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Old 29-07-2013, 18:47   #76
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pirate Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryon View Post
This was an attempt to factor out the sail aspects of Astrid's demise. The fore-and-afts weren't pulling, and I have yet to hear a credible comment on raising the squares.

But comment however you like.

(Rakuflames, the yardarm is the outermost portion of the yard, outboard of the lifts. Probably the only way you could stand there would be with the square above set, so you'd have something to hold onto. The "real sailors" of yesterday would sometimes climb down the leech from the yard above, but I don't think they did it for fun!)
yardarm - either end of the yard of a square-rigged ship
yard - a long horizontal spar tapered at the end and used to support and spread a square sail or lateen

The kid (15) standing on the 'Button' is 142 feet above the ground

HMS GANGES - Manning The Mast - YouTube
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Old 30-07-2013, 00:10   #77
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

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I suspect that human nature often is at play -- when you're in familiar waters you may tend to under-estimate the risks. In other words, I think the captain may have been used to those waters and didn't fully appreciate the risks he was so familiar with.
Um, the boat was Dutch and she was in Irish waters. The Captain may have been somewhat familiar with the area, but I doubt that he was an expert.

Quote:
I've also had instructors who thought if they called out instructions the *students* would automatically follow them well. Sometimes you need the bigger picture to really "get" the instructions you're being given. Those of you who have been sailing since you were six may not have even experienced that, because your parents were well aware of what you did and didn't know. But I have seen skippers call out instructions to crew who didn't completely understand what they were being told to do. I've made that mistake as skipper myself.
In my experience, this happens much less on square riggers. Captains know that most people, regardless of boating or sailing experience, have no idea how to sail a square rigger (hence some of my frustration in prior comments). It is MUCH different than sailing pretty much any other boat. When I was new to square riggers (back in my teens), I was called out by a captain because I thought that I knew more than I did from sailing a schooner. He flat out told me that the other boat I had sailed was about as similar to the square rigger as a '66 Mustang is to a Model T Ford. He was right, btw.

Quote:
The mistakes were a series of judgments by the captain. (1) to go (without an organized support vessel) - a real decision if the "water in the fuel" comment is true, (2) to not take a course that got further offshore, (3) after the incident, to try to sail an obviously impossible course rather than trying a turn.
If every boat sailed with an escort vessel, there would be a much larger number of rich tug operators! I do agree that if the water in the fuel rumor is true, that having an escort vessel would have been prudent. However, they were sailing with a large number of other boats that may have been able to tow, had they been able to pass a line. However, due to conditions, they weren't able to set up the tow (according to at least one of the articles-other rumors bring the inflatable with a 90hp engine in to the mix and I'm not sure if it's one and the same or two separate incidents).

Quote:
I could be wrong of course, but I don't see where the type of rig changes the direction of the wind, or the type of shore they had -- or the predicament they were in at the moment.
Hate to say it, but you are wrong. A different rig could have allowed them to sail more efficiently to weather. Square rigs are a whole different beast and require special consideration due to their "specialized" sailing abilities, not just the ability of the crew to know the lines.

Quote:
I DO think [the rig] may have affected how well the student sailors were able to follow directions in an emergency, but that's a guess. I think it's a reasonable one, but it's still a guess.
Yep, probably. However, the core crew (assuming knowledgeable and trained) should have been able to sail that boat, pulling trainees to a line whenever manpower was needed. An easy "you three come here and pull with me" can be sufficient. It can affect how fast things get done slightly, but a fully crewed boat of that size with professionals would not have had a crew of 30.

Quote:
Do we know that the captain didn't try a turn? How many crew members would it take, working skillfully and in cooperation, to turn such a boat through the wind? I have no idea.
I did address this earlier. There are many factors that could have affect the captain's ability to even make the turn (primarily the swells), regardless of the efforts of him and the crew.

Quote:
Lesson 1 - sketch the lee shores in a red light visible magenta pencil to keep the needed offing front of mind.
I would disagree. Lee shores change with the wind. Some areas of the world might have perpetual lee shores, but generally any shore could be a lee shore at some point in time. Sketching shoal water would not be a bad idea (it was required of me in the USCG when working with paper charts-we used blue highlighter).

Quote:
Other lessons we can all consider for our own boats?
I think we've hit this pretty well already. Be aware of lee shores, don't over rely on an engine to get you out of or keep you out of trouble, set sails quickly and be able to sail in a safe direction, an anchor would have been useless in this situation, etc. However, as this was a much different boat than anything that any of us are likely to ever own (much to my disappointment), the situation would be much different for us. Stating that 'the captain should have done this' because that's what would have kept my boat out of trouble, or a similar boat, is not fair to the captain because it is ignoring the extremely different characteristics of the boats. Size does matter, as does rig and age!

