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Old 22-11-2011, 21:23   #46
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
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.
+1

In reading the "Red Sky in Mourning" blurb, I was struck by why you'd feel the need to stand at the wheel and "steer" in 140 knots of wind.

Set a drogue, go below, button up tight, and hope.
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Old 23-11-2011, 07:55   #47
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
+1

In reading the "Red Sky in Mourning" blurb, I was struck by why you'd feel the need to stand at the wheel and "steer" in 140 knots of wind.

Set a drogue, go below, button up tight, and hope.
Yes . . . but before we all start singing to uniformly about this . . . I should add a caution . . . it is important NOT to just be below ignoring the boat and her feel and sounds and the storm development. We think you should still have someone assigned as a 'watch keeper' at all times, even if you have agreed that watch is best taken mostly below, and the watch keeper may be lying down most of the time. On the face of this may initially sound silly but it is not.

From the situations I have looked into, the majority of storm trouble that cruisers have gotten into has not been at 'the peak' of the storm, but rather after the peak has passed and the wind has declined somewhat and is starting to shift direction. In that situation, the a hove-to boat can wallow for a moment (because the wind pressure is down), and easily get side-to the waves because they are no-longer on-axis with the shifting wind, and get knocked down/rolled. You may well need to do something tactically different at this point and should be aware when you reach it and not just be ignoring the situation. It's critical at that stage of storm development to stay in touch with the feel and sound of the boat and the storm and wave development.

The second crucial thing is if you do hear or feel something different, to figure it out and fix it (if its a problem) rather than just ignoring it and figuring you will fix it later. Little problems can and do easily cascade into big problems. You need to stay on top of things and fix little problems as they develop, even if they require you to go forward in storm force winds. You need to be ready and able to do that.

So, our 'watch keeper' in those situations is responsible for staying in touch with the feel and sounds of the boat, popping a head out the hatch every once and a while to make sure everything is ok on deck and take a look at the waves and the helm, and watching the baragraph and AIS and getting a grib twice a day, and making security calls on the vhf.

So, the careful balance is getting rest and minimizing fatigue, but still staying in touch and managing the boat and situation and NOT simply hiding below and divorcing yourself from the boat and the situation.
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Old 23-11-2011, 08:04   #48
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pirate Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Yes...
So, the careful balance is getting rest and minimizing fatigue, but still staying in touch and managing the boat and situation and NOT simply hiding below and divorcing yourself from the boat and the situation.
+A1....
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Old 23-11-2011, 08:55   #49
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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From the situations I have looked into, the majority of storm trouble that cruisers have gotten into has not been at 'the peak' of the storm, but rather after the peak has passed and the wind has declined somewhat and is starting to shift direction. (etc...).
+2 nice

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SaltyMonkey remembers also: Just because you set a sea anchor doesn't mean you won't slide down the aft of a wave sideways.
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Old 23-11-2011, 08:57   #50
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

Makes perfect sense estarz.

I've obviously never been in 140 knots at sea, so I'll plead ignorance. It just seemed like trying to do anything outside the cabin in those conditions is going to be not only near impossible, but insanely dangerous. So, in that regard, it's not so much ignoring it, it's just hoping and praying it doesn't get in.
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Old 23-11-2011, 09:30   #51
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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I've obviously never been in 140 knots at sea.
Neither have I, and I hope not to ever have 'the opportunity' for that learning experience The highest confirmed sustained wind we have seen at sea was in the 60's right near Cape Horn (with another sailing boat lost with all hands near our position). There were ship reports of 70's in a storm we were in, near about where 'Triple Stars' was, but our wind instruments were broken. Beth thinks the ship reports were accurate but I have always thought it was 'only' in the 50's.

But we do have friends who went thru a confirmed 150kts in hurricane Luis and they did manage to do some necessary work on deck in the middle of it, crawling around. You simply do what you have to, to survive.

I am not much into 'hope and prayer' at sea, and more into 'awareness and action'. . . . That's why I made that add-on post. I don't want to be quoted as saying one should simply go below, and shut the hatch, and just forget about it and wait until it's all over.

