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Old 24-09-2008, 03:03   #76
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Originally Posted by shadow View Post
During that nightmare storm, can anyone tell me what the average size was for the monos?? Were they from across the board in size or were they are at least a certain size like at least all over 33 feet?? Just curious to see what kind of mono's made it through that craziness??
It was a very mixed fleet. One was a single handed 30fter but most would have been 36ft plus. It was the start of a Cruising rally heading up to the Pac Islands for 6 months of island hopping. It happens each year and isn't anything unusual.

There was a good number not in the Rally as well. The nature of our position down here means many boats gather in the Bay of Islands and when the weather window opens they are all off. Sometimes the gather boats make quite a large number.
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Old 24-09-2008, 03:12   #77
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Thanks GMac!!! I was just curious as I don't know anything about that storm except for what has been discussed here. Thanks again for the insight and facts!! Cheers!
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Old 24-09-2008, 04:14   #78
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Originally Posted by MidLandOne View Post
I have not been able to determine how many multihulls went through the storm, but there were a lot of monos that did, best estimate I have heard is around 50. I have only heard of 1 cat other than the ones that were abandoned and that is probably about right as the storm was many years ago (1994) when much fewer multis around this part of the world so probably around 15-20x as many monos as multis went through it.
There is much written on this topic. I don't understand why Gmac would call it poor information, as it's a storm that was well documented.

First, the weather picture. Steve Dashew keeps it here:
http://www.setsail.com/products/pdfs/qbs.pdf

The Captain of the rescue ship has his own web site on his rescue voyage here:
Queens Birthday Storm 1994 - HMNZS MONOWAI

Incidently, he has logged on to this forum a few times as well as my web site

Then there was what has been called a very accurate book written by Tony Farrington called " Rescue In The Pacific" , which is a well-written and well-documented account of the Queen’s Birthday Storm .

Lastly

A summary of damage to boats is here which was a summary of the Latitude 38 article coverling the storm:

[PUP] Multihulls in the deep blue

Over all, the information put forth here comes from multiple sources, and it all agrees. To call this misinformation begs to ask where the refuting information came from.

As to weather conditions, they varied. Much of the storm area was blowing 60 knots for 3 days. However, most of which I referenced above concentrates on the center of the storm where winds exceeded 80 knots and seas touched 30 meters. This 'center' had 7 monos and 3 cats within it.

The results were very clear.

All in all 1/3 of all boats caught in the storm are quoted or referenced in the articles above, hence my comment about good documentation. Apparent differences in reported weather conditions are affected by boat position during the storm, not disagreements as the storm diameter was 300 miles across..
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Old 24-09-2008, 04:20   #79
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Thanks rick!! Superb list of all the facts and data!! Much appreciated!!
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Old 24-09-2008, 04:37   #80
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Rescue in the Pacific: A True Story ... - Google Book Search

is the Book
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Old 24-09-2008, 04:38   #81
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You're welcome.

Actually, I'm getting confused about this storm. I understand Gmac is just relating what he was told after speaking to some of the boat owners involved. The confusion arises from what they've told him, it doesn't quite square with what has been published.

It was a very large storm and conditions varied. I wonder if boat position during the storm could account for the discrepencies?
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Old 24-09-2008, 04:43   #82
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Shadow, in case it is of interest this is the information as far as I recall regarding the boats that were distressed.

9 vessels transmitted distress alerts being 7 monos and 2 cats. One of the monos later cancelled its alert leaving 8 distressed vessels - 2 cats and 6 monos.

Both the cats, being "Ramtha" and "Heartlight", were evacuated and "Heartlight" deliberately sunk at the request of the owners (they were rescued by a fishing vessel that ran it down to sink it). Heartlights crew were very inexperienced and what most of us would regard as "strange" being into beams out of the sky and other vivid imaginary stuff.

The mono that was lost with all its crew was "Quartermaster" - I am aware of issues with both the boat and its crew related by people whose opinion I implicitly trust on those matters. I would like to leave that at that.

Of the monos that were evacuated I am not sure of the total number that turned up again having continued their voyage without their crews but the ones I know of that did are - "Destiny" was found aground in Vanuatu, stripped and burnt by locals; "Sofia" (a Westsail 32) was later found afloat and salvaged; "Silver Shadow" was later seen drifting and then later again found aground stripped beyond repair (I do not recall where).

I do not know if the remaining 2 abandoned monos I haven't accounted for ever turned up or not and, of course, it could be that they are aground somewhere yet to be found or drifted onto coral and broken up to be submerged. If I recall correctly one mono was badly damaged against the ship's side during the evacuation of the crew (but I may be thinking of another rescue?), perhaps she is known to have sunk - GMac may know?

"Ramtha" the cat that was not deliberately sunk also turned up as others have said and was salvaged.

It is over 14 years ago now so I do not recall the lengths of the above vessels. I think "Heartlight" was around 45 foot, maybe more, and "Quartermaster" was I think in the low 40 foot area. "Sofia" as said, was a Westsail 32. Someone may be able to clarify "Ramtha" but if I recall correctly she was quite small, under 40 foot but am dredging the memory cells for that.

There are a couple of books written on the storm but I have neither and not read them either so don't recall the titles but they regulalry come up on the e-auctions. As Factor has said there was a video available (it was based on a TV program, maybe was the same as the TV program I don't recall even though I have seen both - alzheimers ).

