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Old 17-03-2013, 10:27   #301
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pirate Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
... Lets look back at the names attached to the most condemning posts and consider their depth of bluewater experience. With a couple of exceptions it is clear that most of those who understand this poor couples experiences, and granted bad judgement, are not the ones rushing to put their name on the wall in judgement.

It seems that FS has seriously considered who's done what here. I'd love to hear the details of his assessment. Name them names, Cap.

Start with me. My position has always been that the folks were scared witless, and the boat did not roll over. One or both got to screaming at each other, and out of hope of ending the pain, one or the other pushed the big red button.

I have quite a bit of experience at being scared witless at sea, alone. It happens virtually everytime as I never seem to have enough boat. I always say never again. But so far I've always gone back. Stupid? Maybe. Fearless? Hardly.

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Old 17-03-2013, 10:33   #302
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

You need to be realistic, your actions do have consequences. You have a boat and a dream and your suddenly facing a major loss and your not thinking clearly about the situation. Your thinking you may be able to recover the boat, yet it is a just a THING you put in so much emotional energy and money into you cant bear to think your baby should be totally destroyed. So then it becomes a ghost which gets resurrected to haunt your life, by government decree of fines and liabilities.

You read of some ships so damaged, they are towed out to sea and scuttled, rather than try and bring them into a port for repairs. that should be your attitude about it.

Situations like this where boat is small and your abandoning boat, there is nothing left for you except to think of your future liability, what leaving a floating hulk might do to someones else's boat or life, or have it float in then your facing cleanup of a worthless piece of wreckage.
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Old 17-03-2013, 10:45   #303
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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One thing I get from reading the thread. Scuttle the boat when you leave it in a situation like this. When it floats in and you have no insurance and you abandoned the boat, you wont be wanting to face huge clean up costs and fines or prison in Australia. Boat had no chance of being recovered, it became a massive liability in many ways.
I think that alone has been a very worthwhile product of the thread - at least for me .

Personally I would not be greatly concerned about my boat becoming a navigational hazard to others........on an ocean takes 2 to not see each other - still possible I guess, but makes it even more unlikely odds wise (and a shared responsibility if "they" are not looking out) and therefore IMO not a completely reckless thing to do - but I accept that others will have a different view!

Indeed, I am still less likely to scuttle my boat when the most likely to be a hazard to navigation! - namely being close enough to shore / civilisation that a later salvage is feasible which usually means more boat traffic and therefore a higher chance of collision than on the ocean.

But nonetheless the prospect of getting landed with a $50k bill for washing up on an unfreindly shore would now (thanks to this thread ) be a consideration - and that includes whether fully insured or not! (as insurance companies can be weasly b#stards )...and a consideration that would merit taking some greater risk than otherwise would be the case to go below and hack away at the hoses - for far less than $50k I have taken great risk to life and limb anyway.

The impact on the fish etc? still not a consideration .........and I suspect when it comes to a choice between own money, especially $50k of, and "the environment" that I am not alone in deciding which way to go! (even if in a minority of folks who will admit it!)....in any event I don't see any fundamental difference to a boat going glug on the ocean and against the shore. The only difference is that one is out of sight (and therefore doesn't count? ).
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Old 17-03-2013, 10:59   #304
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
I do feel very strongly that it is wholy unfair for people to be judging these people so harshly
I don't think it unfair at all.

People with good experience have noted there was no good reasons to abandon the boat.
People with lesser experience need to understand that too, and writing posts about it helps that learning process.
Belittling people by calling them Armchair sailors is not helping them get to sea. It's just slagging off someone forming opinions and learning.

Getting off a boat at sea is a highly risky business. For these people the chance of being injured or killed was in their getting off up the side of a ship. The SAFER option was to stay aboard their boat.

Because nearly all of us realise this, and have see the couples TV antics, there is very little time or sympathy for them.

"A fool and his money are easily parted." Lets add to that: a fool and his boat are easily parted. A fool and his life are easily parted.

People who have not started their cruising yet have the unique ability to speak to other cruisers via this forum, to discuss things, not just read some pontificating book written years ago by some rich wanker. Thus Internet forums can be better than other formation services. Look at the Bounty threads here and on other forums... Many points brought out in forums were pretty well spot on when it came to the USCG hearings.... Arm chair sailors? No. People who are using their brains and are demonstrably correct.



