CordRipper

Chicago-Mac/Meridian X MOB Recovery

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55 minutes ago, Christian said:

Well duh - I am aware how it triggers - that is the whole point of rigging a martin breaker.  The PITA is to get it set up without having to go out on the pole after setting the kite and do it in a way where it doesn't get accidentally triggered as you set the kite.

My bad, misunderstood what you were saying. I've found that a soft-shackle rigged through the trigger on a line that just leads straight to the pulpit works pretty well. Blow the tackline and the tack will fly out 4-8 feet until it reaches the end of the trigger line..pop. Have had yet to have this system fail me or trigger accidently. Not as elegant as some solutions but it works. 

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32 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

What's the motivation of a Martin Breaker, just to keep one more line from flailing along?  To anticipate a tack line that is fouled?  To keep the tack line rigged (i.e., easier to peel)?  Is there any option not to use the breaker to drop once it's set?  Again, I'm coming from ignorance as I have never used one.  Thanks in advance for any input.  I'm guessing the peel thing and on multis, we see dinosaurs more often.    

Get's rid of a corner of the sail and allows you to sink the collapsed chute underneath the main(Letterbox). By far the best way to take down chutes in big air, especially offshore or at night. Keeps bodies in the cockpit. 

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6 minutes ago, Sarcoma said:

Get's rid of a corner of the sail and allows you to sink the collapsed chute underneath the main(Letterbox). By far the best way to take down chutes in big air, especially offshore or at night. Keeps bodies in the cockpit. 

What's the advantage then from just blowing the tack line.  I'm missing something.  Aren't we just talking about the trigger of the tack line's shackle?

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7 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

What's the advantage then from just blowing the tack line.  I'm missing something.  Aren't we just talking about the trigger of the tack line's shackle?

 

Do you want to go climbing out on the end of a bare carbon retractable sprit in the middle of the night trying to stick a fid in the shackle? Nope. If you're suggesting you just blow the tackline through the whole clutch, that works but there's more risk. What if your tackline gets a gnarly asshole and then you have a mostly full kite 40 feet from the boat? Or some-one gets their ankle wrapped in the tackline, or, or or. Completely losing the tack is a much safer and more reliable method..IF you have a solid martin breaker system.

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5 minutes ago, Sarcoma said:

 

Do you want to go climbing out on the end of a bare carbon retractable sprit in the middle of the night trying to stick a fid in the shackle? Nope. If you're suggesting you just blow the tackline through the whole clutch, that works but there's more risk. What if your tackline gets a gnarly asshole and then you have a mostly full kite 40 feet from the boat? Or some-one gets their ankle wrapped in the tackline, or, or or. Completely losing the tack is a much safer and more reliable method..IF you have a solid martin breaker system.

Thanks, you answered my question.   So the bungee is that the bow guy does not become a pole guy.  I live in a retractable world and I remain a retractable GUY.  Thanks for educating me, I knew it was a good idea, I just didn't know why.  Thanks. 

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12 hours ago, Trickypig said:

Your `method' of blowing the gear may be faster but it has an inherent and unacceptable risk. If one or all those lines you've just run, foul before getting free of jammers, exits blocks etc you have a major clusterfuck with the boat on its side and a kite hauling you sideways from a distance in the middle of a squall at night.

Too risky.

 

I guess my point is that the "standard" method of MOB recovery in challenging conditions is to effect an orderly douse and then come back for the MOB. What I'm attempting to discuss - notwithstanding being called a "tosser" by Christian - is that this puts the MOB at much greater risk. I'm trying to point out that we're doing the best job possible of keeping the gear safe, while reducing the survival chances of the guy in the water. In  my opinion, that's an inappropriate prioritization.

If there is an asshole in the line - cut it on the other side of the clutch, for example.

But we never "Samurai Douse" because the equipment gets hurt and we're trained (repetitively over years) not to hurt the gear. All of our sailing instincts are to follow standard and known procedures - which is what our lizard-brains revert to when we're under mortal stress in an unusual circumstance when the rules have changed.

I suggested a quick-stop - but everyone's instinct is "can't do that, it's more dangerous". Get rid of the gear and let it fly away: also "more dangerous". Frankly, I can't imagine anything more dangerous than a standard douse with folks on the foredeck, short handed, at night, in a squall. Nothing in those conditions is risk-free, but considering there's a man in the water fading into the distance, in my opinion the balance of risk and probability have shifted from "follow standard procedure" to "follow emergency procedure" and I'm seriously questioning whether, as a sport, the decision that we make in this not uncommon situation is correct.

I'm not trying to be critical of the team that ran the latest test - which worked out OK - they did what they were trained to do and, by all accounts, did it well. But I would like some of the folks with experience to weigh in and run some thought experiments about whether we need to consider other options than the orderly douse with an MOB at night in a squall. If this was flying, some NTSB or FAA board would evaluate, come up with some recommendations and write some procedures. In sailing, unless there is a multiple-fatality situation like Low Speed Chase, all we have is a few forums and YC bar stools to help us figure out what's best to do.

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1 hour ago, Wet Spreaders said:

 

I guess my point is that the "standard" method of MOB recovery in challenging conditions is to effect an orderly douse and then come back for the MOB. What I'm attempting to discuss - notwithstanding being called a "tosser" by Christian - is that this puts the MOB at much greater risk. I'm trying to point out that we're doing the best job possible of keeping the gear safe, while reducing the survival chances of the guy in the water. In  my opinion, that's an inappropriate prioritization.

If there is an asshole in the line - cut it on the other side of the clutch, for example.

But we never "Samurai Douse" because the equipment gets hurt and we're trained (repetitively over years) not to hurt the gear. All of our sailing instincts are to follow standard and known procedures - which is what our lizard-brains revert to when we're under mortal stress in an unusual circumstance when the rules have changed.

I suggested a quick-stop - but everyone's instinct is "can't do that, it's more dangerous". Get rid of the gear and let it fly away: also "more dangerous". Frankly, I can't imagine anything more dangerous than a standard douse with folks on the foredeck, short handed, at night, in a squall. Nothing in those conditions is risk-free, but considering there's a man in the water fading into the distance, in my opinion the balance of risk and probability have shifted from "follow standard procedure" to "follow emergency procedure" and I'm seriously questioning whether, as a sport, the decision that we make in this not uncommon situation is correct.

I'm not trying to be critical of the team that ran the latest test - which worked out OK - they did what they were trained to do and, by all accounts, did it well. But I would like some of the folks with experience to weigh in and run some thought experiments about whether we need to consider other options than the orderly douse with an MOB at night in a squall. If this was flying, some NTSB or FAA board would evaluate, come up with some recommendations and write some procedures. In sailing, unless there is a multiple-fatality situation like Low Speed Chase, all we have is a few forums and YC bar stools to help us figure out what's best to do.

To say you're not being critical when, in an earlier post, you said you're not quite convinced they deserve the "atta boys" because they lacked equipment and discipline is pretty hypocritical.

 

As multiple people have pointed out, the standard douse was not decided because it reduced the financial cost of replacing gear, but rather because destruction of that gear would likely cause damage to the boat and/or people aboard, making the recovery even more difficult.  Much like you don't jump in after an MOB.  Not because you don't want to get wet but because now the crew would have to recover two people rather than one.  What you're suggesting, deviating from trained responses, sounds like the text book definition of panicking.

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9 hours ago, Cal20sailor said:

What's the motivation of a Martin Breaker, just to keep one more line from flailing along?  To anticipate a tack line that is fouled?  To keep the tack line rigged (i.e., easier to peel)?  Is there any option not to use the breaker to drop once it's set?  Again, I'm coming from ignorance as I have never used one.  Thanks in advance for any input.  I'm guessing the peel thing and on multis, we see dinosaurs more often.    

The reason for using one is that you can trigger the tack shackle without having to go out on the pole which is obviously a safer way to trigger it especially in a situation where the wind starts winding up rapidly. With big kites it is safer to trigger the tack rather than letting the tackline out slowly and there is obviously less chance of a cock-up with a fouled tackline that cannot be let go due to assholes and the like. 

It is a great way to quickly depower the kite for a letterbox takedown when it gets too sporty.

It can be set so that you have to pull the trigger line to release the tack or you can have it set up tied off with a bit of slack so it triggers if you ease the tackline a bit (typically about a foot or so).  Depending on the setup you can or cannot douse without triggering the martin breaker.  Obviously you have to choose the setup that makes sense for each particular boat.

 

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9 hours ago, Cal20sailor said:

Thanks, you answered my question.   So the bungee is that the bow guy does not become a pole guy.  I live in a retractable world and I remain a retractable GUY.  Thanks for educating me, I knew it was a good idea, I just didn't know why.  Thanks. 

 

This is sort of devolving into Martin Breaker Anarchy, but to answer some queries, here are some pictures of how the system is setup. There's been countless iterations of the decades, this is the latest. The breaker lines run internally in the pole and come out the back of the pole cover where they are clipped off to be active. Otherwise they are free to run.

