southerncross

VOR Leg 7 Auckland to Itajai

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7 minutes ago, chuso007 said:

Come on, Vestas was live on AIS as they were finishing the leg. Scally probably  suspended racing before the next update but what the fuck do we know.

 

True Chuso, I just assumed they would still have that information coming in.

Edit. As Jack points out this time they don't have to share.

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Does anyone think there is any chance Scally will finish the leg after they have had time to regroup?
From a purely pragmatic point of view it's the fastest way to get there giving them time at the stopover to do whatever they decide to do.

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8 minutes ago, Battleship said:

update

Well, respect for Richard Brisius, not an easy thing to do, and he did it very appropriately.

Hope we will see him and others again in a sharing of our grieve, and in consideration of an ongoing race.

Thanks Richard.

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10 minutes ago, paps49 said:

Does anyone think there is any chance Scally will finish the leg after they have had time to regroup?
From a purely pragmatic point of view it's the fastest way to get there giving them time at the stopover to do whatever they decide to do.

Will be interesting to see what they do? I won't be surprised if they DNF this leg and who could blame them? Couldn't imagine them caring too much about the race right now. We also don't really know what happened on the boat leading up to the MOB? As the skipper David will be feeling a world of hurt and we don't know how he is going to pull up when it all sinks in? 

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33 minutes ago, Battleship said:

update

 

 

Battle thanks for that. I find it both perplexing but gratifying that this horrible episode has prompted  Richard Brisius to finally put his head above the parapet months after his appointment as CEO. He has done so not just because he is top monkey, but more so as one who has actually been in the SO and has empathy with what has occured.

CEO's of this race who have actually done it are short on the ground, Knut was the exception, his predecessor Burke was a pond sailor, albeit a good one and Turner whilst having a TransatJacques Vabre and a Mini Transat to his name has only ventured higher than 40 degrees in a Jumbo jet.

Impressed...We need to see more of you Richard.

 

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24 minutes ago, paps49 said:

Does anyone think there is any chance Scally will finish the leg after they have had time to regroup?
From a purely pragmatic point of view it's the fastest way to get there giving them time at the stopover to do whatever they decide to do.

Seems perhaps the best thing to do, to push towards Brazil if they can. There they will be with likeminded people and their friends and family. Also being on the boat together might help them start digest this tragedy. What do we know, it is up to them of course. 

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13 minutes ago, Fiji Bitter said:

Well, respect for Richard Brisius, not an easy thing to do, and he did it very appropriately.

Hope we will see him and others again in a sharing of our grieve, and in consideration of an ongoing race.

Thanks Richard.

+1

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14 minutes ago, paps49 said:

Does anyone think there is any chance Scally will finish the leg after they have had time to regroup?
From a purely pragmatic point of view it's the fastest way to get there giving them time at the stopover to do whatever they decide to do.

Yes, been thinking about this too.  It could well be that Witty and John, and probably the other crew members, have discussed this before, and had come to the conclusion that in such a case they should carry on racing. They will need time to get over the initial emotional shock, and then come to that conclusion. Round the Horn in honor of their lost mate, I would think. 

And anyway, what would one want to do in Puerto Montt, it's a bit the end of the world.

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14 minutes ago, Elisa said:

Seems perhaps the best thing to do, to push towards Brazil if they can.

They are going towards Chile at the moment to get out of the washing machine...whether end up there is silly to speculate.

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9 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

They are going towards Chile at the moment to get out of the washing machine.

That's one reason why it would be nice to still have them on the tracker. I for one would like to be able to watch them get to safety, wherever that is.

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I was  thinking of some the younger crew onboard Scallywag, especially Alex Gough, who had never done this race before. Extremely difficult and again, especially for Alex Gough who must realize how very lucky he was.

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24 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Battle thanks for that. I find it both perplexing but gratifying that this horrible episode has prompted  Richard Brisius to finally put his head above the parapet months after his appointment as CEO. He has done so not just because he is top monkey, but more so as one who has actually been in the SO and has empathy with what has occured.

CEO's of this race who have actually done it are short on the ground, Knut was the exception, his predecessor Burke was a pond sailor, albeit a good one and Turner whilst having a TransatJacques Vabre and a Mini Transat to his name has only ventured higher than 40 degrees in a Jumbo jet.

Impressed...We need to see more of you Richard.

 

Mark was on British Defender, though which legs he did I am not sure.

