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Old 18-05-2014, 07:45   #1
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UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

I just read this on the BBC web site: BBC News - UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Is there any more info to be had?

Have the crew been rescued?
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Old 18-05-2014, 07:59   #2
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pirate Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Bumma... hope all turns out well..
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Old 18-05-2014, 08:02   #3
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Seems odd that the search would be called off after only two days.
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Old 18-05-2014, 11:15   #4
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

EDIT....
While I was typing, the BBC has updated the story (at 1:17pmEDT)!!
Quote:
Three US and Canadian aircraft and three merchant vessels looked for them on Friday and Saturday 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Quote:
In a press release, the US Coast Guard said the search area had involved approximately 4,146 square miles and it was "extremely disappointed" not to have found the sailors.


1) The BBC article doesn't mention WHERE they were at, except on a passage from Antigua to the UK, and diverting to the Azores....
That's pretty big area....

Does anyone know WHEN the left Antigua???
Or does anyone have a better idea of WHERE they were when they "decided to divert to the Azores"???


2) Without knowing exactly where they were at, makes things difficult....but, I think we can assume that if they mentioned diverting to Azores that they were:
a) east of 40*W (and certainly between 20*N and 45*N ), which places them in the SAR area of Portuguese responsibility....
--or--
b) west of 40*W, which places them in the SAR area of US responsibility....
(and the Canadian area extending to 30*W, north of the 45*N limit of the US area...)

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg534/nsa...%20Regions.pdf

Neptune: global Maritime¬*Search and Rescue Areas

Regardless of which area, the article implies that the USCG was taking a lead role in the SAR operation (probably a joint effort between RCC Norfolk, USA and RCC Falmouth, England), and we can assume that the "debris" sited by the USCG, was via a USCG C-130 aircraft...



3) Weather in that area (within a few hundred miles of Azores) is fairly benign at the moment....but there is a Low west of the UK, that may have been an issue for them a few days ago....as well as a Low approaching them (current at 35N / 50W)....
Sorry, to be honest, I haven't been watching N. Atl. weather this week (as I've had family matters to tend to...)




4) Without further info (position of Cheeki Rafiki, vessels tasked to assist in search, etc.), there's not much else to speculate on, right now....



More as I find more...
Fair winds to all, and my prayers are with those 4 sailors!!


John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 18-05-2014, 11:56   #5
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Sure wish we could go back an Edit posts for more then 30 minutes!!

In any case...
Here are my "edits" and Updates!!


1) EDIT....
While I was typing, the BBC has updated the story (at 1:17pmEDT)!!
Quote:
Three US and Canadian aircraft and three merchant vessels looked for them on Friday and Saturday 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Quote:
In a press release, the US Coast Guard said the search area had involved approximately 4,146 square miles and it was "extremely disappointed" not to have found the sailors.



2) Without knowing exactly where they were at, makes things difficult....but, I think we can assume that if they mentioned diverting to Azores that they were:
a) ..... EDIT....
--or--
b) just west of 40*W, which places them in the SAR area of US responsibility....
(and the Canadian area extending to 30*W, north of the 45*N limit of the US area...)
EDIT:
It appears now with the new info that they were "about 1000miles east of Cape Cod", that they were in the US SAR area....
Though not sure if the C-130 came out of NC, Mass, NJ, or Canada...(or all of those places??)
My guess this was coordinated out of RCC Boston, and aircraft from various bases were used to undertake the extensive search...

Let's all remember how small of a target a human head is, or for that matter even an orange life raft is, from 1000' in the air, flying at 200 - 300 kts.... (and, after the Malaysian FL# 370 air search...the whole world can see how hard it is...)



http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg534/nsarc/IMO%20Maritime%20SAR%20Regions.pdf


3) Weather could've been a real issue for them....
EDIT:
It appears that they were not on a rhumb line from Antigua to the UK, if they were "1000miles east of Cape Cod"....and with a very strong Low / Gale now at 36N / 52W...they would've had some serious weather there...
(NE'erlies against the Gulf Stream is a big possibility here)




My prayers are now with the families of those sailors...

Fair winds and God Speed...