Quote:
"always have a plan b"
cultivate "an allergy to motoring into lee shore"
guard against "getting a bit...comfortable, and slip into bad habits"
Yes. Sometimes plan b doesn't work, so you should be able to quickly come up with a plan c and hope for the best if you're running out of time.

Quote:
I can just see these kids trying to remember which was the "fore upper topsail" and the names of the lines controlling it ... yes, I went to google to find that term. The kids might not have been that far beyond that.
Probably true, but he did have 7 full time crew (including himself) who should have been trained. I've sailed a brig with 5 people before (not in emergency situation, luckily), though only for short harbor sails, and even then we usually had a couple more. The trainees could have been extra manpower where needed, but all the direction should have been coming from that trained crew. Of course, this is assuming that they knew the boat well.

Quote:
If the crew is still working out the terminology, and one person grabs the starboard sheet of one sail but the other person the port sheet of a different sail -- oops. That's all speculation and guessing on my part, but while I would have no trouble following orders on a Marconi rig, I might really be working on the terminology for that boat.
This brought up a question in my mind. As this was a Dutch ship with a combination of Irish and Dutch trainees (and potentially crew?), was there any language barrier that was encountered during this emergency? I haven't heard anything about it, but it could definitely effect the outcome.

Quote:
I'm still waiting to hear who has never sailed a square rigger but claims to be an expert. You're the one who brought up the "joke," so you must know who the joker is.
Just in case the 'expert' is me, I never claimed to be an expert. I am not an expert. However, I do have a fair amount of experience and do claim to know more than the average sailor about square rig sailing. That said, I sure don't know everything. That's why I can't wait for this incident report to be published.

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I don't care how good you are your not going to turn a boat that size when its bleeding of speed in a wind over tide situation...
Its not a bludi fin keel 30ftr with a freshly painted bum.
Yep.

Quote:
This was an attempt to factor out the sail aspects of Astrid's demise. The fore-and-afts weren't pulling, and I have yet to hear a credible comment on raising the squares.
Want a credible comment without looking at my earlier posts? They can't point as high and would not have done much, if any, good. I did mention that based on the video, if they had been able to come about, that then the setting of some squares would have helped them get in to what appeared to be safer water (again, this was from looking at the youtube video-I don't have any personal knowledge of that coastline besides what has been stated here). Weatherly abilities is one reason that schooners were used more for coastal trading vessels than full rigged ships. Fore-and-aft vessels can point higher. Square rigs excel sailing with the wind aft of the beam, such as ocean trade wind voyages. Credible enough?

Quote:
If you are running a trainee boat, let's agree you cannot depend on sail handling. Ok so don't. I would argue that on a training boat, in this situation, you need redundant engines to the formula N+1 with N standing for Need. Prior poster's tugboat observation counts towards N+1. If you go to sea with less that's a decision in itself.
Saving the best for last. I completely disagree with this. Not because the philosophy lacks merit (I enjoy redundant systems where reasonable), but because of the reality of budgets and naval architecture. This boat was built nearly 100 years ago. Is it at all realistic to always have twin screws on a training vessel? How is anyone going to learn to control a single screw boat? USCGC Eagle, a training vessel that does not even really focus on the sail handling as much as the leadership development (I can guarantee that most of the cadets graduating from the USCGC would not be considered competent crew on a square rigger), but she only has one engine. Most old sailing vessels that I know of only have one engine. Should they all be banned from training? My personal philosophy is that if people can learn on older technology, then the newer boats make more sense and are much easier to handle. If you learn how to dock a boat that is single screw without a bow thruster, when you are given the helm of a double screwed boat with bow and stern thrusters in the same conditions, it's much easier. Training should be about challenge, within reason. In most situations that this boat would be likely to loose their engine, sails would be more than sufficient as a backup. This was not most conditions, it was just about a worst case scenario for a boat of Astrid's characteristics. Backups don't always need to be an engine. There were plenty of backups. Sailing was tried, towing was tried, an anchor would have been useless so they didn't waste their time on it, and ultimately the liferafts were deployed when these other measures were unsuccessful. In an ideal world, maybe the owners could have afforded a complete engineering overhaul to fit two engines. Then again, in an ideal world, I would have absolutely no maintenance or upgrade projects planned for my boat, and absolutely no budget! Going to sea with just one engine is not bad seamanship. It is not a poor decision. That boat had been doing fine with one engine (or less-not sure if she always had one or not) for years and was still sailing. However, there are many boats that had better equipment that are on the bottom of the ocean as well. Here, we lost a good old boat, but no lives. I don't find fault with the captain for that, given what we know so far.
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Old 30-07-2013, 00:11   #78
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

Anyone want this soap box I seem to be standing on?
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Old 30-07-2013, 04:13   #79
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

^^

Pirate . . . In the interest of "learning" and "doing better" and not fault finding, I am curious what sequence of thoughts you believe should have gone thru the captains mind when the engine sputtered.