I thought Richard got the messaging just right, especially for someone who hates public speaking..  Focus from VOR is on Fish's family. Details will come after the team has been debriefed.

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37 minutes ago, hargikas said:

An update on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag crew member John Fisher, from Richard Brisius, the President of the Volvo Ocean :

This morning I am extremely sad to inform you that one of our sailors, John Fisher, from Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, is now presumed to have been lost at sea.

This is heart-breaking for all of us. As sailors and race organisers losing a crew member at sea is a tragedy we don't ever want to contemplate. We are devastated and our thoughts are with John's family, friends and teammates.

Yesterday, just after 1300 UTC, Race Control for the Volvo Ocean Race were informed of a man overboard situation by Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

We immediately coordinated with the team as well as the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, who have located a ship and diverted it towards the scene. But at current speeds it remains over a day away.

With the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet approximately 200 miles downwind, sending them back upwind to assist, against gale to storm force winds, was not a viable option.

The Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag team conducted an exhaustive search for several hours in extremely challenging weather conditions, but they were unable to recover their teammate.

Given the cold water temperature and the extreme sea state, along with the time that has now passed since he went overboard, we must now presume that John has been lost at sea.

All of us here at the Volvo Ocean Race organisation send our heartfelt condolences out to John's family, his friends and his teammates and we will do everything in our power to support them in this very difficult time.

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag has now resumed heading in a north-easterly direction.

In fact, the team is currently in a challenging position – the weather is deteriorating and is forecast to be quite severe over the course of today.

The crew is, of course, emotionally and physically drained after what they have just experienced.

Our sole focus now is to provide all the support and assistance that we can to the team.

We are sure that there will be many questions about how one of our sailors was lost overboard yesterday.

We can address those after the team has been fully debriefed.

Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to John's family and the entire Scallywag team.
 

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35 minutes ago, Fiji Bitter said:

Yes, been thinking about this too.  It could well be that Witty and John, and probably the other crew members, have discussed this before, and had come to the conclusion that in such a case they should carry on racing.

Fuck me ..some of you drongos don't know when to stop with your blithering.

1522143121124-768848024.jpg

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15 minutes ago, paps49 said:

That's one reason why it would be nice to still have them on the tracker. I for one would like to be able to watch them get to safety, wherever that is.

You can be assured everyone who counts in the life of those on board know exactly where they are and conversing in person daily...we don't need to be a party to that.

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Looks more like a type of Petral than an albatross.

That funky setup is paying dividends for Brunel.

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14 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

You can be assured everyone who counts in the life of those on board know exactly where they are and conversing in person daily...we don't need to be a party to that.

I think that the three vessels on this site, are volvo ocean race boats. Maybe the other purple boat is scallywag.

volvo.PNG

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One of the latest of John Fisher. For those looking for the tagged  pictures (vids upthread) of John, here's the link http://vor.jbcsystems.com/photos/of/john-fisher

m115394_crop110015_800x800_proportional_

OBR Konrad Frost
crew John Fisher
description

Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai, day 9 on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. John Fisher winding the winch during a sail change. 26 March, 2018.

filename 13_07_180326_SHK_KFR_01925.jpg
photo M115394 crop110015 800x800 proportional 15220368068CB5.jpg
published Mon, 26 Mar 2018 03:58:36 UTC
team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag
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57 minutes ago, Potter said:

Mark was on British Defender, though which legs he did I am not sure.

I thought Richard got the messaging just right, especially for someone who hates public speaking..  Focus from VOR is on Fish's family. Details will come after the team has been debriefed.

Yep....I couldn't be bothered chasing it up Potter but my guess if Mark was on any Defender legs, my bet is he was wearing  a T-shirt. Saying that I'm not denegrating his SH Atlantic experience. Far better than that moron Burke who nearly murdered this race and Knut was left to pick up the pieces.

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34 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

 

1522143121124-768848024.jpg

Maybe you didn't with the Stache, but I know of several boats that did discuss this situation and decided to carry on, and depending on the circumstances to possibly not even make an attempt to recover a MOB.

Are you the troublesome son, with the funny hands, in that picture?

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4 minutes ago, Fiji Bitter said:

Are you the troublesome son, with the funny hands, in that picture?

No ..but you are the one who never has their hands above the table.

Keep pulling laddie.

 

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7 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

No ..but you are the one who never has their hands above the table.