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Just saw the vid on youtube. ohh BUGGER! nuf from me.
Thank god you finally read the thread.
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Old 17-03-2013, 11:07   #305
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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One thing I get from reading the thread. Scuttle the boat when you leave it in a situation like this. When it floats in and you have no insurance and you abandoned the boat, you wont be wanting to face huge clean up costs and fines or prison in Australia. Boat had no chance of being recovered, it became a massive liability in many ways.
Personally I think it would be shame to scuttle a perfectly good boat because you wanted to or had to get off. The boat would still be polluting on it's way down to the bottom. I would instead make sure I had an AIS transponder on board and enough solar to keep it transmitting. It would be a lot easier for someone to find before it landed on a coast somewhere. Either the owners or some entrepreneurial salvager could be on the lookout for it. Other boats and ships it comes near may be able to report it's position from time to time and a plane with an AIS receiver could easily find it as it comes closer to land. An AIS transponder is a lot cheaper than an insurance policy or having no insurance policy and having your boat wash up on some shore like Windigo and there is a good chance the boat may be able to sail again unlike Windigo if found before it reaches the shore. A little prep before departing would save a lot of trouble and $$$ later on for everyone. IMO.
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Old 17-03-2013, 11:19   #306
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

Just remember, when you are deciding whether to scuttle your boat or not, if it washes up on a third world beach you might get a "Thank You" card from the nearest village.
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Old 17-03-2013, 11:23   #307
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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DOJ, you and I are in accord.

Note that Windigo's hull could have just as easily crossed a boat closer to shore at night, making eight knots. In other words, she was a nav hazard that only dumb luck did not turn into a nine-tonne crash barrier that would have stove in the hull of most boats below 80 feet or so.
This is actually a really interesting question. Suppose on her way to shore, Windigo had taken out some boat at anchor with the owners asleep. Who's 'responsible'? I would say that morally, the owners of Windigo are responsible, but what about legally?
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Old 17-03-2013, 11:34   #308
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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Personally I think it would be shame to scuttle a perfectly good boat because you wanted to or had to get off. The boat would still be polluting on it's way down to the bottom. I would instead make sure I had an AIS transponder on board and enough solar to keep it transmitting. It would be a lot easier for someone to find before it landed on a coast somewhere. Either the owners or some entrepreneurial salvager could be on the lookout for it. Other boats and ships it comes near may be able to report it's position from time to time and a plane with an AIS receiver could easily find it as it comes closer to land. An AIS transponder is a lot cheaper than an insurance policy or having no insurance policy and having your boat wash up on some shore like Windigo and there is a good chance the boat may be able to sail again unlike Windigo if found before it reaches the shore. A little prep before departing would save a lot of trouble and $$$ later on for everyone. IMO.
That is understandable, if the owner is willing and can follow up on the hull's progress. A lot of 'ifs' in there still. Like if it keeps transmitting, cost of going to get it, still a salvage deal, where is the reward, who gets the floating wreck?

Interesting that they left the motor running, the boat could have kept going.
People are holding on here where there is no hope, leaving it running.
Before reading this thread, I think I would have left it off and just left the boat. Now I am pretty sure I would sink it.

How about leaving the anchor line out, perhaps it could snag the bottom and not float onto the beach.
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Old 17-03-2013, 11:49   #309
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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How about leaving the anchor line out, perhaps it could ....
Take out fishing nets, take out anchored boats, take out wave generators...
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Old 17-03-2013, 12:36   #310
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

It would be interesting to have boats with different WWL, displacement and techniques for heaving-to observed in the same conditions at the same time. The objectives would be to analyze comparative sog and cog. When hove-to my relatively small boat in current neutral conditions and 20 knots of wind moves about 1.5 knots. Were my boat to collide with a stationary object at that speed some damage may occur, but it would probably not be very significant. This is not a suggestion that although the damage is slight repairs would be cheap. Probably not. The reason I bring this up is to suggest the hazard an object floating at sea, whether a shipping container or abandoned vessel is not the speed either of these may attain, but the speed and angle of a moving vessel under power or sail when the collision occurs.

Most anybody with significant blue water miles to their credit have hove-to at one time or another - or many times. The 'many times' would apply especially to single handers like myself. Although I wear a masthead light when hove to getting some rest or simply stopping to prepare a meal - while stopped my boat creates a hazard to navigation similar to a shipping container or sailboat abandoned at sea. My safety and the safety of others at the moment depends upon the watchful eyes of others underway in my vicinity - day or night.