I don't know how to say this in the best most courteous fashion . . . but damn I continue to feel as sad and as bad as possible for the triple stars husband. If everyone dies or if they abandon ship together and no-one dies its sad but not this sort of tragedy. I have never wanted to have a cat on board because of the possibility of it going overboard and my having to think about them struggling in the waves watching the ship sail away. I simply can't bear to think about Beth in the water in that situation. I guess I just block out that possibility. I honestly would much rather we both die than have to live with thinking about her slowly going down in the waves. I really hope the wife hit her head on a stanchion on the way over and was unconscious.
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Old 23-11-2011, 09:38   #52
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Neither have I, and I hope not to ever have 'the opportunity' for that learning experience The highest confirmed sustained wind we have seen at sea was in the 60's right near Cape Horn (with another sailing boat lost with all hands near our position). There were ship reports of 70's in a storm we were in, near about where 'Triple Stars' was, but our wind instruments were broken. Beth thinks the ship reports were accurate but I have always thought it was 'only' in the 50's.

But we do have friends who went thru a confirmed 150kts in hurricane Luis and they did manage to do some necessary work on deck in the middle of it, crawling around. You simply do what you have to, to survive.

I am not much into 'hope and prayer' at sea, and more into 'awareness and action'. . . . That's why I made that add-on post. I don't want to be quoted as saying one should simply go below, and shut the hatch, and just forget about it and wait until it's all over.
Okay - you sold me! Anyone that's been around the Horn always get the last word. Heh-heh.

I've been on my boat only once in 50 knots...and it was in the slip...and it was freakin' scary!

150 knots. Holy crap.
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Old 23-11-2011, 09:55   #53
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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I don't know how to say this in the best most courteous fashion . . . but damn I continue to feel as sad and as bad as possible for the triple stars husband. If everyone dies or if they abandon ship together and no-one dies its sad but not this sort of tragedy.
Yes, I think we are losing the focus of this thread - the terrible loss of a persons life and the repercussions on the husband. I don't want to loose it in side discussions and drift on safety etc.

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I have never wanted to have a cat on board because of the possibility of it going overboard and my having to think about them struggling in the waves watching the ship sail away. I simply can't bear to think about Beth in the water in that situation. I guess I just block out that possibility.
Thats one reason I prefer to sail alone - a compelling reason (no pets either). The thought of a friend or someone going overboard and lost is more responsibility and angst than I can handle. I'm not ashamed at the name calling or innuendoes at my expense etc if someone stays alive. My mistakes end up being mine only. And I know I can make and do make them.

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I honestly would much rather we both die than have to live with thinking about her slowly going down in the waves. I really hope the wife hit her head on a stanchion on the way over and was unconscious.
I won't compromise on any secondary pacts or feelings like this. I want everyone to be alive, and I don't ever want to loose that thought or promise. It disrespects her and his memory for me. (just my personal feeling). And I don't want either you and your wife dead if that happens to one of you. Period. To me, just to me, thats BS. You start to let that kind of thinking creep in before you leave, and compromises in safety unconsciously happen. Thats one of my worries.
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Old 23-11-2011, 10:05   #54
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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I won't compromise on any secondary pacts or feelings like this. I want everyone to be alive, and I don't ever want to loose that thought or promise. It disrespects her and his memory for me. (just my personal feeling). And I don't want either you and your wife dead if that happens to one of you. Period. To me, just to me, thats BS. You start to let that kind of thinking creep in before you leave, and compromises in safety unconsciously happen. Thats one of my worries.
Yes, agreed. It's a truly problematic thought. I have always felt we will work hard and smart and survive together. It's just contemplating this particular instance and that made me think about the awful situation. I hope the skipper/husband has many close friends around him.

I enjoy the challenge of short stints of singlehanding, but I enjoy having beth around to much to take it up more than occasionally. We have been together a long time now and are truly "two halves of a whole". Its a bit like losing my left arm and leg when she is not around.
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Old 23-11-2011, 10:24   #55
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

estarzinger - you're lucky to have found someone like that to partner with, and are mature, intelligent and gifted to be able to share your life and respond to another persons needs so closely. Its very respectful and brave.

