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Old 05-24-2007, 07:24 PM   #1
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http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,136478,00.html
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Old 05-24-2007, 07:47 PM   #2
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"With no other option than to use their fuel, they ran out quickly."

I suppose they left their sails in St. Martins and forgot to pack canned veggies. What would Lyn and Larry have done?
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:20 PM   #3
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With no other option than to use their fuel
What??

And use ALL of the fuel??

I suppose that the next thing that they would of done was to set off the EPIRB.



Were they heading for the Med to take on "paying crew" for the season?

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Old 05-24-2007, 09:46 PM   #4
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These guys should take up beekeeping instead........I could give them a good deal on some hives

But seriously folks....it is people like this that give us a bad name and give the anti-yachting lobby fuel.

Steaphen

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Old 05-25-2007, 12:20 AM   #5
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At the risk of sounding cynical.......

There appears to be a growing number of cruising boats which, despite wind and sea conditions, keep the motor idling along. I understand that some people need to make water for their automatic washing machines but I think the problem is somewhat more complex.

GPS and chartplotters paint a rhumbline on the screen, along which many modern voyagers try to travel irrespective of conditions. GPS also has reduced the dependence which sailors have traditionally had, on knowledge of navigation. Knowledge of navigation goes hand in hand with seamanship, and the modern day ease of finding one's way around the oceans of the world means people can now put to sea without an intimate understanding of offshore sailing and its associated rituals such as BUYING FOOD.

Astral navigation is no longer necessary, but an understanding of why it was necessary and of the basic principles involved are integral to the cruising environment, yet it seems that knowledge of even such basic calculations as set and drift...therefore DR...have been replaced in many cases by a casual knowledge of which button to push.

There are many, many good safe sailors out there; but there is a growing number within our ranks whose poor understanding of offshore conditions make them dangerous.

20 knots of wind on the 'nose' and in the middle of the ocean???....Don't start the blasted engine.....BEAR AWAY, YOU TWERP!

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Old 05-25-2007, 08:39 PM   #6
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FIRST MY CYNICAL and CRITICAL RESPONSE

(With NON Cynical and NON Critical Response following)

There is nothing quite like a Hylass 46 sloop having a guided-missile cruiser and a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier as tenders! Not to mention the supporting aircraft overhead, or the accompanying submarines, or their own tenders in the vicinity.

It sounds like distressed S/V Elena paid for provisions of fuel and food (delivered), by trading a couple of ball caps. What a bargain! I wonder what the true cost was. I wonder what would have happened to them; had not a US Carrier Strike Group happened upon them? Probably as Lighthouse said, active the EPIRB.

Some may not understand the words, the meaning, the full impact, the costs involved, and the size of a carrier group. It includes hundreds of aircraft, costing in the several $millions per copy. The naval vessels included cost $hundreds of millions, some costing in the $billions. The personnel involved are measured in the ten thousands. The cost to operate the machine, per minute, exceeds what most any ordinary cruiser could ever afford to pay if serviced by a missile cruiser much less an aircraft carrier, let alone the larger Carrier Strike Group. In perspective, one of Nimitz's anchors cost more, and weighs more than the sloop it aided. One link in its' anchor chain is rather impressive in itself.

The article makes no mention, but I venture a fair guess, S/V Elena also acquired a weather report, translated into laymenís terms, other intelligent and smart advice, (Simplified: Go paddle that way ---> for a while), a hearty handshake, and relief with renewed self-confidence. Behind the scenes, likely messages were sent:

FROM: Assumed / Obscured US Naval Vessel ID

TO: Need to Know

UTC

PRIORITY: Low.

WARNING: S/V Elena, (Description-Vessel-Skipper-Crew-Passengers) LAT-LON, HEADING, DESTINATION: EU (specified port) / Per S/V Elena Skipper.

COMMENTS:

1) Vessel / Personal Documentation Verified.

2) Danger to self / others.

3) May (likely) require additional assistance in passage.

- EOM -

They were fortunate, in the maritime tradition and laws, at high sea, of assisting another vessel in distress.

They were more fortunate, help happened their way.

They were most fortunate; the war machines were not fully engaged in their primary business. Else S/V Elena would have been noted, and ignored, until after the fact.

Nothing like "dumb luck".

Nothing like learning the "hard way", and earning a degree from "The School of hard knocks".