Keep pulling laddie.

 

Laddie?   :)

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You are correct.  Not the right time.

this is very sad, not a time for point scoring.

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1 minute ago, rfullarton said:

maybe wrong time for this .. but is there a very unfortunate pattern on scallywag

You knew the answer before you posted you fuckin ignoramious. Fuck off and  crawl back into that cardboard box you call home.

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14 minutes ago, Fiji Bitter said:

Laddie?   :)

Sorry..I'm doing Sean Connery  Goldfinger impersonations this week...

Pussy Galore: My name is Pussy Galore.

James Bond: I must be dreaming.

BTW Goldfinger was released in 1964, 10 years before the first Whitbread.

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It is also on the BBC news here, tragic to hear it spoken out loud,...no-one should die doing what they love, they should just be continuing doing that.. 

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46 minutes ago, bruce said:

maybe wrong time for this .. but is there a very unfortunate pattern on scallywag 

 

 

Definitely the wrong time, delete or hide it would be a good idea. 

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7 hours ago, fufkin said:

Or antennas/ strobe built into mandatory mob pole(s) that puts light/or any other frequency a few feet above the surface once it's thrown immediately after mob somewhere in the vicinity. Not perfect, and not much more of a reassurance in that sea state and speed, but something to think about.

Fufkin I actually have a bog standard MOB pole that I have a neoprene pouch with a AIS PLB in it and a strobe beacon that will light up Manhattan. I have been wanting to trade this mess out for a blow up MOB pole but reluctant to do so as it won't have the PLB and lighting bits.

Most of my sailing is SH so I have that and carry two AIS PLB's on board plus a "Raymarine fall off the back while your the only one on deck alert and automatically logs a MOB on the MFD gizmo". I can't afford carrying too much electronic stuff so the pole AIS/PLB solution is a stop gap when there is a crowd on board and I can't give each one a AIS/PLB.

I'm actually pretty amazed I've done that as I only starting wearing a teather/PFD a few years ago and after doing a few trips around the orange.

Safety on boats is a weird and polarising subject...my thinking is the older we get the more we think about it to avoid the consequential grief to family..otherwise we couldn't give a fuck probably.

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^^ as if there even exists such a thing as ‘safety' on board these boats in these SO conditions. You’re either lucky or unlucky the rest is marginal bullshit....only created to ease our fears and those of beloved ones. All who step on board know this right? If you break the boat or MOB you’re dead... nothing really substantial can be done about it. Managing these risks is all about decreasing likelihood and impact of such accidents..... both are hardly possible to decrease in these circumstances... So you do it, take the risk, or you don’t and you couchesurf like us here. 

That said, my heart and thoughts are with all involved, it is truly heartbreaking.

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LEG 7, DAY 10: THE LOSS OF JOHN FISHER 

27-03-2018

Everyone at Dongfeng Race Team is thinking today of our friends and fellow sailors on Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag as they try to come to terms with the loss overboard of John Fisher.

Today Richard Brisius, the President of the Volvo Ocean Race, confirmed that Fisher is now presumed to be lost at sea. This is his statement on the tragedy in full:

The loss of Fisher has, of course, completely overshadowed the sporting side of this leg and reminded us just how dangerous the Southern Ocean can be. 

For the record, the six boats still racing on this leg are now just under 1,000 nautical miles from Cape Horn and just under 3,000 miles from the leg finish at Itajai. The leader remains Team Brunel which was nearly 40 miles ahead of Dongfeng in second place with Vestas 11th Hour Racing third, another 14 miles back.

The crews are still racing in strong following winds and big seas with boat speeds in the mid-20s and winds up to 30 knots and set to increase as they close on the South American coast. It remains a hugely challenging time for Charles Caudrelier and his crew and all the sailors on all the other boats in the fleet.

https://www.dongfengraceteam.cn/news/view/leg-7-day-10-the-loss-of-john-fisher

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teamAkzoNobel Retweeted Volvo Ocean Race

We are all desperately sad to share this terrible news confirming the loss of a much-loved member of the Volvo Ocean Race family. Our thoughts are with Fish’s family and friends and the crew of Scallywag.

BrunelSailing Retweeted Volvo Ocean Race

This is heartbreaking for all of us. We are devastated and our thoughts are with John’s family, friends and teammates.

