailors.
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Old 27-05-2014, 18:42   #428
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Those skippers who pulled out early enough were the only ones I would consider as prudent sailors.
This is part of the problem with forums. People add their threepence worth without seeking any knowledge of what actually occurred and then make judgements on the people involved.

It was largely the body of front leaders that 'discovered' the conditions were not as previously informed. For those it was too late to simply turn around. One vessel ignored the race rules and started warning other vessels that the conditions were way in excess of what they have been informed about and as a result some before reaching the worst of it turned back.

The courts determination that 'in a race', the organisers bare a Duty of Care is a very sensible one and has led to changes that has made some of the safest racing (and cruising) considerations now known.
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Old 27-05-2014, 19:22   #429
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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I am always intrigued by the discussion in mono circles about , new tupperware boats and good solid older boats , and new boats not being seaworthy yada, yada, yada. In the 98 Hobart, the people who died because there boat sank were on a very old and expensive and wonderfully maintained, traditional boat. Whilst some modern plastic fin keelers had there issues, got rolled etc, none sank with the rapidity that the stout old boat showed. Some newer boats sank, but stayed afloat long enough for rescue to occur.

Safety at Sea is still mainly about the crew. It doesn't take much to ascertain if a boat is built right. E.G. Have a look at bulkheads, are they glassed in, or (yuck) coved in - or even worse tabbed in. etc etc. Look beyond old school teak and new school glitz.
I am not sure whether this was somewhat directed at myself and my post above, and others in the Blue Pearl thread. However, if it were it would be rather a straw man. I did not suggest all "modern", newly built or designed or plastic boats were worse, or any such thing. In fact I did not mention build material or age at all. In my honest opinion, for example, traditional, and especially OLD wooden boats are often more suspect than more modern materials. Each and every timber must be viewed as a potential failure point and large hull breach. The overwhelming majority, by proportion at least, of boats sunk by suspected whale strike or similar are old school wood hulls, as the planking separates from the frames. This is what happened to the Winston Churchill, except by wave strike. She was in her 57th year when this occurred. I am sure she was a lovely craft, and lovingly maintained, but wood planking rots, often invisibly, and even inspected fixings may well be at the point of failure in a silent manner. I would not put to sea in the face of a poor forecast (as in 1998 - dreadful) in a piece of fine antique furniture. One is reminded of a similar, worse, and more recent tragedy (to use that word for once in its exactly appropriate context) - RIP Nina. Not to mention "Bounty".

Also for the record, to fend off other predictable comments about condemnation of a whole brand (as you say yada yada yada), I have stated on the Blue Pearl thread, and repeat here: There are perfectly seaworthy Beneteaus. They have produced some good ocean capable boats. They have also produced some which are either ONLY to be used for coastal bobbing or inshore racing, or else, in the worst cases, are yacht-like plastic toys.
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Old 27-05-2014, 19:38   #430
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Originally Posted by tedsherrin View Post
...It was largely the body of front leaders that 'discovered' the conditions were not as previously informed. For those it was too late to simply turn around. One vessel ignored the race rules and started warning other vessels that the conditions were way in excess of what they have been informed about and as a result some before reaching the worst of it turned back.

The courts determination that 'in a race', the organisers bare a Duty of Care is a very sensible one and has led to changes that has made some of the safest racing (and cruising) considerations now known.
Tedsherein... I was actually there in Sydney on a large yacht preparing to dept for Wellington.

By Xmas...the weather was already forecast to be heavy and I was monitoring upper level influences for my own ETD.

You cite race committee rules and court findings and new sets of rules to give those racing lemmings a renewed sense is security.

I simply ask.... If not for a high profile race... would any prudent skipper have departed for Hobart on boxing day given the prevailing forecast?

The answer is obvious to me as is the irresponsible behavior of racing types to shift the blame towards an organization of meaningless rules set up to provide challenges that ignore a common sense approach to prudent seamanship.