Questions remain; did they learn anything from this? Hopefully they did. Will they never make the same mistakes again? Hopefully not.

FOLLOWED BY MY NON CYNICAL and CRITICAL RESPONSE

Switching thinking and thought patterns; it is so easy to be critical of others' mistakes. Hindsight is 20/20 vision. It is very easy to spot the problems, mistakes, lack of foresight of past events, be critical and criticize. World history is full mistakes, let alone every man's daily life. The best history lesson is to learn from it, learn from others mistakes, and not repeat them.

This relates to the larger topic "When to Shove off - Go Cruising".

This board and world information resources are full of advice concerning "when to shove off".

There are two extremes:

1) Once one has a desire, go now. Just go do it; irregardless of finances, knowledge and experience.

2) Study and practice until one knows everything about everything, and has acquired experience with everything.

In the first extreme case, that is likely most often, simply stupid, and suicidal.

In the second extreme case, one can not accomplish that, and never will cast off.

Extremes are usually not a good thing. Find the middle ground. Be reasonable. Lean a bit towards over prepared, and sometimes taking calculated risks. Don't go stupidly, blindly, but go with confidence, be prudent, and have redundancy.

If cruising is your dream and desire, make a realistic plan, than go smartly, and prepared.

Less extreme; going from knowing ZERO about nothing, to Circumventing, requires intermediate steps: self study, sailing classes, being able to day sail, crewing on a race vessel, inland sailing, coastal sailing experience, acquiring prudent knowledge and experience along the way. That only addresses one aspect of cruising, "transportation".
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Old 05-26-2007, 05:43 PM   #7
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I guess, the skipper of the vessel "Elena" has never visited this forum, nor has he ever heard about good seamanship and the possibility of leaving his rhumbline course when headwinds arise?

Didn't he find the right buttons in his navigation/steering gear to alter course and/or was he not willing to invest a couple more days on his way to the Azores?

Too bad that I can't tell him that it is possible to do the whole round-trip (Northern Europe-Caribbean and back on 90 litres of diesel consumption - it's just a matter of using the sails!!!)

Yes, motoring under sail becomes a bad habit one sees more often as soon as the winds are not perfect in direction and force...

And too bad that the officials in Horta/Azores have not the authority to stop this skipper and his yacht from continuing east and possibly eating up more public money for similar actions elsewhere.

I hope that this skipper gets the bill later, issued by the US-Navy.

Uwe

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Old 06-19-2007, 03:01 AM   #8
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JeanneP,

I missed this one until you posted the link. It is ridiculous, yes. These folks were reaching out for help, not realizing how foolish their actions were and that they actually had the option of (da...) changing course and sailing and completing the trip all on their very own.

I can't image this happening to my hubby and I. But, that's because we have a "different" kind of foolishness-- the "I have to do everything myself and I can't ever ask for help" syndrome. I worry that the day will come that we'll be out there in impossible conditions and, yep, we'll go down with the boat because neither one of us would want to bother someone with "helping" us. We've toughed it out many times when others would have been reaching out for help. Each time, afterwards we always look at each other and say something about how maybe we should have asked so-and-so for help, a spare part, etc...but then we also go on with...but now we know how to deal with xyz situation--and we're glad of the experience.

Like one of the other posters said, there is a "middle ground" between the know nothing and know everything sailor. And, there's a middle ground between the "always ask for help" and "never ask for help" cruiser.

Oh, by the way, I really think the size and cost of the battle group coming to the rescue is somewhat irrelevant in this case. If they weren't "available" to provide assistance, it wouldn't have been provided. Period. My husband is a retired Navy pilot who spent many years on carriers in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. I can recall many stories of the battle group being called upon to provide assistance to smaller vessels--sometimes Asian boat people adrift in terrible situations, sometimes yachts with stupid yachties aboard, sometimes commercial vessels. The Navy is out on exercises, they're traveling oceans to both train and "Project Power". This is all part of doing what they do and the little dummies provide some kind of entertainment value at a minimum it helps morale. The cost...so what?, if they're weren't rescuing yachties they'd be burning resources in some other way (remember the federal budget--"use it or lose it" is the game they play in the US military even today). On the other hand, when a commercial vessel of any size assists a small, stupidly operated yacht, we all know that it cost someone $ and time to provide the assistance that was in NO WAY part of their business model.

