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About sfigone

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  1. Like checking HF at the scheds is perfect. Often half the fleet can't be heard and not for lack of trying. Some radio buffs in Guam are about as likely to be able to check the entire fleet as JBW. That doesn't stop then trying. Plus JBW is able to move. It doesn't have to check the whole fleet at the same time. It's got between 1.5 and 5 days to spot every boat at least once, plus services like Marine traffic etc can be used. The point being that unless it is actively checked, then the "we thought it was on? Must have been Gremlins!" defense will always be available. So any boat may find themselves called out by JBW saying that they are 10nm away and asking why the boat is not visible on AIS. Perhaps first such call is a warning, second a time penalty and 3rd a DSQ... with request for redress available for extenuating circumstances.
  2. During this race, we saw some class B's regularly at >30 nm range. One we saw at high 30s for about 36 hours. We saw some class A's at >50nm ( not even sure how that works with the physics of it ). Conditions were neither perfect nor extreme. Our mast was one of the shortest and least stable in the fleet, but we had a new good quality AIS unit well fitted. Scheds/tracker regularly indicated that there should have been other boats at less than 20nm range but we didn't see them on AIS at all, or infrequently at best. Some of these we didn't even see at close range soon after the start. So I'm thinking there is significant variation in both the quality of the AIS units deployed and the position of the tx switches. Escort vessel should check AIS of each entrant at least once during the race and do a test DSC alert at some of the scheds.
  3. That's not what I was saying exactly. I said that IF a key reason for keeping HF scheds is to justify having an escort vessel, then doing AIS checks could now be a better reason to have an escort vessel. I like having an escort vessel, but I hate HF scheds (either doing them or listening to them or for the extra load put in crew mates), so keep the escort, have it check the AIS and do a lot less HF scheds. Plus if I went over the back, then the HF skills of my crew mates would be the least of my concerns. I'd be pushing the DSC alarm on my pocket VHF and then talking to them on 16 saying "I'm over gurgle here cough splutter no you sailed past me gasp.. no you can't eat my last brownie....". My PLB would alert AMSA who would be putting a sat phone call too my boat. HF might alert the fleet, but up to 6 hours later and I'd be long past caring by then. DSC will alert all the boats near enough to do anything and that is something never checked and many crew will never have seen one on their radio or plotter, so JBW should do some test DSC alarms as well. If I didn't have any beacons on me, then I'm probably dead anyway unless my crew mates are really on it. So I'd much rather have all my crew mates a little less sleep deprived than have 1 crew mate who was really good at HF.
  4. By all means check two way comms, but once before start and then again at a few points along the course as you call in. Checking it 4 times per day is ridiculous. Even once a day would be better and they could say "we can/can't see you on AIS".
  5. The view from near the back of the fleet was that it wasn't just the WOXI who had AIS off (or not working well). If only we were close enough for that to be a collision hazard:) The problem with the rule as written is that AIS can never be always on. It is periodic by nature. Is a broadcast every 1s equivalent to always on? Every minute? Every 10 minutes? Every hour? They have held onto HF scheds for way too long... some say HF scheds are kept just to give a reason for JBW to have a trip south. So perhaps now we can drop the HF scheds and JBW can instead be used to do on water AIS checks and boats will not be allowed to continue if they fail to appear at less than range X for period Y. Little boats no longer waste scarse crew time on scheds and the fleet still gets the welcome company of JBW on the way down.
  6. sfigone

    Route du Rhum 2018

    HB has been rightly penalized according to the current rules, but while many of us are gutted for him, it has essentially not changed the race as a great sailing event and I don't think there are any participants, sponsors or fans who will give up on ocean racing as a result. If fact HB probably love it that AT is a such bad luck magnet (and then good in a crisis) - he get's more coverage for his many dramas than if he just won everything. Yet with the current interpretations of the RRS, the RC can radio a warning that you are about to hit the rocks and there's no penalty, but if you do hit the rocks then using the engine to get off the rocks does incur a penalty? So that's just a bit strange. If future rules were changed so that engines could be used in safety situations without penalty, then a similar race would have been just as great for participants, sponsors and fans. The result might have been a little different, but if when the drama of the leader grounding unfolded, it would have been no less compelling: what happened? will they get off? can they continue? will they sail fast enough? Just no drama about what would the penalty be. Perhaps a bit of drama if the jury would rule it a safety situation, but that one is pretty clear cut. Basically such a rule change would for the most part change bugger all.... except there would be an occasional dangerous situation made safer because the participant don't hesitate to use the engine... and this was not one of them - if the penalty had been 5 years in jail, I think AT would have still started the motor without pause. It would also set a good example for club racers - in my own club we try to encourage becalmed boats to motor out of the way of shipping and ferry's and then resume racing from the same spot after they pass (penalty enough), yet too many sit it out and risk collision or fines. The other big difference is that this forum would have to find something else to completely disagree about and to argue endlessly about! But I'm confident that we are up to that task!
  7. sfigone

    Route du Rhum 2018

    Actually, in the context of the Scallywag incident, I wonder if race control tried to contact HB in the period before the grounding? Was Race Control watching HB sail onto the rocks and gave no warning? If he had not survived, then that would have been a difficult situation.
  8. sfigone

    Route du Rhum 2018

    The problem I have with rules that penalize using your engine for safety reasons when no advantage is gained, is that it acts as a discouragement to act safely! Solo sailing already cuts a pretty fine line with safety concerns and these sailors do take huge risks for themselves, but also for others out there on the water. These boats have motors precisely because of safety situations: groundings; drifting onto the rocks; becalmed in front of a freighter on autopilot with nobody on watch etc. When faced with such a safety situation, the sailor should not be given a huge incentive to not use the motor - just to avoid a penalty. As the rules stands, AT was probably rightly penalized, and the reaction is probably going to be louder alarms and multiple shock watches. But perhaps a better reaction would be to consider that rule so engine use may be exonerated for safety usage when no advantage is gained. Such a rule change would not be that dissimilar to changes that are being considered because of the assistance given to Scallywag in the Volvo. Just because of that "outside assistance" I don't think you will find many ocean racers happy to not check their charts because race control will save them, as the resulting zig zags cost! Similarly, I don't think you would find that a rule change would encourage boats to run aground because they know they can use their engines to get off!
  9. We watch this race for the crew not the boats. Spending more money on fancy boats that have less crew is a dumb idea. Spend the money on sailors! The OD nature of this race must also have reduced overall costs freeing more money for more sailors. If they sent the boats around again then I'd watch again!
  10. sfigone

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    Are plastics going to put Vestas between them and the scallywags? Looks possible !
  11. sfigone

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    They are the fastest boat around the planet. Not luck.
  12. sfigone

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    "we are fucked" seams so long ago!
  13. sfigone

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    They said there will be, but not yet. Pity but still a few hours in this.
  14. sfigone

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    So do the Western boats get an position update on the hour? That will be the first time they see DF for 6 hours! That will put their hearts in their mouths! They probably think the lack of helicopter is that it is following the leader in the other pack!
  15. sfigone

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    That's like saying BB can't run it from here. England can always lose it!