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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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fragglerock

Another fatality for Clipper Around the World.

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https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/news/article/fatality-statement-simon-speirs--cv30

 

Quote

OFFICIAL STATEMENT - 18/11/2017

We are extremely saddened today to report the fatality of Simon Speirs, a crew member on board CV30, (GREAT Britain).

Simon, 60, from Bristol, UK, was on the foredeck assisting with a headsail change from Yankee 3 when he was washed overboard. Although he was clipped on with his safety tether, he became separated from the yacht in the Southern Ocean at approximately 0814UTC (1414 local time) in a rough sea state, in 20 knots of wind, gusting 40.

The team’s man overboard recovery training kicked into immediate effect and despite the rough conditions, Simon was recovered back on board by the Skipper and crew within 36 minutes, at which point CPR was immediately administered by three medically trained crew, which included a GP. However Simon sadly never regained consciousness and was pronounced deceased at 0925UTC. The cause of death is unconfirmed at this time but thought to be by drowning.

 

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Very sad. I am impressed that they could find and recover him in those seas, in the southern ocean, in 36 minutes. A valiant and admirable effort, imo.

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Tragic news.  My condolences to his family.

Also, read that he was buried at sea.  Was surprised, initially, to read that.  But after considering the circumstances, 1200+ miles from land, its understandable.  Still, his family won't even have his body to bury.  Very sad situation.  

WetHog  :ph34r:

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Details of the burial are in the updated fatality statement

Quote

As requested by Simon’s family, who were fully aware and came together to follow it at the same time back home, it was a Christian service, and the rest of the Clipper Race fleet also joined them in solidarity as it was carried out.

So sad. Found some consolation though, in reviewing the happy ending of a similar story that happened in 1989. VOR did the show the day before Simon went over.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-msm5H0pt0 

Peace all.

 

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Since the report say that he got dragged for a bit time to link the backtow life vest once more:
Not perfect, nothing ever is, but their harness modification does give a better chance at survival. https://www.teamomarine.com/

The other point made several times in previous discussion was shorter tethers. Just because it is an approved tether with the  "standard" length legs does not mean that the short one can't be to long. Be that because of work positions or body height.

Would either item have helped in this case? We can't know.

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6 hours ago, theadmiralty said:

Why the fuck does this keep happening!!!??

Sorry, if you have to ask that question you have no real idea, not only why people do the Clipper Race or indeed why so many people actually sail offshore. We all know the risks and manage them and, frankly, Clipper manage those risks extremely well BUT accidents happen. That doesn't make them any less tragic but big seas, a bouncing foredeck and before you know it......

And it doesn't "keep happening"! If it was commonplace it wouldn't make the BBC News or MSN News page!

Sad loss just the same and a reminder to us weekend warriors, at whatever level we play our sport or even just potter around the swatchways that the sea, when she is in the mood, shows no mercy.

Sail on Simon - fair winds.

SS

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7 hours ago, Chasm said:

Since the report say that he got dragged for a bit time to link the backtow life vest once more:
Not perfect, nothing ever is, but their harness modification does give a better chance at survival. https://www.teamomarine.com/

The other point made several times in previous discussion was shorter tethers. Just because it is an approved tether with the  "standard" length legs does not mean that the short one can't be to long. Be that because of work positions or body height.

Would either item have helped in this case? We can't know.

Chasm you can have a long tether with an intermediate short hook to match clip on locations ie say mast versus jackline near the rail. The back clip-on PFD design you post does appear to address the drag and drown issue, however it's downside is hard if not near impossible to self release, including onboard if something snags the tether on deck.

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4 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

Sorry, if you have to ask that question you have no real idea, not only why people do the Clipper Race or indeed why so many people actually sail offshore. We all know the risks and manage them and, frankly, Clipper manage those risks extremely well BUT accidents happen. That doesn't make them any less tragic but big seas, a bouncing foredeck and before you know it......

And it doesn't "keep happening"! If it was commonplace it wouldn't make the BBC News or MSN News page!

Sad loss just the same and a reminder to us weekend warriors, at whatever level we play our sport or even just potter around the swatchways that the sea, when she is in the mood, shows no mercy.

Sail on Simon - fair winds.

SS

Hey Shanghai, how many deaths do you need before you start to doubt the Clipper's great management of risks?  They didn't have a death in two decades and then they had two within a few months last time around, and they've already had a completely preventable grounding and now another death. 

 

I gotta say that 3 dead out of the total complement of - probably like 250 sailors in the two editions?  That's a pretty fucking high percentage likelihood of dying for folks who just wanted to sail around the world.

Maybe they should find another name for the Clipper. Is Life at the Extreme taken?

 

 

 

 

 

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You are so wrong at so many levels Clean.

First, there have been and will be way way more than 250 sailors in 2 editions. Remember that many only sail one or two of ten or so legs and there are probably ten per boat each leg and ten legs or so.

Second, VOR has had a preventable grounding, a yacht sink in the middle of the Atlantic, lost people overboard and people die (RIP Hans). The navigator on Scallywag got hit in the head by the boom (the cause of death of one Clipper sailor last time). All of those were boats full of pros.

