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

Hud3 21-11-2007 08:04

Valiant 42 Abandoned at Sea - Two Crew Lost
 
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?

SETTING SAIL INTO HORROR (New York Post article)
November 18, 2007 -- As Andy Pfanner brought groceries and other supplies onboard his new sailing yacht three weeks ago for a journey from Long Island to the Caribbean, he was preparing for a relaxed pleasure cruise with his wife and close friends.
He would soon face his own perfect storm.
Pfanner, 45, a master woodworker who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has worked with a host of well-heeled clients and been featured in Architectural Digest and other magazines. His other passion is sailing. He's often ventured from his summer house in Cutchogue into the Atlantic, sometimes traveling as far south as Brazil, where he owned another home.
This trip would be different.

Click here for the rest of the story:
SETTING SAIL INTO HORROR

GordMay 21-11-2007 08:20

According to friends Andy Pfanner has sailed for years, and owned at least two other boats. They said he was supremely confident at the helm, having once steered through a tropical storm without incident.
Apparently his crew panicked twice.
First, when they insisted he set of the EPIB and seek rescue.
Second, when they disregarded the planned “hoist” rescue, and jumped in the water to swim to the rescue ship.
Sad.

Seeratlas 21-11-2007 08:37

tragedy
 
Since that storm was all over the news since it first became a tropical, I'm confused as to why he was out there. Even a cursory weather review would have shown the hourly possible trackings of its path broadcast by pretty much every news organization in the US. He had literally days if not a week's notice of potential danger, unless he simply failed to appraise himself of weather conditions which would be unlikely for an experienced captain. This really doesn't make much sense.


Further, I'm surprised by the failure to locate the bodies. Visibility was good within a few hours of their loss, they had life jackets on, and substantial efforts were undertaken to locate them in a known position. With ships, aircraft etc. participating in the search, one might surmise they were either predated, or somehow got into the props of the rescuing ship.

seer

gonesail 21-11-2007 08:44

so the captain abandoned ship also? strange thing to do in 40' seas when his vessel was ok. going south to VI in october is risky business unless you take the thornless path. even in a valiant 42.

Morgan Paul 21-11-2007 09:01

Quote:

so the captain abandoned ship also?
I guess he felt responsible for the Passengers (idiots) on board.

David M 21-11-2007 09:06

Sad. How does a skipper control irrational ideas and actions from an inexperienced crew? Ultimately you can't.

Joli 21-11-2007 09:52

Be careful who you pick for crew, not everyone belongs on a boat.

charley 21-11-2007 10:16

Sad to hear. I remember that boat it was for sale for several months on sailboatlistings.com.
I don't think jumping into the water would be even close in my mind
they where reporting breaking waves of 40 feet, I hate swimming in 8-10 foot seas. I would have tried to ride it out and make it to land. The storms usually only last about 12 hours or so at the most.
If you are not going to listen to the captain of the ship you shouldn't be on it.
I think the only reason the captain jumped ship cause he saw his wife in the drink. Something I am sure any of us who love our wives would do.

btrayfors 21-11-2007 10:33

Absolutely tragic. Your heart has to go out to these poor folks...all of them.

They couldn't have had a better boat. The Valiant 42 and its predecessor V40 are marvelous machines. Properly handled, they should be able to take the reported conditions.

They could have had a better crew. Reluctant family members or friends don't make for the best crews, even in good conditions. In horrific conditions like these, they're just a time bomb waiting to happen. Remember the Satori incident during the 1991 Perfect Storm?

They could have paid closer attention to the weather. Not much is said about this...their communication capabilities and experience and practices. Evasion tactics? Storm tactics?

?The captain could have been more assertive? Don't know about this. We weren't there. Hard to do with a wife and close friends. But when the captain is threatened with physical harm (??), it may have been time to pull out the ship's revolver and 'clap 'em in irons'. Or at least act to constrain or restrain them in some way so they wouldn't do foolish things. Like jump overboard in 40' seas. Could any captain have done this? We weren't there, so it's very hard to second-guess.

Better judgment could have been used. The plan to have a container ship provide "cover" while transferring terrified crew in those conditions was no plan at all. Cudos to the ship's captain and crew for offering, diverting, and trying. But for the crew of a small sailboat in those conditions, it was a stupid thing to do, by almost any measure.

They could have been luckier. They weren't.

How sad, sad, sad....


