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Three people in water when sailboat capsizes during race - 1 missing

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Very sad news.

OLYMPIA, Wash. —

One sailor has died after a vessel capsized in Budd Inlet on Saturday evening around 4:30 p.m. Two others of the same sailboat were rescued from the water. The sailors in the boat were participating in a race hosted by the South Sound Sailing Society. It was a 27-mile course which involved around 25 sailboats. Two of the three mariners were successfully rescued within 10 to 15 minutes by other sailors participating in the race.The third mariner was unable to climb into a rescue boat due to high waves. Police say he was wearing a life-jacket.

 

 

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Scary shit. Sunday morning of Grand Prix we saw the tail end of the storm and it was blowing 30 gusting 40.

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Scary shit. Sunday morning of Grand Prix we saw the tail end of the storm and it was blowing 30 gusting 40.

 

Loss of a sailor makes me sad.

 

On the other hand, 30 gusiting 40 shouldn't be scary for prepared boats and competent sailors. Virtually every thunderstorm produces 30 gusting 40 or worse. Surely there has to be more to this story we haven't heard yet.

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Thunderstorm? In the Seattle area? A-l-m-o-s-t never happens and certainly rare to see 40 knots when it does. I lived there for 10 years, sailing regularly and could count on one hand the number of times I saw 40 knots. Generally in the winter, from a well positioned low. A windy summer day is 20 knots max. Nevermind that South Sound is generally less windy than further north.

 

You could sail for years and years in the South Sound and never see 40 knots.

 

I almost forgot what thunder sounded like, living in the PNW.

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Peak gust I saw Saturday night in the 8-9PM timeframe at West Point was 46 kts. That's a lot for what we usually see there. Biggest reading of the year territory. Forecast was for a gale warning and 25-35. At 4:30 PM it was <20 kts in Seattle, but this happened in the south sound, where the wind is usually lighter, and I don't know what they were seeing then. Could be the storm got to them first. It was near the end of the race and they should have been beating upwind going S up Budd Inlet.

 

What boat was it? Article just says 22 ft. I know of Gizmo, a Harmony 22 that has done that race in the past, and I'm not aware of another 22' boat in the race, but have absolutely no idea if that's the boat.

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In one of the articles I read it said that the boat sunk. That happens to the J24 when the rear hatch pops open during a knock down. Hard to imagine a keel boat turning upside down in those protected waters. It would be interesting to know what kind of boat it was.

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It was Gizmo. It had been light at times and the wind came in fast. They were a mile or so from the finish.

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I was on the water during the race and the conditions turned about as bad as we've seen in the south sound. The storm was concentrated in the south which is atypical. The boat was Gizmo, a Harmony 22, and we are all in shock. We've lost one of our own.

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Daggerboarder? There was an H22 in Tampa for a while. Nice sailing boat, but internally ballasted db. Wouldn't have wanted to be out in 40+ knots in it. Sorry to hear about the death of a sailor.

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Scary shit. Sunday morning of Grand Prix we saw the tail end of the storm and it was blowing 30 gusting 40.

Loss of a sailor makes me sad.

 

On the other hand, 30 gusiting 40 shouldn't be scary for prepared boats and competent sailors. Virtually every thunderstorm produces 30 gusting 40 or worse. Surely there has to be more to this story we haven't heard yet.

That's a lot,of wind ....

 

Most thunderstorms I see do not produce 30-40 kts, and small boats often get into trouble In wind like that

 

Very sad...

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30 to 40 knots at this time of year is no time to be out on a 22 footer - the water here is fackin' cold - hypothermia starts in as soon as you go in. Time to unconciousness is measured in minutes, not hours unless you're in a survival suit.

 

The forecasts for gales over the past week, at least up here, have been pretty spot on.

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Condolences from the Sweetwater Seas . .

It could happen to any of us.

SleepingBearDunes-20140617-0758.jpg

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This blow was predicted and the wind hit in the afternoon and blew hard most of the night. The Puget Sound area had a lot of trees blown down and a large number of homes without power. I did not have any problems where I live, but the streets were littered with broken limbs.

 

I don't know who was lost, but condolences to the friends and family.

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Thanks for cooking on that trip back from Honolulu on Artemis i'll miss ya Jay.

 

Racerdave

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The first news I read wrote that the missing was not wearing a PFD. Reports lately indicate he was. The boat sank in 70 ft of cold water. The lost sailor was 46 yr old Jay Bergland of Olympia. The body has been recovered. Peace brother.

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I was on the water during the race and the conditions turned about as bad as we've seen in the south sound. The storm was concentrated in the south which is atypical. The boat was Gizmo, a Harmony 22, and we are all in shock. We've lost one of our own.

 

Condolences mate.

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Fair winds Jay and condolences to his family.

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Sad.

http://www.theolympian.com/2014/10/26/3391225/search-resumes-for-missing-man.html

"
...According to [shieriff's Lieutenant] Ziesemer, who intereviewed the boat owner, the crew was trying to point the boat higher into the wind during the 25th mile of the race when a gust filled the sails and capsized the vessel.

