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Old 10-10-2008, 15:22   #91
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Cost of USCG Rescue

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Originally Posted by BlueWaterSail View Post
USCG should send them a nice fat bill for x hours of C130 operation, etc.
But wait, they're irresponsible, better bill the parents.
BWS

Concerning the cost of a USCG rescue, I found this interesting post on Ronnie's website. It's an answer to someone else complaining about our tax dollars used for this type of rescue.

"Tax dollars? I spent 22 years flying in the Coast Guard and let me tell you, there are no more dollars spent when a SAR case comes up. There are programmed flight hours that are flown each month for each air station. If there are no Search and Rescue's that month they simply do more training or add law enforcment patrols to cover all the hours and keep the crews proficient and use the time elsewhere. All this means is the guys sitting in the radio room actually have something to do, and the flight crews get to do some real world stuff instead of an exercise. There will probably be one less fishery patrol at the end of the month but the same amount of hours are flown either way.

Believe me when I say, the people involved are more than happy to jump in when situations like this arise. That is what your tax dollars are spent on, readiness and then response. It cost pretty much the same either way...

Just my educated 2 cents worth

Ken Peckham
USCG Retired
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Old 10-10-2008, 15:43   #92
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Originally Posted by johnar View Post
This was very sad for me to read, First off i was very shocked by rude remarks when a person was in danger...

...one last question: this being the net is there a way to check and see if this is fake or not?


John
John – I was a little surprised by some of the comments, too; especially in the beginning. I started this thread to try to get him some direction to help him install his emergency tiller. I don’t think that mission ever had a chance.

As to the authenticity of the story, you can go to his website to see the newscast, or just Google Open Blue Horizon. It would have to be a pretty elaborate scheme to be fake (although I did consider that, too) http://www.openbluehorizon.com/frontend/index.php

Jim
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Old 10-10-2008, 15:51   #93
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Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post

What I'm trying to say is that we shouldn't be harsh or sarcastic in our criticism of Robbie. Most of us would have done it differently, but you do have to give him credit for trying. He made a strong effort to do it right. He's no David Vann, that's for sure. He's guilty of inexperience and optimism, that's all. Do you remember when you were in your twenties? How good was your judgment then?
I must confess I'm very divided in my opinions after reading all the posts about Ronnie, but this comment from Hud3 is the one that IMHO really goes straight to the point. Being born in a sailors country, after reading this comment I started thinking about "my" old fellows that went to the Oceans, into the unknown, into an adventure to discover new worlds and new sea routes (Vasco da Gama, Pedro Alvares Cabral and so many more). Of course I'm not comparing Ronie with any one of these brave sailors LOL but I'm thinking about his will to do it right, the optimism and, of course, his twenties. I remember when I started learning the art of sailing and after 6 or 7 months thinking to myself "pfff I already know a lot. Of course I can go sailing to Brazil or to Philiphines". I had the will, the optimism and the youth but then, thankfully or not, life tooked me into a diferent direction. Now I'm in the forthys, back into sailing, and thinking that now I can do things in a proper way, in a better boat, with more experience, more knowledge...BUT what if I have done it back then? And now or in the next years will my judgement be right?
One thing I'm sure, I'm learning a lot in this great forum.

"You wish a wave packed you with destiny, to take you to the moon to dance. The moon is so far away but we can dance there if you want. Or you can stay here, nobody will know what you have said." - lyrics from Radio Macau
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Old 10-10-2008, 17:46   #94
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DarkBlue,

20 years ago he would have had to tough it out me thinks.

I am not sure but I don't think there was the SSB, GPS or sat phone like today.
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Old 10-10-2008, 17:49   #95
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Question.
I honestly don't know.

In 20ft seas, how much heel does it take to have the mast touch the sea if in a trough?

