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Old 22-01-2012, 17:54   #61
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

Catman, that guy in the link is sailing a 27 footer, coincidentally a Vega, around the Horn. I also know of a Top Hat 25 and a compass 28 that have done the same. I would not be surprised if even smaller boats have regularly done the trip. Ernest Shackleton, for example, sailed what was essentially a 20 foot rowing boat through the same area and reported 100 foot waves to boot during his journey after the Endurance was wrecked in Antartic ice flows. I don't doubt it's rough out there but I do doubt, however, that anyone that claims that sailing through a cyclone is a walk in the park has never experienced a decent one first hand. These are the most powerful storms on the planet and should not be taken lightly and to quote that they "travel at 8 knots" and are "300 miles diameter" is fallacy. For example Cyclone Tracey in 1974 was 80 km diameter and had gusts up to 217km/h. Cyclone Justin (a typical, but extremely big, Coral Sea cyclone) in 1998 had a diameter of 1250 km and had sustained 10 minute wind speeds of around 120 km/h. Ultimately wave height is combination of not only wind, but also fetch and seabed depth and profile and whilst the waves in a cyclone may not reach the maximum possible 100 foot high value, resultant waves have very short periods and create very confused seas. I would also speculate that it wouldn't be easy to sail both downwind and out of a rotating storm system.

I can fully appreciate the problems that Minx experienced. In the Coral Sea one expects, or rather hopes - depending on the season, to deal with nothing more then the briskest of SE trades - perhaps up to 35 knots but typically no greater than 25 knots. Although cyclone prediction and track forecasting has improved dramatically in the last 10 years or so, they are still very much unpredictable and potentially lethal storms when in season. Even a Cat 1 cyclone would not be a pleasant experience when it suddenly appeared on the horizon.
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Old 22-01-2012, 18:01   #62
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
I don't doubt it's rough out there but I do doubt, however, that anyone that claims that sailing through a cyclone is a walk in the park has never experienced a decent one first hand.
You've lost me.
Where did anyone claim that?

Quote:
Even a Cat 1 cyclone would not be a pleasant experience when it suddenly appeared on the horizon.
When do they "suddenly" appear?
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Old 22-01-2012, 18:11   #63
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

In 2012 with the weather services available in Australia one should be able to avoid even at this time of the year.

Certainly should not stop anyone navigating the GBR between cyclones.

Always plenty of time to find a creek rather than a marina in Mackay when one comes along.
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Old 22-01-2012, 18:26   #64
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

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Originally Posted by cat man do View Post
You've lost me.
Where did anyone claim that?
Sorry, I must've misinterpreted Mr B when he said that the Southern Ocean, Tasman Sea and Bass Straight were worse then cyclones because they had bigger wave heights, and your response as being in agreeance.

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When do they "suddenly" appear?
I was being somewhat metaphorical, however 1) even in the 21st century, cyclones are still capable of forming despite the best intentions of BOM predictions - that's why they use terms like "low", "medium", "high" etc in forecasts and 2) With an approaching cyclone the weather can be calm, dry and even include patches of sunlight within a few hours of the gales and torrential rain, with wind and rain building quite quickly.
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Old 22-01-2012, 18:45   #65
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

Sorry to hear of your loss.

We once were dodging an out of season cyclone while in the Coral Sea. It was very confusing because we were getting different predictions of movement of the storm from the New Zealand and Australian weather services. We didn't know which way to turn to avoid the storm. For a couple of days there was a lot of worry on board Exit Only. Fortunately, the storm didn't head our way, and neither the Ozzie or the Kiwi weather predictions were correct on the projected course of the storm. We were lucky. It sounds like you were less lucky.
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Old 22-01-2012, 19:50   #66
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If we forget about the season for a minute, my interest is why a 38 ft cat could not withstand 35 knot winds?
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Old 22-01-2012, 20:01   #67
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

dirkdig, in the original post MrB said he was having steering problems, which is why he decided to duck into the protected anchorage instead of chance the run to his original destination.
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Old 22-01-2012, 20:12   #68
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

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If we forget about the season for a minute, my interest is why a 38 ft cat could not withstand 35 knot winds?
Going by what Minx said in his first post, They were taking on water from various places around the boat.