Sun Hung Kai Scallywag Retweeted Volvo Ocean Race

This is a heart-breaking moment for all of us. May all our best wishes, support, prayers and thoughts go out to John Fisher, his family, friends and crew.

AkzoNobel‏Verified account @teamAkzoNobel 4h4 hours ago

"Our thoughts go out to Fish, his family, his friends and his team mates. We feel devastated for the Scallywag sailors on board the boat in this moment and we wish them strength and a safe journey onward to shore.” – team AkzoNobel skipper, Simeon Tienpont

Antonio Huertas‏Verified account @ahuertasmejias 1h1 hour ago

Very sad day in the @volvooceanrace. On behalf of @MAPFRE our deepest condolences to the Fisher family and @scallywaghk team for his loss.

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Sorry but I have to call it a early night.

But before I go. 

Hey John Fisher you now own a bit of space just south of the 50th parallel in the Southern Ocean. 

You will I know be keeping a watchful eye from on high over anyone who dares follow you down there and with rag up....particularly those carrying the carbon kind.

Cheers mate.

1522154177800-231046920.jpg

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Mr Fisher, a 47-year-old British citizen who lived in Adelaide, was a member of the local Christies Sailing Club, which described the sailor as a "treasured member of our family".

"John came to our club around 10 years ago and immediately injected his passion for the sport of sailing which was picked up by all of our sailing members, especially our juniors," the club said in a statement.

"It soon became evident that this man could sail a bath tub with a handkerchief as a sail and could still out-sail anyone."

The club described him as a "true gentleman" and a "true friend" who saw positive qualities in everyone.

"He has enriched our club and we are blessed to have shared in his life," Christies said.

"We as a club extend our sincere and heartfelt sympathy and condolences to his wife Kirsten, son Ryan and daughter Amy, to his mum and dad in the UK, his sister and family in the UK, his sister and her family in New Zealand, and Kirsten's family."

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2018-03-27/adelaidebased-sailor-john-fisher-presumed-lost-at-sea-volvo-ocean-race-says/1745630

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2 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Yep....I couldn't be bothered chasing it up Potter but my guess if Mark was on any Defender legs, my bet is he was wearing  a T-shirt. Saying that I'm not denegrating his SH Atlantic experience. Far better than that moron Burke who nearly murdered this race and Knut was left to pick up the pieces.

I am quite certain he did the southern ocean legs.  Had quite a few drinks and evenings with him in Uruguay after the leg.  Would not be surprised if he did the entire race.

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18 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Sorry but I have to call it a early night.

But before I go. 

Hey John Fisher you now own a bit of space just south of the 50th parallel in the Southern Ocean. 

You will I know be keeping a watchful eye from on high over anyone who dares follow you down there and with rag up.

Cheers mate.

1522154177800-231046920.jpg

Now I'm blubbing - thank you, that broke me 

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2 hours ago, bruce said:

maybe wrong time for this .. but is there a very unfortunate pattern on scallywag 

 

 

Bruce, I am not sure which planet that you live on, however it does not appear to be the same one as mine

You may not be aware that a man DIED today

He was a great yachtsman, a son, a husband and a father to two children

You are an insensitive fuckwit

 

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1 hour ago, Elisa said:

^^ as if there even exists such a thing as ‘safety' on board these boats in these SO conditions. You’re either lucky or unlucky the rest is marginal bullshit....only created to ease our fears and those of beloved ones.

This is not true. There is always an element of risk, but safety is a very real and important thing.

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2 minutes ago, doghouse said:

This is not true. There is always an element of risk, but safety is a very real and important thing.

In general yes, but in the Southern Ocean in these weather conditions not so much so ... just my two pennies. I’ve never been nor will be there ever. 

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We went to sleep with this on our minds and this morning looked at the news hoping for something good. Once the possibility of good news was banished, my wife said a great thing..."It would be great to go doing something you loved and at the edge when you have to go"

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Live helped. Real support for Libby getting them  to Chile. 

Woke up from dreaming what could have been . . .  Space station happening to have special listening devices or cameras, silent sub surfacing in just the right place, new low orbit satellites picking up a faint signal, and many more such faint-hope fantasies. 

Bouwe's blog:

Quote

We are deeply shocked by the loss of John Fisher, known to us sailors as Fish. Our thoughts are with his family and of course the Scallywag crew. There hasn't been a moment since we heard that I didn't wake up thinking about him and made my fear of losing an own crew member even worse. We are riding on the edge over here.