The boat owner and the other passenger were pulled out of the water by another boat after spending 10 to 15 minutes in the water. Bergland tried to get onto the boat, too, but “due to the high waves and the boat being tossed about, he was unable to be rescued,” according to a news release.

Ziesemer added that Bergland was wearing an insulated suit of some kind, but not a dry suit.

Another sailboat also capsized during the race Saturday, but it was towed to safety, Ziesemer said. It, too, had a three-person crew."

 

"

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Scary shit. Sunday morning of Grand Prix we saw the tail end of the storm and it was blowing 30 gusting 40.

 

You mean blowing 20 gusting 23...

You wanna argue with the wind instruments.

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I kept hearing little bits about the Saturday tragedy throughout Sunday and was sad to come home and read more of the details. I remember some tricky times crossing Dana Passage on kayaks and can imagine that it gets really rough during a squall, especially if the current is going strong at the same time.

 

 

 

Scary shit. Sunday morning of Grand Prix we saw the tail end of the storm and it was blowing 30 gusting 40.

 

You mean blowing 20 gusting 23...

You wanna argue with the wind instruments.

 

It's easy to argue with wind instruments, how well calibrated are most of them?

 

From 9am to 11am West Point was reporting 27 gusting to 30:

2014 10 26 19 00 180 10.8 13.9 MM MM MM MM 1014.3 10.9 MM MM MM +1.1 MM
2014 10 26 18 00 190 13.9 15.4 MM MM MM MM 1013.9 10.7 MM MM MM +1.4 MM
2014 10 26 17 00 190 13.9 15.4 MM MM MM MM 1013.4 10.5 MM MM MM +1.1 MM
2014 10 26 16 00 190 13.4 14.4 MM MM MM MM 1013.2 10.3 MM MM MM +1.9 MM
2014 10 26 15 00 200 11.8 14.4 MM MM MM MM 1012.5 10.4 MM MM MM +1.6 MM

 

7th and 8th columns are wind speed and gusts in m/s. Times are in GMT, subtract 8 hours. West Point isn't Shilshole Bay and it could have been a little higher out there.

 

alex (who enjoyed sailing on Shada on Friday and Mata Hari on Sunday)

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Condolences

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The rest of the story may come out in time but now I'm left wondering how if the guy was next to a potential rescue boat and although they couldn't pull him in how he got away from them? Was the rescue boat without motor? If they called mayday and then followed the guy until the Coast Guard arrived? I'm sure they did tried their very best to save him but I'm wondering what happened.

 

 

Gizmo.PNG

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There are no good words to say about the loss of Jay, but those who know him, know that while this is extremely tragic, also know he was doing what he loved that day....what many of us love...racing sailboats.

 

He lived this sport and was a fixture in the local scene for decades throughout the PNW. Jay was part of the usual suspects and could be found prepping the boat, delivering the boat, racing the boat, at the party, at the after-party, fixing the boat, delivering the boat back and doing it all over again next week whether it be his boat or another owners. Simply put, Jay loved and lived sailing and will be missed forevermore.

 

Condolences to all involved.

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Looking at that picture of Gizmo, the boat and crew just give off a sense of "very competent and well sailed". Small boat, but a good one and a good crew. It seems like what happened was truly very bad luck in unusual conditions and clearly a tragedy for family and friends.

 

Condolences.

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Really sad. Hate it when these things happen. I have the same questions as the OP....I'm sure the rescue boat tried everything they could - but how/why did they get separated?

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If the dude was heavy, and the freeboard on the rescuing boat high, it might have been damn hard holding on to him, especially if he was already hypothermic and unconcious.

 

I was training some women in a J-24 several decades ago, complete newbies. One of the first drills I gave them was man-overboard. Several lessons later, I was teaching them spinnaker work. Heard faint yelling (thought it was seagulls at first), sailed towards it, and discovered a couple in the middle of Tampa Bay... they'd bailed out of their Hobie 16 thinking it was going over. Boat flopped back upright and sailed away. Quite a bit of effort for me and 4 women to get them aboard, and conditions were quite benign. I'm sure the rescuers above did all they could, in trying conditions.

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I have the same questions as the OP....I'm sure the rescue boat tried everything they could - but how/why did they get separated?

 

It looks like Dana Passage was at max flood, or 1.4 knots for Saturday, at the time that the rescue occurred. In a couple of minutes that could easily carry different people in different directions, and 30+ knot winds against the current could make it very difficult to keep track of where they were going.

 

Most boats carry man overboard equipment (visibility and flotation devices) for dealing with one person overboard, not multiple people going overboard at the same time.

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Really sad. Hate it when these things happen. I have the same questions as the OP....I'm sure the rescue boat tried everything they could - but how/why did they get separated?

 

This part isn't clear, from talking to one of the gals briefly on the rescue boat she said he was face down when they got to him. But it wasn't clear why they left him. It could be that they went for the other man-overboard and then lost sight of him, but either way this part of the news report seems wrong:

 

"The third person attempted to get into another boat but couldn’t make it due to the high waves and the boat being tossed about."