Clipper goes on these races every couple of years (ie more frequently than VOR). They do an hell of a lot of work on safety and they take average people who still sign up having assessed the risks and the history. Sure there should probably be more professionals aboard but how many is the right number.

In any event now is not an appropriate time to have this discussion. Let his family grieve.

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1 hour ago, MR.CLEAN said:

I gotta say that 3 dead out of the total complement of - probably like 250 sailors in the two editions?  That's a pretty fucking high percentage likelihood of dying for folks who just wanted to sail around the world.

That is a risk factor of around 1%.

For the tourists who get guided up Everest I believe the risk numbers are 25% for old pricks and around 2% for youngsters to end up being a permanent ice block. Sailing therefore looks pretty safe for older folk by comparison. 

Even better odds are if your an old prick with a young and athletic trophy wife, the risk of dying in the saddle is less than 1% of sudden deaths. However the risk of her going on Tinder and changing her Facebook status instead of giving you CPR is close to 100%.

Life is a game of numbers, that's why old guys with big sailboats are always smiling and usually lawyers and or mathematicians.

 

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4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

 

That is a risk factor of around 1%.

For the tourists who get guided up Everest I believe the risk numbers are 25% for old pricks and around 2% for youngsters to end up being a permanent ice block. Sailing therefore looks pretty safe for older folk by comparison. 

Even better odds are if your an old prick with a young and athletic trophy wife, the risk of dying in the saddle is less than 1% of sudden deaths. However the risk of her going on Tinder and changing her Facebook status instead of giving you CPR is close to 100%.

Life is a game of numbers, that's why old guys with big sailboats are always smiling and usually lawyers and or mathematicians.

 

Just another question and I'm searching for the correlation myself is have there been more in the Clipper than say the Volvo? This is not a finger pointing exercise on my behalf but if so could it be related to the sailors on the Volvo being more professional than the Clipper which tends to cater for more amateur. This may not be a fair question just a thought that i wanted to be constructive

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It's an ocean passage.  The Southern Ocean.  Boats break, equipment fails, accidents happen and people die.  Such it is, and so it has always been.  To believe otherwise displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the risks.  No matter how much time, effort, training and expense you put into mitigating those risks, there will always remain an elevated residual risk and the sea is implacable.   Those that go offshore are irresponsible if they don't comprehend that.

It is neither senseless nor even unexpected.  If you don't understand that you have an increased risk of harm or even death by going off shore,  then you should stay on your sofa.  

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Well said Rail Meat - all you can do on an ocean going sailboat is mitigate the risks - you cannot eliminate them just like you cannot control the sea - you cannot make it 'safe'.  Most who sail know this and accept the risk.

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Massively impressive they recovered him given their latitude and the conditions. Very sad to hear given that (on the face of it) he was doing everything by the book safety wise and still didn't stay in the game.

I imagine losing a crewmate whilst racing will affect the crew in a big way - I hope they are all able to cope with it.

Comparisons between VOR and Clipper aside - who'd put a 60 year old guy on the foredeck? in the Southern Ocean?  I'll probably get a load of abuse for saying it but, abilities aside, that's a bunch of risk right there. 

Questions will be raised though - clipper have a duty of care to their subscribers, going ahead and changing nothing is clearly not an option.

 

 

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It's possible to make it safer on the bow by also using a halyard or topping lift, so that the crew physically can't fall overboard. As we all know, the regular safety line is not bullet proof.

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2 minutes ago, bad sandwhich said:

Massively impressive they recovered him given their latitude and the conditions. Very sad to hear given that (on the face of it) he was doing everything by the book safety wise and still didn't stay in the game.

I imagine losing a crewmate whilst racing will affect the crew in a big way - I hope they are all able to cope with it.

Comparisons between VOR and Clipper aside - who'd put a 60 year old guy on the foredeck? in the Southern Ocean?  I'll probably get a load of abuse for saying it but, abilities aside, that's a bunch of risk right there. 

Questions will be raised though - clipper have a duty of care to their subscribers, going ahead and changing nothing is clearly not an option.

 

 

 Rich Wilson was 66 when he did his second Vendee Globe. Multiple Bermuda 1-2 skippers have been over 70. Solo no less. 

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5 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Hey Shanghai, how many deaths do you need before you start to doubt the Clipper's great management of risks?  They didn't have a death in two decades and then they had two within a few months last time around, and they've already had a completely preventable grounding and now another death. 

 

I gotta say that 3 dead out of the total complement of - probably like 250 sailors in the two editions?  That's a pretty fucking high percentage likelihood of dying for folks who just wanted to sail around the world.

Maybe they should find another name for the Clipper. Is Life at the Extreme taken?

 

 

 

 

 

Ha - as a lawyer you obviously know how to make an argument to suit your views. No doubt you have heard of the expression "lies, damn lies and statistics" - easy to play with figures.

However, I am sure you prefer facts to assumptions.

