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-   -   Valiant 42 Abandoned at Sea - Two Crew Lost (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f2/valiant-42-abandoned-at-sea-two-crew-lost-11148.html)

Vasco 21-11-2007 12:47

By the looks of it the rescue vessel was a car carrier. These things are almost impossible to board at sea. Even if they had cargo nets over the side it's a 100 foot climb while pitching and rolling. Any sailboat coming alongside would lose its mast in no time.

deepblueme 21-11-2007 13:00

We hada crossing of the Gulf Stream once, the big square waves runnin 12-15ft kind of weather.
Quite a few of the passengers wanted off half way to Bimini a couple even demanding us to call the Coasties to come get them.

The Capt. told them " you don't leave a ship till the ship leaves you " and trheatened them with the Ziptie treatment if they kept causing trouble.
Once we got to Bimini everyone had a great time but a couple of people took the Chalks plane home instead of crossing back with us a few days latter.
The trip back was calm as glass had to motor most of the way back.

I have seem more than one trip go this way so I can kind of understand the panic that snowballs in passengers mind that are not used to stormy seas.

Sad.

Seeratlas 21-11-2007 13:27

when to get off
 
used to be a saying that the only time you leave your vessel is when you have to step up.....

seer

Lodesman 21-11-2007 15:45

In this case they were stepping up, but as Rick said it was 100 ft up the slab side of a ro-ro - by cargo-net no less!!! Most people their age couldn't climb a cargo net up the side of a sailboat, let alone a 100 ft climb soaking wet. They were clearly delusional. Very sad.

44'cruisingcat 21-11-2007 15:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hud3 (Post 112676)
In counterpoint to the David Vann story (see "Idiot or Hero?" thread), here's an experienced sailor with a blue-water boat (a Valiant 42) who loses his wife, a friend, and the boat in a fiasco that could have been avoided.

It appears that they departed Long Island for Bermuda, enroute to Tortola, on Oct 30. Weather forecasts clearly pointed to TS Noel turning north and intensifying at that point.

Nothing is said about the experience level of the crew, but the implication is that other than the skipper, they had little or no offshore experience.

When they first called the Coast Guard in distress, the winds were reported to be 42 kts, with 20-25' waves, conditions that the Valiant could easily handle with an experienced helmsman.

Conditions worsened, but panic seems to have spread amongst the crew even as things subsequently stabilized and perhaps even began to get better--they threatened the skipper with physical harm if he didn't set off the EPIRB.

Ultimately, all five onboard abandoned ship, and two were lost at sea in the process. Such a tragedy!

What would you have done differently?

Just wondering what you mean by "counterpoint" ? If David Vann is an idiot for planning to circumnavigate solo in a 50 foot trimaran, then how would you describe someone who takes a new boat and an inexperienced crew and sails them straight into a well documented and destructive hurricane?

As you say, this is something that could have been avoided. And should have been.

David M 21-11-2007 15:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vasco (Post 112755)
By the looks of it the rescue vessel was a car carrier. These things are almost impossible to board at sea. Even if they had cargo nets over the side it's a 100 foot climb while pitching and rolling. Any sailboat coming alongside would lose its mast in no time.

They have access "doors" along side the hull not very far off the waterline and jacobs ladders that can be dropped down specifically for MOB situations.

little boat 21-11-2007 16:34

"Do captains need to keep a taser and zip ties for restraint onboard"

well, i learned to my surprise, that the 'captain' does have to tell all aboard that they can't even contemplate leaving the ship when underway without permission.
a mother asked me to give her son and his girlfriend a ride over to jost van dyke from st thomas as they were planning to go by dinghy to attend a regatta that i was also attending. its only a few miles and a beautiful day and off we went.
we were 5 or so miles offshore, 15 knots and 3 foot seas and thier dinghy broke loose from its crummy painter. before anyone had a moment to react, the young man dove overboard and swam to the dinghy.
i was flabbergasted.
i tacked over and we fetched him and i gave him a terrible tongue lashing about going overboard without a word or permission from me. the kid was very surprised that i was so upset.
i learned a lesson and always tell anyone aboard that i make all decisions and don't come along if you can't live with that.

Vasco 21-11-2007 17:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by David M (Post 112815)
They have access "doors" along side the hull not very far off the waterline and jacobs ladders that can be dropped down specifically for MOB situations.

I know about the watertight access doors. They are usually used for boarding the pilot. Don't know if they'd use them out in the ocean in storm conditions.

Ex-Calif 21-11-2007 21:50

Picking your crew is as important as picking your boat. Mutiny is nothing new. Imagine the worst conditions that you may encounter in a passage. Imagine how the crew you have would react.

Upon reaching a certain size the crew become as vital to the safety of the ship as the captain. I recently read several articles about people stepping up to 60+ foot boats. One of the biggest challenges is that you can no longer communicate effectively with the mast crew and bow crew. "You have to trust them to do their jobs, while you do yours" is the quote.

