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Old 06-19-2007, 12:11 PM   #15
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What is a worry is that modern electronics has made it possible for inexperienced and unprepared people to take their boats far from land. They have learned just enough to get into trouble, but not enough to get themselves out of trouble.
True words Jeanne but we have also found that the number of incidents where small vessels have run into navigational difficulties has gone down. It is never that simple is it? On the one hand people go further out to sea without adequate knowledge or experience but on the other navigation has been made simple resulting in fewer groundings etc.

Aye

Stephen
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Old 06-19-2007, 04:07 PM   #16
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Don't we have to distinguish between

- rescue of lifes and sea,

- doing everything to minimize the danger created by disabled ships or boats at sea to the traffic around and the environment, and finally

- giving assistance to boats and their crews that are not in a lifethreatening sitaution?

In my home waters we have a very effective fleet of rescue-boats and they go out there and do a very good job in rescuing people. This is what they are there for and for this part of the job they do not issue any bills.

And if we experienced sailors get into a lifethreatening situation, I find it very comforting to know that everyone out ther will help to safe our lifes at sea, no matter how much it will costs.

Things look a little different if a sailor does not use his experience (or has none) and/or does not act, evaluate and decide after rules and traditions of good seamanship and therefore gets himself in serious trouble: If the boat, the equipment, the crew and their abilities and the lacking knowledge/experience of the skipper are the reason of the lifethreatening situation they brought themselves in, they should be rescued, of corse, but why not think about letting them take part on the costs? (Who paid to rescue of the guy who took the "shortcut" into the San Francisco Bay and ended up in the braking surf?)

And as soon as it is a situation of "assistance" to boats and yachts in self made trouble (running aground in nice weather, out of fuel, no proper charts, surprized by fog, ...) our rescue organisation sends out bills. And nobody argues about that.

Guess, it was great fun to be able to help them sailors out there in the middle of the Atlantic and it was a big change to the every day routine to the Navy ships involved. And on the Navy's budged it's amost nothing. But it shows other mindless boaters that there is always a friendly hand out there, no matter what. It is what it is: It was an assistance in a self made trouble situation and the skipper should pay for it!

Uwe

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Old 06-24-2007, 09:18 AM   #17
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The response to this story has been unduly harsh. I know someone who crossed the Atlantic West to East and requested and was given fuel on two occasions by passing ships. He is an experieced sailor with two previous trans Atlantic crossings under his belt and at least 25,000 miles sailing experience. On the trip in question he was on a very tight schedule, with large sums of money at stake if he failed to meet his schedule and met adverse winds throughout the crossing. It was just accumlated bad luck that led to the difficult decision to ask for help. He said it was a lot easier to ask the second time!

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Old 06-24-2007, 01:21 PM   #18
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The response to this story has been unduly harsh. I know someone who crossed the Atlantic West to East and requested and was given fuel on two occasions by passing ships. He is an experieced sailor with two previous trans Atlantic crossings under his belt and at least 25,000 miles sailing experience. On the trip in question he was on a very tight schedule, with large sums of money at stake if he failed to meet his schedule and met adverse winds throughout the crossing. It was just accumlated bad luck that led to the difficult decision to ask for help. He said it was a lot easier to ask the second time!
Who better to judge someone than a jury of their peers? I don't think it is unduly harsh to review the actions of others and draw some lessons from that experience.

The yacht in question was a Hylas 48, a big, capable sailboat on a passage of more than 2500 miles to weather. Even with perfect conditions their passage should have taken 3 weeks or more. The crew were at sea for 10 days when they ran out of fuel. They did not need assistance, they needed experience and a little common sense. They should have had the experience since they left from the Caribbean, where the winds blow consistently hard, and it seems as if most trips are to weather.

A prudent yachtsman husbands his resources so that he has them when he truly needs them. Just because the boat is going slowly, and the wind is against them is a poor excuse for running out of fuel. It was nice that a US Navy ship got an ego boost by helping them, but it was not necessary for their safety that they do so.

