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Old 18-05-2014, 16:13   #31
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Carl,
Thanks for the update...

1) I must have missed the details about there being signals from two PLB's...

And to be clear, I was not advocating not having PLB's, but rather not equipping your vessel with a PLB instead of an EPIRB...
(sorry if that wasn't clear..)
And, I agree that this boat might have had an EPIRB...(another reason I'm hesitant to continue speculating, until we have further official info..)
Please understand I was not "blaming" the crew for having PLB's....rather I was explaining (speculating ?) a possible reason why the crew have not been found...(yet another reason to not continue speculating....


I think further speculation without further official information, may have us all chasing our tails....
So, I'm begging off until there's more info provided...



But, again I ask here, how many of you have read the thread and all the links provided???
EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds

The reason I ask is quite simple....I'm NOT going to retype all of that!!
So, if you want to really understand how the COSPAS-SARSAT system works (that's the "406 EPIRB system"), you can learn for yourself right there in those pages....and if you wish a VERY nice, well-written article that explains things in laypersons' terms, that is also right there (written by Beth Leonard)...
Have a read....it'll take you a while....but it'll be worth it!!






2) As for the "liferaft" and "survival suits", "typical 40' racing yacht"....Carl, I'm with you on this as well...



3) Again I do not wish to delve further into speculation, without any futher official info.....so, just in brief..
Although the PLB's did get the rescuers to the scene....they crew have not been found, nor rescued....
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
If the above is true, the PLB did its job as well as an EPIRB. It got rescuers to the scene.
Now, of course, NOBODY could ever say with 100% certainty that an EPIRB would've done any better, but at least it could've (should have) allowed:
a) for a better GPS fix...
b) for that fix to be sent out for a longer period of time...(also allows for more precise current set/drift calculations)
c) for the signals to reach the satellites more effectively...(the EPIRB can float free....although some will say that allows it to "float away", it does have a lanyard...)
d) search crews an opportunity to "home" in on both a 406mhz signal, and on the 121.5mhz signal...both of which would still be broadcasting right now....48 hours later...

Again, I'm NOT saying PLB's are bad, or evil...
If sailors desire to wear a PLB, that's great....but in my opinion, they should not be lulled into believing they are an effective substitute for an EPIRB...

Again, in my opinion (and that of many others), they are not really an effective substitute for an EPIRB....(and no anecdotal / sporadic reports to the contrary will change some facts....)




Anyway, Carl, thank you again for the new / updated info....(I missed that there were multiple PLB alerts...)

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 18-05-2014, 16:18   #32
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I am planning next year to go SXM to Gibraltar. My basic plan is great circle route and going just a degree or two north. Missing the Azores altogether, my plot shows I am about 300 nms south of the Azores at the closest.

The winds will be lighter, no worries, and the wind will vary more with a fair bit close hauled or close reaching. None of that worries me. I will still be a quicker passage than those that stop in at Bermuda and/or the Azores. And no, i wont be loading up with diesel and motoring.


Mark
It sounds quite sensible. I hope you'll make another video for those of us still sitting at the dock!
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Old 18-05-2014, 16:29   #33
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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In 50 knots, and 20' seas ??? Seriously ???

In those conditions, it would take an extraordinary feat of shiphandling to maneuver a 1,040-foot container ship alongside a capsized 40' yacht. Even if they somehow managed to hook it up, how would they lift it?

Not to mention, where would they put it?

The MAERSK KURE:
Yes, seriously, why not? In the lee of that monster positioned broadside onto the swell how much wind and wave do you think there will be? Powerful thrusters and directional drives to help probably too.

Anyway, my point was they are given up for dead, so what's lost by with scooping the boat up and hopefully bringing up the crew. You'd like to think they would have given it a go if they could have. I have no idea how, never having been on a ship like that. Maybe they could have lowered a rescue boat? It's terrible to leave them. In some parts of the world - Canada for example - you would be up for manslaughter for doing that if they died and you could have saved them.
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Old 18-05-2014, 16:50   #34
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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My trips have been direct to the Azores from SMX.. this however is not a straight line as the combination of E'lies and the Gulf stream push you W as you head NE.. finally shake the Stream around 500mile SSE of Bermuda and then pick up S'lies to run before.. then they gradually go SW and W as you close the Azores... around 2400nm in all.. fastest was 23 days in a 331.. but I sail with the main reefed down and my Genoa for power
You'll maybe experience 2-3days of light/calms on this leg..
I have gone direct from there to the UK once.. but the High created about 10 days of calms on that trip.. bit frustrating when you don't have the fuel to motor.. since then I've opted for a run to Baiona in Spain.. spent a few days chilling before hitching a ride across the Biscay on a SW'ly..
Interesting example of making the best of prevailing conditions rather than fighting them.

Have I just been paying closer attention, or have there been an unusually large number of boats lost or disabled in the past year or so? Have weather conditions been unusually harsh or unpredictable? Starting to spook me a bit, and I also can't help thinking about faulty maintenance issues, e.g. thru-hulls & bilge pumps.
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Old 18-05-2014, 16:53   #35
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Poiu,
For me, routing is mainly about weather (and prevailing winds), and this time of year, the Lows coming off the US can still be a real bitch....(I know "everyone" says that May is a great time to make an Atlantic crossing....but that darn continental weather coming at you isn't "fun"....)
Quote:
Originally Posted by poiu View Post
They don't seem too far north of the great circle route by my measurements. About 100 to 150 miles and 5 degrees or so. Could have been looking for exciting sailing and strong winds. Who knows.

Bottom line here is there is a good chance four men are floating in a life raft in the miserably cold north Atlantic with no-one looking for them. Pretty damn awful really.
I like excitement as much as anyone....but, when crossing the N. Atlantic, I'll take "boring" over a Full-Gale any day of the week....(and twice on weekends!)