So is it 3 deaths in "probably like 250" (don't you just love precise figures guys) OR is it 3 deaths in the 4,000 or so sailors  Clipper has taken Ocean Racing since the company was founded.

3 Deaths is too many but human failures, mechanical failures, gear failures can be trained for, checked for and allowed for but if things didn't sometimes go wrong there would be no room for the word 'Accident' in the dictionary.

Truly, I think a bunch of anarchists beating their gums over who was at fault without knowing the precise details of circumstances  is pure speculation.

The only body likely to be able to come to a professional finding - after hearing from everyone concerned is the UK's MAIB and they are PDG at getting to the bottom of this sort of thing. So in the meantime let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

And let's not forget that we are only having this discussion because some poor guy (who was a keen sailor - not just an adventure junkie) went over the side alive and was brought back on board dead.

Thoughts and sympathy to his family.

Sail on Simon Spiers

SS

 

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7 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

... and they've already had a completely preventable grounding ...

And the management is responsible for this how?

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1 hour ago, bad sandwhich said:

Comparisons between VOR and Clipper aside - who'd put a 60 year old guy on the foredeck? in the Southern Ocean?  I'll probably get a load of abuse for saying it but, abilities aside, that's a bunch of risk right there. 

You really need to get out more...and do you anticipate topping yourself when you turn 60 so people are not at risk dusting around you?

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At the risk of sounding insensitive - not absolving the organization of accountability, but have to throw-in with those on the side of voluntary assumption of risk. You’re going to the Southern Ocean in a teacup for crying out loud. 

It seems like I can’t even go to a 10k charity run without seeing CPR in progress, or a body bag. We’re not rushing out in mass to shut down those organizations. 

They shoot horses, don’t they...?

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1 hour ago, Marty6 said:

And the management is responsible for this how?

their boat.  their safety and nav gear. their training. their employee was in charge of the boat.  

Does it not work that way in UK Maritime law?

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2 hours ago, Rail Meat said:

It's an ocean passage.  The Southern Ocean.  

It is a passenger-paying trip, in many ways.  Should 3 people die in three years?  Should 3 out of 1400 die on what is 'the adventure of a lifetime' for, in many cases, pensioners?

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8 hours ago, DtM said:

You are so wrong at so many levels Clean.

First, there have been and will be way way more than 250 sailors in 2 editions. Remember that many only sail one or two of ten or so legs and there are probably ten per boat each leg and ten legs or so.

Second, VOR has had a preventable grounding, a yacht sink in the middle of the Atlantic, lost people overboard and people die (RIP Hans). The navigator on Scallywag got hit in the head by the boom (the cause of death of one Clipper sailor last time). All of those were boats full of pros.

Clipper goes on these races every couple of years (ie more frequently than VOR). They do an hell of a lot of work on safety and they take average people who still sign up having assessed the risks and the history. Sure there should probably be more professionals aboard but how many is the right number.

In any event now is not an appropriate time to have this discussion. Let his family grieve.

Sorry, I've updated my numbers to around 1400 for two editions.

Second: One death in 5 editions for the Volvo in 12 years.  3 in 2 editions in the Clipper in 2.5 years..  Are you saying the two situations are comparable?  They don't look like it if you write down the numbers.

Third: "They do a hell of a lot of work on safety" seems to go against the ACTUAL MAIB REPORT on the last two deaths.  Do you disagree with the MAIB's recommendations?

Fourth: The family is grieving regardless of whether we talk on a bulletin board.  Do you think that by discussing how this can be prevented in the future, the family loses their ability to speak to each other?

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2 hours ago, Rail Meat said:

It's an ocean passage.  The Southern Ocean.  Boats break, equipment fails, accidents happen and people die.  Such it is, and so it has always been.  To believe otherwise displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the risks.  No matter how much time, effort, training and expense you put into mitigating those risks, there will always remain an elevated residual risk and the sea is implacable.  

This is all 100% true.  What I'm wondering is just how much the Clipper competitors truly understood the risk, and whether the Clipper added more pros and fixed their safety problems (which focused again and again on their MOB procedures, equipment, and training.

 

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1 hour ago, shanghaisailor said:

 

Truly, I think a bunch of anarchists beating their gums over who was at fault without knowing the precise details of circumstances  is pure speculation.

 

 

That's fine SS but you do understand that I have been all over the first two deaths, (including speaking to one of the sailors' family members to get the real info) and all over the MAIB report, and what I am looking at is patterns and responses with an understanding from several past Clipper skippers that it was always just a matter of time before people started dying because of the 'poor experience level of many of the skippers'.

So sure, there's some speculation here.  What there also is are two deaths with ZERO speculation, and now one where we know quite a bit thanks to the Clipper statement, which I'm sure includes something like 'only the third fatality in the XX history of the race, amongst all those THOUSANDS of sailors.

I was a cheerleader for the Clipper for a long time because they drove so many people into the sport.   Turns out there's a substantial likelihood of dying, so it might not be the best took to help the offshore sailing crew pool.