 

Please disregard all the bug splatter, I haven't been able to clean it yet, it just got back in.

 

20170724_090236.jpg

20170724_090303.jpg

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2 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

 

I guess my point is that the "standard" method of MOB recovery in challenging conditions is to effect an orderly douse and then come back for the MOB. What I'm attempting to discuss - notwithstanding being called a "tosser" by Christian - is that this puts the MOB at much greater risk. I'm trying to point out that we're doing the best job possible of keeping the gear safe, while reducing the survival chances of the guy in the water. In  my opinion, that's an inappropriate prioritization.

...

 

But I would like some of the folks with experience to weigh in and run some thought experiments about whether we need to consider other options than the orderly douse with an MOB at night in a squall. If this was flying, some NTSB or FAA board would evaluate, come up with some recommendations and write some procedures. In sailing, unless there is a multiple-fatality situation like Low Speed Chase, all we have is a few forums and YC bar stools to help us figure out what's best to do.

 

 

Nothing we did had any consideration of saving gear or money, it is simply the quickest way to get the boat under control. No one goes to the foredeck either, the kite comes in behind the shrouds to the companionway. One of the reasons we were able to get back is the boat was properly set for an emergency douse.

 

The second part is one thing we are trying to emphasize. We have already been booked to speak for several engagements to go through the whole process, because we are one of the only people who actually have experience with this. We aren't partaking in any barroom banter, besides the "holy shit that was crazy" variety, we are talking with and coordinating with the very best in our sport in the safety and seamanship arena. I promise you will see a lot of recommendations come out from this specific incident, it's an inflection point in managing MOB situations on modern high performance boats.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

 

I guess my point is that the "standard" method of MOB recovery in challenging conditions is to effect an orderly douse and then come back for the MOB. What I'm attempting to discuss - notwithstanding being called a "tosser" by Christian - is that this puts the MOB at much greater risk. I'm trying to point out that we're doing the best job possible of keeping the gear safe, while reducing the survival chances of the guy in the water. In  my opinion, that's an inappropriate prioritization.

If there is an asshole in the line - cut it on the other side of the clutch, for example.

But we never "Samurai Douse" because the equipment gets hurt and we're trained (repetitively over years) not to hurt the gear. All of our sailing instincts are to follow standard and known procedures - which is what our lizard-brains revert to when we're under mortal stress in an unusual circumstance when the rules have changed.

I suggested a quick-stop - but everyone's instinct is "can't do that, it's more dangerous". Get rid of the gear and let it fly away: also "more dangerous". Frankly, I can't imagine anything more dangerous than a standard douse with folks on the foredeck, short handed, at night, in a squall. Nothing in those conditions is risk-free, but considering there's a man in the water fading into the distance, in my opinion the balance of risk and probability have shifted from "follow standard procedure" to "follow emergency procedure" and I'm seriously questioning whether, as a sport, the decision that we make in this not uncommon situation is correct.

I'm not trying to be critical of the team that ran the latest test - which worked out OK - they did what they were trained to do and, by all accounts, did it well. But I would like some of the folks with experience to weigh in and run some thought experiments about whether we need to consider other options than the orderly douse with an MOB at night in a squall. If this was flying, some NTSB or FAA board would evaluate, come up with some recommendations and write some procedures. In sailing, unless there is a multiple-fatality situation like Low Speed Chase, all we have is a few forums and YC bar stools to help us figure out what's best to do.

There is no "one size fits all" solution!

 

The right solution depends heavily on boat size, kite size, crew size and experience, weather, etc., etc,

On boats with a healthy amount of kite a quick stop becomes a dangerous way to get the kite down in heavy conditions and it would/could easily expose crew on the boat to injury or getting ejected from the boat.  On smaller and less generous sail area boats (kite wise) like a J105 a quick stop is certainly an option up to a point.  On a F400 - no way.  the boat would surely wipe out and you now have a kite wrapped around the rig with kite sheets and halyard in a mixed soup with crew overboard.  Recipe not recommended.  AND you will almost with certainty take longer to square out that mess and get back to the MOB than if you get the kite down in orderly fashion.

Try going out sailing on bigger boats and you might get an appreciation for the forces at play when you get kites in the 200 Sqm and above in just 20 knots of breeze.  Now double that windspeed and the loads quadruple..................

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19 minutes ago, doghouse said:

 

This is sort of devolving into Martin Breaker Anarchy, but to answer some queries, here are some pictures of how the system is setup. There's been countless iterations of the decades, this is the latest. The breaker lines run internally in the pole and come out the back of the pole cover where they are clipped off to be active. Otherwise they are free to run.

 

Please disregard all the bug splatter, I haven't been able to clean it yet, it just got back in.

 

20170724_090236.jpg

20170724_090303.jpg

G - I like that setup!

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Well done.  Thanks for the info on what worked and what wasn't ideal.

I'm absolutely re-rigging our sprit with the martin breakers, the Sat night take-down on our boat took a minute or more at 15 knots doing a letter-box and with 100% crew attention.  If we'd lost a person over-board, and then had 2 crew doing spotter and GPS/Nav duties it would have taken longer for sure.

My crew thinks I'm a nut for making everyone carry an extra light, a good one, and to keep it "with" them when below, I'll keep that mantra going, it's too frequent that any of us gets in a hurry and compromises our equipment needs in the moment to be expedient.   I've rushed on deck without my Streamlight to help when it could have been my turn to go swimming.  

AIS for MOB will be mandated eventually, might as well get it done, AIS is a great tool anyway.

Let's hope this is all just un-needed stuff that we pack for peace of mind.

 

 

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During unsettling times like squall, thunderstorm and lightning the VHF radio is rarely listened to if even turned on because most racers are dealing with their own sails.  I wouldn't be surprised if very few competitors even heard the mayday. My experience is to shoot a red flare into the sky to grab everyone's attention in line of sight. Usually the first reaction is to listen to channel 16 

Once that is accomplished the communication can be established with a much larger audience and you can go from there. 

Looking forward to get more first hand experience from Mark and the rest of the MERIDIAN crew

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3 hours ago, ChristianSch said:

During unsettling times like squall, thunderstorm and lightning the VHF radio is rarely listened to if even turned on because most racers are dealing with their own sails.  I wouldn't be surprised if very few competitors even heard the mayday. My experience is to shoot a red flare into the sky to grab everyone's attention in line of sight. Usually the first reaction is to listen to channel 16 

Once that is accomplished the communication can be established with a much larger audience and you can go from there. 

Looking forward to get more first hand experience from Mark and the rest of the MERIDIAN crew

We heard it, but were too far behind to assist. There was also confusion with the other boats. 

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5 hours ago, ChristianSch said:

During unsettling times like squall, thunderstorm and lightning the VHF radio is rarely listened to if even turned on because most racers are dealing with their own sails.  I wouldn't be surprised if very few competitors even heard the mayday.

Did Meridian actually issue a Mayday?

Certainly it is appropriate in a MOB situation.., but I am not sure that everyone knows that they can/should issue a mayday call in a MOB situation

the quote above says "VHF radio is rarely listened to if even turned on" - well as we have already discussed.., not monitoring 16 is not an option - you _must_ monitor 16...

not hearing a distress call.., even though the radio is on raises another question.

Does Meridian have a DSC VHF? they are required for many distance races. There are several advantages to a DSC VHF, and one of them is that if the distress button is activated.., an audible alarm will sound on other DSC equipped boats.

The distress call sends the lat/lon too, so activating it as soon as possible after a MOB is a good idea - then other boats will have the approximate coordinates without needing to listen for them on the radio.

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Had a chance to speak with a coast guard officer who was involved in coordinating. Couple of thoughts from someone who has been involved in many rescues:

-Life jackets saved 4 lives that night

-Remaining calm and clear on radio is important for getting help to your location (and mayday was definitely called)

-Excellent seamanship saved the life of the Meridian MOB given several worst case scenario factors: this was middle of the night, rough weather, not easy for CG to arrive quickly, light failed, and MOB didn't have AIS

It's easy to critique in hindsight, but don't lose track of the fact that this was really a pretty miraculous recovery. Cheers to the MOB, Meridian crew, and the boat who assisted all of whom contributed. I'm sure you will do better next time if/when it happens again, but that was a hell of a job. Sharing your learning points from your experience may result in future lives saved.

 

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As I recall the USNA did a lot of research and testing that led to the development of the quick stop maneuver. 

Clearly that research (in the 1980s if I recall correctly) doesn't translate well to today's high speed planing boats with big asymmetrical kites, so maybe it's time for them and/or US Sailing to study the problem. 

Same with the conventional wisdom about tethering. A good idea as long as the tether/jackline is guaranteed to keep you on deck, but I'm guessing someone being towed alongside at 18+ knots wouldn't be conscious long enough to release a tether. I think I'd rather be adrift in my pfd than try that. 