Bill

little boat 21-11-2007 11:47

this is a tragic story.
those who contemplate going to sea and aren't prepared for storm conditions without the option of 'getting off the boat' should take this story to heart and stay ashore.
as more 'sailors' rely on electonic communications (to the point of calling it 'folly' on this forum to venture offshore without means of calling for rescue) and keep the idea of 'rescue' in thier back pocket as a solution to thier distress encountering the ocean's ferocity we will see more and more of this type of story.
asking others to extricate one from a self imposed situation should not be considered as an offshore tactic.
fear can be terrible but panic is unforgivable at sea.
my heartfelt condolances to all concerned.

Kanani 21-11-2007 11:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hud3 (Post 112676)
What would you have done differently?

I would have carried and deployed a properly rigged parachute sea anchor. They are a great tool for turning chaos into relative peace.

Never leave home without one.;) In this incident (and many like it....this isn't a first) things may have turned out much differently. Especially with inexperienced crew. I have heard this story so many times that I get sick about it, each time I hear it again. What a human tragedy that could have been so easily resolved by just having the right tools at hand. Once you get in that situation, it's too late to try and go out and get one. In extreme cases like this, all you can do is die (or experience others), wishing you had.

Kanani 21-11-2007 12:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by little boat (Post 112732)
this is a tragic story.
those who contemplate going to sea and aren't prepared for storm conditions without the option of 'getting off the boat' should take this story to heart and stay ashore.
as more 'sailors' rely on electonic communications (to the point of calling it 'folly' on this forum to venture offshore without means of calling for rescue) and keep the idea of 'rescue' in thier back pocket as a solution to thier distress encountering the ocean's ferocity we will see more and more of this type of story.
asking others to extricate one from a self imposed situation should not be considered as an offshore tactic.
fear can be terrible but panic is unforgivable at sea.
my heartfelt condolances to all concerned.

You are exactly right. I see this as a growing problem and it can be leathal (as in this case).

Sorry......I mis-read your post at first.

Kanani 21-11-2007 12:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by gonesail (Post 112684)
so the captain abandoned ship also? strange thing to do in 40' seas when his vessel was ok. going south to VI in october is risky business unless you take the thornless path. even in a valiant 42.

My guess would be that the yacht may have been severely damaged (even dis-masted) during a ship-to-ship rescue. This is very common.

A small sailboat doesn't stand much chance of survival when it comes along side a large steel ship, in big seas.

Vasco 21-11-2007 12:26

Reminds me of the Westsail that was in the perfect storm. If I remember right it was the crew that sent out an sos or set off an epirb. the skipper didn't want to abandon ship but I think when the CG turned up they made him get off with some sort of threat or other. The boat ended up on the Jersey shore, all in one piece.

Tspringer 21-11-2007 12:31

WOW!


Bill covered all my initial thoughts.

This is a difficult situation to project oneself into. Putting aside all the "why were you there given the weather information that was available" questions, how did the captain so totally lose control of his crew?

Why would the crew lose control of their own rational thought to the level of viewing abandoning a perfect sound vessel that was not in distress (ie, she was not sinking) for the option of an extremely risky "rescue"?

Do captains need to keep a taser and zip ties for restraint onboard to prevent mutiny in storms?

Unless the boat is sinking or every possible means of jury rigging or effecting repairs such that way can be made has been exhausted.... I am not getting off.



Terry

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.

Seeratlas 25-11-2007 16:22

What constitutes a "Captain"?
 
No offense but imho the issue at the heart of this matter has to do with what it means to be a "Captain". Simply buying or even 'commanding' the boat doesn't cut it...the new owner is or may not be qualified to be a "Captain" on elements having nothing to do with ownership of the boat, experience, or maritime skill. Imho it has to do with whether you can lead. Obviously, this fellow was unable to convince the crew to follow his instructions. When humans believe themselves to be in threat of imminent death, I don't care who signed what, what the maritime laws say, what patch of cloth indicating rank everyone happens to be wearing etc., what counts is whether they will believe they have a better chance of staying alive following you, or their own self preservation instincts. To pull that off, well, you have to be, in their minds, worthy of the ultimate trust. How you get there I'll leave to you.

seer

Ok, ok, a few things to consider;

First, how about 'earning' that trust as in :

1. Get competent. if you believe in you, others will too.
2. THINK!!! when things are at their worst, In any dangerous struggle, the one who thinks, lives.
3. Demonstrate to the crew, from the get go- that you care about each of them, that you deem each and every one of them individually important, and worthy of respect.
4.a. Now,This is a biggie- everyone has to know that when it comes to crunch time, its "your way" or the "sea way"....a ship is NOT a democracy, apologies to the poly-sci majors out there.

