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Old 11-27-2009, 09:43 PM   #1
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Although the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers would mean the news report about a boat abandoned in that rally/race should be here on the Cruising Forum, the boat itself is a light displacement racing boat and I was more inclined to post this in The Poop Deck. However, I'll put it here and move it if anybody thinks it would be more appropriate elsewhere on the forums.

The November 24, 2009 newsletter from the World Cruising Club on this incident is here, AULIANA II

I have a hard time understanding how great an effort could have been made by a crew of eight men on a race boat if they lost their rudder at 4 am and called for help only two hours later.

Friends of ours on a CAL 39 sailed for five or so days to Bermuda with a broken rudder, steering with their sails and a trailed line serving as a steering drogue. They insisted on finishing the race - they had the ability (crew of 5) and sufficient supplies to make it, and a huge quantity of pride and experience encouraging them to make it on their own.

I realize that there might be more to this than the newsletter states, but it seems to me that SOMEBODY among Auliana II's crew of 8 should have had enough experience and knowledge to rig a proper towing bridle and know what stresses would be placed on line and deck fittings. Barring that, eight grown men, experienced enough in sailing to be crossing the Atlantic in a race boat, should be able to work together to find another way to effect a tow rather than abandon ship. Nobody was injured, they were only about 70 miles from Gran Canaria Island, they had to have had plenty of food and supplies for the trans-Atlantic race they were in. They were evacuated because it was getting dark? I am appalled.

I don't think the owner had his heart invested in his boat. I know that husband Peter would work his fingers to nubs and be facing certain death before he would have abandoned either of our Watermelons. And not because of the fear of financial loss. To Peter, money is not the issue (good thing).

Am I being too judgmental here? What do you think you would do, given the same crew Auliana II had, or given the crew you would normally have on your boat?
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:53 PM   #2
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wow... yeah... you are being judgemental... but in a completely reasonable way... that's pathetic.

that far off shore you have plenty of time to dicker around and figure something out, throw out a sea anchor and build a new auxillery rudder out of the saloon table or part of a bulkhead... owe wait... they probably didn't have any tools onboard.... the owner/skipper is at fault and deserves to loose his boat if 2 hours is his best effort... again, pathetic....

if it wasn't for owners like this however there wouldn't be any lucky boat bums, like me, getting life changing salvages when they just happen to be in range... so in the end it's all for the best.

I hope some savy single hander finds her and towes her in and gets a payday.
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:58 PM   #3
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I agree with both the above.

Ships have lost rudders before and been brought safely to port. If I remember rightly, Ciuty Sark when racing against Lightening lost on a homeward voyage from China her rudder in the southern Indian Ocean. They rigged a jury rudder and managed to beat Lightening home to London.

Two hours - they weren't even trying.

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Old 11-27-2009, 11:15 PM   #4
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There is not a lot of information in that article. It says nothing at all about insurance. A well insured owner with no particular emotional attachment to the boat and no particular pride of self might have preferred an insurance claim to days of fighting to save this one. He might have felt that an insurance claim would give him an opportunity to start over with a newer boat. After all, this one had deck fittings ripped out. Perhaps he was already considering his next boat before the race even started.
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Old 11-28-2009, 01:39 AM   #5
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did some one forget the hammer and nails? I wont go ant further cause this is the sort of thing gets my blood pressure up.
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:10 AM   #6
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I sheered my rudder off at the hull of my 1979 27' hunter 12 miles off shore while surfing in some big long rollers. Thats probably why it happened to me, stupidity there? who knows. Metal fatigue? just to many variables why it broke.

I sat there for a few hours trying everything I could and figured I would just wait till the winds shifted and then try to sail it home. (home was to the wind and then through some without rudder, tricky channels)

So as I'm there contemplating what todo with what limited inventory I had and just growing frustrated to no end with land in sight and no other boats to help, or even tow me, I noticed my kayak paddle.

Done deal, lashed down between the rungs of my swim ladder, paddle on top to steer with and the other side in the water, I was homeward bound and even managed the boat into the slip without assistance.

So it wasn't sea state that caused the problem...

The skipper in the linked story requested assistance with a tow. Did he ask for a courtesy tow instead that went downhill?

If I was towing a boat and started pulling cleats/hardware off the vessel in tow, I would have to consider distance/time and safety. Were they advised or ordered to abandon ship?
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:40 AM   #7
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What is the law regarding salvage?