Good sailing to ya.
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:36 AM   #9
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The cost...so what?, if they're weren't rescuing yachties they'd be burning resources in some other way (remember the federal budget--"use it or lose it" is

the game they play in the US military even today).
I am affraid Redbopeep's argument is flawed as she makes the assumption that it it only the US Navy who rescues people at sea and that they have warships nearby, although she does go on to mention, albeit briefly in comparisson, that merchant vessels are afected by the costs.

The argument is based on the assumption that rescue at sea, no matter where, will be effected by US warships, or that other navies / maritime organisations work on a similar system of "use it or loose it". This is simply untrue, especially in poorer countries where every drop of fuel counts. Also, even wealthy countries feel the effects of protracted rescue operations at long distance. Australia is an example of this. Several times the country's resources have been used, at great cost, to rescue yachtsmen far out in the Pacific.

But again, we are making an unfounded asumption. We are assuming that we will be rescued and that it will be done at no risk to the recuers. In some areas, warships or coast guard vesssels can be so far away that a rescue operation would take days, in others there may simply be no SAR resources. Also, every sea rescue involves some degree of risk. Warship and coastguard crews are well trained for this and their ships are also equipped to effect rescue work. Merchant ships are different. The rescue equipment on merchant ships is basically designed to get the crew away from a sinking / burning vessel and their crews, generaly, are not so well SAR trained.

There is another issue too. A ship, or ships tied up rescuing a fool may well be unable to respond to another emergency call or partake in other urgent duties. This has hapened to me! I have also been involved in rescuing one particular sailor on six different occasions! Not coming from the same country, he was not even contributing to our rescue services in the form of taxes.

Finaly, there is the risk to the "yachties" themselves. Whenever we go to sea we are taking a risk. It should be a well calculated risk with the odds very much in our favour. By being inadequately prepared a sailor is not only breaking the law but, more importantly, putting his own live and those of his (her) crew in serious danger. The more dum yachties require rescuing the more responsible sailors' reputations are tarnished. Some countries are now charging or contemplating charging for their rescue services. Anyone fancy paying for a few days steaming of a frigate plus a number of hours airtime for an Orion?

Aye

Stephen
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Old 06-19-2007, 05:53 AM   #10
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I am affraid Redbopeep's argument is flawed as she makes the assumption that it it only the US Navy who rescues people at sea and that they have warships nearby, although she does go on to mention, albeit briefly in comparisson, that merchant vessels are afected by the costs.
ahem... Nausikaa... what I said was:

"I really think the size and cost of the battle group coming to the rescue is somewhat irrelevant in this case."

I said this because "in this case" it was the US Navy. And "in this case" it was the US government not some other poor government. And, "in this case" the use it or lose it mentality was probably firmly in place. And, "in this case" it probably actually boosted the morale of the USN personnel involved in the assist.

I agree with many of your points regarding cost of rescue and believe it to be inexcusable for these yachties to be so irresponsible and wasteful of the resources of others. In my response I was making a point about the US Navy as a "by the way".

Regards.
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Old 06-19-2007, 06:01 AM   #11
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Oh, wow, redbopeep, you sound like me!

During one of the single-handed 'round the world races quite a few years ago, a French woman's boat capsized in the Southern Ocean and an Australian navy ship went to rescue her. It was a very long distance from land, no other racing vessel was anywhere near, and most of Australia was following the drama. It seemed to me that some curmudgeon of a columnist in one of the Australian newspapers started griping about the cost to the Australian taxpayers for this navy ship to go into the Southern Ocean, yatta, yatta, yatta. Lots of comment, some less-than-kind remarks made, and then the navy saved the woman. And most comment was silenced when a spokesman (perhaps an officer on board) of the navy ship said something to the effect "how are we going to get the experience making rescues likes this if we don't go out and do it?" All I could think was "good on ya', mate!"

I'm sure the details are a bit different from my memory, but that was the gist of the whole foofaraw, and I am thankful for the navy remarks because I was starting to get quite annoyed with what was starting to sound like a lot of mean-spirited landlubbers, not something I would attribute to the Aussies.