For the sake of discussion I will propose:

1. ****
2. Quickly look at the shore, 500m downwind, and think "no time to mess with the engine", although I would expect the engineer (if there was one) to be immediately down there
3 Quickly look at the depth sounder and coast line and "think anchor useless"
4 look up at the wind and the approaching headland and think, "can't clear that on this tack, and don't have enough room to build up sailing speed on the fore&aft sails"
5 "only option left, to try an immediate turn, thru the wind is preferable, will the wind and swell allow me to make it, other wise try the tight off wind turn."

Edit: somewhere in there, just before or after #5, is the thought/call about whether there is a tow with the necessary power that can get there in time. Obviously, with hindsight, there was not.

I have helmed two traditional vessels, a bit smaller than this one (100, 112') and I figure from motoring at 8kts you had about 15 secs on momentum when you could make an upwind turn in the sort of conditions we see in the video. I figure the skipper 'could' have through thru the above 5 steps in 15 secs.

As to true square rig experts . . . Not many in the whole world.
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Old 30-07-2013, 04:59   #80
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

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Originally Posted by ryon View Post
This was an attempt to factor out the sail aspects of Astrid's demise. The fore-and-afts weren't pulling, and I have yet to hear a credible comment on raising the squares.

But comment however you like.

(Rakuflames, the yardarm is the outermost portion of the yard, outboard of the lifts. Probably the only way you could stand there would be with the square above set, so you'd have something to hold onto. The "real sailors" of yesterday would sometimes climb down the leech from the yard above, but I don't think they did it for fun!)

Thanks very much. What makes you think I didn't know what a yardarm is?

They may well have tried to raise some sails. We don't know, and we don't know if the student-crew knew enough to follow directions in a well-executed way.

We know they wanted to use the engine but that for some reason the engine would not run. I know that's what I would do if I had to get away from rocks. For me, that would be no time for me to try to prove myself as a sailor. Just get the heck outta Dodge! But it didn't work, and news reporters won't get such details right. I think the magazine is unlikely to do two stories on this incident. Magazines go on to new stories and work hard to not repeat topics (long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote for magazines and newspapers).

It's newspapers most likely to follow up on this story, and the odds of their having a writer who knows enough about sailing square-rigged boats to get the details right are pretty slim. We'll never know.
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Old 30-07-2013, 05:04   #81
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

". In the interest of "learning" and "doing better" and not fault finding"
+1

Pyrate

We're all trying to learn from this. This thread will make me a safer boater. I think you are sincere in your views.
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Old 30-07-2013, 05:06   #82
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

FAR too long a post speculating about all sorts of things we'll never know about this incident. But you said:

"I could be wrong of course, but I don't see where the type of rig changes the direction of the wind, or the type of shore they had -- or the predicament they were in at the moment."

Hate to say it, but you are wrong. A different rig could have allowed them to sail more efficiently to weather. Square rigs are a whole different beast and require special consideration due to their "specialized" sailing abilities, not just the ability of the crew to know the lines."

You completely missed what I said. The rig does NOT change the direction of the wind. The wind is what it is. The seas are what they are. The current is what it is.

A different rig would OF COURSE change how the boat was sailed. And NEVER did I say that the crew only had to know the name of the lines! I said it was a situation where there might be a significant amount of confusion BECAUSE THE CREW WERE STUDENTS.

That's the reality of it. Saying "what if" this and that -- I'm sorry, but I think setting up a scenario serves only one purpose, for a poster to build himself a soap box. And you built a fine one, but you VASTLY over-interpreted everything I said in the process.

They were in a bad spot, and for whatever reason they couldn't get themselves out. Even a towboat wasn't able to get them out. They saved all the crew but the boat foundered.

It's a damned shame, but it's what happened. We won't ever know what happened on that boat, because it's old news to magazines (read that as "death," as far as a magazine is concerned, and newspaper reporters won't know enough about sailing, especially such a boat, to get the details right.
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Old 30-07-2013, 05:07   #83
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

^^

Edit 2: this was 30 years ago, but we used to practice these "engine down" turns, along with the mob.
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Old 30-07-2013, 05:10   #84
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
^^


3 Quickly look at the depth sounder and coast line and "think anchor useless"
.

Curious as to why this would be considered useless. Water depth at about 2.5 cables offshore is 10 to 15m.
OK, the seabed is rock, not the best for holding, but an anchor might have held, or at least slowed down the drift. Plenty of day angling boats anchor between the mainland and the Sovereigns.