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39 minutes ago, Peanut Butter said:

At the risk of sounding insensitive - not absolving the organization of accountability, but have to throw-in with those on the side of voluntary assumption of risk. You’re going to the Southern Ocean in a teacup for crying out loud. 

It seems like I can’t even go to a 10k charity run without seeing CPR in progress, or a body bag. We’re not rushing out in mass to shut down those organizations. 

They shoot horses, don’t they...?

when you run a 10k your safety is your own responsibility. When you are crew on a boat owned and run by an organization for profit, both common sense and maritime law mean it's a little different from your charity run. 

 

In other words, no one is shutting down the charity 10k runs for a runner's heart attack.  But if three employees of the running company died in three years from electrocution while setting up the scoreboard, the government sure as shit would be at their office the next day for a reckoning

 

 

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22 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

It is a passenger-paying trip, in many ways.  Should 3 people die in three years?  Should 3 out of 1400 die on what is 'the adventure of a lifetime' for, in many cases, pensioners?

That sounds about right for the trip they chose to go on. 

We are all on a passenger paying trip. Better make the juice worth the squeeze. 

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20 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Sorry, I've updated my numbers to around 1400 for two editions.

Second: One death in 5 editions for the Volvo in 12 years.  3 in 2 editions in the Clipper in 2.5 years..  Are you saying the two situations are comparable?  They don't look like it if you write down the numbers.

Third: "They do a hell of a lot of work on safety" seems to go against the ACTUAL MAIB REPORT on the last two deaths.  Do you disagree with the MAIB's recommendations?

Fourth: The family is grieving regardless of whether we talk on a bulletin board.  Do you think that by discussing how this can be prevented in the future, the family loses their ability to speak to each other?

The Volvo has frankly gotten lucky in this regard. 

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28 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

I was a cheerleader for the Clipper for a long time because they drove so many people into the sport.   Turns out there's a substantial likelihood of dying, so it might not be the best took to help the offshore sailing crew pool.

Substantial likelihood..horseshit.

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images (9).jpeg

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No matter what the RC tries, it will never be enough. Simon Speirs was more accomplished than many. 

Quote

A member of the crew since Race Start in the UK on August 20, 2017, Simon was a highly experienced sailor with over 40 years dinghy experience and an RYA Yachtmaster Certificate.

He also successfully completed the Clipper Race Coxswain Certificate (CRCC) in February this year in anticipation of his challenge. Designed in collaboration with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) specifically for the Clipper Race, this involved an intensive two-week course, in addition to the four weeks of compulsory training that all Clipper Race crew must complete which concentrates on safety at sea. 

All Clipper Race crew, regardless of previous sailing experience, complete a compulsory and intensive four-week training programme before joining the race which covers all aspects of safety at sea, including repeated man overboard training drills, which are also repeated in race stopovers.

The question for me is, how long can Race organizers accept any level of risk. I chickened out. (with other parents, ran 20+ ski trips for > 800 high school students over 14 years. No serious injuries, even though the stats said we should have had a least a couple of fatalities). Eventually, couldn't handle the thought I might be aiding and abetting a kid being crippled (or worse) for life, despite all the caveats. So stopped.

Risking oneself is easy. One's family? Friends?

Torben Grael's daughter is doing the Volvo. Not his call, but as a father and ocean racer he must feel the risk. Respect to all, but there comes a time when the burden becomes too much. Sir Robin K-J has accepted that burden, but I don't know how.

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18 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

This is all 100% true.  What I'm wondering is just how much the Clipper competitors truly understood the risk, and whether the Clipper added more pros and fixed their safety problems (which focused again and again on their MOB procedures, equipment, and training.

 

I don' know - I have not seen their disclosures or been on their training.  I would hope those, and some common sense, inform those that would want to participate. 

 

I have to say - I did not pick you for being so pro-nanny.   Is it the intersection of a dangerous sport and s commercial operation?

I personally have known or had 1 degree of separation from a half dozen people who have died sailing in shore and another 3 or 4 who have died off shore. Prople who do this sport should understand that 

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31 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Sorry, I've updated my numbers to around 1400 for two editions.

Second: One death in 5 editions for the Volvo in 12 years.  3 in 2 editions in the Clipper in 2.5 years..  Are you saying the two situations are comparable?  They don't look like it if you write down the numbers.

 

I wrote down the numbers.

So.......based on your numbers......a pro sailor racing in the all pro crewed Volvo Ocean Race has a 48% higher probability of dying than an amateur member of a Clipper team

statistics are a bitch......and often misleading.<_<

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54 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

their boat.  their safety and nav gear. their training. their employee was in charge of the boat.  

Does it not work that way in UK Maritime law?

You are a former lawyer, so you can doubtless explain, for there to be a legal liability there would have to be a defect in the boat, safety gear or training.....and/or negligence on the part of the employee.

I know next to nothing about maritime law and even less about UK maritime law. I recall that the carrier owes a duty of care to a " passenger" that implies a lower hurdle than negligence in other arenas. The definition of passenger is tricky. However, the waivers on the Clipper contract are going to be bullet proof in light of the obvious dangers in adventure travel by sail in the Southern ocean.