4b. Warning...you may very well find in your moment of crisis, that YOU are NOT the one best suited to making a life and death decision...remember #2 above...if you've done your homework, you'll know who is and if you know someone else on the boat is the "real" *go to* guy/girl/ leader, then pass the 'hat'...remember he/she who thinks, LIVES
...don't let macho ego or personal insecurities get everyone, including you, killed. History is full of examples.

44'cruisingcat 25-11-2007 16:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hud3 (Post 112912)
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.

How does a "proven bluewater yacht" become "proven"? At some stage someone must have taken it to sea "unproven"?

From the reports David Vann is a VERY experienced sailor. The boat is being purpose-designed by a naval architect. I would expect that the circumnavigation attempt will not be the first time he sails the boat. I am sure there will be sea trials beforehand although probably not as many as most would like.

I doubt if Mr Vann will sail a down reciprocal path straight into a well documented hurricane - I am sure he won't do so with a boat full of inexperienced passengers.

Ex-Calif 25-11-2007 17:14

A very important aspect of skippering a yacht (and flying a plane) is task loading. Task loading is the addition of tasks to your workload requiring prioritization and the ability to multitask. Being "ahead" of the boat and the weather allows you to shed tasks or complete them ahead of worsening conditions. Delaying task completion can result in too many tasks needing completion in too little time - task overload.

This weekend we came back from Malaysia in a party of two. After a wonderful ride over in 15 knot winds the ride back the next day was predominantly under the iron genny.

The second boat, a club rental J24, was skippered by a relatively inexperienced skipper and his 15 Y/O son. He had full sails up and was also motoring with teh 4.5hp outboard. We were about 1km ahead and as we looked out we could tell we were going to have to penetrate a pretty good thunderstorm. We started clearing the decks closing hatches, getting our wets out and so on. We were also in a pretty narrow channel so we noted our Course To Steer (CTS) as we knew visibility would get pretty low.

I looked back and there was no activity going on on the J24. Long story short they penetrated the storm with full sail. They heeled well over and then let loose the sails and bore away. Bad idea as they were now headed for the shore. Visibility was dropping so we shot a heading and turned back. We were motoring with all the sails stowed. The wind came up to about 30 knots for a bit.

The point being these were perfectly safe conditions. We were concerned about getting too close to shore so we parelleled up about 250 meters off, gave a horn blast and encouraged them to head up into the wind. At this point they had beam seas and winds and the son was at the helm while dad was on the foredeck trying to douse the sails. No one had a life vest on. The good news is the storm lasted only about 30 minutes and the seas were very slight.

Long story short, all ended well. They finally headed up and got the sails under control.

In talking to the skiper when we got back he described not knowing what to do first, next and so on. He was "surprised" by the storm even though we were tracking it for 30 minutes before we hit it. Wind shift, ripples on the water, virga, and then visible rain on the sea. We talked a lot about keeping your head out of the boat, being aware of changes and planning ahead.

It was also instinct to bear away when the boat heeled over but that was the wrong move and made the sail handling a lot more troublesome as everything ended up in the drink as it was lowered.

Dropping the genny on that boat at the first sign of the storm, especially short handed, would have been the right call. The J24 sails easily with just the main and with the outboard propelling you can always head up and bail on the main if you have to.

The great news is that it all worked out and the skipper has added a ton of experience to his arsenal.

Keep your head out of the boat, manage tasks early and in terms of task priorities, drove the boat first and don't run aground.

Hud3 26-11-2007 03:58

Dan,

I could NOT agree more! What you're describing, in a word, is EXPERIENCE (some of it earned the hard way, right?).

1 Cool Cat 26-11-2007 05:34

What would you have done differently?
 
Last year on 3 November I ran into trouble en route to Bermuda from Halifax resulting in the loss of my PDQ 36. My wife and I, the only two on board are both trained and experienced cruisers, and we were prepared for extreme conditions but the end result was still the loss of our boat. It is tragic that people lose life and ship at sea but unfair to sit home and speculate on what could have or would have been done. Since our loss we have been the subject of criticism from numerous "armchair admirals" who sit back and speculate on what we should have done differently. Some say we should not have gone out in such weather. The fact is we were downloading real time weather which showed us in 10 kt winds and 1 - 2 metre seas at a time when we were experiencing 58 kt winds and 10 metre seas. It was only after our rescue the weather reports and forcasters began to show a stationary, developing storm in our area. What would I have done different, you ask? If I had known we were going to be in a stationary storm I would have run off instead of heaving to, but the weather forcasters were all predicting fair conditions and we believed this storm would soon pass. Otherwise we would have made the same decisions. It is unfair to the sailors who run into trouble to sit back and speculate on what if anything they did wrong.