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Horrible to hear things like this. Makes you nervous.

Harmony 22 is a daggerboard design. Keel slid up into the boat after knock down (roll) no pin installed maybe?

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Friggin' tragic but my southern brothers & sisters will agree that from south sound up to the top of the Salish Sea at this time of years we are usual storms rolling off the Pacific. Over the past 10 days or so. We went from summer to winter in a nano second. Right now are we about to be bitch slapped by the remnants of Ana. When you get an onset deep low frontal band it goes from 2 knots to 40 or more instantly and not much warning. I didn't race in our area on Saturday but I think Schnick will attest there was a huge 180 degree shift in one race and thundered down rain. I know - I was looking "out" the windows of the yacht club then. Must of been miserable to say the least.

 

A sad thing for the families and everyone concerned but he was out enjoying what he loved.

 

Sail on brother.

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In memory of Jay,

Absolutely terrific companion for a trip, whether on land delivering a boat on that endless gray ribbon called I-5 or the preferable Puget Sound/Salish Sea, Jay was the kind of guy that was great to spend a day with. he loved to talk story of time spent with friends, especailly the bad boys aboard Jaded when she ruled the waves. He was very proud of his efforts to bring boats to the front of the fleet. he was eager and willing at every task and a seamanlike watchmate. From growing up near Marysville to his life throughout the greater Seattle area he was truly a PNW boy and loved all it had to offer. He had a passion for sailing and was willing to state his opinion, usually about PHRF:) I think the sailing community has lost a friend in Jay. If anyone knows of a celebration of his life, fund or memorial fund please post it here......

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I was the skipper of Gizmo when she was lost this past Saturday. I was sailing with Jay Berglund and Peter Crossman. All of us have a full lifetime of experience sailing and racing. We are all in mourning right now for Jay. He was one of my dearest friends, and he loved little Gizmo easily as much as I did. Harmony 22s are phenominal little boats, especially in light air. Jay was an experienced open ocean sailor and racer. He had his USCG Captains License, SOLAS credentials and all that. He has sailed all sorts of boats from Thistles and Stars up to his current ride on Artemis (a 50ish foot racing yacht out of Shilshole). He's been my right hand man on Gizmo since I bought her in 2012.

 

This account of what happened is mostly my own obeservations, with a bit of second hand info to fill in the gaps.

 

Gizmo was participating in the South Sound Sailing Society Eagle Island Race when she was lost. We had completed about 25 miles of the 27 mile course. The weather forecast had called for high winds that day, but after 8:00pm and through Sunday. We were planning on being done long before then. As we passed Boston Harbor with the working jib up and full main in about 15 knots of wind, we could see the heavy white caps ahead in Budd Inlet. So we cleared the 150% off the foredeck and reefed the main before getting there. We quickly took in a second reef as the winds built to 30 knots steady with gusts probably to 35ish. In this configuration, I was just flogging the main, so we eventually decided to douse the main completely. With the dagger board so far forward on these boats, she actually sails OK this way. We sailed two long boards back and forth across Bud Inlet keeping the boat at close to hull speed all the way despite the waves. We were still racing at this point and just looking forward to reaching the finish line so we could douse the sail. But on the third board, the waves built to 6-8' making controlling the boat and holding her nose on the wind without the main very difficult. Halfway across the bay, the forehatch blew open creating an instant safety situation. At that point, both Peter and I reached the conclusion that we were in over our heads and decided to abandon the race. But before we could act, a gust measured at over 60 knots swatted her over. It happened so fast that there was no recovering from it. Harmony 22s have bilge ballast rather than a ballasted keel, so when they go beyond 90 degrees, they turtle immediately. And this is what happened. I was actually under the boat in the cockpit when it came down on me. I had to swim down under her to get free. Jay and Peter rode the rail over and were free in the water when I emerged. We swam to the transom together so I could reach the VHF radio and call for help, but Jay said it was gone. I was still thinking that the boat would right itself, and she would have had she had bouyancy bags installed.

 

Jay stayed with the boat. Thats what they always tell you to do in a situation like this. about 2-3 feet of the stern was sticking out of the water. Unfortunately, he wasn't wearing his life jacket. Jay always wears a life jacket. I can't for the life of me figure out why the one time he didn't wear a life jacket, that when the shit hit the fan. I also wasn't wearing a life jacket, which turned out maybe to be a blessing since I had to swim out from under the boat when it came down on top of me. I found the foam rudder floating free, so I used that to keep me up. Peter had his life jacket on and Jay was clinging to the boat. Peter and I were quickly washed away from Gizmo and Jay. Four sailboats converged on the scene to assist within minutes. The first was a single-handed San Juan 24 with a roller furled jib that would not roll up all the way in the heavy wind so he was barely in control. He tried to pick up Peter, but didn't have any way of getting him aboard so Peter finally gave up and waited for another boat. The next boat in was a S2 7.9 that was also barely under control with a full main up that couldn't be reefed. The winds were still blowing over 40 knots with higher gusts. I swam over to her, grabbed the backstay and hoisted myself aboard over the transom. Somehow I ended up in control of the boat (maybe just because I was in the back of the boat and in the way I guess), so I steered over to try to pick up Peter and Jay. Gizmo was gone by this time. My intent was to park the boat to windward and drift down on them, but with the full main up and 40+ knots of wind thats no easy task. I drifted past twice out of reach. At that point, I noticed an Express 37 coming in under power already deploying their lifesling, so we were just in the way. The Express picked up Peter after a couple of passes. At this point Jay was face down in the water and non responsive. The rescue boats were converging on the scene at that point, so they directed them to where they last saw Jay. I think he had sunk by that point, because it was exactly 24 hours later before he was found a long way from the scene of the sinking.