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So I sailed the 13-14 Clipper race and I wanted to weigh in on an angle no one has really touched. 

More than a non professional race. This race is also a reality show at high sea. There are round the world'ers who call the shots on the boat and not the skipper. However bad their sailing skills, they almost always think that paying the 50k odd pounds has bought them experience. This is not only on my boat. This I have heard on every boat.

This is the reason why you will find the most unfit people getting one deck for a sail change in the weather this team might have been facing. Let me not even get started on the brass hanks on the yankee sails. That's just primitive technology and something not expected on a boat designed and built in 2012. No idea if its cost cutting or if it is by design to create more work for the crew. The sails in itself are heavy and get heavier with the water. I had a skipper who is in the middle of the southern ocean right now(most of my team would have not recommended him for another race- he's on his third right now- I wrote a lengthy note to Clipper which was just ignored) who insisted always taking the sail to the bow from the lee side- no matter the weather and the age and skillset of the crew at disposal. The round the world'ers would just nod and let it happen. We had the sail in the water more times than I can count. These round the world'ers would become watch leaders regardless of sailing experience, I had a watch leader who's first sailing experience was on a clipper yacht and we had two people in the watch including me with a combined sailing experience of 40 years. I was part of more than a few disagreements in the North Pacific ocean because I didn't agree with most decisions of my watch leader- who just blindly followed the skipper. No wonder we finished last in the race. 

growing up, all i learnt while sailing offshore was that surviving the tough seas is a 50-50 of seamanship and skill. Clipper prepares you moderately in skill. Seamanship comes from years of experience and decision making. It is difficult on the crew and sometimes on the skippers. CRTW is an amazing way to sail round the world. I just feel that the CRTW leadership and Sir Robin need to decide if they are a race or a paid cruise round the world. Cannot be both. If its a race, then training should become better and paid clients need better vetting. If its a paid cruise, pull down the sails in the first sign of low pressure and start the bloody engines. Not everyone is Sir Robin to be sailing solo at that age. He has more experience than all of us on this forum combined. He might be able to sail these boats hard, but not someone with a coastal skipper certificate. 

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"Turns out there is a substantial likelihood of dying" - it's the frigging ocean, of course there is.

Crux would be, I suppose whether Clipper gloss over that or not.

Having said that the number of people climbing Everest has not fallen away (bad choice of words perhaps) because of multiple deaths on the mountain and the high profile injury to Michael Schumacher who was taking far more precautions than a very high % of skiers has not damaged the alpine ski market so one has to ask 'Why do people do the clipper?'

Perhaps it is BECAUSE of the risks and make no mistake and adventure without risks goes against the very definition of the word.

Either way, the cause needs to be properly investigated.

I remember (and I am blue skying here) thinking that the new fleet was a little too racey for the likes of the clipper - a bit to exposed on deck (just an opinion) but until the new fleet arrived Clipper had no issues with people falling off is I recall correctly. As I say, just blue skying.

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3 hours ago, NORBowGirl said:

It's possible to make it safer on the bow by also using a halyard or topping lift, so that the crew physically can't fall overboard. As we all know, the regular safety line is not bullet proof.

Definitely not by doing that^^ 

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8 minutes ago, gaurav.p.shinde said:

So I sailed the 13-14 Clipper race and I wanted to weigh in on an angle no one has really touched. 

More than a non professional race. This race is also a reality show at high sea. There are round the world'ers who call the shots on the boat and not the skipper. However bad their sailing skills, they almost always think that paying the 50k odd pounds has bought them experience. This is not only on my boat. This I have heard on every boat.

This is the reason why you will find the most unfit people getting one deck for a sail change in the weather this team might have been facing. Let me not even get started on the brass hanks on the yankee sails. That's just primitive technology and something not expected on a boat designed and built in 2012. No idea if its cost cutting or if it is by design to create more work for the crew. The sails in itself are heavy and get heavier with the water. I had a skipper who is in the middle of the southern ocean right now(most of my team would have not recommended him for another race- he's on his third right now- I wrote a lengthy note to Clipper which was just ignored) who insisted always taking the sail to the bow from the lee side- no matter the weather and the age and skillset of the crew at disposal. The round the world'ers would just nod and let it happen. We had the sail in the water more times than I can count. These round the world'ers would become watch leaders regardless of sailing experience, I had a watch leader who's first sailing experience was on a clipper yacht and we had two people in the watch including me with a combined sailing experience of 40 years. I was part of more than a few disagreements in the North Pacific ocean because I didn't agree with most decisions of my watch leader- who just blindly followed the skipper. No wonder we finished last in the race. 

growing up, all i learnt while sailing offshore was that surviving the tough seas is a 50-50 of seamanship and skill. Clipper prepares you moderately in skill. Seamanship comes from years of experience and decision making. It is difficult on the crew and sometimes on the skippers. CRTW is an amazing way to sail round the world. I just feel that the CRTW leadership and Sir Robin need to decide if they are a race or a paid cruise round the world. Cannot be both. If its a race, then training should become better and paid clients need better vetting. If its a paid cruise, pull down the sails in the first sign of low pressure and start the bloody engines. Not everyone is Sir Robin to be sailing solo at that age. He has more experience than all of us on this forum combined. He might be able to sail these boats hard, but not someone with a coastal skipper certificate. 