Hopefully that has rounded out a little of the events.

EDIT: I started writing this before Rick's post went up so there may be some corroboration (or not ) in the links he has given and which I have not yet read.
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Old 24-09-2008, 04:50   #83
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It is over 14 years ago now so I do not recall the lengths of the above vessels. I think "Heartlight" was around 45 foot.
Heartlight was a Catalac 12M. An older design, 12 meter British built cat with solid fiberglass hulls and a solid foredeck. Actually, when I was doing research on purchasing my first catamaran, I came across this story of the Catalac. So, I went out and bought one .

They were right, these boats are built like battleships.
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Old 24-09-2008, 05:03   #84
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Actually, I'm getting confused about this storm. I understand Gmac is just relating what he was told after speaking to some of the boat owners involved. The confusion arises from what they've told him, it doesn't quite square with what has been published.

It was a very large storm and conditions varied. I wonder if boat position during the storm could account for the discrepencies?
Rick - if I recall correctly from the time there was a tendancy to turn things into a good story with a few embellishments campared to the experiences I was given.

You may remember the case where similar happened when the US boat was run down by a Korean merchant vessel off NZ north of Auckland at night with the loss of the survivor's husband and 2 (think it was 2) children - the facts when they eventually came out were quite contrary to the claims of the media, etc at the time and which had made many circuits of the worlds sailing magazines and news media.

There have been claims that the area worst affected was very small but soon after I spoke to the skipper of a sail boat that was quite close to "Quartermaster" when she was lost and he related that they did not think the conditions for themselves as a crew were overly worrisome (they had been through similar on the same route before) yet a nearby yacht was lost. It also seems to me, from recall, that the rescues took place over a widish rather than concentrated area. I don't recall how that area related to the fetch driven by the lows circulation though. My personal opinion is that some crews coped and others didn't, as related above most of the boats survived even without their crews.

In the end I would not have wanted to be there - I always fly, much more cosy and quicker .

Re "Heartlight" -Ah, that would account for my impression when recalling the various video footage of her as being quite big looking leading to me incorrectly recalling her length.
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Old 24-09-2008, 07:25   #85
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Thanks Mid. With my background I love research and data. I love to hear/read the published reports as well as hear the real experiences of the people that were there. Combining those areas of data give me a much more in depth view of the situation.

Regardless, I think being in 30Meter waves with that kind of wind would rattle anyone and make them very aware of their skill set.

Thanks again for everyone's updates!!
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Old 24-09-2008, 09:12   #86
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I have always had problems with heartlight being listed as a victim of that storm.

IMHO she was a victim of incompetence and stupidity. The 12m Catalac was one of the best designs of that era, and to have deliberately sunk a perfectly viable example was nothing short of criminal.
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Old 24-09-2008, 10:04   #87
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I have always had problems with heartlight being listed as a victim of that storm.

IMHO she was a victim of incompetence and stupidity. The 12m Catalac was one of the best designs of that era, and to have deliberately sunk a perfectly viable example was nothing short of criminal.
Yes, if they didn't want the boat , they should of called me!!....umm...I mean you
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Old 24-09-2008, 14:11   #88
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There's an account of the Queens birthday storm here: [PUP] Multihulls in the deep blue

Midlandone, while your friends may have found the conditions to be "not overly worrisome", the fact is, several monohulls were rolled repeatedly, and lost their rigs. Conditions must have been fairly severe where they were, at least.

There was another 39 foot cat outside of the centre of the storm which had no real problems. Maybe your friends were similarly placed.
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Old 24-09-2008, 14:40   #89
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Midlandone, while your friends may have found the conditions to be "not overly worrisome", the fact is, several monohulls were rolled repeatedly, and lost their rigs. Conditions must have been fairly severe where they were, at least.
I have not disputed that and have said in my last post that I would not have like to have been there.

Again as I have said, these storms (colloquially referred to as "bombs") are not that infrequent but the problems have not happened again (nor before).

While one part of the equation was that it struck when there was a very high population of boats in its region (due to the rally and general fleet passages at that moment as GMac has outlined) I have my own views as to the roots of the problem but I am not prepared to discuss those here. I know exactly why 2 of the boats were lost and those back up my thoughts on the matter as do some regulatory matters that have been attended to subsequently. Maybe I should mention, to give some relevance to my views on that and hint at why I am not prepared to discuss it further, that I have had a senior professional career in the safe management of vessels and do not feel that I am open to making public criticisms on the matter.

Mark - I don't know if you have seen the book written about the "loss" of Heartlight by the wife part of the ownership. I wouldn't waste my money buying it but a quick browse will quickly demonstrate that they all on board were a bunch of what most would regard as absolute kooks of the wierdest kind, as well as being completely incompetent in matters of boats.

John
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Old 24-09-2008, 14:56   #90
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You could say I like facts rather than hearsay but then I don't have an agenda.

Good golly people are you listening to yourselves? Blame the boat???? What about the people using them. Did they have any input into the end result be that bailing out prematurely, rolling the beast or sailing along nicely without zero damage. More boats made it through completely fine than didn't. It appears the boats crews and their actions don't count towards any end result and I for one find that both spooky, plainly very weird and I'll chuck in stupid, very stupid.

Using the minority of the minority to justify something, to me just seems like grasping at straws.
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