The longer the period the greater the angle I assume.
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Old 10-10-2008, 19:05   #96
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Things change. There is no way I could speculate on what I would have done 20 years ago because there were not as many choices. 20 years ago, I would not have had a sat phone, or Internet. I did not have a cell phone, and was not even a licensed HAM yet.
20 years ago, I very likely would not have realized the danger I was in, so I would not have been panicked, and would have stayed with it. Probably.
It is funny how we often get credit for sticking things out, when really, it is just because we were not knowledgeable enough to know how much danger we were in, so we just kept going.
I will say there is a generational difference in our ingenuity. It seems, from my observations of people I know, and work with, that the ability to look at a cabinet door, and see a rudder, or look at a set of points on a Chevy, and see a part for a Harley, is dwindling. When we were kids, just because the squirt gun stopped working, didn't mean we had to stop playing with it. It just meant we had to adjust how we played with it. Most of the 20 somethings and younger that I know (Including my own son), are used to living in a disposable society. When the IPOD won't play music, you get a new IPOD, rather than getting a Walkman, and keeping the IPOD as a phone or what ever else they do. The Combo TV/VCR starts eating tapes, and goes in the garbage now. When I was growing up, we would have just hooked up an external VCR (or Beta Max) I am making an assumption here, so take it as only that, but is it possible that Ronnie , as he looked around his boat, saw cabinet doors, and not potential rudders? Is it possible that his survival training told him he was in trouble, and he reacted to that, rather than those with even less knowledge who blissfully glide through disaster with the help of dumb luck?
So, 20 years ago, would I make the same decision? Not likely. The choices would have been different, and my ability to assess the danger I was actually in vs the danger I thought I was in was, at that time, likely far less developed that Ronnie's ability to make this assessment.
But, if I knew then what I know now...
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:02   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
I remember the first time that I sailed an offshore passage, on a friend's boat. I had been sailing for years, but all of it was coastal up to that trip.

We encountered conditions just about identical to what Robbie described. We also lost our steering, and had to use the emergency tiller--three days in a gale steering with a little two foot long pipe. The boat leaked. We were totally exposed to the elements in the cockpit--no dodger or bimini. It was pretty bad for three solid days. Cold, wet, exhausting, debilitating. At least I wasn't seasick. And I was sailing with three very accomplished bluewater sailors, not by myself. You can't imagine what it's like unless you've been there.

What I'm trying to say is that we shouldn't be harsh or sarcastic in our criticism of Robbie. Most of us would have done it differently, but you do have to give him credit for trying. He made a strong effort to do it right. He's no David Vann, that's for sure. He's guilty of inexperience and optimism, that's all. Do you remember when you were in your twenties? How good was your judgment then?

I'd suggest that you not post anything here that you wouldn't say about your son or brother, if they attempted the same thing. This is a pretty traumatic thing for Robbie to be going through, and Lord knows he has been through a lot in Iraq, as well.

Cut him some slack.
Nicely put Hud.
After re-reading my own posts, I feel I have not fully put across my positive thoughts about Ronnie.
He actually departed - I admire that.
He is now a sailor - regardless of any other facts.
He has posted here (IIRC) - so he is part of "our" family.
He admitted defeat when he bailed out - no shame in that, we all have our own limitations.

I would love to be able to meet and talk with Ronnie, I would like to "know him" at personal level, understand his dreams and goals, discover what makes him get up in the morning. I would like to just chew some some fat with him

I might not like him or agree with him and I certainly would still believe his actions on this caper were foolish but that does not stop me from respecting him as a person and (now) a sailor - fellow brother of the sea. He has earned his seat at the sailors bar. What happens next is up to Ronnie. Will he be wiser? At this stage I think it is only fair to say that we will have to wait to find out. Time will time if he will get promoted.
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:19   #98
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Quote:
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.......

After nearly losing his life in Iraq fighting for his country. I would have never thought he would fold so quick to fear. Fear can either disable you, or encourage you. Unfortunately for Ronnie it disabled him.
..........
I2F,
I have been pondering this aspect. Although I have no military background, I would have thought that all the training and actual "working" conditions would have prepared one to deal with "fear". To understand it and know its effects.