44'cruisingcat 26-11-2007 05:50

There's a big difference between getting caught out by an unforcast storm, and sailing hundreds of miles straight at a documented and named hurricane though.
We've been in a similar, but less severe situation to what you were in - being in a fairly severe local storm while the weather forecasts for your area are all clear.

In your situation what would I do differently? No idea, possibly nothing. But I doubt if either of us would sail South East for a hundred miles straight at a hurricane that was moving North West.

Hud3 26-11-2007 05:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1 Cool Cat (Post 113704)
It is unfair to the sailors who run into trouble to sit back and speculate on what if anything they did wrong.

First, condolences on losing your boat--I can only imagine what a heart-wrenching experience that must have been for you and your wife.

I certainly understand your point about "arm chair sailors" passing judgement. Hindsight is always easier than foresight. And some of the comments and observations can seem a bit flip or condescending, expecially from those who have never experienced extreme conditions far from shore.

On the other hand, every incident such as Pfanner's can be viewed as a learning experience for those who choose to view it that way. If you read the comments and questions of "newbie" and "wannabe" offshore sailors on this Forum, it's clear that reading an account of a "trial by fire" can give them a valuable perspective on offshore passagemaking. Comments and analysis from experienced sailors can add to that learning. There will always be some gratuitous comments on an open forum like this, but there're some valuable nuggets in there, too.

I've read some "lessons learned" post-mortems by sailors who did some things right and some things wrong in trying circumstances, and were good enough to share their insights with others, even though it opened them up to criticism. Very valuable!

All the best,

GordMay 26-11-2007 06:07

According to Dale Carnegie: “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do.”

Seeratlas 26-11-2007 08:16

Quote:

. The fact is we were downloading real time weather which showed us in 10 kt winds and 1 - 2 metre seas at a time when we were experiencing 58 kt winds and 10 metre seas. It was only after our rescue the weather reports and forcasters began to show a stationary, developing storm in our area. What would I have done different, you ask? If I had known we were going to be in a stationary storm I would have run off instead of heaving to, but the weather forcasters were all predicting fair conditions and we believed this storm would soon pass. Otherwise we would have made the same decisions. It is unfair to the sailors who run into trouble to sit back and speculate on what if anything they did wrong.[/quote]


I once brought a 54 foot sloop down from Seattle to San Pedro. Personally went into the NOAA offices to get the forecast..."sleighride" they said, 10 to 12 knot winds, 4 to 6 foot seas...bout as good as it gets on that trip...
within 24 hours 3 of the six crew were completely incapacitated, including the one professional sailor on board and we were running for our lives out into the north pacific in a storm that saw the known loss of ten boats, including one 100' foot plus fisherman, and 3 of those lost went down with all hands.

I accordingly commiserate with you on the bad intel you received. On the other hand, arm chair quarterbacking can be divided into two camps...those who unfairly criticize as you put it, and those who merely try to analyze to learn something from the experience of others.

In your instance, I would like to ask what caused the loss of the vessel? Did it break up? start taking on water? Was this a cat? and you said you were hove too? was it stress on the boat from heaving too that caused damage?
Not everyone survives the loss of a vessel at sea accordingly, .please forgive me for trying to use this opportunity to get some first hand information. If you'd rather not, I will understand.

sincerely,

seer

1 Cool Cat 26-11-2007 12:10

We were riding out the weather on a sea anchor when at 2300 hrs a wave fell on the boat, totally engulfing us and damaging our rig. We have sailed tens of thousands of miles, much of it offshore, and have encountered our fair share of bad weather, but never have we had a wave fall on us like that! As we were mid way between Halifax and Bermuda , too far from help to survive in those conditions long enough for help to arrive if we were to sustain further damage,( 500 NM East of Cape Cod)I decided to request assistance and activated our EPIRB. A 195 metre tanker came to assist but we asked them to not take us alongside as we were totally incompatible ( 35' freeboard vs 4' freeboard)and we were stable although incapacitated. The next morning the tanker approached us from our bow despite our objections, hit us head on, and sunk us. I believe we would not have lost our boat had the collision not occurred, and would have recovered her.


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:47.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.


ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.