We are sailing in conditions where at home I would be afraid that the roof tiles will be blown off the house. And yes, we got caught out as well. Early this morning we had a squall of 54 knots, the gennaker was still up, managing to keep the boat on its feet, but with a heart rate of 190. The squalls are numerous. We get one every half an hour and most give an increase of an average of 5 knots above the normal wind speed. This afternoon a black cloud all of a sudden gave us 65 knots – and yes we had a massive wipe-out. Luckily everybody was lined on. As it was at watch change we had two people fully dressed to help furl the gennaker and off we were again with the 3 reefs in the main and small staysail, still doing 25+ boat speed. The water surface was a complete whiteout. Scary, yes, but fascinating.

Not much sleep for everybody as we are running full standby watches, which means an hour after your watch in your sailing gear and then two hours in your bunk, followed by one hour before your next watch. We are looking forward to some normal sailing, without squalls, so we can get some sleep!


Cheers,


Bouwe

https://brunelsailing.net/us/en/news/bouwe-blog-61

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9 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

I'm no statistician but my bet is based on cumulative miles per person and incidents involving loss of life then this race is probably one of the safest offshore events going. 

Also if you take out the inaugral edition where three died, that number what ever it is halves.

That is not to say there is no room for continual improvement, but so far those responsible for this aspect, onboard and ashore, seem to have been doing a pretty good job.

Spot on jack - one reason why it is such an earth shattering event. If it was happening every other day then half the sail racing world wouldn't be in shock right now.

SS

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May have missed it earlier, but is there any more detail about Scallywag equipment issues reported the day before the MOB??

https://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/news/11347_The-Southern-Ocean-bites-back.html with this excerpt:

At the back of the fleet SHK-Scallywag is sailing conservatively following some equipment damage as well as at least one uncontrolled gybe.

Skipper David Witt says the goal is to get to Cape Horn safely and then make an effort to catch the fleet. Given the forecast of compression after the Horn, that might be a sensible strategy.

‘’Make sure we get to the Horn intact and we may have a chance,” he told his on-board reporter. “We may not, but we need to get from here to the Horn and at the moment we’re struggling so we just have to get there safely.”

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6 minutes ago, stief said:

Bouwe's blog:

We are deeply shocked by the loss of John Fisher, known to us sailors as Fish. Our thoughts are with his family and of course the Scallywag crew. There hasn't been a moment since we heard that I didn't wake up thinking about him and made my fear of losing an own crew member even worse. We are riding on the edge over here.

We are sailing in conditions where at home I would be afraid that the roof tiles will be blown off the house. And yes, we got caught out as well. Early this morning we had a squall of 54 knots, the gennaker was still up, managing to keep the boat on its feet, but with a heart rate of 190. The squalls are numerous. We get one every half an hour and most give an increase of an average of 5 knots above the normal wind speed. This afternoon a black cloud all of a sudden gave us 65 knots – and yes we had a massive wipe-out. Luckily everybody was lined on. As it was at watch change we had two people fully dressed to help furl the gennaker and off we were again with the 3 reefs in the main and small staysail, still doing 25+ boat speed. The water surface was a complete whiteout. Scary, yes, but fascinating.

Not much sleep for everybody as we are running full standby watches, which means an hour after your watch in your sailing gear and then two hours in your bunk, followed by one hour before your next watch. We are looking forward to some normal sailing, without squalls, so we can get some sleep!


Cheers,

This coming from one of the most experienced skippers gives me the shivers, it really is no joke out there, full on survival mode... and they need a full can of luck to keep them out of harms way. A few more days, keep going!

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1 minute ago, Elisa said:

This coming from one of the most experienced skippers gives me the shivers, it really is no joke out there, full on survival mode... and they need a full can of luck to keep them out of harms way. A few more days, keep going!

"Scary, yes, but fascinating". Understatement is powerful. 

and best wishes to you and yours. You've had a tough watch too.

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RIP

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Elisa said:

This coming from one of the most experienced skippers gives me the shivers, it really is no joke out there, full on survival mode... and they need a full can of luck to keep them out of harms way. A few more days, keep going!

scary shit, those words 

 

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Just back from work and totally gutted, as I tried to keep the hope alive over the night and the day. So, so sad... feeling numb.
But I don't want to keep info from you, although it might have been part of today's "Live" already (still 300 posts to go for me).