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18kts = 1800ft/min.., or about 1/3 statute mile /minute

 if you are going to douse a big chute, in strong winds, at night, starting with crew out of position - the boat could easily get a mile away

If we could do an experiment.., where the Meridian MOB was repeated, say 10 times.., what fraction would get recovered?

any safe procedure that will lessen that distance is going to increase the chance of recovery.

but i really think it it highlights the importance of the personal AIS on these boats.

obviously, the whistle worked really well.., but i wonder if the conditions might have been pretty favorable for it to be audible, and also, not everyone will be able to keep blowing the whistle for an hour in challenging conditions

 

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8 hours ago, TJSoCal said:

As I recall the USNA did a lot of research and testing that led to the development of the quick stop maneuver. 

Clearly that research (in the 1980s if I recall correctly) doesn't translate well to today's high speed planing boats with big asymmetrical kites, so maybe it's time for them and/or US Sailing to study the problem. 

Same with the conventional wisdom about tethering. A good idea as long as the tether/jackline is guaranteed to keep you on deck, but I'm guessing someone being towed alongside at 18+ knots wouldn't be conscious long enough to release a tether. I think I'd rather be adrift in my pfd than try that. 

 

I was on the phone yesterday with the head of USNA Offshore, relating what we saw, and bouncing some ideas back and forth. Their current SOP with the 52's is up to 20 knots throw the boat into a quick mexican and drop the chute into the jib, in the conditions we were in the applicability of this is questionable at best though. They drill a lot, so it's always good to hear what they've learned. The takeaway though, which we've kinda been hammering on, is that our situation was way outside normal parameters, a very lonely data point if you will. We both agreed strongly job number one is getting the boat under control. Everything else comes after that.

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6 minutes ago, doghouse said:

 

I was on the phone yesterday with the head of USNA Offshore, relating what we saw, and bouncing some ideas back and forth. Their current SOP with the 52's is up to 20 knots throw the boat into a quick mexican and drop the chute into the jib, in the conditions we were in the applicability of this is questionable at best though. They drill a lot, so it's always good to hear what they've learned. The takeaway though, which we've kinda been hammering on, is that our situation was way outside normal parameters, a very lonely data point if you will. We both agreed strongly job number one is getting the boat under control. Everything else comes after that.

+1 on that,

  I would add that getting a boat under control starts long before the mob or line squall.

  sailing at night on any big body of water like lk Mich requires situational awareness to the weather.  There is no reason to get hit unexpectedly with a 40+ kr line squall w a big kite up in the first place.  I live right on lk Erie and have sailed through and watched many such squalls come through both day and night.  Aside basic knowledge of the conditions at the time, (obvious unstable forecast for the chi mac)  there are tell tail signs that an immanent squall is coming through.  Most notably is a precipitous drop in pressure.  If you can't feel quick changes in bar pressure I would suggest getting a digital barometer w alarm !  They are not that expensive, and would provide precious minutes to get a kite down or take a tuck in the main.  This is most important at night where the visible signs of a squall are not as available.  I have sailed with them and can attest they work! 

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6 minutes ago, Raked Aft\\ said:

+1 on that,

  I would add that getting a boat under control starts long before the mob or line squall.

  sailing at night on any big body of water like lk Mich requires situational awareness to the weather.  There is no reason to get hit unexpectedly with a 40+ kr line squall w a big kite up in the first place.  I live right on lk Erie and have sailed through and watched many such squalls come through both day and night.  Aside basic knowledge of the conditions at the time, (obvious unstable forecast for the chi mac)  there are tell tail signs that an immanent squall is coming through.  Most notably is a precipitous drop in pressure.  If you can't feel quick changes in bar pressure I would suggest getting a digital barometer w alarm !  They are not that expensive, and would provide precious minutes to get a kite down or take a tuck in the main.  This is most important at night where the visible signs of a squall are not as available.  I have sailed with them and can attest they work! 

 

That's another piece of the puzzle from this experience, it wasn't a squall on Saturday night, it was a heat burst, which are extremely uncommon. It's also associated with an increase in pressure, not decrease.

 

Quote

So what caused the jarring wind that caused so many experienced sailors trouble that night? The Weather Prediction Center's Surface Analysis Chart shows it was a rare atmospheric phenomenon called a heat burst. 

A heat burst is characterized by gusty winds. It happens when there is a rapid temperature increase and dew point decrease. When one does happen, it's usually at night, as a thunderstorm is decaying.

According to senior marine meteorologist Lee Chesneau, heat bursts are exceptionally rare on Lake Michigan, so this one would have been very hard to predict ahead of time.

 

Heat bursts are virtually unheard of on the East Coast.

 

 

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barometric pressure changes are not, in general, a reliable way to detect an advancing line of squalls

plenty of squalls are accompanied by a local rise in barometric pressure.., and in general there is not a reliable signal of sufficient amplitude. in addition, the thing will often be on you very soon after any barometric signal.

squalls are not so much caused by local surface horizontal pressure differences as they are by local vertical instability - in some cases, they may be associated with a synoptic scale surface low and associated cold front, or some other kind of surface trough.., but that's different.

other than seeing it with your eyes.., or feeling a temperature change.., the best way to know of an advancing line of squalls.., or even an isolated squall.., is by radar - either a radar on your boat, or an app on your phone, if you have data service. the best app is radar scope.

if squalls are expected on an overnight race  - especially in a region known for severe summertime thunderstorms.., you should put the radar on the boat - it's worth it.

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1 hour ago, doghouse said:

 

That's another piece of the puzzle from this experience, it wasn't a squall on Saturday night, it was a heat burst, which are extremely uncommon. It's also associated with an increase in pressure, not decrease.

 

 

We were far east of the storms. We were seeing a fairly rapid increase in wind speed and when it was upper 20's, I started to become a little concerned. Daylight?  No problem, game on. But pitch black darkness is a different story. We were moving along at a pretty good clip when we heard the MOB call. Realizing Meridian X was north of us, I realized we could be sailing into a shit storm so I called for the kite down. Shortly thereafter, we were looking at a wind speed pushing 40 knots. Doghouse is spot on in the above post. This was a rare event and unpredictable. It caught a lot of us by suprise. 

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I think it was 2001 in a double-handed race on Lake Huron when an unannounced squall/front came through the fleet with a vengeance.  Ron White wrote up the story for one of the magazines at the time.  it took the lives of two sailors that flipped on a cat and perished.  Matt Scharl (Gamera) survived the initial gust and immediately got on the radio to alert his competitors of what was coming (he was near the lead).  Would CYC-Mac have a problem if someone did the same?  Get on the radio and report on what people should expect?  Is that outside assistance?  Of course, a boat could report weather without identifying themselves.  

I guess where I'm going, should CYC, BYC, etc. encourage the reporting of severe or at least un-forecasted weather?  Hard to argue against if safety is paramount.  

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7 minutes ago, us7070 said:

was there rain?

None.  The storm west of us was a relatively small, isolated cell. Chris Bedford said to expect the pop up storms over land, but then expect them to diminish once they  were over water. 

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2 minutes ago, Shorthanded said:

None.  The storm west of us was a relatively small, isolated cell. Chris Bedford said to expect the pop up storms over land, but then expect them to diminish once they  were over water. 

 

probably it was raining above.., but the rain evaporated before reaching the surface

it _might_ have been visible on radar.., but would have looked pretty insignificant

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2 minutes ago, us7070 said:

 

probably it was raining above.., but the rain evaporated before reaching the surface

it _might_ have been visible on radar.., but would have looked pretty insignificant

Virga? (or was my entire education a bust)

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8 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

I think it was 2001 in a double-handed race on Lake Huron when an unannounced squall/front came through the fleet with a vengeance.  Ron White wrote up the story for one of the magazines at the time.  it took the lives of two sailors that flipped on a cat and perished.  Matt Scharl (Gamera) survived the initial gust and immediately got on the radio to alert his competitors of what was coming (he was near the lead).  Would CYC-Mac have a problem if someone did the same?  Get on the radio and report on what people should expect?  Is that outside assistance?  Of course, a boat could report weather without identifying themselves.  

I guess where I'm going, should CYC, BYC, etc. encourage the reporting of severe or at least un-forecasted weather?  Hard to argue against if safety is paramount.  

there is no RRS 41 violation if the information is unsolicited

also, if the information is freely available to all boats...

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15 hours ago, us7070 said:

Does Meridian have a DSC VHF? they are required for many distance races. There are several advantages to a DSC VHF, and one of them is that if the distress button is activated.., an audible alarm will sound on other DSC equipped boats.

The distress call sends the lat/lon too, so activating it as soon as possible after a MOB is a good idea - then other boats will have the approximate coordinates without needing to listen for them on the radio.