I have been underway watching what I judged to be lights on a fishing trawler a considerable distance away. It wasn't until the ghostly silouette of a vessel wearing one, low intensity light came into view I realized the light I saw belonged to a boat hove-to or at anchor.

Obviously an unlit anything afloat in the ocean presents a greater hazard. And, the larger the object the greater any potential damage will be.

I presume Windigo was unlit and therefore unlikely to be seen at night. During daylight hours an alert crew would most likely have seen her, tried to make contact and reported her position to the coast guard having received no response or observed anyone aboard. This apparently did not happen. What may have happened however if the boat was indeed 'salvaged' by someone who did cross her path - is the responsible party failed to report her position. A damnable incident indeed.

Nobody will ever know what happened between the time Windigo was vacated and she crashed onto the Australian beach. I agree there are lessons to learn from the discourse in this thread.

Except when collisions at sea involve a stationary unlit object and a moving vessel at night, the burden of responsibility rests with the vessel underway that kept inadequate watch.

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Old 17-03-2013, 12:49   #311
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pirate Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

So back to the post.. what help is wanted today... the boats found... clean-up costs, repatriation... or are they snug back in NZ...
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Old 17-03-2013, 13:43   #312
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

Personally I am glad this thread was allowed to deviate and are grateful for all the comments. It didn't help the OP, but it is an "ill wind".
It just reinforces the need for preparedness, weather comms, storm shutters, drogues & deployment practice, backup steering consideration, etc, etc.
And the big one, when at wits end, are you going to be able to make sound decisions
for your crew, yourself and your boat?

"I don't know what I can do.... " the last words from a friend, and experienced yachtsman, before silence.
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:49   #313
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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This is actually a really interesting question. Suppose on her way to shore, Windigo had taken out some boat at anchor with the owners asleep. Who's 'responsible'? I would say that morally, the owners of Windigo are responsible, but what about legally?
Legally, I don't know. Practically, they could've avoided the question by leaving the nav lights on. If you smash into a lit boat, even an abandoned lit boat, it's on you, not the departed owners.

I mean, I doubt it's in COLREGS like that, but if you can see the boat, you are obliged to avoid a collision, which takes into consideration that the boat you see is not under active command, a subset of which could be interpreted as "abandoned".
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Old 17-03-2013, 18:34   #314
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

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That is understandable, if the owner is willing and can follow up on the hull's progress. A lot of 'ifs' in there still. Like if it keeps transmitting, cost of going to get it, still a salvage deal, where is the reward, who gets the floating wreck?

Interesting that they left the motor running, the boat could have kept going.
People are holding on here where there is no hope, leaving it running.
Before reading this thread, I think I would have left it off and just left the boat. Now I am pretty sure I would sink it.

How about leaving the anchor line out, perhaps it could snag the bottom and not float onto the beach.
I agree there are some if's involved. But, still a lot more certainty with an AIS transponder operating of where the boat is than just abandoning it and trying to figure out where it might end up.
If the anchor is on chain it might hold up but, if it's line I would think it would chafe through pretty fast out in the ocean even with chafe protection. But, it could not hurt. IMO. Though I think it would be better to find the boat further out from coast before the anchor snags the bottom.
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Old 17-03-2013, 19:19   #315
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Re: Merged- Windigo Abandoned. Please Help

I have rescued and been rescued, worked offshore in commercial salvage operations and searched for bodies near a prematurely abandoned freighter that survived the storm where 9 of the 12 crew were found drowned.

Training pulled me thru the worst parts of those events, but later evaluation haunted me that some of my decisions could have been better.

The couple made the decision to abandon, which signifies they had given up. So from their perspective it was a good decision.
Most of us, who have experienced those conditions, feel it was premature, but we were not there.

My belief is they also hoped that they could reclaim their yacht after they had time to recover from the bashing.
That turned out to be a very poor decision and underlines the level of commitment a skipper must make when a decision to abandon is made.

Rather than big brother mandatory insurance, I feel sailors should have the choice of purchasing rescue/med-evac insurance and this could even be tied into the licensing of the alarm/ positioning equipment and even more.

By more, an insurance plan could also provide a temporary salvage crew to take over the yacht if still seaworthy and deliver it to a safe port. (I am sure the satellite agencies had the yacht on their monitors for a while, but because there was no commercial reward… they turned the cameras away)

I personally would be happy signing an international release form that I will not cry for help unless I am prepared to shoulder the costs, so as to keep government agencies and insurance agents out of my life.
But that is just me!
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