Sailing solo isn't all its cut up to be. Yes, it has it's existential moments and I would never want to give up those memories. Nor the ones crying in the cockpit like a wimpy baby after losing 2-3 days of sleep. Experiences alone strip off all the preconception of who you are and hold up a mirror. And its very ugly sometimes what you see. That reality can be enlightening. But in many ways its a cowards way of sailing, and an addictive fatal attraction. Once you get that kind of feedback you want more. And then you are in trouble. Its much braver having a partner you can trust and rely on. Those kind of sailors I admire. I know I am not that kind of sailor.
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Old 23-11-2011, 10:51   #56
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
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.
Understood. Sometimes it's best to press on, others to seek rest and shelter.

Evans, out of curiosity, in hoving-to situations where you (plus maybe a radar with a nice guard zone alarm) feel assured you're unlikely to be run down, do you switch on any lights or (as legally obliged, I believe) hoist a dayshape to indicate "not actively helming"? Yes, I know dayshapes are somewhat archaic, and I know that if it's bad enough to hove to, the last place you'd want to be fooling around with hoists is the foretriangle in a foot of green water....

...but do you take any measures to indicate to the outside world that the boat's self-tending, and you are behind a lee-cloth trying to sleep instead of keeping a "proper watch"?

I suppose this is like the extension of the single-hander problem, where of necessity the skipper has to sleep sometimes and cannot therefore keep a proper watch.
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Old 23-11-2011, 10:53   #57
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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. I'm already paranoid enough.
Too true, as is the observation that paranoid ashore is seamanlike prudence offshore.
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Old 23-11-2011, 11:13   #58
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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Too true, as is the observation that paranoid ashore is seamanlike prudence offshore.
+5
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Old 23-11-2011, 11:18   #59
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

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in hoving-to situations where you (plus maybe a radar with a nice guard zone alarm) feel assured you're unlikely to be run down, do you switch on any lights or (as legally obliged, I believe) hoist a dayshape to indicate "not actively helming"?

...but do you take any measures to indicate to the outside world that the boat's self-tending, and you are behind a lee-cloth trying to sleep instead of keeping a "proper watch"?
To be very honest here, back when we had incandescent nav lights, one of the few times on the open ocean when we turned them on was when hove to like this. Otherwise they just drew too much power and we keep a good enough watch to be able to see the ships well before they see us.

Now with LED nav lights we have them on 'all the time', usually even forgetting to turn them off during the day.

My understanding of the colregs indicates that 'hove-to' is still normal navigation and normal nav lights, and NOT the 'not under command' lights.

Perhaps I just suck at radar tuning, but we have found 'yacht' size radar and especially 'guard zones' to be worthless in storm conditions. With the big waves, there is so much sea clutter that you get way too many false positives, or you tune it down so much you will not see a real target until its too late. And I am told by my ship captain friends that with their ship radar they will be able to see other ships thru the clutter but probably not pick a sailboat out from all the 30' waves.

AIS is a real advance in these situations. Near coastal most of the traffic today still does not have AIS, but way offshore essentially all the ships do. I don't necessarily count on them seeing our signal, because our vhf calls suggest some good fraction are somehow filtering class B out, but I have been able to see almost all of them from 'over the horizon' well before I can see them visually. By the way, one outcome of the recent rambler incident is a change in recommendations on AIS antenna placement recommendations - recommendation used to be on the pulpit but is now at the masthead to get range.

We don't even own the 'required' day shapes. I think the Dutch are really the only country enforcing dayshapes and we have not sailed there. And I would not want to have them swinging around in the rigging in a storm in any case.

So, to answer your question, no, we don't make any sort of 'no watch' or 'not under command' signal, except in our vhf security call indicating we are hove-to at lat/long. We have never had anyone answer these security calls. The shipping density is really very low out there.

And again, this all is an important judgement call. We would handle it very differently, with a very active full cockpit watch, if hove to anywhere near say the corner of North Cape in North Zealand, which is a major ship choke/turning point
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Old 23-11-2011, 11:29   #60
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Re: Lost at Sea from S/V 'Triple Stars'

Thanks for the answer. It corresponds pretty closely with my own experience, even though that's limited to a couple of Atlantic deliveries. West of Bermuda, we saw plenty of ships, including an aircraft carrier. South of Bermuda, I think I saw one ship right at the horizon, once, at night, until we were less than 100 NM from the USVIs. Flying fish? Plenty. But they aren't sticklers for the Colregs.
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