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Old 12-06-2009, 02:02 PM   #15
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Go here, http://linocat.blogspot.com/search?updated...;max-results=50 for an account of the ARC by a small cat. As with most blogs the oldest post is at the bottom of the bag. A good insight into the preps and dayly events of the crossing.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:47 AM   #16
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Let's see. Former Boy Scout, US Navy Sea Cadet, Retired Sgt USAR, Hold a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic), EMT-B, combat lifesaver US Army. Was former Haz Mat NCO for an Engineering company.

Being Prepared, admitting when one screws up and learning from it, being willing and able to admit not knowing something. Knowing that risk is inherit in life and still willing to live it. Giving a darn for things beyond immediate comfort or ego. These are very rare in this day and age. I get a bit cranky myself when I hear others moan about how bad they got it. A good number of the things I have lived with since birth and have gone through since than (some by my own hand others not), I would not and do not wish upon my enemies. I still get up every day and keep going. So does just about anybody on this board or most of the other boards I am a member of (really easy to find out if a board is full of opinion only and that means I go bye bye).

No Jeanne you put it straight. Now IF I could only find somebody that would be willing to head down that way I would go looking for that boat and well the owner would be paying me for my services (or signing over the boat). Having Friends in the Canaries means a place to leave it until an agreement can be reached. Only ATM the wife would kill me for leaving her with the kids for the time it would take to do that and I am not that sort of husband (Yes, she is interested but the two to three weeks it could take to just find it, let alone get it to a harbor is a bit much with three young ones at home).

You said it straight and there is no reason to apologizes for that.

Michael
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #17
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Ack... you said it Michael... being an independant salvor is the dream profession... the problem would be finding the thing... even if you could estimate the drift based on current and wind the odds of finding that thing on purpose are pretty slim (would be fun to try though)... unfortunately it probably will be found one day... by a sleeping single hander.... or during the night by an unsuspecting yacht who is keeping a watch but doesn't happen to see it's unlit carapace on a cloudy night....
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:13 PM   #18
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... even if you could estimate the drift based on current and wind the odds of finding that thing on purpose are pretty slim
Not really. The Swedish Maritime Administration has developed drift progonsis software for different senarios, e.g. PIW (person in water), small open boat, motor boat, keel boat etc. Of course they use it for SAR purposes but it is surprisingly good once wind force and direction as well as currents and tidal streams are added.

I am unsure if it is commercially available though.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:18 PM   #19
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Here is Pelican's blog:

http://blog.mailasail.com/saxton/38
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:44 PM   #20
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Thanks, magwas. The December 9 entry into Pelican's log is a bit annoying: "The whereabouts of Pelican is still unknown. She may have been sunk if/when the mast finally came down, or she may yet turn up on a Carribean beach in a couple of months times. We will just have to wait and see."

And if she's not sunk yet she continues to pose a threat to navigation. The mast didn't come down!

Now, about his massive rig failure. Does anybody leave on an offshore passage without having somebody go up the mast to check the rigging? Especially when it is almost certain that the boat will encounter at least one winter gale during the passage? How could massive rig failure have come as a surprise to them?

ADDITION: I checked the ARC weather reports for the days up to and including the "massive rig failure". 13 - 18 knots, gusts to 25. No winter gale there. So now my mystification about a massive rig failure is deeper.

I truly hope that should she arrive someplace in the Caribbean that she will be inspected carefully and a report issued as to the extent of the damage X months after being abandoned and left to drift for herself. The odds are that should she make it to the Caribbean the French Navy will find her.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:57 PM   #21
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Does the owner of the PELICAN knows anything about boats and materials? It's a steel built Bruce Roberts design, if I got things right. If the alunimum mast comes down and is town besides the boat, it won't really be able to puncture the hull. How come that he thinks that a mast coming down means the sinking of the boat!!!

Did the owner had to return his Yacht Master after arriving home? More likely he did not have one.



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Old 12-11-2009, 03:40 PM   #22
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and to say it one more time... Pathetic!
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:14 PM   #23
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Thanks, magwas. The December 9 entry into Pelican's log is a bit annoying: "The whereabouts of Pelican is still unknown. She may have been sunk if/when the mast finally came down, or she may yet turn up on a Carribean beach in a couple of months times. We will just have to wait and see."