John
s/v Annie Laurie



P.S. Anyone know if the "ARC Europe" left the Caribbean yet???
The N. Atlantic can be a bitch in the springtime!!
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Old 18-05-2014, 12:03   #6
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Four Britons missing at sea after yacht 'capsized' in middle of Atlantic - Telegraph
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Old 18-05-2014, 12:29   #7
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Further Updates...


Quote:
Three US and Canadian aircraft and three merchant vessels looked for them on Friday and Saturday 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Quote:
In a press release, the US Coast Guard said the search area had involved approximately 4,146 square miles and it was "extremely disappointed" not to have found the sailors.
Quote:
US Coast Guard spokesman Rob Simpson said it had "saturated the area" in a two-day search and "we would have found them" if it had been possible


It appears now with the new info that they were "about 1000miles east of Cape Cod", that they were in the US SAR area....
Though not sure if the C-130 came out of NC, Mass, NJ, or Canada...(or all of those places??)
My guess this was coordinated out of RCC Boston, and aircraft from various bases were used to undertake the extensive search...

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg534/nsarc/IMO%20Maritime%20SAR%20Regions.pdf



Quote:
Search and Rescue authorities were mobilized and a mixture of Canadian and US aircraft along with merchant vessels searched throughout Friday and Saturday.
Although the search efforts were exceptional we are devastated that the search has now been called off so soon.



Quote:
The RYA said typical supplies on a life raft would include survival suits, water, food, flares and a first aid kit.

Although a life raft was mentioned by "Stormforce" director, it was not made clear whether the vessel DID, in fact, have a life raft on-board...



Quote:
It is extremely challenging to respond to a distress case so far off shore, which is why it takes a joint effort with our international partners to put forward an effective search," it said.

Coast guard spokesman Mr Simpson told the BBC on Sunday that the yachtmen's locator beacons had been activated, providing it with some "general GPS co-ordinates".

He said they had not been able to link any debris found to the Cheeki Rafiki, but an overturned hull had been spotted by a container ship involved in the search "that did look like it may have been the sailing vessel". However, the ship did not stop to inspect the hull because nobody was seen on board.

Aircraft and ships travelling through the area have been alerted to the missing yacht, he added.

Cost was not a factor in the decision to call off the search, which would only restart if new information came to light, he said.


Weather could've been a real issue for them....
EDIT:
It appears that they were not on a rhumb line from Antigua to the UK, if they were "1000miles east of Cape Cod"....and with a very strong Low / Gale now at 36N / 52W...they would've had some serious weather there...
(NE'erlies against the Gulf Stream is a big possibility here)




Further details from "The Telegraph"
Quote:
Stormforce [apparently the yacht's owner and/or management team] named the four sailors as Andrew Bridge, 21, Paul Goslin, 56, James Male, 23, and Steve Warren, 52.

They are thought to have been delivering the vessel back after it participated in Antigua Week, regarded as one of the world's top regattas.

All three were described as "very experienced offshore yachtsmen", but only Mr Bridge was being paid by Stormforce for his role on the yacht.

Stormforce director Doug Innes said: ''The yacht Cheeki Rafiki, a Beneteau First 40.7, was on passage from the Caribbean to the UK with a crew of four yachtsmen. On Thursday she started taking on water.

''We were in contact with the skipper and at the time the yacht and crew were keeping the situation stable.

''They had not been able to ascertain where the water ingress was from and were diverting to the Azores.

''Unfortunately we lost contact during the early hours of Friday morning and we believe it is possible the crew abandoned to the life raft.


My prayers are now with the families of those sailors...

Fair winds and God Speed...

John
s/v Annie Laurie



P.S. Anyone know if the "ARC Europe" left the Caribbean yet???
The N. Atlantic can be a bitch in the springtime!!
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Old 18-05-2014, 12:37   #8
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

I'm surprised that they only searched for 2 days. I would have expected a lot longer than that.