Unable to steer or sail or make way, Minx would have been beam on to the waves, in 3 or 4 metre waves,

The waves would have been crashing on the deck sideways, or coming over the Transom,

I dont think wind was his problem, Holes that let the water in, was,
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Old 22-01-2012, 20:16   #69
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Poor design?
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Old 22-01-2012, 20:17   #70
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
Sorry, I must've misinterpreted Mr B when he said that the Southern Ocean, Tasman Sea and Bass Straight were worse then cyclones because they had bigger wave heights, and your response as being in agreeance.
Well I am pretty much am in agreeance
You only need to look at the charts to see that the southern ocean is predominately high wind and high waves whereas the coral sea is predominantly lighter wind and smaller waves, even in the middle of cyclone season

Interactive Wave Forecast Maps

Interactive Wind Forecast Maps



Quote:
I was being somewhat metaphorical, however 1) even in the 21st century, cyclones are still capable of forming despite the best intentions of BOM predictions - that's why they use terms like "low", "medium", "high" etc in forecasts and 2) With an approaching cyclone the weather can be calm, dry and even include patches of sunlight within a few hours of the gales and torrential rain, with wind and rain building quite quickly.
Yes yes, I know how cyclones work but the point you are missing is that:
The southern ocean is rough mostly
Corals sea is favourable mostly, even during cyclone season (but not actually in a cyclone)
QLD to Noumea is 4 days and weather is pretty reliable for that window, just pick a big one, bands wide apart if going and BE PREPARED TO MOTOR as there will be little to zero wind if you have picked correctly.
Dont drift around waiting for the wind, it will more than likely be more than you want.

Like now perhaps?



Similar looking pattern to what we had when we went and the sea condition's for the majority of the trip were like

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Old 22-01-2012, 20:40   #71
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

+1

Very doable.

One of Minx big problems was loss of power with their sail drives. Another reason to avoid saildrives in stern for me.
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Old 22-01-2012, 20:48   #72
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

A big ship in the Coral Sea would probably sail straight through it or go around a Cyclone.

Ships wont sail across Bass Straight if the winds and seas are up.

Spirit of Tasmania, There are two of them, Had their windows smashed out on the tenth floor. 10 floors by 7 feet minimum, = 70 foot waves and the waves do go higher,

Needless to say, They dont sail when its very bad,

Sydney to Hobart race, they had 90 foot waves, Confirmed by altimeter from the Rescue helicopter.

Thats the junction of the Southern Ocean, Bass Straight and the Tasman Sea,

If Minx didnt take on water from all those other places, she would probably still be afloat, Even if she was badly battered by the sea,

Cheers,
Brian,
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Old 22-01-2012, 21:33   #73
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

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Originally Posted by cat man do View Post
Well I am pretty much am in agreeance
You only need to look at the charts to see that the southern ocean is predominately high wind and high waves whereas the coral sea is predominantly
lighter wind and smaller waves, even in the middle of cyclone season

...<snip>...
Yes I agree entirely, although it's talking apples and oranges if the extreme weather of some areas is compared to the average benign conditions of the Coral Sea. Even the Southern Ocean has the occasional glassed out day. I can only reiterate that I would prefer to take my chances in the Southern Ocean given the choice between that and a Coral Sea cyclone

The OP has described how Minx's loss was associated with cyclonic activity. Based on the date and position of the loss this was Cyclone Fina. Fina turned out to be a bit of a fizzer, as far as cyclones go, but it would have generated some interesting weather in it's vicinity. If I recall it also created some very large swells as far south as the Gold Coast. Even though technically within the current cyclone season, the crew were unlucky as the majority of cyclones in recent years haven't formed in this area until March/April. I can only imagine the dread that ran through the crew once they found this storm literally forming on top of them.
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Old 23-01-2012, 00:57   #74
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

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Poor design?
Elements of the design did change over time including the engine hatches.
Did the company recall or notify the owners of earlier boats of the changes??



Has it been determined yet why the bilge-pumps couldn't handle the situation?. Were manual bilge pumps or emergency standalone pumps on-board? Did the vessel have suitable storm sails on board?

Was any independant lighting/strobe etc set up before jumping ship? .
Still a lot to unfold.

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Old 23-01-2012, 07:17   #75
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Re: Spirited 380 Lost in the Coral Sea

Still a lot to unfold, as you say, but I cannot imagine why the OP would want to do so in a forum where he has already been called a fool. It does strike me, however, that even form the information we have to date, the following tentative recommendations can be made (or at least, debated):

1. Care must be taken to ensure that water from the engine compartments, if flooded, cannot enter the cabins (i.e., at minimum ensuring that there are solid bulkeads of a sufficient height to contain the water and that there is sealing around all plumbing/electrical that passes through the bulkheads; or, better still, that all such plumbing and electrical enters above the level to which the compartments would flood).

2. On boats where there is access to the engine compartments from the transom steps and/or deck, care must be taken to ensure that the lids are completely water-tight, even if subjected to green water.

3. Cockpit drainage is every bit as much of an issue for catamarans as it is for monohulls.

4. The installation of adequate manual and electric bilge pumps is every bit as much of an issue for catamarans, as it is for monohulls.

5. Since companionway doors on most catamarans go down to (or virtually down to) the cockpit sole (i.e., no bridgdeck), should water-tight doors be specified for offshore use?

I for one, however, refuse to get into a debate about the seamanship of the OP, or the conditions that led to his abandoning ship - lets face it, Monday morning quarterbacking is by its very nature unfair.

Minx, I can only join others in expressing my sympathies for your loss.

Brad
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