And if she's not sunk yet she continues to pose a threat to navigation. The mast didn't come down!

Now, about his massive rig failure. Does anybody leave on an offshore passage without having somebody go up the mast to check the rigging? Especially when it is almost certain that the boat will encounter at least one winter gale during the passage? How could massive rig failure have come as a surprise to them?

ADDITION: I checked the ARC weather reports for the days up to and including the "massive rig failure". 13 - 18 knots, gusts to 25. No winter gale there. So now my mystification about a massive rig failure is deeper.

I truly hope that should she arrive someplace in the Caribbean that she will be inspected carefully and a report issued as to the extent of the damage X months after being abandoned and left to drift for herself. The odds are that should she make it to the Caribbean the French Navy will find her.

Jeaane,

Usually you are the voice of reason on this board but it seem as though you didn't do much research on this topic. It is my understanding that every boat that participates has the rig inspected prior to deparure from Las Palmas. why it failed after being inspected is a question that may never be answered. Could it be that since a lot of these Roberts designs are home built the rig, although in good ciondition was undersized, which the rigger not being a naval architech may not have realized. Or could human error be to blame, an acidental gibe during a strong gust? Is the weather report a general report for the area or specific to this boat only. It's not unusual to hit an isolated squall at sea is it, could that have been part of the cause? Or could it just be that at sea things sometimes break and a failure of one part of the rig could cascade into a catastrophic failure, especially if the crew paniced and made a bonehead move which lead to the complete failure of the rig.

As for preparation I believe all participants are required to attend safety classes prior to departure, including survival in a life raft, where each person has to get in a life raft in the water. Many of the logs mention how much harder that was to do than they imagined. How many people that make passages go thorugh that routine before leaving? I read one Skippers log where he felt somewhat insulted at first that his boat, like all the others had to undergo a mandatory safety equipment inspection since he had many years of safe passage making, he goes on to say that after the inspection his opinion changed since some things he never though of were brought to his intention.

Each boat is in daily contact with the outside world, a valuble asset should problems arise, even if all they need is some advice.

You earlier asked if the organisers warned the participants of the risk of offshore passages, but since most of the boats arrive from Europe and North America on their own bottoms I would think they are familiar with the risks.

Either way as an earlier poster said a great many people would not experience an offshore passage without the opportunity of the ARC. If you read the daily logs, which are posted on the web site you will see the number of people that benefit from the chance to make the trip.

And how can anyone sitting safely in front of their keyboard second guess the decision of the vessels master when it comes to the safety of the crew without being there or having first hand knowledge of all the facts.

I hope I don't sound critical since I have a lot of respect for your insight and opinions which to date have been some of the most reasonable on the board, but this particular thread reminds me of when Dear Abby retired and you could tell it wasn't the same person that we had all grown to love and respect that was answering.

Bottom line over 200 boats left Las Palmas 40 are still underway as of this morning, one was lost at sea and another was abandoned and later salvaged, and with the winds they experienced this year many of the boats are finishing 3-4 days earlier than they have in the past.

All I hope is that there is a little rum left for me when I get to St. Lucia next thursday.

Peace and Love,

Sam
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:25 PM   #24
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Sam,

Worry not, this is still the same Jeanne. No changeling here.

You're right that this incident has set me off on a tirade that in some areas might be a bit harsh. However, letting a steel boat drift without lights or anything else in the expectation that it will sink is, IMO, negligent and quite frightening. Our experience with that below.

As far as a rig inspection goes, I didn't find a comprehensive description of what that meant WRT the ARC boats. Is a professional rigger employed to go up the mast of each of the boats? Is both standing and running rigging inspected? It was mentioned that the mainsail fell but the rig remained up, which sounds to me more like a running rigging problem.

I can't help but question "catastrophic rig failure" when the mast is still standing. Panicky crew, yes, I can understand, though Peter, my husband, skipper, life partner and occasional royal pita, is capable and confident in his abilities and never, never panics and calms everyone on our boat as a result. For that reason I do not expect, nor have I seen, panic on our boat. A failure in imagination on my part, of course, and perhaps too high an expectation of others. Okay, tone down the rhetoric I'll try.