Respect & well said Gaurav. All us armchair admirals should read the post above -are egos getting in the way of sensible seamanlike decisions? I know I am a 50 year sailor and know my way around a boat but would not be happy on the foredeck of a 70 footer in gnarly weather off the coast of South Africa or the Southern Ocean, harness or not (I am 62 by the way)

The foredeck is a young man's game (unless you are Jerry Kirby and Ken Read described him as a 'freak of nature')

Gauav is spot on - the only thing that buys experience is .....experience with the odd hard knock thrown in for good measure. Seeing Guarav raised it, I have spoken to some of these (no experience before) Clipper sailors and some seem to think they are Joshua Slocum.

SS

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MAIB on last years Clipper fatalities:
https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/accidents-on-board-yacht-cv21-resulting-in-loss-of-2-lives

 

I guess the major question is what -if anything- has changed after the first 9 editions. Until then they lost 1 yacht in a grounding (2010, charts apparently had the reef in a different position.). Then 2 deaths in the 10th edition, 1 yacht lost and 1 death in the 11th edition - so far...

An incident list for the 11th edition has been added to the wikipedia page.

Date        Yacht			Details of Incident
19/11/2017 Great Britain    Crew death following man over board. Rest in peace Simon Speirs.
17/11/2017 Garmin           Medivac required when possible.
15/11/2017 Greenings        Greenings yacht proving challenging to recover, no commitment from clipper to recover
04/11/2017 Hotel Planner    Medical emergency, crew medivac, broken bones and head injury
01/11/2017 Greenings        Crew wrecked on rocks, yacht not recovered
05/10/2017 PSP Logistics    Boat damaged, returned to port
28/09/2017 PSP Logistics    Skipper resignation
13/09/2017 Greenings        Skipper replacement
10/09/2017 Dare to Lead     Medical emergency, crew medivac due to pneumonia
28/08/2017 Greenings        Medical emergency, skipper medivac due to thumb injury

Hm...

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26 minutes ago, gaurav.p.shinde said:

Let me not even get started on the brass hanks on the yankee sails. That's just primitive technology and something not expected on a boat designed and built in 2012.

You might need to re-think that one, particularly having regard for the truck you were going around on.

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2 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

You might need to re-think that one, particularly having regard for the truck you were on.

Nope. Not putting a 60 year old on deck in that weather to put on and take off hanks. 

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15 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Silly me you want hydraulic furlers controlled from the comfort of the first class lounge.

Why not the pros have furlers run by coffee grinders and they get paid to turn them not pay to do it

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An Ocean wave can wash anyone off the foredeck.  Happens in less than a second when your head is down focused on the work.  Whoosh you have sixty year old already cold and tired being dragged in the water.  If you do not get yourself back on the boat with the next wave you are in deep trouble.  Does anyone have a story where they ended up in the water of a moving boat in a seaway where  a harness saved them? 

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1 minute ago, Overbored said:

Why not the pros have furlers run by coffee grinders and they get paid to turn them not pay to do it

Take away short-handed and or relatively light displacement boats less than 70 feet virtually no offshore racers have furlers. I suspect multiple headsails with furlers on a heavy displacement boat (that loads up gear) like the clipper trucks then that gear incl sails would not last a leg and even if engineered to do so there is not the bodies on board to keep going in one piece. There is also the cost attached to this stuff.

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13 minutes ago, Boo-Yah said:

An Ocean wave can wash anyone off the foredeck.  Happens in less than a second when your head is down focused on the work.  Whoosh you have sixty year old already cold and tired being dragged in the water.  If you do not get yourself back on the boat with the next wave you are in deep trouble.  Does anyone have a story where they ended up in the water of a moving boat in a seaway where  a harness saved them? 

One of our crew was washed overboard by a wave when on the wheel. She was pulled back in within seconds. Had a few people around her and it was change of watch time so everyone was on deck. I might actually have the video. 

My year Henri Lloyd had an incident in the south china sea on the foredeck. Pulled back and all ok. 

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On 11/19/2017 at 10:24 AM, WetHog said:

Tragic news.  My condolences to his family.

Also, read that he was buried at sea.  Was surprised, initially, to read that.  But after considering the circumstances, 1200+ miles from land, its understandable.  Still, his family won't even have his body to bury.  Very sad situation.  

WetHog  :ph34r:

Very sad indeed.

It sounds morbid, but when my Better Half is away on a sailing adventure without me (like he is right now), I make him leave his wedding band at home. If God forbid something happened, at least I'd have that.

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I don' know what the sail plan is on a Flipper, but am surprised there is not more use of furled head sails.   I know fueled versus hanked is a good performance debate, but i am not aware of any debate when it comes to safety.   

