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Old 21-11-2011, 10:46   #31
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

There are so many variables to the safety equation at sea during a storm.

1- You have your harness, tethers and life line system. They are supposed to resist against a 4500 lbs force. But they are limited to the weakest link of the chain. Often, your body will not survive to a 4500 lbs force depending were it is applied.

2- Were do you attach yourself on the boat is also critical... Sometimes, you need to go on the fore deck or at the mast to execute a manoeuvre and you realize that you need to unfasten your tether and refasten it to another location, as it prevents you to accomplish what needs to be done. These are critical moments were you need to synchronize your actions with the waves and the sailboat motion.

3- I am also challenging the fact to be alone on watch during a storm. I understand the limitations of a small crew onboard a 38 footer, but being two on watch increases the safety, for many reasons. You are more aware of the danger as you may see something that the other crew can't see. Someone can call for that big rogue wave, ask for help immediately, keep and eye contact with the person over board, or push the MOB button on the GPS etc...

I am not trying to criticize what happened onboard Triple Stars. I just want to share some toughs on this forum, having experienced recently a similar situation.
We have been hit 3 times by huge rogue waves. One of them was over 40 feet high, coming 90 degrees from the rest of the other waves. When the wave hit the boat, we were completely submerged in the cockpit by water. Both my crew and I had our PFD automatically inflated (it take a pressure of 15 PSI minimum to activate this system). I was at the helm and found myself away from it...

Nature is much stronger than us.

My toughs go to this lady lost at sea and her husband, family, friends.
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Old 21-11-2011, 10:54   #32
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
Which 'she' are you referring to?

We don't know about Jan Anderson on Triple Stars -- just speculating. Even if she was it could've parted.

Tami Ashcraft on Hazana (back in 1983) was down below in the cockpit, though I believe she was tethered even in there to a table. The capsize knocked her unconscious fer several hours.
Here's a page that synopsizes her story:
Red Sky in Mourning Background Information
Yes, I was talking about Jan, sorry. What a sad thing, I can't imagine going through this...
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Old 22-11-2011, 08:24   #33
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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But just thought I would comment that it is now generally agreed that a pfd (including an autoinflate) will not save an unconscious MOB in any sort of waves. I was just recently involved in a major discussion on this because Ken Reed came out with it publicly in an article (mentioning why they have disabled their auto-inflate features on their pfds on rambler and Puma). They are worried about negative consequences of autoinflate (accidental inflation's and about being trapped under the boat in a capsize), and don't think the facts support an 'unconscious saving' benefit.

Other people think the prime benefit of autoinflate is to prevent the 'gasp reflex' if you go in cold water while conscious, and think that benefit overcomes the negatives (accidental inflation and being trapped under the boat). I have no personal opinion on that, and prefer to stay on the boat with a tether But most everyone agrees that the unfortunate plain fact is you are pretty well screwed if you go in the water unconscious.
Evans, I attended a Safety at Sea seminar hosted by John Rousmaniere in 2009 and a similar point was brought up. I think there's more to learn on this point, and while I can certainly see that someone knocked out or even dazed could drown "face out" if sufficient buckets of water sloshed up their nose or down their throat, some people go into the water in relatively light conditions (getting "boomed", for instance, in DDW light air), and avoiding that "gasp" is a factor.

As for the faint possibility of being trapped under the boat, that's probably a tether PLUS autoinflate issue, and the customary boat knife on a lanyard solves both issues.

For the record, while I wear an auto-inflate or a manual inflate PFD in any kind of weather with the family, and a tether (which has kept me aboard) on watch, I wear a simple kayak-style foam flotation vest when I sail solo or use the tender. It's bulkier, but nothing can break on it!
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Old 22-11-2011, 15:29   #34
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Was she wearing a harness then?
Jan was not wearing a harness at the time. A personal e-mail from Terri Potts (CF ID terpotts) on 11/13/11 provided a little more info:
". . . .We had thought the worst of the danger was over, but a 30-foot rogue wave hit them broadside just as Jan was coming up to take her watch. She was not yet tethered in and the force of the wave washed her overboard. The seas were still rough; Rob said he saw her go under and did not ever see her come back up. He threw her the life ring, activated the EPIRB and within minutes called the Coast Guard. . . . ."
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Old 22-11-2011, 16:01   #35
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Originally Posted by Dreaming Yachtsman View Post
Jan was not wearing a harness at the time. A personal e-mail from Terri Potts (CF ID terpotts) on 11/13/11 provided a little more info:
". . . .We had thought the worst of the danger was over, but a 30-foot rogue wave hit them broadside just as Jan was coming up to take her watch. She was not yet tethered in and the force of the wave washed her overboard. The seas were still rough; Rob said he saw her go under and did not ever see her come back up. He threw her the life ring, activated the EPIRB and within minutes called the Coast Guard. . . . ."
Wow! In the wrong place at the wrong time even for a few seconds. That's all it took. Though if she went under and did not come up what kind of PFD was she wearing or did she not have one on yet? The post mentions not being tethered but, if she did not have her PFD on that really narrowed her survival chances in those conditions.
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Old 22-11-2011, 16:12   #36
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