I am going to be harsh again, then, when a person makes a West to East crossing of the North Atlantic on a tight schedule and needs to ask for fuel to help him accomplish his passage so he doesn't lose any money. Not life or death situation here, is there? Of course he met adverse winds throughout the crossing. It's West to East, against the winds. That's not bad luck, that's normal conditions. I know that you meant that the weather was less than optimum, but weather is usually less than optimum when you are making a passage. Murphy's Law.

When we sailed from the Solomons to Fiji we knew that we were going to get beat up. And we did, but we also had some good luck which we hadn't counted on. We, too, had a deadline, but we allowed ourselves far more time than we could conceivably have needed to accomplish our goal and did not need to seek help. That was a good thing because there isn't any help out there.

And that's the point. When a yacht asks for help - and receives it; when his problem is one of his own making, and is not life- or limb-threatening, he never learns how to use his own resources to complete his journey. He is an example to others that there is somebody to come bail him out of problems of his own making. And then he sails to places where there isn't anyone to come to his aid. Oops!

Relax, though. We do this mental exercise so that we can learn from others that we may not make the same foolish mistakes, not so we can feel superior to someobody else.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:58 AM   #19
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Some figure's I heard

Rumor has it

is contemplating

a military associate of mine informs me

but may be
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Old 07-14-2007, 11:24 AM   #20
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Some figure's I heard suggest that some rescues in the Pacific, Tasman or Southern Ocean may cost on average $1m. It's likely that most sailor's yacht's would not be valued at that cost. Therefore, one raises the question of how a govt would recoup the rescue cost???
$1mm to rescue in the Southern Ocean might be right, but when the Australian navy is already there, the cost is still quoted as $1mm for the rescue. The figures include the pay for all the men (which the navy is paying whether they are rescuing someone or just going out on maneuvers), the fuel and depreciation for the ship (which the navy is paying .......), etc. The US does the same thing, making it sound like this massive government outlay for such a small return. Bah! However, if NZ can't afford to train their navy, perhaps they shouldn't have one, I think. Then problem solved. Additionally, HOW MANY rescues have been made of foreign yachts heading to NZ, and how many are Kiwis? Last time NZ complained, they had only rescued one foreigner and a bunch of Kiwis. For that matter, Kiwis are rescued by French, American, etc. merchant ships. It goes both ways, methinks.

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Rumor has it that the NZ govt is contemplating passing legislation to prevent foreign flagged yachts obtaining their outgoing custom's clearance if they fail to pass a basic vessel equipment test (the test is already done to local yachts). The prob is that the Kiwi's simply don't have the Navy budget to cover their allocated search & rescue zones. In regards to the Orion aircraft (used for search & rescue/spotting illegal fishing etc), a military associate of mine informs me that they're due for major maintenance soon but may be decommissioned becuz the parts required are only available from the US military (of which NZ ceased military ties with the US over the nuclear debate in the 80's).
NZ passed this legislation in the 90s, and the first year a great many foreign yachts boycotted NZ, though many still went there. It was a good year to get work done in NZ because the locals needed the work. Then one yacht took NZ to court and won, and NZ had to stop the test. Reason NZ isn't imposing their requirements now. A matter of national sovereignty. If NZ wants to keep the boats out in the first place, they can. But once the boat is there, NZ really stretches things to say they can't leave without passing a test that isn't imposed by the yacht's own government.

Figure. Those foreign yachts had to sail many thousand miles over the South Pacific, through at least one gale to reach NZ. So it seems to me those boats are better qualified than the Kiwi boat that has not yet braved the Southern Ocean. Remember the Queen's Birthday storm? The only boat lost with all hands was a Kiwi boat. Two of the boats rescued by other countries' ships were Kiwis. Were there any Kiwi ships involved in the rescues?

Perhaps the US example isn't so bad after all. The US will rescue people, but the boats are abandoned. The owner must pay a commercial salvor to save their boat. Puts things in perspective. Life is irretrievable, material possessions can be replaced.
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