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This is a tragedy, last year they had a person die due to a mob and again this year. This shows Knox Johnson isn't reading the reports relating to these deaths correctly. In last years death, she wasn't clipped in, in Simon's he was. This shows that safety is improving but only a step at a time why is Knox Johnson and the RYA funding leaps forward. Yes his death is due to equipment failure but it is also due to the failure of clipper to ensure that equipment failure is a minuscule possibility, very few companies design their gear for continuous offshore us for prolonged periods of time clipper should think about this in my opinion. I look forward to seeing the report on what happened.

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3 hours ago, gaurav.p.shinde said:

So I sailed the 13-14 Clipper race and I wanted to weigh in on an angle no one has really touched. 

More than a non professional race. This race is also a reality show at high sea. There are round the world'ers who call the shots on the boat and not the skipper. However bad their sailing skills, they almost always think that paying the 50k odd pounds has bought them experience. This is not only on my boat. This I have heard on every boat.

This is the reason why you will find the most unfit people getting one deck for a sail change in the weather this team might have been facing. Let me not even get started on the brass hanks on the yankee sails. That's just primitive technology and something not expected on a boat designed and built in 2012. No idea if its cost cutting or if it is by design to create more work for the crew. The sails in itself are heavy and get heavier with the water. I had a skipper who is in the middle of the southern ocean right now(most of my team would have not recommended him for another race- he's on his third right now- I wrote a lengthy note to Clipper which was just ignored) who insisted always taking the sail to the bow from the lee side- no matter the weather and the age and skillset of the crew at disposal. The round the world'ers would just nod and let it happen. We had the sail in the water more times than I can count. These round the world'ers would become watch leaders regardless of sailing experience, I had a watch leader who's first sailing experience was on a clipper yacht and we had two people in the watch including me with a combined sailing experience of 40 years. I was part of more than a few disagreements in the North Pacific ocean because I didn't agree with most decisions of my watch leader- who just blindly followed the skipper. No wonder we finished last in the race. 

growing up, all i learnt while sailing offshore was that surviving the tough seas is a 50-50 of seamanship and skill. Clipper prepares you moderately in skill. Seamanship comes from years of experience and decision making. It is difficult on the crew and sometimes on the skippers. CRTW is an amazing way to sail round the world. I just feel that the CRTW leadership and Sir Robin need to decide if they are a race or a paid cruise round the world. Cannot be both. If its a race, then training should become better and paid clients need better vetting. If its a paid cruise, pull down the sails in the first sign of low pressure and start the bloody engines. Not everyone is Sir Robin to be sailing solo at that age. He has more experience than all of us on this forum combined. He might be able to sail these boats hard, but not someone with a coastal skipper certificate. 

Well said.  I am much more with Clean on this.  Anybody can play with and make numbers say whatever they want them to say.  But come on, intuitively...  I am surprised those defending Clipper.  I mean seriously @IPLore or @jack_sparrow would you encourage, or support your kid joining one of the Clipper crews?  Just seems like there is too much smoke not to be a fire (i.e. serious problems with the approach and how its managed/run).  Sad to see another loss of life.

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6 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Sorry, I've updated my numbers to around 1400 for two editions.

Second: One death in 5 editions for the Volvo in 12 years.  3 in 2 editions in the Clipper in 2.5 years..  Are you saying the two situations are comparable?  They don't look like it if you write down the numbers.

According to Mr Clean's logic reasoning statistics words and numbers, they should've called off AC34 after Artemis Big Red folded and tragically burried Bart Simpson. Four teams, eleven pro sailors each and a casualty before the event even started. Do the math, smartass. 

RIP Simon Speirs.

RIP Bart Simpson. 

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2 hours ago, Wess said:

Well said.  I am much more with Clean on this.  Anybody can play with and make numbers say whatever they want them to say.  But come on, intuitively...  I am surprised those defending Clipper.  I mean seriously @IPLore or @jack_sparrow would you encourage, or support your kid joining one of the Clipper crews?  Just seems like there is too much smoke not to be a fire (i.e. serious problems with the approach and how its managed/run).  Sad to see another loss of life.

I would go further.....I would seriously be up for the adventure myself. 

Quote

when you run a 10k your safety is your own responsibility. When you are crew on a boat owned and run by an organization for profit, both common sense and maritime law mean it's a little different from your charity run. 

and I take a different position from Clean on this as well. If I sail the Southern Ocean then I have the rather old fashioned view that safety is my own responsibility as well.....

....and it has generally been my experience that the Southern Ocean is more dangerous than my typical charity run, but I recognize that running in Detroit (Clean) is more dangerous than where I live.   

 

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I'm sad about this. It is a dangerous environment for any sailor.

But I do think that the foredeck in the Southern Ocean is no place for a 60 year old - unless they are a super experienced sailor. I think Clipper might implement a rating system of "age/fitness/sailing experience" before assigning crew positions.

A super fit 59 year old that has been sailing offshore for decades - OK.

A 60 year old lawyer (average fitness?) who mostly sails in the dinghies in the UK - stay aft of the mast?