If one gets there and sails the vessel off, will one have a new yacht in posession?
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magwas View Post
What is the law regarding salvage?

If one gets there and sails the vessel off, will one have a new yacht in posession?
One may be able to negotiate with the owner for compensation to match your efforts and cost of the salvage.. Have a look at this site fora detailed coverage of the subject :- HERE
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Old 11-28-2009, 11:42 AM   #9
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I understand everyone's points but did anyone consider that she may have been taking water. Being a racer she wouldnt have been skeg hung. And on some racers I have been on in offshore races, these rudder points have been abominable to get to. And even more difficult to think of driving in a wedge. So lets not shoot them till we have a little more info and not cannibalise our own. Let's leave that to the stinkies.

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Old 11-28-2009, 01:21 PM   #10
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I understand everyone's points but did anyone consider that she may have been taking water.
Until the cleats were torn off the foredeck, it doesn't seem that there was any water ingress. The article claims that the owner expects to be able to retrieve the boat, something that implies to me that there was no water ingress, and apparently none expected that would sink the boat. More than 36 hours after the rudder was lost, and more than 24 hours since the cleats were torn off, they were still tracking the drifting boat.
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:56 PM   #11
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Until the cleats were torn off the foredeck, it doesn't seem that there was any water ingress. The article claims that the owner expects to be able to retrieve the boat, something that implies to me that there was no water ingress, and apparently none expected that would sink the boat. More than 36 hours after the rudder was lost, and more than 24 hours since the cleats were torn off, they were still tracking the drifting boat.
Out of 8 people--why didn't some of them stay with the boat? If no leak...even if so, they must have had epirb and liferaft...??? 6 folks stay and 2 go for supplies...seems logical to me if you're going to leave and expect to retrieve the boat later.

I though that once you've abandoned your boat, its up for grabs for anyone who comes along and "saves it"???

Something about this story doesn't make sense. More to it than we're getting.
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:29 PM   #12
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part of what draws my Ire is that these guys set a hazard to navigation out drifting. in a seaway that is actually used now and again by other people who might not want to run into some jerks unlighted boat at 0200 in the morning. Bbuuuttt thats just old oneway me thinking.
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Old 11-29-2009, 10:07 AM   #13
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If no water then the owner should be charged with creating a hazard at sea. Something about the whole story seems unfathomable.

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Old 11-29-2009, 01:30 PM   #14
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I've found a great many of the stories of boats abandoned to be unfathomable. Back in the 80s I followed the circumnavigation of Patience Wales (of SAIL Magazine) with her articles in SAIL Magazine.

One article talked about a rather bad patch of weather they had been having for several days as they crossed the S. Pacific. They were listening to another sailboat who called for help to evacuate them. (details have gotten blurry with the passage of time, only the conclusions remain sharp in my memory). When the boat was asked if there were an emergency - boat taking on water, somebody injured or seriously ill, something else, the fellow on the radio said "no". They were seasick and just couldn't take the motion of the boat anymore, "please get us off!" And they were evacuated, leaving the boat drifting.

Patience's conclusions, gently spoken, were that in a smaller boat than hers cruising was probably less comfortable, and that insurance enabled the people to be bit more willing to abandon such an expensive possession for no other reason than that they were uncomfortable. (I believe that her boat, "Boston Light", was a 50' ketch, but don't hold me to that)

I admired her reticence in not haranguing the foolish people who asked others to take risks so that they could be more comfortable, but then, she was going back to her job as editor of SAIL, and it wouldn't do to offend anyone, would it?

In my experience with sailing and cruising magazines (admittedly limited), it has always bothered me that so many of the stories of emergencies and evacuation do not analyze the situations with questions such as "did they do enough?" or "did they call for help too soon?" and other such questions. It's left to the next month's Letters to the Editor, if anybody cares enough to write with questions.

IMO, there is not enough emphasis on the risks that the rescuers are exposed to in effecting some of these "rescues", which is perhaps why I keep going back to the issue.

I hate to repeat what has been said by many others, but the advent of Satellite navigation, and GPS, has enabled too many ill-prepared people to attempt to cross oceans before they realize that it is not like driving an automobile cross-country.

(back down off the soapbox).

Fair winds,

J
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