They were rescued 8 days ago, and I cannot find any explanation of what this rig failure entailed. Surely they have had plenty of time to calm down and explain what happened, and what went wrong. Lots of learning opportunities here, but from what I can find, nothing is being said.

Perhaps insurance considerations might be the problem here. Then, my little suspicious mind says, maybe they were at fault but don't want to admit it; or "maybe they realized that they were too hasty in abandoning the boat the way they did". Or maybe they plan on suing somebody. For that we'll just have to wait and see.

It is clear to me that my anger at the boat being left to drift and pose a hazard to navigation spilled over into harsh judgment of all their actions during this problem.

Now for my story.

Two months after leaving Boston to go cruising we left New York Harbor to sail down to the Delaware River. We had plenty of wind and little knowledge of the New Jersey coast other than that most harbors were considered suitable only for small power boats and required local knowledge. We therefore set off planning on sailing all night until we reached Cape Henlopen and its harbor of refuge. As usual I took the dog watch, from past midnight until I needed relief - usually after sunrise. This wasn't a tough sail, and we had our wind vane (or autopilot, don't remember which) to steer the boat. Although we had tried to sail outside the shipping lanes, it's possible that we closed with the coast as the state bulged out in the middle. Anyway, shortly before dawn I saw a ship coming towards us but still quite far from us, and I watched it pretty carefully just to be sure that we weren't on a collision course. Suddenly the ship disappeared from sight! I looked, and looked, and then just as suddenly the ship reappeared.

I immediately took over the helm and steered offshore and away from the ship because I had no idea what was going on. As I looked back over my shoulder I saw outlined from the early dawn light a derelict ship with no lights that we had been on a collision course with! It was quite close to us which was why the distant ship disappeared behind it. My heart didn't stop hammering for an hour at least. I called Peter up to relieve me and to tell him about our close call. The ship was mentioned as a hazard to navigation in the USCG Notice to Mariners and an approximate position was given, but it was adrift so the position wasn't very accurate. We didn't have radar so we had no way of seeing the ship - it was just blind luck that the distant ship gave me the clue I needed to steer away from that hazard.**

I think that the experience influenced me deeply since 23 years later I can still visualize the entire episode; I tend to get angry when I hear of such unapologetic irresponsible behavior. We all have our "hot buttons".

I am not ready to temper my words wrt this episode, but I would like to have more information about what went wrong. I have no problem apologizing if I have been unduly and unreasonably harsh. I'm waiting.

**I have said many times that experience and skill is no substitute for blind luck.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Jeaane,

Usually you are the voice of reason on this board but it seem as though you didn't do much research on this topic. It is my understanding that every boat that participates has the rig inspected prior to deparure from Las Palmas....
One thing to keep in mind is that, at least as far as I know, there is no professional standard for someone to call themselves a 'rigger'.. Surveyor yes, there are lots of professional surveyor associations, with varying requirments for affiliation, but I've never heard of one for riggers.... I had a survey done before buying my boat, but it didn't include the rig, I went up and di my own rigging inspection and all seemed ok (but as it's an old rig I make a point to always sail under short sail so as not to stress it more than necessary)... Before my insurance company would cover the rig however I had to have a "rigging inspection" I called around and found the local rigger. He came out and spent about half an hour looking at the rig, including going up the mast of course, but was only up there for less than 5 minutes per mast having admitted he was afraid of heights.... having done my own inspection I was apathetic and just needed his "rigging inspection".. which by the way I ended up writing myself and emailing to him for his signiture... he signed it including his credentials "50 ton master"... I called to ask if there wasn't some affiliation he could add... nope... that's it... What the Heck!!?? I'm a 200 ton master, why do I need a piece of paper from a 50 ton master to tell me my rig is ok... why?? it's all about having a third party look at it for liability... the ARC did a "rigging inspections" which I can guarantee included some kind of release of liability... what the qualifiactions of that "rigger" were there's no telling...

ps. I'm not bad mouthing 'riggers' in general.. there are good and bad like anything... but the fact that the ARC did an inspection is a moot point.. the skipper is responsible, it's his fault if he didn't do his own inspection and guarntee the safety of his own vessels equipment.

