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Old 18-05-2007, 09:27   #31
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So what are you saying Bill ? Do you think the Coast Guard was looking in the wrong spot ?

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Old 18-05-2007, 09:41   #32
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No, not at all. The Coast Guard search and rescue capability (SAR) is very, very professional. They regularly perform feats most of us can only in our wildest dreams imagine doing.

All I'm saying, is that they have not passed along to the boating community the Latitude and Longitude coordinates which they got from the EPIRB signal, and which caused them to send out search aircraft and drop position-indicating marker buoys.

It is quite possible that they did activate another SAR system which involves merchant shipping. Under this system, ships voluntarily and regularly report their positions to the USCG and, in the event of a known emergency, the Coast Guard can then determine whether or not there is any shipping in the area, and can notify those ships to be on the lookout or divert them to the position of the vessel in distress. It's possible they did, in fact, use this system and just didn't report the EPIRB position to the general boating community via their website or VHF (short-range) radio transmissions.

Unfortunately, it's doubtful that this would have made much difference in this situation.

These folks had a lot going for them...young, very experienced, a great boat, etc. We can only hope and pray that they somehow survived this horrendous storm.

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Old 18-05-2007, 09:52   #33
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One other thing I missed.

If they were, indeed, 200 miles East of Cape Fear -- and we still don't know that for sure -- it indicates to me that they were aware of the coming storm and had changed course to the East to avoid being in the Gulf Stream when the North winds began.

Two hundred miles East of Cape Fear is much farther East than one would normally go when headed from the Caribbean to the Chesapeake (been there, done that). The only reason to be so far out is to avoid being close to Hatteras or the Gulf Stream in a northerly blow. In such circumstances, a hundred miles or more "under your belt" is a very good thing.

So, they did the right thing...acted as would any prudent mariners beset by an unexpected norther in that region.

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Old 18-05-2007, 13:35   #34
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Thanks for your cogent, and exhaustive anaylis.
The CG searched a very large area. Let's hope it wasn't large enough, to date. There's nobody here, no matter how we calculate the odds, that does not hope and pray for the safe return of our missing bretheren.
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Old 18-05-2007, 14:54   #35
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Thanks, but now I've got some real data which changes things a bit.

I have the EPIRB position as "resolved" to the Coast Guard: 32 deg 55.2 mins North 074 degs 07.4 mins West. This was the last and only good position, and was the one they used for SAR operations.

This position is some 129 nm SW of the data buoy used in the preceding analysis. There's another data buoy positioned closer, but it went bust back in Feb and is being repaired, so no data there.

The EPIRB position puts the Flying Colours 281 nm due East of South Capers Island, SC. The Gulf Stream is wider at that latitude, but they were still well East of it.

Afraid this doesn't really change things very much in terms of explaining what may have happened, but it does lend some credence to the belief that they knew what was coming and, prudently, changed course to get out of the Gulf Stream.

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Old 18-05-2007, 17:04   #36

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Hoping for the best

I've been following this heart breaking story for 11 days now. I was certain that the crew would have been found by now. A sturdy boat and experienced crew could beat those odds.

When Bill posted the coordinates, I couldn't help looking them up and checking a couple of things. I believe Flying Colours might have been on the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream at the time, and might have drifted out of the Coast Guard search area.

From what I can see on the NOAA web site

MMAB - OPC Gulf Stream Finder

the Gulf Stream swings east when it hit's the "Charleston Bump", which is just to the south of Flying Colours last position, and gets a bit broader at that point. When I plotted the coordinates from the EPIRB signal Bill posted, it would appear that at that time, they were on the eastern side of the current. The Gulf stream fluctuates all the time. It's not absolutely certain they were actually in it... or for that matter, that they were east of it.

If they didn't clear it, then the current speed there would appear to be northeasterly at .4 meters per second. It's been 11 days. I calculate a drift of .87 mph and 264 hours since the incident.

What's alarming is that if they are adrift, Scotland is the next landfall

Rick in Florida
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Old 18-05-2007, 17:28   #37
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The NOAA image is very hard to read; scale is too small.

Have a look at the USN image on the WRI website:
Weather Routing, Inc. - Now Weather

Click on "Tides and Gulfstream" tab, and select the "N'rn Gulfstream Analysis".
I think you'll agree that 74W at Latitude 33N is pretty far to the East of the Gulf Stream.

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