Maybe the skipper (who knows his boat better than any of us), thought that to continue on the present tack would have least given him the greatest amount of time before grounding. He may well have reached the decision that if a tack did not work, and the boat ended in irons, then the time to grounding would be considerably less.
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Old 30-07-2013, 05:26   #85
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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post

From what little we know, and the very short video, the crew work looked pretty good.

The mistakes were a series of judgments by the captain. (1) to go (without an organized support vessel) - a real decision if the "water in the fuel" comment is true, (2) to not take a course that got further offshore, (3) after the incident, to try to sail an obviously impossible course rather than trying a turn.
Evans your comments are based on supposition

(A) unclear how a support vessel would Have helped

(B) water in tank rumour is just that

(c). The inshore passage inside the sovereigns is common

(D) the experts here contend a turn wasn't that feasible and we have no evidence he didnt try the turn.

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Old 30-07-2013, 05:48   #86
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

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Evans your comments are based on supposition

(A) unclear how a support vessel would Have helped

(B) water in tank rumour is just that

(c). The inshore passage inside the sovereigns is common

(D) the experts here contend a turn wasn't that feasible and we have no evidence he didnt try the turn.

Dave

I agree with you. Really, except for the facts that all were rescued and that the boat smashed on the rocks, it's all speculation.

It occurred to me that he might not have had budding juvenile delinquents on the sail before this one. It may be that this captain was a poor choice for leading impulsive, untrained adolescents. It might be that he went all Captain Bligh on them and that they felt they were settling a score. He might have just used the previous crew members as convenient scapegoats.

He was in rough water (not extreme, but rough enough to slosh the fuel around in the tank) and we don't know when that tank was last cleaned.

There's a whole lot we don't know and will never know. Even straight from the captain doesn't mean much. No way does he want to appear responsible for this incident.
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Old 30-07-2013, 07:30   #87
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Evans your comments are based on supposition

Sure . . . That's usually the case in these incidents. Does not mean we can't discuss it. You are still hung up on finding fault . . . I am making suppositions based on what we do know and have hear and trying to think how it might have been done differently or better.

When I was on the Aegean incident panel we had a vessel with all crew dead and no witnesses. We still produced recommendations despite not knowing the circumstances exactly, but suggesting that "if this was true then this is our recommendation".


(A) unclear how a support vessel would Have helped

Well, I am using that as short hand for a vessel with enough power to tow the head around. It's pretty clear how that would have helped.

(B) water in tank rumour is just that

Agreed. Perhaps it's true and perhaps not.

(c). The inshore passage inside the sovereigns is common

Yes, but a modern vessel could have easily sailed out of this situation. Should that track be common for a trad rig?

(D) the experts here contend a turn wasn't that feasible and we have no evidence he didnt try the turn.

The AIS track does not show one. And I simply don't believe that a turn was not feasable. Of course it was if done immediately. These vessels have significant momuntum.

Dave
We used to practice simulated emergency situation almost every day when I was training on trad vessels. Mob, flooding, fog, fire, electrical down, lost engine, etc. there were about a dozen ones we regularly practices and another dozen off the wall ones that occasionally got mixed in. I am just reflecting what I learned in that practice, and curious how other skippers minds would have worked thru this situation.

Engine goes down, you are in a cul de sac, you can't sail out on your current tack. What goes thru your mind and what orders do you give?
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Old 30-07-2013, 07:35   #88
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Curious as to why this would be considered useless. Water depth at about 2.5 cables offshore is 10 to 15m.
OK, the seabed is rock, not the best for holding, but an anchor might have held, or at least slowed down the drift. Plenty of day angling boats anchor between the mainland and the Sovereigns.

s.
Interesting. That suggests perhaps he should have dropped his hook near the end, when it became clear he was not going to be able to get his head around.

I was basing my comment on an obviously faulty recollection that it was quite deep there right up to the cliffs; and the observation that most ground tackle is not sized to be successful for exposed "offshore" anchoring. I have not idea what sort of tackle this vessel had.
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Old 30-07-2013, 08:01   #89
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Here's a good account from a reliable newspaper

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/irela...line-1.1474151

Firstly she had many trainees from several countries. The report states the captain did try to sail out of it.

Evans. I'm not interested in finding fault , in fact I am defending what I believe was an excellent captain , who in the face of odds he didnt like did the right thing , which was to sacrifice the ship to save the trainees. Has he carried out some risky action and delayed the evacuation, I can just imagine your howls of condemnation.



You on the other hand are in effect faulting the Captain in the guise of offering alternatives in a situation where what was attempted is unclear.

No doubt you are aware of AIS reporting durations at slow speeds !

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Old 30-07-2013, 09:35   #90
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Re: Another Lovely Old Girl Founders

Rakuflames: My bad! That was someone else "standing on the yardarm". That would be one balancing trick!
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