 

My thoughts and prayers go out to Jay's wife Ruth. Jay was a great guy and a great sailor. He was very focused on his sailing. When he trimmed the sails, they rarely ever got cleated. He was constantly paying atttention to the boat trim and sail shape. I've never met someone so focused. He loved Gizmo as much as I do. If I can raise her, it will be in his honor.

 

John Thompson

Gizmo

69063

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Condolences for your losses and thank you for sharing the story.

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RIP Jay you will be missed.

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Deepest condolences to the family and crew. I was in Wollochet bay on Saturday and that front moved in very quickly about 3-4 hrs before the predictions had it coming in. It was surprising how fast the conditions changed.

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So Sad.

I passed Jay last week on the Viaduct, probably heading to Ballard to work on a boat or harass Nigel..

Thank you for the great memories.

Fair winds.

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Tragic to say the least. Everytime I go out and without the ability to use my legs, I think it might be my last if something goes seriously wrong.

 

The last few years have seen more deaths on the west coast in sailing events than the world of sailing has seen probably in the last 10 years.

The Harmony 22 looks like a cross between a Catalina 22 and a Wilderness 21.

I know lots of boats do not have reef points anymore. I believe PHRF now says the ability to reduce sail is required. You can only reduce to a certain point without having reef points in the Main to reduce the center of effort. If a boat has swept spreaders and cannot reef, they have huge exposure.

At least the Harmony 22 had lifelines. However the Viper 640 no lifelines?

No Doubt US Sailing and PHRF will be taking an inner look again.

It sounds as the weather had a big factor in the events.

Something every sailor should be doing with all the Apps and Internet sites available, is start checking forecasts a minimum of 3 days and everyday thereafter up to the event. That is what I do and I feel over prepared heading into my day races.

 

As you know, our weather in the Northern Hemisphere is changing and I do not think it is because of carbon.

I found this Texas A&M University site and it really made me think about the different rotational cycles that last 10's to 100's and 1000's up to 400,000 years.

There is so little we know about the earth, our local spacial system and how it affects us. Read the last part carefully about how unsure they are about how it affects our weather.

 

Some areas are going to be sailing in different conditions and you must be prepared for the worst at all times.

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So sorry to read all this - I didn't know Jay outside of sailing, and really only saw him a few times a year, but I feel like i've been hearing his laugh all day. He will missed in our small community

 

I had a similar experience years ago in another little internally ballasted boat and one of our crew barely made it with 3 of us in the water after stuffing her over on her side in 30+ breeze. She righted herself but with the one in the water that couldn't swim it was very close, we almost lost that one. I still have bad feelings come over me from that experience on a regular basis. It changed how I look at sailboat racing, what the experience is, but I still get out there, just with a bit more fear. I don't want to consider how bad the two that survived are feeling if it's anything like what I experience. Fair winds Jay.

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So sad to hear of this tragedy. I lost my college room mate in those waters years ago. Later I worked search and rescue in the south sound. Though it is a millpond most of the time it can get very rough. A south wind seems to get funneled down Budd Inlet with increased velocity. I can understand how after sailing down Dana Passage which is fairly protected one might be surprised by the wind when rounding Dofflemyer Point into Budd Inlet.

 

My condolences to Jay's family and friends.

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I'm the owner/skipper of the Viper 640 Dragonfly that was racing and capsized. Our experience was similar to what's been described so far. As we entered Budd Inlet beating against the building southerly, it wasn't much over ten knots at first. It built as we got into the bay further, soon reaching over 20 and holding. We were still making good progress, but it was challenging. We had to flog both the main and jib in the bigger puffs. Seas were a couple of feet and building. When we were about a mile from the finish we were definitely at the boat's upper wind limit. A larger gust hit. Both main and jib were eased immediately and were flogging and the boat capsized anyway. It also turtled without hesitation. I've flipped that boat on its side more times than I can remember having sailed in heavy air numerous times in the three and half years I've owned it and it's never gone turtle. Of course I'd never been out in 30 knots before with the Viper, and if I would have known I would see it on Saturday, I wouldn't have gone out. I have been out in 30 and higher on other boats. The front wasn't expected until after dark according the forecasts I saw. At any rate, we righted the boat quickly enough, but one of the crew got separated. We had to make a couple of passes, but we got her a line and got her back aboard, but in doing so went over again. Finally with some significant struggle, we all got on and took the sails down. By that time a couple of other participants were standing by under power and we gratefully accepted a tow from Bodacious. Although quite wet and eventually chilled after the inactivity during the tow in, we were all in good shape. We all had on PFDs and appropriate wet weather gear.