As a US citizen who is pretty ticked off about drones being used inside the US against citizens, I'd really like to see them use drones for offshore search operations instead. Assign 4 or 5 drones to a search grid and have them scour the area with FLIR and high res. video cameras. I think they'd be a lot more effective than people using binoculars looking out the windows of C-130s. Far more fuel efficient and cost effective.
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Old 18-05-2014, 12:44   #9
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

No propper location yet? Thats crazy. Theres boats heading to the Azores now, but no one has the l&l!
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Old 18-05-2014, 12:49   #10
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Further bits of information some in the BBC news text and some in the audio/video report with interviews with the USCG's Rob Simpson:

The last sat phone communication to the UK was early Friday morning, where the crew talked about taking on water, (I presume therefore very early Friday ET). The locator beacons were activated about 2:30 ET (I presume Friday).The search was conducted throughout Friday and Saturday.The search was called off at 05:00 ET today. Signals have stopped.

Three aircraft were used from multiple militaries. There were PLBs and they only transmit GPS via satellite and so no homing beacon was available to aid the aircraft on scene. No life raft was seen, but the upturned yacht was seen by the container ship Maersk Kure. They did not stop as no survivors were seen. Visibility during the search was less than a mile, wind was up to 50kt and seas up to 20ft.


So the poor sods are on their own. No-one searching, no-one seemingly going to check out the upturned hull for survivors.

The USCG talked about limited resources. Seems like life has a price. Not a great enough effort here in my view. OK its not a 777 with 300 odd bodies to recover - look at the resources deployed there, but there is at least a possibilty of rescue here.

I remember Tony Bulimore surviving days in an upturned hull whilst he waited the Aussie Navy to get to him in the Southern Ocean. I hope someone goes to take a look at the wreck.

I wonder if the Maersk ship took a proper look and pulled alongside? They could have hoisted it on board, after all what is there at risk if the crew are going to be abandoned anyway?

Seems like they didn't have an EPIRB, which would have aided the finding of their location by the aircraft (due to the homing signal), but I don't get why the PLBs didn't provide accurate enough position information. The USCG guy talked of information of the area only being provided. I thought PLBs would give bang-on accuracy like all GPSs do now?

The boat Cheeki Rafiki was a charter race boat and will have had a life raft to comply with the RORC and charter rules. Whilst looking up the boat details from stormforce.biz the charter operator I notice they have disabled the boat page. Not very helpful.
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Old 18-05-2014, 13:00   #11
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Quote:
Originally Posted by poiu View Post
...

Seems like they didn't have an EPIRB, which would have aided the finding of their location by the aircraft (due to the homing signal), but I don't get why the PLBs didn't provide accurate enough position information. The USCG guy talked of information of the area only being provided. I thought PLBs would give bang-on accuracy like all GPSs do now?
I don't really understand the PLB remark either. PLB will give very precise information on position while it is transmitting. They do only have a 24 hour battery life, though, vs 48 for an EPIRB.

I don't know if all PLBs have 121.5 homing, but the resqlink, perhaps the most popular one around these parts, does have it.

You need to keep the PLB looking at the sky, so if you are in the water with no raft and get hypothermic, it might stop transmitting before the battery dies.
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Old 18-05-2014, 13:19   #12
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pirate Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

I wonder if they gave a position report at their last contact with base.. if that went public any boats in the area could keep a look out.. there'll be boats heading E from Bermuda for the next few weeks..
Cannot figure out why they were so far E on a SMX - UK run.. unless they were getting route advice for weather..
Regarding Maersk lifting the boat.. not so simple out there..
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Old 18-05-2014, 13:35   #13
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

50 knots in 20 foot seas...
They had plenty of time, apparently, to set up their abandon, launch their life raft etc. but anything could have gone wrong.
And it would have been a big life raft with only four people in it may not be enough for 50 knots.

Its been a horrible year!
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Old 18-05-2014, 13:40   #14
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

There are only three reasons for abandoning a search.
  • Knowledge not released.
  • Weather
  • Past all possible time/hope.
Sincerely hoping this is not a foretaste of what emergency services will be giving in the future.
Always hope until there is none.
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Old 18-05-2014, 13:50   #15
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Re: UK yacht Cheeki Rafiki missing in mid-Atlantic

Surprised no accurate location info too. Surely with a paid Captain and an experienced "offshore" crew on board and management company they must have had an EPIRB or some type of Spot device maybe both. Though things could have gone bad fast before they could reach or activate it too. I hope this does not end as another mystery of the sea and has a happy ending.
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