And, by my quick look at the charts (I did not plot this in detail) I see the route to be no closer than 1500 miles from Cape Cod....and that's NOT taking into account the desire to stay south and east of the continental weather coming off the US easy coast...
So, if they were 1000 miles east of Cape Cod, they were definitely much farther west than normal (by as much as 500 - 700 miles)...
Not to mention why would the want to be in that weather???


Sorry gotta go..

Fair winds..

John
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Old 18-05-2014, 17:13   #36
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pirate Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Weather in the Atlantic is a lot more unpredictable than in the last decade.. then the Pilot Charts were a fair guide.. these days not so much.... maybe the ratio of gales is the same.. but definitely stronger winds on average..
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Old 18-05-2014, 18:25   #37
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Originally Posted by Exile View Post
It sounds quite sensible. I hope you'll make another video for those of us still sitting at the dock!
Thanks. I think it keeps the boat under the latitude of the gales.

But also look at the difference:

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post

I have gone direct from there to the UK once.. but the High created about 10 days of calms on that trip.. bit frustrating when you don't have the fuel to motor..
Phil is doing a delivery where every day is money. But I am not so it doesn't matter if I am in light weather for ten days.
I was dead becalmed for 7 days in the indian ocean, not a breath and not a movement for 7 days. So if its gunna keep me out of 59 knots and 20 foot seas then I am there sailing quietly for a week or so... Singing a song
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Old 18-05-2014, 18:41   #38
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Thanks. I think it keeps the boat under the latitude of the gales.

But also look at the difference:



Phil is doing a delivery where every day is money. But I am not so it doesn't matter if I am in light weather for ten days.
I was dead becalmed for 7 days in the indian ocean, not a breath and not a movement for 7 days. So if its gunna keep me out of 59 knots and 20 foot seas then I am there sailing quietly for a week or so... Singing a song

No question in my mind that this approach is preferable to the alternative. Light conditions or being becalmed is what Kindles, iPads, and Cap'n Aubrey books are for.
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Old 18-05-2014, 18:51   #39
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Originally Posted by Exile View Post
Interesting example of making the best of prevailing conditions rather than fighting them.

Have I just been paying closer attention, or have there been an unusually large number of boats lost or disabled in the past year or so? Have weather conditions been unusually harsh or unpredictable? Starting to spook me a bit, and I also can't help thinking about faulty maintenance issues, e.g. thru-hulls & bilge pumps.
Seems to be plenty of maintenance issues as vessels age. Can also add plenty of rigging issues/failures to that list.
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Old 18-05-2014, 19:12   #40
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pirate Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Just been a report on BBC news showing their track.. seems they ran up to and past the E side of Bermuda then curved E.. man that's a bad place to be.. looks like they were on the N wall of the Stream.. they'll likely have been hit by a NW.. the a N and a NE gale to finish.. the sea's really back up and there's a nasty cross sea for the finale.. not a place to take that boat..
Cannot understand this Bermuda route folk seem to favour.. search area looked well WNW of the Azores.
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Old 18-05-2014, 19:15   #41
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Bermuda is because folks are scared of a few nights at sea. Crackers.

This one, i dunno. An uphill racer could have gone any route.
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Old 18-05-2014, 19:25   #42
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pirate Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Bermuda is because folks are scared of a few nights at sea. Crackers.

This one, i dunno. An uphill racer could have gone any route.
That mentality from/about a racer got an Oyster 60 abandoned in those waters.. this is not Antigua-SMX-Palma or Round the Island.. this is the Perfect Storm territory.. and how well a light race boat sails has nothing to do with how well it can take a beating.. I had a bulkhead punched out when a sea dumped on me trying that route.. and that was no race boat.. though good upwind being a cutter..
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Old 18-05-2014, 19:36   #43
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

RE: EPIRB VS. PLB

I am dismayed that the search is called off. Seems like a short time but the coordinators know things we do not. Speculation is pointless. Hope/pray the crew is found soon.

I agree with KA4WJA that a PLB is not a substitute for an EPIRB. Radio is not a wired or fiber optic connection. There are many parts of the equation that we have no control over. Ionospheric conditions and sunspot activity affect radio propagation. If you want the best chance at being rescued you will have the higher power longer lasting EPIRB. If you want some extra insurance you will have PLB but you won't turn it on right away. Perhaps even until you are sure the EPIRB has exhausted its battery or you became separated from the EPIRB. Most EPIRBs last much longer than their specified battery run times. The EPIRB/PLB antenna must be out of the water to be received by the satellite.

You should also have a DSC handheld for the raft and list the details in your MMSI contact record. Lots of alkaline batteries too. Your on-shore contact person should also relay the radio info to the rescue coordinator. It should have the same MMSI as the EPIRB registry. DSC allows you to be more reliably contacted by incoming aircraft or searching ships. VHF radio will pass through most hull materials (maybe not steel) at close range. The container ship no doubt tried to raise the crew by radio but obviously got no response.
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Old 18-05-2014, 20:05   #44
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

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Weather in the Atlantic is a lot more unpredictable than in the last decade.. then the Pilot Charts were a fair guide.. these days not so much.... maybe the ratio of gales is the same.. but definitely stronger winds on average..
2010 June crossing to Ireland from Halifax...the pilot said 1 gale. We dodged 4 strong gales. Statistical fluctuation? You be the judge.
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Old 18-05-2014, 20:42   #45
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

From the Daily Mail (UK). Not sure if there's anything new but chartlet suggests they were well North (not sure what this is based on)

4 British sailors missing at sea after yacht believed to have capsized in mid-Atlantic | Mail Online
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