 

It was difficult getting back on the Viper even with its low freeboard. I can't imagine rotund Jay being able to be hoisted onto a conventional keelboat without a Lifesling or something similar. I also don't see him being able to hold onto the rail of a vessel in those conditions for any time, especially without a lifevest on, nor is it reasonable to think someone would be able to safely hang halfway out of a boat and hang on to him in the seas that were on hand.

 

I was chatting with another participant earlier today who was monitoring his wind instruments about the time when this happened and he reported a sustained 38 knots. Another individual I spoke with indicated the Olympia Airport reported a peak wind speed of 45 mph. I saw spume just beginning to form on the surface of the water. I am confident the wind was consistently over 30 with significantly higher gusts by the time we got our sails down and were towed in.

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Thanks for sharing your stories, tragic though they may be. After passing along my condolences, which I am doing here, I always look for things to learn.

 

Thanks for taking the time to share.

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My condolences as well to Jay, family, friends and crew.

 

This is a wake up call for all of us. While I've practiced MOB drills, it usually involves the person coming on board via the stern ladder. This tragic incident points out the need to practice pulling a large man aboard in rough seas. I'm certainly going to prioritize practice in pulling a large person aboard by quickly rigging the boom and halyard as a crane.

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There will be a celebration of life for Jay on Sunday at 1pm. Out of respect for the family, it will be a dry event. The event will be held at the Everett Yacht Club (404 14th Street Everett, WA 98201).

 

 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Olympia Yacht Club Foundation for the Junior Sailors program or to Save Our Wild Salmon. Cards can be mailed to: Ruth Elder c/o Hope Elder, 30105 2nd Place SW, Federal Way WA 98023. Email to rjelder@hotmail.com

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Very sorry to hear about the loss of a fellow sailor.

 

Thank you to the skipper of skipper of Gizmo for sharing the story. We can all learn from it.

 

My condolences.

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Horrible to hear things like this. Makes you nervous.

Harmony 22 is a daggerboard design. Keel slid up into the boat after knock down (roll) no pin installed maybe?

 

Inside ballast. No installed flotation. Large companionway. Fwd hatch sprung open.

Boats this size are even more likely to come to grief in these conditions than racing dinghies, which have flotation and are designed to be handled inverted. Note that J24s have sunk on more occasions than you'd like, and they have keels.

 

Note that the Viper also turtled but of course did not sink. Vipers are ballast assisted dinghies and the Harmony 22 is basically a large open dinghy with a cabin on top and some inside ballast. It looks like a cruising boat but it is not.

 

I am really sad to hear of this loss.

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I am so sorry, and I've been to that edge many times wondering if something happens I am sh*T out of luck. On the other hand, I remember the forecast for that weekend, and there is NO way I would have left the dock. There is something about racing up here in the PNW, that pushes racers to sail in early spring and late fall when conditions can be so volatile. I gave that edgy schedule up years ago, figuring it wasn't worth the pain or risk.

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I don't have any problem with sailing in such conditions. However, when the wind unexpectedly starts blowing gangbusters,no matter what boat one is on......there comes a point when safety takes precedent over racing or even cruising or daysailing. In all my years of sailing, we've had a few times when it blew up much higher then we expected. In those few instances, we blew the halyards and not only doused the jib, but also doused the main, then fell off and ran under bare poles, till we hoisted the proper sail or sails for the conditions.

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We are having a celebration of Jay at CYC-Seattle on Tuesday from 5-8pm. This is for the sailor types that might not feel comfortable at the more family oriented event on Sunday... In an effort to accommodate those that feel that any appropriate sendoff for a sailor should involve alcohol, we'll have a couple of kegs. Please stop by if you can. Share some stories, grab a beer, and make a toast.

 

I'm progressing through the stages of grief. I'm hopefully exiting anger today, planning to skip bargaining, and take care of depression and acceptance on Tuesday with our friends around.

 

Nigel.

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Horrible to hear things like this. Makes you nervous.

Harmony 22 is a daggerboard design. Keel slid up into the boat after knock down (roll) no pin installed maybe?

Inside ballast. No installed flotation. Large companionway. Fwd hatch sprung open.

Boats this size are even more likely to come to grief in these conditions than racing dinghies, which have flotation and are designed to be handled inverted. Note that J24s have sunk on more occasions than you'd like, and they have keels.

 

Note that the Viper also turtled but of course did not sink. Vipers are ballast assisted dinghies and the Harmony 22 is basically a large open dinghy with a cabin on top and some inside ballast. It looks like a cruising boat but it is not.

 

I am really sad to hear of this loss.

There used to be a bunch of daggerboard mini-tons and MORC minis here on Tampa Bay, Only a couple sank, one of them twice. I'm surprised there weren't more. In fairness, I should note several light keelboats have capsized and required crew on keel to right, including a 32'er, and every so often one sinks. The common thread is light disp and wide beam.