After reading many of these posts I took a look at the PLB and PAB offerings on the West Marine website. There is a PAB device that straps to the inflator tube of a PFD that both broadcasts an AIS message and a VHF DSC message which includes the position of the MOB. If I remember correctly, Meridian did not have an AIS receiver so Wheeler would not have been found using that system. Additionally, for the AIS system to be helpful in the recovery, others have to know that there is a MOB in the area and think to check their AIS display. The VHF DSC feature of the device would make every DSC radio within a couple of miles sound its alarm thereby automatically getting the word out and likely getting the attention of those in earshot of their radios.

Wheeler was very fortunate to be found through his use of the simplest device available, i.e. his whistle. AIS would not have helped Meridian return to his position and apparently it did not play any sort of role in the rescue. Since Aftershock's radio was off at the time Wheeler went overboard they would have missed the initial DSC call. Once Aftershock turned on their radio after noticing things were happening they would have picked up the next DSC broadcast from the device. For that matter, Meridian X's VHF radio would have also received the DSC message and provided Wheeler's position.

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No rain where we were; well south of Meridian. First an increase in wind speed, about ten knots or so. Then a huge change in direction, about 90 to100 degrees, and another ten knots of breeze. Fifteen knots to thirty/thitry-five in two minutes.

Our weather guy on board had called the scenario exactly. As soon as the first puff arrived we went for the kite douse. By the time people were in position the shift and increase arrived. I blew the halyard as the boat started to round up. We were very ready and it was still very close to a shred event.

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2 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

virga? (or was my entire education a bust)

 

i always think of virga as being a relatively low level phenomenon - seen, for example, below low-level cumulus clouds.., typically within several thousand feet of the surface.

in the case of a heat burst.., i think the precipitation might be at 10,000 ft or more  - maybe even more than 20,000ft

maybe the term still applies though...

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There was no rain where we were. One of the heat burst characteristics is all rain rapidly evaporating. 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, electron345 said:

After reading many of these posts I took a look at the PLB and PAB offerings on the West Marine website. There is a PAB device that straps to the inflator tube of a PFD that both broadcasts an AIS message and a VHF DSC message which includes the position of the MOB. If I remember correctly, Meridian did not have an AIS receiver so Wheeler would not have been found using that system. Additionally, for the AIS system to be helpful in the recovery, others have to know that there is a MOB in the area and think to check their AIS display. The VHF DSC feature of the device would make every DSC radio within a couple of miles sound its alarm thereby automatically getting the word out and likely getting the attention of those in earshot of their radios.

Wheeler was very fortunate to be found through his use of the simplest device available, i.e. his whistle. AIS would not have helped Meridian return to his position and apparently it did not play any sort of role in the rescue. Since Aftershock's radio was off at the time Wheeler went overboard they would have missed the initial DSC call. Once Aftershock turned on their radio after noticing things were happening they would have picked up the next DSC broadcast from the device.

i went through a lengthy discussion with the US importer of the Ocean Signal MOB1

Surprisingly..., The US version of the MOB1 will _not_ make an all-ships DSC call.., so the alarm will not sound on DSC-equipped boats nearby.

In the USA, the MOB1 DSC call is only to the "home" vessel - the one for which the purchaser has programmed the MMSI # when setting up the device. This can be changed as often as you like, but it will only go to one vessel.

This has something to do with FCC regulations

However - the AIS signal will go to all ships with AIS.., and it is identified as a distress signal.., so it is possible that some AIS receivers can be configured to sound an audible alarm when they receive an AIS distress signal.

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8 minutes ago, us7070 said:

i went through a lengthy discussion with the US importer of the Ocean Signal MOB1

Surprisingly..., The US version of the MOB1 will _not_ make an all-ships DSC call.., so the alarm will not sound on DSC boats nearby.

In the USA, the MOB1 DSC call is only to the "home" vessel - the one for which the purchaser has programmed the MMSI # when setting up the device. This can be changed as often as you like, but it will only go to one vessel.

This has something to do with FCC regulations

From the West Marine website: 

  • DSC Transmission: Individual Distress Relay (Single call made on press of the activation button, in regions where it is allowed, such as the US), All Ships Distress Alert Message (Repeated once every 5 minutes)

Given what you learned on your call they ought to clean up the language in their description. It would be nice if the FCC would do something useful and fix that regulatory problem. In any case, the DSC message received on the boat the MOB fell from would definitely help in the situation Wheeler and Meridian X found themselves in.

This is what the Ocean Signal manual says:

5.3 DSC All Ship Distress Alert transmission Applies only in countries where DSC All Ships Alerts are allowed. Press and hold the ON Key for over 5 seconds to transmit a single DSC All Ships Distress Alert. This should only be done in a dire emergency, if it is obvious that your alert is not being acted upon by your own vessel. After the key is pressed, the Green LED will start flashing then become steady. Release the key to commence transmission of a single DSC transmission. The LED will blink rapidly to indicate a DSC Distress is being transmitted to ALL SHIPS; red if there is no position available and green when GPS position is being received.

The MOB1 is a British product and the manufacturer appears to be more concerned about detailing the compatibility issues in Europe than providing any information about limitations in the US.

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7 hours ago, doghouse said:

 

That's another piece of the puzzle from this experience, it wasn't a squall on Saturday night, it was a heat burst, which are extremely uncommon. It's also associated with an increase in pressure, not decrease.

 

 

Doghouse, thanks for sharing everything. I was on Relentless, just a couple of miles away. We had access to GPS radar on our chart plotter, but no onboard radar. I watched the storm roll across northern Wisconsin, and then evaporate over the lake. As the boundary moved South, the storm remained strong over land, and simply disappeared in front of us. We were anticipating a shift from Southerly breeze to North, and I presumed the shift would be associated with the approaching invisible boundary. But nobody called for 40+kts of breeze during the shift.

Mr. Bedford and our friends at the NWS predicted a short interval of no breeze as the front approached. Our plan was also to ride a spinnaker through the South breeze until it died, and go jib up to prepare for the North breeze.

When the South breeze built to a Gale, we were caught off guard with half the crew off watch. After a few minutes of ~17kts boat speed, the helmsman was caught by the lee and the chute collapsed. Knowing we'd never catch it, I let the sheet out to keep control of the boat. As the rest of the crew rushed to help, we eventually got the chute through the companionway and put in a quick double reef. Had someone gone overboard at high speed, there is simply no way we would have been any faster to turn around. I'll certainly be looking into the martin-breaker idea.

My question is this; I can picture now the change in dew point effecting precipitation, but what caused the change in breeze? The storm was created by a cold front, which typically means warm and moist air is lifted by cold and dry air sliding underneath. Does this mean the cold front continued to push the slightly warmer air above the lake up and over the top, creating an inflow toward the front? 

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21 minutes ago, WoobaGooba said:

Blizzard, what is GPS radar?

i am guessing he means a satellite-based weather delivery system - like Sirius XM weather.

those services include NOAA radar

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48 minutes ago, WoobaGooba said:

Blizzard, what is GPS radar?

WoobaGooba, it's a SiriusXM subscription. The picture updates every 5 minutes, with hardly any animation. There is a dialogue box for each storm cell which displays storm height, speed and direction.

Sorry for the poor explanation...my mind is fairly fried at this point.

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16 hours ago, Blizzard said:

Doghouse, thanks for sharing everything. I was on Relentless, just a couple of miles away. We had access to GPS radar on our chart plotter, but no onboard radar. I watched the storm roll across northern Wisconsin, and then evaporate over the lake. As the boundary moved South, the storm remained strong over land, and simply disappeared in front of us. We were anticipating a shift from Southerly breeze to North, and I presumed the shift would be associated with the approaching invisible boundary. But nobody called for 40+kts of breeze during the shift.

Mr. Bedford and our friends at the NWS predicted a short interval of no breeze as the front approached. Our plan was also to ride a spinnaker through the South breeze until it died, and go jib up to prepare for the North breeze.

When the South breeze built to a Gale, we were caught off guard with half the crew off watch. After a few minutes of ~17kts boat speed, the helmsman was caught by the lee and the chute collapsed. Knowing we'd never catch it, I let the sheet out to keep control of the boat. As the rest of the crew rushed to help, we eventually got the chute through the companionway and put in a quick double reef. Had someone gone overboard at high speed, there is simply no way we would have been any faster to turn around. I'll certainly be looking into the martin-breaker idea.

My question is this; I can picture now the change in dew point effecting precipitation, but what caused the change in breeze? The storm was created by a cold front, which typically means warm and moist air is lifted by cold and dry air sliding underneath. Does this mean the cold front continued to push the slightly warmer air above the lake up and over the top, creating an inflow toward the front? 

 

Yeah, we were of the same mind, as I think most were. Started with a FR0, going to A1 then peel to A2 as breeze built and veered.  We gybed once it got to 220, and were going to bend it around until we were back to course, with either an A0 or straight to jib depending on how quickly the transition zone passed.