pps. This is exactly what many of us are upset about... incompotent skippers go to sea on unsafe boats and don't know what to do except call for help when something goes wrong because they have a false confidence that is fostered by organizations like the ARC and their "rigging inspections" ... the fact that they allow lots of people who wouldn't otherwise get the chance to experience an offshore trip is irrelavent to me, if they can't go out and do it safely on their own then they shouldn't be doing at all.... All men are not created equal, nor do they all obtain equality... I liken the ARC to the ACLU of the sea... "everyone deserves..." .... No, they don't... like many others here I've invested my life in the sea and my boat (read: home) If I were the unlucky boat bum who happened to run into that derelect boat at night because it was unlit, possibly with no mast, and lost my boat, which at that point would most likely be uninsured, you'd better believe that if I came out alive I'd hunt that owner down and exact my pound of flesh... and that's a lot of flesh, even for my little 7 tonner.

Sorry for the rant.... as Jeanne said we all have out buttons, this just happens to be mine too.
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:25 PM   #26
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Now, about his massive rig failure. Does anybody leave on an offshore passage without having somebody go up the mast to check the rigging? Especially when it is almost certain that the boat will encounter at least one winter gale during the passage? How could massive rig failure have come as a surprise to them?

Talking about going up the mast: these guys have been up there three times through the passage: http://blog.mailasail.com/nightsong It might also worth an analysis as why they have thorn all their sails multiple times, and what could they do to avoid all the gear failures they had every day. But I think they have shown good seamanship aside that, fixing everything broken. And that was really everything you can think of...

Apparently Pelican did have failure with its standing rigging as well, they are talking about "several failures of the wires that were holding the mast up"

Yes, each ARC yacht receives a safety inspection, however I cannot comment on what does it include. And I would venture to say that it would need a very thorough inspection to spot rigging which is undersized or made of unsuitable material if it is not worn out. And it is the responsibility of the builder/skipper, not ARC people anyway.
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:29 AM   #27
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Magwas, thank you for the link to Nightsong's blog. Do you know what kind of boat it is? From the pictures it looks to be about 46 to 50 feet long, you think? Two helms. And it looks quite new. So how come so much broke? And UV damage of the sails after only 3 years? I'm confused - they don't look like racing sails - not with a Stak Pak. So - were they lax about covering the sails when at anchor or in a marina?

I am amazed/impressed/astonished by their going up the mast at sea three times. Peter went up the mast at sea once and I absolutely refused to take him up a second time. Maybe they felt they had no choice, and from all that went wrong, perhaps they didn't. But it is such a dangerous thing to do.

His December 10 blog says that there were lots of breakages on many of the boats in the ARC. How can so much go wrong for so many boats? Things break, but these ARC experiences do not compare with our passages or those of our friends, and I wonder what makes them different? Nightsong had only a few squalls, no really bad weather or exceedingly strong winds, so it doesn't seem that the breakages were fatigue or stress problems. It would be nice to know more, but I don't think we will.

A shame. I would consider such a rally/race to be a great opportunity to learn more.

Well, I'd love to see a summary of the race with better information about how the average boat fared - what broke, how serious, how old the boat was, etc., etc.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:24 AM   #28
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Now I'm going to have to go read Nightsong's blog!

Now clearly, some people should NEVER climb up into the rigging even while at the dock. But, besides those particular folks...or ones who have a rough time with heights, JeanneP, why do you find it amazing that they went up the mast 3 times? Yes, it is dangerous but people do it with some frequency while at sea. I have a friend, an experienced offshore racer and cruiser, who inspects his rigging at sea during a passage if the boat has gone through a rough storm. As soon as possible after the storm he gets up there to inspect things. He advocates doing this. He feels that it is dangerous NOT TO DO SO. Each of us has our own impressions of reasonable risk and danger. Clearly his is that the unknown rigging condition is too much risk whereas many other people feel that the trip up into the rigging is too much risk.

Atavist--rigging is similar to roofing--there are a lot of unscrupulous, unskilled people in both professions. In both cases, it is difficult to find a good one. Guess that's why we've always done our own roofin' and riggin'

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