I think I should qualify the comment of mine that John quoted on this thread: I was told by someone else that she "had not yet tethered in", but this was not first-hand information.
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Old 22-11-2011, 16:32   #37
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

Very sad, and from all accounts it sounds like these were folks doing things right who just had a terrible moment of bad luck. My only takeaway is that I sense in the general cruising community a lack of respect for the weather, the seasons, the pilot charts, and the wisdom gained from the past that trips like that during this season are likely to be dangerous, despite any modern weather information or safety equipment you may have. It's a tough time of year on that route.
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Old 22-11-2011, 16:49   #38
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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". . . .just as Jan was coming up to take her watch. . . . . ."
Just as an aside . . . With a double hand crew there is an interesting practical trade-off re outside watch keeping when hove-to in storm conditions.

When well offshore and out of main shipping tracks - We often stay below and focus on getting some rest and reducing fatigue, rather than sit out in the cockpit. With AIS we will probably tend to do this even more.

We figure it increases our safety level more to get rested, than to have someone being pounded in the cockpit when its hard as hell to see much anyway with the big waves, spray wind and often rain.

Usually before you get to heaving too you have already done some hard sailing so are already somewhat burnt out. And we figure fatigue is a bigger real risk than the very small likelihood of being hit by a ship (again only in the open ocean away from main shipping tracks).

This would be a judgement call depending on the specific location and situation.
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Old 22-11-2011, 17:03   #39
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

This news on the harness update is just so very sad. I always wear two tethers in bad weather, one in any weather (solo)...and never unclip or clip in unless I am in the cabin.
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Old 22-11-2011, 17:08   #40
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Very sad, and from all accounts it sounds like these were folks doing things right who just had a terrible moment of bad luck. My only takeaway is that I sense in the general cruising community a lack of respect for the weather, the seasons, the pilot charts, and the wisdom gained from the past that trips like that during this season are likely to be dangerous, despite any modern weather information or safety equipment you may have. It's a tough time of year on that route.
Very tough time, but all routes south are tough any post hurry-kane season, not just this route. They are all unpredictable. I have stories on my own - jitters and abandoned paths...which are sometimes embarrassing to revisit.

My take away is to vow to rework my advanced weather map skills. I'm already paranoid enough.
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Old 22-11-2011, 18:19   #41
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

I can certainly match up with estarzingers' post... on a delivery from San Diego to Vancouver Canada in 1983, we were caught in the offseason hurricane that came up the coast from Mexico and ended up heaving to off Point Conception. This was the same storm that wiped out one of my favorite watering holes, the Blue Moon Saloon that fell into the sea off the end of the Redondo Beach Pier. The owner (now long deceased) had drank himself in to a stupor so we lashed him into his bunk and tied ourselves to the post under the salon table for about 16 hours. We managed to get some much needed rest and were sheltered from books, cans, gear, etc., flying about the cabin as the boat weathered the storm. When the storm finally abated, we were refreshed and able to sort out the mess above and below decks fairly quickly but were unable to sort out our position. No radar, VHF, SSB or loran. When we finally saw a tanker headed south, we hailed her (the Arco Star) on a hand held VHF and she confirmed our position, we were much relieved and after rerigging the steering cable on to the quadrant which had parted, we made Monterey in about 3 days. Lying ahull is a practice that all offshore sailors should practice in moderate conditions for several hours IMO. My heart goes out to Teri Potts on the loss of his life partner and to her family... so tragic... Capt Phil
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Old 22-11-2011, 18:22   #42
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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My take away is to vow to rework my advanced weather map skills.
Some of the worst offshore weather I was ever in was on a November trip from Beaufort to the Caribbean, but it was unforecast and actually never showed up on the weather map either. Went back and looked at the historical weather stuff after we got to port and it didn't show on the maps, yet we had force 9, 30-foot seas, and all the other nasty stuff.

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When well offshore and out of main shipping tracks - We often stay below and focus on getting some rest and reducing fatigue, rather than sit out in the cockpit.
+1. The chances of getting washed overboard or injured are a lot more than the chance of getting run down offshore. Put on your anchor light, call around on the VHF once in awhile, and hunker down. VHF has a 25+ mile range offshore so a call once an hour or so should alert anyone as to you being there.
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Old 22-11-2011, 18:28   #43
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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... My heart goes out to Teri Potts on the loss of his life partner and to her family... so tragic...
(Just so we all stay on the same page) Jan's husband is Rob Anderson.

Terri and Lyman Potts are cruising friends of theirs, who have passed along news to us.
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Old 22-11-2011, 18:35   #44
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Some of the worst offshore weather I was ever in was on a November trip from Beaufort to the Caribbean, but it was unforecast and actually never showed up on the weather map either. Went back and looked at the historical weather stuff after we got to port and it didn't show on the maps, yet we had force 9, 30-foot seas, and all the other nasty stuff.
Same situation - many times out of New England. Small clues - very small...before the bowling balls came running down the lanes.
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Old 22-11-2011, 20:42   #45
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

Cormorant... my error... I'm embarrassed... thank you for setting me straight. My sincere condolences and apologies to the Anderson family. Capt Phil
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