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Old 01-07-2007, 05:50 AM   #15
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Why didn't his engine work? From another forum, a fellow quotes Ken as saying "the batteries that used to be below the floorboards were now above the sink" !?!

The general discussion of his problems focus on his inexperience and the basic errors he made. The problem in this situation is that the Southern Ocean is not the place to be making these mistakes. As one person said, this is not the place one should be going on their first blue water passage.

Knowledge and experience come in increments. The first time we laid our boat on her beam ends; the first time we involuntarily jibed and backed the jib (another time the main); and many other "little" and not so little mistakes were all in relatively safe waters where no matter how traumatic the mistake and/or the damage as a result of the mistake we could get "home". And once the mistake is made, that's a bit of knowledge to prevent it from happening again.

Unfortunately you can't do it all at once. You can't anticipate all the problems. I think that there were just too many things he didn't know that he didn't know, and they all caught up with him in a very, very nasty place.

I wonder - he was trailing a drogue. I wonder what kind, though. A parachute drogue would explain his broaching and rolling. A series drogue should not have allowed the stern to fall off and turn him beam to the wave. I'm curious if my assumption is correct.

Keep in mind that solo sailor Donna Lange, in a 28-foot boat, was only about 150 miles to the east of Ken - she had already gone through the same weather he had experienced - came through it okay. So it's not the weather that did him in.

In fact, 25 to 40 knots isn't that awful, though the seas down there are a lot worse in those winds than in more moderate latitudes.

I think that it's a good thing to second-guess him, to play "what if?" and to try to learn from his mistakes and his experiences. Although his ego is probably a bit bruised, he is still alive.
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Old 01-07-2007, 11:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by dnelson

Is there a transcript of the interview anywhere?

would be very interesting to know the wave hieghts. Also would be good to know what sail he had up - did he have a trysail?
I seem to recall Ken saying in the interview that the wave height was 25 feet, and that he was under mizzen only. Don't recall if he said whether it was reefed.

I am extreeeemely inexperienced in this stuff, having sailed my 25 foot keel boat on inland waters about five times since buying it last spring. But one thing that struck me in one of Ken's posts is how he was headed for a low pressure zone but assumed it would stay out ahead of him and therefore went to sleep. He woke up to I think 35 knot winds and had to climb his main mast to untangle his downhaul in order to lower his main. Perhaps I am wrong, but I am guessing reducing sail prior to catching Zs, even though it would mean sacrificing speed, or not sleeping at all considering the low pressure zone, may have been more provident. Again, I am a mere neophytey and am really in no position to second guess anyone, but perhaps this first incident represents a pattern. I guess we will only know once Ken fills everyone in. Regardless, he is safe and that is really the only thing that matters. I can only imagine the grief his family would have experienced had he not survived, though I think given his high level of preparation would have prevented such a result anyway.
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Old 01-07-2007, 12:00 PM   #17
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Originally posted by Trim50

The question that many of us are asking at the dock is why did he lose his engine and steering????

I've had my engine 50% submerged and it was still running.[?]
Even moderately choppy waves can stir up the crap in your fuel tank - everything continues to work for a while, and then your fuel filter plugs up, and your engines starve. This can happen even when you have a big Raccor filter, and has surprised more than one unlucky sailor.

I'm not one to ever second guess some one else's judgement (see "SAIL" magazine June 2003) but Jeanne's point is very well taken. Until you have been out there for a while you don't know what you don't know.

It will be very good to analyze exactly what went wrong, so we can all learn from it.
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Old 01-07-2007, 12:17 PM   #18
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Darn, Don, how did I forget that? I can't count the times our fuel filters got clogged by gunk, and each time it was one of those oh-h-h-h right! It's still one of my mental blind spots! Reasonable speculation that that also happened to him. When things start to go wrong, they usually REALLY go wrong.
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Old 01-08-2007, 02:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by JeanneP

I wonder - he was trailing a drogue. I wonder what kind, though. A parachute drogue would explain his broaching and rolling. A series drogue should not have allowed the stern to fall off and turn him beam to the wave. I'm curious if my assumption is correct.
Ron & Cheryl from Lazy Days said that Ken had his Drogue streched out on the dock a few days before he left. From what they decribed, the thing was several hundred feet long with cones.
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Old 01-27-2007, 08:31 AM   #20
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I seem to recall Ken saying in the interview that the wave height was 25 feet, and that he was under mizzen only. Don't recall if he said whether it was reefed.
What?

Mizzen only?

Why? Was he trying to steer under bare poles because he lost rudder control? I hope he didn't have it up as his power source...I think that would be a very imbalanced vessel without the jib. Very bad.

JD
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Old 01-27-2007, 09:24 AM   #21
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Hi JD, please check post for January 14th under the topic 'How it happened in Ken's words', for a first hand commentary of the development of the situation. Ken was in fact running under staysail, not mizzen.

David
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Old 02-01-2007, 07:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
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Originally posted by Auzzee

Hi JD, please check post for January 14th under the topic 'How it happened in Ken's words', for a first hand commentary of the development of the situation. Ken was in fact running under staysail, not mizzen.

David
Ahoy there...

Couldn't find it. Care to point the way?

Thanks

J
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Old 02-01-2007, 08:37 AM   #23
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Here's a link: http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/top...?TOPIC_ID=2950
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In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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