Racing and racers seek drama... Prudent sailors avoid it!
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Old 27-05-2014, 19:58   #431
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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But of course cheeki is not a vessel optimised for heavy weather Atlantic crossings, who suggested it was. Its clearly optimised for performance racing and cruising and hence has a high performance short chord deep keel to facilitate that.

That's not to say it can't cross oceans, of the 500-700 built many have and continue to do so. But you must sail them within their limits.

...

As I say condemning whole brands with many 1000s of ocean crossings under their belt based on two or three events , and where there is clear evidence of pre -existing issues, is simply poor logic or just plain bias

Dave
Dave, Mate.

You appear rather strongly to be suggesting that it is possible to "cross oceans" in poorly defended coastal racers, and at the same time mandate that "you MUST sail them within their limits."

Have you sailed across an Ocean? If not perhaps you won't realise that your statement above approximates to a self-contradiction. It is simply not possible always to sail "within the limits" of a boat whose limits fall short of severe Oceanic conditions, while at the same time using it to cross oceans. Or am I missing something? I may be, I suppose, as you also suggested that I employed "poor logic". Curious that, as I hold 3 higher degrees in philosophy and used to teach philosophy at a top-line university. I must be rusty as I have been at sea as a commercial skipper for the past 6 years (having begun ocean sailing 30 years ago). However, as I did NOT in fact "condemn a whole brand", but simply mentioned that 3 lightly defended Beneteaus have recently broken up at sea, you may wish to look up "straw man". Do you own a Beneteau by any chance? I consider that Beneteau has produced some good, ocean capable boats. I also consider that some Beneteaus are either coastal only, or should not be sailed at all.
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Old 27-05-2014, 21:22   #432
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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But that's the way forums work. It isn't even focused on a model of a given brand, if one boat of one model has a problem ALL the models of that brand are lumped into the mix. Even more interesting is how many armchair experts who MAY have true knowledge of one model of a brand seem to be able to feel safe in applying that to ALL models of the brand and cover 20+ years of production.
I refer you to my reply to Dave, above. Since your comment is in reply to a comment regarding my own, I must assume it relates to my own. In this case, you are simply employing a pointless strawman, and your ad hominem is a poorly considered hostage to fortune. I did not do what you suggest, so kindly don't suggest it. And if I am an "armchair" expert, sailor boy, I must have a very small armchair bolted to the deck, as I live at sea and continually engage in Ocean crossings and passages as a professional. Further, I have commercially skippered many different Beneteaus as well as many others of all shapes and sizes. You?
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Old 27-05-2014, 22:24   #433
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Dave, Mate.

You appear rather strongly to be suggesting that it is possible to "cross oceans" in poorly defended coastal racers, and at the same time mandate that "you MUST sail them within their limits."

Have you sailed across an Ocean? If not perhaps you won't realise that your statement above approximates to a self-contradiction. It is simply not possible always to sail "within the limits" of a boat whose limits fall short of severe Oceanic conditions, while at the same time using it to cross oceans. Or am I missing something? I may be, I suppose, as you also suggested that I employed "poor logic". Curious that, as I hold 3 higher degrees in philosophy and used to teach philosophy at a top-line university. I must be rusty as I have been at sea as a commercial skipper for the past 6 years (having begun ocean sailing 30 years ago). However, as I did NOT in fact "condemn a whole brand", but simply mentioned that 3 lightly defended Beneteaus have recently broken up at sea, you may wish to look up "straw man". Do you own a Beneteau by any chance? I consider that Beneteau has produced some good, ocean capable boats. I also consider that some Beneteaus are either coastal only, or should not be sailed at all.

I spent a considerable amount of my life delivery conventional euro production boats through some very nasty waters and across oceans.

Sailing within limits is not merely avoiding bad weather. , it's knowing what heavy weather techniques work for the model in question , and therefore not deploying unsuitable techniques. It's knowing how to de stress the rig and hull , it's putting the safety of the boat before any particular course , timetable and direction.