Statements from Phil Lawrence and Richard Brisius, plus some SHK/S footage from the archives. It might become wet... in your eyes. Goodness, this is soooo sad, what a fucking tragedy, beyond words...
 

 

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Just got back from a swim.  3 miles.  The water temp was 55F or about 12C.  I thought about Fish the whole way and tried to imagine what he was going through.    

If I kept swimming I probably could have been ok for another two hours with a 3/4mm wetsuit before my reserves started to be depleted.  Of course I didn't have 10m seas and 40 knts to contend with.  Just a 15 knt headwind and some chop.

I believe that cold water survival could be extended significantly with the right training and improved equipment.  Problem is, this race goes through the tropics and with only three weeks stopover, there is very little time to store up the body fat and train the heart and nerves for cold water. Also, the body mass depletion from lack off caloric intake makes it doubly hard.

There is probably a lot of room still for improvement in the area of MOB survival.  I saw recently a 20M fluorescent streamer that can be rolled up compactly and carried in a life vest.  It floats on the water and increases visibility significantly, especially from the air.  Apparently the US coast guard and military have adopted it.

In any event, maybe something good can come from such a tragic loss that will one day save the life of another sailor.

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Talk about jumping to conclusions.  

extreme anger

I will deal with the pleasantries first then get into the meat of the matter. I wish to extend my condolences to the family and friends of John Fisher, the crewmember who was tragically lost overboard from Team Sun Hung Kai Scallywag in the Volvo Ocean Race. It was first light on board Monday morning as the boat was romping downwind in very fresh conditions when Fisher was swept overboard.

He was, according to his crewmates, wearing a survival suit and carrying all the requisite safety gear but after two hours of searching in very brutal conditions they gave up. A ship was diverted to the area to help with the search but it would be nothing more than searching for a needle in the proverbial haystack, which in this case was the vast Southern Ocean. VOR race HQ in Alicante decided that turning some of the other boats around to help with the search effort would be futile. They would be sending them upwind in 40 knots and in those conditions it would take them so long to get back to the search area that Fisher would likely have perished by the time that they got there.

So that’s the nice part, or at least the polite part. These boats are absurd for sailing in those waters and the management team at VOR are complicit in the death of John Fisher. Any sailor worth his or her weight in rum will agree that taking a boat with practically zero on-deck protection into the very hostile waters of the Southern Ocean is asking for trouble. Yes the Volvo Ocean Race has the tag line; Life at the Extreme but give me a break. Extreme what? 

Extreme stupidity? Look at the video footage. There is plenty of it and it’s pretty compelling. Boats hurtling down the face of a cresting breaker at 25-30 knots only to plow into the wave ahead sending waist deep water cascading down the deck. The late great Sir Peter Blake used to call this going into the ‘Green Room.’ Just how many times can you do this without having someone on deck get washed into the wake and lost at sea?

I appreciate that John Fisher had all his (mandated) survival gear with him but he never stood a chance. I have been following the VOR closely and the boats have routinely been sailing at speeds well in excess of 20 knots. At those speeds by the time the crew on Team Sun Hung Kai Scallywag are able to turn around they will be well down the race track. Poor John Fisher can be blowing his red whistle as loud as possible but there is simply no way they are going to find him. 

Don’t forget that the crew have to take down the spinnaker, or whatever they had up at the time, get a headsail from below and hoist it before they can turn into the teeth of a Southern Ocean gale. 

They can’t go directly upwind, they have to tack and who knows, they could have been close. Mr Fisher might have been just over the next swell but they would never have seen him. If you have ever sailed in those conditions, or seen waves like they get in the Deep South, you will know what I am talking about.

The Volvo Ocean Race management seem to have refused to acknowledge that their One Design fleet is a death trap waiting to happen and now it has happened and sadly John Fisher is gone. 

 I am sad and mad at the same time. Other offshore events like the Vendee Globe are raced in ‘sensible’ boats and by sensible I mean that there is protection on deck. Heck the great Francois Gabart sailed his huge trimaran around the world hardly having to go out on deck at all. All the control lines were led back to an enclosed pod so working the sails could be done in a confined and safe area. 

The designers knew that it’s dangerous going out onto an exposed deck in rough conditions. So did the VOR management, but instead of taking some measures to protect the sailors they celebrated their stupidity with a silly slogan, Life at the Extreme.