Perhaps not (or perhaps Ronnie didn't do so well in that lesson) or perhaps the military system is more about team work and specialization. I suspect that being a good team player and an expect in just a couple of fields is no training ground for being alone on the ocean in a small sailboat, being roughed up by some weather. Would he have coped better without electronic access to the rest of the world or would he have folded sooner?

I would love to be able to ask him about such things.
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:21   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
Question.
I honestly don't know.

In 20ft seas, how much heel does it take to have the mast touch the sea if in a trough?

The longer the period the greater the angle I assume.
First of all I am glad this guy is safe and I am sorry another fine yacht with a brilliant history of pacific crassings is lost.

Cutting through all the rhetoric about bravery, courage and seamanship, I am a little pissed at the last few entries in the blog.

The guy prepared for 6 months. He had no backup steering and no idea how to keep the boat into the wind when the steering broke.

If you are going to sea, at least read one of the bazillion books on heavy weather tactics.

Once the steering is gone he had to stream warps or a drogue. In this case I would have tried a drogue out to keep the boat head to wind and swell with perhaps a deeply reefed sail for balance.

The 4 knock downs are treated as something he couldn't avoid. In fact they were completely avoidable and should not have happened. I would guess he didn't even have heavy weather gear on board.

In preparation for an ocean crossing, that is borderline criminal.

His brother has a bit of a rant about "armchair" skippers. That attitude is dangerous. If Ronnie and his brother had spent more time here listening to some of the armchair skippers (with 10s of thousandd of sea miles under their keels) he may have had a different outcome.

40kts and 20-30 foot seas are just not that bad and should be expected on any passage. This boat has made the Hawaii passage several times.

OK - I feel better now...
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:44   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWaterSail View Post
......
USCG should send them a nice fat bill for x hours of C130 operation, etc.
But wait, they're irresponsible, better bill the parents..........
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeSailor View Post
Concerning the cost of a USCG rescue, I found this interesting post on Ronnie's website. It's an answer to someone else complaining about our tax dollars used for this type of rescue.

"Tax dollars? I spent 22 years flying in the Coast Guard and let me tell you, there are no more dollars spent when a SAR case comes up. There are programmed flight hours that are flown each month for each air station. If there are no Search and Rescue's that month they simply do more training or add law enforcment patrols to cover all the hours and keep the crews proficient and use the time elsewhere. All this means is the guys sitting in the radio room actually have something to do, and the flight crews get to do some real world stuff instead of an exercise. There will probably be one less fishery patrol at the end of the month but the same amount of hours are flown either way......
Quote:
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.......About the costs of his rescue etc I agree except about charging his parents................
Sorry, I can't agree that anyone should pay for the rescue.

Especially not the parents - Ronnie isn't a kid, he is an adult, pays taxes, fights for his country and is responsible for himself now.

As for the costs of rescues in general, I have an open mind.

On one hand, I follow the philosophy of not expecting others to come to my aid when I foolishly put myself in harms way. Yet in a civil society, I believe I should where possible, attempt to help others who are get into trouble (by their own hands or by circumstance). I don't expect payment for doing the "right thing".

Added to this is the requirements imposed by society to carry such things as EPIRB's who only function is to summons help when all else fails. Why be forced to carry them and then pay for the privilege of using them.

To my mind, these questions are harder than putting in the second reef at 3 am.
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Old 10-10-2008, 21:53   #101
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Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
......
No drogue, no chute, no steering improvisation, no "balancing" the rig, no heaving to??? - WTF!! The email worked though............
My emphasis above.

Brought up in a computer age I guess, just the wrong emphasis on what is important.