Now to the point of your post - not asking for help. Peter is the same way (he had to take the lights section of the captain's license test three times before he passed it, but he got 100% in "emergency repairs at sea" first time out). I believe that a great many of the sailing magazine articles on "I survived ..xx.. when (the Coast Guard) (freighter x) (US Navy ...) rescued us" are an embarrassment to the sailing community. Unprepared people who panic, without the resources (you can read "backbone" into that) to get themselves out of trouble. In some ways I am perhaps being a bit harsh, but I remember so many times that a friend of mine would send me, or bring me, an article about another sailboat that was lost with the comment, "what do you think about this?" In one report, there was a very detailed description of the efforts a family made to abandon their yacht, climbing into a life raft and almost losing their lives in the horrible thing bouncing around in bad weather. My comment? Nowhere in their story was there any mention of anyone trying to find where the water was coming in. Too many stories of people incapable or unwilling to help themselves and getting into trouble that they should not have had to ask to be bailed out of.

So yes, self-reliance is important, and most times with a cool head, and some inventive jury-rigging, you will come through, perhaps a bit battered and tired, but alive and your boat still floating.

Yet there is possibly a time when all your efforts and ingenuity won't fix what broke, and you will need help. Only you will know if you need to ask for help, and if that one time you do indeed need help, I trust you will know the difference and ask for it, because you have tested yourselves and know your limits.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 06-19-2007, 06:47 AM   #12
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Perhaps the two most famous rescues by the RAN in recent years, both involved very experienced sailors. One, as Jeanne pointed out, was the rescue of solo around the world racer Isabel Autissier, the other of solo around the world sailor Tony Bullimore. The cost would have been high but the kudos gained by Australia's navy on an international level was far more than money could buy and we saved two lives!

There were articles written by mean spirited, unthinking, unrepresentative pratts who have probably never been on a boat or done anything risky and who would scream for assistance loud and long if an Australian sailor was in trouble near someone else's coastline.

To complain about financial cost is to place a dollar value on someone's life, and it must be remembered it is not only idiots who need rescuing. The liability is of course, the danger to rescue crews and as Stephen points out some people keep on doing dumb stuff. The need to rescue the same fool six times on the trot is, in my books, justification for carrying a harpoon cannon.

However, I know of no person who ever took part in a rescue bid that did not do it wholeheartedly and with no real consideration for anything other than a successful conclusion. We search for people, then hopefully rescue them because we care...such is the human condition.

We owe it to the rescue and seafaring professionals from around the globe to be prepared, so that if we do get into strife, and are lucky enough to be spotted, we can reduce the risk for those who seek to save us.

David.

PS. If I had a choice, I would send warships to save sailors every day of the week as an alternative to sending the same resources to the Persian Gulf.
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:52 AM   #13
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ahem... Nausikaa... what I said was:

"I really think the size and cost of the battle group coming to the rescue is somewhat irrelevant in this case."

Regards.
Agreed. This you did and I made the mistake of extrapolating. Apologies for that.

However, I believe what I wrote to be valid as many have the attitude that should they get into difficulties there will be folk there to bail them out. Not so. In the past seamen were very well aware of the fact that the only people they could rely upon in an emergency were themselves. The situation has changed since that time and we are fortunate to have good rescue services in many parts of the world but they are there to provide assistance in emergiencies. What they should not have to do is to bail out fools who put to sea without adequate knowledge in sub-standard boats.

Worse is that every rescue mission, whilst a feather in the cap of the rescuer, is a nail in the coffin for yachting. OK, I know cruisers are much better prepared than many weekend sailors but the general public does not necessarily know or appreciate that. We need to protect our reputation as if we do not do that we will find ourselves more and mores steered of rules and regulations "to increase safey at sea".

Aye

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Old 06-19-2007, 12:50 PM   #14
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What they should not have to do is to bail out fools who put to sea without adequate knowledge in sub-standard boats.

Worse is that every rescue mission, whilst a feather in the cap of the rescuer, is a nail in the coffin for yachting. We need to protect our reputation as if we do not do that we will find ourselves more and more steered of rules and regulations "to increase safety at sea".
I agree, as does Peter, of course. Even the majority of the boats "rescued" in the Queen's Birthday Storm probably did not need rescue. 4 of them survived the storm after the crew were removed, though only two of those were subsequently saved and returned to their owners.

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.
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:11 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

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Old 06-19-2007, 05:07 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, 10:18 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, 02:21 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, 08:58 AM   #19
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Quote:
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, 12:24 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by KiwiAussie View Post
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.

Quote:
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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