Lots of things actually. Most boats today can cross oceans. They just have to be sailed appropriately.

The problem is nearly always the " nut behind the wheel "

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Old 27-05-2014, 23:13   #434
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

No one can debate with you Dave that seamanship is a very big part of safe voyages after all they have crossed the Atlantic in row boats or even little Catalina's. If you spend enough time on the water on longer passages you can expect a possibility of weather going sour and you have to prepare for it as you simply can not expect to always be in trade wind conditions. So weather aside and good seamanship aside that leaves a well found boat. I think people have been debating this issue and rightfully so as no matter how bright you are and how good your seamanship if your keel drops off in the mid Atlantic it won't be one of your better days.
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Old 27-05-2014, 23:46   #435
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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I spent a considerable amount of my life delivery conventional euro production boats through some very nasty waters and across oceans.

Sailing within limits is not merely avoiding bad weather. , it's knowing what heavy weather techniques work for the model in question , and therefore not deploying unsuitable techniques. It's knowing how to de stress the rig and hull , it's putting the safety of the boat before any particular course , timetable and direction.

Lots of things actually. Most boats today can cross oceans. They just have to be sailed appropriately.

The problem is nearly always the " nut behind the wheel "

Dave


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Sailing within limits is not merely avoiding bad weather? Gosh, thanks for that. In my 30 years of it that thought never once occurred to me. (Sheesh)

So... why don't you ante up. Scenario: you are in your First 40.7, heading North from NZ, towards Fiji when a 1000 mile wide area of high SPCZ convection stretching from the Coral Sea to Tonga suddenly moves South, deepens at its central area and begins to rotate. Meanwhile a high of 1034 is moving fairly quickly across the Tasman, causing accellerated trades from the Kermadecs to Queensland. Average sustained windspeed across that whole area is 35 knots, usually more, and hardly anything below. You are too far North easily to sail out of it to the South, being already in a subtropical area of the high SPCZ, which is unusually far South for the season. You are being hit by gradient winds of 35 knots sustained, increasing to violent winds of 60 knots from rather poorly predictable directions in the many unavoidable 10 mile wide squalls that are moving through your area at a speed of more than 18 knots. The deepening cylonic rotation begins to move rapidly in your direction, creating a squash zone with sustained winds above 60 knots, exacerbated by the unpredictable sub cyclonic systems which stretch around you in every direction for hundreds of miles. Complicating this is a fully chaotic seastate, with large gradient wind driven waves of 5-6 meters and moderate period from the SE, being crossed by an even longer and larger swell from the SW, overtop of which there is a mess of 1-3 meter locally generated crossing sea in all directions. What do you do in your 40.7 which can mitigate the immense shock loads on the hull, and keel, as you are slammed by the water from all sides?

Running to the West carries the risk of running staight into a further predicted cyclonic low, with even faster gradient winds. Running to the East or South increases the likelihood of being in the most dangerous sector of the current cyclonic system, which is moving South and is to the East of you. Running North is to be heading into far more intense convection than you are currently experiencing. You are, in effect, boxed in and must wait, as your current situation is the most amenable option.

I would be fascinated to find out how "good seamanship" would reduce the stresses on that hull to safe levels for such a vessel in those conditions.

And before you state the obvious, this scenario occurred recently, and with an apparently near "perfect" near and long range forecast for the run back up to the Tropics, which must take place within a fairly narrowly defined timeframe (as is often the case, as you should know, being ex-delivery skipper).

Meanwhile, having sat hove to under a barberhauled main happy behind my slick for 3 days in a 30 ton fully encapsulated modified keel with full skeg in very much those conditions and waters (and similar many just as bad and worse) I went below to watch Breaking Bad. No problems at all. The impacts I experienced every few minutes during that mess would have taken the 40.7 apart, piece by piece. It may have survived... and may well not have. I know for sure that I would not have enjoyed waiting to find out which it would be.
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