OK now you can have a go at me all you want. Call me Brian Handjob or Blowhard Hancock but I have earned the right to have an opinion. I have sailed those waters many times and know what it’s like when a cold, gray cresting wave comes up from behind to send you hurtling down the front of it. 

The difference when I sailed there is that the speeds were less than half what the modern day sailors are experiencing and even then it was stupid. 

John Fisher is now the seventh crewmember to be lost at sea in the Volvo/Whitbread, and unless the boats are radically redesigned he won’t be the last.

– Brian Hancock

http://sailinganarchy.com/2018/03/27/extreme-anger/

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17 minutes ago, southerncross said:

Just got back from a swim.  3 miles.  The water temp was 55F or about 12C.  I thought about Fish the whole way and tried to imagine what he was going through.    

If I kept swimming I probably could have been ok for another two hours with a 3/4mm wetsuit before my reserves started to be depleted.  Of course I didn't have 10m seas and 40 knts to contend with.  Just a 15 knt headwind and some chop.

I believe that cold water survival could be extended significantly with the right training and improved equipment.  Problem is, this race goes through the tropics and with only three weeks stopover, there is very little time to store up the body fat and train the heart and nerves for cold water. Also, the body mass depletion from lack off caloric intake makes it doubly hard.

There is probably a lot of room still for improvement in the area of MOB survival.  I saw recently a 20M fluorescent streamer that can be rolled up compactly and carried in a life vest.  It floats on the water and increases visibility significantly, especially from the air.  Apparently the US coast guard and military have adopted it.

In any event, maybe something good can come from such a tragic loss that will one day save the life of another sailor.

 

I'd like someone like Knut & Walker to get together with some from the French scene and put together solid recommendations re how to further reduce the MOB risk.

Obviously we don't have the facts to know what exactly happened to Fish - but I don't think the after action report/improvement should focus on illusory improvements to MOB safety, because we have to consider human factors. We can be prepared mentally and physically for a polar plunge - you can't be mentally and physically prepared for MOB during a 8 month long event or Vendee attempt. 

There are folks who say "always stay clipped in" - which is fine if it works on your particular boat, but in a competitive environment, undermanned but tough boat that encourages pushing it... I don't think better survival suits and beacons is the solution. We've also seen cases where being clipped in didn't affect the outcome, as in the tragedies of Guo Chuan or more recently in the Clipper event.

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1 minute ago, Miffy said:

There are folks who say "always stay clipped in" - which is fine if it works on your particular boat, but in a competitive environment, undermanned but tough boat that encourages pushing it... I don't think better survival suits and beacons is the solution. We've also seen cases where being clipped in didn't affect the outcome, as in the tragedies of Guo Chuan or more recently in the Clipper event.

 

the boats could be designed with staying on board being one of the chief design criteria

the way it is now.., the boats are designed.., and then people try to figure out how to work with what they've got.., to stay on board 

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1 minute ago, Miffy said:

you can't be mentally and physically prepared for MOB during a 8 month long event or Vendee attempt. 

You mean for the actual maneuver?

My point is, the longer one can survive in the water, the more time for the rescue maneuver.

Don't want to jump the gun on this one.

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18 minutes ago, southerncross said:

That is a colossally dumb essay

 

13 minutes ago, us7070 said:

 

the boats could be designed with staying on board being one of the chief design criteria

the way it is now.., the boats are designed.., and then people try to figure out how to work with what they've got.., to stay on board 

 

One big conclusion I have learned from losing a guy over in extreme conditions is that staying with the boat is always preferable. There were good arguments in both directions, but I'd take getting beaten against the boat and possibly drowned that way over floating on my own any day of the week. Trying to find someone is almost impossible.

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29 minutes ago, southerncross said:

You mean for the actual maneuver?

My point is, the longer one can survive in the water, the more time for the rescue maneuver.

Don't want to jump the gun on this one.


I'm saying you can't apply any cold water swimming techniques in any meaningful way when you're doing 4 hours on off shifts during a competitive leg. Who can psychologically be that on edge for that long of time? Who is eating that much, taking cold immersions? Who can physically deal with 6 meter sea states? 

Rescue swimmers, the fittest toughest pros in their prime and prepared for the duty with the appropriate gear,  won't be expected to be able to function in those conditions for 30 minutes. If we're expecting off shore sailors to not only be fit for sailing but also rescue swimmer capable, you'll find no one fit for the task.