As far as I've ascertained, this heat burst was part of a pre-frontal storm, and not really a part of the cold front as such. The storms over land decayed out in front of the cold front, and the heat burst was the super heated air running down and out of the storm leftovers. It basically just reinforced what we already had (massively). This jives with what we saw on the water, as the breeze abated down to 12-15knots from the original WSW direction before resuming it's shift to the north. I think we saw it go fully north around 2 am maybe? We were motoring away towards Muskegon, so that probably delayed us seeing the front, but there was a definite interval between the heat burst and the arrival of the front.

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That makes sense. I'm glad everyone is ok, and certainly appreciate your detailed account. We'll definitely be making a few changes as a result of your story.

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Question / clarification.  If I go over the side with a MOB1 and a DSC enabled VHF, the MOB1 is unable to transmit an all-ships DSC call, but the VHF can?  If that is true .. its pretty screwed up?

 

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6 hours ago, Blizzard said:

WoobaGooba, it's a SiriusXM subscription. The picture updates every 5 minutes, with hardly any animation. There is a dialogue box for each storm cell which displays storm height, speed and direction.

Sorry for the poor explanation...my mind is fairly fried at this point.

Thank you

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17 minutes ago, WoobaGooba said:

Question / clarification.  If I go over the side with a MOB1 and a DSC enabled VHF, the MOB1 is unable to transmit an all-ships DSC call, but the VHF can?  If that is true .. its pretty screwed up?

 

there is a thread in gear anarchy discussing that question in more detail - but i think the answer might be "yes".

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One thing to keep in mind with non-onboard radar is that the data can be several minutes old before it is even dispatched from the nexrad radar, then to a processor, then to the satellites. This is becoming a big deal in aviation where the processor (for lack of a better term) that collates all of the data and sends it out over aviation's version of AIS (ADS-B) seems to quite slow - on top of the nexrad's not so fast speed. I believe XM has a slightly faster collate->sendout rate, but ultimately the data can still be quite old if for no other reason than a NEXRAD radar just isn't spinning all that fast... or something to that effect. Short story is, for whatever reason, in airplanes, the standard line is to recognize that the data can be up to 15minutes or so old (older than the time stamp on Foreflight) before we have it in the cockpit, and i think XM aviation weather is slightly better but only just. 

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The standard horizon HX870 handheld VHF has DSC and a GPS and a strobe. Some other VHFs do as well.

So if you're the MOB with it on you, you can turn it on, initiate a VHF DSC distress call by pushing the red button and/or talk to your boat and say "here are my coordinates. Come and get me."

The downside is that it's pretty bulky and people won't wear it. Correction - the older HX851 which we had is big and bulky. This new model looks a lot slimmer. Could easily fit in a belt pouch with a decent light.

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2 hours ago, mustang__1 said:

One thing to keep in mind with non-onboard radar is that the data can be several minutes old before it is even dispatched from the nexrad radar, then to a processor, then to the satellites. This is becoming a big deal in aviation where the processor (for lack of a better term) that collates all of the data and sends it out over aviation's version of AIS (ADS-B) seems to quite slow - on top of the nexrad's not so fast speed. I believe XM has a slightly faster collate->sendout rate, but ultimately the data can still be quite old if for no other reason than a NEXRAD radar just isn't spinning all that fast... or something to that effect. Short story is, for whatever reason, in airplanes, the standard line is to recognize that the data can be up to 15minutes or so old (older than the time stamp on Foreflight) before we have it in the cockpit, and i think XM aviation weather is slightly better but only just. 

Good point. As best I can tell, it seems to be 5-15 minutes behind, compared to what is actually happening on the water. I never thought about it in terms of data processing, though.

I've never used onboard radar. Is Marine radar set up to change the vertical angle of plane like in aviation? Would have been interesting to see if there was precipitation aloft in this particular storm - though I'd think the nexrad would include a composite image.

 

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i'm joking.., kind of..., but i think the main design-goal of recreational marine radar is to find birds...

fishermen care about birds.., because the fish are under the birds.., and probably 90% of recreational marine radar units are bought by sport fishermen

onboard radar is pretty good at detecting precip, but most people think the older radars were better at that than the newer ones.

you can't really change the tilt to look at different levels of the atmosphere, when the boat heels, you look at higher levels...

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1 hour ago, us7070 said:

 

i'm joking.., kind of..., but i think the main design-goal of recreational marine radar is to find birds...

fishermen care about birds.., because the fish are under the birds.., and probably 90% of recreational marine radar units are bought by sport fishermen

onboard radar is pretty good at detecting precip, but most people think the older radars were better at that than the newer ones.

you can't really change the tilt to look at different levels of the atmosphere, when the boat heels, you look at higher levels...

 

maxresdefault.jpg

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14 hours ago, Zonker said:

The standard horizon HX870 handheld VHF has DSC and a GPS and a strobe. Some other VHFs do as well.

So if you're the MOB with it on you, you can turn it on, initiate a VHF DSC distress call by pushing the red button and/or talk to your boat and say "here are my coordinates. Come and get me."

The downside is that it's pretty bulky and people won't wear it. Correction - the older HX851 which we had is big and bulky. This new model looks a lot slimmer. Could easily fit in a belt pouch with a decent light.

I'm racking my brain trying to understand why anyone would buy an AIS plb instead of a DSC handheld radio. The radio will reach ANY boat within a similar range with a radio, and you can actually talk to that boat. There's no 7 year lifespan, it gets weather, you'll use it daily and take care of it, and even if it's not DSC you can still scream mayday into the microphone and give verbal directions. . 

Seems like a no brainer. Why don't safety advocate suggest taking this super simple solution off the nav table and putting it in your pocket. 

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15 minutes ago, C. Spackler said:

I'm racking my brain trying to understand why anyone would buy an AIS plb instead of a DSC handheld radio. The radio will reach ANY boat within a similar range with a radio, and you can actually talk to that boat. There's no 7 year lifespan, it gets weather, you'll use it daily and take care of it, and even if it's not DSC you can still scream mayday into the microphone and give verbal directions. . 

Seems like a no brainer. Why don't safety advocate suggest taking this super simple solution off the nav table and putting it in your pocket. 

i answered your question in the thread in gear anarchy.

the MOB 1 can be put inside your PFD, so you never have to grab it, it deploys automatically, it's small, you don't have to think about charging it...

also - when activated, the MOB 1 will put a MOB icon on your chartplotter.., and you can steer right at it very easily

very few boats have their DSC VHF set up to send a DSC distress location to the chartplotter - if a boat receives a DSC distress call, they are going to have to manually transfer the location to their chartplotter. VHF displays can be hard to read, and there is a significant chance of getting a digit wrong when entering the location as a waypoint.

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Small is pretty key. If it's too big it doesn't get worn. Automatic is nice too.

But how many boats have just a chartplotter, and how many have AIS feed to the chartplotter? How many chartplotters display a MOB AIS signal properly (I'm betting older ones will not; you will just show up as another AIS target)?

But the ability to say to any boat that might rescue you "turn more to starboard"... is nice as well.

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I don't know about the great lakes, but on long island sound, i think probably 90% of the boats doing the vineyard race have an AIS connected to a chartplotter.

the point about older chartplotters is a valid one - i don't know the answer.

i have tested it with expedition  - it's a MOB signal

i am pretty sure i tested it with a first generation B&G chartplotter, and that it was a MOB signal there too.., but i am not certain...

given that a MOB is most likely to be picked up by the boat they are sailing on.., it is up to everyone who gets these devices to do a test and see what the MOB icon looks like on their equipment

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4 hours ago, C. Spackler said:

I'm racking my brain trying to understand why anyone would buy an AIS plb instead of a DSC handheld radio. The radio will reach ANY boat within a similar range with a radio, and you can actually talk to that boat. There's no 7 year lifespan, it gets weather, you'll use it daily and take care of it, and even if it's not DSC you can still scream mayday into the microphone and give verbal directions. . 

Seems like a no brainer. Why don't safety advocate suggest taking this super simple solution off the nav table and putting it in your pocket. 

Give verbal directions to where, exactly?

I get that there are some advantages of being able to talk to potential rescuers, but directions to a completely unknown point in a pitch-black lake from another completely unknown point in a pitch-black lake ain't one of them.  The whistle works better.  There are only two ways to find a MOB other than lucky blundering around:

- electronics that can talk to each other and give the humans on the boat a location to find (AIS, etc.)

- signals that humans can pick up with their own sensory inputs and direct themselves to the source (whistle, lights)

I guess if the MOB could see a boat, knew which boat it was and that that boat was trying to find him, and could tell the aspect of the boat (i.e. waves were not blocking him) then he could direct them to him via radio.  But if they're that close, a whistle and light should be just as effective.

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3 hours ago, coyotepup said:

Give verbal directions to where, exactly?

I get that there are some advantages of being able to talk to potential rescuers, but directions to a completely unknown point in a pitch-black lake from another completely unknown point in a pitch-black lake ain't one of them.  The whistle works better.  There are only two ways to find a MOB other than lucky blundering around:

- electronics that can talk to each other and give the humans on the boat a location to find (AIS, etc.)