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I do not believe that I ever had the pleasure of personally meeting Jay but I have seen him around the various yacht clubs. What a terribly sad set of events.

 

As a regular Puget Sound sailor, I have to confess that I typically only wear a life jacket at night. After reading the story line about chain of events, I would like to think that I will be reaching for my life jacket a lot quicker in the future. I will be looking around to see of others will have the same reaction.

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As a regular Puget Sound sailor, I have to confess that I typically only wear a life jacket at night. After reading the story line about chain of events, I would like to think that I will be reaching for my life jacket a lot quicker in the future. I will be looking around to see of others will have the same reaction.

 

I was already working my way there, and this just made it even more important.

 

Of course we were racing last weekend (on Sunday, some pretty big wins) and I went below for a moment to put on another layer. I was back up top for over an hour before realizing that I'd forgotten my PFD, and this was after a conscious effort to wear it. It'll take a little more time until it is automatic.

 

I also think that the first PFD manufacturer to make an inflatable that doesn't act like a barb under lifelines will have a major win on their hands. Maybe Spinlock ones are already better than the rest in this regard? That's my primary reason for not wearing a PFD when racing.

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In Hawaii I only wore my life vest when it was really rough at night. After getting here and going in the water several times with a dry suit on for man overboard drills I quickly started wearing my life vest all the time. When I think it is going to be real rough I will even wear my dry suit on the boat. Maybe we need to make it a requirement that every crew member has to go over the side and be pulled back on board for everyone to realize why it is so important around here to wear a life jacket. It just amazes me the number of people who do not, especially foredeck crew. Folks how many more people need to die before we all realize that life jackets may not be the most comfortable thing to wear but they do save lives. Also, the means and knowledge to get a large person back on board.

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Might I add that inflatable harness pfd's don't always work. 2 separate times I have seen failed inflations of friends gear. Luckily one was just sailing a laser and recovered easily and the other was a complete torso submersion on a crash tack. Both times the unit "should" have inflated but didn't.

 

In Hawaii I only wore my life vest when it was really rough at night. After getting here and going in the water several times with a dry suit on for man overboard drills I quickly started wearing my life vest all the time. When I think it is going to be real rough I will even wear my dry suit on the boat. Maybe we need to make it a requirement that every crew member has to go over the side and be pulled back on board for everyone to realize why it is so important around here to wear a life jacket. It just amazes me the number of people who do not, especially foredeck crew. Folks how many more people need to die before we all realize that life jackets may not be the most comfortable thing to wear but they do save lives. Also, the means and knowledge to get a large person back on board.

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I seldom wear an inflatable. I normally wear a tight fitting ski jacket type vest. It not only provides flotation it also provides warm and body protection. I only wear my inflatable when I think I will need to harness. Also, it has the ability to manually inflate. I know many sailors in small smalls and multihulls who do not like the auto inflates. I have been in the water with the ski vest several times and it provides very good flotation. It is a Mustang USCG approved work vest.

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Really none of my business, but was there an autopsy? Did Jay possibly succumb to a heart attack? I read where he was rotund and 46 years old. That already makes him the perfect candidate for an MI by just getting out of his car at the marina and loading the boat. The fact is 80% of men who have an MI in their 40's do not survive. The survival rate is actually much higher if one is over 50. There are a number of reasons for that but the fact is your 40's is the worst possible time to have a heart attack. But that is when most of them happen and that is where most of the fatalities are. The terror and struggle of trying to keep your head above cold water, the extreme kicking and flailing of swimming in heavy seas, and the effort required to hold on and try to lift yourself over the side, fully clothed also. This all adds up very fast to overexertion and panic. Like seconds fast. Dip your head a couple of times and the panic begins to take over. Once your heart decides it's had enough, and it doesn't take long with those variables, the real panic sets in and it's uncontrollable. Perhaps if he had a PFD the experience would have been much less a panic and much more of a relaxed cold water dip while waiting for someone to pick him up. Although it seems like I'm speculating here, I guess something to be taken from this is PFD's do more than just keep your head above water. They are the soft voice that allows the time for everyone to take step back and do the right thing... calmly. Sorry for Jay and his family and sorry for the crew that had to go through this.

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Also read about Atypical Drowning.

 

As the previous poster alludes, the proximal cause of death is not clear.

 

 

One other thing: Nobody has mentioned that the design of the boat is the real issue with why everyone ended up in the water in the first place.

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The investigation of this horrible event is ongoing.