 

Offshore survival courses that use wave pools quickly teach capable swimmers and sailors that in optimal conditions (you're not tired, you're well rested, you have psychological preparedness) - getting into a lifeboat and keeping with your crew is hard enough. Anything more is kidding yourself.

Thinking back to yesterday - a large part of why I reacted so poorly to the official statement, is the realization that they were announcing his likely death because it had been 5 hours and they had no other updates. It felt like no statement on death.

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I definitely agree with the Hancock perspective. Look at the vendee cockpits:

Hugo-Boss-NYBCN.jpg

 

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4 hours ago, Ozee Adventure said:

Now I'm blubbing - thank you, that broke me 

Join the club, standing in a bar after work and trying to explain to non-sailors is bloody difficult. 

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9 hours ago, Sailbydate said:

Some more fast sailing from BRUNEL on their latest RAW.

https://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/raw/8489.html

Check out the Albatros taking a very close interest in the drone.

Yann has raised drone footage to a new level on this leg.

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38 minutes ago, doghouse said:

 

 

One big conclusion I have learned from losing a guy over in extreme conditions is that staying with the boat is always preferable. There were good arguments in both directions, but I'd take getting beaten against the boat and possibly drowned that way over floating on my own any day of the week. Trying to find someone is almost impossible.

This is so true. '99 Transpac I was overboard off the bow of the boat, attached by my tether, but no physical way I could get back on deck by myself.  The crew were dealing with the kite takedown after I had tripped the tack. They had no idea that I was drowning upside down off the bow with the boat still going 10+, until they had the kite down. Then it was where's Doug?  I owe my life to Alan and Davey.  But, I also owe my life to that tether.  If I had not been clipped to the boat, I likely would not be typing this now.  

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13 minutes ago, Hitchhiker said:

This is so true. '99 Transpac I was overboard off the bow of the boat, attached by my tether, but no physical way I could get back on deck by myself.  The crew were dealing with the kite takedown after I had tripped the tack. They had no idea that I was drowning upside down off the bow with the boat still going 10+, until they had the kite down. Then it was where's Doug?  I owe my life to Alan and Davey.  But, I also owe my life to that tether.  If I had not been clipped to the boat, I likely would not be typing this now.  

 

Yessir.

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25 minutes ago, jbc said:

Check out the Albatros taking a very close interest in the drone.

That albi must have been totally obsessed by that drone, because flapping your wings is definitely not allowed in the Southern Ocean.

Makes me wonder if a drone could follow an albatros gliding over the ocean swell, for a while.  

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48 minutes ago, Miffy said:


I'm saying you can't apply any cold water swimming techniques in any meaningful way when you're doing 4 hours on off shifts during a competitive leg. Who can psychologically be that on edge for that long of time? Who is eating that much, taking cold immersions? Who can physically deal with 6 meter sea states? 

Rescue swimmers, the fittest toughest pros in their prime and prepared for the duty with the appropriate gear,  won't be expected to be able to function in those conditions for 30 minutes. 

Well I wasn't saying you would take cold water immersions etc on the boat.  Leading up to a Leg and prior to the Edition there is a lot of preparation that can be taken.  There are open water swimmers that swim regularly in 9C for hours at a time with only a speedo.  Much to be learned, that has been studied extensively in this area that could be applied to survival techniques at sea.  8 meter seas are another story.  Swells or breaking seas.  Big wave surfers have developed techniques to deal with being crushed by a wave and pinned underwater for example.

The average pro is probably used to sailing in warmer temps.  Unprepared for icy water, the mind and body will immediately go into panic and shock, significantly reducing the chance of survival.  Part of it is just the unknown.  It reminds me of a video I saw of hardened US Marines trying to get through a Norwegian ice water survival test.  The marines panicked and clung to the ice while the Norwegians laughed and carried on.  

I think human instinct is to keep up a search as long as possible as much as it is to survive as long as possible.   Anything that can be done to improve on both.  Just saying.  There is a lot of good info out there from other sources.

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Gutted since yesterday with the really bad news. I cannot imagine what the Scally crew is going through now. Not to mention Fish's family and friends. But it is true what Hancock is claiming. The boats are designed to be submarines to look good and extreme on pictures. This was part of the design brief back in Knut's times. Not sure, though, how much % of responsibility this has in this tragic event.  

Kuddos to VOR for a great Live today. Phil was very informative and to the point.

RIP Fish. You'll be remembered. 

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