- signals that humans can pick up with their own sensory inputs and direct themselves to the source (whistle, lights)

I guess if the MOB could see a boat, knew which boat it was and that that boat was trying to find him, and could tell the aspect of the boat (i.e. waves were not blocking him) then he could direct them to him via radio.  But if they're that close, a whistle and light should be just as effective.

The HX870 referred to earlier has built-in GPS so the MOB could direct the boat or boats to current GPS position. And I expect that a person in the water could see a boat a lot further away than the boat could see them, so being able to tell them "I see you, I'm on your starboard side, maybe a quarter of a mile" or "keep turning right" or "you're pointed right at me" would be very helpful.

So I kind of agree, seems like a radio (as long as it had GPS/DSC and was small enough that it would be worn at all times) would be a lot more useful and about the same cost as an AIS PLB.

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1 hour ago, TJSoCal said:

The HX870 referred to earlier has built-in GPS so the MOB could direct the boat or boats to current GPS position. And I expect that a person in the water could see a boat a lot further away than the boat could see them, so being able to tell them "I see you, I'm on your starboard side, maybe a quarter of a mile" or "keep turning right" or "you're pointed right at me" would be very helpful.

So I kind of agree, seems like a radio (as long as it had GPS/DSC and was small enough that it would be worn at all times) would be a lot more useful and about the same cost as an AIS PLB.

Automatic personal AIS, or manually operated HX870?  Two hands required? Are you conscious? Hypothermic?

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I can't stress strongly enough a VHF, DSC or no, is not a substitute for a personal AIS. You are going to be trying to simply survive in a lot of conditions, you won't be using a radio.

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On 7/21/2017 at 0:07 PM, doghouse said:

I’d like to preface this by stating this is only one man’s perspective, mine and mine alone. As I said up thread, there will be a full article coming out that we are working on, will probably hit the shelves in a month. This is to give everyone a narrative of what transpired, and I think it will answer a lot of the questions I’ve seen posted here.

 

I am the bowman and boat captain for the Farr 400 Meridian X. Approximately 11:15pm on Saturday night I was off watch in the port quarter berth, when someone said they were asking for me on deck to get the A2 down, and I anticipated the wind must be building as the hull noise below was increasing. Halfway into my harness and gear I heard massive stomping on the deck to get up, which indicated it was getting bad rapidly so I rushed into my boots and threw on my pfd and went above just after Mark Wheeler who was running on deck for the all hands call as well. At this point everyone was on deck. Before going off watch, I had set the foredeck in the ready position for a quick drop, martin breaker on kite, drop line tied off, J3 lashed to foredeck, which is pretty standard practice in an offshore big boat. I made about three steps forward when the MOB call came. Mark had gone over the side as described by him in his letter. His light was initially spotted and followed. At the time I had no idea who it was. Luckily everyone was in the back of the boat for weight, and he was seen as he fell over and the call came immediately. Unfortunately, everyone was in the back of the boat, and I was solo upfront with the kite. The trimmer came to the pit and blew the tack, immediately tripping the breaker and freeing the kite. With no one else around I went straight past the mast and gather the kite foot until more hands made it forward and could help drag it down. It took around three minutes to get the kite completely off deck and attempt to turn back. As we came back up into the wind we were knocked over by a 45-50 knot gale and completely flattened for several minutes, ripping the staysail out of the furler and shredding it. Eventually the wind abated enough for us to turn back into the wind and begin sailing a reciprocal course, we estimate we were over 2 miles away at this point as we’d been traveling 18+ kts. A few of us wrestled the staysail pieces off the deck, and I had to use pliers to get the tack shackle off as it had distorted in the storm. We proceeded to clean up lines and continue our mayday broadcasts, with the skipper Sledd Shelhorse on the VHF and myself on the hand held.         

 

At this point we were actively looking for the strobe, not knowing it had failed. This led to a lot of wasted time, as there is a fleet of lights out there, and ended up being a huge distraction from getting back to where we needed to be. We realized that there was no light after probably 15 minutes of looking, and began working our way back up wind in a search pattern. We get the main down to hear better. This point was absolutely the most terrified and helpless I have ever felt in my life. I know the clock is ticking, and a person in the middle of Lake Michigan at midnight is beyond a needle in a haystack. The fact we were at the forward end of the fleet means a lot of other boats are coming through, but still crazy long odds. At this point we think we have heard a faint whistle, but was so far away we are having trouble knowing. We swing slightly to port, then one crew man calls out hard to starboard. As we come around, several of us definitely hear a whistle. We begin to motor, then pull back to listen and make course corrections. We see Aftershock coming at us and begin to hail them. They have apparently heard the whistle just before this, and their jib drops and spotlight immediately comes out. At this point, the whistle is very clear, and I absolutely know we are going to get him, it’s an intense moment, but in a positive way. We pick him up on spotlight rapidly and begin setting up for the grab. Our helmsman teaches heavy air sail handling and boat handling for Safety at Sea, so we are well versed in what is getting ready to happen. We set up about 30 degrees on the breeze, and grab him on the starboard side around the primaries, then fireman bucket brigade him down the side to the transom where it will be much easier to get him in the boat. We know after an hour in the water he won’t be able to assist. I get him at the back, get the lifesling on, and two of us haul him into the boat. A huge cheer erupts from Aftershock, which I will never forget. He is awake and cognitive at this time, which is good, though not really shaking which worries me. After getting him stripped and down below in blankets, he begins to shake which is a good sign and I know he will be ok. I am the only other one on the boat who does the navigation, so I go quickly below and start looking for harbors. We are almost due west of Muskegeon, at a range of ~34 miles, so we immediately head that way. I make some hot water for Mark, then climb on deck with the tablet to navigate us to port. Approximately two hours in Mark pokes his head up, and starts chatting, and huge amount of tension finally unwinds. We are gonna make it.

 

A lot of you guys have asked specific questions, and if I don’t answer them here, just let me know. As far as boat setup, the boat is prepared to the letter of the law on safety. We carried a MOM8, we have four locations to signal MOB, we checked all life jacket lights pre race. We did not have an AIS receiver, and we are absolutely installing one. Mark had a PLB, as did I, and that would have been a boon. I really hope they become required equipment, the cost versus benefit is laughable. As described above, the kite was set for an immediate drop which is best practice in any offshore event. Windquest had practically an identical situation as us minus losing someone overboard after getting caught with A2 up. They had minute plus knock down, but they were able to blow the kite and get the boat back up because they could release the tack. I don’t believe it’s a stupid question at all to ask about the quick stop (I bring up what we feel the max breeze for a quick stop in every prestart safety briefing, including this one), but it is absolutely not feasible in this breeze. The boat was knocked over with just the main up, you’d end up on your side with a bigger mess and possibly more people ejected off the boat. Our MOB buttons are on the tablet/computer, handheld GPS, GPS head unit below, and VHF radio. The MOB locations we have became very redundant as one went over the side with Mark, one nobody knew the location of the tablet other than Mark, one was triggered, the VHF, and the other was part of VHF chain, the Simrad. We were able to start spitting out coordinates over the VHF fortunately.  Our MOM did not get deployed immediately, we thought about deploying late, but felt it would be a distraction from getting back to his immediate vicinity.

 

The AIS receiver and placing MOB buttons in the reach of the helm are the two biggest hardware changes that are necessary, one to track, and one to get a quicker MOB target on the GPS. The bigger changes have to be procedural. We were properly set up for sail handling, which is critical and I can’t emphasize enough. If you get back footed trying to take down a 2000 SF  kite in a gale it could wrap you up for half an hour and cause more carnage in terms of boat and crew. The issue that needs to be drilled relentlessly is what was mentioned above, you have to practice with crew minus 1. In this case a critical component of our process went over the side, and it negatively impacted our ability to respond. It’s also critical to practice minus the bowman, and have the rest of the team be comfortable in getting the sails down in extreme conditions.

For crew, mandatory to carry a secondary light. As a bowman I have always carried a second light, as I’ve run through this very scenario in my head countless times. Everyone on the boat needs to as well. Whether it be glow sticks or strobes or torches, always have backup. A PLB is a good idea as well.

 

We are very fortunate to have gotten our man back. Mark and I have done thousands of miles together, in everything from dinghys to 52’s to Vipers to everything in between. I couldn’t imagine losing him, and implore everyone to take this seriously. Our crew collectively has Whitbreads, IACC sailing, Sydney Hobarts, Transatlantics, Newport Bermudas and countless Macs, among many others under our belt, and this is by far the most dangerous situation we have been a part of. The biggest challenge is that there is very few people with real world experience in dealing with it, so you have to rely on drilling relentlessly and strict adherence to best practices, along with gleaning all you can from people who have dealt with it. I hope this little bit is helpful to anyone who is reading.