Really none of my business, but was there an autopsy? Did Jay possibly succumb to a heart attack? I read where he was rotund and 46 years old. That already makes him the perfect candidate for an MI by just getting out of his car at the marina and loading the boat. The fact is 80% of men who have an MI in their 40's do not survive. The survival rate is actually much higher if one is over 50. There are a number of reasons for that but the fact is your 40's is the worst possible time to have a heart attack. But that is when most of them happen and that is where most of the fatalities are. The terror and struggle of trying to keep your head above cold water, the extreme kicking and flailing of swimming in heavy seas, and the effort required to hold on and try to lift yourself over the side, fully clothed also. This all adds up very fast to overexertion and panic. Like seconds fast. Dip your head a couple of times and the panic begins to take over. Once your heart decides it's had enough, and it doesn't take long with those variables, the real panic sets in and it's uncontrollable. Perhaps if he had a PFD the experience would have been much less a panic and much more of a relaxed cold water dip while waiting for someone to pick him up. Although it seems like I'm speculating here, I guess something to be taken from this is PFD's do more than just keep your head above water. They are the soft voice that allows the time for everyone to take step back and do the right thing... calmly. Sorry for Jay and his family and sorry for the crew that had to go through this.

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my deepest condolences.............

Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

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Also read about Atypical Drowning.

 

As the previous poster alludes, the proximal cause of death is not clear.

 

 

One other thing: Nobody has mentioned that the design of the boat is the real issue with why everyone ended up in the water in the first place.

 

In my opinion, the decision to take the boat out, given the forecast and the known design characteristics of the boat, is where things went off the rails. If your boat can't take PNW storm conditions, don't take it out when PNW storms are forecast. If you can't handle your boat in PNW storm conditions, don't take it out when PNW storms are forecast. As always, it comes down to the judgment of the skipper. It's even in the Rules.

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The odd thing about this storm is that it was not your typical PNW storm. If I am not totally wrong, the storm system that was a factor in this tragedy was the remnants of the hurricane that had threatened Hawaii a week earlier. It became an extra tropical system and closed in on the coast with a very fast speed over ground. This is typical of extra tropical storms that have transitioned from tropical hurricanes and the onset is hard to predict due to their rapid advance. This should be a lesson learned with such systems and they should be treated with respect for the intensity that they can deliver in a very short time.

 

I've sailed on a MORC racer that was designed and built in response to the success of the Harmony 22 daggerboarder. It was the Creekmore 22 and had the same overall dimensions but with perhaps more beam. I cant imagine persisting in trying to finish a race is that boat faced with the conditions with which they were faced. The internally ballasted daggerboarders needed a lot of meat on the rail and racing with only three is a bit of a stretch. I feel that the close proximity of the finish line gave them the hope that they could persist and finish the race. I totally understand that and would have probably done the same but the ultimate stabilty of an internally ballasted daggerboader doesn't lend itself to that sort of thinking. Flotation bags may have saved the boat from sinking, but nothing would have saved the crew from the challenges of being in the water under such conditions. Good that the Viper crew survived and it is sad that Jay fell victim to the circumstances. RIP

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Also read about Atypical Drowning.

 

As the previous poster alludes, the proximal cause of death is not clear.

 

 

One other thing: Nobody has mentioned that the design of the boat is the real issue with why everyone ended up in the water in the first place.

 

In my opinion, the decision to take the boat out, given the forecast and the known design characteristics of the boat, is where things went off the rails. If your boat can't take PNW storm conditions, don't take it out when PNW storms are forecast. If you can't handle your boat in PNW storm conditions, don't take it out when PNW storms are forecast. As always, it comes down to the judgment of the skipper. It's even in the Rules.

No situation that ends in tragedy which the skipper describes in detail will withstand the scrutiny of thousands of frightened skippers and crew looking for a reason the tragedy won't happen to them. "I'm more experienced." "I have a better boat," "I have the proper safety equipment which is inspected according to a rigorous and exacting regimen which mandates immediate replacement if defects are noticed, in fact I have a spare handy just in case."

 

This was a skilled crew in a boat they had sailed for years (decades?) in those waters. The skipper has provided painful details which can allow us all to learn lessons. Please do not start finger pointing so soon. Realize that the next time you go sailing, wind and waves could be fiercer and more unpredictable than those you have experienced ever before. At that point, all your experience may not be enough; you might need some good luck to bring back your crew home safely.

 

My sorrowful condolences, John, and all others who have lost friends to the water. Everybody else, hug your loved ones a moment longer and silently give thanks for the luck which is still yours. Don't take good fortune for granted.

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If you take my comments as finger-pointing, I apologize. Clearly the sailors were very experienced. And many of us end up (willingly) in the water racing, on a regular basis. That the boat sank isn't about finger-pointing but rather I think it is worth simply thinking it through. Remember, J-24s and other keelboats have also sunk. Stars in the days before tanks went to the bottom. A Thistle went down at Nationals in Santa Cruz many years ago, with death, and that resulted in the positive (as in foam) rules we have in the Thistle today.

 

I think the most notable thing worth thinking about is that the Harmony 22 *looks* like many keelboats of its size, but it is not. It is far more susceptible to turtling and sinking.

 

I sail a number of different boats (including the 505) and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how to be as best prepared as I can reasonably be and I would suspect that the owner and the crew thought the same way. And *that* should give us pause and encourage reflection.

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I sail a number of different boats (including the 505) and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how to be as best prepared as I can reasonably be and I would suspect that the owner and the crew thought the same way. And *that* should give us pause and encourage reflection.