In your local club racing do you send the old guys forward when it's blowing 20/gusting 40? 

Is Clipper doing all it can to keep people aboard? Don't know.

Focusing on MOB recovery is like rock climbers discussing what to do after you take a big fall. The discussion should be to prevent the MOB if at all possible. I always figured when sailing across oceans to treat the edge of the deck as a 5,000 ft cliff. If you go over, you die. Sure you might not die. But if you make that assumption, your mindset might change how you perform operations on the deck.

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16 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Hey Shanghai, how many deaths do you need before you start to doubt the Clipper's great management of risks?  They didn't have a death in two decades and then they had two within a few months last time around, and they've already had a completely preventable grounding and now another death. 

 

I gotta say that 3 dead out of the total complement of - probably like 250 sailors in the two editions?  That's a pretty fucking high percentage likelihood of dying for folks who just wanted to sail around the world.

Maybe they should find another name for the Clipper. Is Life at the Extreme taken?

 

 

 

 

 

Tragic, but the numbers are way too small to form any reliable conclusion based on the statistics. 

Would be interested to see whether they have incident logs which record so called near misses (near injury/death incidents) so that risks can be minimised. 

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5 minutes ago, Zonker said:

I'm sad about this. It is a dangerous environment for any sailor.

But I do think that the foredeck in the Southern Ocean is no place for a 60 year old - unless they are a super experienced sailor. I think Clipper might implement a rating system of "age/fitness/sailing experience" before assigning crew positions.

A super fit 59 year old that has been sailing offshore for decades - OK.

A 60 year old lawyer (average fitness?) who mostly sails in the dinghies in the UK - stay aft of the mast?

In your local club racing do you send the old guys forward when it's blowing 20/gusting 40? 

Is Clipper doing all it can to keep people aboard? Don't know.

Focusing on MOB recovery is like rock climbers discussing what to do after you take a big fall. The discussion should be to prevent the MOB if at all possible. I always figured when sailing across oceans to treat the edge of the deck as a 5,000 ft cliff. If you go over, you die. Sure you might not die. But if you make that assumption, your mindset might change how you perform operations on the deck.

He was extremely experienced

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I participate in another sport where people can die if mistakes are made or through just terribly bad luck, and at the end of the day, people have to decide if it is worth the risk.  In most cases risk can be managed, and it sounds like the standard precautions had been taken in this case.  Very likely the sailor was knocked unconscious and the forces were too great for the harness or whatever it was attached to to hold him on the boat.  36 minutes to retrieval is a pretty good effort in the ocean.  

We hope it never happens, but we know it does sometimes when we put ourselves in harm's way.  Be careful out there.   

It is a natural response to look for someone or something to blame.  Once you get that out of your system, and the facts are available, consider how we can make things safer in the future.  That's all that really matters.

RIP.  

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9 minutes ago, dash34 said:

I participate in another sport where people can die if mistakes are made

Those Classical Guitar audiences are ruthless!

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9 hours ago, NORBowGirl said:

It's possible to make it safer on the bow by also using a halyard or topping lift, so that the crew physically can't fall overboard. As we all know, the regular safety line is not bullet proof.

Never heard of that theory before! And I really don’t like the idea of being hung of a halyard to leeward if I get washed over the side. Being towed by a halyard and The boat coming back upright and smashing into the top sides is distinctly unappealing!! 

Let alone the idea of working with a halyard whipping my head and neck!!

A bowman harness and a short strop in combination with a regular setup would be better.  

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So we know I went in 11/12

Today I'm thinking of the person who's turn it was to be in the harness when this gentleman went over.

They would have been cold & exhausted too, they then had pretty much 36 mins of organised chaos before they had to walk down the freeboard (part of the MOB safety training) and retrieve him.

They would have been through the most physically & emotionally draining experience of their life, which will stay with them.

I hope they were taken great care of once they were back on board, stripped, warmed & rested, & in the presence of those who understood what they just went through.

 

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nature can be very unforgiving .. skilled climbers die on paid adventures all the time.  If you need safety and security, try a padded cell!

 

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12 minutes ago, mad said:

Never heard of that theory before! And I really don’t like the idea of being hung of a halyard to leeward if I get washed over the side. Being towed by a halyard and The boat coming back upright and smashing into the top sides is distinctly unappealing!! 

Let alone the idea of working with a halyard whipping my head and neck!!

A bowman harness and a short strop in combination with a regular setup would be better.  

The article also mentions how to avoid just that. Using a halyard combined with regular use of tethers hooked to the jack stay and means to control the tension of the halyard, would prevent both scenarios....

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4 minutes ago, trimejust4fun said:

nature can be very unforgiving .. skilled climbers die on paid adventures all the time.  If you need safety and security, try a padded cell!

 

Aha. So let’s just stop analyzing accidents to see if we can reduce risk, then. 

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37 minutes ago, james3232 said:

He was extremely experienced

From the current report, mostly dinghy sailing. Let’s see the reports as they come out before jumping to conclusions. 

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