 

 

Graham Garrenton

Aka - doghouse

Graham:  Thanks for taking the time to write something up.  I am continually learning things and if you don't mind, I got a few questions (and comments) and still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Wheeler was in the water for over an hour.  I do not see mention of you (crew) creating a debris field (horseshoe buoy, flash lights etc).  You mention you had a MOM but you do not mention it being deployed.  I do know (from first hand experience) the 8A has inflatable horseshoe, drogue and most importantly an inflatable spar with light on top.  This is key as that it give the boat a reference to sail back towards, AND the person in the water to go towards.  I know the F400's so I will do some reading between the lines here and please correct me if I am wrong.

Wheeler the navigator is probably one of the most, if not the most experienced crew on the boat.  He is also probably the only one that can run the tablet (I am assuming you are running a tablet with a PC laptop down below).  He is probably half asleep and fiddling to leeward for the tablet in the nav bag when your "second" most experienced person (as that it is windy and he is probably on the wheel) on the boat jukes the boat down a wave with a sudden gust and in he goes, tablet and all.  (I did look at your crew list for the event after you made mention of the combined experience level, which one of you has done the Whitbread?)

You, and I commend you immensely, have rigged the martin breaker and TIED off the drop line so you probably dropped the kite about as fast as you could.  So now you are planing off at 15-18 knots (or more graphically about 25 feet a second).  Even with the kite half down under main alone your doing 10 knots.  I would guess, using your "3 minutes" to get the kite down, at an avg speed of 12 plus knots or so you are 8-9 tenths of a nm away by the time you are done.  Since Wheeler is in the water, I assume someone had to go get the laptop open and make sure it boots up then try and use MOB icon on Expedition.  

Did you have a reasonable lat/long fix for the MOB?  Did you have to use the laptop?

So kite is down and helmsman spins boat into breeze with full main.  Greater apparent wind speed plus "storm" hits and the previously furled staysail understandably starts un winding and onto your side you go.  Crew out of position, boat on its side, staysail flailing against the rig likely.    I imagine this took an undisclosed time to get down.   I would guess it is max wind speed so 35-45 knots maybe?  Was the main also dropped at this point (my guess after some debate)?  That probably was a handful to say the least, all the while you run the risk of losing another man over the side.  I would guess you are on your side (alternately)and trying to get the main down for what, 20-30 minutes.  Probably drifting sideways (largely) at 2.5-3.5 knots.  Now you are 1.5 miles plus away easy.

You mention you would motor, then stop and listen.  I assume a lot of this is because you had no lat/long and no light to reference.  I see in previous comments a lot of mention about AIS (which I love and use almost daily) and PLB's which I have experimented with.  As anyone whom has ever used Expedition or Deckman for charting can tell you the boat icon is HUGE on the screen.  You would have to hover the cursor over the AIS target to get data (and anything within 2 tenths of a nm would be almost beneath the icon probably).  I imagine if you had AIS and PLB's in your case, with not be the best trained person (he is in the water), hanging onto a laptop that is Velcroed to the engine box or top of the fuel tank down below behind a loud diesel motoring upwind in a lot of breeze it would still be very, very challenging.  

 

Yea, I think AIS and PLB's would have helped, but I think you had some rudimentary tools right in front of you that would have gotten you back to him much faster.  Deploy the MOM, create a debris field with a floating light.  Even old school gravity activated (mercury switched) MOB strobe tied to a horseshoe would have done the trick.  

 

Regards,

Crew

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Polaris said:

Another idea that I have always insisted upon for crew on my past boats is not to rely on light built into the Mustang device.  I actually open/unzip the Mustang and secure another more powerful light that can be seen for miles to the preserver as an extra.  Also, new batteries before you leave.  Somebody with a functioning GPS hitting their MOB button is easy.  Somebody pulling the pin on the MOM8.  Race is over, no PTSD afterward like the crew of Meridian has and will have.  One hour, that is frightening.  

its so easy you must have done this before. regale us with your story of losing someone at night at 20kts boat speed. 

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15 hours ago, Crew said:

Graham:  Thanks for taking the time to write something up.  I am continually learning things and if you don't mind, I got a few questions (and comments) and still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Wheeler was in the water for over an hour.  I do not see mention of you (crew) creating a debris field (horseshoe buoy, flash lights etc).  You mention you had a MOM but you do not mention it being deployed.  I do know (from first hand experience) the 8A has inflatable horseshoe, drogue and most importantly an inflatable spar with light on top.  This is key as that it give the boat a reference to sail back towards, AND the person in the water to go towards.  I know the F400's so I will do some reading between the lines here and please correct me if I am wrong.

Wheeler the navigator is probably one of the most, if not the most experienced crew on the boat.  He is also probably the only one that can run the tablet (I am assuming you are running a tablet with a PC laptop down below).  He is probably half asleep and fiddling to leeward for the tablet in the nav bag when your "second" most experienced person (as that it is windy and he is probably on the wheel) on the boat jukes the boat down a wave with a sudden gust and in he goes, tablet and all.  (I did look at your crew list for the event after you made mention of the combined experience level, which one of you has done the Whitbread?)

You, and I commend you immensely, have rigged the martin breaker and TIED off the drop line so you probably dropped the kite about as fast as you could.  So now you are planing off at 15-18 knots (or more graphically about 25 feet a second).  Even with the kite half down under main alone your doing 10 knots.  I would guess, using your "3 minutes" to get the kite down, at an avg speed of 12 plus knots or so you are 8-9 tenths of a nm away by the time you are done.  Since Wheeler is in the water, I assume someone had to go get the laptop open and make sure it boots up then try and use MOB icon on Expedition.  

Did you have a reasonable lat/long fix for the MOB?  Did you have to use the laptop?

So kite is down and helmsman spins boat into breeze with full main.  Greater apparent wind speed plus "storm" hits and the previously furled staysail understandably starts un winding and onto your side you go.  Crew out of position, boat on its side, staysail flailing against the rig likely.    I imagine this took an undisclosed time to get down.   I would guess it is max wind speed so 35-45 knots maybe?  Was the main also dropped at this point (my guess after some debate)?  That probably was a handful to say the least, all the while you run the risk of losing another man over the side.  I would guess you are on your side (alternately)and trying to get the main down for what, 20-30 minutes.  Probably drifting sideways (largely) at 2.5-3.5 knots.  Now you are 1.5 miles plus away easy.

You mention you would motor, then stop and listen.  I assume a lot of this is because you had no lat/long and no light to reference.  I see in previous comments a lot of mention about AIS (which I love and use almost daily) and PLB's which I have experimented with.  As anyone whom has ever used Expedition or Deckman for charting can tell you the boat icon is HUGE on the screen.  You would have to hover the cursor over the AIS target to get data (and anything within 2 tenths of a nm would be almost beneath the icon probably).  I imagine if you had AIS and PLB's in your case, with not be the best trained person (he is in the water), hanging onto a laptop that is Velcroed to the engine box or top of the fuel tank down below behind a loud diesel motoring upwind in a lot of breeze it would still be very, very challenging.  

 

Yea, I think AIS and PLB's would have helped, but I think you had some rudimentary tools right in front of you that would have gotten you back to him much faster.  Deploy the MOM, create a debris field with a floating light.  Even old school gravity activated (mercury switched) MOB strobe tied to a horseshoe would have done the trick.  

 

Regards,

Crew

 

 

 

Hey Crew, good thoughtful post. I'll try and answer what I can here. As far a specific crew, I don't want to post them here without telling them, but feel free to PM or email me and I'd be happy to share more detail on that.

Experience wise, Wheeler is in the middle of our crew. The most experienced guy was on the helm, and was getting ready to hand it over to another driver (the Whitbread/AC vet) when the breeze really started building and the kite down call came. Mark was actually heading to the back and as the boat snatched one way, tumbled out from just behind the runner winch. He did not have the tablet with him, but at the time no one knew that, so for all intents and purposes it was gone. I can also run the whole nav system, I installed it, but not as efficiently as he can (I'm more the IT department), and as mentioned, no idea if there still is a tablet around. Plus being the bowman this race I'm the least available to get it out during any sort of maneuver. I did find it after the fact and used it to get us to Muskegon, which was nice.

In the actual incident itself, we hit the distress button on the DSC radio, which is tied to our high speed GPS head (Simrad MX510). The laptop is constantly running, no need to boot it up, but without the tablet it isn't terribly functional in an emergency situation. So there was a lat/long, which is what we broadcast to the fleet, and which ended up being more accurate than I thought at the time, at least on the latitude, as Aftershock spotted him along with us very close to those coordinates. We were motoring and idling back simply for listening ability.

As far as getting back upwind, we came about in about 45 knots, and saw about 55 knots when we got flattened. Once it dropped to about 35 (4 or 5 minutes), we were back up with the engine on and main. The call to drop the main came much later after we motored upwind for quite sometime, so we could hear better. No issues there, it was on the deck in a minute or so then rough flaked, it was probably blowing 20 at this point. 