 

I feel exactly this way... we do our best to prepare for our trips of chosen duration and scale of adventure, and are most every time rewarded with reassurance that we are masters of our craft and in charge of our fate. And then the unpredictable occurs, violently challenging our assumptions.

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If you take my comments as finger-pointing, I apologize. Clearly the sailors were very experienced. And many of us end up (willingly) in the water racing, on a regular basis. That the boat sank isn't about finger-pointing but rather I think it is worth simply thinking it through. Remember, J-24s and other keelboats have also sunk. Stars in the days before tanks went to the bottom. A Thistle went down at Nationals in Santa Cruz many years ago, with death, and that resulted in the positive (as in foam) rules we have in the Thistle today.

 

I think the most notable thing worth thinking about is that the Harmony 22 *looks* like many keelboats of its size, but it is not. It is far more susceptible to turtling and sinking.

 

I sail a number of different boats (including the 505) and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how to be as best prepared as I can reasonably be and I would suspect that the owner and the crew thought the same way. And *that* should give us pause and encourage reflection.

I also sailed the Harmony 22 years back. What made it a fun boat to sail in light air in protected waters would also make it scary in a blow.

When knocked horizontal, the weight of the crew in the cockpit are not helping the situation, and it sounds like the velocity was big.

Condolences to all related and involved.

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Rasputin22 is quite right. Once and rare while this sort of stuff comes out of know where; sometimes early or late. I don't know if the topography Olympic has anything to do with it as I haven't really studied the terrain in that area but you get localized storms or squalls coming off the pacific then ripping down the valleys into Puget Sound. It can actually hit you like a hammer and drops down from nowhere. Yes, the weather hinted that a storm was brewing but that night not the afternoon. It was bad timing really. In a situation like that you get knocked flat. Lose all apparent wind and speed then pins you down. Often lose steerage as rudder has completely cavitated or right out of the water.

 

We get the same sort of effect in the summer with the barrier of Vancouver Is. when we call is a "Qualicum". Different effect of a storm squall but still as brutal.

 

For example: I was tucked up into one of my small coves; anchored and double stern tied. There was no wind; piss on a plate flat - high tide, starry night. Nirvana really. Out of good habit I flick on the VHF at 10:30 PM for the then last CCG weather report. There was a storm warning for a Qualicum for 50 knots+ I got the actuals minutes later and it was already blowing 57 knots at Sisters. I turned on 16 and there was carnage all over the place between the CG and some not happy campers. I thought: Holy crap I wonder if it will come up sound. I decided to start engine just in case and my S.O. was in bed reading said "what are you doing?, it's almost 11PM?" I'll said just get ready - trust me on this. I took up some extra anchor rode and made sure the sterns lines would run free. 10 minutes later it hit. First it was on the other side of the sound with the sound of trees cracking to the east side across me then down into the end of the sound basin. Then it came from the other direction and I said we are out of here. It was all I could do is to let stern lines go as I was now in a granite lee shore with a 10 degree list from the wind. Pulled anchor and away from the rock shore. 10 minutes it was over. Back to placid again. But a Qualicum does that. With nowhere to go really I set anchor again as it was over. Recovering my stern lines by diving in to the chuck with a flashlight in my shorts. Swam them back to the boat, retied them in cockpit and had scotch. There running lights all over the sound with there engines idling around for hours with no where to go or shit scared.

 

It was a warm July night but I think the same sort of out of blue phenomenon happens in the Salish Sea. It was a sad situation last week but it happens. Not to take light of this awful situation but if you aren't prepared to be "out there" then take up bowling.

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Please don't take my post here as finger pointing. I am on the opposite coast but sympathize deeply with those who have lost Jay. Think of this as more me as a new sailor, processing. But I find it interesting that with all of the different angles being explored there has been no real mention of granular confidence in a weather report. I think I saw two posts of those in the race both indicating that the front was to come through "after dark" and "8pm". Makes me think both saw the same forecast. The sinking happened about 4pm is that right? I guess the question for me, and yes I am (again) a fairly new sailer and non racer, is, "is there a standard margin for error in a weather report that ought to get factored in to our sailing plans?"

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Yeah, that standard is: anything is possible. Even that the forecast got it right.

 

Wind speeds and direction are apparently among the more difficult items to forecast - not least due to the large influence of very local effects on the winds you observe near ground level. And don't forget this took place in the PNW, an area with notoriously "local" weather.

 

Stepping back a bit, the next most difficult thing to forecast seems to be timing. If there's a forecast of a front coming through, it's usually a good bet that it will come through, but quite often not a the time that appears in the forecast, and certainly never so that you can set your watch by it.

 

That timing drives the timing for any wind that depends on the front, both direction and strength. That's (overly simplified) why you want to make a big mental distinction between forecast and "schedule".

 

Having said that, every once in a while these forecasts can be uncannily on the mark. I remember one calm day where the forecast called for a strong blow in the afternoon for an hour or two (small craft warning type blow). Promptly happened, came seemingly from nowhere, blew for two hours and died again. I didn't read the background for the forecast that day so I don't know what they based in on, but I'm glad I stayed of the water then. That forecast was worth the money that day.

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