Perhaps it irks me because I haven't got around to sorting out an email system on board yet. I know it has important safety benefits (getting weather faxes etc) but somehow I can't raise its priority above the more basic items already mentioned. In that regard, I am as bad a planner as Ronnie.
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Old 10-10-2008, 23:03   #102
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We have no doubt Ronnie Simpson be on to his next adventure very soon."
Ha! Doesn't sound like he considers this one over yet
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:45   #103
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The guy prepared for 6 months. He had no backup steering and no idea how to keep the boat into the wind when the steering broke.

If you are going to sea, at least read one of the bazillion books on heavy weather tactics.

Once the steering is gone he had to stream warps or a drogue. In this case I would have tried a drogue out to keep the boat head to wind and swell with perhaps a deeply reefed sail for balance.

The 4 knock downs are treated as something he couldn't avoid. In fact they were completely avoidable and should not have happened. I would guess he didn't even have heavy weather gear on board.

In preparation for an ocean crossing, that is borderline criminal.
This is exactly what my reaction was.

OK, maybe I put it across somewhat less eloquently, but the fact remains that he could have easily turned the boat to wind, thereby dramatically reducing the chance of a knockdown. Again, even this is no big deal for a properly set up ocean cruiser.

After that, seal her up and ride out the storm. Then repair and proceed.

Regarding the cost of the rescue, it is naive to believe that there was no event-specific costs. As I understand it, the freighter that picked him up did not volunteer to do so - the USCG commanded them to do so. These ships sail on tight schedules to arrive at their allocated docks at specific times. Losing time underway can jeopardize this schedule and cost a sifgnicant amount of money and time if the vessel loses it's slot on the dock.

It should also be said that technology like GPS and e-mail have changed the way people look at crossing oceans. Nowadays you can pinpoint your location, and bring family and friends along for the ride with sailmail. Maybe it makes passage-making look a lot easier than it actually is. Combine that with the follies of youth, and this is what you end up with.

Got to know everyone here a little better in this thread. BTW I'm prepping for a passage to Tahiti, so this has also struck a chord from that perspective.

BWS
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Old 11-10-2008, 03:07   #104
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Quote:
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The guy prepared for 6 months. He had no backup steering and no idea how to ...
The notion first occurred to Ronnie in December of 2007, and within a “few” months, he’d purchased a boat over twice his own age.

Excerpted from “About Ronnie” at:
About Ronnie | Open Blue Horizon | Had, School, Life, Money,

“... December 18, 2007, my brother and I began talking about sail boats and going around the world “in a few years.” It just sounded like the right thing to do NOW, though. I put my house up for sale on December 23, 2007. It has taken me a few months, but I'm finally leaving Texas. I already have a deposit on a boat in San Diego, and should be going to it when my house closes, scheduled for March 24, 2008 ...
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:28   #105
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Last update from the blog:



"I will hopefully obtain sponsorship, donations or other outside funding to continue traveling around the world from China, while still filming my documentary. If I get enough money for a boat, then i'll sail out. If I end up broke, i'll roll out on my Nikes. Either way, I intend to continue writing a log of my travels and filming a documentary, but as I no longer have a boat and it will cost $95,000 to recover mine, I have to change course a little bit. I will hopefully email a couple more times while at sea, but it will have to be brief. More when I get to China, as well as I will send several video tapes to RJ. A crew member on the freight ship took a home video of my boat during the rescue, and has burned it to a DVD. If you have enjoyed my last week's worth of blogs and feel that they were entertaining, help me keep on going. Give me a few bucks, or whatever you can afford. My mission and passion to travel are still alive. Also, while in China, I will be buying a new laptop and doing video blogs, too."


OK, I understand now. He wants to travel, figured the cheapest way was by boat - well, we all know how that ended - so now we are no longer circumnavigating, but merely traveling around the world.


All right, all right, he's 23. Wants to see the world. Which 23 year old doesn't? And on-line solicitation does appear to be fashionable these days.


I'm kinda mourning that 45 year old sailboat right now. My Cheoy Lee is 43, and she was loved every one of those years. What a waste.


Not feeling very charitable.


BWS

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