The two main procedural things that we could do better is deploy the MOM on time, and actually trust our numbers and go back to the spot we thought he should be. Not getting the MOM out was a direct function of who went over, as Mark is usually the guy in the back of the bus. That is something that needs to be drilled into everyone's mindset, man over, pull the MOM. I give the pre race safety briefing, and that is verbatim part of my spiel, but I am going to have to come up with ways to drill it so it's second nature to everyone. In my post you quoted, the third paragraph starts off with how we chased our tail with lights. This was a major problem, and by far the bigger time killer. We should have gone to where we thought he was.

The debris field idea is good, but really a non starter here unless you have a bunch of lights, and manage to throw everything over in time. Visibility on the water was around two boat lengths or so. I agree with the premise though, and we actually carried a horseshoe, any water activated light on it would have been good addition. But if we didn't manage to get the MOM in, the horseshoe would have been even slower. The process more than the equipment slowed us down. I 100% believe an AIS target would have cut the recovery time to ~ 15 minutes. You are spot on about the laptop location, it's dual-locked by the engine box. We are looking at getting it out into the boat with a waterproof cover for functionalities sake.

Not sure what part of the country you are in, but I am most likely doing a talk/panel at least three of the SaS seminar's this winter, I'd love to talk more about what we saw and the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the various gear and techniques. That goes for anyone reading really, and always feel free to PM or email

 

Cheers,

G

 

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1 minute ago, Polaris said:

Grant,  Was the light beacon on the MOB himself, the one on his Mustang lifevest?  If so, could it have been brighter, or was it a low lumen flicker?

Mustang 1, take it easy.  I'm learning here as well.

 

It was an ACR C-Light. I replaced all the pfd lights with them, new batteries, and tested each before packing. Once he went in, it was intermittent, then completely out. When we tested it on land later and it would work vertical, but not on it's side, so it's pretty defective. I test the other 6 I had on Wednesday, 5 worked, one barely lit, and would come on and off randomly.

 

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Sounds like a horrible record for equipment you rely on to save your life. I imagine a letter to ACR is in order.

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5 minutes ago, fucket said:

Sounds like a horrible record for equipment you rely on to save your life. I imagine a letter to ACR is in order.

 

The rep is supposed to be getting in touch.

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5 minutes ago, Polaris said:

Graham, my idea would be a telescoping (high) lumen light that would insert into the Mustang vest (attached) as a backup.  The light would be up off the water and could be waved from side to side.  I never trusted the light included in the vests, plus they are so low in the water.  So glad you found him.    

Just to reiterate, these weren't the lights included in the vests.  The running recommendation is a strobe, not a solid light.  As well as secondary flashlight.  

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2 minutes ago, Polaris said:

A strobe is the running recommendation, but malfunction easier when abused over time not being used.  A solid high lumen light has less of a chance of malfunctioning and could probably be seen from a farther distance with a magnifying lens.  As I mentioned previously, at the end of a 2 foot telescoping pole held up by the MOB that would be seen further above the water in 6 foot waves with whitecaps would have made things easier for locating.  

 

The problem with a solid light is it's impossible to see in a fleet of nav lights, and that was a major factor in the time it took us to locate the MOB. A strobe is definitely the preferred form.

 

I like a backup handheld torch though too, to use directionally. 

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For the last 13 years we had a chem light (glow light) in our PFDs. It's the back up which (nearly) never fails. For the last 4 years we have small LED torches with a red laser pointer integrated. In bad visibility the laser beam penetrates rain etc. much better than any other light. Rain even helps to flare the pinpoint beam. Greatland even sells rescue lasers which are flared for 10 times the price of a waterproof laserpointer. If you are unconscious only an automatic PFD and (automatic) AIS has a better chance. In any case get the other boats on the radio CH 16 by shooting a couple of red stars to alert them to a grave incident. They in turn may relay the mayday with red flares and the radio. If there is current involved (like Gulfstream) time is even more pressing and the waves probably much higher. 

 

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31 minutes ago, Polaris said:

A strobe is the running recommendation, but malfunction easier when abused over time not being used.  

these were brand new lights, with brand new batteries...

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On 7/28/2017 at 2:45 PM, doghouse said:

 

The problem with a solid light is it's impossible to see in a fleet of nav lights, and that was a major factor in the time it took us to locate the MOB. A strobe is definitely the preferred form.

 

I like a backup handheld torch though too, to use directionally. 

I just want to say thanks for posting and thanks for taking the time to reply to everyone here with well thought out concise responses.  I think this exchange among many individuals is very valuable in helping improve safety in a pastime that most of us are pretty passionate about-Kudos and glad the end result ended well.

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What @last said.  I have nightmares about both being the MOB and being on the boat recovering.  I can say without reservation that the dialog in this thread will save lives.  Thanks doghouse for your forthrightness about this event. 

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Agreed.  Thanks, Graham, AKA Doghouse.

 

This may be THE most useful thread in these forums in quite sometime...maybe ever.  If you can't learn something from this dialogue and discussion and take it with you to future events, then maybe you should stop sailing.

 

thanks again, and glad the outcome turned out the way it did.

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On 7/28/2017 at 3:10 PM, ChristianSch said:

For the last 4 years we have small LED torches with a red laser pointer integrated. In bad visibility the laser beam penetrates rain etc. much better than any other light. Rain even helps to flare the pinpoint beam. Greatland even sells rescue lasers which are flared for 10 times the price of a waterproof laserpointer.

At one of the safety seminars, the presenter said the Coast Guard will abort any helicopter rescue if they see lasers anywhere.

http://coastguardnews.com/coast-guard-warns-about-dangers-aiming-lasers-at-vessels/2017/05/19/

http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2012/08/green-lasers-halt-coast-guard-air-searches/

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5 hours ago, krossell said:

At one of the safety seminars, the presenter said the Coast Guard will abort any helicopter rescue if they see lasers anywhere.

http://coastguardnews.com/coast-guard-warns-about-dangers-aiming-lasers-at-vessels/2017/05/19/

http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2012/08/green-lasers-halt-coast-guard-air-searches/

Thank you for pointing out, what the flip side of having found the needle in the haystack could be. It's very helpful to discuss this since it isn't child's play. Nobody wants to be abandoned after the MOB has been found. Because of hypothermia time is of the essence and most of the time you don't have an hour to spare for drawn out searches because the rescuers didn't see you from 5 miles away 80-90% of the time being blocked by waves.

note, US Congress recently passed the H.S. 386 Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2011 bill, which prohibits a laser pointer from being aimed at an aircraft. The bill specifically exempts "an individual using a laser emergency signaling device to send an emergency distress signal."

Rest assured, it continues to be legal to use your Rescue Laser to signal an aircraft in an emergency!

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OR have your mobile phone on you, and hold that light up.... And yes it has worked, proven, don't ask... It's an old story, a story of carelessness, a touch of stupidity,  and extreme good fortune. All's well that ends well. Recovery's are a good thing, glad your mate made it back on. You scared the shit out of most of us listening on the radio, fuckers! ;)

 

Cheers,

BB

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On ‎7‎/‎28‎/‎2017 at 1:26 PM, doghouse said:

 

The rep is supposed to be getting in touch.

Quote of the year. Will be interesting to hear what their legal team they have to say.

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6 minutes ago, Not Me said:

Quote of the year. Will be interesting to hear what their legal team they have to say.

They'll add a disclaimer to the units  : "This device is not intended to be used for emergency signaling purposes. In a real emergency please use a chemical light stick or your smartphone flashlight app."

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On 8/1/2017 at 5:00 AM, ChristianSch said:

note, US Congress recently passed the H.S. 386 Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2011 bill, which prohibits a laser pointer from being aimed at an aircraft. The bill specifically exempts "an individual using a laser emergency signaling device to send an emergency distress signal."

Rest assured, it continues to be legal to use your Rescue Laser to signal an aircraft in an emergency!

 

Huh? You mean the house passed it? (They did, in 2011, but it never passed the Senate.) 

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2 hours ago, doghouse said:

http://lakeeriewx.com/blog/chicago-mac-2017/

 

A fairly in depth write up on the heat burst phenomenon.

 

Thanks for the link. Experienced the same phenomenon during the 2016 LO 300  as we closed the  Niagara mark  and I have been looking for an insightful explanation ever since.  

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3 hours ago, Slim said:

 

Huh? You mean the house passed it? (They did, in 2011, but it never passed the Senate.) 

Haha, love to meet the MOB who doesn't use the rescue laser because Senate didn't pass the bill and let the SAR overlook him. 

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Doghouse-

  One more question for you (ok two more really)

 

1. If I am reading this correctly the MOB had a personal AIS in his lifejacket, if so was it deployed? and curious if so if it is set to deploy when vest is inflated or manual?

2. More importantly if deployed did any boats report receiving the MOB signal and location on their chartplotter?

 

I have been a huge advocate for personal AIS units and won't go offshore without one but no idea of their effectiveness.  I am somewhat worried that  bobbing around in any sort of sea will greatly reduce their range.

 

Thanks again for sharing all this with the community, this is what great seamanship is all about.

-Cheese.

  

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