A +40ft boat with a seasoned captain and everyone else relatively inexperienced has no business in challenging conditions.

Ex-Calif 21-11-2007 21:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by little boat (Post 112828)
we were 5 or so miles offshore, 15 knots and 3 foot seas and thier dinghy broke loose from its crummy painter.


I don't want to appear rude but as the captain you allowed the dinghy to be attached to your boat by this "crummy painter."

If you are going to make all the rules you have to accept all the responsibility.

No broken painter, no MOB...

GordMay 22-11-2007 04:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by little boat (Post 112828)
"Do captains need to keep a taser and zip ties for restraint onboard" ...
...i learned a lesson and always tell anyone aboard that i make all decisions and don't come along if you can't live with that.

So, if I (as passenger/crew) discover a fire aboard your boat, I suppose I shouldn’t extinguish it (whilst calling the “alert”) without your specific instruction?

I agree that the skipper “commands”; but suggest that there are numerous occasions when I would welcome my crew’s immediate initiative in an acute emergency situation.

There's a delicate balance between the skipper's authority, and the crew's responsible initiative.

In this particular instance, you were justified in being upset with the youngster's rash action.
It won't ALWAYS be so.

I also agree with Dan’s exhortation that authority = responsibility.

Hud3 22-11-2007 05:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat (Post 112812)
Just wondering what you mean by "counterpoint" ? If David Vann is an idiot for planning to circumnavigate solo in a 50 foot trimaran, then how would you describe someone who takes a new boat and an inexperienced crew and sails them straight into a well documented and destructive hurricane?

As you say, this is something that could have been avoided. And should have been.

Hi, 44'cruisingcat.

By "counterpoint", I meant that here we have an experienced skipper with a proven bluewater yacht embarking on a passage done by countless others (US to BVI in early November). The voyage was well-founded, but mistakes were made. Pfanner made an initial error in judgement by either not checking the Wx forecast, or if having seen it, perhaps decided that they could make Bermuda before Noel hit them. This error brought into play his second error--not having an at least somewhat seasoned crew onboard.

In contrast, Vann's plan pushes well past the limits of rationality on it's face.

Joli 22-11-2007 08:56

[quote=Ex-Calif;112871 I recently read several articles about people stepping up to 60+ foot boats. One of the biggest challenges is that you can no longer communicate effectively with the mast crew and bow crew. "You have to trust them to do their jobs, while you do yours" is the quote.

A +40ft boat with a seasoned captain and everyone else relatively inexperienced has no business in challenging conditions.[/quote]

It is absolutely true that you trust your crew

maxingout 22-11-2007 09:48

It's hard to imagine anything more terrifying than jumping into raging seas fully clothed with a life vest on trying to swim to a ship for a rescue, and the ship has a turning prop.

Those folks must have been so exhausted that it impaired their judgement. The least they should have done was had a line on each victim before they jumped and pulled them one by one off the yacht and up the side of the ship. There must have been mass panic. They way they did it was like lemmings jumping into the sea. Very sad.

I remember when Tony Bullimore lived in a capsized monohull racer for five days in the far southern ocean before the Australian Navy could rescue him. He lived in a survival suit in cold chest high water in his upturned boat.

After reading about Bullimore's survival, I went out and purchased three new survival suits at $450 each for the crew of Exit Only. These suits function like a personal life raft and survival system that encases you in a protective cocoon. If Bullimore could live five days in a survival suit in the southern ocean, I knew that my crew would be safe if our cat ever capsized in a storm.

The people on the Valiant 42 wanted off the boat so bad that they were willing to risk their lives to get off. It was a bad choice. Their boat was standing up to the storm and in a few hours, it would have been over. I wasn't there, but if I had been, I would have had my eighteen foot diameter parachute sea anchor on its tether in the water out in front of my boat. And if that didn't work, I would have been sitting inside my survival suit waiting for rescue. I definitely wouldn't be jumping in the water trying to swim to a freighter. If my yacht was sinking and I had no other choice, then I wouldn't go down with the ship. Then and only then would I jump.

When inexperienced sailors come on board for an offshore voyage, they need to sign a document that says, "I will never jump off this yacht into stormy seas until instructed to do so by my captain. I will not jump unless there is a rescue heliocopter directly overhead with a rescue swimmer coming down to save me. I will never jump off this yacht when there is already another person in the water waiting to be rescued."

Making people sign something like that might help them behave in a rational manner when panic starts to happen. It's worth a thought.

Joli 22-11-2007 10:43

Friends were transporting a boat when the skipper went overboard. It was 50 degrees, blowing 30ish, 12 footers with a very short period, maybe 5 seconds. Most of the regular racing crew was on board. It took them a 1/2 hour to get the skipper back onboard. The were very lucky, on one pass to weather they basicly fell off the wave while abeam of the guy in the water and the boat scooped him up by skidding into him. Very very lucky. He was almost done from hypothermia.

Chances are not good when you leave the boat.


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