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Old 04-05-2010, 19:13   #1
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Multihull Disaster Story from Med

My son sent me this article today. Makes interesting reading about how things can go wrong very quickly on a multihull offshore.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle7111417.ece

Interesting points:

1. Improper attachment of parachute to catamaran. The parachute was attached to one bow and to the crossbeam rather than to both bows. The article seems to indicate that this may have contributed to the capsize.

2. Opening of escape hatch seemed to contribute to making the catamaran uninhabitable after the capsize.

3. Prematurely getting into the "gumby" survival gear made it difficult or impossible to work on deck to attach the parachute sea anchor.

What can be learned from this accident?
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Old 04-05-2010, 19:43   #2
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Wow

Haven't finished reading yet but first observation (page 1) was no harnesses and no attachment points on underside.

I had 2 strong ropes (1 running either side) attached from front bean to back with loops tied in with figure 8 knots about ever 2 metres, theory being if we went over, you could clip on to the rope and use loops to move around.
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Old 04-05-2010, 20:36   #3
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Note :- this story is regarding a tragedy which occurred some 15 years ago.
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Old 04-05-2010, 21:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laidback View Post
Note :- this story is regarding a tragedy which occurred some 15 years ago.
You are absolutely right. The article indicates that the survivor has finally opened up and discussed the details of the incident in which many things went horribly wrong many years ago.

Everytime I read about something like this, I reexamine all my preconceptions about what I would do in similar circumnstances. For example, he relates that they had great difficulty attaching the parachute sea anchor to their bows during the storm. In my own experience, I knew that there was a significant probabilty that I would need to use my parachute sea anchor when I sailed north from New Zealand in the middle of the winter. Before leaving port, I preattached my sea anchor bridle to my sea anchor chainplates so that the bridle would be ready for action if it was necessary to deploy the chute. I also had the 500 foot tether and parachute sea anchor pulled out from their locker and stowed inside the yacht ready to hook up to the bridle if we needed the chute at sea. It turned out that we did need to deploy the chute, and it took only a few minutes to deploy it because of the advance preparations. The reason I had done those precautions was because a couple of years previously, several yachts were lost in the Queen's Birthday Storm north of New Zealand. If I had not preattached the bridle, it would have been a much bigger deal to deploy the chute. It's also much easier to deploy a chute when the wind is blowing fifty knots than when it is blowing 80 knots.

Stories like these make me think through how I will deal with similar challenges on my own yacht.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:11   #5
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Having spent 16 hours on an overturned 34 foot catamaran after she was struck by a waterspout , I can say that for all the preparation that was done to survive a disaster at sea , the ocean always finds ways to remove a few links in the chain attaching you to survival. It has been easy for me [and others ] to look back and say that events should have gone down in a prescribed manner. But as each link is removed from that chain of hope, the rules for survival keep changing. From the safety of my home , it is easy to chart a new course to survival , but at the time that course was obscured. Hypothermia, sleep deprivation, hunger, physical injury , fatigue, doubt, and more rob you of clear thought. Being able to focus on family and the desire to not abandon them [I had a newborn, 3 year old and wife at home] is often times the only path back to clear thought and actions. What you read about in magazines is not always what you find in the real world. I swam into the cabin looking for supplies only to find boat soup but no air pocket. It was under the cabin sole. I found survival to be like arguing with a small child, you have to just keep finding different approaches until you emerge ,not victorious, but alive like a mouse wondering why the cat let you go. In reading accounts of others and their trying times at sea, I feel that we should begin lining up our own defenses against such times without the being critical of those who have gone before us. The more time you spend on the water, the higher the probability that you will get your turn.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:22   #6
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Well said!

We should focus on leaning not finding fault. I am sure it is easy to find fault in what other did I am sure I have done it myself at times. But in the end if we try to put ourselves in the same position and learn from others mistakes we just might survive if we find ourselves in a similar place.

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Old 05-05-2010, 11:40   #7
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Ditto,

In what were likely the only words of true wisdom that ever crossed his lips; Mike Tyson was exceedingly correct when he stated :

Quote:
Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.
Mother nature is capable of delivering one hell of a punch that can leave ya too dizzy to even remember to drop ya drawers when ya need to take a piss...
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Old 05-05-2010, 13:21   #8
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Have you written up your capsize experience anywhere?
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Old 05-05-2010, 13:30   #9
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There was an article written by Jack Sherwood in Soundings magazine right after it happened about 3 years ago. I will be writing a first hand account about it soon for Jim Brown's new website , Outrig.org , which is dedicated to providing a time line on the history and advancement of modern multihull development.
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Old 05-05-2010, 13:57   #10
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I was struck by how this happened in the Mediterranean - they couldn't have been very far from land. Good reminder that you don't have to be in the middle of the Pacific to get into trouble.
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Old 05-05-2010, 14:57   #11
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Amazing story. There are so many things that you can get away with at 10 knots that you can't at 20 knots, and at 30 knots that you can't at 40 knots, etc. Every time you go up a few knots of wind speed or a few feet of wave height and the tolerances get smaller and smaller.

It read like one of the Fastnet accounts from Heavy Weather Sailing.
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariness View Post
I was struck by how this happened in the Mediterranean - they couldn't have been very far from land. Good reminder that you don't have to be in the middle of the Pacific to get into trouble.
Mariness,

First of all, Med is much larger than one would expect; it's not a lake.. Secondly, it generates much shorter and breaking waves. Black sea which is smaller than Med is even more dangereous. In such conditions, I would prefer to be ob Pacific rather than in the Med.
A couple of month ago, one huge luxury cruising had the glasses broken with the slamming waves and some people died in the same area.. (some 60-70 ft above sea level..)

Rescuing could have been easier though, hadn't they have their PIRB going away from the boat..

Cheers

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Old 06-05-2010, 02:08   #13
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one more tidbit on the Med - the Med has a longer distance across than the most northern part of coastal Maine to South America
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:40   #14
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And having sailed the Med, North Atlantic and North Sea I would say that weather here is much less predictable. You can be a long way off shore, but still be affected by weather in the Alps or the Atlas mountains, for example.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:07   #15
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Pretty awful story, it must have been tough on the one survivor. I agree with the previous poster, when bad stuff happens it can easily cascade into a whole series of bad stuff.
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